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Category: Features (page 1 of 4)

Pilgrimage to Plymouth

Simon Whaley enjoys a journey around this delightful Devonshire City.


‘Climb the oak tree,’ says the tourist guide, ‘but think laterally.’ She winks as she hands over a map of Plymouth city to help me explore. I have to admit, it’s been a few years since I last climbed a tree. But this wasn’t quite what I was expecting to do in Plymouth.

This Devonian city is sandwiched between two rivers – the Plym in the east and the Tamar to the west. It overlooks Plymouth Sound, a natural bay with deep water channels, perfect for commercial shipping and the Royal Navy’s warships and submarines.

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Firth of Flowers

Check out the April issue of BBC Countryfile magazine for my Firth of Flowers piece in their Great Days Out section.

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Coast … ing Along

Check out my feature in the April 2018 issue of Coast magazine, packed full of ideas of what to do with A Weekend in Plymouth.

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Understanding Your ALCS Statement

Understanding Your ALCS Statement was published in the March 2018 issue of Writing Magazine

I love this time of year. March is when we get our free money from the ALCS. Free money? Oh, yes! However, from the many comments I’ve seen on social media, not everyone understands their ALCS statement. Many simply look at how much they’re getting and then file it ready for their tax return. But having a clearer understanding of what you’re receiving the money for may help ensure you claim everything to which you’re entitled.

What is ALCS?

The Authors Licensing and Collecting Society collects money generated by secondary rights from various sources and then distributes it to writers. When you sell an article or a short story to a magazine, you sell a primary right – a right to publish your work, for which you should be paid. But once a piece of your writing has been published, there are legitimate ways in which it can be scanned or photocopied. Organisations and business pay for this legitimate right to copy your work.

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Taxing Transformations

Remember the plans for quarterly tax returns? Simon Whaley finds out what writers need to do now, in preparation.

If there’s one piece of writing most of us detest it’s completing our tax return. So when George Osborne announced in November 2015 the Making Tax Digital scheme, whereby self-employed people, such as writers, may need to complete quarterly tax returns, many feared the worst. How much of our future writing time would be gobbled up by the need to be creative with numbers?

However, plans for this were dropped from the Finance Bill that went through parliament just prior to last year’s general election. But this tax story hasn’t been buried like a murder writer’s latest victim. It’s simply sleeping, ready to reawaken in the near future. As writers, we need to start taking steps now.

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Top Six Literary Lodgings

Fancy sleeping where your favourite writer lived, worked or holidayed? Simon Whaley suggests six of the UK’s best literary stays.

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Agent Attraction

Agent Attraction - Writing Magazine - November 2016 issue

Agent Attraction – Writing Magazine – November 2016 issue

Attracting an agent can be the start of a long business relationship. Simon Whaley flirts with two agents to learn more about the wooing process.

At this time of year many literary agents are talking Frankfurt. The Frankfurt Book Fair is one of the biggest gatherings of publishing professionals in the world. Over 600 agents from more than 300 agencies from over 30 countries will get together around tables at its Literary Agent and Scout Fair to negotiate rights and deals. As Jonny Geller, literary agent and joint CEO of agency Curtis Brown, says on the Frankfurt Book Fair website, ‘The Frankfurt Book Fair can transform the hopes and dreams of an author. A place where a book can go from a local idea to a global phenomenon.’

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Clun & Black Hill


Fancy stepping into Bruce Chatwin’s shoes? Explore Shropshire’s idyllic countryside around Clun, reputedly the inspiration behind Chatwin’s novel ‘On The Black Hill’, in the October 2016 issue of Country Walking magazine.

TrailZilla ID: TZID31011

Conquering Challenges

BoW - Conquering Challenges

Just like paralympians, writers with disabilities strive to achieve their goals on a daily basis. Simon Whaley chats to two writers about how disability influences their writing business.

After the spectacle of the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games comes the Paralympic Games, where athletes with physical disabilities show the world what they’re capable of. Not all disabilities are physical, something Prince Harry focussed on during this year’s recent Invictus Games, but living with a disability creates a range of challenges on a daily basis.

Yet those determined enough will find ways to overcome them, and that’s just as true for writers with disabilities as it is for paralympic sport stars. Having a disability need not prevent you from being a writer, or force you to give up writing, but it might change the way you run your writing business.

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Going Ape!

Going Ape - The People's Friend - 20th August 2016

“Is it true monkeys like bananas?” my nephew, Ashley, asks as we watch a gibbon swinging on a rope high above our heads. Thankfully, we have an expert to hand.

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