I have been reading writing magazines a lot lately and in them are a massive adds in relation to writing courses and also self publishing. Although I am currently involved in a creative writing course, I would like to find out specifically about workshops or retreats overseas for writers. Do they really help the struggling writer or are they just a way to scam money, out of people who wish to improve on their writing skills? As I have never been on one of these workshops and am considering going on one, I would like to know about them first. I would also like to know the best ones available around. The other topic is self publishing! Throughout many of the writing magazines there are numerous ads relating to self publishing. I would like to know if this is another tool for the vanity writers. Maybe people in general who have a really good novel with a really nice storyline are using this method because they were rejected by publishers. Also I think the more information we have about this method of publishing, i.e. the pros and cons would be really helpful to everyone wishing to have a book published. On the lines of self publishing, what I read from some of the ads are in a way positive. They say you are saving yourself money and time using this method, also they are telling you its cost effective and that they will do maost of the work for you in relation to the publishing end. However, I am also wondering if the information they are giving us could be construed as misleading. What I mean by this is; you have been rejected countless times by publishers telling you in their own way that it is not publishable material. With this in mind you apply to one of the self publishing companies; they tell you they would be only to glad to publish it for you. They are getting a sizable sum for doing this and also you can have it reprinted as many times as you like. Whether it is one copy or a thousand copies, as long as the money keeps rolling in to them they will be only too obliging. Now I am not trying to knock self publishing- far from it. I just am expressing my opinion or rather my fear of seeking out this method, if the need arises. There are plenty of authors who have had a successful career through this method, but selecting the right one is very difficult, with so many out there plying for your story. All the same, I would value peoples input regarding these two topics, which I would consider to of interest to everyone. It would also broading ones knowledge of these to topics as they are worth exploring.