I've been writing this blog for 2 years now and I've been wondering whether anyone actually see's or reads anything I've written, let alone my books. This week I've had my faith restored because two people made comments to my musings. Thank you both of you. Natalie, I'd like to take you up on your offer. Please let me know where to drop them off. Kaz I'd like to consider your idea and kind offer too.
With my faith restored, I will continue putting my thoughts, ideas, self-confidence issues and the paranoia that is my writing life here in my blog. Lots of things fill my mind when it comes to writing and my life in general. One of the things is how busy people seem to think I am. Well, compared to some I seem to be, but my philosophy is "I'll do all the other things when I'm dead," Sleep, rest, diet, be quiet. Lets be honest we will all be doing those and other things once we've passed. Why worry about doing them now!
Currently, I'm the hub for the Inspirations Writers Group next planned publication - Orange Anthology. Our new system (invented by Karen Ince, never got round to THANKING HER for that one) involves all contributors sending their pieces to me first on-line. Karen has devised level 1 and level 2 critiquers. Level 1 members are those still learning the skill and able to give their point of view as readers. Level 2 are more experienced critiquers and happy to provide constructive criticism and pick the piece apart - all in the name of improvement.
So, the work comes to me, and I send in out to level 1, they critique/read it, write feedback then send back to me. I re-label the work and send out to the authors to update. They update, it comes back to me. I send out to level 2 critiquers and they repeat the process. The work comes in, goes out to authors, then back to me, then off to proof editing. Confused? Its easy to be let me assure you. This is all done in a framework of weeks during which I'm on holiday and working through the summer.
On top of that I'm re-writing my third novel Gristle's Revenge, running stalls at craft fairs in the ever fading forlorn hope of selling my books, organising a anti-slavery event at Westwood Cross in November (along with my sister soropts), trying to find volunteers for a failing local charity and one hundred and one other things: including; setting up the E-commerce site, trying to trace Hackers to my site - I know who you are - watch it. Sending out questionnaires and standing in our local surgery doing face-to-face ones for the community Alcohol Partnership I'm involved with...... Going to Pilates, Yoga & Karate and most exciting of all, managing to secure private hip-hop lessons from a brilliant Chorographer starting next week. Oh yes, Dubstep, moonwalk, locking, popping, improve my tutting...watch out world.
And still more, merchandise has arrived and I love it. No one purchased any Sunday, but I had a smashing cup of tea out of one of my mugs - apparently they're dishwasher safe for 1,000 washes - awesome thanks JJ. The staff at the hotel were a bit surprised because they serve tea in horrible diddy paper cups so me arriving with a giant mug threw them off a bit. Value for money that's what I got.
Then it's back to the writing and I'm still thinking of doing NaNoWriMo for my next novel Aquasapien - Prodigy, except I'm at a Sci-Fi conference while its on and a Soroptimist Conference just before it starts and I still have umpteen other things to do in-between.
I'd love to hear from other folk with busy, juggle-in-the-air lives.
Sunday saw me attending a marketing session held in the Margate Bookie Event. I have learnt that you can NEVER learn enough about writing, publishing and marketing. So, with that frame of mind I sat back to winkle out some nuggets of information from two authors, who are obviously a lot more well known and successful than me. (That was not bitterness you heard, just envy)
Sadly, their names escape me, but they did help on two counts. First, to reassure me that I'm probably doing almost everything I can to get my work to market (excluding the nirvana of traditional agent & publisher scenario) Second, to tell me about two strategies I haven't done, or got round to; including Vlogging and getting a review quote from an acknowledged person.
Vlogging, for those of you new to the word means video blogging. Hence the corruption of two perfectly good words into V-logging. Though I might argue that blogging is an awful word already and bastardising it probably improves its appearance. It is also far too close to the words flogging, bogging, slogging and snogging in my opinion.
The idea is you film yourself, using your phone or some such, in my case my beloved tablet and give your adoring fans a few tasty titbits or pearls of wisdom. Why they should be interested in seeing the author's face is beyond me. Some folk read a few paragraphs from the their book - that appeals. So maybe, when I find the time I shall trial a short snap here, in a future blog. Does that make it a Blog-Vlog I wonder?
The second useful, and not so useful piece of advice, is the review quote. Here one asks/requests/grovels/begs/pleads or pays a successful person, who everyone has heard of, to say something nice and enticing to encourage folk to purchase said novel. That's great! If you happen to know one such individual, or are rich enough to pay their fees, but not if you have already printed the damm book! It's a bit late then. Though I did think, momentarily about stapling a tiny slip of paper across the front cover, until images of being sued for staple disfigurement fell into my trapdoor of a mind.
Nevertheless, its something to consider for next time, should I fall over Stephen Fry or Jason Statham coming out of Asda. Mind you I think probably snogging might be involved if its Jason and sod the book.
So, if anyone out there has a celebrity, popstar or member of the royal family in their close circle of friends tell them there's a free copy of the novel in it for them and I can probably throw in a fridge magnet too! No expense spared for my endorsement pals.
Over the last few months I've been trying to learn more about marketing my work. The members of Inspirations Writers Group decided it was time we tackled the subject as the group as several members are at the point of selling publications.
Lee Russell kindly ran the extra session, which we held courtesy of Westgate Library. He introduced us to various elements of marketing, but the things I took away were about marketing to your targeted readership and the use of merchandise. Lee said a great deal more on the subject, but my mind can only concentrate on a couple of things at once - what with all my other on-going projects!
I currently try to sell my books, and those of others, at local craft fairs. Sometimes I do okay, other times I don't get back the initial outlay, especially now I have to provide public liability insurance in case the person has a heart attack from dropping a book on their foot. People shouldn't come to craft fairs in flip-flops in my opinion, but don't get me started on my obsession with people who live in flip-flops and their effect on the environment. (The picture below is all flip-flops found on the beach, I've seen it and its huge)
Where was I? Oh yes., marketing. So I'm continuing with local fairs for now. I enjoy going, meeting folk and its good PR (No Nurses not Per Rectum - though sometimes....) even if I don't sell much. However, I am searching further afield too. I've been investigating SCi-Fi and fantasy conferences, conventions and literary events. It's not been easy, some are during the week and I work so I can't go. Some aren't interested in me attending. Some are in outer Mongolia - not really! I've found one in Nottingham in November, so I've booked into it. I have to pay as a normal punter, but I've also paid for a spot in the dealers room on Saturday. I've also had to pay for a room for 2 nights as well. To break even, excluding my petrol money, I'll need to sell about £200 worth of books and merchandise.
Did I say merchandise? Yes I did, I knew craft fairs were a good thing because I've found my very own merchandise supplier as a result of the last fair. I am now the proud owner (temporary I hope) of Aquasapien - Metamorphosis products including T-shirts, mugs, fridge magnets and long handled tote bags. The last of which I love to pieces and might just have to buy a few myself. Next, Witch on the Warpath sample merchandise will be arriving for me to review. It's very exciting now I'll have boxes of merchandise to sit next to my boxes of books.
In addition to that, I hope those reading this will take a peek at my new E-commerce store where I'm selling all my products direct. You can reach it through the store link on my website. I'd appreciate any feedback, but it doesn't necessarily mean I'll move heaven and Earth to alter it. This has been a major trial of several weeks with my son's help - and don't get me started on my drama of setting up a Paypal Business Account either.
Having a holiday abroad for most folks involves resting, relaxing, eating, drinking and probably exploring the local culture and landscape.
I like to do that do, especially the exploring part, because it lays the seeds for my later novels. This is especially true for Aquasapien, just about every location in the book I've travelled to (excluding a couple of far-off places like travelling up the Amazon in a canoe or hiding in an unpopulated rock in the Indian Sea). For the planned follow-up novel Aquasapien - Prodigy you are likely to see a chapter set in Lesvos as a result of staying in Molyvos. This Island is amazing and a forgotten Greek Gem - fortunately for us. There are plenty of places and scenic routes I can incorporate into the next story and I'm excited to begin this project in the near future.
Meanwhile, I'm not writing any more Aqua at present, though the outline and first few chapters of Prodigy are written. Currently, I'm concentrating on the follow-up novel for Witch on the Warpath, Gristle's Revenge.
I've spent almost every afternoon on a sunbed under a parasol by the pool, or stayed up in the early hours in bed re-writing whole sections of the first draft of this second exciting novel. It's taken almost all my free time, I stopped reading the books I brought with me after two novels I was so captured by the characters and the plot. It's been a great opportunity to nit-pick it to pieces, proof edit and re-build it more fully. The original draft had a lot of telling in places, now I hope it's more show and less tell as a result of my rewrites.
Next, will come the proof editing stage and the consideration for possible illustrations. I have a great cover illustrator now so I'll be seeing if she is interesting in designing the next cover and doing any other pieces that I don't decide to do myself. It will be a cost related activity as money isn't pouring in and finances are an issue.