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Saturday, 27 December 2014

2014: The Year I Finished My Fifth Book

As 2014 is drawing to a close, I'm celebrating with yet another goal of finishing my second chick lit book - my fifth book overall.

This year has been productive for me. I started my fourth book in January and released that in late May. Then I started Second Time Around in June and this past week has seen me complete the first draft. This time the book's plot-line is focused on romance and even though chick-lit can sometimes be predictable, I always try to finish my novels with a twist.

I think I'm going to take a well earned break until the new year before I make the necessary alterations and just generally tidy things up before I send the manuscript over to my editor. Right now, my brain is kind of frazzled and I definitely feel burned out so I think a rest is my best option. After all, I have written two full length novels this year so what normal person wouldn't feel worn out?

The plan for 2015 is to outline and write my sixth book. I haven't decided on the title for that yet but I know the genre is going to be chick-lit.

So, what are your plans for the coming year and have you achieved your goals for 2014? I vaguely remember this time last year saying that I wanted to write my fourth book - Confessions of a Webcam Model and plan out Second Time Around. But back then I didn't know whether I'd have enough time to actually write that book as well.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Character v Plot Driven Novels: Which Should You Be Writing?

This is an email I sent to my editor last week:

I see an awful lot of information about character v plot driven novels on the Internet and it got me wondering - are my books character or plot driven?

And ...

Do you think certain genres demand a book to be one or the other? I'm reading a chick lit book at the moment that seems to be character driven and if I come to think about it most chick lit novels I've read seem to be this way. Although I can imagine most thrillers would be plot driven as they're usually fast paced etc.

Which begs a further question ... if my books are plot driven - do you think I should be writing them this way if I continue to write chick lit?

So, one question has turned into three.

Help, dear editor! :)

His response was extremely detailed. In fact, he hit the nail on the head. He states all my books are character driven and if I continue to write chick lit then this is how all of them should be.

But, what do you think about the issue I've raised? Should certain genres be written in a certain way or do you think that it would be a refreshing change to have plot driven women's fiction or character driven thrillers?

I am eager to hear your thoughts ...

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Celebrating My First Royalty Cheque

I published my first book Secret Confessions of a Backpacker: My Adventure Down Under on April 16th 2011. A year later on August 17th 2012, I published its sequel: Secret Confessions of a Backpacker: My Maple Leaf Adventure and by that time I was hell bent on having a career as a writer.

Since then a lot has happened. I've published two more books in different genres and I'm half way through writing my fifth book. In fact, I've spent so many months just solely focused on writing, I've forgotten the fact that I'm actually selling these books as well.

When I first started writing the 99 cent ebook was extremely popular. Writers like Amanda Hocking and J.A. Konrath said such pricing methods had enabled them to make a fortune.

Back then I was more like a sponge than a person. I wanted to soak up as much information as I could and that sort of price for an ebook seemed like a good idea to me.

After all, ebooks should be cheaper than print books. All you have to do with an electronic book is download it onto your reading device. There's no paper and ink involved, resulting in no printing costs.

As my first two books are aimed at backpackers, I've decided to keep the price low, so it's no wonder it's taken so long for my account to be credited with the minimum of $100.00, especially when at that price Amazon takes 70% of the cut. Don't get me wrong, I've made money from the other Amazon sites across the world, but until recently, I haven't sold that many books in the States. Plus, I get paid electronically from all the other Amazon sites and they don't have a minimum amount to reach, either.

So, to get back to my original point - the actual title of my blog post - I received my first royalty cheque from last week and I wasn't even here to open it!!! Instead my partner took the task upon himself and text me the good news. I was down in Cornwall at the time, picture shown above, enjoying a rare holiday with my mother.

Finally, I can say I have received my first official cheque for my writing. I am now a real author, receiving royalty cheque proceeds from my books. Books which complete strangers overseas have bought and read.

It is a fantastic feeling. Here's to the next three and a half years. I might have received another cheque by then!

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Are Writers Prone to Telepathic Communications?

It's funny. You can grow up for years with people and with some you're so out of synch. But sometimes you don't have to meet a person to have a telepathic relationship. For example, I haven't met my editor: we don't even live in the same country. But there are times when he'll just pop into my mind and the very next minute I'll have an email from him. And vice versa. 

Weird ...

But as a writer is this an 'normal' thing to experience? Should I list this skill on my C.V to impress potential employers?

After all, I communicate with my book's characters every day. They may not exist or be on show for anyone else, but I see them clearly in my mind. And I believe authors have to make their characters behave in a way that their readers would expect. If you want to be a writer who connects with people, you have to draw characters who are capable of showing human emotion. 

I believe you have to be in tune with people to write well. You have to be a good judge of how people are going to react and in my experience it is these sort of people who are more prone to this sort of phenomena.

So, please share your experiences. Are you prone to telepathic communication?

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Factors Which Hold Writers Back

Most writers will know that writing books isn't usually the path to fame and fortune, but they secretly hope they will be the exception to that rule.

However, once they get a few years into their career most writers will be over that particular delusion. They'll have to come to accept they won't be walking on the red carpet into a film premier of their latest book which Steven Spielberg has just launched.

But while that dream may have subsided, writers still need to be careful their thoughts do not go the other way and send them spiralling into a whole other world.

Some writers fear that because they've written a few books and not had any spectacular sales they should give up, or at the very least start writing something completely different. And some writers don't even send out any of their work at all. If you can identify with this then by all means try something new but never give up. Don't fall into the trap that so many of us face: setting up ridiculously high expectations and then plummeting back down from orbit with an almighty crash.

This brings me to my next point of aiming too high or refusing to give your books away as part of vital promotion. I have now given away two out of four books for a limited time. Exposure was massive and I've enjoyed sales ever since. I'm sure sales come from the fact that I write what I love to read and I'm not a person who constantly chases trends. I know writers who do this and have had success, but I don't believe I could write a book without having an interest in the novel's theme.

Another factor which limits success is refusing to believe publishing is a business and that's the same whether you're self-publishing or have an agent and a contract with the big six. Another failure which some writers make is spending all your time and effort on marketing 'schemes' that are more see-through than a jellyfish. Instead of giving all your money to someone who 'promises' to sell a thousand of your books a day, why not spend your time writing the next book?

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Are Mailing Lists Essential?

These days it can be difficult to remember how to construct a sentence - never mind anything else. So how do writers expect their readers to remember them if they've got to wait the average time of a year for their next book?

In this digitally instant world which we now live, it seems impossible to gain a loyal following of fans without the risk of losing them to anyone else. And with Amazon now promoting new releases and new writers more than ever, how can the average writer expect to stay sane?

Some writers say that the key to more sales is establishing a mailing list. But if you only have a few new readers each month and write in several different genres, is this thinking pattern feasible?

For a long time I thought that it was. And then I discovered more and more writers had thousands of sales before they even considered a mailing list. They said the most important factor which influenced sales was how many books they actually had to their name. In other words, the more books they had the more readers they would find.

Amazon makes book discoverability very easy for their authors with their Amazon author pages. On this page you can upload your photo and your bio stating a little about yourself. Readers can see at a glance just how many books you have available just through this one page. Readers do not even need to go rooting through books to find mailing lists because there is ample opportunity to state it on this page.

So, while mailing lists seem like a good idea, do you consider them essential?

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Can You Write Chick Lit Without Romance?

I'm writing my fifth book at the moment - my second chick lit novel - and a funny thought has struck me.

Can you write chick lit without romance?

It's funny this thought should strike me now and not when I was penning A Step Too Far because that wasn't a love story. Yes, it had some romantic themes and even a potential love triangle but the overall story wasn't a quest to find love. It was a quest to find a fulfilling life.

I guess I'm thinking about this topic now because A Second Time Around is more of a romantic comedy than my first chick lit book. It will still have a twist at the end like my other novel but the theme is definitely romance.

The only gripe I have with chick lit is too many stories are the same. That may sound funny as it's the genre I have chosen to write, but I deliberately didn't make A Step Too Far overly romantic. I wanted to write a book which I believed to be chick lit because it's written in first person and in a light hearted way. But at the same time I wanted to write a story which wasn't like all the rest.

So I decided to be brave (or stupid) and write about life fulfilment.

But was I wrong to do this?

A lot of readers expect a tale of love when they pick up women's fiction. They want their tall, dark and handsome heroes and a happy ending. They want the book to contain certain elements and they want their expectations fulfilled. But here lies the problem. The category of Women's Fiction is just an umbrella term with a whole lot of other categories mixed in. There are the romance books, the erotic books and the chick lit books. Romantic comedy is very similar to chick lit but chick lit tends to talk about the protagonist's friendships, career, family life and various other things.

If readers did really want a guaranteed tale of love and romance, they'd surely pick up a book with a couple in a passionate pose on the front cover. Not some girl relaxing with a coffee in her favourite armchair.

So what do you think? Is it safe to write women's fiction without romance?

I'm going on a Baltic cruise from now until the 11th July so I will catch up with any comments when I return.

Monday, 2 June 2014

The Bare Truth of What Life as a Writer is Really Like - My KDP Select Results

Life as a writer can sometimes be compared to a music artist preparing for a concert in a huge arena. The excitement and anticipation is overwhelming and you're sure you've done everything humanely possible to prepare. You've spent months if not years dreaming about this event and now you can't believe it's here.

You're not sure just how many tickets have sold but you hope it's been a sell out. You have everything crossed that the audience will love your debut song because it's just the best song ever! And you're almost ready to swear on your life that this concert will launch your career into places like Hollywood with cute chicks, cool cars and fluffy dogs.

This concert will be the mother of all concerts. This concert will make all your dreams come true. This concert will make you richer than Richard Branson, more famous than Angelina Jolie, and happier than a chocoholic with a lifetimes supply of chocolate.

Only it doesn't ...

The only thing this concert is responsible for is sending you to the edge of madness and complete insanity.

Five minutes before you're due to sing you find out that only a handful of ticket have sold. That's just a handful of tickets in one of the largest indoor arenas in the European Union. And most of those have gone to your family members.


Your world has suddenly flipped one eighty. Instead of looking forward to all these dreams and fantasies, you're suddenly trapped in some kind of nightmare.

But as a true and committed artist, you go out and perform anyway. You sing your little heart out because you know you have talent. You know you have what it takes to become a success someday. You're a star because you have endless amounts of perseverance, patience and a work ethic which is second to none.

The only problem is the rest of the world doesn't know it yet.

But that's your job, you see. Your job is to go out there one person at a time and make them see how great you actually are. And this obviously takes time. Very, very rarely do people become overnight successes and those people who do still run the risk of fading into obscurity one day. Just like the rest of us, no one is immune from that potential danger.

Whether you're a writer or a pop star, you will do whatever it takes to get yourself noticed because this is your life. It's the sole purpose of why you exist in the first place. And whether you are a writer who has only managed to sell a handful of books that really doesn't matter because as time goes on you will sell more. You'll sell more because you'll write more and with every day that passes you'll find new opportunities to take advantage of.

I am a writer and last week I took advantage of KDP Select. Select, as most of you know, belongs to Amazon and it seems they do great things to promote you.

I enrolled my chick lit book: A Step Too Far in Select last month and promoted it as free for forty-eight hours. Within this time almost 5,000 copies were downloaded. Most of these downloads took place in America with the U.K. coming in second. I had downloads in Europe, India and Australia. The only place where I'm still obscure is Japan, Brazil and Mexico.

So I'd say my little experiment was quite successful. The only downside of being free is negative reviews so I have my fingers crossed I don't get too many of those.

I'll probably run a similar experiment with Confessions of a Webcam Model once it's been out a while. So when the time comes round, I'll let you know how that book performs.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Book Launch - 'Confessions of a Webcam Model' is Now Available

I am very proud to announce that my 4th book is now ready to download on Amazon.

In the midst of the worst recession the world has ever seen, Cindy Smith is strapped for cash.

But while other people chase down menial jobs without success, Cindy suddenly finds herself staring at a lucrative career.

Before she can say ‘webcam modelling,’ Cindy meets all sorts of weird and wonderful people with the most bizarre fetishes she can ever imagine.

Written in a humorous style, Cindy’s story will take you on a most remarkable journey full of fun and frolics, shock and horror and she’ll show you what life as a webcam model is really like.

This book contains the candid truth of what goes on behind closed doors and the reality of where knitting needles can be inserted.

This book is about a fictitious character. However, all her experiences are taken from real life webcam models that have chosen this career as a way of life.
All names and personal details have been changed. See for yourself, the details are eye-watering.

I’ve wanted to write this book for a while as I’ve missed my confessional style of writing which is present in my first two books in the Secret Confessions of a Backpacker series.

The sex industry features briefly in my first book and in my 4th book I wanted to take things a step further.

As you know, the world has been gripped by a severe recession during the past couple of years, so I wanted to write a book that would reflect this character’s bravery and integrity facing life today in the modern world.

My research into this topic has been extensive. I’ve spent a whole year liaising with webcam models and watching countless documentaries. This career is certainly eye opening and it’s inspired me to think about future books around this theme.

The book is witty and written in a way that will surprise even the most un-shockable reader. I hope you enjoy it.

To celebrate my new release you can also grab a free copy of my chick lit book A Step Too Far. It will be free from Amazon on Tuesday 27th May until Wednesday 28th so grab your free copy while you can!!! :)

Happy reading!


Monday, 12 May 2014

My Blog Tour - Confessions of a Webcam Model

My 4th Book Coming Soon!
In the midst of the worst recession the world has ever seen, Cindy Smith is strapped for cash.

But while other people chase down menial jobs without success, Cindy finds herself staring at a lucrative career. 

Before she can say 'webcam modelling,' Cindy meets all sorts of people with the most bizarre fetishes she can ever imagine.

Written in a humorous style, Cindy will take you on a most remarkable journey full of fun and frolics, shock and horror and she'll show you what life as a webcam model is really like. 

This book contains the candid truth of what goes on behind closed doors and the reality of where knitting needles can be inserted.

For a change, I thought I'd participate in a good old blog tour this week. I haven't been involved in one of these for the past couple of years, so I should really get back into them as they can be advantageous in gaining new readers you otherwise wouldn't have had.

Now I've just finished my fourth book: Confessions of a Webcam Model. I've been keeping this book under wraps but seeing as it will be out soon, I want to make an announcement. This book is written in the style of a memoir but its protagonist is a fictitious character.

I've been wanting to write this book for a while as I've missed my confessional style of writing. The sex industry features briefly in my first book and in this book I wanted to take things a step further. As you know, the world has been gripped by its worst recession during the past couple of years, so I wanted to write a book that would reflect this character's bravery and integrity facing life today in the modern world.

My research into this topic has been extensive and eye-watering. I've spent a whole year liaising with webcam models and watching documentary after documentary. This career is certainly eye opening and it's certainly inspired me to think about future books written around this theme.

So without further ado, here are my answers to the four questions.

  1. What am I working on? At the moment I'm plotting my fifth book, my second chick-lit novel: Second Time Around. Although it's my second chick-lit, it's my first romantic comedy set in Edinburgh, Scotland. My protagonist, Ruby Roberts or Phoebe Philips ( I haven't decided what to call her yet, what do you think? ) is a thirty-two year old librarian with no self-confidence and down on her life. I don't want to give too much of the plot away but let's just say she's dying to meet her Mr. Wonderful and is willing to look everywhere for him.
  2. How does my work differ from others of its genre? Er, because it's written in an extremely candid way and no other author dares to speak the truth like I do? Well, this may be true for books one, two and four but for A Step Too Far, this question is really difficult to answer. I wanted to write the book as chick-lit but I didn't want to have the usual romantic themes woven through it like most chick-lit novels these days. There, how about that? I've saved all the romantic themes for my fifth book.
  3. Why do I write what I do? Well, I think this is the easiest question to answer of all. I write what I do because I love to read these genres. I have quite an eclectic taste in books and if I enjoy reading something, I'll always want to write around these particular themes and styles. During my time in New Zealand, I read Belle de Jour's books. For those of you who don't know, Belle was a high class call girl turned research scientist. I loved her candid approach and humour and she's always been an inspiration to write these sorts of books. Her books did so well they turned them into a T.V. series starring Billie Piper.
  4. How does my writing process work? My fourth book took the shortest amount of time to write. I started in January and finished in April so that's only four months. It's 60,000 words so it's by no means my longest book but I am very proud of myself for achieving this. I hope to write my fifth book in a similar amount of time. I aim to write for several hours a day at least five days a week. Sometimes if life allows and I'm not too tired, I'll write on weekends.
Thank you very much to Dr. Carol Cooper for this blog tour opportunity. Carol is another talented chick-lit author and you can view her blog here:

I wish Carol much success with her novels.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

How to Avoid Over-use of He Said, She Said, I Said.

I love to read books of various different genres and styles but one particular thing gets to me and if I'm honest it's an issue which I see over and over again.

The overuse of he said, she said, I said.

Memoirs and chick-lit are my favourite type of books and anything else that's written in first person. Maybe the problem is prone to first person narration but after a while the issue starts to bug me and more often than not I end up putting the book down.

If you put he said, she said, I said after every line of dialogue it becomes tedious and I find it distracts the reader away from the storyline. Instead of focusing on what the book is about the reader is more involved with the actual writing itself.

In most cases you don't have to say who is speaking as the reader should be able to work it out for themselves. But here's a clever little tip that I use and this technique will give your book an added dimension.

Instead of writing he said, she said, I said all the time why not add a line of description to tell the reader what the character is doing. By doing this not only are you avoiding the repetition that these tags can bring but you're also keeping the story in the present tense.

For example:

'But I don't want to go to the park today.' I walk over to the window and point at the rain on the glass.

This way you're not taking the reader out of the story by telling them who is speaking but you're letting the story run its natural course. You're eliminating unnecessary words and therefore making the text a much tighter read.

'But I don't want to go to the park today,' I say. I walk over to the window and point at the rain on the glass.

Which one reads better? You're saying the same thing without the unnecessary words which detract from the story.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Is it a Good Idea to Call Yourself Indie?

Something struck me last week when I was in one of my writing groups. Most writers there call themselves indie when they talk about their books. And although they all write not all of them produce professionally published work.

There is still a lot of stigma attached to independent authors. Outside the writing world people think you only have the right to call yourself an author if you're backed by Penguin or Random House. People think that only those authors can produce such professional quality works.

But this is not true. Indies who are serious about treating writing as a business will be professional. They will take the time to make sure they produce quality books and they will spend the money to ensure a polished result. Their main goal will be to get their book into the hands of a reader who'll think this book is such a high standard they'll have a difficult time in telling it apart from a traditionally published book.

Unfortunately though not all self-published writers are like this. Many can't afford professional editing and cover design. Many still think they'll earn their fortune just by rushing their book and releasing what some would still consider a first draft. And unfortunately it's those kind of people who give the rest of us a bad name.

Trad-pubbed authors will already have a team of people behind them to ensure their book will reach a certain high standard. They will write their book and won't have to worry about finding money to pay their copy-editor as this is already included in the package.

So if you're an indie who takes writing seriously, why go to the bother of declaring yourself as self-published? If you're a writer then your goal will be the same as any other author. And that goal is to publish books.

Readers will look for a book they want to read. If it catches their eye then they will buy it. Readers won't care if you're backed by Penguin or not. If they want to read your book they'll read it. Whether you're an indie or not is not the point.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

The Success of Failure

Recently I've seen a lot of blog posts about 'failing' as a writer, but to me the only way you can fail is if you give up.

When they first start out failure is in the minds of most writers. They fear they will fail to finish their first book, fail to promote it and fail to sell a single copy. There is such a lot of negativity around this art.

But now I'm going to put a spin of failure. I'm going to turn it round into something positive.

My question is: Have you failed enough to succeed?

No matter where you go or which profession you choose, you're always going to fail at something. It's what we do. After all we're only human - we're not robots.

Imagine you're taking your driving test without taking the lessons first. You're sat behind the wheel of your car absolutely blind with panic. How can you possibly pass this test?

The fact is no one expects you succeed if you haven't had any practise.This is why people go to university to study for their chosen career.

But writing is different. You can have a degree in creative writing or a BA in English but if you want to write you're still going to have to write your first novel.

And that takes practise. If something doesn't work try to reach the desired conclusion from a different angle.

It's very, very rare for any writer to create their first book and have it go viral. Successful writers write books for years without much thanks and then suddenly they find people are buying them.

So, how many times are you going to try? You never know next time could be the time you succeed.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

It's Normal Not to Sell a Lot of Books

I came across this post: It's Normal not to Sell a Lot in the Writer's Café in Kindleboards the other week and thought how true it is.

People are influenced by the tales of overnight success many writers seem to have. So when someone decides they want to write professionally they are often stung by the cruel twist of reality. This feeling is made worse when someone asks how well your first book is selling only to be told you have yet to sell even one copy.

Most writers feel embarrassed or even mortified when the book they've worked so hard on doesn't sell a thousand copies overnight. And this is true whether you've just written your first or tenth novel. Sales are not guaranteed - ever. It doesn't matter if you've been writing for a month or twelve years. Sales are so random and unpredictable that if you let things get to you you'll be so miserable you'll have no energy to write the damn book in the first place.

Avoid people who have no insight into the business of writing and publishing for their unrealistic expectations will do you no favours. Just because J.K. Rowling has made more money than the Queen doesn't mean you will too.

So the message of this post is to be happy with what you have achieved. Not many people have the willpower to write even one book, so if you're writing your second then you've achieved far more than the average person.

If you desperately need money go out and find another form of income or hook a rich guy or gal. Don't spend hours wishing you could be Danielle Steel or Dan Brown. You are not them. You are you. Even though their money is nice there's definitely more to writing than the currency you're used to dealing with.

Expectations are a funny thing. When you start writing achieving one sale per month makes you feel like you've just climbed Mount Everest. Then you're selling ten books per month and the following year that goes up to fifty. But once you start selling and you get used to a certain number anything below that just isn't enough.

When I first started writing of course I had big dreams. But now I've learnt to tailor those dreams with a huge chunk of reality. Most books don't sell well and that's fine. Most books don't need to make the best seller charts. As long as writers keep writing I believe their books will one day earn enough to make a living.

If you're serious about making writing your career please remember this. Write as many books as you can and then write some more. Do not get obsessed with sales figures. Keep your perspective at all times. It doesn't matter how another writer is doing. Put all of your energy into you.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

My Marketing Results and Why I'm Going to Spend More Time Writing.

As promised here's my blog on my marketing results I said I would do last month. In order to see any significant changes, I've allowed a month to pass from when I first started to advertise.

Are your hearts beating with anticipation? Do you think I'm going to reveal a site that's guaranteed to sell 100,000 copies of your book flat out in a week?

If you are you're going to be bitterly disappointed because I'm now going to say that despite my best marketing efforts with these relevant sites, I have not seen any significant changes in my sales results.

This does not mean I haven't had any sales at all. Far from it. It's just unfortunate that I can't see any direct correlation between sales and advertising.

Advertising with these sites might have had a slight impact on sales, so I'm glad I spent time promoting my book. But the results aren't high enough for me to be certain. One factor in my poor sales results is the sites I've used aren't big or well known. Perhaps I would have had better luck if I had used sites like BookBub. Unfortunately my book hasn't generated enough reviews to submit it to them.

And that's the problem. When you first release a book it can be near impossible to get reviews that are required for so many of these well known advertising sites. It's a Catch 22 situation. You want to use these sites to get the word out about your new release, but unless your book already has a certain amount of reviews you can't do this.

So what's the answer? Maybe I will try to get reviews before my next book is actually published. As of yet, I haven't gone down this route but I figure it must be worth a shot so watch this space.

I think until you have a few books out in the same genre it's pointless to waste your time and money concentrating on pushing just one book. Instead your time is better spent writing. After all, the majority of successful writers have quite a few books and a large proportion write in the same genre. Nothing sells books like writing more books - or so I've been told.

I'm going to listen to this advice from now on because it's all come from writers who have a large number of books.

I'm not knocking these advertising sites but I do believe I am not far enough along in my career to get the most out of them. To be a known writer you have to write more than one book. Then your readers will be more likely to take a chance on you because they will get to know your writing style and the book's content. Readers are more likely to take a chance on a writer who has a number of books.

Of course I could be talking a load of fluff for who am I to know what really sells books?

I'll wait another couple of months before I advertise again. Maybe my change in book cover will have some impact but who knows? Only time will tell.

This is where I'd love to hear your experience. What works for you when it comes to selling books?

My goal is to have readers who are loyal and committed just like my two dogs.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Do you have to be Emotionally Connected to your Writing for it to be a Success?

I've given this question some serious thought now while the excitement and anxiety of releasing my book has finally settled down. And I do believe this topic will generate a mixed response.

Some writers write what is in their heart and therefore their main focus is to write stories that they want to write. But other writers only write what they think will sell.

I am a writer who writes from my heart. That doesn't mean I don't consider my readers when I write these stories. Quite the opposite: my readers are my pivotal focus. But I think writing from the heart is far easier than writing what I think will sell.

There are two main reasons for this:
  1. I don't have any experience of writing sci-fi, paranormal romance or dystopia because I don't read these sort of books.
  2. I am not about to start chasing the trends on the off chance I may get rich, famous or hugely successful. Again there are two main reasons for this. Number one: I am never, ever that lucky and number two by the time I have written books in these genres another genre will be hot. I figure I may as well stick to what I know I write well.
The stories I tell always have a personal connection and I believe this passion is what carries the readers through. If I don't write with this connection, I don't honestly know if there would be a story to tell. I know a lot of writers are like me and they basically write about something in their life experience.

This isn't always literal of course. Writers could just write fiction with only a vague element of truth but their stories often come through from some sort of life experience.

What do you think? Are you a writer who writes from their heart?

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

A List of Book Promotion Sites

Before I get into this post, I'd like to wish all my followers and everyone else an extremely Happy New Year. May all your wishes and dreams come true during these next twelve months.

If you're a writer like me here is a list that might make this year your best yet. I know the number one goal for many authors is to write as many books as they possibly can and for them to sell like wildfire.

Now writing books may seem hard but I can assure you that getting people to buy them is so much harder. As a writer you may feel like most of your work is over once you have a finished product to sell but in fact your work is only just beginning.

I've seen established writers argue that the best promotional tool you can use is to write another book. And although I am not arguing with that advice, I think it would be a shame to ignore all the book promotion sites.

When I first start to market my first book I really struggled. There's an overwhelming amount of advice out there and most of it is conflicting. This daunts a novice writer who is only just starting out on their exciting adventure, and for some they'd rather bury their head in the sand rather than face any promotion.

If you're a new writer starting out now then I think your journey into publishing may be even harder. There are so many books out there now that cyber space is becoming increasingly swamped. This makes visibility so much harder, and many writers will claim that simply tweeting about your book amongst your followers who are probably trying to do the same thing is more than a little pointless.

So if social media sites aren't working then what does work?

The key to making sales is to get your book in front of the eyes of readers. This sounds so simple on the surface but finding these people can be tougher than you first think. There are hundreds of book clubs out there dedicated to specific genres but most of these clubs do not allow promotion of any sort. So it's a Catch 22 scenario. You want to find readers but when you do you can't mention your book to them. How do get round this obstacle?

The trick is not to hound readers yourself but to find sites that have newsletters sent out to their plethora of subscribed readers. You upload your book onto their site and you have your book mentioned in the monthly/weekly/daily newsletter. Some sites are free but some are paid. I know many writers swear by BookBub - but this is the dearest site I've found so far.

So, here is a list of sites that I've promoted my books with. In a month I will report any increase I've seen with sales - fingers crossed there will be some significant findings. As my followers know I have just released my third book so I'm trying desperately to promote that.

I hope you find these sites handy.

Once again Happy New Year to everyone. I hope you find my post useful. I'm off to eat a cake like the one shown above this afternoon.