Saturday 31 May 2014

A giant thank you and shout out

This week 19 bloggers cam to my aid, at very short notice. So today I'm sharing their blogs! If you haven't met these amazing people yet, please visit them and discover what you've been missing out on..

Medeia Sharif has just released her new YA book Snip, Snip, Revenge. I love that title!

Rachel Schieffelbein, author of several YA books with gorgeous covers. She's just released Don't Fall, but you knew that, didn't you?

Suzanne Furness is hard at work on a YA fantasy. She recently finished the first draft of book 2.

Kyra Lennon, an amazing friend, who drags me to see heavy metal bands who I subsequently fall in love with. Her Game On series is brilliant - have you read it?

Nick Wilford, a blogger who's willing to help everyone out! And he edits too, if you need one.

Joanne Faries is the author of one of my favourite flash fiction collections, Wordsplash Flash. Her blog is also full of book and film reviews.

Mac Wheeler has just released his 24th book! I am in awe and stunned by that.

Steve Symes, a paranormal blog from a paranormal writer!

Elizabeth Seckman, writer of the Coulter Men series, has a new book out soon. (I've had a sneak peek - it's fabulous!) 

Michelle Wallace has short stories in several compilations, and is super supportive of all bloggers. 

Murees Dupe is working hard on her first novel, and navigating all the pitfalls of the publishing world.  

D Biswas writes short stories, and created an ebook from her A-Z challenge posts a couple of years ago.

Brinda Berry, YA and NA writer, who opens up her blog to some fantastic authors.

Syndey Aailyah's book Another New Life is available right now!

Cathrina Constantine is the author of books with the most amazing covers.

Linda King, another blog friend who I've known almost since I started blogging - the author of many short stories, and is working on a novel.

Melissa Maygrove has just released her debut novel Come Back. 

L. Diane Wolfe is a constant source of help on all aspects of the publishing industry.

Charity Bradford is a science fiction and fastasy writer. Her first book, The Magic Wakes, was published last year.

To all these bloggers, THANK YOU!

Wednesday 28 May 2014

My beautiful book, Our Beautiful Child

Release date: 10th June 2014
Publisher: Battered Suitcase Press

Add Our Beautiful Child to your Goodreads shelf

"The Boathouse collects misfits. Strange solitary creatures that yearn for contact with the outside world, but not too much. They sit, glass in hand, either staring at the table in front of them, or at some distant point on the horizon.”

… so says the narrator of Our Beautiful Child. And he’s been around long enough to know.

People end up in this town almost by accident. Ella is running away from her nightmares, Sally is running away from the memories of previous boyfriends and Rona is running away from university. Each of them seek sanctuary in the 18th century pub, The Boathouse; but in fact, that’s where their troubles begin.

Ella finds love, a moment too late; Rona discovers a beautiful ability which needs refining before she gets hurt; and Sally meets the captivating Murray, who threatens to ruin everything.

Three women. Three stories. One pub.

And now, a huge thank you...
... to everyone who is helping out with my reveal today and tomorrow.

I found out on Monday that my book was scheduled for publication on 10th June, two weeks and one day later.

Now, I'd learned a lot of lessons since I published Cat and The Dreamer with my publisher back in 2012 - I knew I needed big cover reveal, reviewers ready and waiting, a grand release party. But two weeks didn't give me time to implement my grand plans, and so I turned to Facebook and bloggers, and asked for some very short notice help.

Some wonderful people offered me space on their blogs (and others apologised that it was just too short) and I can't thank them enough.

So if you're wandering around blogland today, and you see my cover, please take time to comment and tell that blogger that they are awesome for coming to the aid of a writer in distress. Thank you.

Monday 26 May 2014

Cover reveal request

I'm having a very speedy cover reveal for my new book Our Beautiful Child. Speedy, because my publisher has just told me the release day is 10th June, which is only two weeks and one day away!

The book is a trilogy of novellas, all set in the same town. It's dark contemporary, with shades of paranormal.

If you can help, on the 28th or 29th May (ie. Wednesday or Thursday of this week) - I'll email you asap. Please just comment below.

I'd also be grateful if anyone could help me on the 10th, for the release. I haven't even thought of blog tour ideas, but I'm happy to provide

  • guest posts
  • be interviewed
  • provide PDF copies for review
  • anything else you think would work on your blog.
Thank you x

Monday 19 May 2014

How I Found the Write Path bloghop

Today I'm taking part in Carrie Butler's blogfest, to celebrate her bloggy anniversary. You can find out all about it, and sign up if you want, right here. Basically, I have to write a note to my pre-published self with advice. She's going compile all the letters into a free ebook for writers. Carrie, of course you can use mine!

~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~

Dear 20 year old me,

You've just had two short stories published, and you're feeling pretty cool about everything right now. This writing lark is easy, right? Wrong!

I'm supposed to give you advice now, but I really don't want to. By submitting the way you are (a constant rolling process of one rejection landing on your doormat and being instantly repackaged and sent off again) you're learning patience, stubbornness, how to handle rejection... And, believe me, when most submissions are email based and can be returned in an hour, you definitely need to know how to handle rejection.

And, you know what, every time you reach despair, you'll write some cracking stories - honest - and they are the ones that'll get published.

However, there are some things I want to share with you:
  • Don't compare yourself to other writers - especially not the ones writing popular genres - that will just depress you greatly.
  • Use beta readers as soon as you starting writing novellas. You can get away with when you're writing 2000 words, but not so much 20,000 words.
  • Don't ignore self-publishing - it's not the same in 2012/13 as it is in 1994 - in fact it's pretty cool now, and means you get to be in charge and make all the decisions. There are so many options, which means you no longer have to buy 1000 copies and store them in your house.
  • Take marketing seriously. In fact, take a marketing course right now! (Pauses to see whether a marketing certificate appears on wall... Nope, it doesn't... Are you even listening to me, Child?
Also, make friends with writers - use social media (it's okay, you'll understand what I'm talking about soon). Instead of being the only writer you know and having to work everything out for yourself, you'll appreciate how supportive, understanding and helpful other writers are. And you'll make some brilliant friends.

Enjoy being 20

Wednesday 7 May 2014

IWSG - It's all in my head

It's the time of the month that writers across the world come together to offer support to each other. To sign up, follow this link...

So, as soon as I wrote the title of this post, I thought of this song, so I'm sharing it because it's a jolly good tune, even though it has nothing to do with what I'm going to talk about.

So, on with the post: what is in my head, I hear you ask?

Well, my story, that's what. I can see it in my dreams, I can touch it until the very moment I pick up a pen, I can taste it; it's real but I can't get it down on paper.

Real life is getting in the way: we've got a new puppy which is a challenge I wasn't fully prepared for, and I've just started an NVQ course, which means a lot of work at home due to the very small number of hours I actually work. 

And, when I finally get to write, all the ideas pack up and go somewhere sunny! It's not even a new piece, it's a rewrite of an 8 year old story that I always new could be better. Right now, I'm just stuck!

Have you ever had an idea which refused to budge from your head?

Sunday 4 May 2014

Knowing the industry before you start

Me at 17 - possibly the day I
decided to write short stories!
First, I'm going to give you a bit of background: I started writing a 'novel' at the age of about 14. By the time I reached 17, I'd realised short stories might be a better bet, in terms of publication. My lovely dad bought me a Writer's News/Writing Magazine subscription and I poured over the pages - not only the calls for submission (of which there were many) and competitions, but the articles about what not to do, traps to avoid, how to approach editors. In short, I learned the industry, and I knew that there were people out there who would love to take my money for very little in return.

Skip forward to this week.... 

I read a story in a regional paper (I'm going to be cryptic, because I don't want to identify the writer) about a teenage writer, who I'll call X, who's had her first book published. X has a little bit of dramatic back story, which is why I guess she was featured - plus her age, of course.

The article explained that X wrote her book, showed mother, they sent it to a publisher, forgot about it (note: I have never, ever, ever forgotten that someone somewhere is considering my work) and then were contacted to say the book would be published. The publisher? Author House, a 'self-publishing company' that has a string of complaints against them. Of course they would publish it, you're paying for it!

If you haven't followed the link, or don't know about this company, they have many complaints about editing, sales, and bad advice against them. A lot of the complaints are fairly basic ones, that just a little research would explain in a moment. In short, they take people who have no idea about publishing, tell them they're going to be the next E.L. James, and ask for lots of money in return. (Note: I looked at the Author House website, to confirm packages/prices etc, but the site is down for maintenance.)

The book in the article is a 750 page romance. Yep, seven hundred and fifty pages! So it's pretty safe to assume that this book has been very poorly edited, if it actually saw an editor at all, and she didn't research the genre she was writing. An editor would have also been able to tell her that the story was too long for the market.

I found the book on Amazon to check the price, and while the ebook is under £3, the paperback is £22.95.

I'm not knocking X in the slightest - there are many industries out there that I have no idea about, and would therefore fall prey to scams - I just feel so sorry for her. The reason I wanted to write this post was to maybe warn other people that, while self/indie publishing is the most accessible it's ever been, with so many readers now willing to read books that haven't solely come from the big publishers, there are still traps, pitfalls and scams out there.

X spent two years writing this book, she had a dream, just like I did. I could be very wrong about this whole thing - she might sell well, rise through the Amazon charts, and make a career of writing. And I wish her all the very best.

Is there anything you've learned about publishing that you can share?