Never Write a Blog Post When You’re Hungover

It’s all over. That’s the end of it. I’ve been consumed with this for years, and now it’s done. Just like that.

I’ve finally written ‘The End’ on The Mothers. Well, metaphorically speaking, I haven’t literally written that. But that’s it, the last book in The Paper Duchess series. It’s a weird feeling. A strange mix of triumph, excitement, sadness, and relief. And one seriously huge book hangover.

I wanted to write this blog post straight away, while all the emotion was still raw and genuine, rather than a synthetic version of it. But I won’t post it until tomorrow. I’ve learnt my lesson about sending messages while drunk or hungover.

It is sad to say goodbye to the characters, to the world they inhabit. It may not have been an overly happy world, but they all found their own happiness within it and, importantly, they fought to keep hold of that happiness. Some of them even died for it.

As a cruel, vindictive author, I’ve enjoyed making them suffer. I’ve enjoyed taking things away from them, and crushing their dreams. Not because I enjoy watching them fall apart, but because I enjoy watching them get back up from it. It is somewhat God-like. But I gave some boys some uniforms, and gave them a little power, and things just got a bit out of control.

But you can decide for yourself, when the series concludes with The Mothers, coming this autumn.

The Mothers Coming 2017

Got Goals? Still Not There… But Almost!

Big Goals BloghopToday’s post is going to be similar to last month’s. Again, I had really hoped to be saying that The Mothers was finished. But no. It is nearly though, really, really nearly! Just a handful of chapters left to go.

The trouble is, my writing time is entirely dependent on two young boys. If they won’t go to sleep, or they wake up early, or need my attention, that’s it. My laptop has to wait. And they’re not always generous when dishing out writing time.

But, that’s my life, and I’m so lucky to have them. I love them both to bits, but I do wish they’d let me write more!

Saying that, I am determined to finish it this month, and I’m hoping, fingers crossed, for a late September launch. We’ll see how it goes…

Join the Got Goals? Bloghop here.

5 Ways to Market your Book that Don’t Feel Dirty

BooksI know a lot of writers that are scared of marketing their book, worried about annoying people, or coming across as rude. I know others that are confused by it, and don’t know where to start. I even know writers who refuse to do any marketing because they believe it to be evil in all of its forms.

I’ve thought all of these things myself, at one time or another. Somehow, marketing feels completely at odds with the creative act of writing a book. It feels like marketing it – thinking of the book as a product, thinking of yourself as a brand – somehow sullies it, turns it from a labour of love into something dirty, something to be hard sold to unwilling consumers.

I made the decision to complete a book marketing course, and it was the best decision I made. I was able to completely change my mindset. Because I learnt to market books properly without turning beloved readers into faceless customers.

But if you’re still uncomfortable with the concept, there are some ways to get your work out there that barely feel like marketing at all.

  1. Put yourself out there. Get yourself a presence online. Join social networks. Go to local literary festivals and conventions. Talk to people, make friends and connections. Just be your wonderful self.
  2. Start a conversation.¬†Talk about what interests you, what you’re reading, the movies you like, music, fashion, gardening. Ask people questions, be interested in them. And when they ask what you do, tell them you’re an author. And when they ask what you’ve written, tell them. They’re asking because they’re already interested, there’s no need to hard sell.
  3. Club together. Submit your book to a group promotion. These are always happening, so find one for your genre (or a mixed genre promotion), and the platform you use (BookFunnel, Instafreebie, Kindle Unlimited, Amazon countdown deal), and join in. There are lots of Facebook groups set up solely to organise group promos. When you promote the promo, you’re not saying “Buy my book! Buy my book!”, you’re simply saying “Hey, check out all these great books, why not grab a few?”
  4. Pay it forward. If you find it hard to push your own book, why not push someone else’s? Share other authors’ posts, and many will share yours too. Or reach out to them and organise a swap. Just bear in mind point No 2 above; don’t turn your social media page into a stream of book promos.
  5. Remember that you’re a reader too.¬†Book marketing 101 is to know your ideal reader, and to be where they are. There are genre reading groups on the social networks. Join in. Chat about the books you love too. ALWAYS check the group’s rules on self promo before posting a link to your own book. Or, if you feel uncomfortable pushing your own work, just make friends, and tell them about your book when they ask.

Review: The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss

The Slow Regard of Silent ThingsI’ve been a zealous fan of Patrick Rothfuss ever since a member of staff in a bookshop thrust The Name of the Wind into my hand and urged me to read it. He really can’t go far wrong in my eyes, but The Slow Regard of Silent Things is a whole different beast.

A spin-off novella from his Kingkiller Chronicles series, this short book follows Auri; a mysterious and much-loved side character from the main books.

The Slow Regard of Silent Things breaks almost every rule of storytelling. Everything authors are told not to do, everything readers expect, Patrick Rothfuss circumvents almost all of it. And the result is absolute perfection.

It’s beautiful, sweet, heartfelt, and amazingly powerful all at once. There are few books that have crawled into my heart and settled there like this one has.

What Have You Got to Say for Yourself? (30 Author Newsletter Content Ideas)

EnvelopeA mailing list can be a fantastic way to gain loyal fans and keep in touch with them. While some authors view them as a pointless distraction, others are eagerly gaining subscribers and sending out regular mailings.

Starting a mailing list can seem like a daunting, time-consuming task, and coming up with content can often be a struggle. Especially when you have no news on the book side of things, or if you’re yet to publish your first fable.

So here’s a few ideas to keep you going for a while…

Your Story:

  • How, why, and when you started writing
  • People who have inspired you
  • Bad writing advice you’ve tried to follow
  • The worst thing you ever wrote
  • Your plotting technique
  • About where you write
  • Share your love of stationery
  • Your pre-writing routine
  • Your favourite writing snacks
  • The weirdest place you’ve done some writing

Your Story’s Story:

  • Interviews with your characters
  • Short scenes with your characters
  • The world your story is set in
  • Backstory
  • The history of your world
  • Research you’ve done
  • Life stories of small side characters
  • A newspaper from your world
  • Fashion from your world
  • Your character’s favourite hangouts

Other People’s Stories:

  • What you’re currently reading
  • Book reviews
  • Author interviews
  • Author/book spotlights
  • Guest posts
  • Book promotions/giveaways

One important thing to bear in mind with your newsletter is that it should be a conversation, not simply a stream of consciousness. People like to engage when you give them the opportunity.

Your Readers’ Stories:

  • Ask what they’re reading
  • Ask them to share their favourite book covers
  • Ask them to name a character in your book
  • Create an ‘ask me anything’ event/opportunity

And remember, when people respond to you, always reply. Make them feel valued. Share their responses in your next newsletter. Be personable, approachable, and real.

Book Reviewed by Mum Boss UK

How to Survive Working from Home with Preschool Children ReviewMy non-fiction book, How to Survive Working from Home with Preschool Children, has been reviewed by mumpreneur site Mum Boss UK.

She got it spot on, I did feel guilty when spending too much time behind my laptop, even though I knew I was doing it all for my children, I want them to be proud of me. So to hear the words that I don’t have to feel guilty and to get actual structure advice and tips was amazing!

I wrote this book because I found I was truly struggling to find the balance between working and growing my business, and my responsibilities as a mother and wife. I often found myself neglecting one or the other, and then sinking into guilt at doing so. The following day, I’d push the balance the other way, and there was that guilt again.

After reading this book I now have so many techniques that I am going to try…This book has allowed me to look past the things I didn’t do today and made me focus on the things I actually did do today

I spent a lot of time looking for advice on how to manage the work/life balance, only to find that all of the advice out there was written either by people with much older children, or seemingly without children at all! I couldn’t find anything specifically aimed at parents with preschoolers, and I can’t exactly tell my one year old to leave me in peace whenever I shut my office door!

I know I have taken away a lot from this book, but the most important point I will most certainly be using on a daily basic is that we as mums (and dads) can adapt, we can adapt to anything, we’re doing it everyday without even noticing!

You can read the full review on the Mum Boss UK website here, and you can pick up your own copy of my book on Amazon.