Monday, 14 April 2014

The London Book Fair - Part 2

So after I had lunch at the busy cafĂ©, I went back to the Kobo stand where I knew the next talk would be - Opening up to Indies by ALLi. I managed to find a seat so I didn't have to stand or sit on the floor. While the audio was being set up, I chatted to the two older ladies sitting next to me about writing ebooks and we swapped cards. I also had said hello to Lorna Ferguson, (Hi, Lorna). Then the talk happened by Debbie Young and Dan Holloway, who told us in their own ways how they came to write the book. I laughed at the image of Debbie being a teacher and being chased by young girls because she had told both groups they were sorry. The book  is all about helping other bodies like libraries, agents and publishers etc to open up to indie authors and help them be discovered. Then it was time to mingle again. I chatted to and listened to Debbie talk to Denise Barnes, then another author, putting my points across when I could.

After that I decided I'd go to find the publisher in the other court. With my map, I found the stall, but was disappointed that it wasn't as I expected it to be - a stand with book samples and no publisher. I then went to the restaurant, but it was too noisy still so after several minutes I left and went to find the pub in the Strand for the social later on.

So that was my LBF this year. I doubt it I'll go next year as it is moving to Olympia, a bit further away.

Friday, 11 April 2014

The London Book Fair 2014 - What I learnt

So I went to the London Book Fair at Earl's Court on Tuesday. I managed to get there earlier than I expected so I had time to sort myself out then find the stand I wanted to go to for a talk. The first talk was called 'Book Discovery for Authors' and was a question session to the panel of Mark Coker (Smashwords), Andrew Rhumberg (Jelly Books) and Joanna Penn (author and member of ALLi). It was all about how to get your books discovered by readers. I took lots of notes, but will only do a summary of the main points I learnt.

The challenges that authors face is shelf-space. Now that more authors are publishing ebooks. Joanna said that they solutions are to write and publish more than one book, and grow your email list. (This is something I plan to do now, and next ebook I publish will have a message on the contacts page asking if they wish to join my newsletter). Joanna also said it is a good idea to join with other authors writing the same genre and create a box set. Andrew said to have a great cover, be consistent on social media and write interesting stuff not just buy my book. Readers will determine your success. Mark said that you need to take your readers to an emotional high and make them say wow.

Joanna, who also writes non-fiction, said that when you publish a non-fiction book, check out keywords on Google etc. Don't give the book a title that readers won't look for.

Mark mentioned the 'Pre-order' he has on Smashwords. This makes it easier for readers to find the books in estores. And, if you put your ebook for pre-order and you get readers buy then, when the ebook comes out, you get the sales on the first day. Budget for this in your launch.

How do you know what works? Joanna said that indie authors are more focussed on what works.

The single most important thing to do to get discovered more - grow email list. Mark said the book.

Put your contacts page at the back, as readers want to know what you write before they know you. Price your book good, lower is best. You want to eliminate friction from reader between giving them the sample and them purchasing the book.

Then book trailers were mentioned. Don't pay too much, it's for a special audience but if you enjoy doing it, then do it.

Later at the weekend I will talk about the rest of the day. See you then.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

TKMaxx and unwanted clothes and accessories

Hello there. Do you have any unwanted clothes, accessories or books in your house? I know I do. TKMaxx have partnered with Cancer Research UK again to raise money for research into child cancer. They want any unwanted clothes, shoes, accessories, books and/or DVDs and CDs. All you need to do is to put them in a plastic bag, and take them along to your nearest branch of TKMaxx. In the store you should find a huge cardboard box with the poster for the campaign. Just put the bag in there. I have already donated a pair of  joggers and a petticoat, I already have in mind more clothes and some books to give to them as well. It is a well worthy cause to donate any unwanted clothes and that, and I prefer doing it this way than in those bags you get through the letter box, which are mostly scams.

For more info check out, and look for give up clothes for good. Has all the info there and real life stories to inspire you to do more. Give it a go.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

A thank you for following this blog

Do you have trouble setting goals in your business, be it writing, drawing or marketing? If you do, I am now giving you a freebie that can help any business. A goal-setting template based on the one I get at the goal-setting brunch I attend every other month. I shall now try to attach it to here, if not then try to put it in the actual post. Here we go. I can't find any button to allow me to insert a document here so shall have to try to put the whole doc in here.


Goal setting by Julie Day

for any business


My main goal for (month of) …....................................................... is:

To get there I need to do the following:


Goal table

Put your goals in to bite sized steps that you need to reach them for the month.

Bite-sized steps
(what can hold you back)
To do by
Done (tick)










Have you managed to do any of your goals for the month? If you have, please let me know either on Facebook or via my Elite Marketing Blog.

Well, it worked better than when I tried to put it into my Internet Marketing Blog yesterday. Hope it displays OK.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

How I am becoming a better birdwatcher

Ever since I have been at home full-time, I have taken more of an interest in what goes on in our garden, esp the garden birds. Now that I have started writing about them seriously, I have been reading bird magazines and have become a better birdwatcher. The past couple of weeks I have been tweeting what birds I have seen in my garden, when I have been there and through my binoculars, but then I read a piece by Bill Oddie saying that to become a better birdwatcher you need to record in writing what birds they are, what they are like etc. So, this last week I have been scribbling down what birds I've seen, what they eat, their colours, and their calls. This has made me a better birdwatcher. So much so, that I now want to buy better and more professional binoculars, and I bought a book of birds round the world. Writing down all the birds I've seen and what they do, will form an article that I want to write and email to a magazine later this week.

So, that is how I am becoming a better birdwatcher. Do you watch birds in your garden? Do you use binoculars? If you use bin's, what make you do recommend? At the moment I only have cheap ones but need better ones to see more clearly. Let me know.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Another goal for this year and an update on current ones

I have decided to have another goal for this year, but will give you an update on my current ones.

1. Still getting there with my 7+ children's book. Decided to change a scene and put in one that goes with the rest of the book.

2. Still getting there with my next Angel ebook, and should finish current draft by next goal-setting brunch end of this month.

3. Bird articles - have found a few children's magazines in the US that I can submit to. Have one already to post next week.  I have decided to expand my freelance writing and write about famous people with disabilities and submit to those magazines, too, and write about places in London as travel pieces. We shall see how it goes.

Now for my new goal. I was going to stay as an indie author, but after a friend of mine recently got her first book published by a publisher and going to the RNA workshop last weekend, I have now decided to be a hybrid author. I want to try and get published in adult romance with either a trad publisher (not one of the big 6) but a smaller one or a digital publisher like my friend. When I have finished Charlie, the 7+ book, I will then work on a story to send to Woman's Weekly, then I will start rewriting a novel I sent to the NWS a few years ago and make it more romantic, concentrating on the relationship between the girl and boy. I shall either send it to the NWS or straight to a publisher, depending on when I finish it as the NWS closes end of August. I still have lots of indie projects to work on. The rest of the Angel series, the last 2 Geraldine stories, 2 more mermaid stories, and the rest of the Secrets of Singleton village short stories, which should take me into next year.

So, there you have it. My goals and how they are doing, and my new one to work towards. How are you getting on?

If you want help with goal-setting and keeping them, I now have a template for goal-setting, much like the SCBWI Brunch one I get. Let me know if you want one in the comments below, and I can email it to you.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

RNA workshop/retreat day on 15 Feb 2014 - and what I learnt

Last Saturday I made my way on bus to Holborn to go to the RNA London/SE workshop/retreat day. I passed where that car was smashed in by falling bricks from a building. Horrible. Feel so sorry for her family. Anyway, I got there in time to get a good seat.

It started at 10.15 with Julie Cohen and her talk about learning structure with Pixar films. I've not seen it before and thought it was great. We watched the beginning of Wall-E, and I got a new take on it. It's about a lonely robot who finds love in a deserted world of rubbish. I liked the underlying message about recycling more or the world can be like this. We also watched a clip of Finding Nemo, where the main plot and the subplot meets. This is what I learnt: plot structure is structure of the emotional arc. We were given the three act structure of the film Cars. Backstory at the start of the story can be used in the setting as in Wall-E, where we see papers on the ground about trash covering Earth. Pixar starts their films with emotional arc. They have repeated motifs eg in Wall-E, holding hands means love. The subplot - thematic plot. More plot and add to character. Cars has a circular structure where the ending reflects the start of the film - the main character is in a car race, which is how he began the story.

After Julie came Laura Longrigg and Laura Gerrard, Jean Fullerton's agent and editor. They both said that it is the voice and USP being great is what they look for. If you are a member of the NWS, you can mention this in a query letter to them. Also, add a section about you. Your background, why you wrote the story, what you like to read etc.

Then came the '10 Common Mistakes that authors make' and this is where I learnt a lot and came to a decision.
Plotting - know your characters inside and out. Never forget your readers are interested in relationships. Start at a critical point in the story. Work in any backstory subtly. Don't put in mundale details such as making cups of tea. Know your market and readership. Know your publisher requirements (I will check the few publishers I have in mind for a romance I will shortly be working on). If it has a saggy middle then the story hasn't been thought through properly. Have a satisfying ending. Make your characters likeable. The reader has to ID with them, so the story has to be believable. The hero - the reader has to desire him, and want the heroine to want him too. Understand where you want the story to go before starting or the characters won't progress. Don't make the plot entirely driven. In an edit, you can highlight the external and internal conflicts to work this out).
POV - don't head hop unless you're Nora Roberts. Tell not show. Get POV right and experience what your character is feeling. Use emotion and feeling not reportage. And get your punctuation right for speech.

What I learned from that last talk by Melanie Hilton, the NWS organiser, was to make your story believable. In the romance novel that I plan to work on later this year, I was going to have a ghost in it, but I now feel that won't be believable so what the ghost was going to do will be done by the young male neighbour, who falls in love with a librarian, who happens to be the granddaughter. I can't wait to rewrite the book now, but have two projects to work and complete before that.