Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Where I Write

So, where do I write? I have to have a solid surface to write on, and I can spread out any pens and notes I might also need, as well as my Ipad I now use for research purposes as I write.  At home, I write at the dining table, which we don't use that often. We have our meals in the kitchen.

When I am away, like I was two weeks ago, I had to write at tables and desks. Here are the two rooms I wrote in at Dunford House.

The main meeting room, where talks were held. That's my purple jacket you see.

And in the library, where I would go if there was a talk on.

I got a lot of writing done like this, esp as I was on my own in the rooms.

So, where do you write? Do you prefer to write on hard surfaces where you can spread all your writing gear? Let me know.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

SCBWI Retreat - what I learnt

I have written what I wrote, now I'm posting about what I learnt, and this was from Sally Nicholls.

The first talk she gave was about how she writes and what she came up against. Here is what I wrote from her talk:

Sally writes in scenes, but not in any order. I know I couldn't do that as a writer.

Ask questions about the main character. Who are their family. What do they do?

Be careful what message you give to children when writing about difficult times etc. Sally writes teen angst.

Personality can be defined by illness. I made a special note about this for my Asperkids series.

If you get stuck, think of the theme.

Knowing where the story ends helps the plot

For 7-9 year-olds, don't have a character by different names eg don't call the dad, Dad, Mr Jones and Bill. Call them with one name. (Made a note to do this in my Asperkids series).

As I wrote in the last post, if you get stuck 2/3 way through, then think of what your character already has. Their family, friends and hobbies. I did this with Charlie as he likes cooking, so made him more interesting by giving him a fantastic memory of recipes and their ingredients. It is related to what happens to him in the book and how he ends up.

For the second talk on the Sunday, it was more a workshop. We sat in a circle round the room. What Sally did say and I wrote down was that with plot, Act 1 is to set up the problem. Resolution cane be linked to problem. Then we had a fun hour, where Sally acted out scenes for us. She pointed to one of us and said, The story begins... and that person had to say what the character did. We had two stories: the first one ended up having ninjas and a princess in, the second turned into a mystery/thriller plot. There were a lot of laughs, but we got the idea for plot. Has to have tension in it to keep the reader going and a resolution.

Monday, 18 May 2015

SCBWI Writing Retreat - What I wrote

The weekend of Friday 8 May I went on a writing retreat at Dunford House in W Sussex, which was organised by SCBWI. It was the third or fourth time I've been there. I enjoy it there because it 's so peaceful that I get lots of writing done. Here is what I got up to over that weekend.

It started for me on the Friday evening when I had a one-to-one with author Sally Nicholls. She had read the first two chapters of Charlie and gave me her feedback. The main point she said was to make Charlie more interesting so the readers would want to read more about him and not think, so what about him. Within half an hour of this feedback, I got ideas. One of which relates to what happens to him throughout the book. It so happened that in one of Sally's workshops she said to think about what you already have for your character if you get stuck.

Saturday morning I started my fifth and final YA fantasy (my Guardian Angels series), which I am calling at the moment 'The Fire Angels'. That time I wrote 960 words. In the afternoon I began revisions on Charlie. I was planning to start a third book in my Asperkids series, but after the feedback from Sally I changed my mind. Also that afternoon, I wrote out an outline for my author service to do personally and an on-line, and sketched some angels. Sketched is the loose term for them. I put speech bubbles with them to make them resonate with my website HopewithJulie.

There were workshops by Sally and an agent, but I shall put what I learnt in another post. I didn't go to the talks by the agent and the editor.

Sunday - I wrote more of my Angel ebook, this time it was 1085 words. I also wrote more revisions to Charlie, and I wrote a short story (773 words), which I shall start expanding later this week. It is aimed at Yours.

Monday - there was time in the morning before we all said goodbye to do more writing if we wished. I did wish as I was caught up in what I was writing for my Angel ebook. So I wrote more of that. It came out to be over 600 words.

Next post will be all that I learnt from Sally.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Pricing strategy results

Well, I had put up most of the prices of my ebooks at the start of the year, mainly because I now consider myself an established ebook author and because of the new EU VAT law. Since I have done that, the results are that I have had no sales at all. None. Zilch. I am still getting downloads for 'Railway Angel' but that one is perma-free. So, I have had a rethink. Here is what I have done:

Any ebooks that are the start of a series, or are 7500 words or under, are now 0.99 cents.
Any ebooks that are between 7500 and 10,000 words are now 1.99
Any ebooks that are between 10,000 and 15K are now 2.99
Any ebooks that are between 15 and 25K will be 3.99. The only one at this price is 'Don't Get Mad'.

I asked a question about pricing to ALLi's regular Hangout. I asked do they price their ebooks based on how long they have been an indie author or on length. The answer I got from Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn was by length and to spread the prices. This is what I have now done. Thanks, Joanna.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

The goal posts have changed

Remember in the new year I said that one of my goals was to write Pocket Novels? Well, that goal has now changed. I am still writing the current one, which I plan to send to the New Writers' Scheme of the RNA, but after that...I have other plans to work on now.

Over the last year I have been giving talks at a local library about ebook publishing and being an indie author. I have really enjoyed doing these, realising that I like helping and inspiring people to get writing and marketing and being discovered. Then earlier this year, I gave one talk to one woman who was very inspired by what I told her, and I hope that she got back to writing after I talked to her. This got me thinking. I already have a website to help new authors, esp indies, get writing and discovered, www.hopewithjulie.wordpress.com, I thought I'd like to take this further. I'd like to help authors personally, maybe with 1:1s. Last year I met a new author who wanted someone to help him get his story made into an ebook. At the time I wasn't keen and was busy with other things going on, and I said no. But this year, he is still wanting help as he is a novice and he is now my first client.

So, my new plan is building up a service of 1:1 mentoring for new authors, and helping other authors get back to writing, with a charge, of course. I have already chosen to use Wednesdays and Saturdays as my biz days, with the rest of the week writing ebooks and short stories.

So, if you are a new author, esp thinking of becoming an indie one, then check out my website link above. There is a contact page on there. You can also message me on Facebook if you are interested. I have 2 friends I am going to help on Saturday, and another two people possibly contacting me from people I have met at the library; my client and one of the librarians.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Make the most of your connections

The idea for this post came to me a couple of days ago when a fellow woman Aspie mentioned to me on a FB post I put up in her group about my new website to get discovered. I needed to work on this myself, as she said that I could get exposure and publicity for my ebooks as she is a book reviewer. So, I have messaged her asking what I need to do. I will message her again when I want to get a second ebook reviewed by her. So, if you have a social media connection that can help you get more exposure and publicity with her books, then make the most of it.

This got me thinking about how else I can get more publicity. I remembered in an email from my cover designer, who had put on her signature that on her blog she offers author and character interviews and book excerpts. So, I had a look to see what I have to do for this, saved it into a document and will work on this for publicity for my romance ebooks first. So, if you work with someone, eg your editor or designer, and you have seen that they have a blog you can appear on, then do take that opportunity.  I am going to note something down next week to email her next week to get on her blog.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

I'm no longer a tortoise

Bet that got your attention? Well, it beats saying, 'I've come out of my shell.' Get it now? lol So, what do I actually mean when I have come out of my shell? I shall explain with what a friend said to me last Saturday at a writer's talk.

As you all know by now I have Asperger's Syndrome, so I find it hard to communicate in groups and with new people. Well, my friend Marjorie, a fellow romance author, who I've known for years since I joined the RNA said this to me. She was pleased that I have come out of my shell. She said that when she first met me, it was really hard to get me to talk. She described it as trying to get blood out of a stone. I had to laugh. I knew what she meant. Now that we have been friends for years, I can chat to her without a prompt. I said it was down to my AS. When I meet people for the first time, I find it hard to talk to them. Once I start getting to know them, and do so over time, I find it easier to talk, and esp if they are writers - like-minded people. I find it easier to talk to people after I've known them for a time, and if they do and enjoy the same things I do, mainly writing.

So, I have come out of my shell, and no longer a tortoise or turtle.