Tag Archives: Self publishing

Pinch me! The Highs of July – No Lows at all

Pinch me! July was such a fantastic writing month. The month just kept on getting better and there wasn’t  a single grey writing cloud to spoil it. How often does that happen?

I was away for two weekends so I’ve been too busy playing catch up to write and reflect on it all until now.

First of all, we had The Romantic Novelists’ Conference in Lancaster.    

This was a weekend of interesting talks, meeting old friends and making new and the joy of kitchen parties where everyone talked about books and writing and the joy (OK and struggle)  of  writing. 
I particularly enjoyed Jo Baker’s talk on revisiting the past. She has written an alternative story about Austen’s Pride and Prejudice characters, ‘Longbourne’. Her talk caught my interest because my third book is set in the past and, at the moment, I’m enjoying novels set in other eras.

I went along to see my friend, Lynda Stacey, in action on the ‘Dangerous Romance’ panel. Lynda was one of four writers who blend romance with suspense and the panel talked about how and why they did it. Not one of them was the same so it made for an interesting discussion. I’ve written about this session in detail for ‘Romance Matters’ so, if you’re in the RNA, look out for it in the Autumn edition.

Jo Nesbo is leaving the building

The next weekend was Harrogate Crime Festival.

I don’t write crime but I’m an avid reader so, as a fan and as a friend of some crime writers, I tagged along and had my first taste of their annual highlight. A murder mystery dinner at Mel Sherrat’s table with my pals Lynda Stacey and Rachel Dove and a charming pair from an accountancy who were sponsoring one of the events made this an unforgettable night of fun, detectiving and  laughs.

James Patterson stopped writing (was it his millionth book?) to open Saturday’s events and he was entertaining. I listened to talks and discussions involving Jo Nesbo and Lisa Jewell, two of my favourites, chatted to Rachel Abbott, a really successful self publisher, and so many others but I don’t want to be a name dropper! 
Rachel Abbott and Chrissie Bradshaw
I returned from both conferences with new friends, new links to publishing and new ideas so, as you can imagine, it has been a busy old time since then.
Come August, I did recharge my batteries in France with the family. My cousin followed her dream and bought a fabulous place in St Estephe so we are all ‘obliged’ to do our bit and visit at least once a year to see what they are growing and enjoy the lakes and countryside around there. 
Al fresco eating
Splash pool
The lake at St Estephe

 

The garden

 I’ve appreciated this sunny spell of life because I’ve had my share of storm clouds and I’m always looking for them coming over the horizon. 

How was your summer? All highs like mine or a few lows too?

 

Is there anybody out there?

Is there anybody out there?

Of course there is!

Billions of internet users are out there. Just beyond those rocks.

What I’m wondering is, who else, besides me, reads writers’ blogs?

To be more exact who reads my blog?

I’d love to know more about my readers. Do you like my daily life gossip? Do you wish I’d stick to book news? Do you look at my reviews page? Do you want to send your own photo of you with my book to my ‘rogues gallery of readers’? If I sent out a quarterly newsletter, i could ask such things every now and then and find out.

A CALL TO ACTION! 

If you do read this, could you, just this once,  write a comment in the reply box below? just ‘READ IT’ will do.

 ( Or, if you just hate to write comments a quick explanation of why this is such a chore for you.) 

I want to start a quarterly newsletter

-one that gives readers a heads up to when I have special offers on Amazon, spills the latest news  and that has a giveaway every issue. I’d like an email list for this but I think the best way to do this is to have a button on my home page that states 
‘SIGN HERE for quarterlynewsletter’

That will give you blog readers a choice. You can sign up or not and I won’t use info you’ve given just because you want to reply to my blog. What do you think of that option?

I love getting photos like this sent to me. isn’t that a fabulous reading corner? Thank you to that reader! More of these would be most welcome 

 

 

 

 

Who’s Sorry Now?

I’m always sorry about something.

A reply on Facebook this week made me sit up and think. “Chrissie Bradshaw never ever feel like you have to justify your life, you bloody earned it and why not,  I say? x”
Thank you to that Romantic Novelist FB friend who made me question a few things like –

Why do I feel apologetic for being part of a generation that had free uni education ?
Why apologise for my luck in getting onto the housing ladder in my twenties?
Why am I quiet about building up a good pension when others have to work for longer?
Why am I reticent about taking a few holidays every year and spending three winter months abroad to get on with my writing?
Why do I feel I’m partly to blame for being part of the Brexit generation that is spoiling our country’s future?
I know I have had some lucky breaks but hang on!
When I went to uni, I didn’t travel abroad or take a gap year. My uni digs were basic and we didn’t even have TV.  I worked every holiday to pay off an overdraft.
My starter home was furnished with family cast offs and the mortgage meant we didn’t take a holiday. I worked and brought up my daughter and holidays were few.
I’ve earned the free time I have now and I still work. To misquote Bette Davis, “Writing is not for cissies!”
As for Brexit, we can only blame a few senseless politicians who stood behind David Cameron and plotted such a daft referendum that has divided and damaged the country  I have thoughtful intelligent friends on both sides of Brexit and nobody could have envisaged such a political muck up

As from today, I’m going to try my hardest to stop the apologies -especially that one where I say I’m JUST a women’s fiction writer.

Does anyone else feel like they’re always about to say sorry?

The funny thing is, many people who should be apologising about uni grants, housing, pensions and Brexit wouldn’t dream of saying sorry. 

A Grand Book Blogging Tour – Launching the book part 2

After the book launch

The Barn of Buried Dreams

Last month, after launching my book, I sat back and watched the number of books sold grow and the number of reviews increase. I should add slowly because it was great fun  but a bit slower than I would want. I knew the reason why – I needed to promote further afield than my blog, my Facebook page, instagram and twitter.

I had to  venture out into other people’s social media

My books are not in shops and readers have to go onto Amazon to find them so the only way I can promote ‘The Barn of Buried Dreams’ is by raising awareness that it is out there by using my social media platforms. To attract readers who aren’t already friends, I must venture forth and use other people’s media space by asking them to allow me to blog or asking them to review my book.

This is scary stuff!

It is scary because a blogger can say ‘No, I don’t want you on my site and I don’t want to read your book, either!’  This, for me, is a time when you call in an expert to ask for willing volunteers, create a buzz about your book and to arrange your tour so it goes without a hitch.

My book tour co-ordinator was  worth her weight in gold. She sorted out 25 bloggers over 5 days who would give me an advertising platform. Some wanted read and review a printed book, some were happy with an ebook. Some wanted an exclusive interview, others were happy with an extract form the book or a blog from me. However, they all go their blog content via my tour guide and they could join a freebie competition too.
My tour was given this headline. You will see on the banner that this successful tour was run by the excellent, Rachel Gilbey

The bloggers accepted me onto their space and I enjoyed giving interviews, writing a post or revealing an extract from my new book.
 I’d like to thank Rachel Gilbey and the bloggers on this poster for their hospitality and thank them for their thoughtful reviews about my writing. If you wander over  ‘My Books’  The page shows some of their comments.
My giveaway, which was drawn by rafflecopter, is ready for send off  and the lucky winner is Andrea Upton. Her goodies are shown below.

How do debut authors get published?

image‘Sometimes, on the way to a dream, you get lost and find a better one.’ Unknown

My  2016 new year plans for publishing ‘A Jarful of Moondreams’ have changed. It’s  usual for me to let my resolutions slow to a crawl or fall by the wayside (What dry January? Who said diet?). I’ve surprised myself by increasing the challenge and moving forward on this year’s resolution much more quickly than I intended.

Those of you who read January’s blog may recall that I was going to send submissions to agents  for several months and wait to see if someone would represent me before turning, as my last resort,  to self publishing. A good plan, I thought.

Sending off three or four  submissions per month was taking up a day or two of writing time and then there was the waiting  for an answer, or no answer to deal with. It took up more thinking space than I thought it would and each month it was hard to settle into writing book two.

In January, submitting was a new task. In February it was a chore that had to be done if I wanted to be published. By March, the rejections started coming in; I received three very thoughtful rejection emails. ‘A Jarful of Moondreams’  wasn’t for these agents but they wished me luck.

I had been prepared for rejection but the ‘not hearing’ from agents is hard even though I know they’re really busy people. So, with my March  submissions being even more of a grind, I decided to give the submissions a rest for a month or so and just get on with book two. I didn’t want to call a halt to getting my book out there but I had submitted to eight agents and,  if they didn’t want it, who would?

I enjoyed becoming immersed in writing my new novel but, without looking for the topic, I kept reading  about self publishing in news articles, on twitter and on Facebook.

This has happened to me before and I recognise that  it’s a sign that I want to do something even though the rational part of my brain is not so sure.  It’s a bit like seeing pregnant women everywhere when you’re feeling broody. My understanding of this is that it is the reticular activating system filtering and focussing on the thing your subconscious knows you want. ( A Lou Tice course during a previous career taught me this and showed how it could be used to come up with solutions to your goals.)

A couple of my own previous examples are – I kept seeing people with terrier pups when I was in a position to have a dog at last and it had been a long awaited goal. I kept reading about authors who were in the RNA new writers’ scheme when I felt like I wanted writing support but wasn’t sure where to find it. Once I had my pup and once I was on the RNA new writers’ scheme, those pups and writers were still about but they didn’t register in my RAS with as noisy a ‘ding’  every day because I had achieved those things.

I decided that, if my RAS was flagging up self publishing and I was less enthusiastic about sending  submissions, I had the answer  to rethinking  my plan.

It was an article by Rachel Abbott- don’t you  love her thrillers?-  about her route to self publishing that first got me thinking. Rachel’s novels are best sellers but she couldn’t find an agent. Her success has been phenomenal and she got her agent. Lizzy Kremer represents Rachel now but she still self publishes .

A Facebook friend sang the praises of Matador, part of Troubadour publishing, who supported her self publishing journey. Accent press advertised their new venture in the self publishing market. Well established publishers are collaborating with authors who want to self publish. Why not give it a try?

I had to discuss financing this plan with the other  half  of the team and, straight away,  he said, ‘Yes, do it.’  Readers, if you’re out there, (I had already married him) I did it. Gulp, big decision made.

I sent my novel to the two reputable publishers that I’d heard of and both gave me a good choice of levels of publishing and marketing. I decided to go with Octavo ( part of Accent press) who were offering a discount to RNA members and, now the decision is made, I’m delighted to be starting on this exhilarating journey.

My book, ‘A Jarful of Moondreams’, will definitely be available worldwide as an ebook and as a paperback this year. How exciting is that?

Was my decision too hasty or would you have done the same as me?  Has your RAS ever gone into overdrive about a goal? I’d love to hear your views.