I Can Do This!

May 2, 2016
I Can Do This! I said to myself - clearly delusional.  That was last year.  I joined The Alliance of Independent Authors because, I said, I Can Do This.  I couldn’t, of course.   I frittered afternoons and evenings away on KDP (other indie platforms are, apparently, available) but ended up a frazzled mess of not having a clue.  But as I say, that was last year.  This year, last month in fact, I attended a ‘boot camp’ at the Stratford Upon Avon Literary Festival orchestrated and run by the brilliant Ben Galley where he took the lucky attendees through his Shelf Help method of How To Self Publish Without Giving Up After The First Fifteen Minutes And Throwing Yourself Under A Bus. Although in truth that is my interpretation of the course, not Mr. Galley’s.   His was far more organised and to the point.  Thank goodness.

            Ben is a wonderfully generous exponent of self-publishing, and has devised a Master Class (so much better than ‘boot camp’ - less chiropodic.  And yes, I have just made that word up) based on his own experiences of self-publishing, and has devised a tutorial that makes the process so very understandable and accessible.  We even survived more than ten power point slides without slipping into a rich and dreamless sleep, which is an achievement in itself.  So, for anyone reading this who hasn’t taken the self-publishing plunge yet or has taken the plunge only to find themselves flapping about without a life ring, I would heartily suggest whizzing yourself over to bengalley.com.

And in Ben’s spirit of sharing, here are a few tips for soon-to-be-indie publishers from me:

1. Get advice. As much as you can.  It might be called Independent Publishing but you can’t do it all on your own. Not entirely. Not well, any way.

2. If you’re not a designer, don’t design your own book cover. Just don’t.

3.Be nice to people.  On-line, in reality, everywhere: you never know who will form the golden link in the chain of your publishing success.

4.For the love of Dog, don’t do your own spill chocking!! See 2 above.

5.Lock yourself away to write if you have to, but Get Out There to meet, greet and compete with other writers - it’ll inspire and motivate you.

 

Three Minute Wonder

April 22, 2016

Tomorrow sees the second fabulous Hawkesbury upon Upton literary festival in Gloucester, organised by writer Debbie Young, where I shall be reading one of my short stories in three minutes.  Three minutes?!  And there was me planning to read my really good story about the chef and his new barbecue in nearly ten.  Not so.  Raconteur and compere John Holland cracked his whip and insisted, no, three minutes only.  So, back to the good ol’ drawing board I went and threw togethe...


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The First Cut

February 24, 2016

READING the works of a well-known and established author recently, I found myself sub-consciously editing it.  How ridiculous!  How arrogant! But I couldn’t help it: there were far too many words, far too many overly long sentences and far too many gratuitous adjectives.  Well, get me, I thought.  I could have written this.  Hadn’t of course, and there’s the rub, so I carried on reading, trying to lock my imaginary editor in a metaphorical room, leaving me to get on with the p...


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Inspiration

December 11, 2015

Once, when I was young, probably about ten, I met an elderly man courtesy of my father and grandfather.  He lived a couple of streets away from my granddad in Portsmouth and we had walked round to see him in the summer sunshine. The three of them spoke in hushed tones punctuated with nods toward a model ship in a glass cabinet. I remember the cabinet being dusty - the house too, dusty, decorated in the style prevalent of the 1950’s, which in the early 1970’s seemed to my eye ver...


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Short!

November 5, 2015

Sometimes, apparently, it’s a good idea to stop and smell the roses.  Or smell the coffee, or maybe just smell.  But anyway, you choose which analogy suits you best.  I say this, because yesterday I made the time to read, cover to cover, the new anthology from The Bardstown Writers’ Group, Chilled To The Bone.  Although a well-established writer’s group full of talented members, we don’t often get the chance to read each other’s work in full, and it’s easy to forget how well we wr...


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Good, Bad, or Just Plain Ugly?!

October 8, 2015

What is always a puzzle to me is knowing what makes a piece of work Good.  You know what I mean - you know instinctively when you read - or hear - a piece of prose, if it is good. The fabulous performance poet Kate Tempest rolls words together, rolls them apart, and collides them head-on to create the slickest, most stunning lyrical journey for her listeners.  And yet in other fields, the writer/s are not doing such a good job.  Last night I was watching a television programme prese...


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Just Get On With It!

July 9, 2015

Imagine my delight recently, at having got a sniff of that elusive, thrilling - almost supernatural fairy dust - Agent’s Interest - in my YA novel, I locked myself away and started a re-write.  And a new-write.  And an old-write.  How can I cut that bit? I asked myself - that’s intrinsic to the plot! Yeah but is it? And that character - they just so have to stay! Yeah but do they?  I don’t know!  Ah, the mystery of How To Get There - to the end that is, the good end of a good book.  Bec...


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Words For Everyone

June 4, 2015

Last week I met a 78 year old lady who had managed all her life without reading a letter, a bill, a magazine or a book.  She had got by - somehow - and yet when I met her she was as excited as a five year old at Christmas.  One of her grandchildren had enrolled her into evening classes at their local college, and it was here, after a lifetime of ‘getting by’, she was finally learning to read and write.  Her take on the language that so many of us take for granted was enlightening.  Why on...


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Party On!

May 21, 2015

Ah, Festival Time!  My favourite time of year. Wading through mud and wonky one-person tents in ill-fitting wellies, squinting to see my idols on a stage three miles away unaware they finished playing yesterday, and walking for days around a festival site looking for an unblocked toilet and a fast food emporium selling anything under a tenner...etc etc etc ...NO!

Not that sort of Festival!  I can watch all that from the comfort of my Argos Compac* Settee** (**other small economically made se...


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For Blog's Sake!

May 6, 2015

Doesn’t time fly.  For those of you who have contacted me asking if I have dropped off the planet and far away from the blogosphere, the answer is no, but other delights have kept me away from my keyboard.  Yesterday however I decided it was time to get back to it, and so had a little look about and found this pertinent blog by - in her own words -  ‘Vicky... a twenty-something book blogger and social media marketing ninja with a passion for thrillers, mysteries, dystopia, and women's fic...


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