Review Experiment Part 2

I did it, I have self published Ward Five to Kindle. Why? I hear you ask, It’s simple really. It is the best way of gaining reader feedback and exposure to a wider audience.

In January of this year, I had the best positive feed back I have had since I almost had a screenplay made for television when I was eighteen that sadly fell through due to funding. I had an offer from a publisher!

The offer, to start was a partnership offer, through my research this seems quite popular nowadays, in the ever changing world of publishing and the accessibility of peoples works. This approach makes sense to me, it means you take on some of the risk in costs whilst getting started. You are then released in a smaller area to gauge the audiences appetite and you build from there. The feedback I received from this publisher regarding the story of Ward Five was invaluable to me but the unfortunate reality was, it was badly timed, January was a busy month. My partner and I became parents, the car died and needed replacing. Actually, the car died on the way to the hospital when my partner was in labour but that is its own little story! And it meant i found myself in the situation where i just couldn’t realistically find or commit to the proposed fee, which in fairness appeared quite reasonable. So I had to decline the offer.

I started thinking, if i could get one offer I could get another but one of the things publishers seem to want is a crystal ball prediction that they’re on to a good investment. I can’t give them that, surely no-one can, but what if, I could at least build upon my small data set of feedback that I had gathered from my first review experiment. What if i could gain enough input from real readers, real everyday people, not just a person sat in an office projecting personal preference on to a manuscript. Hence reason 1 as to how I ended up pursuing another self published project.

Reason 2 is a little more personal and is kind of two fold. I never self promote to people I know, it’s this little hang up I have, I get embarrassed and don’t want to look like an idiot to people who matter to me and in some cases to people who don’t even matter to me, it’s one of my vulnerabilities where peoples opinions mean something. So, for the most part, I keep it hidden and don’t talk about the passion I’ve had since I learnt to read and write. I envy friends of mine who share their passions so energetically, positively & confidently. I think of one in particular, who is a great musician and likes to share his new compositions with me to get an opinion, he does Instagram live sessions singing his own material and no he is not famous or a professional, although I believe like me with writing, that would always be the dream. I admire him for that confidence to be able to put him and his work out there in the ways he does, I wish he could bottle it and sell it to me.

And then, there is my sister who has struggled immensely with Anxiety and then this week, she posted this on her Instagram

For those that are now squinting at their screens it reads:

“The brightest star in the room can be the one who hurts the most. Since January I have struggled with my panic attacks more than ever I have had therapy, missed endless days of work, scratched my face and stomach to shreds trying to breathe. Yet still I had an interview got a promotion throughout all of this. I’ve shown the world how I love to sing and if you don’t know me personally you would have no idea. Remember the biggest smiles can hide a thousand fears”

You will also notice that there’s hashtag #mentalhealthawarenessweek which links me to the second part of my reason two. It is the main theme that runs through this story, it affects everyone you know and everyone you don’t and in this weird point in history whilst we’re all in lock down it is affecting everyone in the most profound ways. So, Mental health awareness week in the UK seemed like a no brainer to me, to attempt to both over come my own fears and anxieties and share this story in this way.

Paperback Version

So please have a read, write a review. It is only

Kindle Version

available on Kindle at this moment in time, please ignore the cover of the Kindle version its only temporary until I decide whether to release the paperback or if, judging by the reviews i just need to go back to the drawing board on the entire story!

It’s started….. the nerves

BLOG 1I’ve done it, I’ve started the, approaching agents process. It’s strange, I feel incredibly sick!! I actually feel like I do before a job interview. Which is crazy because I’m not going for an interview. I’m not talking directly to these individuals. I’m simply sending a covering letter, synopsis and the first three chapters of my new project, Ward Five. (I know, I’ve revealed nothing about it to you guys until now and for now that’s all you’re getting, the Title!!)

So why do i feel so nervous? If I had to guess I would say it is because of the nature of the work. It is not Fantasy/Sci-fi which we all know I geek over as a way of life. It is just normal life stuff, no other worlds, no special powers, no weird creatures. Just regular human beings, a drama I guess, very different to my self published works of The Break and Concordia. They were an element of my imagination and fun; Ward Five is my heart.

I would say the experience of self publishing has taught me a significant amount, not only about the process of publishing but about my writing. Ward Five has allowed me to use a different voice for the protagonist that i would never has normally have chosen. It allowed me to know them more and this has made me a better writer. Even I see, not only a new style to my writing, but a higher quality.

I will revisit fantasy again at some point but I thought to be a good writer, you should be able to explore different genres and different styles. Find your own voice as well as your characters.

I think that’s why I feel nervous putting it out there to be judged by agents because it means something to me and it should. Everything that makes you feel passion, should mean something to you.

I just wanted to update you all on where I’m at. Watch this space for more updates, maybe even a snippets of Ward Five or maybe just ranting and off loading about all the rejections that inevitably come with this process. There’s going to be some some blood and tears on the way folks.

As always thanks for reading!!!

It’s Here!

Concordia Book Cover v0.1So here we are again, Judgement Day.

You can now purchase on Amazon Kindle UK the sequel to The Break entitled Concordia.

So tell your friends and anyone who will listen we are live and to get reading!

I hope you enjoy this one as much as the first, I actually really enjoyed writing the sequel, it was quite a ride again!!

I look forward to reading your reviews and as always Thank you for your support.

 

For you guys in the states click here

Jubilee Weekend!!!

Well I guess being English I should really blog about this Jubilee Malarkey!!!! But that’s what every Brit is probably doing today and while I appreciate that HRH Queen Elizabeth II has the second longest reign of any Monarch (the longest belonging to Queen Victoria) and she is the Queen of my home country, I am personally getting a little vexed by all the hype all the chatter and all the bloody random merchandise (NO doubt my mother has already purchased her tea towel!!!!) and then this got me thinking again about my little book merchandise query, which led me back to the idea I had about Books with special features. This concept has now piqued my interest so much so that I have become more consumed by implementing this idea than working on my current project. This, I may add is also a great distraction as this weekend seems to have sparked a lack of motivation to work, 4 day weekends make me lazier than normal!!

I forced myself to re-read The Break recently for the first time since I published and since I was informed the editor I’d hired had messed up but since my first review came back positive I though I’d brave it and as I was reading and highlighting all the fresh mistakes myself I kept thinking about this special features idea. How would it work? I mean what sort of format would it be in? would it simply be a case of re-publishing the story and adding notes about the chapter/characters or how certain scenes came about??? No that sounds pretty boring. I still have laying around whole chapters which weren’t just re-written but binned completely because I took the story in a different direction, I deleted paragraphs at a time of characters that never made the final cut, maybe I should put all that work together maybe I could release it as like a book of notes but then who wants to read someones notebook??!! Maybe I could combine the two ideas? Who knows but I do really like the idea of sharing things that never made it to the finished product with the readers because lets face it, if people like what you didn’t then that’s the start of a whole new project is it not??? Or is that a cheap get out of jail free card for a next book idea!!!!

Well I have to admit both this idea and my current project are currently on hold this weekend, we very rarely get to enjoy a relaxing four day weekend, so firstly thanks to The Queen for adding an extra bank holiday to the calendar this year!!! Thanks to ATP for putting Roland Garros on so it clashes with a four day weekend (will not be moving from in front of the TV!)!!! Thanks to the USA for exporting Budweiser to the UK however I will NOT be thanking the Great British weather!!!!!!!!! So although I will not be completely lazy with my projects this bank holiday I will be looking for other peoples opinion on how to pull off this new idea of a Book with DVDesq Special Features so if you you have any ideas of what you would like to see or you’ve always wondered how authors arrive at a certain point or how they get there character ideas let me know and I’ll see how I can work on presenting that info, the thought process is now in your hands!!!

A 5K Run for The C Word

Well I did it people, I participated in The Race For Life 5k charity run at Burleigh House in Stamford and I was so not prepared for it. I was certainly not prepared for it Physically, I manged four weeks worth of training in January, sat on my ass in February, managed a week in March and April and doubled my body weight in the first two weeks in May, yep I managed to put on more weight for the Run but it didn’t matter nobody cared how fit you are, whether you ran, jogged or walked we were all there to take part in something so overwhelming I can say in all honesty I was certainly not prepared for it mentally and emotionally. Thousands of women from across the county all brought toghther by one cause because everyone had in some way been touched by Cancer. That’s right the big ‘C’ word, everyone thinks it, everyone worries about it but nobody dares talk about it because if you ignore it maybe it’ll go away, maybe it’s not happening to you or your family member or your friend or your friends family member but it IS very real. An announcement was made that a lady particpating today had just had the all clear on Friday, this sent goosebumps running down my spine and tears well up in my eyes, I don’t know this lady but I felt so happy for her good news I wished I could find her and give her a hug, instead I participated in the run to show my support.

The course itself was a test of indurance the ground uneven, windy and hilly but it wasn’t about who finished first, who was in the running, jogging or walking group people laughed and people cried there way around and it was the most fun and the most eye opening experience I think I’ve had, 3000 women, a sea of pink to beat Cancer.

For all you UK guys I would urge you to find your nearest Race For Life event today and sign up, it’s the best thing you will ever do.

The Vulnerability Of Self Publishing

Ah, Wednesday, Blogging day, the thing that keeps me sane mid week when I’m too stressed at work and can’t wait for the weekend it holds me together!…That’s on a “Normal” week anyway, this week however is added stress; tomorrow The Break will have officially been out and live for a full 7 days. Now while this fact still brings me great happiness it also brings me a great Headache, Why you may ask because although I’ve had really positive feedback in regards to characters and story etc the editing of the work leaves much to be desired. I guess I only have myself to blame, you get what you pay for and all that jazz and as I was only just starting out I wanted someone cheap and cheerful but who knew what they were doing, this however would be a prime example of when Google has not been my friend. I think my editor had to have been on drugs whilst reading my material, I can see the reviews now, “After negotiating our way through the mountain of grammatical errors and meandering through lazy spelling mistakes we decided to give The Break zero out of 100…” needless to say said editor will be FIRED. I guess it’s hard to know what to do right when starting out and although I’d like to say this is a learning curve (which it is) it doesn’t change the fact that people would have already judged the book on the negatives, it’s human nature, I am ashamed to admit I do it myself, it just seems programmed in to us since birth, since the big flaming bang, we must focus on the negatives, the flaws of an individual. Why do we do that? Writing is personal enough what with baring your soul, along with a hidden cruelty or warped sadistic mind you’d been hiding for years without getting beat up about the little things that you thought had been taken care of, that you trusted someone to correct on your behalf. I blame myself for not doing that final check when it came back to me the final time when I was convinced nothing else needed doing because I’d already read it myself 500 times. I mean was this person secretly just out of school and needed quick cash to feed an actual drug habit? I’m starting to wonder if this individual could actually even read. Well one things for sure I will be hiring somebody on recommendation only next time regardless of cost, if I manage to now drum up enough interest for another book by yours truly that is.

So to those of you who haven’t published yet I say to you get an AMAZING Editor and to those of you who clearly already know what you’re doing, have you got any recommendations??

Here ends the angry ranting thanks for listening (well reading!!!)

The Fun Never Stops… Or Was That Stress??

I’ve had the most amazing reaction to The Break since we went live on Thursday, so Thank You very much for all your support and to those who have purchased a copy on Paperback and on eBook/Kindle and if you still haven’t got a copy go check out where you can acquire one here!!

So you’d think with all the hard work that goes into writing and self publishing a book by the time it goes Live you can just kick back, relax with a nice bottle of Bordeaux maybe treat yourself and order some Chinese food, go on holiday etc etc. Let me set the record straight, NO, NO You Can’t!! There’s still publicity to consider, how’s a girl meant to get a fantasy fictional novel exposure?? I guess we have several options here, local press, national press, flyers, posters, give aways, selling your soul the usual sort of stuff really!! But how do you stand out from the crowd? When do you begin to become too pushy, when you’ve set up your tent outside a major national newspaper and refuse to move until they’ve read your book and published a five star review (Now there’s a thought)!! Or do you simply give it some time let the work gather it’s own momentum and see where it takes you?? If you do this how long should you leave it before you start making more of an effort a week, a month, six months?

Truthfully, I think the answer to all of the above questions is, nobody knows what’s best, you’ve just got to do what’s right for you. As you know I made up press release packs which were sent with an advanced readers copy of the book to various places but ultimately it’s down to them if they decided to run it, or part of it or none of it, you can’t control that decision making process all you can do is put your work out there and get it on the map and find a way of doing that which suits you. I’d love every follower to Retweet the links to my Blogs (Hint!!!) But again ultimately that decision belongs to them I have no control over that, which is fine because this is all one big learning curve and I will find a way to get that exposure but I would just like to share to anybody who thinks you can put your book out there and your contribution stops guess again, the hard work well never stop now you’ve started that ball rolling, it’s keep the ball rolling that’s going to cause blood, sweat and tears.