Thoughts on Thursday – So You Want To Be A Writer Part Two

If you missed out on the first part of this new series you can catch it here. I know this should have gone out yesterday but technical problems left me frustrated and on the verge of throwing the computer through the window yesterday lol.

So, you finally have an idea for a story, you sit at the computer and begin writing so far so good but then you find the next thing that people say to you.

Well, anyone can write a book, it’s just words.

Now, to an extent this is true. anyone can write a book but let’s look at what actually goes into writing a book that people really don’t understand. First the time! I don’t know about most of you reading this but my WPM (words per minute) have dropped significantly since I learnt to type at school. On a good day, I can type 250 words every fifteen minutes, that means 1000 words per hour assuming the ideas are flowing and I don’t need to stop to think or consult notes. The average fantasy book is 95,000 – 120,000 words this means to write one book you are looking at 95 – 100 hours. Now, there will be people who will look at that and say, well that’s okay you can write a book a month, and yes if you are lucky enough to be able to stay home and make a living writing you might, but most of us still have day jobs to accommodate to fund our writing. Personally, I am lucky to write 5 – 10 k words per week, that means if nothing else happens to slow me down or distract me that the first draft will take three to four months.

It’s only writing down words in sentences, it can’t be that hard!

Yes, I have actually had that said to me, and to an extent it is true, or should that be it is true for the first draft. What a lot of people fail to realise is just how many different edits you do on books, you don’t just write the perfect book, hit send and it is out there in the world. Generally, I edit a book around four times more in some places if it needs it, there are read throughs checking for continuity, and any holes in the plot, there are general grammar and spelling checks. I also use an automated voice reader programme to let me hear it back with helps me pick on things spell check misses, those silly errors where you type on instead of no.

If you are lucky you can afford to pay proofreaders to pick up on some issues, pay editors to fix them, oh, and remember to check what your editor offers, because you may need to hire more than one. If one only does general edits then you need a second to do line edits.  Now, if like me you don’t make enough to pay for all these things, then there is help out there. I use the free version of Grammarly to pick up on some of my mistakes but be advised that it often wants to change things that you want to write for creative effect. Use the word checker on your computer and check the settings to see what you can turn on to help you.

All these edits take time so the chances are if you are doing it all yourself you will be doing well to get out one or two books a year, if you have editors you can maybe get a couple more out, but just words, I don’t think so.

Next week we will look at what happens once, you have a story more or less ready to go.

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Thoughts on Thursday – So You Want To Be A Writer Part One

I just want to state categorically that I had been thinking about this series before I read the brilliant post over on Samantha The Reader’s blog you can read her post here.  Her post is aimed at the advice writers receive about their craft mine is about the things we hear when we mention we have published a book and the realities of being an indie author.

Everyone Tells Me I Should Write a Book/I Always Wanted To Write A Book

I have lost track of the times I have had this response from people when you mention that you have written a book. First, let me say I firmly believe anyone can write a book, I don’t think you need a certain educational level, you don’t need a degree and you don’t need to have taken creative writing course but there are some things you do need to have. While I do think anyone can write a book, however, I dont believe everyone should try to write books or that everyone is capable of writing a good book.

There are so many aspects of the writing process people simply do not understand or do not want to see and this series is about that who process, the misconceprtions and overall the hard work that is involved with producing a half decent novel.

Where do you start?

There is a good chance if you are asking that question it means one of two things, you are either not ready or you are over thinking it.

If you do not have an idea for a story you want to tell then you are not ready to write, most stories start with an idea, a persistant nagging idea in your head which plagues you at random moments demanding you take notice of it. This is the first part of writing and it is the one that cannot be taught you either, have this type of creative imagination or you don’t and without it no matter how much you might like the idea of writing a book your really will not be able to. Don’t get me wrong you can put word on paper, write cohesive sentnces but if you do not have those ‘voices’ in your head that demand you listen to the totally weird and wonderful offerings they decide to throw at you as you are trying to get to sleep then the chances of writing something original and captivating are very slim.

The second group of people are the over thinkers, these are the ones who believe you must know every element of the story, and have everything completely planned, organised, and  ready before they start writing their masterpiece. In some cases they boos they could produce might indeed by pieces of litarary brilliance but we will never know because much like having children there is never a ‘right’ moment. There are times when it may be better, finacially, healthwise , timewise, fitting in with a day job wise but if you are waiting for all the starts to align it is probably not going to happen. Even if, by some miracle, it happen then the problem comes that stories are organic, they grown on their own and refuse to be constrained by our plot outlines. If you have an idea by all means outline if you need to before you start writing but don’t let the idea fester in your head.

If anyone has enjoyed this then let me know in comments and next week we will talk about actually putting pen to paper.

The Darker Side Of Fiction 2019

I can’t believe it has been a whole twelve months since I did my first signing event at #Darker17 .in other ways it also seems like a lifetime ago as I have gone on to do a  few more since then but #Darker will always have a special place in my heart and even if there comes a time when I am not on the invited authors list it is the one event I cannot imagine not attending now.

So #Darker18 is in a new venue and has a host of new authors I have not yet met as well as friendly faces that I am looking forward to seeing again.

The main thing to remember about signings is that it is not just about the books, it is your chance to meet other authors but also to meet and interact with the readers. To connect with them on a personal level and let them learn more about you, your books and how your mind works. Luckily, at #Darker18, there will be people as twisted as I am.

This year I already have a few pre-orders and I am really glad I came up with the idea of personalising them to the events, I have a pile of signed books and so far I remember meeting each other to get each one however in a few years that may be harder so I want to be sure that in ten years time if someone opens a book they pre-ordered from me they get a reminder of the day.

I have ordered one new piece of swag for this event and that is some magnetic bookmarks, I have one myself that I got years ago and they are perfect for using when on the move, these ones are for the Queen of Ages books and will only be available when you buy one of those books.

If you are in the UK and can travel to Peterborough there is still chance to get tickets to come and see me and the other authors at the event you can buy them here https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-darker-side-of-fiction-author-event-2018-tickets-42628859065

Next week I will be talking more about the process of getting ready for a signing the whole issue of what to take how to get there and so much more.

Resolutions 2018

The start of a new year means one thing! Yes, it is time to make a load of resolutions that I will fail at during the year! To be fair last year we a strange year and though I failed to meet my goals for the year I did learn a lot about myself, I also learnt not to dwell on the failures so rather than rounding up last year I shall focus on the positives, things like I did my first book signing and I became a grandma, those two things meant more to me than anything else that happened last year so let’s get straight on with our new goals and look to the future.

1.  Release Queen Of Ages Book Two; Reawakening

I have already begun work on this book and am hoping to get it finished quickly, I did get distracted at the end of last year by the arrival of my grandson but now I need to focus on getting back into a set writing routine and meet my aim of three books per year, I am really excited to get this series out there especially after the reviews and feedback I have been getting from the first book.

2.  Lose four stone in weight

I know I said this last year and while I did not lose weight last year I didn’t put any more on. I need to start doing this not for how I look but for my health I am getting older and obviously the more weight you carry the greater the strain on your bones and organs, I am aiming to take it slowly and yes, I need to lose more than the four I have stated but I want to do it at a rate where not only does it have a better chance of staying off but it also reduces the risk of ending up with baggy skin after. Plus I bought some awesome suits   in the next couple of sizes down that I want to be able to get some wear out of 😀

3.  Blog at least four times a week consistantly

I tend to either blog every day or not blog at all so for this next year I am going to take the pressure off myself a little, Mondays will still be book/audiobook/dvd reviews, I hope to get back to throwing some author interviews in there as well once more. Tuesdays will be the posts about events and my experiences with the writing/publishing experiences, these will also include my personal feelings about my writing journey. Wednesdays will be WIP in progress and my book promotion days, I will share reviews on the books I have already published as well as discussing the books I am working on and my ideas for future works. Fridays will still be vlog day though I am looking to make changes there as will be discussed later. Sundays will be lazy sunday posts where I will just chat with you fill you in on my week and a little more or my personal life, of course if you want to know more of my day to day goings on my Faceook page or Instagram are probably the best places to keep up with me.

4.  Release Queen of Ages Book Three: Redemption

As with the first resolution I am determined to up my output this year and get into a pattern of two to three releases each year, this year I am aiming to get the remaining parts of this trilogy out and possibly look into a hard back ominbus edition for the festive period next year however that ties in with other resolutions so it remains to be seen what the options are.

5.  Walk 50k steps per week

Previously I had the target of 10k steps a day totalling 70k for a week however I am now being more realisitic, I struggle on work days to fit in all my steps at times so by giving myself more leeway I believe that this goal is more achievable I am also determined to use the apps on my phone, xbox and my cross trainer more to increase the amount of exercise I am doing and try to add in doing one of my dance/exercise videos once a week.

6.  Publish four Quarterly newsletters

I swapped from monthly to quarterly because I was struggling to get the content worth sending out, now I have changed to quarlerly I just need to iron out the timing for the newsletters in terms of tying in with live events which I may wish to utilise in terns of the giveaways be that either collecting things to put in the prizes or offering chances to win tickets.

7.  Release Dragon’s Mark, Book One of the Raven Seer Chronicles

This would be the third release of the year and to be fair it is a quarter done already. I had initially intended to do this as a stand alone book however as I worked on it I realied the potiential for this to be an on going fantasy series.

8.  Vlog once a week

Like the blogging I have been hit and miss with the vlogs so my goal is this year to not only produce one a week but to also include more footage from my week and make them more interesting, not just me sat talking at a screen for five minutes unprepared. I also want to increase the production quality of the vlogs and make them more exciting for those who supoprt me by watching them.

9.  Write 1k fiction every day

This year I attempted NanoWriMo and failed miserably, yes there were other things which affected my writing time but if I want to make this my living then I need to focus and make it happen. By writing just 1k per day I could easily write three books a year, the only person stopping me is me.

10.  Fix Office hours for my writing and stick to them

I tend to get distracted, I turn FB on or stop to get up and go do other things so the answer is simple I need to set up my office hours and stick to them, now to be fair they cannot be the same every day as I work different shifts and have other commitments, and once my daughter goes back to work I will also have extra childcare considerations but I have a timer I use which uses the Pomodoro method, work thirty minutes on and then a fifteen minute break so when I have blocks of time I can sit at the computer I will use the timer and only look at FB etc during the fifteen minute breaks, I will also use that time as well to get up from my desk and move around trying to fit in a few extra steps each hour.

11.  Work on reducing the minus balance in my accounts

Right now if I were trying to exist purely on my writing as a business I would be bancrupt, thankfully the day job is still there to pay the bills but I need now to step up my writing game. As I increase the number of signing events I wish to attended the greater the expense so it becomes all the more important to start making them pay, this means more books to sell, more swag for sale and working out better ways to do giveaways and swag etc. I am realistic enough to know this does not happen over night, I am just over a year into a five year plan, I might not be in as good a shape as I would like but I have learnt lessons and am working on it, I am still positive my long term goal is possible.

12.  Set up Ravens Rest Press

Using Createspace has many positive and negative points, one of the harder pills to swallow is the cost of shipping books from the US I have no idea why they cannot print them in the UK as they print the books bought via amazon here on demand, the main thing about using other outlets is the fact you buy your own ISBN numbers  which means you can set up your own print imprint and get your books into libraries and book shops easier. You can also get expanded distribution networks for the books you have with them, I believe there is also the possibility of hardback issues which I would love to be able to do for the trilogy and maybe special editions of other books.

13.  Update all published works edits and biograhies regularly

I have got into the habit of updating all my social media posts to match, what I have failed to do is go back and update the also by this other sections of my previous books, alter the odd typo that I find and update the images in the books, this is something that I need to get into the habit of doing more often so that when I have a new book come out I know that the others will only require the minimum of alteration.

14.  Meet someone special

So this one is one I cannot actually make come true, and at the minute I am not really in a position to actively seek someone but rather this is more about allowing myself to be open to the idea of meeting someone, to not send out negative vibes when approached and to be open to the idea that a relationship does not have to be negative. I finally feel like I have shed the emotional baggage from my previous relationship, and while it will still take someone very special to make me invest my emotions in them I am not totally averse to that idea any longer, for me that is already a huge step.

Read And Relax – The Book Lovers Subscription

A few weeks ago I told you about taking a chance and reaching out to a book subscription service, well now in a few days next months box launches including swag from yours truly!

So what is Read and Relax, well the best way to explain is to share their ethos from their own website…

Read and Relax is a new subscription site dedicated to keeping second-hand books alive.

The idea for Read And Relax came to me one afternoon whilst I was browsing the internet. I, probably much like yourself, was looking for a monthly book subscription. What I found were expensive offers (which contained more useless merchandise then books). If my book came with anything I would want it to be useful – I hoard enough as it is! As a teacher, I don’t have countless disposable income and therefore I began to reach the stage where I was going to give up – I just couldn’t get myself to part with that much money! That is when Read And Relax was born.

My vision  is to not only provide budget-friendly monthly boxes but to also save second-hand books from the tip hence  supporting a wide range of charities at the same time. As a thank you from me to you, parcels will also include a treat: sometimes this might be something to eat, other times it may be a delicious smelling candle, perhaps a mug to harvest that well deserved tea at the end of the day… to name just a few. Whatever it is, I promise that it will be useful and relaxing.

Alas, on such a budget, I cannot provide the latest book to my customers: but what I can do is hand-pick them novels from charity stores which match their genre preferences. Since starting this service my weekends, and quite happily, have been used to browse shops, read reviews and purchase literature for my followers. I, so far, have received a number of great reviews and just hope that this service is not only what I was looking for, but what you were looking for too. 

Together we can do three things: support charities, revive books and read!

So why does this project excite me, I want to sell my books? Simple, the reason I started writing was I love reading, I love stories and I love books, and now as a self-published author I strive to share my work with people who I think will love it. When you join this subscription service you get to choose the genres you would like to receive books in, maybe you chose the safe options you know you will like and risk the odd book you may have already read or you take a chance, chose an unknown genre. I think of this service a little like trusting a friend to pick your next book for you, and if you get a book you don’t like, you have only spent the same as you might have buying a new book but have the feel-good factor of knowing these books have been purchased from charity shops.

So what have I popped in the boxes, basically, if you subscribe and choose the targeted genres you will receive a swag bag from me similar to those I give away with purchases. However, I know not everyone always has the spare cash to take advantages of these orders  at that minute so what I am willing to do is if you subscribe at any point, either in the next couple of days, or during December, and would like to receive a belated swag pack for your next box if you contact Read and Relax I will make sure that I send extra bags to make sure everyone gets one.

So if you are interested in this great subscription service head over to Read and Relax or follow them on Instagram  

And just remember if you don’t want this subscription for yourself then maybe it could be the perfect gift for the book lover in your family. I am so excited to be working alongside this company and hope to get the opportunity to do so again at a later date.

Lazy Sunday #48

Afternoon, you wonderful people.

I am sat here at my desk right now coffee in hand attempting to defrost.

You know I had to get the selfie from Snapchat after all we all love unicorns. Today has been a busy day, I went down to my daughters to bleach her hair ready to attempt a colour tomorrow then when we left there the monster and I headed to a local park Pokemon hunting. First, let me say that the reason he is only just on the Pokemon Go app is that it was not available for my Windows phone so the minute I got a new android phone it was one of the first things he asked me to do. Secondly, let me point out that while this may be a fun thing to do in the Summer chasing imaginary creatures round a park in the cold is not so much fun. My journeys to work and back now involve my being logged into the game to get distance to hatch eggs and to spin discs every time I pass certain buildings to get him balls to catch these creatures with, I don’t really mind that much because it is not as if I have to go out of my way but it is annoying that it is a drain on my battery and I can’t listen to my podcasts at the same time. The good thing is of course that it gets kids outside and exercising and in our case, by default, it means more exercise for me especially on a Sunday when I am prone to be a little sedate. It is also something we can do together though I can only name a handful of the creatures we have caught.

 

It is now evening I am afraid I got distracted chatting to a friend. My #NanoWriMo stats have not changed since last week, a combination of overtime and illness on top of normal work had a detrimental effect on my focus and I now need to write around 2.5k a day to hit target. It is still possible, I have a week off work at the end of the month so I can make up some words there hopefully.

I have quite a few different things going on in my head at the minute to deal with as well as writing so I am struggling to keep my focus on sitting and getting the right thoughts down. Right now writing wise things are going well, but I think sometimes when one aspect of your life is improving it does make you look at other areas that maybe are not doing quite as well, there are aspects of my life I would like to change but for now they will have to wait, I have far too much going on in other areas that I am excited about.