I haven’t done an actual Award post for a while but this one dropped in my comments last week and I decided you know what lets go for it so…
I mean it has a dragon so how could I resist!
Here are the rules:
Thank the giver and link their blog to your post.
Pass the award on to other bloggers of your choice and let them know that they have been nominated.
Give 7 facts about yourself.
So first things first a huge thank you to Ravyn Whyt at Random Acts of Writing you can check out her lists here and learn more about her and the others she nominated.
Now 7 things about me that you don’t already know, well instead I decided to tell you seven thing I have learnt about myself through the self publishing process…
1) I could have a degree in procrastination, the closer I got to finishing the harder I found it to actually focus on the task at had.
2) Despite my bravado I have very little confidence when it comes to my own abilities and am actually now bracing myself for a stream of negative comments once people read my stories.
3) I realise the last one is irrelevant because I do not believe anyone will actually read my stories unless they know me and are trying to make me feel better.
4) I am becoming convinced I should go into PR rather than writing because I am pretty sure I can plan an awesome book launch if I put my mind to it but not as sure about producing the book itself.
5) Over the last twenty plus years I have suffered depression on and off, basically ever since post natal depression following my daughters birth, I am very good at recognising the signs of its approach and taking evasive action. I know compared to the black dogs that stalk others mine is generally more like the andrex puppy version but every now and again it grows fangs and turns into a huge hound, my grandmas death and the end of my relationship triggered that response. I know I hid it well and only a few people very close to me would have known the signs but while in its grip I found writing almost impossible, especially Voices with its obvious themes of death and afterlife, writing Disintegration became my therapy, and while I wanted it to be longer than it is, I had to accept some of my work in it was just not good enough. (Don’t worry the demons are back to chasing rolls of toilet tissue once more)
6) I have found an extra strength in admitting my failings to myself and accepting them and where previously it would have defeated me I have now learnt that because I cannot do something today does not mean I cannot do anything today and that I will not be able to do whatever I set my mind to tomorrow.
7) I make the mistake of looking at other people projects that diminish my confidence further simply because they are so awesome for example, this trailer is for my FB friend Claire’s latest project, it has absolutely nothing in common with my own stuff but I find my self thinking I will never manage anything this awesome
Now who to pass this to? Rubs hands together, lets see who has been quiet for a while…
Sometimes if something seems to good to be true it probably is.
At the end of last year I decided I wanted to make my website look more professional and have my own domain name on it, so I went in and took a look at the plan offers. I chose one that required I pay for the year upfront, I would have gone for a slightly cheaper one but I liked the look of the advertising package it offered with it, Twitter Ads, FB Ads and Google ads so I decided to go for it.
First disappointment was the twitter ads, I didn’t activate it in time my mistake with that one, google ads clearly states you have to spend cash first but I was not too bothered it was the FB ads that I believed were the really important ones,
I followed instructions and went to set my ad up realising time was running out however turns out that it was not that simple. I had at one point clicked on a link on my FB page and looked at setting up an ad and the costs it seems because I had done this it rendered the voucher invalid, I only learned this after several stroppy messages to FB including a plethora of screen-shots and then finally realising why my voucher had not worked and referring my to some hidden terms and conditions in the Wix side of things, as you can imagine a stroppy message has now been sent to them. I was lucky and because I was on top of it only ended up a tenner out of pocket in total others were not so lucky judging from forum posts and set their ads for higher daily values and have been charged more.
So I guess the other thing to address is FB ads themselves and whether they are worth it…
I set it to just spend two pounds per day, and as I have cancelled it this morning after finally getting to the bottom of this I spent £8.45, I gained 8 likers as a result of the campaign at the cost of £1.06 per like and my ad was shown to 621 people.
I have to be honest it is not something I would bother doing again in terms of page likes, it is easier and far more interesting to get those by visiting other pages and interacting with people, the only benefit is you reach people you do not personally know so it does broaden your demographics but only within the targeted market. I might consider it at a later date using it to promote a book with a link for sales but for just gaining likes it is too expensive unless you have more money to spare in order to reach a wider audience.
My mistake was not too costly and in the long run can be seen as a learning experience but I will be certain to double check all the terms and conditions before I go for anything offering me perks again.
Today something a little different, SJ over at Delirious Anecdotes has nominated me for the Love-Hate Challenge which consists of the nominee posting three lists: ten things they love; ten things they hate; ten people they nominate for the challenge. You can check out SJ’s lists hereLove-Hate.
So list number one ten things I love…
1)Really obvious the first one, my kids, not really much to say on that but I have been blessed with two incredible kids I know my daughter does not get mentioned as much on here as the monster but she refuses to co-operate with videos and photos lol.
2) My friends, as well as great kids I have also been so lucky as to meet and get to know some incredible people over the years, some have been in my life for a long time some I have only known a short time, some I have never met in person but our cyber interactions have meant that they have become very special to me and my family and it is only a matter of time until we meet in the flesh. This is a picture of me and my best friend taken at her wedding anniversary on last Saturday, we have been friends for around 19 years and pretty much been to hell and back together in that time.
3)The Furries – obviously the dogs frequently make appearances in the vlogs but there are also the two guinea pigs, I am a huge believer that all children should be brought up with pets, it teaches them love, compassion and responsibility, I feel sadly too many people in this world lack those attributes they are brought up in houses that are not homes but showrooms designed to show off material possessions rather than to be a place that teaches the values that would make this world a better place.
4)Walking in woods – I grew up in the countryside and there is nothing as exhilarating as walking through woods and letting the minds create a million stories for every little noise, this is the monster sat at the beck at the beginning of a walk heading to the woods I spent lots of time in as a child and if anyone wants to write a story about this picture link it back to me please.
5)Books, it will not surprise anyone I love a good book but even the bad ones serve a purpose, after all how do you know what is good and what is bad if you do not experience both, TV and films may provide entertainment in a more immediate form but they will never stimulate the brain as a book can, a book makes you think for yourself, create visual images of the characters, locations and envision the action it makes you debate if they have taken the right path, should they trust that character or believe a different one. You can read a good book a hundred times and still find something new to take from it as our understand alters over the years.
6) Music – First let me state I do not have a musical bone in my body in terms of actual playing music but I love listening to it. I love classical music that stirs the emotions, pop music that has me twirling around my room dancing and singing (though only when the music is so loud it means I cannot be heard) or even the musical scores of films that allow you to close our eyes and re-imagine your favourite scenes. Here is one to give you an idea of what I mean…
7) Doctor Who – No surprise for you all there, but what I love about this as much as the show itself is that it is a love and passion I get to share with both my kids and in November we are going to the Excel centre in London for the Doctor Who Festival, and hopefully spending the weekend down there exploring.
8) The sea – I grew up going on day trips to the seaside every weekend more or less, then when I was about ten my grandparents moved to the Isle of Wight and my love of the sea continued to grow, I love going out on boats and big waves no problem, the only time I ever felt sea sick was coming back from France stuck out side the harbour because of bad weather and that was because I was stuck below, unable to see the sea itself.
9) Taking photographs – this will not surprise most of you who have followed my blog for any length of time, in fact for quite a while I was posting on a separate blog sharing my photos which I really should consider staring up again. One of the perks of my newsletter is the promise of at least one photo that is unpublished anywhere else, last month was a butterfly and though I will not post that picture here I will post one from the same shoot which is almost as good as the newsletter one.
Ten things I hate.
1)Hate – yes I hate hate lol I guess really it should read intolerance because there are times where real hate is understandable, if someone has killed your loved one but to hate en masse because of colour, religion or sexuality is wrong, wrong and ignorant. Society is becoming more accepting when it comes to colour but let’s face it that has taken a long time and is still not quite there. Religion well again if truth be told most have more in common than different and if all the religions of the world stuff to the actual words spoken by their Gods rather than the interpretations given by men telling them what God meant or what they say God told them then the world would be a better place and a lot more peaceful, but it is also up to the majority of followers of all religions to stand up and refuse to allow their religions to be hijacked by the extremists on all sides, listen to ISIS and to the Westboro Baptist Churches you will find the only difference is the way they spread their messages, the messages themselves are not very different. The issues with sexuality are usually fuelled by religion but again it really is very very simple, if you don’t agree with a homosexual lifestyle, don’t have one! If you don’t agree with gay marriage don’t have one! Leave the judgement to which ever higher power you believe in and get on with worrying about your own life and making that the best it can be, this is my best friend and her wife at their wedding anniversary last week, they believe in marriage, I don’t but guess what I still support their choice to do it even if I don’t want to but then again maybe I should demand all marriage be banned because I don’t agree with it?
2)Waiting in for parcels – why is it if you are waiting for a parcel but also need to go somewhere it will not arrive until late afternoon but if you are planning a day at home anyway it will arrive first thing in the morning?
3)Cancer – if there were one thing I could wave a magic wand and change it this world it would be to remove this disease, I know there would still be others but the money we donate to research could be given to wipe out other illnesses but this evil seems to continue to take so many lives and it’s cruelty at letting people get better before striking them down again makes it particularly malicious.
4) Snow – now don’t get me wrong, as a kid I loved building snow men and sledging but what I hate about snow as an adult here in the UK is that everything stops with the first flurry. Schools shut, buses stop but bosses still expect you to sort out child care and get to work. It usually has been predicted yet the councils fail to get the roads gritted in advance and it gets very annoying and frustrating
5) Clothes shopping – When I was thinner I loved clothes shopping I could walk into any shop and find something I like but once you are a certain size your options reduce considerably, much of the time you are reduced to one or two shops or shopping online and most of the time you will be paying more for decent clothes, yes I know there is more material involved but not as much as they charge you for.
6) Fleas –I have two dogs as you know and the battle against these evil critters is an epic one, first it costs a fortune over the year roughly £200 just on the Frontline I apply on the dogs but because we have foxes that live where we do and other mite carrying wild life there are also the sprays etc to ensure they do not carry the odd one back into the house after walks, and secondly the fact that just thinking about them has you scratching for hours even when you know there are none there. Why can they not work out a why to rid us of these creatures for once and for all, I cannot see anyone getting upset at there extinction or mounting a save the flea campaign. Maybe if we could persuade hunters that the true symbol of their skills is a mounted flea of a board?????
7) Pets getting old – Boris is now 16 and I know his days with us are numbered and I hate it, I hate that the chances are I will be faced with the choice to make between breaking my own heart and ending his pain and it sucks.
8) Rain when you have to go to work – I love the rain when I can sit and watch it from inside or even spin round in it in my garden but I hate it when you are heading to work then have to sit their in damp clothes and wet shoes for hours.
9) When your computer decides to shut down and for some reason autosave decides to take a break and go on holiday – I know I don’t need to explain that any further to you guys.
10) When WordPress and other social media sites decide they want to change things and don’t give you the option they just change things for you and usually make things harder to use!
Ten Nominees – I cheated and used the next ten blogs I read while writing this lol
As well as writing this week I have been working on all the other stuff they tell you that you should have in place ready for your first publication. By they I mean the numerous articles telling you all about creating your online presence. I talked a little previously about setting up the newsletter, the first of which has now been sent and the lovely David Prosser gave me delightful feed back on. If you are so inclined to sign up for next months please click here!!! And if you want a copy of this months feel free to shout out in the comments, personally I think the highlight was the fantastic butterfly photograph I shared via the newsletter. Sometimes you have to sing your own praises.
Next on my list of things to ‘fix’ was the website. I have a very, very, valuable piece of advice, unless you are a computer genius do not rush this. I designed my website using Wix, I started with the free site and then paid for my domain name etc and dashed about over excited posting things on it. That is the WRONG thing to do! Before you start posting anything on anywhere take some time go through all the options and watch any and all tutorials they offer you. Had I done that I would have learnt about creating lists for news feeds so that instead of manually dragging every single item, image and headline about individually I could have just clicked the option of add item before. I would have learnt I could lock items in place so I didn’t accidentally move them about while trying to do some thing else and I could have done it all properly the the first time and not wasted hours trying to make it work for me. If you have a minute click here and pop over and take a look at my newly refurbished website and then let me know what you think in the comments section. The reason for a website is that it is a site specifically about just the books, that allows me to keep my blog as well and to maintain the chatty informal approach I prefer here. Maybe if I become an incredibly famous author I might have to change that but it is highly unlikely, but after witnessing the carnage that #AskELJames turned into on Twitter I might be placed in a position where I was forced to, but that is a whole different discussion.
Hopefully though now I have it mastered, I just need to be sure to pop over now and update it weekly, that may become a Sunday task now I decided to take that day off blogging. Right I think that is everything for this week I am sure by next week I will have discovered another aspect of preparing for launch day to discuss.
Sorry I have not posted so far this week, but I promise I have been busy. I have read a few different blog posts and articles over the last few weeks with some really good advice about preparing for marketing your book once you actually send it out into the world. Some of it is perfect common sense when you stop to think about it, like using the same image of yourself across all your social media to make them more easily recognisable, yes I did have different pictures for everything lol. Other things have been more surprising…
First of all writing a bio! Apparently I should have two of these, one single paragraph one and one longer more detailed, or one long one that can be shortened so just the first paragraph needs using. Oh and it should be written in the third person, now if I went round talking in the third person they would lock me up so trying to write about yourself in it is no easy feat. It was also at this point I learnt about two other things. First the idea of a media kit available if anyone requests it, again it makes perfect sense, if of course you have the self confidence to believe someone will care, to have a nice file of bios, photos and reviews ready prepared for any local newspapers that decide they are interested but I think for most of us this is something for the future not something to worry about now, the second was having an designated email for websites. I use my gmail address for everything which explains why sometimes the computer screams when I open the inbox but the suggestion was that you should have one such as email@example.com sadly though I set up my website via Wix and they do not provide or support those types of email addresses so gmail will have to suffice even if some people may consider it slightly less professional.
Okay the final suggestion I read about was the importance of having a newsletter, there is a form for this for the website so I thought okay lets set it up…nothing is ever quite that simple. While filling in my details it required a physical address as well as email etc so of course I put mine in and thought nothing of it. Thankfully a lovely friend of mine was my guinea pig and signed up to check it all worked. Two minutes later she contacted me to let me know it actually gave out my address when she signed up, where I thought it was for there records it turns out they want to add a mailing address. For now I have altered it enough that though it satisfies the form it does not actually give my address out now. Don’t get me wrong I don’t mind you lovely people here having it, just what happens if books start selling and lots of strangers sign up. I did have a quick look at the costs for a PO box or a private mail box, that costs about £120-140 and the Royal Mail one will not take parcels or letters from couriers apparently. Another option would be a mail forwarding service which was about half the price but I feel a little uneasy about stranger receiving my mail holding onto it then forwarding it to me but then again I guess that is just what the post office does. But again that is something to consider for the future when all the fan mail starts piling up (just kidding), but as with getting a Skype number to keep my home phone number and mobile private then I may have to look into option for a mailing address as well.
About the newsletter, well I have decided it will be monthly sent out on the last day of the month, it will have some exclusive content and I will try to do it so there are special give-aways and perks for subscribers, now it might take me a month or two to master the formats of it but if you are interested in signing up click here.
I just want to sort of apologise for the rant at the video however it really got to me because many people out there are more vulnerable and may not have had my conviction to say no, I hope you will understand after watching why it wound me up.
I am struggling to motivate myself, the actual act of having to rewrite stories I have written once is taking its toll. I have nine stories that have survived the computer disaster unscathed in paper form and in some form on the computer. Most of them just require me to go through and correct the edits and change a few points. I have three stories that are half done, that had been finished, there were to have been 17 stories in total this leaves five unaccounted for and I am really frustrated by this because they are showing as basic outlines not the stories that should have been there. I know the auto save had failed to work but it is still very frustrating to be redoing work you thought you were almost done with.
I have a couple of options I can finish up redoing the work on the other three stories and publish with just the twelve making it a smaller book and use the other ideas at a later date or I plan a later release date possibly the end of May rather than early April and try to get back up to at least fifteen stories. At the minute I am torn and if the book were just about me I would take the first option but as this book represents a tribute to little Charlie I want it to be good and hopefully raise extra funds for the charity, you see my predicament.
I think I shall leave making a decision until the end of this month, as Monday is my grandma’s funeral and my emotions will be running high next week.
For tonight I am going to write another book review or two and schedule those, mainly so I can shift the pile of books sat waiting on my desk, then maybe try to get an extra post or two in the bag as a back up for busy days. I am a huge fan of using the scheduling button both here and on FB, I find I can spend one day at the start of the month and schedule my daily music FB post and Final thought for the day posts for the whole month. That is the one area I am getting better at actually managing my time in a way that means when I sit down to write I have more time without worrying about breaking off to post other things.
Anyway off I go to review a book about a Werewolf and one about a serial killer, I am sure you remember the post about what my bookshelves say about me lol
This is going to be a slightly different catch up regarding my WIP but hopefully you will understand why.
2015 has not started off well for me, first I started it without a functioning laptop, then once that was replaced I discovered that my Dropbox had not updated for around a month before the old machine had died, luckily I had printed off hard copies to edit of all the fully completed stories so they are easy enough to update and hope I will be able to fill in the blank spaces in other stories from memory. The biggest challenges to my writing have come from my personal life but they will also be the motivation to push on and succeed.
Firstly on New Years Eve my relationship with the monsters father came to an end once again with no hopes of salvage this time. I do not wish to go into specifics let us just say sometimes too much has happened and not only is there too much water under the bridge but the bridge has been well and truly washed away.
Then a few days into 2015 my grandma was taken in to hospital.
On Sunday she passed away, I am of course heart broken but know she is now free from the pain and indignities which accompanied her in her final weeks. I am so glad I took the time to listen to her stories and take what knowledge I could from her about the family history so that I can pass it on in turn to my children. She taught me so much over the years and her loss will leave a gap in my heart I do not think can ever be filled. Her passing has made me more determined than ever to live life to the fullest and do every thing in my power to fulfil my dreams, and she has taught me that we get from life what we are determined to strive for the only thing that holds us back are our own barriers and fear.
RIP Grandma, until we meet again I will miss you xxx