To review or not to review

As an established children’s writer my background is mainstream/traditional. My children’s books have followed this route, the criteria for success being paperback sales and acceptance by the establishment. Not reviews because it’s rare for young children to write reviews. So my attitudes and judgements tend to be mainstream and somewhat old-fashioned.
to reviewI am now writing for a different audience, YA and Adult, and publishing on line. Here, for newcomers, it takes time to become established, with book sales dependent on your skills at marketing and I have joined many groups and as a consequence have become heavily involved with both reading and reviewing. I have now quit on the reviewing, simply because I am don’t understand the expected on-line criteria for judging a book.

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Securing A Literary Agent Is Bit Like To Trying To Catch The Wind.

A few years ago I made a radical decision; some would call it misguided while others were not so kind with their opinions. After a lifetime scribbling advertising copy for products I didn’t really believe in, coupled with ongoing love/ hate relationships with marketing managers, fresh from graduate schools armed with useless MBA’s, I jumped ship.

Having left the safety of the multi- national agency cocoons to start and run my own agency I endured a decade and a half of what can only be referred to as a period of intense stress. Sure, we produced some truly great work and, on the whole clients were happy (although praise was seldom forthcoming) something in my life was missing. I do believe that everyone at some period in their lives, reaches that so called ‘tipping point’ as I did when the industry was facing yet another downturn. And so I took, what many believed to be a cowardly route by selling out to one of the multi-nationals for whom I used to work.

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Writer’s Block … there’s no such thing.

I’m not one to beat around the bush, so I won’t do it now when I reinforce my belief that there is no such thing as writer’s block.

Many will vehemently disagree, but these are the writers lazy in their approach to character development, plot lines, creative licence or the realities of time management. Harsh? It’s so easy to blame this mythical black hole in the centre of the brain for the drain on new ideas and vortex-sucking disregard for manuscript deadlines.

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Tips to Organizing Your Notes

Sometimes, while writing a novel or screenplay, characters, places, and events can get confusing.  My tip for keeping everything straight is to organize your thoughts and plans on index cards.

Start with your characters by writing their names on the front of a card and then write details about that person on the back, such as, appearance, personality quirks or the vehicle that they drive.  If you need more than one card, just staple all the cards together for that particular character.  Alphabetize the characters for easy reference.

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Guerilla Marketing for Authors

Like most writers, I hate marketing my work.  Even with publisher-backed works, it still falls to the author to do much of the marketing. There is a high degree of snobbery in the publishing world today. After all, it took Rowling years before she was able to realize her phenomenal success. But it is even more difficult for indie authors. The assumption is that because a work is self-published, it is somehow not worthy. Sadly, it is up to authors like us to change that mentality through the quality of our work.

I am convinced that the key to getting recognized as an independent author lies in our ability to create a personal brand for ourselves, and the best way to do that is through some of the creative and innovative, low cost strategies used in guerrilla marketing. This technique involves high energy and imagination and focuses on grasping the attention of the public at a more personal and memorable level. Guerrilla marketing is designed to cut through the clutter of traditional advertising so that there is no mystery about what is being advertised. The message is clear and concise.  “This book is unique and different from all the others in this genre because ________.”

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Consider an Audiobook

According to the latest statistics, audiobooks are now a billion dollar industry. And audiobook sales outstripped print and e-book sales recently. Turning your book into an audiobook now gives you access to a wider audience to convert into fans.

mic-for-audiobooksThe process for getting your book converted into an audiobook is not that hard. It’s easy to work with a narrator/producer directly who takes care of all the details for you.

You can find that narrator/producer through ACX, a freelance site such as Up work, or contact them directly through social media or their website.

It’s most important you choose a narrator whose voice fits your book’s style. Even if you like the narrator’s voice and demo, it’s a good idea for them to narrate at least 5 minutes of your book to confirm the fit.

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Killing the Monster

Each time I finish a book, I think of Winston Churchill’s famed quote about the phases of writing. The one beginning with this sentence: Writing is an adventure. To begin with it is a toy and an amusement. And ends…”you kill the monster and fling him to the public.”

This time, the monster has teeth, big sharp ones. Why?

Because this time I decided I wanted to write about characters who were evil. Shouldn’t be too difficult for someone who loves devouring thrillers, right? You know, those created by the likes of Dean Koontz, Harlan Coben, Lee Child, and Joseph Finder? . Could I do it? Create not only an assassin but someone worse? As real, believable?

Churchill was wholly right. In the beginning of the new story, the writing was fun, even exciting. Walking in the shoes of a man who gets paid to kill- my imagination soared, leaped tall buildings as the character took on flesh and bones. I found myself reading sections aloud to my husband because of the character’s credibility. That creative freedom of fiction is exhilarating and is one of the many surprises of my switch from writing non-fiction to fiction. Some characters are  so real that they cannot be left at the end of the book. They have taken up residence in our hearts. The reason that both authors and readers are drawn to book series- we find we love Harry Potter and Jack Reacher far too much to ever let them go.

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