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Things I didn’t know before I became an E-Book Author

I had a book published by a small indie press before I got my ebook deal with Carina. I had no idea about marketing, beyond making posters and quietly asking if people would maybe-sorta-like to buy my book.

 

Ebooks have opened up a whole new dimension to the writing community and the engagement with readers, and it’s an amazing world!

 

Net galley– Your book is listed so that reviewers/librarians/bloggers can get an advanced free copy in order to spread the word!

Book reviewers- There are readers out there who are passionate about reviewing, and if you find the right people, they’re happy to give you a chance! A lot of them find you through netgalley, or some have submission pages on their websites. Twitter is a great resource for finding reviewers.

The amount of different book buying siteswe know about Amazon and kindle, but Kobo, nook, Itunes book library, Barnes and Noble, international sites, there are so many places to sell!

Support of other authors- either through twitter, or knowing some of the other authors on your imprint, or just other people you enjoy working with. Knowing others are going through the same thing, same writing issues, or knowing they’re writing away at the same time as you, all of that makes for an inspiring and supportive network!

Book Tours- Perhaps once saved for famous writers touring Waterstones locations, the internet means you can tour/blog hop your way across the world! You can organise these yourself, or sometimes lovely people will do it for you!

 

 

I’m sure I still have much more to learn about all this, as the book is out NOW (and you can buy it HERE!) so I’ll keep reporting back with my experiences!

If you’d like to know more about how to use these facilities as an author, plus all about Marketing yourself, understanding how to achieve success and really get your work out there, I’ll be facilitating a Marketing Bootcamp for Writers in Barnet in July, along with creative business expert Steven Sparling. Send me a message on the Contact Me page if you’re interested!

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A Type Exclusive: An interview with our new reporter Tabitha Riley

 

Tabby is a new writer for our little online paper, and she’ll be continuing her very popular column, Miss Twisted Thinks. Tabby, thanks for joining us today. 

 

How did you get into writing?

Well, I’d always wanted to be a writer. I studied in Brighton, writing for the student newspaper. Then I got an internship, then another, and I ended up at the Guardian…well, since then I’ve been working freelance, working on my blog, and now I’m here.

 

Tell us more about your blog, Miss Twisted Thinks.

Well, it’s a mixture of confusion and rage, really. A mixture of reviews, thoughts on feminism, and, well…cake.

 

How do you spend your time when you’re not writing?

Well, I spend a lot of time hanging out with my housemate, Rhi, and my best friend Chandra. Chandra’s into trying out cocktail bars in London, and Rhi’s more about old man pubs. Once a month, we make sure we have a Nothing Day, where we completely disconnect, and just veg out on the sofa, watching boxsets and drinking wine. It’s fabulous.

 

How are you finding the transition from freelance to The Type?

Well, everyone’s been very supportive. My editor is really good at identifying all the problems in my work and seems to enjoy throwing them in my face. (I’m also very good at identifying your excellent work- Ed.) But I’m having a great time.

 

Any big plans over the summer?

Well, I’m heading up to my mother’s wedding in an Essex Manor House over the summer. It should be…quite the affair. Especially seeing as she’s marrying a guy who was two years above me at school. 

 

Sounds interesting! Thanks for answering our questions, Tabby, and welcome to The Type team!

 

If you like the sound of Tabby, why not find out more about her in The Last Word?

 

 

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On Developing a Thick Skin: The Writer’s Task

 

You’ve slogged away at a book, you’ve received a publishing deal, or have put the effort into self publishing. You’ve written blog posts, updates, tweeted, talked everyone’s ears off about it, and you want people to buy it.

 

But what about when people do actually read it? What about when they review it? I hadn’t really thought about this part up until now, so focused on trying to drum up interest, secure reviewers and bloggers, that I didn’t think about what would happen when I get my first (inevitable) bad review.

 

How can you respond to the idea that someone doesn’t like what you’ve made? Well, in an ideal, rational world you understand that not everyone likes the same things, and you try to ignore it and remain proud of your work. But much as the internet has given us so much, reviews are fast and thick and from everyone. You don’t have to wait for the papers to give you a write up, instead you’re almost overhearing the conversations people are having about your work. 

 

Having looked at other author’s responses to bad reviews, seeing how they’ve almost felt personally attacked, and then had to shake it off, and try and continue, is powerful and admirable. I’m really nervous that a bad review will knock me down from what I’m writing now.

 

Writers (like all artists) are a strange mix of ego and self-doubt. We want to forge forward, secure in the knowledge that we’re making something we like, that has had some good response. That we are justified in doing what we’re doing. But half of us knows that we’re terrible, we’re no good, nothing we create will stand up to judgement, and what’s the bloody point anyway?

 

In these times, it’s good to remember two things: 

 

You’re doing this for you. You wrote your book for you. The process, the outcome, all of that was to make you feel something. Or simply because it was something you needed to do.

 

Also, Fifty Shades of Gray and Twilight are bestsellers. So bollocks to all of it, really.

 

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Regardless of my own personal fear, reviews are welcome (and necessary!) if you want to get a review copy from netgalley- click HERE and if you want to pre-order from Amazon.co.uk, then go ahead. It’s released in ONE WEEK!

 

 

 

 

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My Mum Might Read This…and Other Issues With Writing a Sex Scene

In theory, I have no problem writing sex scenes. The first story I wrote that got any recognition was about a girl having sex with a guy she just met, in a disabled toilet, at her aunt’s funeral. I am not squeamish. But that’s literary fiction. That’s when sex serves a purpose, to show the breaking down of walls, or the attempted escape from reality. Sometimes it’s symbolic of trying to feel alive. I can write sex scenes when they’re symbolic.

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But when I first started writing The Last Word, I had to consider what level I wanted to write at, in terms of sexuality. I’ve read a lot of really explicit stuff, and I’ve read things that fade to black. I tried for somewhere in between. The truth is, sex is weird. It’s a lot of strange mechanics and actions that are difficult to write about, because you have to imbue some sort of passion and emotion. If you’re just writing ‘then her hand goes here’, that gets to the point, but doesn’t make the reader care. Some of the best sex scenes I’ve read come from really old novels, where the build up is the most important thing. And I think that’s true of chick lit too- sex is the pay-off for many chapters’ worth of sexual tension. If you write a book where your love interests are at it before they’ve even interacted at all, well, I’m not really interested. 

 

I suppose that’s a female thing, that we want sex to mean something. That’s a generalisation, but in terms of readers of chick lit, I’d say it’s a safe assumption. Sex should be passionate and engaging and emotional. I couldn’t resist it in this book, that it should become symbolic again. All of my female characters seem to have trust issues, and sex is a form of trust. Letting someone in, being vulnerable, all that character development comes from sex scenes. Plus, I think we have a duty as writers to show what sex is really like. I remember as a teenager watching that Britney Spears movie, Crossroads, when they fade to a sunset after she kisses this topless guy, and thinking: this is clearly not what a first time is like. Doesn’t mean there can’t be love or passion, but awkward and uncomfortable are two big contenders there. And it can be funny, and strange and you can sound different to how you do normally.

 

One of my biggest peeves with Fifty Shades of Gray (of which I have bazillions) was that Christian Gray went from being all stiff upper lip, very ‘proper’ dialogue, to all ‘yeah baby’ in the bedroom. Your characters are still your characters in the sack. Don’t revert to stereotypes just because they’re boinking. Which is clearly not the biggest problem with that book, but was something that jumped out at me.

 

So, I did have trouble, writing the first few sex scenes, and as I got more confident in them,  I explored different situations. Some of them worked, and some of them had to go. One in particular involved such an awful play on words and a reference to oral sex that I actually shouted ‘oh gross’ when I read it through in edits, and scratched it through in red pen five times.

 

Who are your favourite writers who deal with sex scenes, what do you expect from them, and how do you find writing them?

 

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Five Ways to Know If a Creative Project is Worth Your Time

As writers, artists and other creative entrepreneurs, we are often asked to do things for free. Or worse, we’re given ‘opportunities’ that turn out to be free labour. From internships to magazine work, freebies are a part of the creative work environment. But how do you know if you’re wasting your time?

1. You’re Getting Paid

Obviously, you’ll decide if it’s worth it- but if you get paid for what you do, that’s a good sign that it’s worth doing. Not only are you making moolah, but being paid is a legitimising factor. It’s a symbol of professionalism, and a mark of respect. And once someone pays you, the likelihood it they’ll continue, as will others who want your services.

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2.Feedback

There’s a reason facebook is so powerful, and it’s not its addictive quality or ability to pander to nosiness. It’s because of the information it holds. People’s likes and dislikes, their hobbies and preferences matter. And they should matter to you. If you get the chance to get feedback, professional or otherwise- it’s invaluable. It can help you hone your skills, get testimonials which can lead to further work. It’s also useful in marketing because you’ll know what your audience likes, and know where to focus your advertising.

 

3.Contacts

No artist is an island, and the greatest thing we can do is find contacts in our field. They might promote your work, they might pass opportunities your way. They might just be someone who works the same way you do, and can make you feel like you’re not so alone. This artistic life can be a bit lonely, and the more people you know, the easier your life becomes. Just don’t get sucked into trying to attend everything- be as supportive as you can.

 

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4. It’s good advertising.

Sometimes doing a freebie is worth it if it’s going to lead to further work. This summer I’ll be running a Write Here, Write Now writing workshop for kids as part of the Finchley Literary Festival. I’m doing this for free. But the hope is that the kids and parents who attend will know who I am and what I’m about, and know where to find me if they want to do further lessons. It’s also a great chance to give out some flyers, talk to interested people, and generally find out who is in the area. Doing too many of these freebies isn’t advisable, as people tend to think you’re willing to work for free. But the occasional work to get you into a new area, especially when you know people in that field are doing well, is very worth it. 

5. You enjoy it!

 

Sometimes, you won’t get paid for doing what you love, but if you love it, it can be worth it. I ran a creative writing workshop every week where only one child turned up. Technically, it would have been smarter to scrap the workshop and focus on new revenue streams, or writing my book, but I LOVED working with this kid. He was excited and talented and really appreciated the time I spent with him. And that excitement invigorated me in the rest of my work. Sometimes we forget about the joy- it’s a necessary component!

 

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Giving Yourself Permission to Write

Even as a professional writer, taking the time to write feels a bit selfish. Yes, I’ve got a deadline, and yes, it’s a business, but still. I get to sit here and make up stories, and it feels a little self indulgent. I could be doing my laundry, or cleaning the house, or advertising the book. We often take the stance that this is procrastination, and sometimes it is. But other times, it can come from the idea that what we’re doing isn’t worthy of the time we’re spending on it.

Writing is something just for you. In many ways it’s a completely solo activity. Obviously, this isn’t always the case, people write in a group, and share stories, create together, but usually, the process of drawing out a story from within you to on the page, is a personal journey. Learning that the stories you have to tell are relevant and important is necessary to work well. If you think about it in terms of your feelings, regardless of how the work will be received or what others will say- you have a story within you, and you need to get it out. If the story stays untold, unacknowledged, it’s not going to be good for you. It’ll sit forgotten, itching at you. Like many things that reoccur and pop into our heads, nudging us for attention, it’s important to listen to them.

To ignore your artistry is to ignore how you work, and how you feel about it all. I run Writing for Wellbeing Workshops, and these are a fairly new and holistic way of using creativity. It’s thinking about the process and not about the outcome. Obviously, the writing you produced has a part to play, and often you’ll create some beautiful and meaningful work. The reason people come to these workshops is because they feel they need permission to spend the time on their writing, to take a break from their lives for the day, and focus solely on them and their creativity. It’s a brilliant atmosphere, and the hope is that when you finish the day, you’ll take away the sense that writing is good for you, and it’s not selfish to do it, but necessary and helpful to you.

There’s more details on the workshop here, but always try to remember that anything you do has purpose, and you can’t feel guilty about that.

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Blog Hop…’My Writing Process’

 

Thanks to Aurelia B Rowl for nominating me to take part in the My Writing Process blog tour! I’m following up from Aurelia’s brilliant post from last week, which you can see here.

Okay, here goes:

 

What Am I Working On?

I’m currently working on my next novel for Carina UK. It’s a snarky romantic comedy, focused around a woman named Tigerlily James (I love my strange names!) and how she deals with how static her life is. She and her friends have The Misery Dinner once a month where they moan about their lives, but she’s tired of being miserable. Cue love interest, the return of strange friends, terrible exes and lots of shenanigans and navel gazing. At the moment the working title is The Young and Bitter Club, but it might be changing to Unstuck.

 

 

How Does My Work Differ from Others of its Genre?

 

Well, I’m trying to make sure it’s not just a romance story. I like there to be a journey of discovery, something positive in the female characters that comes from them and not their love interest. It has to be about the timing, and realisations, and love, all coming together to move them forward. I find that really inspiring in the work of Sarra Manning and Mhairi Mcfarlane, where it’s not just chick lit, it’s an emotional realisation in the mind of the character.

 

 

Why Do I Write What I Do?

 

Well, the first book I wrote was a coming of age drama, and the novel I was working on before I got the call from the publisher was literary fiction. So I’m not going to limit myself to one genre. I’ve also got a few YA novels and a kids book up my sleeve. But at the moment, I love writing chick lit. It’s fun, less taxing, and you get to design the dream love interest and make other people fall in love with them. It’s pretty much like day-dreaming, at least until the hard work of actually writing the thing comes into action. I’d never really visualised myself writing romance, if anything, my first novel was described as ‘a romance trying to be an anti-romance’. I don’t like fluff, I like attraction, and sarcastic comments, attraction and wit. Some handsome guy turning up with roses is not a romantic hero for me. So getting to play with that is pretty cool.

 

 

How Does My Writing Process Work?

 

Well, I start with the idea, which changes over and over again. Last week, over the course of two days I changed the names of three characters, the visuals of the love interest, the back story, and a whole bunch of other stuff! And once that happens, it starts to click. I write fragments in my notebook, and I’m now onto typing up fragments on my laptop. Nothing in order, nothing necessarily structured or even important, I’m just exploring. When I’ve got enough, I’ll print them out, arrange them, look for what I’m missing, and start typing it all up in order, adding in as I go. 

When I first start, I’m writing to discover, which is why things change. I’m allowing for adaptations, realisations, character development.  Then comes the typing up, changing, and about five rounds of editing! 

All of that seems so far off right now! But I’m chugging away at it so it’s ready for deadline on the 1st May. Terrifying.

 

Next Week: The Blog Hop moves on to two brilliant writers and creatives:

 

Louise Davidson 

 

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Louise Davidson is a writer, free-lance script-reader, dramaturg and PR executive. She graduated from the University of East Anglia and has worked in theatre for the last four years, doing everything from directing to ushering. She has acted as Assistant to the Director on shows such as Uncle Vanya at the Lyric Theatre and Land of Giants as part of the Cultural Olympiad and is a script-reader for Tinderbox Theatre Co. and Accidental Theatre Co. For the last year, Louise has worked in PR, specialising in Arts Marketing and PR. She has written two plays, various flash fiction, and is currently working on a novel.

 Check out her entry here 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Annie Harris

 

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Annie is a 23-year-old actress, theatre producer and blogger living in North London.
 
After graduating from the London College of Music in 2011 with a degree in Musical Theatre, Annie networked her way through the scary, bustling city that is London with a tummy full of caffeine and a backpack full of business cards.
 
Recently, she’s written articles for [Miro Magazine](www.miromagazine.co.uk) and [Youth Arts Online](www.youthartsonline.org), been featured as an incredibly dumpy and spoilt young woman in Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation of the classic Walt Disney film, Cinderella, and has recently dipped her toe into the world of vlogging by becoming a [Youtube Partner](www.youtube.com/missannieharris). 
 
When she’s not busy poking her nose into other people’s lives, you can find Annie tending to her fast-wilting coriander plant, fantasising about taking up pole dance classes, or singing 80’s power ballads in the shower.
 
You can find Annie on Twitter [here](www.twitter.com/ubermagee).