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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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Creating for You versus Creating for Them : How Having a Publisher Makes a Difference

 

I had a creative meltdown a few weeks ago. I was boiling under the pressure of a deadline, a new book coming out, an essay deadline, and the possibility of starting another new novel. I’m ashamed to say I freaked out. I fell into every writerly cliche possible- I’m no good, I’m terrible, I need to get a nine-to-five, why would anyone publish me?

 

The book wasn’t working, the pacing was off, the characters were sketchy. I stalled. And I realised the issue was this: my first two novels, I wrote for fun. I wrote them for me. Either because I had something that needed to be said, or because I enjoyed the process.

When you write for someone else (a publisher/an agent), no matter how lovely and understanding they are, there’s a fear of judgement. The fear that they’ve taken a chance on you, and it’s no good. A chance you were a one hit wonder and they’ll let you down easy.

 

After some advice from a good friend (who’s both a writer and a publisher) I realised the truth was there all along- I needed to do it for fun. If I stop writing at the end of the day and feel satisfied, with both the word count and the fun time I’ve had, then I’m probably good. It’s the opposite to almost every other work experience I’ve had, where usually I know I’m doing well if my brain hurts.

 

So who do you write for? What do you write for? To feel good, to feel important, as play? To make money, to impress people, to have a finished article? I’m currently studying the importance of creative writing as a therapeutic process, and that’s the point I was missing- sometimes, if you focus on the process, the outcome will work itself out.

 

With that said, I’m off to write!

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Ten Things Writers Need to Know To Keep Upbeat

  • Yes, your current WIP might be rubbish right now. And that’s okay. No-one shits gold. Give yourself a break, keep plugging away at it. Rubbish written down is better than genius never created. You’re doing something, keep going.

 

  • Someone, somewhere will like what you’re doing. There is something for everyone, people are varied and random and have all different tastes. This is not to say you shouldn’t edit, or work harder, or be humble. But trust that if you like it, someone on this massive planet probably will too.

 

  • This brings me to the third realisation. People who are worse writers than you have publishing deals. They have agents. They occasionally create million dollar franchises based on moody teenage vamps or bondage. Some days, this can be depressing. Seeing five star ratings for something that makes you want to bang your head against a wall can be difficult. But flip the argument- if they can do it, you definitely can.

 

  • 50% of writing is marketing. If you want to get anywhere you need a solid understanding of blogging, twitter, readers and how to reach people. Do I particularly like that it works that way? Nope, but times are changing. If you’re writing, talk to people who might become readers. 

 

  • 50% of writing is ACTUALLY WRITING. Yes, social media matters. So does online presence, author profiles and all that other stuff. BUT, you are a writer because you write. There is no point having a great following, with people eager to read your stuff when you have nothing to present to them. That’s just a waste of great marketing.

 

  • Stop talking about your work. No, okay, I know that clashes with number 4. Reveal bits, ask questions, put up quotes. But your WIP is In Progress for a reason. I know talented writers who have been talking about the same book they’ve been planning to write for years. If you’re not writing it, eventually someone else will come up with the same idea. So get to it. The more you talk about it, the less you’re focusing on it. Writing is internal- keep your work safe until you’re confident in it.

 

  • Talk to other writers. Not necessarily about your work, but about your process, about how you find writing. Hell, sometimes you don’t have to talk about writing at all, but finding someone who shares that passion is important. I love having friends call up to discuss a plot point, or texting a writer friend when I’ve finally fixed a developmental character issue. It’s nice to be part of a group.

 

  • Check your ego. Ego is a funny thing when it comes to writing. You need enough of it to keep you going, but you also need to reign it in. Why? Well, for starters you become an arsehole who no-one wants to hang around with, but mostly because if you start believing you’re a writing genius, nothing you do will live up to your own expectations.

 

  • Think about why you started writing. Are you doing this just for the publishing deal? Or would you be writing anyway? Do you love what you do, does it relax you? Are you so wrapped up in your characters and stories that it brings you joy? If you’re only doing it to try and make a quick buck, well sorry Bud, this ain’t the life for you.

 

  • What would you do if you weren’t writing? If you packed it all in, stuck the WIP in a drawer, and never looked back- what would you be doing right now? Would it be as fulfilling? Would it change anything? Would it be creative? Give yourself some time to do these things, but hopefully it makes you realise that you wouldn’t be you if you weren’t writing.

 

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How to Write More in 2014

 

So, who made a new years resolution to write more? Are you working on new projects, or you just want to get yourself back in the habit? I’ve jumped into 2014 with the realisation that I have about three months (thought I’m desperately begging my publisher otherwise!) to finish the next novel. Now, considering I had absolutely NOTHING, I almost freaked out. And then I got writing. So maybe a little pressure is a good thing!

Here’s a couple of ideas me and some friends are working on to increase our writing this year:

Writing in a different environment. I work from home, and as much as I love it, things can get a bit samey. Some writers will tell you routine is key, and I’m not going to argue with them. But a different environment to shake it up can really get your writing going! Natalie Goldberg, in Writing Down the Bones, suggests going to a cafe to write. Make sure there’s comfy seats, it’s not crazy busy, and you’re actually hungry! Plus, if you’re taking up a table for a while, make sure you tip well! I went to Drink Shop Do in Kings Cross, which is my favourite London cafe so far. I went in knowing I wanted to write, and came out knowing my characters and rough plot! Inject some life into your writing routine! Plus, treating yourself to a decent snack never hurt the senses, did it?

Writing Together. My friend (and writer and blogger and publisher extraordinaire) Sara Veal and I have decided to have writing dates. We take turns picking a venue, sit together, write for a while, break and have a chat, write for a while, and so on. Probably until I drink wine and end up too drunk to write! Hemmingway, I am not. 

Talk About It… This is what I absolutely love about having friends in the same field. I can chat to my friend Louise Davidson (scriptwriter and drama genius) about what I’m up to, and she’ll get it! I got a text the other day saying she fixed a plot twist and felt like a genius. And I got it! Those little fiddly bits of writing, where you can spend hours trying to sort something really simple, can drive you mad and it’s great to have some support!

But Also Be About It… This doesn’t mean everyone wants to hear the whole plot of your novel. In fact, I’d avoid doing that. Firstly, because if you’re taking up a whole conversation with a play by play, no-one’s going to appreciate your company, and no-one’s going to buy your book! Also, it tends to make it a bit dry when you come to write it. So, share your enthusiasm, your progress, you irritations, but this is your story. If you’re not going to write it, there’s no point talking about it. Get to it!

Stationary- I don’t know about you, but buying a new notebook for a project really gets me excited! It took me forty five minutes in Paperchase to choose the right one the other day. #writerproblems

Don’t Get Ahead of Yourself- Not to get all business-speak on you, but the problem with most excellent writers is that they don’t have a product. Talk the talk, blog, get excited, make contacts, look up publishers…but you need something to show them! Don’t make promises on what you think you can do- just do it! Lock yourself down and get going!

Read! I know a lot of writers who don’t read whilst they’re writing a book, incase it distracts them from their story. To each their own, but if you’re not reading fiction, then you should at least be looking at blogs, newspapers and just keeping engaged with the world. If we’re retreating into our own minds for sufficient periods of time, it’s good to get back into the world every now and then. Ideas come from within, but inspiration comes from the external world. The more you see, read and experience,the more you’re likely to get ideas!

Trust your process– You might not write every day. You might write when you feel like it. Some days may bring pages, others may have one great idea. If you know how and when you work best, trust that it works for you! We all work differently, and as they say, comparison is the thief of joy! Trust that you do this because you enjoy it, so make it enjoyable for you!

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I wish you all a creative and inspiring 2014! Please do follow my twitter @almichael and my facebook Author Page to keep up to date with the release of my ‘snarky chick lit’ novel The Last Word being published by Carina UK in the coming months! You’ll be hearing more about it soon! 

Plus, be aware of my East London Literary Festival Words With Edge