SEPTEMBER – THE BOOK REVIEWS

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September has seen the first reviews and comments on my book Wandering on the Treadmill http://amzn.to/1NQOuBG                    

I am pleased to say that the responses have been really encouraging. I have also had some messages from family and friends who sounded genuinely surprised by the fact they really enjoyed it! Not sure what says but I’m always happy to surprise 🙂

My grandmother (who is ninety-three) was the first person to tell me I would write a novel. I was about twelve at the time. Her review of my book was really important and it arrived when she had been rather poorly. I called to check how she was doing and her response was ‘I’m on chapter three and I cannot stop laughing! I’m up to the bit about the Tuesday knickers.’

According to my mother, who had gone to stay with her, she didn’t put my book down; it really lifted her mood. I’m not sure I need anything else from a review although I did get a message from another reader who was so inspired, she joined a gym and is on her way to better health and fitness!  The idea that my writing has changed lives -albeit in a small way- is worth every second/minute/hour/year it took to write it.

I’m now in the process of completing the first draft of the sequel Wandering Among the Stars. It is not a work of literary genius, but it is as much fun as the first Wander story and if it invokes laughter or inspires the reader in some way, then I am one happy author. Besides, the third book I am working on is a literary masterpiece!

FINALLY AVAILABLE – Wandering on the Treadmill

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After much reading, editing and gnashing of teeth, I have let Wanda out into the world to be judged. Ooh I feel slightly sick 😦

It has taken a while but Wanda Mikos and her gym antics have finally arrived in paperback form. All books are first print so they are really good quality – they don’t have that paper that makes your fingers feel weird!

Anyone who wants a copy, or a good laugh, can click the link. You know you want to! https://www.createspace.com/5448532

The Kindle edition should be ready later this week as I want to change the formatting.

JUNE – WHAT HAPPENED?

last month I received the proof copy of my novel and spent much longer than I thought I would editing it …again! WanderingTreadmill3D

For some reason, in my MSS, Whinnie the pooh has the appropriate spacing but when my book arrived, Whinniethe was sans spacing! (I would like to point out at this time, my novel is not intended for the under fives – it is just a reference :-))

There were other issues and I must say that this months education in publishing has been has been more than a learning curve as it has driven me around the bend! Even the girl who worked on the interior had troubles she had never experienced before.

What did I learn?

  1. Read as much as you can on the site forums – other self-publishers will give you the benefit of their experience and could save you a lot of time.
  2. Don’t be tempted in all the excitement of getting your book out there to publish without seeing a proof copy. I had forgotten to include my author bio.
  3. Write down anything helpful you have learned so you don’t have to start again next time.
  4. Find someone to help with the stuff you cannot do, especially your cover!

 What’s next?

I am currently awaiting my final proof and with luck I can then convert it for Amazon Kindle…yipee!

One thing I had a problem with was the pricing of the book. Createspace kindly give you an idea of what you need to charge for all countries and how much you will receive. Mine came out to be around £9 or $14 which seemed rather steep for a first novel but someone in the forum pointed out that when someone orders your book, they are made to order; most novels on the shelves of bookshops are mass produced and therefore are cheaper to produce. Even famous authors have first run editions which cost more.

My last piece of advice is to let someone else – preferably someone who is good with grammar and editing skills – to read your proof for you. By this point in the proceedings your brain and eyeballs may be processing what you think is there.

So in conclusion, when self-publishing, KEEP CALM AND STICK WITH IT! – Vodka is not the answer…but it helps.Wild Animals Wallpapers HD Free Download -1280x800

Forgot to mention, my writing income for this month was £40. It can only go up 😉

 

MAY – REACHING THE BIG FIVE-O

So May has been and gone in a flash! I’m now 50 years old and still learning something every day about writing and publishing.WanderingTreadmill3D

I am currently awaiting the proof copy of my novel so I can check it for any errors or format issues before giving it the big YES.

Format issues and being in a constant state of ‘eh?’ has meant little time for anything else except ensuring I complete five hundred words a day on my next novel –Wandering Among the Stars.

I have just won £40 for the star letter in a magazine but I can’t count that until the end of June. shame

The chap who engaged my services to write his Biography is currently busy starting a new business so it doesn’t look like that will be counting towards my £3,000 goal either. Oh well, let’s hope my book is a smash and the next few months bring in pots of gold.

I’m nothing if not optimistic 🙂

APRIL –WHERE DID IT GO?

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I cannot believe it is now the end of another month. This has been a stressful time and although I have been writing almost every day, it has mainly been to work on publishing my novel.
I decided to publish this book myself even though I hadn’t sent it out to many agents/publishers – two in fact – I realised that the chance of getting a first novel published would be hard enough but even harder I think for commercial fiction or Chick lit. Maybe once I have sold millions of copies, the agents/publishers will come looking for me!

I have chosen https://www.createspace.com to publish my book and they have made it fairly straight forward but I think I am going to get my cover professionally designed; it is after all the first impression. I am attempting to format my novel myself as formatting – and chocolate – seems to be my nemesis. Once I have completed the whole process, I will blog about my experience in the hope it will help others to not make the same mistakes as I did. Plus I can hopefully pass on some tips.

My other main project this month has been in the garden. I have been growing my own vegetable and fruit for the first time. Grow Your Own magazine have not got back to me yet regarding my article proposal but I did write them a letter about how I am making mini vegetable gardens and they emailed to request that they use the photograph I attached. My letter should be published in the July issue. They don’t pay for letters but do give the winning letter £40 worth of vouchers to spend in a garden centre. If I win, I am going to count this in my £3,000 word target.20150418_113621(1)

Oh and those of you who read my previous blog, which included writing for Textbroker, I still haven’t had my writing sample checked yet! This must be about two months ago. I am going to attempt some other broker sites again now that I have a little more time. I have joined http://www.iwriter.com/ and https://uk.fiverr.com/ but haven’t had much time to write for them yet.

So, in conclusion, in April my total writing income amounted to …Nothing! Oh well, I am optimistic this will change soon.

Happy writing everyone!

POST CRITIQUE – A Better Ending

I have finally finished the re-write of my first novel – Wandering on the Treadmill . Spending money to have it professionally critiqued was worth every penny.

I began writing my first book about five years ago on a net book on my dressing table. 2012-11-11 13.44.34

My critique informed me of all the things I did right: like ending every chapter at a point where the reader will want to read on and how she liked my main character, but she also suggested I change some scenes and make the antagonist nastier.

What I realised during the re-write, was how lazy I had become towards the end of the book. I think I was so glad to get to finish that I rushed it.

The end result of a month of changing characters, scenes and storyline is a funnier and more dramatic story that has well-rounded characters and a satisfying ending. It is also a great lead into my next ‘Wanda’ story which is well on the way.

I will definitely be using a professional critique service for my next project. They are all-knowing, all-seeing beasts who can transform your rather average prose into something magnificent.

Has anyone else discovered how much their story improved after a thorough critiquing?

March- Progress check

This month has been slightly stressful – two dogs on 24hr watch can sap a lot of writing time and a serious amount of energy! Excuses aside, I am a couple of weeks behind my schedule this month but I have engaged in some lateral thinking and managed to write whenever and wherever I can. This has included sitting on my front step whilst the dogs get some fresh air. 20150323_07001420150319_135439

Having a To Do list every week and being able to look at what is coming up regarding competitions, deadlines etc on a wall calendar has been motivating and well worth the time. 2015-03-31 14.08.26

My meeting regarding the Biography was cancelled and has been rearrange. I have almost finished the final edit on my novel and have been making notes for my Rookie Gardener article. This, unfortunately, is the sum total of my achievements this month writing-wise but I will be ramping it up for April.

Total income from writing this month – Zero, Nil, £0, Nothing!

I have learned a lot more about writing for the web though. There are opportunities out there for those with talent and a little drive. That will be me!

Next month I am hoping to be in a position to publish my novel, so I had better get my butt in gear and get on with it.

How successful was February?

Another month has passed in a blur of editing, submitting material and learning about earning from writing through broker websites.2014-02-13 19.44.40-4

At the moment it is an uphill climb but I will push on regardless. So let’s take a look at what I did this month to get me nearer to my goal of £3,000.

1. Found a free short course on twitter from Maggie Linders about making money from your writing. It ran over about five days and she even tweeted me to wish me luck and let her know if I had any questions. The course was really useful and I downloaded her e-book for additional information ( “Freelance Writing Riches: From Earning Immediate Income to Replacing Your Day Job”)
– all helpful! Thanks Maggie

2. Edited and sent off a short stage play for a competition run by The Windsor Fringe.

3. I have recently decided to grow my own fruit and vegetables with the help of Grow Your Own magazine. I have made notes of my progress under the title The Rookie Gardener and thought it might make a good article for their magazine. After searching their website and magazine pages, I wasn’t sure if they considered submissions so I bit the bullet (really must sort out those clichés) and rang one of the editors, who was really helpful and sounded interested in my idea. Hoorah – I’m so brave.

4. I joined Textbroker and submitted a writing sample but they let you know it could take a few weeks to get back to you. The money for writing articles is pants to begin with but will provide a chance to work on my writing skills.

5. Last month I mentioned joining Viviac – The site where you can get paid for completing surveys, undertaking tasks and writing articles. I submitted my writing sample and was awarded a level 4 – which I think is as high as you can get for the sample – but since then I have checked for writing jobs every day for weeks and there hasn’t been one. I am going to give this site up as it is not worth the effort. An hour of work on some of the tasks will bring your growing profit up by a whole ten pence! Not for me thanks.

6. Have been asked for a quote to finish a biography so I will include that in next month.

As well as the above, I am on the final edit of my novel and hope to get this finished by the end of March.

To all struggling writers, good luck, don’t give up and be brave!

Nearly forgot, total income for February £0 – Not good but I am just setting thing up for later in the year.

 

My Year in Books – Gone Girl

As a writer, I couldn’t help but read the hype from the literary world about this New York Times best selling novel from Gillian Flynn.

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Gone Girl is one of the best—and most frightening—portraits of psychopathy I’ve ever read. Nick and Amy manipulate each other—with savage, merciless and often darkly witty dexterity. This is a wonderful and terrifying book about how the happy surface normality and the underlying darkness can become too closely interwoven to separate.

Tana French, New York Times bestselling author of Faithful Place and Into the Woods

The story is told by two unreliable narrators, Nick and Amy Dunne. Amy goes missing on the day of their fifth anniversary and the evidence shows she is probably dead.

As the story unfolds and further evidence is revealed,  Nick becomes the main suspect.

 

My friend had raved to me about how excellent this book was so I downloaded it to my Kindle, tucked myself into bed and began to read.

Half way through the book I found myself skimming to try and get to a good bit.
This wasn’t what I had been expecting. I felt no connection, sympathy or empathy for the main characters therefore I couldn’t give a flying poo what happened to either of them.

I was reassured, by the same friend, that it would improve and I couldn’t deny the excellent prose of Gillian Flynn. If nothing else, I would learn how to be a better writer from this author.

Did it get better in the second half? Yes it did!  The story took on a different form: in the first half of the book the constant change of point of view from Nick to Amy jarred the story flow for me, but it came together in the second half. I rather enjoyed their twisted relationship.

In conclusion, this book did not grip me as much as I had hoped but there is no doubt about the writing talent of Gillian Flynn. Would I choose to read another book by this author? Yes I would.

What did you think?

 

 

IT’S TIME TO TOT IT UP FOR JANUARY

 

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We are at the end of January and I have been working harder than normal , but is it enough?

My goal to earn £3,000 from writing is probably ridiculous but if I had decide on a more reasonable sum of £500, the chance of procrastinating until July would be very real. I work well to a deadline but can be faulted to leaving the majority of the work to the last week or so. The higher amount could not possibly be left to half way through the year so it is a constant bum-kick for me.

So how have I done so far?

JANUARY TOTAL – £70.43

£64 from ghost writing a biography. The client heard I was a writer and wasn’t happy with the person who was currently writing it for him. Hopefully this will continue next month.

£6.43 I joined Viviac. This requires working on tasks etc before you can actually write articles and the money is not good but you can easily fit it in any spare time you have.

I have also sent off a proposal to a dog magazine. I have read several issues and analysed the articles. I have also checked they accept submissions from freelance writers. Wish me luck!