books

3 Things You Need To Create The Perfect Gothic Story With @Icysedgwick

Gothic TalesOver the next month or so I am trying to finish my book so I can do the underwear eating exercise of handing my book baby to beta readers, *gulp*. I wanted to keep to two posts a week, but couldn’t with all the extra writing. So a few lovely friends have offered to step in and take the reigns for some of the posts. Be nice, play gentle and happy clappy rounds of applause please.

Today the lovely Icy Sedgwick, who came to the Bloggers Bash 2016 is talking to us about an area of her expertise: gothic stories. Icy is studying a PhD in film studies looking at space in haunted houses, so she really does know a thing or two about this.

If you want to know some neat little tricks to perfecting gothic tales, check out Icy’s tips below: (more…)

13 Things I Learnt From Completing Draft Two of My Novel

draft twoWhen I wrote THE END on my second draft of Keepers, I cried. Just two tears mind, I am dead inside after all.

I cried because it was the end of more than just a marathon of RSI, obscenely late nights and incessant tapping that drove my wife to distraction. It felt like I had achieved my first real step towards freedom and the life I really want because a) I’d completed something real and tangible, all 72108 words were staring back at me like tiny dancing stick men.

And b) because I knew, this time, unlike my first draft, it wasn’t a total pile of turd.

After my two lonely tears rapidly dried up, I glanced at the clock on my laptop. The time blinked back at me, it read 1:04am. I’d sat and written 4025 words in the last 3.5 hours without moving. I was gobsmacked, that was four days worth of writing. In. One. Go.

Something told me to check the date. So I did. August 20th. I frowned. That rang a bell. I checked the post I wrote after completing my first draft. To my utter bewilderment, I completed my first draft the previous year on August 20th at 1:04am. If you don’t believe me, check the post.

It’s a beautiful thing, synchronicity. Perhaps I should publish it at 1:04am on the 20th August next year!

Here’s 13 things I learnt writing this draft. (more…)

9 Ways to Help You Find Your Readers Part II

find your audienceLast week I talked through the first five of nine ways you as authors can use to find your readers.

These were all lessons I’d learnt from a pile of marketing books I’d read over the last month. The post was too long to have it all in one blog, so here are the second half of the ‘ways’.

The first five ways included:

  • Defining your audience
  • Connecting in a meaningful way
  • Strategising your social media usage
  • Being your own fan
  • Advertising

You can see the details of those ways here.

(more…)

9 Ways to Help You Find Your Readers Part I

find your audienceAs writers we play the infinitely difficult Where’s Wally of reader spotting. But locating those pesky readers is more tortuous than tweezing your granddads nasal hair, and yet, it is THE most important thing we do.

As I draw nearer to handing my book to beta readers, the prospect of completing it, having to press publish and my labour of love subsequently disappearing into the utterly saturated Amazon rainforest of books, never to be seen again, is becoming frighteningly real.

In an attempt to prevent the only people buying my book being mumsy and wifeypoos, I read 3 marketing books last month:

Joanna Penn’s How to Market a Book

Nick Stephenson’s Supercharge Your Kindle Sales

And Tim Grahl’s Your First 1000 Copies 

The whole point of my blog is to share what I learn on this sanity testing journey to authordom and what did I learn? Well, I’m resolute on the fact finding your readers will always be the holy grail of authorlyness and because it’s the holy grail, not all of us will find it. BUT, I also learnt a whole heap of other neat tricks to help us along the way, as well as finding an answer to the 64 bergillion dollar question, should an author blog…?

I learnt a shit ton of stuff, so I’ve split this post into two.

So here are 9 ways to help you find your audience, this week I bring you way one to five. (more…)

How To Give Your Readers A Book Hangover in 3 Easy Steps

Book HangoverWriting a book is a form of torture, I swear. Between the paralysing self-doubt, the voices constantly screaming in your head and the genuine addiction to playing God late into the night, it is without doubt, a form of torture.

But despite all that, when you see the results or hear of a reader sobbing at 3am because you killed bunnikins the third and all his fluffy bunnywabbit babies, it makes it all worth while.

We’ve all been there: unable to see the page for the hysterical tears, or laughing so hard you drop the book and lose your page. Or the ultimate – been given a book hangover by the latest series you binge read.

As authors, that’s exactly what we want to do our readers: hook em’, shake em, change em’, and set them free again.

The key to a hangover, is being able to change a reader, but in order to achieve that change, we need to drag them into the heart of our story. Which means, we need to know what the heart of our story is in the first place. (more…)

7 Things You Need To Know to Master Your Genre’s Book Cover

Book coverI’m not shallow…But I definitely judge a book by its cover.

Shit. That makes me shallow doesn’t it?

Ah well, fuck it. At least I can admit it.

I’ve been thinking about marketing a LOT recently. Minus a total meltdown last week and a decision to bin (and subsequently re-write the last 30K of my book), I am still on track to send my book-baby to beta readers on 30th September.

Being the incessant 5 steps-a-head planner that I am, it means my mind is on marketing, book covers and that big ol’ scare-the-shitsicles-out-of-you decision: Do I run the poison, trap-infested gauntlet to a publishers door? Or drown in the overly saturated ‘Amazon’ rainforest of books as an indie? As it happens, I’ve finally made my mind up, but I’ll leave that for another post.

Book covers are without doubt, THE most important marketing decision you’ll make. Fuck it up, and you can watch your readers Foxtrot Oscar into the sunset, never to return to your bookshelf! So, I’m sharing my research and the lessons I’ve learnt in preparing to have my book cover designed. (more…)

The Best Editing Trick I Ever Learnt

Editing TrickEditing is a bitch. I’ve written about the differences between editing and revising before. But my dear friend Ali recently taught me one of the best, most practically useful lessons I’ve ever learnt when it comes to editing.

See, for a long time, I wrote, linearly, and then when I finished, I went back to the start and edited.

That’s good. But no matter how many times I did it, I still found a shit-tillion mistakes. Which resulted in a sort of crazed, goggle eyed, fuzzy haired – I’m going to commit arson on my manuscript – type look. It wasn’t pretty, my hairs curly enough thanks.

So, I listened to Ali and started tweaking the method to suit me. I’m going to share this editing trick with you, and hopefully it will help you to clean up your scripts too. (more…)

3 Tactics To Make You A More Productive Writer

productivityDo you ever sit down at your desk/sofa/perch with the full intention of having an awesome writing session, only to look up at the clock, see it’s 11pm and realise you’ve written the sum total of, fuck all?

Well, me too.

But I’m trying to change that. After a catastrophic May, in which I managed approximately 3 WIP words, I decided June had to change.

I got books to write people. Wasting a month, no matter how many of those hours were spent on Bash stuff, just ain’t good enough.

But I don’t just want to write faster. I know what me writing faster looks like – a garbled shitstorm of gobbledycrap. And that ain’t helpful to anybody’s novel.

Instead, I approached this tactically. Here are 3 tactics I’ve employed to write quality words, faster. (more…)

8 Ways to Maximise Your Book Series

8 maximiseThere’s this trend… I’ll try not to be skeptical, actually who am I kidding I’m always skeptical. This trend involves finishing your novel series, whether its a trilogy or ten book epic and then promptly…unfinishing them… to make money because there’s more story to tell.

Take Veronica Roth and the Divergent series. She finished her books and then did a whole spin off series based on the character Four. She wrote shorts, novels and all kinds of other crazy empire expanding nonsense and of course the fans all loved it.

I hadn’t even considered writing more than my planned number of books for my Fallon series as an option. But then I read James Howell’s latest book, Guinea Pigsand realised I’m half way there anyway and I haven’t even published the first book.

So here’s some tricks on maximising your book series empire inspired by Howell’s latest book. (more…)

The Great Horror Hoax – How to REALLY Harness A Readers Fear

horror hoaxI’m terrified of spiders. I know. So cliched. If it helps, I am also terrified of boats – although the reasoning behind that is a little foggier given I swim like a fish – I must have drowned in a past life.

I had a date night recently and we happened to watch a film: London has Fallen. It gave me somewhat of an epiphany watching it. Horror in its most basic ‘blood and gore’ sense, is changing.

As a kid, I thought sword fights and giant spiders were terrifying. Granted kids find a lot of things scary but it wasn’t that long ago that adults cowered behind the sofa over the Blob, which barely caused me to raise an eyebrow recently, and only because it was that bad!

So why then, did I find this cheesy American action film only rated 15, so horrifying?

It’s because, horror, like society, is evolving. It’s thrown off its red paint blood shackles and picked up terrorism and child napping instead. We can learn a few lessons from it that can be woven into ANY type of genre. (more…)