Sunday, 26 June 2016

The book is dead, long live the book.

But like the royal family, you need new blood or you end up with a tendency to be related by more than marriage. And so it is with publishing, with the new blood here being indie or boutique house publishing. It’s not better, it’s not worse, it’s just different.
With more and more well-known authors opting to self-publish, the stigma on this is fading and yet the process isn’t so far removed from the traditional model. Self-published books are still edited, professionally typeset and have cover designs that win awards. Yes, there are a few horrors out there, but the majority are every bit as good and sometimes even better, than those you’ll see in bookstores.

Publishing, like all businesses, is in the business of making money and the easiest way to do this is to sell block busters; millions of copies of the one book. The downside for readers, if they only buy from a bricks and mortar bookshop, is that they have fewer books to choose from.
So, if you fancy adding a little ‘Harry’ to your library, check out the much maligned indie author. Who knows you could just discover a Prince Charming of a book

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

So, what's your book about?

We’ve all been asked this question.

A lot of us have answered with “Ummm, well it’s, ah …” After this we’ll ramble on vaguely for far too long, leaving the person asking none the wiser for all the words we’ve just thrown at them. In my case, no two answers are ever the same.

However, this simple question is surprisingly difficult to answer. How much is too much? How little leaves your potential reader floundering? The idea is to sell the essence of the book; to give them enough to pique their interest and leave them wanting more.

There are plenty of theories as to what constitutes a good pitch. ‘Fifty words in 30 seconds’ is often touted as the perfect balance of content over brevity. But what I’m talking about here isn’t a pitch in the true sense. You’re not trying to get a publisher to accept your manuscript, you’re trying to get one person interested enough to know more about your book and to then go on to buy it.

Big difference given how few words.

It’s an exercise that the writers’ group I belong to has been grappling with recently. We’ve now completed two rounds and we all admit we’ve still got work to do with the amount of crafting required far outweighing the small number of words involved.

At our last get together we realized that 30 seconds was too long, with listeners glazing over. We’re now looking at one, pithy, sentence and not too long a one at that. Here’s my latest for Dietvale, the comic horror I’m currently working on. 

So, Andrene, what’s your book about?”

“It’s one woman’s journey from lard arse to kick arse while on a diet of B-List Celebs.”

I’m closer than I was, but I’ve still got more work to do.

Once I’ve finalised that, I can move onto a longer piece that goes into greater detail but that doesn’t give the whole plot away because we’re still talking about a lot less than the Reader’s Digest condensed version.

So, what’s your book about?

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

My dirty little secret

I admit it; I read chicklit, the porn of the literary world. I try to gussy it up by calling it ‘Women’s Fiction’, which technically it is, being fiction for women, and all. Unfortunately, people aren’t fooled for a moment.

But in my defence, I actually enjoy reading books that don’t stress me, that don’t depress me, that don’t make me sad. The last thing I need after a long day at work is a book that’s going to have me emotionally on edge (read miserable) or fighting to concentrate with the few brain cells still left in one piece.
That’s not to say I don’t read challenging literary offerings, but oh they can be hard work and it’ll take days for my psyche to recover. As an author, I fully appreciate the work that’s gone into them and the beauty of the words, but can I relax with one under a tree, on the beach or in bed at night?
Not without Valium.
Goodreads and a lot of review sites are chock full of books that would have you believing that reading only really counts if it’s an effort. I totally get that bad things happen to good people, but because I immerse myself in books when I read them, I live through the horror, the sadness and the grief and these emotions invade my sanctuary, laying it bare.
That’s not my idea of entertainment and I’m not alone in feeling this.
It’s just that people who read chicklit, romance, fantasy or the like tend to keep quiet about it. They don’t post reviews, or mark something as ‘to be read’, worried what others will think of them. That they’ll somehow be marked as frivolous and not as intelligent as you’d like.
So it remains their/my/our dirty little secret. The only redeeming thing is that so many of us share this shameful habit. 
If we look at the US market alone, the estimated annual total sales value of romance in 2013 was $1.08 billion (source: BookStats).
That’s a lot of reading under the covers.
Romance accounts for 13% of the adult fiction market (source: Nielsen Books & Consumer Tracker, BISAC Romance), with romance book buyers being 30–54 years old (41%; source: Nielsen Romance Buyer Survey for RWA).
Suddenly I’m not feeling so lonely.
So, next time you finish a lighter offering rather than sliding it into a plain brown paper bag and dropping it in the nearest clothing bin, leave a review. Out yourself as a ‘Lover of Light Lit’ and stand proud.  You are not alone!
Hmmmm, I might have to get some badges made, secret handshake, special cocktail …

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Where to from here

As those of you who follow me on twitter and facebook will know, I recently submitted the first draft of book number two "Mounted & Hung" to my publishers for their consideration.

I can't work out if this is more or less nerve-wracking than when I sent the first book off to them.

Less nerve-wracking is actually knowing the person at the other end, whereas I'm now paranoid that the level of writing in this book isn't as good as the first. But I think that simply is paranoia. Maybe because I haven't had to sweat so much blood on this book. That's not because I haven't cared, but simply because I learned so much during the first book and some of that has definitely stuck.

Only time will tell. But I will update you when I hear from Rebel.

I'm not sure if I'll be back on here this side of Christmas, and so I'd like to wish everyone a happy Christmas and a fabulous New Year.

Let's do this again in 2015.


Friday, 14 November 2014

7 Lovely Facts Blog Tour

I’ve been tagged by Cat Connor in the 7 Lovely Facts Blog tour.

"The next blogger, on the tour is supposed to list seven interesting facts that case a new light on the blogger him/herself." And then they're required to share some blog links of blogs they read. The final act is to pick on someone else and tag them.

Hmmm, thank you so much for this, ah, honour, Cat. I hope to repay you one day. Ten-fold!

Thinking up lovely facts about myself, is counterintuitive. I stutter when asked to list my strengths in job interviews. Apparently making a good coffee doesn’t count.
But I’ll give it a whirl.
It would seem I’m generous. Well accordingly to my credit card statement I am. Shame shoes aren’t tax deductible like the charities I support. Unless? Note to self. Feature designer shoes in next book.
People tell me I’m loyal. But they’re my friends, they’re meant to say that. Aren’t they? What if they’re just being kind? Breaths deeply from paper bag before carrying on. What the hell, I’ll take it. I’ve still got 5 to go.
I’m kind to animals to the degree that Jasmine, my cat, damn near holds #1 spot in the household. I’ll also only eat free-range bacon, eggs and chicken. I’m not staunch enough to go vegetarian though.
While I’m a lazy arse when it comes to doing stuff for myself, I have endless energy when it comes to doing things for others. Witness the community of dust bunnies currently lurking behind the fridge.
I’ll share chocolate, right down to the last piece.
Two more! God forbid. Maybe I can split that one about Jasmine and bacon? Yep. That’s two in my world.
When people ask me to complete list thingees like this, I only bitch a little bit rather than tell them to bugger off.
Cat, you definitely owe me chocolate for this. Lots of it. On the upside, you now know I’ll share it with you.

Here are some blogs I read:

I feel really guilty about tagging the next person (Oooh, I’m empathetic too. That makes 8 doesn’t it?) but I guess if I don’t, the Blog Tour will die. I therefore nominate Wendy Lester who’s currently got her plate full with an exceptionally early Christmas (due to family travelling over the silly season) and who’s also being kind enough to read an early draft of my novel “Mounted & Hung”. God forbid, now I feel really guilty!

Monday, 24 February 2014

So close I can smell it ...

Definitely feel as though I'm getting closer to This Girl's Abroad finally being out of my head and in the marketplace. I've made it to the "Coming Soon" page on the Rebel e-Publishers website and that has made it all feel very real.

I'm working on my bio and tidying up the synopsis for when the book goes live.

The bit I'm dreading the most is the head shot. I'm photo-phobic with a vengeance. Someone only has to produce a camera for my eyes to half close in readiness for blinking in time with the flash, my mouth drops making me look bloody miserable and I generally look as though rigor mortis is threatening to take over. Basically every photo looks like a passport shot.

I'm hoping the photographer is aware of all those tricks that help stretch out crows' feet, that flatten wrinkles and pummel crinkles. A bull-dog clip on the back of my neck might help. It's either that or wear a push up bra with enough padding that my boobs block out any age-related faults in my neck and jawline. Necklace! What necklace?

Thank god for friends who have amazing re-touching skills. I'm going to be so airbrushed that my head shot will look more like a painting than a photo. I'm going to be wind-tunnelled to hell and back.

Watch this space.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Paint on, paint off ...

Bit quiet on the writing front of late. Been getting the house ready for sale. This has meant a lot of time on the end of a paint brush. Unfortunately up the top of a ladder rather than in front of an easel. 

End is in sight though and then I'll be eager to write the scenes forming in my head whilst I've been bunging holes, sanding and painting.

On the upside, I did manage the almost final alts on This Girl's Abroad. That MS is now off for reading by three friends and formatting and proofing by editor.

Writing I'm talking about above is for the second book in the series.