Blog, books, Bristol

Books: Reading, New, and Free!

I’ve been so busy with my university course (you can find out more about that here) I’ve barely had a chance to read anything apart from text books since the summer. I’ve borrowed so many books on Thomas Hardy, H.E.Bates and more from Gloucestershire University’s library I’ll have to transport them back in shifts!

With two assessments due in this week, I’ve sadly neglected this blog, but from today things are going to change. Term ends on Friday this week, so I’m hoping to have lots of time for tinkering with this site. If you can think of any improvements, please let me know.

This week began with some great news. At long last I have a publication date for my non-fiction book,  Struggle and Suffrage—Women’s Lives in Bristol. It’ll be released on 28th February 2019. That feels like a lifetime away, but it’s only just over eleven weeks.

Here’s the blurb…

It’s freezing, pitch black, and silent- apart from the sound of rats under the bed your wheezing children share. Snow has blown in under the door overnight. Fetching all the water you need from the communal well will be a slippery job today. If your husband gives you some money, your family can eat. If not, hard luck. You’ll all have to go hungry. Welcome to the life of a Victorian woman living in one of Bristol’s riverside tenements.

I’ve had a go at creating an Amazon link, so you can buy with one click. Here it is—please let me know if it works for you!

 

books, fiction, Heart Of A Hostage, Princes Of Kharova, Romance, The Wild Rose Press

This Writing Life—Heart Of A Hostage

Coming soon!

Here’s the newly-produced cover of my twentieth published novel. What do you think? Heart Of A Hostage is the third book in my Princes of Kharova series for the Wild Rose Press.

Mihail inherits a fearsome reputation as Public Enemy Number One. His family lost the throne of Kharova four generations ago—but in the small European country of Kharova, blood feuds last for centuries.

A car breaks down near his rebel headquarters, stranding its beautiful royal passenger. Mihail seizes the chance to take Princess Maia hostage. It’s his perfect short-cut to the throne—or so he thinks.

Maia turns out to be the house guest from hell, and Mihail is a man with dark secrets locked away in his ruined castle hideaway. When Maia discovers what they are, the stakes rise and an already dangerous situation becomes lethal…

There’s a big secret at the centre of Heart Of A Hostage, but I’m only revealing that to readers of my newsletter! The autumn edition will be coming out in October.  As well as a revelation about Heart Of A Hostage, my newsletter will  also contain details of my latest short story, My Dream Guy, together with a seasonal recipe, news about the harvest here at Tottering Towers, an update on my bees after their recent scare, and a competition. Sign up to my mailing list here to get a copy delivered straight to your inbox!

3 Top Tips, books, Her Royal Risk, His Majesty's Secret Passion, Leena Hyatt, marketing, Nas Dean, selling, Valentine's Day

How To Succeed with Blog Tours: Three Top Tips

Available from http://bit.ly/1ujX5zc

1. Decide what you want to get out of the experience: selling tons of books would be ideal, of course, but it doesn’t always happen. You also run the risk of overexposure if you’re a one-trick pony (see Tip 3, below). Concentrate on building and strengthening your on-line networks. Open a spreadsheet, and log the details of your number of followers, comments, and other details before you start. Make sure you provide the entertainment and information your followers are looking for in your pieces. If the totals on your spreadsheet increase after your blog tour, that leads to more satisfaction in the long-term than a temporary blip in downloads. You may never know whether a purchased copy of your book was read, but it takes positive, measurable action for a blog reader to sign up for your newsletter, or “like” your author page.


2. Get someone else to handle to admin. I work with Nas Dean, although other on-line assistance companies are available. Compare several before deciding which one to use. I’ve found Nas offers great value for money and has lots of contacts, so you get plenty of opportunities for networking. This spreads the word about you, and your work. A good admin person will arrange dates, and supply an idea of the material your host is looking for. An administrator will also arrange giveaways and competitions. Don’t leave everything to them, though: when your blogs go live, visit the pages to make sure things are running smoothly, and reply to all comments.

Available from http://bit.ly/1GQPIIq

3. Hide Your Message, So They Go Seek: Mary Stuart wasn’t in the business of selling books, so she only had the phrase “Philip and Calais” engraved on her heart. The three words branded on an author’s every organ should be “buy my book” although you should keep it in mind, rather than out in plain sight. Shrinking violets don’t sell many stories, but avoid veering from no promotion at all to becoming the most shameless self-publicist since P.T. Barnum. Make sure your cover art and buy links are there on every piece you submit, but be careful to include more than simple advertising in the content of those blogs. You want to engage, entertain and maybe even inform your readers. My first book for The Wild Rose Press, His Majesty’s Secret Passion, came out at the beginning of February this year. On the 14th of every month, I have a regular blogspot with Leena Hyat’s Authorsoundrelations. Of course, this ties in nicely with Valentine’s Day. Rather than do a straight “Buy my Book!” with links, this year I provided hints and tips on keeping your Valentine’s Day flowers fresh for as long as possible (you can read that piece here).  The information came from my flower-growing life outside of writing. The tie-in with His Majesty’s Secret Passion was that my heroine Sara was given a beautiful bouquet by a mysterious stranger.

Blog tours involve a lot of writing, but they are good fun. I’ll be scheduling another one in a few weeks to promote Her Royal Risk, the next book in my Princes Of Kharova series.  Visit my author page here on Facebook to find out more details about what’s going on.

books, Creative Writing, publication, self-publishing

Getting Published – The First Steps…

By Antonio Litterio

Getting published used to be a case of catching the eye of a respectable publisher, or delving into the murky depths of vanity publishing. The first often meant jumping through a lot of hoops, then signing away some or all of your rights. The latter involved paying a lot of money to see your hard work turned into books – you hoped. The explosion of online possibilities means  you don’t need to develop the skin of a rhinoceros before you get to see your name in print. The curse of rejection is no longer a threat. Anyone with a computer can create, upload an offer an ebook for international sale. 

The downside of all this easy access is that the market has been flooded.  Everyone who can switch on a computer has gone into print. Some might turn out to have the staying-power of Shakespeare, while others should never have been let loose on a keyboard. The more books on the market, the harder it is to make your own book stand out. 

Coming soon – sign up here for details
The most important thing is to write a book of which you can be proud. Pour your heart and soul into your work, and you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you’ve written the best book you can.    Before you decide whether to publish it yourself, or send it out to a publisher or agent, get a second opinion. Your mum might say she loves it, but it’s better to get an unbiased view from a friend you can trust to tell you the truth–however hard it might be to hear. Professional editing will turn your text into a flawless read, but it can’t do anything for your story-telling skills. 

Invest in some great cover art to make your book stand out. Get names from The Society of Authors, the RWA (US) or RNA (UK), or by asking online in places such as writers’ groups on LinkedIn. Approach several artists, and ask to see examples of their work. Before you decide which one to choose, get some quotes and make sure both you and the artist know what to expect from the transaction. You’ll need to know what rights to the artwork you’ll have, and they need to know your demands will be reasonable and that you’ll be a good payer. Like writing, art is a time-consuming skill and nobody wants to waste precious hours and resources.

There are more tips on my website, and you can sign up for my newsletter here to receive news of my next release, Jewel Under Siege