Tuesday, 21 October 2014

A major writing decision

I have previously posted that I want to stay as an indie author, publishing my own ebooks, and still get to be a full member of the Romantic Novelists' Association. To be a full member, you need to have had a contract from a publisher for a novel of 35,000 words. I still want to do this but have now come to a big decision on how to go about this. Here is my decision:

1. I want to continue being an indie author for both adult and children's ebooks, so I am going to carry on doing this as I love having the control and freedom to writing what I want, deciding my own cover, my own pricing and when I want to publish.

2. To get into the RNA as a full member, I am not going to try to have a novel published by a traditional publisher as I believe that method of publishing is getting more and more broken. Also, I feel that with most print publishers, contracts wouldn't allow for authors to self-publish other books, which is not what I want. So here is what I plan to do. I want to get published with My Weekly Pocket Novels instead. I see this is a way still to be traditionally published as they come out fortnightly in print, and after that is published you can try to get it into large print with a large print publisher. So, once I have finished the short story I am working on and sent it to Woman's Weekly magazine, I am going to work on revisions of a novel, and that will be sent as a pocket novel.

3. As pocket novels are up to 50,000 words, any novels that I write that go over that amount I will publish as an ebook myself, or any novels that I believe don't match with My Weekly's subjects, such as romantic suspense, then I will also publish as an ebook myself.

So there you have my new major decision about writing. I have been reading ebooks about being an indie author, and the more I read about being one, the more I am certain that is the path I want to stick to.

Monday, 13 October 2014

My new marketing website is now live

Yay, my new marketing website, which I've called 'Get discovered with Julie Day' is now live. I have blogged about why I have set up the website as its launch. You can find the website at www.hopewithjulie.wordpress.com. There are a few pages that have already been done and they are: About; Gift Shop; My Talks and Contact Form. In due course all the pages will have something on them, and that will be marketing guides for direct sale to you.

Now that I have let you know about its launch, the rest of the week I will be promoting it on social media platforms, and will be putting the finishing touches to my first guide about writing letters and tips to magazines.

Happy reading.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

How to write letters and tips talk - how it went

Last Saturday I gave a talk at Sydenham Community Library on how to write letters and tips to magazines and get paid for them. As I have had numerous successes with these myself, I thought I'd teach others to do the same and pass on my knowledge. After getting there later than I planned due to a delayed mini-cab arriving 25 minutes later, I still had time to settle down before people arrived. It was raining, so I didn't expect many to come. I was right. I only had 2 people arrive, both of whom had come to my last talk. I gave the talk. Throughout the talk, I answered questions and we chatted about writing. One of the men said that it gave him a wake-up call as he didn't realise that people wrote to magazines and got paid for them. He was going to try a filler himself. We chatted about writing and ebooks after that for a while.

While that man was finding out about what else the library did, I chatted to the other man, his friend. I also found out when the library's Xmas fayre was going to be and booked myself to have a stall for that. I will be selling my books, badges and organic products there.

So, although the weather was bad and I only had 2 people turn up, I deem the talk a success because I got them thinking about having a go themselves at writing a letter to a magazine, and I taught them something they didn't know.

This talk I am planning to sell on my new marketing website soon to be launched. If you wish to be one of the first people to know when the website goes live and when these guides are available to buy, why not sign up for my newsletter at

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Coming soon from me....

A new marketing website with guides on how authors and marketers can get discovered. Here is what I have planned for it:

Writing magazine fillers - letters and tip to magazines, and how to get paid for them

How to get leads on-line; how to get reader lists for your books; autoresponders

Finding your brand

Planning and goal setting

Social media: blogs, websites, social network sites. What to do and not to do on Google

Publishing ebooks - my library talk series

My library talks

Gift shop - promoting a few items you can get from my Zazzle store

and more.

This is all that I have learnt from being an indie author and within the last year as being an affiliate marketer.

I have yet to set up the website, which will be a blog, too, so I can blog marketing tips for you all now and then.

To be one of the first to find out when it goes live, why not sign up for my newsletter at

Friday, 19 September 2014

SCBWI Masterclass on School Visits

Last Saturday I went to Charing Cross for the workshop on School Visits by Jane Clarke. This is going to be a summary of what I learnt because I can't give away all of Jane's secrets. So here we go.

First it was the business side of visits.
Jane gave us handouts of sheets that showed what correspondence to schools were like, and what invoices should be like.
Get your promotional tools together. Have a pack to give to libraries and groups.
Jane makes her own bookmarks.
She ran free school workshops until she was felt confident and competent enough to do them for money.
She mentioned to belong to a few websites that specialise in school visits, such as Contact an Author.
You do need insurance for visits, esp if you are visiting little ones, in case you accidentally hit a child. But you don't need CRB for one-off visits. If you are a regular visitor, then the school will get it for you.
Do what is comfortable for you. Be yourself.
Take blue-tak.
Enthuse the children to write and draw. Get them to have ideas.
Be nice.
Have a back-up workshop in case they have already done a similar subject to yours.

We had lunch. I had burger and chips (no bun).

Then it was more about the visits and sharing our ideas.
Put props on floor.
I shared my idea of what I do for my mermaid workshop for 9-12 year olds (Year 5&6). Jane later told me that she liked my idea.
We asked questions. I asked about indie authors. Jane said to just ask, esp if local. I also asked about special needs. Jane said that she has come across special needs children. They are guided by their teaching assistants. To ask the teacher to represent pupil if they want to talk.

So, what did I learn? Basically, I feel that I need to work more with children in libraries before I think about wanting to visit schools. I got a couple of ideas for mermaid workshops I could try out at different libraries. Oh, and to get a promo pack in place for libraries and other groups.

If you wish to find out more about marketing yourself as an author, why not sign up for my newsletter here

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Writing for educational and non-fiction publishers

On Tuesday night I went to Piccadilly Circus to the SCBWI Professional Series talk about writing for educational and non-fiction publishers. It is an area I hadn't really thought about approaching but things do change as you will read from this blog. I met Anita and David in Costa Coffee for a bite to eat before the talk. Thankfully they found the right place, despite me giving the wrong coffee name to them on FB. Oops. I did get right where it was - opposite the church. Anyway, here is what I learnt.

The panel was made up of Anita Loughrey who writes educational fiction and non-fiction and Louie Stowell who works and writes for Usborne.

For authors who are starting out in this area, do sent an email/letter to publishers you are interested in writing for, saying you are available for their type of work. Do research the publishers first, though, so you can get a feel for what they write and a feel for their tone of writing. Anita said that now is the best time to get into educational publishing because there is a new curriculum and teachers are still getting used to it. You can download it by Googling it. If you are still not sure how to proceed, Anita suggested asking a teacher for help in writing the book.

Louie writes for Fiction Express. She has written interactive stories for Years 3-4 and Years 5-6. Years 3-4 are 1000 words a chapter, and 5-6 2000 a chapter. It is very quick and you have to interact on a blog with the children, and when they choose the ending of one chapter you only have a couple of days to write the next one. She also writes for Box of Frogs and mentioned Me Books, like Choose Your Adventure books. She said that when you write for these publishers, you have to have your idea thought out as much as possible, know the title, format of it and the name of the illustrator you wish to work with.

For picture books, you have to be v specific. You have to have illustrator notes on each spread. You should find out the background of the publisher and what interests them.

For non-fiction - it is best if you know lots on the subject you want to write about. Anita has written for Discovery Books and got a flat fee. She also mentioned a forum with lots of info called Nibweb. it is best to look at educational publishers who are free to being pitched. Anita mentioned Walker Books, QED and Hopscotch.  Look at publishers lists and find a gap, then pitch. Keep an eye on what will happen in a few years to come eg events and celebrations.

You can write to charities with your CV and ask if they want writers for books for their purpose. Get your name out there. Find charities who have the money, though. Write less than you need to. Look at who and what you know.

There was questions at the end and one question by someone else got me thinking about this area of writing. She asked about publishers who were interested in writing about special needs and mentioned Asperger's Syndrome. Louie mentioned a name and said that if we came to her at the end, she'd give us her card and if we emailed her she'd send us details. This is what I did, because I got excited and decided I wanted to write about AS and other things I know about. So, yesterday morning I emailed Louie. She got back to me and wrote that she will get in touch with her contact, and ask her to contact me. So I am an excited bunny. I feel that this is one way to get published traditionally, and especially if it's about something I know about and can feel make a difference to children. We shall wait and see....

Sunday, 24 August 2014

How my mermaid workshop went at Bexley

On Friday I went to Bexley Community Library to give a children's workshop based on my first mermaid ebook 'The Quest'. It didn't start off that well because whilst waiting for the train from Lewisham to Bexley I got nervous and had a stomach ache. Once I went I was OK. I got there early so I could help set up for the children to come. Whilst helping out, an older man came in and said he was looking for Julie Day. I said, 'That's me.'. He told me that he'd been looking for someone to talk to about publishing ebooks as he had written both a thriller and children's stories, and had read a magazine about epublishing and had got interested in doing that. Apparently he had already been in contact with a publisher who wanted to publish all his children's stories in one book but they would get so much royalties, the store would get more, and he would get the rest, which wasn't much. He said no to that. Thought that he could get much better money out of it if he did it himself. So, we got chatting about how to go about epublishing and writing in general. He was also a magician and showed me his disappearing 50p trick. I talked to him again a while later before the workshop started about Createspace being free. I had also mentioned to him about the ebook talk I was going to do at Sydenham in September, and gave him my card and wrote down the details of that for him, which he said he would attend. Yay. As my coach, Rebecca Woodhead, would say BOOM.

2.30pm arrived, which was when the session was due to start. One girl had come and was waiting for two others. Whilst she waited, her mum bought a copy of the book from me. At 2.45pm they were all that had come, all the others were either away or in the park. I introduced myself, told them what I had planned for the hour and started. First I read an excerpt of The Quest, which leads on to when Delta the mermaid sees a merman on the last day of the quest. I then got the children to write their own ending and read it out to us afterwards. Then they got to draw their own covers. The library provided all the arts and crafts materials for me. After that, they showed their drawings to me. I liked the one with the squid because it showed that Delta did indeed live under water. Then they asked me a couple of questions, and I sold another book, but no badges.

All in all I believe it was a success. I wouldn't mind going back there again as they were really nice people.

I got home later than I imagined because I had just missed one train, let another go because I forgot the next train stopping at Lewisham had been cancelled, and waited for the next train I could get. I got home eventually, quite happy with the way the event went.