Tuesday, 17 November 2015

My Asperger's Shutdown - What it was and why it happened

As some of you might know from my posts on Facebook, last Friday I had what is called an 'Asperger's Shutdown'. I was fine up until the afternoon when I got my Free From Food prize from Holland and Barretts. I got a bit too excited and ate too many chocs from the prize. So, what happened to me? Half an hour after eating dinner on Friday (about 5.30pm) I tried to read the paper but my brain wouldn't let me. It went all fuzzy and I felt I couldn't cope with any thinking. My body followed soon after. It couldn't cope with staying sitting and I had to go to bed. There I stayed until the next morning (apart from getting up to change into my nightwear). The following morning, I got up and felt really tired. I had had a restless night, feeling hot, sweating and stuffy with cold. I started having a wash and managed to wash my face and arms properly then my brain went fuzzy again. I had to stop and bend down, feeling as though I was going to faint. After a few minutes, I managed to continue but only wiped myself with a flannel and water. I creamed myself and got dressed. Went downstairs to have breakfast of toast. After half an hour, I couldn't cope anymore. I had to stay downstairs until my bed was made, and when we made it, I went back to bed. I was like this all day Saturday. Sunday I was a bit better but still kept going to bed and went to bed in the evening earlier than normal. Yesterday I was still tired but better.

So, why did it happen? What causes a shutdown? An accumulation of lots of issues going on in my life. Over the last couple of months I have had health problems, financial security worries, and I have had to sort things out about my health over the phone and personally, ie lots of communication, which as an Aspie I find hard to do. Lots of these issues have been resolved, and then on Friday I received the huge box prize of Free From Food and I found that someone had bought one of my ebooks. It was like as my mum has described as 'holiday illness'. After worrying about lots of things, they have come to a conclusion and my body relaxed, a bit too much. My brain couldn't cope with everything it has had to deal with, so shut down to recharge itself. Thankfully, it and I are both on the mend. I hate it when one of these happens because you can't control it and you can't do anything except go to bed. You just have to go with the flow of it and get better.

So, there you have my version of what a 'shutdown' is and why it happened to me.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Social Media Part 2

Here is Part 2 of what Talli Roland told the RNA London chapter about social media.

Amazon - Complete your Author Central page, everywhere. Even the foreign ones, which you can do in English. You can stream videos through the page, and link your blog etc to it. It is good for readership.
Bookbub can be expensive, esp if you write women's fiction. So choose another genre.

Have a newsletter. You can put the link to it in your next book.

Goodreads - Be v careful as an author, esp with reviews. Talli mentioned there had been a well-known chick-lit author who had put a scathing review of another chick-lit author. Not good. Someone said, it might have been Eve Farr, if you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything.

There are other sites you can use; Google+, Instagram (just photos and for a younger demo), Tumblr (microblog, quotes and photos), PInterest (70% women), Klout, which you can put on your followers, what topics you write about and find out what influence you get.

Website. Talli uses Networked blogs.
Youtube - can record book excerpts and blurbs. Stream the video via your Author Central page.

You get out of it what you put in. Awareness = sales. Think global. Be genuine. Have fun.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Social Media by Talli Roland

Last Saturday I went to the London/SE chapter of the RNA. The talk was on Social Media by Talli Roland. Here are her main points.

You should be on the sites where your readers are. So, if they are on FB, be there. If they are on LinkedIn, then be there.

Readers can expect you to be there 24/7. Build a core loyal readership. Join forums. You can find different readers in topic groups eg if you write a romance that also has knitting groups in, then find a FB group about knitting.
Don't do too much promo on your profile page, do it on your author page.
You can boost your page. When you do, choose friends and friends of friends. It costs £10. You can see how many see and share your post. And you can get 3000 per click.
When it comes to choosing friends, look at 'mutual friends'. If it's low, then don't friend them. Be positive.
On your author page, you can click on the icon at the top of the page called 'shop now' and you can put a link to your books on Amazon etc. Or you can put a link to your newsletter - that was something I added to the talk.
When you get a certain no of followers, you can't change your name. And on your profile page you have to have your real name or FB might check up on you.
Make your followers feel special and your posts useful.

Find content that relates to your book and tweet. You can put on there the first line and last line of chapters. Post pictures of the locations in your book (made a mental note to do that in future). Take photos of where it's set.

Still good to do.
For readers - have photos, keep it short and turn off the verifications.

I shall write part 2 on Sunday when it goes into Amazon and other sites that are useful.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

My NaNoWriMo plan

Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? It stands for 'National Novel Write a Month'. You have to write/draft 50K of a novel or just 50K words without editing it. I did my own version last year, writing as many short stories as I could, which weren't many at all. I plan to do the same this year. The best way forward for this is to plan what you want to write. Here is my plan: I am going to write a short story for the 5 women's magazines markets I know about ie Woman's Weekly, Take a Break's Fiction Feast, The People's Friend and The Weekly News and Yours. I have jotted down which story I want to write for them except for WW, as I haven't worked that one out yet, but I will in time. It won't reach 50K as most of them will be under 2000 words. I might also plot out chapter summaries for my next adult romance ebook, and I will be working on my Pocket Novel. Lots to write, so thank goodness I have only one appointment in November, as yet.

So, are you doing NaNoWriMo? Let me know if you are and what you plan to write.

If you would like a preview of writing exercises I've been working on for a book, then why not sign up to my newsletter at http://eepurl.com/bwuQav

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

My Pocket Novel has been critiqued

The book I had been working on as a Pocket Novel is now back with me. I had sent it to the Romantic Novelists' Association's New Writers' Scheme for their feedback in August, and got it last week. Most of it was in draft because I knew I didn't have enough time to complete it all properly before the deadline. I am pleased I did that now. There is a lot to think about and work on. Plus a subplot to add in, as well as making more of the romance and making the family drama more of a mystery (not reveal something too soon). The reader did like the title and thought the whole story was suitable for a My Weekly Pocket Novel, so I am definitely going to send it to them once I have almost finished all the rewrites etc. I hope that will be the start of next year. I have made a revision plan for the novel as there is a lot to do with it to get it to the 50K that is required. Here it is:

1. To go through the whole ms and work on the reader's pencilled comments on the script itself. I have started this process already and am on Chapter Six.
2. To work on the reader's comments at the back of her feedback.
3. Might add the new subplot, which is related to something said by the hero. This will mean adding another character's viewpoint.
4. This will then mean adding scenes where the hero works in his job.
5. Describe the heroine's work place more.
6. Make more of the romance
7. Make the family drama more of a mystery. Will mean to take out scenes and work out if I can put them later on in the story.
8. Hopefully, all revisions will have been done, so will go through the reader's comments and check that I have done them.
9. Revise the synopsis.

I am looking forward to doing these revisions, esp adding another pov, which I had thought about before, anyway. It means more family drama to the story.

Receiving this feedback for it, and esp reading that they think it is suitable for my intended market, has made me want to write Pocket Novels now.

Think I will print this out to remind me what I intending doing. lol.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Reading out work as an Aspie

I thought I would go back to reminding people that I have Asperger's Syndrome. There are two reasons for this.

1. There was a post on Facebook the other day from a fellow children's author, which was really a chain post. I had seen that others had taken her up on it and posted it on their status update, so I did the same. Boy, I didn't realise what sort of comments I'd get. A couple of people had a go at me for doing it, esp as an author. Then someone I know via another business we'd been in had a go at the others for having a go at me and saying that I had AS so don't have a go. (Thanks, Rebecca). I think because of my AS, I didn't really take notice of the nastiness of the comments, and I just thought to myself, why have a go at me when others have done the same. I am no longer going to take part in that sort of post again. So, if you leave a comment on my post, please make sure that it is clear in intent and not nasty. I might not realise what it actually means, otherwise.

2. Some weeks ago, we recorded the TV series 'The Autistic Gardener', and we have just started watching it at lunchtimes. I find it interesting to watch others like me, the first time I have seen other adults with AS on TV. I watched the second episode yesterday (I think) and something in it I really related to as an author. One of the young men, Thomas, couldn't tell the couple who owned the garden what his ideas were. I so related to this when I have had to read out my writing to a group. I have learnt to over the years but I still get nervous, and when it comes to my turn, I feel my hands go clammy and my heart race. Then when I do speak, I talk fast.
This goes back to when I was at Primary School. I remember writing a short story based on a true incident. The teacher asked if I wanted to read it out to the class and I said no, and she read it herself. That has always been the way with me through Secondary School to work to writing groups. Having been a member of the RNA and gone to their chapter meetings where we have had to talk about ourselves and read aloud, I have got better at it, but still not completely OK with it. As another writer said to my post about it, it's like baring your soul. Yes.

Friday, 18 September 2015

New writing goals

I have recently decided to have two different writing goals for next year: 1.Write serials for either Woman's Weekly and/or The People's Friend. 2. Write pocket novels for My Weekly. Here is why I have now chosen these goals, esp the latter one when I know I previously said I didn't want to write pocket novels.

I have been working on a first instalment of a serial for The People's Friend serial writing competition, and I really like doing it. You have to write the outline first to work out where the story goes, which I did for the competition. I have lots of ideas jotted down for novels, so next year I might go through them to see which ones, if any, can be used as a serial instead. I have found I really like writing romantic mystery stories, which is what the story I'm working on is about.

I have also been working on a novel, which I originally wrote in 2010, that I want to be a My Weekly pocket novel. I have submitted this already for the RNA's New Writing Scheme. I have a couple of chapters left to read through and possibly work on, then I will let it rest until I get my critique from the RNA. I have a few mss up in my bedroom wardrobe that I had sent to the RNA over the years and not done anything with, and I now think could be worked as pocket novels. So, my plan next year is to work on one of those alternately with an Aspiekid book. There are two reasons I now want to write pocket novels. They are: 1. If you get a pocket novel published, you can then later on get it published with a mainstream hardback publisher who sends it to the libraries. If this happens, you can then apply for PLR. Another opportunity to get money for your writing. 2. If you get a pocket novel published by My Weekly, there is a chance that you can get short stories accepted by them, too. This is the only way I know how to write for My Weekly, as they don't take stories otherwise, only from their established writers.

Along with these two goals, I am going to continue writing and sending short stories to womags. I have yet to get an acceptance this year so far, so my goal for this year possibly won't come to anything. Roll on next year.