Thursday, 29 December 2011

A free experiment

This is something else that I have learnt from WG2EP. They called it the Freeway Experiment. I originally priced The Railway Angel at 99c as it is a short story. This was to see what interest I got in it and how many bought it. Here are the results to date:

Up to now December 29: Amazon - 2 bought; Smashwords 12 downloaded with only 1 bought.

It made me happy then that at least people were reading my work but I got thinking. A lot of other indie authors who have written series have put their first book as free whilst pricing the rest. So this is what I have done. I have now changed the price to free on Smashwords, and Amazon will catch up shortly I believe. I have already put this news on FB and Twitter. And emailed all the Yahoo groups I belong to. We shall see what happens.

I shall bring the results in a month's time (will put this on my new calendar block) to do for then.
I am interested to know what happens.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Starting as an indie author

Earlier this year I found the Writers' Guide to EPublishing blog and am so pleased I did. (Don't ask me how I found it cos I can't remember - prob via another blog). This was my intro to epublishing. Reading this and other stuff about epublishing, I began my journey of becoming an indie author. Last month on WG2Epub blog, there was a list of things to do for a new indie author. Here is my take on this:

1. Read everything you can about epublishing. Well, WG2EP was my start. I have read about it in writing magazines, and have recently bought John Locke's ebook about how he earnt so much in so many days.
2. Have an avatar image. I have now. It used to be a photo of me, but now it is the cover of The Railway Angel. I have been told this is good, cos when you see it you know it is me.
3. Decide what skills you are going to use. Eg I have decided to try to format all my works into ebooks myself and pay for a cover designer.
4. Hire a professional editor. I did this for Railway Angel and will do this for all my indie books. I feel this is essential, because you are too close to your own writing to see for real errors.
5. Treat epublishing as a business. I am now going to do that. I shall try to do some work on my wips each day.
6. Have a website. I have two. One of my angel series ( and one for my other writings (
7. Read all Author Agreements. I didn't before but will do on my next ebooks.
8. Write a fab blurb. I feel I did this for Angel book 1 and have to do the same for Angel 2 and my romance series.
9. Join Kindle and Nook boards. I have done this and introduced myself. Need to chat not just about my books now.
10. Write and read, write and read. I do this all the time anyway. Esp read. I read both children's and adult books. And have recently bought indie authors ebooks who write for WG2EP to see how they write.

Well, that was my take. Next post will be about my writing goals for next year.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Sydenham Xmas Fayre

On Saturday I went back to Sydenham Community Library to try to drum up some more interest in my angel ebook. It wasn't what I expected it to be. There was a story time for children up to 10 y-o but no other children. Anyway, I listened to the storytime, while searching for customers. I met a man who is from the Friends of Sydenham, who recognised me from the Save the Libraries day in February when I did a reading from Rosie. He was in charge of organising the fayre. He mentioned that during the break I could always go and give out my cards etc. So in the end that is what I did. I went up to the parents and their children and offered them a free pen and bookmark. They were all interested and happy to get one. Hopefully they will keep them and know my name for future reference. I later got talking to the organiser man, who was waiting for the next guest to arrive. He asked me if I'd be interested in story telling if this man didn't arrive. I wasn't sure, although I did tell him that I do write short stories for children that age. We got to talking and I gave him my card. He said that they were arranging another event for the Spring and he'd contact me to find out if I was interested then. This could be another bow to my string I thought. Who knows where it might lead to. Then near the end, when I packed up, a teenager came to me. We got talking about writing and I gave her my card and a pen. She writes too, and said that she wants to write when she leaves college. I said that to be a writer, she will have to make sure she finds the time to do it, as lots of people say they want to write but never bother to find the time. All in all, although I didn't sell anything, I did make myself known and get interest in me and my books. And possibly get future events happening with this new contact. Watch this space...

Friday, 16 December 2011

Ebook launch

Yesterday afternoon, at my local library where I once volunteered, I had a launch celebration for The Railway Angel. It wasn't a huge success. No one downloaded the ebook or bought Rosie, which I took with me for a special offer. My friend Heather came with her little boy. He ran round the library, dropping books all over the place. A right pickle, he is, but a cheeky one with it. He took to me a few times by taking me by the hand and leading me to places around the room. Sweet. It was half way through that I decided to do something myself. I saw a young girl on the floor playing with a toy and picked up a pen and a bookmark and went to her. I asked her if she wanted a free pen and bookmark, and she said yes, so I gave her them. I then did the same to two other girls she was with. One of them then saw my Angel postcards and I told her to take one, which she did. They were with her mum. I saw them read the cards and the mum told the girls, that is Julie Day and she wrote the book. You can say you've met a real author now. Yay, I thought. I'm a real author. I packed up at 4.30pm, and as I did, fellow children's writer, Heather Kilgour, arrived. My other friend Heather then packed up, put her boy in his buggy and left. I then talked to Heather K about writing and that. So not a huge success but who knows what comes from giving out those freebies.
I was told that there will be a Xmas fayre tomorrow at the library. So have decided to try my luck again then, as have been told there will be chidren's activities going on in the morning. We shall see.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Exciting news

In one of my posts before, I mentioned that I had a new digital publisher (owned by a fellow romance writer friend) interested in a romance story I had planned. Well, I emailed it to her a couple of weeks ago and she read it last week. She likes the theme, the way I write and she wants to publish it as an estory. Hurrah! I will be finally published as a romance author. My friend also wants an outline of the rest of the stories for the series, so will have to get working on that. We also need to work out a title for the series. I would like the words 'Aunt Geraldine' or just 'Geraldine' in the title somewhere. My first thought was 'Aunt Geraldine says' because she says the title of the book as a phrase. Watch this space for more about this. My friend is back from a break today and maybe hear from her again tomorrow. She said in her last email that if I wanted to go ahead, which I replied I do, then she will start drawing up a contract for me. Yay. I can't wait. Already have a couple of ideas for two more stories, one of which I have already got the basic story typed up. Been scouring the agony aunt pages in my paper for ideas. As I know more about this and what happens, I will blog here. So again, watch this space...

Friday, 2 December 2011

SCBWI-BI Conference - Part 4

We had lunch. My non-dairy lunch was chicken and roasted veg with rice, which I really liked. Then it was off to the final chosen talk. The author checklist by Candy, Jon Mayhew and Judy Hindley. They posed questions to ask your publisher about: budget, prizes, press, festivals, book tours and merchandise. It was suggested that you have a meeting with publicity team, and find out if you are going to meet people who are passionate about your books. What kind of author do you want to be? Decide what events you want to do. Who are you aiming your book at? Really engage with children. Know who your gatekeepers and influences are. Booksellers, esp indies. Librarians. The school library service was mentioned as a good place to start. Teachers are best way to contact in schools. IBBY was mentioned. They have an annual congress, and call for papers which means proposals for talks. Think of who will be attending and aim your talk at them. Have an angle. (Eg Jon is gothic horror). UK Lit Agency was mentioned too as a place to contact. Parents - a good way is via Mumsnet. Reviewers: fan blogs can be influential. Carousel, Armadillo mags. It was mentioned by someone for free PR,
Blogs - Candy uses long titles in hers, so there are various items that can crop up when searching.
Have a memorable book lauch. Always have family and friends. Invite local teachers and librarians.
School visits - Getting events. Jon has an info sheet to give to schools about his guidelines. When it comes to your act, don't talk about yourself. Take time to plan and care what you plan to do.
Book sales - The publisher usually has a profile of you online. Frontpage Extra was mentioned. Candy uses blogger. Author's Place, Amazon Public Notes (in US and for Kindle). Your notes on Kindle goes on there. Make lists eg Vinevoice. Youtube and Google+ are also good.
Then we ran out of time because it was over time and half way into tea time. I managed to grab a piece of fruit cake, but no drink.
After teatime, was Chris Riddell. He talked about how he became an illustrator - used to draw when he listened to his father's sermons and swap his drawings for wine gums with an old lady. Still likes wine gums. Did art at school, although it was a subject for losers, then went to art school where his mentor was Raymond Briggs. After some years, he met Paul Stewart at a Xmas party, where both of them were feeling dejected and partnered up. Paul lived one end of the road and Chris the other and they met in the pub in the middle for their meetings. Now Paul lives nearer Chris and can see from upstairs into Chris' garden. We were shown lots of his political cartoons.
After that was the prize presentation but I left near the end as I didn't want to miss my train, having wanted to get a taxi. I bumped into Janet Foxley, who offered to share a cab, so we went to the station together. I had a headache and neckache by the end of the day, prob due to not drinking enough in the afternoon, and the way I was sitting.
All in all, a good but exhausting time.