Sunday, 28 October 2012

How to publish and sell your article on the Kindle - An ebook review

This is another review for a second non-fiction ebook I have recently read and has inspired me to write other things. How to Publish and Sell Your Article on the Kindle: 12 Tips for Short Documents is by Kate Harper. I bought this ebook because it sounded interesting to me in that it could be another avenue for me to go down to get myself known out there about who I am and what I am about. Kate highlights various good pointers on how to get your article on to Kindle. These include how to use hyperlinks, tagging your book, and putting in the description its length and that it's an article.  After reading this ebook, I got all fired up about what I can write about and sell. I know now. Next year I am going to expand my publishing reportoire into non-fiction articles, esp about my life with Asperger's. I have been blogging here about it every few weeks, and I felt that this could be a good way to spread the word about who I am and what I am about, at the same time raising awareness of Asperger's in adults and females. I feel that Asperger's is known a lot more in children rather than adults, and also in boys. As my last post about Asperger's read, it is now knonw that Asperger's in girls is higher than first thought because it is harder to diagnose. So, I will be revising my blogs into articles next year and publishing them on Kindle etc. I think I will also write articles about writing fillers and on my passions of recycling, going green etc. I could also when I have enough articles on one subject, make it into a whole ebook and then publish it like that. We shall see. Ereaders have given us writers so many new opportunities out there. Watch this space...

Friday, 26 October 2012

Asperger's in females - harder to diagnose

In last weekend's Celebs magazine in the Sunday Mirror, there was a v interesting article. It was all about Asperger's/Autism in females and why it is harder to diagnose than it is in boys. Being a female, this got me curious.  Here is what the expert said in the report. It is thought that up until now, autism has mainly been a male thing. Think 'Rain Man', and that the male has been detail-obsessed, mathetically minded. But it is now reported that Asperger's in girls (Aspergirls) is rising. The reason why it is more difficult to diagnose in females is that it shows up differently in girls. They are not fixated with typical male things, rather girly things. It is the intensity of the fixation that is autistic not the subject. There was a small part of it that said that friendship is a challenge for girls with Asperger's, and I know this to be true.  I will blog about this at a later date in more detail about my school life, but generally I did find it hard to make friends by myself at both primary and secondary schools, and I only managed to do so by tagging on to other girls/groups. The only friend I see now and then to date, was part of a group of girls I tagged on to at secondary school. One of the other traits is extreme perfection, which can lead to low esteem if things don't work out. That is not me.

There is one thing that I do agree with at the end of the report. The expert reported that even women in their 50s and 60s are now being diagnosed, and they have benefitted enormously from it, now having a better understanding of themselves. I can relate to that, as after I was diagnosed last year, lots of pieces of a jigsaw slotted into place for me, and I now have a better idea of who I am and what I can do.

So, are you an adult with Asperger's? If so, do you agree with this report. Are you a parent with a daughter who has Asperger's, and have you found it has been hard to get diagnosis? Let me know. Would like to find out what other people think about this.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

How to earn £10 in 10 Minutes - A review

I don't normally review books/ebooks but I felt I had to with this one. How to earn £10 in 10 Minutes is by Linda Lewis, who writes short stories for Womags and a column for Writers' Forum magazine. I bought this ebook because I wanted to find out what she says about writing letters, which I have done over the last several years. I thought I knew a lot about it, but I was wrong. Not only does it tell you about reader letters, but about writing tips with photos, sending photos and other short features you can write to magazines about. I had tried sending a tip to a magazine once before, but no luck. After reading how Linda does it, rather sneakily, I shall take a leaf out of her ebook and try my luck again. I have been buying Womags to see what is out there and whom I can write to. Am now planning to start writing them again to see what happens. I also might try doing photos, if I can find a subject to take pictures of. I wasn't going to write any more letters/fillers this year, but after reading this I came over all enthusiastic again.  Fillers for me have made me more money than my fiction writing so far, so I will continue doing them until I can no longer afford to spend monies on extras.

So, thank you, Linda Lewis, for giving me the enthusiasm to keep writing them.

Next week I will write about another ebook on writing that I have liked and that has given me enthusiasm to try something else to publish.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Growing chives and tomatoes

This year has been a bad year for growing vegetables, due to the weather we have had.  My mum grows chives at the side of our veggie patch and this year they have given us some good crops.  Up until a few weeks ago though, they started to become rusty coloured, so inedible. Mum cut them back and I thought that was it. No more chives. I was wrong.  They are starting to grow again and are looking better than before. Only little ones but still some.

The same can't be said for tomatoes. We have had some, but others haven't been very good. Lots of them have split due to the changing weather. They ripen when they get the sun, but then split when they get too wet, which they did with the pouring rain we had earlier this year. Some have still to ripen and we have left them in the hope that the weather stays sunny and dry so that they can ripen for us to eat. I'd say that we have had to compost about half of them due to them either being split or having spots on them, both which are inedible.

So, what luck or not, have you had growing veggies in your garden this year? Have you had the same problem I have had? Let me know.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Want to be published by Choc Lit? - Here is some guidelines

On 22 Sept, I went to my local RNA chapter meeting where there was a talk by the director of romance publisher Choc Lit, Lynn Vernham. A talk about their submissions and what they like.  Here is my report.

They have recently expanded to the US, and will be to Australia soon. They sell foreign rights. Lynn has a marketing background.

They release their books as ebooks a month before the printed book comes out. They do digital only novellas but only for their existing authors as supporting promotion.  They have partners in schemes to help promo with authors and their brands.

They accept mss from 70,000 words (lower lit) to 120,000.

To submit to them: email them your synopsis, and paragraph about you. Which must inc that you are doing social media, because the more you are online, the more your book sells, and if you aren't on line then they won't accept you.
    It was mentioned that a lot of the RNA members are published by them, and they do look at their mss.  They do take on self-published books. Likes paranormal.
   Their process is that they have a panel of readers in the UK, US and Australia called the tasting panel. The mss are numbered, and don't have the author's name or book title on it. If you get three 5 star reviews then you are in luck, if you get a borderline with a couple of nos you could still get it published, and must be in the age band they publish, but if you get three nos then you fail and are rejected. The first chapter must be gripping.  There is no general rejection. If you are from the RNA, you can get more feedback, if you are borderline, they must put 'add this,' 'change that' and ask to resubmit. The mss goes to readers first, then to Lynn.  Lynn's advice was to involve the characters and evoke emotions.

They plan to publish 12 novels in 2013, and double that in 2014.

Then it was question time from us: They have a standard contract. Pay all authors the same. Ebooks are different from the print. They don't get agent submissions as they get all rights. And they give you an option on the next novel, which will again go through readers.
I asked about prologues - OK, but have to be important to books.
Top three reasons for rejection - too much research and factual stuff. No erotica. Twists to story. And typos and grammar.
Was asked about getting the ms critiqued before submitting - Yes. Thinks it is good (is mentioned about this on their webisite) and get it as good as you can before you send. They get 50 mss a week, and accept 10. Readers like more male pov than less.
They do work with some agents. Advised to find a good one who will work well with you.  Reckons that more publishers will be accepting mss directly by Xmas.
I also asked what digital platforms they upload their books to - all of them. (Which made me happy).

The second stage of submissions is: you get an email from Lynn for a meeting. Where they will meet you and work out if you fit in with them, as they are liked to a family. As authors help each other. If you are accepted this year, you won't be published until 2014. They will work to make the ms a publishable standard. All readers get info, then to editor, then report to author with changes, 2-3 times, copy edit twice and three proofs then it's publication. 8 weeks before publication, it will go to review.  Book signings aren't done so much now.
Before the 50 Shades.. they managed to achieve sales of 10,000 for one author. It depends on the title and genre whether it will go to book buyers.  Digital can do better than print. Contemporaries are struggling in the US.  They do tend to do free promotion.
They sell rights and work with agents/publishers overseas.

So there you have it. All about Choc Lit. I haven't got anything to send to them right now, but might have in the near future. We shall see.  Are you interested?  They seem to be a really good publisher to work with and Lynn was very nice. A friendly and approachable lady to work with.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Asperger's - The start of my working life

I first began work (I call it work but it was training) back in September 1988. It was what was called at the time 'Youth Training Scheme' and something I think would be good to have these days. I trained in the Pharmacy Dept at Guy's Hospital, which was a small dept with not so many staff. I didn't deal with the public as I did admin work. I mainly did typing and filing, with little phone work. I did this for a year and got on well with only two members of staff there. The head of the dept was OK, but she could be a bit cold at times, same with the supervisor I had.

After that I did part-time admin work in the Personel Dept there. Again this was a small dept and I dealt with only a few members of staff. And once more, I only did admin, mainly typing and filing, rarely answering the phone. Another in the background job.

Whether I had difficulties communicating verbally and by eye with staff I can't remember, but all that changed two months later when my p/t contract ended and I got a full-time job in the Registry. All things changed then, as I had a front-line job dealing with students and staff every day.

Looking back on it now, I think I must've been happier with those background jobs and not having to face the public. And when I did have to face students and staff on a daily basis, my Asperger's begun to kick in. Not so much at first, when there weren't so many students on the courses, but definitely later when the number of students increased a lot.

So, for those of you who are growing up now with AS, I have this advice. Find out what you are comfortable with and go for a job that fits that. I feel that if I had known I had AS way back when I started work, things would be totally different to what they are today and most definitely the situation I am in at the moment. (Might blog about that next time).

BTW, I now have a schedule of sorts for blogging. During the week I will talk about being green or living with Asperger's and at the weekend I will be talking about writing.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Research for Geraldine's Gems series

This is the second time I have written this as I accidentally clicked something and deleted it. So am now annoyed. Up until I began writing series that I self-epublish, I never used to do any research but I do now. Here is what I have done so far for my adult romance series 'Geraldine's Gems'.

One Good Turn - No research for the location as I used my imagination to picture a magical heaven where Geraldine and Keith meet. It is a magical place because when Geraldine wishes for something or wants something, it appears. Eg when she recalls going to the cinema with Keith when they were together, a cinema like the one they went to appears. I can have a good imagination when it comes to magical things. For the two characters I used stock photo websites such as istockphoto or

More Fish in the Sea - I imagined what a corporate office building was like from programmes I've seen on TV and put Mandy and Russ working there in different departments. The canteen where they go for lunch is one I've based on that was like the one at where I used to work. I have just added a scene where they go to have lunch by Southwark Cathedral. I used to work near there, so have used my memory of what it is like. I will Google a picture of it so I can write a more vivid description of it. For Mandy, I used a photo stock image to describe here, and for Russ I used a page out of my mum's mail order catologue and used that page to describe him when he visits Mandy for lunch at her house.

A Trouble Shared - I have used my memory of where I used to work at the start of my working life as the work place for Harry and Carol. The same canteen as above. The situation of how they get together is based on one I remember in real life at work some years ago. Again I used photo stock image websites to base my characters on.

Don't Get Mad - The layout of Sandra's house is based on mine, but the colours I am taking from a page out of a local free mag that came the other day. Her house will be one that was left by her ex husband to her. The health club she goes to, is based on the local one I went to a few months ago and had a tour given to me by one of the trainers there. It was originally based on one I used to go to years ago at work but will change it in the next draft. Also, they go to Horniman Gardens, which is local to me, and I went there a short while ago and the route I took with my mum, is the route they go in the story. When there, I made a note of the best place for a picnic with a child, and that comes out in the story. For the characters, Troy and Sandra, I used a photo website again. They are so good for finding characters.

So, where has your research taken you? And do you use photo image websites for your characters? Let me know.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Composting eggshells - to do or not to do?

I am a keen recycler and composter, and hated it when my mum started to bin eggshells, which then went to landfill. Earlier in the year, when my mum had plants growing, she put eggshells broken up around the plants, only to find snails all round them, when the shells were meant to ward them off. Snails and snugs don't like crawling over bitty things. Then the other week my mum read in her garden magazine a reason not to put them on the compost. Like all cooked foods, they can attract vermin into your garden such as rats etc. Ugh. So, from now on, we put all eggshells into our bin that gets emptied into our black bin for landfill. They don't work around plants now, as they seem to attract snails instead of warding them off, and can attract vermin because they are cooked.

So, what do you do with your eggshells? Any ideas what I can do instead of binning them? I don't fancy rats and that in my garden. Let me know.