Sunday, 28 April 2013

An Aspergirl writing about ... autism and Asperger's Syndrome

Two years ago, when I was part of a critique group, I mentioned to one of the group that I had Asperger's Syndrome. She suggested that I write about it. I didn't do anything until last year when I started blogging about living with it over the years. As I did this, like the autism symbol of a piece of jigsaw, it did all fit into it like a jigsaw puzzle. Then this year, I decided to take it further and do what the member suggested - write about Asperger's and autism.  I submitted an idea of a memory piece to a website called Disability Now,  and they rejected it. But they did ask me if I was interested in reviewing a play of the novel 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time'. I said yes. My review is now up on the website for all to read, and here is the link:
I got free tickets and a free programme. And, I found out yesterday that I will get paid for it. Success! Well, that was my second freelance success. 

My first was a feature all about how I realised and was diagnosed with Asperger's in the Australian Autism Awareness Network magazine, which I have yet to receive in the post. I've seen the digital version. I found out about this network on Facebook and sent them a message asking if they had any guidelines for their new magazine. I got a reply from editor with a link and read them. I emailed them the idea and they said yes, would do it as a two-part feature. It is now out and I can't wait to read it in print. My reward - a year's free subscription of the magazine (4 issues).

So far my freelancing attempts have borne fruition and have been paid with money and free magazine. Now, I want to go further, and have been reading an ebook all about going freelancing called 'No Contact? No Problem' by Catherine Quinn. I've just read the section about how to pitch with different styles and will try out two of them next week. I am planning to specialise in writing about autism and nature/wildlife as they are the two areas I feel confident about writing on, esp autism with my personal experience. Wish me luck. Will let you know how I get on.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

London Book Fair - What I learnt Part 3

Here is the final part of this blog, and it will be much shorter.

After lunch I went to another talk, this one by Daniel Cooper of Amazon KDP Europe. Most of the talk was about what they do for indie authors and what I basically knew. He gave stats for KDP in UK and Germany last year. UK - 15 of top 100 were self-publishers, whereas in Germany it was 2 of the top 100. It was during this talk that I noticed another RNA author standing listening, Freda Lightfoot. I knew she was going to be at the fair and had been looking out for her. After this first talk I went up to her and we sat next to each other and chatted about being an indie author, and Freda told me something interesting. She told me that her ebooks were paying her more than her trad pubbed books. I then mentioned to that she is prob an APE: Author, Publisher and Entrepeneur. Which was new to her.
Then came another talk by Libre Digital about digital chain supplies for ebooks. I quickly managed to write down a few lists: metadata, discovery, sales, automated distribution, control, it is what selling it.
Another one: alerts, details, confirmation, persuasion, inspiration and accuracy. All are important. The slides were moving too quick to get more info, but after the talk I went up to one of the speakers, gave him my card and asked if he could email me the presentation. He took my card, wrote a note on it and said yes he would. I await it.

After that, I visited Amazon KDP stand and asked if they were likely to do an annual report of royalties as well as monthly. No, they're not as they don't have the technology. I picked up a sample of their Createspace books. Then I went to the Kobo stand. I asked the director if an author doesn't earn enough money to be paid automatically (you have to earn $100 to do this) when they will get paid. He told me six months and it would be this month and I would get confirmation from them beforehand. Just what I thought. Then I went to Overdrive stand and picked up some leaflets about them, which I have yet to read. Then I went home, tired but happy I went.

I look forward to going again next year, when I will look for talks in the Digital Zone again.

Monday, 22 April 2013

London Book Fair 2013 - What I Learnt Part 2

I am book with the second half of my post about last Monday (can't believe it was a week ago today).  I was talking about the talk by the Alliance of Independent Authors (whom I will join).

They mentioned editing - the average cost is £2000-£3000, which was discussed between a few editors there. Editing is needed by writers as we are blind to everything in the ms and can't see it all. I know I can't. If you are approaching a new editor, get samples.  Designers - the same as editors, they are all different.

Then we had to write down how much time we thought we could spend in a week on our project. I wrote 3 hours, 30 mins a day for writing, and half an hour a day for other stuff. Then we had to write our deadline for our project.  I put that I wanted to finish my current romance ebook by end of May, then have edits done in 2 months, then launch in July, which would take one week. With it being published end of July.

Reaching readers

Each plan is different for each book. Think about reader, and we had to write down the genre of readers - mine is fiction, romance and magic. What does your book do for your reader? I put - enjoy light read, feel hopeful in life, feel hopeful that romance is there for them. Feel happy.  For my YA I put feel hopeful. Then we had to tick if our project was either inspirational, educational or entertainment. I ticked the first and last ones for romance, and all for YA.  I also wrote that my Asperger's articles are inspirational and educational. Who is my reader? Female for romance, and teens for YA. What age range are they for? I put all from 20s to 60s (each main character is a different age). What ethic? White. Reader should get happiness and hope and want to read love.  For my Angels series, the reader is teens and both boys and girls, and for all ethnics.  You have to know what online they reach your readers -for romances I put FB, Twitter and PInterest. For YA, I put FB and need to look at Wattpad.
Think about subject: we had to write 3 for our project. So I wrote, romance, magic and ghost via photo. Know where to find reader online eg romance blogs, romance writer groups on FB. Magic - fantasy blogs and groups on FB. For YA, paranormal and fantasy groups etc.

Then it was time to go to the café to meet others. I thought I would meet Anita, but found out later that she was too busy at talks to come, instead I bumped into Donna Reid Vann and Paul Morton. Donna and I had a good chat about books and ebooks. It was thanks to Donna having a brochure of all the talks that I found out there were more talks I was interested in. So after having lunch I made my way from one court to the other to find the relevant theatres. Tomorrow I will blog about what I learnt there and how an Aspergirl was brave to talk to Kobo and Amazon.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

The London Book Fair 2013 - What I Learned

On Monday this week I travelled by myself to the London Book Fair at Earl's Court. I was aiming to get there for a talk at 10am but the trains were so slow I ended up arriving a couple of mins late. Thankfully I didn't miss much and heard most of the talk. The talk was by the Alliance of Independent Authors about self-publishing and what you have to be to be one. Here is what I learnt.

It was by the owner, Orna Ross. The first thing she asked us to do (yes, we had to do some writing), was to write down what you have risked in your life. I wrote learning to drive. Then 3 things we have done that we felt were risky: I wrote, going to new places, meeting new people and volunteering. They are risky for me having Asperger's Syndrome. Then we had to write down a current project we were working on and list risks for that. Mine was for my current Geraldine ebook, and the risks I put were self-publishing it, putting it out into the world. I also wrote about writing about autism, and the risks for that were putting it out there for people to see who I am and what I am like. Going freelance and being rejected.

Then we had to list things we felt we had been proactive with and I wrote: joining organisations/societies, going to their talks etc, going on line with FB etc, going indie, having a website and blog. Then we had to write down 3 things that would move forward our project. I wrote to find a cover, write more, edit it.

Then it was about the stages of writing which are: first draft, final draft, edit, design, production, marketing and sales.

Then it was all about reaching readers for whom your book is written. You have to work hard and smart. Be entrepreneurial and share and cooperate.  There has to be a team. You can't do it all yourself as you don't have all the skills at that level. (I know I don't). Then you had to write what skills you do have and at what stage of the process of writing. Mine were writing at stage 1 and 2. Production and marketing. I hire a professional editor and a cover designer for all my ebooks as I know I can't do those two things properly.  Then it was about budgeting. You have to budget for what you are going to spend, got to spend and the cost. We had to work out the cost of all our current work.

I think I shall leave the post there and finish it tomorrow so it won't be too long to read here.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

An Aspergirl and Birthday Celebrations, Or Not

Asperger's Syndrome is often called social awkwardness because we find it hard to socialise with others. This is definitely true for me when I was a child, and more so when it came to birthdays. As a child, I never had any birthday parties (I didn't really have any friends to invite), and I never went to anyone else's parties, either. I was a very shy child, and in some ways I still am that shy child. As I grew up, I didn't mind celebrating my birthday, receiving cards and presents and telling people it was my birthday. I liked people saying 'Happy Birthday' to me.

I remember the only adult birthday party I had for my 21st. I had it at my home and invited close family and friends. I put myself in charge of the music, in the corner the then dining room, and there I stayed. I was asked to dance with relatives but said no. I didn't even go and socialise and chat to the relatives and my friend's family in the other room. As I think back to that occasion I cringe and am embarrassed. I know I couldn't help it then, but I still feel that I could have made the effort just to say hello.

Now as an adult, I don't mind celebrating my birthday. Not with parties, but by going out for meals with family and friends. I went out for a meal for my 30th with work colleagues. I went out for a meal with family for my 40th (not that I really want to remember that one as it was spoilt by someone – not me). Although, I know at these meals, I still don't mingle and chat to family on the other tables.

So, that is how Asperger's affects my birthday celebrations, or not. I am blogging about this as April is Autism Awareness Month and I want to spread awareness.

Julie Day

Blog: An Aspergirl and Birthday Celebrations, or not at

'Don't Get Mad' is now available for $1.99. Book 4 of Geraldine's Gems romance series

Available at Smashwords: Smashwords:

Don't Get Mad: Sandra is sad about her failure of her marriage to control-freak husband, Jim. Until her aunt Geraldine arrives and tells her 'Don't Get Mad, Get Even'. So Sandra joins the local gym and meets hunk Troy, and gets fitter and healthier and falls in love. She also gets more confident, and finally stands up to Jim in pubic, and wins.

For more authors taking part in this Birthday Book Blast, please go to Stacy Whisenand's blog at

Sunday, 7 April 2013

March stats for all my ebooks

I thought I'd do a table of stats of how many ebooks I sold in February, so here I go.

At the end of Feb the stats were as follows:


Railway Angel =   5260
Racing Angel    =  49
One Good Turn  = 26
Quest                  = 9
More Fish           = 7
Trouble Shared  = 18
Railracing Angels = 12
Don't Get Mad      = 6

The end of March they were as follows:

Railway Angel = up 37 to 5297
Racing Angel   = the same
One Good Turn = the same
Quest                 = up 1 to 10
More Fish         = the same
Trouble Shared = up 3 to 21
Railracing Angels = up 4 to 16
DGM the same

On Kobo I sold 1 copy of The Railracing Angels, which makes me happy as I know that people do like it.

On Amazon I sold 3 copies of Quest and 1 of Railracing Angels, and got 89 free downloads of Railway Angel.

So, I am very happy with these stats. I have now earned $37.04 on Smashwords. Not sure about Amazon, although royalties have started to trickle in to my account. Hurrah.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Seeing the play 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time'

On Easter Saturday my mum and I went to see the above play at the Apollo Theatre. For free. I had agreed to review it for the website/ezine Disability Now as I have Asperger's Syndrome like the main character in it.

We managed to find the theatre, thanks to a woman who was going there too and had seen us looking lost. We came out of the Shaftesbury Avenue exit thinking that was where we were, but not. Realised then we should have taken the map with us. There were lots of people around us, which surprised me as it was Easter. We got our tickets and a free programme, as I was considered press reviewing it. We had to wait for a short while before the stage was ready and could get to our seats. We were three rows in front of the stage, which was smaller and more basic than I expected. I was thinking of a proper stage with curtains. Some of the cast came up the aisle and onto the stage via the steps by the stage, so close that I could touch them being on the outside seat. Being so close, it was rather loud at times. The play was excellent and the cast were great. I don't know how they all remembered their lines as they played different characters a lot of the time. The graphics were amazing and the performances, esp by Luke Treadaway who plays the main character, Christopher, was moving and powerful. We left on a high. I still can't forget it now. I wouldn't mind seeing it again.

I haven't said much about the scenes as they will feature in the review. And I have just typed up a piece about travelling for a competition. Watch out for the review on Disability Now website.

I would recommend going and see it. I dare you not to be moved and touched by it all.