Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Creating a business plan - Step 3

This is a third step, which you don't have to do, but I read it in an ebook I am reading by Ryan Petty about Creating a Writing Livelihood. It is to write down an inventory of all your assets eg stories that you have got to write, written and not done anything with or have ideas for. As I write ebooks for both adults and children, and have started writing short stories for women's magazines, I am only going to put on here the list for adult mss. Here we go:

To Complete: 1 x Geraldine's Gems to include a short story that will conclude the series
4 x Secret of Singleton short stories
Checkmate - old ms which I will be working into a My Weekly Pocket Novel

Written and not done anything with (ie their old mss in my wardrobe)
1. Forgotten Memories
2. Stay With Me (thinking of turning into a pocket novel)
3. A Matter of Time

Ideas for:
A series of 5 ebooks about superwomen heroes who fall in love with men who don't, to stop villains from creating monsters out of children with powers.
Lots of notes with ideas on for both contemporary and romantic suspense books.
Eden's World - might turn this into a serial outline for Woman's Weekly

Saturday, 20 December 2014

How to create a business plan - Step 2

I have posted about writing what you have achieved this year, so how about writing down what you haven't achieved. I am going to put down what I haven't, why I think this is and what I am going to do about it next year. Here we go:

1. Ebooks - I didn't achieve to write and publish as many ebooks as I wanted. I believe this was because I didn't make use of all the time I had because I was distracted by other ventures I was trying, which wasted time for me. What I plan to do - I have already started to make more of the time I have in the day to write.

2. Sales - I didn't achieve as many sales of my ebooks that I wanted to do. Why? I think this is because of the low price. All my ebooks are at 99c, which is a discount price. I now think that this is only suitable for discount buyers and not serious readers. So, next year, or even after Christmas, I am going to up the prices of all of my ebooks. I am going to think like a publisher. Lots of trad publishers have joined the ebook world and indies have to compete with them now, so I am trying to match their prices.

3. I didn't get my Asperkids series of books out there. Why? The publisher I had emailed the partial to hadn't got back to me about it. Next year I want to get my characters out there myself. Get the ms professionally edited, get an illustrator to do the cover and drawings in the book I want. Will be researching that next year.

4. I didn't get a short story in a magazine. I hadn't done the proper research and find out what sort of stories they publish. I have been to workshops by Woman's Weekly and know what they like now. I have been reading the magazines to get a feel for the type of stories they publish. I now have a better idea of what stories I will be sending to which magazines.

So, are there things that you haven't achieved this year? If so, what are you going to do about them? Let me know.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

How to create a business plan - Step 1

I got this idea from the current issue of Writer's News magazine, and thought it was a good idea so am using it to create my plan for next year's writing. The first step is to write down what you have achieved this year. So here I am doing this here.

1. Ebooks - I published three ebooks (2 short books and one story). They were 'Life in the Old Dog', 'The Vanity Quest' and 'The Leaping Angels'.

2. I wrote a children's book, the second in the series about Asperkids finding confidence via a magical world at school.

3. I had published several letters in magazines this year, and got more rewards than I've done before doing this.

4. I started to give more talks at a local library, helping new authors get on the path to indie writing.

5. I created a new marketing website, to help other authors get discovered. This goes with a blog.

6. Finally, I wrote and sent off a story to Woman's Weekly magazine, after attending their workshops and realising what sort of stories they publish.

Despite all that I have achieved this year, there are things I haven't, and I will be mentioning those in the next post, and why I think this is.

So, what have you achieved this year that you are proud to have done? Let me know.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

My NaNoWriMo - how I did.

I would have posted this last week but things happened. My mum fell ill with the norovirus bug and I had to look after her (not that nice to do). Then the following day I went down with it too. I have only just got back my full energy to write again today. Yesterday I was feeling better, but did too much in one go first thing and felt faint. Today I am fine.  Anyway, how did I do?

I rewrote one story, which I worked out as 1600 words. This story is nearly finished, and when it is, I will read it again in the new year and send it also to Woman's Weekly.
I wrote another story at 2074 words. I cut that down in the end to just under 2000, and have sent that to Woman's Weekly.
I wrote the start of another story, which I am still writing the first draft. I reckon that made it to another 2000 words. I plan to finish this story this month, so I can send that too in the new year to Woman's Weekly.

I didn't achieve all that I wanted to do, but I think I did OK. I did work on my latest ebook in the mornings, and the stories in the afternoon. With writing late afternoon, which I don't normally do, but will keep on doing when I can.

So, how much writing did you do during November? Did you reach the word count you aimed for? Let me know.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

NaNoWriMo - my own version

If you are a writer, you might be doing NanoWriMo (National Novel Write Month), where people are writing, or attempting, to write 50,000 words during November. Me? I am doing my own version. With lots of other commitments and health issues, I know there is no way I could write that amount of words in a month, so I am doing my own version of it. I am aiming to write something new every day. So far, I have managed to do this. Here is how:

In the mornings, when I'm not out, I will work on my current ebook, 'A friend in need' which means highlighting and deleting words. If I am out in the morning, I will do this after lunch.

In the afternoons, if I've not been out in the morning, I will write something new. So far, I have rewritten nearly a whole short story, am almost at the end of another story. If I am out in the morning, I will work on my ebook after lunch, and later in the afternoon after a nap, will work on the new writing. Yesterday, I didn't work on a short story, but I did write a synopsis for the serial I have in mind for Woman's Weekly. That I will type up later and read during the weekend, so I can email it to the Fiction Editor next week.

So, are you doing NaNoWriMo? Or are you doing your own version like me? If you are, let me know how you are getting on. I will blog here about the word count, once I have typed up the stories, which will be next month.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Another major writing decision

Following attending both the short story and serial writing workshops by Woman's Weekly the last week or so, I have made another major writing decision - I want to become a writer for Woman's Weekly and concentrate on those when I write in the afternoons. This is my time for writing projects I want to get published and not being an indie author.

Here is why I have decided this:

I had gone to a workshop last year by Woman's Weekly and got great ideas for stories but didn't think much about it afterwards. I went to a fiction short story workshop on Monday 27 October this year, and had a breakthrough, thanks to Della Galton telling us her formula for writing a story. One of the things she said was that the character had to have a big enough problem to be solved. I realised that this was why I had got stuck with the story I'd been rewriting for the magazine. I also came up with the beginning of another story and the plot for it, also to send to them. I came away so charged up with what I'd learnt that I wanted to write stories for them. I have since changed the story again and just rewritten the beginning of the story I have been working on because yesterday I realised that it had nothing to do with the rest of the story.

Then yesterday I went to Serial Writing and had such good lessons by Suzanne Ahern who writes serials for them regularly. I already had in my head an idea for a serial. I wrote the start of it, developed the characters and plot for it, all things that had been going around in my brain. I was so pleased to get them on to paper. I enjoyed it so much that I now want to write serials. I think one of the reasons is the money you get for each instalment. You can get £500 per episode. So if you wrote a 3-parter serial you would get £1500. So I am going to think of it as a business side from now on and write in the means to be paid, which I hadn't until now. 

Another reason why I want to write for Woman's Weekly is that I've now met the Fiction Editor, Gaynor Davies, a few times and she is such a warm, friendly and encouraging editor to us writers. She said that she would come up with the titles, so don't worry about that. And she works with the writers on their stories and serials. That is the type of editor I want to work with. So watch this space to see what happens. I plan to email Gaynor later this week with a brief outline to my serial I have planned.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Why I'm pleased I set up my new marketing website

Last Saturday I went to a panel talk held by the RNA on genre writing. Janet Gover asked most of the questions to the panel who were: Alison Morton, author of the Roma Nova novels about alternate history; Christina Courtney who writes historical, time-slip and YA for Choc Lit, and Monica Fairview who self-publishes books inspired by Jane Austen. I enjoyed listening to how they write what they do and why, but a couple of things happened that made me smile a lot. Christina (real name Pia) said that she is now going to self-publish her YA books because her publisher is not going to publish that genre anymore. Also, another author said in her introduction that she is going to press the 'print' button shortly with her first self-published book. That was number one that made me smile. People are still wanting to self-publish their books.

The second thing happened after the talk. Pia wanted to ask me a question. Me? Yay. Unfortunately, I couldn't answer it because she wanted to know about formatting with headings, which I have yet to do. Alison suggested to hire someone to do it for her. The following morning I messaged Pia on Facebook with other suggestions, which she said she'd look in to.

The third thing was shortly before I was about to leave, the other author, Linda Chamberlain, who said she is going to become an indie author, asked me for the link to my new website. I wrote it on the back of a postcard she had picked up at the talk. I do hope that the website matches people's expectations. The website is all about helping new authors get discovered with blog posts about marketing tips and strategies and guides about marketing. It can be found at www.hopewithjulie.wordpress.com.

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.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Don't put all your (marketing) eggs in one basket

I recently put this post on my marketing blog (http://elitemarketingpro.net/julieaday) to warn others in marketing what is happening on YouTube. But because I know that some authors also use YouTube to promote their books with videos, I thought I'd post it here, too. So here it is.

After all that's been happening the last few weeks on YouTube #youtubefail I want to now say, don't put all your marketing eggs in one basket eg Google. What has been happening is that some saddo has found a loophole in YouTube's policy on flagging videos and been abusing it, resulting in lots of videos done by entrepreneurs (inc me) being flagged for some reason or even closed down. Poor Ray Higdon had his channel suspended with millions of viewers and hundreds of marketing down the drain. Because they didn't try to do anything to help, he decided to leave them. This is why Rebecca Woodhead wrote her column for What's Working Now called 'Why Google hates us'. You can read the first instalment here http://julieaday.getwwn.com/try. So, if one channel goes up the creek for you, ie YouTube, you should have a plan b or an alternative route to put your marketing material. I am in the process of uploading my videos to LinkedIn, so you can see them there as well.
Facebook is currently up and running well, so you can upload videos there for the short term, but you have to embed them, and I don't know how to do that. Or like me you can put them all on LinkedIn, which is a business network. Ideal for marketing materials. There are other video channels you can use such as Vimeo.

Meantime, I am going to concentrate on building my email lists and my marketing blog, as they are the two things I know I am good at and can do. And they aren't part of Google.

PS. If you want to get tips on how to write magazine fillers and get paid for them, I will be putting the ebook up on my marketing blog by next week. Why not become one of my leads to get access to more marketing ideas, by emailing me at awlist3493948@aweber.com or looking at http://julieaday.elitemarketingpro.com/letter-new.php

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Why I'm still happy being an indie author

Last Saturday 2 August, I went to an RNA (Romantic Novelists' Association) meeting and we had an open chat about all things writing and publishing. One lady asked a lot of the questions and the answers she got made me think, 'Yes, I'm happy to be an indie author and stay that way.' What were her questions? I can't remember exactly but can remember most of the replies she got.

The lady asked about Mills and Boon, saying she had queried them at the conference in July with her ms. She wanted to know more about them. The answer she got was: they require their authors to write two books a year to start with, then four a year. That's four books of say 60,000 words a year. I goggled at this. At one time I thought about writing for them, but realised I couldn't write to their formula. Now I know I can't write for them. There is no way I could write that amount of books in a year, not with all my health problems and appointments.

The lady also asked which publisher it is best to go with and what do they expect of you. Well, the answer was most of them would expect their authors to write in one genre so you could brand yourself. This was another thing that made me think, Yes, I still want to be an indie author. I want to be able to write what I like, and in different genres, like I am doing now.

The other thing that made me think about still being an indie author happened after the talk. I got to talking to a friend who has had one book published by a small publisher. She signed a contract to get her book in print and in digital, which it is. I had heard things happening about this publisher and asked her what was going on. She told me that the last she'd heard of them, they had changed to digital publishing only and moved to another country. I didn't think this was good news, but didn't tell her so. This got me thinking, that being an indie author, you only have to worry about yourself and not about what a publisher is doing. Third reason why I am glad to be an indie author and want to keep being one.

The fourth reason is similar to number two. On an email group a while ago, one author said that she had broken her contract with her publisher (a small well-known one) because they wanted her to write just for her, but she wanted to write another genre. Again, I want to write in different genres like I am doing now. I write MG (9-12 year-olds), teen/YA and adult, and want to continue doing this because I have so many ideas.

There is one reason I would like to get a contract, maybe for just one book, and that is so that I can become a full member of the RNA. I might see if I could get signed for one book, then carry on being an indie author, it depends on the publisher, though. We shall see.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Why you should craft your emails to your lists

This blog post I originally put on my marketing blog at http://elitemarketingpro.net/julieaday. I thought it was such a good post, especially when David Gaughran has recently posted about getting killer email lists. So here it is.

Up until now I have been writing my emails to my lists as I go along, but the last few I have sent I have written beforehand and crafted until I am happy with them. Why have I done this? Well, it is from advice that I was given by Rebecca Woodhead. In one of her coaching sessions with me, she told me that her first emails she did to her lists were crafted and she got more clients for that list than any others. So, that is what I am doing. I think if it looks like you have taken more care about what you are saying, informing and advising your leads, then they are more likely to read them and take notice of you. My emails to my new list, ‘hopewithjulie’ are all crafted before I typed them up, so hopefully when I get people on that list they will take more notice of what I have to say.

If you want to know what I have to say about being a newbie in a business or even how to become an Amazon bestseller, then why not become one of my leads. You can do this by joining Elite Marketing Pro at http://julieaday.elitemarketingpro.com/letter-new.php or my 'hopewithjulie' list by emailing me at awlist3493948@aweber.com

Sunday, 20 July 2014

My mermaid workshop

Yesterday I gave a children's workshop at my local library, based around my first mermaid ebook, 'The Quest'. The workshop was planned as a short reading from me, then getting the children to write their own ending and create their own cover.


It didn't work out quite as I planned. I only had two children come and join me, and both of them were younger than the ideal workshop age of 9-12. One little girl was 6, and the boy was 5. The boy was my friend, Heather's son. The little girl's mum drew a mermaid for her and then the girl coloured her in with pens that the library provided for me. Heather's boy drew squiggles and blobs with sticky glittery tubes. I managed to have a quick chat with Heather in between chatting with the girl.

I didn't sell any of the POD version of 'The Quest' or any of the badges I had with me. Heather did buy a copy of Creature Features Highlights 2 book, which we had arranged for the day.

Maybe another day will be better, I don't know. I didn't think it was that successful, although Heather did tell me on the phone later on that she thought I did a good job.

If you know of a library within London, or maybe even a school, that would be interested in having a mermaid workshop that involves reading, writing and arts and crafts, I'd like to know.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

An Aspie overcoming new experiences

In my last post, I wrote about eating out on a yacht hotel. I mentioned that I would post about what I had to overcome that day, so here I am. As an Aspie, meeting new people and going to new places are out of our comfort zone, but I wanted to meet Rebecca and Lynda, so was determined I'd get there and reach my goal. I'd already Googled how to get to Excel London, so knew which lines to take to get there, it was finding the yacht that end that would be the problem.

The journey there was quite easy. I am a visual person when it comes to directions, so all I did was to look at the signs on the underground and DLR to tell me which way I had to go to get to the right platforms and trains. I got to Custom House station and found my first hurdle. I had to go through a glass covered walkway, and you could see out the sides to down to the street, to go out the other end. I told myself, look ahead not sideways. In a way, it was good for me that I had the distraction of Rebecca being on the other end and waiting for her phone calls to let me know where she was on her way to me. I managed to get out of the station, only to find another hurdle - steps going down. When I have to go down steps I need to hold on with my right hand as I'm right-handed, otherwise I feel awkward and might fall. The railings I went to had left-handed railings on it. I couldn't do it. There were there steps on the other side but they had gaps in and I didn't think I could do it. All this time, Rebecca was being v patient on the other end and being v encouraging. Knowing she was on her phone, waiting for me to reach the yacht, I knew I had to do it. So, I went to the other steps, took a deep breath, that first step and went down them to the bottom. I had done it. Now to get to the yacht, which I couldn't' miss. It was right there to the left of the steps, huge. Rebecca told me that when I got to the yacht, to pass my phone to the staff and she'd tell them that I could order whatever I wanted (within a reasonable price, of course) and they could put it on her room tab. This is what I did.

At 7.30pm that evening, I finally got to meet Rebecca. And found that she is just as nice in person, even more so, than on-line and over the phone.

So, I overcame going to a new place, getting down steps on my own and going into a yacht hotel and waiting on my own (which couldn't be helped), all in one day.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Eating out - on a yacht hotel

Friday just gone, I went to meet my friend and coach, Rebecca Woodhead, and fellow affiliate marketer, Lynda Kenney - on a yacht hotel called The Sunborn London near Excel London. Yes, it is that huge. Couldn't believe it was that when I got there.



 Rebecca got stuck in traffic and didn't arrive until 7.30pm, and I had got there two hours earlier, being early for our meeting. We were due to meet at 6pm, I got there early because I like to leave early to find a place if it's new to me. So, whilst I waited, I had dinner and drinks, in the meantime getting texts and phone calls from Rebecca to say where she was and what was happening.


I had pineapple juice and for the meal I had burger and chips. I forgot to say no cheese with the burger to start, so when I was served it I checked inside, found cheese and asked for one without, apologising. A while later, after I had eaten a couple of chips, burning my mouth, it arrived - like this:

 
 
There is tomato and onions in there with bacon on top. I took out the tomato and onions to eat on their own as veggies. I can tell you, it was tasty. Not had a burger like that in a while. I enjoyed it.
 
I shall post next week about what I overcome to get to the yacht and enjoy the evening with Rebecca and Lynda.

Friday, 27 June 2014

An exciting writing week

This week has been an exciting week for me in my writing life. It all started early in the week when I checked my emails. I had been emailing tips and letters to magazines, and had emailed best magazine with a diet tip. Then this week I got an email from the editor saying that she'd love to use my tip, could I please send a photo of myself. I duly did this. Success number one! I shall start looking in the magazine from next week cos I'm not sure if they inform you when it will be in the magazine.

Second exciting event happened yesterday. I was on the phone to Rebecca Woodhead having a coaching session about autoresponder emailing, when she mentioned that I could be an Amazon bestselling author, Moi? It turned out she was right. When she and I checked the Amazon US store link to 'The Railway Angel' my first YA fantasy ebook published in 2011, it had hit 2 of their best seller lists for sci-fi and fantasy. One was at 66 the other was at 86. Me, an Amazon bestselling author. Hurrah. Anyway, Rebecca then posted a message on Facebook about this, tagging various people we knew, asking them to download it, share the message etc. What happens? By the end of the night, it had reached these dizzy heights in the lists


I don't know if you can see this OK or not, but the top one says it's now at 16, the bottom one is at 32.

So, I can happily say that I am an Amazon bestselling author. And I will do when I do my talks.

Thank you, Rebecca, for finding this out for me, and getting everyone in our team to respond to it, and post messages to me, esp the EMP bosses.

PS If you wish to learn how to write letters to magazines and get paid for them, or find out how to become an Amazon bestselling author, then email me with the header 'letters' or 'Amazon' so I know where it's come from, at

Sunday, 22 June 2014

'The Leaping Angels' is now out

The fourth ebook in my 'Guardian Angels' series called 'The Leaping Angels' is now out on Smashwords, Amazon and Apple. It's yet to reach Kobo. Here are the links:

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/448507

Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00L123QJ8?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id890824994

I couldn't believe how easy it was to upload the book to both Smashwords etc. Thought it would be hard, but no. Someone has already bought it from Amazon. There is one more ebook to come in the series. I have already come up with an idea on a side series from it. The idea came to me last night when I watched a programme about benefit tenants and housing agencies.

Meantime, I am working on the second mermaid story called  'The Vanity Quest'. I finished the first draft of it this morning.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

A letter to my 10-year old self

This was originally posted on the AuKids website last year. As I have been posting about living with Asperger's Syndrome and schooling, I thought this would be apt to go on here. So here it is:


If you knew something about yourself as an adult which you didn't as a child, what would you say to your ten-year-old self in a letter? This is what Julie Day would say having been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome as an adult.

Dear Ten-year-old Julie

It's 1981 and in September you will be starting secondary school. You see the building, and will think, 'oh my, it's big.' This will make you believe it is why you are shy. You will find it hard to fit in, as most of the class has either paired or grouped up, leaving you on your own.

You will be quiet and hardworking. You will find it hard to make friends by yourself, and will be too shy to speak out in class. Unfortunately, due to being shy you will be bullied by both a girl you know from primary school and a group of girls who are older than you. This is probably because they see you as different and vulnerable. You will get the better of them. After some time you will either ignore the older girls or speak up to them and that will shock them to leave you alone. They will leave school after a couple of years. When the other girl tries to retaliate, you will get told off by the teacher. It comes to a head when you get her mum involved by getting her to come to the school to see the headmistress. It won't be for a while that things start looking up, but they will, so take heart. When you do decide to volunteer to read out in class, your heart will race and you will be very nervous. And you will do it, although shakily. Things are better for you when you start the sixth form, where you will be doing a business studies diploma. Because this is something you want to do, you will get on with it all right and feel that you are fitting in more.

I am writing to you because as an adult I now know that there's a reason for your shyness. You have Asperger's Syndrome, a low form of autism. Asperger's Syndrome/autism is often called social awkwardness because people with it find it hard to communicate with others, so don't make friends easily. This is why you couldn't and only able to tag on to groups of girls, and make friends that way. If this had been known back then, I feel that life would've been a lot different for you. In that you might have gone to a school specially for autistic children or the teachers would've supported you more if they'd known about you.

So there is a reason that things happen and why you are like you are. Have faith in that, because you do make one friend, whom you meet via a group of girls you latch on to, and you'll see during your adult life. So, it's not all bad. Good does come out of your secondary school years, even if for most of it you find it hard to cope with. Light is at the end of the tunnel, even if it appears years later!

From Adult Julie
 
So, if you know something about yourself as an adult that you didn't as a child, what would you say to your child self? Be interested to know.
 
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Saturday, 7 June 2014

Asperger's Syndrome/autism and schooling

This post is in conjunction with a report in the Daily Mirror the other day about a boy who was excluded from school because he has Asperger's.

Back in the 1980s and 90s I was at primary and secondary school. In both schools I was bullied by other girls, yet I had an education. Some lessons I liked, some I didn't. I still had an education. But it appears that children with Asperger's are not getting this education I had. Why? Well, the report I read in the paper said that this boy had been getting on fine at primary school, albeit he did have habits such as banging pencils on a desk. Then he was diagnosed with AS, and the school excluded him, not being able to cope with him - this was a mainstream school. The same happened with his secondary school, and now he is being home-educated by his mother. I feel that this is really bad, esp as it says that this excluding of children without warning is illegal.

But there can be a good side to this. If the mother is home-schooling her son, then she can teach him the basic subjects and the ones that are most important for when you are an adult, such as maths, literacy, not topics like science or geography.

I have read there are mainstream schools that do have special needs units in them for children with AS or autism, so maybe this mother can find one of these for her son.

So, I wish the mother all the luck in the world with educating her son. From me, who did have an education whilst not knowing she had Asperger's at the time, and was bullied.

Saturday, 31 May 2014

How my library talk went in April

On 26 April I gave a talk at Sydenham Community Library to a group of adults about 'The 5 Steps to Publishing an Ebook'.  I was going to do a report on here, but Debbie Young of The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) offered me a slot on their blog and I said yes. It went up last Saturday, and you can read it here http://www.selfpublishingadvice.org/reaching-readers-with-library-talks/#comment-236975.

As you can read, I considered it a great success. So much so, that I plan to do it again with another library whom I've yet to approach about it, and I intend doing a follow-up about what you need to know when publishing your ebook.

If you know of any library in the SE London area that might be interested in an author giving this talk, please let me know. Am keen to do this again, as I so enjoyed it.

So watch this space for more news on more talks.

If you would like to receive a newsletter from me about my ebooks, talks and more, please let me know either on here in the comments or through messaging me on Facebook.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

How to make the most of a writing retreat

This is the third and final post I will be writing about the retreat I went to on 9 May. The answer to the above is not eating most of the below (our table of cakes). Yes, I did eat a fair amount of them.



I am talking about writing. Not just what you take to the retreat to write, but how about where you are staying? Last year, I picked up a leaflet about the history of the place and its founder. I thought, this would make great articles. Perhaps I could get more info about them next time. So, this year when I got there, I asked the staff there, mentioning I was going to write articles, if they had more info I could have. They showed me a folder which had a chapter about the family. They also gave me two thick wads of info about the founder and the place. All useful fodder for planned articles. So, in the afternoon, as well as writing a bit on a couple of main projects I had with me, I researched articles in the magazines I had with me, and drafted out three travel articles. The last morning there, I finished drafting the third article, so gave back the two wads of papers to the staff.

That is what I mean when I say make the most of a writing retreat. Where you go, does it have a history? Can you write articles about the place? About the person who owned it? About the food there? Don't forget to take lots of photos when you're there. I did. I took photos of all round the house and grounds, in case they are needed if your work is accepted.

I emailed the first article with photos this morning. Have to wait now to see if it is accepted or not. Two more to type up in the meantime. Watch this space...

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Retreat Part 2 - What I learnt




This is part two where I talk about what I learnt at the retreat. There are three different ways I learnt: about plot, about one of my characters in Charlie and about myself.

I didn't learn that much about plot, but what I did learn was that you can write a book in verse instead of prose, the traditional way. Eg Robert Paul Weston's first book is in rhyming verse. You can do it as diary format, either by journal, blog or text. This was in Elizabeth Wein's second talk during the weekend. We did exercises, and it was doing one of these where we had to write the first scene in the pov of another character that I learned a bit more about Charlie's little sister, Wendy. I learned that she cared about him, which doesn't come across in what I had already written. So I am going to add a scene where Charlie faints and sees her looking at him concerned.

So that is what I learnt about plot and one of my characters. About myself: I learnt that although I'm an Aspie, if I want to find out something from someone or connect with someone for a reason, then I will go and do it. After I had the one-to-one with the agent, who suggested I try writing to niche publishers, I remembered that a couple of the others were primary teachers. Would they know about reading matter for special needs children? I approached one of them, Zoe Boyd-Clack, whom I recalled was a primary teacher, and she kindly phoned her brother, whose partner works with special needs children to ask about what books they read, to find out which publisher the books are by. I have yet to hear, but I do hope I do. So, that is what I mean by when I want to do something, I do it.

If I hear any news about that, I will let you know. It was a great weekend. I got a lot of writing done (more on that in the next post), made contacts and got ideas on where to send my Asperkids series to.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Writer's Retreat Part 1 - What I ate

This time last week I was in Dunford Hollow, W Sussex at the Writer's Retreat. This is the first post I will be writing. Today I will be revealing what I ate there, apart from lots of cakes (dairy free).

Dunford House, where I stayed.

On Friday night, for dinner I had beef bourgnion (not sure of spelling) with mashed potato and fresh veg. I don't normally like mashed potato in case there are lumps in it, but this was light and fluffy and dipped in the beef sauce tasted yummy. Someone described it as comfort food, and I agreed. It certainly was. What made it better was that the beef was locally sourced.

Saturday: I had toast for breakfast. For lunch I had home made veg soup, and this again was tasty. It tasted slightly of onions and I was OK with it. I had this with a gluten-free roll. I did what I usually do, and wasn't the only one to do so, I pulled the roll into bits and put them in the soup and then ate the soggy bits of roll. Yummy. For dinner, I had oven chicken breast with new potatoes and fresh veg, probably from nearby farms. Here is what it looked like.

The spuds were small so I had plenty of those, as you can see. Again, it was delicious. This was followed by fruit salad, which I wasn't that keen on as it had mostly apple in which I can't eat. The same as Friday night.

Sunday: for breakfast I had dry cornflakes and some toast. Lunch was home made tomato and basil soup. The last time I had tomato soup it was in a can and was OK, but this was so different. It was fresh tomatoes whizzed up into a puree and was yummy. I had it with a gluten-free roll. Soon followed, when I went back to the house, by a cake. Dinner was chicken curry, basmati rice and salad. This was so nice that I ended up having two servings and got full up. I found space for the pudding which was fruit salad, but this time it was mainly strawberries, so I had a few of those with a couple of grapes. A good ending to that day's meals.

Monday was our last day there, just the morning. I had a hard boiled egg with toast. I haven't had an egg for years as soft ones don't agree with me anymore. So this was a treat to have, and I savoured it. I did have a couple more little cakes before I left that lunch time, and while I did my last bit of writing.

So, it was a great weekend of writing and eating lots of gorgeous dinners. They outdid themselves this year with the menus, esp for us people with food intolerances. Will be going again...

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Grammer and punctuation in dialogue - a RNA talk

Yesterday I went to a RNA meeting in Holborn, where the talk was by Elizabeth Hawksley (co-author of a book called 'Getting the Point'). It was all about punctuation in dialogue. There were a few readings where punctuation was missing and it sounded awful, and a few exercises of writing in punctuation. These came from the book. I learned a couple of things which I wasn't sure about. These were:

1. When a person has a lot of dialogue, say that goes into two paragraphs. You put one speech mark at the start of the first paragraph, one at the start of the second paragraph and one at the end of that paragraph.

2. When you have a quote at the end of the sentence (like the sentence in brackets above) you put the full stop after the speech mark. This has been something I've not been sure about recently, and now I know.

I found it an interesting talk. It reminded me that I don't know everything, and I needed to get out the book after all, which was in my spare wardrobe. This I did this morning, and is now with a few more reference books at the bottom of this computer desk.

So, if you're not sure about your grammar and punctuation, then buy the book.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Oat drinks - a product comparison

Due to a dairy intolerance, I can't eat/drink cow's milk so I had to find another milk to have with my breakfast and lunch etc. I tried soya, but ended up being intolerant to that as well. I tried nut milks but they also disagreed with me. I then tried oat milk and hit lucky. That was several years ago now and I still have oat milk, and it still agrees with me. But over the last year or so, I have noticed there are more oat milks out there than when I first had it. So, over the last couple of weeks, I have tried another one and compared it to my normal one, Oatly. Here is what I thought:

I tried oat drink by ProVitamil. At £1.29 it was 10p cheaper than Oatly. I tried it with cornflakes and porridge. I have to say that I didn't like it as much as Oatly. It didn't have the creamy look and taste to it that Oatly has. It tasted blander.

Whereas Oatly oat drink, as soon as you pour it out, you can see it looks creamy, and it does tasty creamy with cereal or porridge.

My verdict - Oatly is the best out of the two.

There are more oat drinks out there, and I might try them later on against Oatly. We shall see.

Monday, 14 April 2014

The London Book Fair - Part 2

So after I had lunch at the busy cafĂ©, I went back to the Kobo stand where I knew the next talk would be - Opening up to Indies by ALLi. I managed to find a seat so I didn't have to stand or sit on the floor. While the audio was being set up, I chatted to the two older ladies sitting next to me about writing ebooks and we swapped cards. I also had said hello to Lorna Ferguson, (Hi, Lorna). Then the talk happened by Debbie Young and Dan Holloway, who told us in their own ways how they came to write the book. I laughed at the image of Debbie being a teacher and being chased by young girls because she had told both groups they were sorry. The book  is all about helping other bodies like libraries, agents and publishers etc to open up to indie authors and help them be discovered. Then it was time to mingle again. I chatted to and listened to Debbie talk to Denise Barnes, then another author, putting my points across when I could.

After that I decided I'd go to find the publisher in the other court. With my map, I found the stall, but was disappointed that it wasn't as I expected it to be - a stand with book samples and no publisher. I then went to the restaurant, but it was too noisy still so after several minutes I left and went to find the pub in the Strand for the social later on.

So that was my LBF this year. I doubt it I'll go next year as it is moving to Olympia, a bit further away.

Friday, 11 April 2014

The London Book Fair 2014 - What I learnt

So I went to the London Book Fair at Earl's Court on Tuesday. I managed to get there earlier than I expected so I had time to sort myself out then find the stand I wanted to go to for a talk. The first talk was called 'Book Discovery for Authors' and was a question session to the panel of Mark Coker (Smashwords), Andrew Rhumberg (Jelly Books) and Joanna Penn (author and member of ALLi). It was all about how to get your books discovered by readers. I took lots of notes, but will only do a summary of the main points I learnt.

The challenges that authors face is shelf-space. Now that more authors are publishing ebooks. Joanna said that they solutions are to write and publish more than one book, and grow your email list. (This is something I plan to do now, and next ebook I publish will have a message on the contacts page asking if they wish to join my newsletter). Joanna also said it is a good idea to join with other authors writing the same genre and create a box set. Andrew said to have a great cover, be consistent on social media and write interesting stuff not just buy my book. Readers will determine your success. Mark said that you need to take your readers to an emotional high and make them say wow.

Joanna, who also writes non-fiction, said that when you publish a non-fiction book, check out keywords on Google etc. Don't give the book a title that readers won't look for.

Mark mentioned the 'Pre-order' he has on Smashwords. This makes it easier for readers to find the books in estores. And, if you put your ebook for pre-order and you get readers buy then, when the ebook comes out, you get the sales on the first day. Budget for this in your launch.

How do you know what works? Joanna said that indie authors are more focussed on what works.

The single most important thing to do to get discovered more - grow email list. Mark said the book.

Put your contacts page at the back, as readers want to know what you write before they know you. Price your book good, lower is best. You want to eliminate friction from reader between giving them the sample and them purchasing the book.

Then book trailers were mentioned. Don't pay too much, it's for a special audience but if you enjoy doing it, then do it.

Later at the weekend I will talk about the rest of the day. See you then.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

TKMaxx and unwanted clothes and accessories

Hello there. Do you have any unwanted clothes, accessories or books in your house? I know I do. TKMaxx have partnered with Cancer Research UK again to raise money for research into child cancer. They want any unwanted clothes, shoes, accessories, books and/or DVDs and CDs. All you need to do is to put them in a plastic bag, and take them along to your nearest branch of TKMaxx. In the store you should find a huge cardboard box with the poster for the campaign. Just put the bag in there. I have already donated a pair of  joggers and a petticoat, I already have in mind more clothes and some books to give to them as well. It is a well worthy cause to donate any unwanted clothes and that, and I prefer doing it this way than in those bags you get through the letter box, which are mostly scams.

For more info check out www.tkmaxx.com, and look for give up clothes for good. Has all the info there and real life stories to inspire you to do more. Give it a go.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

A thank you for following this blog

Do you have trouble setting goals in your business, be it writing, drawing or marketing? If you do, I am now giving you a freebie that can help any business. A goal-setting template based on the one I get at the goal-setting brunch I attend every other month. I shall now try to attach it to here, if not then try to put it in the actual post. Here we go. I can't find any button to allow me to insert a document here so shall have to try to put the whole doc in here.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Goal setting by Julie Day

for any business



Name:




My main goal for (month of) …....................................................... is:





To get there I need to do the following:


1.
2.
3.



Goal table



Put your goals in to bite sized steps that you need to reach them for the month.






Bite-sized steps
Obstacles
(what can hold you back)
To do by
Done (tick)
1





2





3





4





5





6





7





8





9





10






Have you managed to do any of your goals for the month? If you have, please let me know either on Facebook or via my Elite Marketing Blog.

Well, it worked better than when I tried to put it into my Internet Marketing Blog yesterday. Hope it displays OK.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

How I am becoming a better birdwatcher

Ever since I have been at home full-time, I have taken more of an interest in what goes on in our garden, esp the garden birds. Now that I have started writing about them seriously, I have been reading bird magazines and have become a better birdwatcher. The past couple of weeks I have been tweeting what birds I have seen in my garden, when I have been there and through my binoculars, but then I read a piece by Bill Oddie saying that to become a better birdwatcher you need to record in writing what birds they are, what they are like etc. So, this last week I have been scribbling down what birds I've seen, what they eat, their colours, and their calls. This has made me a better birdwatcher. So much so, that I now want to buy better and more professional binoculars, and I bought a book of birds round the world. Writing down all the birds I've seen and what they do, will form an article that I want to write and email to a magazine later this week.

So, that is how I am becoming a better birdwatcher. Do you watch birds in your garden? Do you use binoculars? If you use bin's, what make you do recommend? At the moment I only have cheap ones but need better ones to see more clearly. Let me know.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Another goal for this year and an update on current ones

I have decided to have another goal for this year, but will give you an update on my current ones.

1. Still getting there with my 7+ children's book. Decided to change a scene and put in one that goes with the rest of the book.

2. Still getting there with my next Angel ebook, and should finish current draft by next goal-setting brunch end of this month.

3. Bird articles - have found a few children's magazines in the US that I can submit to. Have one already to post next week.  I have decided to expand my freelance writing and write about famous people with disabilities and submit to those magazines, too, and write about places in London as travel pieces. We shall see how it goes.

Now for my new goal. I was going to stay as an indie author, but after a friend of mine recently got her first book published by a publisher and going to the RNA workshop last weekend, I have now decided to be a hybrid author. I want to try and get published in adult romance with either a trad publisher (not one of the big 6) but a smaller one or a digital publisher like my friend. When I have finished Charlie, the 7+ book, I will then work on a story to send to Woman's Weekly, then I will start rewriting a novel I sent to the NWS a few years ago and make it more romantic, concentrating on the relationship between the girl and boy. I shall either send it to the NWS or straight to a publisher, depending on when I finish it as the NWS closes end of August. I still have lots of indie projects to work on. The rest of the Angel series, the last 2 Geraldine stories, 2 more mermaid stories, and the rest of the Secrets of Singleton village short stories, which should take me into next year.

So, there you have it. My goals and how they are doing, and my new one to work towards. How are you getting on?

If you want help with goal-setting and keeping them, I now have a template for goal-setting, much like the SCBWI Brunch one I get. Let me know if you want one in the comments below, and I can email it to you.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

RNA workshop/retreat day on 15 Feb 2014 - and what I learnt

Last Saturday I made my way on bus to Holborn to go to the RNA London/SE workshop/retreat day. I passed where that car was smashed in by falling bricks from a building. Horrible. Feel so sorry for her family. Anyway, I got there in time to get a good seat.

It started at 10.15 with Julie Cohen and her talk about learning structure with Pixar films. I've not seen it before and thought it was great. We watched the beginning of Wall-E, and I got a new take on it. It's about a lonely robot who finds love in a deserted world of rubbish. I liked the underlying message about recycling more or the world can be like this. We also watched a clip of Finding Nemo, where the main plot and the subplot meets. This is what I learnt: plot structure is structure of the emotional arc. We were given the three act structure of the film Cars. Backstory at the start of the story can be used in the setting as in Wall-E, where we see papers on the ground about trash covering Earth. Pixar starts their films with emotional arc. They have repeated motifs eg in Wall-E, holding hands means love. The subplot - thematic plot. More plot and add to character. Cars has a circular structure where the ending reflects the start of the film - the main character is in a car race, which is how he began the story.

After Julie came Laura Longrigg and Laura Gerrard, Jean Fullerton's agent and editor. They both said that it is the voice and USP being great is what they look for. If you are a member of the NWS, you can mention this in a query letter to them. Also, add a section about you. Your background, why you wrote the story, what you like to read etc.

Then came the '10 Common Mistakes that authors make' and this is where I learnt a lot and came to a decision.
Plotting - know your characters inside and out. Never forget your readers are interested in relationships. Start at a critical point in the story. Work in any backstory subtly. Don't put in mundale details such as making cups of tea. Know your market and readership. Know your publisher requirements (I will check the few publishers I have in mind for a romance I will shortly be working on). If it has a saggy middle then the story hasn't been thought through properly. Have a satisfying ending. Make your characters likeable. The reader has to ID with them, so the story has to be believable. The hero - the reader has to desire him, and want the heroine to want him too. Understand where you want the story to go before starting or the characters won't progress. Don't make the plot entirely driven. In an edit, you can highlight the external and internal conflicts to work this out).
POV - don't head hop unless you're Nora Roberts. Tell not show. Get POV right and experience what your character is feeling. Use emotion and feeling not reportage. And get your punctuation right for speech.

What I learned from that last talk by Melanie Hilton, the NWS organiser, was to make your story believable. In the romance novel that I plan to work on later this year, I was going to have a ghost in it, but I now feel that won't be believable so what the ghost was going to do will be done by the young male neighbour, who falls in love with a librarian, who happens to be the granddaughter. I can't wait to rewrite the book now, but have two projects to work and complete before that.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Writing goals for 2014 - an update

Last month I wrote about what I wanted to do in writing this year. Thought I'd give you an update on how it is going for me.

1. I said that I wanted to try to write poetry. I have so far written 1 1/2 poems about having Asperger's. I want to attempt to do more to make a whole book, which I might try to get published or self-publish.

2. I was going to pitch to US magazines about birds. I have queried one magazine and wait to hear from them. Have pitched another but got rejected as they have too many mss to put in their small magazine. I have found another magazine and will read their guidelines and pitch to them.

3. Want to get my 7+ children's books published. Waiting to hear from publisher. He has started to read my ms and working out how to turn it into a graphic novel.

4. My goals for this month were to finish current drafts of my 7+ book and my next Angel ebook. Getting there with the first - on the last chapters. Half way there with Angel ebook. Hope to finish both by end of the month or at least the next goal setting brunch in March.

So, how are your writing goals going? Let me know in the comments below. Also, would anyone of be interested in a free 'goal-setting' sheet to work on so you don't stray from your goals? Let me know below as I am planning to do one for my internet marketing blog followers who like my posts about planning and goals.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

My healthy eating plan - how it is going

I am now in my 5th week of doing the Slimming World healthy eating plan. I have had a few days here and there where I have lapsed, like yesterday, when I ate a few treats. Anyway, yesterday I weighed myself and got a shock. I had gone down 5lbs in weight yesterday. But after yesterday's treats, I put on another 3/8s of a lb. I don't mind cos I know that the next day I can go back to sticking to the plan and lose that extra bit I put on.

So here are the stats:

I started the plan on 6 Jan. I weighed 10st 1/8

4 weeks later on 3 Feb I weighed at 9st 1/8.

I would like to go down to 9st 7lbs. We shall see.

So, have any of you out there tried Slimming World and got good results? Let me know in the comments below.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

A new video for my Aspiepreneur series

Some of you on here that read this blog might not know but I have recently put up a new video on YouTube. It is in my Aspiepreneur series. I thought I would go back to the start of my journey and tell how I found out I have Asperger's Syndrome, so that is what the video is about.

If you are interested, please go and have a look at this link


If you like it enough, feel free to comment on it. I've already connected with someone else who has Asperger's.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

My new healthy eating plan

So, who isn't on a diet or new healthy eating plan after all that Xmas food? I am. I put on a few pounds and am now working towards losing that with the help of the Slimming World Health Eating Plan. I did this for 6 months in 2012 and lost 10 pounds. I started the plan last Monday 6 January. In the first week I lost 1 and 1/4 pounds. I have since lost another pound. I am going down a bit each day, about an 1/8 of a pound (our scales are accuracy one and measures in eighths). I have a few more days to go until the 2 weeks I had planned to do it to is up, although I am eating out on Saturday at an RNA meeting. As I just said, I was planning to do it for 2 weeks but I might carry on for a whole month to see how much I can lose.

So, are you on a healthy eating plan? Have you lost weight yet? Let me know how much.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

My new year goals as an Aspie

I have already posted about my writing goals, now I am going to tell you the goals I have made for being an Aspie (a couple of them have not lasted already!).

1. Don't get frustrated with my mum when she is doing things for both of us eg using the TV remote control - not lasted.

2. Don't interrupt her when she speaks so I hear the full sentence and don't get it wrong - not lasted, either.

3. Try not to speak too abruptly that often - not done yet.

4. Try to be more understanding of Mum's health problems, too - trying.

5. Help more around the house - have been doing so.

So, are you an Aspie? Have you made new year goals or resolutions this year in regards to your Asperger's? If you have, let me know.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

My thoughts on TV documentary about Susan Boyle

I know it showed a few weeks ago but we recorded it and only watched it last night. I wasn't originally going to record it, but then it came out she has been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, like me, so I was interested to see how she acted and coped with getting ready to do a live tour for the first time.

Watching her have tears of anxiety and nervousness before going on stage, I really related to that as a writer. I don't cry, but I do get v anxious and nervous before I do a talk/workshop when I get to do them. I know a lot of singers get stage fright before they go on stage, anyway. One thing I did relate to greatly was what her psychiatrist said about finding a niche you are good at and having support for it, because it gives you self-worth and self-esteem. I told my mum afterwards that that is why I like writing. It is something I enjoy doing, it gives me self-esteem and esp self-worth when I see on Smashwords that my earnings have gone up a bit more, like they did yesterday. Just knowing someone has downloaded a sample of one of my ebooks gives me self-worth.  Susan Boyle said she's a social lass, which is the opposite to me. But she has a v good singing voice, and when she sings she is good, and it probably takes her mind off the way she's feeling. Something like my writing does. When I write, it takes my mind off how I am and all the problems I have to face in life.

I am pleased I recorded it and watched it. I wish Susan Boyle all the best in touring. She is brave.