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 ( 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 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 or looking at

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.