Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Authorpreneurs




These have been around for a while I’m thinking, but the word has only recently been established. It describes those authors who are not only fantastic writers but who then proactively market their work. They show that they are business people in every aspect of their work.

 

Car salesman attitude

I’ve frequently said that we writers have to be quite dual-aspected; it may be fine to spend one part of the day wrapped up cosily in our garrets, penning the best work ever.  Then we have to become extrovert, assertive, strategic and maybe even a little bit manipulative. It doesn’t feel natural to a creative practitioner. But this attitude can also make a difference to how we react to rejections; we might come to regard these as rewrites. 

 

Imposter syndrome

I have to admit I’m not so keen on the marketing side of things and I know I’m not alone in this. I find it much easier to promote other people’s work than my own.  Am I really a writer? Should I really expect the public to want to pay to read my work?
Now hang on a minute. Most of my rejections these days say that the writing is good. I have more than 48 works in print and that includes a handful of full length novels. I have two post-graduate degrees in creative writing and a university saw fit to employ me full-time, eventually at senior lecturer level, and even though I’m now retired they keep getting me back for odd jobs. Come on, woman.  
Of course people should pay to read my work. As they should pay to read yours.
So what does this authorpreneur look like?

Accounting

She pays her taxes and knows when and what to claim for expenses.

 

Engagement

She engages with her readership through blogs, talks, launches, school visits and posts on social media.

 

Advertising strategies

She will use free or paid-for advertising strategically. She will keep records of this and work out which options work the best.

 

Professional help   

She knows when to get professional help with PR.

 

Genuine use of Social Media

She will use social media wisely – it is not all about “buy my book, buy my book”.  She only likes what she genuine likes and only spends about 20% of her time there on direct or indirect promotion. The rest of the time she is just herself or indeed promoting others.

Wants, needs and benefits

In her interaction with her readers she is aware of their wants and needs and offers them benefits.  What do they gain by buying her book, joining her mailing list, hosting her on a blog or attending her event? However, she is savvy enough always to include a call to action.

Building her brand, platform and mailing list

She does this more and more skilfully. Yet she works with what she enjoys most.  She is careful not to spam her readers and always to offer them something worthwhile.

Retaining objectivity about reviews and sales figures

She knows that the only valid reaction to poor reviews or sales figures is to regard them as useful information and do something to change what is happening. However, she must also learn to recognise trolls and not be over-worried by them.    

 

Discipline      

She is disciplined about ring-fencing her writing time and is consistent in demanding to be paid for her work, though also knows when a free gift may be an effective loss-leader.  

Are you an authorpreneur?

Town is Sea by Joanne Schwartz and Sydney Smith




2018, pre-school, Key Stage 1, ages 0-4, ages 3-5, ages 5-7, Kate Greenaway  Prize 2018, 

This is a landscape picture book and thus easy for the parent and child to share.  As usual in picture books the story the pictures tell more of the story. The ratio of text to picture is what we would normally expect for this sort of book.

We also have the normal amount of repetition: when (I wake up) it goes like this, my father is digging coal  … 

There is a mixture of double spreads, single spreads and pages that contain multiple pictures. The double spreads generally give a strong sense of place: the family home, the town, the mine where the protagonist’s father digs and the sea. The single spreads and the pages with multiple pictures are more concerned with activities.

In some ways, however, the text may appeal to a more advanced learner. The protagonist’s observations are quite sophisticated. He thinks about his father’s work and realises that one day it will be his turn.   

The author also provides a note at the end of the text explaining what it was like for children who grew up in mining villages. 

Only Remembered edited by Michael Morpurgo




2014, fluent reader,  Key Stage 2, Key Stage3,  ages 9-11, ages 10-13, lower secondary, upper primary, adult  

This is an edited collection of commentary on World War I, or the Great War. It consists of short articles by influential people such as politicians, writers, actors and producers – and most quote some fiction though this is rarely children’s fiction.  

It is a little surprising , then, to find it in the children’s  section of the local library and one can’t help wondering whether it is simply the name Michael Morpurgo that has caused that to happen. 

On the other hand, this is still very readable by the upper primary and lower secondary child. Each section is short and thought-provoking.  The book would also be useful in the classroom where the Great War is being discussed.   

The articles are grouped into three sections:  At War, At Home and After.  

Ian Beck’s illustrations enliven the text. 

Between them, the texts offer a balanced view.

My Story: Suffragette, an Edwardian Girl’s Diary 1909-1913 by Carol Drinkwater




2011, fluent reader, Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3 ages 9-11, ages 10-13 

Dollie tells her own story through her diary.  She is a young girl who used to live in the slums.  She is given a chance in life and adopted by a rich family who make their money from the docks.  She becomes involved with Women’s Suffrage and Political Union.  

The text makes the difference between suffragettes and suffragists quite clear. We read some gruesome details of how women were imprisoned and what happened when they went on hunger strike. 

Dollie herself is imprisoned and is force-fed.  She is also present at the Derby at the Epsom race course on the 4 June 1913 where Emily Wilding Davison throws herself down in front of the king’s horse. Emily died of her injuries on 9 June 2013.   

At the end of the book is a useful timeline and there are also some intriguing photos. The author provides some historical notes.  

This is one of a series of “My Story” books where history is brought to us through the voices of young poeple.   

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

News 4 December 2018



 

Bridge House, CaféLit, Chapeltown Celebration

Saturday was hectic but very enjoyable. First of all Debz and I conducted a short story work shop that launched the 2019 Waterloo Festival Short Story Competition. The theme this time is “Transforming Being”. Stories and monologues must be no more than 1,000 words and the deadline is 28 February.  Full details are already on the festival site. And will soon be also on the Bridge House site. Find them here.      
We really must thank Dianne Stadhams for putting us in touch with the Waterloo Festival. We had a super venue in the St Anthony’s Church Centre, a very easy walk form Southwark tube station and also close to some very good bars and restaurants. Several members of the group had lunch before the event and Debz, her dad and I had dinner together afterwards.
The folk at St Anthony’s looked after us well. It was just right.
There was the usual mingling and exchange of ideas. Ten writers read for us and we were very well entertained. We had a prize draw for another fun copy of Magical Christmas. The photo here shows Allison picking the winning ticket; she did not take part in the drawer as she has already reviewed the book for us. 
And I the afternoon we announced the theme for the next Bridge House anthology; nativity. This may be because one of our delegates in the morning was on maternity leave. Is that how we got the idea? It may well be that the theme will, as ever, be skewed and the title of the book may be different.  Full details on the Bridge House site.  
          
          

News about my writing

My own writing is carrying on much as I mentioned last month. 
I'm now on  the third edit of Peace Child 4.  I’m continuing to work on my book about the dark side of children's literature – which is making me read a lot and also reread several works I’ve read before. Schellberg 5 is still on hold for the moment. I’m please to say that Peace Child 4 is settling down now.     

More comments on Amazon

Our good friends again. We actually have very little influence over what they do and they are in the end a retailer, a business who can do what they like.  It is frustrating when they say that  a book is going to take several weeks to deliver but we know that they only have to raise an order with Lightning Source / Ingrams and the book can be with them within 48 hours.  I believe they tend to put their orders in on a Thursday so it’s good if your friends and family order on a Tuesday.  That gives the order time to go through their internal systems.
Note, it is only Amazaon.co.uk that does this. .com, ,au, .fre etc promises two to four days. Even The Book Depository, actually owned by Amazon offers a better delivery time. Other online retailers are also more optimistic. However, these sites often then take a little longer to deliver. Amazon UK is over-cautious.  
I decided with one title to set up a “trigger”. I ordered a copy on 19 November. It promises delivery between 12 December and 12 January.  The suddenly it was 8 December, then 6 December, then1 December and finally on 28 November they said it would arrive the next day. It arrived at 9. 00 p.m. that evening. 
The next day it said there was only one book in stock but it shows a four day delivery on that. Have we now sold a lot? Did they order two when I put my order in? However, yesterday, there were two books in stock and it was promising next day delivery.   
I can’t keep looking at every book we publish all the time but if you see a title showing a silly delivery time, do write to Amazon from the book’s page. Point out that they should be ordering from Lightning Source who will deliver quickly so what they’re saying doesn’t make sense.        
We’re now selling directly from our site again but we can’t match Amazon discounts or cheap delivery. Also, it is more work for us so we’re not really advertising it a lot.  But you are in the know and so you can offer this as alternative for your family, fans and friends. 
And of course, there is our new catalogue …. See below.
If we get more than 50 reviews on Amazon, they’re more likely to stock more of our books. So, keep those reviews coming. 

Catalogue of our books

I have for some time been quite impressed with how Endeavour markets book and have wanted to emulate that but without making tooo much extra work for myself.  I frequently buy books from them, actually. Thank you to the Scribblers group who’ve joined in the debate and helped me to clarify my thoughts. Now they have crystallised and this is what will happen:
Every Friday I will “publish” a particular “demographic” of  Books e.g. “Our Little Square Flash Fiction Books” or “The Works: John Smith”
There will always be some sort of offer e.g. buy all for … . the price here will be cost plus 10%.  As always buy five books and postage is waived.
Even if you have a page the books on that page that we publish will be on some sort of offer. You may like to suggest your own offer.
 I’ll advertise via Twitter and Facebook but I really want to build up an email list.
I have quite a bit to get set up here, so this may well not start until January.  But watch this space and look out for me on Twitter and Facebook.                    
                

Catalogue of books for children

I’ve added several titles to this over the last. It is growing apace.  You can find it here.  Do take a look if you’re into children’s books.

Useful links for writers

My list of links for writers is also growing steadily. Find it  here.  

1940s Group

Just a reminder: this is a Facebook group for all people who write about the 1940s. Fiction and non-fiction, for young and old. Topics might then be: the Holocaust, World War II, Civilian Experience (all sides) and the battle front. We can exchange ideas about research and marketing. We may promote books and stories, - the last day of every month and on launch / release day.
If you feel that is you, do join us: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2026868870924138/    
Of course, with my Schellberg Cycle I'm constantly in that world.       

Dreamteam

Find members here.    
This is a personal recommendation. Initially I intend to use my Dream Team a lot myself but gradually I would add in people that friends and friends of friends have recommended.

What happens?

You sign up to a mailing list and every time a request comes in we mail it out to you or the enquirer contacts you directly via my web site. The conversation then carries on between you and the person making the request. You may also have a page set up on my blog and you may update that once a year. 
Interested? You may sign up for more than one category. 
Beta readers sign up here.
Reviewers sign up here.
Editors sign up here.
Illustrators sign up here.
Designers sign up here.
Proof-readers sing up here.   
DO REMEMBER THAT AT ANY TIME YOU’RE APPROACHED AND YOU’RE BUSY IT’S PERFECTLY FINE TO SAY NO.  

News from all of our writers

Do keep sending news like this and remember to supply a link to where reader can buy the book. 

Anne Goodwin’s Becoming Someone is published in paperback and e-book formats on 23rd November, 2018, by Inspired Quill. Generally, her books are most easily accessed through online retailers, through my publisher’s website or at author events:
Amazon author page viewauthor.at/AnneGoodwin
Author page at Inspired Quill publishers http://www.inspired-quill.com/authors/anne-goodwin/ 
Read an fascinating article by one of our Bridge House authors here: 
         

Bridge House

Crackers is out. We sold out at the event last Saturday. And it has a ranking on Amazon. Find it here. You can see excerpts from the stories here 
We’re still getting plenty of interest in our single-author collections. These are now only for authors we’ve published before and they may include stories we’ve already published, ones they’ve had published elsewhere and new ones. The description for this is now on the web site. http://www.bridgehousepublishing.co.uk/index.php/single-author-collections You may recycle stories we’ve already included in another anthology, and you may reedit these if you wish. You may also add in new stories. We’re aiming at a total word count of between 30,000 and 70,000 words.

Your work will go through three stages of editing, and will be proof-read twice in-house. We design the book and the cover. We hook it up to all the distributing channels and we complete first-level marketing. We are risking all of this on you as well as the set-up costs and the copies to the British Library and legal deposit agency.   

You’ll probably not get rich quick: anthologies by new authors do not sell in big numbers initially. Each month we post to a dropbox information about books’ performance. A link is sent with the monthly newsletter. See below for how to access this newsletter.  
      
We have a huge backlog so please be patient. You can always check our progress at: http://apublishersperspective.blogspot.co.uk/p/work-flow.html

      

CaféLit

One of my own stories will appear in the Christmas run. This rather reminds me of how I came to set up Bridge House in the first place. As an alternative to all of those letters that people sent out at Christmas, I started including short stories with the Christmas cards. I then had the idea that it might be nice to put them together into a book and make a kind of Advent Calendar. But that would take me twenty-four years to complete.  So, I invited others in. Now Bridge House produces an annual anthology that contains twenty-four stories. Debz and I no longer contribute as writers.
Story Goes Missing that will appear on CaféLit on 24 December may seem like a story for children at first and children will understand it at face value.  Adults will probably understand it in another way. Isn’t that after all how all good fairy / folk stories work?
A few more Christmas stories are still needed. 
Stories are now all being posted at 4.00 p.m. Afternoon Teatime, Kaffee and Kuchen time and it's also when the kids are home from school. Just the right time for a cuppa and a good story.
In November we had stories from: James Bates, Janet Bunce, Lynn Clement, Penny Dale, Jo Dearden, Margaret Drummond, Susan E Eames, Joseph Isaacs, Gill James, Dawn Knox, Mark Kodama, Roger Noons, Martin Parker, Sylvia Patsalides, Paula R C Readman, Michal Reibenbach, Hannah Retallick, Bruce Rowe, Allison Symes, Nanette Tames, Alex Womack and Robin Wrigley.   

Highest performing posts were:
by  Hannah Retallick 278
Dawn Knox 172
by Lynn Clement 128
by Janet Bunce  104
by Michal Reibenbach 94 

Facebook no longer allows me to schedule posts. If when I go to my editor’s dashboard I see that a story has fewer than 20 hits, I put it on my own Twitter feed and the Facebook page.  
Our stories are generally spread in the following ways:
  • 36 people have signed up to have the stories fed from the blog site  
  • I tweet about the site from time to time
  • some members visit daily or when they have time  
  • authors make efforts – blog, website, FB, email signature, word of mouth
  • casual readers come across the site      
  • one story being read leads to another 
Maybe you could all share your ideas of how to make us more visible and tell us what you do?
You can read all of the stories  here.

Here's a reminder of how we select stories: I open my inbox and I'll often see four or five submissions. I'll select the best of the bunch and schedule it for in a few days' time. I'll let you know. I may reject one or two but ones that are basically sound I'll keep forever or until they’re published.  Consequently if one you've submitted to us has not been rejected, and you find a home for it elsewhere, let us know the name of the story and the date you submitted and we'll remove it from the archive. Try to include the drink each time. Do put CaféLit in the subject line so we can identify your submission. Remember to include your bio (50-100 words including links for longer stories, just links for 100 words or less) each time. I haven't got time to look up an old one and in any case your bio is probably changing all the time.

.           

We're always open to submissions. Find out to submit here. Remember, this gives you some exposure, you can add in a short CV each time, and there's always the chance that your work might be accepted for the annual anthology.    

We have some seasonal opportunities coming up now:
Winter
Christmas
New Year
Valentine's Day
Spring
Easter  
So, get writing.
On offer for CaféLit authors is a page on our web site. See examples here. 
This month I’ve added Charles Joseph Albert. Read about him here.   
The list is growing. Click on the names to find out more about the authors and to access their work. If you're a CaféLit author and would like a web page, use the ones there to get ideas. You need to send me between 250 and 350 words about yourself, an attractive image, a list of up to six publications, up to six awards and up to six links. I then also link the page to your stories on CaféLit. Send to gill at cafelit dot co dot uk. 
I’m happy to update the pages each January.   

 

Chapeltown

We’re very excited to have produced out first hardback highly-illustrated book Magical Christmas. It is a delight. See it here.
And of course, I hope you’ll give us a review.      
Our Chapeltown authors continue to be very proactive in promoting their work. They have managed to get their books into shops and libraries. They are also buying lots of author copies and are getting on to blogs – mine included, of course.
We’re still interested in producing flash collections but only by authors we’ve already published on CaféLit or in a Bridge House anthology or who already have a collection out with Chapeltown.    

Creative Café

I’ve added an American café in this month: http://www.creativecafeproject.org/2018/11/club-cafe-pittsburgh-usa.html
Keep sending suggestions and review them if you can. 
Cafés might further support the project in the following ways. 
Do you have any further suggestions?
I'm continuing my tour of creative cafés where I collect stories for an anthology. In some cases, writers may offer them and in others customers may tell me their story and I'll write it for them. Do you know of a café that might be interested in this? Let me know if you do.         
Remember you can now buy merchandise for the Creative Café project. The profit on anything you buy here goes to the Creative Café Project. Check this out here.    
We’re always looking for new cafés.  If you visit one of the cafés in the project and would like to write a review of between 250 and 350 words – nice, too, to have a couple of pictures – send it to me here. Do the same if you find a new café.

 

The Red Telephone

I have some books now lined up to read. I'm particularly interested in near-futures speculative YA fiction. Again, I’m only accepting proposals form people we already know.     

 

Facebook Group for the Imprints

Scribblers Sans Frontières - Here you can:
·         Discuss all technical issues re our books
·         Exchange marketing ideas
·         Advertise and report on your events
·         Promote any of your titles or successes
·         Share good practice and ideas
·         Get help with writing problems
·         Anything else appropriate
Please come and join us if you're eligible. Or you can ask me to sign you up.  

School Visits

I’m proactively promoting my school visits associated with The House on Schellberg Street project. I’ve now developed a whole workshop for this. It starts off with a board game, includes some role play and creative writing and ends with a discussion.
It is now possible to purchase the kit to work on on your own. Find details here.
Costs for my workshops = travel expenses plus £400 for a full day and £200 for a half day. This includes all materials and some freebies. Two schools near to each other might consider splitting the day and halving the travel expenses and fees. This is open to negotiation in any case.       
I also offer a free half day visit, though you pay my travel expenses, if you allow me to promote my books.       
I’m continuously adding materials for schools to the site that are different from the ones I use for the workshops. I’ve recently added in resources and books to do with the topic. See them here:       
Query for a school visit here.
I’m also happy to tailor a visit for your agreed donation. This can be for either a Schellberg Cycle visit or a creative writing workshop. Any monies raised this way will go specifically to a project I have for a non-fiction book about a journey that will follow the footsteps of Clara Lehrs. I’m hoping to do the whole journey by train, including departing via my nearest Metrolink station. It’s important to feel the rails beneath my feet.       
I offer as well standard author visits which include readings from my books, Q & A sessions and creative writing exercises.
Please remember, with these as well, I’m open to negotiation if you can’t afford the full price.

Free listing for our writers

If you are one of our writers and would like to offer school visits, please contact me. I'm offering a free listing on the imprint pages.
State: age groups you are prepared to work with, a definition of your work, distances you are prepared to travel. Appropriate links. Please provide an image.         

 

Upcoming events

Scribblers Celebration Event

YOU DON'T NEED TO BE AVAILBALE ON 23 DECEMBER TO JOIN IN.
 https://www.facebook.com/events/528939584193914/ 23 December 14.00 – 17.00 GMT. Do come even if you can't come at that time. Items will be added to before and after that time.
This is for all those people who cannot attend the event on 1 December; perhaps you live too far away or you have something else on. You can attend outside of those times but it will be live then.   
Take a look at my blog post about cyber events: http://apublishersperspective.blogspot.com/2017/12/the-on-line-launch.html There is also a chapter about this in my book on marketing:  So Now You're Published, What Next?
This gives you some idea about how this all works.
In addition, I ask that everybody who attends offers a secret Santa. This could be a physical gift that you send to one other attendee. One of your books, a notebook with your book cover   or coffee mug. Or you could offer a one-off service such as a critique of a short story.  Or you may offer a file that I'll put into a dropbox and you could expect multiple downloads. This could be a mobi or PDF of one of your books, an audio file, an excerpt, or a tip sheet.
Would you like to make a short video of you reading?   

 

Current reading recommendation

Once again I’ve read some great books this month. This one, though, might seem an odd choice but I did find it engaging.
Winnie M Li was herself assaulted it took her nine years of recovery and hard work for the novel to become a reality.  This is not the story of the assault upon Li but at least we know that she writes with authority.
Protagonist Vivian likes to take herself off on lone hikes and it is whilst on one of these on the outskirts of Belfast that she is raped by fifteen-year-old Johnny. Perhaps it is risky for a young woman to set off alone like that and in an early scene she is propositioned by middle-aged man. Indeed Johnny’s defence argues about that risk. Yet we probably all think that a woman ought to be safe on her own.   
Li gives us both Vivian’s and Johnny’s points of view up to and including the trial and beyond. The trial scene is particularly gripping.
Li does not spare us the horrors of the rape itself, nor of the discomfort of the police examinations and of the trial.
The writing throughout is tight. Both characters are exquisitely drawn.  Find it here.              

Calling all writers

I'm running an occasional series of interviews on my blog.
If you would like to be on my blog just answer the questions below and send them with appropriate images to gill dot james at btinternet dot com.
Please feel free to pick and choose which of these to answer. 
1.      What do you write? Why this in particular? 
2.      What got you started on writing in the first place?
3.      Do you have a particular routine? 
4.      Do you have a dedicated working space?
5.      When did you decide you could call yourself a writer? Do you do that in fact?
6.      How supportive are your friends and family? Do they understand what you're doing?
7.      What are you most proud of in your writing?
8.      How do you get on with editing and research?
9.      Do you have any goals for the future?
10.  Which writers have inspired you?
Please write as much or as little as you like for each section and supply as many pictures as you like. Also let me know your latest publication and supply me with a link if it's not on Amazon. 
I 'm also happy to offer you a post whenever you have a new book come out, even if I'm not your publisher. In this case answer the following questions:
  1. Tell me about your book.
  2. Tell us about your research for this book.
  3. What inspired you to write this?
  4. What's next?
  5. How can we get a copy of the book?
  6. Do you have any events planned?
Again write as much or as little as you please. Alter and add to the questions if you wish. Provide as many pictures as you wish.
Send to: gill dot james at btinternet dot com

Giveaway

I’m giving away the Kindle version of my young adult paranormal romance, Spooking . Access it and lots of other freebies here.  
Note, that normally my books and the books supplied by the imprints I manage sell for anything form £0.99 to £10.99, with most on Kindle being about £2.99 and the average price for paperback being £7.00. We have to allow our writers to make a living. But we’re offering these free samples so that you can try before you buy.   
Naturally we welcome reviews.

Some notes about my newsletters and blogs

They do overlap a little but here is a summary of what they all do.

Bridge House Authors For all those published by Bridge House or interested in being published by us. General news about the imprint. News for writers. Link to book performance. Sign up here.

CaféLit Writers For all those published by CaféLit. General news about the imprint. News for writers. Link to book performance. News about the Creative Café Project. Sign up here.

Chapeltown Authors For all those published by Chapeltown or interested in being published by us.  General news about the imprint. News for writers. Link to book performance. Sign up here.  

Chapeltown Books News about our books and our authors. Sign up here.

The Creative Café Project  News about the project and CaféLit – for the consumer rather than for the producer.  Sign up here.   

Gill’s News: News about my writing, general news about what the imprints are doing, news about other writers I know, news about the Creative Café  Project, a recommended read, a giveaway each month. Find it here.   

Opportunities List Remember I keep a full list of vetted opportunities on my writing blog. See them here. New ones are added several times a day. Roughly once a month I go through it and take out all of the out of date ones. At that point I send it out to a list. If you would like to be on that list, sign up here.  


Pushing Boundaries, Flying Higher News about conferences and workshops to do with the young adult novel. (infrequent postings) Sign up here.  

Red Telephone Authors For all those published by The Red Telephone or interested in being published by us.  General news about the imprint. News for writers. Link to book performance. Sign up here.

Schellberg Cycle Workshop News Offers and news of events to do with Schellberg Cycle workshops. Sign up here.  

School Visits Offers and news of school visits. Sign up here.

Red Telephone Books News about our books and our authors. Sign up here.

A Publisher’s Perspective Here I blog as a publisher. Access this here.   

The Creative Café Project Listings and reviews of creative cafés. See them here.   

CaféLit Stories Find these here

Gill James Writer All about writing and about my books. View this here.

Gill’s Recommended Reads Find information here about books that have taken me out of my editor’s head.   

Gill’s Sample Fiction Read some of my fiction here.

The House on Schellberg Street All about my Schellberg project. Read it here.
Writing Teacher All about teaching creative writing.  Some creative writing exercises. Access this here.     

Happy reading and writing.