Sunday 31 December 2017

The 'R' Word

It's that time again - whether you love making them, whether you make the same one every time or whether you are highly vocal about not making them at all - it's resolution time!

But before I make mine for 2018, let's look back and see how 2017s went.

2017 - Write more.
Well, I certainly managed that. I have endeavoured to write regular weekly blog posts. I have tentatively started to write weekly poems and flash fiction for my Wattpad profile - check them out if you haven't already, perfect for that five-minute coffee break. I had two short stories published, Underground Scratchings in the sci-fi & fantasy anthology Tales from the Underground and Patient Data in the Sci-Fi Knights of the Roundtable anthology The Quantum Soul. I also self-published a humorous collection of short stories, plays & blog posts with Tales from Suburbia and of course, my humorous fantasy, The Rose Thief. I also managed to 'win' at NaNoWriMo with 50k words for The Gaia Effect sequel.

2018 - Write more.
It's a great resolution or focal point. Whilst many words were written last year, they did tend to be in fits and starts rather than a daily commitment to continual writing. It will be hard because I do love a good procrastination, I have excellent writer's self-doubt and I have a new baby plus her big brother to entertain/keep alive. But if I can commit to 1000 words a day, and I do have a lot of projects in mind, then I think 2018 can be just as productive as 2017!

2017 - Read more.
It's no secret that I love Goodreads and I love setting up reading challenge shelves and giving myself a goal. 100 books read was the target and somehow I made it! The big question is, what will I realistically be able to read next year?

2018 - Read.
I think I ought to play it safe next year and just try to read books. I belong to a real-world book club who read 1 book a month, plus 4 for Dec/Jan (which I haven't even started yet). I belong to a Goodreads book club who read 1 sci-fi and 1 fantasy book a month. I belong to a Facebook book club who have set 12 books for the year challenge that I accepted - and also failed at last year. I also want to get stuck into some series, I'm constantly reading the first in a series and loving it, marking up the rest to come back to and then 56 books later I still haven't read a single book 2 yet. Slight flaw in my plan there. I've also committed to buying and reading more indie books next year. Maybe I'll have a moveable goal, set it to 50 and see how I'm doing in the summer. All that extra writing might take up the miniscule amount of spare time I think I'm going to have.

Don't forget the golden rule when reading a book!

2017 - Bake more.
I think I rather let the side down this year. I mean I can talk a mean cake but I didn't really bake that many. Truth be told I seem to have fallen out of love with the kitchen. I don't really feel like cooking or baking much of anything at all. I basically exist on toast and crumpets at the moment. Plus gallons of tea. It is a valid life choice but just imagine all those cakes I could've made! More effort needed methinks.

2018 - On your marks, get set, BAKE!
While I am not Bake-Off candidate material, I do love a challenge - at least I did - so my goal will be to get back in the kitchen and stop making the same old, same old meals & bakes. Let's try something new. 

So on this New Year's Eve let's raise a glass - wishing you all a happy & healthy 2018, may it bring you more good than bad, more fun than regrets. Have a good one!

Tuesday 19 December 2017

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Some of you will know that my baby girl was due on 26th November, well, she decided to arrive fashionably late. As Mummy recovers just in time for Christmas, I wanted to send festive greetings out to you all and hope you have very happy holidays.

I will be back, hopefully on top form, in January 2018 with the rest of The Organised Author blog posts and of course my usual Sunday Blog musings. There are some very exciting writing projects coming up, 2018 is going to be a great year.

As we come to the end of 2017, I thought I would share with you the top ten most popular posts from the blog this year - if I've missed any that you thought should make the top ten or you have a personal favourite then don't hesitate to let me know.
  1. Whatever You Do, Write A Review
  2. The best things about being pregnant
  3. Tales from the Underground
  4. Saying Goodbye
  5. How To... join in with #sparklybadgersunite
  6. The thing about sequels is...
  7. The Quantum Soul
  8. New Horizons
  9. The Gaia Effect - Book Blog Tour
  10. You're only a writer if...
Wishing you all the best for 2018!

Monday 4 December 2017

The Organised Author #1

This month I am taking part in a fantastic series of daily challenges created by my esteemed indie author colleague, Cindy Tomamichel, as part of our Sparkly Badgers Unite indie author writing group on Facebook. It's designed to help you focus on becoming more organised as an author and will also act as a handy guide to make sure you haven't forgotten anything crucial to your marketing efforts.

So far we've covered the following topics:
1. What is your platform?
2. To Do Lists & Planning
3. Platform focus and author brand
4. Using your author brand focus

What is your platform?
Create a list of every social media platform you currently have a presence on as well as the number of followers. Then consider which ones you don't like using or are relatively inactive on. Is it worth maintaining platform? Would your efforts be better spent elsewhere?

Knowing where your followers are will also show you areas you may wish to build your following. It's also a great way of checking where your followers are growing and where they are not.

Make sure you have a list of all your social media links in one place, easy to copy and send out to future interviews, articles, blog posts - anyone who asks for them.

Now that you've decided which social media sites you use the most, make sure you've created an email signature with those links included so that every time you email someone they know how to get in touch with you.

To Do Lists & Planning

Whether you love them or hate them, lists are handy. Choose what works for you - pen & paper, tick lists, a diary, the latest phone app, google calendar - just make sure you use it properly and that you don't fall into the procrastination trap.

Don't spend ages writing a list of all the things you think you need to do because it will take forever, it will depress you and writing the list takes you away from actually doing the tasks.

Platform focus and author planning

Ask yourself the following questions:
  • What is your snappy tagline to describe your writing?
  • What is your genre?
  • What images best suit your brand?
  • What else are you interested in? It's important to be able to talk about interests other than 'buy my book'.
Joanna Penn has a helpful article - 7 Best Ways To Build An Authentic Author Brand - that you might like to explore further.

Using your author brand focus

Now that you've spent some time focusing like a laser beam on your author brand it's time to make sure all that good work gets distilled into your author bio. Think about whether your bio reflects your author brand, would you buy your books?

Kindlepreneur has a helpful article - How To Write A Compelling Author Bio - that you might like to explore further. 

If you've found any of this helpful and would like to know more, get involved with The Organised Author event over on Facebook, all indie authors are welcome. Or perhaps you'd like to join our Sparkly Badgers Writing Group. I will, of course, post again next week with the next batch of activities. Let's get organised!