September is here yet after a few days of autumnal promise, Summer has returned with the blistering heat. The kids must be back at school and the weather is teasing them that they should still be playing at home rather than sweltering in their new school uniforms.
Besides the beginning of Autumn, September is the month dystonians fill their social media feeds with articles and memes about the neurological condition to spread the word that dystonia exists. Raised awareness helps improve diagnosis, funding, support and research and for a condition rarely spoken about this is so important. My Dystonia Around the World challenge continues with walks but also a readathon over on From Under the Duvet. How many books can I read in the month?
Last year, I wrote my miles for the dystonia challenge and thanks to a prompt from Myszka during the Foxes Retreat Short Story course, I wrote The Ghost Writer. This tale based in an old Yorkshire cottage has been published in the Byline Legacies by Cardigan Press. This anthology is written by writers for writers and I feel privileged and excited to be part of the book. And even better, I can now say:
I’m a published author!
I even have a mug and T-shirt with my name on it to prove it, and soon I’ll have a physical copy to put on my bookcase. Holding a book with my name on it is one item ticked off my bucket list. Yay! It does not feel real. Now all I need to do is finish my current novel, tweak A Blend of Magic for submission and find them a home (if only it was that easy). The writers in the anthology share my pain and thrill of being a writer.
Today, I am excited to pass my blog over to best-selling author, Lizzie Chantree to discuss her new book for writers – Networking for Writers: A Fun Way to Sell Books which one day I hope to need. Over to Lizzie.
Networking for Writers by Lizzie Chantree
Thank you so much for inviting me onto your wonderful blog today, Kate.
Hello everyone. My name is Lizzie Chantree and I am a romance author. I write books about sassy entrepreneurs who are always up to mischief and find friendship and love along the way. I have been lucky enough for them all to become international bestsellers in various categories, including hitting the #1 spot more than once with my book, If you love me, I’m yours.
I have just written my first non-fiction book, Networking for writers, in the hope of helping writers who are looking for a little guidance about branding, marketing, events, seminars, mentorship, social media, finding a wider readership and more. Networking is about being social, but it is also about structure, discipline and focus. In my book I offer insight into the tools I use to stay productive, find creative time and to have room left to step away from work and give myself space to breathe and let creativity blossom. Have a great day everyone and if my book does help you on your writing journey, I’d love to hear from you!
Title: Networking for Writers: A Fun Way to Sell Books
Author: Lizzie Chantree
Release Date: 29th October 2020
Are you swamped with book marketing and looking for a way to find new sales? Learn simple and effective networking techniques, to grow your readership and connect with other authors and book lovers, today!
Whether you are a new or experienced writer, self-published or traditionally published, this book will show you how to grow your readership and author network, through some of the most powerful of all marketing tools – word of mouth and recommendation.
This book will show you:
How networking can help you sell more books.
Why author branding is important.
How networking hours work.
Specific Facebook groups for writers
How to utilise social media to grow your readership.
How not to waste valuable writing time.
How to make our marketing more effective.
Throughout Networking for Writers, we will explore running or attending book signings, hosting seminars, finding a writing buddy or mentor, author networking groups, social media planning and so much more
International bestselling author and award-winning inventor, Lizzie Chantree, started her own business at the age of 18 and became one of Fair Play London and The Patent Office’s British Female Inventors of the Year in 2000. She discovered her love of writing fiction when her children were little and now works as a business mentor and runs a popular networking hour on social media, where creatives can support to each other. She writes books full of friendship and laughter, that are about women with unusual and adventurous businesses, who are far stronger than they realise. She lives with her family on the coast in Essex.
It’s September already, another month has gone by without a peep from me on here; I still haven’t told you all about the RNA conference and there was much I could say. My plan was to blog about it while there or at least, give a round up the following week but nope – life had different ideas. My draft box was checked in the hope I could redeem myself by sharing one I had not finished but all that came up was this:
It is not quite the detail I had planned but it sums it up. It was an amazing weekend. I highly recommend it to all romance writers; the knowledge, support from speakers, authors and fellow newbies and the friendships made are priceless. The one to one appointments I had with the two agents and editor boosted my confidence, helped mould my proposed ending of A Blend of Magic into something more fitting and encouraged me to keep writing.
I met authors of books I have read and loved, all were lovely and encouraging including magical Jenni Keer and Sarah Painter, and the wonderful Dorothy Koomson. It was hard not to be starstruck when Katie Fforde talked to me, never mind when she bought me and friends a drink.
My excuse for not being active blogging is I have been juggling having my in-laws to stay, frantically writing my manuscript to meet the New Writers Scheme deadline and dystonia flares and fatigue. Dystonia was always going to fight back and I’m grateful it waited as long as it did.
I only submitted a partial rather than full manuscript to be critiqued by readers for the RNA. My in-laws were supportive at the beginning of their month long holiday but they soon became bored of seeing me type, dream or talk about my fiction. I am happier with my WIP than before I started to edit/rewrite it but I need to know if I am on the right track or if the magic element too much, too boring or the plot is just blurgh. Their advice will gratefully received however devastating it may be. Meanwhile I’ll keep plodding on with the knowledge that at least 3 people at the conference liked my first couple of chapters.
Books, Bookshops and little Gems
Last month, I read some wonderful books including The Lost Daughter by Sylvia Broady, The Unlikely Occultist by Isobel Blackthorn and the phenomenal The Woman in the Photograph by Stephanie Butland. Their reviews can be found on my book blog From under the Duvet.
I also discovered a wonderful new independent book shop, The Little Book Emporium in Driffield, East Yorkshire. This tiny store is full of old and new delights, literary surprises and is dangerous for the budget. Who needs to eat if you can have an unusual book? I have found this gem:
How wonderful and useful will these be for witch research?
Enough rabbiting for now, it is time to write my next chapter while the house is quiet (apart from 3 Jack Russell snores from under the duvet).
I recently signed up to The Pigeonhole, described on the website as a book club in your pocket. It offers a selection of new releases from top publishers and classics. The new Sophie Kinsella book is an option which I am looking forward to if I get chosen to read it. The books are released in sections and you read along with other readers. More on how it works can be found here
I saw an advert for it on social media and not only did the blurb of The Flower Girls by Alice Clark-Platts look good, the promise of a free book drew me in. I am on a strict book budget this year. The more I read about the idea of the business the more I realised it could also help with my aim of reading more classic books. The big tomes, even on Kindle, are daunting but this way the book is broken down into staves or instalments. It reminded me of the Dickensian scenes in The man who invented Christmas where readers eagerly wait for the next part of the story out side the book shop. If it was good enough then, maybe the updated version will be good now.
I started reading The Flower Girls this week and so far I am enjoying the experience. As an insomniac it is exciting to receive the next part at midnight. It adds to the suspense of the thriller because you are left dangling mid story everyday and you are eager to know more. On the flip side, this could be frustrating depending on your outlook but the whole book is available to binge read a month once all the staves have been sent out or those on the read at leisure bookshelf can be read quickly. With crime or suspense novels, I also have a bad habit of reading the last page to discover who did it or who is alive, this curbs that temptation.
Alongside the story, there are options to interact with readers – share opinions of characters or scenes and writing style. I think this will come into its own with the classic books but I am enjoying the Q and A with the author which is also available.
One bonus I was not expecting was that as a procrastinator with words to write, this way of reading increases my productivity because I can not fall into the trap of reading just one more page or chapter. I am reluctant to start new book to read concurrently so it is a win-win situation.
Have you tried it? Let me know your thoughts below.
This morning for no particular reason I feel grateful. I did not plan to think about the good things in my life when I sat down with my cup of tea with only the Christmas tree for company but with its lights shining and the house silent I felt a glimmer of calm. For that moment, the worries about bills, health, relationships and how to stretch a shoestring budget over Christmas fell away. I could see the good I have and achievements made this year.
My grateful list:
The morning hug I will get from my daughter
Waking early to see the stunning night sky
The welcome from my dog as I have left him for five minutes
The taste of the first cup of tea and this time of year
The parts of Christmas which matter the tree, music, friends and family.
Old friends and new ones
The arrival of Christmas cards
Opening the advent calendar – you are never to old for one
Winning nano – that feeling will keep me going for a while
Winning NaNo coaching from Megg
An unexpected lottery win of £25
The book I won from Erin Green The Magic of Christmas Tree Farm
The moment of calm has grown with my list, life is good and I am ready to fight another day. When life’s problems have snowballed and triggered an avalanche of emotions, it is easy to forget the good, the tiny things or incidents throughout the day which if given care are seeds of strength to get you through the crap.