My first interview as an indie author

I’ve just completed an interview on the smashwords website where I’m publishing my first fantasy novel. Check it out here smashwords interview.

You can also view my profile, download a sample of Visions of Zarua, and pre-order your copy in your preferred format. Release date 16th November (£3.00 / $4.60).

Please leave comments, and suggestions for additional questions you would like answered.

10 Top Tips for New Writers.

I’ve been writing over 20 years, and in the build up to self-publishing my first novel I would like to share what I’ve learnt.

 1. Online courses

I’ve completed both novel writing and short stories courses. You learn as you write and having your assignments critiqued by experienced tutors helps you improve as you go along. Online course can fit around your life, which was helpful to me with two young children.


2. Go to writing workshops and creative writing classes.

I’ve attended several terms of adult education classes over the years, and a couple of one day workshops. Meeting like-minded people was a real turning point for me. Critiquing and editing others work helps you look at your own work more objectively. Also having others critique your work helps you develop that famous thick skin all writers need.

I’ve made writing friends from classes too. It’s so important to have people in your life who understand the struggles of a writer. Now with online forums, and blogs etc. it’s easier to connect with other writers, but I still think the workshops play an important part in the learning process.


3. Enter competitions, especially those offering critiques

There’s nothing worse than sending your story into a competition and never hearing anything again. Not knowing where you’re going wrong. The critiques can help you grow as a writer. And if you follow the suggestions made, next time you may just get placed.


4. Don’t rush. Don’t pitch too soon.

I’ve made this mistake way too many times. Thinking the book is ready and contacting the agents I would love to work with, or the publishers that accept unsolicited submissions. Once they’ve turned you down, there’s no going back. It’s the same with novel competitions; once they’ve seen your entry you can’t resubmit when you’ve made a better version.

(Despite this advice, I think self publishing will suit me. I’m in control. I don’t have to wait months for agents and publishers to see the potential, I can reach out to readers directly.)


5. Start building your online profile now.

I only started six months ago and I became a bit obsessive trying to get everything working smoothly, and everything linked. It’s so much better to do this over time and give yourself a chance to build up a readership. And there are lots of writers out there to connect with too.


6. Beta readers can make a huge difference.

Especially those who are writers themselves, who understand the structure and techniques of writing. I’ve been lucky enough to have made some really good friends from the writing classes. We’ve kept in touch and still occasionally meet up to critique each others’ work. They’ve offered honest criticism about where I’m going wrong, but also shown me my strengths as a writer and their encouragement has been a big boost to my confidence. (They’ve been so helpful that I wanted to acknowledge them personally in my book.)


7. Join a book group

I’ve been a member of several book groups. It’s really interesting listening to readers critiquing books you’ve read, and to imagine how your own book might be seen from the readers’ perspective. They also force you to read outside your comfort zone.


8. Get all the professional help you can afford.

Advice from a critique editor at Writer’s Workshop, Geraldine Harris Pinch, is something that really stands out here. Her report cut me down and I did shed a few tears, but ultimately she was honest and she was right.

She said that I excelled at characterisation, but she thought I hadn’t yet found the story I wanted to tell. She suggested merging the two storylines in the novel, following the two wizards stories 350 years apart, rather than using diary entries and having a prequel to Visions. I didn’t know if it would work, but I’m so pleased I took her advice. Now Visions of Zarua is a book I can be proud of.

I paid for professional editing via Alison Williams. She helped me cut the word count by almost 10k, which is astonishing considering I thought the novel was in good shape before I gave it to her.

I paid for a premade cover that I adore, though I did look through 1000’s of covers before I found one that worked for my novel.

There are people who can prepare and upload your work as ebooks. I did it myself and it’s not that hard to do, but it’s very time consuming and often frustrating.


9. Know when to let go.

This is probably the hardest thing. To tell yourself it’s finished, and let go.

I will never be satisfied with my writing, that’s a fact I have to live with. I have to tell myself Visions of Zarua is done. It’s been edited and redrafted dozens of times, read by trusted beta readers, spell checked constantly, critiqued by professionals, professionally edited, and finally I have proof read it.

Now that’s it, Visions has to stand on its own. I can’t do anymore.


10. Enjoy the journey, and celebrate being a writer

It’s an amazing feeling creating worlds and characters, and not everyone can do it. It takes hard work, dedication and absolute determination to succeed.

Now that Visions is out there, I can truly say I am a writer.

And now I’ve let go of this novel, I’m ready to concentrate on the other novels I’ve written in draft. I can’t wait to start reliving these characters lives, and look forward to the day I can share their stories with my readers as well.

Final thoughts

Each stage above has given me something different and helped me become a better writer. My book would not be half what it is now. Well it would be a lot longer, but not half as good.

New hashtag for book posts: #TuesdayBookBlog from #RBRT

This new #TuesdayBookBlog is a great idea. Starting 3/11/15.

Alison Williams Writing

RBRT (1)

Most Twittering bloggers know about the benefits of ‘blog share’ days; it all started with Rachel Thompson and her fabulously successful #MondayBlogs.  Now, there is also #wwwblogs on Wednesday (Wednesday women writers), #SundayBlogShare, #ArchiveDay on Saturday, and probably others, too.

Since Rachel started #MondayBlogs, she’s been battling against people using it for book promotion; her view is that you have six other days of the week to promote your books, but #MondayBlogs is about the writing itself ~ in other words, blog posts about anything other than your book!  She now states that there should be no book promotion of any sort on #MondayBlogs, not even third party reviews, which is understandable as there are so many ways in which her guidelines can be abused.

Because there are so many avid readers, writers and book bloggers who understand the benefit of blog share days, Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team is…

View original post 299 more words

Pre-order my ebook now for only £3.00

<a href=””>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Visions of Zarua MY COVER

Two wizards, 350 years apart. Together they must save the realm of Paltria from Zarua’s dark past.

Available to pre-order at amazon  kobo  itunes nook You can download the reading apps for any of these suppliers, on any device. Click on the link for details.

Or to find out more, please visit my website, twitter page, facebook or goodreads

Your pre-order will be delivered to you on the release date of 16th November 2015.

Please share and help spread the word.

Pre-order details for Visions of Zarua

Two wizards, 350 years apart. Together they must save the realm of Paltria from Zarua’s dark past.


Visions of Zarua MY COVER

An ancient darkness haunts the realm of Paltria.

Apprentice wizard Paddren is plagued by visions of a city on the brink of annihilation. When his master Kalesh dies in mysterious circumstances, the Royal Order of Wizards refuses to investigate.

Helped by his childhood friend, the skilled tracker Varnia, and her lover Leyoch, Paddren vows to find the killer.

The investigation leads Paddren down a sinister path of assassins, secret sects and creatures conjured by blood magic. But he is guided by a connection with a wizard from centuries ago – a wizard whose history holds the key to the horror at the heart of the abandoned city of Zarua. Can Paddren decipher his visions in time to save the Paltrian people from the dark menace of Zarua’s past?

Pre-order Visions of Zarua now from amazon  kobo  itunes nook

To find out more, pleae visit my website, twitter page, facebook or goodreads

The big cover reveal!

Visions of Zarua MY COVER

The day has finally come when I can reveal the cover of my soon to be published fantasy novel. I’ll be putting out the pre-order details in the next day or so. In the meantime, let me know what you think.

My pre-publishing checklist

I can’t believe how close I am to actually publishing my first fantasy novel, Visions of Zarua. This has been my dream since junior school when I first discovered the magic of creating my own stories. Now I am about to accomplish that dream, and it’s exciting but also terrifying.

Items ticked off my checklist

The proofread is done.

The final changes are done – I managed to lose another 1,100 words. The final word count is now down to just over 152K.

The cover is paid for, proofed and on its way.

The table of contents is inserted with all its bookmarks and hyperlinks, and seems to be working. It was actually very easy, just tedious – why do I have 48 chapters?

I’ve saved the novel as a HTML web page file and checked the formatting looks as it should.

Still to do;

Once I have the cover, I can download to Kindle and check for any formatting errors. Then I’ll need to do the same with Smashwords.

In a few days I hope to get my press release out there with the cover reveal and a link to pre-order – something else I need to learn how to do. 

Finally, I just have a few more decisions to make about setting the price, how long to have it on pre-order, my actual launch date and how to reach potential readers.

Anyone have any marketing tips and tricks?

How to Add a Simple Table of Contents in Kindle Books

I have been dreading making a table of contents for my ebook, but this guide makes it seem very simple. I shall tackle the task tomorrow, fingers crossed it all goes well.
In the meantime, I thought I’d share this post for all those out there who feel the same as me.

Self-Published Authors Helping Other Authors

I’m going to be honest and admit that I don’t have a table of contents in my books, or at least I haven’t manually put one in. But, a fellow author got a notice from Amazon that some of you may have gotten:

Your book doesn’t have a Table of Contents. A table of contents provides readers with both easy navigation and improved visibility into the contents of the book.  Please see for help with creating and formatting a Table of Contents.

So, I thought this might be a good time to discuss HOW to make a table of contents using Word. (I assume other word processing programs are similar but I haven’t used them, so I don’t know.)

There are probably multiple ways to go about this, (for how to use headers, check out THIS POST)  but here is what I did:

1. Since my chapters don’t have names…

View original post 437 more words