My first poll experiment – contractions in fiction

I’ve never run a poll before. As I’m planning to write a blog focusing on what I’ve learnt about editing, I thought this little experiment might be fun.

When my editor, Alison Williams, first mentioned to me ‘There are places where your writing sounds a little too formal, a little strained, usually where you haven’t used contractions’ I was a bit confused. I’d always thought you could only use contractions in dialogue.

I headed straight to my overflowing bookcase and checked out my favourite fantasy authors (David Gemmell, Robin Hobb) and a whole selection of other novels in every genre I own. I checked old and newly published works, and of course I researched the subject online. I was amazed to find that authors have been using contractions all this time and I hadn’t realised. It’s one of those things you just don’t notice unless you’re looking for it. I hope I’m not alone in my confusion, it certainly seems to be a much covered topic on the internet.

Please join in the poll, share and comment. If it works, I’ll be writing about the results next week.

Things I wish I’d done before publication day

For anyone about to self publish, or considering it in the future, these are the things I’d do beforehand.

  • I would have lined up some reviewers and sent them preview copies.
  • I would have started taking an interest in social media a lot sooner – not just for promotional purposes, but because you can learn so much from other writers who have already been through the whole process.
  • I would have got more sleep to balance out the late nights and periods of insomnia.
  • I would have drawn up a marketing plan and researched all the possible avenues for promotion.
  • I would never publish in November if I also planned to take part in NaNoWriMo.
  • I’m not sure that a Monday is the best day for publication. A Friday or Saturday are better days for a celebration and I definitely WOULD throw a huge party! Why not, it’s all over so quickly you may as well make the most of it.
  • I would have organised a print copy to be released at the same time as the ebook. People have been asking for a paperback version, so maybe the printed book isn’t dead. It may cost more, but at least people have the choice and you aren’t missing out on possible sales.
  • I would already be in the final stages of editing my next book so I could get that published asap.

I’m still learning as I go along, so I’m sure there will be many points to add to this list over time.

If you have any helpful tips or suggestions, I would love to hear them.

How to survive publication day.

The day of your book launch can feel like Christmas Day; the huge build up and then it’s over. Whether it’s an anti-climax or your best day ever, here’s how to make it through.

  • Go out and forget your phone!   –   I did this by accident, but it gave me a few hours without internet access. No looking at your blog hits, no twitter, no chance to see how many copies you have or haven’t sold, or your book’s ranking on Amazon.
  • Make a day of it   –   Go out for lunch or dinner (or both) and celebrate. I went out to lunch with one of my writing friend’s / beta readers and she spoilt me rotten and made me feel very special.
  • Plan a little celebration in advance, have something to work towards   –   I’ve had a bottle of champagne in the cupboard for almost two years. I’d promised myself I wouldn’t open it until I’d landed an agent or got published in whatever format. I’ve often looked at the bottle and wondered if it would ever get drunk, so opening it on 16/11/15 had an extra significance.
  • Be brave and tell people around you   –   The day arrives and your book is on sale to the public. It’s one of the most important, life changing events you’ve ever experienced,  but the rest of the world just carries on as normal. It can feel like such an anti-climax, so having people congratulate you and wish you luck is a real boost.
  • Ask friends to spread the word   –   If you are lucky enough, you will know people who appreciate the achievement and want to tell the world. I’m very shy about telling people what I do, so I’ve been really lucky that others have been there to help me spread the word.
  • Some people just don’t understand   –   It takes time, often years of dedication to produce a novel, but not everyone will understand the hard work involved. Don’t let the lack of support get you down. Focus only on the positive.
  • Have other projects already lined up – There is a void left when the book you’ve been working on for years is published and you can’t tinker with it anymore. I’m grateful that I’ve got several novels written in draft that need editing. I can jump straight into them rather than be faced with the terrifying prospect of starting something from scratch.
  • Finally, enjoy the moment!   –   It’s over too quickly, so enjoy every second. You deserve it!

Next time I’ll share the things I wish I’d done before publication day.


Champagne time at last!

It’s taken a long time to get to this stage and I’m taking a moment to sit back with a glass of bubbly and enjoy the fact that I am now a published author.

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Tomorrow I’ll begin the search for professional reviewers, submit a short story to a competition and hopefully make some headway in my novel attempt for NaNoWriMo2015. Then there’s the neglected housework – but I think that can wait a bit longer!

Thanks to all those that have helped make this happen, and to those who have supported me and spread the word.

Visions of Zarua – Out Now!

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

Visions of Zarua MY COVER test 2

Download your copy now from amazon  kobo  iTunes nook smashwords

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?


Read the first 5 chapters on Amazon’s Look Inside’ feature, or download your free sample for Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iBooks and other formats on smashwords.

10 Top Tips for New Writers.

With just over 5 hours before my first fantasy novel goes live, I thought it was the perfect chance to share what I have learnt with all those aspiring authors out there.

Suzanne Rogerson Fantasy Author

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…

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Business card anyone?

My business cards are here at last, along with a little indulgence – a poster I can look at to remind myself the book is really out there. It looks pretty good, shame I can’t have them plastered on the local buses and bus stops.

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I had a result with the business cards, the original order was lost and had to be reissued. Now both have turned up, so I have 500 cards and no idea how to get them into the hands of readers. I tried my local library today, but they aren’t allowed to display them. My kids have asked for signed copies… only 498 to go.

Apart from stalking strangers in the street, does anyone have any ideas on how to distribute them?

I’m running out of marketing jobs, now it’s just counting down the hours… Sometimes I wonder why I opted to put the book on pre-order. It’s just prolonging my angst.

Time to concentrate on the next book I think. But do I go with the Bloodlines trilogy (I’m supposed to be drafting the 3rd book throughout November), finish and edit the novel I almost completed during NaNoWriMo a couple of years ago, or develop my 5k word short story, Death Dream, into the novella it deserves to be? So many choices…

I need to learn how to let go of ‘Visions’ and focus on the next project. My characters often meditate when they are troubled or need to focus, I wonder if that would work for me.

Does anyone have any tips?