The Pleasure & The Pain

Books can give readers hours of pleasure, and for the minimal cost involved they really are brilliant value for money. This article spells out the hard work and heartache all authors must go through to produce something worth sharing with the world. Thanks Claire Stibbe for putting it into perspective.

Source: The Pleasure & The Pain

#WritingCompetition – still time to get your entries in! #wwwblogs

I love a themed competition to get the ideas flowing. Here’s one worth looking into Theme – The Key. Not long to go though, deadline 30th January. Good luck everyone.

Alison Williams Writing

writing comp

Written a short story over the Christmas break? New Year’s Resolution to get you name out there and submit more stories? Why not try Sandalle’s Short Story Competition? The closing date is 30th January so there’s still time for a final proof and polish.

This is a brand new competition that is relatively cheap to enter – the entry fee is only £5.00, with money raised helping to fund the prizes. The Sandalle group is a very small and very dedicated group of writers, poets and actors who give up their free time to help other writers, running competitions and events and giving critiques. So by entering this competition you might not only win a prize and have a writing credential for your writing CV, you’ll also be helping a dedicated group of volunteers.

There’s another incentive too. If the winning writers have a novel they’re hoping to submit or…

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Guest Post by Alison Williams – 10 things new writers should know

I first came across Alison Williams in 2015 when I was looking for a professional editor to give ‘Visions of Zarua’ a final edit before I self published. I had thought the novel was pretty much ready, but Alison suggested many areas of improvement. In all, I cut 10k off the word count!

She has been a huge help to me through the editing and self publishing stages, and here she offers her advice to all new writers. Thank you, Alison…

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Ten things new writers should know

  1. Writing a book is hard. It’s a long process. It will take up lots and lots of your time. Don’t be fooled into thinking you can write a 50,000 word novel in a month – NaNoWriMo has its uses but what you write in November is certainly not the finished article.
  2. While you might love writing, when you’re supposed to be writing other things will take on a glamour and an appeal you never knew they had. Even ironing.
  3. Social media can be the best thing ever and the worst thing ever. You will make writer friends, find support, help and empathy. You will also waste hours and hours and hours of valuable writing time.
  4. You need a fresh pair of eyes. However good your spelling and grammar, spellcheck and your own eyes aren’t enough. You WILL miss mistakes.
  5. You need an editor. For the reasons above and then some. Not only can spelling mistakes get missed, but so can plot holes, inconsistencies, issues with characterisation, flow, pace – the list could go on and on. And I’m not saying that because I’m an editor. ALL writers need editors.
  6. You need a professional book cover if you’re self-publishing. Too many good books fail to reach an audience because the cover is awful, or bland, or doesn’t relate to the content. See Rosie Amber’s wonderful Friday Five Challenge if you have any doubt about the importance of your cover.
  7. Promoting your book will take as much time, if not more, than writing it. This is the case whether you self publish or are traditionally published. You will need to promote your work, blog about it, tweet, use Google +, Facebook, engage with other writers and readers, maybe do book signings, readings, conferences. Don’t think writing is all about sitting at a laptop creating worlds. You have to interact in the real world too.
  8. Not everyone will love your book. Some people might even hate it. And if they do they may well tell you so. On Amazon. In detail. Grow a thick skin and be prepared. And be prepared to listen to criticism. Your harshest critics might have a point (or they might not, in which case ignore them – never, ever engage with them).
  9. You won’t make lots of money. At least you probably won’t. You’ll work hard, very, very hard for not much monetary reward. Don’t have expectations of paying off the mortgage, buying a new car or even giving up the day job. It might happen. But it probably won’t.
  10. Writing is hard. Did I say that already? It is though. It’s hard, it’s time consuming, it’s frustrating and thankless and sometimes it’s really, really boring. But you should do it anyway. Because when you publish something you’re proud of, and when someone, a complete stranger, writes a five star review for your book on Amazon, it’s a wonderful feeling. And it makes all that hard work worthwhile.

 

Alison Williams lives in Hampshire with her husband, two teenage children, and a variety of pets including a mad cocker spaniel, a rescue Labrador, a psychotic cat and two of the most unsociable rabbits in existence. She is an independent novelist, freelance editor and writer. As an editor, Alison works mainly with independent authors and has edited everything from erotica, memoirs and poetry to children’s books and fantasy. When she has any time left at all, she enjoys blogging, reading, going to the gym and listening to music (she has an obsession with Johnny Marr), and watching The Sopranos (again). From 2011-2012 she studied for a Masters in Creative Writing with the University of Glasgow. As part of her studies, Alison wrote her first novel ‘The Black Hours’ – available now from Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Sony and the Apple Store. ‘Blackwater’, the prequel to ‘The Black Hours’ is available free as an eBook from all the above outlets. Both can be read as standalones.

Blog: http://alisonwilliamswriting.wordpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alisonwilliamswriting

Twitter: @Alison_WiIliams

 

Last chance to buy Visions of Zarua for 99p

As life returns to normal and people return to work and school, the price promotion for my standalone fantasy novel is also coming to an end tomorrow – 5th January 2016 at 10pm GMT.

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

If you like fast-paced, character driven fantasy, Visions of Zarua could be the perfect novel for you.

Amazon UK 99p

Amazon USA $1.47

The Goodreads giveaway is also still running. Enter for your chance to win 1 of 3 signed paperback copies.

 

2015 in review

I’m proud of these stats as I only started blogging back in August 2015. Now blogging feels like a natural part of my day. I’ve enjoyed meeting new people and growing my following. There is so much to learn from others as well; I can’t believe it took me so long to discover the fun of blogging.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 18 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

My 9 Point Plan to Succeed in 2016

1st Jan 2016 is the perfect day to plan the year ahead. Start with optimism and who knows what can be achieved.

1. Read more and review more (As a new author I am desperate to get reviews, so it only seems right that I should put this into practice myself.)

How to achieve:

– I’ve signed up for the Good Reads 2016 reading challenge. 25 books. Not a big target, but it’s more than I managed last year.

– I have a brand new notebook to record the books I read and my thoughts on them. First book of the year is ‘The Iron Ship’ by K.M.McKinley.

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– I’m a member of a local Waterstones Fantasy / Sci-Fi book group. We meet once a month and they encourage me to try new authors. Needing to finish a book to a time scale is good motivation.

2.  Publish my next book – Working title Bloodlines ‘Search for the Sentinel’

How to achieve:

– The minute the kids go back to school, I’m turning off the computer, internet etc. I’m going to focus on the draft I’ve already printed ready and concentrate on pulling it into shape. I’ve worked on it previously, so hopefully it will only take a few months to prepare it for a beta reader – Cue long suffering husband?

3.  Try to blog at least once a week

How to achieve:

– So far I have a couple of half started draft posts to fall back on. I need to build up a list of posts to do. It’s sometimes easier if you already have a title or a starting point.

– If I manage to start reviewing the books in my Goodreads library, that will cover a few blogs (hopefully 25!).

– I hope to blog about the process of editing and publishing my second book, focusing on things like the front cover selection.

– I hope to blog about the successes and failures of marketing my first published book – Visions of Zarua.

VOZ print book 3d image flat

4.  Finish the draft of another WIP – which will be another standalone fantasy currently called Child of Destiny.

How to achieve:

– NaNoWriMo in either April or November. For two years running I worked on Child of Destiny, completing 50k one year and 22k the next. It seems fitting that I finish the first draft during NaNo 2016.

5.  Create new – short stories, flash fiction, new ideas for novels

How to achieve:

– A beautiful new notebook to write in and a lovely new Parker pen. It’s a start, then I just need to add a spark of imagination and I’m away…

 

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6.  Enter competitions

How to achieve:

– I have a handful of stories I need to finish polishing and make changes to after receiving some very helpful critiques during previous competition entries.

7.  Consider publishing a novella

How to achieve:

– Develop my s/s Death Dream and see if the idea can be sustained through a longer word count.

8.  Market Visions of Zarua and get reviews on Amazon and Goodreads

How to achieve:

– I hope to do a blog tour early in 2016 and get to know more bloggers and reviewers. Maybe run a giveaway or two.

Goodreads Giveaway – already in motion and attracting a steady flow of entrants.

– Contact reviewers, I already have a couple lined up and some I’m hoping to approach this year.

9.  I would like to tidy and redesign my website

How to achieve:

– Resist the urge to pull hair out, punch the laptop and swear head off.

– Muddle through as usual.

 

I’m already thinking 2016 is not going to be long enough for everything I’ve planned, and we’re only on day 1. The next job will be to print this plan and pin it on the wall by my desk where I can look at it and get inspired. It’s always good to have a plan…

Has anyone got any time management tips?