Sunday 28 April 2019

Sometimes one needs to not write about anything...

One thing I have recently realised is that, from the time I tried to have an 'author blog' I have blogged a lot less. In fact, I've almost stopped altogether, which is a great shame, since I used to enjoy it so much!

Back in the days... (I had to use that phrase, I do love it. It makes it sound so long ago. And I suppose it was over ten years ago... :-) ) Back in the days, when I had my blog Words that flow, I loved writing every day. I loved adding colour images - my own photos, not stock images - and being creative. Funnily enough, trying to be a creative blogger, writing about writing and writers has actually done the opposite to my output. It's not that I don't like doing those sort of things. I do! I love them. But doing only them is not allowing for all the other sides of my creativity.

So... over-exhausted by first Facebook then Twitter, I am returning to days of former - glory. Or, at least, days I remember to be filled with writing what I want and connecting with other bloggers. Connections I found to be more meaningful and ongoing. So....

...decision made. This is where I'm going to hang out if anyone wants to find me. This is where I'm going to call in every day and answer messages and re-connect with folk.

Anyone else feeling burned out by social media? Come and join me on a more sedate and enjoyable 'getting-to-know-you'. If we know each other on Twitter and Facebook, I hope we can reconnect here... (I'm more excited about this than anything I've done for quite a long time! Yay!)

Monday 1 April 2019

Podcasts for authors and writers, both new and experienced

Here are some of the author podcasts I listen to on a daily or weekly basis, which I get a lot out of. The Sell More Books Show I'll listen to without fail every Wednesday or as soon as possible thereafter for up-to-date news of what's going on in the book world, but the other shows I'll listen to whenever I get a chance. There is so much information and support for indie authors, it'd be a shame not to connect in one of the many places where authors hangout and give so much of themselves to share what they know or what they learn!
  1. The Sell More Books Show with Bryan Cohen and Jim Kukral [Bryan Cohen also runs the Best Page Forward book blurb service and Jim Kukral also runs Author Marketing Club which supports authors] - a regular show with 5 new tips and 5 of the latest news stories every Wednesday. I never miss this. It keeps me informed of the biggest latest news and is invaluable.
  2. The Creative Penn with Joanne Penn - Latest news and some great interviews of authors and other folk in the book world (agents, editors, publishers etc). One of the longest- (or perhaps the longest-) running author podcasts, since 2009, by a prolific author with plenty of insight into future trends.
  3. The Bestseller Experiment - with Mark Stay and Mark Desvaux. This is definitely one you'd want to go back and listen to from the beginning. The two hosts decide to write and publish a bestseller in a year, so they interview loads of top bestselling authors and learn from scratch everything you need to know to be in with a chance. They proudly succeeded in knocking Neil Gaiman from the top of the list for a short while... even more proudly received a message from him when they apologised. They continue to interview and produce excellent/useful shows.
  4. The Self Publishing Formula - with James Blatch (carrying out most of the interviews) and Mark Dawson (usually discussing the interviews before and after). The interviews are of some great authors and other book world person and are well presented and well thought out. I usually get a lot out of listening to them.
  5. Writing Excuses - Another long running series (I think they're maybe into season/year 14 at the moment?) - The programs are short (15 minutes) but so packed with thoughts/ideas/tips and methods for writing. You can't go back more than a few years on Itunes, but if you can get back to the series on Elementals, it's one of the most useful series of shows you can ever listen to as an author.  They not only cover every genre, but the elementals of every genre, eg using such things as horror, humor, adventure, romance etc in other genres. The panel of authors, which include hosted Dan Wells, Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal and web cartoonist Howard Tayler as well as many guest authors creates lively and unmissable discussions on all things writing.
  6. Author Like a Boss - Ella Barnard - this one might particularly appeal to women, but is for any author, with interviews gleaning tips to become better authors by 'working smarter rather than harder'. She's an enthusiastic interviewer and often has good interviews and asks good questions.
  7. Creative Writing Career - Stephan Bugaj (Pixar's Brave, Wall-E, The Incredibles), Justin Sloan (Telltale's Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, and Minecraft: Story Mode), and Kevin Tumlinson (Citadel, Lucid, The 30-Day Author) give you their advice on writing for books, movies, video games and more. This one has more of a bias towards sci-fi/fantasy, lit RPG and games as well as screenplays etc, but it's not all about that, and even in episodes where it is, you can still get a lot out of listening to authors talking amongst themselves on subjects of writing.
  8. Story Grid Podcast - Shawn Coyne, author of Story Grid and top editor at publisher, and Tim Grahl. I can't say I got really into this one, but a lot of folk hold store by Shawn Coyne's Story Grid method for checking your book has all the tropes it needs to succeed in each genre, having studied it for many years as an editor and picked out many a successful author. I found it a little long-winded and complicated, so I intend to go back and try listening from the beginning again and seeing if I can't understand it better!
  9. Write Through the Roof - with Madeleine D'Este - a show more aimed at beginner writers on improving the craft. Many great shows and also good interviews.
  10. The Author Marketing Podcast - Jim Kukral again. Jim is an expert book marketer and has so many common sense and solid ideas for book marketing you should definitely check this show out. It's not long, but you won't regret listening in!
  11. The Book Marketing Show - Dave Chesson, creator of the Kindle Rocket (which is excellent for finding keywords for your book, by the way) and does a series of Youtube videos on being a Kindlepreneur. He's energetic and full of the most useful information, and if you sell ebooks on Amazon, you'll particularly want to keep up with Dave's show.
  12. Relentless Authors Advertise (or RAAD as Jim Kukral calls it) - another podcast by Bryan Cohen to follow his efforts to reach sales income of $10K a month through advertising, starting with advertising on Amazon and Facebook and going on to BookBub and others. Maybe a bit mind-boggling for those new to the business, but loads of great tips about what works and what doesn't for him. Fairly new at this point, but worth listening to up til now.
And three that have ended, but I found invaluable and that won't have lost their value even now:

  1. The Author Hangout - with host Shawn Manaher - sadly no longer running, but worth listening to the 145 available episodes - there are some corkers in there, very useful/fascinating/interesting interviews. I was really sad when they stopped broadcasting back in 2017, but many of the shows and interviews are as relevant today as then, especially for beginner authors. Listen from the beginning and learn alot.
  2. SPRT (Self Publishing Round Table) - with a variety of hosts  - weekly interviews and shows for indie authors by indie authors. Started as a chat show about other podcasts and news that was going on in the author world, but grew a large regular following Again, a podcast that ended in 2016, but they left a legacy of great interviews for inspiration and information.
  3. Self Publishing School - Chandler Bolt - Lots of information in a short time from an authorpreneur. I was listening to a lot of podcasts, and stopped listening to this one, but it looks like it ended back in 2018. Although it wasn't my cup of tea as he pushed his business more than I liked, he also had a lot of pearls of wisdom there. (One that has especially stuck with me and stood me in good stead is that book marketing is like building a mountain with one stone at the time. Not to try and build the whole mountain at once, but every day add a stone to the pile. It seems to be working! đź™‚ )

Sunday 20 January 2019

December Blues (Drabble)

December Blues

by Annelisa Christensen
Originally published by on 07/12/2018

Always such a stressful month, what with buying presents, sorting out who will go to whose home for Christmas and New Year, what to do about the pets, preparing food, etc.
All this on top of Christmas work parties, sorting out the Secret Santa and finishing off end-of-year stuff.
Just this last thing to do. Pull the switch on this murderer. So many bodies found buried in his garden. Shame. I hear he was lightning fast with his pen.
Oops! Power cuts announced all over the city.
That’s saved me having to put up the Christmas lights.

Like my previous drabble attempt, this one was written in the mood of authors murdering each other in drabbles, but with a touch of seasonal inspiration. Connected drabbles following my last drabble but before this one include

It's a Hard Life by Lindsay Wade
Ghost Writer by Irene C McCormick Drabblist resources for readers and authors