But I still wasn’t happy with them… Why? Three reasons:
I forgot to put in a gutter in all my files which means the text inside is awfully close to the spine. You almost have to press the book open with an iron to be able to read it properly. That doesn’t do much for your reading pleasure (which it is all about).
The titles on the spine are centered between my name and the Suckers logo, but because they are all of different length, it looks higgledypiggledy. I don’t like it. I didn’t realize this until I had all four books in my hands. I suppose it would be okay if the titles were all of a different length, but the title of Book 1 is long and the other two are short but still of a different length. I can’t live with that.
The text of the blurb on the back cover is set extremely high on the cover. It looks unprofessional. When you are putting it on the page on InDesign, you have the typeset safety margin and the bleed around it, so it doesn’t look that bad.
I had to put in a gutter in all of my text documents.
This meant all the text was squeezed in a bit and all the documents became longer, with more pages.
This, in turn, meant that all the covers had bigger spines, and I had to download new cover templets for them and re-do the layout for each one of them. This was okay, as I had to re-do them anyway, but it was still annoying that I had to start from scratch instead of just lowering the text on the backs of the covers.
So, forgetting something as simple as a gutter affected not only my content file, but also my cover. I should’ve followed my own formatting file more closely! Now I need to pay £25 for every file I need to change, i.e. costing me £200! But, and this is a big but, the books will be of professional quality, and I will be happy to promote them 🙂 .
I’m sorry not to have a ‘What to Watch’ blog post for you this week as I haven’t been watching TV all weekend. The reason being I attended the 4th Dublin Writers’ Conference, organised by BooksGoSocial. I flew to Dublin on Friday morning and returned back home on Monday morning. I didn’t blog at all yesterday as I had to catch up on my lack of sleep (I only got about eight hours of sleep over the whole weekend!).
It was my first conference ever, and I had a ball. The cost of the conference wasn’t too bad, but the price soon ramped up as I had to fly to get there and had to organize accommodation for three nights. I made the mistake of not reading the itinerary properly and thought that the dinner with awards ceremony was on Sunday evening. The last plane back home on the Sunday was in the afternoon, so I booked myself another night and a Monday morning flight (it later appeared later that the dinner was on Saturday, and I didn’t need the extra night). I had anxiety attacks since booking for fear of missing my 7am flight (those who know me know I’m not a morning person).
So, if it was costing me a small fortune and causing me anxiety attacks, why would I recommend going to a writers’ conference? Let me count the ways…
1. Boost Your Self-esteem
The anxiety attacks mentioned above are caused by menopause (I only found this out recently). Yes, I have the hot flushes as well, but drinking (any) alcohol makes me wake up in the middle of the night panicking about some trivial thing. This undermined my self-esteem to the point I would let my husband take care of everything.
I put my fears aside and booked the conference, the flight, and the accommodation without any help from my husband. It gave me a tremendous boost knowing that I’m not a pathetic, dependent housewife. I am a woman who knows what she wants and goes for it! Yes, I made the mistake of not reading the itinerary properly, making coming home a tad more difficult, but I did it, and I’m here and still alive 😀 .
2. Making Friends
As you all know, writing is a lonely existence. I don’t know about your social life, but mine is as good as non-existent. And that’s okay. I’m quite happy with that. Alone doesn’t mean lonely. I kinda like having the day to myself, being my own boss, and making my own schedule. I don’t meet a lot of people this way, though.
Going to a conference makes you meet people face-to-face. You shake their hands, you see their facial expressions, you hug them when the conference is over. I hugged them as I was truly sad to leave them. These people are at the conference for the same reason as you. They all talk about what you talk about. No longer do you have to see people’s eyes glaze over when you start telling them about your protagonist’s latest character development. You know what I mean. It was emotional to meet all these people sharing the same love.
I’ve made some great friends this weekend, and I’m looking forward to chatting with them online about our stories and meeting them again next year!
3. Gaining Contacts
Not only is going to a conference great for making friends, it’s also great for laying contacts with people in the business. I chatted with a representative of publisher IngramSpark who gave me a discount code, I accidentally sat next to a US based publishing expert who told me the difference between an author and a successful author, and I gave my book to someone who does podcasts and hence interviewed me on Saturday. I even met someone who wanted to write my memoir!
It’s always nice to know the face that goes with the name you see online. When you meet in person, they get to know you and, hopefully, remember you and your books. You never know what may happen as a result 🙂 . One can always hope for some more reviews…
4. Branding Yourself
During the summer of 2016, I attended a workshop in Elgin, organized by the Scottish Writers’ Association. That’s when I met Wendy H. Jones for the first time. Her talk about branding yourself was so inspiring! Hence, before I went to this conference in Ireland, I got out my fangs, bought some ‘Victorian’ blouses, and branded myself all weekend. I think I was the only one who did, but I don’t care. I bet you most people attending the conference will remember ‘the vampire lady’!
5. Pitching Experience
I put my name down for the Algonkian workshop and also for the movie pitch with a Hollywood producer. I learned so much from those two experiences. I knew my movie pitch was not going to be successful as vampire movies are not ‘in’ at the moment. But, I happened to find out that the podcast lady had done a pitching course and she gave me some hints and tips. Afterward, a lot of people told me my pitch was excellent which made it a great experience even though not successful.
6. Learning the Trade
Last but not least, you learn an awful lot from all those speakers. They’ve all been at it for longer than you have and share their wealth of information with you. They don’t want you to reinvent the wheel and want you to be as successful as they have been. That’s what I like about writers most; they are all such nice and helpful people.
I made lots of notes. Not only the hints and tips that applied to my book, but also the ones for others as maybe, one day, they could apply to a book I’ll write in the future. You can never learn too much! Now I have to apply what I’ve learned which is something altogether different 😀 .
There you have it; six reasons to attend a writers’ conference. Yes, it costs money, but it will be a an experience of a lifetime which will make your life richer in all possible ways!
Let me know if you have another reason to attend a writers’ conference 🙂
Woohoo! I just booked myself into the Dublin Writers’ Conference in June. I’m so excited! Of the speakers, I only know Wendy Jones as I met her at a writers’ workshop in Elgin last year. I have plenty of time to read up on the others.
My main goal is to learn more about publishing and to network. I have also opted for a Pitch a Producer session, where Ken Atchity, an LA-based movie producer, will listen to a 1-2 minute pitch of my story and give feedback if it’s adaptable for TV or film. Secretly, I’m hoping my story will be chosen to be on the big screen, but that’s wishful thinking. If anything, I hope to learn more about what Hollywood is looking for at the moment and anything else I can about filming.
So excited! I really can’t tell you how much exactly, so I’ll just do a little dance now…
I know Mark Fowler from the One Stop Fiction Authors’ Resource Facebook site. We’ve been acquainted for two years now. Mark has been so lucky as to have his books published by Bloodhound Books and is doing pretty well, promoting his fourth book, Red Is The Colour, at the moment. I had the pleasure to chat with him yesterday evening through an author chat organized by Caroline Maston.
Mark L. Fowler
What made you become a writer?
Possibly because I wasn’t any good at most other things in life! I love telling stories, making things up, indulging my imagination but in a way that communicates a truth to my readers. When I feel I have something to say, I write fiction, and I try to get to the heart of things the best way I can.
Tell us a little about your work.
So far, I have published four novels: Coffin Maker (which took nearly twenty years to write!), The Man Upstairs, Silver, and Red Is The Colour. My books are all very different, and Coffin Maker, for example, does not clearly fit into any single genre, though it contains strong elements of gothic fiction and very dark humour. Red Is The Colour, on the other hand, is clearly a detective mystery thriller. The Man Upstairs is also a detective mystery, but with a twist of the very strange. While Silver can be read as a psychological thriller or as a gothic thriller. It is also very satirical regarding the publishing trade.
Why do you write crime?
Crime is only part of it for me. There is crime at the heart of my books, though I would like to think that I’m also trying to explore what makes people tick, why people behave in certain ways in certain situations. I love the psychology of human behaviour. And the darkest crimes-murder for example-raise so many questions. We want to know what forms the heart of a monster or why an ordinary man or woman could carry out the most seemingly depraved acts on another human being. I also enjoy reading crime, of course, and many of my favourite authors write in the crime genres.
What sparked your interest in the supernatural/gothic horror?
I’ve loved horror since the seventies when I used to stay up late Fridays to watch Hammer House of Horror. having said that, there are very few horror novels/films that I really love, whereas there are countless crime and mystery books and films. For me, many of the finest horror writers go beyond genre and are not constrained by it, for example, Ray Bradbury.
What do you find the easiest and hardest parts of writing a book?
For me, it’s starting a book that is the hardest part. Going off in the right direction, beginning at the right place. Once I get the opening right and the momentum starts to develop, I’m okay. I’m learning to plot a little before I set off as I always fear I may run up a dead end. Easier on the nerves having a basic plan, though to over plot from the beginning would kill the book off for me before it got started.
How much research goes into your novels?
I confess to not really being much of a researcher. Coffin Maker and The Man Upstairs were perfect for me, as I could make absolutely everything up. With Red Is The Colour, I gave myself a break by using a local setting, an area that I know extremely well and could write about confidently. However, there was the matter of police procedure, of course. I don’t particularly enjoy reading dense procedurals, and so I steered clear of getting too bogged down, but I did ask a police officer I know to help me with some of the details and to ensure that I wasn’t making any glaring errors. She was very helpful.
What do you do in between writing books?
Read books! And listen to music and watch films, mainly.
What have you got lined up for us?
I have a follow up to Red Is The Colour written and two psychological thrillers also completed, not to mention three YA books that I would dearly love to find a suitable publisher for. I can’t stop writing them! I’m taking some time though to consider my options before moving forward with my next publication and will keep you posted.
I wish Mark success in the promotion of Red Is The Colour. Mark’s book Silver is on sale for £0.99 at the moment, so why not grab that one as well while it’s hot!
You’re probably wondering what happened as there haven’t been any posts this week. That’s because I’ve been working day and night to get my book finished. I started writing in October last year, and I feel like I haven’t stopped since. It took me about a month to write the story, but then the editing process took forever. Like with my second book, the editor of my first book didn’t have the time to help me out, so I did it on my own with all the help I could get. I felt confident I could pull it off this way as I learned a lot since writing Book 2 (in 2015). I still have a lot to learn, but I’m getting better at it all the time. Hopefully, it shows in this book.
I’ve now got to organize the promotion for the launch next. I’ve never had a good launch for a book. The first time I was such a noob and had no idea about launches. I put it on Amazon and watched its ranking plummet into the depths. The second time, I did try to promote it, but everything went wrong. The person I hired to advertise on Twitter didn’t do it, and instead of buying a FreeBooksy ad, I bought a BargainBooksy ad. By the time I realized this, it was too late to change, so there was no ad at all. This time, I’m hoping to do it right 🙂 . Keep your fingers crossed for me!
PS: This means I’ll also be too busy to post a weight loss update or a new short story. Sorry guys!
Sandra Bass Joines is a sweet lady I met through One Stop Fiction. Sandra has written a book on spine surgery recovery and a romantic suspense novel called Tears of Sand. Most recently, i.e. last weekend, she has published her second romantic suspense novel called Shoe in the Road. It’s a story about a woman finding a shoe in the road. Oh, and about finding true love after leaving a cheating husband and a suspenseful road trip. Let’s talk to Sandra to find out more about this strangely titled novel!
Sandra Bass Joines
Hi Sandra 🙂
Thank you so much for affording me the opportunity to share a little about my latest novel SHOE IN THE ROAD and how it came about.
It’s a strange title. Can you tell us how you got it?
Titles come to my mind before stories do. The title for this last novel, for instance, popped into my mind one day when I saw a shoe in the middle of the road. I thought that would be an interesting name for a book – shoe in the road. I had no idea what it would be about or anything regarding characters. I sat at my computer one day and typed Shoe in the Road on the first page. I then closed my eyes and listened (I try to listen, not think). At this point, the idea presented itself to have a shoe influence the lives of the heroine and hero.
So, after you had the title, how did you come up with the story?
The story pretty much wrote itself. Well, I have to give some credit to the heroine’s conversations with her deceased grandmother’s ashes (don’t worry, they were in an urn) and an ornery cat who invited himself into the story. I’m a southern girl who can spin quite a yarn. Therefore, it seemed logical that a girl running from a controlling, cheating husband would certainly be more interesting escaping in a 1960 Coupe de Ville convertible named Gussie than in a traditional vehicle.
Why did you use this setting for your novel?
A showdown between Boston Calbreth, the heroine, and her husband made sense to happen in a place I have heard scary stories about all my life. Tales of people going into Tate’s Hell Swamp and never coming out have been passed down from one generation to the next.
How long did you take to write the story?
It took six weeks to write the novel and a year for revising and editing. I have more stories in my head than I have time to write. I plan to put as many as possible on paper.
How did you experience the launch of your book?
I am in the middle of a launch using a four-day free promotion and a four-day ninety-nine cent promotion before raising the book to full price. So far, everything has been running smoothly. Each time I make a scheduled change, I am afraid of doing it incorrectly or concerned that Amazon or one of the promotion companies will not come through. I am enjoying the ride, and am grateful to all the wonderful people who are supporting me.
Sorry everybody, but the four-day free promotion has passed. The book is still in the £0.99 promotion (US$1.38) period for a few days, though. I have read the book and it is a lovely story. I liked the way Sandra writes, as if talking to a friend (which Boston’s Grams is, of course). Don’t miss this opportunity to grab it while it’s on sale!
I thought it might be a fun idea to introduce you to some other authors. Once a week I will pick out an author for you and direct you to their page.
Meet Gregg Savage
This week, I felt the twang of nostalgia when I read Gregg Savage’s guest post on The Story Reading Ape’s blog. He tells his tale of how he became a writer after telling his (step)daughter Ruby a story every night. My mind was taken back to when I was prompted by my children to write. It is funny how life can take you in directions you never thought were possible 🙂
Click on the link below to read his journey to become an author.