Another call for beta readers

Well I’ve reached another milestone – I’ve ‘finished’ my third novel Teaching Mr Leavis and I need some beta readers to take a look at it for me.

The reason for the inverted commas is that I feel there’s still a long way to go before I publish it. Yes, I know that’s what beta readers are for, to help you get to the stage where it’s ready, but to me it’s a lot less ready than my previous novel Reunion of the Heart was when I sent it to beta readers.

So that you know a bit about it, Teaching Mr Leavis is a romance set 20 years ago in a fictitious English city. The heroine is a newly qualified teacher who’s just started teaching at a secondary school (for 11 to 16 year olds in case you’re unfamiliar with the British education system!).

I deliberately set it 20 years ago because that was when I was at secondary school and I felt I just don’t know enough about schools today to set it in the present. Technology especially has changed and I wanted it to be authentic, so I thought it would be better set in the time that I remember.

Anyway I just want to add that this version of Teaching Mr Leavis that I’ll send out is very much in the early stages. I’m sure there’s a whole lot that whoever’s reading it will want to comment on and suggest improvements on. It’s not long, less than 60,000 words, but there is a lot that needs work on. I just need some advice and I’ve got to the point where I feel I can’t do much more on it on my own without some other people’s suggestions.

Thank you for reading this and if you’re interested, I look forward to hearing from you.

My email address should you wish to get in contact is: elaine (dot) jeremiah (at) gmail (dot) com

Thanks for your time! :)

Brief blog post about… blogging

Blog tour image

I’m only doing a brief blog post today as it’s a Sunday night, I’m tired and I’ve got work tomorrow. Oh joy! Actually the job’s going well but still…

Despite my fatigue, however, I thought I’d share with you some thoughts, things I’ve been considering about what makes a really good blog. I’ve numbered my points, but they don’t necessarily have to be in this order.

  1. Content. This may seem obvious, but it can be easy to forget when, say, you don’t have a lot of time and you just want to do a quick post before going to bed after a difficult Monday! But it is important – it’s important to remember who you’re aiming your blog at – who the reader is and tailoring your blog content accordingly. So you need to think about what you really want to say on your blog – like commenting about writing, films or whatever it is you want your blog to be about. Research your subject area – I think this is key to getting your blog to be genuine and authentic.
  2. Appearance. This is one I often struggle with. I’m not the best in the world when it comes to knowing how to create a blog that looks really great and professional. If I’m honest I don’t know all the tricks – what it often comes down to, I think, is literally knowing which button to click to make all the columns and images align properly for example. This post is a case in point – if anyone in the world knows how to get WordPress to align the picture and the text properly PLEASE drop me a line!!! Anyway, if a blog looks good it’s obviously going to attract more traffic, which is the name of the game in the blogging world. :)
  3. Interacting with your readers. As I’ve mentioned previously on this blog, this one is so important. I always try to reply to every comment that gets posted on my blog. I realise that if you have, say, 20,000 people following your blog, this is going to be difficult. But for most of us, we don’t have this problem. So if you can do everything in your power to connect with your followers, that’s going to be a surefire way of even more people following your blog. People like to hear from you, they want to connect.
  4. Think about who your readers are. This is linked to no. 1, but I think it deserves a bit of extra reflection. Who are you targeting your blog at? Are they teenagers/twenty somethings/middle aged? Are they single/married/divorced? You can have a really good time thinking about who your readers are. I’ve been doing this for my novels, trying to think clearly about who I’m aiming them at. It works well for blogging too.

I’m running out of steam now and that’s just about all I can come up with tonight. But it’s definitely worth bearing in mind thoughts on how to make your blog better, particularly if you need a boost in the numbers of people following your blog. Even if you don’t, it’s still good sometimes to take stock and think again about where you want to go with your blog, what the next chapter of it is going to be.

Phew! That post wasn’t so short after all. ;)

So over to you. What do you think makes a good blog? Do you have any tips you’d like to share, things that have worked for you?

More on the way…

I know I’ve been VERY inactive on this blog lately. Well I can sum it up it one word: work. Which I’m actually loving. I started a new job a little under three months ago and it’s going very well but it’s making me tired, so I don’t have much energy to devote to writing, let alone blogging.

But I’m gradually getting used to it and I’ve decided to prioritise writing/blogging/marketing of books etc over watching TV in the evenings – which I’ve been doing too much of lately!! (My excuse is fatigue and I’m sticking to it!)

I don’t know about you, but I find TV very addictive and although I tend not to watch more than one programme per evening (excluding the news), there are certain shows I find I can’t stop watching. But I’ve made a decision not to commit to watching new series as they appear but to try to concentrate on writing and everything that goes along with that.

I’m not sure if I’ll be able to stick with this plan – but hey it’s the start of Lent today and I could decide to give up on a bit of TV watching for 40 days or so, see how I go. I’ll keep you posted with how I get on. :)

Some bigger news now: I want to take a different approach on this blog. Reason being is that recently I’ve found that the posts I’ve done which have attracted the most interest have been those which are concerned with the nitty-gritty practical side of writing and blogging – how to start a blog, how to attract more followers to your blog, what about marketing your books and so on.

The interesting thing about this is I’ve had lots of views of my blog when I’ve least been expecting it – and it’s been hard, nigh-on impossible, to replicate. But I’m going to keep trying, because I’m passionate about this blog, promoting my writing, and above all connecting with all of you, my fellow bloggers.

So I’m going to aim to write, at least initially, practical blog posts which will share my progress (or lack of it) with blogging, writing, marketing and publishing. I hope you’ll join me in this quest and let me know what you think of my efforts.

To all you bloggers out there, what kind of blog posts do you find attract the most traffic to your blog?

Eco-Friendly Choice: eReader vs Books

ebook v book

Hi everyone. How are you this cold January day? Well it’s certainly cold here in Bristol, UK today! So I’m mostly staying snuggly indoors and catching up on blogging and writing… and maybe a bit of housework I suppose. ;)

I have an exciting webpage to share with you today. It’s from Ghergich & Co who’ve teamed up with CustomMade to create an article on ereaders vs print books.

It’s an interesting and informative article analysing whether the ereader or the traditional book has a greater negative impact on the environment in their production and consumption.

I would thoroughly recommend taking a look – it’s quite thought provoking and asks you to consider things you might not have before.

The website can be found here: http://www.custommade.com/blog/e-readers-vs-print-books/

Do let me know in the comments below what you think of it. And have a lovely weekend. :D

 

First Site Guide

Starting a blog image

Hi all. I’m pleased to be able to share with you the link to a site that’s really useful for first time bloggers.

It’s free and has a wealth of information on blogging, with articles detailing all you need to know about setting up your very own blog for the first time.

I’ve had a look at it and it seems really helpful. I would definitely recommend you take a look for yourselves, particularly if you’ve just started a blog or if you’re considering starting one. But even if you aren’t new to the blogging game, there’s a lot of helpful information about targeting your blog to your audience, to the people you want to reach and even tips on how to make money from your blog.

So why not check it out? The site can be found here: http://firstsiteguide.com/blogging-intro/

From where we left off

Another short post from me this week as the job’s still tiring me and I have less time. I may not be able to take part in WIPpet Wednesday for a while – definitely not next week anyway as my work days are changing and I’m gonna be working on Wednesday next week.

As with last week, I will comment on as many of all your lovely posts as I can. Thank you all for your comments re marketing last week – at the very least it’s good to know that I’m not the only one who struggles with it.

I’m doing OK with my editing of Teaching Mr Leavis, my current WIP – or rather a rewrite. I just have a thought about it: I’ve had some comments from people along the lines that Jonathan, the antihero hero of the story is quite domineering. And yes to a certain extent he’s meant to be. But at the same time I want my heroine Rebecca to come across as strong enough to stand up to him.

Maybe I’m not making her as strong a character as she could be, especially when it comes to her interaction with Jonathan and I do want her to be tough in her relationship with him. Any thoughts on this appreciated!

So on to the main event: the excerpt I’m sharing is from Teaching Mr Leavis again and takes place a few paragraphs on from last week’s excerpt. Rebecca is surprised and shocked to see Jonathan, who she recently split up with, at her dad’s party. Now she’s talking to her sister Maria and their brother’s partner Linda. Rebecca is none too pleased with the direction that conversation is taking…

I’m sharing 16 lines, my rubbish maths goes like this: 14 for the day + 2 from 2015!

Linda nudged Rebecca’s arm. ‘Mr Leavis looks a bit stranded. Maybe one of us should go and talk to him?’

Rebecca started involuntarily. Maria’s lips twitched. ‘Perhaps you should go and talk to him, Rebecca? After all, you know him already,’ she said.

Rebecca’s mouth fell open and she glared at her sister. What was she thinking?

‘You do?’ Linda asked.

‘Yes.’ Rebecca said through gritted teeth. Looking at her sister, she could tell that Maria wasn’t about to let this drop; she was enjoying herself too much. ‘All right, I’ll go and say hi.’

Rebecca had never been more reluctant to do anything before in her life, as she tottered in her high heels over to where Jonathan was standing, looking dapper in a chic evening suit and tapping the stem of his champagne glass. But her reluctance faded a little as she saw his face light up when he saw her, clearly relieved to have someone he knew to talk to.

‘Hi, Jonathan,’ she said in a low voice.

And that’s all you’re getting for now. If you’re reading this and thinking ‘this is something I’d like to get involved with’, then it’s easy. Just post on your blog an excerpt of whatever you’re writing at the moment, then add your details here. Don’t forget to check out what the other wonderful WIPpeteers have shared.

Thank you K. L. Schwengel as always for hosting. :D

It’s been a while…

Hi all. Happy New Year! How are you doing? I feel like I’ve been away for quite some time. I guess I have. But I’ve had my reasons – namely work. I started a new job and although it’s going well, it’s meant that I haven’t had a lot of energy for much else.

Anyway I’m gradually getting used to my new routine and today I thought I’d join in WIPpet Wednesday again. My poor blog has barely seen the light of day for ages and now is as good a time as any to update it and also read all your lovely contributions for WIPpet Wednesday again.

I’m getting on quite well with my editing/rewriting of Teaching Mr Leavis. And I’m enjoying it, so that’s a plus! The flip side of the coin is that I haven’t touched the marketing side of my life as an indie author for months! It’s just gone out the window and I’m feeling quite guilty about that! I’ve had a lot on my mind but also I’m not sure of the best, most cost effective way to go about it. I need a plan of action, some simple steps I could take to promote my books without it being too time consuming. Any ideas?

I realise that marketing requires a certain amount of work, time and dedication – which I’m simply not giving at the moment. I also realise that my books aren’t going to sell unless I do something about it and I’m feeling low in terms of morale where my books sales are concerned, so it’s a bit of a vicious circle.

However, I feel that with ebooks it’s not a race against time to sell them before they’re pulled off the shelves – there’re gonna be there forever in virtual form unless I choose to take them off Amazon. So I’ve got plenty of time to devise a marketing plan and do something about it.

There is another aspect to all of this which you’ve probably heard about – that ebook sales are plummeting. Which obviously doesn’t help any of us indie authors, especially those of us (like me!) who don’t have any print copies of their books. I want to use Create Space soon to do some print copies of Reunion of the Heart. So watch this space! (no pun intended! ;) )

Having said all that, I am still enjoying writing, which is the main thing. There’s nothing in this world that is going to make me stop writing or persevering to (eventually) have some success with it all. I may never get there – but it won’t be because I haven’t tried. I’m just having, as my grandma would have put it, a blip!

OK, I didn’t really intend to do a long spiel about my current writing situation! So onto the main event – my contribution to this week’s WIPpet Wednesday: another excerpt from Teaching Mr Leavis. This is a new part I’ve added; it takes place towards the end of the story. Rebecca is at a party celebrating 25 years of her father’s business. She and Jonathan have been up down in their relationship. Currently they’re apart so she’s surprised and shocked to see him there. I’m sharing three short paragraphs: 1 for the month + 2 from the year.

She stopped dead when she saw the figure of a tall man standing in the group of people with her mother. He appeared to be engaged in conversation with her father. The man had his back to her. It couldn’t be, could it? Her face hot, she swallowed and walked determinedly towards the group.

As she approached, the group turned around as one and looked at her, including the tall man. It was indeed Jonathan Leavis, looking as handsome as ever. She saw that his expression was surprised as he gazed at her, his eyebrows raised. Their eyes meeting for a moment, Rebecca turned away from his stare, willing herself to ignore him.

What the hell was he doing here, she wondered, deep in conversation with her parents no less? This unanswered question goaded her as she walked up to her parents and gave each of them a brief hug.

I will visit and comment on as many of your posts as I can – but I can’t promise to look at all of them, though I’ll do my best!

If you would like to take part in WIPpet Wednesday, it’s easy. Just post on your blog an excerpt of your latest writing work. It should ideally relate in some way to the date. Then add your name to this. Don’t forget to check out all the other WIPpeteers’ offerings.

Big hugs to K. L. Schwengel for hosting. ;)