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! :)

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/

Yay I just hit 200 followers on this blog!!!

200

Just a REALLY quick post to say I’ve hit 200 followers on this blog!!

OK so technically on the front page of this blog it says I have well over 2000 followers – but don’t be fooled, that’s including my Twitter followers and Facebook friends.

Maybe you think I’m daft revealing that I don’t actually have as many followers as my blog states. But I wanted you to know the true number of hard-won followers to my blog I have.

Here’s to many more!

And if you’re following my blog, THANK YOU!!

Yay editing done!

Editing

Well I’ve actually done it! I’ve finally finished editing my novel Reunion of the Heart. OK so technically I told you I’d finished the other day.  But it needed tweaking, so I tweaked it.  Now all it needs is to be proofread by my mum once she’s back from holiday. Hooray!

My husband is gonna work on a cover for me, so I’m hoping to publish it by the end of the summer at the latest. But I was wondering about something – whether, once I’ve published it, to do a blog tour or not? What are your thoughts?

I did one for The Inheritance when I published it last year, but although I worked really hard for it I didn’t get many comments on the blogs I was a guest on.  I’ve actually heard that blog tours tend to generate more traffic to the host blogs rather than interaction for those doing the blog tour.

I’m DEFINITELY doing a cover reveal this time.  I have to say it didn’t even occur to me to do one last time – I didn’t really know much about the whole process of self-publishing and all that I would need to do to promote my work.  Having seen a lot of cover reveals on various blogs, I think it’s a good idea for me to do one.

And now that I’ve finished editing Reunion of the Heart, I can FINALLY get back to working on my next as-yet-untitled project – another romance, this time with a young woman who’s a teacher as my MC and VERY different to my MC in Reunion of the Heart. I’m looking forward to this; it’ll be good to continue on with it.

When I last looked at it, I remembered that, having written a bit over 4K on it, I’d gone back to the drawing board so to speak and I’d made a whole load of new notes which I really need to read through.  I made more notes because I really needed to flesh out the plot and actually invent some scenes for it – I truly am a plotter rather than a pantser.

Although I don’t always stick rigidly to my original plan, I do find that I can get a bit lost in the story if I don’t have a clear idea in my head as to where the story is going.  So for me it’s best if I have a clear plan in place.  That way I don’t become stranded, as I was with this new project before I did some more planning.

To update you with my blogging progress – well I’ve had some hiccups i.e. not doing WIPpet Wednesday this week as I mentioned in my last post.  But I am blogging more often than I was.  I’m not doing so well keeping up with reading other people’s blog posts.  I must confess I delete most of what comes into my inbox!!

Anyway as I mentioned in a previous post, I’m doing what I can and ultimately that’s all I can do.  I’m getting new followers on Twitter all the time and some new followers to my blog, which is slightly harder to see since I linked my blog to my Twitter and Facebook accounts lol.

I would like to change the theme on this blog sometime soon – I’m a bit fed up with all the pink!  It’s a bit much even for me lol.  So I’ll be working on that at some point.  But not today :-P

I also want to sign up to Google+ (although I may be signed up for it already as I have an Android tablet and phone and they keep telling me that so and so have added me to their circle or something like that) and maybe a few more.  But all in good time.

Where are you at in your writing journey?  Are you happy with the way it’s going?  Do you find it helpful to have a big presence on social media?

What about social media?

What about it?  Well continuing on my blog posts about what makes a good blog, I just wanted to write a quick post about the importance of social media and how good it’s been for me and my writing, as well as to tell you what I’ve been considering in relation to it.

I guess technically blogging and blogs are a form of social media, but in this post I want to focus on how I’ve found that other forms of social media can support it.

Personally, I wouldn’t be without social media.  It’s transformed the way I write.  Although I don’t use a whole load of different social media sites (I only really use this WordPress blog, Twitter and Facebook), through it I’ve been able to connect with many other writers around the world.

Social media as we know it is relatively new.  Ten years ago, say, there weren’t all these blogs around. There was no Twitter and Facebook had only just started.  So when I was first experimenting with writing longer stories, there wasn’t half as much support available to me from other writers as there is now.

My husband was the person who suggested to me that I start a blog to promote my writing and then do a search on the internet for other writers’ blogs to connect with.  I’ve said what I’m about to say before, but I think it’s worth mentioning again: I started a blog and then I did my searching and I got nowhere.

I did a Google search on other writers’ blogs and came up with very little.  I was discouraged – how could I possibly connect online with other authors if I couldn’t find anything on the net?  Then my sister suggested I try Twitter.  I joined it a couple of years ago and I’ve never looked back.

Joining Twitter is one of the best things I’ve ever done; through it I’ve been able to meet a number of other writers face to face, as well as connect with other writers all over the world.  My blog is starting to take off – I currently have 181 followers – and it’s enabled me to promote my writing a lot more easily.  I use my WordPress blog in conjunction with Twitter and now and then with Facebook and it’s really helped.

However, having said all that, I have had some comments that I only have Facebook and Twitter share buttons on my blog.  The thing is they’re the only social media sites that I’ve signed up to.  Now I’ll be honest here – as much as I want to promote my blog and for it to be as visible as possible – I don’t want to have to sign up to a  load more social media sites, such as Google+ (which keeps trying to sign me up anyway!!), Pinterest, Instagram et al.

The reason is that I already struggle to keep up with the demands of writing, working, housework (yes I do some!!), looking after our dog, church and everything that goes with that, socialising, reading, reading and commenting on others’ blogs, Twitter and Facebook, to name but a few.  And so I just don’t want to burden myself with yet another thing on the list that I should be doing, when I can barely keep up with what I’m already doing.

So my conundrum is this: how do I or can I promote my blog via other social media sites without officially joining them?  Now to you that might sound like a daft question.  Maybe it is, maybe it’s obvious that it’s not possible.  All I had in mind was that people who visit my blog might be able to click on one of the share buttons – if I added more – and share my work if they were on those sites themselves.  A bit like, say, me sharing an article I’ve read online on Facebook.

And that’s my parting question for you: is it possible to be more visible on social media as a writer WITHOUT signing up for dozens of sites that I might not have the time to use anyway?

As always, your comments are very welcome. :)

How I’m blogging now

I just thought I’d continue on from what I was talking about the other day – blogging, gaining more followers on my blog and how to go about it.

Well I’ve signed up to follow a fair few more blogs in the hope that that may be a way to gain more followers myself.  And, of course, it’s interesting to read others’ blogs and see how they’re successful, what they do or don’t do that I could learn from.

I’m a bit flummoxed by one thing though.  For a long while I didn’t add tags to my blog posts as I wasn’t aware of how useful they could be.  I think I may have gained a number of followers through tagging my posts.

But the thing that’s puzzling me is this: when I Googled certain words that I use as tags in my blogging, intending to see if I could find other writers’ blogs, it came up with very little that was helpful i.e. hardly any relevant writers blogs at all.

So it got me thinking – how exactly do tags work?  Are they what other people use to find blogs to follow – do other people Google certain words to find a blog they might like to follow, or do other people know something I don’t about tags?

Anyway I’m confused by that.  Any info about that gratefully received.

To go back to the main point of this blog post, as well as working hard at blogging myself, it’s been interesting to see how various other bloggers go about… well blogging.  Some of them list targets they’re trying to achieve (I don’t find this particularly helpful, in fact it’s a bit boring!), others intersperse anecdotes about their non-writing lives (which I find fascinating) and then of course many blog about how their writing is going, their plans for releasing their novels, details of when their novels are being released etc.

I have found that the most successful blogs engage with their readers; they provide good content that others want to read; they ask questions and the blog itself is attractive and looks good.

As for my own blogging – well I’m trying to comment on others’ blogs as much as I can – though I do delete a number of posts as I haven’t got the time or energy to look at them all.  I’m only human!

With this blog, I’m trying to post more often, as obviously that is so important.  I also intend at some point to start linking more to other blog sites.  Some of the most effective blog sites have great links to helpful sites for writers.

Here are some that I enjoy:

Catherine, Caffeinated

Daily (w)rite

Shannon A Thompson

Joanne Phillips

I think I’ll leave it there for now.  But before I go, here’s a question for you.  Do you have a favourite blog that you keep returning to and why?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

My blogging journey

This is kind of a follow up from my post the other day which you can read here.  I really wasn’t sure what to blog about today, but I knew I wanted to say something.  So now I’ve come up with it!

I’ve been rethinking my blogging and how much I comment on other people’s blogs.  Yes I want more people following my blog. Don’t we all?  But how do I go about that?

John Guillen commented on my blog and suggested that I could gain more followers by commenting on other people’s blogs, which I do but not enough.  So I’m starting to do that more.

Eileen Slovak commented too, saying that she likes to write a number of blog posts on the same subject. My husband suggested I follow lots of blogs; that way people see that I’m following them and maybe they’ll follow me back.

As I mentioned in the previous post, it’s also about content and whether or not that appeals to people. Another aspect is linking to other blogs.

I guess really it’s a combination of all of the above, as well as putting in the hard work that will hopefully, eventually, pay off.  So I’m going to keep working away at it, keep blogging and of course writing.

What are your tips for a successful blog?