Changing tack

Changing tack

Another short(ish) post. I thought I’d update you with how things are for me right now writing-wise. Well I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and having plenty of heart to hearts with my husband about my writing.

And I’ve been thinking: what do I really want most – to write whatever I want, or to write the books that people want to read? See, I think it’s like this: different people may like different genres of books BUT most people also like reading what they’re used to.

So if someone likes, say, sci-fi, they will usually want to read a novel that is recognisibly that: sci-fi. Similarly romance, or a thriller or a detective story. People like what they like – it may sound trite or like a sweeping statement (which, yes, it could be seen as) but I think it’s very often true.

Now with me it’s like this: I enjoy writing (obviously!) and for a while now I’ve been struggling with being torn between writing whichever story idea comes into my head, or writing for a particular genre and thereby gaining more readers. The thing is I don’t want to write like a fraud – I want to write authentically – to be true to myself and my writing style.

As I said to my husband – you can’t fit a square peg in a round hole. Like the rest of my life, with my writing I can’t be something I’m not. But I need to do something radical. I’ll be honest – my sales have hit rock bottom and yeah I’m really gutted about that.

So at my husband’s suggestion (and this idea has grown and grown on me) I’m gonna try something new. I’m going to write a short(ish) story, maybe a novella, and I’m going to pick a genre and aim my story fairly and squarely at that. It’s going to be a romance, still working on the details and I’m not gonna give too much away, but let’s just say I’m hoping that by aiming at a particular sub-genre of romance, I may be able to do a bit better.

It’s gonna be a bit of an experiment and it may not work, but my hope is that I can get my writing noticed a bit more and who knows – I might have people read this new story and think ‘I wouldn’t mind reading another of Elaine Jeremiah’s novels’, thereby increasing my sales.

It’s a gamble, but hey I’ve got nothing to lose! I do think it’s a bad time for all indie authors at the mo what with Kindle Unlimited being introduced and all that, but quite frankly I’m going to keep persevering with my writing until there’s no breath left in my body! So I’m going to be a bit more calculating in my approach – and write what (I hope) people will really want to read.

Have you ever reached a point in your writing journey where you decided you needed to change tack? How is it panning out for you?

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! :)

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. ;)

Advice needed

OK guys I really need some advice here. As many of you will be aware, I’ve self-published two novels, The Inheritance and Reunion of the Heart, on Amazon Kindle within about a year of each other (September 2013, August 2014).

The thing is neither of them have taken off – I mean AT ALL – and I’m feeling really low about it. I will admit that I haven’t done a huge amount of promotion for either and I guess you would all say that that is why they haven’t sold much.

But here’s the thing: I’m not entirely convinced about the positive impact of lots of (and sometimes costly) promotion. I’m not convinced that putting them on a number of different promo sites would make a massive amount of difference. Or tweeting about them. Or Facebooking etc.

About a year ago I put The Inheritance on a free promotion. I got nearly 9500 downloads. But I was really disappointed that it didn’t translate into sales. I think part of the problem was that around that time Amazon stopped promoting free books hence my struggle to get more sales afterwards.

So anyway last weekend I decided to do an experiment and put The Inheritance on sale at 99c. I thought maybe I might get a few more sales. I did tweet about it but so far nothing.

I’ve read some ebooks about getting to know how Amazon and its algorithms work and how to use that to my advantage. I’ve tried changing some of the keywords on Reunion of the Heart but that hasn’t seemed to make any difference either.

Some of these books have also suggested various ways to promote your novel strategically, things like setting up a mailing list. But would these work or affect my sales if I haven’t got a book coming out soon? I would also struggle with setting up a mailing list as I haven’t got a clue how it’s done!

I feel frustrated because I think (maybe erroneously!) that my books are as good as many other people’s that are out there and doing OK for themselves. The main problem is that no one knows they’re there. Also, as my husband has pointed out, I write in a broad genre (i.e. contemporary romance) and so it’s hard to target my potential audience with things like good keywords because there are so many titles out there.

Argh! Anyway, I feel like I need to create a good strategy, a plan to give my books a bit of a kick start so that I can somehow let people know that they’re out there and are worth a read. But I don’t know where to start. I’m also tired from my new day job (which is great BTW – I can be thankful for that at least!) and I don’t want to take on too much extra work at the moment.

Any suggestions? Or anyone going through a similar experience?

*I should add that I’ve heard from a writer friend that ebook sales (particularly in the UK) are down which I guess doesn’t help!

An excerpt from ‘Reunion of the Heart’

rothIt’s been a couple of months now since I published Reunion of the Heart. I thought I’d share an excerpt from it with you. For those of you who don’t know anything about it, it’s a romance about a young woman, a writer, who returns to the school where she was really unhappy as a teenager to attend a reunion.

Little does she know it, but her life is about to change forever.  This scene takes place at the reunion, where Anna has just encountered Will, the man who made her life a misery when they were at school together. Enjoy!

‘Anna?’ She turned around and Will was standing by her side.  She looked up at him.  He was tall, taller than she remembered and not half bad looking.  Her face burned as their eyes met. 

‘What do you want?’ Her voice was barely a whisper.  She removed her hand from his grasp and cleared her throat, saying more loudly and with some anger, ‘Will, I have nothing to say to you.  After the way you treated me at school, did you really expect me to talk to you tonight?  You and Matt and your friends made my life a misery.  All those taunts and catcalls. I would have found it hard enough anyway just being a teenager.  But the way you and your friends behaved towards me – well, to be blunt it made me want to end it all.’

Will was silent; his face was pale apart from two high spots of colour on his cheeks.  He appeared stunned by what Anna had just told him.  Finally he nodded.  ‘I understand,’ he said slowly.

She shook her head.  ‘No, I don’t think you do understand.  I don’t think bullies can ever really understand what that kind of treatment feels like until it happens to them.’

There was a long pause.  Anna wanted to turn away but something made her stay where she was.

‘That may be so,’ he said at last, ‘but I just wanted to tell you how sorry…’

‘Anna, is everything OK?’ Melissa’s voice came loud and clear.

‘Yes, I’ll join you in a second,’ Anna called.  She turned back to Will.  He was standing rigidly as if he were tense.  For a moment she wanted to let him speak, to give her his apology.  But then she remembered how he’d treated her at school, how awful he’d made her feel and her resolve hardened. 

‘There are times when sorry isn’t good enough,’ she told him, watching as the redness on his cheeks spread.  Before he could say anything else, she turned away and dashed across to her friends, sitting down with them.

‘What did he want?’ Melissa asked her.

‘To apologise,’ Anna said frowning as she glanced back to see Will’s retreating form.  ‘It wasn’t accepted.’

I hope you enjoyed this excerpt. :) Reunion of the Heart is available on and Amazon UK.

Breaking it up – WIPpet Wednesday

Hi everyone! Hope you’re all well. I’m gradually adjusting to the cooler weather. Here in the UK it’s been quite sudden – we had an extended period of summer weather, but that’s over now and it’s well and truly autumn here. It’s a bit cold and I need to wear a coat when I go out – this time last week I was out in a T shirt!

Oh well – at least WIPpet Wednesday doesn’t change and I can share with you some more from my WIP Teaching Mr Leavis. I’m doing OK with it – I wrote over 1200 words on Monday which is a record for me. :) But the trouble is I seem to have got quite far along in the plot without the word count reflecting that. So as of right now I’ve done 38,000 words and ideally I want to do about 70,000 in total, but as I say the plot’s kind of run away from me.

I think part of the trouble is that although I made a plan at the beginning, I didn’t plan out the middle part of the story as carefully as I did when I wrote Reunion of the Heart. OK, even in ROTH I deviated quite a bit from the plan, but I still had a clear idea in my head of how I wanted the story to get to its conclusion. I don’t have that with this one. I’ve been much more of a pantser this time around and I’m not used to dealing with it!

But at the same time I don’t want to go back and change things – I think it’s VERY important that I finish the first draft – even if I only get up to, say, 45,000 words. Then I will go back and do some MAJOR editing (and hopefully flesh it out a bit). After that I may ask for a volunteer – literally one person – to be an alpha reader for me. I don’t even want to let beta readers see it for some time! If you have any words of wisdom to offer, let me know!

All right, that’s enough writerly angst! As you may have guessed from the title of this post, the excerpt I’m sharing with you this week follows directly on from last week’s, which you can read here if you haven’t already! To recap Rebecca is trying to stop a fight between Jonathan Leavis, an obnoxious parent from the school where she works and Nick, a colleague of hers from the same school. I’m sharing 15 paragraphs. My maths goes like this: 8 +10 = 18 – 2 = 16 – 1 = 15

‘Oh don’t be ridiculous,’ Nick muttered.

‘I’m being ridiculous?’ Rebecca’s voice rose in volume. ‘I’m not the one trying to punch the living daylights out of someone!’ She felt her face grow hot with anger.

‘Yes, Nick, just stop causing trouble,’ Jonathan said, his tone arrogant.

Rebecca rounded on him. ‘I meant both of you!’ she snapped. ‘You’re not exactly whiter than white in all this are you, Mr Leavis?’

‘You can call me Jonathan,’ he murmured.

Rebecca blinked. ‘Right now I’ll call you anything I want,’ she said. ‘If it was in my authority I’d ask you to leave this club, but seeing as you own it…’ Her voice was clear and, as the music had long since stopped, her words carried across the room. There was a collective intake of breath as the audience of clubbers took in her words. Everyone seemed to turn to Jonathan and scrutinise him.

His face went redder if that were possible, and he gave Rebecca a look which she couldn’t fathom.

‘I’ll go,’ Nick said in a loud voice. ‘I was about to anyway before this knob head decided he wanted to have a go.’ Despite his bravado his voice was weary and his expression, although defiant, a little careworn.

He turned and began to walk away and this time Jonathan didn’t try to stop him. Rebecca glanced at Jonathan and saw a dark scowl marring his features as he watched Nick leave. Rebecca too turned away from him and was about to return to her friends when she felt a hand on her arm. She turned around.

‘What do you want, Mr Leavis?’ she asked him. She was blowed if she was going to do as he asked and call him Jonathan. And she was beginning to wish she’d never met him. Was he never going to stop causing her trouble?

His expression was guarded yet a little contrite. ‘I want you to know, Miss Engleton, that there’s more to this than meets the eye,’ he said in a low voice.

She sighed and looked him straight in the eye, noticing that he was gazing back at her with extreme interest and wondered what he was thinking. Why did he have to give her such brazen looks all the time? It was so unnerving. Rebecca felt fatigue beginning to overwhelm her and her limbs were heavy, as if she’d climbed a mountain. It’d been a long day.

‘There probably is, Mr Leavis,’ she said.  ‘But I’m too tired to hear your story tonight. Maybe another day.’ She resolutely turned and walked away from him, feeling his gaze still on her as she walked towards her friends, who by this time were standing close by in the crowd. Their expressions were a mixture of astonishment and admiration.

‘What was that all about?’ Karen asked laying a hand on Rebecca’s arm, an amazed look on her face.

‘I haven’t a clue,’ Rebecca admitted. ‘I just knew if I didn’t step in either one of them could get seriously hurt.’ She felt her legs becoming a bit shaky. ‘Can we sit down? I think I’ve got a bit of post-traumatic stress disorder,’ she joked.

So there you have it. To take part in WIPpet Wednesday all you have to do is post some of your recent writing work on your blog, then add your name to this. Rule: ideally the excerpt of your writing should relate in some way to the date. Don’t forget to check out all the other WIPpeteer’s contributions.

Thank you K. L. Schwengel for being our lovely hostess! :)

Romance Writer’s Weekly Blog Hop #lovewritechat


 Welcome to my contribution to Romance Writer’s Weekly. This week we’re answering questions from Beth Carter about how we write about our characters and how much of our own experience we bring  to our writing.

If you’re joining me from J. J. Devine’s blog, then welcome! I hope you enjoy my answers to the questions. :)

1. Which type of character do you prefer writing about: Sexy, romantic, sweet, quirky, mean, old, young, smart, silly or other?

I think for me it’s a mixture of sexy and romantic. I like writing about a guy who’s sexy, but also sensitive enough to the heroine’s needs to be romantic, so that it’s not all about him. But I also like to write about someone who’s hot enough to make my heroine start to think twice about him and maybe not write him off for being arrogant or whatever faults I’ve given him.

2. Have you ever killed off (or gotten back at) an ex in your writing? On paper of course.

No, I can’t say I have. I tend to use my intuition a bit when it comes to describing men who let the heroine down, or are love cheats and so on. I find it a lot of fun, though, to create these characters and scenarios, all that tension and heartbreak. It’s good to get creative with ideas about how a guy has treated or mistreated a girl and how she responds to that.

3. What hobbies do you have that you incorporate in your writing?

Actually my latest novel Reunion of the Heart has a writer as its heroine. So for me that was an easy one. I’ve also written about characters who have a love of reading and some of the books I love are the ones they love too.

Now why not hop along to A. S. Fenichel’s blog and check out her responses to the questions!