‘Teaching Mr Leavis’ being sent out to beta readers soon!

Beta readersA short post today (and it will be short this time!) to say: I’ve reached another milestone in my writing journey. Yes, that’s right I’ve finished the first draft of my third (third!! :) ) novel Teaching Mr Leavis.

And I’m sending it out to beta readers soon. So watch this space – I may be able to publish it before the summer if all goes well. Or at least it should definitely be published before the end of the year. Eek!

My thanks goes out to the nine people who’ve very kindly agreed to give their time to have a read of my novel. I have to say I’m always a bit apprehensive at this point in the writing process, the first point at which anyone apart from me gets to read the whole of the first draft of my novel.

Yes, I’ve already shared parts of it on WIPpet Wednesday (where a group of us writers share and comment on each other’s writing), but that’s different. This time people will be seeing the whole of it and that’s rather scary! Will they hate it or (just as bad) be disappointed? As I’ve told people, I feel that this is very much an early first draft, so I’m hoping that my beta readers can share their wisdom on how to make it much better.

But having said all that, it is exciting too because as a writer obviously I want people to read my books. So I’m hoping this will just be the start. That eventually many more people will read Teaching Mr Leavis too. :D

What are your thoughts and feelings when you’re sharing your book with your beta readers and/or editor for the first time?


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?

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


Cover reveal of Stones and Finger Bones!

Today I’m taking part in the cover reveal for Jessica Minyard for her debut novel Stones and Finger Bones. Here’s  a synopsis:

Aurelia Barone, Jewel of Starry Stone, harbors no illusions about the purpose of her life as heir to the throne. But after two failed betrothals, she starts to feel like nothing more than a pawn being moved aimlessly about a game board.
Until the night she loses everything.
Kidnapped by a wise-cracking mercenary with more than one identity, Aurelia embarks on a mission across land and sea to avenge her father’s death.
But an evil is rising from the ashes of memory. Insidious magic is stirring. The dregs of a once-powerful nation are thirsty for blood and revenge.
They seek to harness Aurelia. To tempt her. To manipulate her.
And if necessary, to destroy her.
And here is the cover:
stones_promoIsn’t it great? And here’s some info about Jessica:
Jessica lives in Kentucky with a spoiled pitbull and has a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from Murray State University.

She wrote and illustrated her first story in the fourth grade. “The Dragon of Grindley Grun” was about an evil wizard, a princess, and a dragon who was actually a prince. She likes to think her writing has evolved since that very first story, even though she still writes about magic and evil wizards, sometimes.

Thankfully, she no longer illustrates her stories. Stones and Finger Bones is her first novel.

Social Media Pic_edited-1
Here’s where you can connect with Jessica:
Twitter: @jl_mizzle
Instagram: @jl_mizzle
Cover design by Ravven (www.ravven.com)

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!

Spotlight on author Laekan Zea Kemp

bio1I’m pleased to be promoting my fellow author Laekan Zea Kemp on my blog today. She has just released her new novel The Girl In Between, which will become perma-free on October 31st. See the links below for where you can download copies for free! And I am appearing on Laekan’s blog later on today too. She’s interviewing me about my writing process and my experience of self-publishing. Click here in a while to check it out.

Synopsis: Bryn Reyes is a real life sleeping beauty. Afflicted with Klein-Levin Syndrome, she suffers episodes of prolonged sleep that steal weeks, and sometimes even months, from her life. But unlike most KLS patients, she doesn’t spend each episode in a catatonic state or wake up with no recollection of the time she’s missed. Instead, Bryn spends half her life in an alternate reality made up of her memories. For Bryn, the past is a place, until one day a boy she’s never met before washes up on the illusory beach of her dreams with no memory of who he is.

But the appearance of this strange boy isn’t the only thing that’s changed. Bryn’s symptoms are worsening, her body weakening as she’s plagued by hallucinations even while awake. Her only hope of finding a cure is to undergo experimental treatment created by a German specialist. But when Dr. Banz reveals that he knows more about her strange symptoms than he originally let on, Bryn learns that the boy in her head might actually be the key to understanding what’s happening to her, and worse, that if she doesn’t find out his identity before it’s too late, they both may not survive.

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23124500-the-girl-in-between
Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NQL0LRC/ref=s9_simh_gw_p351_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=1GT1AKPRWGQ1B9VMPF3A&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1688200382&pf_rd_i=507846
Barnes & Noble link: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-girl-in-between-laekan-zea-kemp/1120421881?ean=2940150744608

TheGirlInBetween1600x2400Author Bio:

Laekan is a writer and explorer extraordinaire who grew up in the flatlands of West Texas. She graduated from Texas Tech with a BA in Creative Writing and is the author of the multi-cultural New Adult novels The Things They Didn’t Bury, Orphans of Paradise, Breathing Ghosts, and the Young Adult novel The Girl In Between, which is the first in an upcoming paranormal romance series.

Blog: http://laekanzeakemp.wordpress.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LaekanZeaKemp


Wattpad: http://www.wattpad.com/user/laekanzeakemp