**Peeks round crack in the door**

Hey! Pssst, is anyone out there?

How bloody mad is life right now?!

I’m staying on my normal (somewhat annoying) positive-train, so the best course of action for me is to completely not mention all the isolating, locking-down and media-mayhem business. (That’s my coping strategy and I’m sticking to it.)

But what I will say is this; as things go, I have a wee bit of time on my hands, and it’s proving difficult to fill it with useful things…

(But if you’re creating your first podcast, learning to crochet or have decided to give Mandarin a go, MORE POWER TO YOU!)

I’m having some trouble getting the old brain on-line, i’m more magpie than human; lots of shiny new things I have time to try, coupled with the attention span of a gnat. But hey-ho.

And so I decided to check up on my soshal-meejha and give the ol’ website a spruce up. And it occurs to me that I don’t spend much time here anymore. These are landing pages now. So I think the best thing to do, is tell you. That way, if you’re lost on the interwebs and you stumble bleary-eyed, into this little corner and you find the kettle isn’t even on (good grief!) Then this little post will be here to say; come on over to Facebook, there’s virtual wine annnnd gluten free treats. (And honestly, only the gods know what else I’ll be waffling on about.) I don’t run a business page that peddles stuff, just a normal Facebook profile where I can chat to you, and you can chat to me. So come and add me 🙂

See you soon.

J xx

Publication delay; making hard choices.

Christmas is coming, and FAST.

This is the time of year when we start to see lots of ’round up’ blog posts and youtube videos, where we all get to look back over the highs and lows of the past twelve months.

I wont be doing that.

I lost my Dad at the end of the summer. He was only sixty nine years young, and i’m still working through how unfair that is.

I also find myself in the situation of waiting for surgery. It’ll be coming quite quickly, and eight days ago I had no idea anything was wrong.

But life works like this sometimes. My family and friends will tell you, that I can often wax philosophical about there being ‘a lesson in all things,’ (and i’m bloody right about that, btw 😉 ) so I hate to get on my soap box now… (I don’t really.)

So here it is; we deal with everyday ups and downs all the time. Sometimes it’s less of a down and more of a blindside. What’s important is to make choices for our health and emotional wellbeing.

I so wanted to have Cold Moon on the shelves by the 21st of December, and even though it’s written and has been through the first round of edits, it needs more time. It deserves it. And I want my readers to get the best story possible; they deserve it.

So I’m making a hard choice, to delay the release day. It’s going to be March 2019. As that gives me enough time to go and be a guest of the fabulous NHS, take a little time to recover — and have my humans fetch me things (oh, i’d like a little bell to ring, wouldn’t that be fun…) And take time to do the re-writes.


I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas. And if life is rattling your cage at the moment, take a step back and breathe, look out at what’s really important, and let the rest go.

Take care

J xx

Author Marketing Tips

Happy rainy Bank Holiday Writerly-Folks.

I thought i’d use this grey, Sunday afternoon to share a few things…

On the 19th of May my book, How to Build an Author Platform, was released to the world, and I had a little Facebook party to wish my words well on their travels, and the feedback from the launch party has been pretty great, so I thought i’d take all the marketing tips and hints from the launch and put them all in once place.

This book is a nuts and bolts approach to getting your ‘author self’ out there, I’ve kept it simple, stress free and super cheap.

Because the thing is, we don’t all have oodles of pounds to throw at marketing. Not to mention the fact that i’ve got a better chance of finding the end of the rainbow than getting a bookbub. But I digress…

So, this blog is all the post’s from the Facebook launch. Here we go…


Welcome to the Facebook launch for How to Build an Author Platform, a book for all of us writerly-types who are just trying to reach the Perfect Reader.
Today will be all about tips and tricks — just remember that they don’t all apply to you. As I mention in the book, you only need TWO dedicated social media platforms (that match your audience) for your books and your author self ~ it’s important that we don’t overload ourselves.

Let’s get this boat in the water 🙂



The book is Available on Amazon, Kobo… well, pretty much everywhere.





Let’s spend some time looking at what we can do with all the different social media platforms that are available to us.

And we’ll get the day rolling by talking about Goodreads.


…and once you start to get your goodreads audience growing, don’t forget to post you book updates and vlogs/blogs there, as your followers will see your posts in their feed. After all, Goodreads is the Facebook of the reading world…


Now i’m a youtube junky, i love to talk about writing, moan about writing and panic about writing over on youtube. (I’ve also made a series of videos that go with this book, you can find them here.). I’ve also created a little Facebook Group where i’ll be sharing any marketing tips, and social media changes, to help you all stay up to date. It would be lovely if you’d like to join. I’m aiming to post once a week ~ so no nasty spamming. 🙂


Let the whirlwind tour continue ~ Do you use pinterest? I waste a horrendous amount of time there! ~ but don’t forget to create a pinbaord for your book, make your cover the front image, and put an amazon link in the description box. Include all sorts of images that refer to your story. This is the board for my fiction release earlier in the year, the BOARD has a good number of repins and followers now.


When you’re sharing your book’s link to amazon, don’t forget to get a universal short link first ~ you can choose the tail of the url to match your book, and it automatically links back to the amazon store in the readers country. It looks neater and more professional. You can do this at Booklinker.


If you think that Facebook and Twitter is already taking over your life, and all this information feels like even more of an overload ~ don’t panic, and don’t think you have to start doing everything.
One of the big things I talk about in Building an Author Platform, is creating a structure that leaves you feeling more in control and with more free time, not less.
Our minds won’t be able to wonder to creative places if we are constantly worried what Instagram wants.
We’re still writers…


Okay then, instagram top tip, coming your way ~ don’t hashtag the post, hashtag in the comments box underneath. It’s a lot cleaner, you can put more hashtags in without being annoying, and it get more responses.
I’ve been doing it this way for the last few weeks, and my posts are already getting more l<3 ‘s ~ here’s My Account, in case you were wondering 😉

I talk about hashtags in the book too, how they work and how to use them. It’s important to do a bit of upfront research on which hashtags work best for your genre, theme and the audience you’re trying to attract.


Now, let’s look at social media etiquette, I discuss this in the book too. (And mailing list etiquette.)
Think of the things that gum up your feed. The things that make you unfollow.
Now look at what you post ~ it can be better to not post at all than to panic post, or panic post with wine… (believe me, I know)
The thing that get’s me is a constant stream of cat pictures with cute sayings, over and over again…
I’m a writer, so I’m noisy (occupational hazard) and if I follow, it’s because I want to see what you’re cooking and where you’re going, and once you decide what personal stuff you’re prepared to share, (keep in your comfort zone,) your audience will definitely be interested.


I mentioned mailing lists in the last post, if anyone has any specific questions i’ll try and answer them. But it’s a big topic; I could do a whole launch on that alone. There’s a chapter on just mailing lists in the book; what to put in them, how to manage them, how to get people on them…

But the true fact is; you gotta have a mailing list. It’s a necessary evil.


This next post is about The Facebook Launch ~ how to do them, and what to say, and as it’s more involved here’s A Little Blog about it.

So we’re into the last act of this little launch, I hope you’ve enjoyed it, and that you’ve found some useful ideas in amongst it all. If you have any questions or thoughts on further videos you’d like to see, just let me know.

As writers we’re pretty hard on ourselves, we procrastinate and beat off crippling self-doubt, and nobody understands a writer quite like another writer.
And as one crazy writer to another, i’d like to say thank you so much for coming today.


And don’t forget to come on over to the Building an Author Platform Facebook Group if you’d like more of this kind of crazy 🙂

How to … Using Facebook events to Host a Book Launch.

So, I’m having a Facebook book launch today for my new book, Building An Author Platform. It’s a book full of marketing tips for authors trying to find their Tribe. Without spending a fortune or living Every waking minute on social media…

I’ve had a couple of questions ahead of time, from authors who are interested in how to launch a book on Facebook, so I thought a wee blog might be in order.

First things first, here is a (very) basic video of how to set up The Event on Facebook

Now once you’ve done this, you can have the biggest conniption fit about how the heck you’re supposed to keep people entertained.

And that’s where this blog comes in;

Number one, make your launch two to three hours long – only go longer if you’re comfortable being live on-line for that long.

I’ve set mine for three hours, during the school day ~ I couldn’t think, answer questions, panic about whether I’d understood the question, try and drink a cup of tea, and also try to answer very serious requests for dinner, or where are his other trainers are…

(I’ve actually scheduled my launch to stay open till 8pm, but I’ve clearly written in the description that the launch will finish at 2pm, but will be available until 8pm for people who are working and want to pop in and have a nosey later.)

After the logics were sorted out…I Got Prepared

Panic is the mother of organisation, let me assure you.

My launch today is about author marketing, so I’ve written lots of little tips (on a word document) about things authors can try to do, to reach more people and engage with them. I’ll then copy and paste one status every ten minutes or so, and hope my guests find them useful and maybe ask questions. I’ve created a couple of blog posts too, as I’ve had questions ahead of time (thank goodness), and so I’ve written a more detailed response. I’ve used YouTube and Facebook video where I can. (I’m not brave enough for Facebook live yet — but who knows, by the end of this day, I may jump in)

But if you’re launching a fiction book, here’s some things to thinks about;
Have a list of statuses that you can post every ten minutes or so. (Including website links) It will take the stress out of it.

What era is your book based? Can you choose music that matches? — if so, find the music videos on YouTube, and put them on your page, giving a short, chatty reference about how it relates to your character. Or something like “and we’ll kick today off with this number from the 80’s, when (my character) was born..”

Is there particular food or drink in your book, tag up recipes.

Where is your book based; post some gorgeous photos of the backdrop that inspired you.

Is your heroine a fashionista – post some pinterest photos of the outfits she would wear.

Think about your ideal reader and what would appeal to them? Gardening, walking, trees, stars, horoscopes…

The list is endless, post lots of interesting snippets that will leave your audience desperate to find out about your characters and their journey.

Having the posts prepped up will leave you completely free to chat with people.

Good luck with your launches, Writerly Folks.

J x

Talking about Twitter.

I was invited to go and waffle on about one of my favourite subjects today; the internet!!light-up-the-web-1193828-1279x852

I cannot – simply cannot tell you how much I love the internet. I’m total junkie, want to know something; ask Google. Want to buy something; search eBay….. (I’d better issue a disclaimer here…) Other search engines and purchasing sites are available — truthfully though, it can pretty much answer or find most things.

But to be specific, in my day job i’m a social media consultant, and I was asked to go along to my local writers group, The Lovedean Writers, to give a little talk and answer questions on how to market yourself and use social media as a self-published, or independent, author.

As it turns out i’ve ended up with a few points that seemed to be quite useful, so I thought i’d share them.

Writing can be a lonely life, as writers (myself included,) our little voice can wreck our confidence in seconds, stop us getting words on the page, and dry up inspiration quicker than the summer of ’76. (There was a heat wave that year, for you lucky folks who are too young to remember.)

But with fabulous social media sites like Twitter and Facebook we don’t have to be alone any more…Beware though — social media can be the devil’s own time waster, especially once you discover how much fun it is.

A few years ago ‘networking’ was the in thing, you went ‘on-line’ and networked your a*se off, nowadays it’s more of a dirty word – networking insinuates that you are schmoozing the unwitting, and trying to flog your product.

These day it just wont work — people are smarter than that, they like to know about you, they want to invest in your life and share your highs and lows. (Did I mention that social media is mostly full of nosey people?)

You have to be ‘present’ — and it all depends how you want to interact with people. Facebook is all about longer posts, and running conversations. Twitter is 140 characters — including spaces and punctuation, twitter is the home of the snarky comment and the witty comeback. Both places are great ways to meet other writers, existing readers (if you’re already published) and prospective readers.
But here’s the thing – you remember the guy from that movie, he stood on the corner wearing an A-board shouting that the world was going to end? Did anyone listen to him?


And that’s the thing to remember with social media, it’s not advertising space. If all you do is tweet or post, ‘buy my book, buy my book, for the love of god will someone BUY MY BOOK’ — people will hit the block & delete buttons, and they’ll do it quick.
People expect you to come on-line and ‘be real’ — even Victoria Beckham posts photos of her self being stupid, and dare I say…Smiling. Need I say more?

Now the thought of sharing your life with the world can be somewhat terrifying, but don’t worry, there are ways to cut down the anxiety. So here’s a few cold hard tips…

If you are looking to self publish your book to any of the wonderful self publishing platforms out there; Amazon, Kobo, Ibooks, Wattpad, Smashwords, Createspace, Lulu… (I could go on.) Then you are going to need an online platform from which to launch your book. If you haven’t got an on-line platform get yourself on the boat and play around, it’ll take you time to write your masterpiece and building up your online presence while you’re at it is a great way to start. (Share your writing agonies with the twitterverse, they love it — and they’ll support and sympathise, it really is win-win.)

If you’re worried about what to share, make yourself a ‘comfort circle’; draw a circle and write inside what you don’t mind sharing….Do you fish, garden, play bridge, do yoga in the dark? That can go in the circle. If you have Mum tips, cooking tips, watch Strictly or cash in the attic — put it in the circle. And before you know it you’ll have a comfortable go-to list of things that ‘you’ love that you can chat to the world about.

Now the trick is to not let it overwhelm you — once you know what you’re doing, carve out two 15 minutes slots a day, (preferably different times each day,) and tweet or post to hearts content, make sure you answer people who’ve tweeted you. And you’ll watch your audience grow.

If you’re using Twitter don’t forget to check out whats trending — that’s all the little # signs that you’ll see. It’s called hash tagging; it’s where you highlight the point of your tweet. And it’s a great way to find people who you’d like to follow and tweet with. So if GameOfThrones is your thing shove a # in front of it; #GameOfThrones and the GOT lovers (you can hashtag that too; #GOT) will find you in a minute — and they’re an opinionated lot, so watch out.

Now i’ve already waffled on a lot – and believe it or not, I did talk about more than twitter, (honest). But I think i’ll come back with another instalment — I’ll waffle all about finding beta readers and getting ready to Launch in the next post. You know, I may even take my life in my hands and make some videos on the subject for youtube.

You can find my works page HERE, it was lovely to waffle on, catch you laters.

Synopsis Resources.

This post does what it says on the tin….

For those of you that haven’t heard my whining and moaning over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been getting royally owned by my synopsis writing skill ~ or lack thereof.

And do you know what gets you through; Wine writing friends, and good resources.

There was a stage where I was so blind to the words they could’ve been Greek for all I knew. So pull your writing friends close when times are tough.              pencil-pusher-1236711-1279x664

And get good resources ~ Here’s a few websites that were great…

Kathy Carmichael 

Jane Friedman


Happy writing, lovely peeps.

The Tale of The Whining Writer.

ok chaps and chapesses – i’m getting close to facing the fear and doing it anyway — yes, it’s submission time.

Or nearly.

I wrote the perfect cover letter last night – I kid you not, I penned that last full stop at 3.34am and knew I had it in the bag. I had the perfect mix of professionalism and humour. I gave myself that mental ‘tick in the box’, congratulated myself all the way to bed and went to sleep smirking with smugness.

I’ll bet you can imagine how that perfect cover letter read this morning, in the cold light of day.

Yup; utter garbage.

I know that being a writer isn’t just about writing the story and getting to live in the warm safe-space of my mind, where all my little friends talk to me. But you can imagine if i’m sweating over the cover letter then the synopsis has had me beat for weeks.

I want to moan and whine, I want to weep into my caffeine free tea (don’t judge me) that I’m a wrrriiiittttterrrr of stories, not synopsissssss.

But them’s the breaks. Being a writer isn’t just telling the tale (i’m sorry, ‘showing’ the tale – how foolish of me,) these days being a writer is having an internet presence, chatting on twitter, hosting workshops, going to conferences, speaking in schools — the list is endless. And whining about it just wont get it done.

So i’d better get back to the desk.

Later Gators.

Getting the job done.

It writes the words, or it gets the hose…

Once again, Nano season has come around, and there’s no getting away from the fact that I’m off to a shockingly poor start. Like, truly abysmal, and I think I know why…

So, after the last couple of years of going to war with Nano, I’ve ended up with an odd little superstition of not putting fingers to keyboard until the 3rd of November – I have no idea where or when this started. But in years past as long as I wait until the 3rd before writing, I seem to get a respectable amount of words down. I’ve come to the conclusion that the stress of waiting those extra two days gives me….The Fear. 

And this year my little habit has royally kicked me in the a*se. I was secretly smug, gleefully wicked as everyone else hit the ground running on the 1st of November, knowing I still had two more days grace — and you know what happens when you feel like that; the universe strikes you down.

There I was on the 3rd of November, sauntering around, wrangling children for the school run, already congratulating myself on how writerly I was going to feel once they were all safely delivered, and I could come home and be all Hemingwayesque.

Oh how the Universe must have been chuckling as I went to get my handbag.

I bet the Universe damn near fell off her chair as I looked with despair at my handbag; locked in the boot of my car with my purse and my keys.

As it turned out my husband had the other set. He was only thirty or so miles away…

I desperately called in the Calvary; my father-in-law — and borrowed his little Yaris, cramming my hoard inside. Everyone was late for school, the roads were hell, and I drove out to the Husband to get the spare set — it was only a ninety-seven mile round trip.

I got back to find the wind had blown the bins to hell andScreen Shot 2015-11-07 at 12.15.05 back.

Suffice to say I didn’t write that day. And I haven’t written a day since — even breaking my own regular writing pattern. It’s time to get tough; it writes the words, or it gets the hose.



(And if you haven’t heard of Nano, it’s where us crazy writer types all think it would be a good idea to write 50,000 words in the month of November. If you fancy it, you can find the site HERE )