One of the best things to come out of the last couple
of years for me has been understanding that learning comes in unexpected ways
and places. We need to be ready when it appears. At times I have wondered whether I have been
fair to the environment I find myself in.
Missing my hometown, fighting the too often oppressive heat and
humidity, and changes in general at this stage in life hasn’t combined well to
make life easy. What saves me is my
willingness to discover the positive even in things I think I don’t like. This can vary surprising myself as well as
others. The best part is that the things
I find apply as much to life as they do to writing.
For instance homesickness for family and friends has
been wonderful for my writing. It made
me seek out like-minded people. What a
blessing Alison and Kay have been to
my sanity and the improvement in my skills.
Together we are about to publish Stories
of the Dark and Light, an anthology of some weird and wonderful tales we
hope our readers will enjoy. What an
experience it has been for me as it pushed my boundaries. I write contemporary romance. Yes, I would like to try my hand at other
things but a psychological thriller was not in my immediate future. Too bad as it is done now and what a lot of
fun the girls and I have had doing it. We still have a way to go but included
in our journey is the addition of a young artist who has designed our beautiful
cover, and the endeavour has also bought a young talented writer into our circle so
The oppressive heat has forced me into finding a new
spot for coffee with my very good friend Julia. In her
business as a health coach she advocates finding ways to enjoy
tranquillity. We often meet to exchange
ideas on making our businesses grow (I have said many times writing is a
business, something you have to work at every day.) She and I have taken to holding our exchange ofideas sessions at the Riverway Cafe (www.Riverwaycafe.com).
For those of you in Townsville you will recognise this
as the cafe sitting at the edge of the main pool. The water in front of us may not be an
ocean but the air of serenity particularly during the week is just what the
health coach ordered. If you tire of the
calm even flow in front of you, you can look at the luscious variegated greens
of the trees and plants or the meandering of the river. And
the cafe offers a free coffee after you buy the first five unlike other places
where it is the first ten. By the way,
the service is wonderful and lulled by all of this I forget to miss the busy
and diverse coffee scene in Sydney. Check out the link above and make it your
next port of coffee. The food is pretty
good too and in case you are interested, that's my friend Lance and he has travelled the world with me. He knows good coffee.
On the writing front I am now
reading some interesting things that are helping me improve my little scribbles.
To make living here easier and more enjoyable I have joined some local and
online groups. Somehow I have managed to create a domino effect. Writing=business=research=social media=loads
of information=writing=hopefully better. A great example is a post by Dan Smith I found
on LinkedInshowing us what we can learn
about book marketing from Fifty Shades of
Grey. See what I mean about
unexpected? No? You will and you will be surprised at how simple the lessons
are, simple but make a lot of sense for any business. Well it seems with “a tight book marketing budget, the publisher
mostly relied on book blogs, and then word-of-mouth started happening. From
there, the first book went viral and at one point accounted for 25% of all book
Blogging, a cheap marketing tool
and something I love just for its own sake pushed FSOG into the spotlight. As Dan points out we need to respect the
power of blogger and of course online reviews. My next post will be about
blogging I can tell you right now, and about reviews, that terrible word that
has people running for the hills (and yes this includes friends and family and
fellow readers). Somehow the public
often fails to understand that a good or bad review helps the author, or the
particular business. Obviously good is better but lifting a profile is vital. Please remember this when I finally get
published. Look when you write you know
you run the risk of being booed. It goes
with the territory and I daresay sometimes it is true that the piece produced
is not up to scratch but worse is never taking the chance. If writers are brave enough to take that
chance and go out on a limb then they can take the result. A good friend of
mine got hammered by a review. It didn’t
stop her thank God because this author rocks.
It did make her more determined.
The lesson learning continues
with FSOG. It seems that as an eBook,
readers could enjoy the thrill of reading the novel even in public. I love this one! I personally stand by whatever I read and
don’t hide the cover but I can understand some people prefer privacy. Score One for eBooks! As I am planning on self-publishing in this
medium this was excellent news. Okay I am not sure how I can relate this
outside of writing except to say every product has some kind of quality to make
it stand out so find it.
However I do admit to being
daunted by the last two lessons FSOG (Fifty Shades of Grey in case your
attention has wandered, it happens to me a lot) offers. One is making your book/product/business as
public as possible by being an exhibitionist.
Get the word out there. Yikes! I think I am brave mentioning the title
in my blog post. Okay I will search out forums but I draw the line at the last
point – let go of inhibitions. I refuse to go on Oprah or Ellen until I lose at
least 10 kilos, and see a plastic surgeon.
P.S. I used the word unexpected a
lot. It has no relation to the fact that
my contemporary romance series is entitled Unexpected.