Tuesday, 13 June 2017

It's Big, It's Bold, It's ScotsWrite17


As an author I am a member of the Society of Authors, an organisation which works to support the interests of British Authors. As a Scot, I am honoured to be part of the committee of the Scottish branch, The Society of Authors in Scotland. 

As a writer I know the importance of investing in my career, and I take every opportunity to develop my writing, and marketing, skills. Therefore, today I bring you news of the ScotsWrite Conference. I am very excited about being on the organising committee for this. The lineup of speakers is phenomenal and I am very much looking forward to hearing them. I mean, who could resist hearing Joanne Harris, Joanna Penn and Jane Johnson. Speakers with names beginning with Letters other than J, will be available. 


With four strands there is something for everyone. These cover everything an author needs, and then some. They are:
  • Passion and Mission: What you love (your passion and dreams; finding ideas; identifying your audience; telling the story your way)
  • Mission and vocation: What the world needs and what you need (your well-being as a writer; the role of writers in education; fostering creativity and imagination for a healthy society; the power of words; forging cultural links through translation; how to use technology)
  • Vocation and Profession: What you can be paid for (how to get paid – properly; understanding markets and marketing; what are your assets and how to safeguard them)
  • Profession and Passion: What you are good at (empowering yourself as a writer; diversifying your skills; building your professional reputation)

The programme will be launched on Facebook, Thursday, 15th June at 7 pm. You can join us here

There are affiliate rates for many organisations including, but not limited to, Scottish Association of Writers and Association of Christian Writers. The early bird rate ends 22nd June, so make sure you book before then to get a great rate. Being Scottish, I wouldn't want anyone to miss out on a bargain. The spaces re filling up fast, with delegates coming from as far away as Canada. 

One last thing, did I mention there will be a Ceilidh. What's not to like?

You can find out more about the conference, and book your place, by clicking on the link below. I'm looking forward to meeting you there.


Author Bio

Website

Amazon Author Page

Wendy H. Jones is the author of the best selling DI Shona McKenzie Mystery series of crime novels set in Dundee. Killer's Crew, the fifth booking the series was released in November, 2016. Dagger's Curse, the first book in her Fergus and Flora, Young Adult Mystery series was released on 10th September, 2016. She also has one non fiction book, Power Packed Book Marketing: Sell More Books.





Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Book Marketing Challenge and More Ideas to Get You Started


Some months ago I wrote a blog about a 30 day book marketing challenge. This was very well received with many people saying they found this useful. I thought it was about time to set another challenge to help you, the author, get those book sales moving. So, who's up for the challenge? Thirty days of concerted effort to improve your marketing, and this sell more books. Here are ten ways to get you started.

1. On this day - link your book to a day in history, or a national day. Did you know today, 30th May, is National Mint Julep Day, National Hole in my Bucket Day, and National Water a Flower Day. This can be fun. An example of this. My books are set in Scotland. National Tartan Day was the perfect day for all my books. A quick graphic (see tip 2) and a tweet and there you are.
2. Use Canva to develop graphics for social media. This is a simple tool to help you develop graphics for all your social media posts. Here's an example of my graphics for Tartan Day.

Twitter - Tartan Day Promotion


Instagram - Tartan Day Promo

3. Explore the use of one social media channel you are not already using. Instagram can be used effectively to get the word out about your books. 

4. Follow at least four writers in your genre - do this on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest

5. Be helpful - comment and share another writer's posts on Facebook and Twitter. Do this because you want to support them, not because you want anything back. 

6. Send out four tweets linking to articles which will help other writers. After you have done this send 1 tweet about your books.

7. If your book mentions any areas of areas of special interest then see if you can hold a book signing there. My book, The Dagger's Curse, has a lot of action taking place on The Frigate Unicorn. I spoke to them and held a workshop for children on the boat.




8. Write and interesting blog post about how you got the idea for the book.

9. Write a blog post about one aspect of writing your book. Make this helpful for other writers.

10. Share photo's of your books in interesting places e.g. at the top of a mountain. This is one you will need to think for yourself. 

Now, write a 30 day marketing plan.

I challenge you to start today and remember to have fun. Promoting needn't be boring or stressful. Think of things you can do and enjoy yourself. Ready, steady, go, get marketing.

About the Author

Wendy H. Jones is the author of the best selling DI Shona McKenzie Mystery series of crime novels set in Dundee. Killer's Crew, the fifth booking the series was released in November, 2016, and is currently nominated for the "Silver Falchion Award. Dagger's Curse, the first book in her Fergus and Flora, Young Adult Mystery series was released on 10th September, 2016. This is also nominated for the Silver Falchion Award. An accomplished public speaker and marketer, she also has one non fiction book, Power Packed Book Marketing: Sell More Books.







Sunday, 14 May 2017

Exercises to Stimulate the Creative Juices

I've been thinking a lot abut exercise recently. I was ill for many years and unable to exercise, however I have now fully recovered. Whilst my unexpected recovery is exciting, and I rejoice in my new found freedom, it has left me feeling somewhat unfit. Therefore, exercise and recovering my fitness are at the forefront of my mind.

This has got me thinking about how this new found interest in exercising can help me as a writer. Many researchers have shown. that exercise helps you to focus and stay on task. Many schools are now incorporating exercise into the day to help pupils concentrate. Exercise also helps to enhance creativity. Boom, there's my link to writing. Yes, exercise really does help you to write better, or at least to free your imagination.

So, what exercises help those creative juices to flow? There should be at least 20 minutes of exercise which gets the heart racing a little faster. Anything which you enjoy can count towards exercise. Unless you enjoy sitting watching telly, or sitting down to read. Sorry, that doesn't count. However, going for a walk and listening to an audiobook does count. Listening to a book on writing, and walking is a definite score.

I have recently taken up cycling again and find this to be a great way to get exercise and allow my brain to think differently. I notice things differently as well.

Exercise can also get you out in the fresh air. We've had a bonny spring so far, here in Scotland. Take advantage of the nice weather and exercise outside. You will notice things in different ways. Your mind can free fall and snippets of different ideas will come into your mind. If you can, record them as a voice memo to keep for later. Unless you're flying down a hill on your bike, or in the middle of a game of tennis of course, in which case probably not a good idea.

I appreciate not everyone reading this will be able to do physical exercise. I was at a conference yesterday. Once of the speakers suggested that an hour of free writing before starting the writing for the day, can help free the mind. This is something I certainly intend to try.

My final exhortation, get up and get out. Find a form of exercise you like and challenge yourself to do it every day for the next month. You might find it becomes a habit.

Click to find out more

Click to find out more







Saturday, 29 April 2017

Books, Death, Drinking and Ducks, in the Jekyll and Hyde City



There aren't many occasions where all the words in my title come together. However, the Crime Writers Association pulled it off with a cracker of a conference, in Edinburgh, The Jekyll and Hyde City.

 Let's get the ducks out of the way first. The conference was held at the Apex hotel and we all had a bonnie we duck in our bathroom. The first mystery of the weekend was that some of the delegates couldn't find their duck. Somewhat worrying but before long all fowl were present, correct and accounted for. The mystery of the missing ducks was solved.

To add insult to injury, I also had a bar of chocolate in my room and no one else did. This mystery was also solved as it was a birthday present from the hotel. What an amazing way to spend a birthday.



The conference kicked off with two legends from the Scottish crime world. Sorry I mean crime writing world. Ian Rankin entertained and delighted with tales of Edinburgh and why it is the Jekyll and Hyde City. They held a room packed with writers in the palm of their hand., proving they are not only talented writers but gifted public speakers. Both these writers, and their books, are very firmly part of Edinburgh's Literary tradition.

The opening talk was a triumph and it would be difficult to know how these could be bettered. However, the conference organisers had come up trumps with every last speaker. Professor Lorna Dawson kept us all busy scribbling with her fascination and useful account of how forensic soil analysis can be utilised to help solve crimes. Tom Halpin, ex Head of CID talked about investigating a crime, including the priorities. There were some surprises in there and it's certainly made me look at the police in a whole new light.

 One of the highlights was meeting Professor James Grieve, who is also Major (Retd) James Grieve RAMC. As I am Major (Retd) Wendy H Jones QARANC her were a brace of Majors at the conference. It turned out we had served at the same time, but never in the same unit. It's a very small world indeed. Back to the conference and his talk. He gave the funniest talk on Forensic Pathology that I have ever heard. Was it also useful? You bet. He believes that a Forensic Pathologist is the physician to the bereaved.

The last talk of the weekend was by Tom Wood who worked on the World's End Murder. This had been an unsolved case from the 1970's and it was finally solved just a couple of years ago. This case was particularly poignant as the two young women who were murdered were the same age as me. I was celebrating my 56th Birthday at the conference, and they had died a horrific death at the age of 18.

It was also lovely to meet up with friends and make new friends. Alanna Knight and Alex Grey, two of my favourite authors were there. Not only are they fabulous authors, but genuinely lovely ladies. It is an honour to know them. I also had a fun lunch with Chris Longmuir and Caroline Dunford. I'm not so sure the hotel thought it was quite so much fun as we caused havoc with the order.

Alanna Knight and Alex Grey
Chris Longmuir, Me and Caroline Dunford

The organisers - Alex Grey, Aly Munroe and and Marianne Wheelaghan - certainly pulled it out of the hat for this conference. It is going to be hard to beat for next year, but I'm looking forward to it already.


Thursday, 13 April 2017

Libraries Matter


In Scotland, like many other countries, libraries have seen devastating cuts to budgets with libraries closing at an unprecedented rate. CILIPS, the Scottish libraries and Information Professionals have launched a Libraries Matter Campaign. I have been a strong supporter of this campaign and I would like to take this opportunity to tell you why.

I was signed up to a library card at the age of 3. Not unusual today, but unheard of then. As an advanced reader I soon worked my way through the entire children's section of my local library. By the age of 10 I was the proud owner of an adult library card. Thus began my love affair with books. Yes, I received books as gifts and there were always books in the house, but not at the rate I read them. A voracious reader, I could read two books a day. I had some spirited discussions with librarians who said I hadn't read my book and couldn't return it the same day. I had to prove them wrong by telling them the plot. 

I joined the Royal Navy and then the Army as a nurse. This took me all over the world. The first thing I did when arriving at a new posting, was find the library. Postings abroad made it difficult for me to get books in English, but the library was always there like a comfort blanket. I started my career at Royal naval Hospital Haslar in Gosport. This becomes important later in my story. 

On leaving the services, I worked in academia for many years, leading to publication in academic textbooks and journals. This led to a whole new career as a crime writer, and I am now a full time author. This would not be possible without libraries fuelling my passion for reading. I have five books in the DI Shona McKenzie Mysteries and one book in the Fergus and Flora Mysteries. A new series, Cass Claymore Investigates, is also underway. 

Back to that posting to Gosport. I signed up to Gosport Library as an 18 year old. My books are now available to borrow in that library. It is an honour and a privilege to be in that situation. 

The picture is me with my books in my local library. I have been borrowing books for 53 years. The gentleman with me, a crime reader, has been borrowing books for 80 years. So together we have clocked up 133 years of library borrowing. That is why I believe Libraries Matter. That is why I am fighting to keep libraries open. Don't let your libraries close, they're important on many levels. 

You can find out more about CILIPS campaign on their website 



Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Book Review: The Breakdown by B A Paris


Good morning, Bookaholics. I have a book review for you today, of a book I am sure you will love as much s I do. I was fortunate to be given and Advance Reader Copy of The Breakdown through NetGalley. I'm jolly glad I requested it because what a cracking book it turned out to be. 

I haven't read B A Paris's previous books but I liked the look of this one so thought I'd take chance on a new author. Paris is an excellent author with a tight writing style which really ramps up the tension and plays on the motions. The emotional aspects of the book are beautifully handled and the psychological aspects tense. 

The book starts when Cass sees a woman in a car in a lane in a dark wood. She does not stop and the woman is subsequently murdered. Alongside this Cass is forgetting things and is worried that she is developing early onset Alzheimers like her mother. This leads to a taut psychological thriller which had me on the edge of my seat. I truly could not put it down and was reading until 3.30 am to find out what happens. To say it is a page turner may be a cliche but it is true. 

There are not many characters in the book but the ones which are there are realistic. The way they play of each other and the very sparsity of them only adds to the tension.

This is an outstanding book which I would not hesitate to recommend.

So there you have it my Bookaholic friends. This is one of those not to be missed books which I am sure you will want to read immediately. You an preorder from the link below


Enjoy the book and I'll see you back here soon. 

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Putting One Finger in Front of the Other

Writing a Book is that Easy? Or is it?

In most jobs an employee has to show up and carry out their allotted task whether they feel like it or not. The job doesn't go away just because someone isn't in the mood or isn't feeling it. Yet, often as writers, we convince ourselves that we can only write when the perfect mood strikes. I know I have the potential to give in to these feelings.  This blog is an example. I knew I needed to write a blog post and yet I put it off thinking, I haven't got an idea in my head. Time goes by and no blog post is written.

However, I think I am lying to myself. We often do as writers. Once I opened up my laptop and put one finger in front of the other, the thoughts started flowing and ideas came thick and fast. My brain, and/or my muse, just needed dragging out of bed and told that it was time get to work.



The same can be true for my novels. I can procrastinate, telling myself that my muse has up and left. That's not true. My muse just needs me to show up and join him or her. Once we're snuggled up together in front of the keyboard ideas come thick and fast. Showing up is the first part of the process.

The second part of the process is typing actual words. This may seem elementary but again the muse may need a bit of cajoling to get going. There is a lot of expert advice out in the stratosphere about writing when the mood doesn't strike. I have found one to be particularly helpful. Write anything. Write rubbish, you can do something with it later. The very process of writing will help the mind to start thinking creatively. It will then take over and the rubbish becomes something more coherent. Who knows, it might become something truly brilliant?

This advice is the same whether you, the writer, are penning a short story, an article, a blog or a book. You will not get anything done if you are not moving your fingers on the keyboard, or using a pen to script words. So going back to my caption, writing a book is that easy. Well not quite. As most writers know, there are many steps to the process of writing a book. However, none of them will ever get done if the writer and the muse are not sitting down to write the first draft.

So why are you still reading this blog? It's time to grab a pen or sit down in front of that keyboard. Your muse is waiting for you to show up so it can get cracking. More power to your pen or keyboard and I look forward to reading that completed book. If you have any more writing tips feel free to share in the comments. See you back here soon.