Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Book Review: An Unknown Woman by Jane Davis

Good afternoon Bookaholics. I am ill today so have been doing some reading. An Unknown Woman has been on my TBR file for some time. This is not the sort of novel I usually read, but I am glad I picked it up and decided to give it a go.

I enjoyed this novel so much it is difficult for me to know where to start reviewing it. The book starts with a house burning down, and is about the occupants lives after the fire. This is mainly seen through the eyes of Anita, the main character. The reader is taken through all the gamut of emotion as Anita comes to terms with what has happened. In the process she discovers that much of her life was not as it seemed. Anita is a real character and beautifully drawn. I could almost feel her pain at times. The remainder of the characters are also well written and each has his or her own voice.

Davis is an exceptional writer with a unique voice and this comes through in every word. One can see why she has won awards for her work. A book which is both engrossing and enjoyable and I would highly recommend it.

So once again a reminder that I need to expand the range of the books I read. It may take me out of my comfort zone but it helps me to explore the world of reading and writing with new eyes. Why don't you downoad this book and open a whole new world of reading. I think you will be glad you did.

Amazon UK

Amazon USA

See you all back here soon my Bookaholic friends. Until then, keep reading.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

30 Day Book Marketing Challenge and 10 ideas to get you started

Good morning bookaholics, another cracking post for the writers amongst us today. As authors we are always looking for ways to be the word out about our books. Many authors feel like they are going nowhere with sales and others would like to increase their sales. Let's face it. Getting our books into readers hands can be challenging.

So today I am suggesting we all undertake a 30 day marketing challenge. We will all do one thing every day for 30 days to get the word out about our own books. I have given  you 10 ideas to get started and then we will use the power of the crowd to generate more ideas.u

1. Ask bloggers if you can do a guest post. To get you started, the first 10 people who contact me through my website wendyhjones.com will get a guest post on this blog. 

2. Send out a series of tweets about your book. These do not have to be buy my book but can be something interesting about it, or relates to it.

3. Use a different social media platform to get the word out about your book. How about vine? A six second video to tell the world about your books.

4. Do things differently. Download an app called Wordeo. Make a short video about your book, your character, interesting places in your books, anything related, with the cover of your books clearly in view. Share it widely. It's been proven that videos get way more engagement on social media than just words.

5. Get some postcards or bookmarks for your books. When they arrive (or if you already have them) leave them in different places - Drs Surgery, Dentist, hairdressers, art centers, libraries. I've even left some on the table in a car showroom. People sit there and drink coffee while waiting for a service. Plenty time to read about books they might like.

6. Explore Twitter advertising. Make this low cost e.g. £1 a day for as many days as you would like to do this for. You will need 3 tweets and 3 images. You can make images like the one above using a free app called Typorama. The words on the image cannot be more than 20% of the image

7. Look for local Fares and book a stall. This is summer so Britain is heaving with Fares. I am sure it is the same in other countries.

8. Collaborate with other authors to promote each other's books. I have joined with 2 other Scottish Crime Writers to form The Dangerous Dames

9. Contact your local library and ask if they would like you to give an author talk.

10. Do posters of your books and put them up in prominent places.

So a few ideas to get you started. This is where the power of the crowd comes in. Let's help each other out by putting more ideas in the comments below. If you need more ideas then my book Power Packed Book Marketing is crammed with them. 

That's it for now my Bookaholic friends. Let's get this party started and sell more books. 

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Writing a Short Story

Short stories have a long history starting with the oral traditions of our ancestors. This was taken up by cave painters, and so it continued to the short stories we read today. There are many excellent examples of short stories throughout history. One notable example is the bible and in particular the parables. 

Length is something which is often much debated. It is generally accepted that 1000 - 7500 words can be considered  a short story. If you are submitting to competitions often there is an upper cap at the lower end of the scale. There is a six word short story attributed to Ernest Hemmingway but this may be an urban legend. It is "For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn."

Whatever the length, short stories need to have a beginning, a middle and an end. The same as any other piece of writing. Every word in the story counts and must serve to drive the plot/action/story forward. There is no room for extraneous words or rambling thoughts. Unless your story is about someone with Alzheimers perhaps. Even then the rambling thoughts must be tightly crafted. Editing is crucial to remove anything which does not support the story. 

Characters are also important in a short story. Some say that short stories are mainly character driven. The number of characters is crucial. Keep the cast small. This allows for the characters to be properly developed and for the reader to get to know them. Characterization needs to be tight as does the description of the character. Rather than saying she had short pink hair and a strange taste in clothes, how about - She crammed a fedora on to tame her pink hair. 

So why am I discussing short stories on my Bookaholic blog today? The reasons are twofold. Firstly, I have recently published a short story in an anthology - Another Flash in the Pen. I am delighted to be included with many highly talented authors. The stories are eclectic and cover the gamut of genres. If you would like to know more copies are available from Amazon 

The second reason is to provide news of a short story competition which is currently being run by the Association of Christian Writers. Write 1000 words about putting Christian ethos into practical action for 'Today's Good Samaritans' Comp. £3 per entry (£2 for subsequent entries). £40 first prize. Deadline 31 July. Visit ACW Competitons To enter.

If you've never written a short story why not have a go today. The Competiton would be a good place to start. Think about the Good Samaritans you meet every day and craft a story with one person as the hero, one as the victim, and one the protagonist. Or you could really pare it down and use one character only. Whatever you decide. Now is your chance.