Monday, 28 November 2011

My Self-Publishing Adventures: Part 3: Lulu

Uploading my collection of short stories to Lulu was the upload I had the most fun with. I loved the part when you could fiddle about with the prices, I loved flicking through the "book" online and being able to see what it would look like on paper, and I loved creating the cover in their wizard as well. There really was some wizardry going on as the whole process on Lulu was simple and fun... and they even give you a voucher for a free proof copy too.

I'm waiting for my proof copy and then I'll check it through. If everything is ok I'll then be able to click on the "approve" button and then Lulu will very kindly make my book available to buy from not only their own shop but also many different places online as I have got myself an ISBN from them for absolutely free and that means they will make it available on Amazon as well as various other places.

I will, of course, let you know when it is available in paperback!

Exciting posts to come later this week; interviews with my editor and cover designer.

As always, thanks for reading.  x X x

Click here to read the next post in this series, all about the edit for this collection.

Gratitude Giveaway Hop Winners

Well, what fun I have had this morning, as you can see from the photo!

The winners are as follows:

Poetry Against Cancer was won by April
English Slacker was won by Sarah Pearson
Without Alice was won by Laura H
New Beginnings was won by Megan

I will be in touch with all the winners shortly.

If you are interested in buying a copy of any of these books, you can do so by visiting Lulu for Poetry Against Cancer, or order directly from the publisher of the other three via the Punked Books website.

Thank you to everyone who took part.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

My Self-Publishing Adventures: Part 2: Smashwords

I had heard things about Smashwords from several writer friends and somehow in my head had built it up to be a rather scary place to submit to. I'd read in various places the submission process can take a long time, and be rather complicated. 

However, for me, it was a breeze. I know, how lucky?!

From signing up to Smashwords to having everything uploaded took me twenty minutes in total. I started at 6.40am, thinking I would get started, stop at 7 to get the children ready for school and do the school run and then finish later. When I submitted my file was #2 in the queue, and luckily for me it was all accepted first time, so everything was finished by the time 7am arrived. I would definitely suggest submitting early in the morning, UK time!

At the time of writing this post I am just waiting to see if they accept it into the premium catalogue. Fingers crossed.

You can see A Knowing Look and Other Stories on Smashwords here.

Oh yes, two things I noticed about Smashwords. Firstly they let you download all the formats of your own book for free because it's, you know, your book. (Not so on Kindle.)

Secondly they have a "special" submission page for people who are submitting NaNoWriMo novels. Firstly I thought, seriously? But then it dawned on me that perhaps Smashwords are trying to keep novels of a certain quality in a "special" place. I'm not saying there won't be some excellent novels as a result of NaNoWriMo... just that the actual words written in November should be considered a first draft, and as such why would anyone be submitting already? You know what I mean. Hopefully.

Thank you for reading!  x X x

Click here to see part 3 of this series of blog posts.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

My Self-Publishing Adventures: Part 1: Kindle

My story collection A Knowing Look and Other Stories is now available via Kindle and I am very delighted to say people have actually started buying it, bless each & every one of them.

To think this all started as a passing thought, 'I wish I had my favourite stories all in one place.'

A number of factors followed on from that thought. Firstly I signed up to support National Flash Fiction Day, secondly I read a guest blog by Nik Perring over on The Long and Short of It and thirdly I got bored of my NaNoWriMo projects and as a result started focussing on this. As you do.

Anyway, after the edit and cover design was sorted out (more on both of those later), I got my Kindle out and opened up my copy of Catherine Ryan Howard's superb book Self-Printing: The Sane Person's Guide to Self-Publishing and I have to say thank goodness for this book, it was absolutely perfect as a step-by-step guide to formatting for Kindle.

I was quite surprised as I uploaded my files at 2pm yesterday, and by 7pm A Knowing Look and Other Stories was live on both and

I ended yesterday feeling quite proud of myself. I also learnt some very useful tips like how to create hyperlinks, and I discovered my Kindle has a web browser in it by clicking on one of my own links. Who knew?

Thank you for reading x X x

Click here to read the second post in this series.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Coming Soon...

Here is a sneak preview of something I have been working on. I am self publishing a collection of my short stories and flash fiction.

So far I have worked with Nik Perring who has edited my collection of short stories, and Paul Townend who has created this work of art cover. Both of them will be showcased on my blog in the near future.

I can't put into words how I feel about this project. I'd love to know what you think.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

My Latest Three Publications

If you're a regular reader of my blog you may remember I took part in the Third Writers' Platform-Building Campaign recently. I met a lot of new people, bookmarked a lot of new blogs and took part in all three writing challenges.

The good news is, a rather wonderful lady called Cat, suggested that we create a book out of some of our stories, and publish it to raise money for Help Harry Help Others which was set up by an incredibly brave boy called Harry Moseley who recently died of a brain tumour at the age of 11.

I am keen to support cancer charities so I donated all three of my stories. They were all accepted for publication in the book, which is now available via and as well as from Smashwords.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Friday Flash: Dentist/Actress

At my writing class this week, we were working on character development. We were asked to chose two different characteristics for one person and given five minutes to write a short piece about them.
This is what I wrote:


I’m drilling away at my three o’clock and the nurse won’t shut up. I think how much happier I would be at the end of the day if she would give it a rest.

“Can you pass the…” and I’ve forgotten the name again.
“Polisher,” calls the voice from behind the curtain.

The voice is always there when I forget my words. It feels like a safety net.

I’ve lost concentration again…
“Exit through the door, I’ll…” nudges the voice.
“I’ll be back shortly, Mr Brown, I need to get some equipment,” I say.

I walk out of the surgery and as I head up the corridor, I spot the curtain twitching in my peripheral vision.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Gratitude Giveaway Hop

I am taking part in the Gratitude Giveaway Hop which is being co-hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and All-Consuming Books.

This giveaway is a way of saying thanks to all my followers and online friends for keeping in touch online.

I am giving away a copy of one of a choice of four brand new books that I have featured on my blog in the past:

My own debut novel New Beginnings
English Slacker by Chris Morton
Without Alice by D. J. Kirkby
Poetry Against Cancer

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is leave a comment under this post, and say which book you would chose if you win.

This will stay open until the end of 27th November when a winner will be chosen at random.

I am happy to send the prize anywhere in the world.

Good luck!

For more chances to win books, take a look at the list of current giveaways in my panel on the right.

Thank you for reading!

The prize is a choice of one of these four books

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

NaNoWriMo - The Second Half

Today is day 16 of NaNoWriMo, meaning participants should be over 25,000 words and on the downhill stretch towards the end of the month.


Well, as you can see from this screen shot from my own profile on the NaNoWriMo site, real life has got in the way in recent days. I have some catching up to do.

Taken from the website
Last year, I finished - or rather stopped taking part - on day 19 at 27k words.

I hope to push through this year and make it to the end. But we shall see.

I have plans for next week. Several writing sprints, with the possibility of a visit from a crack team of cleaners and an extra session for the 4yo at pre-school. I will see how I am doing before booking either of those, but they would be two ways of making more time for my writing at least. It's nice to have back-up plans!

Did I mention I am also writing two books at the same time? At the risk of disappointing some of my younger readers, the one I have written the most of is the book for adults. I'm enjoying it a lot. But not enough to be ahead or even on target, it seems.

NaNoWriMo is a marathon, not a sprint, and sometimes when you run long distance you slow your pace for a while and then pick it up again.  I intend to pick my pace up as from today.

Thanks for reading xx

Monday, 14 November 2011

Latest Interview and Giveaway

Today it gives me great pleasure to say I am over on Rachel Connor's blog being interviewed and also there is a giveaway running so please do go and have a look.

While you are there please do look at Rachel's gorgeous novel Sisterwives. I will be featuring Rachel here on my blog at a later date.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Interview with Talli Roland

Talli Roland
Today it gives me great pleasure to have a special guest on my blog for an interview. Talli Roland has three novels available so far, and without further ado, here she is answering my questions:

Hello Talli and welcome to my blog.

For anyone who has yet to discover your books, please could you do a summary of each of your novels using only five words?

Yikes! That’s a tough one to kick off with. Damn you for making me think. Okay, here we go:

The Hating Game: Ball-breaker woman faces four exes.
Watching Willow Watts: Country mouse becomes famous overnight.
Build A Man: Ambitious reporter constructs nation’s perfect man. (Six words, sorry!)

Do you have a favourite of your own novels?

I feel guilty saying this, but yes. I think out of all of them, Build A Man is my favourite. It’s the one I feel is most ‘me'.

Do you draw on personal experiences when you are creating your characters and plot lines?

Inevitably, whether I mean for it to happen for not, personal experiences filter into my writing somehow – not exactly as they’ve occurred in my life, but in a phrase I’ve heard, or a setting. I don’t do it intentionally, but I’m usually surprised at what’s made its way into my work when I look back over my draft.

You have recently blogged about your decision to self publish Build A Man. For any writers who read this, could you tell us if this has been really hard work in comparison to having your books published by a publisher?

Actually, it feels much the same. I worked with an editor and a cover designer on Build A Man, the same way I had with a publisher. I always did my own marketing and promotion, so that hasn’t changed at all. In a way, I find it easier, because now I have complete ownership of my work and timelines.

How easy do you find it to market your books? Any tips for other authors?

It’s never easy to market yourself! But I think the best thing to do is to be interactive. Don’t just push your books at people – take an interest and be genuine, too. Also, be consistent. You can’t do one big push, and then stop blogging and tweeting for months. A little bit each day is the best way to keep top of mind.

This is obviously the most important question of the lot. If you had to give up coffee or wine forever, which one would you chose?

Rebecca! You’re so evil – I can’t believe you’re making me choose. I’d have to say wine, because without coffee, I couldn’t even start my day.

What next? Could you give us a little summary of any other books in progress?

I’m working on Construct A Couple, the sequel to Build A Man. It follows my main character as she attempts to lay the foundation for the ideal relationship. Unfortunately, she soon discovers nothing is ever perfect.

What is your top tip for aspiring writers?

Keep writing, and remember why you write – because you enjoy it. It’s easy to get caught up in the angst of trying to be published. And once you are published, it’s a whole other world of stress! Try to hang on to the joy of creating something you’re proud of.

Thank you for joining me here on Ramblings of a Rusty Writer.

Build A Man Giveaway
This giveaway has finished.

You can find Talli online in the following places (click to follow links):
Talli's website