Tuesday, January 8, 2013

New year with books in mind

College ResolutionsIt seems like quite a long time since I have posted anything on here. The momentum slowly deplete in the run up to Christmas as job by job my time for writing slowly dwindled away. It seems that no matter how you are celebrating there are always demands on your time. Even a quiet dinner at home with the family is chaos when that really means cooking for twenty people. So two joints of honey roasted ham, endless amounts of potatoes, peeled, chopped par boiled and roasted as is the current household trend, pots full of butternut squash soup and enough pigs in blankets for a winter farmyard scene we can finally say Christmas was unwrapped, popped away in a cupboard, not to be thought of again for almost another year.

So what are we left with? New Year, a celebration that to me always seems like such a disappointment. There is hype, there is excitement, there are parties prepared and which cost a couple of hundred book sales to attend. Not since the turn of the millennium have I 'partied like it's 1999', and that night ended up with a house full of people, one damaged carpet, a few broken glasses, and a very sore head the next morning.

So left with the prospect of resolutions I steer well clear of the personal type. I will not join a gym in January, I will not start running again because everybody will consider it a resolution, even though my foot is better and I can wear heels again, and I will not resolve not cut down my caffeine intake even just a little bit. But I will make a plan for the year ahead when it comes to books, and reflect about what I have learnt in the last six months.

·The advice you hear at the beginning is good. Take it.

I am not a natural follower of advice. Generally I know best (or at least pretend to) until proven otherwise. Sometimes that’s good, but many times that can be bad. I heard lots of good advice at the start of my publishing journey and decided I could do things differently. I should have listened.  Learn from people who have been there and done that.  It helps.

·Remember your best friend is a designer.

My first cover was published before I had taken any advice. In hindsight I knew it lacked oomph, but what to do? My second cover I still did myself, but after a month of learning how to use GIMP, and trying over twenty ideas, hiring in the professionals is a much better use of my time. In a month I could have 2/3 of a book written. I'm a writer, not a designer.

·Edit, edit, edit, edit, edit.

I read it once, I read it again. I read it a third time and asked my friend to edit it before I read it again. What are you left with? Mistakes, that's what. Learn to be patient, and don't release it until you know as faithfully as you can that you did everything to make it perfect. Why? Because mistakes result in 2 star reviews, even though somebody liked the story. How do I know? Just check my Amazon page. Wasted opportunities are a harsh lesson to learn.

So these are my three lessons that I take into 2013. I will learn other others along the way and will remember the most important one of all. Just keep writing books. It's the best marketing that I can do.


  1. Sounds like you're on the right path, Michelle. Best wishes to you in 2013!

    1. I do hope so! Mental projections would suggest I have enough time as it stands to get two books published and be well on the way to a third. That will make a significant difference for reader choice of my titles. That's the idea for 2013. Let's see how we go :-)

    2. I released three novels in 2012. More than one reader/fan commented that they felt overwhelmed in trying to keep up and, ultimately, read only one title. Still, from the standpoint of building a library and honing one's craft, it isn't a mistake by any means. It's when you're knocking them out like James Patterson (12 releases in 2012) that you might be concerned. :)

    3. 12 releases in 2012? I simply don't know how he does it! I would end up with the same characters floating through a few books. IN a series that is great, but when the novel is a stand alone story, not such a great result.

      My aim is three, but only if it works properly. I certainly don't want to sacrifice originality or quality for the sake of numbers. I am no accountant!

      Good luck with your writing plans! What do you have lined up?