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Why? Because I’ve had so much trouble over a two-year period from my self-hosted site. I could post, but I couldn’t customise, or do anything else radical without putting my password in. I’d forgotten my password, and every time I tried to change it, I was sent to the page that says ‘Couldn’t find what you’re looking for’! I was fit to be tied, and if I had a knife I’d have stuck it in someone!


No. Don’t get excited. I’m only using the cover of my work-in-progress to demonstrate how I felt. I’ve spent so much time trying to sort out the *!*!*!* website, I haven’t been able to concentrate on my book.

Anyway, I explained the problem to WordPress. Several times. I explained the problem to my self-host, Hostgator. Several times. I explained my problem to my designer. Several times. I couldn’t get an answer that solved my problem from any of them.

I’d also suffered a stroke in the intervening months, so I really could do without all the hassle and sheer frustration. I was left paralysed down the right (main) side, so I suffered from enough frustration already without my website adding to it. I’d give you a list of the things I can no longer do, but it would be a long list, and you’d die of boredom before you got to the end. Besides, I’m still discovering what they are!

No, I’m no Einstein when it comes to tech things, I’ll grant you that, and if I wasn’t so inept, I could probably have fixed it. All you techies are probably laughing your socks off at my dilemma, and saying, ‘Dumb broad’. Fair enough. You can’t be good at everything. Most of the things I am good at, are part of that long list I mentioned earlier.

I had reached the stage of throwing in the towel to such an extent that I hardly ever posted. But now I’m involved in several bundles, and I need to show willing and promote them.

Amazingly, my site worked-no password required, so I finally decided to return to it. Okay, it might not have all the bells and whistles of the self-hosted, designer-created site, but at least I can get into it! For now, possibly forever, that’s all I require.




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So You want to be a Writer III

And So To Market!

Well! You’ve been and gone and done it! Got your book accepted, I mean. That’s great. Many, many congratulations. Celebrate. Go on, you deserve it. You’ve just accomplished something that hundreds, if not thousands of people attempt.

But once the celebrations are over, it’s time to get down to work. Apart from starting on your second book (you are, aren’t you?), you’ve got some more hard work to do. Unless your agent and editor think you’re going to be a bestseller, they won’t offer much in the way of marketing, so you’ll have to do it. Of course, you might have enough cash to pay a publicist to do it for you (lucky you!). But if not, the following are the sorts of things you’ll have to do:

Get yourself a Facebook Page and make friends, as many as you can manage. I don’t mean the ordinary Family and Friends page, this is a Page with a capital P, where you can post about all the amazing things that are happening since you became a soon-to-be author. Mention your book – not so much that people’s eyes glaze over when they see a post from your Page, but perhaps once or twice a week.and ask for reviews once it’s published, providing the link to the book’s page on amazon.

Send out postcards about your book as soon as you have the artwork of the book jacket. Google bookstores and libraries and anyone else you can think of who might do you some good and send them one of your postcards. Put the cover of your book on the postcard along with details of publisher, price, where to buy, your website (you have got one, haven’t you?) and a brief synopsis of the book. Add any reviews you’ve received to the address side of the postcard.

Create, or get a printer to do them for you, flyers and bookmarks to hand out when you give talks about how you wrote your book, your life as a writer, your journey to publication, whatever.

Create a blog ( It’s free) and post regularly once or twice a week.

Join crimespace, librarything, linkedin, theredroom goodreads and post your bio and details of your book.

Don’t forget to ask your friends and family to buy it. You’ll only receive six or so free copies, perhaps ten if it’s a pb, so be mean with them. Don’t hand one out to anyone who asks, though you’ll have to give one to your other half and perhaps your mum. Make the rest buy a copy.

Ask your local bookstores if you can do a signing. And if you get a ‘yes’, don’t just sit at the table waiting for customers. Wander round the store and hand out bookmarks and flyers. Chat to people. Be as friendly as you know how and some of them might just buy your book. If you’ve got the free time and can afford the travel expenses, ask for signings further afield, too.

If you can afford to buy however many more copies of your book, contact reviewers (newspapers, magazines, online) and ask if they’ll review your book. If so, parcel it up and send it off.

What else? Can’t think of anything else for now. But you’ve got plenty to be getting on with.

And for those of you who received a rejection – take heart. Writing’s a marathon, not a sprint. You’ll get there. It’s just going to take a bit longer. Maybe the next day’s post will bring a show of interest from one of those many editors/agents you wrote to. It only takes one. Meanwhile, for a bit of fellow-feeling with other rejected authors, go my my website ( and click Links, then scroll down and find Rejection Collection (that’s what it’s called if I remember rightly) and read about what other rejected authors have received. It just might make you feel a bit better. If not, what are you waiting for? Get on with the next book. There’s nothing like it for stopping the tears. And it would be good to be able to say you’re working on the follow-up when you do get that spark of interest from Miss Ed. Go to it!

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So you want to be a writer? II

Following on from my previous posting on this subject; let’s suppose you have now finished your novel. It’s gone through several drafts.You’ve checked, or had checked, the spelling, punctuation and grammar. You paid for a professional/begged a knowledgable friend, to critique it for you and have made the necessary changes.

You’ve printed it out. Read it through again. Noted the remaining typos that show up now you’ve printed the novel out again, corrected them and reprinted.

Hey! I think you might now be ready to send it out, if you want to go the traditional route. But if you don’t; if you fancy being an indie and put your book on Amazon’s Kindle, check out my post of formatting an ebook. There’s masses of information on the web. Please, please, don’t pay a firm of self-publishers to produce your book. It’ll cost you a fortune. And there’ll be strings attached. Oh yes, there’s always strings.

Amazon’s Kindle ( ), Kobo (, Barnes & Noble’s Nook ( ) and Apple  ( www, ) are all free. You can publish happily on any of them. If you don’t want the hassle of uploading directly, you can always use Draft2Digital ( They will supply your book to all the usual retailers plus overdrive for libraries, and subscription services as well. All you have to do is upload a Word doc and you’re done!

To go the traditional route takes a long, long time. But if you’re certain that’s the route for you, how do you know who to send it to? Simple. You buy/borrow/steal (oops! not really) the necessary reference book. That will be Writers’ Handbook or Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook in the UK. Writers’ Market in the US. And please get the latest edition as these people MOVE, darn ’em. A LOT.

Now you check through the listings, marking up and turning the corners of the pages of your pristine new book (yeah, I know, you hate to do that. Get some post-it notes, then, or similar), those agents/publishers who are interested in your particular type of book, be it mystery, history, romance, sci-fi, and so on. Then you check to see if the listing gives a name for the person who handles your genre and ring up the receptionist to make sure the editor hasn’t moved, gone mad or died. Be sure to check the correct spelling of their name. And you send them a letter, telling them a little about yourself and your book and whether you envisage it being the first book in a series and asking if they’ll consider reading your book, which you’ll describe (briefly) Try to make this letter no more than one page – you don’t want to inundate Ms/Mr Editor/Agent with your ramblings. That’s likely to piss Ms/Mr Ed off and she’ll put you on her ‘Avoid Like The Plague’, list. Make sure the grammar, punctuation and spelling are correct.

Then you repeat this letter to other editors/agents dealing with your genre, again ringing the firm to check the individual’s name. Do this step as many times as you can afford or till you run out of people. Don’t worry about multiple submissions. Who’s got the time to hang around while Ms Ed works her way through the slush pile of letters/submissions? The only thing you should allow to limit the number of your submission letters is time and/or money.

Then you wait. Probably for three months, maybe more. But you don’t spend the waiting time in idle contemplation of your navel. You get on with the next book. Yes, that’s right. More of the same. You don’t want to be a one-hit wonder, do you? In your spare time you can do a bit of networking to see if you can’t make acquaintance with a few editors/agents that you missed. Or even those you didn’t.

In what remains of your diminishing spare time, you get yourself a website organized. is excellent. Your own Blog, too, would be helpful, the two are generally combined in the one site. And you are on Facebook, aren’t you? Tell me you Tweet. Social networking has helped me sell books; there’s no reason why it shouldn’t do the same for you. Putting the word out is simply preparing the ground for when you are published. Only post other things, too; interesting, amusing, useful posts that other people can forward on to their network of friends. It shouldn’t be all about you. The ‘Me, Me, Me’ posts will annoy people (wouldn’t they annoy you?) About 4 general posts to one book post or less. Preferably a lot less.

By the way. CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve got a book out to market. Well done! You’re clearly one of the doing writers, rather than one of the thinking about doing, writers.

Till next time and So You Want To Be A Writer III. When I’ll post about what happens if Ms Ed rejects you. And – even more important – what to do if she – GASP – accepts your book.