All posts filed under: Writing

It’s okay to covet external validation

Every day, my brain tells me that my stories are rubbish. Every damn day, my brain tells me that everyone thinks my work is awful, but no one has the nerve to tell me to my face. And every day, my brain tells me I am so utterly stupid that I can’t even see how talentless I am. I don’t know why my brain does this. Something to do with vulnerability and the brain not quite fancying putting itself out there for judgement in the literary world. Maybe? I don’t know. But I do know that I’m not alone. I’d be hard pressed to find a fellow writer, or indeed any creative, who doesn’t have similar feelings on the regular. Some days are easier. Some days are harder. Unpredictable. The only constant is the cycle you’re stuck in. And no, it doesn’t help that the industry is riddled with rejection! Of course it’s going to breed these feelings – how can we not internalise that? But bless us, we try to keep out chins up …

Dissecting the trash fire that was my first query letter

17th December 2015: the fateful day I decided to begin my querying journey. Why did I chose to start in December, the month all agents are closed? Well, that’s not the subject of this blog post. No, what we’re talking about today is: all of my other mistakes. Come on down! We are taking a horrifically painful look at my very first query letter, the one I wrote with the trusty help of The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook 2015 edition and nothing else. This letter may have failed to secure me an agent (obviously, look at it, it’s awful), but it will live on in glory as a lesson to future querying writers: here’s what not to do. All right campers, let’s take a look: Look closely: the greeting is perfection. Formal address, comma at the end. No “Dear Agent” around here, no ma’am. Couldn’t have crafted a more amazing greeting. 10 points to Ravenclaw. The opener is where this letter starts to derail, though. It is not (currently) best practice to begin your query …

Why I Won’t be Hosting a Goodreads Giveaway

This is perhaps a bold statement, seeing as I do not yet have a publisher and have no idea what their hypothetical plans would be RE: the marketing campaign of my novel. But if the decision ends up being mine to make, I will not be hosting a Goodreads Giveaway for any of my published novels. I have a love-hate relationship with Goodreads. I do continue to use it, both as a reader and an author, but I tend to grit my teeth while doing so. Ever since its acquisition by Amazon, the mogul’s influence has been pretty damn clear, and every so often there’s yet another bout of Goodreads news that makes my heart cry. Goodreads Giveaways do exactly what it says on the tin: it’s a promotional tool that allows Goodreads authors to host competitions with copies of their books as prizes. These are ever so popular, and always gain massive amounts of traction, and became an invaluable tool for the self-published author. As many are probably aware, these Giveaways used to be …

Author Photographs, a not-so-evil necessity

Just as we have a tendency to literally judge a book by its cover, we humans subconsciously judge an author, and their work, by their photo. This knowledge is primarily what made me avoid getting head shots taken. Ever. You can’t use Snapchat filters on a professional photograph, I told myself. Anyway, I’m self-publishing, I just won’t include an author photo and bio in my book. Then I remembered marketing is a thing. If I want to post blurry #writerlife selfies on Twitter that’s my business, but if ever want to be considered for a book signing event at Waterstones, I’d likely be needing something a little less casual for their promotional material.

Investing in the future; upgrading the blog

If you want to be taken seriously as an author, you have to invest in a decent website. This is what I told myself as I clicked ‘purchase’ on a £70 yearly subscription to upgrade my hosting. Yeah, £70 ain’t a bad price, but as someone who has yet to earn a penny from her writing, it’s a statement. A commitment. It’s £70. I neglected my blog for about a year. It just wasn’t pleasing me. I was no longer satisfied with just a blog. I wanted a website. I wanted it to look swish and aesthetically fabulous; a site I could be proud of, the face of my ‘business’. I tried multiple times to make the best of the free WordPress themes; I cannot tell you how many hours I spent wrestling with its appearance. Nothing was good enough. Nothing made me happy. Still, I didn’t upgrade. A custom domain name and access to themes beyond my wildest dreams, all available for me to code devoutly and make entirely my own. All within my …