Sunday, October 18, 2015

Day 35 Author Blog Challenge

The Day 35 prompt asks our authors what they will do to continue the momentum they have built. 

Although I wish I could say that I’ll keep up the momentum, I can’t say I will, as writing daily posts takes away from the time I need to write and complete other projects. As I mentioned in an earlier post, there’s not much point building and maintaining a platform, if all you have in the end is an empty stage.

 

With NaNoWriMo beginning in November, I hope to post on my progress or the process of what is almost a stream of consciousness method of getting the story down, commenting on the highs, lows and wisdom (or lack thereof) of this method.




Last year I began a novella, The Caretaker’s Cottage, writing 50.517 words over thirty days. My intention this year was to complete this work, however, after letting it rest for almost a year, I’m finding much I don’t like about it – just about everything from the storyline to the characters. Therein lies the dilemma of whether to scrap it entirely, edit like mad over the remaining days of this month, or simply begin another project or fast track one that’s been in the wings.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Day 34 Author Blog Challenge

What has been the best part of participating in the Author Blog Challenge? What are your suggestions for improving the next Author Blog Challenge?


From a purely selfish point of view, the best thing about participating in the challenge has been the commitment to writing a post in response to the given topic each day as this takes me from the, at times, rut of solitary writing.


The other best thing about participating is reading blog posts from other writing to the same prompt as this broadens my own thinking through looking at the different perspectives.


I also like the traffic it brings to my blog and reading the comments left, which takes the exercise to another more personal level.

 

It would seem rude to make any suggestions for change, as the challenge is a voluntary endeavour by Laura and I appreciate the time and effort that must go into administration, but one small change I’d like to see is a challenge where all participants write to the given topic because, to me, this is the real challenge.


Friday, October 16, 2015

Day 33 Author Blog Challenge


 What is/will be the subject of your next book?

 

I’ve been researching my next novel, with a working title of Paranoia Unleashed, for some time. The formal research only begun in March this year but the informal, the knowledge that grows from the fallen seed, has been in progress for the past six years or so. I posted some of my research findings early in 2015 with the intention of posting progress reports along the way.



In Paranoia Unleashed, the protagonist has a Paranoid Personality Disorder (PPD). This is the anguish-filled normality of his life that impels him to seek retribution for slights against him, real or imagined, going to inordinate lengths to create ‘evidence’ to substantiate his claims of persecution. This, in turn becomes part of the ‘grooming kit’ he uses to isolate and control others in order to validate the beliefs formed by his paranoia. It is his reality.

 


A significant part of this novel centres on a smear campaign conducted against family members over a period of years and the ever-widening impact this has resulting in irreparable damage. The end, when it comes, will be catastrophic for some and liberating for others, it will indeed be the final chapter.



Thursday, October 15, 2015

Day 32 Author Blog Challenge

Time for some shout-outs. This may mimic your acknowledgement page, but whom would you like to publicly thank for their help in creating your book or completing it to the point where it is presently?


For this prompt I've copied and pasted the Author's Note from The Hidden Risks, first published 2006 and revised 2014.

My husband Michael and I have only been married for twelve years, yet we have known each other for a lifetime, meeting in the 1950s, before losing each other to our individual destinies. Our lives apart were fulfilled through marriage to other partners and the raising of families and the pursuit of personal endeavours. Coming together after a separation of almost forty years, and at time when the pace of life had slowed, allowed the space to talk about our lives. It was as we explored our recent and distant histories that Michael expressed regret for his lack of knowledge concerning his father’s lineage and the loss of his family name. He also expressed disappointment that his own children and grandchildren’s knowledge of his life was limited to their familial relationship with him and that, with the passing of time, their paternal heritage it would be lost forever.
As a writer with an interest in history, particularly the bare truth in history, I decided to research write the story of his paternal family, to fill the gaps and clear up misconceptions where possible. The story grew much larger, taking longer to research and collate the information than originally planned, yet some people had vanished without a trace. In 2014, with the availability of online genealogical sites and the digitising of newspapers and other records, I decided to search again for those who had proven elusive with the first writing.
Although this has been a more solitary effort, none of it would have been possible without the assistance and sharing of information at the beginning of this project in 2005. Without this foundation of knowledge, I would have had nothing to build upon and I continue my gratitude to my husband, Michael, for his persistence in researching and pursuing early documents and following up family contacts throughout the state, to my sister-in-law, Anne Macleod, for her assistance and support for the project and my brother in law, David Pugh, for his understanding.

I remain appreciative of:

the late Jean Martin and her daughter, Lyn Gleeson, for their generosity in sharing information and resources
Murray Stagg, for his kindness in sharing anecdotal family history, and for the time he freely gave to take us on a tour to the locations where the colonial Stagg family resided
Helen Britton, Margaret Niaura and Joan Donaghue, for their willingness to share and their kind hearts
staff at Carr Villa Cemetery office who persevered with Michael in his quest to find his grandmother’s grave
the gentleman at C T Finney’s, who searched old records and aided our understanding of the process of that era
staff from the records department staff of the Launceston General Hospital for their willingness to assist in the location of patient records from almost a century ago
Tim Vaatstra, manager, Adoptions & Permanency Service, Department of Health and Human Services, Tasmania for his assistance in accessing records pertaining to Mervyn Lindsay Stagg and Reginald Risk


Merlene Fawdry 2014



The real Day 31 Author Blog Challenge

What is the single best piece of advice you’ve ever received about the publishing process and/or what advice would you offer to a first-time author?

 

The best advice I’ve received is never to proofread your own work. This advice is something I haven’t always followed, always to my regret, finding silly typos or other errors only after the final printing. Even with short stories, which look perfectly fine even after the umpteenth reading, only show their flaws after submission, when they dance and scream and hoot and holler off the page; the haunting of the self-proof reader.

 

This is advice I give in turn, not only to first time authors, but to anyone serous about getting the best possible version of their work published. This advice goes hand in hand with never copy edit your own work, unless you have qualifications and experience in this area, as there are a multitude of pitfalls for the unsuspecting beyond syntax and grammar. Issues around copyright, plagiarism, libel and defamation etc. are all lurking between the pages of the unsuspecting. It may be something as simple as referencing the title of a well-known song without permission of the copyright holder, or using a quote without permission or attribution of the source.

 

When I suggest having work proofread, this doesn’t always mean shelling out big dollars. If you belong to a good writing group whose members have current knowledge of spelling and punctuation, and who have a good understanding of the difference between proofreading and copy editing, then recruiting these as final proof readers (as a reciprocal arrangement) can be a good start. Also use anyone you know who is a prolific reader as their reader eye will pick up an error in no time. It literally jumps off the page at them, halting the reading.

 


Money saved on proofreading can be spent on a good copy or structural editor who will work with you to ensure the book is true to your intent and gives you the best chance of having an agent or publisher read the submission, or if an Indie publisher, to ensure a quality product. 


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Day 31 Author Blog Challenge

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With no prompt for day 31 of the challenge it’s a good time for me to reflect on my posts so far, 11,000 plus words, mostly reflective of my own experiences, good, bad and ugly. I think about what these words may have translated into had I not participated in the challenge; more chapters to a novel, more time spent in revision or researching minute details that I’ll probably never use, as I tend to do when engrossed in the minutiae of the lives of others, or more time wasted on social media. One thing’s for sure, the time would have been spent in some writing related activity, for that’s what I do – every day.

 

Without the challenge I may not have made any blog posts during this period, given my habit of neglecting it for weeks (or months) on end, while I pursue other interests, so I’m grateful for the opportunity that pushes me into writing fresh posts. More than anything I’m grateful to the readers who’ve stopped in had a read and those who’ve taken this a step further and left an encouraging or humorous comment, although I’m aware some have been unable to leave a comment, as am I, although I’ve yet to find out what the glitch is.

 


Visitors to my blog come from all over the globe and average about 70 per day. Not a lot by some standards but even one visitor is a privilege and I hope all find something of interest.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Day 30 Author Blog Challenge

Who stars in the movie of your book? If a Hollywood agent were to come knocking on your door with an offer to turn your book into a movie and told you that you could call all the shots, who would you have direct and star in it? Write the first paragraph of a glowing Rotten Tomatoes review of your film.

 

I’m a bit out of touch with the who’s who of Hollywood or even the Australian film industry and it goes without saying the actor who stars in my book must be Australian, for authenticity of the accent if nothing else. We’ve seen it butchered by the best and not so best in the field, and this detracts from both the story line and the acting.  



If a movie was to be made about my novel, Seth, I’d have to suggest Brenton Thwaites for the title role. He looks the part and I believe he has the ability to slip into the role that, for the most part, relies on acting without speech – a big ask.

Brenton Thwaites Picture

Choosing a director would be more difficult and again, I’d have to go for an Aussie who understood the uniqueness of this country and its people, and the idiosyncrasies of small towns that have passed their use by date, maybe Phillip Noyce or Russell Crowe. Russell’s experience as an Oscar award winning actor and the success of his directing debut movie, The Water Diviner, makes him eminently suitable.




Brendon Thwaites stars in this drama that accurately captures the essence of small town Australia, and his performance as the selective mute, Seth, is nothing short of brilliant. The opening scenes shed light on the dramatic circumstances of his birth, in a dusty paddock in the middle of the hay season, and hints at the misfortune that dogs him throughout his growing years. The backstory of his childhood is shown in a series of vignettes before his step-father’s death brings a change of fortune that marks the beginning of a chain of tragic events that enshrouds the town in grief and suspicion. This is where the action really begins…

Monday, October 12, 2015

Day 29 Author Blog Challenge

Who would be the perfect person/company to partner with to sell your book? It might be another author, a performer, a shop owner, a seminar facilitator, a teacher, etc. Pretty much, the answer to this question is limited only by your imagination. How will you reach out to that person/company? What’s the hook for your pitch?

 

I’m responding to this question as an indie publisher and keeping this at a realistic rather than an imaginative level.

 


The perfect person to partner with to sell my book would be any other author who understands the passion that drives the writing, who understands the amount of time and effort that goes into creating every sentence, paragraph, page and chapter, who shares the drive to market the finished product and appreciates the commitment required. Even better if this person has an outgoing personality (to make up for my own deficits in this area).



I once participated in a ‘meet the author’ event where there were three of us peddling our wares, each with a different skill set that complimented the other. The most extroverted, with suitably loud voice and a presence that could fill a room, had he not made way for us of quieter speech, drew the attention of the crowd in our direction, then it was up to each to engage with individuals or groups as the situation presented. We were able to work collaboratively to promote and sell each other’s books as well as our own.


 

Having a book selling partner means you can also, well almost, be in two places at the one time, acting as selling agent and promoter for each other’s work. Whether it’s having a presence at a book fair or doing media interviews, there’s always an opportunity to ghost for another writer while still promoting your own work. It’s all in finding the right person, the one who thinks outside the square of their own writer existence, the one who knows how to share the joy of someone else’s success.

 
These people can be found within your own writing network, those who have shared the writing and publication experience with you in one way or another and in whom there is a mutual trust and respect.

 


Should I have to pitch to this person I would begin by pitching the relationship and the benefits of this in selling books, moving on the how the differences in our work could be complimentary in a selling and marketing environment using the power of dual promotion.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Day 28 Author Blog Challenge

How are you using social media to promote your book? What aspect of social media would you like to learn more about? What are your next steps?

 

Once again I’m slightly off topic with today’s response, but this is something that's been on my mind for a while – antisocial media.

 

These days I find I’m becoming less fond of social media, seeing it more and more as antisocial media. It’s fine if you play it safe, using it to promote books, providing they don’t have controversial content or studied or well-researched fact. However, dare to have an opinion, no matter how politely and clearly stated, and the experts of the social media descend with great speed from a height of lofty judgement telling you not only what you should think but how to express this to suit their specific agenda.

On a recent post where I’d made a considered comment, in the space of a couple of hours I was branded as wrong, stupid, a wet blanket, having crazy ideas, must be fun at parties (with heavy sarcasm), dumb, misguided, horribly negative and one-sided. It seems that in some quarters opinions are the right of a select few unless you concur with them.

Before the emergence of Facebook and other social networking sites, bloggers were often the recipient of this abuse, for that is what it is. These days, blogs are pretty much left alone and why not, when the keyboard warriors can read the first few words of a Facebook comment, God forbid they should read it properly and in its entirety, and unleash their expert opinion about you as a person of non-merit.

So what is the answer?

Is it to avoid writing or stating opinion or avoid social media altogether?

Or is it a case of that authenticity is too human for the netherworld of social media and must be replaced with fauxthenticity?

 


For me, authenticity is about transparency, reality, truth and genuineness. In promoting my books and opinion pieces it's the validity of what I stand for so I suspect that’s where I’ll stay, copping a verbal gang bashing from time to time, slinking away to lick my wounds, then following my convictions back to the platform of my belief.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Day 27 Author Blog Challenge

What are the three most important things you are doing to grow your platform?

 

The three most important things I do to grow and maintain my author platform would be my Facebook page, Twitter and my blog, with all three linked to each other. I could do much better in all areas, but there’s a fine line between the amount of time spent on maintaining the platform and that spent writing new material. There's no point spending time on building a  platform if this is static, with no new books or material or items of interest to attract existing and new readers.


When first building my author platform I looked at most  social media sites, tried a few, then cut back to what was manageable (and comprehensible) for me.

The following list comes courtesy oeBizMBA.com | The eBusiness Guide


Top 15 Most Popular Social Networking Sites | October 2015

Here are the top 15 Most Popular Social Networking Sites as derived from our eBizMBA Rank which is a continually updated average of each website's Alexa Global Traffic Rank, and U.S. Traffic Rank from both Compete and Quantcast."*#*" Denotes an estimate for sites with limited data.
Facebook1 | Facebook
3 - eBizMBA Rank | 900,000,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 3 - Compete Rank | 3 - Quantcast Rank | 2 - Alexa Rank | Last Updated October 1, 2015.
The Most Popular Social Networking Sites | eBizMBA
Twitter2 | Twitter
12 - eBizMBA Rank | 310,000,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 21 - Compete Rank | 8 - Quantcast Rank | 8 - Alexa Rank | Last Updated October 1, 2015.
The Most Popular Social Networking Sites | eBizMBA
LinkedIn3 | LinkedIn
18 - eBizMBA Rank | 255,000,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 25 - Compete Rank | 19 - Quantcast Rank | 9 - Alexa Rank | Last Updated October 1, 2015.
The Most Popular Social Networking Sites | eBizMBA
Pinterest4 | Pinterest
22 - eBizMBA Rank | 250,000,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 27 - Compete Rank | 13 - Quantcast Rank | 26 - Alexa Rank | Last Updated October 1, 2015.
The Most Popular Social Networking Sites | eBizMBA
Google+5 | Google Plus+
30 - eBizMBA Rank | 120,000,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | *32* - Compete Rank | *28*- Quantcast Rank | NA - Alexa Rank | Last Updated October 1, 2015.
The Most Popular Social Networking Sites | eBizMBA
Tumblr6 | Tumblr
34 - eBizMBA Rank | 110,000,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 55 - Compete Rank | *13* - Quantcast Rank | 34 - Alexa Rank | Last Updated October 1, 2015.
The Most Popular Social Networking Sites | eBizMBA
Instagram7 | Instagram
77 - eBizMBA Rank | 100,000,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 49 - Compete Rank | 145 - Quantcast Rank | 36 - Alexa Rank | Last Updated October 1, 2015.
The Most Popular Social Networking Sites | eBizMBA
VKontakte8 | VK
97 - eBizMBA Rank | 80,000,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | *150* - Compete Rank |*120* - Quantcast Rank | 21 - Alexa Rank | Last Updated October 1, 2015.
The Most Popular Social Networking Sites | eBizMBA
Flickr9 | Flickr
123 - eBizMBA Rank | 65,000,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 138 - Compete Rank | 139 - Quantcast Rank | 91 - Alexa Rank | Last Updated October 1, 2015.
The Most Popular Social Networking Sites | eBizMBA
Vine10 | Vine
581 - eBizMBA Rank | 42,000,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 237 - Compete Rank | 335 - Quantcast Rank | 1,172 - Alexa Rank | Last Updated October 1, 2015.
The Most Popular Social Networking Sites | eBizMBA
Meetup11 | Meetup
596 - eBizMBA Rank | 40,000,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 791 - Compete Rank | 701 - Quantcast Rank | 296 - Alexa Rank | Last Updated October 1, 2015.
The Most Popular Social Networking Sites | eBizMBA
Tagged12 | Tagged
702 - eBizMBA Rank | 38,000,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 1,082 - Compete Rank |615 - Quantcast Rank | 408 - Alexa Rank | Last Updated October 1, 2015.
The Most Popular Social Networking Sites | eBizMBA
Ask fm13 | Ask.fm
779 - eBizMBA Rank | 37,000,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 2,046 - Compete Rank |113 - Quantcast Rank | 179 - Alexa Rank | Last Updated October 1, 2015.
The Most Popular Social Networking Sites | eBizMBA
Meet Me14 | MeetMe
1,457 - eBizMBA Rank | 15,500,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 1,407 - Compete Rank |635 - Quantcast Rank | 2,328 - Alexa Rank | Last Updated October 1, 2015.
The Most Popular Social Networking Sites | eBizMBA
Classmates15 | ClassMates
1,487 - eBizMBA Rank | 15,000,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 153 - Compete Rank |*285* - Quantcast Rank | 4,022 - Alexa Rank | Last Updated October 1, 2015.
The Most Popular Social Networking Sites | eBizMBA



I still maintain LinkedIn, Goodreads, Pinterest and Google+ accounts although I'm less active on these with my highest rate of activity taking place in the lead up to publishing a new book and  the initial promotion stage.