Very Inspiring Blogger Award

inspiring

I’ve been nominated for another award! This time, it’s the Very Inspiring Blogger Award and I was nominated by Pam McIlroy whose wonderful blog about reading and writing can be found here.

Here are the rules of the award:

  • Thank and link to the person who nominated you.
  • List the rules and display the award.
  • Share seven facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated.
  • Optional: follow the blogger who nominated you, if you don’t already do so.

Seven Things About Me

Well, this is starting to get a bit difficult because I’ve received¬†a few of these awards now and I’m not sure there’s anything new for me to say about myself but I’ll try! I’ve decided to go with a romance theme since it is a very important theme in my life.

  • I write romance novels in my spare time. I hope to publish my first novel before the end of this year so it’s a very exciting time.
  • Talking of romance, I have been married for 25 years and celebrated this milestone with my husband and family with a trip to New York earlier this year.
  • We got engaged in Paris and spent our honeymoon there too. I spent my last big birthday there and we also took my older daughter there for her 16th birthday last year.
  • My husband and I met when we were travelling on a ‘plane to Rome to perform in some choir concerts there. It was to take us more than twenty years to get back again!
  • Travelling is one of my favourite things to do and there are still so many places I would like to see. Apart from Europe, I have only ever been to America so that leaves a heck of a lot of world still to see!
  • I play the piano (not very well) and a little guitar too, as well as being a singer.
  • My favourite romance stories or films are often ones where someone dies! I’m not quite sure what this says about me ūüôā Anyway, I love the film ‘Truly, Madly, Deeply’ and I also love ‘P.S. I Love You.’ In my view, the best romances make you cry your eyes out!

And now for my 15 nominees:

1. Cat Lumb: The Struggle to be a Writer

2. Heidi-Jo Swain: Writer’s Blog

3. Joanne Phillips: A Writer’s Journey

4. Helena Fairfax: Romance Author

5. Cynthia Harrison: Novelist

6. Karen Soutar: Fact and Fiction

7. J.E. Nice: Writer

8. Rebecca Bradley: Crime Writer

9. Janice Preston: Writer of Regency Romance

10. Bernadette O’Dwyer: Writer

11. Norah Colvin: Teacher and Writer

12. Debi Smith: Writer and Chocolate Lover

13. Sandra Danby: Writer

14. Ruth Livingstone: Fiction Writer and Blogger

15. John de Gruyther: Freelance Writer

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Julie Stock and My Writing Life, 2013 Р2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Julie Stock and My Writing Life with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

What I learned from Day 2 of the RNA Conference 2014

DSCN8845Following on from my post last week when I had only just returned, bleary-eyed, from the Romantic Novelists’ Association annual conference, I wanted to share some highlights from day 2 with you this week.

Liz Harris – The Path to Publication

I started the day with a session by Choc Lit author, Liz Harris, who I have come to know online and so I was very keen to hear about her ‘Path to Publication.’ Liz has a great sense of humour and she managed to make us all laugh while telling us some vital tips for running our own writing lives. The first was about using a social media management tool to help maintain your online presence without it having to take over your life. She recommended Tweetdeck for this, which I have looked at since, along with Hootsuite but I find them both quite difficult to use personally. I want to see my timeline and my notifications and at the moment, I just have both pages open all the time but I can see that as things get busier for me, I will need to give in to one of these tools to help me. Liz went on to advise that once you have submitted your book to publishers (if that’s the route you’re taking), you should get straight on with your next book. This is partly because most publishers will take a while to get back to you, at least a month but usually longer, and if they like your first book, they’ll definitely want you to have another one ready.

Ruston Hutton –¬†Make your Book Better, Working with an Independent Editor

The next session I attended was by an editing company called Ruston Hutton. As I knew I would be looking for an editor soon, this was another session which I expected to find very useful and it was. As editors, they said they will tell you where your story shines and where it needs work because they want to help you get the best out of your writing. They advised writers to do their research before choosing their editor, to know what their tastes are and to get some references from other customers if at all possible. They like to build long-term relationships with their customers, knowing their goals for their writing and working with them to achieve it. They told us that they work to a one month turnaround once work is submitted to them and that they charge approximately ¬£500 – ¬£600 for an edit. I was very impressed with Emily and Jenny and their professional attitude to their work. Sadly though, my own budget doesn’t stretch to this cost. If yours does though, you should consider getting in touch with them.

Jean Fullerton – ‘Don’t Lose the Plot – Developing and Refining Successful Plot Structure.’

As a prolific author herself for Orion, Jean has had lots of experience and she imparted her knowledge with a good dose of laughter, making quite a difficult subject a lot easier to understand for the new writer, like myself. She told us that she sees stories¬†as being made up of a rainbow of elements: characters and the relationships between them, plot, conflict, tension, sub-plot(s) and setting. She explained that once you have introduced your main characters, you should give them at least three problems, one major and a couple of minor ones. She said that your inciting moment should include what threatens your characters both physically and emotionally. She also recommended that you should limit your secondary characters, being careful not to have too many so that you take away from your hero and heroine. Another useful point she made as she went through the typical story arc is that your final turning point or ‘black moment’ should make your reader shout ‘No!’ I don’t think I have quite achieved this yet in FHTN but it was a good way to describe it and it made me think. The final point Jean made that I found especially useful was that there should be no more than a few pages from your resolution to the end of the story.

Debbie Young – ‘You Need Never Walk Alone’ – ALLi and support for Indie authors.

The last session I wanted to mention from the second day was led by Debbie Young from the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi). Debbie talked about how ALLi can help you if you’re planning to self-publish. It costs about ¬£40 to join as an Associate Member and once you join, you can access the details of partner members who are vetted before they can join. These include companies who provide professional services for authors, like formatting, editing, proofreading and cover design, making it much easier for a new author to find someone reputable without the risk involved in doing it on your own. There is also a private Facebook forum for ALLi members which is full of useful tips for newbies. Debbie is also responsible for writing the ALLi daily blog which you can subscribe to whether you are a member or not.

So, it was another fantastic day and just reading through my notes again has made me realise how much I learnt. You may not know that you can attend all¬†RNA events as a non-member, with tickets only costing a little more than they do for members so if you think you might be interested in attending next year, when the conference moves to London, do look up the RNA website to find out all the details. Thanks for reading once again. Please ¬†do leave a message for me in the comments or ask me anything you’d like to know more about from the conference.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Julie Stock and My Writing Life, 2013 Р2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Julie Stock and My Writing Life with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Highlights from my first day at the Romantic Novelists’ Association Conference 2014

RNAI returned from my first ever writing conference yesterday evening, completely exhausted and with a bit of a brain overload from all the information I had taken in over the two days I was there. The main feeling I had afterwards though, was a sense of utter contentment from having been amongst like-minded, lovely writing people for a whole two days!

Naturally, I want to share with you some of the things I learnt over the weekend and today’s post is going to tell you about a few¬†tips I picked up from the sessions I attended on the first day of the conference.

The Chemistry of Reading РArousing your Reader by Nikki Logan, President of RWA Australia

Nikki gave a fascinating talk about this topic (she has even written a book all about it here). Nikki explained that people are becomingly increasingly addicted to experiences that arouse them and we are conditioned as human beings, to seek out this arousal again and again. A good example of this is when you read a good book and don’t want it to end. When it does end, you may experience what’s called ‘A Book Hangover.’ Women, in particular are experiential and seek the emotional experience that a good romance story can offer so if they read one good book by an author, they will go and look for others so that they can repeat the experience. Nikki explained that as writers, we need to write characters that the reader can connect with, giving them experiences that the reader can respond to. This is why a series of books by the same author can be so successful because the reader keeps coming back for more because they have come to care for the characters.

Self-Publishing Trends and Revelations – Alison Baverstock and Hazel Gaynor

This session revealed a number of interesting statistics. 65% of self-published authors are female and 60% of them are between 41 and 60 years old! That made me feel quite young ūüėČ In addition, 76% of them have an undergraduate or postgraduate degree. From her research, Alison suggested that most people choose to self-publish through a desire for control over the whole process from beginning to end. 59% of people surveyed used a professional editor. Some people were surprised at how low a figure that was. The average cost of self-publishing a book was ¬£1,500 with most of that being spent on editing, formatting and a professional cover design.

Going Solo: Publishing and Marketing an E-Book – Ian Skillicorn, Corazon Books

This excellent session was full of good tips so I can only pick out a few points here. I wasn’t aware that e-books don’t need an ISBN to be published on Amazon and as they have 91% of the UK market, it is simplest to just publish with them to start with and keep outlets like Apple, Kobo, Nook and Smashwords for further down the line.

Ian suggested that although you should have a marketing plan in place before you self-publish your book, you shouldn’t do any publicity until it’s out so that readers can click on it and buy it at once. He said that book bloggers should be contacted about a couple of months before the book is going to be out.

These are just a few of the things I learnt whilst at the Conference but there were so much more and I know this will all be invaluable as I continue on my path to publication in the coming months. I’ll be back next week with my highlights from day two. Thanks for reading and as always, I welcome any comments or indeed, questions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Julie Stock and My Writing Life, 2013 Р2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Julie Stock and My Writing Life with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Looking Ahead to My First Writing Conference

Julie - RNA 2014As many of you will remember, I joined¬†the Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA) this year on their New Writers’ Scheme and this means that I am able to attend their Conference which is taking place in Telford, Shropshire next weekend. Although it starts on Thursday, as I work during the second half of the week, I have decided to make an early start from Bedfordshire on the Saturday morning. It will take me about two and a half hours to get there so I’m going to stay until the Sunday evening so that I can make the most of it. It will probably take me that long to recover from the journey!

There are so many good workshops/seminars taking place over those two days alone that I really was spoilt for choice and there were several time slots when I could have happily attended every workshop that’s taking place. ¬†Each time slot has three sessions, as well as the chance to book an appointment with one of a number of publishing houses/editors/agents who will be in attendance. I didn’t book any of those appointments (partly because I was too scared!) but also because I’m not sure I’m ready for that just yet. Maybe I’ll be braver and a bit more experienced about all that kind of thing next year!

I have focussed instead on editing, self-publishing, the path to publication and tips for newbies, as well as meeting up with other people on the New Writers’ Scheme. All in all, I should be attending twelve sessions so there will be a lot to take in but I know I will learn so much and that’s what I’m most excited about. I feel lucky that there were so many sessions to choose from to help me at this particular stage of my journey, especially¬†about editing and self-publishing. I am really pleased that Debbie Young from the Alliance of Independent Authors is going to be there, as is Joanne Phillips, an independent author whose journey I have been following with interest since I started writing in earnest myself. I am also looking forward to a number of sessions concerned with improving my writing.

The other main focus of the weekend will of course, be getting together with new friends made on Twitter. When I attended the RNA Summer Party in May, I didn’t know if I would know anyone there at all but a lovely person started chatting to me as soon as I arrived, drawing me into a group of people she’d been chatting to and there I found Ros Rendle who I had been talking to on Twitter since joining the New Writers’ Scheme in January. It’s funny trying to work out if the person you’re talking to is someone you’ve met on social media and it’s lovely when you realise that you do know them! I am so looking forward to meeting other friends that I have only spoken to online.

There are many other writing conferences out there for people not connected with the RNA. Another one I had been thinking of going to is called ‘The Festival of Writing’ and is organised by The Writers’ Workshop. This one takes places in York in mid-September and has a similar selection of fantastic sessions and the chance to pitch to agents etc if you’re interested. It is quite pricey but they sometimes offer deals so do take a look if you think it might be of interest to you. I will be back next week with my review of the Conference. Until then, I will mostly be looking for a new pair of shoes and packing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Julie Stock and My Writing Life, 2013 Р2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Julie Stock and My Writing Life with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.