Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award!

sisterhoodoftheworldbloggersaward-graphicI have now been nominated three times for this award by three lovely women and it’s about time I got on and did this. First of all, I would like to thank the people who nominated me: Dena Rogers, Linda Huber and Sharon Booth, all authors like me, at various stages in their writing careers and all friends I have made through social media 🙂

 

 

 

The rules are fairly simple.

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you, linking back to their site.

2. Put the Award logo on your blog.

3. Answer the ten questions sent to you.

4. Make up ten new questions for your nominees to answer.

5. Nominate seven blogs.

As I was nominated by three different people, I’m going to be a bit cheeky and choose some questions from each person to answer 😉

From Dena:

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1. How often do you read?  Daily, weekly, monthly?

I read every day without fail. No day would be complete for me without some form of reading taking place. I’m currently reading ‘You Think You Know Me,’ a romantic suspense story by Clare Chase.

 

 

TMD2. Favourite Movie?

There are so many films that I love. The one I come back to a lot though is ‘Truly, Madly, Deeply,’ with Juliet Stevenson and Alan Rickman, long before he was Snape and when he was a bit better looking! It makes me cry every time I watch it.

 

 

 

dfw-js-fhtn-cover-3d-nologo3.  Since we are all authors, what’s one accomplishment you’d like to have with your writing?

I think I’ve already accomplished the main one, which was to write and self-publish my debut novel, From Here to Nashville. Now I would simply like to repeat that with increasing success many more times!

 

 

 

4. What’s the last picWP_20150315_015ture you took with your phone?- A bit nosy, but I’m running out of interesting things to ask!

I took some lovely pictures when we went out together as a family on Mother’s Day last Sunday to an English Heritage property near us called Wrest Park.

 

 

From Linda:

5. Do you have a ‘sister’?

I don’t have a real life sister but I have three very good friends that I have known for many years and they are like sisters to me. I have also made some very special new friends online since I began writing and have met a few of them as well and they’re just as lovely in real life 🙂

 

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6. What’s your favourite colour?

My favourite colour is blue, not for any particular reason but most of my clothes are blue! I do also have a special love for the sea.

 

 

 

 

 

Nashville-At-Night-Tennessee-1136x6407. What do you hope to achieve in 2015?

I really want to finish the first draft of my second book before the deadline of the end of August which is when I have to submit it to the RNA New Writers’ Scheme for reading. After that, I want to write a novella follow-up to From Here to Nashville. If I can do that this year, I will be well on my way to being an established author, I think.

 

 

 

 

 

From Sharon:

8. What are you most proud of?

I’m very proud of being married to my husband for 26 years this year and together for 30 by the end of the year! I’m also proud of our two daughters, who I love to bits and who drive me mad in equal measure 😉

 

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9. Which woman in history do you most admire?

I’m sure I will think of others after I’ve written this but one woman I really admire from recent history is Maya Angelou. I think her strength of spirit was amazing and I wish I had discovered her poetry sooner than I did. I also found out recently that one of her favourite songs was ‘I Hope You Dance’ by Lee Ann Womack, which has long been one of my favourites.

 

 

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10. Who would you like to go on a date with ? (Excluding current partners or spouses)

Well, that’s almost impossible to answer but if I can only pick one…Orlando Bloom! If I could pick more though…Colin Firth, Aidan Turner, Patrick Dempsey, Charles Esten. I have a bit of ‘Handsome Hunks’ thing going on 😉

 

 

 

I’m passing the award on to Lori Schafer, Janice Preston, Helena Fairfax, Joanne Phillips, Cat Lumb, Norah Colvin and Heidi-Jo Swain.

Here are my questions:

1. When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?

2. What is your favourite place you have visited in your own country and abroad?

3. Do you speak any foreign languages?

4. What is your favourite food?

5. What one thing would you like to do that you have never done before?

6. What single piece of music (it can be an album) would you take to a desert island?

7. Do you have a book that you like to read over and over again?

8. Which is your favourite season of the year and why?

9. Do you have any pets?

10. What’s your favourite mode of transport?

Over to you, lovely ladies 🙂 Please don’t feel any obligation to do this if you’re too busy and apologies if you’ve already done it before.

P.S. I could have included lots of other lovely women I have come to know online but I was only supposed to choose seven! If we know each other and you’d like to do it, do let me know and I will happily nominate you 🙂

 

Post Goodreads Giveaway Analysis (Part 1) and A Gold Star!

star-407747_640As you know, I ran my first Goodreads Giveaway this past week. I’d set it up to run from Thursday last week until Tuesday of this week but when the approval came back, I realised it wouldn’t have started until midnight on Thursday so I changed it to start at midnight on Wednesday. When I got up on Wednesday morning though, it was already live! This means that it will have run for a week in the end.

As I’m writing this, 735 people have entered the giveaway and of these, 349 people have added my book to their ‘Want To Read’ shelf. When you enter a giveaway on Goodreads (just in case you haven’t ever entered one yourself), the book is automatically added to your ‘Want To Read’ shelf unless you deselect that option. As only half of entrants have added it to their shelf, I’m hopeful that those people are genuinely interested in reading it. However, from everything I’ve read on the internet about Goodreads giveaways, they don’t tend to increase sales for the author but I will have to wait and see on that front.

I am really pleased to see that so many people have entered though and would count this giveaway as a great success in raising the visibility of my book amongst readers on the Goodreads site. At the moment of course, I don’t know who will win the book but when I send it out, I have decided to send a hand-written note with the signed copy, asking the reader to leave me a review once they’ve finished the book. I have to hope that they will read it of course and that their interest in my book is genuine. I have read some horror stories of people who enter lots of giveaways just to resell the books themselves! This is why I’m pleased that I’ve only offered one copy.

And so what of the other people who entered? What can I do for them? Well, the answer to that is nothing it would seem. Goodreads has rules forbidding authors from contacting readers who have entered a giveaway. I also tried to put in the link to the Amazon page on the giveaway to prompt people to buy it if they wanted to but they removed it. A lot of authors are keen to offer a discount voucher for a copy of the ebook to those giveaway entrants who didn’t win and have contacted Goodreads with this suggestion but to no avail. This is such a shame and really does seem like a wasted marketing opportunity. The other option is to include a message on the book’s Goodreads page once the giveaway finishes saying that there is a special offer for giveaway entrants who didn’t win and if interested, those people should contact you to find out more. You could then offer an Amazon gift voucher to them to purchase your book at a reduced price. The only problem with that is that you can’t dictate what people use the voucher for 😦 I can’t think of any other way round that problem.

In summary then, I would say that it is a good way to raise visibility for your book but as to what happens after the giveaway, I don’t know yet and will have to wait and see.

In other news, I found out this morning that the cover for From Here to Nashville has been awarded a gold star in the prestigious Ebook Cover Design Awards run by Joel Friedlander on his website, The Book Designer. He said it is ‘A beautiful cover with typography that evokes the country music theme of the book, and a great color scheme. It sings.’ Wow! You can read more here.

Finally this week, I wanted to mention that as it’s my big birthday next Monday (eek!) and the week after that, I will be on holiday in Nashville, normal service on my blog may be a bit out of kilter for a few weeks! I will be posting bits and pieces here and there, if not on here, on Twitter and on Facebook, so if you don’t already follow me there, please do go to those profiles and click to follow or like. When I return, I will do a big catch-up post about it all and I will be able to tell you more about the Indie Author Book Fair I’ll be attending on 17th April in London.

Thanks for reading, as always. If you have any feedback on the Goodreads Giveaway issue, I’d love to hear from you. Have a good writing week, y’all 😉

How to List a Goodreads Giveaway (and Post C2C Festival fatigue!)

AsIMG_0057 I mentioned in last week’s post, I was busy this past weekend attending the C2C (Country-to-Country) Music Festival at the O2 Arena in London. And what a great festival it was once again. We attended a special CMA Songwriters Series event on Friday night which was fantastic and a taste of what’s to come when we go to Nashville at the end of this month.

Then we went back to London again yesterday for a full day at the festival. I was really looking forward to seeing Lady Antebellum again, having been lucky enough to see them in a smaller venue last October but I also wanted to see as much British Country Music talent as I could as well. The singer I was really looking forward to seeing play live was Callaghan. I heard one of her songs on Bob Harris’ Country Show on Radio 2 a couple of weeks ago and since then, I’ve listened to her music as much as I can and also followed her to keep up with what she’s doing. She has been lovely and interacted with me a few times so when I was able to see her play yesterday and say hello, it was a real highlight for me. Her story is an interesting one: she’s from the UK originally but went out to Atlanta four years ago at the request of Shawn Mullins, an American singer-songwriter who specialises in folk/Americana music and he helped her record her first album. She’s now based in Nashville. You might see now why her story delighted me when I read it just a few weeks ago! I’m not sure if there’s any romance though 😉

So I knew that I would be tired this morning and that it would therefore take me a while to get going on this morning’s blog post. I had not planned on it taking me quite this long though 😉 If you have ever tried to do anything on Goodreads as an author, you will probably understand why!

During the week, I received the proof copy of the paperback version of From Here to Nashville which comes all the way from the US to authors based in the UK. When it arrived, I was very excited of course, until I realised that the only thing I’d forgotten to include in the copy was the ISBN which I had paid precious pounds for the privilege of using. Doh! Anyway, I quickly amended it and uploaded it to CreateSpace fairly painlessly. It took a few days and then, hey presto, there it was, up on Amazon and linked to my ebook page as well without any problems. I had been expecting some difficulties but I was glad in the end that there weren’t any. If you want to go and buy your copy, here’s the link.

So I decided to write my blog post about listing a giveaway on Goodreads. Before doing anything, I read a couple of other blog posts about it first which were both very helpful and their links are here for you – Catherine Ryan Howard and Novel Publicity. I really would recommend you to read these and to mostly ignore the Goodreads advice on what to do!

Here are the main tips I would highlight for you if you’re planning to list a giveaway yourself.

1. Is your paperback book on Goodreads? The most important thing is that you must have your book in the database before you can list it. I had thought it would automatically upload to Goodreads once it was listed on Amazon but it didn’t so I had to add it as a new edition of my book first. You do this from the existing book’s page and make sure to add a cover file as well. Then you have to combine the editions, which I found I couldn’t do myself so I had to contact Goodreads and ask them to do that for me. They did this pretty quickly.

2. Where are you prepared to send it to? Catherine Ryan Howard’s advice is to list it for all countries which I have now done. This does mean being prepared to send it anywhere in the world but most likely, your winner will be in the US because that is where most Goodreads members live.

3. How long should you run it for? Goodreads suggest running your giveaway for as long as a month but this way, your giveaway will get hidden amongst all the others. The advice from those who have tried running one seems to suggest that shorter is sweeter.

4. How many copies? If you’re self-published, you will be thinking about every penny (or whatever your currency is!) Novel Publicity’s experience from doing a number of giveaways is that it’s not the number of books that matter. You can run several short giveaways (spaced appropriately apart) and offer a copy at a time. The thing to remember here is that the goal is to increase your visibility and you should do that regardless of the number of copies being given away. Do make sure that you highlight the fact that it will be a signed copy too!

5. When will it start? Schedule your giveaway for a few days ahead because it will take a couple of days for Goodreads to upload it for you and you may change your mind about the contents after you have time to think about it.

Hopefully, next week, I will be able to tell you that my giveaway is going really well because I’ve set it to run from Thursday this week to Tuesday of next week. If you’d like to enter the giveaway, the link is below. Remember though, it starts on Thursday.

Have you run a giveaway on Goodreads? What was your experience? If you have any questions or comments, do remember to leave me a message below. Hope you have a great writing week.

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

From Here to Nashville by Julie Stock

From Here to Nashville

by Julie Stock

Giveaway ends March 16, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Paperback Writer – A Week of Good News

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Now that the ebook version of From Here to Nashville is well and truly on its way, I have been trying to sort out my paperback version. As I mentioned last week, I was about to order my proof copy from CreateSpace, Amazon’s printing arm. When it came to pushing the order button, there were three delivery speed choices. The cheapest, slowest one was going to cost me $10 so as I wasn’t in a rush, I went for that option, thinking it would probably come quicker than the date they’d given me of April 8th. Ever the optimist, that’s me 😉

Then something wonderful happened 🙂 I found out that there is going to be an Indie Author Book Fair in London on 17th April, 2015 for members of the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi).  This has been organised as part of Indie ReCon 2015, a global conference for independent-minded authors, being run this year with the support of ALLi. The great thing is that the book fair, which is open to everyone and is free, is taking place in Foyle’s, one of the largest bookshops in London and so, I took a leap and booked myself a table. The only slight problem is that I don’t have any books at the moment!

Cue my first email exchange with CreateSpace. Well, you have to wait 24 hours for a reply 😦 Then when it came back, the answer was that it had already been boxed so no, they couldn’t change the delivery speed and get it to me any faster. I decided to give them a call then, in America…yes, I know. Still, I spoke to a very helpful man and he confirmed that it was too late to change that order but he then said that as I was only ordering one copy, he would send me another one, free of charge, on super-quick delivery! So I will have the proof on Wednesday this week. However, I still don’t think they could provide me with books for a sale at a reasonable price so I went and had a chat with other ALLi members on their Facebook members page. They said that as I have used my own ISBN, I can go to a local printer to get books for my own use at fairs etc and I just happen to have a very good printer not far from me who seems very clued up about self-publishing. I am going to email them today to see if they can print the books for me in time and if they can, then this Cinderella will go to the ball! As you can tell, I’m quite excited about how it has all turned out and the thought of being able to sell books in a shop like Foyle’s is really wonderful.

I have also had a great time this week chatting with an Etsy shop owner who lives all the way over in Phoenix, Arizona. I love the internet sometimes! This has all come about because my husband went to a music convention in L.A. in January and came home with a little wooden guitar he’d received from one of the stands there. I thought this would be a nice promotional item for my book and set about getting in touch with the company who makes them. To cut a long story short, their costs were very high for my small order numbers so I couldn’t proceed with them but I wanted those wooden guitars! You know how persistent I am by now 😉 Then I went on Etsy and found this man making wooden guitar magnets and we got chatting like you do. Yesterday, I placed my first order for thirty of these lovely magnets and not only that but they’re going to be delivered to our condo in Nashville. How cool is that?

Etsy Guitars

So how can you get your hands on one of these? Well, I have asked my newsletter subscribers to tell me, when they’ve read From Here to Nashville, whose story they’d like to follow. All you have to do is read the book, sign up here and then send me a message! Alternatively, if you are in London around the Charing Cross Road area on the afternoon of 17th April, I’d love you to pop in and buy one of my signed paperbacks and I will give you a guitar magnet at the same time.

Thank you all for reading and I hope you have a good week. By the time I write my next blog post, I will have been able to enjoy a whole weekend of live country music at the Country to Country (C2C) Music Festival at the O2 arena in London so next week’s post may be just a little bit country, y’all 😉 Please do leave me a comment below and tell me something good about your writing week.