949 Books went yesterday!

Yesterday, as many of you would know, was my FREE BOOK day. It did really well, with 949 people snapping up the opportunity! Thank you, thank you, thank you, if that was you or someone you recommended it to! Truly!

If it was you (or your friend or mate or whatever), PLEASE will you fill out the automatic review on the last page of the ebook. You don’t even need to say a lot, as long as it is honest.

WHY REVIEW? I hear you ask.

The short answer is that until I can get 50 reviews, Amazon won’t promote my book or take me seriously and I slip away into the dark abyss, never to pop up again… truly. It is no longer about selling books as much as it is about honest reviews. My friends and family can’t do it as that isn’t fair and I am not prepared to buy reviews. Swapping them is also against the rules. So I rely 100% on the general public, who choose to buy a copy of my book, to write a review at the end.

So pleeeease, pretty pleeeeeease, if you downloaded my book yesterday, when you’ve done reading it, please pop up a quick review? Thanks awfully much! xxx

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To book a talk with me and discuss my schedule you can contact me on JPeaSmith@KingsRoadChronicles.com

Where you can find and follow Jennifer: 

@JPeaSmith
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Across the Board

Amazon Reviews

As a world citizen, TCK, etc etc… when I publish, I do so on all the Amazons, and I advertise in places across the globe. The upside is that I have reviews on .com .uk  .au and .ca    …the downside is that those reviews are not collated into my numbers anywhere, and when people look up my books they only see the reviews in their own country. So here I was thinking that I had 28 reviews, but add in the rest and I have 45.

Does anyone know where these can be collated in one place? I would have thought that KDP’s Author Central would do that, but it appears they don’t. Or have I missed something?

A New Voice in my Head!

img_5205-1There is a new voice in my head, and it’s a good one. First, there were all the people in my life who tried to tell me “You can’t write that!!!” “How dare you write that!!!” “You will regret this young lady” and so on, and so on. I have pretty much dealt with them, thanks to Social Media and the almost steady stream of comments like “Tell your story!” “If they didn’t want you to write about them then they should have behaved better” and the like.

There are other reasons that I am able to mostly silence those voices, but that is for another day. For now, my latest concern is that Social Media is also awash with experts, and not all of them are on the same page. “Publish like this” “Publish like that” “You shouldn’t use this voice” “You can’t use that voice” … AAAHHHH!!!

But a couple of weeks ago I signed on for four sessions with a writing coach. No, coaches ain’t cheap, but the thing is, she is a bit of a veteran in the publishing world and she doesn’t know me from a bar of soap. She is a total stranger and she reads my work in the same way that someone buying my book will. She knows nothing of my history, my imperfections, my excuses.

I was a little worried that I would not be able to remember all the rules that she will teach me, that I will not be able to stick to all that she teaches me, but as I have been writing the last few days (and I have written a lot, she inspires me!) I would find myself asking how Brooke would respond if she were reading it. She is the new voice in my head. I have no doubt that she isn’t perfect, but so far she is more reliable than those who love me and want my writing to be good.

I am only half way through these sessions and already I can hear her voice in my head telling me to rewrite a paragraph, to tell it differently. The changes are both significant and meaningful, yet it is still my voice. She is giving me new roots for all the writing ahead and this is changing the course of the way that I express myself. I write memoirs and the story hasn’t changed, but the way that I tell it has. And if the next two sessions produce as much fruit as the first two, then watch out Authory world, here I come!

Two Tier Support?

screen-shot-2017-02-20-at-12-58-35-pmI am toying with an idea here, and I need to know what you think. It is somewhere in the space of having two distinct groups in my launch teams.

People who have their own launch teams tend to be way better supporters of others, and I have seen groups where they unwittingly land up with a group that is deeply connected and supportive, much like I spoke about in this post a few weeks ago. The problem with this is that it can backfire and if it does it will happen without notice, and it is irreversible, and you can land up losing your very best reviews.

This is just a thought that I am having, so bear with me, please.

What about having a two-tier support group or even two launch teams? is that too hard. But the benefits are twofold. The first is that you split your roles but secondly, you can grow your team way bigger (I think).

Team A: These people are full-on supporters. They read ARC copies, they download your book on its free day, they leave reviews on every country of Amazon and Goodreads and they blog about your book, share it on Facebook and so on. These people are a dream come true. They are FABULOUS. They are also people that you trust to follow through. These are the people that I would have on my launch team whether I had one or two.

But Amazon will not let them review our work if we are personal friends OR EVEN IF SUSPECT that we are friends. We need these people desperately but then all should agree to not connect on a personal level through social media!

Team B: These people are just as important. But they don’t have enough cred on Amazon to leave reviews, and/or they are family and friends that can’t review us anyway. They are the people who don’t want to be bombarded with all the info on the launch team site and they don’t have the time to read ARCs, and nor do they want to. They are simply happy to give us some love when our book comes out, share on Facebook and so on. I find that a lot of people lose these people from their launch teams because they are simply not that into the whole process. They just want to lose the bottom line.

They aren’t second best, they just play a different role. They can be friends on Facebook, they can love and support. But if we keep them out of the nitty gritty then more of them might stay?

Any thoughts?

Where Jennifer hangs out: 

@JPeaSmith
 
“Here she comes, running, out of prison and off the pedestal: chains off, crown off, halo off, just a live woman.”  ― Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Have You Ever Used a Writing Coach?

img_2176For all kinds of reasons, I am not an expert in writing. I consider myself an expert in my topics because I have lived, breathed, conquered, failed, picked myself up from, and failed again, in these areas. Emotional Abuse, Control Abuse, neglect, loss, grief, loneliness, and debilitating chronic illness. I write about all these things and I know I do ok at it because I am so passionate about these things. They flow out if me.

But I don’t have a literary degree, I am dyslexic and autocorrect hates me. I have a lot to say, and for the most part, people appear to listen (maybe they are just being nice), but I want to do it well. My Memoirs mean the world to me and I cannot wait to share them with the world, but I don’t want to shoot myself in the foot and hit a wall due to the fact that I am not an expert but more importantly than that, I know my whole story so intimately well, that I don’t know what others see on the outside.

I have decided to have some coaching and the first half hour slot was great. I still have my own voice, but it was great to get feedback on what a reader needs to hear in the opening chapters. When we write our own story, whether as a memoir or any other piece of fiction, it is really easy to over share, and just as easy to under share. I was worried that I was the former and it turned out that I am the latter; I wasn’t sharing enough detail about some of the relationships in the opening chapters. You can’t please everyone and this isn’t about people pleasing. It is about learning to share the right things and when so that hooks aside, I don’t leave people asking too many questions instead of just reading on. I am really enjoying this process!

Where Jennifer hangs out: 
@JPeaSmith 
“Here she comes, running, out of prison and off the pedestal: chains off, crown off, halo off, just a live woman.”  ― Charlotte Perkins Gilman

All the Things to Write (and read)!!!

img_9246-1I am thoroughly spoilt that I get to write pretty much full time, and yet most days I feel terribly behind. In the night I think of wonderful things to say, and believe it or not, I usually remember most of them in the morning. Some are blog topics, others are great ideas for my next book (or the one after that, or the one after that). But I already have a writing to do list longer than my arm, and so some days it is easier to just ignore it all and read instead! Especially when my “to read” list is longer than my “to write” list.

And I am not just talking about reading for pleasure. I read because I like to keep up with my peers, and support fellow authors and I try to beta read at least 2 books a month. And I hate letting them down. Then there are all the books about how to write, publish and so on. It never ends.

I think that I need to streamline my writing a little bit and somehow slow down. But once the bug bites that is it! No turning back… How do you balance your time? Writing, Reading and everything in between? I would love some tips on how to keep a balance!

Where Jennifer hangs out: 
@JPeaSmith 
“Here she comes, running, out of prison and off the pedestal: chains off, crown off, halo off, just a live woman.”  ― Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Yes to Grammarly!

screen-shot-2017-02-16-at-1-04-18-pmAs most of you know, I don’t push products in general and you cannot pay me for an endorsement. I either believe in something whole-heartedly, and then I am happy to share that with you for free, or else I don’t say anything at all (unless I pay for it and hate it, then you will know about that too haha).

But the last week I have been using Grammarly. First the free and then the paid version. I so wish that I had found this earlier, it really has made a massive difference! Don’t get me wrong, I still have to do all the work, but unlike a human eye which misses things, this doesn’t. I get to put my quirky words into the personal dictionary, so I don’t have to argue with it about the same thing over and over, but the little things are picked up so easily, and I am actually learning as I go and my writing is improving dramatically!

I am dyslexic and autocorrect hates me, so the first big difference for me is that Grammarly picks up my mistakes but doesn’t go ahead without me and change them to something stupid! I can look at my mistake and see what I did wrong. I can’t change my dyslexia, but because of it I often leave out a word or repeat a single word twice. I don’t see that and when I reread my eyes read it on proofreading, it reads what it THINKS it says.

You don’t have to be dyslexic to read things badly. You have all seen the facebook meme that regularly does the round, where the letters in each word are mixed up but the first and last letter are correct. The brain adjusts and you can easily read it, but each word is actually a jumbled mess.

So even if you have a fabulous editor, do her a favour and run everything through Grammarly first. It is better for everyone. I would rather spend my editing bucks on getting the bigger picture right and saving the nitty gritty for a computer program who won’t miss anything.

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Where Jennifer hangs out: 
@JPeaSmith 
“Here she comes, running, out of prison and off the pedestal: chains off, crown off, halo off, just a live woman.”  ― Charlotte Perkins Gilman

A Worthwhile Hour

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Hey guys, as most of you know, I had a bash at NaNoWriMo last November and loved it. They still send me emails on a regular basis and some of them are boring (to me) but now and then there are some REALLY interesting articles to read (or listen to).

THIS in one of them!

It is long, it is an hour. But you know what? I listened to it as I did my morning ablutions, made and ate breakfast, and by the time I sat down to work I was most of the way through it. If you are anything like me, then you are overwhelmed by the amount of information out there on publishing. And not just the amount of information, but also how contradictory it is.

Right here, for me, was one space where I could hear from people who truly know what they are talking about, an unbiased look at the options available but more importantly what they all mean and why. I still need to work out what it all means for me. But I took SO many nuggets out of this, I am blown away.

It EXPLAINED so much! So if you aren’t on the NaNo mailing list (so you didn’t already get this link) and you are unsure of where you REALLY want to be in the world of publishing, then listen to this as you run on the treadmill, bath, eat, or whatever else you do today that you can listen at the same time! There are no slides to read or visuals to keep an eye on so you can do your own thing (although Brooke’s blue earrings are stunning, but that is beside the point!)

Where Jennifer hangs out: 

@JPeaSmith
 
“Here she comes, running, out of prison and off the pedestal: chains off, crown off, halo off, just a live woman.”  ― Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Memoir Fest!

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It is ages since I have written about my memoirs. My first love, my “great work.” They were kind of pushed to the backburner when I stopped to publish the chapter-which-turned-into-a-book on Anxiety. Not that I regret that, it was the best decision that I have made in a long time. But now I am back into the swing of things and writing two memoirs at the same time.

This time last year I started writing the first memoir in the series, and over the rest of the year, I kept going. I got so much out of it in all kinds of ways, but now I need to go back to the first drafts and work on publishing and putting them out there. Which means a ton of editing. It is hard work, way harder than simply “sitting at the computer and bleeding it onto the screen”. But my mind doesn’t stop and the stories are still not yet all told.

But there are pieces of stories that are too painful for other people, too detailed or complicated to fit into the ebb and flow of one of the other books, or too small to become a book on their own. And so I am left with a jar of deeply painful, vitally important, singular events which have no home. Stories that need to be told, stories that later books need the reader to already know. And it has been bothering me.

But also bothering me has been a new desire to write fiction. I am a little shocked and very surprised. But there you have it. The seed has been planted and I didn’t know what to do with my jar or this seed. And then last week I realized that I could blend the two. Tell a fictional story and place everything from the jar within it. Accurate and truthful pieces, which now will get to see the light of day with a new name, a new place, and a little bit of new packaging.

And so when my mind is clogged with editing and I cannot go on, but my fingers are itchy and busting to bleed … I bring out the new book and out it flows! 2017 is going to be an interesting year for me and for my writing! These two threads that are happening side by side; editing the memoirs and weaving parts of them into Fiction. Roll on 2017 I say!

Where Jennifer hangs out: 
@JPeaSmith
 
“Here she comes, running, out of prison and off the pedestal: chains off, crown off, halo off, just a live woman.”  ― Charlotte Perkins Gilman

A Perfect Launch Team Member

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Does this sound like a perfect launch team member to you:

Someone who reads your book over and over again, each time helping with thoughts, corrections, and ideas, bringing out the best in you. They tell everyone they know about your book, they write reviews on every Amazon site, on Goodreads and they write an independent review. They buy your book with their own money, they share every Tweet Facebook post you make about it and they email every single person on their email list.

Well, if you do you then you may just be right. Except, that if you know someone like this then it is probably your granny. Which is lovely, but the reality is that not only are their few people like this available to you but believe it or not, this kind of person can also work against you. If they over do it, never shut up about your book or cover their entire social media in it, then people can so easily get sick of it, stop following her, and at the very least roll their eyes and move on, without even clicking on your book never mind buying it.

So what then makes a second best launch team member? Someone who at least buys, reads, and writes a review on Amazon and Goodreads right?

Well sort of. The reality is that we need ALL kinds of people on our teams! I learned the hard way that not everyone has a “certified” enough Amazon account to write a review. And not everyone has the time to proofread and not everyone has the social media links to spread it. If people love you they will do their bit, but it is most likely that their bit will be quite different to the next person. And you need them all. I had to learn that they all had something different to offer. Even the people who have no time, expertise or capacity to do much, they at least downloaded my book on “free” day and it counts as a sale.

And that is why you need numbers and you need them from far and wide. Only a quarter will leave a review, a small handful will finish a proofread, and tiny proportion will even tell their friends. Keep going, keep digging, and round up those friends … but don’t expect too much from them and don’t forget that they are doing you a FAVOUR!

Where Jennifer hangs out: Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

@JPeaSmith
“Here she comes, running, out of prison and off the pedestal: chains off, crown off, halo off, just a live woman.”  ― Charlotte Perkins Gilman