January Blogging

 

2018 has arrived.

I would like to say thank you to all who visit here  – you know who you are! And for new visitors,  please look at who I follow because they are all wonderful. Your support and loyalty in the blogging community means much. Especially as my blog is an abbreviated affair – mainly populated with others’ brilliant words. Good luck to all of you in your creative works in this coming year.

It’s a busy time for me, and so I leave you with a favourite quote. Meanwhile, I hope all your wishes come true, in abundance, and that love heals all, for all, in all.

‘Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, “It will be happier.” ‘

Alfred LordTennyson

A March Blog

9781781321867-Cover.inddoceans front only jpgIt seems such a long time since I spoke of these two, my first fantasy duo. It seems such a long time since I wrote them! But recently I had to send off some extracts, and I thought I’d dust off their pretty covers again (the work of two talented folk, Derek and Rosie), to talk of life.

Now, wildlife conservation and sustainability have always been very important to me, as you will know if you follow my blog, and I try to write with these in mind:

“…Toxics, set in a world in which the environmental balance has been altered by the birth of a new species…This fantasy world will encourage older children (10+) to think more carefully about the environmental issues of their own planet.”

In March we have the beginning of spring.  A time of regeneration, and of hope. The world feels particularly precarious just now, doesn’t it? And yet there are always messages of positivity, of hope and peace. Mother Teresa once said,

‘We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.’

A pair of fantasy children’s novels hoping for balance, a new novel on its way dreaming of conservation…drip, drip…how can a few words help when I read the headlines? I don’t know…maybe something I say will inspire a budding conservationist…a brilliant ecologist…a wise peacemaker…who knows? …drip, drop.

I wish you hope, peace and joy this spring, and the desire to do whatever you can, in your own small or large way.

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Blog of September – An interview with Karen Inglis

Time for work
It is September, and a new year for schoolchildren beckons. With fresh beginnings in mind, I decided it would be good to let someone else speak this month!
So, for my very first guest, I would like to introduce Karen Inglis, a very enterprising and successful children’s author. I have come to know Karen through my writing, as we both write for children and young adults.
I asked her to talk about whatever she liked – explaining this blog follows my interests of conservation, philosophy, photography, spirituality, and literature – and not just my life as a writer!
This is her reply:
‘First I thought I could potentially do something about reading current and past children’s books as a way to keep me inspired and informed and to gain nuggets of learning about what does and doesn’t work— for example I read Little Women while on holiday and, before that ‘My Brother Is a Superhero’ which has recently been published by Nosy Crow. But in the end I have gone for something to do with the challenges and opportunities for children’s writers in the digital age — I hope this is okay?’
Absolutely! But  enough of the introduction, let’s meet her, and hear her thoughts, without further delay…
Karen Inglis_headshot_high res

Writing for children – challenges and opportunities

Firstly, many thanks, Isabel, for inviting me your blog. I’m honoured to be the your first ‘guest’.

You gave me a free rein in terms of what to write about – and I thought it would be useful as a fellow children’s author to talk about both the opportunities and challenges we face reaching our readers in this new age of digital publishing.

As with so many authors I was over the moon when self-publishing came along. My first children’s book, a time travel adventure, The Secret Lake  had been turned down by several publishers for being too ‘traditional’ and the ‘wrong length’ (too short) – yet I knew in my heart of hearts that if only children were able to judge it for themselves they would prove me right – and they did!  Since its publication in late 2011 teachers, reading charities and librarians have praised it for its manageable length and for the story’s strong appeal to both girls and boys. I’ve now sold well over 6,000 copies (over half in print and the rest mostly on Kindle). It continues to sell consistently on Amazon and in local bookshops and is always my ‘best seller’ at signings and school visits. As I had suspected all along, our children still love a traditional adventure story and when I wrote it I felt that perhaps there weren’t enough of these around for 8-11 year-olds.

However, while self-publishing allowed me to clear my first major hurdle – by allowing me to make my story available for my target audience – I quickly realised I had a new challenge. Unlike authors writing for YA and adults, I couldn’t take advantage of the other key development in the digital age and market to my readers through social media. Age 13 is the lower limit for Facebook and Twitter – and for good reasons (though I’m pretty sure this rule is regularly flouted!). But even if my target audience of age 8-11 were reachable this way, they don’t hold the purse strings, so impulse purchases are generally out of the question!  I did for a period try the alternative of targeting blogs and sites frequented by ‘parents’ but quickly ran out of steam as my comments and posts felt too close to a self-promotion feed, and this didn’t sit comfortably with me. Networking with children’s book bloggers has felt a more natural option and I do this sporadically – and I’ve had lovely reviews for my books from several of these. How many book sales this has led to it’s hard to say so I tend to view these as PR opportunities rather than getting hung up on whether I see a change in my print or Kindle sales.

While lack of access to my target audience frustrated me in my early days everything changed when I started doing book signings in local Waterstones and – most importantly – going into schools. It was then that I realised it was a case of swings and roundabouts. A key advantage that children’s authors have over writers of adult fiction is that we can reach our readers in huge numbers face to face – and in most cases make healthy sales at the same time. Naturally you need a good story to start with (which, of course, must be professionally edited and presented) and ideally you need an appealing website to refer bookshops and schools to at the outset. Beyond that it still takes a lot of organisation, self-belief and persistence to set up successful visits or bookshop signings – but where there is a will there is a way, and the rewards in seeing children’s reactions to your readings and answering their questions about your story and being a writer are priceless. The sales at the end of the day are simply the icing on the cake! I happen to write across a range of age groups so have on many occasions spent a whole day in a school and presented my books across all of their intakes – exhausting but hugely rewarding!

There isn’t space here to go into the many tips I have for approaching bookshops and schools but if you head over to my marketing tips page at selfpublishingadventures.com you’ll find lots of information.

To read more about my school visits also see my author website at kareninglisauthor.com  

The Secret Lake 72dpi cover

Karen Inglis lives in London, and since 2011 she has published four children’s books, including The Secret Lake, a time travel mystery for ages 8-11; Eeek! The Runaway Alien and Henry Haynes and the Great Escape — both graphic novels for ages 7-10 and 6-8, and Ferdinand Fox’s Big Sleep a rhyming picture book for ages 3-5. She has also produced an interactive children’s book app and an enhanced ebook of Ferdinand Fox.

BLOG OF JUNE!

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 PLACES YOU CAN FIND ME:

Here!

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook

Friends, I have discovered Instagram! For me, it’s the easiest, funniest of them all :)

So now I have the blog, the tweet, the snap and the chat of FB. A tumble is being improved, but I have resisted the pin, so far!

And as you all know, this is only a few mainstream channels!

So as I am a self-confessed reluctant blogger – having discovered I prefer to read of other people’s lives, books, and advice – I am streamlining this blog for a bit. I have done this in the past, but this time, I shall stay with a regular monthly post – a sort of round-up of news and views – others and my own!

I will still post the Friday quote – I don’t think I could make it through the week-end without some Friday Food for thought!

Find me on the above links tweeting, and snapping, reviewing and chatting.

Find my reviews on Goodreads, or on Amazon, and I do pop up on a real blogger’s site now and then :)

But most of all, I am writing. Writing. Writing. Writing :)))

It’s true I escape, once in a while, and can be seen squinting at the occasional litfest or author event, heading towards the tea, cake, and later, wine!

Oceans is set for release around the end of August 2015 – and I will, of course, post news on all the above channels – I may even produce that rarely-sighted object – my newsletter!

I will be back on the first of July, and meanwhile don’t forget to pop in for that Friday feel-good feeling – helped by my author on a Friday spot!

Byeeee :)

week-ends = family!

Tuesday Thesaurus – A rich tapestry of life

light play

Maintaining a blog is a commitment. Do you agree?

And yet there are thousands and thousands of bloggers tapping away each day, and night.

The huge and rich variety of their output is truly amazing.

Imagine what could be achieved if everyone could meet at the same time, and amalgamate their thoughts – truly a book of all time would be born!

Informative, amusing, inspiring, encouraging, instructive, loving, supportive, disturbing, loving and visually exciting.

As we stand on the threshold of a New Year – I take this opportunity to raise a cheer to the blogging community – long may it continue!

50 most popular blogging platforms

Thoughts on self-publishing…

Jargon of a new world. Gatekeepers. Blogs. Twitter feeds. Formatting. Alli. Domain name. POD. epub. Facebook stats. Territories. Royalties. Blog guests. Metadata. Functionality. Readability. Widgets and Shepherds. Online platforms. 800,000 followers. Or one? People people, people, Friedman, Gaughran, Konrath and Penn, Howard, Baverstock, Bingham and then, Friedlander, Irving, Eye-dancers, more, McCullough, Ladyhouse, Amir and Shaw.

Whether you have just found WordPress, or become a lion of the jungle; please feel free to throw more names back at me! (And humblest apologies for the many names who do not fit this time!)