Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Writing the e-Book--Week Three

My statement of intent written and posted, I planned and divided the proposed e-book into ten chapters and aimed for fifty pages. As always, the original idea lost its appeal and I had not the speck of an idea in mind to replace it. 

The relief was incredible. No need to stress out over one more impossible project.  And then came:
  • emails from friends wondering how I was getting on
  • the joyful discovery of how to make little flip books free
  • the grand idea
 Grand ideas, as we all know, are always other people's. ( Our own come overnight and vanish on waking.) And my grand idea was certainly triggered by someone else's thoughts.

Motivation through Blogs
I doubt if much else is as motivating as reading random blogs. Cross fertilization of ideas, irritation at ill-conceived assumptions, the emotional tug of other writing all demand a response.

Before I knew it, a comment I had made on a writing blog suddenly filled my mind with possibilities for expansion and eureka, my book sprang into mind.

Motivated through blogging, the book will appear through blogging, a section or so per week, till all is done. Yay!

If you are a self-critical writer, never happy till you have achieved perfection, create for yourself a secret blog until you are ready to reveal your work to the world or simply to your friends. But regular blogging will force you into the habit of working regularly and keep the writing muscles exercised.

Motivation through Technology

I am still enchanted by the flip books and have been looking into several more providers including

And if you're looking for further motivation, check out How to Get Your Manuscript Finished The author is Rowdy Rhodes of Freelance Writing Organization International

Note for gadget lovers:: Rowdy is offering the instant writing resources toolbar as a free download AND as an incentive writers can use for themselves as a free giveaway to their own blog subscribers.

The instant access help desk is a great idea too. 

Motivation through Accountability

Tell everyone you know--and everyone you don't know--that you're writing a book and then it has to happen.
It's Read an Ebook Week from March 4-10 (or all next month in Canada), Grab some of the lovely banners to promote it on your site, if you have one.
And make it a goal to have at least one ebook of your own ready for this event next year.

Ebook gift

Just in, in case you'd rather read than write : The Tulip Kiss by Elysabeth Eldering, free today and tomorrow at Amazon.
It's also on Amazon UK--don't know about the others.
Remember, by downloading and liking, you are helping ebook authors in the rankings. If you have time to write a good review, even better.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Motivation and Meditation

Motivation and Flipping Books

Slipped down another day and it's Wednesday. This is a great motivational day. Half way through the week and probably a better day for a breather.

If you have a book out already or need motivation to finish one you are planning, have a look at BookBuzzr You can publish a free page turning promo for your book here and at the minute sign up for a free 30 day trial of the pro version.

I love all these animated books and magaazines.

Here is my first experiment with Calameo. Again this has a no cost version. Sadly I had no time to do more or this post--like my e-book--will never be written. As practice,  I uploaded a powerpoint ITQ project I had available from 2011 on Edinburgh Fog 

Click on the right hand corner of pages to turn.  This is a brochure but you can publish in many formats including book, album, report.

The photos of Edinburgh used in the brochure are © 2003 and found at Edinburgh-Scotland, a wonderful non profit-making site with loads of downloadable photos.

I have embedded the mini brochure in my right hand column but need to do a bit more work on it.  The content upload to Calameo was easy and I think the result is most effective.

Sharing links let you upload your work to social networking sites. I uploaded to Facebook successfully but the flipping book would not stop flipping...

How to Attract Readers

Two new ideas here:

Laurence O' Bryan's new book The Istanbul Puzzle has already attracted a strong fan base through his interactive pages on his website. I started following him on Twitter when he asked for advice on the background to his blog.

He has continued to ask questions and ask for help solving mysteries, finding clues and built up a strong social networking fan base before the book was even released.

He now has a Pinterest board with the series of clues. You don't need to buy the book to try to solve the puzzle but I bet most of us do.

Sci-fi author Krista D Ball runs an author clinic.  But for her latest novel in progress, Collaborator, she is also involving her blog readers to comment on the WIP and to contribute donations which lead to their names being immortalized in the book.

The dialogue-based blog and social network formula seems to be one way forward.

Writing the e-book Week Two

No, I have not forgotten but have decided to do the forbidden option--research a new topic. Guess what it is?  And yes, I'll be asking for help. Details next week.

How's everyone getting on? Still thinking?

Coming Soon...

I'm thrilled to announce that Magdalena Ball is my guest author on Monday March 5 so the Monday post will be up on time. She is visiting on the blog tour for her latest novel Black Cow. And her topic--On The Value of Slow Writing.

And on March 12 at 7 p.m.EST, she is giving a free webinar for Writers on The Move on Designing Customized Facebook Fan Pages. Check out the link and sign up.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Writing the e-book: Week One

Week One: E-Book Writing 
Find the original post here at Write a Book in Six Weeks.
Ruth Barringham's book is available for download by clicking the link in the blog's right hand column.
I said I'd do this too. I shall but I had no idea of how difficult it would be. Think I need another week...

The  statement of intent:
Why do I want to do this?
This was difficult and I'm not sure I even have it right yet. Perhaps my author readers will leave me some hints as to why they write their books in the comments.
None of Ruth's suggestions were a great fit. In the end I went back to a childhood memory of walking into a lamppost while telling myself a happy-ever-after fairy story. I explained I was not mad. I was going to be a writer. Hmmm
I want to prove the child was right. I want to do it for meI'm not sure this is strong enough.
I want it to reach out, to help others. But will a book I need to write be anything anyone else needs to read...?

Plan and plot the book.
This reminds me of Mark Twain on giving up smoking. "Easy, I've done it hundreds of times." I thought I knew what I intended to write but having drawn up my list of possibles, I am on the verge of changing my mind.
The plotted book was to be one of a series of small books on editing problems. I may well still carry on with this as it's started and planned but it's not now the idea that makes my heart sing.

Sales Pitch or Book blurb

A great way to focus your writing is to do this first rather than last. You can always tweak it later. Lots of good advice in the book.
What is your book's unique selling point?
Have I a USP?--no, better find one hehe.
What makes it different? Fast look up version of problematic editing points.
What will it do for your reader? Save time.
Fact or fiction,  a book must meet the needs of the reader. 

Week Two
Start writing. Divide your plan into three weeks of writing -- or thirty if you don't have much time available. Just do it and stick to it. I've fallen behind already but hope to have more news, clues and motivation on hand next Wednesday.

Let me know how you're getting on below, please.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Motivation Monday

 Motivate your Writing

And just to prove the point that I am a slow writer, yes, I know it's Tuesday.

I've spent the week drifting round the Internet, distracted by all the amazing goodies on offer and trying to sift the useful from the fun-but-I-love-it temptations.

My worthy e-book writing challenge has slipped a place in the right hand column, displaced by a writer's graph which I found on Jo Linsdell's truly useful Writers and Authors site. So no more excuses for writer's block. And if you hate the instant prompt on offer, just click to refresh the page and a new prompt appears.

Scroll down my right hand column to find the writing contest list. I have chosen to download the plain graph but the site also lets you download code for the neat box with rolling content that you can see in action on Jo's pages.

Which do you prefer? Let me know. Being a slow mover, I decided to have my contest links staying still rather than have to wait for an entry I've missed to re-appear. Again I have not yet checked any of these out but shall let you know when I have.

Better--or worse on the distraction scale-- Once Written have some wonderful free resources which I am absolutely, positively not going to check out until I have completed today's to do list.

Create Your Own Header

I have not yet discovered the catch to this one. Not only does X-header have a free version, it comes with 500 graphics for you to use to create your own blog or website headers and illustrations.

In addition you have email support and advice to help you make the most of the software. The download link here is direct from the company. Be careful to choose a reputable site if you intend to download it anywhere else.  I love playing around with art work as a  treat when I want to leave my mind free to make its own creative connections. 

Plan With Planners

Nothing like making lists and drawing up plans to keep motivation high. My best writing counts have been achieved by awarding myself a jolly sticker to paste on a planner on the days I managed to achieve a writing goal.

A red star for could do better, a gold star for 500 words, and then I branched out into more adventurous stickers and a good writing month was ablaze with colorful birds and butterflies.

Yes, of course we can create our own planners but it is so much more satisfying to have a real one. Have a look at the planners of the month  from Productive Flourishing--another truly motivational site.

I'm off to download  the Productivity Jumpstart, the Freelancer Workweek and the Blog Planner calendar....

Remember the e-book challenge

...sighs. Got to do my tasks before tomorrow. Hope everyone is ready for this?  Writing an e-book in six weeks, remember, LOL

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Write A Book in Six Weeks

Yep--you read that right. The challenge book I am working with says quite clearly Write A Book in Six Days. But we're slow writers so I'm adapting it as we go to suit me. Hopefully anyone who writes slowly can manage the six week challenge too or even adapt it to six months.

You can find the link to download the book by clicking on the image at the top of the right hand column. I'm not promising to leave it there forever LOL We're not going to spend six years writing a thirty page e-book, though I'm sure it may happen. One day, someone may report back on this post with a success story after years of dedication to the task.

(The book and question mark link, by the way, is an adapted gif and  is courtesy of who have lots of lovely images for use free on blogs, social network sites and websites) But I digress.

Ruth Barringham, who has kindly allowed me to share her book here with you, is one of the writer-coaches I have long followed and trust. Her Writeaholics newsletter is a must read in my mailbox. I don't spend big bucks on courses and recommendations (I'm Scottish, remember) but I always profit from the leads, resources, tips and advice she so generously offers. 

Start Writing That Book
 I have innumerable WIPS progressing slowly but really need a way to finish something. The web is full of write your book in x days, could be three, could be six, could be seven.

Some of us  write slowly. It may be because of other home or work commitments--only so much you can achieve when you fall asleep over the laptop time after time. It may be because of a curious nature which leads us to surf from idea to idea rather than settle firmly pounding away at the masterpiece. It may be that we're just perfectionists and want to have everything right before we publish.

Last week I received Ruth's book and might have saved it for a rainy day but then this week Angela Booth sent her Write and Sell an Ebook in a Week article. It seemed like a sign or even a kick in a delicate place to set me in motion. 

So off I go and hopefully you may join me on Wednesdays for six weeks and let's see how we do. If you want a copy of Angela's article, or if you have any difficulty downloading the book, let me know in the comments below.


Beginnings are crucial except at the beginning. You'll be writing this first, you'll be writing it last. Only when you finish will you be sure of writing the best beginning you possibly can.

But Week One is there to help us focus on what we're beginning and, most importantly, why we want to do this.

Task One:
Write your  statement of intent. Ruth goes into this in detail and breaks the idea down into a step by step plan.This may take a day or two.

Task Two:

Plan and plot the book. As a mathematician. I decide on a word count and I would suggest a maximum of 50,000 for an e-book. With the increasing popularity of e-book readers, more may be possible. But many people still print out their e-books so remember that when deciding on length.

I  then divide my word count into a number of sections or chapters. You may choose your word count dependent on how many words you can realistically manage to write in a week and then multiply that total by the number of writing weeks you will devote to the project. 

Task Three:

Write your sales pitch or book blurb. What is your book's unique selling point? What makes it different? What will it do for your reader? Fact or fiction, it must meet the needs of the reader. 

Share your findings in the comments box below. I shall certainly be logging in whenever I have something to report. And hopefully I'll have something logged and be ready to move on next Wednesday.

Happy Writing.


Monday, 6 February 2012

Liebster Blog Award Nominees

An extra special post and an extra special day. My Valentine's come early.

This very special  post is a radiant thank you to children's author Carol A.Bender for nominating me for the Liebster Blog Award. 

I met Carol through the wonderful Mother Reader challenge which introduced me to so many talented writers and artists.

I love her blog and its wonderful photos at and there's another plus. She's a bird fan too. Her hens look almost exactly like my chickies--rescued battery hens.

British Hen Welfare Trust rescued battery hens

Check out her books on Amazon (Picky Eater, That Peter has consistent five star reviews).  

What is the Liebster Blog Award?
Legend has it  that The Liebster Blog Award originated in Germany.  Liebster means dearest or beloved, and Liebe is love. The award is meant to encourage readership of small, lovable blogs with fewer than 200 followers.

And it's so lovely to feel lovable. It made my day.

In accepting the Liebster Blog Award, the recipient agrees to:

*Thank the person who gave them the award and link back to that person’s blog--yay! thanks Carol. I'm so honored.

*Copy and paste the award to their blog--done and I'll be moving it to a permanent place high on my sidebar too.

*Reveal five snippets about themselves that readers may not already know: aaargh. There had to be a catch.

Okay here goes:
  1. I am addicted to eating clementines
  2. I am a deadline junkie as everyone I work with knows. But then, they don't read my blog and don't know how lovable I am.
  3. I love blue skies, mystery novels and robins
  4. My feet do a happy dance every time a new follower joins my blog
  5. Favorite shopping challenge: calculating the change I'm due before the cash machine does it. Quiet whisper: I like lists and counting.

*Reveal the five blogs they have chosen to receive the award, commenting on their blog to break the news! To qualify, the blog must have fewer than 200 followers.

*Hope those people in turn pay it forward by accepting and awarding “The Liebster Blog Award” to bloggers they would like to honor.

My Liebster Blog Award Nominees

Now this was truly difficult. So many wonderful bloggers but some have too many followers to qualify and with others I just guessed that they had. Miranda Paul already has an award. Others I hoped to include had no blog. Can you conceive it! No blog! LOL

My blog winners are all writers, published and fairly well known (one day everyone will know their names!) and they are: 

Wendy Laharnar 
children's and YA author: 3rd place YA fiction in P& E readers' poll 

Alice M Roelke :
sci-fi and fantasy author. Look out for Watch Over Me this year.

Viviane Brentanos   
 romance author: first place for romance fiction in P& E readers' poll  

mystery novelist with helpful writing tips blog

Jane Richardson

Scottish author.