Category Archives: Writing a novel

The Thinking Tank outsells Grey: 50 Shades of Hurrah!

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The Thinking Tank is available from Amazon, Walkers, Waterstones & Bookmark

It was one of those magnificent punch-your-hand-in-the-air moments when the lovely staff at Waterstones in Camberley sidled up to me on Saturday and said, ‘Guess what?’ ‘What?’ I said, as you do. ‘You have outsold 50 Shades of Grey – good for you!’ And we all did a little jig in the shop.

Have I read the rival novel? Well, yes I have. Do I agree with the slamming critics? Well, no I don’t. I like to try different genres and I don’t think the odd dabble into the erotic does any harm – and whatever you say about the style and all the other stuff, in my own humble opinion, it does do what it says on the can.

And the strange thing is that by not being über-critical on Saturday, I ended up meeting some delightful ladies and selling more copies of The Thinking Tank.

So how did that work? Well, I was standing pretty close to the stack of Grey matter as it flew off the shelf towards the cash point.  Had I read it, the ladies wanted to know, so it was good to be able to comment – and to own up to having enjoyed the read. Well, that got us chatting and one thing led to another such that in many cases, The Thinking Tank and 50 Shades went happily off to the till together.

Thank you too to the delightful customer and her daughter who popped off to Primark and bought me a hair clip I had admired – what a brilliant surprise! And to the lovely lady who bought the book, went to the hairdressers and took the trouble to come back to tell me that she was already on page 45 and couldn’t put it down!

The downside of the day is that Brad Pitt arrived to buy books just 30 minutes after I left. Can’t win them all…

Thank you to all the lovelies at Camberley Waterstones for the warmest welcome and for sharing my not-so-grey moment!

Log on to: www.jaedewylde.com

Bags more info and fab expat books at: www.expatbookshop.com

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Book signing and online sales: is there a link?

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I don’t like watching ratings on Amazon. It can be exhilarating but equally it can be flipping depressing too. But it does help you to build a story about how what’s happening in your world is working with or against what’s happening with your online sales.

It’s not rocket science to work out that if you get some fab publicity in the media, it’s going to up your sales because people have a clear message to respond to. They are intrigued perhaps by your story and curious enough to want to read what you’ve written.

Recently, though, I’ve been watching what happens immediately following my book signings.

It’s a real blessing that I love chatting to folk. I know for some it’s a bit of a trial. You are putting yourself out there, and people do sometimes just blank you, which can be uncomfortable and unnerving  – but chatting does make a huge difference.

This weekend I sold 80 odd books by hand. But there were, of course, those who didn’t buy for lots or reasons – lack of money, wrong genre, on a mission…

But you just never know who might get curious once they go home and have a think – and check reviews – so I always offer my card with my website and purchase details.

Again, I am blessed, as Graham at www.creationbooth.com has designed me such a lovely, eye-catching card that it seems people don’t just shove it in their bag.

SO – here’s the thing…

I have followed it carefully for several months and EVERY time I go out and book sign, the following day my ratings have shot right up. They stay there for a day or two and then they trickle back to where they were – the same pattern as when there has been media attention.

So, book signings are wonderful for so many reasons, and I am hugely grateful to Waterstones, Walkers, Bookmark and Buy the Book for giving me the chance to meet new readers and, just as importantly, potential new readers who might just come along once the shops are closed.

All that said, it is vital that we support the bookshops – and I always say to those who ask if I am on Kindle – yes, but I can’t sign your Kindle for you and I’d love to support this lovely store we are in. They are kind enough to support me and we really don’t want them to close! And it warms my heart that many lovely customers agree and go on to buy the signed book.

www.jaedewylde.com

The Thinking Tank is available in branches of Waterstones as well as at www.waterstones.com and, of course, at www.amazon.co.uk

Bags more info and lots of fab expat titles at www.expatbookshop.com

Novel Talk: The highs and lows of getting it out there…

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I came across a video clip today, which I hadn’t checked out for quite a little while. It’s of Jo Parfit and me chatting about our novels last October. The highs and lows of getting them out there – what went right, what went very wrong and how we can learn from our mistakes. It’s not a very long clip but it does highlight some useful bits and pieces for anyone out there who’s going through this whole exciting but daunting process. Check out what we loved and what we hated – have a chuckle at what we wish we’d done better and what Jo and I discovered was the most mortifying thing of all…

Here’s the link to the clip on my facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#!/pages/Jae-De-Wylde/187268408006424

Buy The Thinking Tank from: www.amazon.co.uk

Check out more info plus book signing dates on: www.jaedewylde.com

Lots more info and fascinating expat titles on: www.expatbookshop.com

Talking of loss on live TV – and the lesson I learnt on how to make your point…

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Being on TV was an incredible experience and I just realised that with everything going on – the PR, the book signing, life’s normal stuff, crappy or not, I never got to tell you about it, so here we go…

First, thank you to everyone who followed the link on my website to the Studio One show and commented. So supportive and lovely – you are stars. Studio One is the main Dubai channel’s live flagship show. Think BBC’s The One Show and you’ll be there. In an extraordinary turn of events and connections, a dear friend, whom I hadn’t seen since 1999, the year that Rowena died, ended up coming along to the show with me. Extraordinary because I only met her for the first time in 1999, just weeks after Weeny died when we were on business in a hotel in Bangkok. But there she was, now living in Dubai and holding my hand as I prepared to talk about losing a loved one. Never tell me there’s no such thing as fate…

It seemed a daunting task, but the guy, Tom, an expat who runs the show along with his Arabic co-host, was sensitive and kind, chatting to me before the show – and at one time he seemed to have tears in his eyes. We are all touched by loss and grief – maybe something resonated with this lovely guy.

By the time we were chatting on live TV, he felt like an old friend and my nerves were completely gone, also partly because he provided me with some very useful tips, reinforcing some points my FB friend, Jack Owen, had pointed out subsequent to his appearance with Joan Rivers (yes – that Joan Rivers!).

1. Don’t look at the camera – you’ll look daft.

2. Don’t gabble – you need to make clear points.

3. Keep it snappy. Talk in sound bites. Why? Because you’ll pack in much more of what you want to say than if you start heading off on a tangent (I am so good at tangents – this was the best advice ever!).

4. Don’t fiddle with anything – hair, nails, nose. Watch the show – you’ll see I have my hands glued to a copy of The Thinking Tank.

5. Wear something comfortable that also makes you feel good: A particular challenge as this was of course a conservative show in the Middle East and I need to be pretty much covered.

Great advice and a worthwhile experience. The pay-off for the nerves would be knowing that someone out there took heart from what I said – that in some way it helped. But that I will probably never know. One just has to hope…

 Here’s the link to the interview. It’s only 8 minutes long and starts around 5 mins 8 secs into the programme:

http://vod.dmi.ae/media/video/58605/Studio_One___S2_Ep_80

Or find it on my website: www.jaedewylde.com

Buy your copy from Amazon - Kindle or paperback - or from Walkers Bookshops and branches of Waterstones... X

Author to Author: Lynda Renham-Cook offers Jae De Wylde her candid and quirky view of life as a writer…

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Right, folks, here’s something to brighten up your midweek. I am delighted to introduce to you my writer friend and romantic novelist,  Lynda Renham-Cook – that’s if this lovely lady needs any introduction at all. Her latest novel, Croissants and Jam, has been described as ‘one of the best romantic comedies of our time’.  Lynda did me the great honour of agreeing to an author- to- author interview, and I just loved her candid, quirky and thought-provoking answers…

Lynda Renham-Cook

 What inspires you the most when writing?

 Music without a doubt. I can’t write without it and every novel has its own theme music. Often, this means I can only then associate it with that particular novel. I always make sure I have my headphones nearby. This isn’t to say I can’t write without the music inspiration but I do find it harder. In fact a piece of music often inspires a whole novel. I’m sure in this I am not alone.
 
Paper or laptop?

 A Lap top every time. At one time I used a rather tatty old notebook but I now have a lovely smart lap top that I couldn’t live without.  I tend to have numerous documents open when writing as all my notes are on there also. I am a devout user of Drop box, if devout is the right word. My husband discovered it and it is a great way to make sure I don’t lose anything. This is something I am normally very prone to doing, I am ashamed to say… Paper doesn’t work for me. I write much too fast and then cannot read my illegible handwriting, so it is not very constructive for me to use paper.
 
Where do you most like to write?

 I worked part time until recently, so I would get home from work, prepare some dinner and then dive into my summer house. A lovely cosy room which houses everything I need and there I try to write a thousand words a day. Although in the summer I am easily swayed from the word processor by the lovely birds that come into the garden. It is my chosen space. I live in a small village in the country and it is so peaceful to sit there with just the birds singing and the humming of the occasional lawn mower. 
 
What is your biggest ambition?

 I would love to write the screenplay for one of my books. That would be my writing ambition. I also have dreams of writing for TV. I love writing comedy. Personal ambition is to be happy and content. I think contentment is the key to everything and something I have not quite attained yet.
 
Do you have a disciplined approach?

 I am only disciplined in that I make myself write 1000 words every day. Even if I am not happy with those 1000 words I still feel it is important to have written them. There is always gold to be found in that there dust… I truly believe that all writing is productive. Aside from that I am hopeless, frankly. I get side tracked very easily, especially by food and drink. Chocolate is my particular downfall.
 
What do you think about the whole marketing thing?

 It takes away a lot of my writing time. I have a lovely hubby who does a lot of that for me. I am not good at promoting myself. I probably should do more. I tend to leave it to people who know what they are doing. That certainly isn’t me…
 
What do you like best about writing?

 I’ve always enjoyed writing. My mother was fond of telling everyone that I wrote a good composition. I always was a good liar. I spent most of my teenage years living in my own little world. It is also a great way of expressing my quirky humour. I have a tendency to laugh at everything. I also think laughter is a great healer and a wonderful way to banish the blues. I love reading comedy also. It is a genre that gives me pleasure both reading and writing it.
 Tell us about your latest book…

Grab your copy of Croissants and Jam on Amazon!

 It’s titled ‘Croissants and Jam’…

 Oh, can I let Blog critic Diane Morasco do that? She does it far better than me.

‘Croissants and Jam seized my heart of steel and barbwire… and melted it into a simmering pool of marshmallow and milk chocolate. Hollywood take note: Croissants and Jam is what heart-pounding and nerve-tingling romantic comedies are made of.  Breathtaking. Intelligent. Magical. Mesmerizing. Pulse-pounding. Rip-roaring. Spine-tingling. Soul stirring. Unforgettable. Whimsical. I can go on and on and on describing Lynda Renham’s bewitching novel, but I want to cut to the chase so you can grab a copy and see for yourself.

Annabel “Bels” Lewis has just two days to get to her wedding in Rome but her trip is plagued with one catastrophe after another as destiny takes hold and casts its spin.

Enter Christian.  A dashing and adventurous stranger she encounters along the way.  Will Bels get to her wedding on time or will the mesmerizing Christian transform her life?

Croissants and Jam is without a doubt one of the best romantic comedies of our time — yep, including those on the screen. ‘

 
I can’t believe there’s anyone out there who doesn’t want to make a dash for this page-turning romance so pop straight over to Amazon to grab yourself a copy and curl up with a glass of wine or maybe – given the snow and ice – a yummy hot chocolate. Find out more about Lynda, her novels, which also include Wedding Cake to Turin and The Diary of Rector Byrnes, on her Amazon page at: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lynda-Renham/e/B004U1PWDU

Check out the latest on Lynda’s blog: http://lrcook.wordpress.com/

Thanks for the inspiration, Lynda – must go practise lying for my next novel!

Jae De Wylde, author The Thinking Tank: www.jaedewylde.com

The Thinking Tank is available on Amazon and in branches of Walkers and Waterstones

#57 on Amazon Women’s Fiction Bestsellers – definitely NOT life’s crappy stuff!

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Captured on screen at #59!

Last week, when Summertime Publishing named me their Best Selling Author, 2011, I didn’t think the week could possibly get better. But it actually did…

And, OK, Jo Parfitt (www.joparfitt.com), you were right! An author’s ‘backstory’ really does make a difference.

When the Gulf News Friday Magazine published my story by the excellent journalist, Antonia Hoyle (www.antoniahoyle.com), I felt like hiding under the duvet (www.gulfnews.com/life-style/general/belly-dancing-saved-me-from-my-grief-1.960098). I just had this idea that my novel was this separate entity, that needed to be other than me, rather than sharing my history and my sadness. Stupid, I know, when you look at it because what else does an author do other than pour out real emotions, layered onto the characters and their situations? Even so, my novel is fiction and I thought that my ‘backstory’ might somehow infect what I had created. I don’t do ‘poor me’ and anything that smacks of that just doesn’t sit well.

But the support since last Friday has been incredible such that I would never have dreamed possible. Even people from my past have been back in contact. Then, on Sunday afternoon, The Thinking Tank went to #57 on Amazon Women’s Fiction. Extraordinary. Me, on Amazon’s Top 100 Bestsellers’ list? 23 places ahead of Costa Coffee Shortlister, Chris Cleave, and only 37 places behind the wonderful Jodi Picoult. That is just bonkers.

So, Jo was right, I was wrong. There. I’ve said it.

And a great big stonking THANK YOU to everyone who has been in touch. There are comments on the Friday magazine article – but most have come via FB messages or email. To know that my story has made a difference, to know that it has helped some of you who are bereaved take a baby step forward – that is huge.

As to the ratings – what an amazing blessing from the universe…

’tis the season to be signing…

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Signing The Thinking Tank, surrounded by lovely clothes in White Stuff, Stamford!

I’ve been very blessed with some encouraging numbers at book signings, but when the lovely people at Summertime Publishing asked me to write about how I go about approaching customers, I was a little nervous. The way in which you relate to people is very personal, so how can you possibly provide a blueprint for that?

The answer is that you can’t – but what I can do is just tell you straight how it works for me…

The best tip anyone ever gave me about the sort of situation when you want folks to talk to you is to have something to offer them – so, in my case, I have sweeties! Maybe you have a bookmark or other PR-related product but for me, sweeties do it every time.

Wear a smile – it warms people’s hearts – and in my case I really mean that smile as I am so grateful to be invited to sign and meeting potential readers is a real joy.

I also use humour and joke that folks don’t have to buy the novel to have a sweetie, but it gives me a great entrée and it’s a relaxed way of starting up a conversation about why you are there.

Often, a customer will be wearing something striking or different, which you would be tempted to comment on in any circumstances – that’s another way to begin a dialogue – ‘love your sweater…’

In my experience, people are very willing to listen, especially in a book shop – they are probably curious to know what’s new on the market anyway. That said, I sold the second largest amount of books in a signing in a clothes store – just the fact of you being there is food for chat.

Engage people in conversation and offer a few details about your book that you think might appeal, aiming what you say at what you think they might enjoy – or need. So many guys pop into bookshops looking for that last little gift. ‘The lady in your life would love this…’ Ladies out with their daughters are interested in the fact that The Thinking Tank centres on a mother/ daughter relationship, and local people love to see that my novel is set in their area. Those going on holiday would like the fact that it’s partly set in Spain and most folks love a good page turner!

I suppose the loudest message is make it personal and don’t be afraid to come forward. Don’t underestimate how intimidating it might be for a customer to approach you – for all they know you could be dead famous and snooty! Make the first move – the worst that can happen is that they don’t buy your book – the best that can happen is that they buy the book, love it, pass it on – and you’ve made new friends.

And enjoy yourself. This is a huge opportunity and a blessing and even if you sell little, you’ll have met some lovely people – and you never know where that will lead.