Tag Archives: Becoming an author

So how did you get published?

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My latest novel is available from Walkers, Waterstones and Amazon in Kindle and paperback

My latest novel is available from Walkers, Waterstones and Amazon in Kindle and paperback

Prompted by an enquiry from a writer who has just completed her first novel – and hurrah for her since that is a brilliant feat in itself – I’m offering to you what I offered to her, which is my own personal take on getting it out there. It’s all very subjective and all I can suggest is what worked for me…

Once you have a manuscript you are happy with, make all your friends and family – especially big readers, teachers and literary folk – comment on what they like or not – what works and what doesn’t. Get them to mark up copies for you. Don’t forget to acknowledge their help in the back of your novel.

Edit and proof read again yourself, working with the comments with which you agree, and then ABSOLUTELY if you are serious about getting it out there get a professional to do a proof read and edit for you. It costs but is worth it if you are serious about being published. I used Megan Kerr for The Thinking Tank before I had a publisher. I found her great for what I wanted. There are lots of people out there to choose from so do your research to find the right person for you. http://www.megankerr.co.uk/

Be prepared to adjust your novel according to what the editor suggests as they know what works. It’s quite hard to let go of paragraphs you judge as your finest work but if it’s deemed unnecessary it will have to go! However, if you feel strongly you can always argue your case – which I did and now realise that my editor was right and I was wrong!

Even with millions of edits there will still be errors – sad, frustrating but true.

Get hold of a Writers and Artists Yearbook for 2013: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1408157497/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=103612307&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=1408135809&pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_r=1ARCDBD3GZFRBZ81H500
(or whatever year is when you reach that point!). Inside you will find a guide to all the UK and US agents and publishers. There is no point submitting to an agent who doesn’t deal with your genre – so read carefully and only choose appropriate targets. Then, go to their websites and see what they want as a first submission. Sometimes it’s three chapters and synopsis, others want the whole thing – just depends. Some want email, others only manuscripts.

Then you just have to keep sending out and wait until someone likes what you have to offer.

It can take a very long time with lots of rejections. I was so fortunate to be in the right place at the right time with the right novel. Use any contacts you have – it can’t do any harm.

If you find an agent/ publisher, be prepared to let them have some control as they will know what is commercial and what is not.

I was picked up by a publisher and have no agent, which means I have to do most of my own PR, which is time-consuming and hard work, especially if you want to get down to writing again, so there are definite advantages in having an agent who will represent you. That said, you are more in control doing your own thing – but it might not always be the right pathway.

There is a magazine, published by Warners of Bourne, called Writers’ Magazine and there are often competitions. It’s a good way to get involved and get your name out there. I did this through features for educational journals.

Also – start a blog about something you love – even the process of writing your book. Be on Facebook and Twitter, join reading/ writers’ groups online as well as in life. Anything that helps you get your writing out there.

I love doing book signings, going into schools to talk to AS/ A Level students about dual narrative and other aspects, being grilled by reading groups and anything that puts me in contact with people. What I am not so keen on is the whole cyber side of promoting online – but it all has to be done.

Also, bear in mind that unless you happen to become a best seller/ movie made of it etc, there is not a lot of money in writing fiction until you really make it! Plus what motivates you to express yourself might not be what is commercial. I think the best test for me is to ask myself if I am writing something I would like to read – and maybe you can only really be true to yourself and the writing ‘voice’ that you find.

All of the above still holds true if you decide to self-pub. I know folks who have gone through Matador/ Troubador and also Createspace and who have done lots of networking and been successful. Fifty Shades of Gray is a brilliant example of a do-it-yourself success.

Check out my website for news and reviews: http://www.jaedewylde.com

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Must we like a character to love a book?

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The Thinking Tank is available at Amazon, in Waterstones, Walkers and Bookmark Bookstores. Please look out for my new title this November!

Must we like a character to love a book?

This is the question that has haunted me since I began my second novel, Sleeping People Lie/ Two Weeks in Paris – titles currently running neck and neck!

Yes, I do know the rules – but maybe it is time for a rule to be broken. Because not everybody is likeable all of the time; in fact most people are unlikeable some of the time – and some people are unlikeable most of the time.

Do we ever consider that if others could see into our ugliest thoughts, as if we had speech bubbles sprouting from our heads, the image we project of ourselves would be wrecked? And so it is with Sloane and Nicholas, the two main characters in my new title. We see in where others do not, but do we always see what we like?

 

I took heart though, from this 5-star review of The Thinking Tank. My character, Sarah, did not instantly appeal to the writer, but she was nevertheless drawn in. So, filled with hope for my Nicholas and Sloane, I have told their story, which demanded its telling, and I would love you to spend time with them in November when it hits the shelves!

Review of The Thinking Tank by Deborah Fletcher, Author of Bitten by Spain

Much to my own great surprise, I loved this book. Loved it, loved it, loved it.

When I started reading, I took an instant dislike to Sarah, the main character. Her introduction portrays a woman suffering from a degree of immobility and pain resulting from an old accident – petulant and irascible in turns, and clingy and manipulative with her long-suffering daughter, she is exactly the sort of character for which I have little time and much scorn. I wasn’t sure that I would be able to stick with it.

The acuity of Jae’s writing pulled me in, however. Her style is exceptionally clear, well-constructed and honest. And as I became more involved with the slowly-building picture of Sarah’s past, and her arrival in the `now’, my attitude changed, just as I feel it was meant to do.

As her journey of self-discovery continues, so does Sarah’s analysis of her relationships with those around her. This analysis is insightful, clear and sometimes brutally
honest, but beautifully written throughout. I particularly liked many of the short, sharp philosophies that were expressed, and found myself nodding in accord with many of them.

A fairly surprising journey by Sarah to Spain brought me to my home ground, and I read with delight the masterful descriptions of places and atmosphere that flowed from Jae’s pen.

The finale was just as it should be, because I like to close a book feeling content with the outcome. Impressed as I was, I have bought this book a number of times over to gift away. An exceptional first 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

110 and dancing on the beach! The back-story to Sarah & Stephen’s restaurant in The Thinking Tank…

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Okay, I am lying. I am not 110 and most likely never will be, but my story still holds the secret to an experience you may like to share.

Martin and I were about to turn 60 and 50 respectively and decided not to let this one go without a fanfare or two. Living as expats between Spain and Dubai with most of our friends spending the summer on Mijas Costa, for us, there was only one choice of venue: Triana is a little beachside chiringuito in Las Chapas, just off the main road from Malaga a few miles outside Marbella and as far into the village as you can go. When you see the sparkling waves, the boats and the odd nudist, that’s where you need to stop. It’s a Shirley Valentine type of place, where you can sit on a promontory, surrounded by bougainvillea with the sounds and smells of the sea mingling with the delicious tang of the best paella on the coast.

We celebrated with 25 friends, and being a bonkers kind of girly, I performed a belly dance, a skill I picked up in the Middle East and teach to this day. Francesca who runs the place was, and is, adorable, and her staff are outstanding in their attention to detail, flavour, presentation and the warmth of the welcome. This is the kind of place that makes a mark in your heart and your mind – a romantic sort of place that whispers to you to return and return and to make it yours. When the sun goes down and the moon comes up, the ocean sparkles and glows haunting green as the plankton moves silently with the ebb and flow of the waves.

Such is this place that I preserved its memory forever in my novel, The Thinking Tank, set between Spain 2003 and 1970s London. As Sarah and Stephen struggle to piece together fractured relationships of the past, they spend time at Triana, repairing broken dreams, their secrets still unspoken but pressing, needing to be heard.

Triana is a place for friends, lovers, families and the soul that wants to mend. It is also a place to share.

 

www.jaedewylde.com

www.expatbookshop.com

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

The radio show sent chills down our spines…

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Being the guest on Suzanne Radford’s radio show in Dubai was no coincidence. How do I know? Read on to find out…

It was an amazing experience to be the guest on Dubai Today, Dubai Eye’s flagship morning chat show with host, Suzanne Radford and co-host, Richard Manson.  The two-hour show was punctuated only by commercial breaks.  We talked about The Thinking Tank and what inspired my story, writing, love, loss, grief, life’s crappy stuff but also life’s joys and blessings, and I was touched by the comments, empathy and stories, which flooded in from all over the UAE.

But when Suzanne and I discovered an incredible link between our two lives, we both felt chills down our spine. As we chatted, we realised that we had both lived in the same village in Rutland, and that Suzanne’s family home is just around the corner from the churchyard where my elder daughter, Rowena, is buried. Suzanne had even been to a party in the same house that we lived in, years earlier when she was a girl.

How extraordinary that I was there in that place so many miles from home with that link with the village that one of those closest to me will never leave.

Suzanne tells me that the messages she received following the show were uplifting and positive, and that we had touched hearts and inspired some who have been following painful journeys to seek a way to move on. That is a real blessing. Meeting Suzanne is another and we plan to have coffee together next time she is in Rutland.

But it would be wrong of me not to acknowledge that telling my story over the airwaves was in some way cathartic. With no idea who is listening, no particular person to talk to, that curious anonymity of being invisible allowed me just to be me and tell it as it was. How lovely when it works both ways.

The chat show is quite long, but if you fancy dipping in, please click below, which takes you to the page where you’ll find the radio link below (commercial breaks have been removed) or visit my website: www.jaedewylde.com and go to the news page.

http://www.jaedewylde.com/news-reviews-events-jae-de-wylde.php

The Thinking Tank is available on Amazon in paperback & Kindle and from branches of Waterstones and Walkers.