Giveaway! Just Add Writing

My new book will be out in February – it’s a small volume of writing tips to lift a writer onto the next level.

Front JAW
Just Add Writing. 150cm x 15cm, 100 pages

I run writing workshops for groups of writers and several other organisations. I’m guest lecturer at our local University and have been NaNoWriMo ML for Wales for a decade. And I get asked the same questions time and time again. So I thought I’d put my answers into a book that people can take away with them.

Many writers find it hard to scale up their work – they can handle short fiction, but it’s too big a step to write a coherent novel. It’s not just a case of producing more words – it’s a very different animal to write. A short story may only have one dimension, a timeline with little or no character development. More usually it has breadth as well, a second dimension in which characters can move at right angles to the main plot, generating interest for the reader. But a novel needs depth, too – the third dimension which keeps the reader turning pages right till the end.

Okay, that might be pushing an analogy too far, but it’s one way to visualise the step change between the different media. I’ve read novels that were really just short stories padded out in the first two dimensions, lacking in any depth. A novel like this will only succeed if it has something extra, something that captures people’s imagination and taps into the zeitgeist. In other words, it takes luck – and that’s not a good thing for a writer to rely on.

There are also writers who produce a novel-length manuscript and don’t know how to make it “work”. They don’t know how to turn a draft into a completed novel. In this day of free e-publishing and print-on-demand paperbacks, all too many of these get released into the big, wide world without proper consideration.

And so, my little book. Just Add Writing is designed to help those writers to write a novel that people will want to read. To focus on the aspects that keep readers turning the pages, bring them back for the next book. We live in a world of free ebooks and throwaway fiction, and this is a guide to making you novel stand above the swamp of the mediocre.

No, I’m not promising you’ll write a bestseller – only that I’ll help you write the best novel that YOU can. There are ways to maximise the return from the time you can spend on writing – many of them learnt the hard way by your humble writer. (Me!) There are tips I can give you to improve your writing, but the hard work is down to you.

Hence the title.

Enough waffle. Just Add Writing will be published on 17th February and available through all good booksellers, online and even in the real world!
You will soon be able to pre-order a limited edition pack with a few extras.

Watch this space.

Meanwhile, to win a copy (including worldwide P&P), simply post a picture of yourself reading one of my books and tag me in the picture. If you have an ebook, show the cover of my book on your ereader’s screen and point that towards the camera. 🙂 Closing date 10th Feb, 2014. The three best pictures will each receive a signed copy of Just Add Writing.

(I’m also presenting a workshop in Barry on 15th Feb. See you there?)

Novel Noticeably Nearer

Busy times!

Goody Bag 130219

I’m finalising the text for my book, ready to send to the printers. The book cover is ready and I’m pleased with how that’s looking. The press release is being circulated to various media outlets and it’s all getting very real! Pre-orders are trickling in and I’ve just been told our local libraries are ordering copies (they handle orders centrally, so I get a single request for all the branches). I’m involved in running several events at the local library over the next few months, and I’ll be able to sell books at some of these. Not that I ever do a “hard sell” – I’m a writer, not a salesperson!

In fact, if I had to make a living from my books, I’d go hungry an awful lot of the time. But that’s a story for another day!

I’ve converted the text file into the appropriate page size for the first time today, so I can now say it’ll be 320 pages long. Give or take a few, ‘cos there’s all the extra stuff that goes at the front and tweaks to the formatting can change the count by a couple of pages. It’s about 92,000 words long, if anyone’s interested.

So, what’s happening with these promo goodies?

Well, the picture shows the current contents of the full goody bag. People who crowdfunded me for £50 or more last Autumn will get one of these bags with all the contents displayed, as well as paperback and electronic copies of the book. And one or two other little bonuses that are in the process of being produced. Some of the goodies will also be given away to anyone who buys a paperback copy of Chrystal Heart at one of my promo events this year. There are four events arranged so far, more to be added as I finalise details. The latest details will always be on my Amazon UK Author Page (look up one of my books and click on my name, or go direct to http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B0034PC6DM ). And anyone who’s pre-ordered a paperback copy will get something extra in the parcel when it arrives.

Told you I’d go hungry if I depended on my book sales for an income.

Chrystal Heart will also be available for Kindle. Details to follow when I’ve done the necessary formatting and uploaded it to Amazon.

Tomorrow is Chrystal’s birthday. She’ll be 189. That’s a lot of candles!