The Successful Author Mindset by Joanna Penn

13th July 2021.

This is a useful guide for writers about the challenges and issues you’ll face in your career. For each issue, the author gives practical guidance, often based on her own experience, on how to deal with the problems and stay positive. It covers everything from writers block to imposter syndrome and being overwhelmed by what you need to do once you are published.

As a published author, I’d encountered many of the writing issues, though I still found the advice interesting. You never know when writers’ block might creep up on you. The guidance on marketing and making a career from writing was more pertinent and useful to me.

Wherever you are on the writing journey, it’s good to know others have experienced the same challenges you face. It’s even better to know, they’ve found the answers that could help you.

Description

Being a writer is not just about typing. It’s also about surviving the roller-coaster of the creative journey.

Self-doubt, fear of failure, the need for validation, perfectionism, writer’s block, comparisonitis, overwhelm, and much more. When you’re going through these things, it can feel like you’re alone. But actually, they are part of the creative process, and every author goes through them too.

This book collects the mindset issues that writers experience, that I have been through myself over the last decade, and that perhaps you will experience at different times on the creative journey.

Each small chapter tackles a possible issue and then offers an antidote, so that you can dip in and out over time. It includes excerpts from my own personal journals as well as quotes from well-known writers. I hope it helps you on the road to becoming a successful author.

The Successful Author Mindset by Joanna Penn

Mastering Your Mystery by Cheryl Bradshaw

1st July 2021.

This excellent guide to mystery writing is divided into two parts. The first offers advice on all aspects of how to write a murder mystery, including plotting, characterisation, cliff hangers, victims, villains, red herrings and much more. The second half of the book offers guidance and tips on marketing your murder mystery novel, including writing a series, advertising, covers, blurbs and more.

With examples from her own novels and those of contemporaries, the author offers her own personal experiences and unique insights to inspire and guide you. I found the section on marketing particularly relevant and useful, giving me many ideas and examples of new avenues to explore.

It’s the most practical, inspiring and useful book I’ve ever read on writing and selling murder mystery novels. If this is something you’d like to try, or if you’re an author who wants to expand your sales, this is a must have book.

Mastering Your Mystery by Cheryl Bradshaw

Platform Mastery by Nick Thacker

22nd June 2021.

This is a well-written and clearly explained guide to help authors build a solid platform. While a website remains the core of this platform, it’s only the start of the marketing authors need to carry out to improve their presence in a competitive market.

Fuelled by the author’s own experiences, the various aspects that make up the platform, including social media, are all addressed and supported by examples of good practice.

Thought provoking, inspiring but still practical, this book can help authors improve their platforms and marketing.

Description

In Platform Mastery, full-time USA Today Bestselling Author Nick Thacker breaks down what it means to launch an author platform, and what it means to use it to reach the next level.

No matter where you are today, there is something you can do right now to get to where you want to be.

You don’t need more books (although that can help). You don’t need to be a better writer (but that could help, too).

You need a better platform. A plan of attack. A belief that you can reach the next level.

Platform Mastery by Nick Thacker

Networking for Writers by Lizzie Chantree

23rd February 2021.

While there are plenty of books out there that deal with all aspects of marketing a book and using social media as a writer, it’s great to find one that talks to me in my language. I’m neither an expert nor a novice, but I like to check out different angles and approaches as there’s always something to learn.

And this book gave me a fresh outlook in a number of key areas, such as how to engage on Twitter and use it as a writer. Email subscription lists are another area where the author gave me plenty to think about and try. Suddenly, it started to make more sense. I could see how I could improve what I do.

That’s the beauty of this excellent book – it’s filled with practical tips, mainly based on the author’s own experiences and knowledge. The book’s written in an engaging and encouraging style that left me feeling more confident and motivated to try harder.

You can’t ask for more than that.

Description

Are you swamped with book marketing and looking for a way to find new sales? Learn simple and effective networking techniques, to grow your readership and connect with other authors and book lovers, today!

Whether you are a new or an experienced writer, self-published or traditionally published, this book will show you how to grow your readership and author network, through some of the most powerful of all marketing tools – word of mouth and recommendation.

This book will show you:

How networking can help you sell more books.

Why author branding is important.

How networking hours work.

Specific Facebook groups for writers

How to utilise social media to grow your readership.

How not to waste valuable writing time.

How to make our marketing more effective.

Networking for Writers by Lizzie Chantree

No Sex Please We’re Crime Writers

19th February 2021.

Have you ever wondered why there’s so little sex in crime fiction?

Maybe there is and I’m reading the wrong books. Maybe sex and murder are not good bedfellows.

Some categories of crime fiction, such as cosy mysteries, exclude explicit sex, graphic violence and excessive swearing. In my book, literally and metaphorically, this doesn’t exclude romance, sexual tension and people sleeping together. It simply frowns on graphic description.

But sex scenes should only be in a story if they are essential to the plot or character development. This should be the case in any book in any category. If a killer, for instance, seduces his or her victims before killing them, does this need to be shown in detail?

Crime Scene - No sex please

You could argue the same for murder. Does it need to be shown in great detail?

It depends on the type of book and the writer, I guess. With so much emphasis on the collection of forensic and DNA evidence at crime scenes, detailed description that may lead investigators closer to the killer would be essential.

It’s up to writers to show the world as they see it.

Personally, I’m not a fan of torture scenes or any graphic descriptions that involve violence or someone inflicting pain on another human being or animal.

That’s not to say I live in a closeted world where everything’s rosy. I simply don’t need to read the details. I have an imagination. If someone is being tortured as part of the story, tell me. I need to know. But do I want to know every detail of what the killer’s doing?

Some writers like to get into the minds of killers, to show how they’ve become who they are. We’re all inquisitive and the subject’s fascinating, but that doesn’t mean it needs graphic descriptions.

It’s the same with sex. My readers can imagine a sex scene much better than I can write it. And let’s be honest here, each person will imagine it a little differently, making the story more personal to them.

Fun readingSurely, that’s what we want as authors – readers to enjoy our books. Reading is an emotional experience. The imagination fills in the blanks. We see characters in a particular way, even when they are described in detail. It means readers are more likely to get something personal to them from what they read.

Of course there are times when you have to lay things out in detail, if only for accuracy or credibility, but I would suggest there’s always some room to allow the reader’s imagination to personalise what they’re reading.

If I want everything laid out for me, I’ll watch TV.

Then I can complain on social media that the main character is nothing like the one I pictured in the books.

Not that I really picture them. I’m more interested in who they are, not what they look like.

And that’s the point, ultimately. No two readers are alike. Every one of us has different tastes, values and attitudes. I prefer to read books that aren’t graphic or filled with profanities. I know people swear in the real world, but they also belch, fart, pick their noses, scratch their bums and so on.

If the story and characters are engaging, some swearing and violence won’t put me off a book.

If the swearing and violence feel excessive or unnecessary, I can stop reading – and often do.

I want people to enjoy my books. I want to entertain my readers.  I want to tantalise them with complex plots and mysteries in a contemporary world that feels real.

I don’t need graphic sex, foul language and excessive violence to achieve that. It doesn’t make my books soft and fluffy or unrealistic.

I’m writing a murder mystery not a bonk buster.

Reading questions

How do you feel about swearing, sex and violence in crime novels?


Learn more about the Kent Fisher murder mysteries.

Let’s Get Digital by David Gaughran

18th August 2020.    5 stars.

This is an excellent introduction and guide to independent publishing that’s perfect for a novice or seasoned indie author. It’s filled with practical tips and no-nonsense guidance that takes you to the heart of all the important issues so you can produce the best book possible and market it to as many readers as you can.

It’s well-written, everything is explained clearly and based on David’s extensive experience.

If you only read one book on publishing your own work, make it this one.

Description

Publish like a pro and start finding readers today with the most comprehensive and up-to-date self-publishing guide on the market. Packed with practical, actionable advice, the new fourth edition of Let’s Get Digital delivers the very latest best practices on publishing your work and building audience.

* Boost your writing career with marketing strategies that are proven to sell more books.
* Discover expert tips on platform building, blogging and social media.
* Learn which approaches are best for selling fiction vs. non-fiction.
* Implement powerful ways to make your ebooks more discoverable.
* Increase your visibility by optimizing keywords and categories.
* Weigh the pros and cons of Kindle Unlimited, and find out exactly how to tweak your promotional plans depending on whether you stay exclusive to Amazon or opt for wider distribution.

And that’s just for starters…

Let's Get Digital

Become a Successful Indie Author by Craig Martelle

16th July 2020. 4 stars.

As the title suggests, this book is aimed at independent authors. It’s a positive, encouraging book that shows you what it’s possible to achieve with hard work, marketable ideas and an insight into the world of self-publishing. The author’s been there and calls on his experiences and learning mistakes to offer practical advice, inspiration and solutions.

I’m not a science fiction fan, so the author’s examples didn’t resonate with me and I skipped most of them. The rest of the book gave me some useful ideas on book descriptions and marketing on Amazon.

If you’re new to writing and self-publishing, this is an essential introduction into the world you are about to join.

Description

Demystifying the tangled web of self-publishing to put you on the road to success.

This is the 2nd Edition, updated in 2020. A motivational guide based on publishing over four million words (mostly with Amazon) to help you see past the hurdles that are keeping you from climbing the mountain of success. Nothing is overwhelming once it’s been explained. If you are smart enough to write a book, you are smart enough to do everything else needed to make your indie author business a success.

Following- A Marketing Guide to Author Platform

16th July 2020.   5 stars.

This free guide to building and developing an author platform is a must read for any independent author, trying to build their brand and improve visibility on a busy internet. Like all of David Gaughran’s work, it’s well-written and presented, filled with valuable advice, insights and guidance, which is always straight to the point.

If you like no-nonsense advice from someone who knows, grab a copy of this excellent guide.

Description

From the author of Let’s Get Digital and Amazon Decoded comes a fresh, new approach to platform-building.

This short, free guide breaks down what an author platform is, exactly, and what it should contain—and what you can safely skip, so you can focus on writing more books. Authors are told to “build a platform,” or “get their name out there”—advice which is vague as it is useless.

Following will show you precisely how to build your author platform, walking you through every step involved so that you can build a real platform, a proper, sustainable readership, and build a career as a writer.

An interview with author Ross Greenwood

I’m delighted to welcome crime fiction author Ross Greenwood to my Robservations blog. Having recently read and enjoyed The Snow Killer, I offered Ross the chance to tell me a little more about himself and his writing.

Please tell me a little about yourself and your writing.

Hi, I’m 46 and from Peterborough. I’ve been writing since 2015 and my eighth book is out in November.

When did you first realise you wanted to be an author?

I’ve always wanted to write a book, but suspected it would just be one. It’s snowballed since then, along a rather long, gentle slope with many hillocks as opposed to down a mountain!

Describe the first piece you wrote and what it meant to you?

Lazy Blood was my first and as with most people, it bubbled away in my mind for years, five in my case, before I wrote it. It was a joy to eventually hold.

What do you most enjoy about being an author?

The screaming groupies, fast cars and pots of cash.

What do you least enjoy about being an author?

I find it hard to turn off, especially mid book. My wife says i go ‘absent’, sometimes for weeks!

What type of characters do you love and hate to write? Why?

I like writing them all! If they don’t interest you, probably won’t interest the reader either!

I understand you worked as a prison officer for a number of years. How has this influenced your writing and novels?

Hugely. I was very wrong about what prison is really like. It’s a great place to set stories!

What’s been the biggest influence on your writing so far?

Definitely the prison. I met thousands of people over the four years, both men and women as Peterborough is a dual prison. Lot of writing fodder there! Lot of madness and a lot of sadness.

What inspired you to write the DI Barton series?

I just had (what I thought to be 🙂 ) a great idea to write a book about someone who killed when it snowed. A detective novel seemed the best way to exploit it!

How would you describe your books to someone who has never read one before?

Serious with a sense of humour. A friend calls my Dark Lives books The Prison Misery series.

What’s the best compliment you’ve received about your books?

An eighty year old got in touch after reading Fifty Years of Fear and said he never expected to be surprised at his age, and thanked me for opening his eyes.

Do you have any favourite authors? What is it about them or their work that appeals to you?

I’m a huge reader, but i really like variety, so I flitter between authors like a horny butterfly! I read quite a few of Bloodhound Book’s authors, both current and past for my crime fix, and I buy loads of books in the top 100 on kindle when they’re 99p.

If you could invite four guests (fictional or real, alive or dead) for dinner, who would you choose and why?

Kelly Brook, JFK, MLK, and Nelson Mandela. Last three are sadly dead, but I’m sure me and Kelly will get on.

Please tell me about your latest project/plans for the future.

The Ice Killer is out in November. I always planned it to be a trilogy, but Barton has proven popular, so I will probably do at least one more if the demand is there, but I’m going to do a prison one next, with elements that have never been written about before… Duh Duh Durrrrr…

The latest release from Ross is the second in the DI Barton series.

‘Repent in this life, rejoice in the next…’

A murder made to look like suicide. Another that appears an accident. DI Barton investigates the tragedies that have shattered a family’s lives, but without obvious leads the case goes nowhere. Then, when the remains of a body are found, everything points to one suspect.

Barton and his team move quickly, and once the killer is behind bars, they can all breathe a sigh of relief. But death still lurks in the shadows, and no one’s soul is safe. Not even those of the detectives…

How do you stop a killer that believes life is a rehearsal for eternity, and their future is worth more than your own…?

You can find Ross Greenwood at

Twitter – @greenwoodross

https://www.facebook.com/RossGreenwoodAuthor