The Girl Who Swapped summer sale

The Girl Who Swapped – 99p or 99c

 

The Girl Who Swapped Kindle cover

Bespoke book cover art example from coverness.com

For one week only, you can buy The Girl Who Swapped for a mere 99p on Amazon.co.uk or 99 cents* on Amazon.com

Do you love chick lit or humorous fiction that makes you chuckle? The Girl Who Swapped introduces you to Lottie and Charlotte who’ve woken up in the wrong bodies and miles away from home.

How do they get back to their ‘real’ lives, and where those real lives so fantastic in the first place?

The Girl Who Swapped – Sale

Via champagne-soaked parties, tempting tall, dark and handsome strangers and an ego-maniac Hollywood star, join the rollercoaster ride as our heroines hurtle through their new lives as they try to find their ways home.

If you like your reading light, frothy and fun, The Girl Who Swapped is a great summer read** and the Kindle version won’t take up precious room in your suitcase.

A fabulous read. Couldn’t put it down
Great story, well written with engaging characters
A real page turner

feebee on Amazon

Buy the book on Amazon.com here, or Amazon.co.uk here. It’s on sale at the discounted price from 8-15th August. 

*Seven or eight years ago, 99 cents would have been a bargain compared to the 99p price, but the pound’s so weak these days, there’s not much in it.

**Bleurgh. Blowing my own trumpet makes me feel like I need to take hot shower and scrub everything HARD.

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Finishing books and making cakes

This week I’ve…

a golf-themed birthday cake made by Emma BairdMade cakes! The man in my life turned 50 this week, so I made him a golf themed cake—mainly because the decoration didn’t seem too complicated. Green icing*, a golf figurine and some golf ball wafers equals job done.

I’m not a talented baker. It requires precision whereas my first instinct when I look at any recipe is to wonder what would happen if I switch one ingredient for another and double up the cheese quantity specified.

Cake tins

Then there’s that whole cake tin thing, where every single recipe for cake appears to use a different-sized tin. True. Do proper bakers have room in their kitchens for a dedicated cake tin cupboard stacked from top to bottom with tins of varying sizes? Luckily, I found this handy conversion calculator on CakeBaker which gives you ingredient quantities for your size of tin.

I made a Madeira cake as that’s one recommendation for celebration cakes—sturdy and minimal crumble, apparently. The filling inside is home-made lemon curd (see this super easy microwave recipe here) and the cake’s iced with lemon butter cream and topped with green fondant paste.

Taking to the hills

Did my first trail run. Pounding the pavements can get awfy boring after a while, so I ventured up into the hills behind my house this week. It’s seriously hilly, but the deal was I could walk in places just like proper trail runners do. Another added bonus is that you don’t take in lungfuls of exhaust fumes.

Trail running is supposed to benefit your training regime as you use different muscles and it gives your brain more of a challenge as you tackle varying terrain.

Moved out of my comfort zone. On my list of ‘to do’s’ this year was to do a book event. As an introvert, I prefer hiding behind my laptop when book promoting. The arguments in favour include the ability to reach far more people and it’s much less time consuming/a better return on investment. Nevertheless, you don’t grow as a human unless you venture out of the places you find safe, so I approached my local library and asked if they’d be willing to run a Q&A event where I and another writer talk about our books, our writing processes and self-publishing.

And they said… YES.

Times and dates are still to be confirmed, but the event will take place during Scottish Book Week, 19-25th November. Yike-sy. More details to follow.

Beautiful biters

beautiful biters Finished a book—or the first draft of it, anyway. I’ve finally written ‘THE END’ (among the world’s most satisfying sentences to write) of Beautiful Biters. It started life as Beauty and the Vampires and then got a name change half-way through. It’s a story about a 16-year-old living side by side with vampires and doing make-up tutorials for them on YouTube as I wanted to give it a modern feel.

Now my least favourite part of writing begins; the rewriting bit. Ker-ist. I’d rather pluck my own eyeballs out. Or start another story so Beautiful Biters can meet the fate of all my other books—rusting away, forgotten and neglected, in the back of my hard drive.

Ate delicious Indian food. Sandy and I went out with his family to celebrate his half-century. The Dining Room is a local restaurant you’d be within your rights to describe as a “wee gem”. It’s tiny, so we were the biggest party in there and everyone joined in when we sang Happy Birthday. My go-to with Indian restaurants is saag paneer and Tarka dhal. Indian and Pakistani cuisines do amazing things to vegetables, and make the prospect of full-time vegetarianism do-able.

Tomorrow, to continue the birthday celebrations, we’re off to Edinburgh to see Brexit and eat in Sylvester’s. As it’s August, the place will be heaving. Unfortunately, I booked this excursion before realising the Scottish Premiership season starts this weekend and Rangers FC is to play Aberdeen on Sunday. I married a fervent footie fan and I fear my wee surprise won’t be greeted enthusiastically…

Ah well!

What highlights has your week brought? And what’s your favourite dish in an Indian restaurant?

*I say ‘not complicated’ but the air around me turned blue as I tried to fit that f*****g fondant paste on the cake.

The Frustrated Artist

A book cover for High Heels and Pink Glitter by Emma BairdTravel back in time to when they still did O’Grades at school—me, a 16-year-old doing art because the alternative was home economics and modern-thinking gals in the 80s wanted nothing to do with cooking and home-making.

[Misguided—I could have learned how to sew. A very useful skill. Drawing? Not so—unless you play a lot of Pictionary.]

Anyway, fast forward to 2018. Me. Not arty. (Grade C in that art exam.) Hopelessly rubbish at taking pictures. Terrible at designing websites. Beyond bloody awful at anything that requires an eye for design.

Then, I discover Canva. At first, I’m slow. It takes me three million years to figure out how to do the transparency thing. It’s a big day when I work out that double clicking in a box allows you to change text. When I discover grid lines, I’m over the moon.

I’m still not 100 percent sure what the pay thing means. Download for one use? What is one use? You put it on WordPress, or you do it on Wattpad? Then what? As a freelancer myself, I don’t want to ‘do’ any photographer or graphic designer out of their rightful pay or royalties. The online world doesn’t work in content providers favour, so we should stick together in solidarity.

But yeah, Canva. I make my own book covers. I tinker with infographics, and I try to create memes and gifs. The rubbish 16-year-old art student stirs. Gosh, she ponders to herself, if I took the time to learn this stuff, I might be amazing.

In the meantime, you get my steps on the way to learning*. I’ve pasted above the latest book cover I created on Canva. And you can read the book here.

Art. Never give up on it. If you want to explore Canva for yourself, the website is here.

 

*Not sure the transparency thing works here.

 

 

Going Indie – part one

Some food for thought on the process of indie publishing…

Caron Allan Fiction

I’m a self-published—or Indie—author. And that is no longer something to be lamented or ashamed of, nor has it been for quite a few years. I published my first book in January 2013, and since then have inflicted several more books on the unsuspecting reading public, with many more planned for the future.

If you are thinking about being an Indie author, or you already are one and are ready to quit and get a ‘real’ job, here is my take on Going Indie. I hope overall, I will encourage rather than discourage you. Shall I say at the outset that I am finally making money? Because yes, I write because I love it, and I love the creative process, but at the same time, I need to live. I need to buy food, notebooks, pay bills and assist my hubby in keeping a roof over our heads. And…

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a picture of a cat sleeping at Emma Baird

Buck-ups for Writing, and Eating Outside

This week I’m…

Getting on with things. A book I finished in January has sat mouldering in my hard drive ever since. This will not do, Emma B, I tell myself. I’ve sent it out to a proof-reader. I’ve exchanged emails with Caron Allan where I bombarded her with questions about her publishing process seeing as she excels at writing AND selling books.

I’d like to publish Artists Town, a coming of age tale set in the 1990s, in the next few months.

Eating outside. I’ve been able to do so for the ninth, I’ll say it again, ninth evening in a row. This is a slaw-type recipe (below) with turkey mince, cabbage, spices and a cheeky bit of cheddar.a picture of turkey slaw at Emma Baird

Testing out new trainers. These beauties turn up in a lot of reviews of great running shoes for women. I put them on and felt myself bounce delightedly. That’s what a good shoe does, right? It makes you want to move. I’ve got ten weeks to bed them in before I use them to pound Glasgow’s pavements for the Great Scottish Run.

Emma BairdContributing to the CO2 shortage. This week would have been the ideal time to tackle that diet coke addiction seeing as the UK is currently experiencing a CO2 shortage. Plants have stopped making the stuff. Muffins are at an all-time low* and (whisper it) beers in Wetherspoon’s might run out. Quelle horreur!

But no. I’m thinking of asking everyone I know to stockpile diet coke on my behalf so that when supplies run low, I will be okay.

Yes, folks. I’m that citizen-minded. In my defence, this is thirsty weather.

a cat rolling in the grass at Emma BairdWittering on about the heat. Perhaps the time has come for we Scots to stop exclaiming in wonder at the weather. We walk the sun-soaked streets in a daze, unsure if we exist in reality or if we’ve been transported to a parallel universe where the skies are always blue, and you can wear just a tee shirt** at eight o’clock in the morning.

The forecasters say it’s to continue for another two weeks. I’m loath to say, then it’ll be back to business as usual, rain-drenched instead of sun-soaked streets, kind of things as that fatalism drives me mad. But I should make the most of it. It’s amazing to be able to spend so much time in the sun out with a week abroad. I want to store up lots of sun-filled memories to shore me through winter when it comes.

 

*Used in the packaging, not the actual muffin. Weird, hmm?

**Unless your tee shirt is a long one, please also wear shorts, trousers or a skirt. 

a copy of the book cover for the artist's history by Emma Baird

My Adventures on Wattpad—Part Three

a copy of the book cover for the artist's history by Emma BairdI’m still clinging onto Wattpad by my fingertips, hoping that at some point my stories take off, and I end up the Wattpad equivalent of Zoella.

As I’m losing the popularity competition on the site, this post won’t tell you how to succeed on Wattpad. But here’s what I get from my Wattpad experiences…

Discipline. My devoted readership (thank you Caron Allan) do read my chapters, so that makes me write regularly.

Plotting. Life’s a lot easier when you plot properly. I use bullet points and I write them by hand as I believe the physicality of it makes your brain work differently. You decide what you want to happen in a chapter and bullet how the action will take place. Then, all you need to do is flesh the bullets out, which is the easy bit.

Re-evaluation. The book I’ve written that’s the most popular on Wattpad is also the one I like the least. Two Slices of Carrot Cake would need serious work to make it half-way decent. But there you go. The Wattpad audience doesn’t agree with me.

Write to market. The second most popular book I have on Wattpad is also teen fiction. That makes sense as 85 percent of users are millennials or Generation Z. Middle age angst (the stuff I specialise in) doesn’t interest them.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed on Wattpad. There are millions of stories on the platform (more than 32.2 m), but stats put the 65 million audience at 76 percent content users, rather than generators—i.e. readers, rather than writers. And the bulk of them are reading on their smart phones, which is why you should write chapters that aren’t long and use short sentences and paragraphs.

There’s a saying that failure isn’t the opposite of success, merely a step on the way. I’ll stick with Wattpad and my select loyal followers. Who knows what might happen?

If you’d like to read any of my works on Wattpad, here’s the link.

copies of the Diabetes Diet books in a pile

A Little Bit of Success

copies of the Diabetes Diet books in a pileBlimey… I’m comfortable enough with failure. It’s not the opposite of success after all. But something happened this week that astonished me.

It was a teeny-tiny hint of something that might be working. I went online to check book sales. I have three, two fictional ones* and The Diabetes Diet, which I co-wrote with Dr Katharine Morrison. The total sales took me by surprise as The Diabetes Diet had made more than £160 in royalties in less than two weeks.

Successful authors won’t view this as a big deal, but the book’s royalties hover on the £10 a month mark most of the time. The book has always sold (put the word diet on a book and sales are guaranteed), but never at these levels.

Type the diabetes diet into Amazon’s UK site and ours is the first book to come up—at least on Monday (18 June). It’s in the top ten disorders and diseases category, the top 50 diets and weight loss, and number 1283 in non-fiction.

Traffic to both my blogs (this one and the one I write to complement The Diabetes Diet) has spiked in recent weeks, which might have contributed to the rise in sales. Or perhaps Dr Morrison’s attendance at the Public Health Collaboration conference last month helped. Maybe it’s both.

I did do some jiggery-pokery at the beginning. I made sure I used a lot of keywords in the description and I thought carefully about my tags. When we gave the book a paperback offering, we paid someone to redesign the cover, making the book look more professional.

I publicise the blog on LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+, but do little else to promote the book. I’ve never run marketing campaigns on it, and I’ve never put it in for a Kindle count-down deal. Even the blog doesn’t do that much to implicitly promote the book. I don’t have a plug-in, for example, that tells people where they can buy it every time a visitor lands on our site.

Of course, successful authors do their best to discover where the sales are coming from so they can do more of the same. Another idea would be for me to investigate the costs of an audio book, so that The Diabetes Diet is available in three forms, or even a large print paperback. Given that diabetes often affects people’s eyesight, an audio or large print version makes sense.

I recognise that rankings and sales fall as swiftly as they rise on Amazon. To quote Rudyard Kipling, “If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster, And treat those two imposters just the same”. In other words, don’t get too wound up by either of them.

Anyway, it is nice to have a little success. I’ll revel in it for the short time it lasts.

*The success won’t go to my head. Sales of the fictional books still elude me…