Friday 30 December 2016

All the best intentions

"Resolutions." by MT 23 is licenced under CC by 2.0

I meant to blog regularly. In fact back in the day I was pretty good at sticking to a regular blogging schedule - but since then my life has become crowded with kids, managerial work, the spouse, the cat, the need to binge-watch Supergirl...

Following the completion of my second novella, The Foolish Friend, I let all of the reasons not to write overwhelm me, and it has taken a lot longer than I intended to complete the third book in the Novella series - His Darling Belle. Three months longer, in fact. I could give you a mile-long list of reasons why I didn't do it, and many of them sound really reasonable, but at the end of the day my stall in writing comes down to one thing:


I suddenly became crippled with self-doubt about my ability to write novellas, and convinced myself that the only people buying them were friends, and they were doing it out of pity. It didn't matter whether or not I got good reviews, the fact that I don't know anyone in Italy, or the USA, or Australia that might buy my books. Somehow I convinced myself these were fluke reads. The fear that I was churning out sub-par content, that I was a fraud, that I didn't deserve these lovely readers and reviewers, became so real that I was on the verge of quitting completely.

Luckily, I'm in a couple of awesome writing groups. Writers - both traditionally published and indie - that I admired often talked about hitting some kind of crippling wall of fear at least once a year, usually when they hid a complex plot point, or got a bad review, or their sales dipped, or it was Tuesday.  Following their example I kept on going, kept on writing that novella, even though I wasn't brave enough to write on this blog, or put together an email list, or do any of the peripheral activities necessary to be a successful indie author.

Today I got the payoff; I typed "The End" on my newest novella, and sent it off to my beta readers for their input. I've put the cover together and written the blurb all ready for launch at some point in January, I'm putting together the mailing list (which will include a free short story just for signing up - so stay tuned!!), and I've even plotted out a series of blog posts about interesting things and people from the regency period, 

So in short, thanks for sticking with me, folks. I promise it will be worth it!

Monday 4 July 2016

Social Media

"Growing Social Media" by MKHMarketing is licenced under CC by 2.0

I have a love/hate relationship with Social Media.

I mean, I love how easy it is to connect to people and keep in touch with friends who live on the other side of the world to me. I love discovering new friends and even met my now-husband online. I love how easy it is to share interests and discover new writers and artists and musicians that I otherwise would not have discovered. There's a lot of good online.

On the other hand, social media is a complete timesuck, and if I'm not careful I'll spend my entire writing-time mucking about on facebook or doing random quizzes to discover what shade of blue my music taste is. As a writer, it is also painfully easy to get wrong and I am constantly worrying about what constitutes a hard sell, what classes as too much info, am I just being annoying now?

I'm a novice when it comes to social media as a marketing tool, and yet a solid half of my book sales have come through my social media connections. Friends, acquaintances and friends-of-friends have all been extremely supportive and great about getting the word out there, meaning that without ever meaning to use social media as a marketing strategy, that's exactly what I've ended up doing.

However most of this was through my private FB account (I keep it locked down for a number of reasons) and I worry about being That Person who constantly posts about their book or product. So with the help of a friend I've set up a whole raft of social media accounts - a new twitter, this blog, a fb page, even a Goodreads account - with the intention of being a bit more mindful about sharing info about my books and interesting bits of history I come across that might be of interest to historical romance fans.

Well, I have to give it a shot, right?

Wednesday 25 May 2016

A Writer, Or An Author?

"female typing" by Adikos is licenced under CC by 2.0

I've self-published my first novella. Does that mean that I'm I a Writer or an Author?

 I'll be honest with you: I never intended to self publish anything.

 You see, I write all the time. I've had several science fiction short stories published under a different name, and I'm working on some longer pieces in various genres as well. I write fast and a write a lot, because if I didn't write I think I'd go crazy, what with all the stories crammed up inside my head. I write because I have to. Because "writer" is something that I am.

I find being a writer easy, because writing is a natural process that anyone can do. It doesn't even have to be any good, you just have to, you know, write. Author, though? Being an author is a different, scary beast. To me, an author is someone who not only writes and publishes books, but makes a living from them. Now I appreciate that my definition isn't the same as everyone else's definition of author, but this is how I see it. My goal is to become an author, not just someone who printed out a copy of their magnus opus and declared themselves to be a proper writer.

So why self publish? Why not stick with grinding away at getting an agent and a deal with a Big Five publisher and a zillion dollar advance?

 Well, it's all down to a novella I wrote a few years back. The Dashing Widow is a short regency romance that was written as a gift to my mum, who is a huge fan of  Georgette Heyer, when I wanted to something special for her birthday a few years back (she loved it, btw, which from my mother is a pretty huge endorsement). Since then it has languished on my hard drive, because the historical romance market is relatively small, and none of the traditional publishers take novellas, anyway.

Fast forward to May 2016. I've had interest from agents and publishers for some of my historical fiction, but not enough to tempt an offer of publication. I've a few science fiction short stories published, but nothing consistent. I'm feeling a bit jaded about the whole writing thing, when a writer-friend of mine points out that there are a large number of writers out there who are making a living through self publishing, even though they are only small fish in their ponds.She points out that I've got nothing to lose, and a helluva lot to gain if I do this thing correctly. I figured that since The Dashing Widow wasn't doing anything on my hard drive,  it would serve as a great tool to learn about self publishing.

 Well so far it's done better than my wildest dreams. Over 75 people have bought or borrowed my book in the first three weeks, and I've made back the money I spent on the cover photos for a series of regency romps.

I'm learning a ton about self-publishing in the process, including some rookie mistakes that I will be clearing up in the coming weeks.

 Does this make me an author? Well, not yet. At least not to my mind. I'm setting myself an arbitrary goal at which point I can consider myself a writer: when I make $25k in a calendar year from writing.

I'll chronicle my experiences here on the blog, alongside random posts about the Georgian, the Regency and the Victorian periods in the UK. So, starting point for May is $0.00 - since I'm starting out on this path with nothing. I wonder how long it's going to take me to hit my first $100?

Tuesday 17 May 2016

Good Morning World!


I always hate writing introductions; I try to come across as kooky and seem to hit "weird" pretty fully on the mark. What can I say? It's a gift.

So, who am I? Well, I'm Elizabeth - Beth if you prefer. I'm a *cough* thirty-something *cough* year old Albertan who is just a tiny bit obsessed with British history.

I write Historical Romance (capital letters for importance, my lovelies), with a focus on the late Georgian, the Regency, and the early Victorian time periods. My favourite writers in this genre are Courtney Milan, Sarah MacLean and of course Georgette Heyer (Cotillion and Sprig Muslin, before you ask).

I've recently published my first book The Dashing Widow: A Regency Romps Novella on Amazon, and am ridiculously pleased that people seem to be liking it. There are four more to come in that particular series, and a few more projects in the works besides. 

My intention is to use this blog to share some of my research (because 90% of it will never make it into a book, but it is WAY too interesting to keep to myself!), talk about books that I love in both fiction and non-fiction, as well as talking about random stuff like my cat.

Anyway, lovely to meet you, and I look forward to getting to know you better :-)