It’s autumn, I’m in the throes of writing a new short story book (set to be published March 2022) and I’m feeling super generous so I have decided to do a book giveaway! ‘Hoorah’ I hear you cry as you jump up and down with excitement.
Subscribe to this website and also to MyriadLifebooks.com to be in with a chance of winning your very own copy of The Isolation Sex Stories. Please note that this giveaway will only apply to adults of 18+ and to UK residents. I will pick winners from my good vibes only rainbow mug on 1st November 2021 so you won’t have too long to wait. You will be notified by email if you are a winner.
Pleases note that The Isolation Sex Stories is an adult read so if you are easily offended it might not be for you. *Contains sexual references and strong language, so be warned!
It is however a funny read… read the Amazon reviews here.
MyriadLifeBooks.com is a sister site to this one where you will find beautiful notebooks to get creative with, it’s also a site I am growing to showcase other authors and offer tips on self publishing. You will even find a collection of secondhand books to buy, it’s a small list at the moment but I will be adding more soon. It is definitely worth subscribing as every so often I do a notebook giveaway too.
I’ve been spending more time engaging with the writing community on Twitter and finding some great indie authors. There’s still snobbery out there when it comes to whether your book has been traditionally published or not, but the barriers are gradually being beaten down.
I’ve been doing my bit by offering to feature indie authors and their work on my new website MyriadLifeBooks.com. I know what it’s like trying to market your books to the big wide world and quite frankly it’s daunting, time consuming and at times nerve wracking. However, it is also enormously satisfying! It’s a really special feeling to see your book in print and to get feedback from your readers.
While the debate of whether it’s better to be traditionally published or self-published rages on, I’ve made my decision and it’s to stick with being an indie author for now. Of course, I never keep any door closed and this is not to say I’ll never go the traditional route but I know that it’s hard work either way and you still have to market your work and put the hours in so I’m happy to get on and do it all myself.
While I am still learning (and no doubt always will be) my aim is to pass what I learn along to other indie authors. I don’t see others as competition, I feel we are all in it together and should help one another. People will always want to read and with 7.8 billion people in the world, I think there is enough readership for all of us!
What I want to do with MyriadLifeBooks.com is to create a place where indie authors can show off their work and readers can go to find authors from around the world with a good mix of genres. Supporting indie authors is the same as supporting small businesses, it feels good and you get something away from the mainstream.
In time, I hope to add editing professionals, proof readers, illustrators and cover designers. If you are a professional in any of these areas and would like to feature on the website please email email@example.com for further details.
I’m currently writing my next set of short stories – I’ve set a publication deadline for October 2022, which the way time is going will be in the blink of an eye! Please be patient with me…
It would be great if you could go and read my current stories (scroll down for links), if you could leave reviews at Amazon that will help enormously. Us indie authors need 50 reviews to get into the Amazon newsletters – not a lot of people know that! Every review is hugely appreciated so please take the time if you can.
If you’d like to be updated with new posts on this website please hit the subscribe button here and at MyriadLifeBooks.com
Here I am navigating how to market my books as I go. I’ve always been one to learn on the hoof, so to speak. It helps with my impatience to get things done. I am trying to be consistent in what is turning out to be a pretty inconsistent way.
Having video’d myself reading from 12 excerpts of The Isolation Sex Stories I find that Facebook doesn’t want to post the videos – maybe it’s a download thing or maybe they don’t like the content. I have no idea as I haven’t received a notification as yet. They are simply proving impossible to upload. The first introductory one was fine but nothing since has worked. My phone rarely lets me down so I’m pretty sure it’s not that.
WordPress to the rescue where happily I have discovered that by using Anchor my blogposts can be created as podcasts. So now you get to listen to a nice American lady instead of my sultry tones and you don’t have to look at me. This could well be a blessing in disguise! Having said that, videos are fun to do when I’m in the mood, so I will persist with those when time allows.
You can listen to the podcasts via the links at the bottom of this page and all future blogposts will be available as podcasts too. Maybe I will eventually get to use my own voice but for now I’m happy with the American lady as it saves time and time is particularly precious at the moment.
It’s a bit tricky when you have written a book containing adult content. It’s not porn but obviously there are some scenarios and language that could cause offence and that’s why I did put a warning at the beginning at my videos (even though I made sure the excerpts weren’t anything too naughty). This is all a great learning curve. I am glad I wrote the book and I know it has given a number of people great amusement which was always the intention during these tough times. It will certainly be fun to look back on it in ten years time…
My next book of short stories is a completely different subject and looking ahead I now know how much easier it should be to market. Someone once said that I never do things the easy way and that’s pretty much true. However, it does prepare the way and I’m always suspicious when things are too easy. Life has conditioned me to believe that if something is easy it’s probably not worth doing.
Marketing certainly isn’t easy but it can be fun researching what to do next and interacting with other indies and readers on social media.
As I type this we are in the middle of a mini heatwave in the UK and it has been a long time coming. Consequently, for the first time this summer I have been able to move my office out onto the balcony which I have to say is some kind of bliss. As well as roasting nicely in the sun (with necessary precautions of course), I get to listen to the conversations people are having on their balconies. Yesterday some women were discussing which parts of their body tan first and a man was on the phone arranging a date. It’s impossible not to earwig and as a writer I certainly see it as my duty to do so! Who knows what could turn into my next story? The seagulls are squawking, music is playing and the herbs are growing away in their pots. Apart from the odd gnat bite, this feels like the perfect place to work. Oh hang on a minute, the women are back, the word ‘literally’ and phrase ‘going behind my back’ are being repeated quite a bit. If it gets really interesting I will let you know in my next blog. She just told Alexa to be quiet… that’s a shame, I was enjoying Ed Sheeran!
Social media tips for indie authors and anyone who is a writer or artist.
I have been studying social media and how it works for the writing community. Here I break down my experiences with each platform.
Just recently I have been observing Twitter quite closely and how writers interact and support one another there and it’s heartening to see. Twitter has worked in the past for me when I was promoting The Eight of Swords and I got some great feedback and gained new readers. Fast forward several years over the period when I wasn’t writing and now I am back there finding my way again. Of course the writing community is massive and worldwide and even stronger than before.
There are two main trends at the moment it seems. One is to ask questions about any kind of subject ranging from what did you have for breakfast, to: you have been given a boat, you have to name it, what is the name of your boat? The other is: I only need 50 followers to reach 5000, let’s all have a writer’s lift, post your links.
The first method of interaction I really enjoy because there is a vast array of questions and it encourages lots of friendly conversations and interesting outcomes. I’m not so sure about the second one, some days my timeline gets a bit too filled with such requests and I avoid them. It feels like begging as opposed to genuinely connecting with people but there you go, each to their own.
What I always find interesting and useful is the shared experiences of writing. The honesty from people when they get their work turned down by agents. The encouragement from other writers to keep on going. The rightly indignant retorts when an agency, publisher or individual criticises the indie market. The shared experiences and the kindness of people offering reviews.
Writing is such a mixture of culture and business and the two make for an interesting mix. I still see authors who don’t get that it’s not enough to write a book, it has to be marketed if readers are to be found and money is to be made. In my other life I am a photographer and occasionally I see artists and sometimes photographers claim they aren’t bothered about selling their work (trying to look cool) and later on whooping because they sold something. There is no shame in selling your work! You are not considered a professional at what you do until you do sell it. Yes, it takes effort but how much effort did it take to write that book? Money is what makes the world goes round and enables us to keep writing so don’t fight shy of selling just don’t push it too hard and end up boring everyone. You have to find the right balance and a balance that suits you. I’m no expert, |’m still trying to find the right balance myself. Watch and learn.
I guess I am lucky because I have always enjoyed and been fascinated by social media. It is like most things in life, try not to take it too seriously, stay away from the crazy and unpleasant folk, be kind and enjoy making new connections.
Over the years I have made a lot of friends through Twitter and it has been pretty good for my love life too as it happens… so it is always the first place I go to when I want to promote something because in my experience it has been a friendly and encouraging place. If you don’t go looking for trouble it is unlikely to find you. If you are careful about who you follow and respectful about what you say, I don’t think you can go too far wrong.
If you are a writer who is reading this and haven’t already given it a try, go do it! I remember when I first joined, I didn’t have a clue how to use it but there were plenty of friendly tweeters there to greet me and help me on my way. Persevere.
If you are a reader reading this, go look for some authors, read their books and be sure to leave them feedback. Before social media, readers never had the experience of connecting with authors so easily so it’s a great privilege.
Years ago, when I wrote The Eight of Swords I managed to gain quite a good following on Facebook. I let it lapse when I stopped writing for a while and when I revisited my page there earlier this year upon the launch of my new short story book The Isolation Sex Stories, I found I need to do quite a bit of work to get it going again and regain the interest.
While Twitter hasn’t changed all that much, Facebook has evolved in a number of ways. Now you can ‘go live’ and I used this to do my book launch. That was nerve wracking! However, it did create interest and great feedback plus some sales. It’s a great time for authors to be seen and heard as well as read so take advantage of it if you can. If you can’t face going live, try videos. People love watching videos, I know I do, so it make sense.
What I didn’t think about when I titled my book was the controls Facebook would put on such content so I’ve had to rethink a bit on that platform but it’s all good and I’m learning fast. Recently I learned that you don’t have to do paid advertising if you learn how to reach your potential readers organically. I’m still finding out about this so when | understand more I will do an update. It’s been a bit of a problem with Amazon too as they won’t allow me to advertise given the title/content of my book so bear that in mind if you are writing something that could hit this little wall. Where there is a will there is a way so it’s not stopped me, just slowed me a little.
I am trying to spend more time on my Facebook page so I will give more detail at a later date.
As a photographer I loved Instagram from the off so I decided to see how it works as a writer. Obviously it is very visual which is good for me as I am enjoying learning to promote my books in this way. My photography account was relatively easy to build for obvious reasons but my writer account took more getting to grips with. Rather than posting my usual landscape pictures I had to be extra creative and personal with my writer account. I’m generally a private person so it wasn’t easy but I think I am finding my way now.
The eye opener is Reels. If you can create some fun stuff they work well and this attracts more followers and I’m hoping in time, it will encourage more interaction. While Reels may seem an unusual way to do this, it’s a challenge worth trying I think. Keep an open mind. You wrote a book to entertain or inform, this is a way to extend that to people who wouldn’t necessarily be your usual audience but may be encouraged to check out your work.
Of course you don’t have to go on about your books all the time and this is the fun part. Show off your interests, be interactive and encourage conversations. Enjoy yourself, this applies to all the social media platforms. You simply need to find the one that you feel most comfortable with and work at it. It’s probably best to focus on a couple if you can but one is fine. I am spread across three because I like to see how they all differ and develop.
Obviously this isn’t an in depth analysis of social media and how to market your book on the different platforms but I hope it will help if you are dipping your foot into the writing world.
One thing I will say… it’s not cool to try to be cool, just be you.
I love a beautiful notebook to jot my ideas in. There is something luxurious about it and I know creativity flows much more easily when you can use tools that look and feel good and are enjoyable to use.
Being lucky enough to live in Norfolk, I often get to enjoy the scenery but I can’t always get to the coast or countryside so it’s lovely to use notebooks that show me a stunning Norfolk view wherever I am.
MyriadLifePhotoArt has produced a collection of Norfolk notebooks with cover images of the city, coast and countryside that I am sure you will love too. You don’t have to be an author to enjoy them, they are great for writing everyday notes, lists, experiences, memories or whatever it is you want to notate.
In addition to scenic views you can enjoy the wit of Gavin the Gull, his book covers feature an image of him with one of his legendary quotes such as ‘Your ice cream looks nice…’ or ‘Did somebody say chips?’ There are many other Gavin quotes to choose from. He might even encourage your children to do their homework…
There are more generic covers too, ideal for surfers/sailors and/or nature lovers.
All perfect gift ideas!
The luxury matte covers are very tactile and while most of the notebooks have lined interior pages, more designs are on the way.
If you happen to be visiting the north Norfolk coast, drop into Studio-Line Designs at Wells & Walsingham Railway who stock a variety of MyriadLifePhotoArt notebooks as well as lots of other lovely locally made items.
Many years ago I knew a man who was phenomenally successful. He’d built his company from scratch in a very lucrative sector. By early middle age he was a multi-millionaire. I remember him saying to me when we were out for a drink one night that people often said to him they were ‘busy, busy, busy.’ He laughed and said to me “what a load of bullshit.” He knew they were trying to sound important. I knew him for some years and I observed that while he would work hard, he never went on about it. He made sure he used his time wisely and enjoyed his leisure time. I’m sure that along the way to his success he must have suffered many a sleepless night and been phenomenally busy but he never had the urge to whine or boast about it. The proof was in his actions not his words, he didn’t need to appear important.
Fast forward to now. Recently I’ve heard people say, “I’m busy” an awful lot and quite frankly I’m beginning to find it a bit insulting. Firstly, it seems to be an excuse at times for not being efficient and secondly, by saying it, it is as if the person thinks no one is busy but them, and the implication from that is that they are more important than anyone else. Not a good look in my book.
Other people have noticed this too. There are those that say they are ‘busy’ and those that excuse poor communication by saying they have been in ‘back to back meetings.’ Yes, we all slip up sometimes but come on, technology has never made it easier to keep in touch. It takes a nano second to send a text and not much longer to send a polite email. By leaving it a week to respond to a question, all you are doing is showing that you are rude or disorganised or both. The most successful people I know are actually the most accessible and often the most humble too.
Then today I came across this article which made for a very interesting read. It’s a potted history of how the cult of busyness came about.
Now we are all heading back to some kind of normality, it would be nice if the selfishness could take a back seat after all the trauma of surviving a pandemic and if instead of constantly saying, “I’m busy,” people could consider how to organise their time so that they can be more efficient in what they do and make time for others. If indeed they are that busy.
I’ve kept this post short because, y’know, I’m er, nope, not going to say it!
The sun is out, the sky is blue, there are a few clouds but they aren’t spoiling the view. As tempting as it is to go out and enjoy the fresh air, here I am in front of my screen trying to get my head around book marketing.
I love writing my stories but it’s another thing altogether spreading the word about them. Writing is fun but hard work, marketing is even harder. I enjoy producing graphics, I know my way around social media (to a point) but when it comes to advertising, it’s a whole new ball game. Suddenly I need to know target audiences. I have to create a budget for spending. I have to measure results and assess what works and what doesn’t.
I’ve watched lots of instructive book marketing videos. I’ve read the experiences of other authors. I’ve listened to podcasts galore. Somehow I still feel a little adrift because everyone has a different experience, what you have to do is weigh up the common denominators that lead to success. Even then, luck comes into it. In truth, writing is like any other business and a book is a product. However, it’s more of a personal kind of product to the author who has to do the promotional work so sensitivities have to be quashed.
It’s not the first time I’ve had to market a product as I’ve always worked in business of some kind but a book, well that’s a bit different. I see a book as an emotional product, it’s much more personal. The stories I write will strike a chord with some and may leave others cold. I have to put this at the back of my mind and decide that everyone will love them. Positivity is the only way forward. Once upon a time I sold books by other authors, that was easy. When you come to sell your own, it’s a very different feeling.
The only way to deal with things you aren’t comfortable with is to make them fun. Quite by chance I came across a site called AllAuthor.com and they provide all kinds of useful tools for promotion. It’s a great site for readers too, well worth a look if you want to find indie authors and the genres you enjoy.
When I wrote The Eight of Swords, I didn’t do much promotion other than through social media. This time I want to stretch my readership far wider. I’m thinking of the future and the next books I will write as much as my existing ones.
My first proper ad via Facebook taught me that it’s not only your book you may get commentary on, it’s the way you plan to sell it. For The Isolation Sex Stories I decided to sell it exclusively via Amazon. This is partly because I wanted to test how that would go and it meant I got a free ISBN (a number which simply put, is a product identifier and almost every book has one). At the time of publication funds were tight and it seemed the best way to go. Also, let’s face it, Amazon is one of the largest book selling sites in the world and Kindle is massively popular. In business terms it was a no brainer to use them.
Amazon has come under fire for alleged tax avoidance in the UK. Tax avoidance isn’t illegal but of course it is emotive. When my ad for The Eight of Swords popped up on one Facebook user’s newsfeed, he decided to plant a gif in my post’s comments concerning Amazon not paying tax. Unfortunately I had to point out that Facebook had been accused of similar and that the person commenting on Amazon’s tax avoidance happened to be using Facebook to promote his work and comment on my post. We may not like what these big companies do but we shouldn’t be bringing one another down over it.
The other thing the commentator pointed out was that he didn’t like unsolicited advertisements popping up in his newsfeed. Well, this is easily fixed, all you have to do is adjust your settings to say that you don’t want to be shown personally targeted advertisements. In truth, I didn’t mind the commentator being grumpy about the advertisements, I get a bit fed up with them at times too. Sadly what he didn’t want to acknowledge was that we are both people trying to show others our work, and yes, obtain sales. If you don’t like what Amazon does business wise, if you find it doesn’t fit with your morals, fine, don’t use it. But if you moan about Amazon while using Facebook, I think that might make you a little hypocritical…
Next time I will publish on a wider variety of platforms. Experimentation is always fun and interesting. I will write more about my experiences as I progress.
If you are a writer or a reader and want to comment on this post, please feel free to do so. I love to hear what people think.
You can also follow me on social media, don’t be shy, come say hi!
It is almost two months since I published The Isolation Sex Stories and what an amazing time it has been. I’m feeling a little worn out if I’m honest. Putting a collection of stories out into the public eye is a pretty daunting exercise and I waited with bated breath to see what people would say.
I didn’t really worry too much about the title I’d chosen, until it came to the day of the book launch, then suddenly it hit me that all sorts of people would be watching my live reading. Suddenly I felt nervous! It’s one thing to joke about the saucy stories with your friends, quite another to launch them out onto the unsuspecting general public. Let’s face it, everyone has an opinion. What offends some folk will tickle others. Pop the word ‘sex’ into the title and who knows what might come back at you?
It has been very amusing and gratifying to get feedback. Most readers have a particular story that they enjoy the most, or strikes a chord. One said he felt like he was actually in the room with the characters of Don’t Touch Me and while he felt like he was a voyeur, he found it really funny. Another said that he could identify with a character from almost every story. This is brilliant for me, any writer wants their characters to come to life and be truly believable.
Here are some of the things my reviewers have said so far…
A great collection of short stories! Written with intelligence, warmth and wit. Some much-needed light relief after a difficult year.
Witty and amusing, a really good fun read. Petra Kidd puts warmth and understanding with humour into what has been a difficult time for all of us. This is an easy quirky read that will make you chuckle. I loved it. Makes a good present for friends who are struggling, it will give them a good laugh.
Petra captures the mood of our Lockdown Nation in a saucily humorous way, she nails it! Each short story is captivating, intriguing and very funny … I actually found myself laughing out loud so many times with tears rolling down my face.
It’s also entertaining to find out what shocks readers. With Fifty Shades of Grey being one of the most successful books of our time, I hardly thought my little collection would raise many eyebrows. The everyday antics of my locked down characters seem nowhere near as shocking to me as Christian Grey’s predilections. However, we are all different and apparently some people have even learnt new words thanks to my stories. I’m feeling proud, it may help them when next they play Scrabble!
I am wondering if I should create another cover/title for The Isolation Sex Stories for people who might feel embarrassed reading it in public places. My other idea is to run a competition called ‘I dare you,’ daring readers to take a selfie with the book while reading it in a public place. Let me know what you think… As the world begins to open up again, this could be the right moment, the prize will be sweet, I promise you.
While I am working hard on promoting The Isolation Sex Stories, I have started writing my next two books. They are two very different subject matters so I hope I can pull it off.
If you do go ahead and read The Isolation Sex Stories, please leave a review at Amazon. Every review is incredibly important and special to me. I worked hard to produce the book so it’s a very much appreciated reward to receive them. Please be honest, that’s even more important. I want to know what you didn’t like, as much as what you did.
Also, please use Smile.Amazon.co.uk or .com to buy my books because that way Amazon will make a donation to charity (at no extra charge to you.) I’d love it if you could choose the Samaritans but of course, whatever charity you choose is fine by me. I love to think that others will benefit while readers enjoy my books.
Being an indie author is a never ending learning curve. Follow my blog to join me on this adventure!
For now, stay safe and please connect with me via social media. Don’t be shy, come say hi!
They say not to judge a book by its cover but I need you to do just that. If you liked the cover of my book The Eight of Swords, please vote for it in the ‘Cover of the Month’ contest on AllAuthor.com by clicking on the link below. There’s not long to go before the first round is over, just a day left to vote!
Read below what reviewers had to say about this suspenseful short story.
If you haven’t read The Eight of Swords yet, it could be the perfect read for you . It’s a short story with plenty of drama and intrigue.
Here is what some of the reviewers on Amazon have said…
Really enjoyed The Eight of Swords, the storyline was original and kept you guessing! Rich descriptions throughout and really quite evocative … It divides opinion too, perhaps like me you will side with the story teller and then as the story unfolds your heart leaps in-between!
I downloaded this to my phone- which was a bonus as I couldn’t put it down; it was engaging and made me think of what I would of done, how I would have dealt with the same situation- it was intriguing to follow
Just finished reading this short story – it kept my attention from beginning to end (no mean feat!) and I enjoyed reading about Jayne’s reactions and feelings about the family who had moved into her home. Looking forward to reading the sequel.
My blog has been quiet for the past week as I have been making final preparations for the launch of my new short story book.
Writing a book is, in a way, the easy bit. I’ve been agonising over the cover design, proof checking (with the help of a great proofreader), creating illustrations for marketing, and recording audio and video clips.
It is fun and interesting but nerve wracking too!
This book is very different to The Eight of Swords and The Putsi. I wrote those stories nearly ten years ago. The new stories are born out of the times we are in. I’ve injected my usual humour and quirkiness so I hope you will enjoy them.
The launch will be on Sunday 14th February at 9pm when I will do a live reading of one of the stories via my Facebook page. So in addition to all of the above, I am now practising my ‘reading out loud’ skills.
It’s not enough to simply be a writer when you are an indie author. I’m having to learn a whole lot of new skills. Luckily I love social media so that’s not such a trial, but for many years I’ve been self-conscious about my voice. There was a period when I lost my voice and had to go for speech therapy, then to a voice lab in Nottingham where a group of specialists diagnosed me as having a condition known as Spasmodic Dysphonia. This condition causes the voice to break and have a strained or strangled sound. It can make me sound croaky or nervous, when I don’t feel nervous. They told me it would get worse, not improve. Apparently only botox injections into the throat, could improve it, yikes! I opted out.
The suggested condition has, over the years, been a blessing and a curse. I’ve struggled to make myself understood on the telephone many times. People want to know if I’m upset or if I have a cold. The plus side with this is that whenever I have needed a GP appointment, the receptionists have been very sympathetic!
Fortunately with patience and care my voice has improved. You probably won’t notice the occasional straining around vowels. I’ve learned to breathe better, take my time and not get too hung up on it. Public speaking may not ever be my thing but maybe one day I will be forced to face that too. For now I am practising with the videos and reading so I feel at last, anything is achievable.
It’s good to remember that however easy anything looks for anyone, you never know what they’ve had to go through to achieve it. The voice thing has been my bugbear for nearly twenty years. You never know how important something is to you, until you are under threat of losing it altogether. I imagined myself mute by now (which may have pleased a lot of people) but thank goodness with quite a bit of work, I’ve been lucky enough to improve.
Come join me on Sunday 14th February at 9pm. Whether you are loved up on St Valentine’s Day or on your own, please tune in and have a glass of something you enjoy while you listen.
Right, back to reading practise!
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Always feel free to comment and communicate, I love to hear from you.
Note: There are affliliate links wihtin this blog to Amazon products that I recommend. This means I receive a small percentage of sales with no extra cost to you. I only recommend books I personally have read and enjoyed or written.