While in the process of completing my latest book of short stories, I have had a slight diversion in the form of a new website (to me) called Medium.
You may or may not have heard of Medium, a social publishing platform available to readers and writers from all over the world. It gives readers an opportunity to find articles on a huge array of topics, including travel, psychology, sports, health, education, IT, fashion, music, humour, photography, and many others.
If you need to know more about any subject, it’s a great place to find information and personal viewpoints from a huge variety of experts and observationists.
Of course, I am a newbie and still finding my way around. So far, so good. I have read a number of helpful articles on how to navigate Medium. I published my first story, a five-minute read about how The Isolation Sex Stories came into being, gained a few followers and hit a reading rate of 80% (woohoo!) All within the space of 24 hours.
As with any new platform, it will take time to build, but it will be useful to be able to write more varied articles on subjects of my choosing. My two main subjects will be writing and photography, with occasional articles on my past 15+ years as an unpaid carer.
If you decide to take a look, please follow me @PetraKidd – you can join for free or the membership is only $5 per month.
In other news…
I am aiming to get my new book of short stories complete in time to be launched in June. The launch will be live on Facebook, so I hope you will join me for it. I will name the date by the end of May.
I am also posting a weekly photographic blog about life along the River Wensum in Norwich. If you love Norfolk, be sure to take a look at MyriadLifeBooks.com and subscribe to keep updated on new posts. The other benefit of subscribing is that your email will be entered into my monthly prize draw to win a free notebook.
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Someone once said to me ‘God laughs at people who make plans,’ and that quote has hovered in my head ever since.
My plan was to launch a new book of short stories on the 14th March but it turns out my own productivity scuppered that plan. The short stories aren’t the problem, the problem is, I have so many of them in my head, the book has increased to a much longer one than originally planned. So much so, I am seriously considering splitting it into two books. This means I will be able to publish the first one in June and the second in October. Well, that’s the new plan…
Thanks to three trusted readers, I am feeling confident the stories will entertain and amuse you, they are full of quirky characters and interesting situations (as you would expect from me). So please hang on in there, I promise they are on the way!
As well as writing, I have been working on my new website MyriadLifeBooks.com which I use as my own little publishing house. This has eaten up quite a bit of my time too, but it is worth it! Please head over and take a look, you will find featured writers, books to read, and notebooks to write in. I am also creating an online gallery for my photography.
If you hit the subscribe button you will be entered into a monthly draw to win a free notebook.
If you are in the subscribing mood, please subscribe to this one too, that way you will be kept updated with news on my new book of short stories.
If you happen to be an author, get in touch to be featured! You can see author interviews here.
While you are waiting for the new book, please check out my other short story books here.
When the great Coronavirus pandemic of 2020 forced good people of the world to self isolate for months, normal behaviour became suppressed. Sexual appetites and deviation came to the fore; hours shut behind closed doors, with little but televisions and the Internet to amuse them, caused carnal and psychological desires to grow. They took shape in forms never seen before. Perfectly upstanding members of communities, everyday folk who considered themselves straightforward in their desires, found their imaginations increasing and morphing in ways they could never have imagined before the virus struck. With time on their hands and minds, creativity took fun, sometimes bizarre, sometimes curious, sometimes just plain weird effect. This is what happens when you shut a society away, which is used to every kind of freedom. These are the Isolation Sex Stories.
A difficult day turns into a nightmare when Jayne Patchett returns home to find her house occupied by Romanian gypsies.
The irony of the situation isn’t lost on Jayne, who works in immigration. She is used to dealing with illegal immigrants at work but when she finds them sitting at her dining room table, drinking her wine, eating her food and wearing her clothes, her reaction surprises even herself.
If you have something special belonging to someone else, what happens when they want it back?
Eighteen years have passed since a family of Romanian gypsies invaded Jayne Patchett’s house. In that time her life has changed remarkably, she is a successful artist, happily in love, living in an idyllic country cottage. But all those years ago, one of the gypsies gave her a lucky pouch, the putsi. Now, one of them wants it back. Drama returns to Jayne’s life as secrets are unveiled and she begins to wonder who she can trust.
I like even numbers and for some reason, three twos feels good. Don’t ask me why I have that feeling – I’m not into lucky numbers. My writing life feels great right now, stories are flowing naturally and I am over 30 chapters into my new book.
Because my life is not easy to regulate I write when I can, but generally my stories get created after 2pm. Mornings are for marketing, chores and business stuff. Afternoon hours are reserved for ideas and story-time whenever possible.
Short stories suit my style but this latest work is gradually becoming a novel, albeit by accident. I never set out to write a novel. But then, I rarely set out with a plan. It’s only recently I found the term ‘pantser’ and it sums me up perfectly. I am the type of creator who flies by the seat of my pants when it comes to writing. Characters arrive as if they are walking into a room in my head. When I start a story, I rarely know how it is going to end. This suits me well because I know that if I get surprises, my readers will too.
It’s nearly a year since I published The Isolation Sex Stories. I’ve really enjoyed seeing reader reactions and hearing which stories became favourites. Interestingly, different people had different favourites, often surprising me.
My new book still observes the human condition in lighthearted ways but its much longer and with many more characters. I won’t say too much just yet but hopefully my readers will be amused again and enjoy meeting not just new characters but some of their animals too. I haven’t written about animals before but it is proving to be entertaining. I will keep you updated with progress.
As well as writing, I am busy creating new notebooks and journals using my photography skills so please be sure to check out MyriadLifeBooks – a site for both readers and writers.
I have set myself a publication date in March – so far I am on target… I will keep you updated. There is a lot to achieve by then including editing and illustrations so please wish me luck!
Check out my social media profiles here, it’s always good to interact…
If you aren’t a writer, a WIP is a ‘work in progress.’ I have been absorbed in my WIP for the past couple of months. The aim being to write a story a day. Of course, it doesn’t quite work out like that as typically life gets in the way. On a good day I write two stories in a day, most days I manage one, except at weekends because at that point I become a full-time carer, and there simply isn’t the time.
Also, I have other business to focus on, I am building up a collection of notebooks using my photography on the covers plus greeting cards. There is always a new project in my head that I am keen to put into operation.
It is a bit soon to talk about a launch date for the new book, but March 2022 is my target and I intend to make it a particularly special launch. Time between now and then is already flying past like a supersonic jet. And yep, I do feel like I am flying by the seat of my pants.
What can I tell you about the new WIP? Well, of course I do not want to give too much away but I will say it involves a fascinating mix of characters, and this time animals too. Unlike The Isolation Sex Stories, there is not much (if any) sex involved. I know this may disappoint some of you, but if you are fascinated by people; I think you will love it. They all live in their own little worlds, but their worlds interlink in small, sometimes poignant ways. It is my belief that there are not many people on the planet who get to live an ‘ordinary’ life, whatever that is. With 7.9 billion humans on the planet and 1.2 million known species of animals, there are endless stories to be told. Even if I live to 150, I won’t be able to write that many stories!
So, roll on March. I am trying not to be too impatient to get the book done and I am certainly enjoying the process. I hope that you will enjoy the book as much as I am writing it.
If you are an indie author reading this, please head over to my sister website myriadlifebooks.com where my latest blog might interest you.
Until next time… please subscribe to be updated with progress. You may even win a free signed copy of The Isolation Sex Stories if you hit the button. Go on, I dare you…
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.
My personal experiences with each platform. It’s a work in progress!
I have been observing Twitter closely to see how writers interact and support one another there, and it is heartening to see. Twitter worked in the past for me when I was promoting The Eight of Swords, I got some great feedback and gained new readers. That was over 12 years ago. Of course, now, the writing community is massive, worldwide, and even stronger than before.
There are two main trends at the moment. One is to ask questions about any kind of subject, ranging from what you had 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 is one 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 experience of writing. The honesty of people when they get their work turned down by agents. The joy when their work gets taken up by agents. The encouragement from other writers to keep on going. The rightly indignant retorts when an agency, publisher, or individual criticizes the indie market. The shared experiences and the kindness of people offering reviews. All very positive.
In all my years on Twitter, I have been lucky enough not to run into too many idiots. I know they exist: the naysayers, the ones who are controversial just for the sake of it, hoping to get attention, the abusers, and the downright nasty ones. I suggest you choose who you follow carefully. Quickly checking someone’s timeline is always a good way to find out what they post and how they interact. If you run into someone unpleasant, it’s easy enough to block them. I have only had to do this once. I am lucky, I know.
Writing is such a mixture of culture, creativity and business. 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. Writing is a business, and books need to be treated as a commodity if you wish to sell them. Even if you are writing purely as a hobby, what is a book without readers? There is nothing wrong with promotion, so long as you don’t overdo it and irritate your followers with “me, me, me.”
The best way for Twitter to work, in my experience, is to support other writers, be kind, take an interest in other people’s work, and get to know your readers as people. Let your personality shine through!
I haven’t tried out “Spaces” where you can chat. It isn’t for me, but it may well work for you. I simply don’t have enough hours in the day to explore that too. I would be interested in hearing your experiences there, so please comment here if you have tried it.
Over the years, I have made a lot of friends through Twitter, and as it happens, it has been pretty good for my love life too. So, it is always the first place I go to when I want to promote something because, in my experience, it has always 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 for it! Send me your Twitter @ and I will follow you. 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. Don’t expect thousands of followers overnight; it takes time to build.
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 last year upon the launch of my new short story book, The Isolation Sex Stories, I found I needed to do quite a bit of work to get it going again and regain interest.
There are new features now. I haven’t explored them all, but what is useful is that you can “go live,” and I used this to do my book launch. That was nerve-racking! However, it did create interest and useful feedback, plus some sales.
It is 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, post videos. People love to watch videos. I know I do, so it makes sense. If you don’t feel natural in front of the camera, I recommend you keep practicing. It takes me several takes to get it right. The more you do it, the more relaxed you become. If you struggle, give yourself a break, don’t try to get it all done quickly, it takes time. I will write separate post on creating videos. I am no expert, but I can give you my trial and error experiences!
What I didn’t know when I titled my book The Isolation Sex Stories was that I would not be able to use paid advertising for it on Facebook. I can understand FB may baulk at the title and content. However, I would have thought parental controls would take care of any unsuitable viewers. Apparently not.
I’ve always loved Instagram as a photographer, so I decided to try how it works as a writer. It is very visual, which is good for me as I am enjoying learning to promote my books in this way. For obvious reasons, my photography account was relatively simple to set up, but my writing account required more effort. Rather than posting my usual landscape images or street photos, 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. Reels are mini films where you can add music and/or text. If you can create some fun content, it works well to attract more viewers or followers and gain more interaction. While reels may seem like an unusual way to do this, I think it’s a challenge worth trying. 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 and be 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 a writer who wants to know how social media might help you get your work seen.
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!