Books make me happy…

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 myriadlifebooks@gmail.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

The Isolation Sex Stories

The Eight of Swords

The Putsi

Angie Bardot

This interview and feature with Angie Bardot first appeared on my sister site MyriadLifeBooks.com – visit to see new authors, Norwich and Norfolk books including local fiction authors such as Elly Griffiths and David Blake plus a dazzling array of notebooks!

If you are an author and would like to be featured, please email MyriadLifeBooks@gmail.com. I welcome authors from all over the world.

You can buy The Life and Times of Angie Bardot here.

The Life and Times of Angie Bardot – A Memoir

First of all, please tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you located? Is writing your full-time occupation?
I would love to write all day, every day, but that wouldn’t give me enough time for daydreaming and reading other authors books, which is my favourite pastime. These days I have more time on my hands, which allows me the freedom to do anything I want, that doesn’t include cooking! (The perks of being single). I am located in Australia in the sunny state of Queensland. I like to travel once a year to far off places delving into other peoples’ worlds. I often think how great it would be to have a full-time occupation as a travel writer so I could do the two things I love doing most.

Please give a brief description of your book and how you came to write about this particular subject.

The particular subject was not by choice. When my 36 year marriage failed I found myself thrown into the singles arena without any knowledge of how to navigate my way through. The many pitfalls I experienced ranged from misery to mayhem with lots of laughter in between. I have learnt the very thing one must never lose sight of if one wishes to survive is their sense of humour!

At what point did you decide your experiences would make a good book?

When I first started writing about what I was experiencing I wrote and wrote and wrote as it felt cathartic, and the words just flowed out of me like verbal diarrhea. Then it dawned on me that my predicament, although all too common, was still unique. That was the pivotal point where I changed from ranting mode to writing mode. I decided I had a real story I wanted to tell.

Did you find it easy to write about your personal life and more particularly sex or did you worry about what other people would think? If you were nervous about it, how did you overcome this?

On one hand I found it easy to write about my personal life because the words just poured out in an unstoppable stream. It was great to get it all out and I felt so much better for having done so. On the other hand, as I began my exploits, I was aware that some of my behaviour wasn’t even acceptable to me!!! The old me, so the best way to overcome any embarrassment was to write under a pseudonym. That gave me the freedom to express myself without worrying about what people thought of me. I think having a certain kind of anonymity makes you bolder and more brazen, not in the real sense, but in the telling of the story as a “no holds barred” expose’ which you wouldn’t ordinarily dream of telling.

Have you learnt anything from feedback from your readers and would you do anything differently in future because of it?

The surprising thing I learnt is that men have an interest in my story! This was something I didn’t expect until I received some wonderful feedback. Maybe in the future I should be kinder to men when I write about them…… maybe!

If you could choose a famous person to read your book and leave a review, who would it be and why?

I would ask Julia Roberts to read and review my book because she was the main character in the movie Eat Prey Love, which was based on a true story about a relationship breakdown where the protagonist goes on a journey searching for happiness and redefinement. I feel Julia would have empathy and insight.

Do you have a preference for writing in the morning/afternoon or evening and do you write everyday or only when the mood takes you?

I don’t seem to have a set time during my day that I devote to my writing. It is more if and when the mood takes me. If I think of something specific, I will always make a note to expand on it later.

Do you have a special place where you go to write and do you go through any rituals before writing?

I usually put on some soft background music and sit on my comfortable couch with my laptop and just let the words flow. My only ritual is going from the couch to the fridge or pantry and back to the couch, to be repeated often depending on the success of my writing session.

On average, how many hours do you write for at any given time and do you (like me) often pause for snacks or other distractions or do you get swept away by getting your thoughts into words?

It is never the same, as I mentioned I do get distracted at times and that is where the food intake helps. At other times I don’t realise until I look at the time that several hours have passed by without me stopping at all. It is amazing how hours can feel like minutes when I am totally immersed in writing.

What do you use to write: a laptop, pc, notebook? Do you leave a notebook by your bed just in case an idea occurs to you in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning?

I use my trusty laptop, poor thing the way I put it through the paces when I am on a roll banging on the keys non-stop. I do have a notebook by the bed in case I come up with one of my scathingly brilliant ideas in the middle of the night. I can be asleep, suddenly wake up for no apparent reason, write down an idea that has sprung to mind, and go back to sleep. In the morning I would have no recollection of this apparent idea if it wasn’t for my scribble in the notebook.

What do you know now that you wish you had known when you started writing your book?

That is a great question as I would have done so many things differently, if only I had the insight and wisdom. The single stand out thing I should have known was to educate myself about the world of self-publishing which is still a work in progress and a huge learning curve. On a personal level, although I don’t want to give too much of my story away, I will admit I thought I knew what I wanted in the beginning, until I had what I wanted, only to realise it wasn’t what I wanted at all!

Are you enjoying being an Indie Author? Which aspects do you like/dislike?

I am still learning as there is so much to being a successful Indie Author. It’s not enough to just write a great book. I need to promote myself and find a way through the maze so my audience can find me and that is the part I dislike the most because it can feel overwhelming at times. I would rather flick my magic wand in the air and have it all done for me spit spot! What I do like is when I’ve learnt something new that can assist me in improving my independence as an Indie Author. I also like the camaraderie of other Indies Authors who are supportive and willing to share their knowledge with me so freely.

Are you enjoying marketing your book? Have you any tips for authors who find this part of the process a chore?

I think because my memoir is so personal and a part of who I am, I find it difficult to release my story and put it out there. A small part of me thinks of it as just mine, which of course impedes the marketing process. Apart from the expense of having an expert look after everything in the initial stages of my launch, I have found it very economical to take hold of the project and market my book myself. This also means I have had to count my losses when trying something new doesn’t work and it leads to disappointment. There are so many marketing options to choose from, I liken it to a big smorgasbord of delectable delights waiting for me to taste them, and like everything yummy I have to pay for it.


My tip is don’t be in a hurry. At the beginning of my launch, I was so focused on pre-orders that I got myself all worked up about the immediate “now” and didn’t see or focus on the benefits of the long-haul marketing process. There is time to reach your target market. Once the initial buzz has settled a good long term marketing strategy can be set in place. We as writers, have to invest in our belief, which is believing in ourselves and the quality of our work, and financially back ourselves which also gives us the freedom to choose for ourselves.

What is your favourite social media platform for promoting your book and why?

Up until this point Amazon is my biggest provider of advertising options with the KDP program. I like the control of how much I want to pay for the advertising. I can set the length of the promotion, price I want for my ebook and how much I want to invest. I think as an Indie Author it is vital to be able to stick to a budget and have the control to pull out if it’s not bringing the desired results. All other media platforms I have used to date have had an up-front fee regardless of performance results.

Who are your favourite authors?

Amos Towles – A Gentleman in Moscow
David Benioff – City of ThievesDerek Hansen – Lunch with the Generals, Lunch with Mussolini
Rani Manicka – The Rice Mother

Is there an author (modern day or in history) you’d like to meet and if you did, who is he/she and what is the one question you would ask them?

Andre Kirk Agassi, American former world No. 1 Tennis Player – Biography

I would like to ask Andre how he achieved such success in the tennis arena if he hated playing tennis!

Do you stick to a particular genre or do you have an open mind depending on what captures your interest?

It is usually what captures my interest or if someone recommends a good read. I don’t have any specific genre. I do like faction, so the book can be based on some fact but embellished with fiction thrown in to make the story more interesting. I love to sink myself into a written book where it envelops and transports me into the story. I am in a Book Club and the books chosen monthly quite often are not what I would have considered. It challenges me to keep an open mind and try new authors and topics.

Do you have a work in progress?

I should have a work in progress, and I know I will soon.

Can you give us a hint of what’s next on your writing agenda?

I planned to continue my story after the release of The Life and Times of Angie Bardot – Part One (Hell No) and Part Two (Hell Yes). 2019/2020 is awaiting my creative juices to start flowing again. Gosh, I hope they haven’t dried up like the Sahara Desert.

P.S. In the meantime you’ll just have to read to the end of 2018 then!

Who is the funniest person you know? Feel free to say yourself!

Me!!!!! (You told me to say myself, it wasn’t my idea).

You can buy The Life and Times of Angie Bardot here

Follow Angie on Twitter @BardotAngela and at Goodreads

Social media marketing for indie authors, my experiences.

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.

Twitter

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.

Facebook

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.

Instagram

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.

Don’t be shy, come say hello at Instagram @PetraKiddWriter

Find me on Twitter @PetraKidd

And of course on Facebook where you will find me reading excerpts from my short story book The Isolation Sex Stories

Author adventures in marketing…

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.

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Do Different

‘Do different’ is Norfolk’s motto and so it makes perfect sense to me that I have always felt so at home here because I have always ‘done different.’

I’ve never been one to worry about what other people think. My dad always taught me that it doesn’t matter what status anyone has, what matters is whether they are a good person and kind to others and that stuck with me. Wherever I went, wherever I worked, I never felt phased by the seniority or fame of anyone (well apart from Peter Cook). We are all simply human with different doses of luck and ability, no one is better than another, other than by how they behave.

Dad’s occupation was personnel officer for the Co-operative Society. He had a big whacky RAF style moustache, always wore a blazer or a suit, half moon glasses to read with and sometimes used his MCC tie as a belt and more often than not you’d see him with a big fat cigar in his mouth. People loved him. His father was a Colonel in the Royal Pioneer Corps who wrote novels, he was also a fundraiser and events co-ordinator with his own colourful history, my stylish Grandmother mingled in High Society. When their marriage broke up the wealthy lifestyle they had led came to a pretty abrupt end. Their story is worthy of a novel in its own right.

However, I should get back to the point of ‘do different.’ My father once said to me ‘tell me what you want to do and I will see if I know anyone who can make it happen.’ I didn’t know what I wanted to do. When the careers advisor at school asked me, I said the first thing that came out of my head ‘an actor.’ I didn’t want to be an actor at all and I have no idea what made me say it other than I’d heard other girls at school say they wanted to work in a bank, one wanted to be a tax inspector. Both those occupations sounded incredibly dull to me so maybe that’s why I said actor. I honestly don’t know why but I sat there dutifully while the careers master told me all about RADA. It sounded interesting but the thought of performing in front of anyone shrunk this shy young teenager back into the seat of her chair.

Once my exams were done, my plan was to escape to Greece. One of my English teachers had always been enamoured with Greece and listening to her made me really want to go. So instead of going straight to college to do my A’Levels, I answered an advertisement in the local paper and joined an Anglo Greek family in Athens for a year, which turned out to be of the best years of my life. It wasn’t so much a job (I was hired as an au pair to two lovely little girls) as like joining a new family. At first I was homesick and their Grandpa gave me whisky to cheer me up and it worked! I loved Greece, I loved the weather, the people, the beaches, the excitement of living in such an amazing ancient city and most of all I loved the family.

Then tragedy struck. I had known my father was unwell before I left but nothing could prepare me for him being diagnosed with dementia. I asked to go home but my mother assured me that there was nothing I could do and told me to see out my year in Greece. My father wrote me letters asking when I would come home. I was torn. My life in Athens was idyllic but I really wanted to be back with my own family too and my plan was to go back to college when I returned.

I saw out the year.
Typically for me, I decided to return by bus. My last little adventure before settling down back into what was supposed to be some kind of normal. I sobbed all the way out of Athens, I was only 18 and had no idea if I’d ever return.

My whole family came to greet me at King’s Cross station. I will never forget it. After an exhausting two days with no sleep, I stepped off the bus to embrace my father and he had no idea who I was. The Dementia had already taken hold. He stared at me with confusion and I felt my heart snap.

This man who had held me in his arms to comfort me so many times, who had been my buddy through all of my childhood, who had entertained us with his humour and funny ways simply stared at me with his now empty brown eyes. The thought of this moment makes me sob even now.

I went to college and got on with my studies. It wasn’t easy coming back after a year’s break but I enjoyed the studying and met my lifelong best friend there. At home my father’s health grew progressively worse and it became quite a challenge coping with his illness while trying to live the normal life of a teenager. I rarely had boyfriends and if I did, I met them at the end of the road so they didn’t see how my father was. One of my college lecturers unexpectedly turned up on our doorstep to give me a present for looking after his house while he was away. I grabbed the present and shut the door before he could see my dad who by now was constantly confused and always disappearing on long walks where occasionally he got into trouble because people didn’t understand that kind of illness in those days. Not that many do now but it is better known.

In a way we had to cut ourselves off from the outside world to cope with Dad’s illness. My mother became my father’s carer, to this day I think about how incredible she was. She had some help from my sister and I but she tried to protect us from it all, however, there came a time near the end when we had to step in and make sure she didn’t go under herself.

One of the things we share in my family is a wicked sense of humour and somehow it got us through all of this but as a young woman this whole period really took its toll on me. My father died on my sister’s birthday and just a couple of months before my 21st. I made a vow that should my mother ever need my care, I would step up and eventually I had to.

I hated my first job, it was part-time and I didn’t like the people. My mum came to visit me one lunch time and told me in no uncertain terms that if I didn’t like it I was to give it up because life is too short to be miserable. The assistant manager told me I’d never find another job (bitch), within in a week I was in a job I absolutely loved. That taught me never to be trapped where you don’t want to be. I learned the lesson with work but never in my personal life until much later.

While I always ‘put my all’ into any job I had, I also sought adventure. I married too young and lived to regret it. Eventually I escaped and lived in London awhile but Norfolk pulled me back with it’s wide open spaces, quirky inhabitants, incredible beaches and ancientness. It is where I feel most at home in the world and I’ve been fortunate enough to travel quite extensively.

Eventually the office jobs were stifling me so I decided to set up my own business where I definitely ‘did different’ and it is there a whole new story began but more of that another time…

‘…this corner of England which once it holds your heart is more lovely than any place on earth. Beautiful with a hint of secrecy which haunts it, as the memory of a dark and tender sadness clouds the brilliance of a summer day.’

Lilias Rider Haggard (Norfolk Notebook)

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A young Petra Kidd in Athens