All images from Pixabay/Pexels unless otherwise stated. Some images created in Book Brush using Pixabay photos.
Book cover images from Chapeltown Books and Bridge House Publishing.
Image of Wendy H Jones kindly supplied by her. Image of Joy Margetts kindly supplied by her. Image of Maressa Mortimer kindly supplied by her. Images of me, Allison Symes, happily signing a contract taken by Adrian Symes. Think that covers everyone!
Hope you have had a good week. Busy on the blogging front today – more below. (And I have some exciting non-fiction publication news too).
Facebook – General – and Chandler’s Ford Today
Pleased to share my latest Chandler’s Ford Today post on Brand Recognition and Why It Matters. Years ago, any kind of marketing was done by publishers on behalf of their authors. That practice went out when Noah left the Ark…
Now every writer has to carry out at least some marketing to get their voice heard and books known about so it means we do all have to think about what “brand” we want to get across to potential readers. You want something so that people recognise yes, this is X’s kind of thing etc. In this post, I share some thoughts on creativity, persistence, accepting building a brand takes time, choosing a platform and so on.
Hope you find the post useful.
Facebook – General – and Authors Electric
It’s a busy day on the blogging front for me. Am pleased to share my latest Authors Electric post – Reading Into Writing Will Go.
I think a love of reading is the biggest creative kickstart for writing there can be. A love of stories and storytelling has to come from somewhere after all.
I also share in this post how that love of reading, started by my late mother, was fuelled even further by excellent English teaching at school. What I wasn’t aware of at the time was the kind of teaching I had was going to come in so useful for writing my own stories so many years later.
And reading so well gives you an almost subconscious method of spotting how a book should look, how dialogue should be set out and so on. So let’s hear it for reading!
Am thrilled to announce I am taking part in a non-fiction book produced by #WendyHJones. What I can say now is the book will be called Creativity Matters: Find Your Passion for Writing and I will be “between the covers” with the following lovely people, as well as with Wendy herself.
Allison Symes (I have heard she’s okay – honest).
Looking forward to sharing more as and when I can. What I can also say now is this book will be the third in Wendy’s Writing Matters series (and it so does!). Very excited about this as it will be my first venture in print with the non-fiction side of what I do. Yay!
(And yes I am rather chuffed about it all as you may be able to tell).
Hope you are all well. A tad cooler today though storms are predicted later. Thankfully Lady is not fazed by thunder. My other two collies were terrified of it. Lady is not fazed by fireworks eit- ther though she does get annoyed thanks to the idiot near me who sets off the very loud ones late at night (and they really do sound like a bomb going off). You can hear Lady’s annoyance in her bark. Very much a “would you shut the hell up” kind of bark. No prizes for guessing where my sympathies lie.
Where do you go for publishing advice if you’re new to the business? There are two major ports of call as far as I’m concerned.
Firstly, the Society of Authors saved me a small fortune by pointing out what was wrong with a very dodgy contract I’d been offered. Beware the vanity press!
Secondly, the Alliance of Independent Authors is an umbrella group designed for indie authors and the self published so do check them out.
Thirdly, do regularly look at the Writer Beware! website. While US-based, the advice given is sound and boundaries are meaning less here as scammers will always seek to scam in more than one market if they possibly can!
Always check things out before signing up to anything.
You can (and should) walk away from anything you’re not happy about (I did and I had no sign of being published anywhere else at the time but I have never regretted doing this).
Never sign anything you have not had checked out by reputable sources.
Do check out the writing forums. People do share their experiences of publishing companies and services here and you can learn a great deal here.
Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again
Delighted to share my latest tale from #FridayFlashFiction – this one is called Security. It is not easy being a leprechaun charged with not allowing anyone or anything to steal the gold. See how he gets on in my latest 100-word drabble.
One of my favourite tricks of the trade is to stamp on adjectives. I know, I know. There ought to be a campaign against cruelty to adjectives but there isn’t so
really tough luck. (See what I did there).
To be serious for a moment, I no longer worry about cutting words like this out. Why?
Compare the following:-
She ran quickly up the hill.
She raced up the hill.
For my money, the latter is by far the stronger image. You have a sense of speed and determination with that word “raced”, even a sense of urgency and that is conveyed in one word. Running quickly is far weaker. What is quick after all? That can vary so I would say this was not specific enough. It does not give you the sense of speed, determination, and urgency either.
Many thanks for the great response to my WordPress blog round up on my https://allisonsymescollectedworks.com site yesterday. I issue these every Tuesday and Friday. I like to see them as a kind of magazine style round up (and it makes a great place to share videos and flash stories in one place). And this is it, of course, but I was particularly pleased with the response on Facebook for when I shared the link for Tuesday’s post. It was a good one!
Flash is a great vehicle for sharing on social media. I sometimes take part on Twitter in those posts which put up a picture and ask you to submit a six words or fewer story in response to it. All good fun.
The biggest overall benefit for writing flash though has been to sharpen up my writing across the board including for my non-fiction. It is an ongoing benefit too! It has taught me to look for where I can tighten my writing. There always is something. But that’s what the editing process is for after all.
Fairytales with Bite – Top Ten – What Not To Do In a Magical World
- Annoy anyone who looks as if they could wave a wand about menacingly. It’s never a good move.
- Judge beings by their appearance. Best to assume even the most unlikely looking being is more powerful magically than you are. You won’t offend. They won’t curse you.
- Assume just because you can read, you can make a spell book work for you. Things will go horribly wrong.
- Gaze into a complete stranger’s crystal ball. What you will see will not be pleasant. Any sensible owner of such things will put something horrible over it to prevent what we would know as hacking.
- Eat or drink anything where you don’t know what the ingredients are. This is a good move in non-magical worlds too.
- Call for a republic when you’re in the Fairy Kingdom. It’s not going to go down well.
- Despise the youngest of three – they usually turn out to be the hero/heroine. You will want them to remember you, be kind to you, and maybe help you get home again.
- Refer to dragons as great, big ugly brutes. Not only do they want to be treated with respect, they have remarkable powers so assume your comments would be overheard. They would want revenge though it would be quick one.
- Eat a complete stranger’s porridge, break their chair etc. It’s been done and it didn’t bode well for the culprit last time.
- Buy cheap looking building materials from anyone wearing what looks like a very hairy suit. If you want to build a house to live in, always go for brick. The one in the hairy suit has motives of their own for selling you shoddy materials (though he does have a dinner date in mind. A one-sided one but it would be a dinner date).
This World and Others – Classic Mistakes
Now a topic like this can cover classic mistakes made by characters or you, the writer. I’ll focus on the latter for this post as my Fairytales with Bite post above does indicate mistakes that can be made by characters.
Don’t feel you need to put in all the information you needed to create your world into your story. You need enough to convince yourself your world is real but the reader doesn’t necessarily need to know all of that. What a reader will pick up on is the writer’s confidence in their creation. Focus on showing your readers what they need to know to make sense of your world.
I love writing dialogue or even a character’s thoughts in my flash fiction and short stories. But it has to be relevant to your story and to keep it moving forward or it reveals crucial information. It is so tempting to keep an interesting conversation going between your people when it isn’t that important to the plot.
Don’t use too much of whatever language you’ve invented because readers will quickly become bored of it if they can’t work out what is meant from context. Use a little sparingly to give a flavour and that will work far better. I find reading Old English incredibly difficult, to name one example, and it is the story you want to get across to your readers, not the ins and outs of what you’ve invented to give them the story. (With The Lord of the Rings it is the overall story I’m interested in, not necessarily the appendices!). Keep it relevant Is a good motto.
Security, by Allison Symes – Friday Flash Fiction https://t.co/5HqwP0bxO3 pic.twitter.com/YCQSitDuwU— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) June 18, 2021
Authors Electric: Reading into Writing Will Go by Allison Symes https://t.co/PtF9KRMZCO I look at why reading is the best kickstart there can be to the writing life. pic.twitter.com/QV0QcWkV6P— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) June 18, 2021
Brand Recognition and Why It Matters https://t.co/UMDt2ZZ3XA I look at why brand recognition matters for writers and share tips on choosing a platform, creativity and persistence, and accepting it takes time to build a brand. But it is the brand readers will remember. pic.twitter.com/96k0sIlGsN— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) June 18, 2021