What not to say to authors (and what to say instead)

To my fellow authors, here’s an echo from all our hearts! Great post reblogged from Author Allsorts.


NOTE: I LOVE being an author. I feel like the luckiest THING ever. This post is not a sign of my unhumbleness.

…However, since the wonder of being published, I’ve got one niggle. Whenever I talk to anyone about my books, people say the same things to me. Over and over. There are obviously a lot of myths out there about authors, so I’d thought I’d answer the main ones here, all in one go.

Myth one: Authors are all filthy rich…like JK Rowling

What not to say: “Wow, you’re an author? So, where’s your castle then, JK Rowling?”

The reality: Honestly, I’d make more money if I was paid a pound for every time someone brings up JK Rowling when talking to me about my career, then I’d ever make from selling books.

Here is the basic maths…

An average book costs, say, £7.99.

An average…

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Here is my interview with Lorraine Pestell

Thank you to Fiona McVie for featuring me on her blog. Here is our interview…



Name Lorraine Pestell

Age 52

Where are you from?

I was born in Harrow, a north-western suburb of London.  A global gipsy, I have lived in many corners of the globe, moving to Stirling in Scotland for university, then working in various European capitals, the USA and Singapore.  I had a lifetime ambition to be in Australia for the turn of the millennium and emigrated to Melbourne in 1999.  Apart from a 5-year stint in Perth, Western Australia, I’ve been in the world’s most liveable city ever since.

A little about yourself, i.e. your education, family life, etc.  

The eldest of four, I had a mix of private and state school education before applying to the furthest university from home, in order to make my first strike for independence!  I studied for a BSc in Management Science with French Language, aiming for a career in business because I was…

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Ending the year with good news!

Season’s greetings!

With everyone winding down now for a well-deserved break, some by the fire and some on the beach, I am humbled to announce three pieces of great news for my writing.

Firstly, “A Life Singular – Part One” has been judged a Notable Indie Book in the 2014 Shelf Unbound Writing Competition (http://issuu.com/shelfunbound/docs/shelf_unbound_december-january_2015), and I have the badge to prove it!Badge notable

Secondly, I was privileged to feature on the Books of Excellence radio show hosted by Bonnie Kaye in Philadelphia.  The interview can be heard at: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/bonnie-kaye/2014/12/15/books-of-excellence-with-author-bonnie-kaye

And thirdly, it was my pleasure to be interviewed by Tim Knox of Interviewing Authors:


All in all, another interesting year!

I wish you all a happy and safe festive season, however and wherever you celebrate!

All I want for Christmas is to change the way people think

Well, I don’t know about you, but I find the holiday season incredibly stressful and a wee bit overrated.  I don’t subscribe to any particular religion, although I was brought up attending a Methodist church in north-west London.  Consequently, I have always felt like a hypocrite when participating in Christmas festivities, particularly carol concerts which are an annual and very satisfying chance to flex my vocal chords!


However, as we whip at lightning speed through December and hurtle past the last posting date for cards and gifts to arrive in the UK from Australia before Christmas Eve, I find the scourge of parking a trek away from my local shopping centre and standing in good-humoured but lengthy queues at cash registers all a little pointless, to be frank.

Which brings me to my Christmas wish…

Last week, the company I work for published the results of its annual Employee Opinion Survey, designed to be a barometer for how the staff is feeling about working there.  This year’s results revealed – between the lines – that good leadership is hard to find.  These people feel neglected, mistreated, undervalued…  (I could go on, quoting from the 15 pages of comments appended to the circulated analysis).

I was not in the least surprised about this, since leading teams successfully is one of the few things I will openly admit to being good at, and I lay the “blame” squarely at the feet of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Though it pains me to admit it, being a victim of domestic violence and other emotional abuse has turned me into a much better person.

Our survey showed that only a small number of this year’s critical opinions were related to remuneration, office facilities or even job content.  The vast majority cited impacts on employees’ mental health in some way or other to be the most serious impediment to their job satisfaction.

What a terrible shame!  And how cheap and easy this would be to fix!!  Why don’t we all just try being nicer to each other?

Two weeks ago, Phil Hughes, an Australian test cricketer approaching his 26th birthday, passed away after being struck by a ball bowled perfectly legally during a Sheffield Shield match.  A freak accident, the force of the ball hitting the side of his neck severed an artery, and he lost consciousness, never to wake.  Our sport-loving nation was paralysed by this tragedy, and we witnessed an outpouring of grief for the family, coupled with unswerving support for the poor bowler from whose hand the fated leather missile had spun.


In the aftermath of this awful loss in the lead-up to Christmas and at the beginning of the cricket season down-under, everybody appeared to become unfailingly nice to each other.  People suddenly began to treat their fellow human with compassion; with the respect we all deserve and how they would choose to be treated should roles be reversed.

But why must it take a tragedy to bring out the best in us?

With over 350 million people in the developed world suffering from some form of depressive illness at any one time (according to World Health Organisation statistics), the burden of mental illness would be significantly lighter for all of us if we were simply to treat each other more kindly.  If we all were to speak up in defence of our co-workers, family or friends when faced with discrimination, bullying or other abuses of power, we might be able to prevent a whole slew of mental health damage from developing into insidious, debilitating, life-long scars.

This is why I became a writer.  Pure and simple.  I would love to look back on my life and think that my books may have helped bring about a happier and more harmonious world.  In the “A Life Singular” serial, my protagonist makes this exact goal his mission.

Can we, I wonder?  Father Christmas, are you listening?

Working with a publicist for the first time – both exciting and daunting!

Apologies for my absence of late.  Hope everyone’s well and gearing up for either a hot or a cold festive season 🙂

Aussie Father Christmas

One of several reasons for neglecting my blog is that I’ve invested time and money into a real, honest-to-goodness publicity campaign.  After e-shopping around a few US-based book promotion sites, I went back to my first choice, Authoright (http://www.Authoright.com), because they were the only company that offered a single, co-ordinated campaign across both the UK and the US.

Social media for indie authors is great for meeting other authors, some of whom may become readers, but attracting Facebook likes and Twitter followers doesn’t necessarily equate to generating sales!  I’ve been involved on the periphery of a few advertising and marketing campaigns at work, so decided to commit a lump of scarce resource and back my messed-up, introverted self for a change 🙂

Well, what a ride so far!  Two weeks in to an 8-week campaign, working with two highly professional, friendly and encouraging book publicists has completely taken the focus off my writing.  Since I had already fallen behind schedule for “A Life Singular – Part Four” and have shifted my self-imposed deadline to March next year, I am managing (almost) to handle the stress of halted progress!

In my first week, Kate Appleton in London managed to secure me a spot in the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper, which has an online readership of 175 million per month!  On the other side of the Atlantic, Diana Rissetto has successfully placed me with a couple of well-patronised book blogging sites and is targeting several more specific to my serial’s themes.

Which leads me to the “daunting” part…

What’s that old saying?  “If it bleeds, it leads,” I seem to remember.  When I wrote my biography for Authoright’s initial questionnaire, I had a fair idea that journalists might want to delve into the more painful aspects of my background.  This is why I’m writing, after all.

However, despite Kate’s careful hints that mainstream media might come across as heartless by focussing more on my own story than on the books I’m trying to promote, I have been somewhat distressed by the intrusive nature of their questions, looking to name and shame particular individuals, etc.  While doing this would secretly give me an intense amount of guilty pleasure, I have always thought public humiliation for acts which have gone for years without punishment was only stooping to their level.

For someone whose goals are to bring a positive message through my writing – i.e. to inspire fellow sufferers of mental illness to rise above their symptoms and find success, and more importantly to encourage non-sufferers to understand, tolerate, support and even love us in our quest to live “normal” lives – I hardly wanted to spread my own negative experiences in such gory, gruesome detail.

It has been difficult to dredge up past experiences which I’ve buried so well that I barely recall their detail, inducing panic attacks while on the telephone to journalists and keeping me awake for hours as to the potential consequences.  Even though I managed to convince them that I’m not interested in revealing actual names, it is still frightening to wonder who has the power to make connections…

Oh, well…  I agreed to run the campaign, therefore I need to accept whatever it conjures up.  Hopefully it’s a big boost in sales and nothing more!  That would be awesome.