On Saturday 11th March, I attended my first SCBWI event: The Lunchtime Social – Self-Publishing Discussion with Debra Edwards and Camilla Chester, held in Cambridge at De Luca Italian restaurant. Author Helen Moss coordinated the event.
First to arrive, Alex Mellanby, author of The Tregarthur Series, followed by Peter Hayward, writer of educational stories: Learn with Alex and Anna, Jamie Stevenson, picture book illustrator, Caroline Laidlaw, educational materials author, and two new members Dan Greaves, and Tanya Farrugia, illustrators and picture book enthusiasts.
Norfolk children’s fiction and YA author, Debra J Edwards began the discussion by regaling us about her inspiring journey to writing. She left school at the age of fifteen and returned to University, graduated and became a primary school teacher. In 2003 she made a resolution – to write a novel. Not only did she accomplish this, but she has now written four: a trilogy about tooth fairies, Aggie Lichen: Pilp Collector, Aggie Lichen, Pilp Collector: Hero Required, Arty’s Revenge, and Marvin’s Curse her first YA novel.
Initially, Debra’s route into publishing was plagued by rejections which she kept and placed in a folder. Undeterred, she secured an agent but lost her. She is now a proud member of Golden Egg, an initiative overseen by Imogen Cooper, previously Head of Fiction for Chicken House Publishing.
‘Golden Egg provides talks, workshops, and one2one editorial support.’ Golden Egg Academy.
Debra admitted that she chose the self-publishing route because she is a ‘control freak.’ She did just about everything she could herself, apart from employing a book cover illustrator. She set up her own publishing company: Purple Ray Publishing, organised a business account, ordered ISBN’s, bought barcodes, (simple mistakes can happen so authors make sure you put the correct bar code on the right book!) She opened an account with Waterstones, as well as Gardners Wholesalers – and negotiated a wonderful deal, 35% rather than the industry standard of 55 %.) The only relinquishment of control came in the form of her first book cover. She had intended a fairy image on the front cover of Aggie Lichen, but soon realised that this wouldn’t be cool for young boys so instead she decided upon a star! Now that Debra is an established author, she has reverted to her initial idea of fairies. Debra comes with a plethora of promotional material to hand out at schools: bookmarks, postcards, business cards, and ‘a don’t forget to review note,’ etc. She has discovered that E-books haven’t been very lucrative, and neither have bookshops, as they normally take a cut of 50%. Instead, she has made most of her profit from attending schools, doing talks, and workshops. This involves a lot of time, and personal engagement with schools – she’s a busy lady emailing up to three hundred schools a week.
Next up to join the illuminating discussion, author, dog walker, Camilla Chester whose debut novel Jarred Dreams is suitable for ages 9 and above. Her second book, EATS ‘is a culinary adventure tale, full of twists and turns that will have the kids on the edge of their seat.’ Camilla followed in Debra’s footsteps but took a slightly different route. Camilla was shortlisted in the 2015 New Author Prize with the National Literacy Trust and Bloomsbury. Initially, she also secured an agent but found that this didn’t magically produce a publishing contract. So, she joined SCBWI and met Debra. Thereafter, she accepted an invitation to her daughter’s school to talk about writing. This positive experience acted as a catalyst; Camilla found that the children were so encouraging about her book. So with this positive reaction from her intended audience, she made the decision to self-publish with the support of Matador Self Publishing. Matador expects their clients’ work to reach a certain level of quality and in return for a fee they simplify the process for their clients. If your work is accepted Matador quotes a price based on word count. In Camilla’s case the cost to get her book produced was £700. This is the set-up fee; it doesn’t include structural editing or a proofread. Nevertheless, Camilla decided this suited her style of authorship. She stressed that Matador doesn’t free you from promotional requirements. There is still considerable marketing to do, and you must believe in yourself, and ultimately believe that you are a children’s author. The downside to self-publishing is cost; you have to pay for it all. The book cover to Jarred Dreams cost Camilla £500, and she purchased 1000 copies, at a cost of £1,610 (to break even and recoup her outlay she would have to sell 603 books,), as well as this Camilla spent £280 on promotional material. To counterbalance these costs Camilla set about recouping some of her expenditure by charging for talks.
Camilla closed the discussion by sharing her thoughts on the pros and cons. Self-publishing enables you to produce books more quickly – there are no soul destroying rejections or disappointing agents but it is expensive and there is no guarantee that you will get your money back. Don’t expect to sell your much-loved books to lifelong family friends! Camilla found this out the hard way. It tends to be difficult to sell to a wider market, international sales are notoriously hard to achieve, so like Debra, Camilla has benefited by targeting schools, bookshops, and her local community.
Camilla writes for 8-12s. She has always written but after moving to Hertfordshire with her family in 2010 she enrolled onto an OU Creative Writing Course (receiving a distinction), joined several writing groups and then discovered the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) before publishing her debut, Jarred Dreams in 2016. Camilla’s second book EATS is out at the end of April 2017 and her third, Thirteenth Wish is due to be published in April 2018. In addition to being a Children’s Author Camilla runs a small dog walking business.
Debra J Edwards is a children’s/young adult writer living in Norfolk. She is a long time SCBWI member and part of the Golden Egg Academy. Her first writing outing produced an MG fantasy series, Aggie Lichen. The books tell the story of a gang of feisty tooth fairies trying to save their world. They are both funny and ridiculous. I mean, teenage tooth fairies indeed. Debra has also published her first young adult novel, Marvin’s Curse, as an ebook. She worked secretly under cover as a ghost whisperer in order to bring something extra to her central character. Debra is currently at dragon slayer bootcamp perfecting her new YA novel, The Iron City.
This report is featured in the SCBWI – Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators online magazine – Words and Pictures.
Oh, and by the way, she has invented a ladder stop… what might that be? No, it’s not something DIY based, no rigid device to secure ladders to climb up and fix loose masonry.
It’s the other kind of ladder, the invention to stop those pesky ladders that we always get in our tights. I like that, a word with two meanings…. Being a writer, I can see the humour in that. That sounds beyond useful, how come I never heard of an inventor like that? My youngest daughter is always getting ladders in her tights!
Lizzie is an enthusiastic inventor, businesswoman and artist. She founded her first company at the age of 17 and has been creating products and driving her family mad ever since.
Lizzie appeared on Sky News, ITV Lunchtime News, This Morning, The Big Breakfast, BBC’s Worldwide Radio Service, amongst others for becoming one of Fair Play London’s Female Innovators for her invention, Runaway Spray. Runaway Spray is a ‘ladder’ stop spray for stockings and tights, which has been on sale for over fifteen years. She has also developed a range of greetings cards and puzzle books for children with phonics and short stories inside to encourage independent writing skills in children.
Lizzie lives in Essex, with her gorgeous husband, two bouncy children and a very unusual dog. In between the school run and baking cakes (or burning them!), she sits in her rooftop studio daydreaming about gaps in the market and how she can fill them. Babe Driven is her first novel and she has written two other novels, Love’s Child and Finding Gina. Lizzie is currently writing her forth novel.
Finding Gina book synopsis:
A contemporary romance read with a magical twist! By Lizzie Chantree.
Can a sprinkling of stardust overcome a past full of demons?
Gina had traversed the breadth of the country in her little campervan to try and find everyone on her grandmother’s list, before her father drunk himself into an early grave. She leant down and pulled the battered and worn journal from her bag and opened it to the latest page. The neatly written names were etched onto her heart and she was determined to visit every single one and compensate them in some way. Her family’s debt had to be repaid.
Lewis read another provincial story about a ‘guardian angel’ who had been helping families across the country and his reporters nose began to itch. He was sure that if he could track down the girl they were talking about, he would unearth an even bigger story. He just had to work out how to locate her and then find out what it was that she was running from!
Reviews for Finding Gina:
This is the third book I have read by Lizzie Chantree and again I was very pleasantly surprised with the quality and depth of her writing..
I love a good edgy romantic ‘Chick lit’ Novel and this very much reached my expectations..
The characters are portrayed in such a way that you can really envisage how they look and the environments they live in; to the point that I’d love to stay with Gina in her VW van – v envious.
The story had remained with me; which isn’t always the case with Novels of this genre.
Really worth a read – Lizzie Chantree can really compete with her contemparies (I’m a long devotee to Lisa Jewell and Freya North). I look forward to her next offering.
A really great romance read. This book has humour and romance and kept me guessing the whole way through. Lizzie Chantree is fast becoming my new favourite author!
The main character Gina is running from her past, but discovers her future along the way. The other characters are just as interesting and I especially loved reading about Tom, the gorgeous baker who works at the tearoom and Lewis the intrepid reporter. The tearoom’s owner, Rachel is quite mean, but even she grew on me as the story progressed. She is quite a character! This would make a great holiday read and once I picked it up, I couldn’t put the book down until I had read the last page.
Well that was lovely wasn’t it? I do love having guests on Kyrosmagica. They add a certain magical sparkle to my day.
Don’t forget to let me know if you would like to feature on my next Author/Blogger Spotlight. Or perhaps you might like to join my Author/Blogger Rainbow Support Club? Don’t be shy do get in touch by leaving a comment below, or emailing me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bye for now,
Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to not one but two guests!
A hearty welcome to Sue Vincent and Stuart France. I originally contacted Sue regarding a Spotlight on my blog, a while ago. She pondered a while, as I would in her place – this lady writes haikus, has guest author spots on her wonderfully entertaining blog, and has not one, not two, but several novels under her belt. Which of these novels to focus on? Sue elected for Lands of Exile – But ‘N Ben which she’d co-written with Stuart France. In her words Lands of Exile – But ‘N Ben is: ‘the first in the Lands of Exile series that combines the tales of ‘our’ travels through the ancient landscape as ‘Don and Wen’ with a rather odd police chase. And a fair bit of humour.’
Sounds promising – I love humour, have a brother called Donald, and an aunt Wendy, (God Bless Her Soul,) perhaps this is meant to be? I do believe in fate…
How to reflect the general quirkiness of this novel? A dog came to mind as Sue is a dog lover, and perhaps Stuart is too? Too obvious. Next, I considered a country scene and ended up seeing green and red in everything, blending beautifully with Sue’s red hair. Then, I came across the above photo of six birds. Bingo! This was the perfect social media banner! Quirky but simple, and astonishingly the divergent bird and his less adventurous feathered friends are free, gratis thanks to Terri: Second Wind Leisure – Free Photos For Your Blog! who I featured recently: Author/Blogger Spotlight Terri Webster Schrand
Success, it’s always nice to shout out about freebies!
Right, I better get to it, enough of this waffle or my chosen birds might fall off their perch, or fly away.
So… chirp, chirp… It’s time to find out more about my guests Stuart France and Sue Vincent.
The writing partnership of France and Vincent has a peculiar alchemy of humour, scholarship and vision that has given birth to several books, including the six volumes of The Triad of Albion and the Doomsday series.
Stuart France – writer and mystic; author of ‘The Living One’ and ‘Crucible of the Sun’. Stuart has a deep and practical knowledge of the Western Mystery Tradition, having followed a Path that has taken him hopping through the branches of the Trees of Knowledge and Delight. His astonishing work with symbolism and the interpretation of myth comes from a profound understanding and love of life and humanity. After gaining his BA in Philosophy and Literature, and his MA in Writing, this Child of Light studied with OBOD, AMORC, and the Servants of the Light and is a Director of The Silent Eye School of Consciousness. He declines all responsibility for this introduction. “I blame Wen…..”
Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire born writer and Director of The Silent Eye. She has been immersed in the Mysteries all her life. Sue maintains a popular blog and is co-author of ‘The Mystical Hexagram’ with Dr G. Michael Vasey and a number of other books. Sue lives in Buckinghamshire, having been stranded there some years ago due to an accident with a blindfold, a pin and a map. She has a lasting love-affair with the landscape of Albion, the hidden country of the heart. She is currently owned by a small dog who also blogs.
But ‘n’ Ben
The first volume in the Lands of Exile series
For once, Don was right… it was all Wen’s fault. If only Ben had not insisted in going back for the gun… Don and Wen should hand themselves in and share the fate of their co-conspirator. It would be the noble thing to do.
Does this course of action appeal to our errant duo? Not on your Nelly!
As Ben languishes in the dank cells of Bakewell Gaol, Don and Wen hit the road. Their headlong dash for freedom takes them north, where they are beset by a host of ‘Orphan Stones’ clamouring to be led back home. But they are not alone… and the sinister Black Shade is not the only thing dogging their heels as they blaze their customary trail through the signs, seals and sacred sites of old Albion.
The unofficial re-siting of an ancient stone is viewed in a rather negative manner by the authorities. Ben has been arrested and the other two birds have flown. Heading north, Don and Wen follow the whisperings of ancient stones carved with enigmatic symbols, unaware that they are being followed. Their journey takes them through Cumbria and into Scotland, visiting ancient and historical sites, whilst piecing together fragments of the secret and magical history of Albion. Illustrated in colour.
Extract from Lands of Exile: But ‘n’ Ben
Stuart France and Sue Vincent
Bark Jaw-Dark contemplated the pork pie he had recently fished from the depths of the jacket pocket of his un-pressed suit and placed it whole in his mouth.
“Jaw-Dark,” spluttered Bark through the pork and pastry.
“Is this a joke?” snarled Bark’s mentor, Tom Patrick, picking up the newly positioned desk tag and scrutinising it distastefully.
Bark swallowed and gulped, “Real name’s Mark… first day at school… had a cold… never been able to shake it.”
“The cold or the name?” smiled Patrick, briefly impressed with his own wit, and then continued more seriously, “You don’t get these unless you’re important… and you’re not.”
The desk tag flew through the air and plummeted into the depths of the tall blue recycling bin with a dull thud.
“And you can drop the sir. It’s Tom. In this day and age we treat you like shit but informally. It’s called progress…Got it?”
“Good lad,” growled Patrick turning to leave.
“Did you want me?”
“Ah yes…” said Patrick turning back, “the stone hugger!”
…Bark looked blank.
“Wealthy business man… moved a stone… went back for the gun… mad as a frog…”
“…In a box full of other frogs?”
“…In the clink.”
“I’d gathered that, but what about him…?”
“He wasn’t alone. Prime suspects… fellow directors of his school of conscience, or some such, have disappeared. Supposed to be on holiday but no one’s sure quite where. They’ve done a runner if you ask me. That’s where you come in.”
“Ah!” said Bark Jaw-Dark rising to his feet and pulling down his suit. “They are wanted in order to help the police in their enquiries.”
“Attaboy,” said Patrick. “You’ve got the weekend.”
A business card landed on Bark’s desk bearing the Egyptian Eye of Horus and a moniker, ‘The Silent Eye, a school of consciousness.’
“I don’t work week…” But Patrick had gone.
Bark Jaw-Dark fished his name tag out of the recycle bin and placed it back on his desk. He pulled down his suit again, sat down, picked up the business card and turned on his computer…
She is looking at me, the stranger child.
Eyes green as summer…
She looks at me as if she knows me.
Better than I know myself.
They say the Old Ones have green eyes.
She watches as I haul in the fish trap…
Website: France and Vincent
Have you read Lands of Exile – But ‘N Ben? If you have please do comment below.
Until the next time, keep smiling.
Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to Terri Webster Schrandt, author, blogger, leisure expert. This lady knows all there is to know about spending our precious leisure time wisely, and to add to her accomplishments she has recently released an e-book entitled – Better Blogging With Photography.
Being a huge fan of photography I couldn’t agree more, there’s nothing quite like an appealing photograph to catch the readers eye. Without it a blog post can be easily overlooked.
Why oh why didn’t I think of writing a book on this subject? Ah, I really need to get a grip….Terri you stole this possibility from my grasp, how could you? LOL !!! It must be all that time you spend pursuing a diverse range of leisure activities – ‘windsurfing, stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), camping, reading, writing, teaching, walking the dogs, traveling,’ that’s quite a list Terri. Means you must be super fit, and mentally agile. Perhaps I need to take up a few more exercise/sporting activities other than just tai chi….
Never mind, I must focus, or I’ll get distracted. Marje aka Kyrosmagica does tend to get a bit flighty at times….
So, who is our blogging friend Terri?
Terri’s Bio, Author Central
Terri is a non-fiction writer and retired recreation and parks practitioner living in Northern California. As a university lecturer teaching leisure education in the recreation and parks major, Terri takes leisure very seriously because it involves one-third of our lives…really!
Obtaining a Master’s Degree at age 50, Terri wrote her thesis on the Four Generations in the Workplace, sparking her love of writing at midlife. In addition to writing and blogging, she offers consultation services and conducts and presents workshops for a variety of organizations.
Second Wind Leisure Perspectives is her blog about living a leisure lifestyle.
Her active lifestyle involves windsurfing, stand-up paddling, camping, reading, writing, walking the dogs, traveling, and…
Short Book description:
Better Blogging with Photography: Maximize Your Blog Using Your Own Images
There is truth to the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words. As a blogger, are you weary of constantly hunting for images to illustrate the subject of your blog posts?
Perhaps you are a new blogger struggling to get more readers. Or a seasoned blogger continually seeking inspiration for quality blog posts.
This guidebook is designed to help you utilize your own images on your blog or website.
While free image sites abound, there are limitations to using so-called “free” images. Gone are the days when bloggers can innocently copy and paste an image from the web and paste it into their blog post. After reading this short guidebook, you will want to grab your smart phone or inexpensive digital camera and start taking photos!
Her early years…
I’m told that at age 4, I began reading. Somewhere there is an old, grainy polaroid of me laying on the floor holding an oversized book upside down in my two-year old hands. Books meant something to me even then.In my 50s, I found my second act, which consists of living my life around leisure, instead of the other way around. At age 49 I discovered the new love of my life who introduced me to windsurfing and stand-up paddling. At age 50 I obtained my master’s degree. At age 51, I became an adjunct university lecturer. At age 55, I retired from 30+ years as a recreation and leisure practitioner. At age 56 I self-published my first eBook.As a leisure educator, I blog about my experiences. It is my passion to educate people about leisure… one blog at a time. I love photography and recently bought a “real” camera. Beautiful images are worth a thousand words, or maybe no words at all if the image is powerful enough.
Terri just posted a wonderful article about the hazards of uploading photos that might appear to be free but aren’t. With this in mind she is offering free images to her followers.
Do follow this link to find out more:
Today I’d like to introduce you to Janice Wald.
A blogger who likes to:
Skyrocket your Blog Traffic! Hence, the Canva Social Media layout I’ve chosen. Let’s take that colourful air balloon to the blogging stars with our expert Janice…. believe me the fire in her belly will get us there.
Who is Janice Wald? In order to find the answer to that mysterious question what better place to investigate than Janice’s About Me Page…..
Janice’s impressive biography:
I write about blogging in order to help bloggers by giving step-by-step directions for content creation.
By following the advice in these posts, you will be able to increase your content’s visibility. Let me help you increase your traffic as I have done for so many others.
For example, my posts How to Make 1,406 People Look At Your Site in 1 Day and How to Quickly Get 3,000 New Blog Followers are typical posts you will find on my blog.
My blog is included in
- 60 Experts Share Their Best Content Creation and Marketing Tips
- 82 Expert Tips on How to Start a Successful Blog
- 57 Experts Share Tips on How to Create the Best Content Possible
- 100 Blogs That Will Help You Become a Better Blogger
- Top 100 Blogs for First Time Bloggers to read
- 101 Tips from Top Experts on How to Start a Successful Blog
- 15 Powerful Bloggers You Should Learn From to Grow Your Online Business,
- and 18 Content Marketing Blogs You Need to Follow Right Now.
Whether you are a business blogger, a lifestyle blogger, a parent blogger, or a reader looking for advice, there are tips that will help you at this site.
At Mostly Blogging I use my skills as a teacher to help you succeed.
I do a great deal of reading about blogging, and I take blogging classes. Additionally, I attend webinars and conferences. I will pass on the advice that I learn to my readers.
By following my blog, you will save time as well as receive information since I will pass on the knowledge I acquire to you. These tips are proven by research and easy-to-implement.
Exciting news – Janice has just released An Insiders Guide To Building A Successful Blog.
Here’s the link to Janice’s ebook on Amazon:
The link to her blog’s landing page:
Plus a link to Janice’s About page:
Janice can be found in a heck load of social media hang outs:
Blog URL: http://mostlyblogging.com/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/MrsPaznanski
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/janice.rappoportwald
- Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/mycurrentnewsblog
- Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/janicewald/
- Stumble Upon: http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/janicewald
Also she can be found on: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16067827.Janice_Wald
I will be interviewing Janice soon about her recently released book An Insiders Guide To Building A Successful Blog, so do keep a look out for that.
Bye for now,
A warm welcome to my Spotlight guest Daniel Royse, author of the fabulously titled: The Watermelon King.
I just love that title, don’t you? It certainly caught my attention. Perhaps it’s because I love watermelons, perhaps it’s the quirkiness of it. Who knows… I discovered Daniel quite by chance on Goodreads and I am so glad I did. If I hadn’t I would never have read The Watermelon King, or found out about Daniel’s travelling exploits. Can you imagine? What a loss.
Marje @ Kyrosmagica just loves the magic of travel. There is nothing as satisfying as being able to explore, and experience new cultures. But, all is well with the world, I’ve read The Watermelon King and it took me far, far away to swelteringly hot East Africa! Books truly are amazing. Don’t you just love them? I’m delighted to say that The Watermelon King is on my highly recommended thirst quenching list… review up next, but for now let’s focus on my Author Spotlight Guest today at Kyrosmagica….
Barnes and Noble: Barnes and Noble
Today I am thrilled to introduce you to Colleen Chesebro, a good friend, blogger, and recently published author.
Her debut YA novel The Heart Stone Chronicles – Book 1 – The Swamp Fairy has just been released.
Colleen Chesebro Bio:
Colleen Chesebro is a writer of cross-genre fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Her fantasy series is called, “The Heart Stone Chronicles,” The Swamp Fairy, and is the first book in the series.
Colleen lives in the U. S. with her husband and her two Pomeranians, Sugar and Spice. You can learn more about Colleen and her creative stories on her website https://colleenchesebro.com/.
The synopsis to The Heart Stone Chronicles: The Swamp Fairy
Fourteen-year-old Abigale Forester, recently orphaned and a ward of the State of Illinois moves from Chicago to Florida to live with her aunt, her last living relative.
Magnolia Forester becomes her legal Guardian, and together they claim an ancient inheritance; land that has belonged to Abby’s mother’s family for generations.
Holding onto the only piece of her mother Abby has left, a calcite pendant and her mother’s most sacred possession, she discovers the truth of her legacy. The pendant is more significant than she could possibly imagine. Forged from a giant mystical heart-shaped stone found on the very swampland Abby now owns, it holds the power of her ancestors.
But with that power comes greater responsibility, one that pits her against Rafe Cobb, a greedy land developer, who will stop at nothing to own Abby’s swamp land.
As Abby learns to be part of a family again and explores her love of horses with friends, Savanna, and Blake, the swamp slowly gives up some of its secrets. She is summoned by a primeval nymph, who teaches Abby that her true destiny is to protect the nymphs from evil in an ever-changing modern world.
Can Abby save the swamp and the Naiad Nymph Clan from certain destruction before it is too late?
Here’s where you can find your copy:
Her recent blog post : Colleen Chesebro – About The Heart Stone Chronicles
Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/o8LIRSWbVf8
The real Fairy Swamp: https://youtu.be/wZ3liaWWzB0
The calcite necklaces – A piece of the fairy heart stone: https://youtu.be/kpceXVAEpzo
IreneDesign2011 Etsy Store where you can buy your own fairy calcite pendant:
I just love those fairy calcite pendants designed by Irene Design. They’re beautiful.
Colleen has been very busy. She’s doing such an amazing job. How wonderful, I am so thrilled for her.
I am currently reading The Heart Stone Chronicles – Book 1 – The Swamp Fairy, and will reviewing soon, so keep a look out for that.
If you’d like to feature on the next Author Spotlight at Kyrosmagica blog do leave a comment below.
So happy for Colleen.
Bye for now,