How planning your blog and social media better will keep you on track

16 January 2017 / Leave a Comment

Confession: I've been a slap-dash blogger. Sure, I've been blogging since 2012, and the National Library of Australia are archiving Out of print writing, but it's been like my stories - I make it up as I go along. I'm a big time pantser, not a plotter.


But I've been listening to Kirsten Oliphant's Create If Writing podcasts and she talks about intentional blogging - like, having a plan for things!


I signed up to her newsletter and got her The Epic Blog Planner & Strategic Goals Guide. The Guide asks you to look at blog and social media stats for the past year, to see what worked and what didn't and then to set goals for the coming year.


It was a great way to reflect on what I've been doing for the last few years with my blogging and social media and to plan better for 2017. Many things have surprised me.


Firstly, according to Google analytics, my blog audience is younger than I would've thought (25-34), and more males than females (55% male, 45% female).


My most popular blog posts have been on topics like how to do #bookstagram on Instagram, best poets on Instagram, publishers publishing novellas.


Going through this process has reminded me that Wattpad has been my most successful platform by far. Shamefully, I've really neglected Wattpad this past year. Perhaps I was receiving sooooo many comments, I began to feel overwhelmed. It was hard keeping up that level of engagement. But now I've realised I'm crazy! I'm hoping to find a home for my YA novels, and where's that YA audience? On Wattpad.


I've recently returned to Wattpad and started engaging again and I've discovered that even though I've neglected that platform, people have still been there reading my stories quietly. Those readers are dedicated, even though I've been a lousy friend.


One of the best things about doing this guide was Kirsten prompts us at the beginning to outline our long-term goal, yearly goal and specific tasks for the yearly goal.


For me, my long-term goal is to write meaningful books that are purchased by a wide audience.


My yearly goal is to prepare two already written books for publication, write a new YA novel, continue to build my author platform, sell more copies of The Replacement Wife, find homes for older stories and develop my youth audience for YA novels. I've further written down specific tasks for how to achieve this.


And then, importantly, at the end of the plan, Kirsten suggests that one does a pie chart. Luckily, I'm a bit of a nerd when it comes to Excel and I love a visual overview. So here's what I've come up with for the year ...


When someone has so many tasks to complete it's easy to get sidetracked ... but the blue portion of the pie chart reminds me my main goal is to write stories ...



Sign up for Kirsten Oliphant's newsletter and receive The Epic Blog Planner & Strategic Goals Guide

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6 free life-changing resources for writers

30 December 2016 / Leave a Comment

These free resources will change your writing life. Discover helpful tips for writing and marketing, free ebooks, superfood recipes to help with brain mush and yoga and hypnosis for clear, creative thinking!


1. Create If Writing - podcast and website
Kirsten Oliphant's catchphrase is 'this is the podcast for writers, bloggers and other creatives who want to build an online platform without feeling smarmy'. She's a writer, blogger and authentic platform builder and I trust her! I'm now listening to everything on her podcast feed and her website is also full of helpful resources for writers and bloggers.


2. Gutenberg Project - free ebooks
I still can't believe all these books are free! If it's a classic and it's out of copyright, it's probably available here. Kafka, Austen, Dickens, Tolstoy and Bronte, if they don't need a first name, their stories are most likely on the list. Dead easy to download on your tablet or to read on your phone.


3. Howlarium - website
I've been a fan of Jason Howell's writing and this website for a long time now. Instead of doing the usual Q&A of predictable questions with one writer, Jason asks one unusual, thought-provoking question of many writers.


4. My New Roots - food blog
Sarah Britton has changed the way I think about food. I learn so much about nutrition from reading the introductions to her recipes. If you're sitting at your keyboard trying to squeeze words out of brain mush, go and cook one of her healthy recipes full of brain foods - think nuts, chia seeds and other superfoods! Her food is colourful, tasty and each bite feels as though it's a magic potion doing something good for you.


5. Tara Stiles Yoga - YouTube videos
Tara Stiles's yoga videos have become an important part of my daily routine. Her videos are fast-moving, so you don't get bored, and easily explained. She has videos from as little as 5 or 10 minutes a day for beginners through to advanced. Try her programs for focus and productivity!


6. Absolute Mind - podcast
Struggling with staying focused, negative thinking or motivation? Then this is the podcast for you. Paula Sweet of Absolute Mind delivers hypnosis, meditation and mindfulness podcasts to address many different issues. Get into an altered state of being and have her work peacefully and powerfully on detangling your mind.



I'm Rowena. I'm an author and blogger. My latest novel is The Replacement Wife, HarperCollins. 


Subscribe to my newsletter for tips on reading, writing and publishing in the digital revolution and receive a free ebook of Love Potion, featuring my flash fiction and a short story about stitching the heart together again ...





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My ultimate reads 2016 - not what you think!

23 December 2016 / Leave a Comment

Sure I've read some awesome books in 2016. I've ploughed through Anaïs Nin's collections of short stories, I've discovered Miranda July, I've been reminded that writing should never get in the way of living in Phillip Roth's The Ghost Writer, I've loved Lois Lowry's The Giver, Neil Randall's The Butterfly and the Wheel and Olga Grushin's The Line, but the two pieces of writing that have touched me the deepest are by my two children.


Above is a little poem my 9-year-old wrote about a convict girl coming out on a ship to Australia. Her teacher told me 'I had to read it'. My heart almost burst with pride when I read her line 'Little hands smudged on the window' ...


And then below is a little story my 6-year-old wrote, titled 'The hot Christmas'. He has only just finished his first year of school. He started the year writing his S's and his Z's and his 2's back to front. Sometimes an S was a 2.

But by the end of the year, he can write descriptions like '... I heard a scatter in the dark. It was like an airplane crashing in a thunder storm ...'




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Book review: The first bad man by Miranda July

13 December 2016 / Leave a Comment

The First Bad Man is such an original tale. It's been called quirky or oddball, but that doesn't do it justice. Each turn of events feels meticulously planned out. So many original ideas and stories, it delves into the underbelly of our strangest desires; so-called 'adult games', fight simulations, unorthodox relations between the young and the old. Miranda July is an artist, film-maker and actress, and she has a very different way of looking at the world. It was nice to step into July's world for a while, to feel uncomfortable, yet comforted by other people's strangeness, to feel shocked and surprised, but ultimately I felt enlightened by her clever writing style and excellent characterisation.




Miranda July book review

There's still time to enter The First Bad Man ebook giveaway! Subscribe to my enewsletter by 18 December to go in the draw to win an iBooks copy of Miranda July's The First Bad Man. Every subscriber will also receive a free ebook of my flash fiction and short story collection Love Potion. Enter here: http://outofprintwriting.blogspot.com.au/p/subscribe.html

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Free ebook for subscribers!

6 December 2016 / Leave a Comment

Subscribe to my newsletter about writing, reading and publishing in the digital revolution and receive a free ebook of Love Potion - a collection of flash fiction and a short story about love, heartbreak and stitching the heart together again ...


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Ebook giveaway! Miranda July's The First Bad Man

21 November 2016 / Leave a Comment
The first bad man Miranda July

The first time I heard about Miranda July was from my ex husband's sister. She looked at me wide-eyed with disbelief that I hadn't heard of Miranda July. 'You know, the filmmaker/actress/artist?' Nup, I'd never heard of her. My ex sister-in-law has great taste in books, and she really was quite sure that I must definitely read Miranda July, so I did that thing where I typed July's name and book title in the notes section of my phone and then promptly forgot about it.


The second time I heard about Miranda July was while reading super funny artist Kenny Pittock's blog. He'd made a ceramic sculpture of July's book The First Bad Man, went to Melbourne Town Hall to hear her talk and lined up, carrying the book sculpture in a shoebox, and asked her to sign it. Here's a photo Miranda July posted on Instagram of her signing Kenny Pittock's book sculpture:


Miranda July Kenny Pittock book sculpture


Finally, I stumbled across July's website and discovered her theatre show 'The Society' where the audience are asked if they'd like to live in the theatre forever with her and form a new society: http://www.mirandajuly.com/#new-society


The concept of a lifetime in a new society being played out in an interactive theatre show was the clincher, it was time to read Miranda July. I'm 50 pages in to The First Bad Man and I'm loving the oddball humour, the surreal characterisation and unexpected twists and turns.


I'm now telling you all, 'you must read this book'. 


Subscribe to my enewsletter by 18 December to go in the draw to win an iBooks copy of Miranda July's The First Bad Man. 

          ENTER THE eBOOK GIVEAWAY NOW!          

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10 benefits of publishing with an indie publisher by Nadia L King

17 November 2016 / Leave a Comment

You did it! Finally, your manuscript is finished! Months, possibly years of hard work and eventually, it is done. You rewrote, edited and reshaped this baby more than anyone else knows. You poured your heart and soul into this project. You gave it everything; every spare moment, every tiny bit of creativity you could squeeze from a jam-packed schedule. You incorporated feedback from beta readers. Put down your pen, your work is done.


Deep inside, you are certain your manuscript has wings, you just have to let it go. So, what’s the next step? Send your manuscript to literary agents? Cold call all the big publishing houses you’ve discovered on Google? Send your work to your favourite publishing house and look for ways to kill time during the long wait? Consider self-publishing? Or, gasp, vanity publishing? People, there is another way.


Gather in close. Listen carefully, while I share my take on how to get published as a first-time, green about the gills, author.


Reality check: you know you’re not going to get rich off your books right? There’s only a few J.K. Rowlings or E.L. James or Dan Browns. Anyway, it isn’t earthly riches you seek. It’s the ‘P’ word. That’s right, for you, it’s all about publication. Publication is tangible proof that someone other than your mother believes in you. Publication is proof you have talent. So much so, that a publisher is going to take you on; invest in you. They’ll shove cold, hard cash behind you. They’ll invest in you; in your manuscript; in the words you’ve sweated over, cried over, poured your life’s blood into.


Forget big publishing houses. They’re your future but not your today. Forget literary agents, for the moment. Now is your season of the small, independent publishing house. You will meet passionate, highly-driven individuals. They will rejoice in your potential. You will form strong working partnerships. Small independent publishing houses will become your home: they will be the birthplace of your publication dreams.


I met my publisher online. See, it does happen. My manuscript didn’t languish in the slush pile of an agent or publisher. I didn’t have to wait for weeks or months to find out how my manuscript had fared at an acquisitions meeting. The CEO of Aulexic read my manuscript firsthand and contacted me straight away. We didn’t meet in the plush offices of a tall office tower; we met for coffee, surrounded by books, in the comfy armchairs of an independent bookstore. The process was quick, smooth and stress-free.


Aulexic founder and CEO, Rebecca Laffar-Smith, and I became working partners. At some stage during the process of birthing a book, we became family. We sifted through tens upon tens, of book cover designs together. We crossed out words and wrote new ones, together. We explored and discussed venue options for the book launch. Rebecca supported me in my writer struggles and I hope, I supported her too. We attended functions together. It seems that publication had made us a team.


At this point in my writing career, self-publishing holds little attraction for me. Rebecca summed up my situation beautifully in a recent article:


‘Nadia has a fantastic indie author mindset, but she didn’t want to be involved in publishing and distribution. This is where independent publishers bring together the strengths of traditional publishing with author passion to the benefit of all. It’s the best of both worlds: agile and flexible to the trends like an indie author, but with the specialised skill set and distribution connections of a traditional publisher.’


Throughout the production process, I had the opportunity to offer input. For instance, I helped narrow down the choice of book covers. Our final cover was market tested and we’re both pleased with the end result. I couldn’t imagine a better cover or a better title.



My journey working with a small publishing house is ongoing. We are working together to have my book included in the school curriculum in my home state. My drive to publication has been exhilarating and empowering. Publication has lifted a huge burden from me. My writing has been acknowledged and I am free to work on the craft of writing. I have been published. I will be published again, but for now, it is time to get on with the business of growing my writing.

The top 10 benefits of publishing with a small press

1. Independent publishing houses have a shorter production process than traditional publishing. Small presses can launch a book within six months.

2. Author contracts offered by small publishing houses generally have more generous terms and authors can be offered higher royalties.

3. Small presses work hard to form close working relationships with their authors. Independent publishers often take time to nurture authors. Signing authors requires a significant investment from the publisher so they go out of their way to help authors establish themselves within the industry and to develop their author platforms.

4. Authors have more scope for input into the production process with small publishing houses.

5. Small presses typically have fewer books on their catalogue which means they promote their books for longer. Independent presses are motivated to foster their titles.

6. Small presses are better able to take risks than traditional publishers. They are uniquely placed to push genre boundaries, change trends and bring books to market that would never normally see the light of day by traditional routes.

7. Historically, traditional publishers pull back on marketing after the first six weeks of a book’s release. Small presses continue to market their catalogue for months and years.

8. Signing with a small publishing house provides mentoring opportunities. Small presses may commission you to write another book and may help you to develop your writing abilities.

9. If you sign with a local independent publisher, you will have plenty of face-to-face contact with your publisher.

10. Independent presses have direct connections with their buyers and readers and enjoy close relationships with their distributors.


So what are you waiting for? Go on. Submit your manuscript to an independent publisher. It could be the first step in establishing a flourishing business relationship with a small press.


Rebecca Laffar-Smith is the founder and publisher of Aulexic, a small publishing house that specialises in books and resources for children with language and literacy difficulties. Their books inspire a love of story and words, help families and teachers foster a love of reading in all children, and empower people who face challenges learning to read and write.


Nadia L King was born in Dublin, Ireland, in the 1970s. She reads voraciously and enthusiastically. She is an overexcited person who adores words and writes short stories amongst other things. Her first book 'Jenna’s Truth' is published by Aulexic and is a powerful tool to arm teens against bullying. Nadia lives near the Swan River in Western Australia. 


Visit:
https://nadialking.wordpress.com
https://www.facebook.com/AuthorNadiaLKing/
https://www.instagram.com/nadialking/








More about small presses:
Small press pop quiz - indie publishers on what manuscripts they are looking for
How to choose a good small press
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Book review: Auletris by Anaïs Nin

6 November 2016 / Leave a Comment
Reading ebook Auletris by Anais Nin

I must admit I was a little nervous about reading this recently discovered collection of Anais Nin stories because sometimes stories are unpublished for a reason. So I was pleasantly surprised to discover that these stories are as captivating as those in Little Birds and Delta of Venus.


Nin explores even stranger territories, taking characters to the final frontier of desire. I can never tire of her eloquent and sensuous use of language, her understanding of deviant behaviour and lustful longing and how she can make voyeurism decent and perverted experiences pleasurable.


Congratulations to Paul Herron for unearthing these stories and for making sure that they see the light of day.

       

Auletris Anais Nin

Want to read this too? Sign up to my enewsletter by 20 November to go in the draw to win an an ebook copy of Anaïs Nin’s long-lost collection Auletris, published by Sky Blue Press (via iBooks): http://eepurl.com/bzm6az



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Ebook giveaway! Anaïs Nin’s Auletris

1 November 2016 / Leave a Comment


Great news! Amazon has released Anaïs Nin’s Auletris from its 'dungeon'.


To celebrate I'm giving away one ebook copy from iBooks.


Just sign up to my enewsletter by 20 November to go in the draw to win a copy: http://eepurl.com/bzm6az


You can read more about how Amazon recently limited the search function on Auletris in this blog post: http://outofprintwriting.blogspot.com.au/2016/10/discoverability-new-anais-nin.html
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Discoverability: new Anaïs Nin collection Auletris

25 October 2016 / Leave a Comment

Little Birds collection Anais Nin


Last year I came across a Penguin classics book in a secondhand bookstore. I recognised the name Anaïs Nin from a Brainpickings post with a Debbie Millman drawing:

Anais Nin quote


But that's all that I knew about Anaïs Nin.


I paid my $5, took Little Birds home and discovered that what was inside those pages opened up my mind like the door of a bird cage.


In the introduction Nin describes herself as the 'Madame of an unusual house of literary prostitution.' The tale goes that Henry Miller was asked by a collector to write short erotica stories for one dollar a page. After a while, Miller no longer wanted to write these type of stories, so Nin took it over. Lucky for us.


Once I'd been awakened to Nin's work, I went on to read another collection of her erotica stories Delta of Venus. That's when I discovered Paul Herron's Anais Nin Podcasts https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/anais-nin/id969808038?mt=2


Anais Nin podcast Paul Herron


I enjoyed walking the dog with Paul Herron's podcasts about Nin in my ear.  I heard about how she dressed up for a party called Come as your madness like this:


Anais Nin party


I listened in awe about her relationship with Henry Miller and how later in life she had two husbands at the same time. The real-life Nin became as fascinating as her stories.


So this week, when I downloaded Paul Herron's latest podcast and he talked about how he's just published a new collection of Nin's stories that have never been seen before, I was feeling breathless already.


Herron discovered a folder from Nin's literary agent Gunther Stuhlmann’s archive that read “Provincetown Erotica??”. After reading Auletris, Herron recognised its literary value and worked hard to publish it under his Sky Blue Press imprint.


Anais Nin


But upon the launch of the book, he's found that Amazon has limited the search function on Auletris. Herron says on his website: 'Amazon says that it has made the decision that Auletris shall not be searchable because of its “adult content.” Even the cover is obscene, they say.'


Which makes me wonder how come dino porn like this can be searchable on Amazon:


Christie Sims dino porn


Is someone at Amazon deciding that sex with T-rex is okay to be promoted, but deeply moving, realistic, excitingly complicated prose about human relations is not?


Nin's stories are high art and deserve to be 'discoverable'.


Buy your own copy of Auletris by following the link here: https://www.amazon.com/Auletris-Erotica-Anais-Nin/dp/0988917092/ 


And leave a review on Amazon to let them know how much the world needs to be able to discover these stories ...
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