Monthly Archives: April 2010

Author scrambles to keep up!

by Hhen

Are you scrambling to keep up?

Once upon a time, you could learn how to do something and then you knew it. You were an expert.  You could wear your fine, fine hat with pride. Thirty years ago we used Letraset to put the wording into a piece of art work. We used a bromide machine to enlarge and reduce artwork, then printed it up in a dark room. We laid out a book by cutting and pasting, using a t-square to keep it straight on the page. Daryl and I started as graphic artists in this era.

Then along came the computer era. So we bought one (or two) computers and learnt how to use the word program and photoshop. It was that or be left behind.

When the first book of my first trilogy came out in 1999, Daryl set up a web page for me. My publishers were impressed. They were scrambling keep up. Then of course I had to update the web page, so I had to learn how to use Adobe GoLive, or get left behind.

In 2002, when the third book of my trilogy came out, Daryl created a book trailer for it. My publishers weren’t sure what to do with it. The concept of a book trailer was very new then.

I’ve updated my web page every few years, which usually meant a complete redesign of the look and more complex structure with the pages and sub pages. I’d surf the web, studying other authors’ web pages to see how they presented themselves.

Then along came blogs. I must admit I resisted blogging for ages. With 6 children, plus all the volunteer work I’ve done for arts organisations over the years, I really resent anything that takes time away from my writing. Also, I thought why would anyone be interested in what I have to say? Besides, I had a web page.  So I was a luddite, where blogging was concerned.

But web pages are static. There’s not interaction with your readers. And I knew I was going to have to start all over again, and learn a new skill. Not enough hours in the day, not enough space left in my brain to start over … To paraphrase Winnie the Pooh, It was all too much for a bear of little brain.

Luckily,  Dave Freer invited me to join the Mad Genius Club, writers’ division, where I only had to blog once a week.  And I discovered blogging is not that hard. In fact, it’s fun. It’s addictive, even. Before I knew it, I had the MGC blog, the ROR blog (my writing group), plus a blog on Live Journal.  And my friends had blogs on wordpress which allowed you to put pages behind the blog.  Blogs had morphed into web pages.

When the covers arrived for my new fantasy series, I started this blog, with pages behind it.  And that meant I could simplify my old web page. So I rolled up my arms, completely redesigned my web page (for the fifth time since 1999) and took it apart, then put it all back together again. Took me all week end. Here it is. A leaner cleaner web page, that acts as a back up to this site.

I still haven’t tweeted yet. I feel as if I add one more thing to my list of commitments I’ll be twittering for real.

So tell me, are you scrambling every couple of years to keep up with the way the web is changing?

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Filed under Nourish the Writer, Writing craft

Recharge your Batteries

If you spend all day running like I do, juggling family, work and commitments that you took on because you thought they were a good idea t the time, then you probably need to recharge your batteries. It’s hard to be creative when you’re running on empty.

Here Jeffrey Baumgartner suggests 10 way to boost your creativity. For me numbers 9 &10 are most important.

‘Stimulate your mind by reading as many books as possible.  And exercise your brain by arguing with people (among other things). ‘ I don’t argue with people, LOL, but I’m always exercising my brain. If I don’t I get restless and seek out stimulation.

Maybe what you need is more time to do the things you really want to do. Here Michael Stelzner talks about time management skills for writers. And Annette Young talks about planning your writing day.

Maybe it is time you took one afternoon a week, just to do what you want to do — write that book, plant that garden, see the new exhibition at the art gallery.  Perhaps it is time to take a course in something completely frivolous that you’ve always wanted to do like making stained glass windows, quilting, or rock climbing. If you’re like me, you don’t have the time, but wouldn’t it be good to have one thing to look forward to all week?

How do you recharge your batteries. Me, I indulge in books and magazines about beautiful houses. Sigh.

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Filed under Writing craft

Comfort Reads and Movies

I’ve just spent the last week so sick I couldn’t think straight, couldn’t even read. So I retreated to the couch and switched on the TV to watch Lord of the Rings, the extended version. The nice thing about this is that I’ve seen it so many times it doesn’t matter if I doze off.

In fact my favourite part is the beginning, set in the Shire. I could watch this over and over. I indulge myself with daydreams about building a hobbit hole of my own and running away from it all to live a simpler life. Consoling myself with the thought that, if I did build a hobbit hole it would be environmentally friendly!

What are you comfort reads and movies?

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Filed under creativity, Nourish the Writer

Doing the Happy Dance!

Drum roll …. the book trailer for my new series ‘The Chronicles of King Rolen’s Kin’.

With thanks to my long suffering husband, Daryl, here it is, the product of months of working on the book trailer at night after a hard day’s work and spending the weekend working, when he could have been snoozing on the couch ‘watching’ the cricket. ( Daryl’s site is here).

When I write a book I create a Resonance folder. There is a specific feel I want for the world, the people and the tone of the story. I collect images, stories about places, photos of people and music which I associate with the story. It helps me to immerse myself in the series. Do readers get the same feel that I get from a series? I don’t know, but with a book trailer we are one step closer.

As writer and publicist Arielle Ford says:

‘there is only so much … you can write about your book before you have saturated your target audience. But in one minute or less you can tap into the visual, auditory and emotional senses of your potential reader with a book trailer.’

Read the rest of her article here.  I don’t know if book trailers sell books, but they are certainly fun to dream up and fun to put together, especially when they capture the feel of the book. I must admit I’ve been to the New Covey Book Trailer Award site and browsed, when I should have been writing. Some book trailers are funny and some are insightful.

What do you think of book trailers? Do they pique your interest in a series?

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Filed under Book trailers