My 2021 review and new year goals

I should have written this before the year end, but not surprisingly I didn’t think of it until this week when the topic of new year resolutions has been prevalent.

2021 wasn’t a great year again with Covid lockdowns/restrictions, was it? I think many of us are struggling with self confidence, mental health issues, getting back ‘out there’ and changed ways of living, so I’m trying to get into a positive frame of mind.

My main achievement, last year, was to finally work up the courage to achieve my lifelong goal, after about a decade of dithering, to publish my debut novel, A Charming Bequest.

If anyone thinks writing and editing is onerous, the publishing process in itself has been a steep learning curve. But for an introvert, like me, the hardest thing of all is marketing and promotion, and offering it on multiple online retail outlets in order to hopefully secure sales.

As Amazon indicate on their website, my novel is amongst 8 million other titles they have available, so realistically, as I am a complete unknown, it stands no real chance of being spotted without me learning to do something differently.

I appreciate every single sale, and I really hope readers enjoy it. I also hope that a reader leaves positive feedback, because it might just influence more interest. Good old word-of-mouth advertising and personal recommendations!

Nevertheless, despite this realistic take on my experience, I have the satisfaction of achieving my goal, and I have opened the door to build on the experience in 2022 – hopefully 🤞🏻

What have I learned?

As I keep reading, this last week when many people are considering new year resolutions, instead of setting one big goal to strive for it’s much better to set a series of small goals, because going along a series of stepping stones is motivational. I think, based on my experience of taking decades to achieve my lifetime goal, and waiting until the time was right, I very much agree.

Have confidence and go for smaller, attainable targets. Good luck. 😉

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Happy 2022

Another new year, in the shadow of Covid, but with the development and distribution of vaccines and medications, hopefully 2022 will have much brighter prospects for us all.

What are your plans?

I’m still trying to learn marketing for my debut novel I launched last March – A Charming Bequest, as well as working on a new project – a series of picture books for children. A series might be a challenge – however, I can work on one or two initially and see how they are received! I have a focus group of little people in my family, aged from 1-8 (as I write), who are willing critics giving me honest feedback for my initial prototype.

The concept behind the children’s stories is to provoke discussions between the adult readers and the children and prompt them to put forward their own ideas and try them out – take action.

I also hope to get writing another novel this year. I keep jotting down ideas for it and I’m sure I can get working on it soon. At least I’ll try very, very hard! Once I start writing, and getting into flow, a story will emerge. My intention is to create believable escapism for my readers – we can always do with escaping sometimes, can’t we? Focussing on a character’s life for a while maybe stops some of us overthinking our own issues, don’t you think?

Whatever your goals and intentions are for the new year, I wish you a very happy, prosperous and productive 2022.

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Reentry 2

A few weeks ago, I read a fear of going back out in the world is called Reentry. This article (link below) demonstrates this fear is now quite commonplace (well it’s now got a meme!) and explains it quite well.

If you’re an introvert, like me, pubs, parties and crowds have always been difficult, and now it’s greatly magnified after isolation and lockdowns.

Reentry explained a reluctance to going back to have to face the constant fear. For instance, I got very stressed when I had to work in a noisy office and I always yearned to work from home in peace and quiet where I’d be far more productive. When I finally did work from home, I loved it. Is it’s becoming more commonplace now and I’m really envious.

It’s not agoraphobia, because there is nothing I would enjoy more than a walk along a quiet beach in a big empty space, after my going out has largely been limited to a quick flit around a supermarket and back to the safety of my cave.

It’s a real fear of having to go back to busy, noisy places and around lots of people instead of just one or two in a peaceful environment and a good in-depth civilised discussion.

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The prospect of returning to ‘normality’ is very daunting for me, especially as I’ve spent most of lockdown isolated and alone. I’ve been dreading normality. The thought of returning to pubs, parties, crowds in shopping malls, etc is a nightmare, and so far I’ve not changed my behaviour of mostly staying at home, with occasional trips to a supermarket.

It’s not that I’m scared of catching Coronavirus; I’ve had my jabs and I’m reassured that if I did get it, it would probably be relatively mild, and over with in a few days. It’s just the prospect of returning to crowds, amongst noise and people, that frazzle me at the best of times.

I’ve done some research, and I’m not the only one. This apprehension is called Reentry and there is a lot about it on the internet. See this article

I’d love to see my friends again, but in a quiet way, a bit at a time. I’m not antisocial, just very, very anxious.

Introverts are often creative – artists, writers, etc. We thrive on working alone. So if you know someone like me who is an introvert, and Highly Sensitive (read Elaine Aron and Susan Cain’s books) and please just be patient and kind.

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I’m Learning about Author Taglines

I understand the concept of product Branding, but hadn’t ever considered authors needed one. 🤔

What prompted my research was signing up to a website, to help with marketing my book and it was there, a field to complete.

Oh, okay, I’m a dedicated lifelong learner. I’ll research.

Essentially, I learn, an Author Tagline is a similar to Branding for products (think Nike, Just do it). One of the first things I read, is an author tagline should reflect something about the author and what they write. Tempt readers in.

So I relate that to me. At the moment I’ve only launched my debut novel, but I would like to explore other genres, maybe using different pseudonyms. I then pondered how to create an author tagline (which should be unique) to cover me as a writer, writing in different genres.

Another suggestion was to keep it extremely short – one to three words, so it’s easily memorable. Think once again, Just do it. Even if you’re like me and don’t do sport, you know immediately it’s Nike, who sell a wide range of products.

I’ve come up with one, and Googled it—it would appear to be okay, but this created another thought. (Agh, Google, why do I always end up side-tracked and going off at tangents?) Anyway, Semantics.

And here’s where my journey has taken me: I came up with Creates Believable Escapism.

Creates, because writing is creative, and creativity is building and making something. (My favourite pastimes are creating—writing, art and crafts.)

Believable, because I have worked in education and I am a great believer in passive and lifelong learning. When I wrote my novel I based it in facts and truth, but, the story weaved around it is totally made up. It is believable, because it could have happened.

Escapism. This was the one where semantics came in. Escapism, these days, means escaping into fantasy worlds, such as science fiction. But for me, Escapism is getting lost in a page-turning good story, away from reality, problems and anxiety (preferably lying in the sun, on a beach on holiday…) Anyway, looking into someone else’s world.

For instance, when I wrote my story I tried not to define too much detail, as it runs like a movie in my brain as I’m writing.

I’m the same when I’m reading, I always build my own vision of the characters, what they’re like and their appearance, and what the setting is like. It runs like a movie in my head as I’m reading. (Hopefully making it a page-turner.) This is why I can be quite disappointed with a movie after reading the book, when it’s not true to the storyline and the actors cast aren’t anything like the characters I created inside my head. (But I still always have to read the book first! No hope for me, with films, is there?)

Unless it evolves, or I need to change it, I’ll probably go with Creates Believable Escapism. And now you’ve read this, you know a bit about me and where I’m coming from.

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Target Audience

One of the things a writer should identify when starting to write a novel is their target audience.

When I wrote A Charming Bequest, in my mind I generated a vision of my reader, who was a lady, probably 40+ who enjoys a good, page-turning contemporary romantic novel to get lost in. There is a little bit of eroticism in it, in the context of a love story and having a bit of fun, and there is the uncovering of a family story.

It’s not necessarily about gender, age or demographic, but more importantly what s/he enjoys reading to achieve a bit of escapism during his/her rest and relaxation.

I guess I thought mostly females would enjoy it, although I know a couple of men who’ve read it … to the end … 😉

Based on this, if you choose to give it a try, I hope you enjoy it.

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Which is the hardest – the writing or the marketing?

If anybody has ever dreamed of writing a book but suffers from the notorious Writer’s Block problem, take heart. I know how difficult it is when Muse takes a hike and all you see is the cursor flashing on the screen. Procrastination.

The solution is … Just write. Anything. As long as you write something. Once you create a daily writing habit (it takes about a month of practice to get your neural network to create a new pathway, I believe), one day your writing hopefully turns into something meaningful and constructive. And once you get a story out of your system and onto paper, virtual or real, at least you have something, a manuscript, to work with and edit, hone, revise and improve.

The next problem, if you’re anything like me and have very little self confidence, is finding the courage to get it published, whichever way you choose. Given editing and perfecting permits and you decide to go for it, I wish you good luck.

The next hurdle is huge. Marketing. It takes even more courage and a very steep learning curve but it is essential.

I’ve been researching, reading and learning about ads, keywords, affiliate links, and all the other things I need to do to try and get my novel seen and turn clicks into purchases. Let’s face it, £2.99 isn’t a huge investment for the Kindle version for most people – probably the equivalent to a cup of coffee, in a coffee shop. So even if the buyer doesn’t enjoy the product it’s not a huge financial disappointment, is it? (I will admit the paperback investment is more, more like 3-4 cups of coffee… but a sizeable chunk of that is needed just to cover the printing costs.)

Marketing, as I understand it, means learning how to find the target audience receptive to taking a chance of clicking and buying the product. If it’s a type of product, in the case of a genre of fiction that they read often, a person is more open to buying. Taking a chance. So it’s a case of how do you focus advertising to the right audience? I’m still investigating that one and reading a book by Mark Dawson and the Reedsy website.

With regards to pricing, it depends how you look at it. Do you take an accountant’s perspective of recouping your investment in the outlay of expenses as quickly as possible? Or a salesman’s perspective of pitch the price lower and go for mass sales? It takes more sales perhaps to recoup the investment, but more people might be tempted if the price is right. And then there’s another consideration; if a buyer doesn’t have Amazon Prime, for example, they might have to pay for postage anyway. So do you price it to include free postage anyway?

So much to take into consideration!

I’m only relaying my story of getting my debut book Out There. Others may have a completely different journey. I’m enjoying the process, but I think the next one I might do differently and providing I can make enough sales not to lose access to certain facilities I’ve signed up to, I’m sure it will be easier next time, now the foundations are in place.

If publishing a book something you want to do, try it. I’ve found it, at times, exciting and gives a sense of achievement. There’s nothing quite like holding a copy of your work in print.

If you’d like to support me and try my debut novel, A Charming Bequest, I’d be very grateful and hope you enjoy the story. Providing potential enjoyment and escapism was my purpose in writing it.



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Thank you

Thank you to everyone who has purchased my book. I really appreciate it and I hope you enjoyed it.Amazon have prompted me today about promoting it again.

Here’s the blurb: Sophie is young and building her career as a freelance writer. She’s a good researcher, so her Great Uncle asks her to find out about his sister Sally’s life story.

She begins with internet searches, and on a forum she meets Philippe who is looking for information for his grandmother.

Sophie visits Philippe and his grandmother in France, where she meets interesting people, and gleans unexpected information. She receives far more than she imagined.

She returns home to uncover the rest of Sally’s story, her true family history, and a surprise.

I hope you enjoy it and would ask, please can you leave a review and spread the word.



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Happy Bank Holiday

We’ve arrived at the end of a windy and rather wet month and the forecast is for a sunny bank holiday. Yay! 🤞🏻

Please forgive me the opportunity of a promotion again – I’m still trying to learn marketing techniques. Anyway, have a happy relaxing weekend 🌞 and for around the price of a cup of coffee…

A Charming Bequest – Researching a family story, Sophie finds more than she expected. A slightly erotic, contemporary romance.

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Happy May Bank Holiday!

We’ve had lovely sunny April weather, here in the U.K., if a bit chilly, and now we’re around to the bank holiday and the weather is a bit duller. So perhaps not quite beach weather – unless you’re very hardy.

Have a great weekend anyway!

And if you fancy a bit of escapism for around the price of a cup of coffee 😉

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