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Archive for the ‘Teen Fiction’ Category

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three middle grade novels ready to launch, market and sell

almost

to find out how

stay tuned

…let the countdown begin…

 

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on the road

Your book is finished and it’s time for the fun part, right? Time to hit the road and do the big tour. And, of course, if you’re anything like me, thinking big is the easy part. It’s what we writers do, isn’t it?

I was ready to hook up the Kimberly Kamper and head around Oz, stopping in at schools and libraries, selling books with gay abandon…I was a tad worried about being locked in a moving vehicle with my co-author for the several months this tour was going to take but, hey, I could always sit him in the back with the child locks on if he misbehaved.

But then I had to go and get this email from The Book Designer (www.thebookdesigner.com) with the title, 7 Top eBook Blog Tour Sites, written by Greg Strandberg at http://www.bigskywords.com.

Researching the marketing game has seen me write and discard several marketing plans in the last months as I’ve talked to editors, publishers, distributors, bookshops, school librarians and book fair co-ordinators. And I was ready to hit the road, even with my brother, actually he’d come in handy for flat tyres and such…

I mean, let’s face it, we writers spend all our lives cooped up in attics tapping away at our keyboards so can we be blamed for  dreaming of a few champagne celebratory drinks after the hard work is done, followed by a road trip to make us if not rich then at least famous…

celebration

But it’s not how it’s done anymore…well, at least not exclusively…marketing nowadays means more time at the keyboard, blogging, tweeting and…err…touring virtually. Strandberg lists his top seven virtual tour sites in his blog but he’s written a book that lists fifty sites, Tour Your Book, 50 eBook Blog Tour Sites That Increase Amazon Sales, and it’s those last couple of words that has me unpacking the trailer before I’ve even begun…because if there’s one thing I’ve learnt from my marketing research it’s that ebook sales are what drive sales nowadays and, according to the gurus who run sites like http://www.thebookdesigner.com and http://www.digitalbookworld.com there’s only one way forward for we wanna be marketers of our words…and it doesn’t involve sunsets on deserted beaches with fishing rods and celebratory drinks…

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Cheers…

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On finding your voice…

There’s a fair bit of information out there nowadays about collaborative writing…the good, the bad and the downright ugly…and one of the biggies is finding an authentic voice for your story. Not only did we combat that particular problem early on (because we were so naive we didn’t know there was supposed to be a problem in the first place) it has actually turned out to be one of the biggest strengths for our series of middle grade mystery novels.

Our boy/girl approach is quite a hit with kids and ‘boys against girls’ competitiveness is something that happens naturally around the ages of 9-12…luckily for us, it seems, my brother and I never grew out of it. What follows is an excerpt from our upcoming ‘Growing Up Writing’ non-fiction book that’s taking on a life of its own as the focus leans more and more towards collaborative writing and the pure joy of sharing the writing process with another person…and the boost to your creativity this sharing of ideas encourages.

I asked Richard what he felt about co-authoring having written three books together…yeh, it was a brave question and I had a faint worry that what he said would be unprintable and that there may never be a fourth mystery novel to fight over…but being the blogger of our duo, I could always delete the bits I didn’t like…for my part how much more fun can a middle aged woman have than beating up on her brother and making money out of it?

Out of the mouths of boys…

I have written three novels, collaboratively, with my younger sister, Lindy.

These novels started with Lindy sending me the first chapter of the first novel with the instruction, ‘your turn.’ The story commenced on a cliff top with a rather dangerous track running down it that my sister(s) and brother and I raced up and down as children. We knew the place extremely well. Set at Malua Bay, near Batemans Bay, the South Coast of NSW we had grown up there, and this area is the setting for the three novels.

There are a number of positives inherent in writing collaboratively, the first being, in my view, I am at last getting a glimpse of situations from a female perspective. A glimpse that seems, at times, cluttered and meandering and at other times cold and clinical. The female interpretation on a given occurrence or ‘happening’, when written, is surprising and certainly adds a fullness to my own stumbling efforts. Things that seem clear and exciting to me are rushed over while other things are seized upon and embellished.

Sharing with a female, a sister, as strong willed and as intelligent as mine is daunting, demanding and educational. I am sometimes amazed at the clarity and descriptiveness which my sister brings to each task. Secondly, it is good for me to have someone with talent and education who can bring sense to my childish dabbling’s, someone who has the ability to construct sentences correctly and speak in the correct idiom although the novels are set in a ‘years gone by’ era and I am allowed speak in an ‘Australianism’ that perhaps is sadly, fading away to be replaced by Americanisms.

There are of course negatives to collaborative writing. Heated discussions about who is responsible for progressing the story line, what direction the plot should head, down to the paragraph settings on the computers we both use. She in Far North Queensland and me in Southern NSW. Conflicting ideas on who should edit the stories are something I have great difficulty with, when I have written something it’s finished with – maybe that’s a male thing, I just cannot go back and change things. Hats off to Lindy, she is a great editor. Secondly, I think sometimes females fly off on an unimportant tangent that does not follow a logic, not one that I can see. Maybe I’m just dumb (happily so).

The three novels, to me, are gentle tales from not so long ago, when we made our own fun by having adventures. The stories are warm and familiar, are an attempt, at least on my part, to encourage readers, no matter where they live, or what age they are, to look on the bright side, to take what’s at hand and go with it, to never give up and never settle for anything other than giving one hundred present to everything.

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The learning curve just gets steeper as I tackle the production and marketing side of publishing my novels. There’s nothing like a challenge to kick off the new year…and as usual I’ve set myself a couple of doozies.

First, to publish and market our three Cracker and Gilly mysteries, Forbidden, Old Bones & Merinda’s Gold – not to mention the accompanying Teacher’s Notes and Australian Curriculum Unit Plans as I pitch to the ever growing digital education market.

Old Bones Cover2 Forbidden Cover Design (Denita's) Merinda's Gold Cover 2

And second, my literary novel, the miner’s wife, with which I plan to tour and promote, using my marketing action plan…researched and drawn up with helpful tips from Joel Friedlander’s, http://www.thebookdesigner.com…

The Miner's Wife Cover1

My TO DO list is pretty straightforward…editing, interior and cover design, proofreading, producing, printing, fulfilling orders, accounting, marketing, publicity and sales…let the challenge begin…

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the cliffs

Writing with my brother, like everything else with my brother, means we get to fight, make things up, and out-do each other with our exaggerated tales of triumph and adventure.

the authors

It’s how our Cracker and Gilly Mystery Series came into being…

forbidden photo

And recently we had the opportunity to revisit the scene of many of the adventures about which we write…the cliffs, the rocks, the secret caves, Professor Bromley Floss’s mysterious shack…

the shack

My brother still likes to climb around the cliffs…

the explorer

But my daughter is a tad more nimble than the authors…

climbing the cliff

Ah, we remember once when we were young…

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Meet Tombay…

Tombay is a character in our Cracker and Gilly Mystery Series for middle grade/young teen readers… his personality shines through, don’t you think, from his cheeky grin to his proud and loyal stature.

Tombay illustration

And Skelly, dastardly baddy that he is, aboard the Pirate…

Skelly and Pirate

Today I’m pleased to introduce our talented illustrator, Denita. I knew we lucked out bringing her onboard but it wasn’t till I saw the quality of her work that I realised just how lucky we are…

Denita drawing

And that’s the secret I guess…a little bit of luck, coupled with tenacity, knowing what you want and how to search for it…or, for those of us of a more biblical bent, ask and you shall receive…

But…and it’s a big but…I’ve been searching for an illustrator for a while…a talented artist friend agreed to work with us…but never delivered….another artist friend didn’t have the time…and some artists were plain out of our budget.

What I didn’t realise was that our newest team member was right under our noses all along and neither she nor I realised it…till now…and that’s where the luck came in. Circumstance, coupled with timing, coupled with luck….

I look forward to sharing more of Denita’s work…and, if we’re lucky, she may even share a few tips and tricks…

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