Life Cycle Of A Writer – Face Palms, Facebook Adverts and PowerPoint Presentations

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It’s been a challenging few weeks in the James household, with the male of the species succumbing to the awful flu virus, and the females under pressure to learn and relearn skills, be it for forthcoming exams in my daughter’s case, or me putting together a slide show for a talk.

I also had to contend with my PC being absent from my desk while Gajitman upgraded it, and my laptop throwing a hissy fit, presumably because it was brought out of hibernation. At one point, I wrote a blog post from my phone. Thank goodness for apps.  And thank goodness for a teen and an IT engineer husband who made everything all right.

Upon the return of my PC, I had to get to grips with Windows 10. For the first two days, my grasp was weak, but I’m pleased to report, it is acquiring strength. It is a matter of time, as one of my friends told me. I will get used to Windows 10 and everything being in a completely different place …

In the meantime, my second Choc Lit novel, Follow Me Follow You was, and still is (until 31st January), on promotion, so I thought I’d try my hand at creating a sponsored advert for Facebook.

Here’s what I learnt:

The advert cannot possess more than 20% text.

FOLLOW ME_front highresThis became a problem when primarily I wanted to promote my book by showing its cover. A cover which consists of my name, title, and the publishers name and logo. Needless to say, on my first few attempts, I fell foul of the 20% text limit imposed by the Facebook rules and received emails inviting me to examine why I’d failed.

I even failed that task.

Face palm.

So I asked Google.

Phrasing the question took several attempts, but eventually I put all the right words in the correct order and was led to this very informative blog: http://bit.ly/1pukRrO from Jon Loomer, where I learned it’s all about where the text is placed. I tried using the FB grid, as suggested in Mr Loomer’s post, but as I IMG_2308mentioned earlier, I was having all sorts of technical difficulties and the grid would not load, so I drew my own grid to fit my laptop screen, and later, another to fit my PC monitor.

IMG_2314Using Canva, and it’s template ‘Facebook Post 940px x 788px’, I created my adverts, ensuring text did not take up more than five boxes. I had to move the image and the text around until I’d got it right, but the advert was approved and accepted by Facebook.

The trick with the text/sales pitch is to write it in the status box, including the links to the product, leaving the space for your advert free for a clean, clear image.

My ad read:

SALE. Digital download 99p.
http://bit.ly/1OsLFCT
‘Follow Me Follow You’, the second novel in the Chesil Beach series is on sale at 99p.
‘Original, uplifting, poignant, it’s a must read.’

With the risk of them breaking, will Victoria Noble and Chris Frampton follow their hearts?

If you like your romantic reads darker and set firmly in reality, the Chesil Beach books are for you.
Second in the series, ‘Follow Me Follow You’, can be read as a standalone.
A 2014 lovereading.co.uk Editorial Selection.

99p (1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was my first advert success! Whether or not it made an impact on sales remains to be seen.

My next challenge was to produce a PowerPoint Presentation for a talk a writer friend and I were to give at the Weymouth Civic Society. Our title was ‘Inspired by the Jurassic Coast’, and photographs were required to enhance our talk.

It had been some years since I last played with PowerPoint, but I volunteered my services to create a slide show.

Actually, truth be known, I volunteered my daughter’s services, as she’s far more knowledgeable than I about techy stuff. Thankfully she didn’t mind and came to the rescue, giving me a crash course on how to create slide shows. Between my daughter, with her patient teaching methods, and Gajitman showing me how to connect the laptop to the projector, slide show presentations are GO!

I’m available for gigs …

Laura.

 

 

Life Cycle of a Writer – Lucie Wheeler

Hello!

The time has come for me to give you lovely people a round up of what I have been up to since I last posted.

Whilst I haven’t got exciting news like a book deal or a competition win, I feel over the last few weeks my writing has taken a huge change in direction – for the better!

For a while now, I have been playing about with my writing to find where I belong. It takes a little time, as a writer, to find your place, your ‘voice’ as some call it, and realise where you fit in. Whilst I thought I already had, I think the way in which I have moved forward so quickly since January has proved that finally, I know who I am. Whilst romance always plays a huge part in my stories, I have come to realise that the stories I want to tell are more relationship based books, family dramas, domestic stories. My stories always have an issue based plot whether it be a young woman dealing with grief and depression, or someone in a violent relationship desperate to escape. Or even a couple entering into IVF not realising the devastating effects this could have on their already rocky relationship. These are everyday issues that everyday people fight. I write about ordinary people finding their modern day fairytale ending.

So, realising that my writing had taken an alternative route, meant a total overhaul of my image. I had been promoting myself as a romance author, and whilst that is still true, I didn’t feel it gave my followers a true definition of who I was and what I write. So, after discussions with my agent and a few of my writing friends, I decided to re-launch myself:

luciewheeler2

I feel this describes me much better. With this reinvention, came a shiny new website and an author page on Facebook. Please do pop over and have a look at both – and feel free to ‘like’ and subscribe if you want to!

Now I had a lovely website, a stronger presence on Facebook and Twitter and a plan. It was then time to sort out my submissions.

In my last post I told you about ‘Love Hurts’. This book has now been retitled as ‘Fractured Love’. I have completed another edit of FL after some tweaking by my agent (Sarah) and it has now been sent off to be proofed by her. Head over Heart, which was my first completed novel, is now undertaking a huge re-write to reflect my new ‘real life, real love’ route. When I first wrote HoH, I was still very much concentrating highly on romance being the main factor and it was lighter than it needed to be. When I finished FL, my agent and I agreed that HoH needed a complete overhaul to match the pace and quality of my latest novel. My writing has developed ALOT since I wrote my first book and this rewrite needs to reflect that. I am excited about the new direction I have taken and I cannot wait to work this into Sophie’s story.

I have also written a brief outline of the next book that I am to work on. This is currently untitled but it will focus on IVF and the effects – both good and bad – that it can have on some relationships.

Whilst my books are not directly linked, I do have a theme running through them all which ties them together. Because of this, I will be submitting them as a series this time round. And hopefully that submission will be soon. Just a few last minute tweaks and reads before Sarah hits SEND. Fingers crossed for me…

Another exciting turn that my writing has taken recently, is the development of a CHILDRENS SERIES! Writing for children is something that has also been an ambition of mine. I work in a nursery with 0-5 year olds in my day job and I love working with the little ones. So I think it was a natural development that my writing was bound to take. I will reveal more of this as it unfolds but at the moment it is very much in the early developmental stage. Because I plan to aim this series at both the fiction market as well as the educational market, I am doing lots of planning and research first.

Another hurdle I have come across with this is the decision of whether to have a separate pseudonym for my children’s books. Whilst I don’t write erotic fiction or anything like that, I do approach hard hitting issues and swear etc in my adult novels. So would it be best to create a whole new persona to promote my children’s books with? What do you all think?

I have also been more active in the competition stakes recently, entering my most recent novel into both the Lucy Cavendish Annual Fiction Prize and The Bath Novel Award.  Entering competitions is something that I haven’t really done much, but it was something I vowed to do more of this year. So that was where I started. I am also going to try to write more flash fiction/short stories to send into magazines and competitions, too.  It is all part of my being more proactive!

All that is left to say is that I shall be attending the Romantic Novelists’ Association Summer Party this year so I do hope to see a lot of you there!

Happy writing!

Lucie x

PS. My ironing pile has also resumed residence on my spare bed… I wouldn’t be able to call myself a writer if I didn’t have a horrendously large ironing pile and/or an overdue list of housework chores.  Come on, you know I’m not the only one…

Hello Gorgeous.

Hello Gorgeous. Yes you, with the beautiful smile and sparkling eyes. I’d really love to know you. Email me – we could start a wonderful relationship. Message me your phone number …

Choc LitLaura: There’s been plenty of discussion lately on Facebook, about that message file named ‘Other’. From all the statuses and comments I’ve read in the last week – and I don’t dispute this fact – we writers are the best thing since sliced bread. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone has been told that, too.

I delete my messages, but I always read them first – they brighten my day. Is that wrong? My messages are all about the smile …

Here are some of the ‘other’ lovely compliments we’ve received:

Lucie: Well apparently I have ‘beauty beyond words‘ and quite a few people want ‘to get better acquainted,’ oh and I have even had a couple of offers of becoming ‘soul mates‘. It is lovely, really it is, but it is not the reason I am on Facebook. My profile quite openly states that I am married and

I don’t believe I ever put out statuses of the ‘would like to meet‘ genre. However, some of these messages that we all get may well be genuine, but some may not. With the ever growing world of trolling and viruses, you can never be too sure of who you are speaking to. So I generally delete the messages I am unsure of. Like Laura, I read every single message that is sent to me, I love chatting to people, but if I am unsure of the source, I will delete.

Another massive pet hate of mine when receiving these messages is when the person gets my name wrong. I don’t have a difficult name, really, I don’t. Yes, I know I spell my name slightly differently to the normal ‘Lucy,’ but you would not believe some of the variations I have had in the past. It doesn’t bother me when people write ‘Lucy‘ as it is still my name – and was actually the name I was born with, until I changed it in my teens! – but when you start calling me completely different names, it doesn’t incline me to accept the friend request.

But thank you for taking the time to tell me I’m beautiful – that never gets old! 🙂

Sue Fortin profileSue :

My recent one, which I later to found out was received by several other Facebook friends (Oh, the two-timer!), said I was more beautiful than Venus. Why, thank you, kindly stranger from the ‘Other’ message box.  Ten out of ten for originality.  This rates alongside the message where the sender wanted to swim in the sea of love with me.  

I find them quite amusing, if I’m honest, but then I do have a warped sense of humour at times!

Pub   Celia :

This one’s my favourite this week – the Venus man passed me by, sadly.

“Hello Pretty, The world is a beautiful place with the shinning of the morning sun which makes the day. But this world is incomplete without the presents of beautiful ones like you to make life complete. Without someone like you around in the world i thinks life is incomplete. Please if you don’t mind can we be friends and get to know each other slowly. Are you single?”

I would love to say the shinning practice had been successful but the drainpipe was slippery, and anyway, I was too busy looking for my presents. i thinks life is incomplete without presents.

Jan: Well, I humour myself by imagining all our super-friendly “other” contributors have graduated from the  ‘flannel & supposed flattery’ academy – where they’ve either attained level 1 status (hopeless case), level 2 (shows promise)  level 3 (extraordinaire). My level one experience went something like… “Hello lufly lady, you are beautiful and simple…” Cheers, pal! Level two made slightly more effort, “Hello Queen, What a nice and sparkling smile. I wouldn’t trade that smile for anything. I don’t know you, I was searching for an old friend, when I stumbled on your profile. I got entangled in that wonderful smile…” Entangled? Level three did ‘the academy’ proud! “Your eyes shine like bright stars, your smile warms me like the sun, your beauty is unmatched. I live in hope that you will see me as more than a friend and allow me to share your beautiful world. Please be single for me…” I ask you, could I possibly feel any more special? 😉

Debbie: And here’s me, thinking I was the only one getting these types of messages! I wish I’d kept some of them now as I’ve had so many I’ve forgotten some of the cheesiest lines and believe me, there have been some very cheesy ones; ‘You have the most amazing eyes,’ ‘Just looking at you makes my heart sing!’ and I’ve even had two marriage proposals. I presumed I was attracting the wrong type as my status is divorced but then it occurred to me (and I’ve checked and double checked my privacy settings) no-one, except FB friends, should be able to access my profile and definitely not my photos! Quite how they can see me and approach me I’m not sure. I’ll be honest, if I’m messaged now by a ‘suspect’ male, I don’t even open them any more. This lady is nobody’s fool and after being through a divorce and round the block a few times, I can spot a man looking for a British Passport a mile off!

Catherine: Quite frankly, I’m miffed. All this talk of ‘other’ men in their lives. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong – maybe it’sCatherine Miller and the Girls having a baby on each shoulder – but I’m not attracting the same level of unwanted attention in my ‘other’ inbox. I seem to get them once in a blue moon and when I do they are Romaniac cast offs. For example, I have a friend request at present who I know was chatting up my friend Debbie some months ago. MONTHS! Imagine how many women he’s attempted to chat up since! Off to check my other inbox… Sweetness, you are so fly, the goddess Venus, seems to be less beautiful. Wait an effing minute… It’s only the same bloke that emailed the ‘other’ girls before me. What does a gal have to do to get some unwanted attention?

Don’t be shy. We’d like you to share your ‘other’ messages, and tell us what it is that draws these people to you. xx