Monday, 17 July 2017

The Crippling Blank Page - One Tip to Get Writing

The toughest part of writing is getting started.

Having ideas is one thing, committing them to paper is quite another!

Ideas is not something I struggle with - I wrote about my 5 current book ideas back in May.

I'm still yet to make a decision on what fiction project to start next. Instead, my writing time has been filled with creating content for my upcoming eCourse - Build Your Blog. 10 step by step workshops to grow your business by blogging.

I've blogged about getting the creative juices flowing in the past too - 'Conquering Creative Constipation'.

But, there is one quick tip I want to share with you about how to get going in the first place. 

How to start on the journey into writing regularly, and building those all-important regular writing habits we must have in order to make progress with our writing project - be they creative or otherwise...

Whether you're writing a book or writing a blog, writing regularly, little and often, is the only way to do it!

Watch the video here:

One tip to get you going with writing: 

Write unintentionally! 

Happy writing!

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Seven Tips to Publicise Your Book - A Guest Blog

I'm delighted to host a guest on the blog this week.

I met Angela Belassie at a netwroking event in Bristol and she was full of so many great tips and ideas for small businsses, and writers, to get some quality PR. 

Angela set up PR The Write Way to do just that, and I'm proud to share just a small example of her knoweldge and tips to help authors get their books noticed.

Over to Angela...

 Seven Tips to Publicise Your Book.

So, you’ve written your book and are now set to have it published. Congratulations!

You will probably want to shout about it from the rooftops - letting as many people as possible know how and where they can get a copy.

One way to do this is with some good old-fashioned PR; this can include sharing a press release with various press publications, including in print, online and broadcast.

Here are seven tips to write a successful press release to promote your book.


It is ideal to plan in advance and have the press release ready prior to publication. Bear in mind some publications are monthly – or even quarterly – and it would help to send the press release to them ahead of time. Be aware of the various publications’ deadlines.

Tell Your Story (not that of the book!)

The press is generally more interested in people than products. Focus on the inspiration behind the book, rather than a chapter-by-chapter account.

For example, Inge Dowden wrote The Happy Worker and talked about the adversity she had overcome, which had led her to want to help others.

Inge thought the press wanted to know about the content of the book, but I helped her see that they are more interested in the personal story.

Similarly, Yvonne Bignall drew from her life experience when she released ‘Suck it Up or Change.’ 

Use Statistics

Statistics can add weight to your article. Finding research which backs up the findings behind your book may help with its promotion.

In another press release, Inge uses statistics to show that most people quit their jobs in January – but this may not be the way forward. Instead, her book gives some options.

Share Your Credentials 

How are you qualified to talk about the subject matter in your book? Talk about the experience you have in the field and any relevant qualifications.

Inge has worked for multi million pound corporations both in the UK and abroad.  Over the last 10 years she has helped hundreds of clients make career changes, create profitable businesses and achieve a good work/life balance.

Yvonne is an award-winning personal development educator and life motivator for both lifestyle and business. 

Do not be afraid to promote your skillset.

Share Your Success to Date

Consider any successes you have had which you could share in your press release.
For example, Yvonne’s book was a number 1 best seller on Amazon. This adds credibility and encourages more people to buy the book.

If it is prior to the book being released, then you could look at successful case studies.


In today’s busy newsrooms it is unlikely that reporters will have the time to read and review your book. Instead ask your network to write reviews and share the positive feedback in your press release and on social media.

Cast the Net Wide

Target a range of publications which are relevant for you. If you live in Bristol, for example, target publications in that area. Also consider community publications and trade press which is relevant to your industry.

Angela Belassie has enjoyed a successful career in the media industry for more than 10 years – as both a journalist and PR consultant. She set up PR The Write Way to help small to medium sized businesses get widespread coverage.


Saturday, 27 May 2017

Help! Too Many Book Ideas

Call it a gift, or call it a curse, but one of the hardest parts of being a writer is deciding which book idea to pursue. Simply having too many ideas!

It's been a year since I published Gabriel's Game, Part 2: The Black Knight - marking the end of a journey to write the Sheridan and Blake books, that started in 2009.

A combination of factors has led to my books dropping off the radar and the worst sales since I published The Bronze Box in 2013.

My reasons (or excuses) for being rubbish at selling books in 2017:

  • Being too busy with my business, and focusing my energy on writing the 'Write Your Way to Success' online course for business bloggers

  • Amazon's algorithms have changed to favour paid advertisers. Organic reach for books is more and more difficult to achieve without some serious work at it.

  • Just not doing enough to market my books and maintain consistent sales 

  • Psychologically, I left Sheridan and Blake behind when I finished the series, I'm mentally in other book ideas...

...And here's the rub - I've got 5 ideas now for books to spin off from the series. 

Each time I have a new idea, that one seems like the one I should pursue, then another one pops into my brain and the previous one gets side-lined.

I always say to the clients I coach, "The hardest part of writing is getting started."

If only I could learn to follow my own advice?  

I wrote on Linked In about 'Taming The Ideas Junkie' - how to organise your ideas and make decisions.

However, I can do all the filtering I like, the fact remains, that whichever book idea I pursue next, it will involve me dedicating the next few months of my life to writing a little every day.

At which point, it becomes an issue of prioritisation and time management.

Or maybe I just need a little help deciding?

So, here are my 5 book ideas, tell me which one you like:

1) Finding the Scream 

When a cache of art stolen by the Nazi’s is uncovered in an abandoned mine in Austria, Katarina Orlov is called in to investigate. She enlists the help of a former colleague from The Agency - Tom Sheridan - who is now an art dealer. Amongst the cache is a missing version of Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’. When Tom and Kat walk into an ambush, they must find the art before it's sold into the black market. But first Kat must face the demons from her past if she wants to find The Scream

I've already written portions of this, but I don't know where the story will go or how it will end. It’s proving to be a struggle.

2) The Ruining

To break a man, you must take from him that which he loves the most; to ruin a man, you must make him believe it's his fault. 

Art dealer and former spy Tom Sheridan’s wife has been kidnapped. The ransom? To step into the darkness of his past and commit a terrible crime, or his wife will die.

This idea gives me chills, and scenes from it are vivid in my mind’s eye. Any excuse to get Tom Sheridan at his flawed hero best again. All I've written so far are some notes and scraps of narrative, I don’t know what the crime is Tom is asked to commit yet, or why the kidnappers need him to do it.

3) The Professor's Legacy

His reputation on the line, his marriage on the rocks, his life's work about to be ripped from beneath him, Dr David Thornton is a desperate man. He accepts an anonymous donation, no questions asked, to fund the archaeological dig he's dedicated his career to, but there's a catch; he must retrieve an artefact from the site, a mysterious Bronze Box and deliver it to his benefactor. When his conscience gets the better of him, Professor Thornton wants to know why this box is so important. But how much will he sacrifice to find the truth?

This is a prequal to the Bronze Box. Fans of the book will know the fate of Dr David Thornton, but fans of the series will want to learn more about why. So far this is just a concept, with a few notes. It could potentially be a novella, and much of the plot is already established from the Sheridan and Blake series. I just need to pull it together and work out the connections.

The next 2 ideas are both part of the Katarina Orlov series. It doesn't matter what order I write these in, although the stories all star Katarina, each will be a stand alone book.

4) Finding the Seeker

Freelance seeker, Katarina Orlov, is sent deep into the rainforests of central America to retrieve an ancient Mayan artefact stolen from the Natural History Museum in Mexico City. She unwittingly attracts the attention of a Mexican drug cartel, who believe she is in possession of a shipment of cocaine bound for LA.  The cartel kidnap Kat’s daughter, Elly, as leverage. Katarina must find and deliver the drugs to the cartel by the deadline or Elly dies. 

Again, none of this is written yet. All I have is the concept, notes and a clear idea of the characters involved. There will be a certain noir irreverence to this story, with the Mexican drug barons being comically, yet deliciously, evil.

5) Finding Revenge

Freelance seeker, Katarina Orlov, travels to Key West on the trail of a missing artefact that went down with a ship in the 18th century - a ship taken by pirates and renamed Revenge. But to solve the 200-year-old mystery of this ship, Kat must resist her own temptation to seek revenge.

This is just concept, but I love the idea of doing some research on piracy. With Bristol as my adoptive home, I'm fascinated by the piracy trade that was the dark underbelly in the history of the city. I'm also, unashamedly, inspired to write a pirate book by 'Black Sails'. I've no idea what the 'missing artefact' is at this point, or who Kat is seeking revenge over, but it could be a great caper of a story?

What do you think?

Which of these stories would you like to get your teeth into first?