Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus (Happy St. David’s Day)

Today the people of Wales celebrate their patron saint. We thought we would send greetings to all the authors of Wales by looking at five of their greatest writers.

Dylan Thomas

Born in Swansea, Dylan Thomas was a renowned poet and playwright. He had worldwide recognition during his lifetime. Works such as ‘Do not go gentle into that good night’ and ‘And death shall have no dominion’ had a such a profound effect on a young Robert Zimmerman that when he came time for him to step on to the world stage, he changed his name to Bob Dylan. Thomas struggled with mental health issues and alcohol, and died aged just 39.

Ken Follett

Ken Follett’s early writing career was as a spy novelist in a similar vein to Len Deighton but lately has become a celebrated author of historical fiction. ‘Pillars of the Earth’ – the story of the building of a cathedral in the middle ages – is one of the best novels of its type that I have ever read.

Alastair Reynolds

Alastair Reynold was born in Barry, south Wales. He is a respected writer of epic science fiction. He has had numerous science fiction awards nominations for works such as ‘Revelation Space’ and Absolution Gap.

Russell T Davies

Born Stephen Russell Davies, he is one of the top television writers in the world. Series such as ‘Queer as Folk’; ‘Bob & Rose’ and Casanova led to him being given the weighty responsibility of rebooting Doctor Who. As a fan of the original show it was with a little trepidation that I tuned into watch the first episode of the new show. My worries were extended a little as a power cut meant that we didn’t see that episode until the following day, but I my concerns were unfounded. Davies’s love of the character and brilliance as a writer shone through.

Roald Dahl

I wonder how many children were turned into readers as a result of the work of Roald Dahl. Born in Wales of Norwegian descent, Dahl is regarded as one of, if not the greatest, children’s authors of all time. Everyone will have a favourite of his many novels such a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,’ James and the Giant Peach’ and George’s Marvellous Medicine (a big hit with Calum and Kirsten). His array of fantastic characters and fabulous stories have been a friend to parents all over the world.

 

To all the writers of Wales I hope these great names inspire you.

 

Ysgrifennu hapus

(Happy writing)


Some gifts are more than just a gift

The 2018 John Lewis Christmas advert is an emotional tribute to rock legend Elton John. I’m sure you’ve seen it, the way it ends is very poignant. Elton is reflecting on his life and on the first piano he was given as a Christmas present.  It ends with the tagline 'Some gifts are more than just a gift'.
One of our authors Claire Hastie has a similar story. In her short bio in her new book ‘The Guardians of the Athame’ Claire tells the story of how when she was eleven, she asked for a typewriter as her present for Christmas. Her love of writing has stayed with her all the way through her life and now that passion has led her to write and publish her own book.

A book is a way to fire an imagination, open up new vistas and ways of learning that no other medium can.

A modern equivalent of Claire’s typewriter would be a computer or tablet, but they can be expensive. There is another way that you can inspire a child to write, first make them a reader. If you are buying for a child this Christmas why not give them a gift that can indeed be more than just a gift. A book is a way to fire an imagination, open up new vistas and ways of learning that no other medium can. That boy or girl may not become a writer but if you can make them a reader for life you are giving them a gift that is way more than something that lasts until Boxing Day. It is a pleasure that lasts far beyond the abandoned toys, a passion that will give them somewhere to escape to and a gift that you hope they will pass on to their children. A book is truly the gift that keeps on giving.
If you are looking for a book to give this Christmas then you can check out Claire’s young adult fantasy novel and all our other books on our portfolio page.
Kim and I wish you a very Merry Christmas and look forward to engaging with you about books, reading, writing and publishing in 2019.


7 WAYS A BOOK CAN BUILD YOUR BUSINESS.

Do you have a business? Hands up if would like to write a book? 

Ok so I can’t see your hands, but I reckon if you are still reading then you have thought about it. Maybe it’s been a long-held dream that you will do it one day when you have time.  There are lots of reasons to write a book but if you haven’t made it a priority then maybe you don’t know the impact your book could have on your business.

What if your book could help grow your personal brand, build your business, increase your visibility, bring new clients and more income?  What if your book was the one that everyone was recommending?  What would that mean to you?

Here are 7 real examples of ways that books are having a positive impact and building business for the authors.

1. STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD

If you are a coach how do you stand out among other coaches?  Having your own book elevates your status, it gives you an opportunity to share your expertise in your own voice and helps build your platform.  Jen Wilson’s book – Become a Warrior Woman is doing just that for her business. This book offers clients an easy way to start working with Jen.  It was also the catalyst to start her Warrior Woman podcast series opening more doors and opportunities for collaboration, growing her audience and her business.

2. BE THE EXPERT

Books help you to share your expertise with a wider audience.  Alisoun Mackenzie’s book Give to Profit has built her reputation as an expert in growing your business by supporting charities and social causes.  Her passion for doing good in the world is having a huge impact, she has grown her global speaking platform and is the go-to person for business owners who want to have a social impact as well as profit.  She has created a Business of Good conference in Edinburgh (April 2019) drawing speakers and business owners from all around the world.

3. CONNECT WITH YOUR AUDIENCE

Your book allows you to speak to your audience in a way that works for them.  Jennifer Gunn’s book – The Dog With Not One F*%k To Give is a humorous stress management book written with military and police personnel in mind. Jennifer has worked with both high-stress groups and knew that talking about your emotions was not an easy thing in these tough environments. Offering a fun way to talk about how many f*%ks you have to give could maybe even help save a life.

4. SHARE YOUR TALENTS AND SERVICES IN A NEW WAY

Derek Niven (pen name for John McGee) has combined his love of football with his genealogy business to create a popular series of books that tell the family histories of football players and managers.   Pride of the Lions about the Celtic football Lisbon Lions team and Pride of the Jocks about Scotland team managers are proving to be big sellers but these books have also generated new genealogy clients – a double bonus.

5. CREATE A PRODUCT TO SELL

Alison Spencer was offering career coaching and CV writing services when she realised she could share her knowledge in a book.  Creating Your Classic Career has given her a low-cost product to sell and give her a new audience to work with.  Parents are buying it for their teenagers so providing workshops and talks to schools was a natural progression.

6. OFFER SOLUTIONS WHEN YOUR TIME IS LIMITED

How do you help more people if your business offers a one to one service?  As a wedding celebrant, Jane Patmore had this dilemma before she wrote Celebrate Your Love.  There are only so many days available to provide her unique services so offering couples ideas and sharing case studies in a book not only raises her profile, it also gives her something to sell at wedding fairs.

7. ENTERTAIN AND GROW AN ACCIDENTAL BUSINESS

Books are also a great escape from our day to day lives.  After many years of half-finished projects, Sinclair Macleod decided that finishing one book to be dedicated in memory of our son Calum was his focus.  The Reluctant Detective became a best seller, he followed this with seven other crime fiction books and grew an audience who love his books.  That success led to our publishing business Indie Authors World helping other writers to publish their books.  Who knew that writing fiction could offer a new business opportunity?

YOU CAN DO IT TOO

What will you write about?  Will you share your passion to help others?  Can you offer a solution to a problem?  Your expertise and experience can make a difference in the world. People love stories so create your own.

Whatever you write about you need to start writing.  You can’t edit a blank page.  Commit to making an impact with your words.  Start today with small articles and blog posts to develop your own style that suits your audience.  Start and finish your book – the world is waiting.

Set your intention to write and publish your book in 2019.  Surround yourself with people who will encourage, support you and keep you on track.  Imagine adding published author to your profile, now that would be a great achievement for you and your business.


5  Quick Tips To Help You Write A Novel

5 Quick Tips to help you write a novel

As NaNoWriMo is about to start I thought I would share some quick tips to help your creative juices to flow and get that novel written.

1. Use software that is designed for writers rather than a word processor.

Microsoft Word and other word processors such as Open Office are not designed with creative writing in mind. For a novel writer it is much better to use dedicated software. Scrivener (Mac and PC); The Novel Factory (PC only) and Storyist (Mac only) are excellent programs. They allow you to keep your research and your writing in one place, as well as keeping track of your characters and locations. When your novel is complete you can export to Word format to forward to your editor. They are also much more reasonably priced than a subscription to Microsoft Office 365.

2. Have a plan.

The plan can be as simple as a one-page synopsis or as complicated as a major project, but you need something as a guideline. I’m more of synopsis-type writer but if you want to produce a detailed plan that shows you every part of the story that is great. No matter what, your writing will take you in unexpected directions and tangents, but with a plan you’ll be able to get back on track.

3. Balance narrative with dialogue

A good novel will always balance narrative and dialogue. Too much narrative or description can distance your readers from the story and the characters. Conversely too much dialogue can mean that the reader no longer has a sense of place nor time. Like most things in life, balance is everything.

4. Who, what, where, when and how

It is a good idea to think about those five questions when you start each chapter. These can give you valuable insights and provide a way to focus on what you’re writing. The answers can be one word or short sentences, keep it brief. Examples of the questions are:
Who will be in the chapter (scene)?
What will they be doing? Or alternatively What happens to them?
Where does the action take place?
When does the action take place in relation to your timeline?
How long is the section? Or How will it affect the story? Or How does it affect the character(s)?

5. Use all five senses when writing descriptive passages

When you are describing a setting or a character think about them in terms of the five senses.
For a setting you should think about:
Sight – colour; shape; size; what items can the character see
Smell – natural or man-made; pleasant or unpleasant
Touch – texture; hot or cold
Hearing – natural or unnatural; loud or soft; pleasing or grating
Taste – is there the taste of something in the air
For characters think about them in these terms:
Sight – height; stature; hair colour; eye colour; tone of skin; signs of ageing, clothing and many more
Smell – perfume or cologne; body odour; ageing;
Touch – skin; clothing; caress or violent;
Hearing – accent; tone; volume
Taste – kissing
Obviously not all five will apply to every description and you don’t need to use them all every time, but it is worth thinking about them, that little bit extra may help your reader to imagine the scene or character much more vivdly.

These are very simple ideas to help your creativity. I hope that it inspires you to chase that goal of completing your novel and if you can do it this November then all the better.

 

Happy writing

 

Sinclair