Reading and Writing Books

August 25, 2014 at 9:05 pm | Posted in Australia, Culture, Mental Health, Reading, Writing, Writing and Life | 9 Comments
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the-author-and-the-reader-know-each-other-madeleine-lengle

I have written a whole series of posts about my reading through my life. But I am not just a reader. For the last eight years, I have also been a writer.

Read and write a lot -S.King quote

I write in a variety of genres, both fiction and non-fiction. If you want to improve your craft, you read about it as well as practising it. I write teen novels, children’s stories, memoir, biography, family history, articles, and even poetry.

Book genres

There are lots of great books on all aspects of writing available in both print and electronic format. I have quite a number in both formats. Among them are:
Writing Craft: – Kate Grenville: The Writing Book.
– Natalie Goldberg: Writing Down the Bones; and Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life.
Memoir: – Patti Miller: The Memoir Book; Writing Your Life,
– Denis Ledoux: Turning Memories Into Memoirs
– – Ann Patchett: The Getaway Car – A Practical Memoir

The Memoir Book

Because I write memoir, I read memoir. Mostly, they are Australian. The first I ever read was Alan Marshall’s I Can Jump Puddles. C.J. Koch’s The Year of Living Dangerously was a good one too, then A.B. Facey’s A Fortunate Life. I also read Frank McCourt’s two memoirs, among others.

Kate Grenville’s novel, The Secret River, I enjoyed, and then followed it up with her memoir about the writing of it, The Search for the Secret River. The latest I read was Patti Miller’s The Mind of a Thief, which I thoroughly enjoyed. There are several other memoirs I’ve read whose titles and authors escape me at present.

Over the Top with Jim

Because I write memoir, biography and historical novels (as mine are), there is lots of research to be done. Two memoirs by Hugh Lunn have been helpful in reminding me about growing up in 1950s and 1960s Australia – Over the Top With Jim was the first, as was his Lost for Words, about Australian idiom of the time. –I have also read memoirs by people who lived in Lancashire mill towns at the time I was little, and my parents’ generation before that. Two good ones were William Woodruff’s The Road to Nab End and W.R. Mitchell’s By gum, life were sparse!

Total Teen Fiction

I also write Teen/Young Adult novels. Because I do, I enjoy reading them – indeed, I would be silly if I didn’t. I find that many teen/YA novels are more real than most of those written for adults. They – even the fantasy stories – mostly deal with issues that have relevance, depth and guts.

Ben's Challenge look inside

I recently read two teen novels that I came across at a print book sale, and I still have a couple more of them to read. The quality of the first two is high, and I expect the rest to be also. I’d recommend anyone to have a look at this genre. A lot of good stuff is being written – often much better than that being written for adults. Jesse Blackadder’s two books are on my To Be Read list also.

Stay Last Dog Blackadder

Children’s and Young Adult books I have read in the last couple of years include:
Morris Gleitzman’s trilogy: Once; Then; and Now
JK Rowling: The Harry Potter series
Witi Ihimaera: The Whale Rider
Marilyn Halvorson: Let It Go
Jackie French: Pennies for Hitler

Pennies For Hitler

Ebooks for Children and Young Adults
C.S. Lakin: Time Sniffers (Shadow World 1) I rated 5 stars.
Aida Brassington: Between Seasons
Amy Kathleen Ryan: Shadow Falls
Kristah Price (from New Zealand)’s Where the Moths Dance

BeyondFear_Cover_FINAL.indd

Being a writer, I know how difficult it is to get your work out to the reading public. So I like to support local writers. Wherever I can, I attend book launches and author talks. I usually come away with signed copies of their books that I have purchased.
Some of these local authors and their books are
– Jaye Ford’s psychological thrillers: Beyond Fear; Scared Yet?; and Blood Secret.
– Kaz Delaney’s Y.A. paranormal novels Dead Actually and Almost Dead.
– Lachlan Ness’s stories of his time as a Presbyterian minister, the first of which is A Kangaroo Loose in the Top Paddock.
– Debbie Robson’s historical novel, Tomaree
.
– Victoria Norton’s short stories, purple emerald gold.
– Pam Garfoot and Elizabeth Conway’s Making Them Real: Finding a Queensland Past.

so-many-books-so-little-time

There are always more books than anyone can find, let alone read. However, within the limits of reason, I am doing the best I can.

Books -imprisoned souls

Are you a reader? What are your favourite genres?

© Linda Visman

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Promoting your book online

November 7, 2012 at 9:00 pm | Posted in Promotion, Publishing, Writing | 5 Comments
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The internet, with its abundance of social networking sites, makes it easier than ever before to get your name in front of prospective readers. However, you must remember that you are competing against millions of other writers to get your name and your work noticed. It takes time, effort and commitment to create and expand your on-line connections. Here are some suggestions on what you can do to establish an on-line presence.

Set up an author website:

–         this must be as professional and easy to navigate as possible;

–         create a page for each of your books, as well as an About page;

–         include book reviews and any recommendations about them;

–         add links to where the book/s can be purchased;

–         you can set up a blog on your website that will help you to get noticed;

–         if you are technologically savvy, upload video promos, readings, interviews, etc.

–         include links on your page to those of other websites or blogs that you find helpful.

Set up a blog:

–         as a stand-alone site, or as part of your author webpage;

–         make your blog posts interesting and relevant:

     o       about your book – the characters, setting, theme, anything that is relevant and interesting; include items about place, any related special interest, eg historical era, a medical condition, a war, poverty, travel, etc.

     o       why you wrote it; the writing process, the frustrations, your research, etc;

–         let people know when you have been interviewed, and provide links if possible;

–         include a Comments option for feedback (and hopefully praise) and to create interest in what you write; always answer all comments;

–         have Share buttons to social media sites you are a member of – Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, Goodreads, etc;

–         host guest bloggers on your site, so you can then be a guest on theirs;

Become part of an online community:

–         read and comment on others’ blogs;

–         sign up as an author (apart from any personal membership) on social network sites and get as many Likes and Shares as you can;

–         register as an author on Amazon, Goodreads, etc;

–         mentor other writers – online or offline.

Go on a virtual book tour:

–         this is aimed at getting your name out in the virtual world; you want to be involved in as many other blogs, websites, radio and TV interviews, social network events, contests, giveaways, etc as possible;

–         these virtual tours take a lot of preparation, commitment and good organization;

–         you will find information online that will tell you how to set up a virtual book tour.

*                      *                      *                      *                      *                      *

Linda Visman is a member of Lake Macquarie Fellowship of Australian Writers, and loves to help other writers improve their skills. She writes fiction and non-fiction, and has a go at poetry too – with varied results. Linda has been published in several magazines and anthologies and is the author of Ben’s Challenge, a novel for Young Adults, set in the 1950s, that Baby Boomers love.

Getting into the electronic act

November 3, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Posted in Publishing, Reading, Writing | Leave a comment
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My novel, Ben’s Challenge, has not drawn many customers from CreateSpace. In fact, only one copy of the print book has been sold since it became available in August. I don’t know how to track the sales, if any, on Amazon or other outlets. However, it doesn’t look like print is going to sell, and if I want to get people buying it, I will have to get into the e-book market.

I see there are now many different e-book readers being put out by different companies. Many of them appear to be limited in the variety of formats they will operate. But I suppose you pay less for them.

Kindle is still the leader in e-book readers it seems, with Kindle 3 and Kindle DX. They operate a good range of formats, in fact more than most other readers. So, Kindle is probably the best e-reader to get my book into.

So, I am now in the process of converting Ben’s Challenge to a kindle e-book, through CreateSpace. It will be available on Amazon and on CreateSpace in a few weeks, and I will put up the link to it when that happens.

In the meantime, if you would like to have a print copy of Ben’s Challenge, just click on the book cover and you will be taken to the Amazon page where you can purchase it.

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