Category Archives: Books

NaNoWriMo and How to Make it Through

November has been National Novel Writing Month for me for a few years now.

nanowrimo-and-how-to-make-it-through

Back in 2011, I was a writing community newbie and heard the word NaNo getting thrown around and I had no idea what it was. Then I began seeing that several of my friends had won NaNoWriMo, and I thought how amazing they were at winning something that was so widely talked about. It must be big! Now, those friends who win or take part in NaNo are still amazing, even though I know what it is and anyone who completes it – wins it!

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It’s not an easy thing, bear in mind.

NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month on many writers’ calendars and to win it you must write 50,000 words in the month of November. 50K – that’s 1,667 words per day throughout the entire month. In 2012, when I first signed up it felt like a huge mountain, and I had no idea if I was fit enough to climb it!

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© Lisa Shambrook

I’d already written several manuscripts and one published book and would be rereleasing my first novel, Beneath the Rainbow, a year later, so I knew it was possible, but I had never ever written a book in one month… Could I do it?

I had a sequel in my head for Rainbow and I spent October planning Beneath the Old Oak. I took advice from other writers: cancel all your plans for November, plan easy meals, keep your family informed (their support is vital), stay positive, and keep writing.

nanowrimo-lisa-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

NaNo is not about writing a book, or at least not a full, polished, finished book. NaNo is about writing your first draft, and we all know first drafts are all about getting words on the page, letting the story flow from your fingers, and allowing your imagination complete freedom.

The months after November will be for rewrites, editing, deleting, pulling your hair out, worrying about plotlines that don’t work, honing the words, adding, altering, and fixing… November is for getting words into a draft.

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My secret weapon – Hot Chocolate – © Lisa Shambrook

So, how do you do it?

Simply, by writing.

Some days you won’t feel like it, but write if you can.

Don’t worry if you fall behind, you can catch up on a good day.

Don’t worry if you don’t complete 50,000 words, any words, any words at all are positive and moving forward.

See it as a personal goal, don’t compare. My first year was tough, I didn’t think I’d do it, especially as I watched friends zooming through, but I made it, just.

Treat yourself, chocolate works.

Have a great support network. Your family needs to know what you are doing, it will pull you away at times as you let your muse inspire and flow. If dinner doesn’t arrive on time, or the bins haven’t got put out, it’s not the end of the world…order takeaway, beg someone else to do the rubbish, or catch it next week. Writing Community friends are also magic. Their words, commitment and progress can help fuel and enthuse you.

Take time out… go out, leave the house, take a walk (November is full of autumn goodness and crunchy leaves!), watch a movie, read a book. Sometimes your muse will overwhelm you with words, and sometimes you will struggle to find her!

But, the best advice, just write.

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Take a break from writing – © Lisa Shambrook

In 2013 I wrote Beneath the Distant Star during NaNo then took a break for a couple of years. This year, 2016, I was raring to go with a project I’d held up for years, and this time my words exploded out of my fingers, completing my 50,000 words in just 19 days, and I’m still writing…this is a longer book than my others and I’m loving writing.

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Get family support, and cats! – © Lisa Shambrook

I believe my success this year is down to the fact that I originally wrote this book way back in the early 2000’s and then left it alone. I know the story inside out, but I had to throw out the old manuscript and completely rewrite from scratch. An old framework, but a brand new concept and one that excited me immensely to write!

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NaNo win – © Lisa Shambrook

The discipline of NaNo inspires me and works so well for me. I’m a writer who gets distracted – a lot. So, keeping a timetable, turning off apps, ignoring the internet, and just writing is something that works and I hope this year I can continue the habit over the following months. I have two more books planned in this series, and have already spent months world-building, restructuring plotlines, characters, and backgrounds, and I can’t wait to write.

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Keep Writing! – © Lisa Shambrook

If you’re still writing, keep it up and let your muse stay close…

Keep those words flowing!

Have you taken part in NaNoWriMo, how did you do?

Would you love to have a go?

What are your tips for getting through a month of intense writing?

Christmas Stocking Filler Amaranth Alchemy Offer

Christmas is only five weeks away,
and if you’re looking for beautiful and unique gifts for the
reader/writer/wordy person in your life
then look no further than Amaranth Alchemy on Etsy…

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And take advantage of our 25% OFF EVERYTHING offer until the 5th December 2016.

Just use the coupon code CHRISTMAS16 at the Etsy shopcheckout for 25% off…

All our products are great stocking fillers and no two items are the same.

We rescue old, worn, torn, damaged and abandoned books from landfill and breath new life into old pages…

The vintage book pages we use in our craft are always ethically sourced and we promise never to take pages from new books unless they are irrevocably damaged.
We will always recycle where we can, reusing envelopes and packaging to help protect the environment, but you can be assured your gift will arrive beautifully wrapped and ready for a new home.

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Take a look at our range and make someone happy with beautiful words..
. Like our Facebook Page to keep up to date with Special Offer Discount Codes and Giveaways!

Get your 25% off today – until the 5th December 2016!

Dragons, Castles, Wales, and Works In Progress…

Now that Human 76 is out there in the wild
and you’re all getting your post-apocalyptic fix,
I need to get back into my tales and my WIP (Work In Progress).

Dragons, Castles, Wales, and WIP... The Last Krystallos.

Exciting plans involve a short story collection embracing a dragon theme and then a new series. The short stories will include a story that ties to The Hope Within Books and a new tale that will link directly to my new chronicles.

Dryslwyn Castle Cait and Lisa The Last krystallos June 2016

Caitlin and Lisa at Dryslwyn Castle with Paxton’s Tower © Bekah Shambrook

So, as a teaser this post is a visit to Dryslwyn Castle in Carmarthen which will play a part in my WIP. These books are set far, far into the future:

‘Centuries beyond post-apocalyptic, the landscape of Wales has turned into a whole new country…and the rumble of dragons has returned…’

I’ve spent the last year travelling across Wales, researching, and having fun! You may recall my blog post Road Trip through the raw beauty of Wales, not only did we have fun, but we mapped out the landscape that I’m going to need.

Dryslwyn Castle, Black Mountain , Tywi Valley, Lisa Shambrook,

The Black Mountain in the far distance from Dryslwyn Castle © Lisa Shambrook

Dryslwyn is a ruined medieval castle, the very strategically placed home for 13th century Rhys ap Maredudd, high above the Tywi Valley. It was a front line defence but deliberately decommissioned in the early 15th century. It was walled up, blockaded and ruined, and burnt to the ground at a later date.

Dryslwyn Castle, hills, Lisa Shambrook,

Dryslwyn Castle foundations… © Lisa Shambrook

However, it still holds strong foundations upon the hilltop peering across at Paxton’s Tower, the neo-gothic folly erected in memory of Lord Nelson in the 18th century.

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Paxton’s Tower across the Tywi Valley… © Lisa Shambrook

In my future the current Twyi Valley will be a flooded land populated by islands, including Dryslwyn castle which may be a stronghold for its owners – and I know exactly who will live there – having rebuilt a small fort of her own within the safety of the islands…

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Dryslwyn Castle and Caitlin… © Lisa Shambrook

We had a lovely visit planning and plotting and imagining post-apocalyptic futures…

It’s been quite a week for contemplating the future
and dystopia and post-apocalyptic seem appropriate!
*spoken with tongue firmly in cheek*

What are your plans for the future? 

Human 76 Release Special Offer: Free eBook Download

Ghabrie and Human 76 is finally here! 
And available as a free ePub eBook for two weeks to celebrate its release. 

Human 76 - An Unprecendted collection of Post Apocalyptic  Stories - Ghabrie

Join a new Fandom and Like our Human 76  Facebook Page to keep up to date with blogposts, links, fun stuff, and information you won’t find anywhere else!

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Please also find us and list us in your Want To Read on Goodreads
and when you’re done, please review Human 76.

Snippet of 'Leaving the Nest' by Lisa Shambrook - Human 76

Snippet of ‘Leaving the Nest’ by Lisa Shambrook – Human 76

We are supporting Water Is Life and all profit from book sales will go
to this deserving charity – helping to provide water where people need it.
A charity that helps people who struggle within this world.

Snippet of 'We Make the Future' by Lisa Shambrook - Human 76

Snippet of ‘We Make the Future’ by Lisa Shambrook – Human 76

FREE Download from Lulu until 1st July
(ePub version of the book which can easily be converted to Kindle using Calibre.) 

Buy Links: Lulu Paperback

Amazon Paperback UK and US

Other buy sites will soon be available – Amazon Kindle etc –
once the Distribution avenues are open.

Enjoy, and please review and let us know what you think! 

Human 76 – Ghabrie is on her way…

Just over a year ago my family and I stood in the freezing cold in Pembrey Park,
our fingers pale and cold gripping weapons in our hands.
You might ask why?

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We’ve had some fascinating family photoshoots over the last few years and with our son going overseas, to Canada, for two years, we wanted to push the boat out and do something really different. So, we went dystopian for a post-apocalyptic family portrait.

Shambrook Post Apocalyptic Photo Shoot and Ghabrie - Bekah

© Lisa Shambrook – Our family Post-Apocalyptic photoshoot and Bekah/Ghabrie

Human 76 Post Apocalyptic Anthology planning June 2015

© Lisa Shambrook – Planning Ghabrie’s world…

We had no idea what chaos and beauty our photoshoot would bring…

Bekah’s picture gained many comments and my amazing writing community wanted to write about her. The character in the picture became real. Ghabrie arrived in our lives.

We ended up with a group of fourteen talented writers (Michael Wombat, myself, Alex Brightsmith, Denise Callaway, KJ Collard, Alison DeLuca, Michelle Fox, Rebecca Fyfe, Jeff Hollar, Nick Johns, MS Manz, Julia Rios, KR Smith, Steven Paul Watson), creating a book chronicling Ghabrie’s search for her lost sister.

Bekah and I sat down and created a world in a post-apocalyptic landscape, and instructed our authors to write, the only necessity was that their characters had to meet Ghabrie at some point in their story. Ghabrie and her search is the theme that threads through the book, but what you get is a gorgeous vignette of many lives, some struggling and some prospering, in the Post-Blast world.
What leads them to Ghabrie? How do they meet her? Does she affect them? How do their stories impact hers?
You’ll have to read them to find out.

Human 76 Ghabrie Intro Piece

© Lisa Shambrook

An unprecedented set of stories set in the fragments of a fractured world.

This book has turned into a project of passion for myself and all its authors, and you’re getting a full length book of tales that will delight you, shock you, and disturb you (just a little). You’ll need to read Ghabrie’s story, and Glint’s story, and Planck’s story, and Ash and Hum’s story, and – there are so many more! And maybe you’ll find out what happened to Nahria…

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Human 76 – Coming soon…

We are on the cusp of releasing this book
out into the wild world – so keep your eyes wide open.
I’ll let you know when!

All proceeds from this book will go to Water is Life, a global charity that provides clean drinking water, sanitation and hygiene education programs to schools and villages in desperate need worldwide. Our book is about those displaced and struggling to survive in a dangerous world and this charity fits perfectly with our stories. So when you buy the book you will be helping those in need.

Also, for a period of two weeks the eBook will be FREE – be ready!

And check out Michael Wombat’s blog post for even more background on how we put this book together…  

And our FACEBOOK page is here! 
So you can keep up to date with everything, release date, offers,
fun stuff, and extras you won’t find anywhere else! 

Llandeilo Book Fair – Finding Books

Last Saturday I took part in my first book fair 
and the Llandeilo Book Fair was a lovely experience!
I found my next book, did you?

Llandeilo Book Fair april 2016, Lisa Shambrook and authors,

I arrived at Llandeilo Civic Hall and let my nerves settle as I found my table and set up. I was actually very happy to be at the rear of the hall, a position that suited my anxiety as I could see all about me from a favourite place of mine – the corner at the back!

Lisa Shambrook Llandeilo Book Fair 2016 table

My book fair table

We were open from 10.30 to 4.30 and my daughter, Bekah, accompanied me. We learned much from the fair and the other authors, all of whom were so friendly, and most I recognised from social media. So much fun meeting people I’d only chatted online with before!

Lisa Shambrook Llandeilo Book Fair 2016

photo by Graham Watkins

Having never done a book fair before, I wondered if I was doing it right. My table set up was good, but I think I’ll be looking for a more professional table cover, one that reaches the floor. I got lots of marketing ideas from observing other stalls, but I think I did okay. I had decided to set each of my books at £5, but I think most other sellers were selling at cover prices, so maybe next time I’ll stick with £5.99 and £6.99 prices as on my books and maybe an offer for multiple sales. My banner was cool and I had both Hope Within bookmarks and business cards to offer for free.

 

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My books and Amaranth Alchemy bookmarks

In addition to my books, Beneath the Rainbow, Beneath the Old Oak, and Beneath the Distant Star, Bekah and I brought Amaranth Alchemy bookpage and bookspine bookmarks to sell. It was really sweet to sell one bookspine bookmark to a lovely lady who recognised a title that her Grandmother had once owned!
Memories are powerful.

I won’t list all the attending authors, you can find them in my website news posts, but it was so much fun to make new friends! And to meet another BHC author who was visiting from Norway, Shane K P O’Neill. It’s a small world when you realise you share contacts, and it was also a lovely surprise to find Lizzy approach me and tell me her friend had encouraged her to come to the fair, and we discovered we had Michael Wombat in common! It’s so funny when you need to trade Twitter names to recognise each other! So many new Facebook friends…

Llandeilo Book Fair 2016 photo by Graham Watkins

Llandeilo Book Fair – photo by Graham Watkins

The day was great; I sold a good number of books for my first event and loved discovering new books, ideas, and friends. I learned lots of things. I learned to chat with prospective customers, compliment them, say hello and make conversation – not an easy thing for a true introvert, but well worth doing. We were quick to see that people didn’t always pick up freebie bookmarks, so handing them out with a comment and a smile is well-received.  I discovered, when looking back at photos of my set up, the reason that most people picked up Beneath the Old Oak to peruse first was probably because it was the only one of the three books standing upright. I also found out that I grin a lot – see photos – I really enjoyed myself! And I realised my nerves were unfounded.

Llandeilo Book Fair 2016 with Carol Lovekin and Rebecca Bryn

With Carol Lovekin, Jane, and Rebecca Bryn

Llandeilo Book Fair 2016 Lisa Shambrook and Christoph Fischer

With Christoph Fischer

I am very much looking forward to attending more book fairs in the future. Thank you so much, Christoph, Judith and all those involved for a great day!

Don’t forget that if you didn’t make it to the book fair, or if you just live too far away – I mean, oceans separate me from many of you – all my books and other books I’ve contributed to are available online.

My website has all the links you need. Signed paperbacks are also available from my Etsy shop, Amaranth Alchemy, so you haven’t missed out!

And I mentioned I’d found my next book – Carol Lovekin’s Ghostbird

See you next time!

Lisa Shambrook The Hope Within Novels Twitter Ad

Come and Visit Llandeilo Book Fair 2016

I’m taking part in my first Book Fair on Saturday 30th April
in the picturesque town of Llandeilo in beautiful West Wales

llandeilo book fair 2016

Llandeilo is a gorgeous setting close to Aberglasney Gardens and Gelli Aur in the pretty Tywi Valley. So if you’re local or at a loose end this Saturday and fancy finding some new books by some great authors, then pop along and meet us. We’ll be very pleased to see you!

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I’ve spent some time planning my table and set up, especially as I haven’t done this before, and I think I’m ready!

llandeilo book fair 2016, lisa shambrook, bookmarks, banner, business cards, the hope within novels,

I’ll be there with paperback copies of my Hope Within series. Beneath the Rainbow, Beneath the Old Oak and Beneath the Distant Star. There will be free bookmarks and business cards for the Hope Within novels and you can see some props from Beneath the Rainbow too.

lisa shambrook books, hope within novels, amaranth alchemy, bookspine bookmarks, bookpage bookmarks,

We’ll also be selling bookspine and bookpage bookmarks from my Etsy shop Amaranth Alchemy, where we rescue old, unwanted and damaged books and breathe new life into their pages.

llandeilo book fair 2016, carmarthen journal, posters and leaflets on Morris Travel,

Article with Christoph Fischer in the Carmarthen Journal Twyi Valley, and leaflets and posters on Morris Travel buses across Carmarthen

We’ve had leaflets and posters up for a while and had some great interest in our competitions and talks and fun! Check out our Time Table of Events.

llandeilo book fair 2016 poster,

Llandeilo Book Fair will be open on Saturday 30th April 2016 from 10.30am to 4.30pm, free entry, and refreshments are by Caffi Iechyd Da from Carmarthen. There will be competitions, prizes, readings, workshops and lots and lots of books for all ages.

Come join us and find your next read!

You won’t regret it!

Book Spine Poetry

Today, I discovered #BookSpinePoetry for the first time courtesy of The Conclave of Sappho…and decided to give it a try. I not only had fun perusing my bookcases and shelves, but I rediscovered old books, new books, borrowed books, books I’d forgotten about and books I can’t wait to read or re-read!

My first go gave me this:

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The fearless fire-eaters looking for Alaska,
Stand a little taller across the wall…

(Emma Pass, David Almond, John Green, Gordon B. Hinckley, and Garth Nix)

book spine poetry, the last krystallos,

What I was, impossible stardust, 
How I live now, beneath the distant star,
Falling, before I die…

(Meg Rosoff, Nancy Werlin, Neil Gaiman, Meg Rosoff,
Lisa Shambrook, Sharon Dogar, Jenny Downham)

book spine poetry, the last krystallos,

After the first death, 
If I stay, 
Linger, forever…

(Robert Cormier, Gayle Forman, Maggie Stiefvater, Judy Blume)

book spine poetry, the last krystallos,

I capture the castle beneath the rainbow,
under the greenwood tree, across the wall,
through the looking glass, when no one was looking…

(Dodie Smith, Lisa Shambrook, Thomas Hardy, Garth Nix, C.S. Lewis, Rosemary Wells)

What’s on your bookshelf and what poetry can you make? 

Pop over to Millie’s blog post on The Conclave of Sappho
and check out her beautiful bookspine poem 

and then have a go yourself! 

Feel free to share your poems in the comments below…
(I want to know what’s on your bookshelf too!)

 

The Slow Regard of Silent Things – My Love for Extraordinary Stories

Rarely does a book move me to the point that I truly don’t want it to end,
but this one touched me deeply.

The Slow Regard of Silent Things - My Love of Extraordinary Stories and Review - The Last Krystallos

This is a book that has divided its audience – much like Marmite – you will either love it or hate it, and it appears there is no middle ground. Patrick Rothfuss is a highly regarded fantasy author and his Kingkiller Chronicles ‘The Name of the Wind’ and ‘The Wise Man’s Fear’ are much loved, and his third book hugely anticipated. In between, he’s written ‘The Slow Regard of Silent Things’ and he was very nervous to release it.

auri-the-slow-regard-of-silent-things-patrick-rothfuss-the-last-krystallos-reviewIf you want a book with a story, with a beginning, middle and end – this is not the book for you. If you want to learn Auri’s back story, or any story, this is not where you’ll find it. But if you want a book that will make you feel, that will entrance you, that will make your emotions tingle with love, sadness, fear, anger, delight, beauty and so much more – this is your book.

This is a snippet of Auri’s life, just a few days, and you won’t learn where she comes from, or why, or how, or anything, except you’ll get a glimpse into the most evocative world, a world that doesn’t make sense, but makes all the sense in the world.

The book’s back blurb reads: ‘Deep below the University, there is a dark place. Few people know of it: a broken web of ancient passageways and abandoned rooms. A young woman lives there, tucked among the sprawling tunnels of the Underthing, snug in the heart of this forgotten place.’

auri-illustration-the-slow-regard-of-silent-things-patrick-rothfuss-the-last-krystallos-reviewThis story covers only a few days and leads you, twisting and turning, through Auri’s world. It is not a story, like I said, there really is no beginning or end, it just is.

Rothfuss warns readers right at the start not to read the book without reading ‘In The Name of The Wind’ and ‘The Wise Man’s Fear’, and explains that it’s unlike other books, so reader’s already know they are about to dip into something strange and surreal. Contrary to the author’s request, I have not yet read his prior books, but I will, because his writing has bewitched and enthralled me, and I want more.

Rothfuss writes both a foreward and an endnote to be sure that readers are aware of what this book contains – maybe some people need to understand that books are not always written for the mass market. Read what you love, this book is not trying to fool you under any guise. It is a thing of beauty, but that thing might not be your thing…though, it is mine!

I have seen this book slammed to pieces online, and quite simply if it’s not your thing that’s cool, but then as Rothfuss rightly points out in his endnote ‘This is a book for all the slightly broken people out there’ and if that’s not you, then move along – there are plenty of books written for you. This book was written for people like me. I have heard Auri described as whimsical and that her quirks are detrimental to mental health issues, believe me her pain is very present in this book and does not dull whatever she’s been through to find herself within the underthing.

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To love this book, like I did, you need empathy and you have to understand what it means to be full of ‘broken glass and burrs’… You have to know that an everyday item just might be ‘full of love and answers, so full she felt them spilling out at just the briefest touch.’ and you have to believe in wonder and moonlight. This is me, if it’s not you, try another book and let me relish mine.

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I felt my way through this book, and my emotions travelled Auri’s path with her. I recognised myself and related to her tendencies and to her joy and her pain.

oerfect-leaf-treasures-snippet-the-slow-regard-of-silent-things-patrick-rothfuss-the-last-krystallos-reviewMy own shelves are homage to my treasures, from scattered acorn cups to lost crystals, and missing buttons to ancient bottles of scent that can’t yet be parted with. So like Auri…

I feel the world about me, when it’s off kilter, so am I.

This vignette – Rothfuss’ words – is to me a moment, a delving into my own mind, a tale that encapsulates my own psyche and something that tells me that I’m not alone. It’s a testament to the beauty that lives within my soul and rises above the mundane.

This book put butterflies in my stomach, waves of anger in my head, falling tears on my cheek, and enveloped me in a blanket joy that hugged my heart.

This pretty much sums up this tale for me…sheer beauty for those who love the unusual and surreal.

bookmark-the-slow-regard-of-silent-things-patrick-rothfuss-the-last-krystallos-review

Copper Bookmark from Earth Balance Craft on Etsy

I have lost myself and found myself within Auri’s tale.

If you’ve read it, I’d love to know your opinion?

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You can find my review here…but it’s pretty much a smaller version of this post!

Do you love quirky, original stories, or ones with beginnings, middles and ends?

What do you think of books that polarise their readers?

Have you read another love or hate book, which one and what did you think?

How to Create a Strong Author Platform that Works for You

How do you create a positive and visible author platform?
How do you bring readers to you instead of having to search them out?

How to Create a Strong Author Platform that Works for You - The Last Krystallos
Having published, with or without the help of Traditional Publishing, you will need a platform. The book market is saturated and if you publish and sit back waiting for people to find you and your books, you may be waiting interminably. Even traditional publishers require a huge amount of author input and rely on you having a good social media platform to begin with. So where do you start?

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I began with Facebook. I had a personal account with strong privacy settings, but that won’t inform the world about your books beyond your friends and family. So, you’ll need a Facebook Page. There’s a lot of debate about whether Facebook’s algorithms make Pages worthwhile, but it’s still a good place to start and build up a following. It’s important to note that unless you and your followers/likers interact it’s unlikely your posts will be seen, so make an effort to interact and post regularly.

Facebook allows you to add several great functions to your Page. The Call to Action button allows you to add a link to your shop/Amazon, so people can immediately find your product. Add the Author Marketing App so you can add your books either manually or via their ISBN and have easy access to all your books from your Facebook page.   

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Then there’s Twitter. I cut my teeth on Twitter before anything else. I wanted everyone to know about my book so joined Twitter – I will be forever grateful, though, that I never crammed my twitter feed with my books above interacting. There it is again that word – interact – the most important word on social media. Even if you’re only using social media for marketing, you are building relationships first and foremost. Don’t underestimate the value of friends and relationships online.

Make sure your Twitter Bio is strong, a brief introduction to you and your audience. Add a link directly to your books or website or blog whichever is your primary source for information and sales. And Twitter is the Queen of Hashtags so use them – in your bio and in your tweets – to help people find you and your content.

Some Twitter etiquette advice:
Don’t be the person who Tweets endlessly about your books and nothing else – and don’t RT endlessly everyone else’s books. People will tire of a stream of book ads and will either turn off your RT’s or unfollow you.
Don’t use DM (Direct Messages) unless you are actually contacting someone for a reason, and not to advertise yourself. If you DM me as soon as I follow you with ‘Thanks for following you can find my books (here) and my FB page (here) and please buy my books – because I’m getting desperate…’ then I will unfollow you. Direct Messages are almost sacred and should be used sparingly, as such. By all means when you’re followed tweet the new follower with a welcome message and interact with them, but don’t use DM’s unless you are asking them something that can’t be shared publicly.
I will also unfollow those who Tweet ‘I’ve had 26 unfollowers today – I know who you are…’  Nobody cares who follows or unfollows you and if I see you using this app when I check out your feed before following, you’ll have lost me straight away.
Some people believe Twitter is all about numbers and how many followers you have. Maybe that works. However, I follow someone because I’m interested in what they might have to say not because I just might, and might is the operative word, sell you something. If I had hundreds of thousands of people to follow I’d never be able to interact and to create friendships and relationships, and for me Twitter gave me friends and a writing community which I adore.

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Google+ is important, more because its content is indexed and it helps you raise your profile and online rankings. I don’t understand a lot about SEO, but I do know that if someone shares your content on Google+ that post will rank higher and can be found within the hugeness of the web much more easily. I find Google+ difficult to work with, but persevere and benefit from it. Create your Brand Page or personal page in a similar way to Facebook and interact.

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Your Amazon Author Page is of utmost importance when you’re starting out. It shows up with your books on their sale pages on Amazon and adds dimension and interest. Think about when you search for a book on Amazon – when it comes up you read the blurb and scroll to check out the author. This is their Amazon Author Page. Go to Amazon Author Central (and there are several: .com, .co.uk and other countries) and fill it out. Link up your blog on the .com site and add your author photo and books. People can also follow you and get updates when you release a book.

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The next few social media sites are more optional, but worth signing up to and using. Of these Pinterest is the most useful and fun. Pinterest is a giant online noticeboard, you can pin pictures and return to them whenever you wish! Each picture should link to an article or blog post from whence the picture came. Many links are broken on Pinterest, but you can utilise Pinterest by adding great pictures to your own blog posts and adding a ‘Pin It’ tag. Make sure any pictures you use are yours to use and don’t fall foul of copyrights.

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Other useful sites are Flipboard, Stumbleupon, Snapchat and Tumblr. I also love Instagram. Instagram is becoming more useful for marketing as you can post your own ads and personal interest pictures for your followers. Who doesn’t like knowing more about their favourite author’s personal life and what makes them tick or what inspires them? You can share your Instagram pictures on most other social media and spread the love!

Blogs are the best way to get your writing out there and to find new readers. I began blogging on Blogspot, posting my Flash Fiction to a number of sites I followed: Five Sentence Fiction, Visual Dare, Mid Week Blues Buster to name but a few. These sites and exercises helped me to hone my writing and my skills and made me a far better writer than I was. Slowly, my own writing took over my time and my flash fiction decreased.

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I re-evaluated my blog and transferred it to WordPress, a site I find much more writer friendly. I had no idea what to post, but blogging is an important way to keep a presence on the internet and to keep my writing public. Often, we writers sit at home and churn out the words, but until a book is released no one sees us and blogging can keep you in the public eye. I decided to pick a few subjects that I loved and wanted to write about, and that fit well with the books I had or was writing. I chose to write about Nature; Mental and Emotional Health; Positivity and Dreams; and writing and reading. Mixed in would be fun posts about whatever took my fancy and flash fiction! I adore nature, the outdoors and its beauty, and nature inspires my writing a great amount, and it meant I could add my own photographs and pictures of flowers and trees! Mental health and reducing its stigma is personally important and I would be able to share my own issues and helps. Dreams and fighting for what you believe is another passion of mine, and all three of these subjects are paramount in my ‘Hope Within’ books, so I love writing and sharing about them!

It’s up to you what you blog, the most important thing is to choose what you love, what’s important to you, and not to get bogged down. You need to love what you’re writing about.

A few tips on blogging:
Love what you write.
Know what you write.
Link back to great sources.
Get and be guest bloggers.
Use your own photographs and pictures to avoid copyright issues, or find free image sites.
Be consistent, in both posting and how you post. Your blog will become part of your brand.

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Your website is a first stop for most of those searching for you online. They might have seen your business cards, ads, or just heard about you. They need to be able to find you.

Your website might be your blog too. Make sure it’s clean, strong, and consistent with your brand.
I choose to have a Weebly website and a WordPress blog, both link easily to each other via one click. Be sure they do, like me your blog may be named differently to your personal brand, and it needs to be linked. People may find you via your website or blog, so make sure all your social media are linked on both sites. Links to your other media are imperative. Keep them clean and easy to find.

I have several pages on my website: a home page with ads and my author picture; an about page; a book page with links to all my publications; a page of reviews – you can see what readers have thought about my books; a news page; an extras page with downloadables, gallery, fun facts about me, and a few snippets of my flash fiction – try before you buy; and a contact me page with my media kit. I then have direct links to my Blog and Etsy shop!  Make your website fun, informative and accessible.

Once you’ve decided what platforms are important to you, stick with them. You may start using Pinterest and decided it’s not for you. There are no right or wrong answers. No one will force you to interact on Twitter if you hate Twitter! Many people will tell you they sell enough books purely by blogging, or whichever social media suits them. Many will tell you they can’t sell any books despite having every social media set up they can find. You need to learn what works for you. Unfortunately to sell books, you need to market and unless you have a great deal with a publisher right behind you, that job is going to be yours.

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My last tips are:
Consistency is vital. Use the same author photo across the board on your public platforms. I have a different personal profile pic for my own Facebook, but that’s mine, not my author profile.

On the same note, use the same name. I used to call myself LastKrystallos on Twitter, and you’ll still find The Last Krystallos as my blog name, but changing all my social media to Lisa Shambrook means that I’m much more easily searchable and discoverable. Though my blog is still called The Last Krystallos, you will see that my name and author picture are very visible.

Intersperse your links to your books/blog posts/ads etc with genuine conversation and interaction especially on Twitter and Facebook. You are a person, not a repetitive bot, let people get to know you. If I like someone I’m 100% more likely to buy their writing than if they bombard me with ads and links. Interact.

I hope some of this will be useful to you and will help you create your online presence.
I hope that you’ll interact and discover friends and supporters like I have,
who will delight in both your words and in you yourself!

Let me know if you have any further platform building tips?