Whew! My virtual book tour is drawing to a close … and I wanted to give you a round-up of where I’ve been and what I’ve been posting about. (As before, you can find the full list of tour posts here.)
Here’s where I went in early May:
(All links open in a new window, so you won’t lose your place here.)
Tuesday 1st May – Write to Done (Mary Jaksch)
I always love guest-posting on Write to Done; it’s a great blog with posts from a wide range of different writers, and there’s always a great response from readers in the comments section. In this post, I wanted to encourage any would-be novelist who’s been waiting for “the perfect time” to stop waiting and just start!
You’ve had the seed of a novel in your head for months now. Maybe it’s a plot idea (“What if..?”) Maybe it’s a character. Maybe it’s simply the thought of writing something that’d bring other people the same pleasure that you’ve had as a reader. That seed has been sitting, waiting. And now it’s time to let it grow.
Friday 4th May – Wordplay (K.M. Weiland)
K.M. Weiland came highly recommended to me by a friend. Her blog Wordplay is a wonderful resource for writers: you’ll want to check out her in-depth series on The Secrets of Story Structure, starting with Part 1: Why Should Authors Care? In my guest post for her, I wanted to address the tricky issue of feedback: it’s the single factor that’s made the most difference to me as a writer, but it can be tough for newer writers to have the confidence to seek and effectively use feedback.
One of the fastest ways to progress as a writer is to get feedback. However many books you read, however many conferences you attend, direct advice about your work-in-progress will let you see exactly what’s working well and, more importantly, what isn’t.
Monday 7th May & Monday 14th May – Keys to Writing (Bill Polm)
Bill Polm from Keys to Writing has been a loyal reader of Aliventures for quite some time … and a fantastic, committed member of Writers’ Huddle (my teaching/community site for writers). He knows my work well, and asked lots of really insightful questions in this two-part interview. If you’re interested in what goes on behind the scenes with my various projects, you can find out here.
Bill: So tell us, if you would, what’s your secret?
Ali: Hubris and luck! I threw myself into blogging, confident of success. It took a good while longer than I expected, but I was constantly learning new things and putting myself out there. I started writing guest posts within my first month of blogging, and my first two guest posts actually led to paid positions.
Tuesday 8th May – Lateral Action (Mark McGuinness)
Lateral Action is one of my must-read blogs. Mark McGuinness is a fantastic writer, and always has something thoughtful to say about creativity – his posts are always very worthwhile, in-depth reads. (Mark is also a very lovely bloke … I’ve been lucky enough to hang out with him a few times in London.) I was thrilled to have the chance to guest post on Lateral Action, and I chose to tackle a topic that comes up again and again for my clients and writer friends: having confidence.
I work with a lot of writers, both in one-to-one and group situations. Some of those writers have huge amounts of talent … but very little confidence. I always want to wave a magic wand and open their eyes to their own skills and abilities. Sadly, I can’t do that for them, or for you. But I can offer you seven powerful ways to grow your confidence.
Tuesday 8th May – Digital Book Launch (Jim Kukral)
Jim Kukral is a prominent figure in the self-publishing / indie publishing world, and runs Digital Book Launch, as well as providing book marketing tips & resources for authors through his other site, Author Marketing Club. Although Jim and many others have blazed a trail for self-publishers, some authors still aren’t sure about whether self-publishing’s for them. In this guest post, I offered seven reasons why it might well be.
Self-published authors (often called “indies”) are currently enjoying an unprecedented amount of success. Many of the best-selling ebooks on the Kindle are self-published (with authors able to put out lots of titles, charging competitive prices) and print-on-demand services like Create Space and Lulu are easy, cheap ways to see your name on the cover of a physical book.
Friday 11th May – Time Management Ninja (Craig Jarrow)
When I started out blogging, my focus was on personal development / productivity topics, and that’s how I came across Craig, who runs Time Management Ninja. As well as having a great blog, he’s also active on Twitter, and tweets great tips and links (you can follow him here, TMNinja). Although time management might not seem like a very exciting topic, it’s a crucial one for writers and, really, anyone engaged in creative work.
However much you love your creative work, you need time for it. That means being organized in the rest of your life: finishing your day job on time, getting the chores done efficiently, scheduling your creative sessions in your calendar, and so on.
And … in case you’re wondering what all this virtual book touring has been in aid of, it’s to promote my novel Lycopolis, a supernatural thriller / contemporary fantasy with a fairly hefty dose of geekery. (Though it’s been popular with plenty of non-geeks too!)
You can find out more and download the first five chapters free at www.lycopolis.co.uk.