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Author, Avid Tweeter & Blogger, Lover of books, Teacher of Maths & Swimming, Mother, Speaks Spanish, Friend to many...

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Createspace

I have been extremely busy this week completing a final edit of Hybrid.  Hopefully, it'll be on sale as a paperback soon... watch this space.

I have created a preview link on createspace... it's a bit of fun so have a look.  It's new for me so no idea how its going to take.

https://www.createspace.com/Preview/1104565

Have fun and enjoy the rest of your weekend...
Vanessa :) xx

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

The dreaded sickness bug

Today I have been at home at the beck and call of my 3 year old who has the sickness bug.  Poor thing has been ill all day... it's horrible!

But, it made me think... it must be so nice to have someone to look after you all day when you are feeling low.  When I'm ill - life goes on.  There was only one time I can think of when I was dying... literally... and my husband had to come home from work - it was not pretty!

Anyway, the point is when we are feeling low we need to embrace down time.  Take some time out and then hit our job, hobby, life, etc. with a vengence when we feel better.  You can't just mope and wallow in self pity for ever... I did for quite a few years. I was convinced the grass was always greener elsewhere.  New house, new country, new friends... I was never happy. 

Now I am so grateful.  Even though my kids get sick and I have to be here for them I am glad I can be.  It's my job as their mother.  And since I have no-one else that can help that's just the way it goes.

With writing it's the same thing.  You have an idea, you develop it, you spends hours completing it and then you let it lose...and hope you've done a good job.  But even then, just like being a parent, there is always room for improvement.  I think we should never think "well I did the best I could."  You should think "I will carry on trying to do a better job."  There is no time for complacency.  Every lesson you give your child and every book you write counts.  It's part of the journey to being the best you can be.

So, if you are unhappy - do something about it!
* Lose weight if you want to look better
* Go out with friends if you feel lonely
* Cook yourself a nice meal just because you want to know you can
* Go out for a long walk and embrace your surroundings
* Join a writers group (if you're a writer) and discuss your writing and books you enjoy
* Like yourself as a person

We all count.  Sometimes, just because we don't have a mum around to look out for us, we forget that we are just as important as everything else in our lives.  Try not to.

Thanks for reading
Vanessa :) xx

Monday, 25 June 2012

Should you give an opinion?

Today I thought of deleting my last blog post.  Why?  Because I have heard that as a writer it is not good to voice your opinions so that you don't alienate your readers.  Is this true?  I don't know, I'd rather be honest and upfront - I'm that kind of person.  I don't think Ms. James complains when anyone talks about her.  I just read an article today on the BBC talking about how she sells in excess of 200,000 copies a week - outstriping Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code.

So, even though it's not my kind of story I have got renewed respect for Ms. James.  Fifty shades is getting a response.  People are talking about books and people who don't usually read are reading - this is a great thing.

Personally, I prefered this phenomenon happening after Harry Potter and Twilight were released.  The key difference being that young readers began to read again... our future generation.  A book is always better than TV or computer games.

But, there is a lost generation of people of around my age who don't read (mid thirties)... a generation awed by t.v., records, tapes, the video, the computer, CD's, the DVD, the internet, mp3 players, ipod's, ipad's - the list goes on.  I love technology... I can't imagine life without my ipad anymore.  It is sad, isn't it?  Then again... I love to read and recently I barely watch T.V. even though I was a complete t.v. addict 10 years ago (of course if they brought back Buffy I might be converted again...lol).

Books are now exciting and more accessible for this generation - eBooks.  Get books at the touch of a button.  No need to peruse stores, pay more, or waste fuel ... good right?  Well... is it?  I love going to the bookstore. I love the interaction with staff...especially at Waterstones - they know their books and if they don't they look it up for you.  That's what I call service. Then again I like to get a good price - don't we all?

Personally, I love the way books can now be discussed with relative easy via Goodreads, Amazon forums, writer's groups.  It's fantastic.  I don't feel like such a geek.  As a mum of 3, it is difficult to go to a regular book club... online bookclubs are the best.

So, to summarise - well done J.K. Rowling, Dan Brown, John Grisham, Stephenie Meyer, Suzanne Collins and now E.L. James... you have got people reading, talking about books, and thinking.  What would life be without free thought?!

And to all aspiring writers, as Suzanne Collins wrote... "may the odds be truly in your favour."
Vanessa :) xx

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Fifty shades ...what?

I bought Fifty Shades Darker for £3 from the supermarket to see what all the fuss was about and... truth... I'm not happy.  I am still working really hard to make Hybrid the best it can be ... I listen to advice and feedback.... I take onboard hints and tips.  I WORK HARD.  And then... find out a series like Fifty Shades is a bestseller.  One actively promoted by all the money grabing booksellers as the next big thing! Come on!  I have held back my comments since I did not want people to think I was jealous in any way... trust me jealously does not come into this... but after seeing what other people think on amazon and Goodreads I feel better. 

WE HAVE ALL BEEN CONNED!

You can get cheap, free erotica by going to Smashwords, Booksie or Wattpad - I have not downloaded any to compare (sorry) but if erotica is what you want then... why pay for it?

I don't understand how it can be sooo hard for new authors to get into the publishing industry and then find that retailers are willing to sell rubbish.  I guess this is just business, don't take it personally... Anyway, I have had my vent.  Please, please, if readers have any sense at all - start giving a chance to new authors and don't just read what the stores are trying to sell. 

I loved Twilight since I read it and have felt ashamed to admit it at times since people thought Stephenie Meyer's writing was terrible - well, compared to E.L. James ... no comment! You get my drift.  I resent people comparing Twilight to the Fifty Shades series... and if Ms. James was a Twilight fan - it seems to me this is a case of Fan fiction gone crazy...

I don't know what the rest of you think... but can anyone explain this to me?  Why is this such a big hit?  Why?

As a last note, my book has been described as original, well thought out and clever... it needs some work but hey compared to Ms. James I'm excellent... I finally even have family members that have read and approve of it!  Amazing... in my case my family was the most skeptical... lol.  So my biggest critics like it!

I hope this issue raises some debate - I don't know what the future of self publishing will be if it's just a case of erotica sells... I don't stand a chance!  (Even though I do have scenes of an adult nature - not stupid ones!)

Sorry if my blog is a big rant - but I have been holding it back for two weeks!
Vanessa :) xx

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Oh what a wonderful feeling...

For the past few days I been on a bit of a roll. 

I decided to do another major edit of my book just when my sister in law happened to have nearly finished it.  It tied in beautifully.  I am hoping that with these final tweaks Hybrid will be in the best shape ever.  I am also finalizing the paper back copy and have made more changes to make it look even better.  This is hard work but I'll get there in the end.

I also cooked for my friend this weekend.  It was really good fun.  I decided to auction myself as cook for a night to raise money for a local charity - the pre-school my daughter goes to.  This was the menu...


STARTERS

Gambas al pil pil
(Prawns in an olive oil, garlic and chilli marinade). 

Spanish Omelette
(with onions)

Spanish Meatballs

Grilled Swordfish

Served with salad, bread & olives

MAIN

Seafood &Mixed Paella

DESERT

Bailey’s & Strawberry layered cake
(covered in meringue & flake)


It was a hard days work but it raised money for a good cause and made a good friend very happy.
What have you done to raise money for other people recently?  Anything to share?

I have also enrolled Hybrid on to the KDP scheme so soon anyone on Amazon Prime will be able to download it for FREE...

And finally, today I found out that I have reached my ideal BMI...  I am now the right weight for my height... hooray!  I have lost 12 kg or about 26 pounds in 7 months and I am fitter than ever...

So, I am on a high! May it long last :)
Vanessa
Author of HYBRID, Book One in the Evolution Series

Friday, 15 June 2012

Independant Review of Hybrid - 4/5 stars!

Miranda Stork kindly offered to interview me and and review Hybrid.  I am thrilled with the results... even though I will have to review my knowledge of apostrophe's again! Bah humbug ... I'll get there in the end!
Thanks for reading
Vanessa :) xx
p.s. When I get enough sales to justify the investment I will get an editor... although I still live in hope that an agent/ publisher will spot this!

The Interview...

http://writermirandastork.wordpress.com/2012/06/15/interview-with-vanessa-wester/

The Review...

http://writermirandastork.wordpress.com/2012/06/15/review-of-hybrid-by-vanessa-wester/

Good Points
The first (literally) good point of this book was the beginning. So many books are brilliant, but are slow to get into, but not this one-I was dragged in straight away, and hooked to the story! I loved the character descriptions, I could see them so clearly, and I could see them walking around the student pads and stalls on freshers week. The author has done a huge amount of research into what every corner of something should look like. And the story was a joy to read because it flowed so well, leading you just the right amount of steps into the next part of the story.

Bad Points
Unfortunately, an otherwise perfect story was marred by quite a few typing errors. There were a LOT of apostrophes in the wrong places, which made it a little jarring to read at times. There were also a few words missing, or a singular used instead of a plural. But this wasn’t enough to put me off what is a fantastic story, it would just be great to see this story with some good editing.

Overall
I loved this story! It was a fantastic start to a series which I hope to see more from soon, and I loved the characters! There was also a great twist in the tale, and it was original and well-thought out. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for something new in their paranormal romance/fantasy section, and I can’t wait to see what this author comes up with in her next books!

I give it…….4/5 stars!

Thursday, 14 June 2012

My updated blog - what do you think?

I've busy adding extra features to my blog and I would love it if you had a look and let me know what you think.

I am trying to add a widget for Amazon since I am an associate but am having no luck - anyone know how to do this?

All help really appreciated... thanks a lot!

Vanessa Wester Author of HYBRID, Book One in the Evolution Series

AMAZON: TO KDP OR NOT TO KDP?

I will go on the Amazon KDP scheme... but it did say I had to make sure my book was not being sold anywhere else first so I have to wait for 3 weeks.  Hopefully this will take the pressure off marketing and let me finish Integration which is coming along nicely now...

So I have maintained the price at £0.77 or $0.99 (excluding VAT) and it will remain at this price for the next few weeks.

To all you budding new authors I hope you are finding my journey amusing... this is the world of the self published author.  One where you learn something new every day and are always striving to get it right. 

I am hoping to group together with other authors once I am on the KDP scheme to promote free days as a unit.  If you are interested give me a shout.  It would be nice to have novels from different genre's.  Aim to promote a free day around mid July.

thanks for reading :)
Vanessa xx

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

My book is now exclusive to Amazon

After a month of seeing no sales in smashwords I am sorry to say that I have decided to take it off from their site and sell exclusively through Amazon under their KDP Scheme.  I am very grateful to Smashwords for giving me the basic tools for the job but my book was hidden in the haystack and I wanted to give it away for free easily.  KDP seems to be the best scheme for an unknown author - again I will keep you posted on my journey.

The price will now go back up to $2.99 but I will have the option to offer FREE days... so you can wait to get my book then if you don't want to pay... fair enough :)

For the next 12 hours my book will still be £0.77 or $1.12... so get it cheap whilst you can.

Thank you to my Twitter friends for all the advice you have given me...

Vanessa Wester Author of HYBRID, Book One in the Evolution Series

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Creativity run riot...

My brain is a wierd place.  It keeps going off at a tangent and coming up with new ideas and story lines... I have just come up with an excellent idea for a new book and started to write...500 words in ten minutes...not bad! 

The thing is I also need to finish the Evolution Series and my daughter keeps nagging me to finish the childrens book I started... I just don't have enough time to do them all.  In a way since I am still an unknown author it does not matter what I do and that takes the pressure off.  No-one is rushing me to finish this or that.  I think I now understand all those authors who say that once they were discovered they lost some of their enjoyment with writing - they had time pressure!

I love being creative and seeing where the wind takes me.  What about you?  How do you let off steam?  What motivates you? 

Somedays I hope I'll never have to go back to my day job (teacher)... and others I can't wait for the day when I can.  Either way, it's not an option at the moment... childcare! 

Have a good day and if you are in England try not to look outside too much - rain, rain and more rain... there are worse things in life! :)
Vanessa xx

Monday, 11 June 2012

Goodreads

I am now a Goodreads Author and am having a lot of fun rating all the books I know and love - including all the childrens books (eg. Julia Donaldson & Cressida Cowell...absolutely brilliant!)

If you are not a member of goodreads I suggest you check it out - the quiz is fun and addictive and there lots of other fun stuff too.

In a way I hope to get more exposure for my book, but ultimately I love to read... I must not forget that in my bid for world domination... just kidding!

I have been thwarted in having a day to write tomorrow since my 3 year old was just sick... so I'll have to get some done now! 

Thanks for reading :)
Vanessa

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Does pricing make any difference?

Whilst on holiday I was restricted in the time I could spend promoting my book so I decided to reduce my price to rock bottom to see if it affected sales at all... Well, the day I did I sold three books. But I suspect these sales came from Facebook via people I might know!

I would love all you avid readers out there to take a chance on my book and at least check out the sample.  I have received nothing but positive praise (not from my family might I add...) and I have worked really hard for over two years before publishing. If it has errors - I apologise.  I am still to read a book published by a known publisher that is error free! A good one the other day was snausages... erm...what are those?

You can now buy my debut novel HYBRID for £0.77 or $0.99 from either Amazon or Smashwords - links on the side of my blog.

Have a great week and thanks for having a look... I really appreciate it.
Vanessa :) xx