Tag Archives: critique

Too good to pass up…

I saw this quote a couple of days a go and it’s been on my mind ever since.  It’s just good to pass up so I thought I’d share it on my blog.

“Try and fail but do not fail to try.”

I love it because that’s exactly the theory I apply to my writing…or at least I try to anyway!  The fact is that when you’re working away alone on a computer, typing (or not, as is often the case) it’s hard to keep the negative thoughts from floating to the surface and getting in the way.  It’s far too easy to find a reason not to write, a distraction to keep you from sitting at your desk. 

I’ve been procrastinating recently.  It’s been an age since I had a good solid couple of hours to write.  And I’ve been getting frustrated but tomorrow is the day.  I will not answer the phone, I will not drive out in the car, go to the supermarket, write emails or do the washing.  I am going to hole up in front of my computer, make a pot of tea and eat toast all day. I don’t know if I’m going to produce anything worthwhile but I’m going to TRY! 🙂

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Book Blog Tours – an opportunity you should take advantage of!

When I published my book in the summer, I realised that I was going to have to take charge of marketing and getting it out there to the public.  It was a tad daunting to say the least! But thankfully there is someone out there who can help: Samantha Robey at CPL Blog Tours  – http://www.clpblogtours.com/.  For, what I thought was a very reasonable price, she will organise an online book tour for your book.  This means it will be reviewed and featured on several blogs.  High-Heels And Slippers! was featured on fifteen different blogs. You may even have the opportunity to write a guest blog piece or take part in an author Q&A.   All of this is fantastic exposure for your book and increases your profile as a writer.  Added to that, hopefully, if your book is well received, you will have some great reviews which may lead to more sales and you can use them for further advertising.

I found Samantha to be professional, extremely efficient and great at communicating.  She’s also a writer herself, which means she understands her clients’ needs.

She has recently published her first novel, Destined To Fail.  You can buy a copy here: http://www.amazon.com/Destined-to-Fail-ebook/dp/B005XNI560   

Samantha was kind enough to take part in her own Q & A for me which you can read below.  You can also click on this link to find out more about her blog tours: http://www.clpblogtours.com/    

I would definitely use her services again and I urge you to consider doing the same!  Thank you Samantha! 🙂

Samantha Robey Q&A

As a book blog tour coordinator you must have read plenty of book reviews! What advice would you give someone about to write their first ever book review?

I am flashing back to when I wrote my first book review for Chick Lit Plus, which was for The Agency by Ally O’Brien on October 16, 2009. Wow, long time ago! My advice would be to try to just be you in your writing. When I first started reviews, I thought I had to sound really stuffy and knowledgeable and use industry words and have a dashing tagline at the end of each. That did not last very long. Now, my reviews reflect my personality and let me have more fun with each review that I write.

What do you think are the benefits for putting a book on an online book tour?

The exposure you receive. With CLP Blog Tours, I have had authors be found by national magazines through the tour site alone, which was super exciting to me – and her! But it’s also a chance for bloggers to meet you, and then their followers to meet you. The internet is one big hangout – you just have to join the party!

Has anyone ever submitted a review you felt you couldn’t publish?

Thankfully, no. I know the majority of my Fantastic Bloggers really well, and continue to get to know and enjoy working with the newbies to the group 🙂 I have read book reviews on other sites and even Amazon that just cut down the author and make me want to cry for them. I do let my bloggers know that if they don’t think they can give a positive review, they have the option of choosing a Novel Spotlight instead. That way, the author is still getting the exposure, but without an unfavorable review. I do think there is a difference though between a negative review and one that gives constructive criticism. As an author myself, it’s impossible not to expect an unfavorable review, and I think there can be helpful ones.

You have also recently published your own book, Destined To Fail.  Did you always know you were going to write a book? 

Yes. I knew from the time I was a little girl that writing was I wanted to do. In truth, I thought everyone wanted to be a writer. It took me years to figure out that not everyone can spin a story – and I don’t just mean fiction. I wrote killer essays in school and did it with barely a thought. I wasn’t just book smart, I had a way with words – or so I was constantly told. When I was in high school, I finally caught on that maybe I was talented at this thing called writing and should pursue it. I’m so happy I did.

Some writers are creatures of habit and follow the same writing routine every day; is this the way you work?

In a way, yes. I like to write in the mornings, and I always have a set goal each day. Sometimes it’s a word count, other times it’s finishing a section. And I wrote my first book in the same fashion that I am doing for my second. Write out the whole first draft, then come back and start slashing with my red pen. Some like to edit while they are writing, and I just can’t do it. I would get too caught up in the edits and miss the flow of writing.

What was it like to receive your first book review? 

Mind boggling. I was writing book reviews for two years when I got my first review. It was surreal to read what another person was saying about my characters. I never thought that way as “just” a book reviewer. I spoke about the characters, like and dislikes etc, but to read someone talking about my characters took me to a whole new level. It was very touching, and quite emotional. I cried, of course.

What advice could you give to other writers considering epublishing their work?

Take your time, make sure you have everything 110% before hitting publish.

Do you have a favorite writing-snack?

Ice cream! I think that’s just my favorite overall snack. I’ve been trying to get healthier, and lately I have been eating a lot of crackers and cheese when I take my breaks.

Which writer, alive or dead, do you most admire and why?

Always a tough one, but I have to go with my favorite of all favorite authors and say Ann M. Martin. She was such as inspiration to me since I was a young girl fascinated by the Baby-Sitters Club.

If it’s raining outside are you wearing a raincoat or carrying an umbrella?

Usually it’s just the raincoat. Or really, a sweatshirt with a hood. I did have a really cute black umbrella with pink polka dots, and the wind ruined it one day. So now it’s the sweatshirt!

If the presenters of the TV show What Not To Wear turned up at your place of work, with the $5000 gift card and offer of a style makeover, would you be outraged, mortified or relieved? 

Relieved! I would gladly welcome them in. My sense of style bores me, but I have no idea how to change it. Come on in!

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Writing Retreats!

Thank you to Tea And Scribbles (FAB name for a blog btw!) for posting my guest post on writing retreats today: http://teaandscribblesbooks.blogspot.com/ 

If you have time please nip over to have a look and check out all the book reviews at the same time! 🙂

Cheers – Ella 🙂

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News!

Gosh it’s been a while since I did a blog here, or for Josie, so I thought it must be time to catch up and let you all know what’s going on at the moment.  It’s been quite busy in the High-Heels And Slippers department and I haven’t had much time to write much at all (even though I am VERY excited about getting my second book, currently named Holding Me Up, ready for publication).    Truth is that book marketing takes up a lot of time!  

I am ECSTATIC  to let you know that High-Heels And Slippers is now officially available for $12.99 in paperback at Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/High-Heels-Slippers-Ella-Slayne/dp/1466239328/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1319042043&sr=8-1

A shipment of books is currently on its way to me  in readiness for a book launch party planned in November (eek!).  Must give another shout out to Marek Jagucki for the AWSOME cover!  Such a talent – check out his website: http://www.mjcartoons.co.uk/

I’m also so excited to let you know that the High-Heels And Slippers online blog tour will take place between the 28th November and 19th December.   Thank you to all the FIFTEEN (eek!) reviewers taking part  I can’t wait to hear what you think of the book! And a BIG thank you to Samantha Robey who swiftly and efficiently organised the whole thing!  Click on this link for her contact details and details of the tour: http://chicklitplusblogtours.wordpress.com/2011/10/11/high-heels-and-slippers-by-ella-slayne/

I will be posting updates on the blog. 🙂

I’m also thrilled to taking part in an author Q&A at Chick Lit Central on January 5th.  This website is a must for Chick Lit fans! Check it out: http://chicklitcentraltheblog.blogspot.com/

So it’s all go and no doubt Josie is feeling a tad neglected but I’ll get to her in the next few days – I promise!

Hope you’re all having a FAB week! Please feel free to stop by the blog and say “hello!” 🙂

 

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A Contest – eek!

OMG – am just slightly excited, and nervous, that I am taking part in a Secret Agent Writing Contest on Miss Snark’s First Victim’s blog: http://misssnarksfirstvictim.blogspot.com/p/secret-agent.html   If you don’t already know of this blog,  it’s worth having a look – I just found out about it recently (I’m usually way behind everyone else) – and it seems to be a really supportive and active writing community providing useful advice and positive vibes  – which always come in handy! 🙂 

For the contest entrants have to submit the first 250 words of a manuscript.   Only 250 words but it feels as if I’m laying my whole soul out there for comment.  I don’t know how my work will go down (I’ve submitted the first letter from Josie in High-Heels And Slippers which opens the book) but I’m trying to tell myself to take it on the chin and use all feedback as a way to move forward, as I have done before.  We’ll see what happens…

I have to say that accepting criticism and feedback has been a hugely helpful, though not always easy, part of the steep writing  learning curve  for me.  It started by attending a critique group three years ago,  trembling as I read my work aloud and then listening red-faced as people I hardly knew, commented on what I’d written. 

Over a year ago, I took part in an ebay auction and paid a substantial amount (which went to a charity) for an experienced agent’s critique.  Her comments arrived by email on Christmas Eve and knocked me for six!   She had some extremely encouraging things to say but also some criticisms  – I found myself focussing on those and my spirits slumped.   I fell out of love with my book and with writing in general.  But after processing it for a while, seeking advice from my writing group who had now become dear and trusted friends,  I came to see that a lot of what she said was valid and extremely valuable.  I took a deep breath, sucked my in gut and got to work revising. 

I think (hope!) that I came out with much better book after that and now I am extremely grateful for that initial agent feedback.

It led me to take part in another blog contest which to my utter joy and surprise led to a full manuscript request!  Oh the high of knowing that maybe I was onto something, that I wasn’t being a complete fool dedicating so much of my time to this strange occupation that is writing.

I still don’t have an agent contract  – oh the illusive contract – but I feel that if I can keep putting my work out there for feedback and take it all in,  I’m hopefully, getting closer to one. 

So I guess that’s the point – to keep going and continue to learn  – and I suppose that’s handy for lots of things in life, not just writing! 🙂

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