And the winner is...

The votes are in and this years W&A Best Author Blog Award goes to http://aecrowe.blogspot.co.uk/. Congrats to our winner +amy crowe and thanks to everyone who nominated sites and voted.

Amy, you can now proudly share this winners banner on your blog (and any where else you fancy) and let people know you won ;)



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Press Releases: Dos and Don'ts


Press releases can be powerful tools for grabbing the attention of the press, however there is a right and a wrong way of doing them. This infographic takes a closer look at the dos and don'ts of press releases to help you make sure you're doing it right.

Press Release Dos & Don'ts Infographic by Skadeedle

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The Top 10 Things You Can Do to Sell More Books



This infographic gives a good run down of things you can do to help you sell more books. Check out the post at http://blog.bookmarket.com/2012/05/top-10-things-you-can-do-in-2012-to.html for a more detailed look at each point. The author, John Kremer, shares some good ideas and you'll want to put into practice in the new year.

Infographic: The Top 10 Things You Can Do to Sell More Books

Anything else you think should be added to this list?

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Time to vote! W&A Best Author Blog 2013


It's time to vote for your winner. And the nominees are....














To vote all you need to do is leave the number of your favourite site (1, 2, 3, 4, or 5) in the comments section below. You may only vote once. The site with the most votes wins. 

Voting closes at midnight CET on 22nd December 2013. The Winner will be announced on 23rd December 2013 on this blog.

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Book Marketing Ideas You Should Apply



This infographic nicely sums up what all authors should be doing. It's not enough to just publish a book. Readers need to know about it. You need to be marketing your books.

Book Marketing Ideas You Should Apply
Explore more infographics like this one on the web's largest information design community - Visually.

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Interview with Leigh Russell

What genre do you write and why?
One challenge an author of murder mysteries faces is how to devise a neat plot. Making that kind of puzzle work out is fun. I try to make my books fast paced and tense, and most reviewers describe my books as 'page-turners'. But although novels in the crime genre are plot driven, my main area of interest is character. I'm fascinated by people and how they behave. My books explore what drives people to kill. Although all murder is insane, every  killer has his or her own motivation. He or she could be a psychopath, high on drugs, drunk, or brainwashed. Or the killer might be someone who could have lived a normal life given different circumstances, driven beyond the limits of his or her endurance. Exploring characters who behave in extreme ways is what attracts me to the mystery genre, but it doesn't explain 'why' I write. I can't answer that question. As the author William McIlvanney says, 'writing is an inexplicable compulsion.'

Purchase Links: 
   
Tell us about your latest book
My debut, Cut Short, is published by Harper Collins in the US in November 2013, my first title to be published in the US. The book first came out in the UK, shortlisted for a major award, the Crime Writers Association Dagger Award for Best First Novel in 2010. It has been popular in the UK, as have all the other titles in the series. They have all reached number 1 on various bestseller lists on kindle sites around Europe, including number 1 position outright on kindle in the UK. Dead End was selected as a Best Fiction Book of the Year by the Miami Examiner, which calls Geraldine Steel 'one of the most interesting detectives of all time.' In the space of six months, Harper Collins US will have caught up with the UK, by bringing the titles out at a rate of one a month. They will have to slow down after April as my books come out published every six months now. I may be fast, but even I don't produce a book every month! Cut Short introduces my detective, Geraldine Steel, struggling to track down an elusive killer who is prowling the streets,  murdering young women.

What advice do you have for other writers?
The Golden Rule of 'show don't tell' is good advice. Don't give readers a report of what happens in your book from the point of view of an outside observer. Take your reader into the scene so that they live through it in their imagination. If your character is on a fishing boat, for example, as well as writing about what they see, make your scene come to life by describing the stench of fish, and the rolling motion of the boat on the waves. I don't agree with the other piece of advice aspiring writers often hear, to write about what you know. What is wrong with imagination? And how many brilliant and wonderful books would never have been written if we all followed that advice? It is certainly easier and generally more effective to base your writing on familiar locations and situations, but our imaginations can carry us beyond what is real into what is possible - fiction, in other words.

What's your favourite quote about writing/for writers?
The French playwright Eugene Ionesco wrote 'A writer never has a vacation. For a writer life consists of writing or thinking about writing.' That's certainly true in my own experience. I also like American crime writer Lee Child's response when asked how he coped with writers' block. 'Does a truck driver have truck drivers' block?' he replied. 'There are days when he doesn't want to drive but he had to because it's his job and his family have to eat. It's exactly the same for a writer. There's no such thing as writers' block. You're being lazy.' I think what appeals to me about both these quotations is that Ionesco and Lee are really talking about their passion for writing.

What's the best thing about being a writer?
One of the reasons I love writing is that a writer is never bored. There is always something to think about, a plot twist to unravel, or a character's action to make credible. Wherever I am, waiting in traffic, queuing in the supermarket, on the train, there is always some devious plotting going on in my head.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
You can find out about me from my US publisher, Harper Collins, or from my website http://leighrussell.co.uk where you can also find links to my blog, facebook and twitter. You are welcome to contact me directly on my website. I always reply in person to emails, although it might take up to a week for me to respond.

Who is you favorite character in your book and why?
When I started writing the Geraldine Steel series, I didn't know my detective very well. It was like meeting her for the first time. With each novel the reader finds out more about her, but writing the series has been a journey of discovery for me as I have been getting to know Geraldine along with my readers. It took me completely by surprise when fans began to email me wanting to know what was going to happen to her.  The same happened with her sergeant, Ian Peterson. I was planning to leave him out of Geraldine's second book. While I was writing Road Closed, I gave a talk in my local library to a readers' group who had read Cut Short. When I told them I was giving Geraldine a new sergeant, they all protested loudly that they liked Ian Peterson. So I kept him in, little suspecting he would feature in his own spin off series a few years later.

Why do you think readers are going to enjoy your book?
If you like the mystery genre then I hope you will enjoy my books. You might enjoy the suspense,  encounter some interesting characters, and perhaps glimpse a snapshot of life in contemporary England. As an American reviewer said, Cut Short gives 'a convincing if disconcerting feel of contemporary Britain' (The Compulsive a Reader). All I can say for sure is that my books have been well received and very popular so far. But you will have to read the books for yourself, and make up your own mind about them.

How do you research your books?
Leigh Russell
The internet is amazing. You can find just about any information you need at the click of a key. All the same, I prefer to research with real people whenever I can. Here's one example selected from many. In Road Closed one of my characters works in a market. I spent an afternoon chatting to stall holders in a market, asking about their working lives, and discovered that market traders like to use banana boxes because they are strong. So when Geraldine Steel visits my market trader, she passes a stack of banana boxes in the front room. Most readers wouldn't notice that insignificant detail. If anyone who worked in a market read the scene, they might not even realise why, but it would seem authentic. That is the kind if detail that can make a narrative convincing.

Does your family support you in your writing career?  
My father is a retired doctor so I am fortunate to have a medical expert always ready to advise me. Whenever I travel to speak at literary festivals, or to teach creative writing, both in the UK and overseas, my husband accompanies me. We are hoping to visit New York next year, now that I have a publisher in the US. I can't wait to return! The last time we went there was in October 2001, in the wake of 9/11. It was a very sad time to visit, but a group of us in the UK felt it was important to fly to New York at that time, to show our support. Our next visit will be a happier occasion, as we will be celebrating my new association with my American publisher, Harper Collins. But we will revisit Ground Zero during our visit, to pay our respects. Geraldine Steel would approve. As she says, 'Just because the dead have no voice doesn't mean they have no rights.'

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W&A Award for Best Author Blog 2013- Nominations



Welcome to the first ever W&A Award for Best Author Blog

Having a good author blog can be an excellent resource for author branding, book marketing, and building your fan base. As such, I thought it would be both interesting and fun to check out some of the best author blogs around at the moment and give the best an award.

This award is designed to showcase the  talent of authors who are  building their brand and creating a community through blogging.

Author blogs are nominated for awards by the general public. Anyone can nominate a blog for the award.

The Process:

Submissions are open to the public so people can suggest their favorite blog. The blog url must be included for the vote to be valid. Nominations are posted in the comments section of this post.

At the close of the nomination period (midnight CET on 18th December), I will go through the blogs and make sure there were no dead links and that the nominated blogs have the requisite qualification (are in fact an author blog, and are active e.g. have been posting in recent months). 

A list of all entries will be posted to this blog on 19th December and voting will open. Again it will be the public that votes.

Voting will close on 22nd December and all votes will be tallied

The winner will be announced on this blog on 23rd December and get a banner to display proudly on their blog (or anywhere else they want to let people know what a fab author blog they have).
So, what author blog is your favourite? Who gets your nomination for the 2013 W&A Award for Best Author Blog?


Leave your nomination in the comments section below (and don't forget to include the link).

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22 Rules of Storytelling


In this infographic, Emma Coates (Pixar's Story Artist) shares some tips about storytelling. Many of them apply to a variety of genres so there's something here for everyone.

cool-Pixar-facts-Toy-Story



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Types of Editing


Editing is important. It can make the difference between a good manuscript and a GREAT manuscript. This infographic takes a look at the different types of editing and breaks down what is covered in each one.


Source: Original infographic from WinePress of Words.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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New Author: Dropped in The Deep End

Hi, Jo Linsdell. Thank you for inviting me here, to share something about my journey as a new author. As I began thinking about what article I wanted to write I discovered I would end my first Virtual Book Tour in the same way as it began: with you, Jo!  Until I met you online and read the information you provided, I didn’t know anything about VBT’s. I have you to thank for this. I write my post here as evidence of my thanks and because it may benefit your readers as it did me.

 “You got dropped in the ‘deep end’,” my book coach told me. We were discussing social media marketing and my first published book, Twee’, released in April, 2013. I had emailed to tell her I was exhausted. It was the end of an intensive year of research to find a book coach, write, edit and work with an artist, just to publish my first picture book allegory for children and adults.

In the six months that followed publication of my first book, I also taught myself how to build and maintain a web site. I discovered how to use twitter and Face Book. I joined online writing groups and studied the world of social media marketing. Throughout that time, new concepts and trainings kept popping up:  virtual book tour, pod casts, webinars and many others Each source urged me to learn and to incorporate them into my marketing plan. Some even suggested that I hire their service to provide the ‘behind the scenes’ work for me. Finances did not allow for that and I believed I needed to work on it myself in order to better understand the process and to present what is truly ME.

In addition to all this, I continued my business as a private practice psychologist. My book biz needed to remain in the back seat by choice and could only be addressed in my free time. I really felt drained and even resisted clearing emails, writing blogs, tweeting, pinterest-ing, google+ing and all the other sites that daily called my name. By July, the third month after publication of Twee’, even with all my efforts, sales appeared dismal.

“Your second book helps to sell your first book,” my coach said. I had already planned on a series of three picture book allegories with the same little character, so her words felt encouraging. I just couldn’t imagine how I would carry on the marketing mayhem, when I felt fried. I wanted to become a well-loved, well-published author. Things just had to become more manageable. I decided upon a plan. The results are listed below:

1) I wrote the second book. The character is so cute, with a universal message, so I couldn’t help myself.

2) I decided to use only what I already understood about marketing to develop relationships and market my books: Twitter, FB, Blog and HootSuite to tie them all together. These are mostly free services. I just had to work on them more consistently.

3) I contacted local libraries and set dates for read and sign events. Each library allowed me to provide book sales as well. I planned an appearance once every two weeks during the summer.

4) I called a local newspaper in rural Vermont and emailed my press release, book cover and a picture of me. A reporter contacted me and suggested an interview. The press release and interview were published in August.

5) I attempted to catalog the multiple downloaded books, documents, courses and web links I’d saved. I scheduled myself to read/study each one for the year 2014. Except for one. As soon as I discovered Jo Linsdell’s  Virtual Book Tour book, I sat down and read. I am so happy that I did.

My second book I Am Twee’, released in late September, 2013. On the first of October I began my first ever VBT. The response has been amazing. Authors I have never met except online, responded kindly to my requests. Many read my books and posted reviews. All have been willing to interview me with questions they supplied and to post my interview on their blogs. Some author-hosts even invited me back to guest blog (like this). Everywhere I turned I met generous hosts and authors from all over the world.

As exciting as all this has been, opportunities also opened up as a result of my VBT. I’ve been invited to participate on author panels and one was recently taped for a local TV station. One of my online-author- friends invited me to submit a chapter for her new anthology. All these opportunities and more came because I engaged in a VBT.

Of course one of the exciting benefits I’d realized through my Virtual Book Tour has been the exposure and promotion of my books to a much wider audience than otherwise possible. With that my book sales also increased. What author wouldn’t want that result?

Thank you Jo Linsdell! I enjoyed writing this article and talking about how you and your book Virtual Book Tours have helped me, in my first year of publication! I hope you and your readers enjoyed this.

Susie E. Caron M.A., a psychologist, entrepreneur, speaker, and author of Twee' and I Am Twee’, from the 'Between You and Me' series, draws from her years of experience to #Translate Childhood to Adults Who Care. In her allegory picture books for children and adults, she illustrates how our thoughts and feelings change and impact our relationships. Susie enjoys speaking and sharing with children and adults. Her unique gifts include her authentic presence, an ability to connect at the deepest levels of need and want and wisdom to share. In every endeavor, Susie helps kids and adults to enjoy each other by connecting with less frustration and with more personal freedom and fun!

Find out more about Susie Caron and her books:

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How To Increase Your Online Influence

Want to know how to increase your online influence? Who doesn't right? Well this infographic from the guys at Reformation Designs is a good starting point.



Got any of your own tips to add to this list? Leave a comment below.

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Interview with Frances Fyfield

Purchase Links: 
  
Tell us about Blood from Stone.

Marianne Shearer is at the height of her career, a dauntingly successful barrister, respected by her peers and revered by her clients. So why has she killed herself? Her latest case had again resulted in an acquittal, although the outcome was principally due to the death of the prime witness after Marianne’s forceful cross-examination. Had this wholly professional and unemotional lawyer been struck by guilt or uncertainty, or is there some secret to be discovered in her blandly comfortable private life? Her tenacious colleague Peter Friel is determined to find out of that last trial held the reason for her taking her own life. The transcript holds intriguing clues, but it is another witness at the trial who holds the key to the truth.

Why do you think readers are going to enjoy your books?

Because they contain serious stories, well written with touches of humour, irony and above all suspense.? (I’m told by readers they like my books because they like my characters.) One reader told me she liked my characters because they made her realise she was not as mad as she thought she was. Also, I’m in love with the English language.

Did you learn anything from writing your book that was unexpected?

I always learn something knew, because most of my characters are on voyages of discovery themselves. They often refuse to do things which endanger their health, which sends the plot in an entirely new direction.
Nothing is predictable.

How do you research your books?

Usually the idea is triggered by a personal experience, or equally often, a particular place which I’ve seen .  So, research is physical, and I usually know something about the subject before I start. For instance, a book I wrote called ‘Staring at the Light’ was inspired by multiple visits to the dentist for complicated implant surgery.  I put the dentist at the centre of the plot, so I had to learn a lot more about how he worked.
I research for facts via newspapers, libraries and the internet, but the best way of doing it is finding an expert willing to talk about it and tell me stories which become the impetus for the plot.  My research is more talking and listening. Also walking and exploring, thus I’ve climbed into church Towers, office cellars, examined maps, done jobs and sat in Art restorers studios and dentist’s waiting rooms.

What’s your favourite quote about writing for writers ?

‘A book is easier to dream than to write.’
Don’t know who said it, but it’s surely true.

What’s the best thing about being a writer?

Being a dreamer who can turn a dream into some kind of reality, for someone else to enjoy.

Who inspires you?

The dogged and determined decent working men and women who are the salt of the earth.  And their children and their dogs.

What are your thoughts on self publishing v traditional publishing?

I think traditional publishers have missed so many tricks and so many good books by constantly following trends, that self- publishing is sometimes the only way to get work to the public.  It should be respected.
However, I personally want to read a novel that has been judged as worthy by someone other than the author.  All novels need editors.   


Who or what inspired you to become an author?
Frances Fyfield

My father, who was handing me books as soon as I could read at four years old.  And, because of that, I’m inspired by the Authors I read, then and ever since.  I wanted to pay back those great Authors who had so enriched my life and knowledge of it. 
I wanted to do for others what they had done for me.  There’s no pleasure quite like it. So, other authors!

Does your family support you in your writing career?

Nope!  When I started, they mainly thought I was mad to try it.  I had a good job as a lawyer, took a year off to try writing.  My mother wailed, ‘You used to be so interesting!’ What’s happened to you?’
My brothers and sisters didn’t notice. 

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

I’m a sometime radio broadcaster, I’m a passionate collector of Art, ( yes, that goes in books, too!) . I walk, talk, cook, eat, drink and spend as much  time as possible loitering by the Sea. 
I love shopping.

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