A Fine Sense of Place

A Fine Sense of Place, guest post by Marilyn Larew, www.writersandauthors.info
As writers, we all know the importance of grounding our work firmly in the place where it occurs. Not by a long, involved nineteenth-century description of every leaf on every tree in sight. Just enough description to give the reader a feel for the place. For New York or London or Paris that’s not really a problem. A few words and an address will do, but Lee Carruthers’ adventures take place in Morocco and Dubai, neither of which is well-known to US readers. What to do?

The Internet might have been invented for writers. You can find pictures of everything under the sun. I have fat folders of saved pictures and short historical bits about Morocco. I have fewer about Dubai, but Dubai smaller than Morocco. Online maps aren’t so good; you can’t have everything, but you can have my favorite Internet resource, Google Earth.

Google Earth is an amazingly flexible program that allows you to visualize any place on earth in as much detail as you want. Roads, rivers, towns, buildings, the countryside—they’re all on display. If you want 3-D, you can have that too. With just the click of a button you can walk down the streets of major cities. Just for fun once, I found the street where the last Paris hotel we stayed in was. Then in 3-D, I popped the buildings up and found the hotel. I located the window to the room where we stayed. I went around the corner to the Moroccan restaurant where we dined. Up that street to a café where we often stopped for a snack. Besides being fun, it was a check on the accuracy of the program.

The Spider Catchers is set in Fez, Morocco, and in the Algerian desert. Global Earth made the map of Fez come alive—streets, buildings, markets. It was easy to imagine I was there. Its take on the Algerian desert was even more important, since Lee Carruthers and a colleague escaped from a terrorist camp and went on the run. I could plot their path from the camp along the highway, through a sandy path between rocky hills, and up the hill where they ran out of gas and were recaptured. I could see it, describe it. I could even measure it.

For Dead in Dubai, I found the program equally useful. The United Arab Emirates is a 600 kilometer long collection of small Arab states with its front on the Persian Gulf across from Iran and its back to the Rub' al Khali, the “empty quarter” in the Saudi Arabian desert. In some places it’s as much as thirty-five kilometers wide, each green inch painfully built using desalinated seawater.

Long and narrow, Dubai is a fabulous and complicated place, originally built around a freshwater creek that allowed the old pearl fishing village to survive. Today the creek divides the emirate into two unequal parts with hotels, shopping centers, docks, and an old quarter of neighborhoods and souks just like the old days. Dubai also has divided highways, golf courses, tall towers like the ones on my book cover that have office and apartment space, and a huge new port, Jebel Ali, capable of docking an American aircraft carrier with room to spare. That’s a lot to describe. Global Earth allowed me to zero in on the place and view the whole scene in 3-D.

You can download pictures, yes, but pictures won’t give you an idea of the whole place. Google Earth will. It will allow you to see the entirety or drill down and magnify any part of it to see the detail.

Okay. I’m a map junkie. I admit it. I’ve got a map of every place I’ve ever been. Sure, I love maps, but Google Earth has helped me see and write about two places I’ve never been in such detail that reviewers are convinced I’ve been there. I think it will help you ground your stories as well.

MARILYNN LAREW is a historian who has published in such disparate fields as American colonial and architectural history, Vietnamese military history, and terrorism, and has taught courses in each of them in the University of Maryland System. Before settling on the Mason-Dixon line in southern Pennsylvania, she lived in Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Georgia, Wisconsin, Ohio, South Carolina, Maryland, in Manila, and on Okinawa. It’s no surprise that she likes to travel. When she’s climbing the first hill in Istanbul to Topkapi Palace, strolling around Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi, or exploring the back streets of Kowloon, she is not just having fun, she’s looking for locations for her next novel. When she’s not traveling, she is writing or reading. She writes thrillers and likes to read them. She also likes to read Vietnamese history and Asian history in general, as well as military history. She lives with her husband in a 200-year-old farmhouse in southern Pennsylvania. She belongs to Sisters in Crime, the Guppies, and the Chinese Military History Society.
 

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Interview with Barry Durham

Interview with Barry Durham, www.writersandauthors.info
Today I'm joined by author Barry Durham.

What genre do you write and why?
Supernatural crime mystery thrillers, so I guess that covers two or three genres at least!

I have had an interest in the occult since I was young teenager when my maternal grandmother taught me how to ‘read’ playing cards. I went on to learn The Tarot and was even a semi-professional Tarot Card Reader for a while mixing with all sorts of strange people on the ‘psychic circuit’ - some of whom have provided inspiration for characters in my stories.

Being born in Lancashire, England, I knew of the legends surrounding the 17th century Lancashire Witches and became fascinated by the story. After a considerable amount of research I began to wonder what their descendents might be up to today which led to the writing and eventual self-publication of my first novel ‘The Demdike Legacy’.

I also write, and self-publish, books for children about Figaro The Cat Detective after being asked by the eldest of my three young grandsons to write stories for them.

What formats is the book available in?
Paperback and ebook for Kindle, iPad and most other electronic formats. Hardback editions are available to special order.

What's your favourite quote about writing/for writers?
It is a quote attributed to American author Louis L’Amour: “Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”

I have it pinned up on my study wall to remind me to stop wandering round the internet and get back to writing!

Interview with Barry Durham, www.writersandauthors.info
Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
I have my own website at www.bdeye.me.uk; a Facebook page at Barry Durham Author; Author Profile pages on both Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com and a profile page on my new publisher’s website at www.glannantty.com.

Who designed the cover?
I am lucky enough to have some very talented relatives.
The covers for my supernatural crime books are designed by my niece Charlotte Jones; an English student and illustrator studying at Glyndŵr University in Wrexham, Wales.

My second cousin Abi Griffin, another talented artist working in Wales, illustrates and produces the covers for my Figaro The Cat Detective books.

Where can a reader purchase your book?
At the moment, from the publisher’s website at www.glannanty.com as well as Amazon, The Book Depository, Blackwell’s, Barnes and Noble and several others on the internet. Just search for ‘The Demdike Legacy’ and it’ll pop up somewhere. A deal is also in the offing that should hopefully see it in Waterstones, WH Smith and other booksellers in the not too distant future.
           
How do you research your books?
As I tend to set my stories in and around where I live in Lancashire, England, I am always on the lookout for local stories about strange happenings. I also like the old-fashioned way of researching, like talking to local historians or going to reference libraries and record offices. In addition, I have built up my own collection of books on the paranormal and British folk tales. And of course there is now our old friend Google when a bit of instant research is needed. My favourite however, is field work. If I am writing about a specific location I have to go there to get the feel of the place; to put myself into the action, so to speak.

What is your work in progress? Tell us about it.
My latest book, as yet untitled, is the fourth in a series concerning the exploits of the fictional Detective Chief Inspector Alf Stone who always finds the weird shi… (sorry) stuff landing on his desk. This time he is on paternity leave after the birth of his first son and his former deputy, DI Alexandra Johnson, is left holding the baby as she investigates the demise of two young men linked by a similarity in names but no apparent cause of death.

What are your thoughts on self-publishing versus traditional publishing?
I spent around 20 years on the ‘merry-go-round’ trying to get my first novel published, with letters from publishers asking if I had an agent and letters from agents asking if I had been published! Traditional publishing is a massive lottery for the newcomer; your manuscript has to arrive on the right person’s desk at precisely the right moment to get any chance of even being read.

I was on the verge of giving up (not writing, I could never do that) when along came self-publishing and it was like being thrown a lifeline.

I think it is a wonderful phenomenon that has given so many talented people the chance to get their words into print without the circus and heartache that traditional publishers can put you through.
And now, I have finally had a bit of luck as my first self-published novel has been accepted and re-published by the American paranormal publishing and media group, Glannant Ty.

Who or what inspired you to become a writer?
Nothing! I have always been a writer. I submitted stories to SciFi magazines during my teenage years then, after trying other jobs and getting ‘told off’ (to put it politely) for scribbling down ideas for stories when I should have been working, eventually became a journalist at the ripe old age of 23. During the next 40 years or so I worked for various newspapers and magazines in the UK, as well as selling articles on my hobbies to magazines in the UK, USA and Europe. I also spent seven years as a part-time university lecturer teaching newspaper and magazine design to Masters level. I am now finally ‘retired’ and able to write what I want more or less when I want.


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Book To Film

Book To Film: Cassandra's Castle, www.writersandauthors.infoI suppose I have to begin my story by telling you how passionate I am about Cassandra’s Castle. I had already written the Ian’s Realm Trilogy, a nicely packaged saga that could have been the beginning and the end. I don’t know how other fantasy series writers feel about their world, but I honestly didn’t want to leave mine. I left a lot of doors open for sequels, including giving the MC (Ian) a daughter. So by the time I was ready to draft Cassandra’s Castle, I knew who was going back through the portal into the Realm. What I didn’t know was her story.


About the same time I was pondering on the premise, I was also helping a good friend uncover a mystery about her ancestors. She had a grandfather who was supposedly related to royalty in Portugal. I found his story completely mesmerizing and if my friend was not a writer also, I would have begged to tell his story. Still, the detective in me dug through data to find his roots, and besides helping my friend know a little more about her grandfather, and painting a very stirring oil portrait for her, I unveiled the inspiration to Cassandra’s Castle.



Manuel II of Portugal. The last king, crowned at the mere age of 18 in the year 1908 after his father and older brother were brutally and publically assassinated, then forced to live in exile three years later.



Manuel's story left a deep impression on me. Martim, the hero in Cassandra’s Castle, would be the protégé of Manuel II. Not a historical novel by any means. I was not qualified to write a biography of Manuel II. I didn’t want to. My desire was to take the novel beyond history. I wanted to right the wrongs that were done to this young man. There was only one way to do that. The story would be a historical fantasy.



The first ‘life’ that came to the book was when I was writing a very important sword battle between the villain and Martim. I knew nothing about sword fighting. Coincidence happened while walking with my husband one day. He saw a sign on a billboard that I had never seen before. “Fencing lessons”. I had always wanted to learn how to wield a sword. I have a collected a few blades and am quite fond of them.



I pursued this lead, met coach Tom Martin of Kitsap Fencing Center and asked if he would like to help me with the battle in my story. He loved the idea and he had experience in stage combat. We met, discussed the characters, their motives, their back stories, their strengths and weaknesses and came up with some good passages of written combat. Of course, I signed up for lessons and have been fencing ever since.



From there everything snowballed. The videographer who helped me with The Dragon Shield Trailer (Book 2 of the series)  consented to film my book trailer for Cassandra’s Castle. Friends were contacted, roles assigned and we came up with a short video for the book. So excited were we about making that trailer that we decided to do a movie, and it’s been escalating ever since.



Now instead of just a few friends playing, there’s a cast of some of Seattle’s most talented actors. Tom has been working on choreography for the duel with the main characters, seamstresses are designing costumes, scouts are preparing locations, and our preproduction is running smoothly. We are currently in the process of raising money to film a pilot, as we’ve chosen to make Cassandra’s Castle a miniseries. To see our progress please visit my website http://gardnersart.com



Book Cover Pouraka by Dianne Lynn Gardner, Book To Film: Cassandra's Castle, www.writersandauthors.info
Dianne Lynn Gardner is an author, illustrator and filmmaker living in the Pacific Northwest. Known for her Ian's Realm Saga, a dystopia novel and her more recent underwater fantasy Pouraka.

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What I Learned as an Author, that I Wish Someone Had Clued Me In!

I started writing at nine, keeping a diary.  But let's not go there for now, as I certainly wasn't expecting to make any money from my diary.  Nor was I anticipating an income when I wrote somewhat morbid poetry in the my teenage years.  However, by the time I was writing short memoir pieces such as "Am I my Cousin's Cousin?" in which I wrote cleverly about how I see myself related to Marissa Berenson, although she wouldn't recognize me if I feel over her, I was looking for a bit of recognition and perhaps some remuneration.  I was quickly disappointed.  Those were the days of sending the story in the mail to the magazine or newspaper and waiting for the acceptance note.  Of course, the rejection letter appeared first, again and again.  Finally I gave up for another 20 years.


When I started to seek fame and fortune again the world was changing.  My ship had literally come in, when an acquisition editor loved my Enchanted Self (R) methods for inducing happiness and states of well-being and asked me to write a book for Harwood Academic Publishers.  I was ecstatic and after 18 months or so of writing and editing, The Enchanted Self, A Positive Therapy was submitted and sent to the printing press.  In those days, mid-90's, the printing was farmed out abroad.  My book was printed in Singapore.  That was fine for me, until it turned out the first printing sat in the bottom of a ship for about five months, waiting for enough cargo to be loaded to make the trip across the oceans to this country.  I had already hired a publicist and was talking up my book in short articles, press releases and some radio interviews.  Needless to say, the book sitting in the cargo hold of a ship thousands of miles of way was distressing.

However, the day did arrive when my 10 copies came in the mail, and I could proceed.  One of the things I decided to do was pay for advertising in magazines that offered radio guests.  This was a fairly successful venture and I appeared on about 60 radio talk shows.  The most well known were several public radio shows. 

From there my check book was almost never closed.  There always seemed to be another expense involved in sharing my concepts and books with the world at large.  The web became of course, the MOST for every author and I was one of the first to jump aboard.  In fact, my website, www.enchantedself.com was one if not the first mental health wellness website for women on the web.  Am I talking $$$$?  Yes I am.  Everything costs and everything seems to have a learning curve. 

Now, seven books later,  my latest being Secrets, Diary of a Gutsy Teen, what advise should you take from me?  Here are my suggestions, based on learning, wisdom and the spending of money:

1. Think of what you are offering the public carefully.  If it is truly a message that you want and need to give others than be willing to partly share it as you would offer yourself to do volunteer work or babysit your grandkids.  Not everything can give a monetary return.

That said, here are some suggestions to not empty your savings account:

2.  Do your diligence homework.  Want a website? Research carefully different options and fees and if possible network to get a reliable referral.

3.  Want a publicist?  Again do your homework and realize that publicists expect to be paid whether they get you anywhere or not.  I know as I have paid about 4 for almost no results over the years.  Now I pretty much do my own publicity, except locally, where I do have a local publicist help me when necessary, through channels that I have found very successful.....

4. Leading me to a channel that does work and is not too costly.  That is the press release.  If it is done by an expert and uploaded correctly to the right sites you and your work will be sending out signals via connecting links and social media almost forever. 

5. Social media is fun and can get you out there, but the research has yet to confirm that it helps you sell books.  However, consider the following: putting up some of your book or all of it for free on a site such as www.wattpad.com.  (If self-publishing that is a way to go.  Great exposure if you work to share your book.  If you have a publisher, check with them for your rights to do so.)

6. Network as much as you can.  If you really get to know your clubs, groups, etc. locally and you offer to talk about your subject of expertise you will get a chance to do so.  Enjoy it, polish your style and yes, you will sell some books.

7. Lastly, unless you are far more talented and lucky than I have been, make sure your source of income comes from other means!


Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein. I have been a positive psychologist in private practice for the past thirty years. In the course of working with my clients, I originated the idea of THE ENCHANTED SELF(R), a positive psychology therapy where I teach people how to recognize and utilize their strengths, talents, skills and even lost potential. I have developed a number of methods, including using our memories to rediscover what is right about ourselves and our lives, rather than what went wrong, helping people to overcome adversity, experience positive emotions and live the good life!

Since developing this concept, I've been able to use many tools to bring the Enchanted Self to everyone, particularly women and girls. I've written many books, starting with THE ENCHANTED SELF, A Positive Therapy, and then Recipes for Enchantment, The Secret Ingredient is YOU!  My books for girls are very popular, as they are great fictional reads and also help deal with many of the questions that trouble kids as they move into the tween and teen years.  The Truth, Diary of a Gutsy Tween and Secrets, Diary of a Gutsy Teen are the first two books in this series.

I really love to teach and educate about happiness and how to benefit from positive psychology in ways that let us lead lives of meaning and happiness. You can find me all over the place on the web.







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How To Categorize Your Book

How To Categorize Your Book, www.writersandauthors.info

What category should your book be listed under? This is a question that often comes up, especially from new authors. We get told all the time about the importance of listing our books under the right categories but with so many new sub-genres cropping up daily it can be hard to keep up and know where to place them. 

The category you place your book under can have a huge knock on effect on sales and so is an important element to research. 

This article How to Figure Out Your Book’s Genre at Rock Your Writing gives some good suggestions for working out what category to use and covers some of the common umbrella genres.

Write to Done has an excellent article about genres and categories. It takes a look at why genre is important, from a selling point of view but also when it comes to working with agents and publishers.

On Amazon you get to pick two main categories. This article at Digital Book Today takes a look at the importance of narrowing in on your niche when deciding which categories to choose. 

Want to hit more categories? Read this article at Inkless. It shares some tips for how to make your keywords work with your categories to improve your category ranking on Amazon.

If you're trying to work out what categories to list your book under on Amazon, check out http://www.amazon.com/b/?node=1000 for a full list of their categories and sub-categories. 

For more tips about Amazon categories and ranking check out this article at The Future of Ink.

What genre is your book? What categories is it listed under? Got some tips of your own for picking categories? Tell us about them in the comments below.


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Interview with Jessica Jefferson

What genre do you write and why?
I write historical romance, primarily Regency-era.  Those were some of the first real books I ever read – Judith McNaught, Kathleen Woodiwiss. When I decided to write a book, I thought – why not write something I love to read.

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Tell us about your latest book.
Chasing the Other Tisdale is the third in my Regency Blooms series, but pre-dates the rest of them, so it easily stands alone.

What advice do you have for other writers?
I think authors need to be humble.  Find a critique partner and listen to them.  Take advice from others, and look to your readers for guidance and direction.  I’ve received a couple bad reviews, and rather than ignore them, I think I really used them to develop and grow.  It’s difficult to take criticism, but if you don’t then you can’t get better.

What's your favourite quote about writing/for writers?
I wish I could remember the exact quote, but I can’t, so I’ll have to paraphrase.  I can’t even tell you who said it, so please don’t think it was me.  But the phrase goes something like, if you wake up in the morning and all you can think about is writing, then you’re a writer.  I think that’s such a powerful statement and it really is something that inspired me to take this on as a career.

What's the best thing about being a writer?
My uniform.  I get to wear sweat pants and an old Purdue tee to work.  I don’t even have to wear shoes!

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
I have a personal website where I occasionally blog, but I also write for the multi-author blog site, Embracing Romance.  I think blogging can be therapeutic, but then again, I’m an oversharer.

How long did it take you to write your book? 
I find it very difficult to write on demand. However, with two kids and one foot still in the continuous improvement field part time, I have to schedule my writing time or it won’t get done.  So, this year I’ve been much more rigorous with my process and I’ve gotten the book writing down to about three months from start to “the end”.

http://www.JessicaJefferson.com
What are your thoughts on self-publishing verses traditional publishing?
I think every author needs to find what works for them and their situation.  I was fortunate that my first book was published by an independent press.  I love having the structure that having deadlines from the publishing house provides me. That keeps me motivated.  I think self-publishing is great for self-starters and those who are great at finding their own resources.  I like the convenience that a publisher provides – I give them a manuscript, they edit, format, find a cover, and publish it for me.  The great part is how much input I have in the process. Some of my friends at the larger houses don’t always get that creative authority.  I think self-publishing had provided a means to get those more unique stories out to the public.  It’s a great avenue for writers to get their voices out there, especially those alternative voices that may not fit in the mold of what’s selling at the moment.  We’ve seen some great authors self-pub – Christi Caldwell, Courtney Milan.  These are stellar writers and they put out a quality product.  It’s all about having choices, and I’m glad that choice is out there.

Does your family support you in your writing career? How?
My husband is very supportive now that he understands the business better.  When I first told him that I had received a contract he was all “You wrote a book?” I never really told him what I was doing, I just wrote in my spare time or late at night after the kids went to bed.  I think after I received my first royalty check he started to understand that this is a real job, but even then he thought I could just sit down and whip out a book in a couple weeks.  I took him with me to the RT convention in 2014 and that was a real eye opener for him.  Now, he’s really great about giving me time to write when the muse hits and he will assume total responsibility for the kids and house while I’m in my zone.

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
My family loves to travel and be outdoors.  We are campers. I especially love to hike.  So, when I’m not writing and I have the opportunity, I love to pack up the RV and leave for the weekend.  It doesn’t happen as much as I’d like it to, but I’m working on it.



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Effective Tips to Work on Your Special Writing Style

Effective Tips to Work on Your Special Writing Style, www.WritersAndAuthors.info

To become a good writer, you need to have your own writing style that is effective, creative and can help you achieve your goal as a writer. When it comes to writing style, this widely varies from one writer to another. If you have just started writing, there are ways for you to work on your writing style in order to become more effective in writing content that your audience will truly appreciate.

Know your audience

One true mark of a prolific writer is the ability to write content that can capture the heart and soul of the audience. When working on your writing style, the most basic thing that you should do before you even take a pen and begin with your draft is to know your audience. You cannot just write anything without taking into consideration the readers who will read your work. For instance, if you are creating a material for business purposes then you have to make it really professional. But if you are writing a novel, you have to bring out your creativity. Knowing your audience enables you to adjust your writing style in such a manner that will appeal to them.

Be precise and avoid being too wordy

No reader will take time to read a material that is too wordy and too difficult to understand. As such, it is essential to keep in mind that whether you are writing a simple essay or you are working on your debut novel, you have to be precise. Be straightforward. Avoid being too wordy as this can entirely affect how your readers will understand what you truly want to say. Instead make use of compact sentences that are precise and easy to understand.

Watch out for punctuation and grammatical errors

One of the cardinal rules for effective and quality writing is that it should not have any punctuation and grammatical errors. As a writer, you have to be careful and mindful not just with the content of your writing but as well as the syntax or the technical aspect of your work. You would not want to publish a work that has a lot of punctuation and grammatical errors. So, make sure that you proofread your work a lot of times and make the necessary editing or revisions if they are needed. By doing this, you can avoid committing punctuation and grammatical errors that can affect the quality of your work.

Make use of vivid verbs and nouns

In writing, you take your readers to your world and you open up your thoughts and ideas to them. This is where it gets really challenging considering that you need to use language for them to know and understand what you intend to share. As such, you have to make use of vivid verbs and nouns. Always aim for clarity whenever you are writing so that you readers can understand what you want to say. When they read your work, they can easily follow because you provide them with enough and vivid descriptions that make your work an easy and interesting read.

Avoid lengthy sentences and paragraphs

Sometimes there is a tendency to use lengthy sentences and paragraphs. This is a common mistake among writers especially when you are burning with passion and you get too excited writing down your thoughts. But always keep in mind that you have readers and apart from just writing what you want to write, you need to make sure that your readers will not end up being taken into a whirlwind pool of words and lengthy sentences that are too hard to digest and comprehend. At the end of the day, despite your goal to be creative in your writing, you also have to take note of the importance of making your work easily understood by your readers. Avoid using lengthy sentences.

Do not use slang if not needed

Using the right words that will match the type of content you are writing is important. So, how about the use of slang words or informal words? The use of slang words actually depends on the kind of material you are writing. If it is an informal material, you can use these kinds of words. But if it is a formal one like for instance if you are writing for business or professional purposes, you have to avoid using informal words and definitely do not use slang.

The list of effective tips that you can incorporate to your writing style goes on. There are many factors that can impact your writing style along with the elements of your writing and your personal style. But always keep in mind that apart from the technical aspect like grammar, structure, punctuation, etc., as a writer it is also your heart and what is on your mind that you share to your readers.

Cindy Bates works as a freelance writer and editor at writing company Bestessaytips. She used to write articles and share her knowledge and experience in educational sphere.
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#AuthorBootCamp Takeaways


T'is the season for writer conferences! So much great information and tips being shared, and I don't even have to leave my house. Pretty awesome, I think you'll agree.


#authorbootcamp is an event organised through http://www.bytethebook.com/ who have the aim of "helping publishers and authors make connections in the digital age". 

Whilst I couldn't be in London for the in-person event I did have fun following along on Twitter. Here's a few takeaways for the event:
















If you liked this event, be sure to check out the upcoming Promo Day event on Saturday 30th May. Promo Day is an annual online event for people in the publishing industry dedicated to promoting, networking, and learning. This years event takes place on Saturday 30th May and registration is completely free. Just go to www.PromoDay.info and click on "Register Now".

The day will be packed full of free webinars by industry experts on a variety of topics related to author branding and book marketing. There will also be live pitch sessions with publishers, loads of opportunities to promote and network, and chances to win prizes in giveaways. It's going to be awesome!

Hope to see you there, and remember, you can get more out of the event by joining the conversation using the hashtag #PD15 to talk to the people who will also be attending, even before the event starts.

Register now for #PD15 at www.PromoDay.info. A whole day dedicated to promoting, networking, and learning. It's completely free too!


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