Category Archives: This Literary Life

The Next Shiny New Thing by Georgia Rose

Georgia Rose 2

Author Georgia Rose

I’m sure I am not alone in this writing world when I say that I’m not a fan of having to get involved in the marketing of my books. In fact, I would give a lot to be able to hand that task over to someone else. I am a person who likes to have some control in the things I do, this is a reason why I love being an indie author, but I find the marketing world a confusing one. Someone on Facebook recently described trying to run a successful book promo like throwing darts in the dark and I’m inclined to agree. I’ve been struggling with setting promotions up recently and wading through the bewildering array of promotion opportunities is enough to make your head spin.

Perhaps I should clarify this a little because I understand the concept of spreading the word in as many different ways as your time, and energy, will allow in order to reach as wide an audience as possible. However, it’s the plethora of advice available over which routes to take, which sites to sign up to, which sites to give your shiny pound/dollar to if you get granted the opportunity, of course, to be accepted onto their site in the first place that’s hard to decipher.

I must however give a huge round of applause to the indie world out there who being endlessly generous and supportive of each other think nothing of having a decent sales spike after a promo and then willingly tell everyone how they achieved it.

Rather unusually, but please indulge me, I’m going to use a football (soccer) analogy here because seeing authors leaping onto the bandwagon of ‘the next big thing’ I’m reminded of watching my son play when he was an 8-year-old when he and his team moved as one, huddled around the ball which attracted them as if it had magnetic powers and much as a laser does to a tumble of kittens (see YouTube for examples).

I’m finding that this is happening to me. I start out reasonably focused on the marketing tasks I’m planning, I pop onto the internet to, you know…tweet…and all that then before I know it I spot a blog post discussing how someone shifted goodness knows how many gazillion copies of their book in a day which, obviously, sounds like a great idea and I will be derailed. This happened to me last Sunday when I ended up setting up an Amazon Giveaway for a couple of paperbacks of my first book. It wasn’t planned and I really need to stop these spur of the moment, and distracting, decisions.

What it comes down to is that we are all after the next shiny thing. The latest, and greatest, marketing whatever that has worked for someone and will also give us some, hopefully, spectacular results. I guess I should make up a proper marketing plan. Now, I just need to know what one of those looks like…I’ll pop onto Google to try and find out… it won’t take a moment. 😉

Georgia’s background in countryside living, riding, instructing and working with horses has provided the knowledge needed for some of her storylines; the others are a product of her overactive imagination! Her busy life is set in a tranquil part of rural Cambridgeshire where she lives with her much neglected family of a husband, two grown up children and two dogs.


Thicker than Water (Book 3 of The Grayson Trilogy)

Amazon US
Amazon UK


Website and Blog:-
Twitter:- @GeorgiaRoseBook

A Poet Finds Her Voice–Christine Burke

My poetry started life in the wee small hours after my husband left me for a younger model. I couldn’t sleep or think straight and used to write my thoughts down to try to get them out of my head. I suppose it was like screaming on paper.

Headshot of Christine Burke

Poet Christine Burke

The silver lining is that when I moved house years later, I found what I’d written and realised some of it was poetry. I started taking writing holidays and online courses with the aim of publishing – I didn’t want what I’d been through to be for nothing. The best MOOC online course I did was with the University of Pennsylvania led by Al Fireis – Modern Contemporary Poetry – being with thousands of other students learning about poets from Emily Dickinson thru Robert Frost to Sylvia Plath was extraordinary and changed my life. Poetry became something other than therapy for me, it became my new world.

And the writing holidays are amazing too – meeting great writers and being encouraged and inspired by fabulous, fun people from all walks of life who love writing and all have stories to tell. I learned that I have to write a little each day rather than wait for inspiration to strike – exercise my writing muscle – and then the Muses will visit!
The poem I’ve chosen to talk about is the first of my poems that made someone cry. (yes, other poems have done it since then!!!) I thought it might be interesting to some of you. It was my first unintentional attempt at prosody, I’m still learning…

The little light came on,
the only warmth in this cold place.
She reached for sustenance,
hesitated, withdrew
from the two eggs,
the rotting carrots,
and the meal for one –
calorie counted,
past it’s sell-by date.

Once upon a time there was cake, fresh cream;
wine, ginger, Brie,
St. Agur (her favourite)
and Stilton.

Still surprised by the emptiness,
she could have cried for the Stilton.

I suppose it’s obvious that what shocked me even a long time after my husband left was that there was nothing in the fridge. In my head the fridge should have been full for a party or a dinner, as it used to be (no-one has that variety of cheese unless it’s a dinner party!). So when I opened the fridge in a fruitless search for physical and mental sustenance, there was nothing there, and I thought I was ‘past my sell by date’. And I guess this touched some people, maybe they empathised, because it was one of the poems Encarna Dorado Cuenca chose to illustrate for me. It’s amazing how she paints the coldness of the kitchen. You can see some of her illustrations on my website illustration page if you’re interested – I love them all.

My website is

If anyone would like to contact me through the contact page on my website I’ll email you BREAK-UPS SUCK! FREE!
I haven’t got automatic downloads set up yet so you might have to wait a couple of days …

With all best wishes, bye for now…


Christine studied languages at school, worked in computing and lived around the world for fifteen years, including three years in the US. She enjoys dog walking, metal detecting and modern jive.  She has indie published six books of poetry and is working on the next one.

Christine’s Amazon Page
Christine’s latest collection is LEGACY

Cover Legacy


How To Plan a Book Launch

This week’s THIS LITERARY LIFE essay, author Dawn Downey offers a funny–and angst-filled–look at how even the most carefully planned book launch can go wrong.


“How To Plan a Book Launch”

by Dawn Downey

Relax. You’ve written a book. You’ve ordered your first shipment.

Give in to spontaneity. Schedule three launch parties in three different cities. Bask in the good vibrations of your wonderful friends who volunteered event space, email lists, and creative prowess. They enjoy promotion. With friends like this, allow yourself to feel enthusiastic about marketing.

At 3:00 a.m. two weeks before Party #1, awake in a panic. Ask yourself if you actually ordered books from the printer. Stub your toe on the nightstand while feeling around for your glasses, trying not to disturb your husband. Suppress your desire to wake him up, even though you should not have to suffer alone. Click around the printer’s website. Locate the order. Find no definitive proof the order went through, but no indication there’s a problem. Go back to bed.

Postpone Party #1, because you have no books.

Having relieved the pressure of a potential disaster at Party #1, feel a renewed enthusiasm for marketing. Create a Facebook event for Party #2. What fun! Post, share, like, comment, message, invite.

Examine the printer’s website again. The eight-point font hieroglyphics reveal 1) they’ve charged your credit card for 100 books, and 2) the order reads “pending” instead of “shipped.” Decide that “pending” means the books are on a UPS truck heading toward your house.

Friday, write a blog post extolling the joyous time to be experienced by all who are lucky enough to attend Parties #2 and #3.

Saturday, postpone Party #2, because you have no books.

Sunday, decide it’s time to call the printer’s customer service line. Do you remember how telephones always remind you of your mother calling to tell you that your sister’s acting out again, and it’s your fault? Well, don’t think about that. Convince yourself you’re a businesswoman.

Monday, phone customer service. Offer up a prayer of gratitude when your call goes immediately to a recording, because you know they’re going to call you stupid. After a man says, “Good morning. Can I help you?” talk slowly so he cannot hear your voice shaking. Hold your breath while he researches your order. When he says, “I’ll put a rush on this, it was not your fault,” stifle the urge to respond no, really, it was my fault. Thank the nice man. Resolve to stop picking on yourself.

Arrange a book order from an alternate printer. Express delivery in plenty of time for Party #3. Right? Right?

Having relieved the pressure of potential disasters at Parties #1 and #2, feel a renewed enthusiasm for marketing. Take a nap.

Author Dawn Downey

Author (and expert book launch planner) Dawn Downey

Dawn Downey is the author of From Dawn to Daylight: Essays.

Read the latest news about the book launch that can’t get off the ground at

Matt Abraham: “My First Review Troll”

For a writer, there’s nothing like the punch in the gut that comes with our very first one-star review. When that review is grossly malicious? It definitely twists the knife that much deeper. In today’s installment of This Literary Life, author Matt Abraham talks about his first review troll and how he turned the tables on her–sort of.

“My First Review Troll”                                                                                                                                       by Matt Abraham

Candid of Matt Abraham, author

Author Matt Abraham

For those of you who don’t know I got my first Amazon review troll this week, and subsequently went through the following 3 stages… before exacting revenge. WARNING: this isn’t for the squeamish, and if you’re a follower or a personal friend I hope I don’t lose you, or your respect. But sometimes we got to do what we got to do:

Stage 1: The Reaction

I’ll admit, once I got my first review troll I was excited. But that quickly that turned to rage. Who the hell gives a one star rating without even reading the book? Trolls, that’s who. So I decided not to take this lying down, I was going to hunt my troll. So I went on her Amazon page, and looked at all the things she bought, and I kid you not I found her real name. I found her work place. I found her address, and her email address. I even found a picture (don’t look at me like that, I write detective novels, what did you expect?). Now the only question is, “What would I do with this information?” The answer is scheme.

Stage 2: The Scheming

So as I lay in bed that night, scheming like a champ, I came up with three possible acts of vengeance:

1. Email her and avail myself to her human side, making my case politely, and asking her to take down the unfair trolling review. Maybe I’d quote God or something.

2. Email her and threaten to cook her children if she didn’t take down the unfair trolling review. Maybe I’d quote God or something.

3. Join Ashely Madison and every swinger site there is under her real name, get a good following, then ask for dick pics and porn and give out her work address.

As you can imagine I chose to go with option 3. Does that make me a bad person?

Stage 3: The Execution

So the next morning I hopped back onto my Amazon page, and looked up my troll. It was time to exact some sweet revenge. But here’s the thing; right above her nefarious vitriol sat seven reviews from independent book bloggers, and each one was really kind. And I remembered how they made me feel, and that general happiness outweighed my righteous anger. It also reminded me of the old saw in fiction: everybody’s the main character of their own story. So what kind of main character did I want to be? A villain, or a hero?
I knew the answer. So I put my dreams of revenge aside.
But I still needed closure. And then it hit me, and I smiled as I pressed ‘edit’ and added Dorothy A’s comments to my editorial reviews. So now when you visit Dane Curse’s Amazon page you’ll see this:

 Editorial Reviews

“Written with intelligent humor, easy dialogue, and an action-packed story line, Dane Curse is a must-read.” – Please Pass The Books

“Five stars… Filled with lots of action and humour, and will keep you engaged and entertained.” – Jael’s Reviews

“One Star- I didn’t read it…” Dorothy A. (AKA Muffiemae)

Yeah, that just feels right.

And… The Obligatory Moral

I learned a few things from the past few days of self-torment. The first is that if you fight fire with fire you just end up with more fire, and lowering yourself like that won’t make you feel better. The second is that the bullies of the ether should be afraid. It’s getting easier and easier to discover their identities, which lets us show the rest of the world the kind of people they really are. And finally, revenge may be a dish best served cold, but justice served with a smile and a pinch of irony is a hell of a lot more fun to eat.


Matt A. and Kal

Matt with his son Kal

Matt Abraham currently lives in China with his criminally insane cat Durden, his beautiful one month old son Kal, and his supportive wife Jenny. If you’d like more information on his (mostly) critically acclaimed novel Dane Curse you can contact him at or visit him at . Or just write to say hi, he loves that.”

There’s More Than Words To A Newsletter

(Lorraine Watson’s observations on what it really takes to publish a newsletter is the first in an ongoing series of essays on  “This Literary Life”)

The owner of, Lorraine Watson

Lorraine Watson of

You’d think as someone who writes, putting out a newsletter would be a no-brainer.

Not so much. Great theory with zero translation into reality.

The first barrier in the way of a newsletter grew out of having been exposed to the inner workings of email marketing. It’s a numbers game. There’s a magic ratio between list size and dollars so more subscribers leads to more dollars. No matter which way I turned, someone promised 10,000 subscribers in a month, offered their winning newsletter formula, or thinly disguised sales pitches under the guise of personal stories.

All I wanted to do was really connect with people, have some conversations, and perhaps offer different views into day-to-day life. Couldn’t an email just be a good old-fashioned letter for getting to know one another when we can’t be around the same kitchen table?

I certainly wasn’t going to send something out that made my stomach turn.

The second roadblock looming in the way of a newsletter was the ever popular “I have nothing to say”. Apparently I had enough to say to write blog posts, just not a newsletter. Ahhh, so what I really meant was “I have nothing to say that is brilliantly different enough from the blog posts that is worthy of sending out on a regular basis.”

With the honesty of hindsight, what I really, REALLY meant to say was “I’ll hide pretending to be visible.” There’s a subtle difference between a blog post and a newsletter. An element of distance I suppose. The blog post’s home is out there, on a single page in the universesque vastness of the internet. Without a direct pointer, what are the chances of being seen?

But a newsletter in your inbox – there’s no hiding from that. You’re welcoming me into your personal space. Whether you choose to read or not on any given week, you still see whether or not I showed up.

Then something changed.

The desire to connect and knowing there must be a different way was outmuscling the reasons to hold back. And fortuitously, Dan Blank’s inaugural Launch Your Newsletter course appeared right at the same time. The barriers came tumbling down. He supported us in finding our way, not his way, and bringing forward our voices because we all had something to say.

Next month will see the writing of the 53rd Letters From Home – the first of a second year.

No two weeks are the same. Some weeks the words flow easily while for others each word feels like a painful struggle just to find an idea. Once I had to scrap everything and start over just minutes before hitting the send button.

I’ve given up beating on myself for not whipping out a newsletter in 15 minutes. Some people might be a whiz with the keyboard or pen, but writing for me spans a couple of hours even in the best of weeks. Each word and sentence feels like they are infused with something larger, as if capturing the ground we would travel having a conversation over a great meal followed by dessert and tea. Same for the photos included.

My list remains small, not even having reached triple digits yet. Mathematically speaking, however, the growth is almost 250% over the year. I could focus on either of those two numbers, but I chose to place greater value on a third – the richness of connections I’ve made with people literally around the world. Ten thousand faceless emails that look good in a magic formula can never replace knowing a bit about the person who left a comment or emailed a reply. I trust that in being a thoughtful guest in other people’s inboxes, the number and richness of the relationships I have will continue to grow.

A year in the life of a newsletter has brought about a number of changes – both in the newsletter and in me. The more visible and personal I become with the newsletter, so too do the connections and conversations I have with those who invited me in.

– – – – – – – – –
Lorraine is an intuitive left-brained crazy for cats and potatoes lady. More of an atypical spiritual guide than a typical coach, she’s to help you re-ignite what Lights you up inside, find clarity in who you really are, and tap into the courage to pursue that “something more to life” calling out to you. You can leave your name to be sure you receive her weekly Letters From Home newsletter.