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Top 3 Blogging tips

It’s my 2 year anniversary this week. Yay!!!

I’m so grateful to all my followers and readers. I’m truly humbled by this fantastic community. You’re all supportive, encouraging and willing to connect. And that’s a big deal for me. I adore being an author, spending hours at a time immersed in my imagination, but it’s vital for my sanity to know that you guys are just a few clicks away.

Thank you message in a bottle

Here are my top 3 blogging tips that have helped on my journey so far…

  1. Consistency. Be realistic with how often you can post. It’s all well and good having the intention of posting 3 times a week, but if life gets in the way blogging will be the first thing to slip. So be honest about how much time you can dedicate. I knew that after family and work commitments my writing came next. That’s why I choose to post once a week and its been maintainable. It’s also been rewarding, beyond my wildest dreams. I’ve made some great friends like Ari Meghlen. Her blog is full of writing, blogging and platform building tips. Check her out.

2. Connect.  This is a two-way network. So reach out to fellow bloggers. Read their posts and leave a comment, its more personal than simply liking a post. Although I love it when anyone clicks on the little star.

This week I’ve found two new beta readers K.M. Allen and Uninspired writers.  Ladies, welcome to my realm. Take a look at their fantasic blogs full of writing tips.

3. Schedule posts. This tip is for me too. I really need to take my own advice. Organise post in advance. That way when something unexpected crops up, you’re covered. It’s easy to do: Open post settings. Under Status, click on the arrow next to Publish Immediately and a calendar opens up. Then you can set a date and time. When you’re happy with your choice hit the blue Schedule button and you’re all set.

Alternatively, why not re-blog one of your fellow bloggers posts. It’s a great way to stay consistent with your blog and helps to build connections with your bloggers.

Do you have any great tips to share? Let me know in the comments, you know I love to hear from you. Till next time, Much Love. Xx

 

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.
love pen book tea - Author Lorraine Ambers fantasy writer

Reality of being a writer

I’m a huge fan of positivity posts. Who doesn’t need a daily dose of inspiration? Pushing us to work towards our goals and chase our dreams. But sometimes it’s good to take a breath and check in with reality. To realise that our struggles don’t define us, but they do make us human.

Being a writer or any artist is tough. Don’t get me wrong, there are many perks. Take today for instance; I’m sitting in bed with my dog, listening to music, whilst drinking tea and blogging. But it’s not all glamorous: In fact, I’m not sure any of it is???

Today I thought I’d share the harsh reality of what being a writer is like for me. To let you know; you’re not alone in your fight. And that acknowledging our struggles doesn’t make us weak, it makes us honest. Maybe even a little enlightened.

Author self-doubt tumblr_nxeot3aztf1rj0hrio1_500
Credit: tumblr_nxeot3aztf1rj0hrio1_500

First of all: Shoat out to all working-student writers. Hurrah to us, juggling a full time job/course with other commitments, housework, family  and all the pressures life brings is usually enough for mere mortals. We’ve chosen to spend a dedicated amount of time and resources to building platforms, managing social media and actually writing a novel… or two. Congratulations, did you know roughly 80% of people dream of writing a novel but only a small percentage achieve this.

Next it’s a huge shoat out to writer parents. Whoop! Whether your children are young and need constant attention. Tantrums, potty training, endless kid parties and squabbling siblings. Where we need eyes in the back of our heads. Or older darlings: full of hormone melt downs, teenage dramas, social media mine-fields, confrontations over boundaries, boyfriend/girlfriend worries and … still squabbling siblings. And that’s all dealt with in a morning.

When do we get to write? How do we fit it in? But as we writers know… where there’s a will, and often a desperate need for sanity, there’s a way.

Writer Author Cat

Social life advocates: Bravo! I’m beginning to wonder if this is a rare breed of writer, because if you’re juggling either of the above, or like me – both, and you still have a successful social life: I’m wondering, do you only need two hours of sleep???

I’d love to go out for dinner with friends, meet the girls for coffee, fit in my yoga class, maybe take up tai chi too and attend creative writing class. But I wrestle to fit in all the other non-social stuff. Write. Walk my beagle. Read and read more. Blog. Fill cupboards with food, cook bloody food, clean dishes… You know the drill. You’re in it too. It’s an endless cycle of mundaneness, just to stay at base level. Tedious, repetitive and frustrating, doesn’t even begin to cover it.

To avoid these things is to ‘Attempt’ to change absolute reality, which will inevitably do more harm than good, internally speaking. (Internally = your mind and soul) Realise this is how life is and no longer will it disturb you, you can feel free. ‘Life is suffering’ – Budda

And there we have it. Life. Reality. Honest and raw. Be proud of who you are and the choices you make, because you’re unique and awesome. Take a moment to reflect on you’re journey and feel free to add a comment, sharing a little of it with me.

Thanks for reading.

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.
YA fantasy romance Author Lorraine Ambers Desk

How to Hook an Agent

This year I’m jumping a massive fear hurdle. In April I’m heading down to London to an event by Writers & Artists at Bloomsbury. I’ll join four literary agents who’ll enlighten me on How to Hook an Agent. The talks will include; how to know when your novel is ready, advice on how to pitch your novel, and the agents will tell us what submissions have appealed to them, with examples. This is followed by the opportunity for networking, and I’ll have my first one-to-one pitch session. Eek!

I can’t tell you how excited I am. Thanks to Ari Meghlen for her fantastic critiquing, and thanks to Judith Barrow for her Creative Writing workshops and her unwavering belief in my work. I’m finally ready to charm the pants off of the unsuspecting agents by revealing my first novel in the Shadow Knight Series. (Gulp)

All bravado aside, I’m dreading this verbal pitch. I’ve tweaked my original pitch to an unrecognisable mush of words. I could always wait for the event and see what the professionals have to say, but we all know I need to walk in there prepared.

 

Conquer fear Author Lorraine Ambers

Instead, I’ve turned to my fellow bloggers for advice which I’m happy to share with you.

A pitch should address five specific elements.

  • What is the title, genre, and word count?
  • What is the setting?
  • Who is the protagonist?
  • What is his conflict?
  • What does she have to do to overcome this conflict?

An important question to consider is what makes your book different from similar books within your genre. In business terms what is its USP – Unique Selling Point. Identify that and you’re on to a winner.

Remember that a one-to-one pitch is a two-way conversation, therefore it’s likely that you’ll be asked questions. They could be:

  • Tell me about yourself?
  • What else are you working on?
  • Why do you write?
  • Where did this story come from?
  • How does your book fit into the market
  • What authors do you compare to?
  • Who are your favourite authors?

At conferences and events, there’ll be the chance to ask them questions too. They might be:

  • About the industry
  • The process of the transition from writer to published writer
  • Their style as an agent
  • About the craft

The most important piece of advice that I’ve found is that practice makes perfect. Pitch aloud, in the mirror, and to anyone willing to listen. Until the pitch sounds natural, not stunted. Until the words flow without thought or hesitation.

Remember, agents are normal people. Relax, smile and enjoy the event. Even if all you’re doing is learning from your mistakes for future success. We’re only human after all.

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

Have any of my fellow writers pitched to agents? If so, do you have any additional advice to share? I’d love to hear from you, don’t be shy and comment below. 🙂

© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2016.
YA fantasy romance Author Lorraine Ambers Desk Novel Writer

TAG Who am I?

Who Am I? Tag

I saw this tag over at Angie Dokos and I had to try it out, feel free to join in. If you havn’t already, then you should check her blog out!

What does my name mean?

My name, Lorraine, means: From the name of a region in France, originally meaning “kingdom of LOTHAR”. Lothar was a Frankish king, the great-grandson of Charlemagne, whose realm was in the part of France that is now called Lorraine.
What is my Myers-Briggs Personality Type? (Link)

Personality type: “The Advocate” (INFJ-T)
Individual traits: Introverted – 86%, Intuitive – 84%, Feeling – 81%, Judging – 83%, Turbulent – 81%
Role: Diplomat
Strategy: Constant Improvement

What is my Zodiac Sign? (Link)

Pisces traits

Pisces likes: Being alone, sleeping, music, romance, visual media, swimming, spiritual themes.

Pisces dislikes: Know-it-all, being criticized, the past coming back to haunt, cruelty of any kind.

Pisces are very friendly, so they often find themselves in a company of very different people. Pisces are selfless, they are always willing to help others, without hoping to get anything back.

Pisces is a Water sign and as such this zodiac sign is characterized by empathy and expressed emotional capacity.

Their ruling planet is Neptune, so Pisces are more intuitive than others and have an artistic talent. Neptune is connected to music, so Pisces reveal music preferences in the earliest stages of life. They are generous, compassionate and extremely faithful and caring.

People born under the Pisces sign have an intuitive understanding of the life cycle and thus achieve the best emotional relationship with other beings.

Pisces-born are known by their wisdom, but under the influence of Uranus, Pisces sometimes can take the role of a martyr, in order to catch the attention. Pisces are never judgmental and always forgiving. They are also known to be most tolerant of all the zodiac signs.

Writer Author Cat

Do you suffer holiday writer’s guilt?

It’s been five long weeks of summer and I still have a week and a half to go. It’s not that spending every waking minute with my two kids is difficult, (it’s a different story when they argue.) but i miss my routine. Day to day life is knocked on its head and spilt out on the floor like a vast expanse of nothingness.

Author self-doubt tumblr_nxeot3aztf1rj0hrio1_500

I spent the summer fulfilling none writing goals as my creativity has crumbled under the change in pace. I suffered a total melt down and my writer’s guilt shot through the roof. I’ve longed to write, I’ve longed for the peace and quiet so I could write. But all I got in return was guilt over being a terrible parent. Was I letting my kids down by not giving them a fantastic holiday?

This year’s weather has been awful, so beach days have been minimal. Our big family holiday is looming, so I’m on a budget too. That means no theme parks or adventure days unless they involve a picnic and nature.

Author writer reviewer Lorraine Ambers woodland faery realm

 

 

I own two other businesses that I run from home. For most weeks of the year I’m extremely grateful for my circumstances. I get to be at home if the kids are sick or on holiday. Just not in the summer. Six and a half weeks is a long time. Think of all the editing I could have achieved.

It’s not all bad, lazy days by the sea has its perks and I’ve read some great novels. Renovations on our house have resumed (come on bathroom) and I’m (smugly) ready for this year’s external audit at my fabrication business.

love pen book tea - Author Lorraine Ambers fantasy writer

Now that the countdown to school has begun I’m keen to start writing again. So this week I’ve escaped to my bedroom with a hot cup of tea and my laptop. The strangest thing happened, my kids left me alone. They’ve respected my privacy and have taken my writing seriously. Perhaps because for the first time, so have I.

This is real for me now. This is my future, my third business. The time for feeling selfish about writing has passed and I’ve emerged stronger and more determined than ever before.

How do you juggle family and working commitments? Is the summer a struggle for you too or have you developed a system that benefits everyone? Thanks for reading and sharing my world.

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

notebook nature writer Author Lorraine Ambers

6 Tips for Twitter #writers

Building a platform and navigating the many different social media’s can be a daunting task. It can seem a step too far, especially when we’re still struggling to write our novel. But fear not, for I’m here to share my top six tips for using twitter.

YA fantasy romance Author Lorraine Ambers Desk

It’s important to remember you’re presenting yourself as a brand. Every interaction on the internet should be tailored towards catching your target audience and strengthening your business – you as an author.

  1. Load a profile and background image, then add a few sentences to describe yourself. Want inspiration? Check out your fellow writers and see what catches your eye.
  2. Every social media has a different way of conversing. Twitter does this by short, punchy statements. Using just 140 characters to convey your meaning. Twitter is fast moving so mistakes can be made. But that’s ok, your friends will forgive and forget. So dive in and have fun.
  3. Picture’s and Gif’s are a great way to draw attention, so get creative. Warning about copyright, please make sure you have the right to use the images.
  4. Use hashtags as a way to connect with likeminded individual. Some of my favourites are #amwriting #turtlewriters and #fantasy. Play around with them and pay attention to what similar authors use.
  5. Remember your manners and don’t spam. The fastest way to be unfollowed is by only plugging your own work. There tends to be an unwritten rule that the ratio should be 80% sharing and 20% promoting. I like to mix it up, not all of my tweets are promotional. Most are asking questions, interacting and statuses about my writing journey. Take a look at my profile: https://twitter.com/lorraineambers
  6. People tend to converse through the newsfeed and ignore DM’s (Direct Messages) because the majority of messages are spam. If you want to chat, be brave and tweet them directly by adding there @name. Try me, I’ll be happy to reply. @LorraineAmbers

There we have it, my top 6 tips for twitter. Do you have any tips to share? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you. 🙂

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2017
paper pen writing novel author fantasy Lorraine Ambers

Why rejection is important?

Writers need to deal with rejection. The industry we work in is subjective and competitive. Striving for greatness comes at a cost, usually to our pride.

Recognition is important for everyone. Unfortunately artists tend to get the least amount, unless you’ve made it to the top. I haven’t I’m still way down in the trenches, striving for that elusive goal of being appreciated for my craft.

desk writing novel author Lorraine Ambers

I submitted my debut novel to ten agents. At the time my writing was the best I could achieve. So I sent my book baby off and used my excited/ anxious energy into creating the second in the series. Four months later, that driving force of anticipation had manifested into book two of The Shadow Knight Series. Amazing.

When all of the submissions came back with a polite ‘Not what we’re looking for.’ or ‘We don’t think your material is the right fit for us.’ I took a look at my submission package.

I was surprised to find my writing had improved. I cringed at my old material. The rejections morphed with my inner critical voice and attacked. We’ve all been there and it’s brutal. Rejection hurts. We get stressed out, upset and frustrated. That’s a useful tool.

writer worry rejection author Lorraine Ambers

This is where rejection can actually be useful. The driving force behind the hurt and disappointment allows us to re-evaluate and try again.

Remember: Successful people have made it because they didn’t give up.

Fear not, with the right mind-set and some initiative and introspect we can turn things around. By taking control of the situation, we can turn that negativity into something positive. Next time we’ll do better, or learn to be better. This isn’t the end of the road, it’s a bump in the path.

To paraphrase Samuel Beckett: fail again, fail better.

I revised the first 10,000 words, three more times. I’m confident that at this moment in time I have done my best. Who knows, maybe after revising book two, I’ll realise that I’ve grown some more. That can only be a good thing.

Conquer fear Author Lorraine Ambers

Keep going. Have faith and above all else believe in yourself.

Have you learnt any valuable lessons from rejection? If so, tell me about them. We’re all in this together and I’d love to hear from you.

Author Lorraine Ambers YA fantasy romance

© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2016.
water sunset beach fantasy writer Lorraine Ambers

Look how far you’ve come

 

love pen book tea - Author Lorraine Ambers fantasy writer

Four months ago I finished my first novel and submitted my book baby to a select few literary agencies. It’s equally exciting and nerve wrecking. Patience is proving not to be my strong suit, especially when I’m awaiting a reply from an agent who has blogged that it will take her a lot longer if she’s torn on a MS.

While part of me pats my shoulder for at least hooking an agent, the other half is wondering if my submission ever made it to her slush pile. As I’m not planning on embarrassing myself by asking for confirmation, I’ll have to hang tight.

During these months I’ve busied my obsessional brain by starting book two of the Shadow Knight Series. I’ve almost finished! I know how I’m going to tie up the two remaining subplots to conclude this novel, but my writings floundering. I’m dragging out scenes and adding pointless interactions with characters. I know why, fear, I never planned on finishing the novel so fast.

Book Petals Love Writing Novel Author Lorraine Ambers

I heard a great mantra today, ‘Look how far you’ve come and not how far you have to go.’ It put my author career into perspective. Three years ago I joined a creative writing class to discover my sense of self. Six months later I discovered my niche and started a rough draft of my first novel.

During the past two years I’ve designed my brand, built my platform and as of a year ago launched my blog. Thank you to my 400 followers; you’ve been a constant source of encouragement and kindness.

Most of us writers have family and work commitments that need to be juggled. Looking at the bigger picture, I’m reminded of how far I’ve come in a short amount of time.

So take a look at your own journey and congratulate yourself on your hard work and dedication. You deserve it.

Drop me a message; tell me about your progress. We’re all on this journey together and I love hearing from you.

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

© Author Lorraine Ambers & http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2016
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/23138441@N00/9473071730″>tinkerbell/mermaid.</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;
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Exploring Google+ for Writers

Hi everyone, thanks for joining me on my expedition of Google+. As an author and blogger I need to get my content out there. To be seen by the masses. Social media provides us this opportunity. But where do we start?

Entering the realm of Platform Building is daunting and a subject we’ve already covered. With our brand discovered and in place, it’s time to adventure into wide web.

photo credit: Social Media Marketing Mix via photopin (license)
photo credit: Social Media Marketing Mix via photopin (license)
Take a look at some of the previous journeys:

Reaching a wide audience and connecting with our readers is the aim, so let’s get started!

Step on: Set up an account using the same crafted brand bios and photos. How to achieve this can be found on my blog about building your platform. It’s an important first step and should not be missed. Tip: Google+ maximises your Google search results from essential key words in your Bio. Understand your target audience; use the same language so they can discover you. Example: fantasy, non-fiction, young adult and romance are a few of mine.

You can create a personnel or business profile. I opted for a personnel page. As a new author I wanted to be proactive in reaching out to other people and have them get to know me. You have to use your personal profile to do so.

Business writer artist author Pixabay

Link your account to your website, and any other media sites you have created. Having multiple platforms generates more visibility for your work. More sites! –  I hear you cry, I know, It’s hard work. Take it one step at a time and breathe. It’s taken me a couple of years to get to this point. I’m still learning and growing. So can you.

Google+ is an excellent site for meeting up with likeminded individuals. Choose relevant interests and community groups. I’ve joined communities like; Writers blogs, Creative writing and Book reviews. Tip: Select a few and concentrate on them, don’t spread yourself too thin. It’s easy to get carried away and hard to maintain.

photo credit: @brockuniversity Social Media via photopin (license)
photo credit: @brockuniversity Social Media via photopin (license)
Unlike other social media, Google+ has the advantage of creating circles. Your circles could contain containing authors, editors or publishers.  Reach out and connect with your circles, formatting posts that connect specifically with them in mind. They in turn, will link you to their circles, helping you to grow.

Like all media keep posts relevant, with good content and on a regular basis. Get to know your connections and have fun. The advantage of Google+ is there is no maximum content. You can submit a chapter of your novel to be reviewed or post book reviews. It’s an intelligent platform with a host of feature just begging to be put to good use.

Google+ Hangouts is a free online video chat that can include up to 10 people. Just think of the possibilities this opens up, book readings and meeting your readers.

Why not follow me on Google+ https://plus.google.com/u/2/+LorraineAmbers

Tell me about your Google+ experience, share some great tips, I love to here from you.

©Lorraine Ambers 2017