Showing posts from 2020

Blog tours, launch groups and online promotion: where do I start? - by Lucy Rycroft

A friend asked me about blog tours this week - and, as I was stuck for what else to write about here, thought I'd answer her question by way of a blog post.

If you want to keep up momentum on your book sales, you'll need to engage with a few online strategies - and this is a wonderful time to get stuck into online book promotion, because there are very few options for doing face-to-face sales at the moment.
But I don't know anyone with a large audience! This honestly doesn't matter.

I think we all assume that we want our book going out to as many people as possible, but as Wendy Jones rightly says in her excellent book Power Packed Book Marketing, it usually takes people a few times of seeing a book/product, before they make a purchase.

So rather than thinking in terms of number of people, we need to think in terms of number of views per person. In other words, it may make more sense to try and reach the same (ish) audience multiple times, rather than simply go for the …

Collaboration and Communication by Wendy H. Jones

I have recently been asked to join two anthologies which are helping to empower women worldwide. One, The Power of Why, was a global initiative with the women who contributed coming from many countries - UK, India, USA, Canada, Australia and Switzerland. 
It is not the book I want to talk about today but collaboration. This has been an amazing experience and I have learnt so much from these powerful and inspiring women, all of whom have their own talents and gifts. Everyone has worked together to bring this book to fruition quickly and in a highly professional manner. The collaboration has worked beautifully and the key to that is understanding everyone's unique strengths and wisdom. It is also about understanding everyone's different cultural perspective. The fact that everyone has different views culturally is one of the greatest strengths of the collaboration. This is mind blowing stuff. I am gaining so much cultural insight about writing, marketing, coaching and the way in …

Ride in the Gallery

“I may never march in the infantry, ride in the gallery...” My youngest loves singing loud songs, and this made me think of a few things. One, he only likes belting out that song, because of the “Yes Sir!” at the end. He can also sing with a very sweet little voice, or with funny accents. Like multiple characters. It reminds me that I don’t have to make all my main characters annoying people. Some could be loud and obnoxious, or sweet and sly...Or just sweet. Two, it makes all the other words in the song slightly inconsequential. My son loves all things warmongering, and as he is very cuddly, sensitive and cute, I let him. For now. It also means he is familiar with the word ‘cavalry’, but somehow sings gallery. Even in the Netherlands they don’t let you ride your bike in a gallery. I know this for a fact. As he just loves the ‘Yes Sir’ bit, he really doesn’t bother with the other words. We talked about this at one of our Zoom chats, how we can read a book, and simply skip the words tha…

Interviews by Allison Symes

What do you like about author interviews? I’m fascinated by what makes someone become a writer (or realize they are one. The first person you convince you can write is you. I refuse to believe that was just me!). I also love stories of authors overcoming obstacles on their writing road.

If an interview engages me, I take the view there is a good chance the author’s books will too. Next step is to check said books out.

When I interview authors for my Chandler’s Ford Today page, I set open questions as I want a writer to take those and run with them. That’s where the stories are.

Hopping over the other side of the fence, what do I get across when I’m interviewed?

One governing thought that helps a lot is to ask myself what is in this for the audience? Can other authors be encouraged by what I say?

I was once at a writing festival when a writer did try the hard sell on me. It didn’t work.

How does this help anyone not yet published or who is just beginning their writing journey?

Think ah…

Black Lives Matter by Trevor Thorn.

First, many thanks to Liz Manning for her challenging blog entry of 14th June, Racism, Writing and How Do We respond? This has been one of three occurrences which have drawn me, as Liz was, into daring to write on a topic that, I am ashamed to say, I know only very little.
I am a white man, shielding: so at this time I feel particularly impotent as I am precluded from participating in any protests, even local ones. I have for a long time been one of the leaders of a small group called ‘Living With Integrity’ (LWI) which operates across two villages just North of Cambridge UK, trying to keep abreast of Justice issues. Yet I now discover I have had only minimal awareness of the issues, both historical and current, that have faced and face, black people here in the UK and across the world. I confess to being ashamed of this, particularly as the purpose of the LWI group is
·To provide opportunities for disc…

Love Thy Editor by Tracy Williamson

One of the greatest commandments is 'Love thy neighbour', I wonder if that applies to my editor, I thought, as I stared at my email inbox where my MS had just appeared, bisected by editing lines and innumerable comments and queries.  My carefully crafted manuscript was to be taken apart, dissected, questioned and re written. 
 While part of me felt happy that my MS had been taken seriously enough to be given the 'multi operation' treatment, after all, it was surely better for it to be turned inside out and rewritten than it be abandoned in a mouldering pile in someone's inbox? the other part felt just a tad, well indignant?  violated?  (No I know I can't use that word, you don't need to tell me that's far too strong for this scenario, so I'll try to think of another but for the moment I'll leave it there!)
But I can't help it, I DO feel violated.  I spent hours, days weeks and months writing this book, all with the purpose of inspiring othe…

A Most Remarkable Woman by Sheila Johnson

I feel very privileged to have spent the last two years writing up the devotions of a very singular lady, Dr Jember Teferra, an Ethiopian missionary.
Jember was brought up comparative luxury in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital city, as the niece of Haile Selassie. But with the communist revolution of 1974 she and her husband were thrown into jail as political prisoners. There, although suffering, she devoted herself to encouraging and teaching her fellow Christian prisoners. She later published these devotions in a booklet entitled ‘the Beacon in the Slums’ and ‘the Prisoner’s Lantern’. It was in prison that Jember came to identify with the poor as she shared a mattress in a rat-infested prison. This was to change her life which she has spent since working in the slums of Addis Ababa trying to improve the lot of the poorest slum dwellers by caring for their whole needs from health and housing to education and employment. Her aim was to empower them to enable them to become independent a…

Barnacles and birdsong

Still in lockdown but with more freedom in sight, I am struggling to climb out of my happy default mode of slobbed-out hedonism with a not-too-painful scaffold of discipline. So what does that look like?

Spring cleaning and decluttering were well under way before the virus hit. That was because we were expecting doggy (and tortoise) house sitters for Easter – until Cyprus was cancelled. The good thing about a backlog of cleaning is that it makes a difference.

Trips to the ACW Facebook page showed a spectrum of opinions on whether this was a good time for writers. The jury was out. Where was I? Did I even ask the question? Without taking stock I slid into couch potato mode as if I'd been training for it all my life

There was some tinkering with blogs and other short pieces of writing and, oh yes, my long promised website / blog launched:  Scary, even exciting. But buried deep for two years has been the 'book'. Easy to believe in its huge potential whil…

Rightly (or wrongly) dividing the word of truth

We have to be careful what we do with words. In particular, we need to be cautious before we explain a word in terms of its apparent constituent parts, in the belief that they are the key to its significance. We should always check the linguistic facts first! If we don’t, we can create fake news. 
Let me first share a popular but unsound pseudo-etymological explanation. I’ll introduce it by putting forward a similar but entirely invented case that I think you will immediately see is absurd. Suppose someone expounded the meaning of redeem by suggesting that it was from re- ‘back’ plus deem ‘to judge’, as if ‘redeeming’ meant ‘reversing a judgement’. After a bit of thinking and maybe a bit of research, we would correctly point out that redeem doesn’t contain the word deem, but instead is derived from the Latin word redimere ‘to buy back’ (from which we also get redemption). This Latin word has no connection with the native word deem, a relative of doom, which originally meant ‘judgement’…

Being an Imperfect Example by Rebecca Seaton

Being an Imperfect Example  by Rebecca Seaton

Broken - but still my favourite pan!

    When you look at other writers, do their achievements seem beyond you? Maybe you find yourself comparing your own work and its flaws stand out in stark contrast to their successes.
   Being imperfect isn’t a hindrance to success, development or influence – sometimes it can even help.

    Imperfection doesn’t mean failure – look at the people Jesus spent time with:

    Peter –where do I start? Despite walking with Jesus, experiencing significant events including miracles, he still thought the best way to deal with the soldiers in Gethsemane was to chop an ear off! Then he denies Jesus three times, the very thing he just said he wouldn’t do. Yet Jesus saw him as a leader, as someone just right to build the early church.

    Zaccheus was so flawed that he was despised by his community. He cheated and stole and was ostracised as a result, yet Jesus saw him and said, ‘Zaccheus, make haste and come down, for t…

Aeroplanes and Hammocks by Emily Owen

Yesterday, as part of a service I watched online, there was a lovely moment where the children of the church were videoed talking about their dads. One of the questions they were asked was ‘What do you like doing with your dad?’

One child said he liked it when his dad let him hold his model aeroplane.

I may be making an assumption here, but I guess it’s a special plane. It was clearly a treat for the child to be allowed to hold it.

Today, my nephew, Josiah, turns seven. A few weeks ago, his younger brother, Micah, turned five. As part of the online celebrations for Micah’s birthday, we watched a video of him as a baby arriving home from hospital. We saw little Josiah’s delight at being settled far back in an armchair and allowed to hold his baby brother.

What about God? What does God give us to hold?

Perhaps book ideas, article ideas, fingers that flow freely over a keyboard.

It’s a privilege to hold these things for God.

In the video of Josiah holding Micah, we saw that his mum’s ha…

The 'lockdown' blog

“Let the name of the Lord be praised
 both now and evermore.
From the rising of the sun
 to the place where it sets
the name of the Lord is to be praised.
The Lord is exalted over all the nations
 his glory about the heavens.”


This photo was taken at the end of May.What a glorious time!I wrote my daily blogs under the gazebo, when hot dipped in the pool, where, with a small float device, I manage six strokes across the circumference!Casa Johnson on the Bristol del Sol became our holiday destination. I took two days off and enjoyed reading another author’s writing. Today, the verse of scripture that comes to mind is “the Lord rains”…oops reigns!
I have read UCB’s Word for Today since its inception.When Bob Gass. its author died, I remember thinking I’d like to do something like that. Only a week ago, I realised the Lord had heard that as a desire of my heart, because throughout lockdown that is exactly what I’ve been doing. The ‘Food for Thought’ blog became Series 1: “The Journey…