Writing a series – pointers

Today I am going to be talking about writing a series. This is one way to keep your readers entertained and with you for years. I have written a few for both adults and children, and have found there are a few pointers that writers should do when writing a series. Here is what I think you should keep in mind:

1. Have at least one character the same in each book of the series.
2. Keep the same premise and storyline in all of the books.
3. Keep the same format to the story. Eg If book 1 has both showing and dialogue, keep the rest of the series the same, and don’t make say book 2 mainly dialogue.
4. Have similar covers.
5. Have the same font type on the covers

All of these will let the reader know they belong to a series. And, they are helping you build a brand. You can see what I mean about the ‘having one character the same in each book’ with my adult magical realism series ‘Geraldine’s Gems’ (will be redoing covers so they are all similar) and you can see by all that I have said above from my YA series The Guardian Angels’. All my ebooks are available on Amazon or Smashwords.

Now go forth and write a series. No, see if you can plan a series with these pointers. I plot out each series before I write Book 1.


Writing exercise – Friends and confidence

Sorry I’ve not been with you the last few weeks. Such a lot has been going on here at home and I have been away for a weekend retreat where I wrote over 3000 words on my current WIP. I aimed for 2000 so I achieved my goal. Anyway, as some of you might know, I write for 7-9 year-olds at the moment, so this week’s letter is a writing exercise for that age range. My current books are about children with Asperger’s who find confidence to make friends. In each book in the series, the new friend acts as a mentor to the new main character. Eg Book 2 is about Charlie, so Billy from Book 1 Billy and the Sparkling Socks acts as his mentor.

Here is your exercise: I want you to think of a character who isn’t confident for some reason. Create a friend for them who can act as a mentor who helps them. Write a page where the friend helps the less confident child, describing what happens, showing readers what happens and how. No telling, please.

Good luck. Let me know how you get on.

Book 7 of Geraldine’s Gems is now published

This morning I finally got round to publishing Book 7 (the final one) of Geraldine’s Gems, my adult magical realism ebook series featuring a woman ghost going back to Earth to help her family get their lives back on track. I uploaded it to Amazon KDP and to Draft2Digital, where it will be distributed to Apple, B&N and other digital platforms and libraries. It should appear on there in a day or two time. (It says it’s ‘publishing’ on KDP so far). I will publish it to Kobo and Smashwords next week.

Meanwhile, have a great Bank Holiday weekend, if you live in the UK.

Discoverability – Have a book list card

Today I am going to talk about getting discovered again. This comes from an idea my author client and fellow children’s author, John Caritas, suggested to me on Monday to do with my own books as he helps me promote my books for me. So, here is the idea, if you haven’t done this already. John suggested that I create a card/leaflet that has the titles of all my books on and where they are available. So, I am going to make a hand-made card with the same information I put on the back page of my ebooks. It will have all my books/ebooks on it. I will print out several copies on card I already have and give some to John to hand out to people he knows. Another idea is to have some sort of logo on there. Mine will be a rainbow.

If you have published several books, this is a good idea. Especially if you attend various groups.

Have creative fun with this.

Writing exercise – an autistic child

As this month is Autism Awareness Month, I am going to give you an exercise based on my book ‘Billy and the Sparkling Socks’. Billy is a 10-year-old boy who has Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism. He wants to be a presenter but because of his autism he finds it hard to communicate to people. Until he discovers a magical world at school that shows him how he can be confident with an alternative persona, which he copies.

This is the exercise. I want you to create a character, adult or child, who has autism and also has a skill or talent. Write a page where he starts to become confident at school, home or elsewhere, using this skill/talent they have.

Here is an example from Billy

Billy stopped. Should he carry on? Then he felt his socks … move on him? And he saw his pen glow silver, just like his exercise book had when he began writing. He knew that he had to carry on. So he did, saying the long words louder than the others. “I was watching television when I saw my neighbour walk past outside. He seemed to be chewing bubblegum. He was so busy chewing that he didn’t see our other neighbour driving his car out of his space as he went to cross the pavement. But I had.” As he read, he got into his story, waving his hands about for emphasis to his words.

I went to the front door to warn him, but I didn’t see the cushion on the floor, and I tripped up ….” he pretended to trip, stretching his arms out as though falling … “and the sweet I’d been eating flew out of my mouth.” Billy stopped. “That’s as far as I got, Miss.”

You can find out how Billy gets on in the book, available at https://www.amazon.co.uk/Billy-Sparkling-Socks-Rainbow-School/dp/154264853X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1491395003&sr=1-1&keywords=billy+and+the+sparkling+socks

Happy writing. Let me know what you write as I might create a story from your character.

Discoverability – Local businesses

I have found another way to get discovered, esp in your own area where you live. Connect with any local businesses where you shop regularly and have made friends with the owners/workers. My example is our local garden centre which is just a few minutes walk from my house. My mum is a keen gardener, so we go there often to buy plants etc and we know the people who own it and work there. We chat to them in a friendly manner and have a laugh with them at times. Anyway, in the recent past, I have managed to get them to display promo stuff for my books, so when we went over there on Sunday, I thought, let’s take a poster promoting my library event and ask. So I did. One of the family who owns it asked me if I am on Twitter, I said yes. She said that if I follow them, tweet about the event, then they can retweet it for me. They took the poster to display. So, that morning I tweeted about connecting with local businesses putting their Twitter name with it. Later I shall tweet again but about the event.

So, if you know of any local businesses who might help you promote your books and you can connect with them on social media as well as face to face, then why not ask. I did, and I have Asperger’s Syndrome.

Library Event

Want to know more about Asperger’s Syndrome and autism? As part of National Autism Awareness Week (27 March – 2 April), I am having a library event to raise awareness of this condition that I have.

I will be relaunching my children’s book ‘Billy and the Sparkling Socks’, handing out leaflets and cards about Asperger’s and answering questions about living with Asperger’s. The event will be on Saturday 1 April at Sydenham Community Library, SE London, UK from 10.30 am to 12 noon.

If you are in London and the area, please pop in and say hello.