Archive for the General Category

To Self publish or not?

Posted in General with tags , , , , , on September 17, 2017 by Kate Jack

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A lot of today’s writers seem to gravitate towards self publishing, rather than going the traditional route. Why is this? Well apart from the hassle of finding a traditional publisher to take you on, there’s also the freedom involved in owning the rights to your work. This means a writer has total control over how, where and when they publish. But what about marketing? Well most writers, self or traditionally published, have to do their own marketing anyway. Unless you’re in the top echelon of writers, publishers seem unwilling to spend any money on getting the word out there on your behalf.

I’ve just tried my hand at self publishing, using Smashwords guide to formatting a manuscript. It was hard work, but I found it satisfying; at last I’d achieved something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Once the manuscript was formatted, I then browsed the internet for a cover, which I achieved at a good price, for an excellent product. Also, now I know how to do it, it should be relatively straightforward the next time round. 

So, if you haven’t already done so, why not give it a go? 🙂




What is your word count?

Posted in General with tags , , , , , on September 11, 2017 by Kate Jack

As a writer, how many words a day do you churn out? Some authors can create whole chapters each day, others go long periods without producing anything at all. So why is this? Well, it could be due to lack of time, especially if you have to work full time, or run a household, or maybe even both. Another reason, and it’s a common one, is procrastination. You promise yourself that you’ll write something tomorrow – for sure; and what happens? tomorrow never comes.

So how to get round this? Well, for me, the solution is to write at least a few paragraphs a day, whether I want to or not. Far better than leaving half completed work to gather dust and lose the will to go through it again, in order to pick up where I left off. I might end up writing rubbish, but that can be amended or edited later on. As long as I stick to the planned story, how it ends up on the page doesn’t matter, until the whole book is written. After that the fun part starts. I love editing my work, tweaking here and there, tightening up, even rewriting whole chapters. Why is this? It’s because the end is in sight. 

The benefit of forcing myself to write each days, even if it’s only for a few minutes, is that my work progresses, albeit it by short spurts, but I’ve also found that more often than not, the length of time I write is gradually increasing. Another benefit is that if I attempt avoiding it, my conscience won’t let me rest until I’ve done some writing. Then of course the great sense of achievement I get when I do add to my latest wip, is fantastic 😀

So even a few paragraphs a day will, little by little, help you climb that seemingly impossible writing mountain, until you reach the top and reign supreme. 🙂

Votes for writers!

Posted in General with tags , , , , on September 8, 2017 by Kate Jack

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so they say. Well I think the cover of my latest book, A Pocketful of Stories, is fabulous; but then I would, wouldn’t I? 😀 If you agree, please consider casting your vote, in Authorsdb 2017 book cover competition in my favour. I’m not afraid to say that the competition is stiff, there’re are some fantastic covers on offer, so even if you don’t wish to vote for mine, do yourself a favour and go take a look. You never know, you just might find your next favourite read. 🙂


Authorsdb 2017 book cover contest

The art of weaving a website.

Posted in General with tags , , , , , , , on September 3, 2017 by Kate Jack

They’re all kinds of websites for all kinds of things. If you run a business, no matter what it is, it’s essential to have a website so that people can see what you’re all about. This applies to writers, as well. I built my first website when I was working for my MA in creative writing, at Liverpool John Moore’s university. Talk about blood, sweat and tears! It wasn’t so easy, back then, to create a website. I used a web development tool called Dreamweaver. It was like trying to scrub a huge stone floor with a toothbrush!

Of course it’s not so complex now and if, like me, you’re not able to pay for a domain at the moment, there are plenty of free websites you can use for the time being. These are much better now, than they used to be. With the site I use,, there’s a surprising amount you can do. They supply quite a large quantity of images and backgrounds for free, or you have the option of uploading your own, which gives you greater freedom to create the look you want for your site.

But how do you decide on a look? Well, it’s usually trial and error, until you arrive at a style you like. For me it’s easier to make a mock up, like above, until I can decide on what I want. Because I write dystopian urban fantasy, I wanted something dark, but not dull, so I elected for a black and white, but brightly lit, city background. 

So what not to do? Being of a colourful nature, despite my chosen genre, I had to restrain myself from giving every page of my website a different background or colour theme. Why? Well too  much of the above distracts viewers and they tend to shy away from a confusing kaleidoscope. They’re there for a specific reason and distractions in the form of too much content will put them off. It’s fine to try and make a website that’s attractive and even colourful, but as the old saying goes, “less is  more.” Unfussy images, sharp backgrounds and a concise navigation menu are essential, as is a certain amount of uniformity.

So if you’re thinking of creating a website, go for it. Study the websites of your favourite authors to get ideas, then forge ahead and get your name out there.


Writing evolution.

Posted in General with tags , , , , , on August 28, 2017 by Kate Jack

Have you ever noticed how a story or book evolve beyond what you originally planned? For example, a fairly minor character, in my current wip Elawyn’s Song, has suddenly stepped out of the shadows into the light. He is evolving into something more important, and far stronger, than I originally intended. 

How does this happen? Is it true what they say, that a writer’s characters can take over the plot and forge their own way ahead? It sometimes seems that way, especially if you’ve already plotted out what you want to happen to whom and where and when you want it to happen. However, plotting is really only a guideline, a way of organising a writer’s thoughts, so that the journey from start to finish has a track to follow. 

But more often than not, we can find ourselves deviating from the carefully mapped path that we’ve created. Does it matter if we do? In a word, no. Spontaneity is as applicable to writing as to anything else in life. To take a chance, be daring and spread our wings are all part of being a writer, especially if the genre is fantasy.

I must confess that’s why I write speculative fiction, I enjoy being able to break the “rules” and hare off down a side road at random, sometimes abandoning great chunks of plotting, if I think it will enhance the story.

So, as the famed SAS say, “He who dares, wins.” In other words, don’t be afraid to throw off your writing shackles and break free. Don’t be scared to break out and experiment with writing styles and vivid and imaginative story lines; they’re all grist to the mill. Originality is not a sin. And whilst it’s fine to be inspired by your favourite writers, remember to create your own unique style and stand out from the crowd 😀


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…

Posted in General with tags , , , , , on June 29, 2017 by Kate Jack


…why do people do it?

My twitter profile used to say I didn’t want any spam messages. This request was ignored, so I just put up with it and deleted them. But today I received one which actually made my jaw drop, due to its arrogance. It went as follows: Thank you for following me (this person followed me first) please follow me on Facebook and Instagram as well. Yes, your bloody majesty, of course I will (not).

The sheer arrogance, possibly unintended, due to the “please”, took my breath away. And of course, no hint of reciprocation, just the links to this person’s Instagram and Facebook pages. This sheer, unthinking, self absorbed attitude could only bring about one reaction from me, I immediately unfollowed this person. The aim of sites like Twitter and Facebook is social interaction and mutual  exchanges. It never ceases to amaze me that people expect everything their own way and blindly refuse to believe that all they achieve is unpopularity. Well, maybe my unfollowing this person might teach them a lesson, but I highly doubt it. Like love, arrogance is blind.


Busy, busy, busy!

Posted in General with tags , , , , , on June 28, 2017 by Kate Jack

These days, I seem to be busier than ever, there just aren’t enough hours in the day! Take yesterday, for instance: I had to take the car in for its MOT, which it passed, attend a hospital appointment, squeeze in some writing, and finally tackle the next module of an online course in marketing, I’m doing.

All this was a little slowed down by having to take the bus to and from the garage to go home after delivering the car and then go pick it up. I don’t live far from the garage, but can’t walk it, because of my dodgy foot. I’d not used to getting the bus, as I normally drive everywhere. I’d forgotten what a pain in the rear public transport is. I explained to the peculiarly unhelpful bus driver that I’d not used my electronic pass before and he simply stared straight ahead, whilst I swiped the damn thing over the pad and it failed to respond. After the 3rd attempt it worked. Embarrassed and angry, I limped to a seat and swore continuously under my breath at the driver, cursing him and his descendants for decades to come.

That said, the rest of the day went really well. I got quite a lot of writing done and sailed through the course module with ease. I’ve found, these days, that it’s becoming increasingly easier to set goals and stick to them. I’ve discovered a newfound determination to succeed and hopefully I will. 😀

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