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Sunday, 31 July 2016

Time, Tide And Technology...

This is Canary Wharf, in London's Docklands development. OH took this photo from the balcony of our hotel the last time we stayed there. We had a beautiful suite, with the Thames running below our windows, and a perfect view of the city. At low tide the shore was exposed, along with all sorts of flotsam and jetsam.

It was on that mud, just over a hundred years ago, that my grandfather's family scraped a living. In the early twentieth-century version of repair, re-use and recycle, they salvaged everything they could to sell on, or use themselves. They went everywhere on foot, and lived in conditions you only see in the film Oliver! nowadays. As a child, my grandfather was saved from his awful hand-to-mouth existence by the charity Barnardos, and later by signing up with the Royal Corps of Signals in the British Army.

Grandad wouldn't recognise the old place now. These days, Docklands is a place of high finance and expense-account lunches. Planes skim over the sight of his miserable early life every few minutes, on their way into London City airport. Nobody walks anywhere, unless they are so hard-up they can't afford public transport.  The National Health Service, together with networks of rules, regulations and safeguards should mean no family struggles as my grandfather's did.


http://mybook.to/MyDreamGuy
Find out more at myBook.to/MyDreamGuy
That's a relief, but with big gains has come at least one loss.  The only thing Grandad liked to remember about this early life was the community spirit. Everyone struggled to survive, but they did it together. There was always time to talk with your neighbours—if only to tell them the bailiffs were coming!

They used to say it takes a whole village (or in Grandad's case, warren) to raise a child. These days we have electronic babysitters, with screens instead of faces. With sipper bottles, onesies, adult colouring books and Haribo adverts, nobody has to grow up if they don't want to. There's no time to talk to anyone, and no need, either—if you're glued to Pokemon Go, nobody's going to disturb you.

It's a form of escapism. I'd rather lose myself in a book!

What do you think is the best thing about life today, and what's the worst? There's a copy of my feel good, light-as-a-summer breeze romance, My Dream Guy, for a comment pulled out of my beekeeping hat by midnight on 8th August. If you can't comment, email me instead! christinahollis(at)hotmail.co.uk

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Notes From The RNA Conference, 2016 —Author Marketing: Brand, Plans And Goals

I had a great time at the RNA Conference 2016 in Lancaster last week. It was four days of networking, industry appointments, and fun. 

Over the next few weeks I'll be posting some of the notes I made on each of the sessions I attended, so follow this blog using the sign-up on the right of this page to make sure you don't miss anything!

To kick off, here are a few bullet points from the Author Marketing Session, presented by that great double act, best-selling authors Liz Fenwick and Brigid Coady. All the photographs are by John Jackson. I know my limitations behind a lens...
Brigid Coady
  • Start by writing the best book you can. All your marketing efforts should take second place to that. 
  • A brand is a promise. Every interaction with your readers should add value to your brand, and create an emotional attachment.
  • Katie Fforde and Carole Matthews are fantastic “brands”
  • What are you willing to share online? Does it fit with what you write?
  • R J Ellory, the crime writer who faked his own reviews, was cited as a "damaged brand" which is taking a long time to recover.
Liz Fenwick
  • Avoid politics and religion when you’re interacting online
  • Keep a flow of information and interaction between you and your readers on Facebook, Twitter etc, always promoting the same values
  • Find out everything you can about your target audience. If they’re Australian, make sure you’re on social media at midnight, etc. Be where they are, when they’re there. 
    Lancaster University Campus
  • Use scheduling services  such as Tweetdeck, but take care tragic international events don’t overtake your happy tweets.
  • Support local bookshops and library campaigns to get your name out there. 
  • Engage your reader with everything from the cover, through blurb, bio, photo and your first page.
  • Use Facebook Author page to monitor stats and help understand your audience.
  • Liz and Brigid decided they spent about 3 hours writing and 1 hour on marketing, every day.
Don't forget to follow my blog by signing up at the top of this page, to make sure you don't miss the next instalment of my notes from the RNA Conference, 2016.