Imposter Syndrome and other labels.

Hi

Lots of interesting news this week – from where I’m standing at least. Firstly, I sent out my very first newsletter – Jottings. Diving straight into someone’s Inbox is scary – I really don’t want to annoy or irritate anyone. So until now I just haven’t done it.

But over Christmas, I read Playing Big by Tara Mohr in an attempt to combat my terrible imposter syndrome ( which is the label for my fear I discovered – doesn’t everything have a label these days?) After reading that, I decided that if people didn’t want to hear from me they perhaps wouldn’t have signed up to my mailing list. Obvious really. ūüôā

So, if you want to start getting my newsletters you need to fill in the Subscribe box and if you want a complete set then message me and I’ll email you the very first one!

 

 

 

 

I’ve also been very interested in what’s been going on on Facebook. (Here’s my Author Page in case you don’t see it.) I have always enjoyed spending time on Facebook and once likened it to going to a different dinner party every night. But recently things had changed. There has been so much stuff on my timeline that there was barely time to throw around a few ‘likes’ before the status drowned under a tsunami of adverts. As a result, the fun conversations and banter had all but disappeared.

Well, it seems I wasn’t alone in missing the old Facebook as now Mark Zuckerburg has announced some radical changes to what we will see on our timelines. This is great news from a personal point of view and I’m delighted ( although I suspect it’s less good for indie authors and other creatives seeking to promote their stuff.) Time will tell.

I discovered a new author last week. Marian Keyes – well, I’d heard of her of course but never read anything by her. So I’m listening to The Break and it’s making me laugh out loud in the¬†street. People have turned to stare! ¬†I think I shall have to try more of her stuff. It’s a wonderful tonic for the grey, January¬†days here in Yorkshire.

Finally, if you haven’t yet read Postcards From a Stranger then there’s just time to enter my Giveaway on GoodReads to win yourself ( or a friend) ¬†a free copy. Just click HERE.

Right, that’s all from me for now. Happy reading,

Imogen x

 

 

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Welcome 2018!

2018! How did that happen? I really do need to find a way of slowing down time but until then I have been thinking about the things that I’d like to make happen this year – assuming it’s here long enough for me to get started!

2018 is a big year for me because it was ten years ago that I started my blog. Have a look HERE at my very first post. Back then I was trying to keep up with technology so that I didn’t get overtaken by my kids. I’m not sure how successful I was in that but I do now have a whole archive, recording my thoughts over the last ten years which is interesting to me if no one else. There are over 500 posts to look back on which is almost one a week for all that time.

This year is also when my books will be published by Lake Union, an imprint of Amazon Publishing which also happens to own the biggest bookshop on the planet. When I started writing novels in 2010 my goal was to have someone in publishing tell me that my book was good. I’m not sure how I expected that ambition to manifest itself but I think I’m there. So now I need a new goal.

Therefore, in 2018, as well as publishing two and possibly three books ( depending on the schedule) I want to work on building up my author world. That means finding more effective ways of communicating with my readers so that I write the stuff that they want to read.

Until now, I have been to do nervous to do this, assuming that no one would be interested in what I might have to say but I have given myself a stern talking to and will try to be much braver. I have started to tentatively build my Instagram platform and will be publishing a monthly newsletter with insights into my writing life, things that I find interesting and entertaining as well as sharing news about my books.

On top of all that, I am in the process of rebuilding my website and hopefully I will be able to do the big reveal very soon.

So, whether you have been with me for ten years or have just joined up, I hope that you’ll stick around to see how I make all this happen in 2018. Here’s to our best year yet.

Imogen x

 

 

Photo by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash

 

What a difference a year makes!

The end of the year is creeping up on us and I always like to take time to review and reflect.Looking back over the goals I wrote for myself this time last year, ¬†I think it’s fair to say that 2017 was surprising and so, in the interests of posterity, I have jotted down the main events month by month.

January 2017 – the story so far . . . ¬†Having decided that the only way to progress my writing career is to invest in it, in December 2016 I engaged an editor to give me a report on the Mummy’s Girl, the book that I had published under my pseudonym, Lucinda Fox. This was all about confidence building. I thought it was ok but I needed someone in the know to tell me. So this is what happened next.

JANUARY: The editor likes Lucinda’s book, suggests I change the title and gives me a list of agents to submit to. I ¬†change the titles and the covers of both Lucinda’s books. I don’t submit it.

FEBRUARY: I speak to another editor about what I hope will be my first book published under my own name, Postcards From a Stranger. She is mildly encouraging but still think it isn’t ready. I decide to park it. In the meantime, I sent The Mum Swap to four agents. (As I write I am still waiting to hear anything!) I learn how to build a website and revamp my own including book reviews and a book group forum which I hope might attract readers. ( It doesn’t!)

MARCH: After coffee with an old and trusted friend, I have an epiphany about clear thinking and decide to focus on one thing at a time. I then discover that 1 in 4 books sold in the UK in 2016 was sold-published. I make the difficult decision to abandon the traditional route to publishing and go it on my own as an independent author. ( Read about it HERE.) Lucinda publishes The Dream Team.

APRIL: I study. I watch videos, I read blogs and I listen to podcasts. I absorb everything I possibly can about independent publishing. In the meantime, I get editor 1 to review Postcards. She loves it and makes almost no changes.

MAY: I commission a cover for Postcards and then set up a preview which readers can get by signing up to my mailing list. I have some postcards printed and my brother and I traipse round the county delivering them to all and sundry.

JUNE: I redo all the covers for Lucinda for the second time this year. I quietly publish Postcards. Early readers ( mainly friends and relations ) are complimentary. I don’t believe them.

JULY: I arrange a book launch in a pub in Ilkley, invite lots of lovely and supportive friends and read from the book. It’s terrifying! (Watch me doing the reading HERE!) ¬†One evening, whilst my husband is watching Game of Thrones, I get an odd email from someone claiming to be at Amazon Publishing saying how much she likes Postcards. I assume it is a scam.

AUGUST: The Amazon thing turns out to be real. The editor is very interested in the book and asks me if I have anything else. I send her the first draft of The Thing about Clare. Then everyone goes on holiday. I start a new manuscript and wait.

SEPTEMBER: Finally I hear from Amazon Publishing. They offer me a three book deal with their imprint Lake Union with an advance and everything. I accept and wait for the contract. I research whether I need an agent and decide that I’ve come this far on my own wits and so go it alone.

OCTOBER: Quite independent of the Lake Union contract, Amazon Kindle offer me a month’s promotion which I accept. Postcards rockets up the charts reaching number 12 in the whole UK Store and Number 1 in it’s category. It stays in the top 100 for two months. I receive an All Star bonus for having one of the best selling kindle books in the UK. Also two other publishers approach me to offer me a deal.

NOVEMBER: With the contract signed, I am itching to get going on the edits of Postcards and Clare but I have to wait. I finish the manuscript that I started in the summer. I get another All Star bonus for November.

DECEMBER: As my ‘intensive’ edits are due to start this month, I race round getting my Christmas sorted to free up time for when we get started. However, the start date changes to January 2nd 2018. I am currently waiting.

So there you have it. My year. It’s been amazing. As I write this on Boxing Day 2017 I have sold 14,399 ebooks, 303 paperbacks and had 3,307,496 pages read under Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited programme. If you had told me when I was writing my plan for the year that this is how things would turn out I would never have believed you . . . and yet here I am.

So what will next year bring? Well hopefully Postcards and Clare will be published under the Lake Union banner in ebook, paperback and audio book and will be translated into various languages and I will write book 3 which is currently just a mess of ideas in my head.

If you’re reading this and you have a book in you n( or any other burning ambition for that matter) then I say just do it because sometimes dreams do come true.

Thank you for coming on this journey with me. Here’s to the next twelve months. I’m off to write my plan for 2018!

Imogen x

 

Merry Christmas!

I know . . . you’re busy. If it’s anything like my house round at yours then the pre-Christmas pressure will just be starting to fizz. I seem to spend the week before the Big Day chasing my tale as I work at super-human pace to make everything totally perfect for my nearest and dearest.

It’s mad I know. They really wouldn’t notice if I didn’t do half the things that I do but for me it’s important that I get things done. I use the words ‘for me’ here having read this interesting article by Melanie Kirkbride at The Soft Road and I am going to try and defuse any pre-Christmas tension around here by adopting the expression whenever I remember.

I am also going to try to be kind to myself this Christmas time too. It doesn’t have to perfect. Christmas really is one of those times when good enough will do. If a room as a mess then I’m going to close the door. If my trifle layers aren’t totally pristine then I shall think to myself that at least I made a trifle.

And once the Big Day is over I am planning to take some well-earned time to just chill. I have a PILE of books that I want to read and I’m hoping that there’ll be some snuggly new pyjamas in Santa’s sack for me so that I can settle back with a cup tea and a mince pie and just enjoy the moment.

However you’re spending your Christmas this year I hope you manage to take a little time for yourself. In fact, why not schedule it in right now!

In the New Year I will have a lovely new website to reveal and my office refurbishment will be finished and I will start working with my new editor at Lake Union on the edits for book 2. Then it’ll be on to the first draft of book 3 and I’m so excited to release my new set of characters from my head and onto the page.

But in the meantime, I hope you have a lovely Christmas time. Be kind to you and make space to breathe.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Happy reading.

Imogen x

 

Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen

Don’t you love to travel and visit new places? Me too! So I was delighted to get to go to Copenhagen last weekend. It was my first trip to Denmark and I loved it although it was flipping freezing!

It was all about the style in Scandinavia. The Christmas decorations were up but there was none of your bright red tinsel or garish plastic baubles. Tiny, twinkling lights and twigs! That seemed to be the order of the day and it was all very elegant and simple. I feel the need to raise my festive game at home as a result. And so many candles! Every table in every cafe had a candle and a lovely, snuggly blanket to keep you warm whilst you enjoyed your coffee or hot chocolate.

In England when the weather is cold we all retreat indoors. Not so the Danes it seems. Everywhere had space to sit outside (with candles and blankets) and the chill in the air didn’t seem to put anybody off.

Hygge (def: a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture) is definitely alive and well.

Photo by Sweta Meininger on Unsplash

In other news, it’s all happening around here. As I hinted a few weeks ago, I’m very excited to announce that Postcards From A Stranger and my next two books have been bought by Lake Union, an Imprint of Amazon Publishing and I’m very much looking forward to getting started with them. And as if that weren’t exciting enough, I am also working with Bookswarm to rebuild my¬†website so watch this space to see what we come up with.

I asked if you wanted reviews and you said that you did so I’ll get back on it ASAP.

In the meantime, if you are starting to think of Christmas gifts then why not buy someone a copy of Postcards and give them a good excuse to put their feet up in this holiday? I’m sure they’ll be grateful. It’s now got 130 five star reviews on Amazon and 218 on goodreads.

Happy reading until next time.

Imogen x

 

 

 

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Dying to tell . . .

I’m so sorry that I’ve been quiet. The trouble is that I have big news to share but I can’t do it just yet so I’ve been waiting. But I’m bored with waiting now so I’m back and you will all just have to wait patiently with me!

So in the meantime, it’s business as usual around here. I’ve been busy all summer working on what I hope will be my third novel. I think I’m nearly there with the first draft but I just have one character who is not behaving herself and who I must snap into line before I start to think that I have the bones of something worthwhile.

Also, November is more hectic than usual for some writers as it’s Nanowrimo time. For the uninitiated ( which I assume is most of the planet) Nano, as it is affectionally known, is where you attempt to write a novel (or the first 50,000 words in any event) during the thirty days of November. It’s a tall order and requires focus and determination but I love the challenge and the buzz.

This year, rather than starting a new project, I am using my Nano month to finish the novel that I mentioned above so I’m desperately hoping that the new idea re troublesome character lands some time over the next two days or I’m going to be wasting valuable writing time thinking about her future!

Postcards is still doing well. It has been sitting in the Top 100 of the Amazon Kindle store for well over a month now and I’ve been getting some lovely reviews from readers. I always love to hear from you so please get in touch if you’d like to.

I haven’t been posting my book reviews recently as they weren’t getting any feedback but I’m still reading so if you’d like those back then please comment below and in the meantime I’ll get back to manuscript. I hope to be back with my big news very soon.

Kind regards,

Imogen.

Photo by Andrew Small on Unsplash

 

Treasures and Floods.

Hi there

I’m sorry that posts have been a little erratic recently. Blame the summer holidays – that’s what I’m doing! I was lucky enough that no sooner had I finished the laundry from one trip that another one arrived. This time I was in Venice to see the Damien Hirst exhibition Treasures From the Wreck of The Unbelievable.

I really know very little about art but when I read about this bonkers exhibition I really wanted to see it for myself and it was also the perfect excuse to hop on a plane and have a weekend away. The Unbelievable, or so we are told, was a ship that sank off East Africa two thousand years ago. The ship was ladened with artefacts collected by a freed slave and it is these that make up the exhibition.

At the beginning of the exhibition is a beautifully shot video of the divers ‘recovering’ the artefacts from the ocean floor. I loved the fact that everything had to be sunk in order to be rescued. The items themselves are then scattered across two separate venues.

The clue is in the name of the ship and you really aren’t supposed to suspend your disbelieve. It seemed to me that Hirst had his tongue very firmly in his cheek when he included a barnacle-encrusted statue of Mickey Mouse in his treasure trove. Roman and Greek mythology merge together in a melting pot of cultural references, many of which were too clever for me to grasp. That notwithstanding, I really enjoyed the spectacle of it all.

I also had two other first experiences whilst I was there. I discovered the picture perfect island of Burano (where I fully intend to retreat to very shortly) and I saw the sea rise up and flood St Mark’s Square which was fascinating.

And now I’m back and well into the first draft of book three. There will be news of book two shortly so watch this space.

There’s a new review on the Reviews page too. Just click HERE. It’s perfect if you’re looking for something to escape into.

Happy reading.

Imogen x

 

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Hi everyone

The radio silence from this end can be explained by my summer holidays. My family and I were lucky enough to go on a safari to Tanzania last month. It is a fascinating country with incredible wildlife, particularly to someone who rarely sees anything bigger than a rabbit.

We were lucky enough to be shown around a Masai village and whilst the main purpose of the trip was to get us to exchange our dollars for some of their handmade jewellery or household objects fashioned from acacia or ebony, we saw enough of these villages on our route to understand that this was a genuine way of life and not just recreated for the tourists.

There were various things that struck me. Firstly, the women do everything ( no surprise there) but there was a huge respect for them and their work which came from the men which was less familiar. When we came to negotiate a price for our purchases, the man did the talking as he had the best English ( having spent longer at school) but it was the woman who decided the price.

The Masai have next to nothing and live a very simple life tending their livestock and moving on whenever the grazing runs bare. They drink the blood of their cattle ( but not the goats or sheep who could not survive losing such quantities of blood), they have little by way of their ‘five a day’ and their water isn’t ‘clean’ but their bodies are strong and lithe and they looked very healthy – a far cry from many of the western tourists that visit them. I felt a little ashamed because of all the things that I consider to be daily necessities and seeing how they lived made me reassess how much I actually ‘need’. Not as much as I have as it turns out.

We were invited into their school – a mud hut slightly bigger than the ones that they sleep and cook in but still smaller than my sitting room. The class we saw was made up of five and six years old. They were learning their English alphabet which they could recite just as clearly as any child I’ve heard but they also spoke the national language of Swahili and their tribal language Maa – not bad from a mud hut!

We learned of the systems to ensure the gene pool is kept wide, how they initiate their boys as warriors and their ideas around wealth. We didn’t learn anything about their sanitary systems which disappointed my children!

And now I’m back with plenty of things to think about and ideas to fill my creative well. The nights are drawing in, there’s a nip in the air and I am back at my desk. I’ll be starting on the edits for the new book just as soon as I type THE END on the third one which won’t be long. Watch this space for news.

If you have been reading the Summer book group read then I’ve posted my thoughts and you can read them HERE. Book reviews will start again next week.

Happy reading.

Imogen.

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside . . .

This week I went to Brighton. I’d never been and really wanted to so I booked a train and went off to discover it.

It’s been at least three decades since I’ve visited a British seaside resort on the south coast so what struck me most is how unlike Blackpool Brighton is. The ‘kiss me quick hat’ count was particularly low and I didn’t see anyone who was obviously on a stag or hen do! The pier was familiar though. They are all much the same and I was glad to see that there was a fortune teller although I have never actually had my palm read. I fluctuate between thinking it’s a load of rot and not being brave enough to hear what they might say!

Of course the best part of being by the seaside for me is the sea. I have no idea how I ended up living quite so far away from it when I love it so much. Maybe one day . . . Here’s me looking at it wistfully.

In other news, I’ve read my fave book of the year so far. If you want to know what it is then check out this week’s book review HERE.

Finally there’s still time to join us and read our summer Book Group choice¬†Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.

In the meantime, enjoy what’s left of the summer.

Happy reading.

Imogen x

 

Taking things for granted

Hi.¬†You know how it is. You’re sailing along through your daily life and everything seems to be running as smoothly as one can expect these things to go when suddenly you hit a bump in the road and the world wobbles.

That has just happened to me. My husband had a health issue that caused him to have to be blue-lighted to hospital not once but twice in the course of one week. Hopefully all is well again now and there was never any danger than he wouldn’t recover but when something like that happens it makes you realise just how much we take for granted.

With this in mind, I have been trying to be more grateful for the things in my life that have always just been there up until now. Not only does that include my family’s health but also our amazing NHS and how efficiently it works in a crisis. It’s a hackneyed phrase – live every day to the full because you never know. It’s also not terribly realistic as we all have our fair share of the boring and mundane that just needs to be done no matter how much you might prefer to be doing something more exciting or relaxing. That said, I am trying to make the most of every day and to make sure that I fully appreciate all my blessings.

In other news, I’m delighted to report that Postcards is selling really well and I’m getting such a lot of lovely reviews. The first draft of book 3 is moving from nebulous concept to proper story so that’s encouraging too. Book 2 is currently just waiting to be edited. It’s always good to give these things some distance I find!

This week’s Book Review is¬†HERE and in case you’ve forgotten, the Summer book group read is Eleanor Oliphant is completely Fine. (I wish my predictive text would stop changing it to Elephant! It’s driving me mad!) You know how it works. Read along and then post your comments HERE.

In the meantime, keep having a lovely summer.

Happy reading.

Imogen x

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