Dory’s Avengers Book Launch – One Year On

One year ago today was the best day of my life. I went to bed on 28 August 2013 as a mere mortal, and woke up the next day as a published author.

IMG_1521Wow, I’m a published author. Those words still bring the hairs up on the back of my neck. My publication day, complete with book launch in the Cambridge branch of Waterstones, was everything I’d daydreamed it would be – and boy, can I daydream! Dory’s Avengers was released into the world in style; friends and family gathered to help me celebrate, sales were healthy and I managed to get through my speech without tears, despite coming close as I spoke of how I wished my sorely-missed parents could have witnessed my momentous day. Not so sure my mother would have approved of some of the choice language occasionally used by Dory’s Avengers’ more forthright characters, though…

One year on, I’m reminiscing fondly about my book launch. OK, I’ll admit I had expected to have attended a star-studded Dory’s Avengers film premier by now, or at least be anticipating the autumn airing of a Dory’s Avengers BBC drama. Sadly, neither has materialised. Would I have published via a different route if I’d known two years ago what I know now? Quite probably. Things haven’t really gone as I’d hoped at all, but nothing can detract from the memories of my wonderful publication day, or my pride in having published such a beautiful book, and nothing ever will.

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The last year has seen my life go through yet more changes. During the publishing process I found out I have a natural aptitude and a huge enthusiasm for editing, and my fledgling copy-editing business, Alison’s Editing Service, is starting to find its wings and fly. Back in April I met fellow author, prolific blogger and champion of independent authors, Debbie Young, following a talk she was co-hosting at the Cambridge Literary Festival. Two days later we met up again at London Book Fair, where Debbie introduced me to Helen Hart, publishing director with SilverWood Books. This forward-thinking company offers every service a self-publishing author needs to produce a professional work – including copy-editing. I am proud to say that I have been employed by SilverWood Books to edit a number of manuscripts, and thanks to this work, along with manuscripts from an ever growing group of independent authors who like my editing style, I am lucky enough now to be making a living doing something I love.400dpiLogo

If anyone had told me a year ago that by the time I celebrated the first anniversary of my book’s publication I’d be successfully running my own business, the likelihood is I’d have laughed in disbelief. Mind you, if anyone had told me three years ago I’d realise my dream to become a published author it would probably have elicited a similar reaction.

Happy anniversary, Dory’s Avengers.

Champagne, anyone?

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The Monday Moan – Facebook

facebooklogoAh, poor old Facebook. It seems like everyone’s putting the boot into Facebook at the moment, and here I am adding my voice to the sound of the crowd. Why don’t I give poor old Facebook a break, eh? Poor, unloved social networking site that it is…

Hold it right there! Facebook isn’t particularly unloved, is it? According to Wikipedia (so it must be true!), as of September 2012 Facebook had over a billion active users, and I am still one of those users. The pros do outweigh the cons: I enjoy reconnecting with friends from the past, and sharing news and photos with friends and family all over the world. However, I have issues: issues shared by fellow Facebook users, bloggers and administrators of Facebook pages I like – the pages whose updates Facebook still allows me to view, that is…

I realise the people behind Facebook want to make money (who doesn’t?), but $10 a day to advertise a Facebook page is a tad beyond the means of most small businesses. It’s certainly beyond the means of the Alison Jack – Author brand! Even if a business can spare that sort of money, there’s still no guarantee its page’s followers will see its updates, so the words ‘waste of money’ spring to mind. As one of my Facebook friends pointed out, if he likes a page it’s because he’s interested in the subject matter. If it transpires that the page’s updates aren’t as interesting as he’d hoped, he has the option to unlike the page. This decision should be made by the Facebook user, a human being capable of independent thought, and not by Facebook, which is a bloomin’ social networking site for heaven’s sake! Am I ranting? Damn right I am!!!

So how do I make sure I can see updates from all the pages I like? Well, to start with Facebook seemed to make its censorial decision based on how much a person interacted with a particular page. If I were to regularly like or comment on the posts on page A but not page B, it would be page A’s updates I’d see on my news feed. However, no more. Being a tad weird, I count snakes among my favourite animals. I used to regularly click ’like’ under the stunning photos on the Facebook page dedicated to these amazing creatures, but it struck me recently that I hadn’t seen any such photos for a while. Had the snakes’ page administrator stopped posting?

No! Facebook had decided that I didn’t want to see pictures of snakes any more, and the only way to rectify this would be to receive notifications every time there’s an update. Er, tedious! I like quite a number of pages, and I really don’t want to have to set up notifications for each one when it would be so much easier simply to view the updates on my news feed.

Oh, and talking of my news feed, don’t get me started on the ‘top stories’ rubbish…ah, too late! Pretty much every time I log in I discover that Facebook has selected the posts I should be reading. It calls them my top stories. Most of these (ahem) ‘top’ stories are a: at least a day old, and b: things I’ve already read. Every day, I ask Facebook to stop doing this and show my friends’ most recent posts instead, usually while muttering expletives through gritted teeth, only to find by next morning that my news feed has defaulted back to top stories.

It’s…so…ANNOYING!!!

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Please forgive the overuse of the exclamation mark in this blog post.

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On a lighter note, do visit Cathy Brockman’s and Debbie Young’s blogs to see what they’ve added to the Susie Orman Schnall.

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And finally, on a sad note I’ve just found out that British comedian Rik Mayall has died at the age of 56. Rik was, and always will be, one of my all time favourite comedians. Thank you for decades of laughs, Rik.

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Click image for more information about Alison’s editing Service.

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Click image to add Dory’s Avengers on Goodreads.

The Susie Orman Schnall Fortieth Birthday Swag Bag Blog Hop

Susie Orman Schnall, author of On Grace (US Link, UK Link), started the fortieth Birthday Swag Bag Blog Hop. You can read the original post HERE. I was invited to take part by Nicky Wells: fabulous blogger, prolific author of romance that rocks and all round lovely lady. Do have a look at Nicky’s swag bag HERE, and be sure to check out her novels as they’re all excellent reads.

So, the idea is I’m going to a friend’s fortieth birthday bash in an exotic island resort. Sun, sea and Sangria (if it happens to be a Spanish island!) here we come. I can’t wait, but in the meantime I need to think of a few of my favourite things to add to the birthday swag bag. OK, here goes:

FAVOURITE BOOK:

Oh my goodness, let’s start with a tough one eh? Like most authors, I am a voracious reader – one of my favourite pastimes is to curl up on the sofa with a good book. Another is to sit Hello, Darkness Coverunder a tree on a sunny day with a good book. Another is to snuggle under my duvet with a good book – you can see the pattern emerging here, can’t you? I’ve resisted the temptation to weigh the swag bag down with the complete works of Charles Dickens, or a collection of all the Sherlock Holmes stories, in favour of championing an author whose work I have recently discovered. Being a fan of the thriller genre, I have gone for the excellent HELLO, DARKNESS by Sandra Brown. Here are the purchase links if you’d like to read this wonderful book yourself: UK Link. US Link.

FThree Minute MiracleAVOURITE BEAUTY PRODUCT

Ah, now this is much easier than the last category. Much as I love my expensive perfumes, there is one beauty product I couldn’t do without, and that the Aussie Three Minute Miracle conditioner. Leave this in for three minutes (the clue’s in the name!) and even my unruly mop of hair turns to silk. It smells divine too.

FAVOURITE SNACK FOOD:Twiglets

Mmmm, I’m getting hungry contemplating this one. Again, it’s not a difficult choice. It’s got to be – ta dah – Twiglets. Oh, not just any old Twiglets, but the gorgeous dinky little Twiglets in the festive tubs that only seem to be available during the run up to Christmas. I suppose that’s because they’re festive, duh – and trust me to want one in June. Quite simply, though, these nibbles take snacking to a whole new taste level, so it’s got to be the Christmas tub of Twiglets.

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Click image for UK purchase link.

FAVOURITE MUSIC ALBUM:

WHAT?!!!! I’ve had to choose a favourite book, and now I’ve got to narrow my vast cd/vinyl/MP3 collection down to one? Again the classics spring to mind, as I never tire of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, or Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, but there’s one album that never fails to lift my spirits, and that’s the one I’m including. I first discovered this Irish/American band at Reading Festival a few years ago, and as I love Irish folk music with a rocky edge I fell in love with them immediately. Pour the Guinness; crack open the whiskey; tap those feet – it’s the brilliant Flogging Molly’s Within A Mile of Home.

And finally…

MY CHOICE:wakeboard

This one’s easy: a wakeboard. It might be a bit bulky in the swag bag, but as long as we could find a motorboat, and there’s a fair chance we could on a holiday island, we can get out on the water for hours of endless fun.

 

Next week the swag bag will be hopping over to two of my favourite bloggers.

DEBBIE YOUNG, an English author, journalist, blogger, book reviewer and book promotion consultant. Her entertaining blog, Debbie Young’s Writing life, can be found HERE along with information about her books. Debbie edits the blog for the excellent Alliance of Independent Authors, an organisation championing the cause of indie and self publishing authors of which I’m proud to be a partner member. I was lucky enough to meet her twice recently: once at Cambridge Lit Fest, then again two days later as she launched the book she’s co-written with Dan Holloway, OPENING UP TO INDIE AUTHORS (US linkUK link).

CATHY BROCKMAN will be taking the blog hop back across the Atlantic for her post. Cathy’s blog, Cathy Brockman Romances, is a thoroughly enjoyable mixture of author interviews, book reviews, sneak peeks at forthcoming book releases including her own ‘Love Bites: First Bite’, free stories, and anecdotes and observations about life in general. Cathy loves books, especially romances, and if there’s a touch of the paranormal or a few fit cowboys thrown into the mix she is in her element.

I follow both ladies’ blogs regularly, and always look forward to their posts. If you’ve enjoyed today’s post, do visit Debbie and Cathy in Blogland next week to see what they’ll be adding to the swag bag.