What Happens on Blog Tour Stays on Google

In this month's Writing Magazine, I talked about blog tours, and called for a renaissance of the blogosphere of old. The magazine should be with subscribers in the next couple of days, and should be in WHSmith and elsewhere from around the 6th of January.

If you read my column this month, what were your thoughts? Do you have any plans for a blog tour?

Leave me a comment, and if you'd like more help you can email me using the email tab above.

Notes From Another World!

I've been away for a few months. Rather than sending you postcards on my trip, it made more sense for me to seek out new lands to which my Word Nerd Army chums could travel, and get a clear map of the territories, before I shared my findings. Those of you who've been following my column in Writing Magazine will have picked up a few hints and tips, but for the rest of you this may be entirely new information.

Back in the days of From Brain to Bookshelf - My Writing Journey, I had no idea how I would accomplish everything I have, but I knew I would. Back then, I lived on a budget of 50 pence a day for food. I lost over 50 pounds in weight through ... well ... let's call it what it was ... starvation. I continued to write, though, and I continued to dream impossible dreams. Even though there was no way at all that I could hope to achieve those dreams, I believed in them, and I achieved them.

Now, I have more impossible dreams to achieve. This time, though, I'm dreaming them for a group of people. I want to help the Word Nerd Army stay resilient through the coming depression, so that oodles of awesome writing can find its way into the world, regardless of the economy. Here's what I've noticed:

I'm good at predicting cultural change

I can usually tell when there will be a cultural, economic or political shift, ahead of time.

  • I predicted the last recession two years ahead. I've been predicting what is just around the corner since about April 2010. 
  • I called myself a 'nerd' when it was still an insult. Now everyone's a nerd or a geek of some description. 
  • I predicted the changes in the publishing industry when people still saw e-readers as a fad and I worked out it would be easier to make a profit via self-publishing than traditional publishing. Most traditionally published writers end their first year in debt to their publisher (most don't earn out their advance). I was in profit within two weeks.  
I'm pretty good at spotting trends, and ways to do stuff. Generally, people think I'm nuts when I predict things. Generally, the few who think 'she may be nuts, but I'm going to follow her anyway' do rather well.

My Predictions

Next year will SUCK for most people.

It will suck particularly badly for those in the creative fields, because The Arts are at the top of the pyramid of needs. When people are fretting about food, they couldn't give a hoot about The Arts. Now, clearly, I'm not typical. I put writing ahead of eating. Very few people feel that way.

There's plenty of free books online. People don't need your books. When they have no money, they won't buy them unless they're passionately addicted to your writing in particular. In other words, if you are writing a series, and your first book has caused a buzz, you might be okay. If you're writing books that will help people make money, you might be okay. Otherwise, if you're an aspiring author ... you need a Plan B.

If you pile all your hopes into writing novels, and the economy does what it looks likely to do, you're toast. This is particularly the case if you are traditionally published. Look at the rate that publishers are closing. Look at the statistics about first time authors being dropped. How likely do you think you are, in this market, to find another publisher to take you on when your first publisher dropped you?

Here's the solution, as I see it. 

Authors need to be authorpreneurs. This is CRUCIAL whether they are traditionally published, or indies. Traditional publishers are not handing out three book deals with giant advances unless you happen to be a celebrity or an advertising meerkat. If you're an actual wordsmith, with something of value to say to the word, forget anything more than a £2,000 advance. Think you can live on £2,000 for a year, in the midst of hyperinflation?

I set up a blog to this end in the summer of 2010. Here's a post from a month ago last year, where I outlined the predictions that had come true, and hinted at what I predicted for this time this year. See how it's all happening the way I said it would? Just saying ...

It's important to point to the facts, because people are looking at me and wondering what the heck I'm up to and why I'm jumping up and down shouting 'can't you see the sky is falling in?' It's because it is. I'm trying to help people while there is still time. Aside from all that, even if you pocket a relatively salubrious £5,000 advance, or more, you're still going to be in charge of your own marketing. Are you a marketer? Are you an entrepreneur? You have to be. Whether published by a traditional publishing house, or self-published, you ARE self employed.

Authors need to be smart. They need to think ahead. It takes time to write a book, particularly if it is a novel. You must work out ways to pay bills and still have the time to apply butt to chair and get your 60,000+ words onto a screen. A job alone won't do it. You could be laid off. Look at the stats and do the maths. There is no such thing as a 'safe job' at the moment. Even if you are lucky enough to be employed, you need more than that to be resilient.

You need a full dimensional income plan.

You need residuals.

Just trading money for time will not see you through next year. 

Get a bundle of different revenue streams.
  • Analyse your finances. Draw up a list of business ideas that will furnish you with residual income. 
  • Read this month's Writing Magazine, where I talk about writing on a budget. 
  • Brainstorm. Most importantly, forget the idea that being an author is a stand-alone career choice if you are just starting out on this road. It's not. It probably never will be again. 
If you want any advice specific to your circumstances, get in touch through the contact form, or leave a comment below. There's ways to get through all this, and even to do better as a consequence, but you need to keep your head and be very focused to do it. I can help with that. 

It's the end of the world as we know it, but ... I feel fine!

Keep grinning, my Word Nerd friends! 

Find Your Writing Passion

Have you discovered your passion yet? Check out my new Groupon post and use summer inspiration to plant the seeds for a future novel.

Fancy Groupon Blogger Page!

Check out my new page on Groupon - very fancy pants.

Share Your Dream Friday Video

Yep. Made another video. This time, for the first time, in glorious technicolour as part of the great Edward Elliott's  Dream Project. Rather excitingly, it's only been up a few days and it's already got nearly as many views as the first part of Jilly Cooper's interview on her publisher's channel for the launch of her new book, (and more views than the second part). Jeepers! She's the queen of Cotswold authors. I feel honoured. Anyhow ... here's the vid. Hope you like it.

UPDATE: I don't really understand Amazon yet, but I'm guessing this isn't a bad sign (list of recently popular books in US under 'humor' and 'romance') ...

If you feel inclined to buy my book, Amazon stocks the Kindle version here
and all other versions can be found at PalacesAndCalluses.com

Please leave a comment below. Thank you. 

Won Orange Prize and My Book's on Amazon!

I won a bit of a contest. Orange (the telephone/broadband company) was picking up selected tweets and using a professional voice-over artist to make blockbuster movie voiceovers with them. They picked mine!! Check it out!

So ... why will I be obsessing over sales of my first ever book, this summer? Well ... after trialling a non-Amazon e-book approach for a couple of months - with pretty good results, which was a surprise - I've uploaded Palaces & Calluses to Amazon.

What Was I Thinking?

In a moment of pumped-up insanity I shall no doubt live to regret, I also informed someone that I plan to become an Amazon bestseller. Oh dear. I know. I'm an absolute ARSE sometimes. Never mind. The challenge is out there now, so I need to find a way to make it happen. Of course, all assistance on that front (reviews and wotnot) would be massively appreciated.

Spurred on by my chum Dan's bestselling success (see the previous post) I seized the moment and uploaded Palaces & Calluses. Amazon informed me the book wouldn't be published for a day or two, so I made a cup of tea and planned my promotion strategy over the next couple of days. Half way through my tea, I dreamily typed my name into Amazon search and ... there was my book! While I'm chuffed that Amazon considered my book to be well enough edited and formatted to publish immediately, I wasn't even slightly prepared. Panic stations!!

After a bit of flapping about and munching of chocolate, I checked back. Lo and behold, there were reviews! Lots of them. I flipping well LOVE word nerds. You are the best chums a writer could wish for and I'm hugely grateful for your support. You saved my butt.

Help My Little Book to Make Friends

If you like the idea of saving my butt further - and helping my book climb that old Amazon chart - you can point your chums to the URL of your choice. UK - http://amzn.to/rebeccaw US - http://amzn.to/palaces-and-calluses

Price-wise, my book will set your chums back the price of about three quarters of a latte - depending on where they procure their caffeinated treats, and depending upon currency shifts and taxes. Worst case scenario? Latte plus biscuit. US price is $2.99  (though, this will look different if you view from another country) and the UK price is sitting around the £2.00 mark at the mo. Take a look at the reviews. There are different reviews on the different sites. If you enjoyed the book, and want to leave a review too, you're my new best friend. Please share this post. I have no marketing budget, so whether this book makes it onto a bestseller list or not is entirely in your hands, my friends. THANK YOU!!!

P.S. Non-Kindle e-book formats are available from PalacesandCalluses.com

Word Nerd Knight is Amazon Bestseller!!!

One of my Word Nerd Knights - Dan Holloway - is in the TOP 15 ON AMAZON!

Back in 2009, Dan told me that we need a literary sensation. Well, we have one, and the personification of it is right there on Amazon. This moment, in case you hadn't realised, is historic. We are living through quotable times. People who realise there was more to William Morris than chintzy wallpaper are looking on with interest. There's a movement. Those people involved are not all alike in style, but they are alike in purpose. This is a revolution. No doubt about it. You're living through it. Cool, huh? I wrote more about it on Groupon's blog.

Buy Dan's book. It's not going to be cosy reading - that's not Dan's style - so if you scare easily, buy it for a friend, but buy it. You're part of history. Remember when we did this? Remember when we did this? We can do this. We can get Dan to number one. I'm probably going to see Dan next week. Give me something great to tell him.  Share this post. Tell people on Twitter and Facebook. Tell people on Goodreads. If you want to say you were part of this - when it's all over the news and the telly - then you have to get off your arse, cough up 70p, send out some tweets and BE part of it. Are you with me, Word Nerds?

Writers Need a List

One of the tools I use for list building

Well, hello, my word nerd chums!

For a long time, I didn't realise what I now do, and I collected faces on blogs. Hundreds and hundreds of them. Probably over 1000 now on my various blogs. What a wasted opportunity.

That's not what I want now. What I want is for people to opt-in to my list. For that reason, I didn't even put up a follower gadget here for AGES. In fact, I only put it up at the request of others. If you're scratching your head about that choice, wait until my course on building a list for your books comes out. All will be revealed.

Suffice to say, this blog puts LOTS of people onto my list. That gives me a much better relationship with them. I get postcards from people in different countries. This week, I got a beautiful, handwritten letter from one of my readers in America. Why? Because I build relationships with my readers via email. If you're on my list, you'll know that. If you're not, you're missing out! Every time I send out an autoresponder email, I get replies. Not just one or two. Not just short replies. I get letters, and I email back as many people as I can. That's how you build real relationships with people. I love that.

Obviously, click 'follow' if it makes life easier for you (it's a handy way to follow the blog, after all) but the way to get the inside scoop is to put your details into my opt-in box. That gives me the opportunity to share things with you that I wouldn't share with others. Everything that goes up here is free and easy for Google to access. Sometimes, I have special info I want to share with only a few, special, readers and writers. The only people who get that are the people on one of my lists. 

By the way, if you want to get started on building a list on your own blog - or on social networks like Facebook - you can use the tools I use without any up-front payment. Try them out for 30 days for free. You can leave any time, but use those 30 days wisely and start building a list. You can download that list at any time. It's yours whether you keep using the list building tools or not. It's a set of tools I've used for months, and I've recommended it to stacks of people. I haven't been paid to do so, either. I've done it purely to help out other people. Check it out and see what you think.

Flower Power ~ A Poem

Flower Power

If I am not your cup of tea,
What makes you think that bothers me?

A jasmine flower would not aspire
To be a snowdrop or a briar.

Yet every flower finds its bee.
It doesn't have to try, you see.

Its perfect self is all it is.
My message to you, dear, is this:

I will not change to match your mood
And so, not wishing to be rude,

Please fly away and find your flower:
Shading mine won't dim its power.

~ Rebecca Woodhead

How Do You Label Yourself?

Here's a new article I wrote for literary e-zine, Words with JAM on the subject of labels and writers. Check it out, here.

5 Steps to Becoming a Novelist

So, you want to be an author? I gave you five steps to writing a novel a couple of weeks back. Now, here are five steps to getting it published.

Find agents and publishers
The standard approach is to submit your manuscript to an agent you find in the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook, but agents and publishers are people too. These days, you can ‘meet’ them first, online, if you know where they hang out. Find the names of the people you’d like to meet, in the book mentioned above, and look up their blogs. Do not ask questions. Watch for a while. You need to understand what they are looking for and how they think.
Meet agents and publishers
After you have a clear idea of the people you would like to work with, as the relationship you have with your agent and publisher will be a professional one, begin to talk to them. DO NOT PITCH THEM. Comment on their blog posts. Follow them on Twitter, and add to the discussion when it is appropriate and helpful to do so.
Follow influential lists on Twitter, to get a feel for the kinds of conversations that are happening between writers and the publishing industry. One of the most influential writing lists happens to be one of mine – read the rest of the article here (Groupon's blog) but don't forget to come back and comment!

My Video Debut

Here's my very first 'face to camera' video - or at the least the first one that made it to YouTube. Cathie Heath asked to interview me for her blog and I thought it might be fun, having done an audio interview for Brian's blog, to make a video response. I'm wearing glasses too. Bex in spex! Watch it and find out:
  • My very first memory
  • Why writing a novel was a huge accomplishment for me
  • The difference between malnutrition and starvation
  • Why Mary works for an MLM

LinkedIn for Writers ~ The Secrets

In Writing Magazine, this month, I've written about LinkedIn (pages 70 and 71). If you've read it, what new things did you learn? If you haven't got it yet, be quick. They have been selling out consistently this year. My social media series has been really popular. In fact, it has been SO popular that I'm putting together some training right now for later this year, based on these articles.

You may also have noticed that my Word Nerd Monday post for Groupon is about desks and chairs, this week.  I'm doing a mini-series on setting up your writing space, so skip over there when you've finished here and pick up some handy tips.

Meanwhile ... Palaces & Calluses is getting some GREAT reviews. Check out this one from Libri Populus, where my novel is a recommended read!

Thank you SO much if you've bought my book, particularly if you've gone on to recommend it to others. You are an absolute star!!! Don't forget that the book has it's own little site that you can point people to ... palacesandcalluses.com - check it out and let me know what you think.

I LOVE comments *hint*.

Tweet Yourself a Novel!

On Facebook, earlier today, I was having a conversation about the idea that there is 'a book in everyone'. I wondered if that resonated with people. One of the replies was that it did, but that the person didn't have time to write. How often have we all heard (and even said, or at least thought) that? Isn't that the favourite hiding place of the writer? I shared what follows, and it seemed to help some people. I worked it out about a year ago, and it helped a number of people then. Ready for a lightbulb moment?

A novel is a minimum of 50,000 words (non-fiction can be way less). Sounds huge and scary, but... 
  • A tweet is 140 characters. 
  • The average word is 5 characters long (plus a space) so you can fit around 23 words into a tweet. 
  • 2173 tweets = a novel. 
  • That's 5 tweets a day. 
  • If you could find time to write 5 tweets a day - or a couple of Facebook updates - you already have time to write a novel. 
  • In fact, if you've been on social networks for a year or more, you've ALREADY WRITTEN A NOVEL in terms of word count. 
How do you feel about starting that novel now?

Happy Writing!


P.S. I've started a group for aspiring writers here. You're welcome to join.

Royals, Romans, Class, Celts, and Linguistic Tennis

Here's an audio interview I did for The New Author blog, in which I talk about the background to Palaces and Calluses, and explore the reasons why The Cotswolds area is a magnet for writers, why the class structure is tricky to shift in the area, and what The Celts and Romans have to do with it all.

For the blog post that accompanies this, and a discount code for Palaces & Calluses, go to The New Author.

E-Books Are Not Only Found in The Amazon Reign Forest

There are wonderful e-books all over the web. Not all of them are on Amazon. If you are only used to buying e-books on Amazon, it can take courage to step out of the Amazonian jungle, so I put together a little guide to buying my book.  

(Use the blue tab on the side to zoom in if the text is a bit small on the last bit.)

My First Week as an Author

A little over a week ago, I became an author. Here's what happened:

  • I didn't have the 'I am an author' moment. I had a panic attack. I think the panic attack was a physical manifestation of the 'I am an agent and a publisher, and a retailer, and I have to handle all my own PR and be shiny at all times, and I'm as reliable on that front as a big-arsed donkey in an antique shop' moment.
  • I discovered that even if you give someone a direct link to a Kindle book, they STILL go to Amazon, search for it, and tell you your book is nowhere to be found. I have lost track of the number of times this has happened. Amazon has conditioned its customers SO well. I salute you, noble dictator. 
  • I discovered that making the book available in so many formats (Kindle, iPad, iPhone, Sony Reader, Nook and PDF) was the right move! Have made sales consistently for all formats other than Nook. (Thanks to Rachael Moore for the pic of her phone, by the way).
  • The book sold! *Stunned*. It didn't just sell a couple, either, and it sold every day. Within a week, I was in profit. Seriously. :)
  • Emails and DMs began to flood in, begging me to explain how I'd done it. I'm planning to put together a course to cover this.
  • Emails and DMs began flooding in, telling me not to show off, get above myself or feel proud in any way. I ignored them for the most part, because what kind of example is that? New writers know they have to walk through Hell to get their book into print, or onto a Kindle, and they keep doing it in the hope that, one day, they will have a small moment of triumph. I refuse to deny myself - and them - this small moment of triumph. Here it is... I rock! I dare you to say the same on your own blog when you become an author  :)
  • People want to pigeon-hole me, and that's tricky. One blogger wanted to set me up as an 'indie or die' writer, so he could throw stones at me. The problem is, I'm not. I think traditional publishing is great - for most people. I think Amazon is amazing, and I may put the book there in time. I'm just doing an experiment. Why must people always think that other people are so easily defined? I'm not, so... as an author present to myself... I adopted the word 'Intriguing'. That way, I can help kids with communication problems, like I had, and I get to pick my own label. When called for, my name will henceforth be The Intriguing Rebecca or - and this is the long version - Gloriana Bexter 'The Intriguing' Woodhead. That should stop the labels. (Although 'mad' and 'delusional' are also labels, so it MAY not).
  • People want to pigeon-hole the book, and THAT is fun to watch. Calibre has a new bookshop - it links back to the author's site, so I'm still retailing it - but they choose the tags. They defined my book as 'literary'. Now. I once had a discussion with a publisher, in which he told me: 'never define that book as "chick lit". It is quality commercial fiction.' I've always viewed it as commercial fiction you wouldn't be embarrassed to be caught reading on the train, or commercial fiction with chew toys for literary readers. I put this to Calibre. No, they said. It's literary. So, in it went. Others have defined it in various literary and commercial ways. Today, it was described as 'chick lit'. Hurrah! I've invented label-teflon. :) While I can attempt to define myself, it's really none of my business how others define my book, but I'm an interested observer. 
  • Everyone loves 'Rock'. Some are deeply affected by experiences that either Mary or Jackie have. Clive is secretly adored. A few characters are loathed - you'll know which ones if you've read the book. Let me know your fave characters.   
Here are some early reviews: America (no spoilers), America (some spoilers), America (no spoilers)Ireland (no spoilers). If you find any English reviews, let me know!

P.S. If you want to point people direct to the sales page, but can't remember the bit.ly link, send them to palacesandcalluses.com If they want to take the book for a test drive, send them to penpals.withrebecca.com and if you want to promote the book on your blog, grab the code under the badge in the sidebar and put it in your sidebar. It links to the sales page. Thank you. xxx

The First Reviews for Palaces and Calluses

bit.ly/palaces - share this link on Twitter. Thank you!
The book is out, and ... people like it! I'm thrilled. It already has an international following. I've made sales in the UK, Europe, America, Canada, and Australia so far, and people are buying it in all formats (glad I didn't just stick to Kindle). At the moment, Kindle's in the lead followed closely by iPad and then Sony Reader and PDF and, finally, Nook.

The majority of feedback I'm getting is through private messages or DMs on Facebook and Twitter, or people are emailing me from this site. They are going into great depth about why specific characters have affected them, or how the book has helped them. I'm so happy to read these messages. One character comes up over and over though as a favourite with readers of both genders ... Rock.

Rock was pretty much transcribed from life. The other characters are fictional, but Rock is very close to a beloved dog I once had, called Rob. He's the dog in my book trailer. He was so extraordinary that I knew he had to be shared with more people than one dog ever can be. They don't travel well, and they don't live long, but if I immortalised him in novels, I knew he'd share his magic with people all over the world. He already has.

Aside from the personal messages, a couple of people have gone public with their admiration. I received a wonderful review from a US editor, Mary Louise Ruehr - Books Editor for the Record-Courier in Ohio:

Palaces and Calluses


Today is launch day for Rebecca Woodhead’s debut novel, Palaces and Calluses.

I was lucky enough to read an advance copy, which I completely enjoyed.

The main character is forced to reinvent herself after a shocking betrayal. Besides the emotions evoked by the romance and heartbreak, we’re treated to the warmth of family and friendship, as well as a bit of intrigue, some humor, sarcasm and just plain silliness.
The book is filled with believable characters — some you’ll love and some you’ll love to hate — including smart women, handsome hunks, a nasty boss and a wonderful dog named Rock. Oh, and did I mention, the author drops us right into the English Cotswolds?

The quality of the work rises above that of much of today’s popular literature because of Rebecca’s writing. She has an easy style that makes you want to leap to the next page. She’s just a natural, as anybody who’s been following her on Twitter (@rebeccawoodhead) can tell you. (She’s been named one of the most influential women on Twitter. I “met” her online a couple of years ago when she was up for Ms. Twitter U.K., which she won.)

Her book is a novel, but her own remarkable real-life story also makes for compelling reading: “I’m a coma survivor,” she writes on her blog. “As a child, I sustained such bad injuries in a car accident that I was told it was very unlikely I would ever be able to write as well as my peers. I taught myself to speak, read and write again — without the help of a speech therapist or counsellor. When I typed the last word of the first draft of my first novel, that felt like success.” You can find more on her website.

The end of Palaces and Calluses will leave you wanting more. Fortunately, this is Book 1 of a planned series, and she said she’s already deep into the second book, so the wait won’t be too long!

UPDATE: The book is now available as an e-book in several formats.

Today, there was another surprise. I found this tribute on my wall from my friend, Ernesto Busnelli - though I hope his assistant has her vocabulary recalibrated after she finishes the book. There are a few rude words!

If you've made a video about my book, or you've taken a picture of yourself reading it - you'd need to hold up a sign that points to your e-reader and says 'this is Palaces & Calluses' though! :) - or if you've blogged about it, please let me know and I'll tell people.

My personal sales goal for this weekend has nearly been reached. Only have to sell five more books and I'm there. To make it easy for you to help, I've put up a special offer ON TOP OF the special offer I already have going, AND I'll give away a free e-book to someone who has retweeted a particular tweet on Twitter - you'll need to hunt for it - and someone who comments here, once I reach my goal. I'll only do that if I reach my goal by the time the offer ends though. Ready? ...

For the rest of today, my special Word Nerd #EbookEaster deal is running. Buy three or more books and you get 20% off. You can't do this with DRM-protected books, because you only rent them. With my books, you own them, and you can give them as gifts. I think they'd make great Easter gifts for friends or family who don't want to eat too much chocolate, or who have lactose intolerance, diabetes, etc. The books are actually CHEAPER than chocolate, (decent sized Cadbury egg = £6, my e-book = £2.99, or £2.39 if you buy three or more. I think the deal expires at 9pm MST, but I could be wrong. Not great with time zones. Best to grab it now.

A Bunch Of Us Are Starting A New Literary Tradition. Are You In?

This isn't just any Easter. This year, we are celebrating a ROYAL WEDDING in England, so I wanted to come up with a new tradition to pull my chums from around the globe into the merriment. Now... it just so happens that my debut novel - out this week - is called PALACES AND CALLUSES. It has Palaces in the title! How perfect is my timing?? Anyhow. It seemed to me that a book launched in the month of a royal wedding needed to be the catalyst for a slightly more elegant tradition at Easter. Intrigued? Read on, and I'll tell all!

Here's What I've Got
  1. A brand new novel. 
  2. A quest.
  3. A brand new tradition. 
Here's How it Can Make You a Better Person

If you buy this book, the following things will happen:

1/ A brand new novel  - you will change my life. 

I went through a coma, and taught myself to read and write - without medical assistance - from scratch, so I could bring you this book. If you buy it, you validate that this was a good move on my part. If other kids going through what I went through see that, it will help them keep going with the struggle. It's a LONG and HARD STRUGGLE. It helps if you can see people who've succeeded.

2/ A quest - you will change the lives of others.

I'm on a quest, and I want you to be part of it. I'll write about this after the event (I have a column in a national magazine, and I blog for Groupon) and you'll have bragging rights, if you help. According to this month's Writers' Forum, the average book (traditionally published or otherwise) only sells between 400 and 500 copies. I have to beat that. I'm independently published, not because agents and publishers don't want me, THEY DO. I sent very nice rejection letters, and we're all still chums. In fact, they're cheering me on. I am doing this myself to show it can be done, and to help other writers do the same, because writers (of fiction particularly) have become the least important part of the writing industry, and I need to shift the balance.

3/ A brand new tradition - You will change culture.

When you buy e-books from Amazon, you only ever rent them. Many people don't know that. I love Amazon, and will rent out my books there eventually, but first I wanted people to OWN the books they buy from me, so I've put no DRM on them, and set up a shopping cart that's independent from Amazon. It all works smoothly. The point is, though, that you will own my book, and you can buy them as gifts for as many others as you like. This brings me to the new tradition. Easter is coming. Plenty of people dread the approach of this holiday. Not for religious reasons, but for chocolate-related ones.

  • I'm a BIG fan of chocolate, but I don't want to be a HUGE fan of chocolate. I fall a little out of love with it after every Easter, when none of my clothes fit. Do you feel the same?
  • Easter is becoming a celebration of sugar. What if we raised its status a little? Just to be clear, I'm not talking about its religious significance. The church has that covered. I'm talking about what we do with the holiday culturally. Seems to me that it gets short-changed. Christmas has: presents, tree, songs, outfits, pantos, Santa, elves... etc, etc, etc. There are SO many cultural traditions included with Christmas. Easter just gets eggs, bunnies, the hunt for eggs and bunnies... Simnel cake... um... flowers? I feel Easter needs at least one more, so here's what I propose: give e-books as well. #EbookEaster - a new tradition that respects: anyone on a diet, diabetics, people with lactose intolerance, and people who are just a little bit classier than the cheap-choc munchers, who'll regret their lardy-arsed choices the next day. :) 


  1. A decent sized Cadbury egg will cost you £6. 
  2. My e-book will cost you £2.99 (price goes up to £4.99 after 20th April, but it's still cheaper than chocolate) so celebrating The Arts will cost you less than filling your/their guts with sugar.
  3. Not being able to eat chocolate over Easter SUCKS as there's no celebratory alternative. Let's make the consumption of cultural treats a tradition for Easter too.
Will you help? I think this could be such fun if we do it together, and bring in a new tradition that a/respects writers b/respects non-chocolate tolerant people and c/introduces novels to people who only ever read non-fiction.

The reason I added the last point is because I've been astounded at the number of people in that category who've bought my book and raved about it - and it's only been out for a day. I love that!

The 'fictive trance' is something that doesn't happen with non-fiction. It takes a particular kind of brain activity to induce, and it means that people who read fiction typically have a higher IQ than people who don't. Why? Because the writer only ever writes half of the book. The reader brings his or her own experience to it, and mentally writes the other half. That builds IQ. Literature happens between the writer, the book, and the reader. We're all part of that process. Once you buy my book, it's your book as much as it is mine. You can take IQ to the bank if you then go back to your non-fiction, and take a bit of action. Meanwhile, you're having a bit of fun, travelling into another world, which in the case of my book is England.  :)

Will you buy a copy of my book, so I can eclipse that figure of 400-500? I'd like to get it up to 2000 before I announce the numbers to the industry, but 400 is the absolute minimum I must sell to make this point. You can give them as gifts. Start an #ebookEaster tradition and be just a little more elegant because of it. The history books will show YOU as the one who started this tradtion in your family/village/city.
  1. Print off the receipt email for the ebook.Add an elegant note.
  2. Put it into an egg-shaped/bunny shaped box - they're everywhere right now.
  3. Put it in the cuckoo's nest you made for the Easter egg hunt, or hand it out when other eggs/bunnies are handed out. Make that person feel SPECIAL not just differentIf I got a chocolate bunny or egg - just like always - and someone else was chuckling with their e-reader, reading an e-book, hours after I'd downed the last sugary morsel... I'd be jealous!

Here's What You Need To Do Now
  1. Go to http://www.rebeccawoodhead.com/p/palaces-and-calluses.html (the short url - if you'd like to tweet it - is http://bit.ly/palaces ).
  2. Click the button for Kindle, iPad, Sony Reader, Nook, or PDF.
  3. Think of a number. Put it in the box.Who can you think of who'd smile a little wider if you bought them a book that transports them to The Cotswolds (the place that inspired Shakespeare, Jane Austen, JK Rowling, Jilly Cooper... etc) in England over Easter? Think how classy it would be to be the one who introduced that bit of culture to the celebrations. Type how many you'd like to buy, in the box.
  4. Decide whether to pay using your paypal account, or a card. Follow the steps on the screen.
  5. An email will be sent to you, with your book. 
  6. TELL PEOPLE. Trend #ebookEaster on Twitter, and get people reading. Share this on Facebook. Spread the word. Being someone who continues a tradition is lovely. Being someone who STARTS one is PRICELESS. For a tradition to start, it takes more than just one awesome person. It takes lots of awesome people. I think you're awesome, and I think we can do this. Let's do this!! *Does Excited Word Nerd Dance*.
Here's the link: http://bit.ly/palaces


I Am Now a Novelist!!!

I'm sure I've said everything that needs to be said, except one thing ... enjoy the book!

Book Launch - Tonight

My début novel launches here, tonight (so my friends in America and Australia will be awake too). Wear fancy socks. Pour a glass of something bubbly, or grab a cup of tea. A few things you might want to know:

  1. Even if you have a Kindle and are used to the idea that the e-books you buy are only rented (which is how it works at Amazon), if you buy my book, you will own it.
  2. The book will be available in a Kindle edition (Kindle optimised mobi-format. It has been tested on Kindles in the UK and US, and on Amazon's free Kindle for PC reading device); Sony Reader edition (ePub optimised for Sony Reader); and PDF edition. If you want to read it on your computer, you may choose to buy the PDF, or buy the Kindle edition, and download the free Kindle for PC reader.
  3. I have not used DRM. I want to treat my readers like adults. You know I'm not a faceless corporation, and every sale matters to me, so I trust you not to pirate my work. In fact, I trust you so much that I'm allowing you access to your file 5 times, so that if you screw up the download the first time, you won't lose your book. I may be naive, and you may all steal from me, but I like the idea of readers and authors respecting each other, rather than eyeing each other with suspicion, so I'm going to chance it. :) If you all fleece me, and I can't pay for food, I'll change it. You're book lovers as much as I am though, so I know you'll support this. It would be cool if lots of authors did this, so let's make it easy for them to do so. What do you say?
  4. I look at the way publishers do things. The first people to the till are charged the most, then the price goes down. That seems odd to me. Aren't the first people to the till your best customers? Aren't the ones who rush to buy book the ones you want to celebrate? Again, I could be missing something here, but it seems to me that my need to recoup any expenses is less important than happy readers. If I'm wrong, I'll take the hit so that none of my aspiring writer friends have to. I'll keep you informed. Anyhow... I want to leave pricing this at its normal rate for a couple of weeks. About a week before the royal wedding - 20th of April - Palaces & Calluses goes up to its normal price. Until then, as a thank you for everything my wonderful Word Nerd Army chums have done for me over the years, I'm putting it up at an Early Word Nerd Bird Rate.
  • From 20th April, Palaces & Calluses will cost: £4.99
  • Early Word Nerd Bird Rate (until 20th) = £2.99
US Translation: The exchange rate changes all the time, of course, but the eventual price is around $
8.14, and the price until April 20th  is $4.87

I open the shopping cart tonight. Check back here then.

The next part of the journey, after that, is not in my hands. It's in yours, my friends. Once the book leaves me, how well it does is up to you. This is your part of the journey. If the book becomes a huge success, you'll have bragging rights. I know you well enough to know that, if my writing inspires you, you will spread the word. I'm very blessed to have friends like you. Thank you.

WOW! 200 Downloads in 2 Hours!!!

TIME'S UP! Putting the book to bed after its exciting day. It needs its strength for its big début on Wednesday. Well done if you grabbed the first three chapters for free. 

UPDATE: Rather than write another blog post, I'm hijacking this one. I'll leave the chapters up until 11pm, since I'm an hour late. Sorry chaps. Had to sort out international copyright stuff so that I could do this. Took a bit longer than I thought, so ... as a reward for your patience ... you get THREE WHOLE CHAPTERS! I've bundled chapters 1-3 together, and you can find them here. The password is wordnerdsrock (because you do).

Yesterday evening, I put up the first chapter of my book for two hours. More than 200 people downloaded it! You can see some of their comments if you look at the last post. Here are some from Twitter:

I need more...1 chapter isn't enough!!! - play4smee

Just read the chapter, so capturing! I need to know more :) can't wait to get the book now to read the rest. - RhiRhiB 

I'm hooked after reading Chapter 1 and I'm looking forward to reading the whole book. - BookishMagpie

I love it !!! cant wait for it to become available to buy... - Susielwcp 

I loved it! ...  I'm definitely interested in reading on to see what happens next! - reader1107

It's wonderful -- can't wait to read the rest! - melissamaday 

Many more missed the opportunity to grab it, and they've begged me to put it up again, so I am.

Today, my latest Word Nerd Monday post comes out on Groupon, and my Writing Magazine column goes out to subscribers. To celebrate, I'm giving away two things.

The first chapter will be up for the rest of today. It's just before 1pm GMT now. I'll leave it up until tonight. At around 8pm GMT I will put up Chapter 2. At 10pm, they're both coming down. Ready?

Chapter 1: The password is ... wordnerdarmy

Look forward to reading your comments.

Oodles of love,