Word Nerd Mondays - Inspiration for Writers

Groupon asked me to write a Word Nerd Monday series for writers. What fun!

The first one went out last week. It was about Writing Retreats for Word Nerds. Today, the next in the series went up: Watering Holes for Word Nerds.

Where do you write? If your passion is reading, rather than writing, is there a special place that you read? Would you consider taking a reading holiday? The more I think about it, the more I think it might be quite delicious to disappear from the world with nothing but a suitcase full of books. What do you think?  Let me know in the comments section. Please share my new blog with your friends too.

Very best wishes,

It Takes a Village to Raise a Book

Welcome to my new site. I'm now an author, a columnist for a national magazine, and a professional blogger. T'was not always so. Here's the story:

Back in 2008 - health in tatters, battered by the economy, and on the verge of losing all income - I looked at the first draft of the manuscript for Palaces & Calluses and sighed. How would I get it into the world, and would the food budget last long enough for me to survive until I did so? I yearned for the lofty heights of the coffee-shop poverty of J K Rowling, as I struggled to afford tea bags or food.

Struggling Writer

We'd just moved to a new - rented - house. Well ... new to us. It's a very old, Cotswold stone cottage looking out over fields. It had no carpets or curtains but, in time, it had broadband. I fired up the laptop I'd bought in easier times, and saw a writer blogging about writing. She wrote for a magazine and was blogging about the publishing process. I noticed a 'blogspot.com' after her name. When I googled, 'blogspot', Blogger appeared, along with information about setting up a free blog. Free. Sounded good. I typed in my details, decided to call my blog From Brain to Bookshelf, and began to plot the story of my journey, navigating the choppy waters of the publishing world. Many of the people I first met in those early days are dear friends now.

After a while, I set up a Twitter account and - long story, short - I'm now one of the most influential women on Twitter in the world. Through the people I met online, who supported my progress (the Word Nerd Army), agents and publishers began to notice me. 

By that time I'd had a bit of a moment, from which I haven't yet recovered. My husband, in his usual down-to-earth way, looked across at me when I was prattling about how important the publishing industry was one day, and said: 'they are a distribution network'. Somehow, that one line sobered me up. I sat down and de-constructed what agents and publishers do. It was an eye-opener. Then I made a mental list of all the parts of that process where I was weak. I decided, that day, that I'd learn those thing and go my own way. 

Learning Curve

The next year was spent learning all I could about the business of books, and the business of business. Obviously, being a Dot Com Pioneer back in the 90s and beyond, I understood business, but I'd gone straight to Director from a standing start so, clearly, there were areas I'd missed. For a while, I lived on EST instead of GMT because that's when all the best training calls happened. 

My husband was made redundant, we ran out of money for heat (or even much food), but he believed in my writing. He let me take money from the heating and food budgets for internet access, so I could build my readership. After over twenty bouts of hypothermia, over five stones (70 pounds) of weight lost between us, and a resilient determination to focus on what could be achieved through online networks, I reached a point where - with over 12,000 followers on Twitter, and many thousands more elsewhere (and over six and a half million in my network) - I don't actually need agents or publishers

I have been blessed with the most supportive, dynamic, and determined followers online: The Word Nerd Army. Over the last two years, they have done everything they can to help me bring this book to you. They even paid my heating bills on a couple of occasions. Any success I have with this book is also their success.

If you buy my book, thank you. Please tell your friends. I've not taken steps to curb piracy, because I trust you. If you can afford to buy it, you will, and if you feel moved by it or find it funny I'm sure you'll tell your friends, or buy them a copy.

What Success Means to Me

The bit of the story I missed out is that I'm a coma survivor. 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. 

I have no way of knowing whether I will be deemed a success as a novelist by anyone else, that's in your hands. If I don't do well, it certainly won't be for a lack of trying. As far as I'm concerned, I'm living my dream. Anything that happens now is a bonus. 

Very best wishes,

P.S. Here's the book I did all this for. Hope you enjoy it. xxx