21 July, 2014

Publication of The Art of Letting Go

The day has come! I am delighted to announce the publication of my debut novel, The Art of Letting Go with Thistle Publishing. As I have already posted about the novel itself (click here to find out what it's about), I won't do so again. I will merely say that you can buy the book in paperback here and as an e-book here.

If you are of a suspicious or curious nature and would like to try-before-you-buy you can now read an extract from the opening to the novel on one of my favourite blogs, The Urban Cottage. Just click here.

Over the last months I have been very blessed by the encouragement and support of my friends and blog followers and many people have asked how they can help get my career off the ground, so here are a few ways to start with;
  • buy my book to read yourself or as a gift for friends!
  • if you like The Art of Letting Go please give it a good review on Amazon (and GoodReads if you have an account there)
  • if you weren't so keen, please pass it on to somebody who you think it might suit better
  • sign up to the mailing list on my website (you will receive e-mails - no more than once a month - with short updates on this novel and any future projects)
  • spread the news about The Art of Letting Go on social media
Thank-you so much for your support and I really hope you enjoy my novel.

15 July, 2014

Cover Reveal

I am excited to be able to tell you that my debut novel The Art of Letting Go is going to be published on Monday (21st July)! As part of the fun surrounding that nerve-wracking event, I am now proud to be able to reveal the cover.

Here it is:

Do you like it? The aim was to go for something simple, perhaps stark. The novel is set almost entirely on a beach but it's not a "summer read" in the usual sense, so I didn't want it to be all ice-creams and tanned legs. The original design was a great concept, but I felt it lacked a certain little detail to make it unique. I was particularly keen for a kite to feature as that is a small but significant feature of the story.

I got my husband to knock-up a quick draft based on the original just to show my agent what I meant when I gave my feedback, and David liked it so much, Paul (the husband) ended up doing the final design in the end. This was great for me as I got to see every detail of spacing and font etc. We did go for something a bit fancier and bolder in the intermediate stage but  reverted to this simple design as it reflects the feel and tone of the book more. I love the feeling of the sand stretching away - of uncertainty about what lies beyond the horizon.

I hope it has inspired you to give my novel a go. Much more on where and when you get hold of it to come in a couple of days. Until then, if you don't know what it's about yet, then please check it out!

11 July, 2014

Quotable Friday (34)

I have recently rediscovered a charming book I bought for my husband just before our wedding. Don'ts For Husbands by Blanche Ebbutt is a genuine 1913 handbook for men, helping them to understand how to be a good husband. It's brilliant. (And yes, there is a Don't For Wives as well!) Over the next few weeks I thought I'd share some sage advice for the gentleman out there who are married, or who wish to be...

It seems apt to start with a piece of advice about reading:

Don't say your wife wastes time in reading, even if she reads only fiction. Help her to choose good fiction, and let her forget her little worries for an hour occasionally in reading of the lives of others. But, above all things, don't put on the schoolmaster air. She'll never stand that. Rather let her pick her reading for herself.

And about talking:

Don't "talk down" to your wife. She has as much intelligence as your colleague at the office; she lacks only opportunity. Talk to her (explaining where necessary) of anything you would talk of to a man, and you will be surprised to find how she expands.

Some of the advice is charmingly old-fashioned but some is timeless and really quite lovely. Last one for now:

Don't forget to be your wife's best friend as well as her husband. True friendship in marriage does away with all sorts of trouble.

If any of the gentlemen (or indeed ladies) have any thoughts on these bits of advice perhaps you could let me know (explaining where necessary) below!

09 July, 2014

Earning a Living

There is an interesting article on The Guardian website today about a survey done by the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Service on how much writers are getting paid. Not a lot seems to be the answer. Only 11.5% of professional authors (people who spend the majority of their working lives writing), don't have to have a second job in order to get by. In 2005 the figure was 40%. The median income for these professionals is £11000 - about 2/3 of the income considered to provide a minimum standard of living in the UK.

The article is full of interviews with authors about how they don't earn as much in royalties as they used to, or how they can only get by because they have a backlist spanning decades. Many, perhaps most authors now don't earn out their advance - if they get an advance at all.

I'm not disputing the facts and figures. I'm not even disputing that it's an important issue - I wouldn't want to live in a world where only the rich could afford to write professionally. Apparently there was a debate at the House of Commons yesterday called "Are We All on The Same Page?: Can a Fair Deal for Writers be Balanced With a Fair Deal for All?", and I'll be interested to know how that panned out. My issue is that we are in danger of seeing the glass as three-quarters empty. I've read so much about how it's a terrible time to be a writer, and I know from my own experience how difficult it is for a debut author to find a publishing house willing to invest in them. But it's not all bad. Aren't we doing something we love? Millions of people do jobs they don't want to do every day just to pay the bills. If writers have to do the same as well as do something they love and enjoy, then we are one step better off. (I would also point out that most writers I know would be glad to earn £11000 in a year from their writing!)

I'm a bit sick of reading about how awful everything is and how self-publishing/major publishing houses/the reading public/Amazon/EL James are making life terrible for writers and how the multimillion pound/dollar publishing contracts give the public unrealistic expectations of how rich writers are. So how about we talk about why it's a great time to be a writer? I'll start... It's great to be a writer now because there are an increasing number of ways for people to discover our books and stories. It's great to be a writer because - whether we do it full time or at the weekend - we can find new, exciting ways to express ourselves and tell the stories that are only ours to tell.

I think that even if the glass is half-empty, it is also half-full (can't argue with maths!) Help me out here - as a writer or reader, what are the positives of writing and reading today?

26 June, 2014

Mariah vs. Chloe - an update

A few months ago I asked for your advice on whether I should change the title of my upcoming novel, The Art of Letting Go. My problem was that it was the same title as global superstar singer Mariah Carey was using for her forthcoming and much anticipated album. No doubt Mariah was also writing angsty blog posts along a similar theme. (Ok, maybe a little doubt...)

Well, I'm pleased to say that I have won the artistic stand-off. As so many of you advised, I did not change my title and I have just discovered that Mariah Carey has backed-down in the face of an unknown debut author. She may still have a song called The Art of Letting Go, but her album is now called Me. I Am Mariah... The Elusive Chanteuse. My friend Sebastian has suggested I change my novel title to something along the lines of Me. I Am Chloe... The Elusive Authoress. What do you think?