Your Success Stories: Wendy H. Jones

About:

I was born and brought up in Dundee, Scotland, which has a huge literary tradition. In fact, the first lending library in Scotland was established in 1680 and you can still visit the library to this day. Books, reading and libraries were a part of my life from an early age and I first joined the library at the age of three. An early reader, I read voraciously, and cut my reading teeth on all the Enid Blyton Books, especially the Famous Five and Secret Seven. I also read Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys; I am sure you can see a pattern forming here. By the age of 10, I was on to adult books and read my way through all the classics and started on Agatha Christy books. P.G. Wodehouse was also a favourite. All of these shaped not only my life, but my future life as a writer. I wrote stories from an early age, writing fan fiction as a child, long before fan fiction was a thing.

Setting ambitions for a literary career aside, I joined the Royal Navy as a nurse and subsequently, the Army as a nursing officer. I left with the rank of Major, a rank I hold to this day. My last job in the military was as Head of Pre-Registration Nurse Training and I moved into Academia on leaving the services. Throughout my life, wherever I was posted in the world, I wrote down my experiences and kept a record of what I was doing. Writing is as natural to me as breathing and I cannot remember a time without it.

Contact:

Website: https://www.wendyhjones.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wendyhjonesauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WendyHJones

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wendyhjones/

Your writing journey:

I started my writing journey with an idea and a challenge to do NaNoWriMo, as I explained above. At this point, I didn’t even know if I would get, or even want to get, the book published. I just knew that I had to write the book, mainly to see if I could do it. To backtrack just a little, I already had experience writing for Academic journals and textbooks, from my time as an academic, but this was my first foray into writing a full length novel. I knew that writing Novels was a totally different experience. Whilst I did not have much time to prepare for NaNoWriMo, I did spend that time voraciously reading books on writing. Two which I can highly recommend are Solutions for Writers by Sol Stein and Save the Cat Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody.

I am a pantster when it comes to writing. I do have a rough idea of where the book is going but I let the characters shape the story. This has worked for me but other writers may prefer to plot the book out. I find if I plot too much my writing becomes more stilted and less enjoyable. The book I wrote during this time was Killer’s Countdown, my first Detective Inspector Shona McKenzie Mystery. Once I had written the first draft, I wrote and rewrote it and then had it professionally edited. I did send it out to some publishers who rejected it. One publisher was interested but said it would be a couple of years before it would be released. I therefore decided to Independently publish it. I did this professionally, hiring both editors and a cover designer. However, from the minute I wrote the first word I was promoting the book, talking about how the writing was going, what the characters were doing etc. I was building up a buzz and an author platform. This is key to success as no one can buy your book if they do not know about it.

I brought out the next books in the series, extremely quickly, so had four books published in less than two years. Each book sold extremely well both as paperback and as eBooks. However, I was using social media marketing, doing in person author events, speaking engagements and anything else I could think of to get the word out about my books. Writing and publishing books should, in fact must, go alongside writing and publishing. I also entered awards and Killer’s Crew won the Books Go Social Book of the Year, an exciting time for an author. It was also confirmation that I was following the right path.

The books were so successful, hitting number one in several Amazon categories and in the top 1000 overall in Amazon, that I was approached by a publisher who asked if I would be interested in writing young adult mysteries. I pitched an idea to them and signed a three book contract and the Fergus and Flora Mysteries were born. The first one, The Dagger’s Curse, was a finalist in the Woman Alive Magazine Book of the Year. I was now writing for adults and children, so diversifying my portfolio helped enormously. I followed this up by independently publishing the first in a new series, Cass Claymore Investigates, a humorous mystery. The first book, Antiques and Alibis, has been widely applauded, with readers saying it is a Scottish Stephanie Plum. As this was the vibe I was going for, I was glad that readers picked up on it and were enjoying it as much as the Plum series.

When I was asked to diversify further by writing a children’s picture book, I welcomed the challenge. I approached several publishers and signed a contract with Sarah Grace Publishing, an imprint of Malcolm Down Publishing for Bertie the Buffalo. This has been so successful that there is now a colouring book and a soft toy to go alongside the book and I have signed a contract for a second book in the series.

Diversification and being a hybrid (both traditionally and independently published) author has worked for me. I find people buy all my books as they can give them as gifts. I now have 17 books out, plus several more where I have short stories published in anthologies. I will have more out in the next 6 months. I believe my willingness to pivot and make changes has led to my success. Also, networking and communication with both other writers and, most importantly readers. Being an author and selling books is about relationship and building those relationships is key.


Anything else you feel like sharing:


In addition to being a published author I am also a writing and marketing coach, President of the Scottish Association of Writers, and host The Writing and Marketing Show podcast. I want to support other writers through their journey, and have written two books for writers, Motivation Matters and Marketing Matters. One of the key tenets of my journey is to support others where possible, helping to get her word out about them and their books. We are not in competition, readers will buy the books they like from authors they like. Readers will always be willing to read more books, so help each other out.

My key takeaways from this are: be nice, treat others well, write more books, act professionally and market like a ninja.

You can find out more about me and my books via the links below:

Website: https://www.wendyhjones.com/store/

First in Series:

Killer’s Countdown: https://books2read.com/u/3LpR2w

Antiques and Alibis: https://books2read.com/u/4EMNyM

The Dagger’s Curse: https://books2read.com/u/4Xa5Ne

Bertie the Buffalo: http://mybook.to/BertieBuffalo

Marketing Matters: https://books2read.com/u/49MOPW

Motivation Matters: https://books2read.com/u/mBQ6Qp

Literary Agents Part 1. How to Choose Them

There are hundreds of literary agencies. And thousands of literary agents. One of them can be the champion of your work. They will secure the best deals for you, guide you through the marketing process, and support you and your work until your book finds a solid place on as many bookshelves as possible. But the majority of the agents are not the right ones for you. Not because you were a bad writer. But the agents specify a lot and the literature world is very rich. You need to send your queries to people who actually work with books similar to yours. Especially if you write in a marginal genre. How do you choose whom to approach in the first place?

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Your Success Stories: Sabine Garvey Campbell

About:

I began my writing career as a Poet. In 2003, my verses were first featured in “Stories of Life – The International Library of Poetry” and “The Best Poems and Poets of 2003.” In 2017, a collection of my poems was then published in an anthology titled “The Four Charms: Faith, Hope, Love, Luck.”

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Your Success Stories: Tiny Sparks

About:

Tiny Sparks is the nom the plume of an author of erotic and romantic short stories.

She was raised and born in England but moved to Germany where she met her other half. Her husband and their special relationship are the inspiration for her erotic short stories. 

The first two short stories have been raved about as ‘Fast and hot action. Can’t wait to read more’ and ‘Steamy read!’.

The stories offer sexy fantasies with a personal knowledge of the BDSM world. She is active on Twitter and is happy to share her knowledge on there and her website.

She has an arsenal of other like-minded stories ready for release in the near future.

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Your Success Stories: David King

About:

I have always thought it was important for everyone to have their type of art. And “art” in the all-inclusive sense: cosplay, video games, dance, painting, whatever works for you. I seem to do reasonably well with words. I prefer writing in speculative fiction because, at the beginning of a project, you have all the freedom to create your world and your rules, but then you have created enough structure that you have to follow your own rules.

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Your Success Stories: E.B. Roshan

About:

Hello! I’m E.B. Roshan and I’m excited to share a little bit about myself and my writing with you today. In addition to being an author, I’m wife to an exceptional man and mother to two sons. After spending several years living in the Middle East and Asia, our family has settled in Missouri, where we serve the local refugee community. It has the dubious distinction of being the flattest place I’ve ever lived. In my free time, I enjoy working on my ongoing romantic suspense series, Shards of Sevia.

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30-Day Book Marketing Plan

If you’re an independent (indie) author, like me, you’re either selling a lot of books right now or searching for ways to do so. Most of us are probably doing the latter. That was… is me. I have read every blog, watched every YouTube video, joined every author Facebook group, and purchased every book on the subject. OK, maybe not every one, but I can honestly say I’ve done a lot.


The problem with researching multiple sources is that you never get all the information in one nice little package. Every resource has a different viewpoint and approach. Today you might read a blog that says selling exclusively through KDP is key. Tomorrow a Facebook post might tell you the complete opposite. Who is right? Nobody is. They’re all wrong. But at the same time, they’re all correct.


Every book has its own story- not just the words written within but also how it became a success- or a failure. You can’t look at the success of one book and apply its marketing strategy to another. Like the story within, the author must write the book’s success story in its unique way. Some people say they owe their success to a well written Amazon ad. Others say it was attending conventions. Still others say a free giveaway put their sales through the roof. Every story is different.


Of all the variations of marketing, there is one technique that seems to be consistent throughout. Be persistent. Don’t give up.


To choose the right marketing path, you have to become familiar with all the possibilities or, at the very least, know they exist. Then you can select the one you feel fits your book the best. That is why I created the 30-Day Book Marketing Checklist. For just one low payment of- no, no, this is not an ad for a product I’m selling. It’s a free outline of all the ways I have found to market a book. When you have many sources of information, it becomes difficult to keep them all organized in your head. You begin to forget where you found those gold nuggets last week or last month. And the internet is packed full of gold nuggets, but it also has a lot of fools gold. You’re going to need a big shovel to get through it all. Which is the very thing my checklist is- a big shovel that helps you dig through the sludge.


Marketing is a chain reaction. It starts with you and gets handed off to others like dominoes falling in a line. First, you have to get out there and show your face. Become that familiar figure people know and trust. Then those people pass that trust to those who know and trust them. After a while, everybody else is doing a lot of your marketing work for you.


Marketing is multi-targeting. People need to hear about you multiple times in multiple ways. If someone hears a friend mention your book, then they see it on a Facebook ad, then see it in their email, and then they will want to buy it. Three time’s a charm.


Marketing is a continuous effort. You have to keep it going continuously. You can’t just put an ad out for a week and stop. People need to see it more than once.


Go through the plan. Do as much of it as you can as often as you can. Marketing works. Now go and sell your book(s).


And buy mine!


Article and graphic by Jeffrey David Montanye

Your Success Stories: Elizabeth N. Harris

About:

I live in Chesterfield in the UK, and have four boys, one girl, and a granddaughter born this April! My children range from 22 to 12. I have seven cats as well! I’m in my mid-forties (not telling my age!) and I am disabled, I have a condition which means I’m reliant on a wheelchair. I love to crochet, knit and also make quilts. I was born in Essex and lived there until I was 28 when I fled to the country! I loathe the city, and my ideal is sitting in a cabin writing surrounded by trees with a view of a lake and mountains!

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