Collaborating on a New Exciting Project

Elzevera of Willowtree Editing needed some extra help in managing her Mighty Network: Under the Willow

I joined the Mighty Network back in 2019 and Elzevera helped me with self editing, Ocean Heart.

It inspired me to want to create my own Mighty Network and I set this as a goal at the start of 2020.

I have been exploring creating a Mighty Network. It is a social site for creatives. I’m currently a member of a Mighty Network by Willow Editing. I have been Beta Testing a self-editing course by Elzevera of Willow Editing.

I am considering the network as a potential way to share extra bits with my readers. I am also exploring it as a space to share writing resources as many of my followers are fellow writers.

http://allyaldridge.com/writing-progress-january 2020/

But, I’d also decided to self publish Ocean Heart, and this was my priority and keeping me very busy. I didn’t have time to build my own Mighty Network. I ended up abandoning the goal to focus on my debut novel.

Early this year, I stepped back from my volunteer role with World Indie Warriors. I created their indie books brochure and eZine. Collecting all the info and publishing four times a year was taking over too much of my free time. When I started a new job, I didn’t have the energy to continue with both. It was hard to let go but I’m still very close with the members and support them however I can.

Now I’ve settled into my new role, I have more energy again. When I saw Elzevera call for help on Instagram, it sounded like a perfect new fresh challenge for me.

I applied to help, and we had a little chat about what she’d need me to do. From October, I shall be Elzevera’s new co-host. I’m excited to take on this new role.

Under the Willow is inline with my original Mighty Network goal. Elzevera’s created her network to empower writers to have the tools they need to self edit their work, and improve their writing craft in a supportive community.

If you want to join a supportive group of writers and improve your craft, please do come join us on Mighty Networks in Under the Willow

[kofi]

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Summer Reading Challenge

I really enjoyed the summer reading challenge by World Indie Warriors. And, I loved the review author J.D. Groom posted on Instagram for Ocean Heart.

I had read quite a few of the books in the challenge already so I created Instagram posts to share my review on the platform.

Agent Undone by Cassidy Reyne (romantic suspense)

Brave New Girl by Grace Herbst (YA Contemporary)

Crown of Conspiracy by Kara S. Weaver (epic fantasy)

Sorceress of Truth by J.D. Groom (contemporary fantasy)

Amelia’s Story by Nicola Hebron (fantasy romance)

Duet Rubato by Claerie Kavanaugh (LGBTQ romance)

Red Blood by Kaitlyn Legaspi (YA Fantasy)

I also wanted to read some new books for the challenge and read The Mirror Souls and Blind Date.

The Mirror Souls by Julia Scott

Blind Date by Debbie Ioanna

I finished the month still reading Fate of the Blue Moon by H.B. Lyne and A Choice of Essence by Katelyn Uhrich. Hopefully, I’ll have their reviews in a few weeks.

I’m pleased that I managed to post nine indie book reviews to Instagram for the Challenge.

But, I didn’t stop there. I created blog posts, Vero posts, Instagram Stories, TikToks & YouTube shorts. And, then shared them all to Pinterest.

Below are some affiliate links, you can learn more about these on my Affiliate Disclosure Page.

If you also enjoy supporting indie authors, check out my collection of Must Read Indie Books on bookshop.org:

[kofi]

Seven Secrets to PitMad Success

I met debuting author Roxy Eloise through Instagram. We connected during a very exciting time for her author career! Roxy has just landed a publishing deal following her first attempt at PitMad.

In the spirit of authors supporting authors, Roxy agreed to share her experience and some tips to help other hopeful writers find success with PitMad.

What is PitMad?

Well, before we get into things, I should probably cover what PitMad is. PitMad is an event held on Twitter by Pitch Wars. It enables unrepresented writers to pitch their novel in the hope of attracting interested agents/publishers. Those interested will like the tweet to signify a request for the manuscript. Read more about the event on the Pitch Wars website.

Roxy Eloise’s PitMad Success Story:

I joined Twitter in January 2021 with the hopes of connecting with fellow writers, but feeling like the new girl in school, I remained silent for the whole month! For some reason, I felt nervous to send out my very first tweet. Instead, I just watched my timeline, during which, I picked up a few key hashtags, #PitMad being one of them. I kept seeing it over and over again until one morning my curiosity got the better of me. What is this #PitMad? After a quick google search, I discovered I had been on PitchWars.org a few months prior, and I had already bookmarked the page to check out at a later date. Well, I stumbled upon it again, but this time it just so happened to be on the morning of their Twitter event called PitMad.

I only had a short while to prepare my pitch, and I was at a huge disadvantage because I hadn’t gotten myself on any retweet lists, but I decided to try my luck at it regardless and chalk it up as experience. My pitch could’ve been better and there are a few things I would have done differently but I never needed to. 

On the morning of March 4th, I started the day by reaching out to a few of my followers and asking them for help. After a few retweets, my pitch began to take off, and by the end of the day, I was on the ‘TOP’ page for the hashtag PitMad. The next day, I had a full request off Entrada Publishing, and then, after a few rounds of proving myself and my book, I got offered a traditional book contract. Thanks to PitMad, The Guidal: Discovering Puracordis will be coming April 2022!

Here is my original pitch which attracted the attention of my publishers:

Now after you read this article, you will notice its flaws, and this is what I would have done differently:

THE LAST AIRBENDER X DIVERGENT

A suspiciously paranoid man adopts children to protect him. All raised in a strict academy together, one trouble-maker discovers she is dangerously different. #PitMad #YA #D #MR #R

Roxy Eloise Revamped Pitch if she were to do it again

But with everything in life, we learn as we go. Isn’t it crazy how when we were newbie writers we believed our first drafts were outstanding? But then we grew as writers and now we cringe at our early drafts. If you still think your first draft is amazing, unfortunately you still have some growing to do. But one day you will see it, and when you are at that stage, you are ready to pitch your work.

Follow the seven secrets below, and you too could see yourself a PitMad success.

Seven Secrets to PitMad Success

7 Secrets to PitMad Success

1. Read the Rules

This point may be self-explanatory, but it’s surprising how many tweets I see before the start time or how many I see with GIFs. What’s the point of going through so much effort to create an awesome pitch only to risk your chances of success with an image? Don’t hinder your chances; read the rules carefully before participating.

One last thing to remember is to not like your friends’ pitches. The like button is reserved specially for agents and industry professionals. You can show your support by leaving comments or retweeting.

2. Create your Ultimate Pitch – CONFLICT IS KEY

So you’ve read the rules and now you’re ready to create your eye-catching tweet. Well, first off, what’s not eye-catching is a sentence with unfamiliar names which instantly make the agent feel lost. If you have a unique MC name, keep it for the full proposal. Refer to your character as a boy, a woman, a witch, a lawyer, a narcissist.

You only have 280 characters to entice your agent, so do just that… entice them. You don’t have to explain the plot of a 100K novel in 2 sentences. To entice them, focus entirely on the conflict. Any other elements can be revealed after you’ve reeled them in and they’ve asked for a full request.

Which one of these would you hit the like button for:

Saraiya walked the street at night when she was kidnapped by Kanhoa and put in an enclosure with other prisoners. She falls in love with Fenrir and they devise a plan to escape. (All names taken from actual pitches.)

VS. 

A man steps from the shadows and covers her mouth. When she wakes up naked and exposed, she immediately needs to fend for her life. She is not alone in this prison.

One focuses entirely on the conflict, whilst the other introduces stakes that I could take or leave. Escape is obviously the stakes. Life or death is another. It is not necessary to TELL the agent. You have already SHOWN it in the pitch.

One pitch also made me stumble over unfamiliar names. The agent will learn your unique names in the synopsis. This is also the time for them to learn about the added romance.

3. Use Hashtags and Comp Titles

Got a romance in your genre-blend sci-fi, adventure novel? Tell them with Hashtags. The agent may be very specific in what they are looking for. If they want sci-fi with a romance they can search #PitMad #SF #R and your tweet could suddenly appear on the ‘TOP’ page. Visibility—when you’re in amongst hundreds of thousands—is fundamental. Find which hashtags to use on their website.

Comparative titles can very quickly build a picture in an agent’s mind and it only takes a few characters. If I said to you HUNGER GAMES X HARRY POTTER, you suddenly think “okay, witches and wizards fighting it to the death in a sinister survival game.” You know there’s magic, and you also know there’s a survival of the fittest game. You got all that from just 27 characters. It’s a good use of your limited 280.

4. Have fun and Be Active

Being active can help tremendously on the day. If you support other authors, they are likely to support you back. Positivity can go a long way, so have fun and enjoy the day engaging with fellow writers.

You will also learn a thing or two by reading other pitches. You learn what to do and what not to do. If you find yourself saying “who cares?” after every stakes question, then don’t use a stakes question. “Who will win?” “Will they do it in time?” “Will they survive?” Who cares?

5. Pin your Pitch

So, you have the pitch of your life and your friends want to come and support you, but they go to your profile and are met with a list of other people’s tweets. Or worse, the agent liked your pitch but wanted to see your profile before they hit the like button, and now they are on your page and can’t find your pitch. What they do see though, are your fellow writers’tweets. Great for them but not great for you. You potentially lost an agent.

To solve this, simply pin your tweet so it stays at the top of your feed on your profile.

6. Make a Retweet List and Get on Retweet Lists

So this is not one-hundred-percent essential but it does help. Not only are you engaged, active, and having fun, you are receiving support on your own pitch.

Retweets may sway an agent to hit the like button if they think other people are interested. Sometimes they could be undecided and 200 retweets could be the one thing that persuades them.

7. The Flaw to THREE Variations

And finally, you come up with three variations of the same book, you send them out a few hours apart, and they all get 50 retweets each… Well, if you weren’t distributing your retweets between three pitches, you could’ve potentially had150 retweets on one post. Having 150 on one, looks better than 50 on three. And guaranteed they are 50 different accounts on each post.

Now, I know agents may not be biased and like pitches according to the amount of retweets they have, but I can also guarantee that if you go and look at a pitch with 500 retweets, it has at least one agent like on it. It’s all about making your pitch look popular and generating a bit of excitement about your story; after all, it is fabulous!

Why not let the retweets reflect that. Retweets also get you on the ‘TOP’ page for that hashtag, and this means even more exposure for you.

Thank you Roxy

I want to thank Roxy for taking her time to write this post for my blog, and I hope this helps another aspiring author to achieve their dream.

I also love that despite getting a deal on her first PitMad, Roxy is already reflecting on what she could do better. And, that is the key quality of successful people, to keep growing and improving. I’m sure this book deal is just the start of her author career and I can’t wait for her book to release and to see the other titles that follow on for this debuting author.

Make sure you follow Roxy Eloise to keep up with her journey and book news. Here are her links:

www.instagram.com/RoxyEloiseOfficial

www.Twitter.com/RoxyEloise_

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[kofi]

Behind the Book: Wilcroft Chronicles: The Waterfall Warrior by Owen B. Lewis

Thank you so much for agreeing to an interview about your debut fantasy novel.

Tell me about your beautiful book cover?

The beautiful artwork was illustrated by Yu-Hsuan Tseng who I happened to find online. I came across her wonderful art from a graphic design website and fell in love with the colours and imagery that she used. The style felt the right vibe for what I was imagining for The Waterfall Warrior. I got in touch with her and she was very happy to create my front cover. I was hugely honoured as it can be hard to find the right image for your work that captures what was originally in your mind, but not in this case. Yu-Hsuan Tseng listened to my ideas and with her talent and unique style she made the most perfect artwork I could ask for.

The Waterfall Warrior is book 1 in the Wilcroft Chronicles, how many books do you anticipate in the series?

I plan to do two more. When I came to write the first one I always had a trilogy in mind. It’s exciting because now the first book is out there, people can find out about this world and these characters I have created. I have lots of ideas for what’s to come. I know how it all ends, but there’s a lot of exciting things to happen before that. 

Can you introduce the main characters, Hannah and Callum:

Hannah Barrington is a twenty-five year old woman who works at a hotel. She roams Epping Forest whenever she is feeling depressed. It brings comfort to her as she has fond memories of staying there with her grandparents and siblings when she was little. One day she comes across a waterfall which seems out of place; she walks through and finds a portal that transports her to a different world called Therrhain. Hannah befriends a Warrior there called Fay. To get Hannah back they must go to Wilcroft University to meet a woman named Carol Wells, but first Hannah and Fay must unveil the secret of the ancient prophecy before Therrhain is destroyed.

Callum Barrington is Hannah’s youngest sibling. He’s currently a student at university in Manchester. He also deals with mental illness. There’s a young man named Elliott Heartwood that he can see through his mirror, and in the early chapters Callum isn’t quite sure if he’s real or if his mind is playing tricks on him.

Is the Epping Forest in your book based on the real Epping Forest? Why did you choose this location for your fantasy book?

Yes and no. It’s real in the sense that in the story Hannah is walking through the actual Epping Forest, but I have added things that aren’t there in real life, such as the house that her grandparents lived in. I chose this location because I needed a forest that was out in the middle of nowhere but also close enough you could travel there from London, and also because Hannah needed somewhere to go that gave off a childlike and magical atmosphere. 

The book includes your main characters facing mental health issues. Is mental health something that’s important to you?

Most definitely. Over the last few years I have been very open about myself having mental health problems. I also used to be a care worker before I became a writer, so I have worked with a lot of people who also have had mental health issues. I think it’s an important theme to put into stories, especially when it’s not the main plot device; the character just so happens to have these issues, but they also are shown to still live a life and have other qualities to them.

What advice do you have for anyone that may be struggling with similar issues to your main characters.

I’m not sure I am the right person to give advice, but I guess all I would suggest is to talk, and not be ashamed of the difficult emotions you are facing. From personal experience when I talked about it I felt better for it. 

Can you share a short snippet from The Waterfall Warrior?

Walking through the forest brought back so many memories. It seemed smaller than it had when I was a child. I remembered the time I had fallen over a branch, the one that was still sticking out menacingly between the trees. It had made me fall and cut my knee. I had cried for hours. I used to play there with Chloe, Laura and Callum. They were my only friends back then. It was a time in my life before I realised you could have friends that were not part of your family. We used to use sticks as swords and playfight with each other. We even made dens with blankets. There was a house there that looked as though it was about to collapse. It used to belong to my grandparents, Grumbles and Numbles I called them for some strange reason. Back then I used to think this forest was their garden. When I passed this area, I could almost smell the cooked dinner that my grandmother used to make. It had always tasted as good as it smelt. My mouth was watering. The memory cheered me up but not for long. I was now further into the forest. I wasn’t very familiar with this part. We were told to never cross this point when we were kids, or we would be in “very serious trouble”. It was hard to believe it now, as this part of the woods felt very innocent and peaceful compared with the rest. The ground was flatter, there were no stones to graze your knees if you fell, and no hills to climb and fall down. I came across the stump of a tree. It was right in the middle, all by itself. Lines of trees standing tall on either side of it, squashed together like sardines. I went and sat down on the stump. Without even a thought I broke down and cried for about ten minutes. I didn’t understand why I suddenly felt so upset. I was feeling low, but I didn’t think I was as bad as all that. Then something startled me. The strangest, but most beautiful sound. Someone was singing.

Where can readers connect with you and discover more about your books?

The best place to do that would be at my book launch. It’s being held at Bristol’s Waterstones on September 28th at 7pm. I will be talking about the book, and there will be readings by two actors who narrated the audiobook edition of The Waterfall Warrior, which is also out soon. I will be signing copies of the book. It’s a free event but you still need to claim a ticket by visiting Waterstones website and going to the event section.

https://www.waterstones.com/events/book-launch-with-owen-b-lewis-wilcroft-chronicles-the-waterfall-warrior/bristol-galleries

[kofi]

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Book Review: Dear Diary by Kevia Dauphiney

Dear Diary Book Review
Dear Diary Blurb

I met the author on IG and loved her posts. She’s very open and honest about being a writer & a mother. Her posts made me laugh out loud, more than once.

When she announced she was looking for ARC readers for her novel Dear Diary I was on board. It knew it was going to be brilliant and Kevia didn’t disappoint!

Setting

The book is set in today’s world. The MC lives in America with her husband and kids.

Main Character

The main character is an overwhelmed mother of four kids. She’s a strong Christian (or at least tries to be) and she home schools. The diary is her ramblings as she off loads all the drama placed on her shoulders.

Review

This story is an easy read. Many mother’s would be able to relate to the drama that unfolds in the diary entries. It felt like I was reading a real diary. The way it’s told made me laugh out loud.

I gave it 5 stars although I wished some diary entries had been shorter as my little ones interrupts me a lot. But, it’s easy to get into and I’d definitely recommend it.

This should be a staple gift at every baby shower to really prepare new mums of what to expect in an entertaining way.

[kofi]

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Reading Challenge: Blind Date by Debbie

About the challenge

The challenge was set by World Indie Warriors on Instagram. They created three #WIWBingo boards; YA, Romance, and Fantasy.

The aim is to read and review the books on Instagram and tag @worldindiewarriors

The goal is to get three in a line, and help indie books get seen.

I’m doing the challenge. I’ve already read some of the books on the board so I’ll be reposting them this month, and I’m hoping to read some new one too.

The Book Review

Here is my post of my old review for Blind Date by Debbie Ioanna. I shortened it for social media.

[kofi]

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World Indie Warriors Brochure

Below are some affiliate links. To learn more about these please visit my Affiliate Disclosure Page.

Reading Challenge: The Mirror Souls by Julia Scott

About the challenge

The challenge was set by World Indie Warriors on Instagram. They created three #WIWBingo boards; YA, Romance, and Fantasy.

The aim is to read and review the books on Instagram and tag @worldindiewarriors

The goal is to get three in a line, and help indie books get seen.

I’m doing the challenge. I’ve already read some of the books on the board so I’ll be reposting them this month, and I’m hoping to read some new one too.

The Book Review

Here is my post of my old review for The Mirror Souls by Julia Scott. I shortened it for social media.

[kofi]

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Reading Challenge: Red Blood by Kaitlyn Legaspi

About the challenge

The challenge was set by World Indie Warriors on Instagram. They created three #WIWBingo boards; YA, Romance, and Fantasy.

The aim is to read and review the books on Instagram and tag @worldindiewarriors

The goal is to get three in a line, and help indie books get seen.

I’m doing the challenge. I’ve already read some of the books on the board so I’ll be reposting them this month, and I’m hoping to read some new one too.

The Book Review

Here is my post of my old review for Red Blood by Kaitlyn Legaspi. I shortened it for social media.

[Kofi]

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Below are some affiliate links. To learn more about these please visit my Affiliate Disclosure Page.