Looking forward to Felixstowe Book Festival

My plan was to create a YouTube video reflecting on previous years of the festival. Instead our home was struck with chicken pox. First my youngest had it, then it was school holidays, and then my oldest had it. Having the kids home all the time, has impacted my time to do anything for myself.

It doesn’t matter. Nothing is going to stop me getting excited about this year’s Felixstowe Book Festival. It’s literally starts next Saturday!

Author Ally Aldridge at Felixstowe Book Festival

When I first attended Felixstowe Book Festival, I dreamt that one day it could be me as an author, Once I published Ocean Heart, I thought maybe my dream would come try but the pandemic struck. The Children’s program was cancelled.

This is the first year since then that they have had a children’s programme, and I’m part of it. More details on my Events page.

Let’s Talk Fantasy at Felixstowe Book Festival

My event is on Saturday, 17 June 2023 at 11:30am at Felixstowe Library. I will be joined by Imogen and Phoebe, and we’re going to be chatting Fantasy books.

It is a FREE event, but you need a ticket to attend. Get your ticket from their website https://felixstowebookfestival.co.uk

For now, I wish to encourage you to come join us, especially if you love YA fantasy books. You should also check out the program and see what else takes your fancy. There is so much to offer.

[kofi]

Here are some blog posts I did about previous years, that maybe one day, I’ll turn into a YouTube video…

https://allyaldridge.com/i-had-a-great-time-at-felixstowe-book-festival/

https://allyaldridge.com/felixstowe-book-festival-and-my-white-knight/

https://allyaldridge.com/felixstowe-book-festival-the-publishing-industry/

https://allyaldridge.com/felixstowe-book-festival-containment/

https://allyaldridge.com/felixstowe-book-festival-childrens-events/

https://allyaldridge.com/alwyn-hamilton-at-felixstowe-book-festival/

https://allyaldridge.com/making-books/

https://allyaldridge.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-childrens-picture-book-publishing/

This weekend is Herts Book Festival!

A lot goes into attending an event, and as this is my first appearance at a book festival, it was a little more work.

The HERTS BOOK FESTIVAL will be at Herts Castle. You can find me at my author stall from 10am to 3pm, although I will be popping off to be on the Fantasy Panel to chat about the baddies between 2pm and 2:50pm.

I have written a post on Ko-Fi covering some of the things I’ve done to prepare for the event. It’s worth a read if you are an author going to an event, or just interested in knowing more. https://ko-fi.com/post/This-weekend-is-Herts-Book-Fest-N4N5L40D9

Something I didn’t mention in the post was that I wanted to do book reviews on YouTube of some of the authors I know will be attending. This proved more challenging than I expected because I didn’t get much time in April to record anything!

Here are the book reviews for my author friends that I’m excited to be meeting up with this weekend at Herts Book Festival.

Roxy Eloise

If it wasn’t for Roxy, I probably wouldn’t be doing this event. I met her via Instagram when she was launching her debut novel Discovering Puracordis, the first book the The Guidal series.

She’s become a good friend ever since, and inspired me to get in-front of the camera and try YouTube again.

Here’s my review of her debut novel, and I recently finished book two Unearthing Secrets, so I need to find time to record a book tube of that.

April Grace

I originally met April on Wattpad, and posted on Instagram that I was going to YALC. She was going to so we met up. She encouraged me to query agents, and supported me when I decided to self publish.

April also is a BookTuber and encouraged me to try again. She’s been in my corner for a while now. I’m looking forward to her upcoming releases and sharing a stand with her at Herts Book Festival.

J D Groom

I love Jodie’s writing. I met her via Wattpad and my early days on Instagram. She got me involved in World Indie Warriors. Networking with indies opened my eyes to the possibilities of self publishing.

Jodie had shared her self publishing journey on Instagram and her website. I learnt a lot from her, and highly value her advice. As a result, we have used the same editor, Formatter, and cover designer. Without Jodie, I don’t know if I would have had the confidence to say yes to myself, and self publish.

Jodie currently has a free prequel available on her website for news letter subscribers. I wanted to do a BookTube review of this but didn’t have time. However, Jodie’s debut novel Sorceress of Truth was one of my first YouTube video reviews, and she participated in my YouTube livestream launch party when my debut novel launched during lockdown.

Cassidy Reyne

I met Cassidy through World Indie Warriors. She has the biggest heart, and makes everyone feel included and valued. She has shared a lot with me about her self publishing that has helped shape my journey.

I had the pleasure of meeting Jodie and Cassidy at the Milton Keynes book festival where we had a tour of the Ingram Sparks book printing factory. Cassidy was actively involved in helping me promote my debut novel, doing a proof read, writing a review, and taking part in live streams.

I ARC read her book AGENT:Undone but this is just one of the many books she has released.

Come join us

Come join us at Herts Book Festival. I’m looking forward to making more author friends and meeting lots of readers.

I will be signing copies of Ocean Heart, and I will have a leaflet with details on how to join my Sky Heart ARC.

If you like this, you will like:

[kofi]

What I did for World Book Day!

I delivered my first ever face-to-face author event for World Book Day. It was extra special because I got to attend the high school where my book Ocean Heart is set.

The Setting

Ocean Heart is set in Felixstowe. When I started writing the novel there were two high schools in the town. Deben High School and Orwell High School, both named after local rivers. The two schools had some rivalry and I didn’t want my book about that so I merged the schools together and made Felixstowe High School.

Little did I know that the council were going to do this. The old schools were knocked down and a new modern building erected.

I’ve never had the opportunity to visit the high school so it was really fun to see if it was anything like I imagined. The school was lovely, and very modern, and a lot bigger. I was very impressed.

The students

I met up with groups of five to six students from Key Stage 3. The plan was to introduce myself, and my book, and discuss what had inspired my writing.

I’m not great at public speaking, so I took a notebook with some conversation bullet points to boost my confidence and feel more prepared. I’m not sure what I’m scared will happen, other than making a fool of myself.

The students were very sweet and polite. Once I flipped the attention off myself and onto them, I was able to relax and the conversation flowed better.

We discussed my writing, debut novel, and reading. The students came up with some great questions for me, some that madrWhen we discussed their interests they even had some book recommendations for me.

The book recommendations

My notebook came in handy to write down the books the students recommended I read.

Reflection

I’m so thankful to Felixstowe High School for having me. I appreciated that Deputy Head, Darren M arranged for me to chat with a small groups rather than in-front of a large audience.

Darren also got me thinking about delivering some leisure learning courses for Creative Writing. I’ve been going over old books, notes from courses I’ve done, to explore the idea. Ifurther

I think the more I do, the easier it will get. As a natural introvert, I have to push myself outside my comfort zone but this is good for my professional development. Plus, afterwards I was buzzing that I did it.

Discover Ocean Heart

You can pick up Ocean Heart from all good book shops and online retailers, and borrow through your library or Overdrive.

Mermaids in Felixstowe Magazine!

Felixstowe Magazine recently reached out to me and asked if I’d be willing to do an interview with them about my book Ocean Heart.

We set on the title Mermaids in Felixstowe and I was set questions to answer. You can read the article using the link below.

https://www.thefelixstoweapp.com/blog/c/0/i/57284190/mermaids-felixstowe

More News

For a month where I didn’t have much planned, it is filling up fast. Here are the highlights I don’t want you to miss!

Sky Heart needs Beta Readers

If you’re interested in helping me out by Beta Reading Sky Heart, please check out my post asking for sign ups!

Ocean Heart is free for July

To celebrate Ocean Heart now being available on Smashwords it is in their Sale, making it free for July 2021.

Indie Summer Book Fayre (31 July to 1 Aug)?

I am one of the authors taking part in this event. You can see the full line up in my recent blog post!

[kofi]

Indie Author Summer Fayre

Indie Author Summer Fayre 2021

I’m excited to be one of the authors taking part in the Indie Author Summer Fayre 2021.

It’s a great opportunity to discover new books by UK Indie authors. Here is the summer fayre line up!

This event is happening over two days on Facebook. Join using the link below 🤩

Also, these seems like a good time to remind you that Ocean Heart is currently free on Smashwords for July 2021.

[kofi]

I had a great time at Felixstowe Book Festival…

I love Felixstowe Book Festival. It’s in my hometown making it convenient for me to attend. It’s reasonably priced so it doesn’t break the bank. And, it gets bigger ever year.

This year, I only bought tickets for the writing workshops delivered by Orwell Writers League. It consisted of three sessions, each cost leas than £5, and if you bought all three it was only £9.99!

With the pandemic I was a little worried it could be cancelled. Last year all events went virtual. The only disruption was a location change from Orwell Hotel (the usual venue) to Harvest House (a new venue).

I’ve lived in Felixstowe almost all my life and never been inside Harvest House. Usually it’s not open to the public. They are looking to diversify their income and now offering it up for hire for Weddings. And, Book Festivals 😍.

The Workshops

Language & Voice

This workshop had us exploring the 5 senses and developing a word bank for the theme “Shoreline.”

We were given a postcard and challenged to write a short story about the setting using the five senses. Half the room was asked to focus on “natural” senses. The other half focused on “man made” senses.

I wrote this piece, focusing on man made senses:

Body language

This workshop had us thinking about how actions can speak as loudly as words. We thought about facial expressions, and then worked our way through the body listing different actions and gestures.

We then imagined a couple on an open top bus and had to come up with three scenes they see – I think that’s what we were meant to do as I did something different. I did not do what I was supposed to 🤦‍♀️.

We were then challenged to write some dialogue between at least two people, and encouraged to use senses and actions to give the scene more meaning.

I wrote this scene based on the setting, “stuck in a hot car looking for a parking space”.

Free writing

The afternoon session was an opportunity to do some free writing. They recapped on all the things we’d covered in the morning.

I decided to use this opportunity to work on an untiled prequel to Ocean Heart (my debut novel). I decided not to read this out allowed:

Reflection

I didn’t learn anything new from the workshop but I didn’t expect to. I find workshops like this valuable as they remind us about the basics needed to write effective fiction. Think of it as refresher training.

Whilst creating my word bank, I realised it would be a useful tool to combat Writers Block and will be adding it to my arsenal. I also find writing settings challenging, the word bank was a great way to create a personal thesaurus of descriptions to use.

I love Felixstowe Book Festival and would go again. I also enjoyed networking with other writers and met two other upcoming authors. It was great to see my favourite local bookshop there with a stall, and to have a good chat with the manager of Stillwater Books.

I wish I’d taken a copy of Ocean Heart with me so I could have taken selfies with my book at such a beautiful location. I did get to hand out my new bookish business card to interested people, and ran out! I learnt from a marketing perspective to be more prepared and utilise every opportunity.

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Felixstowe Book Festival- How to connect with local writers

Independent Bookshop Week

We went live for Indie Author Week UK

Felixstowe Book Festival (previous years)

[kofi]

Happy Indie Bookshop Week!

From Saturday, 19 June to Saturday, 26 June, it’s Indie Bookshop Week.

This event has been running since 2006 by Books Are My Bag. They also run other bookish events to support Indie Bookshops like the BAMB Awards and Indie Bookshop Day in October.

Shoutout to my local Indie Bookshop

Stillwater Books is my local bookshop in Felixstowe.

It’s been a tough year for high street shops due to the pandemic. Many spent months closed as they weren’t deemed essential. I know, who said books aren’t essential?

Ocean Heart released on 1 Dec and the country was in lockdown. The book signing event I’d always dreamed of was looking bleak. Boris said no!

I reached out to Stillwater Books with my proposed idea, a work around solution for a book signing during lockdown. I literally happy danced when they said yes.

I promptly got to work on promoting the event. The manager was patient with me as I figured out details, how to order books, write an invoice, and all the other brand new tasks I was doing for the first time.

I signed the ordered books and brought them into the shop. I made a little video for YouTube. Customers who had preordered, then either collected from the store or arranged for local delivery.

I certainly hadn’t imagined a non-contact book signing before, but Stillwater Books worked with me to make it happen. I will always be thankful to them for helping make my dream come true.

Shop Local

It’s really important to shop at your local independent bookshop. In doing so, you are supporting your high street, local jobs, a small business, and treating yourself to a new read.

That’s why I love being an affiliate with Bookshop.org. Redfae Bookshop.org is my affiliate store giving recommendations on books you should buy. It connects you with a local independent bookshop for your purchase. In return you support them with your custom and I get a small commission.

If you enjoyed this, you will like:

My Affiliate Disclosure page

What’s a UBL & why your book needs one

Ocean Heart releases tomorrow

Now you can preorder Ocean Heart

[kofi]

It’s Indie Author Week UK

I’m really excited to be involved in this event, especially as so many incredible indie authors are taking part. This year, I’m one of those authors.

What am I doing?

I am streaming live to my YouTube channel. Join me on Tues, 15 June at 8pm (GMT+1), where I will be joined by these awesome Indie Authors to chat about why we love being Indie.

The line up includes:

💛 Romantic Suspense author Cassidy Reyne: https://www.cassidyreyne.com/

💛 Worldbuilding & World Destroying author Angeline Trevena: https://angelinetrevena.co.uk/

💛 Contemporary Fantasy author J D Groom (Jodie): https://jodiegroom.wordpress.com/

💛 And, of course myself, Ally Aldridge: http://allyaldridge.com/

It’s live, so you can join in by asking questions or sharing your thoughts. We can’t wait to see you there.

How to make sure you don’t miss out!

Here’s the link. Make sure you hit that notification bell so you know when we go live: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TG1203XOADs

You may also want to add the FB event to your calendar so your don’t forget: fb://event/?id=1401390906894506

Indie Author Week UK

To find out more about Indie Author Week UK, please visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/IndieAuthorWeekUK/

They have a ton of incredible events going on. If you can’t make a live, look out for the replay.

[kofi]

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Next Month is Felixstowe Book Festival

Coming Soon: Felixstowe Book Festival

I love that Felixstowe Book Festival is on my doorstep. They offer a range of events, talks, and workshops. It’s also very affordable. For example, this year, you can attend a full day writing workshop for only £9.99!

To find out more about the various events and to buy tickets head over to the Felixstowe Book Festival website.

You may have already guessed or seen on Instagram, I’ve bought tickets for this years full day writing workshop for the bargain price of £9.99! It is being help in a stunning historic building, the sort that can inspire stories.

I haven’t attended every year, or blogged about every event I have attended. Below are links to my posts about some of the talks or workshops I did attend.

2019 FBF and My White Knight

2019 FBF and How to connect with local writers

2019 FBF and The Publishing Industry

2019 FBF and Containment

2019 FBF and Children’s Events

2018 FBF and Arts & Crafts with Arty Mouse

2018 FBF and Who Runs the World (YA author lunch)

2018 FBF and Learning Through Art

2017 FBF and Alwyn Hamilton – Rebel of the Sands

2017 FBF and All About Picture Book Publishing

[kofi]

Why I love YALC

If you are a fan of YA Literature then you need to check out this book festival. It runs annually in London during the last weekend of July and the book deals are so good you’ll travel home like a pack donkey.

The book deals!

It’s easy to get carried away so here are some tips to help you curb your inner book dragon:

Here is what I bought:

The deal was three for £10 and a free Epic Reads tote. Because I chose a two hardbacks it bumped up to £12 which is still incredible value and I got the last tote!

The book nerd in me is looking forward to my showing off my new bag at my next library visit. I’m going to look epic!

These books from Bloomsbury were three for £10. They’ve been on my wish list for ages as I’ve seen people recommend them on IG. I’ve been warned they are steamy!

It was a total accident that all the books are by authors named Sarah. Did you notice? Do you like any books by a Sarah?

Author Panels

There is something amazing about meeting the mind behind a novel. Lots of the stalls are hosted by authors themselves and are happy to sign a copy of their book if you own a copy. In addition, the festival has panels and talks where the authors talk about their novels.

In addition, there are scheduled events where groups of authors chat to a live audience. Their is often someone asking questions and the talk is on a set subject.

Workshops by Industry experts

Experts from the industry deliver workshops during the festival. These are often run by authors, Literary Agents, Editors or publishers but the list is endless.

I attended a workshop in the Agent Arena by Zoe Plant talking about editing. Editing is one of the aspects that I find incredibly difficult with writing a novel as it is a massive task and I am not confident in my abilities. She had great advice on what to expect but not only was the talk really informative, it was also an opportunity to get to know Zoe too. I had not seen her before and she is truly lovely.

I also attended the Author & Agent talk between Literary Agent Chloe Seager and her non-fiction author Laura Coryton. Laura is a campaigner against Tampon Tax. I had heard about this before and think I signed the petition ages ago. It turns out that Chloe also signed the petition and decided that this would be a great subject for a non-fiction book to empower young adults. Chloe approached Laura to propose the idea and Speak Up! was born. It was fascinating to see how the non-fiction industry works in comparison to fiction novels. It was also extremely valuable to hear about Chloe as an agent as she has been a favourite of mine for a long time now.

Pitch to agents

If you are an author with a completed novel, looking for representation, then this is an awesome event to attend. Here, you get an opportunity to spend five minutes with a potential Literary Agent to sell them your novel. It’s an opportunity to be seen above the slush pile.

It’s not guaranteed that they will be interested. I pitched two years ago and wasn’t confident in myself. We ended up chatting about identifying my books place in the market but I did gain a little bit of experience in pitching, mainly what not to do.

This time, I felt more prepared (although still incredibly nervous) and I pitched to two agents who both asked me to send it to them. I also had a writer friend encouraging me to do it which really helped.

Fellow readers and writers

That leads me on to my next point. The festival is full of fellow readers as you would expect but a lot of readers are also writers. This year, I got to meet one of my online writer friends at YALC. She was so lovely we spent the day together.

Win competitions

The festival is full of competitions eager to get you to sign up and raise awareness. @hellomeitsyou tweeted to say I was their Sunday winner. I had already left so sent them my address so I can receive my prize. When I receive it, I’ll post a pic to IG.

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Felixstowe Book Festival – The Publishing Industry

#PitMad June 2019 Summary

How I edited my novel – 12 tips for self editing