2023 Second Quarter Check In

You can see the initial goals I set for 2023 by checking out my January post: https://allyaldridge.com/2023-goals/

I love doing these posts. I always feel like I’ve not done much, then I look back at the last three months and realise I have a lot to celebrate.

Publishing

Sky Heart: Book 2 in the Soul Heart Series

My editor had a health emergency that delayed her being able to return the Copy Edit. She is a Trooper, and once she was better and rested she still did it. She returned it on 4 June 2023.

I had an important event to prepare for in June, so didn’t really deep dive into my final edits until the end of the month, finishing it by 1 July 2023.

So, this technically falls into the Third Quatre of the year but I’m too excited to keep it to myself. Once I finished editing, I sent my manuscript to my Formatter to make it pretty. I then realised she needs front & back matter too, so I wrote this and sent it over by 3 July.

Due to the editing delays, I lost my Formatting slot but will get slotted in soon. Once back I’ll be able to look for ARC readers.

Seeing my publishing plan, I noticed I missed a step. Now trying to see if I Cassidy has time to proofread for me, because she’s got a good eye. When she ARC read Ocean Heart, she spotted some minor typos that got missed despite all the edits, and I was able to change those before it went on sale to the public. Fingers crossed she can help me again.

Summer Heart: Prequel of Soul Heart series

I added a little more. It’s not going to be 85k. I’ve no idea why I set that as the word count target! It’s currently at 36.5k words, and some of that is notes. It is nearing the end of the story, so it’s not going to get much longer.

  • A YA Low Fantasy prequel from The Soul Heart series. Set in the early 00s, a summer romance turns into a teen pregnancy. With a fortune telling meddling witch, Denny moves to Felixstowe believing she’s doing the right thing for her baby.

Dark Heart: Another Soul Heart spin off/sequel

I’ve had this story bubbling in my head for a few years. I tried to write it before but got too scared. This time it felt less scary, and the words poured out of me. This story is at 21k words and almost finished. It will be another novella.

  • A YA LGBTQ Fantasy spin off from The Soul Heart series. It was supposed to be a horror inspired by slender man myths and Orochimaru from Naruto, but it’s turned into a coming out story, and not as dark as I expected. It’s been fun to write.

Public Appearances: I attended both my author events.

May: Herts Book Festival

This was so much fun. I sold books. I took part on a Fantasy panel with other fantasy authors, and I met and made author friends.

June: Felixstowe Book Festival.

I have wanted to be part of this event for a long time! I was part of the Children’s events. My event was called Let’s Talk Fantasy, and it was me and a local avid reader. It created a great dynamic. Afterwards, I sold and signed some books, and enjoyed more of the festivals events.

I forgot to take pictures and videos, until after the event. I only got a photo of my signing table, and fortunately Phoebe’s mum took some pictures she was willing to let me use on Social Media.

Aug: Booked to attend Legends Comic Con on 6 Aug 2023

I have updated my website’s Events page with details. I will be three with three other local authors I have gotten to know via Instagram, including Rachel Churcher who had the stall next to me at Herts Book Festival.

Reading

12 out of 18 books: I set my Goodreads goal at 16 books and have read 12 books so far.

Reviews: All the books have a Goodreads review. I have been so busy, I’ve not posted reviews as frequently to my blog. I posted three more book reviews on my YouTube channel channel.

Social Media [UPDATE]

Felixstowe Magazine: I have fallen behind with submitting articles for Felixstowe Magazine. I’ve been so busy with my kids, my new job, and festivals, that the weeks have flown by. This is a reminder, I need to get back on that as it’s a really good opportunity.

Website: I’ve been good about updating my websites Event page with what I’m up to. I’ve not updated my book titles. I need to update Sky Heart’s progress, rename New Moon as Summer Heart, and add Dark Heart.

I’m also not happy with my current host provider, Hostinger. I paid for 2 years, so I’m stuck with them for another year but in the autumn I need to check out other providers and prepare for a migration.

Ko-Fi: I haven’t posted as frequently. Everything dropped up during chicken pox season, and busy with book festivals. I’ve started posting quick updates on my progress, and my YouTube videos. Nobody is there so it feels like I’m talking to a brick wall.

[kofi]

YouTube: i usually record when I’m off work on a Friday, but due to bank holidays and sick kids, I’ve worked a lot of Fridays and this has impacted my ability to record anything. I have made a few shorts in Canva. I’m proud of my long form Vlog video of going to Herts Book Festival.

Consistently Post: To keep the algorithm happy, I set the following schedule and included how I got on sticking to it:

  • Blog: Mon – This has definitely dropped in consistency. I usually have a few posts scheduled but right now I have loads of drafts written, waiting for the images.
  • IG: Wed (more if I feel like it) – It’s been sporadic but has met the at least once a week quota. Also, posting to Lemon8.
  • Ko-Fi: Thu – This has become so sporadic, I forgot the goal was to post on a Thursday.
  • Twitter: Sun – I rarely post intentionally to Twitter. It updates on my reading progress, and I’ve been sharing my Lemon8 posts.
  • YT: Tue (fortnightly) – No. This has trailed off since May. I will try to get back on track.
  • Newsletter: Every other month – That’s a relief. I thought I needed to send it monthly and had dropped off, but I have done this.

Followers: Eek, I was okay with no growth, but to lose followers was a shock. It’s so slight, I hadn’t even noticed. I wasn’t surprised that my TikTok count dropped as I deleted the app for a bit – I’m just not a fan and don’t trust them to respect my privacy.

I’m chuffed I have already beat my YouTube annual goal. This is encouraging as I am still trying to figure things out.

It’s good to see I am connecting with readers. I was surprised by this as I don’t always remember to post to BookBub & Litsy.

The Author Diaries: The authors that agreed to do The Author Diaries collab with me are still up for it but we still haven’t set down a time. I’m starting to worry we might never do it.

Reviews: I’ve heard from people that bought Ocean Heart tell me they are loving it, but no new reviews.

Personal

Skincare routine: Got a new face wash which I love, by Auriella Probiotics. I got a new foundation, eyebrow pencil, and lip and cheek tint.

Visit Jimmy’s Farm: I was worried with the kids keep getting ill, my hubby working weekends, and my festivals, that we wouldn’t get to go. We did.

I was having an awful weekend where the kids were driving me barmy and decided I wanted to change it. So, I took them to Jimmy’s Farm to burn their energy and we all had a great time.

Date Nights: No more date nights, but we took the day off for Sports Day and got to have lunch, just my hubby and I, on the seafront.

We almost booked a spa day at Riverhills for our wedding anniversary. We got the time off work but we were so distracted by life we never booked it. Just as well, because the night before we would have gone, the spa burned down.

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2023 First Quarter Check In

You can see the initial goals I set for 2023 by checking out my January post.

Today’s post is to look at what I have achieved during the first three months of the year (January to March) 2023.

Publishing

Sky Heart: Book 2 in the Soul Heart Series

It took me until end of March to finish the Developmental Edit which is longer than I had hoped but still good progress.

I have also finalised the cover for Sky Heart and waiting for Sky Heart to be closer to publishing to do a cover reveal.

Summer Heart: Prequel of Soul Heart series

I haven’t worked much on this during Quarter One. I have been distracted by a shiny new idea. I’m not too worried as Sky Heart was always the priority but I’d like to finish this at some point this year.

Public Appearances: I have booked two events.

May: Herts Book Festival. I will be there selling signed copies of Sky Heart.

June: Felixstowe Book Festival. I will be taking part on a panel for the Children’s events.

Other Stories: I gave some examples of some plot bunnies bouncing around in my head. However, none of these were the shiny new story I started writing during quarter one.

  • A YA LGBTQ Fantasy spin off from The Soul Heart series. It was supposed to be a horror inspired by slender man myths and Orochimaru from Naruto, but it’s not coming out as dark as I expected. It’s been fun to write.

Reading

6 out of 18 books: I set my Goodreads goal at 16 books and have read 6 books so far. I bought some ear pods and tried audio books again. I’m having more success, but, I still prefer the written word to the verbal word.

Reviews: All the books have a Goodreads review. I have posted reviews on my YouTube channel for four books so far and plan to do more.

Social Media [UPDATE]

Felixstowe Magazine: I have been fortunate enough to write for Felixstowe Magazine throughout 2022 and will continue in 2023. Check out my News page to discover the articles.

Website: I need to make sure my pages stay up-to-date. For example, whilst writing this I’ve found that “New Moon” is listed on my books page but hasn’t updated to the new title “Summer Heart”. This isn’t a biggie as I’m not marketing it yet, but I mustn’t lose sight of it.

I’m also not happy with my current host provider, Hostinger. I paid for 2 years, so I’m stuck with them for another year but in the autumn I need to check out other providers and prepare for a migration.

Ko-Fi: I have been posting more often to Ko-Fi and trying to post some content that can’t only be seen there by more followers. I am finding it hard to think of content to post each day.

[kofi]

YouTube: Despite the challenges affecting my life during the first quarter, I have managed to record, edit, and lost fortnightly to YouTube. This schedule is challenging for me but still achievable so I will keep this schedule.

Consistently Post: To keep the algorithm happy, I set the following schedule and included how I got on sticking to it:

  • Blog: Mon – This has been most Mon but I tend to forget something for the end of the month.
  • IG: Wed (more if I feel like it) – It’s been sporadic but has met the at least once a week quota.
  • Ko-Fi: Thu – I have posted each week, usually on a Thursday.
  • Twitter: Sun – I had a clear out of Followers on Twitters which improved my feed, but I don’t think I have posted intentionally to Twitter.
  • YT: Tue (fortnightly) – Yes. This has be challenging at time as I’ve had tech challenges like my video not uploading but I have persevered and kept up with it.
  • Newsletter: Every other month – Yes. I sent a newsletter in Jan, but not in Feb, and then again in Mar. I thought I’d messed up on this goal so it’s good I achieved it.

Followers: Eek, I was okay with no growth, but to lose followers was a shock. It’s so slight, I hadn’t even noticed. I wasn’t surprised that my TikTok count dropped as I deleted the app for a bit – I’m just not a fan and don’t trust them to respect my privacy.

I’m chuffed I have already beat my YouTube annual goal. This is encouraging as I am still trying to figure things out.

It’s good to see I am connecting with readers. I was surprised by this as I don’t always remember to post to BookBub & Litsy.

The authors that agreed to do The Author Diaries collab with me are still up for it but we still haven’t set down a time. In the meantime, I have been creating fortnightly content for my YouTube channel.

Reviews: Although I’ve had two people tell me they read and loved Ocean Heart, the review count has not increased.

Personal

Skincare routine: I got in a good routine and then got lazy again. I also treated myself to some Korean makeup. I used to love Korean makeup before I went organic. I got a cute foundation, highlighter, and bronzer.

Visit Jimmy’s Farm: I’m so disappointed that we haven’t been. It hasn’t been the best weather, cold and rainy. When it has been nice my husband had either been working or someone has a bad cold. Hopefully we will get to go during Q2.

Date Nights: My hubby’s best mate baby Sat so we could go watch Avatar together. This was right before I lost my job. Once I was unemployed my hubby and I went to lunch a few times when we was on his rest days.

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2023 Goals!

I didn’t really set any goals last year and it left me feeling like I didn’t achieve everything I wanted to. Having no milestones left me unaccountable.

After reflecting on this, and learning from it, I must set goals for 2023! I went back to my Jan 2021 post to use as a goal setting template.

Publishing

Sky Heart: Book 2 in the Soul Heart Series

I wanted to publish this by the end of 2021. The goal rolled into 2022, and it’s still outstanding! This is my top priority for 2023. I am halfway through the developmental feedback. Completing this step by the end of Jan is doable.

For accountability, I will post my feedback on Ko-Fi & share to Twitter.

Summer Heart: Prequel of Soul Heart series

Originally this was titled New Moon (or Denny’s Story) and it was going to be a short novella that I would offer out as a readers magnet, but… I’m not good at short stories. This is fast becoming a full length novel.

Public Appearances: I would really love to do another face to face event. They are scary but I think they are important to be seen as an author. I’m not sure what though.

Other Stories: I would like to start a new novel. I have ideas for some stand alone novels. As I struggle for time to work on my main projects, these get pushed aside. When I want a change, I will work on:

  • A YA Paranormal Fantasy Horror set in a made up town- Paranormal YouTubers crossed with Blaire Witch Project
  • A YA Sci-Fi Romance set in Rendlesham Forest, Suffolk – The UKs equivalent of the USAs Roswell.
  • A Historical YA Fantasy set in Woolpit, Suffolk inspired by the local Green Children Legend.
  • A Vampire Fantasy Romance set at Birmingham university (location may change to London, Liverpool, or Ipswich) – Exploring addiction.
  • A Sci-fi Action story set at Landguard Fort, Felixstowe, Suffolk/Sealand – Drunk teens find a naked girl on the beach that has escaped a research facility, and now they are on the run. Inspired by Stranger Things and Hunted on Ch4.
  • And many more. I have tons of plot bunnies but not enough time to write. One day… one day…

Reading

12 – 24 Books: When I am working on my writing, I tend not to read. It depends on how productive I am towards my publishing goals. The last two years, I’ve doubled it but my progress in other areas were reduced.

Reviews: I wish to continue posting reviews on my blog, and Goodreads. If it’s on Litsy or BookBub, I will post it there too. In addition, I’d like to review books on my YouTube channel.

Social Media

Felixstowe Magazine: I have been fortunate enough to write for Felixstowe Magazine throughout 2022 and will continue in 2023. Check out my News page to discover the articles.

Website: I need to make sure my pages stay up-to-date. For example, whilst writing this I’ve found that “New Moon” is listed on my books page but hasn’t updated to the new title “Summer Heart”. This isn’t a biggie as I’m not marketing it yet, but I mustn’t lose sight of it.

I’m also not happy with my current host provider, Hostinger. I paid for 2 years, so I’m stuck with them for another year but in the autumn I need to check out other providers and prepare for a migration.

Ko-Fi: I joined last year, and really enjoy this site. It is now my shops home as it’s so easy to use. I need to update this more often and encourage people to follow me there.

[kofi]

YouTube: I really want to grow my YouTube channel. It’s hard because I need quiet to make videos. I also don’t want you to see my messy home, so I must tidy first (recently we had a leak in the kitchen that spread to the dining room – this is an ongoing nightmare). Then once recorded I need to edit, and my laptop is on the way out. There are lots of obstacles but this is a goal I’m not giving up on!

Consistently Post: I know this is important to keep the algorithm happy, but during 2022 I just lost my enthusiasm to post. I think it was burn out. However, this is what I will aim for:

  • Blog: Mon
  • IG: Wed (more if I feel like it)
  • Ko-Fi: Thu
  • Twitter: Sun
  • YT: Tue (fortnightly)
  • Newsletter: Every other month

Followers: I’m not too worried about building up my following as I’d rather have people I’m engaging with than big numbers. I’ve set my goal to increase by 10%, especially as I haven’t really tracked it for two years.

I barely sent out any news letters during 2022. To send one every other month would be an increase. It would be nice to get more subscribers but I won’t be pushing this.

I don’t like Facebook, so I’m going to drop this off completely.

I recently returned to Twitter. I stopped using Twitter because there was so much hate and preaching American Democrats. It pushed me to check out Parler. Parler was very American Republican and nothing else. Since Elon has taken over Twitter, it feels less political, and there is more rounded discussion. I’m enjoying Twitter again.

TikTok is an app I feel I should use more as people make book sales there, but it terrifies me. I’m not going to force myself to do it, if I feel inspired to post there I will but I’m not too bothered about my growth.

I had an idea to do a collab feature on YouTube called The Author Diaries. We found it challenging to find a time we were all free but I am still interested in doing this. In the meantime, I will create content for my YouTube channel on writing a book reviews.

BookBub, Goodreads, and Litsy are social apps for readers. I’m not very active on these except to post reviews. I can’t see that changing.

Reviews: Reviews are really important for a books visibility, so I will be tracking how many I have and – eek – remind my readers to leave reviews.

Personal

Skincare routine: I haven’t really bothered with my skincare or makeup products during 2022 as I tried to save money. It could be aging or my lack of care but my skin is in need of some attention. For 2023, I will invest in some nice products and look after my skin better.

Visit Jimmy’s Farm: My mum treated me to an annual pass so we can go whenever we like. We will be making the most of that. The pass also includes discounts at other places so we could check them out too.

Date Nights: My hubby and I are both busy working, looking after the kids, keeping up appearances with friends & family that we barely have quality time together. When we are together we are often exhausted. My hubby and I have agreed that we will try harder this year to make time for each other.

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Book Review: Romancing the Beat by Gwen Hayes

This post contains affiliate links. Please check out my affiliate disclosure page for more information.

About the book

Blurb for Romancing the Beat by Gwen Hayes

My thoughts

This book breaks down a romance novel into beats. The beats are plot points that are expected in popular romance stories. It helps you identify if your romance novel has all the right ingredients.

It’s good but brief. I’m glad I read Save the Cat first as it’s similar but that book goes into more depth. This book was like a romance appendix to STC. I don’t think this will be a resource book I turn to very often now I’ve read it.

⭐️⭐️⭐️

Buy Romancing the Beat on Amazon

[kofi]

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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Writing Progress – January 2020

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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Writers & YouTube playlists

#WIWSnippetSaturday

During April, for fun, World Indie Warriors did a snippet challenge to encourage people to share their WIP, especially those doing Camp NaNo.

#WIWSnippetSaturday

I don’t post to Instagram on Saturdays. I take the weekend off. But, I worked the snippets into my monthly schedule. The only one that didn’t get posted to Instagram was the bonus, but that went out on 1st May in my newsletter.

The Sky Heart Snippets

3rd Chocolate & Treats

I couldn’t find any snippets involving chocolate, treats, sweets, eating, etc… I guess Kiely isn’t a foodie.

But, Kiely’s best friend wants to start her own makeup brand and enjoys making products at home. The nail polish from this snippet was created using purple sweet potatoes.

10th Animals

Kiely has a black Labrador. I’ve never owned a dog. I’d like to but don’t think I’d make a great owner, so I’m holding back until I can give a dog all the love it deserves.

Plus, I don’t think my cats would approve. They are not dog people [cats].

17th Time For Sleep

Kiely does a lot of sneaking out when she should be sleeping. This naughty habit gets her into big trouble… it’s set in a fantasy world with shifters so you can imagine.

24th Books & Dragons

There are no dragons or books in Sky Heart. But, there are two Dragos possessing humans. These creatures can shift into a shadow dragon which I plan to do in Ana’s story, when I write it, one day, one day…

1st Bonus

Here is the bonus. This happens in the first chapter and writing it was what made me want to give Kiely her own novel. I will likely repurpose this snippet when I release the book.

What’s next?

The first draft of Sky Heart is now finished. Next up is to self edit. There’s a chance the snippets above will change by the time I have a final draft but I really enjoyed sharing what I’m working on.

Want to learn more about book 2, Sky Heart?

Visit my Sky Heart page for more details about the book.

Do you want to buy book 1, Ocean Heart?

Visit my Ocean Heart page for more details about the book and where to buy, or check out these affiliate links:

[kofi]

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Behind the Character: Kiely

Behind the Character: Ana

Camp NaNo April 2021: Project

Camp NaNo April 2021: Mid Check In

Camp NaNo April 2021: Outcome

What is a UBL and why your book needs one?

A UBL is a unique book link. You use it to direct potential readers to where they can buy your book.

Books 2 Read

Book2Read is a universal link for eBooks (it finds all stores selling your book). It’s by Draft 2 Digital but you don’t need to be published via their platform to use it.

Your potential reader then chooses the shop they prefer and are taken to your ebook to buy there.

See how it works by trying out my Books 2 Read link for Ocean Heart: https://books2read.com/u/mlWvaW

Book Linker

BookLinker is a universal link for Amazon. It links people to your ebook at their ‘Zon. Amazon often links the various formats together so they can chose if they’d prefer paperback or hardback, etc.

You could lose a potential reader if your link took them to a ‘Zon of another country because they might not have time to search for it again on their ‘Zon.

See how it works by trying out my Book Linker link for Ocean Heart: http://getbook.at/OceanHeart

Bookshop.org

BookShop.org (US/UK only) links to your book at the readers local indie book shop.

This is great for two reasons. Reason one, you are keeping beautiful local bookstores alive by sending customers their way. And reason two, if you create an affiliate store, you earn 10% on referrals’ purchases.

See how it works by trying out my link for Ocean Heart at Redfae bookshop: https://uk.bookshop.org/shop/Redfae

[kofi]

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Camp NaNo April 2021 – Midway Check In

Here’s my Camp NaNo writers diary for the first half of Camp NaNo.

This post contains a few bookshop.org affiliate links.

Weds, 31 March

Camp NaNo Eve I attended the first of World Indie Warriors IG Lives. J D Groom & Cassidy Reyne are the hosts and introduced their own Camp NaNo projects.

WIW are also doing snippet challenge on IG to give people an excuse to share her the projects they are writing.

Each week there is a prompt, and you post a snippet from your WIP on that theme. I’m a rebel and posting on different days. But, I’m determined to do them all within April.

Thurs, 1 April

I caught a Writing Sprint on Facebook hosted by @unstoppableauthors . It helped me make a good start on my goals, achieving 1k words. I’m going to look out for this sprint next week.

The sprint was hosted by Urban Fantasy author H B Lyne and dystopian author Angeline Trevena. Both also have published writing resource books.

Friday, 2 April

Busy day today. I took my son to play in the garden of a friends house. It was really cold and we couldn’t go inside due to the pandemic rules.

My husband found my long lost Kindle. It needs charging but I’m so happy to have it back.

I managed to write 500 words today. I am so close to the end now but took a break as I’m struggling to picture the big fight scene.

I finished reading A Heart of Salt & Silver. Look out for my full review next week. A short version is already on Goodreads, Litsy, and Amazon.

Saturday, 3 April

Spent the evening going through the list of people I follow but don’t follow me back to decide if I want to unfollow them.

#WIWSaturdaySnippet

Sunday, 4 April

I went to Homebase to get paint for some redecorating we’ve been talking about for ages.

Didn’t feel well so I went to bed early. Good news was my Kindle is charged, so I watched The Wilds on Prime.

Monday, 5 April

I cleared out my son’s bedroom and did masking tape. His room was the first we decorated when we moved in. At age 5, he peeled off the animal stickers as he said they were to babyish, and we promoted to redecorate… 2y later, we are doing it.

My son is a bit nervous about not sleeping in his room. He doesn’t like change. But, he’s excited to see his new grown up room tomorrow.

Still not feeling great, so had another early night. I didn’t write but I did a lot of research and practicing a new skill, that I’m hoping to sell one day. I was creative, but not with Sky Heart.

Tuesday, 6 April

Noah loves his new room. #Win

I had work all day today but managed to write 500 words for Sky Heart. I have roughly three major scenes to go but these are big ones and pretty tough. I’ll admit I feel intimidated.

I’ve done some brain storming for the big battle but still can’t see it clear in my head. I can however see the ending, so I may jump ahead to that.

Wednesday, 7 April

I worked more on my secret project. I also worked on prepping images for my IG feed.

This evening I watched the WIW Live with guest author Kara S Weaver. They chatted about editing, the different types, and why it’s important.

Thursday, 8 April

Today has been pretty chilled out other than my phone screen cracking.

I won a free call with Pagan Malcolm, who coaches authors to take their careers to the next level. I’m booked in next week, early Friday morning (although for her, I think it’s late). I’m not sure what to expect – should I get her to help with my battle, public speaking, or my secret project. Whatever we get up to, I’ll probably blog my experience.

I watched the replay of a masterclass I recently attended on how to write a 5 star ending. Then I watched a live author chat from the fantasy writers festival, QuaranCon2021.

Once the kids were in bed, I used an app to animate my characters created in Art Breeder, to sing. Author procrastination at its finest.

Mariah from Ocean Heart on Wombai.ai

Then, I attended a writing chat and Sprint by Unstoppable Authors hosted by H B Lyne and Angelina Trevena, and wrote 478 words.

Friday, 9 April

This was a bad day. First, my 2 year old threw my mobile phone and the screen cracked. I use my mobile for everything but can’t afford to fix it, so I’ll have to carry on and hope it doesn’t get worse.

Then, I received news that my daughter isn’t getting a place at our chosen nursery. She was on a waiting list for morning sessions which fit around my work & childcare availability but they only have afternoon sessions. To accommodate that, I’d have to cut my working hours in half and not only is my employer unlikely to agree to that as it’d make travelling to my appointments within the time very challenging, but I also can’t afford to reduce my hours. I now need to find another nursery or quit my job. There aren’t many nursery’s nearby as most closed permanently during the pandemic for various reasons.

When I’m stressing about a problem I can’t write. I opened my manuscript and stared at the blank page before closing it and trying something creative. I worked on my secret project.

Saturday, 10 April

We decided that I’m no stressed enough, so we painted part if the front room. Every chance my 2y old got, she was “help painting”. It was exhausting keeping her away all day, and the house was freezing as we kept the windows open.

I did not write. My head is not in the right place.

#WIWSnippetSaturday

Sunday, 11 April

So, my 2y old didn’t sleep. She was up at 3am. By 5am I gave up and she attempted to “Help painting.” I’m pretty sure I’m running on empty.

I did make progress on some blog posts and have drafted two Behind the Book posts that I now just need to proofread and schedule. I probably won’t get to this until next weekend.

I also helped my 7y old son to create a cute Woodland scene for school. We borrowed my mum’s Cricut Maker and he created his die cuts in Canva, and I helped him add them to Cricut. I then helped with sticking them down where he told me, while he painted. We spent over two hours on it.

I’m so frustrated. I want to write the fight scene for Sky Heart but it’s not coming to me. I didn’t want to waste my time, so I worked on my secret project.

Monday, 12 April

I’ve found two nurseries that might be able to take Aria. Fingers crossed I can sort this out so I can feel more settled.

I spent most my day playing with Aria, and tidying up. I also completed most of the application form for one of the nurseries.

I accidentally forgot to charge my laptop so it was taking ages to come on even with the charger in. I decided to watch some TV with my hubby.

Tuesday, 13 April

I worked all day today.

Then, in the evening I wrote 192 words. It doesn’t sound like much but I finally had a breakthrough with the difficult scene and can see it now!

Wednesday, 14 April

I worked today, and by the time the kids were in bed, it was already 9pm. I attended the World Indie Warriors IG Live. Today the guest speaker was Michelle Raab, chatting marketing, writing dystopia, and psychology.

Keily from Sky Heart on Wombo.ai

[kofi]

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Why I love World Indie Warriors

Where to find the best indie books…

How to fund your creativity? Patreon, Ko-Fi, Kickstarter, etc…

I see fellow authors being savvy with their income, diversifying revenues to support their dream as an author and I thought, “Could I do that?”

I dismissed the idea because, “Why would anyone support me?

Now, I know, that’s my self doubt speaking. The same self doubt that told me I couldn’t self publish. I’m getting better at believing in myself and recognize that everyone has to start somewhere.

Not to spoil the ending but I now have a Ko-Fi account (more on that later…).

As usual, I plan to share what I found out and how I made my choice. Here are the main options I considered:

One method is to create an exclusive group for your fans. They pay a fee to join like a club membership and you reward them with things like training, exclusive content (short story, character art, etc), early access to your product, or shoutouts.

Mighty Creators

You create a community for your fans to join. You can include paid content and subscription plans to generate revenue.

Pro: Helps to build a community of loyal fans, and has different revenue methods.

Con: Creating the site can take learning and time.

Patreon

It’s like a private club for your fans. They pay a monthly subscription and you reward them. You can set different tiers with more expensive tiers getting better perks.

Pro: You can establish a regular income from your Patrons and a strong connection with your fans.

Con: You need to provide regular content to make it worthwhile for your Patrons to stay subscribed.

Another option is to get funding for your project upfront. You need to sell your product/idea to get support. Often it involves rewards like early access to the product, or maybe for high contributors you’d name a character after them.

Kickstarter

This is a crowdfunding platform where an individual (or group) can seek funding for a project. I recently saw an author on FB that did this successfully for his Sci-Fi novel.

Rewards are offered as incentives like getting the proposed product before anyone else. However, if you don’t make your target, you get nothing.

Pro: You will develop fans early on and can sell your book before it’s finished.

Con: You need to be committed to delivering your promises and confident it asking others to back you.

Indie Go Go

This is another crowdfunding platform. It is aimed at creatives and has tools to support campaigners with their project and getting support. It appears to be more geared towards tech.

Pro: Promises tools to help you start your project and beyond.

Con: Backers are looking for solutions to a problem and your novel is unlikely to appeal to this audience.

Go Fund Me

This crowdfunding site is aimed more at community projects and charities. You post a reason why you need help and people donate to support you. For example, needing help to pay funeral costs for a loved one.

Pro: Get financial help with your current project without pressure to provide rewards to sponsors.

Con: Most projects on the site appear to be charities so probably not the right audience.

Libera Pay

I think this would be called crowdfunding too. The site accepts donations from donors in support of your creative project. Donors can set the amount and frequency.

For this platform you’d need people to be invested in your projects completion. You would need to sell the idea to investors.

Pro: You can establish a regular income from your donors and focus on your project.

Con: You need to persuade people to donate on a regular basis and there isn’t a way to reward donors.

This is more casual, like a tip jar. People give money as and when they feel like it. The idea is the tip is like buying the creator a cup of coffee or whatever their favourite drink is.

Buy Me A Coffee

You supporters can buy you a coffee to be paid to you instantly. They can even subscribe to pay you a fee frequently. You can offer perks as a reward or perks to buy like a shop.

Pros: You can focus on your project and not spend time each month making exclusive content.

Cons: Less incentive for regular donations.

Ko- Fi

This is another tip jar type site with no obligation on your tippers to give. Again, the idea is they buy you a virtual drink that the creator uses towards their projects. You can create a shop for fans to buy merchandise, and you can create rewards for your tippers but it’s all optional.

Pro: Simple page creation, and low maintenance or obligations.

Con: You cannot depend on tips as a regular income.

Summary

I hope this has helped you think about all the options out there. I’ve only provided a brief overview of each and recommend you find out full details for any you are interested in by visiting their website for their full terms.

There are other ways to earn a passive income such as ad revenue or becoming an affiliate for another brand.

I have decided to go with Ko-Fi. I like the no pressure approach to me and my tippers. I want to continue being able to help others no matter their means, and keeping my content free enables all.

When I said yes to self publishing, I had every intention of doing it all myself. But, should you wish to treat me to a cuppa tea to say thanks or to keep me going, now you can.

[kofi]

If you like this you will like:

Don’t put off writing your novel

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The process of publishing a novel – part 1

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