The Ups and Downs of a Writer #writing #writerscommunity

publicity photos:magazinesTen years ago this week, I decided to write a novel that would entertain, make readers laugh and would resonate with them.

I hadn’t thought about becoming ‘a writer’. I believed I was a one-trick pony. I wrote the book but by the end of it, I had caught the writing bug, along with an idea for a sequel, and a series of non-fiction comedies based on similar themes.

I sent endless emails to agents and publishers but my book and ideas were rejected, time after time after time. In the end, I turned to self-publication, put the book up on Amazon and, using FeedARead, got my book into print.

I read somewhere that a writer can count themselves lucky if they sell 400 copies of their debut novel in a year. In the ensuing 12 months, I sold only half that number, but by the start of 2011, thanks to the generosity of the blogging community and book reviewers who agreed to read a book from an unknown writer, sales suddenly gathered momentum and 5-star reviews even appeared in newspapers and magazines. By January 2012, I found myself featured in Woman’s Own magazine, in an article about best-selling writers.

A life of a writer has ups and downs, successes and failures. It is a bumpy road. Every success is hard-fought and writing the book is only the beginning. The rest is endless promotion, connecting with readers, doing talks, writing press releases, keeping up relations with bloggers, and constantly trying to get your name out there. It is tough! Oh boy, is it tough! It can result in anxiety and sleepless nights, and some days, you are so busy trying to juggle everything, there is barely enough time to write another book let alone live life.

What you require is tenacity and patience. Luckily, I have both and eventually they paid off. My biggest ‘lucky break’ and pivotal turning point came when editor Lydia Vassar-Smith at Bookouture saw my potential and I was offered a contract. It was with her guidance that I moved from comedy to the dark side – probably the best move I could ever have made. Today, my crime series have sold well over 600,000 copies and have been translated into several languages.

Let me say, the journey hasn’t been easy, but it has certainly had its highlights including:

  • Being interviewed on BBC Breakfast television (not once but twice) (You can watch that interview by clicking HERE)
  • Appearing on Simon Mayo’s Radio 2 show
  • Becoming a regular blogger for the Huffington Post (Read my posts by clicking HERE)
  • Winning the People’ Book Prize award in 2015 and being interviewed on Sky News (Watch the ceremony on YouTube HERE .You can see me receiving my award at 7.45 minutes into the video)
  • Becoming a ‘loud mouth’ on BBC Radio Derby and appearing regularly on the breakfast show
  • Having articles published in national magazines including Woman’s Weekly, Choice and Take a Break.
  • Being interviewed for The Writing Magazine – one of my dreams
  • Little Girl Lost becoming a USA Today Top 150 best-selling novel
  • Having the #9 best-selling audiobook on Audible
  • Being the author of several #1 best-selling novels
  • Listening to the audiobook versions of all my crime novels
  • Seeing my books published in other languages
  • Being taken on by literary agent Amy Tannenbaum from the Jane Rotrosen Agency in New York
  • Signing a 3-book deal with Thomas & Mercer

I won’t list the lows. I try to learn from them rather than dwell on them. Suffice to say, there were plenty but ultimately, they don’t matter because, in spite of the sleepless nights, I have enjoyed myself hugely. I have loved creating and living with my characters and even more than that, sharing them and their lives with you.

Books with Bookouture.pngAnd finally, and most importantly, I have loved meeting you all. Before I began writing I was a reclusive, lonely woman, shut inside a house with little sense of purpose. The day I began writing and blogging was the day my world opened up. I have met so many people virtually who I count as friends. I have a wonderful Street Team who support me and chat to me regularly, and who I can’t thank enough. There are also three people I wish to mention who began this journey with me and who I met while I was blogging as research for that first novel. They are my ‘Golden Girls’  – Diane Croad, Barbara Brannon White and Pam Lofton who all began blogging at the same time as  I did and welcomed me into their lives. I shall be forever grateful for their endless enthusiasm and support.

So what about the next ten years? Well, more crime novels, two new series and another couple of comedies are all planned in my head so… here’s to the next ten!

Header Image Photo by Gerd Altmann from Pexels

 

 

 

Research Gone Mad #MondayMotivation #MondayMorning @bookouture

In August 1980 my life turned upside down. What was to be a simple hospital procedure saw me paralysed and facing a year of uncertainty, fear and major surgery.

I was a 20-year-old university student who suddenly was unsure of the future. My life, my boyfriend, and my studies were all up in the air. I’ll spare you the gory details and the struggles, and say I was lucky. Oh my goodness, I was very lucky and my life only temporarily derailed. It did however, give me the inspiration and reason to write this book.

Take A Chance on Me FB-Graphic4Take A Chance On Me is set in a hospital radio station where Charlie, whose daughter has tragically been killed in a car accident, is struggling to find reason to life. Aided by her best-friend, wheelchair-bound Mercedes, she faces a journey she could never have imagined, that will lead her to… well… you’d have to read the book to find out.

Today sees the anniversary of the book’s release and it is still to date, my favourite book. I wrote it to inspire people who face challenging times, to give them hope and to remind everyone not to give up even when life seems impossible. We must all seize opportunities, take chances and live life.

The book took over a year to complete, not because of the complexity of the story, but more due to the fact I actually did all the challenges that Charlie faces in the book: from eating a bush-tucker trial at the very restaurant she is taken to, doing a zip wire (like Charlie I have a morbid fear of heights) to diving with sharks.

Take A Chance on Me FB-Graphic5Like most writers, I take research very seriously, but never did I think I’d be taking a belly-dancing class, scoffing locusts, mealworms, ants and kangaroo, then zorbing down a hill in a huge inflatable ball, all on the same day – Suffice to say, I didn’t feel too great by the end of the day, but at least my book is based on genuine experience!

Take a Chance on Me has received a huge amount of praise and I love getting emails from readers who have written out a bucket list after finishing the book and are taking on personal challenges.

Life’s short. Seize the day! Carpe Diem. 

TAKE A CHANCE ON ME available from  Amazon UKAmazon US – GooglePlay

How a Celebrity Pug Dog Stole My Book #pugs @canelo_co

Biggie Smalls.pngMy new release, WHAT HAPPENS IN FRANCE is out in 3 weeks. It’s a brand new romantic comedy that I can’t wait to unleash onto my readers.

I loved writing it – every single word, every character and every silly scene. I loved researching for it – getting onto gameshows (even though I felt a right idiot on some of them), travelling around France, collecting information about the country, and I even loved lying awake at night, conjuring up crazy games fit for It’s A Knockout and a gameshow that would be a delightful mixture of Big Brother meets Love Island meets I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.

I wanted my readers to laugh uproariously at the antics in it and in the parts, shed tears and come away from the book uplifted and feeling that life is good. What I didn’t anticipate was for everyone to fall for a lesser character – a pug dog called Biggie Smalls!

Biggie has not won over every reader who received an ARC but my publishers Canelo, who were so enamoured by him, they had stickers featuring him made especially for a giveaway.

The idea of a media star pug came from an article about owners and their pugs. The feature showed the dogs dressed in various outrageous outfits and I wondered what it would be like to own a dog dressed like the notorious rapper, Biggie Smalls.

Biggie doesn’t play a huge role in What Happens in France but my goodness, he has stolen the show to a large extent. Even those who are not ‘dog people’ have been emailing me to say how much they like him.

It seems that in order to sell more books, I’m going to have to buy a real -life pug and dress him up in COOGIE jumpers and jewellery and parade him around bookstores because no matter how good the book is, and regardless of how much readers enjoy it… they’ll all remember it as the book about Biggie Smalls – the media star dog!

 

WHAT HAPPENS IN FRANCE  OUT 28TH JANUARY

“This delightful read is done with excellent pacing, thus showcasing the marvelous talents of this prolific author.” Robin Reads

“Wow, wow and double wow….What a fantastic, fun and beautifully written book this was”

 WHAT HAPPENS IN FRANCE is available to pre-order now for just £1.99 click HERE 

Video made by Inky Covers.

 

Are You a Writer? #amwriting

cropped-the-birthday-fb-header.jpegIt’s less than two weeks before my new thriller THE BIRTHDAY the first in the DI Natalie Ward series hits the shelves. This will be my 15th book to be published and you’d think by now, I’d find this whole publication thing a breeze. Not so. Last night, I woke in a fearful panic that the new book would bomb and people would hate it. Mr Grumpy, my other half, has begun the whole eye-rolling routine that he usually performs around this time when I start whittering on publication day. He is not a writer and he doesn’t understand the see-saw of emotions that flood my body. He pulls a face when I mention chart positions and cowers behind his paper when I screech in delight at a good review. I can’t help it. This is who I am. I am a writer.

This morning, I reasoned it was normal to feel this way, after all, I am a writer and every book has a phenomenal amount of effort poured into it: I’ve laboured over every sentence; lived each character’s life to the point where they are real to me, and I have worked solidly – day and night, for months, writing, rewriting, editing, editing again, copy-editing, proofreading and reading the entire script one last time, to the point where I’ve been utterly sick of the sight of the darn thing. From inception to this moment has taken six months of gruelling effort – of ignoring my family, of ignoring my own needs, to get it to this point and so, it’s only natural I’m going be concerned. I am a writer. We are always worried about what others think of our work.

As publication day creeps ever nearer, I know it’ll get worse. There’ll be a familiar mixture of anxiety, panic and excitement and I’ll not sleep the night before the big day, and that day will be filled with euphoria and at the same time, the desire to burst into tears because I am a writer. Unless you’re a writer, you won’t really ‘get’ what I mean.

Mr Grumpy doesn’t get it – not at all. ‘It’s only a book,’ he grumbles. I look dismayed. ‘It’s more than a book! I feel like I’ve been giving birth to this book for six months.’ He ignores me. He’s heard it too many times before. I skulk away, tail between my legs and write a murderous plot in which an unfeeling husband is brutally murdered, because I am a writer.

beach-motivation-ocean-261630So, what will this writer do to celebrate the release of her 15th book? Have a party? Drink champagne? Go out for a celebratory meal? Alas, none of those things. I am a writer and as such I have nobody to celebrate with. My friends are in the main, online friends because I am a writer, I spend days alone in my office, living in fictitious world populated by characters of my own imagination, reliving imaginary conversations with them. Most of this forthcoming publication day will be spent on social media, hunting out reviews and thanking people and sharing posts, and of course, I’ll be constantly refreshing my Amazon page to see if my new book baby is climbing the charts, cheering when it rises a few places and sobbing when it moves no further or tumbles. Why? Because I am a writer – a self-doubting, confidence-lacking writer who will be crossing her fingers and hoping… praying… yearning for success.

In between checking social media and panicking because my book isn’t soaring up the charts, I’ll eat bags of chocolate-covered honeycomb dips and drink endless cups of herbal tea, and all the while I’ll continue work on the 3rd in the Natalie Ward series which will be my 20th book. Yes, I am currently writing my 20th book and that can only mean one thing – I have another 5 of these publication days to get through before that one will be ready.

Why do I do it?

Because…

I am a writer.

Now, pass me the gin!

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THE BIRTHDAY – An absolutely gripping crime thriller (Detective Natalie Ward Book 1)

OUT 27th SEPTEMBER

Order your copy for ONLY 99p by clicking the link HERE

One hot summer’s afternoon, five-year-old Ava Sawyer went to a party. She never came home…

When five-year-old Ava Sawyer goes missing from a birthday party at a local garden centre, the police are bewildered by the lack of leads. That is until two years later, when Ava’s body is found and another little girl, Audrey Briggs, goes missing. Audrey also attended that party …

Leading the investigation is Detective Natalie Ward. A mother of two teenagers, this case chills her to the bone, and is a disturbing reminder of the last job she worked on. One that still keeps her awake at night…

Natalie soon discovers that Ava’s mother has some worrying gaps in her alibi and as she digs deeper, she’s sure Ava’s father is not telling the full story. And what did the owner of the garden centre Elsa see that day? Something that she’s not telling Natalie …

Just as Natalie is facing up to the grim possibility that Ava and Audrey were killed by someone close to home, another little girl from the party doesn’t come home from her ballet lesson. Can Natalie find a way to stop this killer before more innocent lives are taken?

Gripping, fast-paced and nail-bitingly tense, this book will keep you flying through the pages long into the night. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott and Karin Slaughter.

Readers are going crazy for The Birthday:

Absolutely stunning!… wow it blew me away. Totally my favourite book so far of 2018… I loved everything about it… A great start to a new series that I am going to love. I’m already wishing I could have the next book!… Amazing… 5 stars, although it is a shame I can’t give it more, it’s easily worth a 7. Buy it, you won’t regret it!Bonnie’s Book Talk, 5 stars

Everything Carol Wyer touches turns to gold. She most definitely knows how to write an addictive and tense page-turner and this one is no different. Compelling from the first page, this will have you hooked in a heartbeat.’ Novel Deelights, 5 stars

‘Omg!! My heart is pounding so hard! I have just finished reading The Birthday and I am floored! This is the first in a new series from Carol Wyer, featuring DI Natalie Ward and her team. What a way to start! Speedy, sharp, heart stopping and engaging; this is a series I am definitely looking forward to!TishyLou, 5 stars

A rollocking rollercoaster ride … dark, twisty and wonderfully gripping’ Minimac Reviews

‘This could be something special… This book truly is excellent… Heart-thumpingly good… A well-paced, heart-wrenching, pulse racing, edge-of-your-seat kind of book and a crime fighting team who you can genuinely root for… look no further as this could genuinely be your next favourite read. I tore through it.’ Jen Med’s Book Reviews, 5 stars

‘What a twist! …I read this book in a day!’ Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars

An exciting new series… Excellent character development… full of surprising twists and turns. This was a truly thrilling book… chilling… It certainly was no average read… I read The Birthday so fast that I was actually surprised… Excellent pacingsuperb writing.’Robin Loves Reading, 5 stars

Wyer easily surpassed all my expectations, creating a dynamic lead character that is every bit as enthralling as the beloved DI Carter… I could barely breathe as they rushed to find and arrest the killer… Sure to be another skilfully-crafted series… intense, chilling, and the very definition of unputdownable… A must-read.The Geeky Bibliophile, 5 stars

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