Sue’s seven useful things to know about writing for money

As I write novels, serials, short stories, articles, columns and writing ‘how to’, I’m sometimes asked for my tips. I’ve collected them together in this post:

1 You need to know about more than just writing.

2014-05-13 10.39.462 You need to know about publishing. Publishing is an industry and has to make money to survive. If you don’t learn something about how it works you’re making your life unnecessarily hard.

3 You may need/prefer to know about self-publishing. You get control and you get more of the cut each time your book is sold. And you get all of the work, or have to pay/persuade people to do some of it.

ios_homescreen_icon4 You need to know what ‘discoverable’ means. Promotion will almost certainly be part of your life. Website, blog, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, ELLO, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram … OK, you don’t need to know all of them but many publishers expect you to have a platform. Readers want to find you and tell you how cool you are. Journalists need to research you before interviews. If you’re self-publishing the need may be greater than if you’re traditionally published.

Group shot, Summer Party 125 Networking can be fun, if you enjoy parties, conferences, seminars, literary festivals, forums and classes. Or it can be a nightmare if you don’t enjoy parties, conferences etc. Either way, it’s almost always useful. You get your name in front of editors and agents and learn a lot from other writers. You hear about possible destinations for your work and a lot about what-not-to-do. Learning what-not-to-do is a lifelong process for me.

*You can network on social media, too.

Study6 You can’t be without self-motivation, if you want to be a writer, unless you’re already a staffer on a paper or magazine and motivation is provided for you in the form of ‘You’re fired!’ if you don’t write. In your study at home you can work in your dressing gown, you can drink tea all day, you can go on Facebook whenever you want. But a month’s work takes a month. If you want work done, you have to do it. Nobody will fill in for you when you’re sick or on holiday, either.

7 Rejection. (Cue scary music and a feeling like cold mud in your belly.) Almost every writer gets rejection. A lot of rejection. The trick is a) to learn from it b) not to let it stop you writing. Swear and throw something at the wall if you must (I must, personally) but then get back to writing.

Final tip: Become reasonably proficient with every piece of technology that will help you in points 1-7 or identify which skills you’ll pay for in others. Learn to type. Touch type. Yes, really! Your writing life will be so much easier.

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Skating at Somerset House by Nikki Moore

SKATING_SOMERSET

Out on 4th December

Book 1, #LoveLondon Series; Skating at Somerset House by Nikki Moore

It’s no secret that Nikki Moore is one of my favourite people – not just because she’s my niece, but because she’s a great writer! Here are the exciting stories coming up from her from today:

There’s nothing Holly Winterlake loves more than Christmas and skating, so working as an Ice Marshall at London’s Somerset House is a dream come true.

Noel Summerford hates the festive season and is a disaster on the ice, so taking his godson to Somerset House is his idea of the nightmare before Christmas!

Things are bound to get interesting when these two collide…

With a forty foot Christmas tree, an assortment of well meaning friends and relatives, and a mad chocolate Labrador, will this festive season be one to remember … or forget?

Available to buy at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Skating-Somerset-House-Love-London-ebook/dp/B00P5V4T4C

More books in the #LoveLondon series coming soon!

Released over December 14 to May 15 by HarperImpulse;

Bk 2, New Year at The Ritz (Short Story)

Bk 3, Valentine’s on Primrose Hill (Short Story)

Bk 4, Cocktails in Chelsea (Short Story)

Bk 5, Strawberries at Wimbledon (Short Story)

Bk 6, Picnics in Hyde Park, (Novel)

After being hooked on her last book, Crazy, Undercover, Love, I’m really looking forward to this bonanza.

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Room in Your Heart – Welcome to Wendy Clarke

Today, to celebrate publication of her anthology, Room in Your Heart and the commencement of National Short Story Week, I’m welcoming Wendy Clarke onto my blog.

final-b2So, Wendy, big welcome fellow short story writer – and congratulations on your collection, Room in Your Heart.

Thank you very much for inviting me onto your blog, Sue. It’s lovely to be here.

Tell us a little about the collection.

Room in Your Heart is a collection of twelve romantic short stories all of which have been previously published in The People’s Friend Magazine. When putting together the collection, I chose my favourite stories and have tried to balance emotional stories with lighter ones.

What makes the short story form so appealing to you? Do you write other things, too?

I love the fact that with a short story, you can be in the head of a Victorian maid in Lancashire one day and a teenage girl in a tower block the next. Writing short stories is like an apprenticeship – a place where you can learn your craft without spending the amount of time and energy needed for a novel. Although I mainly write short stories, I write serials for The People’s Friend as well – one is awaiting publication and I am halfway through my second. I have also written articles for Writing Magazine (the one in this month’s edition is about how I put together my collection). Recently, I took the big step of starting my first novel.

The People’s Friend is a market that thrives on short stories written in the traditional style – is this your preference, too? Or are you really an experimental writer trying to burst out of the mould?

My mum is always asking me this question! I used to think I might like to write something more ‘literary’ but I’ve been writing short stories for magazines now for just over two years and I think there comes a point when you realise what style of writing suits you. Although I write in a range of styles for different magazines, when it came to choosing a genre for my collection, I realised that I have written a lot of what Shirley Blair calls ‘Romance with emotional depth’ be it contemporary or historical – this seems to be my signature style. Having said that, I have also written ghost, twist and humour.

My writing technique bugbear is head hopping and I can’t bear to read things where the writer is trying to project a scene from within two heads simultaneously. Do you have a pet hate, too?

‘Head hopping’ is one of my pet hates too. I think another one would be trying to be clever with a word when a simpler one might have worked better. Also having a character in a story state something in conversation that would be obvious to the other character, in order to fill the reader in.

First person or third person? Or either?

Both of these. I also use both past and present tense – depending on the storyline. I tend to use third person for my historical stories as I like its gentle quality. The first story in my collection, called Read These When I’ve Gone, is written from a man’s view point and is in first person present tense whereas One Step at a Time is in third person past tense.

Where are you hoping that short story writing will take you? Or have you already arrived there?

Although I love writing short stories and have no plan to stop, I seem to be following a path that others have taken. Since moving on to serials, the next logical step is a novel. I have just started it and it’s based on one of my short stories. It is a contemporary romance and I would love to get onto the RNA New Writing Scheme next year – it might give me the push I need to really follow it through.

Thank you very much for having me as a guest on your blog.

IMG_0785It’s a pleasure! To find out more about Wendy:

Wendy’s blog

Wendy on Facebook

Wendy on Twitter

 

 

 

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Familiar Blunders When Writing a Novel – revisited

This is how my head felt

This is how my head felt

I finished my first draft today. Yeah! I had such a reaction to my first post on the subject of blundering about when writing a novel (you can read it here) that I decided to celebrate by comparing how I feel now that I’ve written ‘ends’ with how I felt then, around 28,000 words earlier.

- Really thrilled that the first draft is down. Now it is, I can play with it and polish it and make it better. I love finishing a first draft and look forward to the second.

- It now seems perfectly reasonable that I had to rewrite the beginning when I got half way through. I knew my characters better by then and saw that some of the themes I thought would be important were not and that new themes took over.

- I’m a lot less bothered about whether I kept all my plates spinning, ie kept up with all my plot lines. When I begin to edit, the smashed plates will become obvious. Because of the miracle of working in a word processor, nobody will ever know whether I glued the plates back together and got them spinning back on their sticks or just quietly swept the pieces into the bin. (I work on a Mac so that should probably be Trash.)

Beta reader, Mark West.

Beta reader, Mark West.

- If I don’t notice a smashed plate then one of my beta readers or my agent will. Ditto holes in the plot. I’m blessed to have these people. Though I’ve been working alone on this for months and months they have been patiently waiting to help me. It’s kind of humbling, really.

- I’m much happier about the dynamics between certain characters now I’ve had time to think about them. And because I now know what every character does at the end. Once I know the answer, the questions seem clearer!

- I did, in the end, have sufficient ideas for my plot. I like to write between 85,000 and 95,000 words, and this book has closed at 91,850. I have no idea why I worried …

- OK, I did sweat over unknotting my plot lines and bringing the book to a conclusion that satisfied me. My brain hurt. A Facebook friend was an invaluable source of information on technology issues. But it’s done. It will probably have to be improved upon. Fine. Bring it on.

photo(53) copy 3- Yes, I do get in the same knots and snaggles with this book as with every other. I will no doubt get in them again when I write another book. Nobody said writing a book is easy. Or, if they did, it wasn’t me.

But the satisfaction now that the first draft is complete? Immense.

And my very first action after typing in the final line? (Apart from editing it and typing in a different one.) To back it up to my dropbox so that even if my house burns down tonight, my WIP is safe. Mwah. Love you, first draft.

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Familiar blunders when writing a novel

There’s something about the first 10,000 words of a novel. I like them because (usually), nothing has gone wrong …

It’s after that the problems begin. And I’ve noticed that they’re the same problems in every book I write, so here they are:

  1. I’ve begun the book in the wrong place. I get a MUCH better idea for Chapter 1. And probably Chapters 2-4, also. There’s no point carrying on with the angle I’d first thought of so I rewrite what I’d written from the new angle. Much better.
  2. I haven’t been assiduous in keeping a cast list and I’m beginning to forget the names of minor characters. I update my cast list and find I have four characters whose names begin with J or two characters called Peter. I make the necessary adjustments to my castlist and to my manuscript.
  3. DSCF9002While I’m at it, I update my timeline (a long strip of paper created by stapling together A4 sheets from my scrap paper drawer). I find I’ve messed up my timeline and have to go back and sort it out. I make the necessary adjustments to my manuscript.
  4. I get involved with promo for the last book and return to my WIP in short bursts. I lose continuity and realise I have far too many ideas for one book. It will end up about 300,000 words long.
  5. I feel like one of those people who keep fifty plates spinning on thin sticks. I’m worried I’m not keeping them all going and I go back and read and edit what I have so far.
  6. Getting ready for our Heroine's Abroad workshop, which was good fun and well supported. Evonne Wareham (back to cam) in Welsh national dress, Lynne Connolly, helpful lady called Carolyn, Christina Courtenay.

    Getting ready for our Heroine’s Abroad workshop, which was good fun and well supported. Evonne Wareham (back to cam) in Welsh national dress, Lynne Connolly, helpful lady called Carolyn, Christina Courtenay.

    I go away to teach or attend a convention and swear to work every day on my book so I don’t lose momentum. I work on it on the plane there. On the plane back I stare at it and wonder whether this is actually my book at all. Once home, I go back and read and edit what I have so far. (If I’m really organised, I manage to make 5 and 6 one step, which saves a lot of time.)

  7. I realise that the dynamics between certain characters are not coming out as I thought they were. I make the necessary adjustments to my manuscript.
  8. At the bar in the Grand Union Station.

    I realise that I do NOT have too many ideas for one book. I have too few. I panic and feel sick and begin scribbling new plot ideas on post-its. I may turn to drink.

  9. I find a hole in my plot. For some reason, the knowledge comes to me when I’m either on a train or in the shower. I worry a lot. Sigh. Scribble on post-its. Make the necessary adjustments to my manuscript.
  • photo 1-1I stare at the 63,449 words of my manuscript and know that I’m going to sweat over unknotting my plot lines and bringing the book to a satisfying ending … so I write a blog entitled Familiar Blunders When Writing a Novel.

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Paperback Release; Crazy, Undercover, Love – the day has come!

suemoorcroft:

Nikki Moore is one of my favourite authors.

Originally posted on Writing, Work and Wine:

‘Most definitely a must read for all romance fans!’ – Chicks That Read

‘I couldn’t put the book down!’ – Erin’s Choice

I’m so incredibly excited to be able to say that my debut novel Crazy, Undercover, Love published by HarperImpulse is out as a paperback today!!

Crazy Undercover Love Cover

Since it was released as an eBook in April, I’ve been overwhelmed by the support I’ve received from family, friends, other writers … and of course, my lovely readers. I really appreciate each and every review written, because it means someone has felt passionate enough about the book – one way or another – to give up their time and share their thoughts about the story.

It feels like a dream come true that not only is it available as an eBook on a dizzying amount of websites, but it’s also on the Waterstones website – bit.ly/Y8HlVO, and Amazon – amzn.to/1lfuBnd – for…

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Celebrating UK Paperback Publication Day! And thank you.

TWP_HIGHRES 150dpi

I’m lucky enough to have loads to celebrate, lately, and here we are again –  UK paperback Publication Day for The Wedding Proposal!

Publication Day is always lovely. It’s better than my birthday. I get one of those every year without any work whatsoever but to reach Publication Day takes an avalanche of work not just by me but by the entire and very lovely Choc Lit team. We work hard together to produce the best book that we can. My thanks to all of them for the rounds and rounds of edits and proofing, cover consultations, marketing and promo.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank all my readers, not just for buying my books but for following me on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon, Pinterest, LinkedIn (and anywhere else) and especially if they have taken the trouble to send me lovely messages. It’s a privilege to be a writer in the age of social media and interact with readers – lucky me again.

To mark Publication Day I’m going to meet my mum and brother for lunch and then toddle off to the BBC Radio Cambridgeshire studios to be a guest of Sue Dougan ‘In the Chat Room’. I may just mention to her that The Wedding Proposal has been shortlisted for the Best Romantic Read Award, too …

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Shortlisted! Romance Reader Awards

TWP_RGBpackshotAbsolutely thrilled to hear this week that The Wedding Proposal has been shortlisted in the Romance Reader Awards for Best Romantic Read. This is the first year that the entry has been open to all so I’m beyond delighted to be in illustrious company. You can read the complete lists for all categories here but this is the line up for mine:

Best Romantic Read
(Sponsored by Headline Eternal)
Two Weddings and a Baby by Scarlett Bailey (Ebury)
The Memory Book by Rowan Coleman (Ebury)
The Cornish Stranger by Liz Fenwick (Orion)
After The Honeymoon by Janey Fraser (Arrow)
The Unpredictable Consequences of Love by Jill Mansell (Headline Review)
One Hundred Proposals by Holly Martin (Carina)
The Wedding Proposal by Sue Moorcroft (Choc Lit)
The Proposal by Tasmina Perry (Headline Review)
One Step Closer to You by Alice Peterson (Quercus)

Rowan Coleman is currently flying high as a Richard & Judy pick and Jill Mansell has long been a mega-bestseller so you can see what I mean by ‘illustrious company’.

The award ceremony is at the Festival of Romantic Fiction on the evening of Saturday 13th September 2014 at Leighton Buzzard Theatre. I’m attending the Festival all day on the Saturday, to be part of the book fair in Leighton Buzzard High Street from 10am to 3pm and the Traditional Afternoon Tea with the Authors at The Green House, Market Square, Leighton Buzzard. I’m glad I booked a hotel for Saturday night as drinking fizz at an awards ceremony is a basic human right … and I’m rather a fan of it.

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Romance comes to #AskSwanwick with writer, tutor and competition judge, Sue Moorcroft

From Swanwick’s monthly newsletter:

Join Sue Moorcroft for the next #AskSwanwick tweetchat on Tuesday 16th September at 8pm (BST). You may know Sue from her extensive work as a writing tutor, or from her popular novels, or from her many short stories and articles. Sue, a full time writer, tutor, and competition judge, will be available to answer your questions on any writing matter, including her novels and how courses can help writers improve their skills.

I first came across Sue at the Romantic Novelists’ Association conference where she fearlessly delivered a workshop on how to write convincing, sexy and erotic scenes. Her ‘how to’ book, Love Writing, published by Accent Press, is essential reading for those hoping to spice up their stories with a sexy or funny romance.

TWP_RGBpackshotHer latest novel, The Wedding Proposal, is has just been published by Choc Lit as an ebook and paperback.

ios_homescreen_iconIf you sometimes wonder what Twitter is for, then why not follow the tweetchat with Sue on Tuesday 16th at 8pm, and watch the Q & A unfold before your eyes? To follow the chat, type #AskSwanwick into the search box on Twitter and select ‘All’ (not ‘Top’). Then join in and put your questions to Sue, not forgetting the #AskSwanwick hashtag so that everyone following can see your question.

Sue’s website: http://www.suemoorcroft.com/

Sue on Twitter: https://twitter.com/suemoorcroft

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Interview: Sue Moorcroft

suemoorcroft:

Many thanks to Heidi for interviewing me for Cosmochicklitan.

Originally posted on cosmochicklitan:

I am delighted to be welcoming Sue Moorcroft to my blog today. 

Portrait of Sue Moorcroft

Your newest novel is called The Wedding Proposal. Could you please tell us a bit more about this book?

I wanted to write a reunion book because I love reading them so much. Had I realised that it would mean I’d effectively plot two books, the backstory and the frontstory, I may not have been so enthusiastic! I couldn’t believe how much backstory I needed to know to make the frontstory work. It took ages. I had to find a plausible reason for Lucas and Elle to have split up in the first place yet make it credible that they would eventually consider getting back together. I ended up with a secretive heroine and a hero that didn’t like secrets.

I set the book in Malta because I wanted a change, because I like to be in…

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