About my blogs

Hello, welcome to my blog site.
I use these pages to not only promote my book series:
Crystal Waters, but so you can get a taste of what
really goes on behind the scence, so-to-speak.
My thoughts, idea's and feelings are poured lovely into, what I call, my diary for all to see.
I'm sure there will be many happy moments, emotional traumas and doubts, but it will all enhance my
intention; to capture an honest and heartfelt progression-log of my life, as a writer.
Hope you enjoy :) Any comments are most welcome.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Public Speaking *eek*

Well, here we are folks not only on the brink of Halloween but my book is almost here and should be in most major booksellers such as Amazon very soon; exciting and rather nerve-raking times.
Now all I have to do is try and sell my book, easy you might be thinking; just a few talks here and there and a handful of book signings to do. Well, the fact is, I’m petrified of public speaking! I’m definitely a 'behind the scenes' kinda gal! No drum-rolls or ta-da moments for me!

So how does a frightened new author overcome her nerves? Being such a scaredy cat, myself, I thought I would ask some of my author friends how they conquer their fears when talking in public:

  • Diana Rozevskis, as it turns out, my aunt just self-published a children's book. She went to the local grade school, sat in front of each class, and read it to the students. Children are the most forgiving audience you can get, so start there and hone your skills. Plus you will know if your target audience is interested. She sold a bunch of copies days after the event. It's a small community, and the children's mothers went to my aunt's house and said they must have a copy!

  • I'd rather have my eyes poked out with a stick than speak in public.

  • I used to do public speaking for a living hahaha I was a pastor. I never had a problem with anyone listening to me, if they didn't the church roof would have fallen down on them. hahahahaha 

  • I am naturally very shy (although most people will tell you I am not). When my children were in grade school and I was president of the PTA (Parent-Teacher Association) I became another person. My real self sat on a chair in the corner of my mind hiding until the public part was over. I still put my real self in another compartment so the "pubic extrovert" can have center stage.

  • Coming in right at the end to tell you that it is ok to be anxious, it ups your game a little. So, if you find that you've prepared to bits and you are still a bit nervous, that's ok. A bit of anxiety sharpens you up, just so long as it's not enough to paralyse. Deep breathing and all the great advice above, I'd listen to you. Description: smile

  • Practice, practice, and practice. I also tell myself that it's not about ME as much as something I'm offering them: information, entertainment, whatever. Takes some of the pressure off.

  • I never got over the jitters of speaking before an audience. Some writers can do both, write and speak. Some of us can only do one thing well. I have given it up. I used to do panels and speaking engagements and even teaching week-long courses at high schools about writing, but just...gave it up. I am not good at it. No point in beating that dead horse when it just can't get up and run.
  • There are a few keys I have learned:

     and record yourself. or practice to a mirror. Run over your notes and what you wanted to say in your head over and over, until they are second nature.

    Prepare: The best you can prepare your technology. Have backup copies of your presentation (if it is a PowerPoint or something similar) on CD and thumb drive. Bring your own laptop or tablet if possible, just in case.

    Expect the unexpected. The audience is there to hear you. They want to hear what you have to say. But life happens. Be ready if tech doesn't work, there is a smaller audience than expected, the room is too cold or too hot. . . .you never know. I have had everything go wrong that could, and you can always make the best of it.
  • ·         Hi Diana, there is a tried and tested way to prepare for public speaking. Once you have your script or prompt cards ready, perform your presentation and record yourself using your phone or laptop and listen to how it sounds. Work on the bits which don't sound good and keep rerecording yourself. Do it until you don't need the script or prompt cards anymore. Practice practice practice as being totally familiar with your script will give you so much more confidence and always remember that your audience are there because they want to listen to what you have to say or they wouldn't there.
  • uh - I didn't, all my promotion is on-line . . . I have zero desire to speak in front of people, if I did I wouldn't be a writer, I'd be a debater Description: wink
  • I don't do public speakings. Heck I need to have a couple of glasses of wine just to hang out with more than 2 or 3 people - very shy in person.
  • I haven't - I still get nervous as hell when talking in front of audiences. But I will say that it does get a little easier each time. It's best to remember that the people who are sat listening to you are there because they want to be - they're not waiting for you to make an arse of yourself or anything like that, they actually want you to do well and are interested in what you have to say Description: smile x

  • If its your first time I suggest you begin with something like, Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen, I'm Diana and I'm new to this... then smile and say please bear with me... I was a teacher which probably helped me! Good Luck Diana!

Of course, a different approach may be another option:

  • I just hire a double
Description: https://fbexternal-a.akamaihd.net/safe_image.php?d=AQDUv19AfKss11JW&w=90&h=90&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.peopleyouwant.com%2Flogo.jpg

A lot of authors emphasize the benefits of getting 'out there' and speaking to the public, such as; resonating with your audience and promoting your books.
Of course, that's all well and good, but how do you comfort your nerves when you know that  all eyes are upon you and they are listening to every word you say? You know you will inevitably turn into a jibbering stuttering mess and forget everything you have practiced beforehand. 

Other people's advice on the web:

  • Join Toastmasters and actively participate.
  • Get involved with story-telling groups.
  • Hire a voice coach.
  • Find a mentor (someone you admire and has experience)
  • Stay local at first, speak perhaps at; church, bookshops, libraries and schools.
  • Find your voice that carries well.
  • Cut out the filler words like; uh, ah, er.
  • Use vocal variety and not keep it monotone throughout.
  • Be prepared; check out venue, props and get your notes organised.
  • Know your audience.
  • Start with something that grabs their attention.
  • Never write out the whole speech, prompt cards are better.
  • Choose a short excerpt to read from your book.
  • Never assume that because the audience isn't nodding and smiling that they are not enjoying your talk. 

So there you have it, plenty of good advice for me to mull over. Why does that not make me feel any better? 
Well, I guess I will just have to bite the bullet and get myself out there won't I?
So, if our paths do ever cross, please bare in mind that I'll be, almost definitely, shaking in my boots and probably going to faint at any minute.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Book cover votes

Well, there is good news and bad news. The bad news: publishers have yet again let me down after getting my hopes up. But the good news: I've finally made the decision to take matters into my own hands and self publish my book.

After much browsing on the Internet and talking to already self-published authors I decided to go with 'FeedARead' This leading independent, art council funded, publisher sounds perfect for my needs. It is free to join and not only prints on demand but also distributes and promotes your books all over the world. Their printers have the largest global distribution network of their kind with over 30,000 wholesaler's, retailers and booksellers in over 100 countries. So good news for my book to get as much coverage as possible.
The whole process takes about 6-7 weeks so I'm delighted to say my book will be in the shops by Christmas :)

The first process was to download their book template and then copy and paste my entire interior of my book onto it. A little tricky (as I'm not a great computer expert) but after a little jiggling and tweaking I finally got it just how I wanted it to look. It was then sent off for approval and I was pleasantly surprised how quick this was. The final result looks great on Adobe format. It looked so professional, I was positively beaming inside :)

Then of course was the book cover design to tackle. I enjoyed this process hugely. You could either choose from their designs (which were fab) or download one of your own. I decided on the latter.
However, this led to a slight dilemma: which one to choose?? I had the professional one that I had won from the writing competition (the door on the front with two cartoon character girls on the back.)

Or my own painting of my Iris lady opening the door with a Crystal and water  on the back.

I decided the only way to decide was to put it to a public vote. I first asked on Face-book, and put up my two book covers on there for people to look at.
I had some great feedback and quite a few people commented on their idea's, which of course was greatly appreciated. Most of my adult, Face-book, friends went for the door, saying that Iris and the Crystal looked great but would expect children (who it's aimed for) would more likely choose the door as it looked more child friendly.

I also sent off emails to friends and family for their opinions too.
That afternoon, I received a very exciting and interesting phone call from one of my friends I had sent an email to. She works in a local Primary school, and when she received the email she decided to ask her class what they thought too. And so, she put up on the big screen my two book cover designs and asked them what they thought. How important did that make me feel? immensely I can tell you!!
What a great result she got as well! 65 out of 68 children (aged between 8-10 years old) voted for Iris and the Crystal on the back while only 3 liked the book front cover and the cartoon girls on the back.When my friend asked the class why they made their choice, they said it was because the door didn't look very exciting and the cartoon characters looked rather babyish. Whereas Iris (the lady as they said) looked intriguing and they were more likely to want to pick up this book and read it.

Well, I'm no mathematician but I'd say that was quite an outstanding majority for good old Iris. Yey! I must admit, I was secretly over the moon as I had painted Iris long before I'd even started the book, six years ago, which means, she has been with me the whole way on my 'writing the book' journey. It seems only fitting now to have her on the front cover don't you think?

Thank you to you all that took part in my book cover votes. It was such a great way to get peoples opinions and had fun along the way, which always is a great bonus. :)