Category Archives: Margaret Cullingford

PROMOTION COMMOTION – RNA CONFERENCE REPORT by Mags Cullingford

I love writing but confess when it comes to marketing and promoting the two novels I’ve published so far . . .  This post about Hazel Gaynor’s excellent talk at last year’s RNA Conference is very much a case of ‘Do as I say, not as I do.’

hazel gaynorHAZEL GAYNOR began with the lesson of E.L. James’s runaway success. ALL publicity is good publicity. What followed was effervescent.

As a reader Hazel needed to be told three things:

  • Tell me the book exists
  • Give me a reason to care
  • Convince me to buy it

She showed how to go about doing this by quoting from the Bookseller Marketing and Publicity Conference using the link #mpconf15, reminding us the author knows their book the best, and is, therefore, the ideal publicist.

All that followed made perfect sense. Hazel emphasised be nice to everyone, engage rather than sell, keep engaging and interacting. Social media is to entertain, to inform, and to connect.

What not to do – #buymybook #buymybook #buymybook.

Her advice: focus on fluid media, Twitter, Facebook and be a user not a promoter. Be visual on Pinterest, use video – You Tube, Book Tube, Facebook Virtual Events – plus look at two new mediums for ideas:

www.the-pool.com –for podcasts, sample chapters, interviews [billed on Google as a platform for women too busy to browse], and Periscope #whereiwrite [launched by Twitter March 2015] where authors give live tours around writing spaces.

social media signpost 300She recommended, chat and engage with people, support other writers, tag a relevant hashtag, share quotes from books, do a Twitter chat (be prepared), run a giveaway promotion/competition share interesting, relevant book-related content on your Author Central profile on Amazon, share milestones.

Who are you online? She emphasised the importance of photographs on Websites and Blog Posts, on Twitter, create a mailing list. Keep changing your Facebook Profile, and, more importantly, your FB Author Page.

She advised three to six months pre-publication, start sharing progress, cover reveal, look into Goodreads giveaways, and invite reviews.

Launch – quote from book. Make use of your Pinterest Notice Board, make it lively and interesting re-pinning from other Notice Boards but cave Copyright.

Engage with readers through your Goodreads Author Profile and Dashboard.

Our guests arrive . . .Be a real person in your locality, at writing festivals and events, book clubs and libraries. Run Workshops, attend conferences and festivals.

Skype – now there’s something to consider. Write articles online and in print. Write Blog posts. Review other authors’ books. Be interviewed.

Be creative like Joan Hessayon’ Award Winner Brigid Coady, photographed as “Writer in Residence” on her commuter train from Maidstone, and check out Matt Haig, author of The Humans.

Pitch a press release – what is your book? Research radio, TV, events, and don’t forget business cards, and book markers.

Finally, CELEBRATE.2015-10-21 11.35.53

But a note of caution, what if, after all this, it goes bad? Low attendance sucks. Mistakes happen.

Hazel’s personal observation, get over it like you do rejection of your precious manuscript(s). No resting on your laurels nowadays when you’ve written and published a book. That is just the beginning.

Thank you Hazel Gaynor for detailing what needs to happen next. Hazel ended with a Woody Allen quote “Eighty percent of success is showing up”.

First published in Romance Matters Autumn 2015

STEVE HODGKIN / Credit - CHADWICKS -Mags Cullingford
Independent Author Last Bite of the Cherry (2012) and
Twins of a Gazelle (2015)

Mags is currently completing and polishing her as yet untitled third novel – After her mother’s fatal car accident, Lexie Neave receives threatening anonymous letters. Private investigator Forbes’s brief is to identify the writer and discover what it is Lexie has that’s “valuable, very valuable which by rights is mine”. Lexie hasn’t a clue, and she’s in danger.

 

 

 

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Happy Christmas from New Romantics Press

What Christmas means to us . . . 

click on each photo to put a face to a name !

First up – June

My grandma would make 100 mince pies and 100 lemon curd and jam tarts every year at this time, before giving the house a thorough bottoming! Here the toaster has just exploded and I already have hurricane hair.

2014-03-26 10.02.35Soon though, every room will be full, every bed occupied, and like most of us, shutting myself away to write won’t be an option. I’m bound to be inspired enough by chat and conversation though, to keep scribbling notes on scraps of paper. (Must remember to keep them safe – not risk finding one stuck to the bottom of a Piccalilli jar in February, like last year.) One son recently met a person who studied photography as I did, in the ‘60s, then worked for BBC (and on Evita) as a make-up artist in ‘70s and ‘80s. Great background for my novel, so there’ll be some surreptitious scribbling about that!

Take it away – Adrienne

 

I love Christmas, always have. Luckily we live in a village with a church and a pub so we make the most of it. And with two cocker spaniels, there’s always a great excuse to trudge off excesses across fields, rewarding ourselves with a nice glass of mulled wine and mince pies in front of a roaring log fire. I do all of it! We’re going to visit family in Dublin too, which will be really special, the lights in the city are fabulous and we’ll head to the coast and then into the mountains for lunch, wonderful.

I’m completing the edits of my new novel Scandal of the Seahorse Hotel currently which will take me through to New Year, when we will be in sunny South Devon. I always start a new novel, fresh notebook, coloured pens at the ready while I’m there. The walks on the beach, steaming seafood chowder and local cider help get the brain cells working again – it’s all rather inspirational, so Christmas and New Year is a time of thanksgiving for me, I know how lucky we are.

How about you, Mags?

Mags is working on her third novel which features ‘heroine in jeopardy’ as its central theme. She will be spending  Christmas at the beck and call of her cat, Tina – no change there – who deserves to have a novel written just about her.

And, finally, Lizzie 

I’m dreaming about hitting the road in 2016 with our caravan, computer, parrot and husband to research number four. Highlands of Scotland, here I come. For me, Christmas is all about being with friends and family and taking time to do those things which the madness of modern life seems to push to the back of the queue – loving, laughter and sharing experiences. I’m very enthused about #4 which I’m currently writing and which features a wayward laird who is at odds with his son, an eccentric family of cousins and a missing ‘treasure.’ Hopefully you’ll be able to download it by the end of 2016.

 

It simply remains for us to thank you all for your continued support – whether it be downloading our novels, reviewing them, subscribing to newsletters or just chatting to us on Facebook. Have a great Christmas and a healthy and happy New Year. Soon the shortest day will have passed and we will start journeying towards the light.

 

Fireplace FINAL 550

Here are the links to our amazon pages if you would like to download one of our novels . . .

June , Adrienne, Mags and Lizzie

 

Happy Birthday to New Romantics Press!!

Three years ago this month New Romantics Press was born, huddled together in the backroom of a village pub in the wilds of rural Leicestershire. Trembling with fear and trepidation, four fledgling authors launched themselves on the world …

Our Books !!

Dozens of book launches, blogs, reviews, newspaper reports, radio interviews and videos later, we’ve embraced each and every element of what being an author in today’s multi-media environment entails; standing shoulder to shoulder, through drafts, edits, rewrites and great big gaping holes of self-confidence…

 

Yet at the very essence our passion, our need to tell our stories our way, remains. The highlight of our journey so far? Holding a book launch in Waterstones, Kensington. That’s Kensington, London  -in case you’re wondering. We were hoping that Dustin Hoffman (who regularly shops there) was going to turn up, but alas he was otherwise engaged.

Ten acclaimed novels later … the dream is a reality and the greatest reward? Every single time a reader says: “I loved your book, when is the next one coming out?”

Happy birthday sisters, fairy Godmothers one and all. Cue music: ‘Sisters Doing it For Themselves’, and exit stage left.

So what are we up to ATM?

Here’s our news, hot off the press . . .

Adrienne“I’m currently working on my fourth novel, Scandal of the Seahorse Hotel, a contemporary Irish American romantic suspense, steeped in mystery from World War II.”

 

Lizzie? “I’ve started novel number four – working title: THIS HIGHLAND MAGIC. I hope to publish it on our fourth anniversary November 2016. No pressure, then. I have a heroine with a secret and gorgeous new hero who has his own demons to confront. I’m keeping him all to myself until then, ladies.”

 

Mags? “I’m currently working on novel number three (as yet, untitled). Here’s the blurb so far – After her mother’s fatal car accident, Lexie Neave receives four threatening anonymous letters. Private investigator Forbes’s brief is to identify the writer and discover what it is Lexie has that’s “valuable, very valuable; which by rights is mine”. Lexie hasn’t a clue. Forbes’s preliminary investigations convince him Lexie is in danger.”

 

June? “Until October this year, I’d been playing out scenes, progressing the story in my historical romance set in 1960’s London and San Francisco, (all going pretty well, I thought!) Then, I went back to SF, imagination took over and the story just went whizzing off in directions I hadn’t expected! So now, here I am – hanging on, getting it all down!”

 

So, it’s happy birthday to us and a big thank you to everyone who’s helped us on our way. Christmas is just around the corner and what could be better than to find a copy of one of our books in your Christmas stocking? Diamonds, you say? OK – we’re on the case.

2014-11-05 14.12.13

Happy Birthday to us !

 

 

LOVE CAN’T BE HURRIED, NOR CAN A SECOND NOVEL

 

book2My second novel Twins of a Gazelle is out, a mere six months later than my NR4 co-conspirators’ got out their seconds, the other fab three, Adrienne, June and Lizzie. My small band of readers are probably wondering, ‘So, what took you so long?’ Taking my cue from The Supremes’ “You Can’t Hurry Love”, I couldn’t hurry Twins of a Gazelle. No matter how hard I tried, I just had to take as long as it took. How(see below) will probably explain everything.

Way back in February, Sarah Houldcroft told us what every writer needs to know which is what readers want to know. I will do my best to answer her five questions.

What inspired you to write your novel?

Twins of a Gazelle began with a house nestling in the Leicestershire countryside. Over the years I have regularly driven past this house very much like the one in the picture. I thought, one day I shall write a story about the people who live there. Lonely, disillusioned, contrite Calista Blake and her charming, wealthy and manipulative husband Adam Burgess seemed ideal occupants. They began to haunt the house as they did my imagination. BUT, Calista needed to escape her comfortable prison and where better than to the enchanted Greek island of Ithaca where she becomes spellbound by PJ Wood.

????????????????????????

 

How, why and where do you write?

cat1 copyEasiest one first, where, here in my small back room. Not in a café, a library or on the kitchen table, an attention-seeking cat is distraction enough, though interruptions from The Long-suffering One with coffee or tea are always welcome.

 

Easier second, why, because I must or I would go ever so slightly madder.

How, slowly and with difficulty. I start with a character, to-date, a woman, clever, successful at what she does. Her flaw, to begin with, she is emotionally naïve. In both Twins of a Gazelle and Last Bite of the Cherry, the main character’s story-thread is interwoven with that of a second female character who started out as my heroine. On reflection, theirs was, for me, too straightforward, not so Calista’s in Twins of a Gazelle, nor Monica’s in Last Bite of the Cherry. I like to probe their character, their motivation, their psyche, find just the right words to convey their state of mind, their emotions, and the undercurrents beneath an-on-the-surface ordinary situation. All this is equally relevant to the men they fall in love with, the two or three or more ‘heroes’ before they find ‘the one’. To me all my heroes are lovable in their own way, even Adam. As a reader, please feel free to take your pick. My novels are so not boy-meets-girl, jump through a few hoops and then live happily ever after. For me, there are no endings, just new beginnings. At the end, I would like my readers to think, ‘Knowing them both as well as I do now . . .’ Maybe some do.

Afterthought: One of my reviewers of Last Bite of the Cherry wondered if the ending would have been ‘happy’ – to my mind it was more like ‘satisfying’ – if the main protagonist had been ‘poverty struck’. If I were to write about people struggling to make a living, feed their children, becoming homeless, that would be something quite else, which brings me to question 3.

Have you experienced first-hand any of the aspects in your books?

Well, I have been known to fall in love with unsuitable men, not unsuitable in themselves, just not for me. That’s character-building and informative. Makes you think ‘What do I really, really want?’ Answer: ‘Not this’. Also, many moons ago, I took myself by surprise by becoming pregnant. Now there’s a surreal experience. Anyone agree?

Did you base your character on a real person?

My characters come from my imagination based on many years’ observation of the way people are and behave towards each other. At social gatherings, events, meetings, airports, in trains, part of the time, most of the time I love sitting back people watching. Fascinating.

If so, was it you?

I suspect I do what most writers do which is imagine myself as the person I’m writing about at any given time, what they’re thinking, feeling, seeing and hearing, smelling, doing. I try my best to make it ‘real’. Then it’s me in so far as it’s what I may have thought, felt etc. in similar situations.

??????????Nuff said, I think. I shall now sail off into the sunset in PJ Wood’s sloop.

 

Mags, aka Margaret C.