Tag Archives: Business

Kate vs Showbiz – Chapter 24

Returning to the table, both women sipped their drinks and Kate was slightly shocked to see some mini muffins were also part of the order.

Taking a bite of her cake, Karen continued, “Where was I? Oh yes, yummy mummies. I think they thought I should be joining their gang. After all, I’d had a decent job, but unlike them, I planned to go back to it. My career wasn’t just something I did until I’d knocked out a sprog for the rich husband I’d landed.”

Kate nearly choked on her muffin. “Sorry” she said as Karen quickly wiped the crumbs from her laptop.

Don’t worry, it’s not the worst thing that’s been thrown at it. Anyway, there was a third group and they were the mums who needed more than childcare and shopping in their lives. Some of them had started small businesses. Nothing earth-shattering, and they generally had to fit around the kids but as I found them, I realised I’d found my tribe as they say. The problem is, that most of them were working on their own and didn’t know how to talk to each other. Finding help can be a bit like getting a good plumber, you can read adverts, but when your mate tells you ‘Dave down the road handles his wrench really well’ then you know you are on to a good thing.”

So you decided to bring them together. That’s a clever move.” Kate was impressed.

Not that clever. I wasn’t the first person to think of it. My USP is that I know these women aspire to do more than just take photos of themselves wearing today’s outfit or write a blog no-one reads. Take Harriet, one of my first recruits. She does bookkeeping. Before children, she worked for a big accountants. Now she can whip your finances into shape and keep on top of them. She does it for several people, including me. She doesn’t want to rival KPMG or anything, but it’s more than just a way to earn pin-money.”

Kate thought back to Ali from her first meeting. They had chatted and swapped business cards. She ran a pet grooming firm. “You mean you lead the horses to water.”

But if they want a drink, it’s up to them.”

But how do you keep it all going? Surely you are out on the road a lot.”

Karen waved her hand over the table. “Welcome to my office. Have laptop will travel.”

But what about the kids?”

Not a problem. Andrew works close enough to home to be able to do the school runs when I’m away. We just have to spend a lot of time synchronising our calendars to make sure at least one of us is around. We get there. Most of the time anyway.”

Kate looked at her plate. The mini muffin had been munched. Perhaps a few lengths of the pool would be a good idea. Tomorrow anyway. But Karen had really given her something to think about. Perhaps these women weren’t CEOs of multinationals, but they did manage to get more out of life than just being a parent. She knew she wanted to make KOD a company she could be proud of, but did she want to be the next Virgin? Certainly having your own private island would be nice, but perhaps it was time to take a long-term view. Did she just want to get the point that she worked and owned a company she enjoyed being at, and helped keep her in Louboutins and Westwood but perhaps Ferraris and multiple houses were a step too far? She honestly didn’t know.

Looking at her watch Karen closed her laptop, “Look I’ve got to get off, it’s dance class tonight so I need to be back by 4.30pm. I’d like to keep in touch, if that’s OK, I think there are things we could do together.”

Secretly pleased, Kate nodded her approval. Standing to shake hands goodbye she got overtaken by a hug and two kisses. Watching Karen walk away, stylish in heels, she thought to herself perhaps she’d finally found someone on her wavelength.

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A great title WILL sell your book. To me anyway…

Phil: It’s my old editor’s fault. David and I are both VW campervan fans, and the conversions in our vans are by the Folkestone firm of Dormobile.

So, when he posted the cover of Tess of the Dormobiles on Facebook, I knew it was only going to be a matter of time before I read it.

The story concerns Theresa Finbow – a self-published author, and her plan to write the difficult second novel. She borrows a holiday cottage in a quiet area of Norfolk, the plan being to emulate her lead character Tess.

In Norfolk, a trip to the local pub brings her into contact with Billy, a local farmworker who has a mysterious and ominous past. Worse, his brother is the reason that Tess is on holiday without her husband.

Can Tess get her novel finished, survive contact with Billy and resolve the issues in her personal life?

Will Stebbings is a self-published author with at least five books to his credit. Tess of the Dormobiles is printed by Createspace, a print-on-demand house, and sold via eBay, which is where I bought it.

You might expect me to review this with 2 stars and tell you I’d been ripped off. And you’d be wrong.

OK, the text could do with the attentions of a copy editor. There’s too much nerdy detail in places. Both Will and Tess know Norfolk and relate some locations in a very blokeish way with road numbers. I also query what two chapters of the fictional Tess book add to anything.

But, as I read it, one word kept popping up in my head – fresh. The writing is fresh and enjoyable. The plot rolls along well and a few surprises are chucked in along the way, especially the twist at the end. It’s not the best book I’ve read, but a lot better than many efforts by names famous for things other than writing.

I’m pleased the title, which is explained in the story, sold me this book. Reading it was fun. Owning it is a bit of a laugh. Passing it on to La Nolan will be a pleasure.

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A Clever Marketing Ploy?

Tethered Twins

Candice: As an independent worker I have always got my eye out for the next marketing trick or role mostly sent to me via the emails that land on my Blackberry every day.

Recently I’ve been reconnecting via Linked in, as I may be taking a six month break from it all, but I need to keep my eye on what is out there.  As part of that I am in a number of groups, and also receive regular emails on what is going on in the local marketing community.

This week I had one with the following:

“Online Marketing Manager Mike Essex is giving away copies of his first novel, Tethered Twins, to see what it takes to make a book go viral. It can be downloaded for free directly from Amazon http://amzn.to/1boKS0X and is ideal for fans of Sci-Fi or Dystopia like the Hunger Games.”

Hum, I thought, how clever is that.  You have a potential audience of thousands via Linked in who may or may not read this email, then there is a percentage who will click through and a smaller percentage that will download.  But, when you do email or direct marketing campaigns the expected return is often around 3%, so if that works for this it could be 1000 people perhaps.  What a really good way to get the word out there without having to work too hard.

Then I thought, how could Phil and I steal this idea.  Between the two of us we have you lovely blog followers, our own Linked in Groups, facebook and twitter as well.  Surely we could get together a group of people who might want to take up our enterprise?

Ok, fine, but you have forgotten one thing Nolan, you still haven’t finished the bugger!  Yes, I know I know, its on the eternal list.  The one that sits with the kind of conversation I have just had with my parents about what’s next to do in the house decorating front.  I must admit I am at the point where I just want this whole pregnancy thing over, I’m fed up with being ungainly and tired all the time (yes I know I will be tired for different reasons in the future…) but I am pinning my hopes on three weeks grace between finishing work and little person arriving to get some book stuff done (alongside painting etc).  I’m now at the point I’ve stopped telling people Phil and I have written a book as a bit embarrassing that things haven’t moved on. And I’m bored for you reader reading a blog about writing where there is no writing going on.  Come on, we’ve been so slack we haven’t even done a Christmas story this year.

Roll on the 31st December and finishing work and then I’m going to be stealing Mike’s idea.

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Musing on Polly Courtney

Candice: So another lovely author has given  us some key tips on how the get going in this tough world of publishing.  It seems it’s all about the self publishing.

Right, I’ll just go and pop down to the printers and get 5,000 copies made and then stick them on Amazon then.

Seriously, it’s not as easy as it looks.  Years ago this was called ‘Vanity’ Publishing, where you could get your book printed and bound to look like the real thing then hand it round to your mates – “Look I’m a published author“.  I met a man once who did this, telling everyone that he was an expert in acting skills off the back of his book.  You won’t be surprised to discover he was a con man.

So, how is this different?  Well look at Polly’s planning.  It’s more like the project management I have to undertake at work – marketing strategy, time line, launch plan – than just sticking a word document on an email and saying “print me some”.  The route to distribution compared to the old style of ‘Get agent, get publisher, get published’ might be different but the tools she uses are the same as they will.

What do we do with this information?  Well at the moment we are still looking at the conventional route; because we like the idea of being fawned over, taken to lunch and being invited to premieres.  But realistically, it looks like self publishing is the way forward.

But we wont be taking this lightly.  I refuse to send something out that hasn’t been properly edited, proofed, copy and grammar checked.  When it sees the light of day it will be a quality publication that won’t put people off due to its poor spelling.

Taking this route will also solve the pigeon-hole problem.  I think we will have the same thing as Polly as we are delving into a genre but not following a well-worn path.  “Where do we go in Waterstones?” Is what the marketer will cry – well I don’t know but that doesn’t matter on Amazon.

Now Phil and I just need to find some time to get that editing done!

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Bad Book Marketing

Clients From HellPhil: I spotted this conversation between a new author and marketing man on the Clients From Hell Website.

You really can’t help some people can you ?

Remember kids; astroturfing won’t help your sales growth !

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Stealing our Thunder!

Candice:  Phil has a particular bone to pick with Celebs who seem to get their books, what ever drivel they are, published really easily.  I remember him coming to me particularly annoyed after hearing Tess Daly on the radio, talking about her latest book, and saying the whole process had been particularly easy and then she was off to the next thing while she had her publishing deal ticking away in the background.

Now, I don’t dislike Tess, she seems like a nice down to earth sort of girl, but in between presenting Strictly and sorting our her husband’s sexts, she’s whipped out the obligatory 80,000 words and then carried on, while the rest of us are struggling to get a deal and hold down the day job.  Phil is convinced you have to be a celeb to get published.

I don’t particularly agreed but I do think swishy hair and being on telly can’t hinder.  I’m trying, I have the hair (when I can be bothered to straighten it) and I am on telly, occasionally, but of course you only see my arm, leg or back most of the time ( which can’t help!).

However, the final nail in the coffin is an article I caught over the weekend, how she was in LA to discuss the film they are planning to make from her book.  “WHAT” you cry.  I want to be wandering around in the sunshine on someone else’s dollar, please.  And to cap it all, she’s been pictured wearing the green dress from M&S Limited Collection I was going to get for my birthday party, and I can’t find it in stock anywhere now.  Hum, maybe I don’t quite like her so much any more!!!

But, I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt.  I’m off on holiday soon, so I’ll do some research while I relax.

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