Tag Archives: facebook

A Cuppa Book Launch is happening now!

8 Dec

The book launch is on now http://www.facebook.com/ACuppaandAnArmchair/posts/207771662637092#!/events/256764657711969/

Come and show your support – tell us what biscuits you like to dunk in your cuppa!

You don’t want to miss this…well you might.

29 Oct

Do you ever read a post and think ‘What the….?’

This happened to me this week. I was reading Christo the Nomads post on chairs, yes that’s right, the uncomfortableness that is the workplace chair.

By the time I had finished reading, I was overwhelmed by the cleverness of the writing, or more to the point, the ability to write about the everyday, in a way that was not everyday at all. Seriously, if you realised you were reading about a chair, would you continue?

Anyway, it got me thinking. My chair is slightly amazing. It is very much an ordinary chair, in an ordinary room. ordinary people sit on it, and more often than not, watch ordinary TV and occasionally eat ordinary food. (I say occasionally eat, that is a lie, all the time we eat sat on the chair, but we aren’t supposed to admit to this).

It is an ordinary colour, black. It isn’t feather filled, just ordinary foam….thats all to it really.

So what makes it amazing? Well I spent most of my uni time sat on this chair writing assignments. Most of my current WIP (yeah OK, what is supposed to be the current WIP) has been created on this chair, and, A Cuppa has seen most of its progress happen right on this chair.

So?

So the most amazing thing, I sot on my chair every night and it does something most would moan about, and it isn’t that great I can tell you, but worthy of discussion, IT EATS TIME!

Seriously, I lie not. I sit down around 8pm and then BAM, its 10 o’clock and I really should be thinking about bed sometime soon.

Now I know if I sit on the chair across the room with the slight bounce I would be aware of every minute passing. Does this happen to you, do you have a chair that just makes time disappear?

Talking of time eaters, Alexis wrote this post on social media, and how we get easily distracted. It is definitely a well-worn discussion, but Alexis shared some of her writers friends tactics to avoid the pitfalls of social medias consumption of time.

One of the commenters, Anthony Lee Collins, made a suggestion that having a friend change a password until a certain deadline had passed maybe the way forward. Seriously though, could you do this? As much as I like the idea, I doubt I could very much.

Now I have had friends that have closed accounts such as FB and managed to refrain for several months at a time, but they always return…and they aren’t writers. I would be too worried I would miss something vital, a competition, a friends new release, but would anyone else notice, or even care?

Anyway, just to push you towards another post I want you to read check out Christos post on Roys of Wroxham. I am sure I missed the irony of the post but it brought back so many memories….enjoy.

A Cuppa – A Cover Design

24 Oct

Well hello.

I have to confess to having been a little under the weather the last week or so, and I have been somewhat removed from my immediate work at hand. Wednesdays post was brought to you by the joyous sick day. Certainly a welcome break but I really wasnt focused on marketing, which is where I should have been that day.

Marketing not just at work, but for a cuppa also. Wednesday was voting day for the cover design. If you havent popped by our Facebook page and liked us, then you really should. If not, ie you are signed up to enough pages, don’t have fb, or just cba, then this is the designs we had entered for our cover.

Skyler Luttrell

Sam Ransley

Naomi Shaw

Christine Cunningham

Carol Hoare

And the winner is, Skyler Luttrell.

We set up the voting system quite simple – just comment under the design you liked ‘my vote’. We actively encouraged those involved to tell their friends – we have no shame. It was a marketing ploy to get the project name out there just as much as to get a funky cover. Thanks Skyler. Over here at Cuppa HQ we really do think you are marvellous – you know Skyler has submitted not one but three stories. It is so great when others get as involved in your project as you do.

Tonight I have put together the add that will be included in the Equipe newsletter. I view this as the first piece of full on marketing for the actual sale of the book. This is quite daunting when the panel are still making decisions, and we are still open for submissions, until TOMORROW! That’s right, 5pm GMT Monday 24th is the cut off point. I’m not going to lie, we do still need short stories for the children’s book, and we are now thinking we may have to reconsider our plans. BUT, it will still go ahead, it just might not be completed in time for Christmas.

This week is rather mad busy for me. The biggest event to take place will be my graduation on Wednesday. If you hear hysterical laughing during the morning, you will know I have fallen over as I have accepted my certificate. It is highly unlikely this will NOT happen.

Right, I’m off to do some more reading. Speak to y’all soon.

 

***Whoopsie – I was supposed to post this last night!!

Confessions Of A Lazy Blogger

19 Oct

OK so this image is stolen but if you click it you will be taken to the original site - I'm not all bad!

 

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you will be aware that my posts are pretty random. Not just the frequency of posting, but the length, pace, and most importantly the topics I discuss.

Now if you are a new reader, in the last few weeks or so, you may disagree. This blog is about A Cuppa and An Armchair with a rough opinion of this weeks reading thrown in every friday…

Ha ha ha, how I have lulled you into a false sense of security.

You see, lets just rewind 7/8 months, and this blog was about self-publishing – over a year ago it was writing tips. And in-between? Well it has been a variety of topics that have taken my fancy.

So why am I lazy?

It is not just about what you see on the page, it’s about interaction, planning…thinking outside the box.

Lets start with that weekly reading. I never write my opinions when I finish the book. I tend to save them up and then write a bulk load. The current ones you receive each friday are from my pile of ‘reviews’ (and I do use that term oh so lightly) that I wrote about seven weeks ago. I think I have enough done to last until Christmas. As for books that I have read since, they are all piled next to bed waiting for me to have the ‘oomph’ to sit down for a mega writing section.

I’m not lazy in that I haven’t got this sections content, just that if I pulled my finger out and wrote about each book as soon as I had read the last page, a) it would be written oh so much better b) I wouldn’t have that great big stack of books and c) I might disregard those books that don’t really call for a mention.

Important MEGA CHEAT for seeing your daily stats rise. Each time I post a review and link back, I notice how much traffic the author’s name and book title bring to my site. I am cheating my figures. I am a happy daily counter, not the monthlies, or the returnees. Oops!

But I do have subscribers..

I know each of my subscribers. I say I know, I know what they are writing about, if they are writing, and many of them I engage with happily. I love knowing that they are by my side, the frequency with which they comment, the quick emails/tweets to check all is ok if the blog has gone quiet.

But…I am not very good at this. Oh I do for some, I notice they are missing before they have even had chance to themselves, but others… (I am pulling that eek face!) It’s not that I don’t care, I am the same in my ‘real’ life. (That would be the life that makes me a lazy blogger) Just to give an example about how bad I am, a friend of mine had an op on Monday and I still haven’t called or msg to see if all is OK. I know, it doesn’t get much worse than that!

But how do I get those subscribers, where are my readers coming from?

This is the point where I want to ‘ROFL’ Seriously. I should be saying, ‘On a daily basis I will read freshly pressed and other great blog finding sites and find bloggers that interest me, that I find their content engaging, and I strike up conversations with them. I enjoy regular interaction and if this is not reciprocated, this is just fine. I regularly join in group discussions on Twitter, and I have a list of fB pages that I follow. I share the great content that I find and hope that everyone else finds it as interesting as I do. I see myself as a provider of information…..’

Are you yawning too?

I sign up to problogger and receive regular emails about how to improve your blogging, how to get the most out of it…The best advice I have seen to date, is do what feels write for you. Yes you have to consider your audience, but if it doesn’t work for you, it wont work fo them.

Yay!

Don’t get me wrong, this does not give me license to not engage with other blogs but it does take the pressure off somewhat. I read my subscribers blogs (and others I subscribed to but is not reciprocated – which I am FINE with) and at this time, this is enough…

No, who am I kidding?

My point is my workload, as it would seem everyone elses workload, at this point is so great, we haven’t got the time, let alone the energy to keep up with the rules and regulations of being a successful blogger. Lets face it, even if we did, isnt blogging a bit about breaking the rules? I have regulations I have to adhere to at work, I don’t want them when I am supposedly doing something for leisure.

Does this make me lazy?

Possibly not. Let’s add a few more naughty bits and then we shall decide…

* Images – I don’t always use them and when I do you can guarantee I have used google images

* Spell check – OK I do use this but I tend to ignore passive language because this is something I am not sure I fully understand (langauge specialist please tell!)

* Leaving your work to breathe – Doing what? I have written a post I want it published NOW. It is part of the fun. Writing in advance and allowing them time to mature just doesn’t work for me. When it comes to blogging, I am after instant gratification….oh I am such a kid!

* Creating a blogging schedule – Urgh! As above!

There is one other really bad thing I do when all else fails…I write a post like this!

On a positive I have one thing I am really proud of. 95% of the time I respond to my comments with a ‘real’ reply. Not just a ‘thanks for commenting’. Urgh, when I get that I feel like I have been slapped in the face, like a ‘oh I am far too busy to deal with you but the rules say to keep my billions and trillions of fans happy I should…’

I guess I have never had too many to respond to for my comments to mean anything more than, ‘oh my goodness, they wanted to comment, they must have liked it yay!’

So what about you? Have you anything that you do/or don’t that breaks the rules? Maybe you thought something wasn’t worth doing and then once you implemented it you just couldn’t understand why you hadn’t done it sooner?

Share your thoughts. Tell your tales. Join the conversation.

Equipe – who are they?

1 Oct

Today I thought I would tell you a little about Equipe, Global, the charity we are supporting with the release of An Armchair and A Cuppa.

Before I start, I want to direct you to their official website, and their Facebook page.

Equipe is based in Wrexham, the town where I live in North Wales. Located in the town centre, it is a small organisation, but its initiatives are big, and really do make a difference.

The charity started when a couple, on holiday, took a risk and donated money to a small village to help with the building of a school. On their return, wanting to do more, they immediately started fundraising. This was in 1998. As the organisation has grown, the couple that started it all has retired, yet in their place is Ziz, spending her time and energy promoting, liaising, managing the charity, its fundraisers, and th people on the ground.

For me personally what I really applaud Equipe for is their dedication to working for the villagers, what they want and need, and not what we as Westerners think they want. They manage this by insuring they have a strong relationship with their partners in the country’s of need. This relationship is built up over time. This ensures that the charity knows the money is being used for worthwhile causes, without having to spend money on sending their own people to the countries, with the extra cost of flights and accommodation.

Equipe works in the following countries East Africa, India, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines. This year, they have seen their first ambassadors from Australia heading out (at their own expense) to the regions in need.

As a growing charity, Equipe understands the needs of those they help, and those that help raise funds.

I have taken the following information from the Equipe page, Fill the Plate.

Equipe has been working in East Africa and the Philippines for over a decade and we have seen the impact of rising food prices on already impoverished communities. Last year one of the schools we support, ranked highest in the 42 in its district, had to close for 10 days because it could not afford to provide the 180 children who attend, one compulsory school meal. For most of these children their school meal would have been the only meal they’d have received that day and the idea that these children would have gone without food for 10 days, and vitally their education, is intolerable to us. Unfortunately this is a common story but it spurred us on to launch this campaign with the aim to raise enough to provide at least 40,000 meals in 2011 and ensure that none of our schools, orphanages or projects have to turn children away.

It takes very little to make an impact. Just £540 would have kept that school open – i.e. one day bag-packing; or one collection at a football match; or one non-uniform day.

Only together can we make a difference!

So who’s in? I’m not just asking for you wonderful writers to submit your story. I am asking for everyone to help spread the word about this project. It is quite clear the difference that can be made by making enough sales from A Cuppa and An Armchair. How will we make sales? By everyone taking their part in ensuring as many people know about this project worldwide.

Worldwide? Yes, why not? We have writers not just from Britain, but Europe, America and Africa contributing. It is only right that we can reach an audience on that scale also.

Tell us what you have done to support the campaign and we will give you a shout out via this blog, facebook and Twitter.

If you are not familiar with this charitable project, visit this page, or Facebook.

How Not to Self-Publish?

6 May

My next book shall be titled, ‘How Not to Self-Publish.’ To be honest, I think everybody who has taken the route, could probably write the same guide.

As with everything in life, no matter how much you know, and no matter how much of a perfectionist you are, mistakes will be made. Anyone who disagrees with this is not entirely honest with themselves.

For me, the mistakes I have made in my little adventure sting more because of the books contents. To produce ‘A Simple Guide to Self-Publishing’ and then make errors in the process, make me question my knowledge. If I’m questioning it, then others must be too.

But knowledge, and following a process are two different things. I relate this to getting married. When it came to going to get the dress, I knew exactly what I wanted. I tried on hundreds of dresses, but nothing seemed to work. I finally chose the dress, headed home, so happy, only to receive a call from the bridal shop saying the dress was damaged.

When I returned to the shop, I walked in and spotted the most amazing dress. Still, I tried on the damaged dress (because I had chosen it and it was what I knew I wanted), to realise it wasn’t right. Straight away I chose to try on the amazing dress, and you know what? It was that dress I walked down the aisle in.

At the time everyone around me was really annoyed. If only I had been more open to styles in the first place…

With my book, I knew what was required. Completing the steps I got lost in my knowledge, rather than being receptive to different ideas. A good example of this is sizing of the physical book. As I had researched, I had at that stage decided the style and design, when it came to conversion (oh what another headache), I was stubborn in my choice. Eventually I gave way, and it was sorted within thirty minutes. Seriously, I need shaking at times!

Another idea that has been drummed into me is that as soon as the book is completed, get publishing. With this in my mind, you have to be thinking about marketing, blogs, author pages, twitter, Facebook pages…I should have stopped, and reminded myself that yes, I want to be published, but you don’t need to put pressure on yourself.

My final assignment is due in next week and that is me finished at uni. Yes that is right. I have tried to get this book published and marketed, whilst completing my final year…oh and did I mention I have a daughter under one and a son of three?

As the semester is ending, I am now able to look at things more realistically, whilst patting myself on the back. I have several people who helped out with some areas of the book – those with a more credible stand within the self-publishing world. I need to email them and tell them of the books process (assuming they are not reading the blog). I have made a decision I shall wait for the paper version to be available, as well as the e-book being listed on the iBookstore (it is now available on Amazon), before making contact. In the meantime, I shall finally get to grips with twitter, make the Facebook page more credible, whilst I may finally sort out the links and images for this very blog.

One thing I am sure of, there is no need to rush in and make this work, because I can’t just make it. I need to take time to study and understand before I go further (whilst reminding myself to be more receptive to ideas).

I am already being asked what the plan is next. I have everything ready to send to agents for my novel (although not complete – it is fully outlined with the first nine chapters written). I am also considering how the guide could be improved. Whether that be an extended version, or just ‘A Guide,’ I don’t know just yet. I shall take my holiday to Spain in a few weeks and decide after that.

One thing it won’t be for sure is a guide of ‘How Not to Self-Publish.’ We all make mistakes, and no one learns better than those who make them. My guide is just to get you started, and perhaps you can share your own mistakes. A giggle between friends with a cuppa is always welcome.

Is there a difference between networking and socialising

1 Mar

As many of you know, WordPress now have the automatic publicise button. This allows your posts to be advertised on Twitter, Facebook, Messenger and Yahoo.

I happily use the Twitter service. My twitter account was set up for the sole purpose of communicating with like-minded people, or networking as it is described.

I am not a user of Yahoo, and Messenger I have but do not actively participate.

Now Facebook is a completely different thing altogether. My Facebook account is for friends only. I regularly take part in status updates and chats. But do these friends want to have my blog shoved in their face?

I don’t think so. I will, occasionally place a link to my blog, but this probably accounts for five out of every hundred posts. It’s not that I think they won’t be interested, but I see it this way, I like to know what’s happening in my friends lives, but I don’t need to know what happens within their job day in day out.

My Facebook is my private life. My blog is my work life. Do they, or should they, go hand in hand?

They do not mix well, and sometimes snippets or information may cross over, but it isn’t always required, and certainly not essential.

Blogging and tweeting in a work capacity remain isolated, and yes at times, if it is warranted a telephone communication may be needed between ‘contacts’, but as a whole, or certainly where I am at this time, web communication is ample.

But what about Facebook? Should online communication be sufficient to maintain regular contact?

I have my friends on Facebook, I interact with them daily through FB, text, telephone and face to face. I have old friends who if it wasnt for Facebook we would not know anything about each other. I have family, and those I call the misfits – people I have met once or twice in life and not really sure why we have linked.

If I was to delete everyone off my friends list who I haven’t spoken to in the last five years, i would more than half the list. If I was to consider who I have spoken with in the past four weeks I could probably count those left on my fingers.

I believe my colleagues online as those who I may speak with every few months, more if it is required. Regular contact is not necessary as day-to-day snippets are not required.

I find it fascinating that I find this acceptable, but yet when it comes to personal life, I feel we should have more contact with one another. I think it is a sign that we have a real interest in each others life, a sign that we care.

I think social media is an amazing technology. It offers so much for everyone. It opens up doors that otherwise may have remained closed to us for our entire lives. I just find it a shame that this is crossing over into our personal life, where face to face contact, or at the very least, talk time, is key to maintaining a relationship.