Archive for the ‘Aspiring Author’ Category

 

My writing has been virtually non-existent lately which is sad. I love the out-pouring of emotion and general release that only writing can offer. The pen no longer a material, solid object but part of your body, a functioning limb.

I miss the peace and tranquility that is only found when I disappear from this world into one of fantasy, even if the fantasy world contains horror, pain, torture or loneliness. I know that this is temporary, and like Alice, I will soon climb back out of the rabbit hole safe and sound (of mind).

Now, being in the real world is not such a simple story.

Being a Mum, an entrepreneur of a new business in these difficult and unstable times, and dealing with the day-to-day issues that life throws at you, like health issues, can be challenging. But, and this is a big BUT, I love it all. I love that I am now the proud owner of my own business. I love that I can get up each day and be excited about my job. I love meeting new and interesting people on a regular basis. I love that i’m helping other people and businesses to achieve. I LOVE LIFE.

I don’t think that I have ever been this happy and it appears to be drawing more happiness in towards me every day.

I have neglected this blog, but it has been for a very good reason. One of the main reasons is the one thing that will one day give me the lifestyle to be able to write all day everyday, my company.

I have now allocated two hours per week to spend on blogging, this blog is too important to me to give up.

For those writers that subscribe to my ramblings, I am helping to organise seminars for the amazing Mr David Baboulene http://www.baboulene.com   PhD Scholar, Story Consultant and published author.

See my previous blog;  https://persistentwriter.wordpress.com/2011/05/10/the-science-of-story/

The first seminar will be held at Birmingham City University, Edgbaston on 1st October 2011.

Ticket Cost £49.00 / £39.00 Concession.

If you want further information or would like to book your ticket for this amazing event, please do not hesitate to contact me: kirie.hansen@sky.com or click on the Baboulene link above.

We look forward to seeing you there…

 

 

 

Over the last couple of months I have been putting together the queen of all business plans in a bid to become one of Britain’s newest entrepreneurs. I have also been playing email tennis with a very kind-hearted successful businessman with a nose for an interesting opportunity and the patience of a saint (lots of theological references here for some odd reason!), I don’t know what I would have done without said Business Angel (he really is an angel).

I knew that the idea for my business was sound and original, that my services would be welcomed and appreciated, and that i’m not scared of hard work, but i’ve spent nearly eighteen years making money for others and this was all new to me. I have a sound corporate background working in a variety of positions and sectors, I knew that I could do this … or could I? I have spent so long being protected under the shield of a large organisation, suddenly I would need to protect myself.

Confidence, or a lack of it, began to attack me for the first time in my life. What if I couldn’t get anybody to deal with me? What if my great ideas and creativity weren’t so great after all? Blah Blah Blah. I no longer had a Director to pat me on the back and tell me how great I was, I was REALLY alone. I told my wonderful business angel and he kindly rounded up all of my stray confidence and put it calmly back where it should be, “YOU CAN do this!!!”

I didn’t have a great deal of cash to invest in this venture but I had an abundance of enthusiasm and a resourceful disposition. Oh and a ton of determination. I had my experience and contacts and wonderful friends. I CAN do this!!!

Because I am over thirty and don’t live in a developing area, I couldn’t get any funding or financial help. So much for the Conservative government desperately needing entrepreneurs! Ha! I had to do this on my own. Scary. Where do I start?

Business Link was my first point of call, helpful to a point … though the website is an excellent resource www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/home .

Business Link then referred me to Business Enterprise Support (BES), they assigned me a Business Support Rep, Pascal, very helpful chap. I attended a one day training event then I was on my own. I still had questions and so The Chamber of Commerce was next. I made an appointment with the senior business advisor for my area and took in all of my documentation and business plan. This was an excellent meeting and filled me with confidence that I was making the right decision. I was actually doing this… YIPPEEEE!

I have now designed all of the literature for my business, designed and produced a basic website, and purchased all of my stationary. I have found the perfect office to work from and I have networked my wee butt off. I have gained my first clients; the launch of a new bar, Passion Cocktail and Tapas Bar Fazeley, and I have arranged a number of seminars for a Story Consultant / published author, David Baboulene across the UK.

http://passionfazeley.co.uk/

http://www.baboulene.com/

I can’t tell you how good it feels to be your own boss. I feel like I have powerful wings that are carrying me skyward without limits. I can do anything I put mind to. After my soul destroying 2010, I never thought that I would get to where I am today. It’s taken a lot of hard work and determination (and a few sleepless nights) but i’ve done it. I’m under no illusions that this is going to be easy and i’m learning every day, but it’s worth it.

My writing continues, though in smaller chunks of time, and I have every intention of continuing with this blog so please stick with me. I’ll keep you all posted of how my journey progresses.

http://www.kiriehansen.co.uk/

 

 

 

This is no excuse, but i’ve been trying to earn a living.

I’m starting my own company, and it’s hard work this self-employment lark.

Excitement and adrenaline have taken over the tiredness from a severe lack of sleep. 

Not only have I been setting up a business, training and researching for my first client and new friend, but I also had the opportunity to go to this years Hay Festival, so it would have been rude not to go (teehee).

Unfortunately, I missed Rob Lowe, darn it!

I’m in the process of writing a blog about Hay, amongst other topics, which I will post on here in the next couple of days.

I promise not to neglect my wonderful readers and followers again. 

I recently received my copy of The Winchester Writers’ Conference Anthology 2010 and it is a fantastic read. For those of us that entered the competitions last year, it was good to read the winning entries and analyse what the judges look for. My own entry into the Short Story competition received a commendation which was one hell of an achievement; i’ve been writing (seriously) for two years.

I can’t stress enough, how important I think it is for a writer to enter competitions and, or, attend conferences. The feedback you receive is vital for your growth and necessary sustenance for your long journey on the road to becoming a published author.

I am proud to announce that my name is published in the anthology (see below), though sadly, my story is not.

I have uploaded the story onto  if you wish to read it http://beta.iwritereadrate.com/books/view/36

The adjudicator for this particular competition was John Jenkins, publisher and editor. 

Here is what he wrote about the entries;

“Compiling  a competition short list from a host of short story entries is not too difficult if you approach the task methodically, work away from other distractions and concentrate. You ask yourself a number of questions:

What was the author trying to achieve?

Did he or she succeed?

Was it worth the effort?

Would I as an editor publish it inviting people to pay for the privilege of reading it and using up some of their time?

It is, as sports commentators twitter: a tough ask. But the answer for everybody on the short list was yes.

To assist in this course of action it is usual to de-construct the story under a variety of headings: Opening, Title, Plot/theme, Pace, Characters, Entertainment, Dialogue, Language and Ending. Other judges use more, e.g. story arc – and occasionally fewer headings.

Then there is something indefinable, a certain je ne sais quoi. Much as I deplore foreign phrases there is nothing quite as accurate as this one.

One story will score high on all headings but another will be a better story. It will resonate in the mind either because the tale is beautifully told or it strikes a chord where a chord needed striking.”

You can enter the 2011 competitions by logging onto this site: http://www.writersconference.co.uk/

Good Luck!

I wanted to start this blog with something witty about the Festival of Writing 2011 but I found this statement so touching that it had to come first. This gives you an idea of the type of people with whom you are dealing and the kind of support that you can receive through The Writers’ Workshop.

“The Promise that Never Dies”

From Harry Bingham, author and WW boss
“If you come to our Festival and an agent is seriously interested in your work, then we will be as helpful as we can in making sure that interest turns into a signed offer of representation … followed ideally by a book deal.

Harry Bingham

Because these things can take time, please rest assured that we will ALWAYS be on hand to help in any way we can. Unless we start to do hands-on editorial work, we won’t even charge for our help. There is no expiry date for this offer. If your work is strong, we’ll do what we can to help with agents, period.

We’ve helped countless writers hook up with countless agents. Last year’s Festival produced book deals, and 2011 promises to do better yet. We very much hope to do the same for you one of these days.”

Harry gave this speech at the event. To offer such a commitment to so many was both brave and beautiful.

There are two people in addition to Harry that stand out for me, they are always going out of their way to help others; Debi Alper and Emma Darwin. A fellow writer friend and myself informed Debi that another talented, aspiring author and Word Cloud member had had a particularly disappointing one-to-one; she was upset and hurt. Debi went out of her way to help this person; to talk to them and reassure them. She sat them down and gave them her time and her shoulder to cry on. These are amazing individuals and kind-hearted humans. Writing is so personal and needs to be nurtured like a child. The Writers’ Workshop staff offer an almost parental guidance so that we may grow as individuals.

The Event itself and how the conference has helped me

I won’t go into detail about all of the workshops that were on offer over the weekend as by the time you get to the end of this blog you will feel exhausted. Instead, i’ll talk about the sessions that I attended and the useful information that I have taken away with me and can pass on to you.

(For more information about the conference itself and all of the workshops that were on offer see this link: http://www.writersworkshop.co.uk/festivals/wshop.shtml )

The welcome speech and keynote address for the event was given by David Nobbs, author of 27 novels and creator of The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin which later became a successful British sitcom starring Leonard Rossiter. Though this sitcom was before my time (teehee) I knew of the authors work. This humorous and honest address set the mood for the whole event; he has a new fan.

My first session, The Toolbox, was with the wonderful Philippa Pride (UK agent for Stephen King, Hodder). Philippa drew upon words by Stephen King from his memoir of the craft, On Writing, as well as using methods of her own. I found the section on using music and mind maps particularly useful. In the Sample of my Writing section, you will see what I wrote to the piece of classical music played; we had around two minutes to write whatever came to mind.

After the speech I attended the Children’s Fiction Panel Q & A session which I found most enlightening. This panel consisted of a mix of agents, publishers, writing consultants and authors. All agreed that we must not underestimate the integrity of our readership, or their technical abilities. More and more children are enjoying the immediacy and ease of downloading an Ebook.

Session two was Making Bestsellers hosted by the witty and vastly experienced Patrick Janson-Smith (Harper-Collins). Patrick was responsible for discovering such talent as Bill Bryson and Terry Pratchett amongst others. What Patrick looks for is originality, voice, tension and story. Patrick does not take unsolicited submissions.

Before session two began, there was a panel Q & A session held in the main hall. The panel consisted of Carole Blake (Blake Friedman. Agent) and Patrick Janson-Smith (Harper-Collins. Publisher). What I gained from this was an overview of an authors rights and opportunities and confirmation that we do indeed need an agent; a bloody good one! I would love to work with someone like Carole (eventually), she really appears to fight the corner of those she represents.

Session three was MS to Publication with Vicky Blunden (Publisher) and Elizabeth Haynes (Author). This session showed that there can be advantages to working with a small publisher!

On Saturday evening there was a Gala Dinner where all aspiring writers, agents, publishers and published authors got the opportunity to mingle and network. The fantastic Kate Allan was kind enough to introduce me to one of my hero’s, John Jarrold! We chatted for a while and he invited me to submit my “best possible” work to him whenever I was ready. How exciting.

Sunday – Session four was with another of my writing hero’s; Nicola Morgan ( http://helpineedapublisher.blogspot.com/ Author of ninety books!). This session was by far my favourite. The advice priceless. One of my one-to-one sessions was with Nicola and I found her to be warm and honest. I did not realise how much work I still had to do until this session.

There were two further sessions that I attended: Laughing Till you Cry with Julie Cohen & Jane Lovering and Creating Worlds with Toby Frost. Both of these sessions were amazing. I came away with a notebook full of tips and advice. What came across strongly in both sessions was believability. Our readers must believe what we write no matter how far-fetched or distorted.

The keynote speech for the event was given by Kate Williams (Historian and author of Becoming Queen/Young Victoria).

On Monday morning after going through all of my notes and one-to-one reports, I have to admit I felt somewhat confused and deflated. I wrote about this on The Word Cloud writers’ forum. There was a vast amount of information to take in and most of it conflicting. What I came to realise later was that, of course it would be conflicting! Agents and publishers views are as subjective as an authors or readers. Not everyone thinks the same. I suppose a clear example of this would be one agent saying;

“No more vampires!”

I disagree with this statement but if this particular agent doesn’t want anymore vampires then I won’t go to them. However, I will always want to write and read vampire stories. Vampires are still hugely popular and always will be. This is just one persons view.

Another agent told me that they did not like fantasy. On checking out their website later I found that they had a fantasy author on their list. Perhaps they just didn’t want to talk to me 😦 You can’t please everybody.

What have I gained from attending the conference?

A new set of skills. Fresh and current advice. New friends and memories that will stay with me forever. Most of all, I have gained the knowledge that we are not alone in this. In our moments of frustration, sadness and insecurity there will always be someone we can turn to; other writers.

I wish you luck in your chosen career and hope to see you at the conference next year!

The last two weeks have been exciting for me in so many ways.

  • I am proud to announce that I have become a Blog Tour Host for the wonderful author promotion website, Novel Publicity (see my lovely little parrot picture on the left below). I will be reviewing my first title on here on the 11th May 2011 so please keep reading my lovely followers.
  • After careful consideration and the creation of a rather in-depth Business Plan, I have decided to start my own business (well, become a sole trader). I am currently in the middle of a copy-editing / proofreading course through Chapterhouse, and upon completion of said course, I will become self-employed. Exciting stuff. I’m thinking of running a competition on here to help me think of a business name; just a bit of fun.
  • A talented illustrator, Andy Carolan, has created perfect images of how I pictured the main character for my forthcoming graphic novel, details to be disclosed on here soon!
  • This weekend I will be attending the York Festival of Writing. Attendees are offered the opportunity to submit work to be critiqued by an agent or book doctor; I have submitted to both. I’m so excited about hearing their comments and advice. I’ll let you all know how it goes; good or bad.
  • This blog received a record number of hits on one of my recent blog titles, so I want to thank all of you who took the time to read and comment. Without you, this site would not exist.
  • This year I have made a number of what I hope will be lifelong friends or acquaintances through Twitter / The Word Cloud / this blog and networking events I have attended. These new friends have taken the time to talk to me, offer me advice and go out of their way to help me on my writing journey. I am hoping to meet many of you in the future and look forward to getting to know you all a lot better.  Please know that I am here to offer support to all of you too. Thank you.
  • My name has been published in The Winchester Writers’ Conference 2010 Anthology with a lovely compliment from the adjudicator about the quality of our submitted work. This does wonders for your confidence!

2011 promises to be an amazing year, I am determined to make it so. Working hard at something you love does not feel like work at all.

In the comments section below, please let me know about your recent achievements / plans or aims for this year. I would love to hear from all of you. I would like to write a blog in the near future dedicated to all of your good news.

 

I wish you all the best for the future and an abundance of happiness.

 


I am about to open a can of worms. I know this, but I feel so passionate about the subject that I need to comment on it.

 

I’m the proud owner of an iPad (which is annoyingly now updated! But that’s a whole different blog!).

 

My iPad is mainly used for writing and reading (amongst other things). Those of you that have visited this blog before will know that I am an avid reader and lover of books; these can be paper or electronic. My loyalties and heart will always be with paper. The feeling you get whilst turning a page; the scent that fills the air around you with nostalgia and memories whilst you hold your tome of choice in your hands. But, we have to accept that times are changing and the format from which we read is rapidly changing too. I own a vast number of EBooks in a variety of genres and each year I purchase fifty or more paper books; the majority of which are new releases.

Some girls buy shoes…. I buy books.

I am writing this blog as a reader primarily, and a writer secondary.

What driving force leads you to select one book / genre over another?

For me, it’s not a pretty cover – I know the marketing processes having worked in sales and PR – or whether it’s on a table at the front of a shop. It’s not because it’s an Amazon / iTunes best-seller (though, I do check those lists). When selecting my books I either read a sample chapter or extended blurb / first couple of pages, or it’s because of a recommendation; word of mouth. Most of my friends are avid readers too. I have also been known to contact friends on creative writing courses and ask for their reading lists (yes, i’m that sad).

A thirst for knowledge (non-fiction), beautiful wording and a great story drive me to buy my books.

Two weeks ago I purchased a selection of eBooks. Some of my choices were recommended by Twitter friends (followers), or were by the authors themselves. I’m happy to say that the majority were fabulous and I thoroughly enjoyed them…BUT…there were some hefty duds amongst my purchases and I only wished that they came with return and refund guarantee!

It’s disappointing and grinding to read an opening chapter FULL of typing errors, spelling mistakes and basic grammar issues. I know that some clever person is going to go through this blog and find errors (I hope not!) but i’m not making people pay to visit! If the story seemed reasonable, I tried to continue (red pen extracted from my mind) but this only uncovered more issues; gaping holes in the plot, uncharacteristic behaviours, unbelievable dialogue, amongst many other problems. I know that this is not the norm, but it’s becoming more prevalent.

Why is this happening? How are these terrible books getting published?

This is only my opinion, feel free to offer your own, but I believe that it is because many more people are self-publishing. Anyone can purchase software and produce an eBook. Writers who do this are generally bypassing the copy-editing stage. Proofreading your own book doesn’t count. By the time you come to the end of your WIP you will have read the same text over and over; you won’t spot even the most basic mistakes.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, I implore you, as a keen reader / potential customer (also trainee copy-editor), before you publish anything; pay for it to be professionally edited. There are so many companies out there offering this facility (I will be one very soon!) and it is well worth the money if you want people to buy your books.

This experience has put me off purchasing any more eBooks by self-published authors.

I’m hoping some wonderful author will come forth and change my mind! I don’t like discrimination!

I sincerely hope that no one takes offence to this blog, only accepting it for what it is; advice and help for a fellow writer.

Now let’s get out there and show them how it is done!