About Me

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Alrightee then. So you want to get know me? The writer me. Particularly the kidlit writer me. Okaaaaaaaay. No giffs I’m afraid, only words. I’ve written a short poem on what I love to read and what I love to write:

I like stories of action, thrills, friendship, family and romance

Works of suspense that are so immense, your head melts with tension.

And did I mention I squeal for history with a dash of mystery or a little time travel to help the tale unravel,

Like magic rugs or hugs that carry you over generations, no love’s ever stationary,

Constantly roving where characters’ hearts are growing

Or shrinking. It must get me thinking: wow I didn’t see that coming.

So I keep my story running, I like to write about emotion that’s deep as the ocean,

Steeped in feels with wraparound eels that squirm and wiggle

In toes and fingers; where all excitement lingers and collides.

Eyes wide or maybe shy,

Nervous for what might come by with the turning of a page,

Or a word from a sage to their mentee. Did you mean me?

No, it’s only a character that’s there,

Fighting, loving, laughing, sobbing;

Now you’ve unlocked the ticking of a book cover’s clock,

Your heart,

Because you’ve played the part from the start,

Into shoes that run to or from that song of old: a story told.

Olivia Kiernan is an Irish writer, blogger and novelist. She is a member of the SCBWI and has an MA in Creative Writing, awarded by the University of Sussex. She was recently shortlisted by the BBC for their ‘Class Dismissed’ Initiative: a childrens’ comedy script writing competition. She was born and grew up in Co. Meath, Ireland but has lived in the UK for almost fifteen years.

On Twitter: @LivKiernan

Writing for adults: www.OliviaKiernan.com

Joining the list of ever growing writer profiles on C.Keelty’s site.

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Celebrating Small Successes

In June, the BBC made a call out for comedy sketches for CBBC’s Classed Dismissed. I entered three sketches and was delighted to be shortlisted. The BBC frequently make call outs like this and it’s worth keeping an eye on their site for writers: BBC Writersroom.  It felt so good to be shortlisted, here is the lovely email I received from them.

Dear Olivia,

On behalf of everyone at BBC Writersroom and CBBC, we’d like to thank you for taking part in the CLASS DISMISSED initiative.

We had a fantastic response from comedy writers, receiving an overwhelming amount of submissions (over 1000 sketches) and our team of readers really enjoyed a diverse selection of brilliantly imaginative and funny sketches.

We’re pleased to say that your sketch was shortlisted. The readers were very impressed by the creativity of those shortlisted which displayed a range of qualities: exciting and imaginative interpretations of the brief and characters, understanding of audience and tone, and crucially, funny.

Unfortunately in this instance your sketches were not put forward to the Producers and we will not be able to give individual feedback. We hope you will not be too disappointed or discouraged; we appreciate it is frustrating not to receive specific feedback but only 24 sketches were selected to go in front of the Producers so it is a huge achievement to have made the shortlist.

What are your writing successes?

On Twitter: @LivKiernan

 

Vlogging: In the Spirit of Experimentation

For those who don’t know, I have experimented a little with vlogging already (check out the videos embedded along the side of this post). However as much as I’d like to create whiteboard animations of my posts, I simply don’t have the time or rather, I have the time but also have many other exciting projects on the go.

I did not want to let go of vlogging (videoblogging) itself and in an effort to conserve time- as the making of the videos would be considerably quicker- I wrestled with the uncomfortable idea of putting myself in front of the camera. With conflicting voices in my head: “Shur look at yer wan, notions of herself, she has” and ‘Shur, yill not plough a field by turning it over in yer mind,” I struggled with the idea of simultaneously looking conceited (for putting myself on camera) and looking like an eejit. But then I thought, sure everyone’s a conceited eejit nowadays, that’s why facebook and twitter are such successes, I’ll only be jumping on the bandwagon. Sooooo readers, the field is ploughed, I’ve vlogged.

I don’t think it’s the end of whiteboard animation for me and I know I’ll return to it occasionally in the future but in the meantime here is the first of Olivia Bright’s Vlog Adventures:

 

Follow on Twitter: @LivKiernan

Surviving Self-Publishing

BECOMING LADY BETH has been out in the wild for over three months. The publishing process is extra tough when you’re a one-man band. By choosing the self-publishing path you are electing yourself publisher and author and marketer. It’s a tough trot if you’re not comfortable with pushing your work. How does a writer cope with wearing both the author and publisher hat? Here are some gentle tips:

1. My biggest piece of advice is to treat your novel as if it were a friend’s. This allows you a little distance from what some can see as the distasteful marketing side. Most writers are uncomfortable with pushing their own writing or telling others about their work. So you need to distance yourself from the process, even if that distance is simply a tiny shift in your mindset. It doesn’t help that there are a lot of writers out there who are so mentally averse to the concept of self-publishing that they bash any author who dares publicise themselves. But you need to ignore those who hold such double standards. Why should your book be overlooked because it’s you who’s advertising it and not a publishing house? Keep faith in your work, shed the shy author mantle and don the crown of publisher.

2. Step away from the amazon rank checker thingy. Seriously. When I self-published my first novel, DAWN SOLSTICE, I’m pretty sure I gave myself repetitive hand strain from hitting the refresh button. Honestly, there is nothing your beady little eyes can do that will make that magic number decrease. So, step away from the refresh button, your fingers will thank you for it.

3. Try not to hate anyone who says they’ll buy your book and then they don’t. Don’t let the air out of their tyres, send them dog turd in the post or glitter bomb them with your next Christmas card. I’ve tried all of the above* and guess what? They still won’t buy your book. (*kidding…kind of).

4. If your novel does make a decent ranking. Do take a screenshot. This will help ease the sting when some idiot gives your novel a one star rating because the distributor delivered your novel a day late. Unfortunately we have to share are world with such people. Deal with it and move on.Amazon Best Seller!

5. Anyone who reads your book and reviews it should be left to their opinion, good or bad. It does not matter how much their review makes you want to stick needles in your eyes. Even a sucky review deserves its place. They bought your book, they are entitled to review it as they see fit. Welcome to the world of free speech folks.

6. Don’t be beaten down by the process or doubt your book just because your sales don’t sky-rocket and propel you to instant author fame-dom. Celebrate your successful publication, the completion of your novel and the fact that it’s available to readers (other than your Mammy). Sure we’d all love immediate, drop-into-your-lap six figure advances and overnight success but you have a better chance of catching sight of a unicorn that’s simultaneously riding a unicycle whilst reading the eighth Harry Potter book. But, at the same time, don’t let this reality stop you from aiming high and all that.

7. Get working on your next novel. Too soon? Never. If you are a writer, this is what you do. End of.

Olivia Bright is author of BECOMING LADY BETH

Find her on Twitter: @LivKiernan

 

Publication day! Becoming Lady Beth goes live on Jane Austen’s Birthday.

Becoming Lady Beth is published today. It’s a double celebration as it’s Jane Austen’s birthday AND today has been named Jane Austen Day. There were moments where I did not think I’d meet the deadlines and I’m so glad I’ve managed it. From the moment of deciding to self-publish this novel, I wanted to publish it on Jane Austen’s birthday. The body of the story is set in Regency times and it wouldn’t have felt right publishing it without some nod to Austen.

To brief you a little about the storyline or if you’re curious about whether it might satisfy your readerly tastebuds, those who have been kind enough to give me feedback on the novel have described it as a mixture between Clueless and the ITV series Lost in Austen. So if you like yourself a bit of time travel, a bit of Mr. Darcy and a slightly misguided heroine then this is the book for you.

I want to extend my sincerest thanks to all my writer colleagues, friends, my critique group and Cornerstones Literary Consultancy who took the time to read through those early drafts and offer critique, praise and advice. Any writer knows that a book is not a sole endeavour but a rinse and repeat cycle of working and reworking, tempered with suggestions from others. That input from external sources is hugely valuable. I would also like to thank my talented sister, Ann Kiernan for creating the book cover, the final version of which you can see below. And never forgetting all those lovely readers who read Becoming Lady Beth – a book is nothing without readers and I truly appreciate all readers of my work. Thank you!

Click here to go to the Amazon site and try a sample or download.

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‘Becoming Lady Beth’ Changes for Publication

With regards to publishing my book, I thought I had completed the hard stuff last week when I finally went through the manuscript for what felt like the millionth line edit and made the final corrections. This encompassed anything from replacing missing words that had been lost in an earlier edit (not something your spell check picks up) to double-checking word etymology (did you know the word ‘sexist’ did not come into being until 1965). For those historical writers out there, this is a good website for checking when/what and where your words come from: http://dictionary.reference.com/etymology/

Bleary eyed but buoyant I completed all towards the end of last week and thought I would take advantage over the weekend and convert the files and upload to amazon. And this is where I ran into trouble.

When I published with Amazon before (2012) they had a ‘how-to’ video on their site that took you through the process of creating an active table of contents, formatting your document and adding things like functioning external web links to your manuscript. It was a pretty poor quality video that to my horror has since been removed and there has been no replacement. I had assumed that there would be some help on their site for the less than tech savvy of us but there was minimal. A few sentences advised you to use the ‘headings 1’ style from your word tool bar but not much else.

You don’t necessarily need an active table of contents but I think if you don’t do this, you are denying your reader some of the features and benefits of downloading an e-book. For those who don’t know, an active table of contents is a feature of e-books that allows readers to click on a chapter heading and they will taken directly to that chapter. This is something that has to be built into your manuscript file before uploading; it is not a feature that appears automatically through Amazon.

Because I ran into trouble, I thought I would share how to format and create your e-book for Amazon Kindle. I have created three separate blog posts for this. Just click on each heading to be taken to the one you’d like to see, although I’d recommend all three for anyone publishing their book. The final version of Becoming Lady Beth is available for pre-order now and will be published next Tuesday, 16th of December. Click on the book cover below to be taken to Amazon where you can see the finished product!

Formatting your book for kindle

Creating an Active Table of Contents for E-Book

Adding External Web Links to your E-Book

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Adding External Web Links to your E-Book

Adding External Web Links to novel, Becoming Lady Beth

It’s always helpful to be able to direct readers to your website or your social media. A lot of readers enjoy reading up on their favourite authors and, with an e-book, directing readers to where they can find you on the internet could not be easier. This post will show you how to add external web links to your e-book.

Type out and select your web address or whatever word/sentence you would like the reader to click on to take them to the external site. Then Click ‘Insert’ and select ‘Hyperlink’ from the drop down menu.

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In the box that appears, make sure ‘Web Page’ is highlighted, then type or paste in the web address of the site you want to direct your readers to. Click ‘OK’ and that’s it.

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I hope you’ve found this helpful. If you have please like, share or comment.

Becoming Lady Beth will be available for download on Tuesday, 16th of December but is available for pre-order now! Click here to view Becoming Lady Beth on Amazon.