Why books are the best Christmas present…

I am a big believer that no one can have too many books. Whether they’re fiction, biographies, pop-up books or a classic novel, every book makes a great gift.

The fantastic thing about giving books as presents (and they’re incredibly versatile and will work for ANY time a present is a necessity) is that you can tailor them to the person you’re giving them to! If they’re into sport, you can choose a biography of one of their favourite players – a signed copy would also be a bonus. This works for really any celebrity that the gift-receiver likes or you think would like. If they don’t read much, buy them a hardcover classic with a beautiful design – they’ll thank you for making their house/room that little bit fancier.

One of my favourite things about books is that they can honestly change your life. They can, and will, alter the way you think about a certain subject, and will open your eyes to a million different characters. I’ve lost count of how many books I’ve read (trying to catch up on my Goodreads account), though each one of them has shown me a different part of myself. It’s no surprise that I love to travel, and reading is an escape for me as it is for many others. I get to travel around the world and live in exotic places all from the comfort of my beanbag (the most comfortable place I have found for day-long reading stunts).

Books are easy to find, and most of the time aren’t that expensive. If you short on cash, visit our Lord and Saviour Kmart for all new and big titles, BUT you must always visit your local bookshop. They need our help to survive, and it’s more than likely that whoever is working will be a great help when choosing a gift.

To all my friends and family, expect books this Christmas!

 

*I was a little sneaky and put Verandah 31 in the photo above, which is now available as an eBook! Buy it here.

What I’m currently reading: Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes – the sequel to You.

Open Mic Night

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‘Another great turn out for tonight’s Busybird Open Mic Night’ http://www.facebook.com/busybirdpublishing

Last night, I had the pleasure of attending one of Busybird’s Open Mic Night’s, and what a great experience it was!

We started the night with a quick dinner (pizza, of course!), and then welcomed readers and audience members into the Busybird studio for a couple of drinks and some nibblies before the readings started. I realised the atmosphere was incredibly supportive after speaking with a few readers; they were nervous, as can be expected, but they knew they were speaking to a group of like-minded people. Everyone there was either a writer themselves, or was supporting one, and it was really great to see so many people turn up to what I had thought would be a pretty small event.

Open Mic Night at Busybird is held on the third Wednesday of every month, and they average from 14-17 readers a night. I was lucky enough to come on a night where one of the regulars was reading some of her spectacularly funny poetry, and decided to charm us with a song afterwards.

As this was my first time, I didn’t read anything of my own, but sat back and enjoyed listening to the other fantastic stories that people had written. It’s always so interesting to see how different the genre and writing styles can be between people of different ages, gender etc. We were also introduced to a few of Busybird’s newly published books, and the author of one spoke to us about why she had written her book on domestic violence, before reading a short part of it. As you could imagine, it was a difficult thing for her to speak about and the passage that she read to us was emotive and capturing. Not only did this event give her a chance to promote her book, it was the first time she had spoken about her ordeal in front of an audience.

We finished the night off with a song from BB’s own Kev, which was utterly fantastic!

For me, the most comforting part of Open Mic Night was seeing the community that this event has created. Everyone was enjoying themselves, and meeting people that might help them better their writing, and it was truly wonderful to watch and be a part of.

Thanks, Busybird!

Who Knew?!

It was meant to be

I’ve had an awakening in the past few weeks. One that was incredibly obvious, and also incredibly necessary.

My frequent copyediting, proofreading and constant computer-staring-at (coining the phrase immediately) had gotten me worried about my posture, shoulders and the mass amounts of tension held in my neck.

Most people are aware that I am a stressed person, just in general. I stress about all kinds of stress, even when there isn’t really anything stressful happening (I’m stressed right now as I write this) and, as a result, I am always finding myself tense and sore. I’ve started working on this with stretching and breathing exercises but was recently informed of the benefits of yoga.

Here comes the incredibly obvious part: exercise is good for you!

I still routinely pretend not to believe that epiphany as I sit on the couch with a block of Cadbury’s best, but I decided to ignore my protesting self and give it a try, and boy, it is FANTASTIC!

I owe all of my progress (we’ll call it that for now) to the wonderful people at Busybird. Being at Busybird has changed my outlook on a lot of these health concerns that I pass over as small nothings. The team at BB make it a priority to get away from the computer and all screens for at least an hour everyday; they go for walks, they stretch and move around, and how grateful I am that they have shown me the importance of taking care of yourself.

Like all exercise, I will probably skip it every now and then, but pushing myself to relax, stretch and breathe will help me and all writers, editors and fellow computer-starers in the long run.

If you’re interested in beginning your yoga journey, BB are hosting a weekly class at their gallery in Montmorency, Melbourne. ‘Yoga for Writers’ is taught by a local yoga instructor who is very familiar with the literary industry (she used to work for The Wheeler Centre, how great!!) and she is sure to get you moving and feeling better. Check it out here.

 

 

What I’m currently reading: You by Caroline Kepnes (a recommendation from one of the BB team. So far, it is wonderfully creepy)

Marketing: A Really Simple Guide

Having worked alongside the team at Busybird for around two months now, I have been surrounded by new ideas and the ins and outs of the publishing industry. Aside from it being incredibly fascinating to learn more about the publishing world and how editorial work fits into that scheme, I’ve also picked up on other aspects that are of course integral to publishing a book and creating a financially viable business.

I’ve mentioned in a previous post about Busybird that I really enjoy how their business works; I’ve focused on editing as a full time role for my future and am now considering that I might prefer something that gives me a chance to move around and try new things, especially to give my eyes a rest from staring at my computer screen all day (which is of course happening right now…). This new venture is a dabble into the world of marketing.

What do I know about marketing, you ask? Well, last week I had the fantastic opportunity to sit in on a meeting. This meeting was focused on marketing Busybird in 2017 and how to best achieve all of their goals and – without sharing all of their secrets! – I would like to pass on some of that wisdom.

Here are three important things to remember and focus on when marketing yourself or your business:

Set goals

If you’ve thought about creating a marketing plan, the first thing to consider is what you want to achieve and how long you are giving yourself to achieve it. Do you want to have your business name known? Do you want to attract a certain number of clients? It can be something simple, like reaching 300 likes on your Facebook page, or getting 1000 people to sign up to your e-newsletter. You have to set goals to be able to reach them, though always ensure that your goals reflect where you would like to be in the time frame that you’ve selected.

Be realistic

A massive downfall for new businesses or inexperienced entrepreneurs is that they are overzealous about the reality of them achieving their goals. To have a dream of achieving a huge milestone is fantastic, but you need to be realistic about how you are going to achieve what you’ve set out to achieve. The time frame here is also important; if you want to gain 1000 people to your e-newsletter subscription and you’re only meeting a handful of people once a month, you would be looking at a few years before this goal is a reality. Be realistic about your goals and you will achieve them and set new ones quicker.

Know your brand

Who are you? What does your business look like? Do you have a solid font chosen for your advertising material? These are all questions that are easily answered when you’ve figured out how to appropriately market your business. The most important thing (apart from the above two steps) is that you have a constant brand. Your audience needs to be able to find and remember who you are and they need to be aware of what you are doing. Use your work to market directly to your audience, and use tools that will best promote your work. If you are running a company that owns tennis courts and you’re looking for people to invest in the future of young tennis players, hand out pens with tennis balls as key-rings (I know I would definitely want one of those if I was at all interested in sport). Know your brand, and your audience will follow.

 

 

What I’m currently reading: Game of Thrones Book Four – A Feast for Crows

(Yes, I finally finished book three part two!)

Books on the Rail!

I’m very excited about this wonderful project! Until recently, I wasn’t regularly commuting to and from the city, and I didn’t realise the amount of people that are glued to their devices during their trips. I didn’t realise this because I too, of course, am glued to my phone, searching through music to drown out the sounds of the train jolting over the tracks at peak hour.

But if I were to look down and find a copy of a book, I would definitely be excited. Those who know me well can account for my love of books; not once have I walked past a bookstore and not gone inside (this was particularly difficult in Tokyo as there is an entire town dedicated to books – *excited noises*).

After reading Ali and Mich’s startup journey and their brilliant idea to bring Books on the Underground from London to Melbourne, I can only congratulate them (and signup to be a book ninja).

So often I find that I’ve finished reading a book and I just need to share it with the world, and need to find someone to discuss it with immediately! This is a brilliant way that people can share their wonderful reads, and hopefully it will get people interested in reading again.

Now I know people will say that they don’t have the time to read or can’t fit it into their daily schedules, and I know, I struggle to myself. I’m not even halfway on my Goodreads reading challenge this year *sigh*. Though I think this would be a great way to catch up and to diversify my reading and I’m hoping that everyone can see the positivity in this project.

 

Check them out here and signup to be a book ninja here.

 

I’m still yet to find a book on the rail, but I will definitely be keeping an eye out for that special sticker! Let me know if you’ve found any books, or even just what you’re reading at the moment.

 

‘Til next time!

 

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Photo Credit: Books on the Rail

 

 

 

Still too busy to read but really want to read: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (conveniently found in the photo above…)

Writer’s Block

In the midst of assignment season, I have been stuck trying to write a 2000 word piece on whatever I want…eek! My only problem with this is I find it difficult to channel all of my creative ideas into one that will work for what I need to do. Without a prompt, I find my mind goes wild and I’m stuck not writing anything at all! After finally finishing my piece (days later), I have a few tips for any writers that have struggled with the dreaded writer’s block.

 

  1. Plan

The only reason I find my way out the creative abyss is by learning how to properly plan out my work. This is incredibly important for any type of writing (fiction, non-fiction, critical writing) and will help to give you focus. Once you have focus, you can move forward in your story, build your characters and support your ideas!

 

  1. Get outside! 

Moving your body is great for stimulating your mind, especially when you spend the majority of your day sitting in front of a laptop. Getting outside can also give you inspiration; you could drive or walk by something that makes a great idea for a story. It’s the little things that spark all of our creative genius!

 

  1. Try a new idea

Do you find yourself always writing in the same genre? Why don’t you try something new! If you’re a fiction writer who constantly writes in the sci-fi genre, try writing a romance, or something for younger readers possibly. Non-fiction pieces can be really engaging, and creative non-fiction could always incorporate your style and help you expand your skills! Think outside of your regular parameters and write something new.

 

  1. Write through it!

Just start writing! Instead of aimlessly staring at your laptop (or journal if you’re a hardcopy writer), just start writing. If ideas are hard to come by, just write what comes into your head. Chances are, you’ll come across something you like to write about, something that you want to say, or surprise yourself with a great idea. (Stream of consciousness writing is also very popular in poetry, give it a try!)

 

  1. Have a break

If you’re constantly writing or working and your mind is overwhelmed, just take a break! Make sure you have a dedicated writing space that you can walk away from, and walk away from it. Your mind is the space where you keep all of your ideas; it’s the place where us writers create and shape characters, whole worlds really, and sometimes, you need a break. Don’t be afraid to take one. Your writing with thank you afterwards.

 

Though this is what works best for me, it might not be for you. Let me know if you’re stuck with writer’s block and how you get yourself out of the infamous rut below!

 

What I’m wanting to read but don’t have enough time to read: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child