Helen Field

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I am an aspiring novelist.  Well ...when I say aspiring, what I mean is, that I have actually written one, I just need to work out if and how I can get it published.  I have been reading all the lovely useful information on Jericho's website and finally decided to give full membership a go.

I am  a 57yr old  female who lives just South of Cambridge. After a completely manic motherhood (running my own training business in the hospitality industry and coping with three extraordinary children at the same time) I recently decided to pack up work and travel the world with my husband.  We completed four months wild camping in Europe in our 20 yr old campervan, giving me plenty of time to write and plenty of fuel for funny stories. We then went backpacking around India for four months and are currently in FInland. I have three adult children - one son is travelling in Australia after spending 5yrs on a soccer scholarship in New York, another son is a performer with Cirque du Soleil and currently in LA touring USA and my lovely, clever bunny daughter works for a charity called First Give in London. You can probably see me puffing out my chest with pride as you read. I am indeed very proud of them.

Anyway...a bit more about me/my writing and then I'll shut up; I have been writing a private journal for the last 45yrs, selling bespoke funny poetry for 20yrs and have recently published a range of funny poem greetings cards on Etsy.  I have had a number of professional articles published along with many letters to The Sunday Times (when I have been sufficiently outraged.) I have also been a speaker at many industry events and blagged my way onto the radio a few times to tell a story or two and to vent my anger on a range of subjects as and when I have felt the need!

As and when travel allows, I am really looking forward to some interesting discussions, guidance and advice from fellow writers and hope I can make some worthwhile contributions at some point. 

Helen Field Discussions
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Hi AllHave been absent on the forum for a bit as went travelling round Texas for a while!Just wanted…
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  •  · Hey SarahThank you!We travelled all over Texas: a week in Austin, a week in Hill Country, Dallas, Fo…
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Morning allJust thought I'd post something that might be of interest to any other writers who like m…
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  •  · Yes, Helen, I use Rocket also and have had only one time when it was wrong. I ended up with 9 catego…
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Hi thereMy novels are very UK centric, although a small percentage of my sales are from the US.Findi…
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  •  · Hello BorisThanks for your response - after a couple of weeks of no-one replying at all, I'd pretty …
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HI everyone.Hoping someone out there can help!  My son has written a poetry book and is having troub…
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Hi AllSo...this may be a big ask, but I am looking for a BETA reader for my second humorous novel in…
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My novel is set partly in Essex and I have used authentic colloquial language in some of the dialogu…
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  •  · 😆 love that line, Jon

I took a leaf out of JW book of advice. I wrote a reader magnet as a free novella sequel after book 1 which the reader could only get if they and signed up to my free emails gave me their e-mail address. This offer was put immediately after the end of the book.  I purposely left book 1 on a cliff hanger so I could do this. It gave me almost 100 new names for my new e-mail list.

Book 2 in the series I did not do this as an automatic, but this time I've left them wanting more for a bit. It too was left on a cliff hanger but did not require them to have read Book 1, but from looking at my stats, most of them clearly went back and read book 1 and were not too worried they'd read them out of order. It still all made sense to them.

I have now just finished a novella sequel to the cliff hanger ending of Book 2. I will e-mail my list and offer it free to everyone who has read book 2.

I have remained consistently in the top 100 in two of my categories for both books since Jan of this year, so something tells me this strategy works.

Just thought I'd throw my experience in to the ring in the hope it might help you decide what to do.

The very best of luck, whichever route you choose to go.

Well done Jane. It's such bloody hard work getting to this point, so many congratulations on your resilience! I wish you the best of luck!

Hey Sarah

Thank you!

We travelled all over Texas: a week in Austin, a week in Hill Country, Dallas, Fort Worth, Big Bend National Park for 3 days, San Antonio and small town America East of Austin - Round Top, Smithville, La Grange etc.

We absolutely loved it. I didn't want to come home and would love to buy a place out there. The weather in Jan and Feb was to die for given we come from UK 😂 !!!

Sorry but not all the pictures got included in my post above, so I'll try and put them here!

Added a forum 

Hi All

Have been absent on the forum for a bit as went travelling round Texas for a while!

Just wanted to share some success with you all - in case anyone out there is thinking is this SP malarkey all worth it!

For the past five days I did a KDP 5 day free promotion on the first book in my series The Mystery Shopper & The Hot Tub - it finishes today. See results below!

Also, prior to this, I had managed to get into the top 50 Amazon paid best sellers on both my books in two categories and top 100 in both books in a third category - all at the same time!

This proves my point Richard Osman is both meat and poison! Meat for you Georgina and poison for me 😂!

I got my first ever one star rating the other day - like KT Jayne amongst many 5* ! Having now been in the self publishing game for all of one year, I had a sharp intake of breath, the person didn't leave a review...so I moved on and forgot about it. This is a very different reaction to when I first started out, when even a 3* review filled me with despair!  I keep my dear late Mum's saying in my mind whenever I read my reviews "One man's meat is another man's poison' - so very true.  I took a look at the reviews for Richard Osman's book Thursday Murder Club. WOW! That was so interesting. He has over 85,000 reviews!!  So many of them are 1* - amongst 5* of course. I bought the book out of sheer curiosity and thought it was terrible!  That was a lesson in itself!

Thank you both. You still have to manually count up the sales though no?

Hi Carol

I self-published my second novel 6 weeks ago - it is number 2 in a series. 

Personally, writing the books was a walk in the park compared to the marketing. Like you, I spent over a year learning about book marketing - reading blogs, books, articles, watching videos, going on forums - David Gaughran and Chesson must think I'm stalking them :)

That was well over a year ago....and I'm none the wiser now I've tried marketing two books. It truly is a minefield.  

I do feel that the day marketing agencies start charging based on their success rather than the number of hours work they do, we will all feel much more confident in paying for their services. But guess what? They are no more confident that they can work out Amazon's algorithms or guarantee sales from a pretty photo they put up for you on Instagram or post a tweet, than you are. 

I HATE social media, but took a deep breath and prepared to prostitute myself on Instagram. I still don't know whether what I have done is responsible for sales - and that's the problem with marketing more often than not. It really is tough to work out which of your marketing methods have worked/are working.  

I don't wish to come across in a negative way but sadly I do think there are soooo many people out there claiming they will deliver a brilliant marketing campaign for you - but is that what you want? I want them to deliver me brilliant sales...and they steadfastly refuse to do that.

I have learned a bit by trial and error and it's not a bad way to start. It's only by really understanding how the whole book buying and selling machine works globally that you could properly brief and monitor any agency you did decide to use anyway, otherwise, they can pull the wool over your eyes big time.

I truly wish you luck with whatever you choose to do.


Sincere congratulations Reidr. Just wait til those reviews start rolling in. You''ll be on another high!!

I don't disagree with you Lynn, but I think that the two things are not mutually exclusive. You can break lots of grammar rules and the meaning still be perfectly clear, as my readers prove for example. However there are times when breaking grammar rules results in the most appalling lack of clarity. This can be seen daily in broadsheet newspapers, where one sometimes has to read a sentence three or four times to be sure what it means, just because a journalist is allergic to commas. I do not advocate that type of rule breaking AT ALL! I am obsessive about the correct use of commas, colons, semi colons etc - for that precise reason.

I have just seen this thread and thought I'd add my two penneth!

I have written two novels in the past 18 months, with multiple POV in both. Three writers from this JW  forum all pointed this out to me after kindly reading my first three chapters. I chose to ignore them, because in my story's case, everyone is lying to each other and trying to act normally and so attempting to describe their thoughts via their body language and actions just wouldn't have worked. Also the entire novel is littered with internal thoughts of each character, in italics. This was an active style choice. 

I chose to ignore the JW writers and also my editor who said much the same thing. I know how I wanted my novel to read and so was not prepared to change it. 

Guess what? Not a single reader has commented on this or found it difficult to follow. I have mostly 5* reviews from ordinary folk, book bloggers, reviewers and BETA readers and have sold several hundred books so far.

This obsession with rules is ridiculous in my honest opinion. There are no rules in writing! Write what you like! The readers should be the only arbiter of whether it's good enough to read and pay money for.

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