Ducie’s Diary: February 2021

As I sit writing this, I can see out of the corner of my eye custard coloured daffodils, tiny narcissi with trumpets of orange, pale yellow and purple crocuses and the red, blue and mauve of Victorian Brooch pulmonaria. Plus the rhubarb is peeping through the hole in the top of the bucket. And the sun is shining! This morning we were on our daily walk before 7.30am – and it was full daylight. All signs that winter is nearly over  and spring is on its way. [And yes, I know we’ve had the worst snow in recent years in mid-March, but I refuse to be anything other than optimistic today!] So how has my February been?

Writing This Month

I’ve had a good month’s writing for a change. The fifth (and hopefully final) rewrite of novel #5 is taking shape, and I’ve drafted out all the new scenes needed to make the opening less frenetic. I had some great feedback from Efemia Chela, the Quay Words/English PEN digital writer-in-residence for February. She read my opening chapters and highlighted what worked and why, which was a different take on critiquing, and one I found very helpful. If the work continues to go well over the next few weeks, I may feel confident enough to do a cover reveal this time next month. I’ve been sitting on the latest design from Berni Stevens for months now; I’m very excited about it and I hope you like it as much as I do.

I mentioned last month I have a project to co-author the second edition of a text book first published in 2002. Our project plan is up and running; my first task has been completed ten days ahead of due date; and I’m really enjoying getting into the research. This is a fascinating time to get back into the world of pharmaceutical manufacturing.

I’ve always been a glass half-full person, so when fellow author, Tim Taylor, invited me to write for his Transcending Lockdown blog, I thought I’d pull out the old Gladness Jar and spread a bit of positivity for a change. You can read my post here.

Sales and Marketing

At the end of January, I ran some special deals on the ebooks in The Business of Writing series. I’m still working my way through the data from that, but was delighted to see I had downloads in several countries I’ve never reached before. And I learned one key lesson: if you are going to do five days of promotion, get as much of the social media as possible scheduled in advance. By day three, I found I was flagging and by day five, I didn’t want to go near Twitter!

Following on from these deals, I have reduced the first three parts of the series to 99p / $0.99 for the moment. I’ve not decided how long I will run this special offer for, so if you are interested in Business Start-Up; Finance Matters; or Improving Effectiveness, now would be a good time to grab a copy. And don’t forget, if you are a Kindle Unlimited member, you can download any of my books, fiction or non-fiction, for free.

Out and About

I had my Covid vaccination this morning. And when I caught myself putting on a decent pair of trousers and trying to decide which colour blouse to wear, I realised just how much I needed to start getting out and about again! But it’s going to be a little while yet. And in the meantime, I’m excited to be able to tell you about the Fourth Annual Women in Publishing Summit, which is coming up next month.

The Women in Publishing Summit, sponsored by Bublish and Write|Publish|Sell, runs from 1st to 8th March and covers all things related to writing, publishing, and selling a book. It’s created FOR women, BY women: for women who want to write a book, have written a book, are in the process of writing a book, or perform some kind of function related to writing, publishing, and selling a book!

And this is the part where I remind you I am one of the speakers! I am delighted and proud to have been invited to speak on Routes to Publishing.

I’m happy to be part of a celebration of women who are absolutely rocking it in the writing, publishing, and selling of books. (Plus the other people who make amazing books come to life – the editors and the graphic artists, the PR and marketing professionals, and so forth.) What exactly are we trying to achieve with this summit?

One – we’re celebrating and honoring the achievements of women who often go uncelebrated, when what they have done and continue to do is worthy of an Olympic-style parade.

Two – we want to provide the support and encouragement for other women who are trying their best to grow their business; entertain; teach; or change the world with their books – or otherwise leave a mark on the world with their writing.

Three – we’re talking about issues that other publishing conferences don’t talk about AT ALL. Like representation and making sure marginalized voices are heard. Like opening up opportunities for women so we don’t have to publish under male pen names. Mindset, overcoming fear, and tools you need to build your business as an author.

We recognize there is a LOT to learn and know. So you can consider this week-long virtual conference a really economical Bachelor’s Degree in writing, publishing, and selling a book! You can learn more on the website, but here is the general schedule of topics for each day:

Day 1: The Big Picture for Your Book – Why We Show Up, Finding Inspiration & Mindset Issues
Day 2: Knowledge Base for Authors: Writing & Editing Resources galore
Day 3: Publishing & Production & more writing workshops
Day 4: Book Launch Strategies, Marketing, Marketing and more Marketing
Day 5: The Business of Being An Author + additional revenue streams

Come learn from Best Selling Authors, Publishers, Experts in Marketing and PR, Editors, Graphic Designers, and other industry experts to get all the tools you need to write, publish, and sell your amazing book! But more importantly, come join our community as we grow together.

GRAB YOUR TICKET NOW There’s an early-bird offer of $100 off the full price, if you book before 28th February.

Short Story Competitions

A final reminder about the Exeter Writers Short Story Competition which closes at midnight on Sunday 28th February. With more than £1000 in prizes, including a magnificent £700 first prize, and a special local prize for the best story from a Devon author, it’s certainly worth having a go at entering. There’s no theme, and an upper word limit of 3000, so plenty of room to develop your ideas.

On the other hand, Exeter Literary Festival’s competition runs until 31st July. Once again, the theme is open, but the word limit is just 750. Writing flash fiction is something that’s growing in popularity. If you’ve already tried it, I’m sure you will know how addictive it can be. And if it’s new to you, why not give it a try?

By Elizabeth Ducie

Elizabeth Ducie was a successful international manufacturing consultant, when she decided to give it all up and start telling lies for a living instead.

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