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To free or not to free? - Part 3

Two weeks have passed since the free promotion of my novel "Teaching Tori". Time to re-read my previous post and reflect on this experience.
Before launching into this post, I need to clarify the purpose of this promotion, which was...
to increase my audienceto gain new reviewsto try something new in promotion my bookto get myself out of a "help, nobody's buying my book!" mindset So here are my thoughts...
1. My audience has increased, but I have no idea by how much. By the end of the promotion, I had 660 downloads of my book. How many people actually read the book will remain unknown. Haven't we all done it, downloaded a free ebook, only to never read it because we forgot about it, or we had other books to read?
2. I've had one review out of 660 downloads. Needless to say that I am disappointed with this result. Is it too early to make a call on this part of the promotion? Are people just super-busy, only just now remembering that they've read my bo…

To free or not to free - Part 2

In a few hours, my first-ever free book promotion will be over. I must admit I was very sceptical and didn't know if this promotion would be of any benefit to me. I also was worried that nobody would download my book, even when it was free, and the effect this would have on my motivation as a new self-publisher author.
This promotion was a last minute decision 24 hours before it started, so I didn't have a great lead-up to it. I listed it with as many free ebook sites as possible, but couldn't say how many of the emails and forms I filled in actually made it onto those sites. I did the same with Facebook, posting the link or asking for the link to be posted.
The only thing I have a clear idea of what happened was what I did on Twitter. And I think it was the Twitter 'campaign' that was the most successful because I gained lots of new followers and retweets.
It was exciting to watch the number of downloads go up over time, and to see which marketplaces they came fro…

To free or not to free?

My first three months with Amazon's KDP are coming to an end and I have yet to use any of the 5 free days available to me. So I have been very indecisive whether to give this a go.
Part of me wants to scream and say - no way am I going to give my novel away for free. I have sweated blood and tears (and a bucket full of money) for this novel. Why should anybody be able to get it for free?
But then this other voice in my head pipes up and says - what can you lose? It's not like you're selling hundreds of books at the moment, are you?
In fact, the opposite is true. I am selling a few novels here and there, with long gaps in between sales, which can be quite disheartening.
So after hours spent online reading about the pros and cons of free give-aways, I have decided to give it a go. The best case scenario would be to get some new reviews out of this promotion and gain some new readers who will, in time, want to read my next book.
The worst case scenario would be (I can't e…

What’s in a name?

The name for my main character Tori came easily to me. I wanted it to be a simple, short name that wasn’t too common. I like names with vowel sounds as I knew them when I grew up – call them Italian, German or Māori – rich or open a, e, i, o, u sounds, not their English counterparts.

I can’t remember when the title “Teaching Tori” came to me. I think it was right at the start. Initially, I called my work in progress Tori and Tom, but then I found “Teaching Tori” describes what happens in the novel much better.

It plays with the two meanings of ‘teaching’ – one as a verb, the other one as an adjective (Actually, I think it’s called a gerund - I need to find out the correct grammatical term because I am a grammar nerd.)

Teaching Tori shows Tori in her job, as opposed to ‘singing’ Tori or ‘typing’ Tori. She is a primary school teacher and lives for her job and the lives of the children in her class. She is ‘teaching Tori’ – Tori, who teaches. But the novel is also about Teaching Tori, meani…

Book Launch "Teaching Tori"

I am very proud, excited and incredibly nervous about the launch of my contemporary novel "Teaching Tori". After two years of hard work on this book, I am finally able to share this story with you:

Tori has put up with Gerard’s bullying for so long, she is surprised when Tom, a visiting adviser to her school, turns into an ally she doesn’t really want.
Despite her efforts to keep him at an arm’s length, he manages to gain her trust and a tender relationship starts to form.  A future with Tom looks certain when a misunderstanding leads Tori to wrongly accuse him of breaching her trust. She eventually recognises her mistake, but it is too late to win him back. Tori suffers greatly from losing him, but even worse, she loses her love of teaching. She lacks the energy to be the inspiring teacher she once was, sending her on a downward spiral of feelings of inadequacy and guilt. After weeks of misery, Tori takes to the hills of Central Otago to clear her head. High up in the tussock co…

Tori and the case of the mysterious quotation marks

Today I received my manuscript back from my copy editor.


I love getting feedback and comments about my writing, especially from a professional editor, as I can learn so much from them. I wish I had the ability to look at my writing from the distance and without any emotional attachment. Editing would be so much easier.


For some (so far) inexplicable reason I have two versions of quotation marks in my manuscript. They are scattered all over the novel in no particular pattern. Have a look at this:



"How was the conference?" Rose asked half an hour later before the staff briefing.

"Great. I’m so sorry that you missed out."

"Did you find some other people to hang out with? I felt so bad when I let you down."

“Yes, I met some people I knew. The dinner was great. I even danced, can you believe it?”

“Oh, Tori, it must have been a great night for you to get up and dance!”

“Definitely.”






The font is Times New Roman. When I press shift+quotation mark on my keyboard, the …

Excited about a number

I am excited about a number.
I am excited about numbers in any case because I teach Maths to my year four and five children, but this is a different number.

This is my ISBN number.

I won't bore you with the number by putting it here, but let's just say it's another step towards publication. I'm not sure how many steps there have been so far, but it feels like hundreds. And getting my number was one of the micro-steps. All I had to do was apply online with the National Library of New Zealand, fill in a form, and wait.
A few days later, I received two numbers - one for the kindle edition, one for the softcover.

The next step will be my final edit when my editor has finished with the copy-editing of my novel. Hopefully that will happen in the next week.

If I had to decide on which step was the hardest in this process, I would struggle. Was is writing the first draft? Filling the gaps after the first developmental edit? Filling more gaps after the second developmental edit…

Book cover reveal "Teaching Tori"

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I am very excited to reveal the book cover of "Teaching Tori "which will be released in a few weeks. Thank you to Isabel Paoli who designed the cover for me through the site designcrowd.