Saturday, 1 February 2014

THE PINK SOFA welcomes writer Lizzie Lamb




The PINK SOFA is truly delighted to welcome talented, funny and parrot-owning writer Lizzie Lamb. I met Lizzie for the first time a couple of years ago at a meeting of the RNA London Chapter. I was about to launch my ebook Jigsaw Pieces, and she was about to launch Tall,Dark & Kilted. Time has been good to both of us: Lizzie is now working on her third novel and it is a real joy to watch her rise to literary prominence. 

Having missed Burns Night, and not wishing to cause offence to the Pink Sofa's per haggis, Harris, there are tartan-iced cupcakes and frothy coffee on the coffee table. So, Lizzie over to you ....


ON YOUR MARKS, GET SET - GO . . .

or, how I became an indie author without the aid of a safety net

In July 2012, I formed The New Romantics 4 with three other writers.  Coining the phrase: ‘sisters doing it for themselves’, we published our novels on Amazon and Create Space. Our novels had been through the Romantics Novelists’ Association critique system and we felt they were good to go, so we lit the blue touch paper and stood well back. Three months later, after mastering the intricacies of ITIN forms, W8-BEN, and how to format and upload our novels for Kindle (and as a Create Space paperback), I finally held Tall, Dark and Kilted in my sticky mitts in (October 2012).

Fast forward to November 2013 and the publication of Boot Camp Bride. Two novels in a year, I hear you say? If it’s that easy, I think I’ll have a go. Well, concentrate, because here comes the science bit - how to create a market for your books from a standing start.

Luckily, I’d been a Facebook since 2008 and had friends who were either published authors or avid readers. When I came out of the closet and said: ‘My name’s Lizzie and I am a writer,’ they were supportive. I tried my best not to swamp them with posts all about writing - the parrot (of whom more, later) comes in very handy in that respect. In January 2013 I established Lizzie Lamb - writer page on Facebook and concentrated my ‘writerly news’ there, but there is of course some overlap. I also joined numerous Facebook sub-groups: Chick Lit Goddesses/Writers on the Same Page/ Write on Girls etc to promote myself.  
I already had a Twitter account and, after publication, I started to post daily about my writing, making sure I interspersed promotion with more chatty, user-friendly stuff. I started to follow (and be followed by) more writers and now have a daily retweeting regime on a quid pro quo basis. That seems to work. Through twitter interactions, I have acquired lots of lovely readers who have followed me onto Facebook and become friends. 

As I got into the flow of promoting myself and my books, I started to think about having a website. The New Romantics 4 paid Nettie Thompson of Meldrum Media to create a website for us; then she created an individual website for me I’m starting to use more regularly since publishing Boot Camp Bride and have recently added FIRST PERSON SINGULAR where I will invite well-known authors to talk about their work.

Believing that I had established my credentials with Tall, Dark and Kilted, I contacted book bloggers, asking to be featured on their sites. So far, no one has refused! If you want to learn more about the blogs I’ve been featured on/book blogging sites, check out my pinterest board.

Carol, you asked me, ‘how often do I promo.’ The answer has to be ‘most of the time’. But I try and promo on different sites on different days so that people don’t get sick of seeing my name pop up (again). I also blog for another group of indie writers The Famous Five Plus. Check out a post I wrote back in March about this very subject. On top of promoting, there’s always the next book to write. I didn’t say it would be easy, did I?

My advice to any one who is thinking of publishing a novel is to get the systems (Facebook, Twitter, blog, Pinterest etc) in place before you finish the book. Read other authors, write reviews for their books, read blog posts and comment on them - in short, build up your persona as an author who ‘gives’ as well as ‘takes’.

What else? Oh yes, having a fabulously understanding husband and a mad, talking parrot called Jasper. Jasper Parrot - geddit? He’s there to shout: BREAKFAST READY, WHAT YOU DOING? and I WANNA A CHOCOLATE BISCUIT, among other things. He has quite a repertoire.  When I leave him alone for too long he calls out: COME ON MUMMY! pulling me out of my  dream world and making me give him attention. Thus, he saves me from rounded shoulders, DVT and writers’ pallor. I’ve promised him a starring role in my next rom com ~ Scotch on the Rocks. Watch this space.

Meanwhile . . . here’s a bit about my current book, BOOT CAMP BRIDE -

Charlee Montague is an up-for-anything rookie reporter desperate for her big break. She dreams of something, anything, which will take her away from the daily grind at celebrity-driven magazine What’cha!  When she is sent undercover to a boot camp for brides on the windswept Norfolk marshes, it seems as if all her Christmases have come at once. Posing as a blushing bride-to-be, Charlee has to get the skinny on supermodel Anastasia Markova and her oligarch Russian boyfriend. However, every rookie needs a more experienced partner as backup and Charlee is no exception. At her side (posing as her fiancĂ©), is award winning photographer Rafael Ffinch. World-weary Rafa has recently survived a kidnap attempt in Colombia and is no mood to cut inexperienced Charlee any slack. Furthermore, he makes it plain at the outset of their assignment that there is no room for love in his complicated life. Once the investigation is over, their partnership and fake engagement will be terminated.
            From the moment she sets foot in the boot camp Charlee senses that there is more to the simple ‘dish-the-dirt-on-the-A-list model’ story she’s been sent to cover. Journalistic antennae twitching, Charlee carries out an investigation of her own. What's the real reason behind Ffinch's interest in super model Anastasia and her shady Russian fiancĂ©? How is it connected to Rafa’s kidnap in Colombia? In setting out to uncover the truth, Charlee uncovers yet more secrets and puts herself in danger.
            And, as the investigation draws to a close, Charlee is faced with a dilemma - will she be able to keep her promise, hand back the engagement ring and walk out of Rafa’s life without a backward glance?


Boot Camp Bride - Romance and Intrigue on the Norfolk marshes - November 2013

Tall, Dark and Kilted Notting Hill Meets Monarch of the Glen - 2012 




40 comments:

  1. Your cake decorating skills are amazing Carol. Tartan!! Wonderful interview - watching and learning Lizzie, so thanks for the info and inspiration : )

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  2. Always great to meet new writers on your blog Carol - both Lizzie and her parrot!

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    1. Thanks Chris. This is a bog shout out for me as normally the parrot gets star billing and I get mentioned as his wrangler !!

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  3. Thank you for leaving a comment, Amanda and to Carol for putting together such a great blog post. I almost sound interesting. BTW, the parrot has told me off because I forgot to mention that he has had a book dedicated to him - by writer friend Kate Hardy. There's no living with him some days - really !!

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  4. I have a similar problem with the PINK SOFA - mega sulking when it realised it wasn't mentioned in the book!

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  5. I love your PINK SOFA site, Carol. And Lizzie, always a joy to read your posts, you have such a gift for humour. I really enjoyed your first two novels, and think the title 'Scotch on the Rocks', will be a sure winner.

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    1. Good afternoon, Margaret. I think Carol should come over to Leicester and meet the girls. She'd fit right in and love it. I hope Scotch on the Rocks rings the bell, I would hate to disappoint any one.

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  6. Phew, Lizzie! I can personally confirm that you do ALL of the things mentioned, with knobs on. You're great at encouraging every one else though, too, and deserve every bit of that hard-earned success.
    You and Carol make a great team, BTW. Both nuts!

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  7. Like the blogs. All the best to you both. Lovely parrot.

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    1. Thanks Graham, and yes, he is a lovely parrot !!

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  8. Ha Ha. Carol is a great laugh. I'm so glad that I met her at the RNA London meet all that time ago. If you want a really good laugh you should check out the fish in her pond. They're mutant. Thanks for adding a comment. I didn't want to put people off writing but it is a lot of hard work.

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  9. Very much enjoying articles on the Pink Sofa blog - this one makes fascinating reading - thanks Carol and Lizzie!

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    1. Hi Clare, I hope your own writing is coming along. The only good thing about winter is that there are fewer distractions out there for writers. So glad you've enjoyed reading about my journey and making the parrot's acquaintance.

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  10. Glad I signed up for your posts by email, Carol. Always something entertaining, and useful too. Thanks for the tips, Lizzie. If only there were more hours in the day when I wasn't seeing double from the hours spent on my computer! Good luck with your new book - sounds hilarious:)

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  11. Hi, Bev, its a real balancing act, isn't it? I'm sure Carol would agree as she's been writing longer than I have and has the gorgeous books to prove it. They say nothing succeeds like success and even the modicum of success I've enjoyed since publishing Tall, Dark and Kilted has proved the saying to be a true one. Boot Camp Bride is doing well and it spurs me on to get down to number three. Good luck with your writing, too.

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  12. Great post, ladies! Love the Pink Sofa, Carol. Lizzie, it's brilliant to learn more about you and to soak up all those fab nuggets of info and advice surrounding 'all things literary!' Thrilled to bits for your success. Same goes for you, Carol. Exciting times! Xx

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    1. Thanks Jan. Although I don;t have ANYTHING LIKE Carol's amazing track record (hangs head humbly) I knew that self publishing was the best route for me. You've been a really supportive friend, too. Writers are very generous people. xx

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  13. Hi Carol and Lizzie. Lovely site.
    I enjoyed reading your post and excerpt Lizzie. Good to read how hard you
    worked to get your show on the road. Well done and good luck in all you do.
    I love the picture of Jasper.

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    1. Thanks for finding the time to drop by, Cathy. I know how hard you;ve worked to publish your three e-books. Jasper helps of course, at least HE thinks he does !!

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  14. Lizzie, you sound as if you were born to succeed! What kept you so long? No, seriously, all that hard work has clearly paid off, so you deserve all the success. You are one of those people I know I should be more like, but there are so many other distractions (says she getting the pump out to empty her rowing/painting boat for the second time today). Well done you!

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    1. Thanks Val, Being a wage slave certainly held back the publishing process (34 years as a primary school teacher.) The best thing about writing is that it is both my dream hobby and what I've always wanted to do. That keeps me going. Good luck with the boat/[painting/thing. We all need our dream, don;t we?

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  15. Oops, Carol, I have a nasty suspicion I didn't finish my comment before pressing publish and now I can't see it…did I? I get so easily distracted, see…. so if I did, my apologies, but I hope it makes some kind of sense xx

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  16. You're so right about the give and take bit, Lizzie! I'm not into this She-read-mine-so-I'll-read-hers-and-review-even-if-I-hate-it lark (obviously!!!), but yes - taking an interest in other people's stuff is what networking is all about and you know what??? You discover some great stuff to read and some really nice people, so it's all yee-hah!!!!

    I always remember, ages ago, a writer complaining to me that she hardly got any views on her blog. Not only was it only about her own books, but when I asked, just in conversation, which blogs of other people's she liked (because I was trying to steer her towards writing about things other than her own books!), she said she never read any....!!!

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    1. There are some people I have quietly stopped following and commenting. One writer comes onto all my posts and then promos her own books. Honestly. Next time I'm giving her what for!! I've learned a lot from reading your blog, Terry, and Carol's - natch. But its all about karma and being a supporter of other writers whenever I can.

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  17. Hello Lizzie and Carol. Great blog post! Thanks, Lizzie, for pointing me in this direction. As you know, I have been pondering out self-publishing myself. I knew it sounded like very hard work and your post has only confirmed that. I do, think, however, that it still has a great deal of appeal to me. You've been so supportive and always been happy to help and advise, Lizzie. In fact, you were the very first writer I ever made contact with because, even then, you seemed very approachable. I was scared to death when I sent you a message but it's one of the best decisions I ever made! I'm a huge fan of your books, as you know, and can't wait to read Scotch on the Rocks! (Another great title!) I'm sure there'll be yet another great hero to fall in love with *sigh*. Good luck with the writing - your success is so well-deserved!

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  18. Lizzie, I love the fact that you Tweet and Facebook not only about your books but also about your life. So many people hit social media with 'buy my book' buy my book' with no information about what might make their book special (other than that they wrote it). I think everyone appreciates knowing a bit about the author's life and what goes into making a book, rather than the simple fact that it's written and out there! Besides, we all love hearing about Jasper, and the Bongo...

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    1. Jane, thank you ! I try to get a balance as I know most readers like to know a little about writers and the life behind the book. Jasper is 18 today and he's going 'clubbing' with a parrot belonging to a reader who I met through Facebook. Writers, mad? You betcha !!

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  19. Sharon, I'm always happy to help other writers on their way (must be the teacher in me!). You in turn have supported my efforts, retweeted me and reviewed my books. I think we share a common taste in heroes, too. I've left a comment on your blog today but my advice would be - go for it. You'll never know if you don't try. Good luck. I am 4k into Scotch on the Rocks and enjoying writing it - which is one of the things that seem to get overlooked !!

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  20. I must concur with my learned colleague June Kearns and say Lizzie does all she says plus loads more. She makes us laugh, is the most generous hostess, and is a genuinely loving friend and aide de camp! Not that she won't tear you off a strip if you need it, but always with your best interests at heart. If I'm honest, I would be no where without Lizzie, June and Mags and some very special others...the RNA changed my life. Now we're all published authors and Lizzie deserves ALL the success in the world. (Jilly Cooper should be proud of her protege).

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    1. Thanks Adrienne, I think we were born as sisters but kept apart until a couple of years ago when we decided to self publish. Without the RNA we would never have met. (Sounds like a dating agency for writers - now, there's a thought). It was at their London Chapter that I met Carol 'in the flesh' and the rest is history. As for Jilly Cooper . . . she got me started on this fabulous, mad, totally consuming road. Thanks Jilly :-)

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  21. I concur with my learned colleague June Kearns, Lizzie does all she says and more. She makes us laugh, is a very generous hostess and a loving friend and aide de camp. Not that she won't give you a gallic swipe with her tongue when it's needed but always in your best interest. My life changed when I joined the RNA and met Lizzie, June, Mags and some special others, support is so vitally important. We are all now published authors and Lizzie deserves every success. Jilly Cooper should be very proud of her protege. We are!

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  22. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this! xx

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    1. Thanks Debbie (and everyone else who's popped by and left a comment.) Still waiting for Carol to appear with the cake. If you want to see Jasper singing (he's 18 today) then follow this link. He's had nearly 50 comments and birthday wishes on facebook, Looks like everyone's as mad as I am !!
      https://www.facebook.com/lizzie.lamb

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  23. Lovely blog post. ~ Lizzie you and Jasper are so funny!! Also, just for anyone who hasn't read Lizzie's work ~ please do! Tall, Dark & Kilted is just great. It has some lines that are so funny I laughed out loud. I like Boot Camp Bride, but I fell in love with the hero in T, D & K and it is based mainly in Scotland, so it is close to my heart. It is a funny, funny book with a bit of romantic spice ~ you can't get much better than that!! :-) Keep writing Lizzie ~ I am looking forwards to reading Scotch on the Rocks!!! XXXX

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  24. Hi Rachel, lovely to see you on Carol's blog. I like the thought of Tall, Dark and Kilted nestling on your bookshelf on Islay. Almost a home from home. Getting down to writing Scotch on the Rocks and hope to pay a visit to your Bowmore distillery in June to check my facts and figures. Research always throws up a plot thread you hadn't thought of . . . I'm torn between the mountainous highlands and the flat salt marshes of Norfolk as places I love. Gots lots more stories in me so I'd better get down to it.

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  25. Nice to see you on the pink sofa Lizzie and I'll bet Jasper looked superb with his emerald plumage against the pink - what a colour combination. Congratulations on your success!!!

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  26. Thank you so very much Cara. It's been a whirlwind year for all of us - it helps to have a parrot. He grounds me. LOL. Congratulations on your magazine success, too.

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  27. Arriving a bit late at this blog post to find that I have two friends in one place! Hi Lizzie! Hi Carol! I love your parrot Lizzie, and I love that he saves you from DVT! Great interview :-)

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  28. It looks like once you've started there's no stopping you. Good luck with it all.

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