Monday musings: Advice for aspiring and experienced authors

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By Dawn Torrens

I am a full-time author and an occasional headline reviewer for BBC Radio WM 95.6 FM. I have written and published 14 books in various romantic genres over the past six years, including the bestselling Amelia’s Story.

Inspiration

My inspiration comes from many different areas of my life. It could be a dream I had the night before, which sows the seed of a story in my mind. One of my books, Broken Wings, was born from such a dream! I may read a news article, or take a simple walk in the park and something I witness can spark an idea for my next story.

Inspiration can come from anywhere or anything if you walk through life with your eyes wide open. I pay attention to my surroundings and current affairs issues. All of which provide me with inspiration.

Advice for aspiring writers

My first piece of advice would be, NEVER GIVE UP. If you have a dream, then pursue it regardless of what others think. Remember it is your dream, not theirs.

Secondly, no matter how good you think you are at editing your own work, always hire a professional editor and proofreader. Your work will one day be up for public viewing and you want those all-important reviews to be in favour of you, not against you. I cannot stress enough the importance of this. Remember, it is your reputation on the line so you want your work to be as word perfect as it can be.

Thirdly, good writers are also avid readers too. Read and read as often as you can. See how other successful authors form their stories, introduce their characters and back stories. Pay attention to the flow and movement of their story. You will be surprised how much you can learn yourself as an aspiring writer by reading great authors’ work.

Promotion: advice is for new and aspiring authors

Ah… Promotion, promotion, promotion—very important. If people don’t know about your book or books, how will you sell them?

Use your Facebook fan page to offer monthly giveaways to your fans. If you do not have one, create one now, even if your book is not yet published. Get the word out about your debut novel, create interest before it is published and get people excited about it.

People love giveaways, so offer a special new release giveaway to help generate interest. This will encourage word to spread about your book and your author name.

Your author name is your brand. That is what you have to build on. Offer your Kindle book up for free occasionally (you need to be enrolled into Amazon’s KDP programme for this) or reduce the price to 99p or 99c.

There are many book promotional sites out there, which have thousands of avid readers on their mailing lists just waiting to be notified about discounted and free books. This is a great way to get your unheard of book and name out there into the big world. Sites such as BookBub have millions of subscribers. They are very picky and you may have to be patient and submit your book several times over a period of time before they accept you. They are costly though, so you would need to budget for their promotions, but trust me they are so worth it and can get your book into the hands of 20, 30 and 40 thousand readers in one day.

There are other smaller and cheaper sites too, such as Robin Reads, Freebooksy, Bargainbooksy, Booksends, Ereader News Today, Digital Book Today, Kindle Promos, Armadillo Books, Pixel of Ink, Indie Book Today, Adnetwork, Venture Galleries and many more. Look them up and familiarise yourself with them and their submission process and costs. This will help you once you are published and prepare you for your first promotion.

Also, set up your own website—this is your very own promotional platform. Make it interesting and not too cluttered. People want to be able to navigate your site with ease, otherwise they will not visit it again. The main important thing to remember is you have to speculate to accumulate, so budget for promotional costs monthly based on what you can afford, even if it is as little at £10 per month.

Make sure you promote, whether big or small as you need to grow your brand, and get the word out about your brand—YOUR NAME!

Research

Research is so important. You have to know what you are talking about. Because if you don’t, some reader somewhere will pick up on it.

I do tons of research for each and every book I write. If there is a medical condition that my characters get and I do not know much about it, then I research it to death. I also talk to people I know that may suffer from the same condition to get clarity.

I spend a third of my time researching. I love it and gain much knowledge from it too. I am learning about things all the time that I otherwise would not know about such as, places, medical conditions, trauma units, investigations and the process of all these subjects. I also have many methods of research. I try to write about things I have much knowledge about, however, when you write a lot of books you do have to broaden your horizon.

Characters based on real people

Ha,ha… Oh indeed, yes! I know so many interesting characters in my real life that occasionally one or two of them make their way into my books!

Favourite pastimes

My favourite pastimes are jogging, walking, and spending lots of time with my daughter and family. I take part in a lot of charity runs at least four times a year, for Birmingham Children’s Hospital and cancer research, through organisations like, Race for Life and The Great Morrison’s Run. Jogging clears my head and I come up with some great ideas while I am out jogging.

Cover design

I have two cover designers, they are both incredible and each of them has their own special area of expertise: Ares Jun and David C. Cassidy. They are truly amazing cover designers and I would highly recommend them. They are the face of my stories and they convey through their designs perfectly what my stories are about.

My latest book

My latest release is called Amelia the Mother: A Pocket Full of Innocence, the third book in the Amelia series. It tells of Amelia’s emotional journey, showing what motherhood means to her.

Prior to that, I published Forbidden last March. This is a romantic suspense novel, which also touches on real-life happenings. This book was a challenge for me in many ways as I was writing about two characters from two entirely different cultures who fall in love against their families’ wishes. Jessica is white British, and Ajay is Hindu. The obstacles their parents place in their path is incredible. The parents are both strict, traditional Hindus and strict traditional Christians. Both sets of parents do not believe in interracial marriages of relationships of any kind. This makes the protagonists’ relationship very difficult. There are death, near-death and tragic circumstances along the way in this emotionally charged love story against the odds.

Come get to know me

I was born in Yorkshire, England. I currently live in Birmingham. I am married with an eight-year-old daughter, who is my entire world! My very first book, Amelia’s Story has inspired people all over the world and has been downloaded almost 400,000 times worldwide.

I am a prolific writer and in 2013, my works were recognised by BBC Radio WM, where I gave my first live interview on air in the BBC studios in Birmingham, UK. Since that interview, I became a regular on the show, lending my time as a headline reviewer once a week, discussing the day’s headlines with the presenter.

I live by the motto, “The child first and foremost.”

Visit my website, My books & I, and my Facebook author page, and follow me on  Twitter @Torrenstp.

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Thursday teaser: Broken Wings

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By Dawn Torrens

Angelina could not stem the tears falling down her cheeks. She could hardly breathe from the fear that this could be the last time she ever saw him alive. Joshua ran his finger slowly over the small scar etched into her right eyebrow. He held her face in the palms of his large hands and kissed it, brushing the tears from her sodden cheeks. He felt her pain. He was feeling it too. No words could take their pain away; it was something they had to endure together until his return.

They lay on the bank together side by side with nothing but the glistening stars and the glow from the moon as cover. Their silence was a comfortable one—one that could only be shared by two souls that truly understood one another completely. Angelina turned to Joshua and surveyed him, taking in every inch of him. She searched his face as if discovering him for the first time.

Her heart was beating so fast that she feared it would burst. Joshua sensed her anxiety and pulled her to him, “Angelina, we have to go now. I wish I could stay here like this with you but I have just five hours before I have to report in.”

He was hurting now, feeling the pull of his heart. He had to be strong for Angelina, and he did not want to make his departure any harder for her than it already was. “Joshua, I want you to write me whenever you can. I want to know how you’re feeling out there and what you are going through. I want to know everything. I need to feel close to you as if I am right there with you. Please promise me you will do that for me?”

Joshua’s eyes glistened while he held her face in the palm of his hands, “I promise, darling.” He pulled her close, holding her as if for the last time.

About Broken Wings

Two people who have both suffered tragic loss in their young life; both of them avoiding love for completely different reasons. Joshua, a soldier in the British Army, a bomb disposal expert and the very best at what he does. Angelina, an editor for a local newspaper and writer in her spare time. Both of them focused on their careers.

Brought together unexpectedly, they fall unconditionally and irrevocably in love with each other. All is perfect in their lives until Joshua is unexpectedly posted to Afghanistan for six months. Angelina’s worst fears are finally realized. Joshua has to go; it’s his duty as a soldier, but the pull in his heart is strong and he leaves her behind with a heavy heart.

Angelina is devastated and she prays for his safe return. Until one day, a few weeks into Joshua’s deployment, there is a knock on her door that changes her life forever.

Find it on Amazon.

About the author

D.G. Torrens is the author of 14 books, including the bestselling trilogy, Amelia’s Story #1, Amelia’s Destiny #2 and Amelia The Mother #3. This is an emotion-charged true story that the author wrote for her daughter.

Born in England, passionate about writing, D.G. Torrens is married with a daughter. She is a prolific writer and in 2013, her works were recognized by BBC Radio WM, where she has given several live interviews in the BBC studios in Birmingham, UK. Thereafter, D.G. became a regular Headline Reviewer for the radio show for the next 12 months.

Visit her:

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Announcing: Dawn Torrens returns to BestSelling Reads

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Dawn Torrens, one of the original members of BestSelling Reads, has rejoined the author’s group.

Starting with an autobiography she wrote to explain her life to her daughter, Amelia’s Story: A Childhood Lost, Dawn has written 14 books over the past six years, including a sequel to Amelia’s Story, Amelia’s Destiny, the Poppy Fields trilogy, contemporary romance and poetry.

Born in England where she now lives with her husband and daughter, Dawn is also a Headline Reviewer for BBC Radio WM.

Get more information about Dawn Torrens on her:

And follow her on Twitter @torrenstp

 

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When I Was a Girl by Dawn Torrens

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Dawn Torrens

I was brought up in the state care system for most of my childhood. They had poorly stacked libraries full of donated books. I spent so much of my time in these libraries reading anything I could get my hands on. And from there my love of reading and writing was born. This was the perfect escape for me as I could transport myself any where in the world by just opening a book! The last four years of my time in care was spent in the notorious, (North Wales Children’s homes) called Bryn Alyn and then Cotsbrook Hall.

I wanted to show the world that you don’t have to become a statistic and fall by the wayside like everyone expects. You can grow up to be a functioning and well adjusted adult regardless of the surroundings and life you are forced to endure. My determination and will power to make something of myself has paid off! However, this did not come easy to me. I had to work extremely hard and push myself far harder than most to make my dreams a reality.

Now a mother myself to a four year old princess, I live by the motto, “The child first and foremost.” She inspires all that I am and all that I do…

 

My love for writing was born from incredible circumstances…

I have been writing since the age of twelve years old. I kept a journal and wrote poems, then graduated to short stories. I just loved to write. I never did anything with them, and I never told anyone about them at that point in my life. It was a love I had developed and also a means to escape my existence at that time. Writing for me is a way of transporting yourself into a completely different world for a short while. Developing characters and watching them come to life!

To say I was passionate about writing would most definitely be an understatement! I could not imagine a life without writing. I keep all my ideas for future books in a journal, all ideas written in hand! I am never without my journal, as you never know when or what will inspire an idea whilst out on the road.

Once I have a story in my head, it has to come out right there and then, I become all consumed and spend every available minute penning that story until it’s finished… Thankfully I have an understanding family who fully support me every step of the way.

 

Public reaction to Amelia’s Story

Amelia’s Story has to be my most precious book and will always remain so. This book was written from deep inside of me. I bared my soul to the world hoping I would make a difference. Change people’s perceptions on these huge gargantuan institutions that were otherwise known as children’s homes. But most of all to inspire all those people out there, young and old, who have given up hope on their dreams and themselves — that no matter where you come from or what walk of life, you can achieve your dream with enough will power and determination. Believe me, I know what I’m talking about!

Amelia’s Story has received an incredible heart-warming response from people all over the world. I have received messages from many young adults on my fan100_0358 page advising me how my story has changed their life or inspired hope in them once more. This to me means more than all the sales and reviews put together. knowing I have made such a difference to someone I have never met halfway around the world. One of my American reviews stated that my story had inspired a career change for them.  The response in truth has been so over-whelming and completely unexpected. I could never have foreseen the impact my true story would have on so many. You only have to read many of the beautiful messages left by my readers on my author page to see the impact it’s already had and continues to make on others. I could not wish for more really as my books are having the desired affect which is what I’d always intended for it.

 

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Dawn Torrens is the bestselling author of Amelia’s Story, Amelia’s Destiny and Heart and Mind. Her fourth novel, Broken Wings is a modern day war romance which is due for release in the spring of 2013. This story was inspired by a great friend who was killed in Afghanistan in 2008. From Dawn Torrens: Each book was written with passion, they are all my babies. I don’t know how to write any other way than from my heart. I am inspired by real life my own and others.

Connect with Dawn Torrens on Facebook  Twitter or her blog.

 

 

Want to know what book bloggers and soap have in common? Join us on Monday, February 4 for an amusing romp with Helen Hanson, bestselling author of Dark Pool.

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