Welcome…

PLEASE NOTEI’ve now put blogging to one side for the moment. Unfortunately, servicing my many platforms has become very time consuming and left me feeling less focussed on writing books and other things I love doing.

The good news is, I occasionally post updates on social media, but the absolute-best ports of call for following me & getting the most up-to-date information on my work are as follows:

The Pyjama Writer website

Updated regularly with my latest news & writing projects.

My New Releases newsletter

This is a pester-free zone, where you’ll hear about upcoming books, early discounts on new releases, and a few other goodies exclusive to my Readers Group. That’s it! No spammy promotions or floods of emails! Simply click here to sign up.

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Down a Writing Mineshaft

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Hi there!

Where I live in Cornwall, England, there are plenty of old mineshafts that you might inadvertently fall down if you don’t watch your step (and they’re not fenced off). Since I haven’t blogged for a loooong time, you might have wondered whether this fate had befallen me.

Well, fortunately, this is not the case. However, there’s a good reason for my absence from the ‘blogosphere’. And why shall become clear as this post unfolds. So if you want to know the long and the short of my author journey over the past few years, and where things are at today, you’d better get the kettle on (‘cos this does go on a bit!)…

OK, so firstly, in 2017, after about 6 years of writing & self-publishing my own books, I started showing signs of burnout.

Not an unusual phenomenon!

Readers are usually quite unaware just how much work goes into being a self-published author – especially if you actually hope to earn any money from it (let alone support yourself on the proceeds).

In a nutshell, not only is there a huge pressure and expectation for us to publish books at a phenomenal rate, but there’s also a ridiculously-long list of to dos – hoops we need to jump through – in order to market our books and get them out there onto the huge publishing pond, where other authors are also floating their books. Oh, and of course, that’s after the spend-out on great covers and some decent editing.

In 2015/2016, I published three books in the Campervan Bushman Mystery Series, plus a free series prequel and some short stories. By then, I’d been on the ‘indie author’ treadmill for quite a while and was feeling the pressure to ‘knock out books’ and stick with writing a series – as per the ‘received wisdom’ you get on author podcasts. Obviously, there’s a reason for this – if you can write in a series and people like your stories, you need to market less, because you get sell-through from one book to the next.

Logically, it made sense to keep writing in my series, but I was feeling the need to do something else and ‘freshen the palate’. Unfortunately, I just don’t find it easy to stick with one genre, as many authors do. I’d written travel tales, fiction as well as non-fiction set in the cycling world, plus other short fiction. And then I moved on to mysteries.

Talk about spreading yourself thin!

Anyway, the point came where I finally had to take stock of what I was doing. I was making money writing, but not enough to live on – and I wasn’t selling wheelbarrow-loads full of books, as is the dream (although that may have something to do with the fact that I mostly sell digital books rather than physical paperbacks!).

After spending three months taking part in a multi-author mystery boxset and putting in a lot of effort to promote it, I was run ragged (no one was at fault in this regard, I hasten to add!).

By now, my inner voice was shouting at me to STOOOOOP!!!!

STOP the struggle
STOP trying to push ahead
STOP following all the author advice out there
Just STOOOOOP!!!!

If a sane fellow author had been coaching me on earning a living at this gig, they would have slapped me round the chops, thrust me back in my writing chair and told me to ignore my feelings and knuckle down with my series, I imagine. But something was telling me to get back to listening to my OWN inner guidance, to forget trying to earn a living as an author and just follow what felt like fun or inspiring to write…

No schedule, no market strategy, no trying to work out how to get sales.

So a short way into 2017, I finally listened to that inner voice and put my mystery series on hold. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy the stories and characters, but I’d been giving myself word count targets each day, with a view to publishing every few months – and I only realised in hindsight how much this approach was killing me – even if it got results!

Yep, it was time to surrender!

Looking through my filing cabinet of writing ideas, I pulled out a project that I’d really fancied working on, and started writing…

No word count goals, no targets!
Just the pure act of getting back into the flow with my writing again.

It was heaven!

During the summer, I finally booked tickets for me and my partner, Steve, to go to Australia and visit friends, family & old haunts where I’d lived a few decades prior. I had no intention whatsoever of writing while I was away, but en route, I just couldn’t help myself – ideas poured out of me. By the end of our trip, I had a notebook chock-full of scribblings.

Towards the end of 2017, we were back in England, but despite our winter colds, I’d typed up the notes I’d made during our month away in Australia. Going into 2018, then, my writing mojo was back with a vengeance.

But then the business side of writing reared its pesky head again.

I considered doubling down on trying to whip my mailing list into shape. But after doing a reader survey, I realised I’d accumulated a LOT of readers from multi-author promotions who just weren’t engaged with my work. They just wanted freebies or to hear about free/99c promotions (this from their very mouths via the survey).

To be frank, it was a bit of a downer, and it finally dawned on me just how much energy I’d been throwing down the toilet by trying to schmooze readers every month who would never be interested in anything I did.

Anyway, in the end, instead of doubling down on my mailing list, I did an about-turn. So I had a ruthless clear-out – after all, I was paying for those guys to be there, right? – and by the end of the process, I was left with readers who I hoped (or assumed) would be the more engaged of the bunch.

Next, I changed my newsletter to ‘new releases only’ and told my remaining readers that I was focussing on writing instead of putting out monthly newsletters (which used to feature promotions by fellow authors and the occasional free ebook/story I’d written).

Now, I don’t know if that was the ‘right thing’ to do. Yes, I know, I know – ‘received wisdom’ in the author community would tell me to beef up my onboarding emails (the sequence of emails you send out after someone signs up to your mailing list) and really go to town by schmoozing and trying to engage new readers. Also, I ‘should’ have separate email lists for all my different genres (you know, all err… I’ve lost count of them). And on top of that, I need to send out at least one newsletter a month.

I confess, one of my biggest problems (in terms of wanting to make a living doing this gig) is writing in too many genres. Judging by my past performance, I might not even publish a book in the same genre for a few years. So what was I supposed to do? Have separate mailing lists for each genre and email people on a monthly basis? And say… what, pray tell? Apparently, anything that might remotely be of interest – just so long as readers don’t forget you! You have to keep trying to hold readers’ attention – that’s the idea, anyway.

Yikes! I’m exhausted just thinking about it!

One source I came across said that it doesn’t take much time to organise and run multiple newsletters, but in my own experience, I’ve found that it takes quite a bit of time to implement even one monthly newsletter – and a lot of energy, too. But that’s just me. All I know is that, after going back to a part-time day job to fund my writing habit in 2018, I found that my spare time was even more valuable to me. Juggling multiple email lists just didn’t appeal! Besides, I couldn’t help thinking…

Isn’t life supposed to be simpler than this?
Surely I’m not the only one who feels like they’re running round like a headless chicken in this game!

For a long time now, I’ve been challenged to check in on an ongoing basis with my own inner guidance with all this. Does it feel light or heavy? A drudge or an inspiration?

I know there are times when we have to do things we aren’t keen on in order to support what we’re doing, but little by little, I feel like I’ve been learning some valuable life lessons, asking what’s important to me and what success really means. But the most important lesson of all, I think, has been to listen to that small voice that’s been trying to guide me along. Instead of living in resistance, I finally had to cave in and hear its plea.

I’m not a carbon copy of any other person on the planet, so my author journey isn’t going to be the same as anyone else’s. I think sometimes, in trying to model ourselves on others, we end up overlooking what’s meant for us as individuals and ignoring our inner guidance.

What unique gift might we have to offer the world that won’t emerge if we don’t heed our own call?

I said at the start that I hadn’t fallen down a mineshaft, but on reflection, perhaps I had – just not a physical one. For a long time, I was in a dimly-lit place, trying to figure a way back out and up to the light. Anyway, as I said, the process is ongoing – so I go back and forth a bit with it all. In fact, just the other week, I considered doing monthly newsletters again. But after taking a few steps in that direction, I looked at all the things I had on my plate, and realised doing the monthly newsletter thing was just a recipe for driving myself crazy again.

Anyway, now that I’ve sort of ‘rescued myself’ by listening to my inner voice, you might wonder just what I’ve been writing lately. Well, a book about my adventures in Australia, of course! It’s called Up a Creek Down Under and comes out on 1 February 2019.

Maybe I’ll never ‘hit the big time’ or be able to make a good living with my writing (that remains to be seen!), but at least now I feel much happier with the process. At a hefty 110,000 words, Up a Creek Down Under was a lot of work, but also a lot of fun to write. And I finished the book without thrashing myself or giving myself daily word count goals.

Up a Creek Down Under

So, how am I moving ahead?

Well, I’ve realised I don’t have the time – or, indeed the inclination – to keep ALL my platforms updated & happy. And blogging is one of those things I’m giving up for the foreseeable future.

So for those of you who want to keep in touch with what I’m doing, the following will be the absolute-best ports of call:

The Pyjama Writer website

I’ll be keeping it regularly updated to reflect my latest work.

My New Releases newsletter

This is a pester-free zone (no spam/floods of emails) featuring news about upcoming books, early discounts on new titles, and a few other goodies which are exclusive to my Readers Group. Does what it says on the tin!

I’ll occasionally post on my Facebook Author Page (and only rarely on Twitter), sharing promotions by fellow authors and so on, but my energies will mostly be focussed now on writing books, updating my website and letting my cherished readers know what’s in the pipe via my New Releases newsletter.

If you’ve subscribed to this blog in the past, you won’t get any more posts in your inbox for the foreseeable future. So if you’d love to know what I’m up to, why not sign up and be the first to get my latest news, hot off the press?

By way of a quick update of recent news… My travel book, Up a Creek Down Under, is coming out on 1 February 2019. I also recently published a free companion read called Sardines Might Fly: Could Air Travel GET any Worse? and will soon be launching another freebie called Off the Rails: A Train Journey to Grouchville, which is exclusive to members of my Readers Group – so you’ll need to be signed up to my New Releases newsletter for that!

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for your attention – you must be exhausted! Go on, make yourself another lovely cuppa!

Righto, all the best, and if you join my Readers Group, I’ll be in touch again soon after posting this blog.

Alannah

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Alannah Foley
aka ‘The Pyjama Writer’
www.thePyjamaWriter.com

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ABOUT Alannah

“I’m a British-Australian author who currently lives in Cornwall, England with an obsessive cyclist. I write ‘across the board’ and love bringing a sense of fun to my work. Since 2011, I’ve published mysteries short fiction as well as travel tales and satirical portraits about life’s foibles (some still in the pot!)… Join my New Releases mailing list to keep up with my latest work.”

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Posted in Author insights, Up a Creek Down Under book, Writing | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Present Tense, Future Perfect – Free Short Story

Present Tense, Future Perfect - eBook cover

If you enjoy a bit of fiction, why not check out my latest short story, which I’ve recently published as a freebie on all major platforms? Here’s the blurb…

Plagued by doubts as to whether her novel-writing will ever succeed, Daphne is at a low point in her life. When she discovers a potion in her possession that promises the power to magically steal her away from her present plight, she feels she has nothing to lose.

Fact meets fiction in this short story based on the life and work of Daphne Du Maurier – though you don’t need to be a fan to enjoy it!

Read Present Tense, Future Perfect and join Daphne as she takes a chance and stares into the face of destiny…

Well, there you go! Fancy a read? Then click below to pick it up on your favourite platform…

>>>  CLICK HERE for the links to PRESENT TENSE, FUTURE PERFECT <<<

As you may (or may not) know, I’ve been working on another book recently – so here’s more on that…

PROGRESS REPORT PNG

Up a Creek Down Under is my latest book project based on my travels last October (err… if you haven’t already guessed, I went to Australia) and it’s coming along nicely.

Since I’m half Aussie and live in England right now, this is the story of my return after twenty-or-so years away and is filled with a host of mini adventures, reflections and humour…

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UP A CREEK DOWN UNDER
Adventures in an Australian Homeland

>>>  CLICK HERE for more on UP A CREEK DOWN UNDER  <<<

As you can see above, the cover artwork is done now, and I’ll announce a publication date when I have one. I’m almost at the end of the first draft now so things are looking good.

This year, I’ve decided to ‘go minimal’ on the blog (and on promotion in general), so if you want to be the first to hear when the book’s published (and get it at the introductory discount) then the best place to be is on my New Releases mailing list – so why not click below to join? You’ll love it – it’s pester-free!

>>>  CLICK HERE to join my New Releases mailing list  <<<

If you haven’t read any of my stuff before, I hope you’ll enjoy the free short story and are looking forward to my upcoming travel book.

All the best, and I’ll be in touch again when I have more news.

Alannah

BIO PIC CIRCLE PNG2

Alannah Foley
aka The Pyjama Writer
www.thePyjamaWriter.com

*  *  *

ABOUT Alannah

“I’m a British-Australian author who currently lives in Cornwall, England with an obsessive cyclist. I write ‘across the board’ and love bringing a sense of fun to my work. Since 2011, I’ve published mysteries short fiction as well as travel tales and satirical portraits about life’s foibles (some still in the pot!)… Join my New Releases mailing list to keep up with my latest work.”

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#Amazon #shortstories #shortfiction #Cornwall #writing #ebooks #KU #KindleUnlimited #travelwriting #travelbooks

 

 

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Adventures Down Under… But where’s the Camper?

Hey, guys! Here’s the latest juice from my writing pen…

Campervan Capers

LOOK OUT! Adventures Coming Down Under

OK, guys, I know this is a campervan blog, but campervanning is all about getting out there into the big wide world and having a few adventures, right?

So I thought some of you might be interested to know about Steve & my travels in Australia back in October – even if they weren’t in a campervan!

Last summer, we decided it was about time we took a decent bit of time off. We’d uhmed and ahhed over the past few years about going to Oz to visit friends & family there, so now it was time to get our act together and book a flight.

We went for a month, all told, and if you want to see some of what we got up to, here’s a snap I took of  Steve feeding the camels on my sister’s farm (I’ve left out the spider pix for now!)

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The minute…

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WHAT’S NEW down at Corny Cove?

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Looks like it’s time for a celebration, hey?

If you’ve been on my website within the last week or two, you’ll have noticed something different…

The Tales from Corny Cove series has had a major makeover!

And about time, too! Up till now, I’ve never felt the covers truly reflected the nature of the fun easy-read stories that makes up the series. So now we’ve got Henry & Margaret – the two main characters at Corny Cove – featured on the covers, as well as images that give you a glimpse into each of the five tales.

(Note: stay tuned for an exclusive freebie further down…)

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“But I haven’t read the Tales from Corny Cove. What’s it all about?”

Well, when Henry & Margaret sell up and move down to the south of England to live their ‘dream life’, they stumble upon the golden sands of Corny Cove. They’re so charmed by the place that they take on the running of a clifftop campsite nearby.

Trouble is, it turns out that ‘living the dream’ involves a few nightmares, too, and Henry regularly ends up getting into scrapes with a host of bothersome campers such as the brutish Mr Botherham and unruly Mrs Gladstone as well as ‘Rusty’ Gates, the obnoxious red-bearded farmer next door… And, of course, he does so all under the watchful eye of Margaret!

All in all, life at Corny Cove is both a blessing and a curse!

As you can see, the tales are fun-filled and all have a feel-good ending – the sort of thing that’s easy to read on holiday or before bed.

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Currently, there are five tales in the Tales from Corny Cove series (see earlier image). They’re available as individual novelettes or you can get them all together at a lower price in the Tales from Corny Cove box set (above).

If you enjoy the series of tales and want to know how Henry & Margaret wound up at their beloved campsite in Corny Cove, you can also pick up the prequel storyLiving the Dream (there’s a link in each book for that).

Want the FIRST TALE FREE? Read on…

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Beastly Encounters, the first tale in the series, is currently selling for 99c online, but if you’d like to try it out for free, click the button below. It’ll take you to a page on Bookfunnel where you can read the story overview and download it straight to your device.

But act quickly!
This offer is only open to the
FIRST 100 readers who click the link!

CLICK HERE

Want to get the 5-tale BOX SET?

Getting all 5 tales together in a box set gives you a nice discount. So if you want to get it, click a link below. Note: for the time being, the Tales from Corny Cove will only be available at Amazon – which means if you’re a KU reader, you should be able to get it for free. Available at…

Amazon US
Amazon UK
All Other Amazon

Want to check out the new webpage?

If you’d like to see the new look on the Tales from Corny Cove page of my website or want to learn more about each title in the series, click here.

I hope you’ll like the new covers as much as I do and will enjoy reading the tales if you haven’t already done so.

Best wishes.

Alannah Foley
aka ‘The Pyjama Writer’

Alannah Foley - aka The Pyjama Writer

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Mystery Weekend Promotion 4

It’s that time again! A chance to check out a bunch of mysteries & thrillers!

THIS WEEKEND, get 99c EBOOKS by a whole load of mystery & thriller authors in one of Renee Pawlish’s regular promos.

Click to browse the full list of titles on Renee’s website at:

www.ReneePawlish.com/promo

Featuring in the promo is book 2 in my Campervan Bushman Mystery Series, Deathbed of Roses. Set on the Barrington-Bowles manor estate in Britain’s picturesque Lake District, Scott becomes a suspect when celebrity gardener, Simon Sinclair – a man bristling with charm, ambition & good looks – is found dead…

Good luck with finding a great new read!

Alannah Foley
aka ‘The Pyjama Writer’

Alannah Foley - aka The Pyjama Writer

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#cozymystery #mysteryfiction #whodunnit #whodunits #dailydoseofcozymysteries #Amazon #Kobo #Apple #Nookbook #Nook #ibooks #MysteryThrillerPromo #FreeMystery #FreeThriller

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FREE FICTION – Instafreebie & KU

As promised in yesterday’s post, I’ve got another offer for – this time, free fiction in a mixed bag of genres…

In J Philip Horne’s First Friday Free Fiction promo, you can pick up titles via Instafreebie, as well as in Kindle Unlimited (scroll down the page for those).

Click the link below to check it out… ENDS 14 APRIL!

CLICK HERE for Free Fiction

I hope you’ll find some new titles you’ll like, and if you do, remember to share on your favourite social media network!

All the best.

Alannah Foley
aka ‘The Pyjama Writer’

Alannah Foley - aka The Pyjama Writer

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Get More MYSTERIES & Win a GIFT CARD!

Today I’ve got another offer for all you cosy mystery lovers…

If you love to buy your books somewhere besides Amazon, then try the Love Kissed Cozies giveaway. Hit the link below to visit their website, choose one or more books, then click the link to buy at a discounted price from your favourite vendor. ENDS 16 APRIL!

CLICK HERE for the Sale & Giveaway

When you’ve finished stocking up on reading material, join the giveaway, with a chance to win an Amazon gift card – why not enter to win?

Look out for another giveaway I’ll be posting about tomorrow – this time, free fiction in all genres!

Best wishes.

Alannah Foley
aka ‘The Pyjama Writer’

Alannah Foley - aka The Pyjama Writer

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