Promo Tip: Planning ahead

Have you ever spent more than a few hours at a time working on your author brand?

As a full time writer – I like to do just that. Write. But with the summer school holidays upon us I’ve had to take an unplanned break from my stories. Quite frankly, having my whole family at home became to large a distraction. I was actually getting snarky about my percieved level of underachievement. So, out of desperation not to spend all my time watching endless DVD’s while I escaped the heat, I switched to thinking about how I’d like to promote my next book release (when that day eventually rolls around).

Honestly, I found the process quite interesting. Looking for blogs to request guest spots, finding copious sites that focus on review only that I might send my story too. Working out where I really don’t belong.  There are so many places to choose from that it’s easy to waste a huge chunk of time. Luckily, after a few days of following links via my twitter and facebook friends, I’ve found the perfect places to promote my next regency romance. But then I started to think about what exactly my blog would say.

When One Wicked Night came out I did very little conscious marketing. I’ll admit it – I procrastinated like hell over what to do and never did enough. I promoted here on this blog, and over at Lady Scribes as well as facebook, twitter. But I couldn’t really say there was any structured plan for it. LOL. This time will be a lot different I hope. This time I have a plan:

First off – I’m writing the promotion blogs now, well before the book comes out. I have rough drafts right now that will be polished over the next couple of weeks and then I’ll tuck them aside to wait for the release date. Without the stress of a looming deadline before me, its been fun to hunt through the mss and pull out exerpts I’d like to share. And I will also add to the blog material over the coming months as new ideas strike.

Second – I know where I want to guest blog, but I’ll be keeping my eyes open for new opportunities. Thanks to that first point – writing promotion blogs in advance – I won’t have to scramble for material if they are last minute arrangements, and that means my writing time should not be seriously interrupted.

Third – I’ll keep writing. When my last book released I did what probably everyone else has done. I sat on my hands and waited for my world to change overnight. Of course, nothing felt different from pre-release to post-release. LOL. Looking back on it now, I could have done so much more, but the excitement you understand is very, very distracting. I hope not to waffle around the way I did.

I know that for some I might be counting my chickens before they hatch, but I can see an enormous benefit in not just planning the promotion now but actually writing it now. So my question, if you’re an author is how do you approach brand promotion? If you’re a reader how much attention do you pay to author guest posts versus book reviews?

Week 7: Wishful Thinking Tour of Britain

Portsmouth is a place I’ve long wanted to visit. Aside from London, it’s probably the first town name in England that I remember from my childhood. Why? Because all the ships of the First Fleet that sailed for Van Diemen’s Land (Australia) in May 1787 sailed from Portsmouth.

That First Fleet consisted of:
* Naval escorts – HMS Sirius and HMS Supply
* Convict ships – Alexander, Charlotte, Friendship, Lady Penrhyn, Prince of Wales, Scarborough
* Food and Supply Transports – Golden Grove, Fishburn, Borrowdale

HMS Sirius

HMS Supply


The journey took 252 days in total and I don’t know about you but realizing the food and supply ships hadn’t arrived with the fleet would have made me one nervous convict, if the trip hadn’t worried me enough. (They arrived 6 days behind the convict ships). I don’t know for certain if any of my ancestors came here as convicts, my older relatives all exclaimed we were free settlers in shocked tones. But one day I will get back to tracing the family tree – when I have a year or two to spare. Tracing your genealogy is more time consuming than writing. LOL.

 So, we’re in Portsmouth this week for the Wishful Thinking tour of Britain
~ Hampshire
~ 17 miles—25 minutes from our last stop at Fishbourne Roman Palace. 

Portsmouth Historic Dockyards

Must see:

* Step on the HMS Victory, the memorial to Vice Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson, Britain’s greatest Naval hero. Launched 1765 it is the oldest ship in commission now in dry dock). Visit the Great cabin and the spot where Lord Nelson died

 * Come aboard the HMS Warrior, the first iron hulled, armored warship powered by steam as well as sail. Launched in 1860 it is the only surviving member of Queen Victoria’s Black Battle Fleet.

* Walk through the multi-media Trafalgar Experience, part of the Royal Naval Museum’s Victory Gallery, and hear the very latest research on the famous battle.


Portchester Castle

Portchester Castle, a well-preserved example of a mainly Roman fortification, lies on the northern shore of Portsmouth Harbour, approximately 6 miles north west of Portsmouth city itself. The fortification is the oldest building in the region, and formed the traditional hub around which the village of Portchester and surrounding area were built.

The castle in its most recent form consists of an outer bailey with gates and bastions, and an inner bailey with a moat and gatehouse, palace, tower and keep. The site was originally a simple Roman fortification, though the castle was added to during the Saxon and Medieval periods, and also in the seventeenth century. The original buildings have been extended many times to provide the castle that we see today.

The castle was initially constructed for defence, however it has been used for many different purposes in its 1700-year history. The Thistlethwaite family privately owned the castle from the mid 1600’s until 1984. Today the castle is run by English Heritage and is open as a tourist attraction.

Despite our best efforts to capture that winning lottery ticket for our own, luck seems to be eluding us. Oh well, at least I’m enoying using my imagination for the tour. I’ve found some great inspiration while reseaching these posts. More to come.  

Note: copied from the original post at so I can keep the whole tour and travel plans together.

Week 6: Wishful Thinking Tour of Britain

Better late than never. Because I write full-time—and always in the house—my sons summer school holidays has seriously messed with my usual work schedule. He’s a little distracting because he has a habit of not waiting till I finish typing before he speaks. It’s so hard to get work done around him that I’m now planning not to write at all during school holidays until he gets a bit older. So this weeks tour is really last weeks tour, posted way too many days late.

First stop: Fishbourne Roman Palace
~ Fishbourne, West Sussex (west of Chichester)
~ 33 miles—60 minutes from our last stop at Brighton.

Fishbourne Roman Palace was revealed by accident during the digging of a water main trench in 1960. The discovery led to nine years of excavation that showed the site had developed from a military base at the time of the Roman invasion in AD43 to a sumptuous Palace by the end of the first century. Between 1995 and 2002, new excavations by the Sussex Archaeological Society revealed exciting new insights into this development of this site, and especially the area in front of the Palace.

Fishbourne Roman Palace houses the largest collection of in-situ mosaic floors in Britain. Many of these were laid at the time of the construction of the Palace, around AD75-80, which makes them some of the oldest mosaics in England.

The original Palace had approximately one hundred rooms most of which had mosaic floors. Of these, just over a quarter survive to some degree, ranging from small, isolated patches to almost complete floors.

Mosaic survival has been far better in the remains of the north wing of the Palace. Here over twenty mosaics and fragments of mosaics can be seen, inside the modern, cover building. In addition, substantial fragments of five mosaics were discovered in the west wing of the palace during the 1960s excavations, but as there was no plan to erect a cover building to protect them, they were re-buried for their own protection. Three further fragments were discovered in the southern half of the west wing during excavations in 1987-88. As they were beyond the boundary of the Roman Palace site and potentially at risk, they were lifted, conserved and put on display in the north wing cover building. 

Fishbourne Roman Palace is open almost all year round.

For specific opening hours go to the website.  

The Wishful Thinking Tour of Britain
Week 1 ~ Week 2 ~ Week 3 ~ Week 5

Week 5: Wishful Thinking Tour of Britain

Ok, this post really should have been week four post on my personal blog but sometimes you just have to step away from the computer when you don’t feel your best. If you pop by my blog you will notice that our travels on this wishful thinking tour (week 2, week 3) have led us to Brighton, and the Royal Pavilion.

Royal Pavilion, Brighton

 Royal Pavilion~ Brighton, East Sussex

The Royal Pavilion, or Brighton Pavilion, is a palace designed as a seaside retreat for the then Prince Regent. In the mid 1780s George, Prince of Wales, rented a small farmhouse overlooking a fashionable promenade in Brighton. At that time, Brighton was evolving into a seaside retreat for the rich and famous, being so close to London. The Prince of Wales had come on the recommendation of his physician to try the sea water treatments, sea bathing, for his health.

George became enamoured of Brighton and in 1787, after much pleading and promises to the House of Commons, he engaged architect Henry Holland to transform his Brighton farmhouse into a modest villa which became known as the Marine Pavilion. Later on, around 1808, the new stable complex was completed with an impressive lead and glass-domed roof, providing stabling for 62 horses.

Marine Pavilion

And George wasn’t finished expanding his Brighton home. He was sworn in as Prince Regent in 1811 and, since the Marine Pavilion was too modest a size venue for the large social events that George loved to host, he engaged another architect.

The design of Sezincote House—a stunning example of Mogul architecture—in Gloucestershire encouraged George to think on a grand and lavish scale. So in 1815 John Nash—also responsible for Regent’s Park, Carlton House Terrace, Trafalgar Square, St. James’s Park and the Marble Arch—began expansion of the Brighton property. He superimposed a cast iron frame onto Holland’s earlier construction to support minarets, domes and pinnacles on the exterior. No expense was spared on the interior with many rooms, galleries and corridors being carefully decorated with opulent decoration and exquisite furnishings.

Banqueting Room 1826

 However, due to increased responsibilities and ill-health, George only made two further visits to Brighton—1824 and 1827—once the interior of the Royal Pavilion was finished in 1823.

The Royal Pavilion is no longer a royal property. Queen Victoria is said to have found the Pavilion too cramped so she shipped out its contents and decamped to the Isle of Wight. She sold the Royal Pavilion to the town council for the sum of £50,000. Luckily, many of the original furnishings and fittings have since been returned to the Pavilion and are on display.

Interesting facts:

* During the First World War the Pavilion was used as a hospital for wounded Indian servicemen.

* During World War II, Brighton was heavily bombed but the Pavilion escaped damage.

The Pavilion is open to visitors and is also made available for education purposes, banqueting, and weddings year round except a few days around Christmas and for scheduled maintenance. For specific opening hours visit this website.

Upcoming Event:

Dress for Excess: Fashion in Regency England
5 February 2011 to 5 February 2012
@ The Royal Pavilion, The Prince Regent Gallery

This major fashion exhibition celebrates the 200th anniversary of the Regency Act by looking at the life of George IV as prince, regent and king through fashions of the late Georgian period. Men’s and women’s costumes are displayed throughout the palace exploring themes from George’s life and the stylistic influences of the period.

*Sigh* I really want to visit England in the next year! Whose got a spare scratchy?