Working and writing from home? A veteran’s tips for Corona times

As the novel Corona virus pours increasing amounts of poisonous snot all over our daily lives, equally increasing numbers of workers are considering (and some are obliged to) work from home.

COVID-19 EPIDEMIC: After you’ve washed your hands and sung Happy Birthday for the 18th time today and fought the best of three rounds in the grocery store to nab a roll of toilet paper, read this article. It will cheer you up. A bit.

I have been working from home since the Ming Dynasty and am still alive (and solvent) to tell the tale. If you look on Google there is lots of serious and very valid advice about working from home. But here, on the other hand, is some slightly less serious but a damned sight more pertinent advice straight from the coalface. Enjoy.

New to working from home? Here’s the knickers-off reality …

How to dress
Many advisors who regularly drive their kids to school in scarecely-camouflaged pyjamas and slippers insist that for you to feel genuinely that you are going to work now you’ve been asked to do so at home,  you should wear your normal work clothes even when hacking at your laptop from your kitchen table which still is cluttered with last night’s Chinese takeaway detritus. This is utter b*llocks. [Read more…]

How to order a Google pizza (because we need a smile this week)

Now that between them Google and Amazon are in total control of our lives (well, maybe not COVID-19 yet), I though you’d find it useful to read through this transcript of Google’s latest venture: dial-a-pizza. Bon appétit.

CALLER:  Is this Giovanni’s Pizza?

GOOGLE:  No sir, it’s Google Pizza.

CALLER:  I must have dialled a wrong number. Sorry.

GOOGLE:  No sir, Google bought Giovanni’s Pizza last month.

CALLER:  I would like to order a pizza.

GOOGLE:  Do you want your usual, sir? [Read more…]

At last, my new baby’s here – to get your book out there!

Welcome to How To Write Better’s (HTWB’s) bouncy, bolshie young sibling … Better Books Media™ (BBM)! This is the new home for everything you need to get you started with a book or book-related project – even if you’ve never written a book or eBook before.

Like many youngsters BBM is still living at home with a parent (HTWB) but will have its own site one day when it’s earning decent money and has learned how to do its own laundry. In the meantime here’s how its concept can achieve what many more stuffy publishing services would say is impossible: it’s a blend of literary agency, author coaching, and a publishing service.  Eat your heart out, traditional publishing thinkers.better books media
Better Books Media™ is a wholly owned imprint and brand belonging to me, Suzan St Maur. For now it is delivering my own books – and of course my self-publishing clients are welcome to have their books published under this imprint if they wish, too. In fact two such clients already have joined me as BBM authors.

It is also delivering my very special, bespoke author coaching and publishing advice via my own experience and skillset, and that of my brilliant, hand-picked virtual team of nonfiction and fiction editors, book producers, book designers, illustrators, audio recordists, and more.

My business model is simple … [Read more…]

World Book Day: yes, YOU could write a nonfiction book

Is it your dream to write your story to share with the world? Do you have a precious fund of knowledge that readers will find invaluable? If you’ve been through some difficult times, will a book about your experiences help others in the same circumstances?

Woman writing

Don’t forget that whatever you want your book to achieve, it has to be good.

New tech and new business models: making the dream come true

[Read more…]

Have we really killed off vanity publishing? A conversation…

Do you still think paid-for publishing is ‘vanity publishing?’ Have an eavesdrop into the following (genuine, real) online conversation I got involved in recently. Have changed the names (apart from mine!) for obvious reasons…

The topic: self-publishing companies

Marianne: Really? Who is this to publish with? I work with many well known publishing companies but have never heard of this. Generally if you are paying someone else to publish your work, then you’re dealing with a vanity publisher.

Is vanity publishing really still around? Or do people confuse that with genuine book publishing services that normally are good value for money?

Eloise: There are a number of vanity publishers. I don’t really know much about them, but I think two examples are Pegasus and Austin Macauley. [Read more…]

A true story to end Random Acts Of Kindness Week

Every now and again you have an experience like a random act of kindess that restores your faith in human nature, don’t you?

random act of kindness 2020

Random acts of kindness are wonderful. Let’s build on them so they are no longer just “random.”

Last week I went to a small town in central England to meet a very dear friend, a fellow author, for a social lunch and catch-up.

My SatNav directed me to within spitting distance of where I needed to go but looking around I realised I was in a small housing estate (sub-division). I got out of the “truck” (old SUV) and wondered what to do next.

A smiling face locked eyes with me and said, “you’re lost?”

[Read more…]

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