Sunday, June 30, 2013

Virtual Coffee Interviews

Since embarking on this journey of writing a book and then going online to create a profile - blog about the writing process, publish poems, and finally step into the world of publishing and marketing for my book, I have met and e-met many people who have been inspiring, informative, wise or just damn interesting. 

It's been great to get involved in writing communities like Jottify, GoodReads and actual writing groups in the real world, because these groups are so supportive. I've enjoyed following people (not in the real world) to see how they are marketing their books, how they build followers and I've enjoyed the chats and speculation on the future of the book industry. 

So by now there are many people I'd love to sit down with over a coffee to pick their brains. It suddenly dawned on me, why not do it virtually? Send my questions by email and share the answers with you. 

So begins Virtual Coffee Interviews

Coming soon!....

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Can I Give You My Card?

Many times I have found myself at the end of a conversation, searching my handbag for a pen and paper. "You'd think a writer would have a pen" is the usual quip as stationary is pulled together by both parties. Finally I decided to get cards made, just to have an easy way to give people my website, but a friend suggested I make a card specifically for The I.T. Girl

This took a few attempts. I looked at MooVista Print and Zazzle. These offer various templates that you can personalise with varying degrees of flexibility. I had the Goldilocks experience. Vista isn't very flexible with custom design and the fixed templates didn't give me what I wanted. Zazzle is very flexible but to the point that I felt I couldn't be sure the end result would look the same as it did on screen. This was partly due to an ambiguity around font size - it seemed to shrink as you added more text. Moo, however, offered a good combination of flexibility with restraints on layout that made me feel the restrictions were there to ensure the layout looked good. Moo do offer a way to sidestep their templates altogether but they suggest if you do this you should create a vector-based PDF. It gets quite complicated but they also provide comprehensive steps if you really want to roll up your sleeves. I went with Moo's least restrictive template in the end, with text on one side and a picture on the other. 

Here are the design tips I picked up along the way:

  • Only include one website so it's clear where you want people to go
  • Include a twitter handle so people can find you easily
  • Make the title as large as possible
  • For a book, add as much blurb as possible
  • State what the book is: fiction/non-fiction, it's not always obvious
  • On the text side, don't add another image as this distracts from the important information

Next step was the ordering. The smallest batch I could get with Moo is 50. Including basic price, tax and delivery, this cost me just under £20. Moo helpfully offer a sample of card types so you can compare the glossy card to the matte, the white finish versus off-white. But what would have really helped me would have been a sample of my designs; So I could try out different title sizes, for example and different colours etc. Because I found that I couldn't really tell if a layout worked until I was holding it in my hands. I ended up ordering 3 times! £60 is what it has cost to hold 50 cards that I am happy with. Ordering a larger batch would have been better value but obviously you don't want to do that until you're sure of the design. 

I suppose I should have printed out my designs at home first and stuck them over a card or something to get a better idea, but my own printout would not have been the same as Moo's rendering so still there would have been room for uncertainty. I believe some printing shops will print cards for you. This is a much cheaper option and so would be very appealing if you wanted to experiment with design!

Some people have suggested printing bookmarks and postcards. I love the bookmark idea but it doesn't seem quite right when you've published an ebook!

Let me know about your experiences making a card. I suppose now that I've got the card sorted out, no one will ask for my website again!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Diverse I.T.

Diverse I.T.

I am excited to launch a new website! is a blog for women to share their experiences of working in I.T. Since writing The I.T. Girl I have encountered women across the Tech world who relate to the story and say they would like to read more! So that has led to this site. We would also like to get the male point of view and your thoughts on diversity in the workplace in general. Check out the submission guidelines here.

Find us on Facebook:

Tell your friends about us and check out our 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Haiku Anthology by WordJar

Congratulations to WordJar on this beautiful and unique anthology. I'm proud to be a part of it! 

I first met WordJar when they published my poem, The Procrastinator, in their annual Valentines anthology My Love. This is their 8th anothology and is unique not just because it only contains haiku but because each haiku has been coupled with an image to extend its poignancy.  

Not being very familiar with haiku when I entered the competition, I looked up the rules on wiki. Here's what it says: 

Haiku (俳句 haikai verse?)About this sound listen  (no separate plural form) is a very short form of Japanese poetry typically characterised by three qualities:
  • The essence of haiku is "cutting" (kiru).[1] This is often represented by the juxtaposition of two images or ideas and a kireji ("cutting word") between them,[2] a kind of verbal punctuation mark which signals the moment of separation and colours the manner in which the juxtaposed elements are related.
  • Traditional haiku consist of 17 on (also known as morae), in three phrases of 5, 7 and 5 on respectively.[3] Any one of the three phrases may end with the kireji.[4] Although haiku are often stated to have 17 syllables,[5] this is inaccurate as syllables and on are not the same.
  • kigo (seasonal reference), usually drawn from a saijiki, an extensive but defined list of such words.

Well, I failed to incorporate the seasons but you can find my contribution on page 3. I am particularly taken with Juliet Wilson's haiku on page 7, Carlton William Jr's "Dear Leader" on page 11 and Nancy Mills' "Regret" on page 13.

Carlton William Jr's haiku actually won the competition. It is arresting and haunting and, going by the rules above, it might also be a perfect haiku! See for yourself...

You can find WordJar's other anthologies here.