Q&A with author Caroline Batten

I’ve been interviewed! Check out the awesome Isabelle Andover’s blog…

Isabelle Andover

Caz@L'Enclume_Med  Back in 2013 when I joined Wattpad, I discovered some great writers who have since gone on to be published. Caroline Batten, author of #forfeit and Nearly Almost Somebody, was one of them.

As soon as I started reading Nearly Almost Somebody (then known as Distraction), I knew that I’d love it. The cat in the first chapter may have caught my attention, but it was the cast of characters and the plot twists that kept me hooked. Who knew there could be this much scandal in the Lake District?

I instructed my colleague to read the story, and for two days we did very little else. Before work, after work, during work… we just couldn’t stop reading it. The number of coffee breaks we took tripled as we eagerly discussed the latest plot twist, the morals of the main character, and how we secretly wanted to move to the Lakes since there…

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Writing communities matter

Authonomy was my best procrastination method until I discovered You Tube cat videos. I learned to write, edit, critique, take critique, but best of all, I made some amazing friends.

I left Authonomy a few years ago when I defected to Wattpad but I’m still clinging on to most of my friends – including all of this lot…

Today's Author

A few weeks ago,  the writer’s site Authonomy.com announced that it will be closing its cyber doors. I was a member there for nearly six years and met some amazing writers in that time. It was a great place to connect with the like-minded for critique and friendship and I’m hoping we find a way to keep our community together in some meaningful way in the future.

In the meantime, I want to highlight some of Authonomy’s success stories, with the understanding that we all define success differently. These people have taken what they learned on the site and created something tangible in the real world. There’s no way to mention everyone, so consider this a sampling of the many gems the site was able to uncover.

Most Likely to Succeed

John Booth – “Authonomy was a major part of my writer’s journey. It was the place where I found…

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Libraries

Recently I received an email politely requesting me to send paperback copies of my books for the British Library. It’s actually a legal deposit, a requirement, but the email forewarned that I’d receive similar requests from the big five libraries: Bodleian Library Oxford University, the Cambridge University Library, National Library of Scotland, National Library of Wales and Trinity College Dublin. Sure enough, an email rocked up from a handling company asking for five copies of my books, asap. And these are copies I’m to send free of charge, for the good of our cultural heritage. It’s costing me almost £60.

Now, I’ve heard some some authors whine about this – it’s too expensive, what’s the point etc. But moi? I’m a tad excited. I mean #Forfeit and Nearly Almost Somebody are going to live in this library…

Trinity Library © Brett Jordan
© Brett Jordan

Who cares what it’s costing me? My books are going to sit on those shelves. That’s dream-making. To have my words, paperback to paperback with Virginia Woolf, Jilly Cooper and… wait, does this actually happen?

Okay, these big libraries have a long-standing dream to store a copy of every book ever printed and that’s a noble aim, right? But seriously, will my books be on those hallowed shelves, or is there some corrugated warehouse out the back for all the non-Booker Prize-winning modern crap?

I’d love to know.

If you’re ever in one of the Big Five Libraries, go ask a shushing librarian if they have a copy of #Forfeit by Caroline Batten. And if you find it on one of those fancy shelves, or on any shelf anywhere, please, please take a selfie of you and my book. I shall shower you with rewards!

Cx

If you’d like to get your mitts on my books, the Kindle edition is just £1.99 / $2.99 or utterly FREE if you have Kindle Unlimited / Kindle Owners Lending Library!

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Olá. Como vai?

Okay, I’ll admit I totally had to Google how to say hello, how are you in Portuguese and I’d be very surprised if I got it entirely right, but something very cool is going on. I appear to have a fan or two in Brazil!

A friend and I were discussing her baking blog and we got to comparing stats. That day (it was early morning) I’d had one visitor and that one visitor was from Brazil. How cool is that? It turns out, this occurrence isn’t that rare…

Website Stats

However I look at my stats – daily, monthly or yearly – it’s generally the same, Brazil is third on the list! You think I should be doing a book tour over there?

So Oi, como vai to my lovely Brazillian friends! Come say hi, either here or on Facebook. I’d love to know who you are.

Cx

One Year On

On Thursday July 31st, 2014 I launched my first novel. I had planned to mark the first anniversary on social media somehow, but instead decided to stand in a muddy Scottish field listening to bands – including Mumford & Sons who were amazing.

But a year has gone by, and in Carrie Bradshaw styley, I got to thinking… have the last twelve months really been a success? First of all, you have to define success. Last year, on the advice of Catherine Ryan Howard (whose book Self-Printed I couldn’t have published without), I set myself goals:

I’ve failed unless Goal…
To sell 100 copies a month (CRH’s yardstick for a book that’s “selling”)

I’m pretty damned pleased with myself Goal…
To sell 5000 books a year (which would pay for our annual family skiing holiday)
Hit an Amazon Genre No.1 spot

Woo hoo, I’m actually doing this Goal…
To sell 10,000 books a year
To get in the Amazon Top 100
To sell enough books that I can justifiably give up full-time work and go part-time instead

What do I do for a living? I’m an Author Goal…
To sell enough books that I can justifiably give up work

Don’t ya wish your wife was a hot author like me Goal
To get a six-figure, three-book deal with movie tie-in option. (Like it isn’t every author’s secret uber-dream) And my husband can give up work.

Which goals did I reach last year?

Well, I haven’t failed. In the last twelve months, only one month let me down on the “100 Copies” aim – April. #Forfeit racked up 72 and NAS 58. Okay, in total they hit over 100, but in every other month, they both got centuries. April sucked, and I’m not sure why. I’d released NAS in late March so I’d expected a fairly buoyant month – maybe I’d become complacent, but I hate that month on my sales graph.

But I’m not pretty damned pleased with myself either. I didn’t hit the 5000 mark, but I sold 3677 kindle editions over the past twelve months and a further 50-60 paperbacks. 3677 kindle sales… That’s actually pretty incredible, right? 3677 people actually paid for my books. It may not hit my 5000 goal, but I’m still pretty pleased and check out that June* on my sales graph…

DailySales_Year1

Okay, I’m still working full-time, I write less and less, I struggle to keep sales dribbling in, no agents have come knocking at my door and that six-figure film deal isn’t in the pipeline.

BUT….

That weekend in Scotland, the one where I stood in a muddy field and worshipped Mumford & Sons? That weekend was paid for entirely with those June sales.

And that for me is a rather fabulous success.

Cx

ps. the June spike is entirely thanks to a BookBub promotion.

If you’d like to get your mitts on my books, the Kindle edition is just £1.99 / $2.99 or utterly FREE if you have Kindle Unlimited / Kindle Owners Lending Library!

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New Hair…

Following on from my Cruella post, I can give you the following update. I have a new hairstyle!

Hair pics

Okay, it’s still blonde and it’s still bobish, but… I’m not sure I like it. It’s too short and too layered. Oh, I know it’ll grow and I’ll get used to it, but until then *sulky face*. In the meantime, to cheer me up let’s have a…

SWAG Giveaway — What are your hair horror stories?

We all know that misery adores company, so come head over to my Facebook page and share your haircut nightmares. I have swag to giveaway for my faves.

What’s swag? It’s “Stuff We Always Get” – basically author promo materials. I have #Forfeit & NAS bookmarks, pens, key rings, fridge magnets, wine glass charms… I can do you a whole #Forfeit set of wine glass charms if you want. Now, let’s hear those horror stories don’t be shy with the photos!!

Cx

If you’d like to get your mitts on my books, the Kindle edition is just £1.99 / $2.99 or utterly FREE if you have Kindle Unlimited / Kindle Owners Lending Library!

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The Domestic Anti-Goddess

Now I’ll admit I’m not the greatest of domestic goddesses because there’s always a new book to write, but this… *hangs head in shame* PhotoFrame The photo frame in Exhibit A has been on a 60 degree wash. I know. What level of crazy does a person have to be to do that? Everyone knows you should only wash glass at 30 degrees, right? #fail Mr B stared at me in utter disbelief, asking how? Well, our washer is in the utility room and the wall cupboards have a lot of crap on top of them (yet bugger all inside – go figure). Sometimes, when the washer gets a little vigorous, the crap falls off the units. I can’t tell you the number of times that photo frame has hit the tile floor and not broken. I guess one time, it had a soft landing in the whites basket and I didn’t notice it when I picked up the whole load and put it in the washer.

Now, how the hell do I make sure there are no glass shards in my daughters bedding? :s Absolute ‪#‎epicfail‬ #headinbooks

If you’d like to get your mitts on my books, the Kindle edition is just £1.99 / $2.99 or utterly FREE if you have Kindle Unlimited / Kindle Owners Lending Library!

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New Hair – Cruella Style?

Cru3Last weekend I was at the Birmingham Book Signing event and on the Saturday night there was a book-related fancy dress party. I went as Cruella Deville… black outfit, dalmation on a lead, gloves, fur stole and ludicrous wig.

You have to love wearing a wig – it’s what really let’s you escape being you and instead be a character. I used to take part in local pantomimes and wherever possible I wore a wig – even if it was just a ludicrous ponytail extension. My Cruella wig arrived kinda flat and straight, but a photo on Google Images promised me it’d look like this with hairspray…

Cru1

Not entirely sure what hair glue they’d used, but half a tin of Elnett did give mine a lot of Rita from Coronation Street volume (and sensory flashbacks to the nineties when my BFF single-handedly destroyed the ozone layer).

Anyway, that evening in Birmingham, the erotic author megastar that is Jodi Ellen Malpas asked what my hair was really like because the wig really suited me.

I know.

That wig. Hmmm. So I dug out a photo of me with my usual hair and, well quite frankly, JEM clearly thought I was more of a Sharon Osbourne than a Fern Cotton. Devastated wasn’t the word, but it has made question just how long a girl should keep the same hairstyle for. I always say that my blonde bob is my trademark – but does it still suit me?

Caz@L'EnclumeOn Saturday I’m off to the hairdressers for a bucket-load of highlights and a cut. Question is – should this look stay?

And if it doesn’t what should take it’s place?

Cx

My Sell-out Stadium Tour begins…

After a fabulous if very tiring* weekend in Dublin last Saturday, I’m beyond excited to be heading off to another book signing event this weekend. This one is taking place in a football stadium, so that makes me kinda like Ed Sheeran, right? Okay, it’s one day not three nights, and it’s the home of Birmingham City FC, not the England squad, but it’s still pretty cool.

Second City Signing

Have you ever been to an author event book signing? They’re a little different to the signings where you queue in Waterstone’s to buy a £25 hardback. At an event there’ll be a stack of authors, some of who you’ll have heard of, others you haven’t. (And we usually have a glass of wine stashed behind our on-brand tablecloths.) Most are selling paperbacks for less than you can buy them online, giving away swag and are happy to have a natter with you. It’s a great way for readers to meet authors they love, and for authors to meet a whole new batch of readers/friends.

There’s also a fab “aftershow” party in the evening – it’s book related fancy dress. I’m going as Cruella Deville complete with a puppy on a lead. Obvs.

If you’re able to get to St Andrews Stadium in Birmingham on Saturday 18th July – then come and #sayhelloproperly!

Second City Signing (Birmingham)
Saturday 18th July 2015
http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/second-city-signing-tickets-13481396219?aff=es2&rank=1

Is there a better way to spend a Saturday?

Cx

If you can’t make Birmingham, I’ll also be signing in Aberdeen later this summer:

Silver City Signing (Aberdeen)
Saturday 15th August 2015
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/silver-city-signing-2015-tickets-12670595091

*totes emosh hangover riddled weekend from which I emerged with a bruised wrist following an incident with a revolving door, plus an eight inch scratch down one leg… no idea where that came from!

Dublin – here I come!

I’m totally excited! This Friday I’m getting on an Easyjet flight and heading over to Dublin for the Book of the Irish author event. It’s going to be so much fun: 17 sassy authors and 5 super hot cover models (of the male, ripped abs variety)…

Dublin Banner

Have you ever been to an author event book signing? They’re a little different to the signings where you queue in Waterstone’s to buy a £25 hardback. At an event there’ll be a stack of authors, some of who you’ll have heard of, others you haven’t. (And we usually have a glass of wine stashed behind our on-brand tablecloths.) Most are selling paperbacks for £5, giving away swag and are happy to sit down and just have a natter with you. It’s a great way for readers to meet authors they love, and for authors to really get to know their readers.

As lovely as it’s going to meet some new friends, I’m also going to be catching up with authors, bloggers and readers I met in March at the Orchard Book Club Author Event in Peterborough.

One of the highlights of that weekend was when Kelsey Burns told Cameron Lincoln (who she’d never met IRL before) to “put your drink down and say hello properly!” No one, including Kelsey, had any idea what saying hello properly actually meant, but it became a hashtag for the weekend.

If you’re able to get to the Radisson Blu Royal hotel in Dublin on Saturday 11th July at 1pm – then come and #sayhelloproperly!

Dublin Banner

Book of the Irish (Dublin)
Saturday 11th July 2015
http://www.eventbrite.ie/e/book-of-the-irish-signing-2015-tickets-13647476971?aff=eac2

Is there a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon?

Cx

If you can’t make Dublin, I’ll also be signing in Birmingham and Aberdeen this summer:

Second City Signing (Birmingham)
Saturday 18th July 2015
http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/second-city-signing-tickets-13481396219?aff=es2&rank=1

Silver City Signing (Aberdeen)
Saturday 15th August 2015
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/silver-city-signing-2015-tickets-12670595091