My Follow Friday - Nathan Bransford

Nathan Bransford Literary Agent.  I follow this blog and included it on my 'Best Blogs About Writing And Publishing' section because it showcases vital reading material for writers, agents and publishers alike. If you’re a writer starting out in the business, this is a page you must bookmark.

Many of the ‘how tos’ are clearly specific to one particular literary agency, but the general ideas and tips are superb. 'How to write a synopsis,' 'How to write a non-fiction book proposal,' and 'How to format your query letter' are just some of the basic topics covered.

The general posts are definitely read-worthy and have opened my eyes to a lot of what happens in the industry. Admittedly, some of the information have put me off making enquiries to literary agencies, but knowledge is key to surviving in the publishing world, even if you’re doing it on your own.

Nathan Bransford is definitely my top recommendation to follow. Note there is no follow panel, but you can subscribe to it through the feed.

So, who else are you following and why?

Edited to say, Nathan does have a follow panel. I've subscribed to his blog, but have never seen the panel. It's on the lower right of the page. Thanks Michelle H for pointing this out,

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Whinging Wednesday - Shopping Trolleys in Supermarkets

People with shopping trolleys in supermarket aisles.

Need I say more?

They park their trolleys in the middle of the aisle, oblivious to the rest of all the other shoppers in the store. You stand behind them, really close, so that you’re almost breathing down their necks, hoping that by some miracle, they’ll notice that you want to go by.


You give up waiting to be noticed, so you say quite politely, ‘excuse me’ with a Canadian-type question mark elevation at the end of your voice. Nothing! For crying out loud!

They haven’t even got their backs turned to you. How can they not see you, a full-sized human being standing there! You clear your throat, because you think your voice may not have come out right the first time. ‘Excuse me.’ What! They’re still buzzard-inspecting the lamb chops as if it were a maggot infested sheep lying in the pasture.

‘Ah, pardon me, but can I get through please.’ Restraint is key here, just keep it under control. Keep it under control.

They look at you with their beady eyes and indignantly move the trolley as if they’re doing you a favour. Have you noticed that it’s mainly elderly - scratch that – senior people who do that. Well, maybe people with little kids too. What’s wrong with you people!

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Why The Credit Crunch is Not All Bad

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I made the following post on a group blog, and thought I'd put it here as well to get your feedback:

Say what we want about the credit crunch, it’s been good for us and the way our spending was reeling past the red zone of the crazy meter. I know this sounds bizarre. How can tightening our belts and having to spend less be good for us? How can cutting back on luxury items or entertaining our kids be good for the way they live, and in their best interests? Having to reduce the amount of energy we use in order to cut our bills and spending, surely is a burden and not a blessing.

On the other hand, we can choose to see it this way: Having to tighten our belts makes us more careful about what we buy when we go shopping, not only that, it encourages us to think twice about wasting food. When we experience this kind of lifestyle it makes us pay more attention to the poorer people in the world who exist on much less than we do, even now. This outlook is positive because the wasteful, thoughtless person we’d become in our abundant, gluttonous lifestyle is finally being held in check.

Having to teach our kids that expensive toys are to be cherished, and they have to wait and save up for what they want is positive parenting. It’s instilling into their characters, value and appreciation for the things they have (and will have). Think of the values we had when we were children, when many people were given just one Christmas present. Some of us unlucky ones never even had that many.

The credit crunch will reduce a lot of Christmas sacks this holiday. Alas, happiness will have to come from the time we spend with each other and the board games we play for hours on end. This can only be a good thing. How much longer could we’ve gone on increasing the numbers of presents we gave out? Every year Christmas had to be bigger and better. Where would it have ended? How much would we have spent, and to what limit would we have gone, had the credit crunch not thankfully burst the financially captive bubble in which we lived.

Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas lights will be turned down this year. Bills will be checked and turkeys will be smaller with little or no wastage the following day. Yes! The credit crunch has been good not only for our environment but for our own sanity.

And how’s the credit crunch treating you this week?

My book ‘How To Spend Less’ is now available to buy on Lulu.

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My Follow Friday - Author Jody Hedlund

Why I follow 'Author Jody Hedlund.'

As the name suggests, this is an author’s blog. Unlike many blogs managed by authors, (the temptation is to rattle on about your own work) it gives general information about the entire writing process. It also provides vital tips and advice to anyone involved in the industry. The blog engagingly tells of the remarkable journey through acquisition onto the rewriting stages of a manuscript.

For an author, this is totally appealing. Not only are the posts fascinating and motivating for new writers, they’re also remarkably informative. It’s difficult to maintain that balance between relaying information and providing entertainment at the same time, but this blog manages to get these aspects just right.

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A Brief Look At My Book on Saving

As many of you know, I recently published a book called, 'How To Sp£nd L€$$' in a downloadable version on Smashwords and as a hardcopy on Lulu. I've since been sharing some money-saving tips around the Internet and as this blog partly about my books, I ought to post some here too. Here is a compact version of a few of the things I talk about in 'How To Sp£nd L€$$' concerning Supermarket savings.

1. Instead of buying several different cleaners for multiple tasks, add soda crystals to washing powder to do a multitude of cleaning around the house. It’s cheaper, safer, better for the environment, and gets the job done.

2. Visit ‘discount’ or ‘cash and carry’ outlets for items like paper towels, shampoo, toothpaste etc. You may find that they stock end-of-line products and sell them cheaper than your supermarket. While you’re there, buy long-life items like rice, pasta, oil, toilet roll etc, in bulk. You’ll get them for as much as half the price.

3. Before you think you’ve got a deal it’s wise to check the price per smallest unit (100ml or 100g for example). This information will be on the price tag on the shelf below the item, in almost-invisible writing which you have to bend over to read. Generally, larger items are cheaper per unit, especially with things like cereals, washing powder, toilet roll etc.

4. Frozen spinach, carrots, beans, peas, okras, roasted (frozen) aubergines, etc taste exactly the same as their fresh counterparts and sell for almost half the price. You save in two ways:

a. The amount you pay for the product.

b. There is no wastage. Fresh items are sold by weight but you can’t use end bits and stems. There’s also no ‘going bad’ in the fridge so you never have to throw it out.

5. Not having a list is a very expensive way to shop. If you don’t know what you need, you’re likely to grab everything you think you want. Make sure your supermarket visits are accompanied by a list.

6. Always look at the bottom shelf or the one above eye-level for the true price the item is worth. Supermarkets put their most expensive items on the eye-level shelves. The chopped tomatoes you pull off the shelf on your way to the freezer section could very well be selling for 20% less on the shelf right under your nose – literally.

Next week we'll look at a different topic, but until then, feel free to share your own tips. If you know how to spend lesss and still live well, I'm sure there's a place for you here.

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My Follow Friday - A Reader's Respite

A Reader's Respite is different from most of the blogs I follow. For me, as a writer, it’s really a blog of rest because it caters for readers. There, a writer can breathe easy. After all, the more we read the better we write, right?

I follow this blog not only for the super competitions it runs, but for the exquisite combination of just the right mix of fantastic reads, witty commentary, and valuable information.

There are lists of must-visit sites, blogs to see for a laugh, blogs for good books, and even a random collection of other interesting places. It’s a delightful home for writers who’re readers. The owner of the blog has got the right idea to keep readers coming back for more!

image source

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A Hole In Your Sock

Last night my daughter told me she had a hole in one of her socks.
‘Put it in the bin.’ I told her, ‘but keep the good one.’

She screwed up her face, puzzled that I would want to keep one odd sock. You see, I’ve always bought socks in large packs. A pack of ten identical socks generally gives you twenty socks. When number twenty has been worn down and thrown out, you’re left with nine pairs and an odd one out. But one day, a hole will appear in number eighteen , and the odd one you kept when you threw away sock twenty, will finally have an opposite number to pair up with. This may not seem like a large saving. After all, socks can be bought rather cheaply at your local supermarket.

If however, you have a large family and each one has a set of socks (different colours for each person, naturally), saving odd socks for when holes appear, works out pretty cheaply after all.

This is why I buy socks in packs. You only have to throw away one at a time as opposed to the entire pair when they get holey. Secondly, the washing and putting away are a lot easier because each person has their own colour or style. So, this is my itsy bitsy saving in my own little corner. What can you teach us today about your saving ideas? 

As my daughter said last night after I explained this to her, ‘You learn something new every day.’

Don’t forget to read my book 'How To Sp£nd L€$$' for lots more saving tips. Get it free too!

image source for above picture 

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My Follow Friday - Social @ Blogging Tracker

I follow Social Blogging Tracker  because this blog has been very helpful to me personally. For any new blogger/writer seeking to make it in the social networking arena, this site is one worthy of your subscription. Tips and advice on promoting yourself and your site, and 'how-to' tutorials on using social media sites are aplenty.

The last updated post discussed several Facebook application which can be easily used to promote your own blog. Since most bloggers are also Facebook users, this is an article to bookmark for constant reference.

I follow this blog because the owner takes her time to evaluate the usefulness of her material and responds directly to the needs of her audience.

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Whinging Wednesday (Your and You're)

Your and You're
You caught me! I’m at it again, whinging on Wednesdays. You know, I should really try to find a way to kick this very annoying habit, but I think I like it too much.

We all have our nemesis where the English language is concerned. For me, it’s words that end in ‘tor’ or ‘ter.’ I know, I know, for you it’s easy and you can't understand why I can’t spell. Well, on the flip side, many people (and writers) don’t know the difference between your and you’re, while I think it’s a piece of bake (or is that cake?). As we all know, ‘your’ is a possessive pronoun which denotes ownership.

• I love your bag.

• Your daughter is very fat.

• Your tractor is stuck in the mud.

Your – like the other six English pronouns, mine, his, hers, its, ours and theirs, highlights ownership.

You’re on the other hand, is totally different. This is a contraction of two separate words – hence the very obvious apostrophe in the middle.
  • You are driving me nuts! is contracted to read, You’re driving me nuts!
  • You are so not getting that raise. – You’re joking, right? I ain't giving you a penny more.   ...And so on.
If you’re thinking two words then you need the apostrophe. If you’re not, then ‘your’ is the word you want.  I’ll leave you with this while I go find myself someone to teach me to spell.

And what are you whinging about today?

Anne's a published author, freelance writer and experienced editor. She's just signed her second publishing contract this year with 2 separate publishing houses. You can hire her or see her available books in the side panel on the right.
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