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By Ben Cameron, Jun 5 2018 01:01PM

By Sam McColl, author of Call Billy 07899 232007

"When Sam McColl told me that she spends most of the year in her cabin on the beautiful remote Scottish lochs I assumed, like many people, that it must be the ideal writer’s retreat. But it turns out that I could not have been more wrong. Here, Sam talks about the challenges and distractions of nature and solitude for someone who writes about city family life” - Ben Cameron

I live by the sea, in a hut perched above mature native woodland. It is spring. Just now the woods are a sumptuous blend of purple bluebells, wild white garlic, and delicate spring leaves of every shade of green against a wash of blues. In winter the sea glitters through naked trees, the pools of silver light on gunmetal water a gasp of delight.

I’m sitting at my desk, trying to wriggle myself into the mind of a fifteen year old, who is about to get wrecked with a boy she’d been obsessing over for months. He is twenty five. I need to know where it’s going. Will she have sex? Or will she panic at the last minute. Or will her mother come back from work early, and the drama of the scene be postponed?

I have an ache in my tummy. I don’t plan the minutia of my character’s life. I know the broader brushstroke of her: that she’s a lovely girl, a thinker, that despite everything, she still wants the family to get back together.

But I also know that the events of the past months have forced her way out of the comfort zone of happy endings and this new place is full of strange possibilities. With everyone she trusted now engrossed in their own despicable dramas, she has begun to look elsewhere for reassurance and love. And why not – she’s almost sixteen, old enough to make her own decisions and mistakes – and so it goes on.

And yet, I must take the plunge. I must have her answer the door-bell, have her press up against him and see if I can find the one and only truth of the moment, and record it.

And then I look up from my screen, disturbed by the thwacking of rope on canvas as a sail is lowered. Through the glass door I glimpse my trays of parched lettuces. I should plant them out this afternoon. Yesterday I took the quad and flailer over the hills to cut broad pathways through the emerging bracken – and got it stuck on a sap-slick-slope and left it there, along with the key. I check my weather app, Abi’s dilemma draining from my concentration, like water down a plug hole…

Inspiration doesn’t just happen. It’s a slow build. Dumping, Abi, I decide on a place for another scene. I may chose the rocky coast north of Tarbert, or the skaggy beach in Oban, where fag packets and scratchings of plastic get me in the mood for, er death. Or maybe just sand… yes, sand…

It’s many hours later, I look up from my screen, a silver moon is hanging there, over the sea, a pool of—oh for God’s sake, just don’t …

The following morning it’s raining. Good. I flex my fingers, rub my palms together in preparation and dive in.

Hours later, I’ve got something down: a U-turn.

“He’s not even coming is he? I make myself hot chocolate and get into bed, stare at the balloon pattern on my duvet. ‘Virgin’, my whole room shouts ‘virgin’. I hate my life. The twisted paper tip, which I should have chewed off, flares and drops, melts a small hole in one of the balloons. I take a puff and nudge it around, so what if I burn the house down …”

It’s a start.

I’m delighted to see a yellow crack in the cloud cover, a zag of reflection on the water and remember the quad I abandoned on the hill yesterday with a jolt …

Get your copy of Call Billy 07899232007 here

By Ben Cameron, May 16 2018 07:49AM

By Laxmi Hariharan

One of the most difficult things about being an author is to get down the words. You spend days thinking about writing, then the time comes to sit down to write and every possible distraction gets in the way. From social media, to shopping, and paying your bills, all of it gets in your way when you switch on the laptop and open the page of the manuscript.

Here are five easy tips to help you increase your word count and get one step closer to completing your book.

A. Plot before you write

This is the most important piece of advice you'll get here. If you plot before you write, then you know where you are headed. Your subconscious mind will done some of the work for you before you come to the writing desk.

It need not be very detailed, but a simple start, middle and ending of the book, ideally broken down by chapter is great.

It means you can refer to the notes on the chapters and always start from where you left off. Most importantly it means you don't feel that you are starting afresh each time you come back to the manuscript.

Books that can help you with this process are: Plot Gardening, Write Faster, Write Smarter by Chris Fox, Take Off Your Pants!: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing

by Libbie Hawke

B. Sprints

Time yourself. See if you can just keep writing until the alarm goes off. Start with fifteen minutes and build up to 45 minutes or an hour. During this time, you don't have permission to take your fingers off the keyboard. Keep writing, no matter that you are not happy with the words, or even if you feel what you are writing is terrible.

The goal is to write without a break, without distractions during that period of time. Then break, get a drink of water, or check your social media or emails, then get back to writing.

At the end of the day the chunks of uninterrupted writing time would have built up to something substantial.

If you can't start with fifteen minutes start with ten. Start small and build up.

C. Eat the frog

One thing that will help to get the words down is the 'eat the frog' principle. i.e. Get those words down first thing in the morning. Get it done and out before you move on to the other things in your life.

Do you want to avoid the temptation of surfing the internet or social media sites to help you get to writing faster? The following apps can help in that.

Self-control app

When I come to the writing desk, I check all my social media, and my emails, then switch on the app for forty-five minutes at a time. It's free to download and you can use it to block out all distracting social sites. Even if you find yourself trying to get onto Facebook, it will block the site, ensuring you stay rooted in your story.

Self-Control lets you specify the sites that distract you and then block them for a specified session. You can either list the sites you don’t want to go to or whitelist the only sites you’ll permit yourself. This is particularly helpful if you have certain sites you need for work but don’t want access to the rest of the internet.

Freedom App

This is a powerful distraction blocker, that once installed can be used to block distracting websites and apps.

One bonus of Freedom is that you can schedule focus sessions in advance. For example, if your willpower is always weak when you first get to work and you have a tendency to visit social media sites, then you can create a daily focus session that will automatically begin at a set time and prevent you from visiting those sites.

If you really want to hunker down, you can use the “Locked Mode” to prevent you from disabling the app.

D. Productivity Apps


This has helped make a big jump in my productivity. I simply hook on Brain.FM and use the specialized music to drown out all the noise and worries in my head so I am focused simply on the writing. There's a free trial period so you can try and see if this works for you.

Focus Music FM

If you're into deep house and EDM – then check this out. An app with the right kind of music to help you focus on work.

E. Quit while you are ahead

Counter intuitive as this may seem, this is key. By the end of the session I find I am in the groove and speeding along and that's when I stop and take a break. It means when I resume I don't face any blocks because I can still see where I am going, so there are no excuses then but to keep going. Ideally, I try to time each session with a chapter and try to get through most of the chapter in the sprint session.

Laxmi Hariharan is a New York Times Bestselling. Claim your free books from Laxmi here

We hope this was helpful. Do you have more productivity tips? Do write in and tell us at, Twitter: @CameronPMtweets or Facebook:

By Ben Cameron, Feb 8 2018 10:57PM

By SJ Sherwood

The last thing I had intended to do was to write YA Dystopian Trilogy. I had originally planned to write an adult thriller and was almost ready to start the hard work. However, during my planning stage, I had set three questions for my lead character.

1. Who are your mentors?

2. Who do you turn to when you're in trouble?

3. Who can you trust?

As I started to dig into the questions, the answers that emerged made me think about who I really wanted to aim my book at.

I had not had the easiest of childhoods - an alcoholic stepfather and a self-absorbed, chronically angry mother were not the best combination for a happy marriage. I was shipped off to school and what felt like my heart being ripped from my chest as I was separated from my family home, turned out to be a seminal moment in my life. For the first time, I was given real attention and a structure - you know, time keeping, being polite, working hard, that kind of stuff. I also learnt the utmost importance of having positive people in my life.

But I realised, that for many, the above questions aren't so simple, as they wouldn't have been for me before getting sent away to school. I feel lucky that I was cut a break, but living in London, it's not hard to see disillusioned young men, who are more interested in materialism then understanding who they are and what they are capable of as unique individuals. Men no longer seem to have a rite of passage from boyhood to manhood.

They were the catalyst of why I ended up choosing orphans as my main characters - the image of the lost and forgotten. It's why I further isolated them in my dystopian world, and forced them to work together, to have to trust each other when they really wanted to run or even fight as the easier choice. We are all hard wired to be part of a group, a tribe, a basic family structure of some sorts. Ned, my main, protagonist is a contradiction. He's a loner by nature, but he craves friends. He's tough and self-reliant, but he wants to communicate and be part of a tribe. More importantly, he wants to do something with his life and he has to answer the three questions above in order to progress. I love his personal challenge.

The current YA market is dominated by some excellent women writers who pen strong female characters. The market it deep and mature, and sales speak for themselves. But if you look at books for boys in this bracket, they tend to fall into two board categories: your mini-James Bond/ Spy Hero; or the Apocalyptic/ Sci Fi where the lead character is an alpha male and somewhat stereotyped (sorry, fellow writers). Patrick Ness with his Chaos Walking Trilogy and James Dashner with his Maze Runner Series, gave us male characters who were looking to define themselves through the challenges they encountered. But, I feel, that what has followed has been a bit thin on the ground for teenage boys who want to read this type of book.

To date, most of my readers have been YA female teenagers or young women who have been extremely kind with their reviews. However, I'm slowly but surely tapping into those teenage boys who seem to get what I'm trying to say. If, like me, their start wasn't the best but they get a sense that you can pick your mentors, as you can your tribe and friends then I will have achieved something. And if, like Ned, they find that that thinking for themselves and learning to trust their instincts is something they have to develop, then perhaps us men don't need that rite of passage, just a better understanding of who we are.

And if one teenage boy gets to understand that his destiny is his choice and not chance, then, as a storyteller, I've hit my goal and I'll go to sleep a contented man.

SJ Sherwood is the author The Denounced. He grew up in a small town in rural England and spent most of his youth dreaming of escaping to the bright lights of a big city. He eventually made it to London where he writes, enjoys life, and strives to be happy. You can find out more at

Comments or questions? You can contact us at, Twitter: @CameronPMtweets or Facebook:

By Cameron Publicity and Marketing, Feb 18 2015 02:00AM

Five exabytes of content were created between the birth of the world and 2003.

In 2014, the same 5 exabytes+ of content was created, each day.

Every minute of every day

• Facebook users share nearly 2.5 million pieces of content. Just two years ago that was 684,478 pieces of content every day. Which is quite insane

• Twitter users tweet nearly 300,000 times.

• Instagram users post nearly 220,000 new photos.

• YouTube users upload 72 hours of new video content.

• Apple users download nearly 50,000 apps.

• Email users send over 200 million messages.

• Amazon generates over $80,000 in online sales.

So when I launched my little 96,000 word-novel, The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer to join that 5+ Exabyte (equal to one quintillion 1018 bytes) of content out there... Then I knew I had to either 1) hope and pray that someone, somewhere will actually read what I am putting out or 2) do something a little more proactive about getting the message out.

Which begs the questions:

a. Why did I embark on the insane task of actually writing a book? Well in this particular case, I didn't have a choice. The character I was writing about— Ruby Iyer—had a mind of her own. She decided to burst on the scene, and fight her way through the world of the living. So basically Ruby led and I followed. I wrote Ruby initially as a weekly web-series and from day one, people responded to her. Readers asked me in real-time what she was going to do next. This in itself was quite unusual, so I knew there was some traction, interest around her. Its what spurred me on to write her complete story in The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer.

b. What can I do to increase the discoverability of Ruby Iyer? All the time I was writing the story, the marketer in me continued to watch, and began crafting, the positioning of the novel to the world. What was Ruby's point of view? What set her apart from the millions of other novels out there. What was I trying to say? Why would people want to read Ruby Iyer's story? You could argue I needed to answer these questions while resolving the plot. But it's almost like there were two of us writing the book. The author in me who was caught up in the antics of this hot-headed, kick-ass-character who had a mind of her own. Ruby led and I followed.

But at the same time the communicator in me kept looking for clues, kept trying to understand the DNA of this brand I was creating. Trying to understand what brand values she (and the book stood for), what would be her single-overriding-communication-objective. What did Ruby really stand for to the world. What did she mean with everything she said and did? It was pretty awesome really. Where else does one have the opportunity to both be the content creator and the content amplifier?

So when The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer was ready to launch, well, it was just natural that I was not going to put the book out there and wait for people to find it. I had to increase its discoverability, to get in front of the right people. The interested readers.

What do you call someone who creates her own content, then proceeds to market it too? I call it being an Authorprenuer.

In my efforts of getting Ruby Iyer to her readers, I realised I had to treat this entire chain of events I was initiating like a young business. I had to create the platform for my author brand and at the same time, I had to also build the Ruby Iyer brand.

The interesting thing in Ruby's case is that she is such a strong persona that people automatically expected her to have a voice of her own. They expected her to have an opinion. And so from very early on, even before the book was complete she had her own twitter handle @RubyIyer and her own Facebook page.

It grew from there.

Initially Ruby Iyer quoted from her own life and her book. But as she grew in confidence she began to have an opinion on world events: When the Taliban massacred the children in Peshawar; on #JeSuisCharlie... On these it seemed natural that she wanted to comment, to take a stance.

But more than that, her voice grew to the everyday confusions a eighteen-year-old faces. Surviving social media, getting through a break-up, the angst of falling in love with strangers, her pizza fixation, her frustration with the cheeriness of the festive season, trying to figure out what to do with her life. As readers responded to her, Ruby's voice amplified, it became larger than the story-arc in the book.

So it was that I found myself with a little marketing machinery in place of my own, PR, social media, editorial guidelines, graphic designer. Looking at how much I was making from sales vs. what I could spend on building the brand. Trying to keep track of the break-even point.

Somewhere along the way I had become a business. An Authorprenuer.

For any author to survive to make sure her book stands out among the 90,000 books published each year in India, she will need to do the same. Become an Authorprenuer

About Laxmi Hariharan:

Laxmi is the creator of The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer which debuted #1 Hot New Release on Amazon Asian LitShe has been a journalist with the Independent, and a global marketer with NBCU and MTV during which time she helped launch fifteen TV channels across fifty countries . Laxmi also blogs for Huffington Post among others. The Many Lives of Ruby is available on Flipkart and on Amazon:

Note: India is one of the few (if at all any) major markets in the world which is still seeing growth in both print and digital publishing. The value of the Indian publishing industry in 2012 was estimated at USD 2 Billion with an overall growth rate of around 15% (conservative estimates) One-fourth of the youth population of India, a staggering figure of 83 million, identify themselves as book readers. About 90,000 titles are published in India every year and India ranks third behind the USA and the UK in the publication of English language books.


Thanks to following articles which aided my research



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