Memory Lane: my 30th birthday party!

You’re probably wondering what my 30th has to do with book promotion…well nothing really, except the book signing tomorrow is triggering some memories.

I had been quite poorly in the months prior to my 30th, and had lost touch with lots of friends. Although I was on a very tight budget, I decided to have a party, just so I could see everyone again. I saved up some money and manged to organise a party. I even designed my own ‘caricature’ invitations (if I can find a jpeg file, I’ll let you see it, though it’s hardly flattering). I was really ill on the day of the party, and stayed in bed until just before I had to leave. When I got there, hardly any of the people I had invited turned up. My close family and friends were there, but lots of others weren’t. I enjoyed the party (despite having to leave early, as I just couldn’t carry on, and then locking myself out of the house) but swore I would never have another event where I was ‘centre of attention’. So now, I’m starting to worry that nobody will come…except my close family and a few friends (Ian and Tom, for the pink Lambrusco).

We’ve already had a bit of a flap. We couldn’t get hold of the books anywhere. The wholesaler that Sarah usually uses has sold out. Now, in some respects, this is obviously a good thing, but a book-signing is pretty difficult without a book to sign! After some frantic phone calls (and some ridiculous ‘Plan B’ scenarios), extra books are being printed as we speak. I’d like to say we can now breathe easy, but I don’t know what to expect tomorrow – I don’t know what people expect from me…except pink Lambrusco, in the case of Ian! Neither Sarah nor myself will rest until the books arrive in the shop (and even then, we’ll probably still not relax).

I’m off now, as I hope to spend the rest of the day:

  • Lying on sofa
  • Having long bubble bath, reading Mike Gayle’s “His ‘n’ Hers”
  • Lying on sofa, part two
  • Lying in bed (not being able to sleep – a great way to avoid the nightmares!)

You probably won’t hear from me tomorrow, but I’ll try and update the Blog sometime at the weekend (and will hopefully include some photos, taken from creative angles so you think there was hundreds of people there). I’m also doing a telephone interview on Friday afternoon with a nice gentleman from M.E. Essentials magazine – will let you know how it goes.

Keep your fingers crossed for me, please! And Ali, hope you’re enjoying the book…although it’s probably a bad sign if you’re reading this blog rather than the book! 😀

Book officially released: so where is it?

Decided to type in a drab colour to reflect how I’m feeling on this, the ‘official’ release date of Karma. Was all hyped up yesterday, as I’d been given some great promotion/marketing tips…then my mam said she’d been into Waterstones and was told they weren’t stocking it. My husband was told that it wasn’t in WHSmith either…

So, tell me, why all the hard work and effort (not just the stuff that went into writing the book, but subsequently)? I can push the book as much as I am able, but if people can’t walk into a shop and buy it, how will I ever sell any? I know it is selling at online retailers, but it was my dream to be able to walk in to various bookshops and see my work sharing a shelf with all the authors that I admire.

I guess I’m just feeling a bit upset, as my grandma was taken to hospital yesterday…I thought I’d try and take my mind off it by forcing myself to try and arrange some book signings. It’s not really working yet, and the lack of interest from shops’ book buyers is getting me down further.

EDIT: change of colour to denote change of mood. Spoke to lovely, lovely lady at Waterstones in Hexham and she’s going to stock the book! Yay! She also advised me to try and get a mention in the Hexham Courant, so I’ve had to get in touch with publisher to ask if they’ve sent them a press release. Woohoo!

Just a quickie!

Hello – I’ve been getting a lot of advice this weekend, on how to get my book noticed. All of it fantastic – it has given me a lot to think about, and has got me excited about the book again! So, this afternoon, I emailed Hexham Book Festival to ask if I could take part in some way. It’s very short notice, as it is only next month, but I thought it would be useful if I could even just stand (OK, probably sit…or lean against a wall) there, handing out flyers for my book. It’s amazing how much promotion/research you can do whilst lying on the sofa, watching Ugly Betty, laptop on knee…

Also, my web designer has got my website up and running – it’s pretty, user-friendly and I couldn’t stop smiling when I saw it! It made everything even more ‘real’. She also gave me a much appreciated ‘good luck’ gift, which was very kind of her. While I’m expressing gratitude, another thanks to: Sarah (who’s been leaflet-dropping again ahead of this week’s book-signing…eeeeek!); Mark (who’s become an unofficial Literary Agent) and is advertising my book amongst his legion of fans; everyone at WriteWords for patiently answering my questions and offering me good, sensible advice; and last but not least, the gang at BookForce who sent me a ‘congratulations on the publication of Karma’ card. They probably send a card to each of their authors, but it still meant a lot to me!

So, this week: book officially published tomorrow (although seems to be on sale now); must contact Waterstones and Borders (almost giving up on WHSmith); and I have emailed publishers to ask what they’re doing by way of PR, so I don’t step on any toes, before deciding what to do next! Bye for now!

IMPORTANT NOTE: a HUGE thank you to everyone who has supported me in any way, shape or form. If the book is a success, it will be down to you lot! x

The nightmares have started…

Hi – spent ages typing a new page yesterday, and then there was an error! Then, I had a nightmare last night where I thought I’d sold hundreds of books and I’d only sold thirty…

I finally got hold of some books, and duly sent them off again. I really hope that the recipients enjoy the story, but I’d like to say the following: I’m not an auditionee on the X-Factor. I won’t have a strop if you tell me the book’s rubbish, and I would far prefer you to be honest with me. I’d rather people didn’t pretend I was talented if I’m talentless!

Sarah got her posters and leaflets. I took a few off her and my mam (yes, my mam) ended up leaving some in the library, my auntie’s shop and some local shops, as I was too embarrassed to do so – it’s really pathetic at my age, I know! I, on my meagre budget, managed to get a good deal at M&S on some pretty pink sparkling Lambrusco and some Bucks Fizz (classy and 20% off 😀 ) for the ‘official launch’. We couldn’t have nibbles in case Sarah’s stock was damaged, so I ordered some nice pink, lilac and turquoise sweeties. Mmm, chocolate (with a stock-friendly crispy shell). They should come today, but I can’t promise they’ll last until Thursday…

Apart from the fact that I’m useless at self-promotion, I’ve had another issue. You’ll laugh at me when I tell you this: my grandma announced that she’d like to read the book. Whilst it isn’t full of bad language or extremely dirty, it certainly isn’t religious-grandma reading material. It may well be disown-your-granddaughter material, though! After much pleading and begging from me, she has agreed not to read it – this has taken a weight off my mind. I appreciate that she’s just proud, but she really might have been offended by some of the content, so I felt bad.

With regard to Press interest…what Press interest? Even the local newspapers that featured the competition in the first place haven’t been in touch. I’ve heard nothing from the BIG two: Waterstones and WHSmith. As you know, with WHSmith, no news is not good news, but the same applies to Waterstones. I have promised Natalie (who has kindly agreed to contact the radio station, on my behalf, for a copy of my interview) that I’ll get in touch with Borders. By the time I psyche myself up…the book might be out of print! I haven’t heard any feedback from any of the contacts that my publisher has sent the book to, either – does that mean that they don’t like it or they simply haven’t read it??? I must admit that my pessimism has taken hold again, and I fear the worst.

On the positive side, my book is already available at Amazon, and Sarah has sold a couple of copies ahead of the signing. One person has said that she couldn’t stop laughing, which I took as a compliment. I’ve also had an email from someone who is launching a new website, and wants to use my story (the story of me, rather than my story, Karma) on her site. I was very flattered, and I’ll post the site details as soon as it’s up and running.

On an entirely unrelated matter, I was happy to find that James Martin is doing a book signing at Waterstones. Then I found out it was down south…waaaaaayyyyy down south. Too far for me, unfortunately. I bet that he doesn’t have to beg for publicity or to get book shops to allow him to do promotional events for his books!

On that note I’ll leave you. While I feeling slightly proactive, I might give Borders a call… And try and find out what’s happening with my website!

PS Feel free to comment upon any of these posts – these come direct to my email address, and if you have any questions, I’ll try and answer them. All you need to do is click on Comments and complete the box. If there’s a numer beside the word ‘comments’, it means that someone else has left a remark.

EDIT: Just plucked up the courage to ring Borders…the person who deals with in-store events in on holiday, and I have to try again on Monday! Foiled again!


Good afternoon! Typing from bed again, but this time I am fully dressed having just been to the hairdressers – lovely new ‘do and nowhere to go! Trying some energy conservation…

I got some really good feedback from the Julia Hankin interview, and it has opened up some very interesting opportunities for me. I don’t want to say too much in case they don’t come about, except to say that I am very flattered and that they include several interviews! Plus it was great to get ME/CFS into the public eye – I’m sure I’m not the most eloquent person to represent people with this condition, but I will try my best to describe it and to bring some awareness to the public, if I can.

If you’re wondering what’s been happening regarding the book promotion since I last posted, here goes:

  • WHSmith – no news (so, as I said before, not good news)
  • Waterstones – spoke to a very friendly woman last Thursday and sent some info, so the ball is in their court
  • Borders – still haven’t summoned the energy (OK…the courage, to go in and ask about it). I think it’s because I don’t feel like a ‘real’ author, and still feel like a bit of a fraud…

I am still without a website (despite finding a few trial pages on the ‘net at the weekend), and still have no copies of my own book! It’s really quite frustrating for me.

The ‘book launch’ is going ahead, as planned, at Sarah’s bookshop ( on World Book Day. She’s still waiting for ‘official’ posters/leaflets, so printed some of her own. I spent yesterday evening pounding the streets (well, two streets…my own and an adjacent one), posting leaflets. Actually, I managed three houses before my husband had to take over from me – we were cold and exhausted when we were done, but the dogs enjoyed their walk! I am starting to worry that nobody will come to the signing…I’m concerned that the eyebrow wax and blow dry I’ve booked will be all for nothing!!! NOTE: on re-reading the previous sentence, I should say that my eyebrows are not so bushy that they need blow-dried…I meant my hair! Smile

Before I go, something has been bothering me, and I wanted to make sure I remembered to post this. As you know, Mark Jones (who really doesn’t know me from Adam, having only met me for about 6 seconds), has been really supportive – but I’m not really in a position to do anything for him, except this (and I hope he doesn’t mind me doing so): on his website ( he mentions that he is running the London Marathon, and is trying to raise money for the Anthony Nolan Trust. If you are interested in sponsoring Mark or simply making a donation to this charity via Mark’s Just Giving page, you can do so here:

That’s all from me for now – if you’re bored, and are looking for something to do, why not check out all the websites above? Oh, and – I wanted to find a way to mention them on the radio, but it was all I could do to remember my own pen name!

Phew – it's over!

Well, I had my 15-20 minutes of fame!

I had trouble getting to sleep last night, as possible question scenarios kept coming into my head. I woke up at about 5.30am with butterflies the size of chickens in my stomach, and could barely eat anything.

My mam drove me to the BBC Radio Newcastle studios, and we got there an hour early, so sat in the car park for half an hour, as I didn’t want to go in too early. When I was waiting to be called, I could hear the show going out. It was surreal when the presenter announced that coming up was an ‘inspirational author’ – I was thinking “Who’s that? Have they forgotten about me?” D’oh, that was about me!

I was shaking so much, that my chair felt like one of those vibrating massage chairs! Julia Hankin was fantastic though – she really put me at ease (no mean feat, believe me!) She is every bit as friendly and down-to-earth as she comes across on the radio. I even got a Tipple Tool (Julia’s regular listeners will know about this).

I don’t know how people can put themselves through that on a regular basis – I only hope I didn’t say anything stupid. I can’t bear to listen to myself, even though it’s on the internet. Sorry that I didn’t manage to mention Johnston’s Press in Chesterfield for my sister. Got Mark’s name in, and several mentions for Sarah’s shop!

So, not sure what I do next. Perhaps I’ll get my tea and think about it on a full stomach…

A face for radio!

I don’t believe it! Little old me is doing a LIVE radio interview on BBC Radio Newcastle tomorrow, with JULIA HANKIN – I love that show!

I am SO nervous (yet again, I’ve agreed to something then am going to panic about it until it happens). I bet I say something stupid. Must make a mental note not to mention reading in the bath – that’s all I remember saying in my last radio interview!

The problem is that I’m liable to mix my words up – clear thinking is NOT common in M.E./C.F.S. sufferers. I hope that I don’t freeze up or develop my nervous cough… Now I’m putting worries in to my head! Julia always comes across as a nice person, so I hope she’s gentle with me. I may have a face for radio, but I certainly don’t have a voice for radio!

Off to do some more panicking now!!! Oh, and I’ve also had a response from Waterstones, but I’ll tell you more about that soon – can’t think straight at the moment!

Hear me make a complete fool of myself here at 3.10pm, 15th February 2007:

Cautiously excited…

Hello – technically, I’m not much further forward with regard to promoting my book, but optimistically, my Publisher tells me the following publications have requested a review copy:

  • In Balance magazine
  • What Doctors Don’t Tell You
  • Essentials
  • Woman and Home
  • She
  • That’s Life
  • Woman
  • The Guardian
  • The Observer
  • The Daily Mail
  • The Daily Telegraph
  • The Guardian Weekend Magazine
  • The Times Magazine
  • The Sunday Sun
  • Newcastle Evening Chronicle
  • Newcastle Journal

I realise the fact that they requested a review copy doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll a) review it or b) like it, but it’s still pretty exciting to a newbie like me! A nice lady at the website, Trashionista (, has also offered to review the book. Naturally, I hope they all enjoy it, but I also have to prepare myself in case there are any negative reviews (large bar of chocolate and some tissues on stand-by…) No word on my website yet, but it’s coming soon!

And, believe it or not, following my last post, I idly typed in “thinking cap” in to eBay – there WAS one!!! Fair enough, it was just a baseball cap with the words “thinking cap” embroidered on the front, but still..

What do I try next?

I’m making a habit of this: typing my blog from under the covers! With good reason, this time, as I was out at a quiz on Wednesday with some friends and it’s taken a bit of recovery time (no…I don’t drink, so it wasn’t that). With our knowledge limited to obscure facts, we were amazed to find that, one question from the finale, we were leading by 5 clear points – we were unbeatable! Except that we weren’t because the last question was worth 10 points and we got it wrong. We snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and slunk out in third place. But we’ll be back, oh yes, more clueless…er…clued up than ever!

I know this has little to do with book promotion, but I promised Sarah and Ian I’d be mentioning the injustice in my Blog!

Back to all things book-related! I was re-reading my previous blogs and realised that I haven’t really given any details of my book – amateur mistake. So here’s what you need to know:

  • Â Â Â Karma by Holly A Harvey
  • Â Â Â ISBN 9781905108374
  • Â Â Â Released 26 February 2007
  • Â Â Â Available online at retailers such as Amazon, WHSmith, Tesco,

Since last time, I had a response from WHSmith with regard to book-signings – I can’t say that it was hugely encouraging. Basically, they’ve given my details to their local book buyer who will get in touch IF they are interested. So, in the case of WHSmith, no news is not good news…

Sarah (friend and owner of Henry’s Books) has been talking to my publisher about a book-signing on World Book Day, which is 1 March 2007 – that’s all that I have secured to date. I haven’t heard anything from my publisher recently, as they have a book coming out next week and are busy with that. I was also hoping that my website would be up and running this week, but it isn’t – maybe next week?

So, where do I go from here? I’m off to look on eBay for a Thinking Cap…

The next step…

Hello again! Had no intention of writing so often, but I’m cold and bored (typing this from my bed). In my quest to sell more than two books, I emailed Borders, Waterstones, and Gateshead Libraries Service – this is what happened so far:

Was in Borders book shop in Gateshead today, but was feeling too shy Embarassed to ask them what their procedure was with regard to book signings. Was able to justify this by telling myself that I’d already emailed them and was awaiting a response. I wouldn’t even let my mam ask if they were going to stock my book. When I got home, there it was: an email from Borders! I eagerly opened it, and it basically said, “Ask at your local store”. Oh dear!

I’ve still heard nothing from Waterstones and, on checking their website, it says that there is no stock availability of my book in-store. I don’t know if this is because it hasn’t been released yet or because they don’t intend to stock it… I have NO idea if the publishers have had any interest. Speaking of publishers, Sarah (who owns Henry’s Books) is emailing my contact today to ask for some promotional stuff in order to advertise my book/signing – take it she’s had no response yet! Can’t wait to find out how they’re going to market it!

I also had an email from my local Libraries Service – apparently my message to them had been ambiguous and I hadn’t made it clear if I was a local author or someone who was interested in local authors. Whoops! I replied to say that I would love to participate with their Readers’ Groups (though I didn’t know what I could offer them…) I keep agreeing to do things and then spending every minute afterwards worrying about what I’ve let myself in for.

I think that my BIG problem is that I have lots of excellent ideas, but not the guts to follow through with them. I’m going to have to find some self-confidence from somewhere soon – is it available on eBay?

Bye for now – laptop getting heavy and The Simpsons is on TV!