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Antwerp Bookfair

The Dutch version of my book – The Heavy Bag – was featured at the Antwerp Bookfair this year!

On the 7th of November, my Dutch publisher; Van Driel Publishing took – De Zware Rugzak to the Lees! het boeken festival in Antwerp.

Such a wonderful event that lasts for a week. However, unfortunately, due to Covid restrictions in place at that time, I was unable to attend … BUT 2022 is a new year and I’m feeling positive to attend this amazing author event. See you there!

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Chiswick Book Festival

On the 11th of September, I attended the Chiswick Book Festival with my literary agent AnnaKarin Klerfalk

Chiswick Book Festival
Chiswick Book Festival

Such a wonderful book event with some very inspiring author events. Book festivals are the heart of the book industry and have recently been affected due to the pandemic but, when put on safely and with respect, they are definitely worth attending for both authors and the public.

Here is to the Chiswick Book Festival 2022!

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The Heavy Bag – Telegraph article

The Telegraph featured myself as an author and my book – The Heavy Bag. The article spoke about the children affected by grief due to Covid and how The Heavy Bag is being used in Primary schools across the UK and Europe. I was very honoured to be featured in such a huge national paper and very grateful for the coverage to bring this emotional support book to the attention of all those who need it.

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As an indie author, what is your Superpower?….

You may think as an author you have got social media activity down! You keep your tabs constantly open as you Tweet, Reel, Poke, Message, Gram and Tok throughout the day 

You’re also pretty happy with your sellability due to the number of bookstores you’ve got your book into? You’ve been a super pro and signed up to Gardners and now you’re on the local high-street!

Actually, your superpower could be how you present yourself? You’re enthusiastic, you’re present, you’re confident and you’re relevant ….. All curated of course, BUT this is a mass-market that is flooded! 

Pull your cape in for just a minute and have a think of how you could open NEW doors as an author …. Far away doors, mysterious doors, doors you thought were mere Trompe-l’œils …(the clue is in the last example)

Your Superpower as an author begins the moment you start translating your book! 


When I wrote The Heavy Bag a German friend of mine offered to translate it for me. I had no idea what this would start and I certainly didn’t have an international plan for the book … We were in the middle of a worldwide lockdown, borders were closed and travel was forbidden. I just thought …

“Well that would be nice to see my words in another language” 
Naive and nonchalant!

However, I soon realised that translating your book gives you that next level endorsement, suddenly you are taken a bit more serious as an indie author.

It’s like having feet on the ground, in a different country – showcasing your book … reaching places you yourself couldn’t! 

The book speaks for you even if you can’t in that language.
It also suddenly makes YOU attractive to foreign rights publishing departments, they have something to base off their own “what ifs”  Could they translate it into their language? And they have their very own professional translators to do just that! 

You could potentially go from being an indie writer; bearing the costs and responsibilities of all that this encompasses – to being signed to a publisher and them doing a lot of the work! 

And the great thing if you are an indie writer/self-publisher – YOU own the rights to your book… You could keep on selling it to different countries; the only limit is how many languages there are! 
You could see your book selling in stores around the world, all because you thought outside of the box. 

My top 3 tips for translating

  1. Make sure your first translation counts. This should ideally be by someone you know – Why? Well, you want them to REALLY want this book to work. You want them to sensitively translate, not just word for word but sentiment for sentiment. 
  2. Before they agree to translating; are they prepared to be the feet on the ground? My German translator literally went door to door to bookstores in Germany, selling it to them! This will make you and your book marketable and sellable to other countries!
  3. When you then start approaching foreign rights publishers for more translations, make sure you do your research first! What is culturally acceptable, what would need to change in your book as not to offend them, what context does your genre sit in?Make sure you include these ideas in your cover letter to them, it shows that you have an understanding and are taking this idea seriously. You would be surprised at some of the changes I’ve had to make. 

Of course, this all helps for your next book and there will be a next book! 

Being a published author worldwide looks very good on your next manuscript submission!

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Three tips to successfully self-publish

I am not exaggerating when I say that I’m constantly messaged on my Instagram from other authors wanting to self publish a book. How do you do it? 

My answer to them is, don’t focus too much on how to actually self publish because that’s already out there for everyone to find out… Write your book, print your book, sign up to Nielsen’s books and Gardners so you can offer it to stores and try to sell it alongside on Amazon. Writing, printing and selling the book is only the beginning and actually a tiny part of being an author!

The real work and success comes the other side, marketing it and you! 

Finding your niche whilst staying contemporary is my first big piece of advice. The niche will be a way to engage with specific communities and make YOUR book stand out. For example, my children’s book The Heavy Bag focuses on grief. Some may think that this restricts me… it doesn’t! It has meant that I have linked up and collaborated with charities such as UNICEF, schools, grief groups, festivals and therapists and let me tell you… the grief community are a group of wonderful human beings… they have shouted about my book from the UK, across Europe and over the ocean to the US. But, to get into stores you need to be contemporary because that is what they want! ‘Saleability‘ End of.

So, research what makes a book contemporary and bullet point these points in your request to them. And yes, it’s that easy! Email stores and ask them to stock your book. And don’t be restricted to the UK because stores across Europe have English sections! I contacted around 20 stores a day in the beginning.

Talking of Europe… my second big piece of advice to you is to get your book translated!

For two reasons. The first is obvious, you can promote it in a different country and language but the second reason is more of a strategic plan…! This could get your indie book in with publishing houses because a lot of publishers have a foreign rights department so if you can first get your book translated by a friend into a different language then your next step is to approach publishing houses foreign rights’ departments and offer them the English version for THEM to translate it into another language. It only takes one foreign publisher to take up this idea and then suddenly others are interested.

I have now sold The Heavy Bag to SEVEN foreign publishing houses because I own the rights to everything… The perks of being a self-publisher.

My final piece of advice is to market YOU… link EVERYTHING back to you. Your writing is wonderful, your book is amazing but the bottom line is stores, readers, publishers and potential agents want YOU, you are the face and brains of the book and you will be behind all the other books you have planned. So, you get up every single day and say to yourself “What do I need to do today?” Contact 5 people a day, whether this is people to collaborate with, agents for your future books, stores to stock your current book or media to feature you. It’s hard, it’s monotonous, it’s tiring and even deflating some days but it WILL pay off! 

So, once you’ve done the easy part of writing the book, the hard work begins. Good luck!