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Guest Post: The Writing Life with Joy Wood @Joywoodauthor


Today my guest on the blog is author Joy Wood, who’s decided to tell us all about her writing life. Joy lives in Cleethorpes in Lincolnshire and is a former nurse. I’ve been lucky enough to meet her several times and she’s a whirlwind of chatter and laughter and excitement and enthusiasm. This probably explains why she’s so popular at the many speaking events she attends! She’s also extremely supportive to other authors, so it’s a real pleasure to pay some of that back by handing today’s blog over to her. Welcome, Joy, and take it away!


Author Joy Wood


I’ve always loved the many facets of the English Language. At school, my favourite lesson was English – I constantly had my head stuck in a book. I actually loved going to bed as a child as it meant I could read fabulous stories often beyond the time I was told to go to sleep by my mother. Those were the days my torch came in useful to read under the covers after lights out!

Rhyming poetry was a particular favourite of mine as I loved word play and humour. After leaving school, I trained as a nurse and whenever I left a period of employment such as working on a ward or in an operating theatre, I would leave behind a witty poem about my colleagues, turning them into humorous characters which thankfully were always well received.

I progressed to consumer competitions and enjoyed a significant amount of success writing slogans. I always used humour – that seemed to catch the judge’s eye. Nothing would please me more than to receive news about a prize I’d won for an innovative slogan. I was very lucky with most of the prizes I received, although a runner up prize of a year’s supply of dog food wasn’t the best, particularly when I didn’t have a dog! I’d have much preferred the first prize of a short break in Amsterdam which was why I entered in the first place.

I once wrote a simple romantic story for a competition run by a clothing catalogue. I did the usual, boy meets girl, conflict between the two of them which was eventually resolved, and they both lived happily ever after. However, I featured the male and female characters wearing brand names of outfits from the catalogue range, and used appealing descriptive phrases about the garments. To my amazement, I was rewarded by winning first prize of an all-inclusive holiday.

Even though I knew that the reference to the catalogue clothing range most probably sealed the win, it gave me the encouragement to try my hand at actually writing a romance novel. Once I’d moved back to Cleethorpes in Lincolnshire, I’d watch the tide turn daily and it gave me the idea for my first novel. I would develop the characters in my head while walking along the seafront and create the chapters on my laptop when I returned home.


Route to publication

It seems like only yesterday that I independently published that first novel. I remember holding my precious book For the Love of Emily in the palm of my hand and admiring the cover  and smelling the pages as though I was looking down into the face of my first child! The feeling of euphoria was like nothing I’d ever experienced before. The book was my very own creation and from that moment on, my only desire was to tell the whole world about its arrival. Moving forward seven years, now I’m proud to say that I have written and published 7 novels and every single one is just as important to me as the first.

Writing is my passion. I strive with each novel for a narrative that invites the reader into a world that is captivating, engaging and menacing. Out of the seven independently published books, four contain adult content, and the further three are psychological/domestic noir thrillers. All of my books have a romance theme running through them with twists and turns that I hope will keep the reader turning the pages well into the night.


Promotion post for Joy Wood's seven novels, For the Love of Emily, Knight and Dey, Chanjori House, April Fool, Who's Smiling Now? Getting Away with Murder, Secrets and Lies.
Click to buy


However, writing is the easy part . . .

As I don’t have the support of a traditional publisher, I have to use innovative approaches to selling. With each new release, I have had to ‘tout’ myself around local radio and TV and have had to almost beg to appear in local newspapers. My paperback books are sold locally in a shop close to the High Street in Cleethorpes which generates footfall from those on seaside trips. I have posters up in church halls/ the local post office and leave business cards in strategic places which I hope will be found by potential readers. My books are available to borrow from local libraries too and even though the income per lend is minimal, its more readers that I’m striving for. And that is the reason we all write. Yes, the profits are wonderful from selling our books, but by the time all the blood, sweat and edits are done, you just want to share your book with as many people as you can and pray they’ll love your story.

For me, the most challenging aspect of selling books is promoting on social media. Every author has to do it; if you don’t, you won’t sell books, it’s as simple as that. However, it’s a fine line between telling your Facebook friends/Twitter followers about your precious new book and not boring them to death! And it helps to be generous to other authors and try to share their books too. That sounds easy enough to do, but it also presents challenges. Just how many author friends do you share – most of us have an abundance of author friends whose work we love. I think a balance has to be had, and certainly any author’s new release or a price drop warrants a share.


Advice I’d give to writers contemplating self-publishing.

It’s constant. You can’t let up. You need to be visible and working on the next book as you release. Readers will be waiting. I wish I had a pound for every person that has said to me they’ve read my book, when is the next one out. Of course that is a lovely endorsement but getting a book ready for publication takes a lot of work and effort.


Writer Talks

As a writer, invariably you’ll be approached to do talks maybe to a local book group, church group, a WI etc. However, talking in front of people by way of promoting a book is not for everyone. In a previous life I did a lot of public speaking and I quickly realised this could be helpful in terms of getting new readers, particularly locally. So I devised a talk about my transition from being a nurse to writing (From Bedpan to Pen!). The talk involves a lot of humour about the hurdles I’ve had to overcome such as my first appearance on television to promote my book. Seeing myself on screen made me realise my face is better suited to radio! And one incident amuses me which I like to share about a lady approaching me at my table during a book signing in Waterstones (I assumed to purchase my book) but she asked me if I knew what time Marks and Spencer closed!

I love the interaction with people that I get when public speaking, but the process of driving to and from the venue and delivering the talk is time consuming and adds pressure to my schedule of writing, and of course reading. If I’m not sat at my computer, I can always be found with a book or my kindle in my hand. My other favourite pastime is socialising – I do a lot of that!


My advice to potential authors

Keep reading different genres to generate new ideas and if you have a story to tell, then tell it. Fortunately, there are opportunities for all nowadays in writing and publishing, whether it be self-publishing or securing a traditional deal. There are an abundance of writers out there doing very well for themselves by utilising both routes. It’s extremely hard work, and completing the novel is just the beginning really – it certainly doesn’t stop there. What I have found is an overwhelming amount of support and encouragement from fellow writers – therefore, if you have the determination to write, and the tenacity to succeed, then hopefully you will do. So don’t hold back . . . go for it!


My advice to authors trying to secure a traditional publishing deal.

Good luck!


And finally. . .

Thank you so much for having me, Sharon – you are such a support to so many authors, we are extremely lucky to have you in our corner. Thank you doesn’t seem enough but I mean it most sincerely X


Aw, you’re very welcome, Joy, and honestly it’s no more than you do for us. You’re always such a great cheerleader and we all appreciate it. Thanks for writing such an interesting and informative post. I’m sure many readers will find it very useful.


Promo post for Joy Wood's novel Secrets and Lies, showing book against pink background.
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