Writer’s Digest – February 12, 2022

So anyways, it appears I’m addicted to wordle. 

I’m not normally one to get on the bandwagon, but this one seems relatively harmless – albeit at times frustrating, such as when I need to remember that there’s a difference between Aus/UK spelling and the US. Yes, I was almost caught out on humour the other day and got it on the last guess.

I’m not posting my results and I’m not hung up on my playing streak, but I do find myself playing most days.

On writing

With two books off being edited (Philly Barker and It’s In the Stars), I’ve spent the last few weeks working on another two – something I’m (tentatively) titling Christmas at Mannus Ridge, and another I’m collaborating on with a friend. It’s a cosy crime and I’ll tell you more about it as it unfolds.

I’m a few chapters in on Mannus Ridge and it’s going okay – not great, but okay. I’m just one chapter in on Whale Bay and it isn’t reading how I’ve pictured it in my head. I suspect I don’t yet know my character as well as I need to. Also, we spent a day plotting both the story and the character and given I don’t plot, that’s a change in the way that I work. It will, however, do me good to mix things up a bit.

While we’ve already decided to look for a traditional publisher for Whale Bay, I’m seriously considering the same for Philly Barker – which is still untitled. On one hand, I enjoy being an indie publisher and owning my characters, their stories and their covers and their titles. Mostly I enjoy the creative freedom I have.

On the other hand, I’m simply not selling enough books. I know I need to spend the time and do more marketing (I’m currently focusing my advertising efforts on Amazon with mixed results) but, well, I have a day job. And the reality is while I can juggle writing and day job, I can’t seem to (effectively) juggle the business of writing with writing and day job – and given the day job isn’t going anywhere until I can do that, I find myself in a conundrum.  

I’m contemplating some sort of hybrid model where I’d still self-publish my chick lit and women’s fiction titles. I have no idea what that looks like, whether it’s possible or, indeed, whether I want to go back down the endless waiting game that is the submission process. These concerns are, however, occupying substantial real estate in my brain. Hey ho.

While I figure it out I’ll keep writing, day jobbing and following my curiosity – such as these gems I discovered during the week…

Did you know?

On Feb 20, 550 years ago, the King of Norway failed to honour a debt and lost the islands of Orkney and Shetland to the Scottish king, James III. 

The more than a hundred (largely treeless) islands in the sub-arctic North Sea had been offered up as security for the dowry – 50,000 Rhenish Florins – of the Princess Margaret, the prospective wife of James III of Scotland, and daughter of King Christian of Norway and Denmark.

When the dowry wasn’t paid, James III called in the debt and that’s how Orkney and Shetland came to be ceded to Scotland. He wanted florins and got Shetland – in my book that’s not a bad trade.

And another for the useless book of knowledge…

In The Little Café By The Lake Jess does some research into the likelihood of Nathan being eaten by a shark (I know, I know, but you need to know the context to get it). What I didn’t know then was that there’s a measure for 1 in a million chances – and it’s a micromort. It’s used for comparing the riskiness of day-to-day activities.

So, according to this article I read (which I really should have kept the reference to), a trained scuba diver stares down five micromorts with every dive, while a single skydive will cost you eight micromorts. And on the more mundane side of life, a 230-mile drive equates to one micromort.

Now I just need to work out how I can use that little factoid.


I love love love this map of where my favourite British TV shows were filmed.

What’s up next?

I’m glad you asked as What’s On Your Bookshelf is up next Friday morning (Thursday evening if you’re in the northern hemisphere) and Sue, Debbie, Donna and I would love you to join in. There’ll be a linky thingie that will be open until Monday afternoon.

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

29 thoughts

  1. My husband and I are hopelessly addicted to Wordle too. I love that we get a new one only once a day (or I might be playing it way too often) and that it feels so good to get the word in 3-4 tries (hubby has guessed it in two tries three times, and I’m a bit bitter).

    So, you need to sell more books? I’ve read Happy Ever After and Wish You Were Here… which one should I get next?

  2. Jo, It may be worth self-publishing one of your new books as a pilot to see how well that works for you. Many authors use Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). How about asking someone in your family or friends to help you out with KDP or book marketing if anyone is interested? You’ve been doing so well managing your day job and writing. Time to delegate or ask for help, hopefully for free, which is where family and friends come in. I’m now curious about KDP 🙂

    1. Hi Natalie, I’ve self-published 8 books so far on KDP – it’s super easy. I use KDP for Amazon, Draft to Digital for all other platforms and Ingram Sparks for print on demand – although D2D could do that too.

  3. Hi, Jo – I am joyfully addicted to Wordle.. Like you, I had avoided it for quite a while. Then once I played my first game, I deeply regreted waiting so long. I absolutely LOVE everything about it. When friends post their scores, I’m good with that and enjoy cheering them on. When friends keep it private, I’m good with that too. Actually, this article really reflects my Wordle thinking (https://www.cnet.com/tech/gaming/thank-you-wordle-its-been-fun/) except that I’m not ready to say ‘goodbye’ – I’ve barely just said ‘lhello!’ And for all the cynics out there (which I’m okay with too) Wordle can save your life. (https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/crime/wordle-chicago-woman-hostage-denyse-holt-b2012780.html). So yup, I’m a fan.
    I’m also a huge fan of your books (as you know) and I can’t wait to read more! I wish that I had advice about publishing – unfortunately I sadly know nothing about this. I’m a rubbish friend, I know! 😀

    1. Yes, all of this. I enjoy other’s posts & that it’s only once a day. I
      ‘m certainly not ready to say goodbye – and, you’re the best of friends.

  4. Hi Jo, I’m still not playing Wordle and wonder if I’m just being stubborn LOL:) I can’t imagine the pressure of a full time day job and trying to move away from that into full time writing. I don’t think people really appreciate what it takes to firstly, come up with an idea for a book, write the book and have it published. We are all here to support you and yes as Kev reminds Ben – you are ‘great’ (well we all think you are!). xx

  5. I like Wordle but like you find the American spelling frustrating. A friend posted on Facebook ‘watch American spelling’ the other day so I guessed immediately ‘or’ for the last two letters. The map….well, how Waterloo Road could move from England to Scotland is bizarre. The education system is completely different in both countries!

  6. Wow, cool map! I remember seeing something like this for Game of Thrones a while back. Thanks for the tidbit about Shetland and Orkney. You never know when that might pop up on a trivia quiz! Good luck with sorting your thoughts on publishing. I got nothin’. Have a great week.

  7. Jo – have you heard of She Writes Press. (https://shewritespress.com/) It is a hybrid book publishing (small) here in the U.S. – dedicated to supporting women authors. You pay an upfront fee (which is a little steep) and retain all rights but they really help with marketing. Not sure if they work with authors outside the U.S. Another one to check out might be Write Publish Sell (https://writepublishsell.com/) I’ve heard good things about it too – and they offer many webinars and summits to support indie women authors. Good luck!

  8. I have been with small press and hybrid publishers. The bottom line is that you have to do most of the marketing. Some may guide you but the you will have to the leg work, follow up and bare the headaches. If you can self publish with support, go with it.

    1. Thanks Antoinette. I’ve self-published 8 books now with no support. I’m not doing badly, but I need to do better – hence considering a small press or hybrid publisher. I’m also trying to break into the UK market – I write in Aus/UK English and my books are set mostly in Aus/NZ or UK. Aaaah heavy sighs.

  9. I love reading your updates Jo to see what’s going on in your world and your brain! I wish I had some advice about publishing but if I can help in any way please let me know. I can be good at getting the word out there if you need me to share things??
    I am so excited about your new books particularly the Mannus Ridge one! I also loved the shark meme and you gave me a smile. That map is so good!
    So much to enjoy here!

  10. Hi Jo. I’m addicted to Wordle too. LIke you, I don’t care about my stats, it’s all about getting the word for me, which can be very challenging at time. I’m so glad you included the map showing where the TV shows were made. I loved looking up my favourites. I’m in awe at the speed at which you can deliver a book. I have to tell you I’ve just read Baby It’s You and love love loved it.

  11. Haha…I love wordle too. I don’t post mine either. I just play because I like anything that will keep my brain working. I love word games. The new book titles sound like fun reads. Hopefully you’re able to figure out how to make better money with the books. It’s tough when we need to have day jobs too. I would love to work from home full time as a VA, but starting at it much later when I really need to earn more of an income now (not have years to work up to it if I had ventured into it when I was a stay at home mom) makes it impossible to do. Loved the facts you shared.

  12. I was aware of the trade of hte Shetland island and the Viking connection – how many women were traded and married for political benefits over the eras?
    Cool map of the TV shows, Jo and interesting thoughts on publishing and promoting your books.
    I haven’t used wordle though, perhaps I shouldn’t start.

    1. My advice is don’t start wordle lol. The same thought struck me – just how many women have had their value reduced to political expediency.

    1. It’s pretty persistent. We’re flooded in where I live – only one road in and out of the estate and it’s closed. Heigh ho. Hope you’re doing okay…

      1. We are high and dry at the moment. Thanks to the large stormwater drains. Some roads partially closed around us. More time for indoor reading and writing articles for my freelance job…

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