Thunderclap!

Hey guys,

Guys! I’m doing a “Thunderclap” campaign to get the word out about the release of my book ANIMAL… Pretty please can you sign up to take part? It only takes a few seconds to do! Click here: http://thndr.me/5IcY8z

Thank you, Gillian xxx

Top Ten Tips to Starting Out on Wattpad

Wattpad is a writer/reader platform, like a YouTube for stories. There are around 45 million users, so if you are a writer, looking for a home for your work – it could be right up your street.

I joined Wattpad in 2011 and since then I’ve posted 3 short stories, 2 novels and a collection of essays, and had over 2.4 million reads of my work. These are my top ten tips to starting out.

  1. Have a read

The first thing I would recommend is something all writers are good at – grab a cuppa, put your feet up and enjoy a good read. There’s all sorts of stuff on there. The majority of the users are female teens, so there’s plenty YA. The Romance and Fantasy genres are strong but there’s also loads of other stuff such as Sci-Fi, Historical and Poetry. Hopefully there’ll be something that will float your boat. There’s an app if you like reading on your phone.

  1. Have a wee think about it

I would definitely recommend, once you’ve had a look, having a wee think about whether this is the right move for you, for this stage in your career. Remember, you aren’t getting paid for the work you post so if you feel you are at a stage where your work ought to be selling, another route may be preferable such as self-publishing on Amazon or any of the other self-publishing platforms there are out there. However, if you are starting out, and you want to practice writing, and put a bit of pressure on yourself by knowing your work will be out there and being read, then Wattpad is a good option.

  1. Post your work – eek

This bit can be scary. You’re putting your heart on the line, you’re revealing your work to the world. To do this, mechanically speaking it is easy enough – you sign up for the website then go to where it says ‘Works’ then ‘New Story’ and away you go. However it may not be so easy on an emotional level. I know, I’ve been there. I remember the battle that raged in my mind between ‘do it!’ and ‘don’t do it!’ If ‘do it!’ wins, and you go ahead and post, you will officially be out there and your work will be available for the entire planet to read.

  1. Persist

One thing I will say is this. Thousands of hits on your story will probably not flood in from the first moment you post. No one may read it, apart from yourself and your boyfriend. Your boyfriend may not even read it. I was able to count the number of followers I had on one hand for the entire first year I was on Wattpad, and that included my own mother and my auntie. That state of affairs continued for what seemed like ages, where my read numbers were very low and my followers close to zero. However, I did keep going and now there are thousands of followers, the reads of my work just keep going up and I barely have time to answer all the comments and messages I receive every day.

  1. Interact

It is a good idea to interact with the other people who are on Wattpad and not take a ‘too cool for school’ attitude. People are there for the community as well as the stories. So it helps if you reach out to others, read their work, genuinely comment and get involved. However, there’s no need to spend so much time doing this you don’t actually write anything.

  1. You could get Featured

At some point whilst I was posting my first novel, the Wattpad staff contacted me and asked me if it could become one of their Featured works. This was a great opportunity because it meant that once the book was finished it was entered onto a page which is home to some of the best works on the website. This gave a good boost to my exposure. I’d say the reason I got this is because I was writing the best work I could at that time and I was writing regularly.

  1. Craftwork

Writing is very much a craft and it takes hours and hours and hours (and hours!) to become a master of it. Wattpad is a good place to do this – it provides an interesting framework for you to work in whilst you dedicatedly hammer your craft. The more you write, the more you improve and if you publically announce you will be posting a chapter a week it keeps you accountable to an audience, no matter how small, and forces you to write, even on those days when hiding under a duvet is a much preferable option.

  1. Know you readers

Steven Spielberg says that in his early days as a director his audience were everything to him, and he constantly strove to know them and to thrill and excite them. Wattpad allows you to know what parts of your work are hitting home, what parts of your work are resonating with your audience. You can also learn to take criticism, and how to take praise too.

  1. Become a Star

Those writers who do gain a lot of traction may be invited to become ‘Wattpad Stars’. These guys are the ones with the most followers and reads, and they can be invited to take part in paid projects with major TV networks and film studios. I was commissioned to write a short story for USA Network to promote the launch of a new TV show. Things are constantly changing on Wattpad and there are new opportunities to be had. You may also receive a free t-shirt like I did. Who doesn’t like free t-shirts?

  1. Find your team

Most writers write alone. But they don’t reach success alone. They do that with help – whether that’s from friends, family, agents, publishers, whoever. There’s some kind of a team alongside every great writer, even if it’s just a long-suffering husband, wife or pet dog. Posting stories on Wattpad can be a great way of finding your gang. When you post, you can promote your work on your Facebook page, or your twitter or wherever. Certain people you already know will take an interest, they will read your work and they will support you. Not everyone. In fact people you thought would support you, may ignore your efforts entirely, but no matter, because the handful that rise up to support you – those are the gems, those are the people you can have with you, all the way to the top.

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Interview With a Book Lover

I love it when you find a great blog to read. And that’s exactly what I did a few months ago when I started following Polyliteramore. Written by 19 year old Gillian Ebersole, the blog includes regular insights into her life and her loves, which include books, dancing, travel and more.
Gillian drinking real butterbeer!
The posts are composed in such an honest and eloquent way, they really caught my attention. I just had to reach out to Gillian, to ask a few questions of my own. So, here we go…
1. What are your top 3 books and why?

My all time favorite book is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. I also love The Book Thief and Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. In general, I love historical fiction and watching a character triumph despite incredible hardship. To me, the best books are ones that encompass both the joy and the pain of the simple moments of everyday life, and these three books capture this perfectly.

122. I noticed you did a series of posts ’52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge’ – what things are you most grateful for in your life? 

I am so grateful for so much, but it truly is the little things that make me stop and take a moment to wonder at the world around me. Light rain, good books, bustling coffee shops, summer sunsets, the thrill of dancing – all of these are the most precious aspects of life I give thanks for every day.

3. What is your favourite thing to bake?

Pumpkin muffins. Or any kind of cupcake really. I read this book called The Cupcake Queen in middle school, and I have been in love with baking cupcakes ever since. They are just so fun!

4. What is your favourite place in the world, and why?

Over the summer, I travelled to Amsterdam, and I fell in love with the city and the culture. The lifestyle there focuses so much on living in the moment and enjoying everything from food to biking and walking to art and architecture. If I could, I would move there in a heartbeat.

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5. If you could give a few words of advise to your younger teen self, what would they be?

I would tell myself to stop doubting the worth of my own thoughts. Older generations tend to pick apart the thoughts and arguments of the teenage generation, and I think this age range holds some of the most powerful ideas. Society is stifling six years of valuable and unprecedented creativity when teenagers are told to grow up and be adults.

6. What do you most want for your life?

I want my job to be my life’s work and passion. It is a lot to ask, I know, but I am determined to combine my love for art and dance with my love for writing and thinking. While I would love to perform as a dancer, I also am drawn to using dance as a form of social action to bring art to those who lack the access to it.

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7. Who has helped you most in your life so far?

I have been blessed with many excellent teachers, both in school as well as in the arts, who encouraged me to follow my dreams. When a teacher tells a young student that anything is possible, it has a massive impact on the formation of that student. My accomplishments rest upon the words of the teachers who believed in me; I owe everything to them.

8. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you like to go the most?

Right now, I am dying to go to Spain. I speak a little Spanish, and I love the language and culture. One of my life goals is to hike the Camino de Santiago, from France across the northern border of Spain, and enjoy the art and journey along the way.

9. What do you think is the most important thing that needs to happen to make a better world?

People need to care for each other more. Today, so much focus is placed on numbers and data, and we lose the sense of humanity in these numbers. I truly believe that the world would change overnight if people looked around and gave a little more love to everyone they met. And, I think art, in all its forms, is a vehicle for this change, for it counters the data-obsessed nature of current society, encouraging open-mindedness and the need for appreciation of all people.

10. Who inspires you the most and why?

My hero is Anne Frank, and I had the privilege of visiting her hiding place in Amsterdam over the summer. Here is the message I left in the guestbook, “As a teenage writer myself, I can only aspire to convey the truth as Anne did. Her striking honesty and faithful optimism shine even today as an example of the human power to persevere and to thrive, even in the darkest moments of history. Anne’s voice will live on, fulfilling her dream to become a renowned writer and proving the potency of the thoughts of the teenage generation.”
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To follow Polyliteramore, go here. You won’t regret it!

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My Top Ten Literary Heroines

 

You may well be thinking I am being ridiculous, trying to whittle down the vast array of heroines into one measly “top ten” list. And you would be right, it is ridiculous. But let’s have a go anyway… I’ve tried to be unpredictable here and there… (in no order of importance)

  1. Jennifer Jones, Looking for JJ

This girl isn’t what you would call a conventional heroine. Basically she killed her friend when she was ten and we see her life six years later as she attempts to integrate back into society under a false identity. Needless to say things are not easy for Jennifer however I loved the way that even though she did this beyond horrible thing I still empathised with her. She actually seemed like quite a nice person.

 

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2. Minny Jackson, The Help

This is my favorite character in The Help. Every time she is on the page it glows with humour, passion, bravery and rebellion. She tells everyone how things are and makes no apologies for that. I wish she could be my BFF.

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3. Artemis, Greek Mythology

My favorite goddess by a country mile. She’s the best in all of mythology with a bow and arrow, she’s a full on virgin and only hangs out with other virgins, in woods, surrounded by deer. How cool is she? (P.S. there is no actual such thing a ‘full on virgin’).

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4. Elizabeth Bennett, Pride and Prejudice

The predictability of this choice makes it no less worthy, I tell thee! Elizabeth is sparky in all the right places. That sounds a bit rude but what I mean is she gives as good as she gets and can play verbal tennis with the best of them – all done politely of course – and she can win. She’s also a bookworm and writes fabulous letters.

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We weren’t as fat as we thought we were.

My friend and I talked the other day about how we used to feel about our own looks. We both realised we had the same experience when looking back at old photos of ourselves.

We weren’t as fat as we thought we were. Or as ugly, or as weird or as misshapen.

I looked back at photos of me as a baby and saw that I was actually quite cute rather than the pink blob I thought I had been. I looked at me as a toddler and saw that I was chubby yes, but not hideously overweight or anything. My outfits could’ve been better but it was the early eighties so not much legroom there.

My self image got worse as I got older until my teens years where I would literally cringe and worry about how I looked on a daily basis. I look back now and see that quite frankly for much of my teens I was bloody gorgeous.

How stange to think that the enjoyment of my own youthful beauty was clouded by a myriad of self negating thoughts. Where did I pick up those thoughts? Well I was my own worst enemy that’s for sure but I also listened too hard and too long to what others said about my body and my looks.

I distinctly remember being five years old at school and a girl turning around to me in a very matter of fact way and announcing:

“You’re ugly.”

Oh, I had thought. Right.

I remember the sinking feeling in my stomach as I “realised” “the truth” of how “everyone” thought about me. Put briefly, that girl was a bitch.

Bitches exist, sometimes all too often in school, but those bitches although perhaps louder or more assertive than us are not necessarily right. In fact they are far from it.

I still to this day think negating thoughts about my body and my image but I try as well as I can to remember one thing.

One day I’m gong to look back and marvel at how blooming gorgeous I was.