Ep 184 How to launch your blog with your book in mind. Meet Nicole Alexander, author of ‘An Uncommon Woman’

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podcast-artworkIn Episode 184 of So you want to be a writer: Congratulations to both Anne Tonner and Shankari Chandran! Should you keep a reading journal? How to launch your blog with your book in mind. How to write a kick-ass Amazon bio. 10x double passes to Paris Can Wait up for grabs! Meet Nicole Alexander, author of An Uncommon Woman, and more!

Click play to listen to the podcast or find it on iTunes here. If you don’t use iTunes you can get the feed here, or listen to us on Stitcher radio.

Show Notes

Keeping A Reading Journal Will Change Your Life

How to Launch Your Blog With Your Book in Mind

How to Write a Kickass Amazon Bio to Sell More Books

Picture this: An interview with illustrator Giuseppe Poli

Writer in Residence

Nicole Alexander

Nicole’s novels, poetry, travel, creative writing and genealogy articles have been published in Australia, America, Singapore, New Zealand, Germany & Canada. Non-fiction works include a poetry collection Divertissements: Love. War. Society (2008) and she was invited to be a contributor to the National Breast Cancer Foundation anthology (2013) Dear Mum.

An in-demand speaker, Nicole’s past clients include; RaboBank, Landcare and The Community Mutual Group and she also conducts writing workshops. If you would like to discuss the possibility of engaging Nicole please send a query via the contact form on this website.

Nicole is a current judge of The Cowley Literary Award & The MacIntyre Young Writers award and is a past judge of the Elyne Mitchell Writing Awards.

Follow Nicole on Twitter 

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WIN: 10 double passes to new film “Paris Can Wait”!

Your hosts

Allison Tait

Valerie Khoo / Australian Writers’ Centre

Connect with us on twitter

@altait

@valeriekhoo

Email us

podcast at writerscentre.com.au

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Interview Transcript 

Allison

Nicole Alexander is the bestselling author of seven Australian fiction novels. The Bark Cutters, A Changing Land, Absolution Creek, Sunset Ridge, The Great Plains, Wildlands and River Run. Her first novel, The Bark Cutters, remains the highest selling debut novel in the rural literature genre, and was shortlisted for an Australian Book Industry Award in 2011. Her latest novel, her eighth book in eight years, An Uncommon Woman, is released this month. So welcome to the program Nicole.

Nicole

Thank you for having me, Allison.

Allison

All right, so we’re going to go all the way back to the beginning. We’re going to cast our minds back eight years, and we’re going to talk about how did The Bark Cutters come to be published. How did you get to that point?

Nicole

Well, I’d been writing for about twenty years prior to that.

Allison

Oh, just the twenty?

Nicole

Just the twenty.

Allison

Just the twenty.

Nicole

Working fulltime, and dabbling on the side. Poetry, and short stories, travel articles, newspaper articles, that type of thing. I’m originally from rural NSW, northern NSW. And I decided to go home for a 12-month sabbatical. That was 22 years ago. I returned back from Singapore having worked over there. And I thought I’d try my hand at a full-length piece of fiction. It actually took me about seven years to write, because I was working fulltime. I decided to do a Masters in literature, I published some poetry, which was great. So when I finally finished it, I was like, what am I going to do with this thing that I’ve created? So I had an agent, and I sent it off to her. And she said, “I will look at it Nicole, but everybody wants to be a writer of novels.” And I said, “No, I realise that, but if you could just read it and give me feedback.” And she said, “Yes, absolutely.” So she did, and she said, “Oh, I really like it.” And I thought, oh she sounds very surprised.

Allison

Which is just what your agent to sound like, isn’t it?

Nicole

Absolutely.

Allison

Done all right at this.

Nicole

Yeah, it’s not bad. So she sent it off and it went to three publishing houses. And Random House, or Penguin Random House as they’re known now, they offered me a contract three months later.

Allison

Well, that’s exciting. But I’m interested in this process, like when people say it took me seven years to write. Now, as you were saying, you were working fulltime and you were doing other things. Was it seven years to write it, to get it to a draft that you were happy with? Were you writing bits, putting it away, getting it out? It wasn’t seven years to do a first draft, was it?

Nicole

No. It was probably seven years to do probably about five or six drafts. My problem was that I decided to write something which, as the publisher said to me, isn’t something that a first-time author usually picks up on, which is an interweaving historical novel that follows the lives of four generations of a pastoral family.

Allison

Let’s make this as difficult as possible for our first novel, you thought to yourself, didn’t you?

Nicole

Yeah, pretty much. But then when I started writing it, I just couldn’t find my voice. I just didn’t know how to tackle the subject. I wanted to put in all this wonderful history, but I wanted to have the contemporary elements so the reader could see the parallels but also the pitfalls of being in that type of family, and that emotional angst and love of land and problems within rural families that then comes down through the ages.

And I think that’s why it took me so long. Because I’m from a family like that. And I think I was very much aware of I don’t want to tread on anyone’s toes. I really don’t want someone to read this and say, wow, is she writing about her own family? So I was very conscious of those issues when I started constructing the work.

And then of course, I hadn’t actually done a writing course. I had been doing all these other things and I’d been published and that was wonderful, but actually trying your hand at a full-length piece of fiction is extraordinarily difficult, as everyone knows. It’s really, really hard. And it was a task that I probably wasn’t equipped to handle at the very beginning. But at the end of those eight years, redrafting and refining and trying to get the voice right, then I was comfortable to send it out. And that’s why it took so long. But it was a lot of angst getting it there.

Allison

I can imagine it would have been. Because your books are very interesting because they do swing between that contemporary rural story and historic fiction. Like, as you say, you have the interweaving. And to attempt four narrative voices and all of that going on in your first novel is a fairly big ask when you’re learning how you write the novel as well.

Nicole

Absolutely. Absolutely.

Allison

So did you settle into that rural literature area, was it just that you wanted to write the kind of story that you had, not exactly lived, but lived with, so to speak? Like what you saw? Was it you working through the stuff that you not necessarily had experienced, but that you had experience of, if you know what I mean?

Nicole

I think it’s a combination of all those things. They say with a first-time author that you should probably write what you know. Which always intrigues me, you know, if you’re a criminal or something like that and you end up having a bestseller. Or a crime writer, or whatever.

But for me it was like, I had been living in Singapore for three years before I returned home to the country. So I had gone from this really built up totally 100% concrete jungle and had been heavily involved in marketing capacity with organisations and doing a lot of travelling. And then to make that decision to come back to the country was like – wham! I’ve missed this. I don’t miss the corporate world. I really enjoy working in the family business and being involved in a business that has a lot of history attached to it.

So when I thought about writing a piece of fiction, it literally was, okay, this is what I know, this is what I love. Let’s try and write something that’s set in the bush. So I guess from that point of view I did try and emulate to a certain extent my own experiences and my family’s experiences on the land, as far as taking that four generations on one property, all the ancestors that have been there, my great-grandfather is buried on one of our properties so I could relate to that land tenure and that emotional attachment.

What I didn’t expect, because I had no knowledge of it at the time, was that I would be lumped within the rural literature category. Now my books, because my later ones, they’re still historical and they’re set in rural Australia, but now they’re classed more as women’s fiction, because I guess I’ve, hopefully, and hopefully it’s happened to me, I’ve grown as a writer. So I’m trying to develop my own little niche in the marketplace.

But that’s how The Bark Cutters first came into being. And that’s how I was landed with the rural literature genre.

Allison

Okay, so tell us about your latest book which is… Look at me, I can’t even speak. An Uncommon Woman. Not easy to say fast, just quietly. How has your process as a writer changed now in the writing of that book, compared to say your first book eight years ago?

Nicole

Well, I think by the time I got to the third and fourth book, that’s when there was that big upsurge in rural literature, and the publishers were just bringing on a lot of authors who could write about the land. And I saw the genre as being very crowded.

And the other thing was I’d never written romance in my works, so they’d always been straight fiction. But because booksellers, publishers etc, they have to be able to pigeon hole you in order to sell you, to market you, etc. So I was always lumped under that rural romance category as well. And I thought, well, that’s not my interest. I haven’t been writing that. I had been writing very much about pastoral Australia. So I’d prefer to go down the line of historical pastoral Australia, basically.

And so that’s moved me away from the interweaving narrative with the contemporary bits added in. And I think it makes for a stronger work. So I think it was probably with my fourth book, Sunset Ridge, I started to move away from the contemporary issues, as well.

And I think it makes, from my point of view, I enjoy doing the research, and I love writing about pastoral Australia, because our history is so much more than just convicts and the military and early settlement, etc. I’ve written about that as well, with Wild Lands, but I really enjoy writing that pastoral history, at the risk of repeating myself. And I think my works just naturally have followed that line of traction, to a certain extent.

So now it’s a case of, wow, what’s a great period in Australian pastoral history? What can I write about, or what can I research that’s going to give me a great narrative that’s going to really drive characters forward, to a certain extent.

Allison

Well, that’s an interesting question, because I was going to ask you that question. Do you just choose a period that looks interesting and start researching until you come up with a story? Or have you already spotted some detail somewhere along the way that you then can weave a story around? For example, with your latest book An Uncommon Woman (she says very slowly), how did you, was that a case of you just stumbling across an interesting period? Or how did that work?

Nicole

Well, one of the themes that I like to use in my works is man versus nature. It’s one of those great literary themes. And I’m a great fan of Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. So I’m always looking for that struggle between man and nature. And so with An Uncommon Woman I already knew that I wanted to have a novel that as part of the backstory to a certain extent was about this prickly pear invasion, which is a noxious weed that invaded southern Queensland and northern New South Wales. And it engulfed hundreds of thousands of acres of land in the late 1800s through to about the 1940s. And it’s still very prevalent in some areas. And it ruined a lot of pastoral land.

So I thought, wow, we have this fight between man and trying to eradicate this weed. Now, what’s a good period to set it in? And I decided to choose 1929, just before the stock market crash in New York, which then leads into recession and then depression in Australia. Because I have stories in my own family about those years, including fighting this noxious weed, and what it was like in the bush in the late 20s and the 30s and the 40s. So I had that as a rough idea.

So sometimes I choose a period, sometimes it’s an actual event. And I think, yes, I’m going to work with that. Sometimes it’s a story that I picked up from my father. A lot of my works have something in there that my father has told me about. Unfortunately, he passed away two months ago. But I’m very fortunate that I’ve had ample time to have talked with him in the past and to note a lot of things down. And we actually have quite a large archive as well, with our rural holdings. So I can go back through diaries and check weather conditions and grass conditions. And if it was drought or if it was raining, and that type of thing.

Allison

Wow, that’s an amazing resource to have, isn’t it?

Nicole

I’m really, really fortunate. And you know, some of them aren’t in very good repair. And a lot of it is, some of it is just word of mouth that’s just been handed down and written down, as well. So you have to take all of that with a grain of salt, because of course oral history is dependent on people’s recall, as you know. So you can never be assured that what you’re hearing is 100%. But if you delve through books, go through Trove, go through the digital archives, you can usually find something to back it up to a certain extent. So I’ve been lucky in that regard.

But with An Uncommon Woman, I was actually just doing a general search through Trove, just pastoral search for 1929 to 1933. And I found this newspaper article, and it was in the Tasmanian Examiner, and it was, I think, the early half of 1933. And it was a headline that said that a woman had purchased her own pastoral station in Queensland. And I thought, how extraordinary, that a woman buying a parcel of land – granted, it’s a pastoral station in Queensland, it’s not a small plot – should be noted in a newspaper in the Tasmanian Examiner. And it turns out that it was actually in a number of newspapers at that time. Because it was a reasonably rare event. So that gave me, I suppose you’d have to say, the premise for the novel.

Allison

Isn’t that fascinating. But I think if I was to go down that road, if I was to start researching something, I don’t think I’d ever come back. I think I would probably disappear into Trove and never be seen again. Because I think that that sort of stuff is so fascinating. I mean, how do you know when you’ve done enough research? How do you know that you’re ready to go?

Nicole

Well, once I had that, I’d already been reading, and I always read quite widely on the period I’m going to write about, so I’ll read about the 20s and the 30s. So I read fiction and non-fiction. So non-fiction so I have a great sort of general view of the history, of the period. And then fiction, from if it’s possible, from works of that period. So I can get an idea of voice, of attitudes, dress. And it’s quite fascinating when you compare works of fiction from a particular period to checking against non-fiction as far as fact checking, how spot on it invariably is.

So once I’ve done that, and then I’ve found my little pearl that tells me what I’m going to write about, so in this case the newspaper article, I know where it’s going to be set, which is Queensland. I know it’s got to be in a fairly remote pastoral area. I then start writing. So once I start writing, I only check for factual details when required, because otherwise my head would be in a bucket and I would never escape. I would be a wormhole, and I would be in there for my life.

Allison

That is hilarious. I can just see you there with your head in a bucket. So you say that you get those details and then you start writing. So now my next question has to be, have you plotted out a story? Or do you just sort of… At what point does the character come to life for you?

Nicole

Um… I usually write the first chapter, and then I know that that’s probably not going to be the first chapter. So I might write the second and third chapter before, it takes a little while to come to grips with the character, with the points of view. And I’ve done all my, unfortunately, the groundhog work of the writer, as you know, is you’ve got to do all this CSI profiling. Who your character is, what their background is, what their likes are, what their dislikes are, what their parents were like, what their grandparents were like. So you get a fully rounded character, basically. You’re not going to use two-thirds of that work, but you need it so your character is authentic. So that’s I guess very much part of me doing that before I start to begin.

Do I plot? I might do a little bit. I tend to wait and see how the characters start to grow, and then when I’m about a third of the way through the book, I have a better idea of how it’s going to pan out. I’m not a great plotter. The reason being is that when I’ve done that in the past, and then my character decides to go in a different direction, and I say to myself, that character would actually be better going over there, but I can’t do that now because this is the end result and I’ve set up everything else underneath to go in this direction. So that’s why I don’t plot as finely as probably some other writers do.

The other thing is, is that I’m on a book a year contract. So I effectively have about seven or eight months to write a minimum of about 130,000 words. And I do have a day job, like most writers. So I’m very aware of, okay, let’s do it quickly and efficiently and we’ll start writing and if it all falls to pieces, that’s fine. If I overwrite, I can delete. If it needs to be padded out, I can do that towards the end.

And I’m usually making notes and I have my little hieroglyphics on the side as I’m writing, just to keep in check what I want each character to do. But I do let the characters sort of lead me. Because if they’re well-rounded and if you have a general idea of where the story is going, what you want to end result to be, what you want the reader to feel, the character should be able to lead you there without you plotting it down from A to Z.

Allison

Okay, so let’s just have a little chat about the eight books in eight years, book a year kind of timeframe that you’ve got going on there. Because you are doing, there’s a lot of historical detail, you’re doing quite a bit of research. How does the year break down for you? How long does it actually take to draft the thing out and get yourself into a position where you’ve actually managed to write around 130,000 words?

Nicole

Okay. So my submission date is usually towards the end of January, for manuscript submission to Penguin Random House. So then I usually pass out for about three and a half weeks. I regroup and have a month where I’m not doing any writing at all. And then invariably the edits are coming back from the book that’s just been submitted for me to go through. And I’ve got to start thinking about the next one. So this is a very common thing when you’re on a regular contract, this juggling of past present and future, all the time.

So I guess I really don’t start to write in earnest until about May. And it would probably take me all of May to write a very measly five or six thousand words. And I would have a lot of printing out, reading it, and screwing it up and putting it in the wastepaper bin. By June, by the end of June, I should have about 20,000 words done. And then after that, I just have to do 5,000 words a week.

Allison

Right.

Nicole

So, previously I tried to fit things around work, my day job and whatever else. And it’s very much a case that if you write… It’s hard to get a contract in Australian publishing. And to stay published and to stay fresh and to ensure that your followers still enjoy your work. So one of my greatest things was that if I had a week off and I was doing my day job and I went back to writing, I’d then have to spend two days re-reading everything I’d done the week prior to remind myself of where I was up to.

So the most efficient way of getting through the work was simply to do something every day. So it doesn’t matter if I only get 400 words down on the page, at least the work is present, it’s present in my mind, if you know what I mean. And I’m not continually having to go back and double check things, which is how I worked in the early days. Because I’d be like, oh this is fine. I can go away and do my other work for a week or ten days and come back to it. No. I’m someone it’s got to be percolating in my head all the time.

Because we all know that when you’re a writer you’re closing the door, it’s a solitary profession, it’s an imagined world that you’re creating. And for you to create that imagined world, you so have to be immediately in that world yourself. So that’s the only way that I can one, get the work done in a timely manner, even though it’s hard yards. I made the choice that there were certain things I would have to give up, like Sunday morning sleep-ins, and some social functions, and yes, I would have to work at night sometimes. And it wasn’t going to work for the majority of people in my life all the time. But I think that’s one of the things that you have to give up when you’re creative, unfortunately. You have to make choices.

So that’s basically how I do it. It’s just, yes, this week I have to do 5,000 words. And if it means that you can’t go out this weekend, Nicole, well you can’t.

Allison

You make the choice.

Nicole

Yeah. You make the choice to be published and hopefully to have people appreciate what you’re trying to do. They mightn’t necessarily like what you do, but the fact that Australia is a democracy and we can pretty much publish what we like anyway, we should all be blessed in the first place. Because there’s a lot of places, as we know, across the world where you can’t.

Allison

Yes.

Nicole

So from that point of view, for me it’s very much, I’m very, very disciplined in that regard.

Allison

All right. So the other thing that’s very important in your novels, and you talked about being in the world and being present in the world, is the setting. Because the sense of places is clearly very, like, your love of rural Australia and the pastoral world comes through in your work. What tools do you use to build that sense of place? Are you consciously trying to evoke that? Or how do you create it, I guess, is the question. Because I know that a lot of people struggle with that sense of place in their work.

Nicole

Okay. What I do is a step into, literally, the shoes of my character. And wherever they are, if they’re in a main street or if they’re in the country. But I just step into their shoes and I see what they see. And then I see if it’s a rural environment, I’m fortunate that I’m able to look at the land around me and breathe it, touch it, feel it. I know what it is, I know what the world is that I’m creating. So I know what that character is feeling.

Now, the difference is when you’re writing historical works, is that character is going to think slightly different compared to a contemporary character. Because they’re moulded by a whole set of different circumstances, beliefs, backgrounds, economies, you know, etc. So that’s probably the main thing with historical stuff, is that you have to think the way that character would think in that day and age when he or she are perceiving the environment around them.

And it’s the detail for me. So if you want, if you’re a writer and you’re trying to get a sense of place, look deeply at what you’re trying to write about. Are you writing about someone sitting underneath a tree? Go out and touch a tree, feel the tree. Sit under a tree for an hour and watch the way the wind moves the leaves. Understand how nature is at work in your environment.

Similarly, if the scene is perhaps in a built-up area, if it’s in a more urban spot, well then try and see how that feels. Is it cold? Are you standing in the shadows under an awning? Is wind blowing? Is the wind not blowing? Are there leaves? Where do the leaves come from? There might be a park nearby.

So it’s a little bit like when you’re doing your background research on your characters, you also have to do the research on your environment as well. And then I think you have to write it. Write it as if it’s a living, breathing thing. Because the environment, if you think of it as a person, your environment is filled with energy regardless of whether it be city or country. So if you think of it as a living entity, I think you’ll find it’s then easier to write about.

Allison

That’s great advice. So you’re almost, you’re basically looking at it, you’re treating like it’s another character within your work.

Nicole

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I should have just said that, Allison!

Allison

No, I liked the way you said it better. Because I just gave the broad-brush approach, whereas you gave us the details, which is why your sense of place comes through so beautifully. See? That’s how it works, right there. Demonstrated. We’re showing not telling. Now, you mentioned that you have a fulltime job. So you’re running the family business, basically, are you? Is that your day job?

Nicole

So for my day job, I’m business manager for the properties. So we actually downsized about 18 months ago with my parents’ retirement. And they moved in to Moree. So previously we were about 120 kilometres northwest of Moree. And so, yes, and as I mentioned earlier unfortunately my father passed away a couple of months ago. So we still have some of our properties out there. But I’m now based in Moree. So I’m literally commuting. So it’s a 220-kilometre roundtrip commute to get out there for work.

 

Allison

Wow.

Nicole

So yeah, life has changed quite substantially. But yes, that’s my day job.

Allison

All right. So how do you, you’re managing with that, the commute, all of the different things that you’re doing there, how are you managing the demands? Because an author’s life, you talked about the fact that you’ve essentially got a year to produce a book, but you’ve also got to promote a book within all that as well, and you’re researching other books, you’re editing other books. You have a lot of demands on your time, not just for writing. So what does a typical day look like for you? You do speaking work, you’re judging literary competitions. How do you fit it all in?

Nicole

Okay. The short answer is with great difficulty, I suppose.

Allison

Yes. I can imagine.

Nicole

But most of the time, it’s very much a case of, okay, when I’m promoting a new book I just block out time. And all my previous books, most of them have come out in September. This one is coming out now because we just rejigged my contract, and with my father’s passing etc, I won’t actually have another book coming out until 2019 now. Because there’s just a lot of paperwork and different family things to attend to. So for the first time, I’m having a little bit of a break. But I’ll still have to start writing at the end of this year. But normally I would block out time.

So in the past I’ve done some very big tours. I’ve done four-state tours, on the road for four weeks, etc. This year I’m only doing a week, and I’m only going to western Queensland. Most of my publicity is going to be interviews over the phone, etc, print, radio, etc, and kind people such as yourself who are willing to hear me ramble on.

Allison

Loving hearing you ramble on, let’s face it.

Nicole

So, yeah. It’s what I can fit in, what I can do. My publicist, she’s great. She just says to me, Nicole, I’ll just tee everybody up and everyone will come back to you with a couple of times and we’ll just go from there. But we do have reasonable mobile reception out on the property, so I have walked out of the cattle yards and done an interview on numerous occasions.

Allison

I love it.

Nicole

Get in the car and drive away so we can’t hear the cows mooing in the background. But yeah, the time management thing is something, it’s very difficult for anybody, I think, to fit it all in. For me, it’s just blocking out time. And I guess now we have a new manager working on our properties now. Which means, hopefully once things settle down a little bit, and with me being based in Moree now, I’ll only have to go out two or three days a week. So that will hopefully free me up.

But if it doesn’t, well then I’d be taking the view, okay, you have to write four days a week. So that would effectively mean I don’t have a weekend. Yep.

Allison

So you’re basically applying the same discipline that you apply to writing to everything else?

Nicole

Yeah, to a certain extent. Just to try and get it all done. And I think probably I’ve taken too much on my plate, which is why earlier this year I decided to just have a short break. And I’m very grateful that the publishers decided to go along with me, to a certain extent. Because yes, it does get to the point, eight books, eight years, working fulltime, it’s got to stop sometime.

Allison

I feel like you need a lie down, frankly.

Nicole

Yeah, I probably do. That’s right. And a Bex. Wasn’t that the old saying?

Allison

A Bex and a good lie down. Sounds like a plan. Do you do a lot in the way of maintaining an online profile? Are you doing any sort of, do you keep social media going? Or anything like that?

Nicole

Yeah, Facebook is my main thing. And I think because that was the thing that I started with earlier in the day, when I first started, the novels started being published. And the publisher suggested, yes, go with Facebook. Because eight years ago, eight and a half years ago, Facebook was the big thing. So that’s been quite a good medium for me. I blog on that.

Allison

Oh, you blog there? So are you just Nicole Alexander on Facebook?

Nicole

Yeah. Just Nicole Alexander.

Allison

All right, so I’ll put a link in the shownotes so people can find you and follow you. So Facebook is where you do most of your activity, though?

Nicole

Yeah, most activity. And I’m on Twitter, and I put some things up on that. Instagram I’m not so good at, and I only came to Instagram last year. Apparently, I’m a very naughty girl because I wasn’t more enthusiastic about Instagram. But it’s like, how long is a piece of string? And I think for me, my followers like Facebook, they like the blogs, they like the rural pictures. They like anything to do with tours. So it’s just a better medium for me. It’s easier to a certain extent.

Allison

Well, I think it’s the thing that, we talk often about finding the thing you’re comfortable with and doing that. Because I think if you try and do all of the things, you can get yourself all tied up in knots. But if you do the thing that you like, then you’re much more likely to maintain it, aren’t you?

Nicole

I think that’s exactly right. And I know I’ve had discussions with Penguin Random House marketing about being on Pinterest and this and that and whatever. And it’s, frankly, I don’t have the time to do it all.

Allison

No, you don’t!

Nicole

No one does. And for me, it’s just like, as you say, choose one. That worked. Could I be doing more? Everyone could do more. Does it matter in the scheme of things? It may or it may not. At the end of the day, you’ve got to have a good product. So I can do as much social media as I like, but if the product isn’t good, it doesn’t matter.

Allison

No, that’s very, very true. And just to wrap up for today, because clearly you have a thousand things to do in your busy day, what are your three top tips for writers, for aspiring authors?

Nicole

Perseverance would be number one. Because it’s very much about redrafting and redrafting and redrafting. Number two, writing courses are great. I do thoroughly recommend them. I don’t think you need to do more than about three or four. Because at some stage you really just have to put your backside in the chair and write.

Allison

Very true.

Nicole

That’s what it’s all about. Just doing the work. And lastly, because I think it is a rather hard profession, and people can get disillusioned very, very quickly, I think – and this is good for life in general anyway – you have to be kind to yourself. Nothing happens overnight. If you’re passionate about it, the result will be there for you. But it is that old story, everyone says, wow, life’s a journey, it’s the road, it’s not the end result. Well, writing is very much about that journey. So be kind to yourself along the way.

Allison

That’s fantastic advice. Thank you so much, Nicole. And thank you very much for talking to us today. I think it’s been really interesting, and I hope that our listeners have gained as much from the conversation as I have. Best of luck with your new novel, which I think sounds amazing. I’ll put a link in the shownotes to your website, so everyone can have a look at that. It’s just nicolealexander.com.au, is that correct?

Nicole

Yes, that’s correct.

Allison

Excellent. Okay, so check it out people, if you have a chance. And thanks very much, Nicole, and best of luck.

Nicole

Thank you so much, Allison.

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