Oh my goodness! I have a publisher!

Well… it’s been a while since I blogged.  there’s a good reason – I’ve been busy writing.  And not just games either… since the attending the writers retreat in January I’ve been finishing off my novel.

This isn’t my first novel.  I’ve been writing books since I was 14, but it IS the first novel that’s been accepted by a publisher, so it calls for a celebration!

Come 2017 – sooner if I crack on with the edits – The Impossible Suspect – will be digitally published by Endeavour Press, and will be available on Amazon as a kindle or print on demand book.

I’m not expecting this will radically change my life.  If it earns £100 in a year that will be a monumental sum, but it is the first rung on the ladder towards being a recognised “writer”, and I’m hopeful my second or third book may finally net me an agent and a mainstream publisher.

So right now, I’m editing… they felt it had too many ? marks and it seems my ending was a little abrupt so they’ve asked me to slow it down.  I suppose the difficulty there is I’m used to writing for interactive theatre productions and the solution shouldn’t last more than 3 minutes as everyone wants to find out if they were right and get back to drinking.  I’m guessing writing “READ MORE SLOWLY FROM HERE” isn’t a suitable addition to the manuscript, so it make take me a little while to get that ending polished to the level they want – so wish me luck – I have a deadline of the 30th November… but with so much work on at RHG at the moment, I need to get it finished much much sooner… not least because I’m off to Egypt in November to run a murder mystery evening I’ve yet to write!  Eeek!

Periscope – how to make the best of it.

GeographyPeriscope seems to be the “next thing” when it comes to social media, and there’s a whole raft of people joining Periscope every day.

At the moment, the people who seem to know how to use it best are all the social media experts and SM entrepreneurs – but it’s not as hard to get your head around scoping as it might seem.

So… because there is nothing more dull than watching persicope on replay to find out where you are going wrong or what you need to do, I thought I’d offer a few tips of my own.  I’ve been using Periscope around a month now, and while there are no real “no nos” there are some really good tips to make the most of it for you and your business.

DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME!

Periscope can easily become yet another time waster.  Unlike Twitter or Facebook, it’s really easy to get sucked into conversations and watching videos with periscope and soon your whole day is gone!  Let’s face it, we live in a world of TV addicts, and turn on a flickering screen anywhere in the room and you’re naturally drawn to it!

Don’t make the same mistake with Periscope.

The first thing you should do when creating your periscope account is SWITCH OFF your notifications!  All of them!  It’ll save you getting suckered into watching things when you’re not free.

FIND WHO IS ON WHEN YOU ARE

Secondly you’re home screen will be devoid of video streams initially.  So it’s tempting to jump straight on the web feeds and watch whoever’s there.  So the first thing you need to do is identify the people you’d most like to see on periscope and follow them so they’re always on your home stream section.

Because of the connection between twitter and persicope this makes this process much easier.  You can search for “scopers” and click on the people on twitter you most interact with usually.  Let’s face it, you’re usually on social media with these buddies anyway, you may as well grow the friendship.

Then watch what happens.

Like all Social media you’ll be allocating certain times to it.  So when you start finding people who are live at the same time as you, then follow the people interacting with them on their scopes (You just click their avatar as they comment and then hit follow).  This will give you a raft of people who are a) interacting with the same people you like to watch (similar interests as you) and b) ON periscope the same time as you and are therefore likely to be available to watch your broadcast when you decide to go live.

BROADCASTING TIPS

1. Don’t Dive in just yet:

Don’t scope immediately, tempting though it may be.  Rather, watch others for a few weeks.  This will give you ideas and you’ll find out a lot, and not only that, if you’re commenting on other’s feeds (strongly encouraged!) then other people will be following you back during this warm up time and will be ready to hear from you when you broadcast.

Your first scope on Periscope is dropped into all the Periscope users feeds, so don’t miss out on that opportunity to make your scope “the best.”

2. Block spammers pre-emptively

This warm up “lurk time” gives you the chance to start blocking the users who are throwing out spam and troll-like comments and “hitting on” people.  As these comments crop up in the scopes you watch, click on that user and block them.  It’s a preemptive strike.  You don’t want them harassing you on your feed!

3. Turn your location settings off.

This also prevents spammers joining you.  I’m not sure why, but it does.  Apparently they sit on the “map” section and jump in on people who are broadcasting their location more than those who aren’t

4. Get a good intro image

The first 2 seconds of your scope will be the image that periscope uses for your video.  SO… make sure you have the camera facing something interesting/pretty and not you pulling a face.  Also,… remember the camera is vertical NOT horisontal.  When you’re setting up to broadcast, it’s easy to forget that as the lower half of your screen is often covered by persicope informaton.  Make sure your camera screen is completely full of something.

You can simply use coloured card, or if stuck, put your finger over the camera lens for the first few seconds so it’s a black or red image that displays.  it looks better.

5.  Don’t start talking immediately.

Persicope cuts the first few and last few seconds of your scope.  It’s a time lag thing.  So start talking after 2 seconds and welcome people then.

6. Ask for questions or feedback, and respond to your comments

Periscope is all about the interaction.  People stay when they think they are being heard.  So respond to people.  Ask simple questions like “Where are you scoping from?”  “What do you do?” to prompt some interaction, and then reply to the comments as they come in. (Blocking spammers as you broadcast).

7. Scope when you’re free

It doesn’t seem to matter where you are or what you are talking about.  I’ve had more people chatting to me while I’m peeling potatoes for tea, than when I sit in the office deciding to show everyone what I do.  Just broadcast when you’re free.  Tell people something interesting and see what comes up in the comments and chat about stuff that your viewers that day want to know.  You rarely stay on topic if you’re scoping well.

8. Don’t be rude

It’s social media.  This means EVERYONE can see it.  Which means your potential next client will see you.  Don’t say anything you will be ashamed of later.

FOLLOWING UP

Katch.me is an essential tool for periscopers.  It enables you to link users who’ve interacted with you on the scope with users on Twitter instantly.

As with any networking, the sales are in the follow up – so follow up.

It’s going to be rare that someone watching your periscope live will immediately go and buy what you sell, but they may know someone who will.  So treat them well, they are your referral sources.  You build up that “know, like and trust” thing with your viewers, they will put work your way eventually.  Don’t alienate people and don’t make them hate you.

ETIQUETTE

1. Comment

Don’t watch in silence.  At least hop onto the comments once and say “Hi”.  It makes all the difference.

2. Send hearts for good content

Viewers can send hearts to support the broadcaster by tapping the screen.  The broadcaster can then look back and see just how many hearts you’ve given them.  Give loads.

3. Don’t be rude!

So many times I see people bad mouthing people on social media. You are making yourself unsellable.  There are many people who will not be getting business from me because I neither like them nor trust them because of things they’ve said to others on social media.  Even if a particular stream of diatribe is not aimed specifically at me… who’s to say the next won’t be?

Whoever treats social media like a playground is just plain stupid!  Playground behaviour, bullying other users etc will get you nowhere in business.  If something offends you, just ignore it and don’t watch them again, or block the poster from your feed.  Say nothing else.

DON’T DO THE SAME!

I think it’s a huge mistake to assume Periscope is simply a live You Tube, equally it’s not a TV advertisement.

There are a lot of people adding periscope’s to You Tube, who fail to recognise that the media is completely different.  If you scope something you think might be useful to a wider audience, why not record yourself on a webcam and do a proper You Tube video without distractions or breaks as you respond to users comments?

Periscope’s best feature is it’s interactive nature.  You Tube’s best feature is it’s uncluttered information.  Don’t mix the two if you can avoid it.  if you want to direct people to your replays, that’s where Katch comes in handy.  That’s a collection of your periscope videos, which shows all the comments and hearts, and like You Tube, totally free to use.

Also – don’t forget to adjust your periscope bio.  It’s a different media, so your periscope Bio will need to reflect that.  People connect with people they feel they have some commonality with, so don’t be afraid to “tag yourself” and place yourself into boxes.  Who are you, should be able to be summed up by a few distinct phrases e.g. Mum, chef, entrepreneur.  Use those for Perscope as it gives viewers a hint as to who you are and whether they want to connect with you.  Also it’ll mean you connect with more like minded individuals.

 

IT’S NOT ABOUT QUANTITY IT’S ABOUT QUALITY

Don’t jump on the band wagon and feel the need to get LOADS of followers.  You don’t need loads of followers, you need interaction.

Just the same way as your mailing list could be 27,000 individuals, if you only get 200 people who open your newsletters, then effectively you are only reaching 200 people at a time.  Why not shrink down your mailing list to those 200 and give them more targeted content?

Chasing followers will a) lead you to attract spammers and b) make you look needy and c) you could end up with a periscope comment stream you can’t handle effectively thereby reaching no one well.

Value every connection you make.  Don’t ask them to “swipe and share”.  Make THEM feel important as they’ve joined you.  You want to speak to them, not people they might invite.  If they like your content, they might well suggest other people hop onto your live broadcast, and you can thank them for that, but don’t go out of your way to ask for it.  Equally, don’t ask for hearts.  They’ll give them if they like what you say.

Create quality broadcasts, to a select few individuals and you’ll grow some great referral sources, not just random followers.

Busy year!

Forget busy week, this has been a truly astoundingly busy year.

And because I can never remember the log in codes for my personal blog, it’s been sadly devoid of regular content.  That might change.  Because as you can tell… I’ve found out what they were!!  Sometimes you just need to be in a different location for them to come back to you.  Me?  It’s the office.  Which means… while I type, I really should be hard at work grafting.

I wish you could see me now.  I’m surrounded by boxes.  We’re just about to hit peak seasonal sales with the website, and wholesale orders are dribbling in regularly which is why the office is awash with cardboard.

For those of you who follow me on Periscope you’ll have seen me shrink wrapping on a near daily basis recently. (I’ve just newly made it on this year I’m @redherringgames on there if you wanted to find me.) Even though I’m the MD of the firm, I’m still the one nominated to do the most boring job in the office because… you guessed it… I’m the best at it.  Yeah right.  It’s a job no one else likes.  Which means muggins here has to do it.

Fortunately I’ve just finished a slew of custom written murders, so have the time to stand there while the machine vooms hot air all around me to my intense boredom.

The most exciting custom game this year has been the murder mystery for the International Agatha Christie Festival – which will get it’s first airing on the 18th September.  Details available directly on their website.

However, that’s not the main reason I’ve made it onto the blog at last.  Rather I wanted to tell you that I’ve finally finished the first draft of “The baby the Dog and Irene” which has been in development for over a year now and am back into re-editing.

Being me… I’ve sent the first re-edited three chapters off to an agent while I’m working on the rest, just to see what they say.  As a member of the International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, I’m hoping it’ll get more of a look in than the usual unsolicited manuscript… so watch this space.

As well as finishing off a novel, I’ve also made it onto Amazon Create Space and self-published a short mini guide on how to write murder mystery games.  Details of that are below.

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50 shades of crazy

handcuffsCall me mad… but working in an office of women in business. Women who have worked hard to get to where they are, to have men accept them as equals and treat them with respect, I find the whole media hype about a sadomasochistic male slightly against my feminist principles.

Not that I’m saying I’m a feminist. Those who know me will know, that I’m one of those women who likes to fuss around their man a little, get a meal on the table, bake cakes, act the perfect hostess. But you can be a feminist without losing your identity as a woman, talking with a gruff voice and “doing everything they can do better”. (Which we can by the way… but I don’t need to act all macho to prove that).

I put my hand up now and say I’ve not read the book. And there was some serious discussion in our office today between the girls who had, as to whether it was setting a good or a bad example for women.

The problem I always come back to is this… do we, as women, need to be subjugated to feel loved? Is it OK for a dominant male to whip their female companion because they feel like it? Should a woman crave that sort of behaviour and feel “left out” if it doesn’t occur?

Now – don’t get me wrong, I’ve watched plenty of hero movies and know there’s nothing quite like rescuing a damsel in distress to get your heart all a flutter, and I freely admitted I’d snog David Tennant as Doctor Who if I happened to be Billy Piper myself… but there’s a vast amount of difference between being “rescued” from a situation and being “subjugated” and placed in that situation by someone you supposedly love.

There has been a lot of media attention brought to bear on Barbie dolls, fashion icons and even mannequins in clothing stores not being representative of women. But for some reason 50 shades of grey seems to have slipped by everyone incognito.

HELLO!?

Hmmm… she might not be a supermodel or anything, and she might be someone we identify in that respect – but should we be encouraging women to place themselves in Mr Grey’s hands so willingly? Mr Grey, a self-proclaimed subjugator of women? Should we be wishing ourselves into those handcuffs?  Or our daughters?

Let’s face it, if it wasn’t erotic fiction, would we not be thinking of calling the police to rescue the poor girl? Send Mr Grey himself off for counselling?

I sell handcuffs at Red Herring Games (shameless plug there for those who REALLY need to get their hands on some), but would I want to wear them? Er… No! They’re uncomfortable, and there’s a reason we use them on criminals.

We have a whole generation of teenage girls out there, at that impressionable age. And they’re watching us all trooping off to the cinema to watch a man whip a woman to get a kick out of it. And this is fine with us? Is this the role model we want for our daughters? Would we be happy with our daughter’s marrying Mr Grey (ignoring his millions for a moment…)

On facebook at the moment, I see adverts for “renovating brats dolls” to make them less sexual, right beside trailers for “50 shades of grey”. Is it just me? Or has the female population suddenly developed double standards.

The BBC news is reporting that firefighters are concerned that the film will cause a “spike” in call outs to bound spouses unable to escape.   And they’ve even been issued with more equipment to cope with the extra call outs!

So… just one question for you. Would you rather have a man who loves you for who you are, treats you with respect and rescues you from peril? Or would you rather have a man who willingly locks you in a cage and cuffs you to a wall just to get off on you? Think hard people…

We women should be up in arms about the 50 Shades film – not flocking to it in our masses.

As for me.. No… I’ve not read the book. There are people all over the world trying to get out of abusive relationships just like this, and I’m not going to support its propagation.

Go on… tell me it’s a love story… fine. You can be loved that way if you want to be. Me? I’d rather have someone who loves me in my teddy bear pyjamas and finds me sexy in bed socks.

What Mumpreneurs do when they’re just being Mums!

The Rings

What is the difference between an entrepreneur and a mumpreneur?

Well, kids mainly, it has to be said!

Mumpreneurs work their business around their family, or sometimes their family around their business, dealing with the regular housework stuff of shopping, cleaning, cooking and laundry, the school runs, the “I’ve not got any socks” and “there’s a hole in my trousers” last minute panics, as well as the bed time stories, homework and “Can I have Giles for tea?”

 

 

Sherlock was an honoured guest

Needless to say this mumpreneur has been busy on all the above, as well as turning a national on-line retail business into an event management company and an international wholesaler!  Which means it’s left very little time for blogging, and I’m sorry, but blogging comes AFTER ‘preneuring and AFTER family!!

 However… I thought it would be fun to pop up on my blog something entirely non-work related for a change.  As this week, for the first week of our school holidays I took three days off and organised a teddy wedding!

Wedding Bells for Fluffy and Dog!

I say now… this wasn’t my idea.  My youngest was given another soft toy dog for his birthday and declared his regular night time dog (of the missing fame, for those who’ve been following me a while) needed to get married before he could sleep in the same bed as “Fluffy” the latest addition.  Living in sin wasn’t an option.  Believe me, I did ask…

Fluffy and her father all ready to go
Vicar Elephant
Elephant Usher helps Dog on with Hat
All the bridesmaids

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anyway, after a whirlwind romance and an incredibly short engagement, this week saw the conclusion of several weeks of planning (and some last minute panics as I suddenly found 3 bridesmaids had been added into the wedding party, not to mention 2 ushers and 2 pageboys, and of course a 3 tiered cake complete with gravy bones as pillars).

Cutting the cake

 

And so… July 22nd 2014 – I oversaw the marriage of 2 soft toys, complete with vicar-elephant and buffet reception, wedding photos and the throwing of the brides bouquet (and I apologize now to the poor mother affected by that!)

 

All the boys
A big hug for the cameras!
Getting some help from the Bridesmaids with her make up
You may now kiss the bride

 

However I can confirm, success was achieved, as after a day of wedding activities, Fluffy finally made it into bed with Dog that night!  My son spent all morning designing them a honey moon retreat in our loft, only to find at bed time he couldn’t be parted with Dog!  So he joined the honeymooning couple!

 

The next challenge is to find a few soft toy dogs small enough to be a litter of puppies, as apparently that’s next!

 

Exchanging rings
All the guests
Success! Dog and Fluffy together, forever