Thursday, 27 June 2013

Happy First Birthday To ME!... I mean To 100FD!

Happy Birthday to my blog,
Happy Birthday to my blog,
Happy Birthday dear 100 first drafts,
Happy Birthday to my blog

(just consider yourself lucky I didn't record it with audio!)

Welcome to the First Birthday Party of 100 First Drafts 

Why am I making such a big deal about this?

Because 97% of blogs fail. 

How does a blog fail? 

Well, the blogger just stops blogging. Whatever they hoped to achieve didn't happen, and they just stop writing. 

According to some not properly cited research from the web, most bloggers actually give up within the first 3 months. 

Further, most of the top bloggers say that it really takes a year before things start to take off. 

I survived three months, and now that I've hit the year, I'm planning how to take 100 FD further than every before. 

In the last year I've had: 
165 Posts. Surprisingly I have that much to say. 

12000 page views,  just on the 1,000 a month. According to more reliable web research, this is better than the majority of blogs out there, sad as that sounds.

And 45 faithful followers and currently 14 RSS subscribers. 

That might sound pretty lame to those who are aiming for the big time, but I have two reasons for listing it out.

1. I appreciate each and every one of my followers and subscribers. Thanks for sticking around for a year. 

2. I'm now a year old. In another year I'm going to look back and see exactly how far I've come. 

You can expect big things over the next year because 100 First Drafts is not going away!

Exciting News:

My exciting news, which is not yet totally confirmed but I can hint at: I'm getting out of full time work and going to be spending more time on my writing, my blogging, and developing The Buffy Group. 

Exciting, no? 

So happy birthday to my blog, and stick around for another year because there will be more great tips on how you can become a prolific writer. 



Tuesday, 25 June 2013

1 Year Birthday on Thursday!

The 27th of June, this Thursday, will be the first birthday of 100 First Drafts! (Pretty darn exciting, if I do say so myself.)

And I think it is time to celebrate!...



Hmm, see the problem? Like all birthdays, I just can't think of what to do. 

So, I'm asking you. What would you like to do to celebrate 100 FD's 1st birthday? 

A give away? 

A chance to post your own writing and read other people's?

A blog hop to all the different 100FD readers/bloggers out there? (that would be quite fun). 

A competition with cool prizes and fun writing challenges?

Best birthday cake recipe and taste testing? (okay, maybe virtual taste testing for most of you.)

Anything? Anyone? Be creative, give me some ideas!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

The End of ROW 80 Round 2

It is useful to have goals and deadlines. However, watching them flit past can arose some existential qualms in even the most placid of souls.

And, with the end of the second Round of Words in 80 Days for 2013, I wonder if I have let life pass me by. What have I been doing for the past 80 days, and was it really worth it?

At the beginning of the round I was excited about my new DSLR camera, and promised some video blogs. So at least on that I delivered (check out my YouTube Channel for a video review of Lite'n'Easy, or just some entertaining short videos of me fooling around while trying to record a thank.)

I also bravely promised that while working 5 days a week I would write a blog post or article every working day.

How has that gone for me?

Yeah, possibly not as well as imagined.

I also optimistically said I would read 1 book per fortnight.
I have gotten through a few books, which is great (jumping between non-fiction on running a business, and fiction just for fun). But I don't think it would equate to 1 per fortnight.

And so at this stage some people might despair and ask what was the meaning of life, were they really living, etc. etc.

Not me. Let's look at all the other things I've managed to accomplish:

Finished re-editing my Sally Hunt book to enter into a Christian Writing competition. Just last week I received the appraisal (do not yet know if I have been short listed). Just for my ego's sake I will point out some of my favourite bits:

'General comment from appraiser on characters: Very true to life and realistic' (why thank you).

And at the very end:
'Please give some thought to this as this is a really excellent, solid story which I personally think deserves publishing'.

However, she does then rip apart my editing, use of swear words (too many for a Christian market), and my ending (which was always going to be a bit controversial). But if I don't get short-listed, it has given me a very good idea of what I need to do in order to shape the book up. (Is very sad that you can read your own work again and again and still have some many errors, but that's what editors are for.)

I also managed to start my third blog,, though posting has been a bit lean.

Finally, I have managed to get my first TWO clients for the Buffy Group - Making Your Writing a Business. Yes, they are both related to me, one is my brother and the other is my aunt, but everyone must start somewhere! Also, it's been really great because they are forgiving as I adapt to their requirements and work out what needs to be done.

Having Dave and Louise pay me and actually want results has forced me to work out my procedures and services. It's also really testing me as to whether I can delivery what I say I can.

I've developed the business strategy further, and started the business bank account, brought on talented editors as freelancers, and am working with a graphic designer to do book covers.

So, we will just have to see where it all goes from here!

Bring on Round 3!

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

KOP: Guest Post - Blog Optimisation: Get Noticed

Today I've got a guest poster to give you some great tips for getting your blog noticed. 
I actually met Sean at the Word Writer's Getaway back in October 2012. His mother was just launching her first book, Motive Games (great read for young adults, and some not so young adults :D It won the 2011 Caleb award, the prize I'm trying to win this year). Sean and I got talking about blogs and he offered to help me out as I was building up 100 FD. So I can highly recommend him if anyone else is interested in fixing up their sites. 

Hope you enjoy this insider post:

Hey, my name is Sean and I'm a young Canadian living in New Zealand helping people get their projects the attention they deserve. I've never gone to school for graphics or web programming but have 3 years experience with new media and graphic design. I helped 100 First Drafts with some small little adjustments in November. I made some small adjustments that while subtle, make a difference.

Sharing and the desire to share is something that makes us human. Blogging is a very popular method of sharing. Search engine optimisation and web design are skills I use to help people share more effectively with their audience.

If you have a blog and want to share with people, here are three simple tips.
(More information can be found at MozBlog on increasing blog traffic and I recommend SEObook's blogger's guide for detailed SEO tips.) 

#1 Purple Cow
In Seth Godin's book Purple Cow he presents the idea that nobody notices a brown cow in a field but EVERYONE notices a purple one. Use your blog to do extreme, exaggerated or just plain whacky things. Why do political extremists have a larger following than those who are open to compromise and cooperation? It's because the extremists are more entertaining. Even if you do nothing to make your website more easily found by search engines, if your content stands out, your blog will stand out. Whether you're writing 100 first drafts in a set time frame or making a blog for your pet emu, remember the purple cow principle.

#2 Know your audience
If you are chasing the dream of going viral, or just want to quickly grow your subscriber base, the easiest way to do this is to share with people who also like to share. Sometimes changing up the medium is a great way to accomplish this. Do a video, or info graphic instead of just a bunch of text as these are easier to share.

A Blog's Target Audience
Image from

#3 Participate with your readers
Find where else your readers like to spend time on the web. They probably don't just read your blog but dozens of others. Try subscribing to other blogs and participating in online communities. If you don't know where your readers like to hang out, you can use a web-based tool like Google's DoubleClick Ad Planner to help. Once you know where your readers are, go and join them. Standard social etiquette applies of course. People hate and resent someone pushy with an agenda. A good rule is to contribute when it makes sense and build a reputation in the community as someone trustworthy and only recommend your blog at appropriate moments. If you annoy people here you can seriously hurt your reputation as a blogger.

If anyone is wanting some consulting or work done on their website or blog you can reach me at

Thanks Sean! Now I'm going to find me some cows to paint :D


Monday, 10 June 2013

Woodend Winter Arts Festival Review and ROW 80 Check In

I've just come back from a wonderful weekend staying with my parents who live in Woodend. Woodend is a wonderful little town just an hour of Melbourne, at the base of Mt. Macedon. It is becoming quite a hub for cultural events and one of the highlights of the calendar is the Woodend Winter Arts Festival. Among the music concerts and art shows, the Festival also holds a series of talks about writing and for writers. Yah!

Over the weekend I attended 5 different talks at the Festival. However, instead of summarising them all, I want to focus on one that interested as well as annoyed me and in the end gave me a lot of food for thought (and ideas for new plans!)

Saturday afternoon I attended the talk Getting Over the Line with Toni Jordan (writer and mentor), Christine Nagel (editor and assessor) and Sheila Drummond (a local literary agent, to whom I once submitted a query and she never replied, so had fallen from my good graces, but I was prepared to overlook that.) To be completely honest, I had never heard of Toni Jordan or Christine Nagel before the event, but they were interesting enough to listen to. The talk was on the role each of these people (mentor, assessor/editor, literary agent) played in taking a writer/manuscript and preparing them to approach a publisher. 

It was interesting and reinforced the importance of editing and being part of a writer's group, as well as attending writing courses etc. So in that way was worth going to the talk.

However, two things irked me. 

First is that they all saw themselves as graciously helping 'a writer's dream come true', as they said. They treated the writer as some poor misfit who needed their fairy-godmother talents to turn the work into anything good. That annoys me. It is rude to say about any client who is paying you for your services that you are doing them a favour. 

Also, it downplays all the effort and hard work the writer does. I think editors and literary agents (literary agents in particular, as I feel they offer the least to the writer when small ones such as Ms. Drummond don't appear to help market the work, or edit the work, or do much else than submit it to publishers and negotiate the contract) that they only exist because of writers. Writers would go on even if no editors or agents came into being, but the other way around can not be said. 

(Am I bitter because she wouldn't accept my manuscript? Maybe. Though not because she wouldn't accept it, but she was so rude as not to even reply. To send out a template email takes 2 minutes, and at least lets the writer know not to waste their time waiting. But to be honest, I had actually completely forgotten it was her I had sent the query too, and just got annoyed when I listened to her talk.  She started by saying she was a literary agent, and because there were so few in Australia, they wielded a great amount of power. Not at all arrogant!).

The second thing I found lacking is that they paid no attention to the online world and how important it is for a writer nowadays. When they spoke of self-publishing, they appeared to only be referring to paying a publisher to do a run of books and were very negative about it. They appeared to have no idea about the possibility of publishing just electronically online, or anything like that, as they kept saying how expensive and difficult it was.

When I was brave enough to ask whether they considered a writer should have a platform and whether that would help with attracting publishers, Ms. Drummond first asked me what I meant by a 'platform'. I felt like saying 'Well, I mean what everyone who knows anything about the current state of publishing means', but I just smiled and said 'well, in particularly I was thinking of an online platform, but other forms as appropriate as well.' 

Ms. Drummond answered that it might be useful for some genres, but she had no interest in these things. Toni Jordan then added that she didn't have anything, she didn't even have facebook except for her friends. To which Ms. Drummond said that must answer my question.

I couldn't believe that an agent who was meant to be preparing and marketing her clients as well as possible refused to look at anything online! Is it just me? Most of you, my readers, are also writers. Do you think people should be told that being online is of no important if they want to make a career of being a writer? Or have it suggested that only going through a literary agent and a traditional publisher matters?

For my ROW 80 check in: well, my own writing might not be going as fast as I might like, but things are definitely moving. Two particular ideas came up out of this weekend.

The festival was filled with older people who wanted to write the book they had been thinking of all their lives, and who probably won't ever find an agent interested. However, with some help, they would be able to self publish and at least their family and friends would buy a copy, and they could see their names on Amazon. 

Therefore, I'm developing plans to start small, personalised seminars for new writers on self-publishing and creating an online presence. I'm going to create a series based on the 6 steps of my Five Day Writer's books, which will take them from dreaming about being a writer to actually being published.

So it looks like my little company, The Buffy Group, is finally taking shape as a consultancy for online publishing and marketing. 

This is further supported by the fact I have my very first client!

Yes, my brother has just hired me to help develop and promote his new ebook, Tom Grafton Vs. The Environmentalists. I'm going to work on developing his webpage, getting traffic, designing a new cover, and getting reviews. He's going to be a bit of a guinea pig as I find out what is really the most effective and useful online strategies that I can present to others.  

It's going to be a lot of work, but I'm so excited about it all.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

A Slightly Late Friday Round Up

Yeah, yeah, I know, it's Saturday here in Australia, but it just seems wrong to have a Saturday round up. So you'll just have to live with a very late Friday round up. Think of it like you are in another country which lags behind the rest of the globe (maybe on a bit of string) so it is always more than 24 hour behind.

Anyway...what's happened out in the world this week?

Sun, Sun Go Away...
Image thanks to 

Well, I don't really know, as I've been sick in bed (yeah, great for all you Americans talking about the arrival of summer, but some of us are heading into flue season). However, here are some of the great things from the Interwebs.


The Writer's Digest writing competition is open again but closing in a week, final deadline 14th June.

What makes it so interesting? Check out these prizes:

  • NEW-An announcement of the winner on the cover of Writer’s Digest
  • A 30-minute Platform Strategy Consultation with Chuck Sambuchino
  • A one year subscription to Writer’s Digest eBooks
  • A chance to win $3,000 in cash
  • Get national exposure for your work
  • One on one attention with four editors or agents
  • A paid trip to the ever-popular Writer’s Digest Conference in New York City!
 And last of all, more practice and exposure! 

Need Some Help?

The Huffington Post gives you the anatomy of a query letter, a useful breakdown of the important elements of a query letter. Having trouble in your first drafts? Take a break and practice writing the query letter for it, you will find that it helps you sought out some of your overarching ideas about the story.

To Make You Think:

As you know, I'm battling with my job and trying to find time to write. Therefore, this article really stood out to me: 10 Reasons Why 2013 Will Be The Year To Quit Your Job
It is aimed at the American market, but I think it pretty much holds true for more people than would like to admit it. It's not specifically for writers, but it includes us. 

Just For Fun:
Highly recommend the New Yorker's 8 simple rulers for being a writer, it will set you straight on a lot of things you thought you understood (such as making your characters three dimensionally, obviously it was talking about height, width and depth).  

Well, that's it for another week. Have fun!

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Time For Action

So, last ROW80 check in I said I was going to be better at writing.

See my big mistake there?

Like lots of wishful thinking, I had a goal I wanted to achieve but hadn't set out any specific plan to make it happen. 

Work is getting even more crazy so I come home totally brain dead and dragging my (becoming smaller!) ass to the gym uses up the last of my will power. For a while I had managed to get some writing in at lunchtime, but now even by then I'm out of it, and the thought of it makes me want to curl up and cry.

So how exactly was I planning on getting more writing done?

I was just hoping it would happen. Like how I hoped for two years that I would be able to run a half marathon.

Surprisingly, didn't get anywhere.

However, having downloaded a half marathon training app about a month ago, I'm now over halfway towards my goal (went for a 1.5hour jog this afternoon, which covered 13.2km!). Four training sessions a week, slowly increasing in distance, and all I have to do is show up and do them.

Therefore, I'm going to set myself a time goal. I'm going to sit down for at least 20 minutes every morning before going to work, and try to write. I'm not going to say how much I'll get done, I just want to train myself (again) to give the first part of my day to writing.

Yes having a full time job and trying to write is hard, but if anyone is going to do it, I want to make sure it is me! 

And if I can't write during work, and I can't write after work, that really only leaves me one other option, because not writing is not an option!

Every morning. 20 minutes. Because I'm not going to be working a day job for the rest of my life.