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A newsletter for authors from The Fussy Librarian.
 
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It's been a year since I left the corporate world to work full time on The Fussy Librarian and, other than marrying my wife, it's the best decision I've ever made.

Now there are some good small business owners out there and if you work for one, let them know you appreciate them. But for everyone else in the workforce, I'm guessing you're unhappy with one (or all) of the following:
  • Wages that don't keep up with the cost of living.
  • Difficulty in taking time off.
  • Hard work (and long hours) isn't rewarded.
  • Worker input isn't sought (or ignored).
  • An expectation for you to be available to your employer 24/7/365.
  • Doing the jobs of two (or three) people.
  • Worrying about being laid off.
So here's the question: Are you going to remain miserable about these things or are you going to create a Plan B so you can escape?

The skills you already have can be used in your own business. Or maybe you're passionate about a hobby -- the one you no longer have time to enjoy -- that can become a business.

Plan B doesn't start with quitting your job. It starts with research and planning, then working in your spare time to develop Plan B and grow your customer / client base. Once you decide you can work full-time on Plan B and still sleep soundly at night, then it's time to quit your day job.

Even after you go full-time with Plan B, it won't always be rainbows and unicorns. There will be bad days once in a while. But there will be many, many good days. I've seen them ... and my only regret is I should have done this 10 years ago.

The Wishing Shelf Book Awards
Edward Trayer and I have something in common -- we both got fed up with the status quo and decided to do something about it. I wanted you to know about his contest for authors, so I'm giving him some of the space in this week's newsletter:
 
Four years ago I set up The Wishing Shelf Book Awards. Why? Well, I was upset with all the other book awards open to self-published and independently published authors. I felt they were a rip-off. I remember, I was a finalist in one award and they didn’t even bother to tell me. Then, in another award I did very, VERY well and all they ...were interested in was selling me dodgy winner stickers at a crazy, inflated price. Then there was the feedback I got from another big award. It was a joke. It was 19 (yes, 19!) words long and congratulated me on writing a wonderful adult book set in France. IT WAS A CHILDREN’S BOOK SET IN A MAGIC BOOKSHOP!!!
 
So I went for a walk…
 
I went for a walk and decided in amongst the tall chestnut trees to set up my own book award. And that, my fellow authors, is what I did.
 
But it had to be different. Much, much different to what was on offer at present. So I thought to myself, what do I want from a book award? Well, I want the organisers to see me, actually see me – and my book. I don’t just want to be a ‘$’ sign or a ‘£’ sign to them. Also, I want to get ‘value for money’ so, even if I don’t win, I want to get feedback from the judging. And, finally, I don’t want to pay lots of money to enter.
 
So, from this, I set up The Wishing Shelf Book Awards (www.thewsa.co.uk).
 
Over the last four years, it has grown. Wow! How it’s grown. In the first year we had 42 authors and publishers enter. This year it will be closer to 300! Now we have a very interactive Facebook page where the authors and publishers can discuss the award and how best to run it. Now we provide ALL the authors who enter a catchy quote to help them to market their books. Now we post reviews – based on the feedback – on Amazon and Goodreads. Now we actively support Blind Children UK, helping them to produce books for children with sight problems. Now we have over twenty schools and two adult reading groups (1 in London, 1 in Stockholm) helping us to judge the books. Now we send every author who enters feedback of between 400 – 1,500 words based on the readers’ comments. They look at the cover, the content, the editing and the style. We even provide the authors with statistics e.g. How many of the readers would read another book by this author etc, etc.
 
So now, my tiny award is a bit of a monster and is taking more and more of my time. Is it fun? Yes, most of the time. I only upset the odd author! In fact, most of the time it is very rewarding and our reputation on and off the web is ‘glowing’. Don’t get me wrong. We do mess up. Last year, for example, it took too long to get all the feedback to the authors. So, this year, I’m employing help. The Wishing Shelf Awards actually has a member of staff! An ex-primary school head teacher who is helping me to correlate all the feedbacks. It’s all very exciting.
 
But do you know what the best bit is? The very, VERY best bit. Twice now, one of the US-based awards has attempted to buy my small awards. And I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed telling them to go to…well, you know where. Now THAT was fun!

***
Have a great weekend and savor the fall colors (in the northern hemisphere) and the arrival of spring (in the southern hemisphere.) 

Cheers,

Jeffrey
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