Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Facebook as a Free Marketing Tool

Everybody knows Facebook. Perhaps you’ve already joined the half a billion other people and signed up for your own Facebook profile, or maybe you haven't, either way if you’re reading this then chances are you’ve heard of it.

So, how can facebook help you to market your products? And is it effective for this purpose?

Along with being a great social networking service, Facebook can provide many valuable, free ways to promote any company, product, service or public figure.

Read on to learn more.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

A List of Useful Resources for Authors: Self-publishing

First of all, congratulations on deciding to publish your book! It is a great achievement, and one you should be proud of.

I will discuss traditional publishing in another blog, but for those of you who wish to take the self-publishing pathway to get your book in print, the following is a list of useful resources to help get you there. These websites, blogs, and books are the ones I found most useful when producing and publishing my novel, and I'm certain any author, whether new or established will find them just as helpful.

* This should only used as a starting point as there are many great resources out there I do not mention simply because there are too many for one post. I will be blogging about each separate resource in greater detail in the future, but for now I’ve just written a brief description to get you started.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Facing Demons' first review!

Here is the first review of Facing Demons I received from a Reader Views reviewer, Avni Gupta. Understandably I was very happy with it, especially coming from a reader in my target audience. Have a read and let me know what you think!

Facing Demons
Ashley Sanders
Trafford Publishing (2011)
ISBN 9781426951701
Reviewed by Avni Gupta (age 17) for Reader Views (4/11)

When I received “Facing Demons,” I was quite excited to read it. I have always been pretty interested in reading about people who have had to go to rehab and the stories behind them. Normally, you just hear about them as a statistic, but behind every number and every statistic, there is a real person and a real story. Although the first three or four pages seemed a little preachy, in the “don’t do drugs” sense, as soon as I got past the first few pages, and really got into the book, I was hooked! I was not able to put this book down (technically speaking, I was not able to put my i-pod touch down, since I was I was reading the e-book version)!

This book begins with a prologue, in which Blake Solomon, the man who runs the Anchor Beach Rehab clinic, is in the hospital with a boy from the clinic who doesn’t seem like he’s going to make it. Blake seems rather distraught, and in his mind, is transported to a different time and place in that hospital. That hospital is the place where Blake was cured of his cancer! The rest of the book is devoted to telling the stories of four of the residents of the Anchor Beach Rehab clinic. It talks about their issues with drugs, alcohol, child prostitution, self harm, gangs and other issues that many teenagers have to deal with.

This book was absolutely amazing. I definitely read it twice before I started writing this review! With every page I read, and every detail into someone’s story, I became more and more hooked on this book. I feel like anybody who reads it will be in the same boat as I was!

One thing that I really liked about “Facing Demons” was the dedication that the author made at the beginning of it. This book is dedicated to “those who deserve a second chance.” I feel like that dedication was a perfect beginning to this book because all of the characters made a mistake and deserved the second chance that they were given.

Reader Views
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Austin, Texas 78746-6700


Thursday, 14 April 2011

A Burning Passion to Write

 “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” Albert Einstein.

I like this quote as I have always had an overactive imagination, which has always been a blessing more often than being a curse. In fact, it is only really a curse in two ways – when I overanalyse things, or when I don’t have the time to actively feed my thirst for being creative. It’s one of those frustrations I am sure a lot of aspiring writers would agree with – finding enough time to write, in amongst your work, family and social lives. Yet if it’s a true passion, time tends to find you.

I've loved reading and writing from as early as I can remember. I grew up without a television for a lot of my childhood, and when I wasn't outside exploring the world, I would read and write. I wrote my first full-length manuscript after reading John's Marsden's "Tomorrow When the War Began" series. I was only 14 or 15 and decided to write something similar about an invasion in Australia, basing the story around myself and my friends. It was really fun to write and my family and friends loved reading it. Naturally, it'll never get published, but it was certainly a great introduction to writing a novel.

It’s a blessing when writing to be able to lose myself in an incredible story, not knowing where it will take me and being thrilled when unexpected plots appear. It’s what makes writing fiction so rewarding for me. It gives me the opportunity to put my thoughts onto paper and share stories I feel worth sharing, whilst taking me on an adventure of my own.

My partner Brianna asked me recently – “Where do you get all your ideas for your stories?”

My simple answer was – “They just come to me.”

It can happen at any time, anywhere, and an idea will pop up. Sometimes I even have dreams that I think would make good stories. So I write these ideas down and now have many nuggets of gold stored up for when I do have time to turn them into something beautiful.

This said, I’ve finally found enough time to create something I’m proud of in Facing Demons, which evolved from a simple idea and turned into something I didn’t expect but was pleasantly surprised! More on that in another post though.

Another question I get asked often is – “Does your job as a Paramedic help with creating your characters?”

Yes and no. Certainly, my job does lend a lot of inspiration to people and situations. Some of the people I meet certainly have aspects of their own lives and personalities I notice sometimes subconsciously come out on paper, but I never consciously create a character based solely on someone else. I’ll use people’s names (with their permission), usually of friends and family, which can help make it easier to characterize, rather than inventing a character completely from dust. However, the character must always be their own person, otherwise it doesn’t feel real to me, and therefore I won’t be able to create realistic characters for my readers.

Sometimes characters, storylines, plots and scenes come easily. Other times I need some more inspiration – perhaps a different location where I can write away from distractions, or I’ll read a new book, or even do some research on the topic at hand. Complex characters or plots do often require some research, particularly when trying to make it realistic for the reader. I have never tried my hand at writing fantasy, but I’m guessing this lends a lot more freedom with where your creation can take you.

Image from

Words of advice for those of you who have a burning passion to write but don’t know where to start... 

 - Don’t sit there doubting yourself - just write. 

 - Write, write, write. 

 - Write about anything and everything. Perhaps start a daily diary if you’re really struggling for ideas.

 - Once you get those creative juices flowing, it’ll come. Give it time.

 - Still struggling? Do a creative writing course, or find a mentor.

 - If you really did leave your imagination behind in your childhood, write about something you’re an expert on.

 - Choose a topic and just write – who really cares what comes out the first time? You can edit it later. First drafts are always messy.

 - Or, to seriously spark that imagination again – READ! I can tell you one thing for certain – writers LOVE readers. 

Just getting something on paper is an achievement on its own. You can figure out later what you’re going to do with it. I know one thing for sure, as an emerging author it is nerve-wracking putting your work out there for anyone and everyone to read and analyse. It’s like every sentence, every paragraph, every character and plot is a piece of you that you love, and giving the world the opportunity to be critical about every word you’ve carefully crafted is scary.

But when you get good responses back it feels incredible!

Just yesterday I got my first review back for Facing Demons and I was so nervous it took me an hour to open it. Not because I doubted my own work, but because I was afraid that someone out there might dislike what I’ve spent so long creating and perfecting.

And when I saw how positive and honest the review was I felt on top of the world!
Don’t get me wrong, I understand this is just one person’s point of view but it certainly gives some validation to why I write. To get my story out there, and for somebody to enjoy it is exactly why I got published.

You might just like to write for yourself, which is fine. I’ve got dozens of short stories and manuscripts that’ll probably never see the light of day. Not because I don’t want people to read them, but I wrote them just to feed my hunger to write. This is what you should do – feed that desire.

A wise man once said – “If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint’, then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”  - Vincent van Gogh.

If you want to do something, don’t hold back, and don’t ever let anyone say you can’t do something.

I write to be a part of something - a world made up of words and ideas, which are sometimes painfully criticized, gratefully loved and can never be destroyed.

Next up: I will post a comprehensive list of websites and services I used to publish my novel.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Welcome from Ashley Sanders

Hi everyone,

I’d like to formally introduce myself to all my fellow readers, writers and producers of creative work out there.

My name is Ashley Sanders, and I currently reside in Adelaide, South Australia where I was born and raised. I have a Bachelor Degree in Health Sciences and have worked as a Paramedic for three years. I have always had a creative spirit and my imagination takes me on journeys so captivating I write them down in order to share my stories with the world.

This is my first blog post as a (nearly) published author. My debut novel Facing Demons is set to be released in September. You can check out more details on my personal website and I’ll be keeping you updated on this blog.

My idea for this blog initially was just to connect with a broader audience and other professionals in the industry, along with using my Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads accounts for the same purpose. However, I’ve decided that I can provide you with much more!

I will initially discuss my epic journey to self-publish my first book, sure to be a best-seller, including all the ins and outs of writing, editing, producing, and marketing it. Along the way I will also talk about all the great (and not so great) websites I have come across whilst working hard to produce the best novel I can with a young adult readership in mind.

Amongst it all I shall also blog about other creative pieces of art and literature I come across. As an author, I know how scary it can be to put your work out to the critical senses of the general public and professional groups. Therefore I will find work (books, artwork, indie films) worth talking about and spread it through the community I am only just beginning to enter but already thriving in.

I plan for this to be another fun and creative adventure, with some learning along the way, and hopefully I can adequately share my discoveries in a way that will help other aspiring and emerging writers.

Best wishes,


P.S. Below I’ve posted a few details about Facing Demons as I know some of you are finding it difficult to access the flash site (on iPhones etc.)