I’m giving birth tomorrow (sort of)

Coming soon BM

I remember exactly how I felt waiting to go into theatre for my c-section… the birth of my first child. I was naturally terrified and utterly mad with nerves; in a few moments doctors would be slicing me open, while I was wide awake, and then yanking a crying, kicking, small human out of my uterus!

I was nervous that I might feel it. I was nervous to become a mother. I was nervous for the painful recovery. I was nervous for certain body parts, I had been warned that my stomach muscles and bladder would never be the same again. I was nervous for my husband, who with minutes to spare, was having “HIS LAST” cigarette outside. (I promise, it’s the last one.) 

I was also scared that our son would take one look at us and curse the fact that we were his parents, and I was also worried what I was going to feel. Would I love him instantly? Would  I want to smother him with a pillow because he didn’t stop crying and I had postpartum depression? Would this be the best moment of my life, as everyone tells you it is?

I had worked so hard to get to this point, the extra 20 kg’s of fat cells and stretch marks clinging to me were testament to this. I had suffered back pain, extreme rib ache (no one told me that my ribs might feel like they were snapping) I hadn’t seen my feet, let alone my vagina in months and I was burping like a sailor. Yes, I had toiled hard to get to this point of finally bringing baby Jack, into the world.

But amidst all this fear and uncertainty, there was one thing I was sure of; no one would be telling me what an ugly baby I had just given birth too. People just don’t do that, even if your newborn does resemble a Garbage Pail Kid. No one would look at him and scrunch up their faces and say, “I don’t know, I just don’t like it” OR “I could only look at him for a few moments, and then I had to stop, I really wasn’t enjoying it.”

But that’s what is going to happen tomorrow when I “give birth” again.. to my book-baby. Because let’s face it, writing a book is much, much more than just putting words onto paper. It’s month and months of toiling, probably some extra kg’s too, it’s your heart, your soul, you blood, sweat, tears and all your precious time.

Writing your book and then waiting for it to be published, is like being pregnant. The joy you go through when you sign the book deal, to the discomfort, to the highs and lows, the exhaustion of sleepless nights and those unbearable last few months as your publishing date creeps closer and closer.

But unlike the birth of my son, this birth becomes public domain. It becomes something that people can criticize. They can tell you they don’t like it, they can give you one star and write scathing reviews about it. Sometimes they do it with tact, but other times they are ruthless, callous and even cruel.

Sure, not everyone will like your book. I certainly don’t expect some serious, scarf- wearing, literary aficionado that only reads the Pulitzer Prize winners to tell me that my little “chickLit” book is the best thing he’s ever read. But it is still difficult to accept.

It’s hard because you know how much work went into it. It’s hard because in many ways the book is a part of you. It’s a little piece of yourself that you are sending out into the world – and now anyone can say anything they want about it.

But just like birth, you put on your big girl panties (or in that case those huge, horrible, mesh things) and suck it up. Because once a baby is in there, it has to come out. There is no way of negotiating your way around that unfortunate biological fact. Just like your book coming out. Once your publisher has it, once the cover has been designed, book printed, eBook formatted, advances paid… it is inevitable.

I’m proud of what is coming out tomorrow. I could not have put more work, dedication and love into it if I tried. To me, it’s my perfect book-baby and no one can take that away- not even a mean reviewer. And just like giving birth, had Jack come out with one finger and seven legs, I would probably still think he was perfect and love him unconditionally.

So bring it on…

And here it is. ‘Burning Moon’, my book baby that has been a year and a half in the making (book pregnancy can be substantially longer that normal pregnancy)

Burning Moon- born 2 August 2016. Happy Birthday for tomorrow.

 

BM for Cover reveal wtpa

LINKS TO BUY 
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2ackjJB
B&N: http://bit.ly/2afn76g
iBooks: http://apple.co/2axKNoy
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2aaymKQ
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2awu8SD

 

 

 

 

 

9 “UM’s” in 1:45 minutes!

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I’m seriously thinking about contacting Guinness World Records after creating this video yesterday. I am convinced I have set some kind of world record.

My publisher asked me to make a quick video introducing my book, Burning Moon. Sounds simple enough, right? The final product is only  1:45 minutes long, but despite this, I managed to accomplish something truly remarkable… drum roll please…

I, Jo Watson, usually articulate member of the human species, managed to say “UM” nine times.  Twice might have been acceptable, three times is maybe pushing it… but NINE? That’s just downright irritating and I want to apologise in advance to anyone brave enough to make it to the end… all 105 seconds of it.

After watching the video back for the first time, I decided to attempt another one. But my mind was so preoccupied with the word “UM” that I started to sound like the Borg. (You remember them, creepy, pale- faced, half-robot aliens from Star Trek)

“We are Borg. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.” 

In my case, resisting the desire to say “UM” was indeed, futile. So I had no choice but to turn this little gem over to my publishers, and now it has gone live on Facebook for the world to see. For the world to see that I am a chronic “UM” abuser, and I’m not sure there’s a 12-Step program for it.

So here it is. (Watch at your own peril) I do promise that the book is not as “UM” heavy… at least I hope not.

https://www.facebook.com/eternalromance/?fref=ts

*Jo Watson is a multi-award-winning author of romantic comedies. Her book Burning Moon is coming out 2 August and will be translated into French, German and Italian. Her books have been read over 18 Millions times online on Wattpad and she is represented my Erica Spellman of the Trident Media Group. You can pre-order her book here.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1472237927/ref=s9_simh_gw_g14_i1_r?ie=UTF8&fpl=fresh&pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_s=desktop-1&pf_rd_r=5Z8030KXJAWVWBDGVKAN&pf_rd_t=36701&pf_rd_p=26de8ef0-2ad7-412c-8634-6cd03b7b73e2&pf_rd_i=desktop

 

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What’s in a name anyway: Can a title really make or break your book?

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I’m rather bad at coming up with names for my books, so bad in fact, that my publisher renamed two of my three books. I didn’t mind at all, because the worst names they came up with were far better than my best ones. But this got me thinking about names in general. Are book titles really that important?

But apparently they are. Whilst researching this topic I read a few disturbing things, this one in particular shall add to my overall ‘aa’ (author- anxiety). Elv Moody, Publisher at Oxford University Press Children’s Books  says ‘It’s not over-stating the case to say that a title can make or break a book.’  (And here we naive little authors thought it was all about the strength of our story, reliability and lovability of our characters and our unique voice)

So in an industry where we need to worry, and obsess about so many things already, we now have to consider that our titles could make us a bestseller, or plunge our book to the bottom of the sticky-icky slush-pile.

So I decided to investigate names, and this is what I discovered…

Firstly, I hate pretentious wanky titles that endeavor to show me how intellectually superior you are. They imply that when I (mere mortal) read this book, I am going to need to thumb through a dictionary just to understand what you, oh genius master of English words, has written for me, unenlightened barely educated culturally inept underling.

Another hate of mine would be those hipstery-names. They differ ever so slightly from the above in that the authors are not necessarily intellectually superior to their readers, they do however have a bigger Instagram following and wrote the book only to be ironic whilst sipping on Vegan coffee and listening to obscure music on vinyl. Like this pearly little gem of hipsterdom;

Eeeee Eee Eeee”   by Tao Lin”

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https://www.amazon.com/Eeeee-Eee-Eeee-Tao-Lin-ebook/dp/B004CFAZL8?ie=UTF8&keywords=Eeeee%20Eee%20Eeee%3A%20A%20Novel%2C&qid=1462436162&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1

This has got to be the most hipster name that has ever been conceived of. I can  imagine the conversation prior to naming the book. “But titles are just too mainstream. Let’s not give it a title at all, let’s just give it sounds….” *author runs his fingers thoughtfully through his beard and then types away on his vintage typewriter.

But in amongst all the horror, I also found some amazing ones. One of my favorite names out there, hands down, is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

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http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5899779-pride-and-prejudice-and-zombies

And I guess this proves the point. I would buy this book solely based on its title alone. I’ve come to the conclusion that my preference lies in titles that don’t take themselves too seriously. It makes me feel that the authors don’t either, and that is always the best kind of writer, one who isn’t totally up their own arse.

But this is probably my all time fave…. When will Jesus bring back the Pork Chops.

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http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/93453.When_Will_Jesus_Bring_the_Pork_Chops_

I would definitely read that! But what I would not read (despite its supposed brilliance)  is Love in a time of Cholera. After reading that Cholera is “an acute diarrhoeal disease that can kill within hours if left untreated” I just cannot imagine love being vaguely conducive to it. There are no two things more opposite than a massive dose of diarrhea, and love.

Delving into the world of book covers even more, I also discovered these;

  1. worst-book-covers-titles-58 copyI’ll give this title one thing, you know exactly what you’re going to be reading about. But other than that, there are just so many things wrong with it. a; if you do not know how to avoid huge ships- ships that can be seen from miles away- do NOT get into a boat and sail the seas. b; this book was so important that it made it into a second edition, and finally, c; how often do huge ships collide with smaller ones? Enough that someone felt it necessary to write a book about it.

2.  And perhaps some more thought should have gone into these!

worst-book-titles-8worst-book-covers-titles-17worst-book-covers-titles-12worst-book-covers-titles-15

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3. Anything that has the phrase ‘Anally Yours’ in its title should reconsider even existing. (But more on Chuck Tingle later, I have a whole blog post planned just for him) P.s I was unaware of the unicorn’s nautical proclivities.

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4. Not only are these titles questionable, but their subject matter isn’t far behind either.

 

 

5. This author also wrote, “God Loves me, why can’t I get my locker open.”

worst-book-titles-2

 

So in conclusion, I am happy to report that I am not the only author who is bad at coming up with names.

 

There are only so many ways to say penis! (sex scene writing woes)

The hard, pulsing shaft of his manhood sought out her most intimate part. The glistening pearl of her womanhood, moistened by the fiery furnace of unbridled passion.  He impaled her on his hot sheath touching her secret centre through the plump, velvet folds of her slick core.” 

penis

No, this is not a competition to see how many euphemisms I can come up with for the act of sex. It is, in fact, a sex scene I manufactured for the purpose of this blog using actual words and phrases I found in real romance novels.

I get sooooo bored writing sex scenes, mainly because there are only so many ways of describing them- hence the use of wild euphemisms above. Think about it from a purely biological perspective, ‘it goes in and it goes out‘ (repeat action several times- hopefully more). Try find interesting and unique words to describe that! I dare you.

As an author, I also find myself faced with a slight predicament. I don’t write category style romance, the traditional Mills&Boon stuff, and I don’t write erotica. I sit somewhere in between the two conventions, so whilst I can’t use words like ‘cock’ and ‘pussy’ and ‘she came like a fucking steam train‘, I also can’t use phrases like ‘sunk into her core’ either. And let me tell you, ‘core’ is a very popular way of describing the vagina (Nb- don’t use that word either). Because there is nothing sexier than saying Penis and Vagina in the middle of a hot love scene. Nipple too, in my opinion, is right up there. But I also cannot bring myself to write “rosy buds” either.

I often find myself sandwiched between a rock and a hard place (see what I did there?)  I do write romance, some might call it chicklit, and sex scenes are a prerequisite! So what is an author like me to do?

Well, I recently did something terrible in a book I posted on Wattpad. Allow me to tell you about the book first (it shall remain nameless) because it is the cheesiest, most ridiculous thing I have ever written.  I vowed I would never venture into the realm of the billionaire -playboy- prince as I like to write about ordinary, flawed characters. But I did. And to top it off, it was a cliched lump of Cheddar. I took the most overused tropes and squished them all into one book.

But it seems that people like cheese, with over 400k Wattpad reads in about a month, it’s safe to assume that readers enjoy some cheese on their reading menus. (Bring on the nachos)

But back to the truly terrible thing I did; when I came to one of the sex scenes, I was so over writing them (I had put 3 in already) that I left the chapter blank. I called it “The big sex scene”  and told my readers to either use their imaginations, or write it themselves! What a cheek, and something I could only get away with on Wattpad.  Imagine doing that in a published book? Whilst I would love to, not so sure my publisher would be down for that.

So as long as I write the books I do, I will probably always have issues with those pesky sex scenes. Perhaps there are ghost writers out there willing to write me some? I can keep them all in a drawer and pull them out when needed.

And if you are struggling with your sex scenes too, please feel free to use my handy euphemism list, it is complimentary with this blog post.

PENIS

  • fiery swollen staff
  • hard pulsating arousal
  • bulging fullness
  • engored fleshy sword
  • rock-hard tumescence

VAGINA

  • apex of her legs
  • damp petals of her needy place
  • the portal to her moist womanhood
  • molten heat within
  • passion-moistened depths of her secret centre

SEX

  • He possessed her Lilly
  • He rose up to meet her hot, burning need
  • plunged into her sacred petals
  • love’s hot lava flowed
  • slipped into her moist tenderness
  • she strained against his impaling shaft

Have fun writing your next sex scene! I know I won’t!

Judge it!

I’m so excited to have my two final covers from my publisher, Grand Central Publishing, for the first 2 books in my series ‘The Destination Love’ Series. It’s a fun, romantic comedy series about finding love in surprising- not to mention warm, tropical and exotic– places. (As the covers suggest)

I loved the covers individually, but now that I see them together, I REALLY love them. It’s super exciting to see the series finally coming together after such a lot of hard work and many sleepless nights (months)

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 10.04.29 PM

 

*Jo Watson is a multi-award-winning author of romantic comedies. Her book Burning Moon is coming out in August this year and will be translated into French, German and Italian. Her books have been read over 18 Million times online on Wattpad and she is represented my Erica Spellman of the Trident Media Group. You can pre-order her book here.

http://www.amazon.com/Burning-Moon-Jo-Watson-ebook/dp/B01ARXVTE0/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1461057653&sr=8-1

 

No seriously, is that my cover?

Every author knows, there’s nothing worse than pouring your heart and soul into a book, only for your publisher to make you a frightfully, cringeworthy cover. The kind that exists in your nightmares. The kind that you want to put a paper bag over. And what’s worse is your publisher lurves the cover. They think it is the greatest cover that has ever existed in the history of the milky way galaxy- possibly even the entire universe.

But you… ? You would rather give birth whilst having root canal without anesthetic than put that cover on your precious book-baby. (Dramatic, I know) I’m very lucky to have a publisher that heard me and made me a great cover. Because the reality is that most authors don’t really have much of a say in their covers at all.

In fact, I think it was authors who made up the saying, “Never judge a book by its cover’ just to make themselves feel better.

As an author, you want the cover to represent your book accurately. You want it to capture the atmosphere of the book, you want it to highlight the themes and you just want it to look kick-ass on the shelves amongst the millions of other books.

I decided to look into what makes a bad cover. And please, I’m in no way implying that the books themselves are bad, merely that the covers- in my opinion- are questionable. This is a subjective opinion, of course, perhaps my visually impaired grandmother would disagree with me.

So what makes a bad cover?

  1. Anything with Fabio on the cover! I’m not sure, I guess I’ve just never been a fan of a man whose jaw could chisel wooden blocks.

fabio_lips_meant_for_xing

2. Anything with a schoolboy sporting a mustache (not to mention creepy serial killer eyes.)

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3. This, I mean…. this? (But surprisingly, I just can’t help loving it)

a97274_b1

4. Because killing polar bears is so damn sexy!

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5.  Oh, the masterful and delicate way in which the designer used photoshop. Not to mention the title.

di5raguuozihaat4tpga

6. Anything by Chuck Tingle, the purveyor of gay dinosaur erotica. (Yes, that’s a thing)

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7. Anything where cute, fluffy baby animals are being burnt alive.

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8. Should he keep and care for the two alien babies? And are those really his hands?

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9. Is it a bird, is it a plane, no it’s a shark. (That line is about as cheesy as the cover itself)

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10. Covers with men sporting wood.

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11. When your seven- year- old draws your cover.

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Screen Shot 2016-04-23 at 2.07.14 PM

(I just had to include this one of God in a g-string)

12. Please don’t eat her face.

 

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Even Stephen King is not immune to the curse of tragic covers.

shining1

In the next installment of, ‘No seriously, is that my cover?’ I will attempt to make the world’s worst, most cringeworthy and shockingly cheesy covers. Although I think it’s going to be quite challenging to beat some of these.

 

*Jo Watson is a multi-award-winning author of romantic comedies. Her book Burning Moon is coming out in August this year and will be translated into French, German and Italian. Her books have been read over 18 Millions times online on Wattpad and she is represented my Erica Spellman of the Trident Media Group. You can pre-order her book here.

http://www.amazon.com/Burning-Moon-Jo-Watson-ebook/dp/B01ARXVTE0/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1461057653&sr=8-1

 

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My CRAZY path to publishing.

pub deal

The internet. The glorious thing that is the world wide web. That is how my journey to becoming a published author began. It is a journey that is very different to most people’s, it is a journey that many authors frown on too- I have since discovered to my dismay.

They frown and raise eyebrows because I didn’t toil for years and suffer the soul-sucking devastation of doors being slammed in my face and endless rejection. (This seems to be considered a right of passage as an author) Instead, my journey was an almost overnight affair, which let me assure you, comes with its own set of unique challenges.

I had no intention of becoming an author in the first place. In fact, it was the last thing on my mind at that stage of my life. I had a very established career, I ran one company and was a partner in another and mainly worked as a TV scriptwriter and storyliner (the person that makes up the stories for the TV show) But one day, as I sat in front of my computer reading  a mail from a commissioning editor at our big South African network, I got very disillusioned. Let me not go into why I was disillusioned, that is a blog all on its own.

I longed to break out of the confines of my small country on the Southern tip of Africa. I longed for my work to reach a wider, international audience.

So I hit the internet. I Googled, “Write overseas” which yielded a million strange results. I then started Googling “Writing Internationally” and so it went on, until I stumbled on an international book writing contest. The annual So You Think You Can Write by Harlequin, hosted on a writing platform I had never heard about called Wattpad. 

The deadline was 3 weeks away and I was like, Ok… I can write a book. I’ve never written one before, in fact, I’ve never even read a romance novel in my entire life! (True story) I read crime thrillers and non-fiction books on Physics and the universe.

But hey… what the hell, right? So I sat down, got an idea and just started writing, posting all my work on Wattpad as I went. In three weeks I had accumulated 22, 000 reads on Wattpad, and bizarrely, bizarrely, bizarrely, I won the competition along with some other amazing writers. And then the book just took off on Wattpad like a crazy thing. It was totally out of my control and it just seemed to have a life of it’s own.

And then BAM… I was offered a 3 books deal. And BAM again, another publisher offered me a deal and so it escalated so fast that my head spun! I realized that in order to pursue this as a career, I would need to dive in head first. I don’t do things in a half-hearted manner. When I do, I do obsessively. So I closed my companies, bold move, took my savings and started writing books.

Things continued to escalate when I got an agent, Erica Spellman at The Trident Media group (only the best literary agency in the world) I say this not to boast, but to try and paint an adequate picture of how I felt when she emailed me and said, “please call me at your earliest convenience.” I cannot, cannot explain the shock, the sheer slap-through-the-face shock when this happened. I cannot express how nervous I was when I called her and I cannot express the strange, surrealness of the moment when she said she would represent me. A day later- literally- she forwarded me email correspondence that she had had with Grand Central Publishing in which they showed interest in my book.

And BAM… I got a three- book deal. The foreign rights were then sold and it will be translated into German, French and Italian.

My head still spins, I still feel like this is not real. I feel like I got dropped into the big leagues and I don’t even know what sport I am meant to be playing. Other authors have had years of practice leading up to the day they get published. They have had ample ‘warning’, I had nothing. I was thrown in head first with no knowledge of the industry at all. I sound ungrateful, but believe me, I am not. I think I am still in a state of shock and am only now settling into my new career, one which was almost thrust on me by accident.

You might be thinking at this stage that I hardly had to work to get this- that is what a lot of people assume. But let me assure you, that I have never worked so hard in my entire life. I wrote my first book, Burning Moon, in 3 weeks, with almost no sleep. And in the last two years I have subsequently written 7 books.

I have now been ‘playing’ at being a full-time author for just over two years now. I say ‘playing’ because I still don’t know what the F I am doing. My books have been read 18 million times, MILLION, on Wattpad and I sit with an agent and publishing deals and am officially making a good living doing it (Mainly due to the fact that our South African Rand is so shitty, and for every $1 I receive, I get R16) I still feel like if I pinch myself, I am going to wake up from all of this.

It has been the craziest ride of my life, and at age 35 I think I have actually found the thing I am meant to be doing. It took me more than ten years to find it, and I found it accidentally, but I’m doing it now and hope it will continue. I hope my career as an author is not going to be as ‘over-night’ as my path to becoming one was. This is a very real fear I have.

I have no idea what the moral of this story is, I think it is along the lines of ‘just put yourself out there‘ because you never know what will come back. The deadline forced me to write without thinking too hard, and there was no room for procrastinating. Look for writing competitions, I swear by them. It is the one way to assure your work is seen by the right people.

That is the nutshell version, I’ll give more details later on!