Friday, 28 December 2012

Looking ahead to 2013 while reflecting on 2012.

The Christmas frenzy is over and a new year looms. Time now to look ahead to 2013 and reflect on 2012. Have we planned our strategy for 2013? Did we achieve what we set out to do in 2012? Did we change course? Above all, was 2012 a fruitful year?

I looked at the Events page on my website remind myself what I had done. Good Lord! I was busy! Publicity and Marketing continued apace and will continue in 2013.
Planned releases for 2013.
Currently I am writing a short story called Oranges.  A fantasy type of story with the inevitable visits to sunshine lands where oranges grow in abundance. Initially, this may be e-Book formats only. I plan to finish The Long Leg of Italy, the third in the Just Us Two series. Publication date to be announced. Island Interludes is in the pipeline. This is planned for 2014. More field work may be needed. I feel a trip coming on!
Two other titles in the Lifelong Learning series took a back seat to make room for the Employability books. These will now be planned in. Already I am being asked for Talk the Talk: Getting the Message Across.
Networking will continue to 'keep me in the loop' so to speak. So we look forward to 2013 with a positive outlook. Exciting times!
Book Releases in 2012.
Plans changed in 2012 as publishing our Skills for Employability books became a pressing need.
  • The re-formatted second edition of award winning Just Us Two: Ned and Rosie's Gold Wing Discovery * was targeted for release on May 1st. After including extra photos, we kept the formatting in colour so that the e-Books would be in colour, even though the print format is in black and white. We were pleased with the new cover, which reflected our love of the mountains yet included our beloved Gold Wing - now a distant memory...
  • Skills for Employability Part One: Pre-Employment, scheduled and released for May 17th, had good pre-publication Amazon rankings.
  • Skills for Employability Part Two: Moving into Employment originally scheduled for November 1st was re-scheduled for September 1st. Although a tall order, feedback suggested that this would be a better date. As with other titles, all images are formatted in colour for the e-Books. (Another hat!)
Of course, formatting the manuscripts for e-Books meant complying with three different submission guidelines - all different to print and each other. All were planned to go live on the same date as the print versions. This was dictated by the date on which each actually went live.
Expanded Distribution.
Print formats are available on-line and from local booksellers through major wholesalers/distributors globally. All copies are fresh off the press of a major US/UK organisation, so no nasty musty smells from long-term storage in a warehouse. The acid-free paper, which comes from environmentally friendly sustainable sources, has a nice feel with no nasty residue on your hands.
In 2012, they all became available from the Welsh Books Council on their on-line bookstore. Just type my author name in the search box.
Espresso Book Machine (EBM). If you are lucky enough to be in an area where they have the Espresso Book Machine you can have a copy printed in minutes, such is the wonder of technology. Mainly in the US and Canada, they are now appearing in locations worldwide including in Canterbury in the UK.
eBooks. e-retailers such as Amazon, Apple, and Kobo etc have their own book stores  There is no guarantee that a book is available in all of them. Most have a downloadable app so that you can read their titles on another e-reader or PC/Mac. We, however, have tried to ensure a global reach.
  • Amazon Kindle technicians are quick to review, approve, and make live.
  • Adobe Digital Editions. All Rosalie Marsh titles are available globally from e-retailers in *pdf format. This works well for the workbook style as the pages are fixed. Through distributor GardnersBooks, they are now available in the UK from Tesco eBooks, Welsh Books Council, Foyles eBooks for example. Libraries can also source copies via distributor GardnersBooks.
  • ePub is an international format now used by most e-readers (not Kindle). Formatting is specialised, as the text has to flow. There are other technical specifications. After much thought we decided to go through US distributor Smashwords as they convert for ePub and other formats in one easy process for download to most e-reading apps including Stanza, Aldiko, Adobe Digital Editions, others, and PC.
  • Smashwords Premium Catalogue. We were pleased that the quality of all titles, after close auto and manual vetting, met the requirements for submission into the Premium Catalogue for shipping to Apple iPad/iBooks, Barnes & Noble Nook & Nook UK, Sony Reader, Kobo, Baker & Taylor's Blio, and soon Baker & Taylor's Axis 360 library service.
  • Apple of course carries out yet another manual vetting before allowing titles into their iBookstore. We felt a real sense of achievement that they all made it. (At the time of writing, Skills for Employability Part Two is caught up in a glitch and has been re-shipped to Apple. It should appear soon.)
  • Amazon and Kobo rankings are consistently good in both general and specific categories. e-Books have sold in the US, UK, Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa to name a few. Print books continue to sell globally.

Marketing and Publicity in 2012.
Guest appearances.
  • Earlier in the year, I was a guest (two occasions) on Red Shift Radio's European Lunch Show, discussing travel in Spain and well being with presenter Chrisoula Sirigou and other guests.
  • Between February and September, I took part in a range of book signing and speaking events where I also exhibited our range of books. Where money was being raised for charity, I donated a copy of Just Us Two.
  • Over the summer, all titles were promoted on Trindie Books for the Kobo e-reader.
    Following an interview with American author Sylvia Ramsey, I was showcased on her Thoughtful Reflections blog.
Guests Posts and Articles.
·         A variety of topics was posted in the on-line magazine Women's Thoughts under Home Office/Women's Work -Family Matters and Women in Business.
·         Later in 2012, Judith Sharman of Well Tree Learning, published articles in the WTL Life, The Universe & Everything and Workplace sections of the site with more scheduled.
Networking Groups.
  • I joined WiRE (Women in Rural Enterprises) attending meetings in North Wales and Oswestry.
  • I also attended some Federation of Small Business (FSB) meetings in the Chester and North Wales area.
Internet Marketing.
  • Facebook,( Twitter (@RosalieMarsh) and LinkedIn continue to be the main social media sites for us.
  • Our Facebook and Twitter focus expanded with dedicated pages on each for the Just Us Two Travel and Lifelong Learning Personal Effectiveness Guides to reach more specialised groups. Joining LinkedIn and Facebook Groups expanded connections.
  • Just Us Two Travel on Facebook.  Lifelong Learning on Facebook.
    Rosalie & Just Us Two onTwitter (@JustUsTwoTravel) Rosalie &L.L.Develop on Twitter (@LifelongD).
Our Discover-Rosalie site was kept up-to-date. The integration with Google is invaluable. I had great fun with our blog Rosalie's Chatter powered by Blogger, also linked to Google. (Another hat to wear while I immersed myself in these and relaxed!)
All in all 2012 has been a positive year, thanks to my husband who sits quietly while dispensing pearls of wisdom and support. Our thanks to all who have supported us. and we wish you all a Happy New Year and a prosperous 2013.

* Just Us Two:Ned and Rosie’s Gold Wing Discovery (1st Ed. 2009) was winner 2010 International Book Awards (Travel:Recreational category) and Finalist in 2009 Best Books Awards in the same category.
 Take a look around the blog to see what we really got up to!

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Return to Nerja, Andalucia

Rosie continues her love affair with Nerja and Andalucia.
After a prolonged break in the sun, I am back 'chattering'. We first visited Nerja in the early 1990's on a trip where we went to Frigiliana and the Cuevos De Nerja.( The ones which three boys discovered when looking for bats in the 1950's.)
When Andalucia called in 2000 we had to change our plans for an Italian trip on the Gold Wing and head to Nerja and Ronda. This was our big Andalucian Adventure where we rode through France and along the coast of Spain to the south, to realise a dream.
Since then we have taken opportunities to spend a few weeks there in the winter with Saga Holidays on their special 4 weeks for 3 all-inclusive holidays. After visiting in 2008 and 2009 we returned this year. 
View from the park in Nerja. Hotel in background.
Nerja is so unspoilt and timeless. Taking the break as 'living in the sun' for four weeks, we just relaxed and chilled out. After the heavy rain of previous weeks the dry river beds were dry no more and had become wide streams flowing down from the mountains behind our hotel into the sea in front of it. This meant that we had to detour along the road and through a field to get to the beach and then walk along the river at Nerja to get to the town. This brought us to the park where we watched a group of (English) people playing Petanque ( kind of bowls.) It is amazing to see orange trees in the Plazas with ripening oranges in winter.
The old Silk Market in Granada
Oranges Trees in Nerja
I have put a few photos on my
Just Us Two Travel Facebook  page.
The highlight of the trip was a day visit to Granada ( we visited in 2009 along with the Alhambra Palace) and a half-day trip to Orgiva in the Las Alpujarra mountains, Sierra Nevada 
( to the east of Granada). 
Sunrise over Nerja at 08:15am. An early start for Orgiva.

After a beautiful sunrise, the sun shone in a brilliant blue sky.With snow on the tops of the Sierra Nevada, the contrasts were fantastic.The pavement cafes in Orgiva were full of people enjoying the winter sunshine in the mountain air.

As I write this post I am listening to a live recording on CD of the North Wales Youth Orchestra's simmer concert in Bangor, North Wales. August 2012. My grandson James Thompson ( @evertonjt was playing in first violin. ( Do I sound like a proud Granny? Well, I am!) The programme was very energetic, with the talented orchestra playing music by Shostakovich, Katchachurian, Rimsky-Korsakov and Dvorak   conducted by Gareth John.

I did some Christmas shopping in Nerja for 'my girls (3 generations) which lessened the load when we returned home. So today I have wrapped, packed, posted and stored!
Might get down to some writing next week. Oranges and The Long Leg of Italy are knocking at the door of my brain.