Author, Barbara Studham

Creator of memoir, fiction, and the children's picture book, Strawberry & Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

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FREE Basic Book Promotion

Discover FREE ways to promote your

self-published book.

You’ve written and self-published your book, and now you are looking for promotion ideas. No need to spend a fortune on sales promoters: authors who have been there, done that, and now want to sell you their expertise. Their claims include selling thousands of books and spiraling to the top of their trade by using their little-known methods.

“Follow my six steps to fame!”

“Ten easy ways to promote your book!”

 “Increase your book sales a thousand-fold!”

It’s tempting, until the price tag rears its ugly head. Especially when most of the paid-for suggestions are free elsewhere on the Internet. If you are just starting out, it pays (YOU) to spend time browsing for basic promotion projects.

Spend time browsing for free advice

Spend time searching.

The Internet offers hundreds, if not thousands, of writing websites offering FREE book promotion ideas. The only thing you need is time and patience to surf the Internet to find projects right for you and your book. Start with the basics, and within time, you will gain confidence to chase after more professional promotions. But first, think BLOG, and SOCIAL MEDIA. Blogging and social media are your two basic methods for promotion. FACEBOOK offers individual PAGES, and if you are on AMAZON, complete your author page at AUTHOR CENTRAL. There are also sites offering FREE REVIEWS. Check out the following links. 

Ask friends for suggestions.

Spend time with friends.

Chances are, if you have written a book, you will know others who have. When I completed my first memoir Two Decades of Diapers, my friend, who was also my memoir teacher, offered me many suggestions on how to promote my self-published memoir: BOOK FAIRS, LOCAL RADIO SHOW, LIBRARY PRESENTATIONS,  and SPEAKING EVENTS.  She had self-published  books and learned the promotion ropes. She is an avid PODCASTER, and swears by its power to promote. If you are not friends with people in the know, join writing circles and clubs, and attend book talks and fairs to garner advice from other writers. Visit my friend’s link. 

Don’t be afraid to ask.

Don’t pay–ask!

It also pays to reach outside of your friendship circle and ASK for ideas. For example, following the recent release of my children’s FASD picture book titled Strawberry & Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, I contacted an FASD school social worker. I wanted to let her know the book was available, and to ask for suggestions on how to get the book placed within school libraries. Not only did she love the book, but suggested a fabulous way to promote. She is in the process of organizing an FASD seminar and suggested my children’s book for door prizes! What a fantastic idea, and one I can use to further promote my book by contacting FASD committees and explaining my book makes wonderful door prizes at FASD conferences, and other meetings. 

FREE basic book promotion!

On the surface, these suggestions might appear tiny drops of promotion  in the vast sea of methods, but most  paid-for ideas include approaching corporate sponsors, and TV producers, which I consider much farther-down-the-road promotions; ones to consider at a later date when you gain confidence and your book is selling. I’m all about getting started, so in the meantime, for free confidence-building promotional ideas, don’t pay now, and regret it later—simply search and ask for FREE.

See my books, including my new children’s picture book

Strawberry & Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome,

The School Day

at Amazon, and the following link.


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One joy of self-publishing!

Self-publishing—the very words arouse visions of independence, control, and yes… even sole proprietorship. Having self-published memoirs, fiction, and recently a children’s picture book, I had come to see self-publishing as speedy, inexpensive, and totally in my control.

Oh, how the proud fall.

With copies of my children’s book titled, Strawberry & Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in hand, I arrived ten minutes early at an agreed upon place, at an agreed upon time, to meet up with a person with potential to influence the local board of education to consider my book for their libraries. After all, my children’s picture book depicts a typical school day in the life of a child with FASD, so I imagined schools falling over each other to grab one, and even better, several. Ah, life was good.

We met up, drank coffee, talked a reasonable amount of small talk, and then, just at the right moment, I produced the book from my bag. His eyes lit up; always a good sign. He leafed through the pages and smiled. “My contact will enjoy this,” he said. He took a pen from his inside jacket pocket. “Do you have another copy?” he asked. “I’d like you to sign one for my personal use.”

Red-faced horror!

Red-faced horror!

Mentally patting myself on the back for remembering to carry extras, I pulled another from my tote. Taking the pen, I opened the book to write. Horror struck! The pages were out of order. Page 13 was where page 1 was supposed to be; my introduction was located in the center of the book, the copyright faced page 7, the end was at the beginning, and so on and so on. I was mortified. My cheeks blushed. I felt small, and no longer in control. How could my POD service have done this to me, and, worse, to my customers? People are buying: from Amazon no less! I imagined purchasers trying to make sense of the arse-about-face pages; their expressions creased, my reputation ruined. I wanted to run home, click on the POD website, and give them a piece of my mind.

My guest smiled. He understood, or so he said, but the atmosphere had changed. He appeared less excited about the book. Would he still give a copy to his contact? Okay, so it’s a learning lesson. I know that, but I don’t want to hear it. I’m 70 years of age; I’ve learned enough! What I do want is for my POD service to GET IT RIGHT!

Barbara Studham has written FASD memoirs, fiction, and is currently working on the second in the

Strawberry & Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol series, titled, FIDGET!

See her on Amazon at the following link.


Twitter: @barbarastudham

Also on: Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn,

Barbara Studham’s blogs:

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Writing Contest

Avoiding Writing Contests

Despite writing seriously for ten years, I have never entered a writing contest. Do not ask me why as there is no specific reason. Perhaps, therein lies the problem; there is not one reason, but many.

A contest I recently considered, laid out the rules along with a picture of the judge. She resembled my high school English teacher: short frizzy hair, thick-rimmed glasses, and sardonic smile. An award winning writer, she did not impress me as someone who would welcome my measly entry. I imagined her nose crinkle in disgust as she opened my envelope, her condescending glare at my name.

Okay, so she has specific judging rules to follow which rules out bias, but what if her friend enters the contest. Is she relationship-bound to announce her the winner. I envisioned sweat dampening her brow as she thought up numerous excuses to let her friend down lightly. Or worse, what if an entry with an attached note arrives from a relative—Psst, it’s Vera. I signed my entry under a false name, but it is really your mother-in-law. I ask you, what choice would she have other than to declare her the winner?

Before entering the contest, should I read her long list of books to get an idea of the style she prefers, or leave it to chance and hope she likes mine? What if she suffers a heart attack while reading my entry? Would someone gather the pages from off the floor, and replace them neatly in the envelope to be read at a later date, or, due to the urgency, would paramedics render it unreadable? What if I miscalculated the word count, would I suffer disqualification for one word over the limit …. I warned you, my reasons are endless.

Avoiding Writing Contests

So, there you have it. A few of my hesitations when it comes to contest writing, and why I don’t enter. Of course, you know it’s all baloney, don’t you. The REAL reason I avoid writing contests is because I am confident my writing is not good enough to win! But, you can be the judge of that by visiting the following link to download one of my ebooks.

Priced at around the dollar mark, they are very affordable. Oh, and please leave me a review when you have finished the book. Even a bad one is welcome!

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Writing Tips: Dialogue

What a wonderful addition to narrative!

Hearing accents

Hearing accents

I love characters in books who talk too much. Despite their annoying chatter, they advance the storyline. Fiction requires dialogue. Without it, the story would read as boring. Now comes the “however.”

However, as most people do not speak perfect English, a writer needs to adapt to the accent/ class/tone/logic of the character who is speaking. A simple example: no English cockney character would speak in an affluent manner, unless that person had deliberately changed his style; in which case, that scenario should be added to the storyline.

Writing Tips: Dialogue

Look, for a moment, at the following characters. One says, “Yesterday, I called on you, but you appeared not to be at home.” The other replies with, “That’s strange. I know I was in.” Two different class of characters: the first completes his sentence with “at home”; the second leaves the preposition “in” hanging. If both characters were considered of the same class they would either say, “Yesterday, I called on you, but you weren’t in.” with the reply being “That’s strange. I know I was in.” Alternatively, the first would say, “Yesterday, I called on you, but you appeared not to be at home.” with the reply, “That’s strange. I assure you, I was home all day.”

Speaking styles reveal all. Amazingly, from how the character speaks, the reader can tell where he is from; his mode of upbringing; his class status; his principles; his personality, and his attitude. Invariably, readers are less drawn to a character by what he does, and more by what he says, and the way he speaks.

That is why authors should read books. Dissecting other authors’ work is part of being a good writer. It helps to avoid obvious mistakes when writing a manuscript. It also helps to learn how a character’s personality is revealed through their dialogue.

Keep Writing!


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Hit with Writer’s Block?

Hit with Writer's Block?

Hit with Writer’s Block?

Hit Back!

Writer’s block is a severe invasion of your writing. It can cause doubt in your ability to be an author, and set you back for days, sometimes weeks. But, don’t dismay, when you are aware of the various root causes of writer’s block, they can be overcome, and you will be back on track in no time.

  1. My own experience with writer’s block has taught me not to over-think my story. Over-thinking is a consequence of over-writing: too many hours in front of the page. All writers know that two hours per day expanding a manuscript is enough; more, and we lose focus, grow tired, and push our story and ourselves too hard. Writer’s fatigue equals writer’s block.
  2. Your story could be progressing down the wrong path. If so, it will read as boring. You will begin to question your character, his/her actions, the setting or location, or your ability to expand his/her personality and role in the story; hence, the onset of writer’s block. If so, take a break from writing and spend a few days reading.
  3. Read only books in the genre you are writing. Read your favorite authors of the genre. Make notes of their characters. Are they all evil, or all angelic? Usually neither: your characters should be a bit of both, so if you focus on one character in one way, you will hit writer’s block. Take the same attitude with your plot. Does your character “fit” into the story? Perhaps not: if so, is there an alternate character in your story who would make for a better fit? Writing is like character casting for a movie. We all know when an actor has been miscast as it diminishes the movie. Switching a secondary character into the main role of your story can trigger an intriguing “twist” in the plot, and surprise your reader.

Writer’s block can be the downfall of many a writer.

That is why I wrote a fictional tale on the subject called,

Not My Type. 

Not My Type

Not My Type

In the fictional story, Not My Type, the main character, Lisa Paige, is a respected non-fiction writer who envies the accolades bestowed upon her fiction-writing mother, Madge Paige. So much so that, while desperately trying her hand at fiction, writer’s block hits, and Lisa begins to hallucinate, causing fictional characters to come to life and visit her home. Frantically offering her bribes in return for inclusion in her book, the characters explain her refusal would result in their deletion within the fictional world. As characters compete for billing, murder and mayhem ensues, as each are in conflict and equally determined to be forefront in Lisa’s novel. But is there an alternate motive for their brawling? Does Lisa complete her work of fiction and find the fame she so desperately yearns? In Not My Type, discover how her fictional characters’ skirmishes bring a life-changing twist to Lisa’s future.

Available as ebook for .99 cents (usd) from your Amazon, the following links, and many other ebook distributors.



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Blogging Tips for Writers

Solid reasons why an author should create a blog!

I recently had the pleasure of giving a presentation at the writers’ group I attend in Hamilton, Ontario. My topic was, The Benefits of Blogging. Anita, a fellow member, snapped this photo of me as I displayed a picture of my own author’s blog, and described the importance of themes, widgets, and SEO, etc.

blogging presentation at Hamilton ON writer's group

blogging presentation at Hamilton ON writer’s group

Why have a blog?

  • One reason to create an author blog is to build a following. If you intend to write a manuscript, whether you choose to self-publish, or contact a publisher, you need to attract followers who will buy your book. Don’t wait until you have completed the manuscript. The day you start that manuscript, is the day you should create a blog. If you post a minimum of twice a week to your blog, by the time your manuscript is ready to publish, you will have attracted followers who know you well, and are curious about your book. Hence, your first sales.
  • A blog can be set up in minutes, and be customized to reflect the look you want to present. Text is mostly the primary content; however, there are also blogs that are a combination of pictures, video, and audio. When choosing a blogging site, you need to do your homework to discover which one is the right one for you.
  • When you have created a blog, you need to post a minimum of once a week to be sure browsers are reading your blog. Don’t neglect your blog, or you will find your followers neglecting you.
  • Include a “follow me” widget on your sidebar. There, people can register their email and be assured of receiving your new posts. Why is this important? To maintain your following and hopefully attract new followers. When people open their email and see you have posted a new segment in your blog, they will automatically view the post. It’s like maintaining a long-distance relationship. Most of your followers you won’t know, and some will live in other countries, so it is up to you to be the dominant “friend” in the relationship and keep them up to date on what’s going on in your life. Your followers will most likely be your first purchasers of your book. So, keep them in your loop.
  • A blog is also essential to harvesting readers’ anticipation over your new book. Post a little about the storyline of your book. Offer teasers, a chapter, photos (whether included in the final manuscript or not), and ask for comments, ask your readers to share and click LIKE, and to ask for reviews of your chapter. They might not answer, but they will remember you.

There are so many more reasons why authors’ should blog. Too many to mention here. I will be posting more blogging tips in the future, so return soon. In the meantime, to see my books, take a look at my author page at the following link.

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More Writing Tips

Keep your manuscript professional

Two posts ago, I offered some handy writing tips which were well received, so I am offering more. I wish I could say the following list was compiled by me, but I received it years ago from someone whose name I cannot remember. Nevertheless, that does not change its importance to writers who want their manuscripts to appear professionally written.

Periods in abbreviations.

  • There are no periods between the letters in acronyms such as CBC, HIV, AA; nor in countries/provinces/states (US, UK, ON, BC)
  • There are no periods following: Mr Mrs Dr PhD but after Prof. there is a period.
  • There are no periods following measurement abbreviations: km m cm ft in
  • Use periods between abbreviations such as a.m. and p.m. and a.k.a.; also use between initials of a person’s name, such as W.C. Fields, W.H. Auden, or J.R.R. Tolkien, with no spaces between the initials.

Hope this helps you as much as it did me. Don’t forget to file this info somewhere close to your fingertips while writing. In the meantime, why not check out the first in my seaside series ebooks: Under the Shanklin Sky: only .99 cents (usd) and available from your Amazon or the following links. The second in the series: The Faring Foxglove, and the third: The Bathing Beauty, are also available. Please watch for my next three in the Series: A Hint of Spring, The Spitting Image, and Mann Overboard, coming soon in 2017.

Under The Shanklin Sky

Under The Shanklin Sky

Genre: Fiction/Adventure. Title: Under the Shanklin Sky

Milly Mullan is a retiree from London with delightful childhood memories of holidays spent at the scenic seaside town of Shanklin, located on the Isle of Wight. As an adult, she intended to vacation there often, but, with a successful career as an interior designer to oversee, and hubby being top chef at a popular up-scale London restaurant, time to holiday was denied them. Not until retired, did Milly return to Shanklin, by which time Harry had died from health complications. Their daughter, Rosie, had grown up and married. Still, Milly has only one regret: losing touch with a young boy, Jonathan, she had met when only ten-years old during one of her Shanklin vacations. When retired, her hope to see him again absorbed her thoughts until, one day, while tending her balcony flowers; she found a valuable silver fob watch in a flowerpot. Determined to find its owner, she begins a search and finally locates her lost love, but is it Jonathan? To find out, join Milly—Under the Shanklin Sky.

The first in the seaside series, Under the Shanklin Sky is available at your Amazon and the following links: