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Debbie Flint

Debbie Flint

Debbie Flint

Well, as the freezing temperatures look set to hit, this week I read that in some parts of the frozen United States, they call it ‘book weather’! This week some extra links for you to peruse if you’re also interested in self-publishing. Do go to the regular RiWiSi segment in my QVC Blog this week too, for more including a book of the week which may end the arduous work outs to get fit – from the guy who brought us the 5:2 diet, Michael Mosley. Read more via the blogs tab at the top.


Ten book recommendations to improve your life?

As they reported in The Mirror this week, “There’s nothing quite like being caught up in a rattling good read. If you’ve ever stayed up all night promising yourself “just one more chapter” you’ll know what I’m talking about. But there’s more to it than that. Emory University in the US found that reading triggers chemical changes in your brain. Reading about something can trick your mind into thinking you really did it, creating a kind of muscle memory that influences your mind for days. So when someone says a book changed their life, they might not be exaggerating.”

Check it out at where they’ve listed ten books to improve your life – have any improved yours? Or to find out more about how reading a gripping novel causes biological changes in the brain which last for days as the mind is transported into the body of the protagonist, go to this report about the study itself. Good news if you need to escape!


Ten Publishing Predictions for 2014

Interesting, including that Print On Demand is the future. POD is what I do with my paperbacks on Amazon, for those who don’t know. Having uploaded the files to Createspace, if one person wants one book, they print one book and send it off 3-5 days later, at a normal price and it cost me nothing to upload it (only the usual costs of cover design etc). So why wouldn’t stores do this? It’s got to be the future.  “As the price point continues to get lower, we’ll start seeing kiosk bookstores with Espresso type machines in them producing print books economically”.

Read  more here.


EBook slump? What eBook slump?

It’s been the topic of the last quarter of 2013 amongst erstwhile self-publishing success stories many of whom suddenly found their sales dipping in September/October time. I did too, to be honest, but I thought it was just ‘cos the Summer was over and mine was a holiday type book – still could be. But this Irish publisher thinks people shouldn’t buy the myth about the eBook slump. Read more here.



And Why you Need a Reader Community Online Not an Audience, if You’re Serious About Self-Publishing

Another author explaining that you should “know, as far as possible, who your readers are as people, and for them to know you as more than just the person who wrote that thing.” I think with my weekly QVC Blog being an extension of what I do on air, this is a natural step for me. But for the average writer who hides away in a solitary profession and is by nature often very introvert, it’s a harder thing to get your head around. Read more here.


Don’t forget to check out the January ‘Back to You’ blogs – click on the tab at the top. This week I feature an amazing book from Deepak Chopra called ‘what are you hungry for’.

Best wishes and have a good week!



Ps more news about my steamy chapter next week!

Pps Follow me on twitter @debbieflint

Hawaiian Affair Steamy or Hawaiian Affair PG versions are both available on Amazon in either eBook or paperback.

Hawaiian Escape, the prequel is also available on Amazon in eBook or paperback.

Till the Fat Lady Slims is my 2002 weight loss book all about eating like slim people do, following Food Freedom technique.

The Valentine’s Surprise is a short story proving it’s never too late to find your Sir Galahad!


Thanks for tuning in and coming here to my website for more info. The links to the facebook group and to my Till the Fat Lady Slims book on Amazon can be found on the main feature at the top of this Back To You page. Do sign up for my newsletter (go to home page tab at the top of this website) to be kept up to date with all my shenanigans every week - including my romance writing!

So - big question! - which 'you' would you like to get 'back' to?! My reply is simple - the best body I've had in decades - in this pic from 2000. It'll take some ab work for sure! You with me? What's your target? Mine's to get as close as poss to this flat toned stomach by the end of the month.

This week's Monday Essay is designed to help you address several issues which stand in your way.



New year New you - what does it mean to you? Same old same old every January? One of the secrets to achieve change is - rethink your thinking.

Stop saying 'I never lose weight' and begin seriously picturing yourself succeeding - and how different life WILL be WHEN you finally achieve your goals. We are creatures of habit and being able to let go of old behaviours is quite hard. But repetition brings new habits so just start with baby steps and be kind to yourself.

- if exercise is daunting as you're so unfit, just do a tiny bit but do it every day. eg 20 seconds on the bodyblade or 3 minutes on the pilates machine - tomorrow do 21 seconds, the day after do 22 etc - you'll be surprised if you stick to it, how quickly the new behaviours lay the foundations for change. So just start.

- if sudden, strict diet change is too daunting then just change a bit of it at first. If you slip up, don't think you've 'gone and done it', only to binge and start again tomorrow. It's better to have a biscuit or even half a packet than to eat them and then eat half the fridge as well. Be kinder to yourself - act like slim people do and eat LESS afterwards, not more. And begin today.

- rethink quantities - stop at satisfied not at full - if you eat more than a fist sized portion at once (a small plate) or if you can feel your stomach starting to expand, it's probably too much. This revelation had the biggest impact on me when I first learned Freedom Eating a decade ago (full info on this week's QVC Blog - see 'blogs' tab above) and there's more about it in my 2002 book Till the Fat Lady Slims. Try it - it knocks your mind for six at first, especially if you've got 'finish your plate-itis'. BUT it feels so right once you're used to it.  NB - another sign of satisfied I get is taking a deep breath. Often it comes when there's quite a lot left on my plate. NB2 - You can eat the rest of the food later - just wait till you're sufficiently hungry again then it'll taste every bit as good as it did the first time.

- don't eat if you're not SUFFICIENTLY hungry - if you're not, then your body's not ready for food. It's like trying to fill up a petrol tank that's already full - it'll overflow - onto your hips and stomach! So wait till you're at 6 on the hunger scale - where 1 is vaguely peckish and 10 is starving - then foods will taste amazing as your body's ready for it. If you love your food, this will be a life-changer. You have to allow yourself to do this if you're serious about gaining Food Freedom instead of food ruling your life. Be clever if you have to fix family meals. Keep tupperware containers so you can take the leftovers home or get a to-go box if you're out - everybody does it now so don't be scared to do so too.

- choose what you really genuinely want to eat - your body will tell you what it needs as it'll be the thing that tastes the best, or which you feel like most. (If you don't get a clear signal or you feel like all of it, you're probably thirsty - so have a glass of water then fifteen minutes later if you're still hungry it should be a clearer signal.)

This is the system I used to lose 35lb just over a decade ago - just as I left QVC after my first six years there. It works for me - I hope it works for you. To read more please go to Till the Fat Lady Slims on Amazon, (taken from 'the Seven Secrets of Slim People (1998)' which was in turn inspired by 'Diets Don't Work'). BUT the latest science about sugar addiction means it's essential to also become sugar free first, in order for Freedom Eating to work properly straight away.



1. More and more press coverage is coming to light now about the dangers of sugar. The best life-changing video I've ever seen is 'Sugar: The Bitter Truth' - Dr Robert Lustig's youtube sensation. Go here to watch it. It's 90 minutes long but full of slides and statistics, amazing facts and unbelievably bad myths - myths which led to the explosion in poor health, because the change to Low Fat should also have been 'low sugar' all those years ago. Dr Lustig is a California endocrinologist who is the leading campaigner against sugar - and one of my modern day heroes. He's also funny and very watchable. This is his lecture at the university of california that kick-started the campaign.

I watched it four times - when I found out what was in it I had to show it to friends and loved ones and watched it with them. It was how I discovered that only the liver can metabolize sugar, fructose (bad) and high fructose corn syrup (even worse). Plus, no matter how much you eat, or exercise, a third of all the calories eaten in these types of sugar is converted straight into fat. So EVERY CALORIE IS NOT EQUAL. And that Fruit has fibre which counteracts fruit sugar (fructose) and should be eaten whole. By contrast, juices are fattening, they shouldn't be one of your five veg or fruit a day (which should really be 7 or 9 a day and mostly veg, but that's for another week!) Anyway, please watch the video - or some of the shorter versions of it on youtube. 

Dr Robert Lustig has also now written a book - 'Fat Chance - The Bitter Truth About Sugar' - to support the message. it's great.

2. Also - maybe first - watch the 14 minute report on the US TV Show 'Sixty Minutes', 'is Sugar Toxic' for some more shocking facts about the associations between sugar and illnesses. Other new scientific studies are proving the awful impact of sugars on the body - what it's doing to increase bad LDL cholesterol and cardio-vascular disease. Then even more shocking, how if you limit sugar it decreases your chances of getting certain kinds of cancers. It's a report from a 2012 US TV show, so watch it and make up your own mind. It's only 14 minutes, so go for it now. 

3. Want to know even more? Read nutritionist and macrobiotic consultant Marlene Watson Tara's guide - 'Fat Burning Simplified' - with even more info about why you should limit simple sugars across the board - including in white bread etc - in order to allow the fat burning switch to kick in. Utterly illuminating and possible the answer you've been searching for as to why you think you're eating 'right' but still not losing pounds, or you've plateaued. The solution could be in this link. It'll take about ten minutes to read it, so please do. 

4. And even the BBC has some helpful info about sugar - this time about how it's addictive in the same way opium or other drugs are. And that the more you eat, the less you get the reward stimulation in your brain, which means you have to eat more and more to get the same reward. Sound familiar? Watch 'Addicted to Pleasure' and find out more.

5. This interesting article mentions IQS - the I Quit Sugar programme, for even more 'how to' info, and support.  

If it seems impossible to cut right down on sugar, don't think of it that way. Just think of it as being curious. Then more assess when you've read up.



All of this info may help you KNOW versus just UNDERSTAND. And if you know as well as understand then you can innately make the right choices without relying on 'willpower' alone. How liberating to then take steps to change the things you want to - and not be a slave to a substance that makes big money for others. To wean yourself off sugar is the next step and there are plenty of resources online to do that - Marlene's website has a helpful sweet vegetable tea if you absolutely have to have sweetness, for instance, and more to read if you want to lose weight.

Google other articles and be your own investigative reporter to transform your life THIS time.



Yes there's probably a book of that name out there somewhere. But basically if you're using food for comfort then that's , again, a whole 'nother issue. But it underpins your reliance as food as a prop. Using food to stop a hurt or if you're bored is not what food is for - food is fuel. Help yourself find out what you really need by reading or listening to some fabulous self-help books - as recommended on my current QVC Blog, here are a few of them -


‘Your Erroneous Zones - Escape Negative Thinking and Take Control of Your Life' by Wayne Dyer (pictured)

‘You Can Heal Your Life’ by Louise Hay – get the audio book if you can, she’s a fab speaker. So is Wayne.

‘Excuses Begone’ by Wayne Dyer – unveiling the ‘no more excuses’ approach to getting on with it.

‘The Biology of Belief’ by Dr Robert Lipton – a truly life-changing examination of what makes us tick.

These are ones which I’ve personally read and can whole-heartedly vouch for – seriously if you’re up for sorting your life out, do please try one – or all of them.

These could all help to break the cycle of using food for comfort. If you can be kinder to yourself and go on a journey of self-discovery, it'll maybe mean the difference between failing again, and finally changing your life and getting Back to You - the you you want to be.



Let's do it together and let's do it via the facebook group 'Back to You QVC'. Let us know how you get on.

Or leave me a comment on my QVC Blog here if you'd like to join in. Or leave a comment below on this page.

Share this article if you found it interesting, thanks so much. More next Friday.

Good luck



NEXT WEEK - Exercise, relaxation and getting in balance.

Join me on QVC UK in January (available online here) every Monday 9pm starting 6th.

PS Come back at the end of the week for a summary of the wonderful links and posts which have been put on the facebook group.

Welcome to Back to You Updates! Set up January 2014 for the original weekly QVC shows throughout that month, it's now continuing as the series returns at different times of the year, including September. Next B2U shows will be January 2015.

Come back Mondays for weekly blog updates right here.

Join the support groups on Facebook where you will find a whole network of like-minded people sharing thoughts and tips and links and success stories to keep you motivated throughout the year.

The facebook group is here, or search 'Back To You QVC' group. There's also by popular demand, a sister group, CLOSED, called 'Break the Habit BTU' plus a 'Bodyblade QVC' group.

Leave a comment below too if you like, and if you're not on Facebook.

See archive for a huge array of health-based topics, news, studies and personal stories.

One more thing - if you'd like to get my own semi-autobiographical weight-loss book Till the Fat Lady Slims, it's on Amazon the original is here - and the latest one is Till the Fat Lady Slims 2.0 - the 'When' Diet - for all those who have asked about it and kindly posted how well you're getting on with it - I'm so glad Freedom Eating is working for many of you.  Check out the separate page above - TTFLS - for more fab testimonials, including how Chloe H lost four stone Jan - September 2014.

Good luck! And remember - don't just start as you mean to go on, keep going on once you've started!



Happy January everyone!

If it's not such a happy time of year for you, or you're suffering from the excesses of Christmas, would you join me on Mondays in January at 9pm on QVC UK? Only I've got a 'motivation' theme to my new show called 'Back to You.' The pic on my homepage post ( is from the promo currently running on QVC!

Little hints about weight loss and links to a new facebook community support group and little videos of others' thoughts about health and well-being are what to expect, as well as the usual products but with a different take on them. Guests will all be asked for their hints and tips, weak spots and solutions too. Hehe!

Anyway I hope you can join me.

By the way if you're in need of something right now, my latest QVCUK blog (here) is packed with snippets of info you might like to read, including the promo video for the new QVC show which is where the pic above comes from! That was a fun day and the choccie labradors were very well behaved! Lovely big location house in Wandsworth too - it used to be a school and the ceilings were really high! Murder to heat but looks fantastic on a shoot!

Plus as usual on my blog there's a funny blooper - this time with Andrew from Gatineau getting more than he bargained for from Ali Young on Thursday last week! lol. 

Oh and - STOP PRESS - if you didn't hear me say it, apparently my 'no-no tube of cream in the gob' blooper has made it to It'll Be All Right on the Night which goes out on Sunday 5th on ITV! Serves me right for opening the tube with my teeth! Won't do that again! haha!

I do hope you are well and enjoying the new year so far. Oh and in case you're awaiting news about my Hawaiian eXtra (steamy chapter) don't worry - it's on the way! Had a hiccup with uploading it in December mainly due to poor little Gracie dog losing an eye in an injury, and all that entailed - vets visits galore etc. But she's ok now. The chapter will be uploaded soon, and available here first in its simplest form as a free download! So look out for these updates each week as that's where you'll find out about it first. And thanks for being patient!

I personally did indeed overindulge in the rubbishy food a bit too much over xmas, so am also looking forward to getting back to me - the macrobiotic normal I established after marlene watson tara's course in April 2012. She's a marvel with her food medicine for curing all kinds of ills - do check out her website, .

And I've posted a 'fat burning simplified' article by Marlene on my new facebook group which I'd love you to be a part of if you like - it's for anyone who wants to seriously do something to get in shape and healthy this spring, with the aid of my new weekly QVC show. Go here for more info and to join it.

Or just tune in Mondays at 9pm starting Jan 6th.

Now where's that miso soup..? lol

have a fab week - more next weekend!



 ps - update - first Back to You 'Monday Essay' now available here 


How to Promote your EBook like a pro, One day MarketingCourse in Feb, and the latest on my Steamy Chapter!

  • How to set up an author platform
  • News about my Hawaiian eXtra steamy chapter download
  • Marketing your eBook course with Joanna Penn in Feb
  • And self-pub talk – A year of what’s, when’s and how’s of self-publishing for those who have no idea!


And why it’s important! Bolstablog has some really useful links and tips about social media and why even publishers expect an author to have a following nowadays. Read more here – and do use the tips – there are so many, it’s probably a whole day’s work to plough through it, let alone action it! But an excellent starting point. Thanks, Phil Bolsta, for some awesome short cuts to knowledge!


Some very relevant and illuminating viewpoints on the state of the industry right now for those new to it, or old hands, some very interesting reading here.


Again it’s in London, and Joanna and colleagues are going to bring us some super tips on how to market your eBooks once you’ve published them. I’m really looking forward to it – I’ve booked the time off work already, and I hope to see you there! Tweet me @debbieflint if you’re coming too! To find out all about it and to book, go here.


Ok, hands up, so I missed my deadline of 31st December for my Hawaiian eXtra, steamy download. Sorry! I’ll blame it on the dog. Well, the running around as a result of the poor hound losing an eye after a nasty injury, to be frank. But no more excuses – it will be done in January! Honest! So keep checking back in on this website to find out more, and do please think about subscribing to my weekly newsletters to make sure you don’t miss anything! Last week’s was all about the original story of Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer if you missed it! Go to my home page to read last week’s post if so!


And in case you missed it, here’s a very interesting article about how reading affects the brain! Apparently, ‘Reading a gripping novel causes biological changes in the brain which last for days as the mind is transported into the body of the protagonist’. See – reading my romance novels could make your brain think you’re really Sadie, having a steamy affair in Hawaii! Or increase your brain power! Lol!

MORE ON QVCUK.COM – if you like this post, you’ll always find more on my weekly QVC blog, just go to the blogs tab at the top of this site.  This week’s (3rd Jan) post brings some hot recommendations for books or audio books to help stick to those New Year’s Resolutions, to tie in with my new Monday night show ‘Back to You’, where it’s all about you after the mad Xmas period. Join me 9pm every Monday in January on QVC UK if you need some inspiration!

Best wishes



Follow me on twitter @debbieflint

Hawaiian Affair Steamy or Hawaiian Affair PG versions are both available on Amazon in either eBook or paperback.

Hawaiian Escape, the prequel is also available on Amazon in eBook or paperback.

Till the Fat Lady Slims is my 2002 weight loss book all about eating like slim people do, following Food Freedom technique.

The Valentine’s Surprise is a short story proving it’s never too late to find your Sir Galahad!

Well I hope you've enjoyed this year's new RiWiSi features on this page on my new website - there will be lots more in 2014. I'm going to end with a couple of interesting links including the biggest books of the year for all you readers, according to Amazon and a fascinating article about changing genre and making a mint. 

Have a fab Xmas and don't forget to load up your new kindles and tablets/kindle app's with my two romance novels - if you fancy giving them a go! Don't forget to let me know what you think!

Hawaiian Escape - we meet Sadie and Helen her sister, plus her kooky family, find out their biggest secrets and follow their exciting journey to Tuscany to enter the competition of a lifetime.

Hawaiian Affair - Sadie's story. She needs an investor - and fast. Mac the playboy billionaire needs an adventure but won't mix business with pleasure. They have 30 days to seal the deal, and stay out of love!

Coming Summer 2014 - 'Hawaiian Retreat - Try it For the First Time Club' - Helen's story - what happens after Tuscany!

Have a wonderful book-filled New Year too! If you have any fave discoveries from the last twelve months do let me know - leave a comment below! 

Best wishes,



ps Have just posted a cool update including the history of Rudolph the Red nosed Reindeer on my Home page - do go see! 


Amazon's Top Picks of 2013 - go here to see two dozen favourites from each category, and congrats to my former RiWiSi interviewee Tracy Bloom for getting in the pick of the picks - there she is in the top ten from the whole year! With her first novel, funny romance 'Noone Has Sex on a Tuesday', plus former Book of the Week 'The Cuckoo's Calling' by aka JK... Read more here.

 The Magic of Genre - one author's fascinating story about writing to order in a popular genre, to experiment with the importance of twitter/facebook etc versus getting a niche genre right - and earning more than she had ever done before, as sales exploded following all her hard work. Read more here.

Another blog recommendation - add this one to your regular reads - it's where the feature above - 'Author Platform Versus Genre' - came from. Joel Friedlander posts regular articles about writing tips and authors' stories. It's 

RiWiSi segment on weekly QVCUK blog! And don't forget to read my regular weekly look at all things book on my qvcblog! See blogs tab above.

pps - Happy New Year!


What a year!

My lovely son got married, my daughter moved back nearby and two books published and uploaded to Amazon - with over 5500 sold since the summer - am pretty chuffed with my first dip into the Amazon market if truth be known, and lots more writing planned for 2014.

So having done my last shift for Xmas at QVC on Sunday, I've been chillaxing and reading some interesting info. Well, you know me and geeky research stuff!

One of the most interesting articles was very timely for this season - it's all about Rudolph! Did you know that the famous reindeer was originally invented in 1939 as a Xmas story freebie for a big store chain In Chicago? Ad man Robert L. May was paid for the task, a single dad whose songwriter friend went on to write the tune that has now become part of every child's Christmas, more than 70 years later.  Go here to find out more. 

More Read It Write It Sell It in the new year.

I had a lovely family Xmas - the usual Fayre, and as one of five, with 15 nephews and nieces, and two of my own who also have partners, it's been a busy time! Join me on New Year's Eve for some fun and recaps and the launch of a fitness DVD with Jodie Prenger ('Nancy' in Oliver). And of course my new Monday night 9pm show 'Back to You' all about 'you-time'.

Have a wonderful break.

Best wishes






Debbie asked me to do an update for her RiWiSi blog, on what has happened since my post in August. ‘Er ... not much,’ I said. Then I thought about it and I realised that wasn’t strictly true.

Since the end of August, I’ve released another book, Carole Singer’s Christmas and I’ve also written and published two stories for a little book I’ve called, Christmas Wishes.

I made Christmas Wishes free for five days, on Amazon to say, ‘Thank You,’ to my lovely fans and readers.  I wanted to show how much I appreciate them buying my books. After all without them I wouldn’t be able to tell you that, since the beginning of September I’ve sold a further 8,000+ eBooks! For me, this relationship goes both ways and it was wonderful to be able to say, ‘Thanks!’

But although this freebie wasn’t about numbers or promotion, on this occasion, it did provide me with some interesting information. It seemed to confirm what many others have been saying recently; that freebies don’t have the clout they once did.

I’ve only done one freebie before and if you’ve read my previous post, you’ll know that it was that free promotion, in December 2012 that really made my books start selling. Over 12,000 free eBooks were downloaded over a two day period and sales shot up when the promotion ended.

The Christmas Wishes freebie was for five days – because I wanted as many of my readers as possible, to benefit from it. Even so, only 2,982 free eBooks were downloaded. Now I should say here that Christmas Wishes is NOT a novel; it’s two short stories totalling around 20,000 words. Short stories are never as popular as novels or novellas so I didn’t expect anywhere near the number of downloads as before but even so, bearing in mind that many of those downloads would have been my genuine fans, that means that there really weren’t that many ‘new’ readers who downloaded it.

I haven’t done a freebie for promotional purposes since last year and I definitely wouldn’t do one for promotion, now. If it’s your first book though and you’re an unknown writer – as I was last year – I still think they may be a way to make your book visible.

Amazon has now brought out a new marketing/promotional tool: the discount deal. This is where your book has to be priced at £1.99 (UK) or above for 30 days, after which time you can reduce it via a discount deal and have the price increase over a period of days. Like the free promotion, your book has to be enrolled in kdp select but people are saying that this is now the way to drive new readers to your books. I haven’t done one yet so I can’t comment but it does make sense, I think.

What else have I done? Well, I’ve replaced my old website with a shiny new one! I can upload videos to this one and I have started using the fabulous  to make amusing little book trailers. Check out my website if you’d like to see a couple of them. Animoto is free, or you can pay a few pounds and have the ability to make longer videos – which is what I have done. It’s easy and it’s fun!

And that’s about it. My next book is out in January and I firmly believe that having several books available for readers to buy, is still the best marketing there is!


Love, Emily xx

© 2013 Emily Harvale


More RiWiSi on my weekly QVC blog - see blog tab or go here. 


It’s gone so fast, this last few weeks! And now it’s December 2013. Time has flown, and it’s been a big year for me – not only finally finishing my first ever romance novel, and self-publishing it, (Hawaiian Affair) but also finishing and publishing my second (Hawaiian Escape) six months later. Can’t quite believe it myself!

But how do you begin? Then when you’ve done it, how do you get it ready to publish? Then how do you self-publish it?

With so many resources out there, I’m going to pass on the ones that I used. Hope they help and good luck!

If you like, add a comment to my blog below if you’ve self-pubb’ed your own novel, and include a link so others may see what you’ve done!

Best wishes



Ps for more RiWiSi go to my regular blogs each Friday on – or follow the blog tab (above) on this website. Not so much ‘Read it Write It Sell it’. More : WiPi-PiSePi-Ma :



Well, as my second book, Hawaiian Escape, hits amazon – (my racy rom-com - nb it’s racy but not SUPER-steamy like the first one!) time to share some tips! So many people have started asking me about self-publishing their own books, that I thought I’d do my ‘resources’ blog again here, with a few more bits added, so you can begin!

Read up on how to do it, go to courses, writing festivals, workshops, residentials for your genre etc . Look at –

Arvon Foundation – tons and tons of options each year for residential courses in the UK for all genres and formats – fiction to screenwriting, poetry to comedy. UK-wide. Grants available.


Writers’ Workshop – excellent resource just look at their site – almost everything you need. And google to find others like them


Cornerstones – a literary consultancy – google to find others like them. But their site is helpful even if you haven’t written your first one yet.


Find an association to join/ research/ get help from eg for romance the RNA have been a fabulous resource for me –



Writing holiday – my first one in 2009 was in Tuscany with a prolific romance writer – it was here:


-          Google others

Authors’ own websites and blogs, twitter and facebook – find them, read them, learn from them, communicate with them. One of the absolute best IMO is from Joanna Penn –


Local resources – find out locally what writers’ groups exist, or form one, even if you just do it all by email, don’t wait for someone else to lead you thru it. Local college courses  could be a good first step, even to set up a support group with like-minded local people. Local libraries often have talks. Go to them. Or just read. Loads.

Caution – the traditional route of finding an agent who then finds you a traditional publisher to get your books into bookshops, is almost disappearing. Nowadays, agents are more and more using self-publishing successes as their slush pile. And more and more publishers are publishing ‘digital first’ – ie, ebooks. But to track down agents and publishers, for your info, buy Writers & Artists’ Yearbook.

If you don’t do some of the above, you’re not ready to self-publish.

Once you have, read on!

 1.       Where to Begin – WRITE IT!

-          Write your first draft – for yourself. Authors call it the SFD (shitty first draft – yes it’s a thing). And write it to the end. If you need help on structure etc, go to a course (as above), buy a book, (PLENTY online), google for info – ie, do your homework. Unless you’re just writing to produce a book for your own fun or for family. Please take time to hone your skills a bit before just blasting out a novel – if you want to get it right and save yourself tons of time and disappointment and unfavourable reviews. Rather than just beginning to write, learn about the little things like not ‘head-hopping’, ‘show don’t tell’, creating conflict and compelling character arcs etc; many don’t know and it shows - don’t be one of them.

-          Then edit it – and edit it well. Do this second edited draft for the reader. Proof it and correct it. NB When I learned that you use left brain to edit, right brain to create, it changed how I write. Don’t stop mid-flow to correct punctuation, change a line or a word – just WRITE IT. THEN edit it. Two different mind-sets. But you can’t edit a blank page, so finish writing it first! You’ll be amazed how many people state they’re writing a novel but never finish. But at least it’s better than the ones who never start.

-          There are tons of books on how to structure, plot, do dialogue, create narrative drive, follow character arcs, put your babies thru hell, know your characters, etc etc – google them, buy them, use them. Romance? Try Kate Walker. Crime? Try ‘the Writer’s Handbook to Crime Writing.’ Etc. etc. etc.

-          Read up on websites like Alli – the Alliance of Independent publishers (self-publishers) – their regular newsletters and updates are full of handy info. And not just about writing it.

2.       Once it’s written PROOF IT.

-          A self-published book is perfectly capable of standing up alongside the best nowadays – unlike the old days when ‘self-publishing’ meant it was too awful to get a publishing contract so someone produced thousands themselves. But only if it looks professional.

-          BUT no one will continue to read you if there are mistakes – punctuation, spelling, grammar – no excuse nowadays for any – so GET IT PROOFED.

-          Find a proof reader friend/s (several are best) or pay an expert (ask around, or google to find one – Cornerstones have reasonable rates eg £400 for your avge length novel for a simple pass.) Most great self-published successes now use professional editing and proofing and cover creation as a matter of course. And beta reading…

-          Ask some ‘learned colleagues’ to beta-read for you. ‘Learned’ means they know at least some of what you know about how to write, so they know what you want from them. Friends and relatives are sometimes fine, but more likely, can often be next to useless - either too harsh or too sycophantic. Beta reading by a true reader of the type of book you are writing, counts most, I believe. I have a beta group of my own on facebook with a couple of dozen lovely ladies who kindly read my work when I’m, writing, and talk about hols and cats and cakes in between times.

3.       When it’s proofed – PREPARE IT.

-          Build your book for kindle and Publishing your Book to Kindle are two FREE ebooks on Amazon, by Amazon. Get them, use them, try it. Or find a ‘techy’ person who can do the ‘hard’ bit for you (it’s not that hard – anyone who can work their way around facebook and use Word quite efficiently, can probably do it). OR You can pay a fortune to an agency or an association or a company or an individual to do it all for you, your choice. Or you can read the books above, (with their pictures of how to do it – eg which part of word you click on to embed fonts etc, ) and do it yourself. Plus, for inspiration, find a self-pub author who has done it and see if they have done any tips or blogs about their own story – see Emily Harvale’s below.

-          Pay to have a professional cover designed – preferably by someone who knows how to do book covers – ask an author who they used etc. It’s an art, it’s a science, it really does make or break your book. Don’t do it slapdash if you want to really sell online. Remember your eBook is going to be seen in thumbnail size mostly, so keep it simple. Tons of resources around to help you get this done. Eg this one as food for thought.

-          EXCEPTION – if you only want to experiment or do this for fun or create a few copies for friends and family, then KDP (amazon) has its own ‘build your own cover’ section – and templates you can follow to create your own cover using your own photo.


-          Go to KDP. Look around, familiarise, experiment with the upload process with something else you’ve written. Follow their ‘how to’ guides. It’s STRAIGHTFORWARD but it’s not simple.

-          Not just amazon – smashwords, i-Books, Kobo, Nook, Sony eReader etc etc also offer a place to upload and sell your titles – do your research with other places online where you can publish your book. I stick with kindle and amazon (amazon’s ebooks all use kindle/app) because it’s easy to find, and universal. Plus most smartphones, tablets and even computers (android, apple, windows) have KINDLE APPS now – for free. But there are other services available but if you use them it can mean you lose out on some of the amazon-only benefits. But big authors often don’t care about that so they do make their books available on many different ones. Your choice. Think about it – prepare yourself.

-          Prepare your social media platform – essential, (even if some older eBooks say it isn’t and it doesn’t sell copies.) In our experience it is, and it does, slowly but surely. Plus if you are one day going to approach a publisher, none will take you seriously as an author if you’re not willing to build your platform on eg Twitter, and Facebook and your own website. Do a blog. Set up an email newsletter subscription service on your site (see article below). Start communicating with other authors – it’s a fab support network believe me. Writing is a solitary life – tweeting etc can be a companion as well as helping spread the word when you finally publish. But google info about how best to use it – be a human, not just a selling machine.

-          Goodreads  (as at end 2013) is becoming all-powerful, now it’s part of amazon, and reaches readers who are in that valuable position to click thru and buy. Or google other sites like it. It’s basically a reading group online, worldwide.

4.       When it’s prepared, SELF-PUBLISH IT

-          Use the above books free from amazon for kindle, and then…actually do it. Or pay someone to upload it, it’s up to you.

-          Ebooks -  as above – lots of help is available there too, as you go through the steps. BONUS – unlike trad publishing, where authors can wait ages to get sales updates, you are the publisher – so you can then see daily updates on kdp on your sales units and weekly and monthly royalty figures. Easily.

-          Paperbacks - - same as kdp only this creates your paperback appearing on amazon. Then they get linked (amazon are currently looking at this being one service in future but currently you do both separately with two separate uploads as they are separate companies). In case you didn’t know, Createspace takes your upload to create a paperback. Your upload, including a specially (professionally) designed paperback cover in pdf - for the correct size book and the right number of pages ( I use a professional designer who is not too dear - many good designers are around £100 or less; ask for recommendations from an author whose covers you like) ; and when it’s all proofed (that’s a process in itself!), your book magically appears on amazon. Then if one person wants to order ONE book, they print ONE book and send it within 3-5 days (or so). Incredible huh? And the fee you pay them as a publisher for doing this? Nothing. And the cost of the book? Depends on the length but typically a normal novel will be around £7… I know! So do it.

-          Author page - (for uk, also do one for .com) – this is as it sounds - all the info about you as an author. Look at other people’s pages for inspiration. At present, once your page is up, they will ask you to then go pinpoint your books and claim them so they appear on your page - you have to just locate your self-published book and tick a box. Then it appears on your page.

-          Royalties etc – there are several things you need to do if you want to retain all your US royalties so read thru on kdp and createspace carefully and if in doubt, just contact their ‘help/contact us’ and ask. Or google to find blogs with more info about it. For US royalties they will deduct 30% at source if you don’t register an ITIN number, which you have to obtain via the US Embassy – I went to the one in London, paid the pharmacy up the road £3 to keep my mobile and car key fob (as their metal detectors won’t allow them in,) went thru security past the men in guns, through a nondescript, ordinary office building to the correct little dept., and got a nice, friendly man behind the desk to help me fill in the forms and then they send it off and you wait. Through the letter box 6-8 weeks later, I got the form which had my ITIN number. I then put it on the relevant parts of the relevant forms available on kdp/createspace/ and filled in the gaps in the account settings on kdp and createspace online, to register to not have to pay the US tax. You may have to send off hard copy to America. All the info is online – just google it. It’s not hard – it’s just ‘the unknown.’ Find out about it, then it won’t be unknown and scary. If me and my pals can do it, you can. NB eBook pricing incl’s 3% VAT in UK so when you set your price on kdp it will be net. If you want it to be 99p, your price you set on kdp should be about 96p or 97p or thereabouts.

-          ISBN’s – kdp and createspace will provide you one for free during the upload process. So don’t worry about getting your own if you’re amazon only, which many people are, because of the prevalence of Kindle in the eBook market. But if you want to sell elsewhere and you want to buy your own, research them on Neilsen here I paid about £240 for 100 numbers but then I have to contact them after to file them along the way, as I use them with Nielsen so they keep them on record,. You’re also supposed to send off a copy for their library. It’s all online – or email them – you get a human being not a faceless help desk, which is nice.

5.       Then the hard work really begins – MARKET IT!

-          You have to.

-          End of.

-          Unless your publisher does it for you, if you’re lucky enough to get one. A tiny fraction do get one. BUT even publishers expect author participation now - most want the author to be proactive and help do their own marketing- that’s almost every author who is on a mid-list and below, and even some above. (NB even huge authors like Jackie Collins and Stephen King have/are self-publishing some titles now – for the control and increased royalties etc. But unless you’re them, or you’re absolutely unable/unwilling and your publisher says that’s ok, then you have to market your book.)

-          This topic is a complete thesis in itself, so do your research - as above. Eg, buy :

-          How to market your self-published book – misc titles by Joanna Penn.

-          And sign up for some of the dozens of weekly newsletters and blogs, follow your fave authors for their tips, or join associations, writing services, etc etc, and be pro-active, building your potential readership for when the time comes to publicize your own work. And then research how to do that without ‘pee’ing’ people off.

SO - This is a great place to start if you’re brand new to self-publishing and have no idea where to begin – it’s hardly scratched the surface but it includes some of the resources I’ve used. Do feel free to also read my RiWiSi page each Friday for more hints and tips. Any questions, do kindly ask them on the comments segment below. I write a new update with more tips and hints each Friday.  If you find any good resources or links to blogs etc, do let me know, I particularly love big self-publishing success stories. Maybe I’ll be one too, one day. Or maybe you will!

And to see my own work, go here!

Finally, don’t forget to read. Reading others’ work is life-blood. And can inspire. @julie_cohen, another mentor of mine, who runs fab courses, says the top two rules about being an author are -

  1. Write
  2. Read

There is a list of ten – ask her about it and about her courses. She’s great! And without Julie, my first two novels would not be what they are. Fast forward your own writing ability by consulting with mentors – it works.

Thanks for reading and I wish you all the best of luck!

Luv debs


Ps sign up for my newsletter, letting you know about my new titles or when a new RiWiSi update is out, on my home page, here.

Other resources –

-          Getting Published by Harry Bingham (who runs Writers’ Workshop)

-          From Pitch to Publication – by Carole Blake (top London agent from Blake Friedmann.)

-          12 Point Guide to Writing Romance – by Kate Walker (top romance author)

-          5 Marketing Myths you Need to Forget – by Joanna Penn, guest blogging

-          How to Build an Email List to market your book – from

-          On Writing – by Stephen King – fab autobiographical account of how to be a writer

-          And one last one from me – a guest blog from a successful self-published author, and one of my first mentors, Emily Harvale, a Self Publishing Success Story. Aug 2013

Also each week, see my QVC blog with a regular fiction focus on Read it Write it Sell it –

Well it’s launched! My new novel, telling the story of Sadie’s journey, funny family, and crisis of career that led up to meeting Mac in ‘Hawaiian Affair’! And introducing her jet-setter sister Helen and their wonderful trips to New York and Tuscany… All in Hawaiian Escape. Full info below

Plus –

-          The kids’ book character, a two-legged pig with wheels, with a massive US following

-          And tips for writers – how to sell more books at Christmas

-          And an excellent starter book for would-be self-publishers.



It’s there – all done! ‘Hawaiian Escape’ – the PREQUEL (to my first book, steamy romance Hawaiian Affair) – is now available to buy on Amazon!

Full info on my weekly look at all things book, Read It Write It Sell It, or RiWiSi for short, on my latest weekly QVC blog (go to presenter blogs to read it or go to ‘blog’ tab above once it updates it’ll be there!). How excited was I this week to see it finally there! Can hardly believe it if truth be known! And on my main blog – full info about the fabulous facebook online ‘party’ we had to launch it last Thursday (28th).

To buy Hawaiian Escape, click here for its original eBook format. BUT I decided to add an extra optional steamy chapter which will be available in December from my website as a free download. More news when it’s released!

Otherwise go to my home page and sign up for the free regular newsletter updates – and you’ll get an email telling you when it’s out!

In the meantime, how about buying a signed paperback as a gift?



Signed Paperback as a Xmas Gift

A couple of people have asked, so I’ve devised a way to make it happen for you! Given that it’s not in bookstores and I don’t have a signing schedule around the country! So - How do you do it? I’ll go into detail next week on my QVC Blog, but basically, you need to buy a copy from amazon, either the paperback Hawaiian Affair or the prequel, Hawaiian Escape, in paperback , or BOTH!

If you only want to gift one book, though, make it the new one, Hawaiian Escape, as it’s first.

Then send it on to me at QVC in Chiswick, along with the return postage you require (recorded sticker or SAE or just the stamps) which I can send along with a signed photograph! Direct to the person you are gifting it to, if you require!

Debbie Flint, QVC, Unit 8, Chiswick Park, 566 Chiswick high Road, London W45XU


RiWiSi Go Large –

-          ‘Chris. P. Bacon’ – read the heart-warming story of the most unusual author currently gaining a huge following in the US – and how his wheels give him back his life! Great kids book. Click here for more info and a fab website to show the kids


-          How to sell more books at Christmas – another really useful article from Alli – this time a summary of various self- published authors’ tips on promotions to try for both ebooks and paperbacks this yuletide.


-          Twit-Tip - And an excellent connection for would-be self-publishers, via one of my faves, self-pub marketing guru, Joanna Penn – she says follow @bookbubpartners on Twitter – they have a dedicated service of more than a million active book lovers to whom they help you promote, for a fee, and this is their twitter feed.


Best wishes for a fab week of reading, writing and what makes you tick!



Ps Click here to go to RiWiSi page on my QVC blog

leave me a comment below if you have any thoughts! And do please share my blog link  on facebook and twitter! More next week, including a super Friday Fiction Focus with Emily Harvale and her charming festive favourite – Carole Singer’s Christmas.