My latest book–the flash fiction collection Snowflakes and Shivers–comes out tomorrow! Like the collections earlier in the year, it contains short stories that have been here on my blog, this time with a wintry and seasonal theme. But there are also a couple of new stories, unpublished anywhere else. See the details below, and I’d love it if you clicked the tweet thingy, or sent it to your own favourite social media.

And: I’m looking for people to join a cover reveal for Zanzibar’s Rings – late November or early December. If you’d like to reveal my latest book’s cover (it’s out next February), please say so in the comments, or email me.

Insecure Writers Support Group badge

This is my Insecure Writers Support Group post, in which we share our successes and failures as writers, our insecurities, in fact. Anyone can join in, just sign up at the IWSG Sign-up page, write a blog post on the first Wednesday of the month, and go back to that sign up page to link with everyone else–or a goodly sample. Our host is Alex J Cavanaugh, and his co-hosts for the month are:

Mary Aalgaard  http://playoffthepage.com/

Ronel Janse van Vuuren  http://www.ronelthemythmaker.com/blog/ 

Cathrina Constantine http://cathrinaconstantine.blogspot.com

J Lenni Dorner  https://jlennidorner.blogspot.com/ 

and ME! What a terrific set of co-hosts I’m with!

Question of the Month

In your writing, where do you draw the line, with either topics or language?

Thinking of books I’ve not finished this year, I’m most likely to draw the line at abuse, especially with mental health implications, especially if made into ‘thrillers.’ Especially survivors of child abuse (another book came to mind that I thought needed a warning). I don’t mind a bit of fairly explicit sex, as long as it’s in context, and not gratuitous (or bulging at every opportunity- see the Drath review if you need more explanation) or just overdone. And I don’t do graphic violence, especially gory shoot-em-up stuff.

I suppose the same goes for language. I’m unlikely to put a book down at the first swearword, but I do when it gets boring, or if the language is just filthy. (define filthy… well, I suppose it’s personal, like any other dirt)

Update on my book stall

Last month you remember I was preparing for a stall at a Craft and Gift Fair in a town near me. And I promised you the figures!

ItemcommentCost (£)
Banners & printingone-off100
Book Stock valueinvestment inc shipping750
Insuranceannual75
Payment systemZettle plus dock one off (I don’t think I need the dock after all)60
Table costper venue, varies from £30 to £6035
Travel & parkingper venue10
Income(net of payment fees)
Romsey Sep219 books sold54

I think it’s important to view all this as an investment in your products. So thinking of all those costs except book stock, and averaging it over a year (I’m planning 12 stalls in all) means that I need to cover the table cost + £20. To do that I’d have to sell about 20 books each time. And I already want to get a proper stall table cloth and a card holder rather than use the panels for the cube bookcase.

I’m selling the books at near-retail prices (rounded). That means I can have royalties plus the distribution and retailers costs to myself. It varies from book to book, but I reckon on £2 to £4 profit. The 9 sold probably brought me about £25 income.

So I didn’t cover the cost of the table plus overhead. But asking around afterwards, the regular stallholders said it was very slow, and nobody seemed to have sold much by their standards. So as I was one short of my ‘low’ target, of ten books, I was reasonably content. I did as well as anyone else.

Learning points

  • Move your car once you’ve unloaded the boxes to your table…
  • Either bring the cube part-assembled or buy a large cardholder (c£30)
  • Iron the tablecloth or buy a stretchy one to fit the table like everyone else uses.
  • Check your Zettle is linked to your iPad using the hall’s wifi; it lost it until I reset it, and the first gentleman was kind enough to go and get cash for me (bank opposite the hall) – and he bought two books
  • Only one buyer wanted to pay cash. But that does mean needing some change
  • The collections are a good way to get people to try your work at low cost

I’m probably going to be in the middle of the hall for some time, as I’m the newbie, and old hands, and regulars who pay a premium for the year, get the better positions. So I’ll probably continue to have two banners back to back (the short stories with the ‘Meet the Author’ tag is behind the Princelings one). It doesn’t look as good on the photos, but I don’t think it matters to buyers.

One browser said as she moved on ‘you need a lady’. I wasn’t sure I’d heard her right, so I asked her to repeat it, and that’s what she said, but I didn’t understand. Chatting to my stall neighbour, neither did she. I woke up next day, and realised: I need a female protagonist. I have two in mind…. must get on with them!

Unexpected Twisty Tales update – the new book is out tomorrow!

Unexpected Twisty Tales winter

Yes, the flash fiction collection now has a nifty series title – Unexpected Twisty Tales. I considered the Menagerie of Unexpected Timely Twisty Tales, but that’s just silly. All the paperbacks of the series can be seen and bought via this page on my blog.

The Seasonal Special is published tomorrow. You can buy the ebook on Pre-sale at Smashwords here right up till midnight California time. If you sign up to my mailing list you get a discount.

snowflakes and shivers
Fantastic beasts leave their footprints in the snow; Christmas tree fairies reflect on their lives; snowflakes discover their destiny; raccoons save Father Christmas, and some randy space cadets have the Christmas of their dreams. These and other short stories with a twist will delight and tingle your nerves in a seasonal flash fiction collection from Jemima Pett.

Buy Snowflakes and Shivers ebook:

Amazon ~~~ Apple iBooks ~~~ B&N (Nook) ~~~ Kobo ~~~ Scribd ~~~ Smashwords

SNOWFLAKES AND SHIVERS – Jemima Pett's latest Story Collection! Fantastic beasts leave footprints in the snow; Christmas tree fairies reflect on their lives; snowflakes discover their destiny, and more. Out 7th October #ebook… Click To Tweet

#IWSG October: update on the book stall + my latest Book Launch!
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76 thoughts on “#IWSG October: update on the book stall + my latest Book Launch!

  • 6 October, 2021 at 6:26 am
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    Perhaps the book stall will also end up selling more books down the line. Like the people who buy like the books and tell a friend who also buys one later? Fingers crossed for you.

    I agree with your IWSG answer. Nice work answering the question.

    Reply
    • 6 October, 2021 at 12:40 pm
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      I expect so, it’s a long game, isn’t it. One reason I’ve booked to go to the venues I’nm doing at least twice. I can just hear someone saying.. “I wonder if that woman with the books will be there again….”
      Looks like we all think much the same thing about the question (although I haven’t read your answer yet)

      Reply
  • 6 October, 2021 at 9:00 am
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    This is useful advice for setting up a book stall. I’m looking forward to reading Snowflakes and Shivers. Thank you for co-hosting the IWSG this month.

    Reply
    • 6 October, 2021 at 7:30 pm
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      I’m having trouble opening your website today, Kalpana, but I hope to get to see your post soon. Thanks for visiting, and I hope you enjoy Snowflakes and Shivers. 🙂

      Reply
  • 6 October, 2021 at 11:31 am
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    I don’t like abuse either. It’s too emotional for me. Happy IWSG day. Congrats on your newest release 🙂

    Reply
  • 6 October, 2021 at 12:15 pm
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    Congratulations on the new release!
    One slow show doesn’t mean they will all be that way. Keep after it.
    Thanks for co-hosting today.

    Reply
    • 6 October, 2021 at 12:26 pm
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      Congrats on your book release and your upcoming one in 2022. I would have a hard time writing about abuse too.

      Reply
    • 6 October, 2021 at 7:36 pm
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      Thanks, Alex. Yes, that’s my rationale for booking up the next few events (and get the most use out of my year’s insurance!)
      Thanks for letting me co-host. Do you realise we were the same team in January, or whenever I last co-hosted?
      Jemima

      Reply
  • 6 October, 2021 at 12:28 pm
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    Swear words don”t bother me. I grew up on 40’s and 50’s noir mysteries by Dashiell Hammett, Ross Macdonald and Raymond Chandler. Language and sexual content don’t bother me as long as its clever and moves the plot along. Like you said, “Keep it in context.” I completely agree. Happy IWSG Day!

    Reply
    • 6 October, 2021 at 7:38 pm
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      You know, I don’t think I’ve ever read those noir mysteries – seen the films, love the genre… but I really must read them!
      Thanks for visiting 🙂
      Jemima

      Reply
  • 6 October, 2021 at 1:23 pm
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    Great advice, I think the stall looks nice. I’m looking forward to the cover reveal!

    Reply
    • 6 October, 2021 at 7:41 pm
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      I am, too 😀 . I had a couple of people show interest in the series – one bought both books so far, and the other said they would look out for the third, so I must do a flyer for it for November and December’s fairs.
      Thanks for visiting, Steph.

      Reply
    • 6 October, 2021 at 7:45 pm
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      Thanks, Sandra – I’ll email you later in the month about the reveal.
      I think it’s interesting to find out for example, how much stock people take to fairs. In truth, because of the number of titles I have, I take fewer numbers of each, but as I sold one of each, well not of the ten-book series, but I sold three of its titles, well, it’s an interesting puzzle.

      Reply
  • 6 October, 2021 at 2:29 pm
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    Thank you for co-hosting Jemima and best wishes for the new book.

    Reply
  • 6 October, 2021 at 2:35 pm
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    Before covid, I did several in-person events, usually at craft shows. I love meeting readers. Your learning points are great. We learn by what doesn’t work. LOL I think people are just getting out again and going to events like yours. I hope it will pick up for you. Thanks for cohosting this month.

    Reply
    • 6 October, 2021 at 7:48 pm
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      It was interesting talking to the regular stallholders. I think sales were very good at the August shows, when people really were getting out and about for the first time in ages. (I’m in the UK, so we were ‘released’ in July). I thought the morning went well, and the unusually hot day (for us) probably brought out the sightseers in the afternoon. My next is November, when we’ll definitely be in the Christmas present season.
      Thanks for visiting 🙂

      Reply
  • 6 October, 2021 at 3:03 pm
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    Congratulations, Jemima. Thanks for the numbers; that’s interesting.

    Reply
  • 6 October, 2021 at 3:29 pm
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    I like your stall set-up, Jemima. And the numbers aren’t too bad for live sales, either. Congrats on the new release!

    Ronel visiting for IWSG day as co-host The IWSG Goodreads Book Club

    Reply
    • 6 October, 2021 at 7:50 pm
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      Thanks, Ronel. Did you realise we co-hosted together last time (well last time I did it anyway!)?
      I’m always thrilled to sell books, to be honest 🙂

      Reply
      • 8 October, 2021 at 10:20 am
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        I know, we’re so in sync 😉

        Reply
  • 6 October, 2021 at 3:48 pm
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    Thanks for co-hosting, and congratulations on your new release! I hope your next book stall event has more success, though at least you did sell a decent amount of books at the other event.

    Reply
    • 6 October, 2021 at 7:52 pm
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      Yes, I was happy with it, and it’s a good start. The next two events will be Christmas time, and I definitely have some that are good as gifts 🙂
      Thanks for visiting!

      Reply
  • 6 October, 2021 at 3:53 pm
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    Congrats on your new release!!! Becoming a writer is somewhat simple compared to the marketing, business aspect and the money that’s involved.
    Thank you for co-hosting this month.

    Reply
    • 6 October, 2021 at 7:54 pm
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      Oh, yes. Self-publishing is not for the fainted-hearted! But this is only the third fair I’ve done in 10 years of publishing, so I thought I’d better put some proper energy into it.
      Thank you for co-hosting this month, too 🙂

      Reply
  • 6 October, 2021 at 4:26 pm
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    Wow! Great breakdown on costs and experience for your book stall! I’m at an author table this week hosted by a local restaurant which has an ongoing author and artist area. It’s a treat and I’m learning a lot about how to give an elevator pitch of my books to a variety of people.
    BTW – I think WordPress will send you over to my wordpress site, but my IWSG post is Here: https://tyreanswritingspot.blogspot.com/

    Reply
  • 6 October, 2021 at 4:29 pm
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    Insightful advice for setting up a book stall. I look forward to reading Snowflakes and Shivers–all the best. Thanks for co-hosting the IWSG this month, Jemima!

    Reply
    • 7 October, 2021 at 1:27 pm
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      Thanks, Damyanti. Thanks for your ideas on One-Shots, too 🙂

      Reply
  • 6 October, 2021 at 5:03 pm
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    Great tips for events! Grats on the release, and thanks for co-hosting!

    Reply
    • 7 October, 2021 at 1:30 pm
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      Thanks, Patricia – would you be up for a cover reveal late Nov/early Dec?

      Reply
  • 6 October, 2021 at 5:59 pm
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    Good feedback on the book fair. A lot of people tell me they sell more in-person than any other way so I read your data with interest.

    Reply
    • 7 October, 2021 at 1:33 pm
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      I certainly sell more paperbacks in person. Then again, I sell more ebooks on the net. And you get a wider audience on the web 🙂 But it’s also worth it to just chat to people about what they like to read. Which made me think of another blog topic, so watch out for next month’s IWSG!

      Reply
  • 6 October, 2021 at 6:38 pm
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    Congratulations on your newest book, Jemima! It will be a perfect gift for this holiday season. I enjoyed reading about your book fair tips. Excellent.

    Reply
    • 7 October, 2021 at 1:35 pm
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      Thanks, Lee. I hope it will fly off the shelves. I had to add the ‘randy space cadets’ to the blurb in case people thought it was suitable for youngsters 🙂

      Reply
  • 6 October, 2021 at 6:41 pm
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    Good answer to this month’s question. We’re kind of in a similar place regarding this. Lately I’ve been turning off movies when the profanity and violence goes too far over the top. I’m no prude, but I’ve got my limitations.

    Good info about your book selling efforts. Hope your upcoming events put you into a profit zone.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    Reply
    • 7 October, 2021 at 1:37 pm
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      And those so much of it that goes way past my limitations, Lee. Thanks for your encouraging words. 🙂

      Reply
  • 6 October, 2021 at 7:23 pm
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    I don’t think I’d ever be able to handle selling my books at a convention. I’d feel that I looked too pathetic just sitting there. I’ll be happier to sell anonymously online. Glad you have the wherewithall to do it.

    Thanks for co-hosting IWSG this month!

    Reply
    • 7 October, 2021 at 1:41 pm
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      The secret is not to sit there. Stand, smile. If you can engage with people in a comment, do. My stock phrase is ‘what do you like reading?’ Then you can start talking books they like, what you like, and before you know it, they’ve realised you’re the author and they buy your books, because you’re a nice guy…
      Actually, I think book conventions may be harder, because everybody’s there because of books. I’m doing gift and craft fairs, usually with only one other bookseller (their father’s memoir).

      Reply
  • 6 October, 2021 at 7:40 pm
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    Congratulations! Sounds like a wonderful book for the season. You’ve an impressive handle on the bookselling scene. Don’t know that I could do that, but I’m in awe of those who do.
    Thank you for co-hosting with this inspiring post!

    Reply
    • 7 October, 2021 at 2:05 pm
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      Well, like everything, you have to do some research first 🙂 I’m clueless about podcasts, although people tell me they’re great.

      Reply
  • 6 October, 2021 at 7:50 pm
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    Look at all your awesome success! Congratulations. Great tips on doing book events, and thanks for co-hosting IWSG this month!
    Mary at Play off the Page

    Reply
  • 6 October, 2021 at 8:54 pm
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    I turn away from the same topics – abuse and graphic violence. I don’t write them and I dislike reading about them.
    A fascinating look ‘behind the scene’ on all that conference and fair circuits. I hope you’ll do better as you gain the necessary experience.

    Reply
  • 6 October, 2021 at 9:25 pm
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    Thanks for sharing your book stall, Jemima, and all the information about the costs involved. Wishing you lots of future success with your author events. Congratulations on your new book, and thanks for co-hosting!

    Reply
  • 6 October, 2021 at 9:50 pm
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    Book stalls can be a heavy investment, but a lot of the stuff you have to pay for is reusable. I was lucky to have a captive audience this past weekend at the Ohio Mayflower Society annual meeting – I got a free table, signage and sold all the books I had had sent, plus two I brought. Travel was a bummer, though.

    Reply
    • 7 October, 2021 at 2:08 pm
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      I’m glad you had good sales there. Having to send the books must add huge costs. And the travel, well, I can imagine 🙂

      Reply
  • 7 October, 2021 at 1:16 am
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    I love the break down of the book fair! Congratulations on the new release!

    Reply
  • 7 October, 2021 at 1:57 am
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    Thanks for sharing your experience with selling books at a fair. I found that super interesting.
    Congrats on your new release.

    Reply
  • 7 October, 2021 at 5:27 am
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    Great feedback on the book stall process. Keeping my fingers crossed that the next ones are more lively and you sell more. I haven’t done thing one about trying to find someplace to sell before Xmas, and it’s probably a lost cause, with my schedule this fall!

    Reply
    • 7 October, 2021 at 2:11 pm
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      (Cough) Nepal.
      There’s plenty of time till next year. And you did several library/school based functions when I was in Norfolk 🙂

      Reply
  • 7 October, 2021 at 12:21 pm
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    Hi Jemima – good luck with the new book released today. Interesting to read about your Romsey book stall and marketing … it’s good to know that the event seemed slow for everyone. All the best – Hilary

    Reply
    • 7 October, 2021 at 2:13 pm
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      I think that’s the critical thing, Hilary; if you did okay in an event where the regulars thought it was slow, you must have something right. Thanks.

      Reply
  • 7 October, 2021 at 12:40 pm
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    Jemima, thanks so much for the detailed information on book stalls as that’s not something I’ve looked at yet.

    I love that you’re producing a seasonal book offering as I think reading seasonally – especially at Winter/Christmas – is such an enjoyable pastime and one which never disappoints.

    Reply
    • 7 October, 2021 at 2:19 pm
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      It took me a long time to realise that I could put a seasonal one out. But, now I wonder what I’m going to do next year!
      I’d recommend starting small – your local community centre probably does something for fundraising. There’s a photo of my first one, at the village Christmas fair, somewhere on here (2015 here) Then you can branch out (and buy more kit) when opportunities present themselves!

      Reply
    • 8 October, 2021 at 12:11 pm
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      Thanks, Rachna 🙂 I’m usually rubbish at titles, but these collections seemed to come together quite easily.

      Reply
  • 7 October, 2021 at 7:59 pm
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    Thank you for co-hosting this month’s blog hop. I do try and be entertaining but my “drawing the line” is more – will this spark an interest in the reader, not necessarily the same boundaries as many are talking about here. I clicked on your link on the IWSG page and it errored out but then I found your blog in your menu. I wasn’t sure if that was my error or … thought I’d let you know.

    Reply
    • 8 October, 2021 at 12:12 pm
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      The IWSG list should be okay, but the link from the announcement of co-hosts originally had my surname mis-spelt. Maybe that’s why. Thanks for persevering and finding me 🙂

      Reply
  • 8 October, 2021 at 2:17 am
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    Thank you for sharing your breakdown of the book stall costs. It’s so interesting and useful to know these things in advance, for when the time eventually comes… 😉 Good luck with all your sales and your new publication release. And thank you for co-hosting this month. 🙂

    Reply
    • 8 October, 2021 at 12:14 pm
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      I’m still at the stage of inventing things I do from first principles, ie.e. what I think is good. I forget that out there in blog world there’s often someone who’s done just what I’m doing, and left some learning points 🙂 Actually, I ought to check my own learning points more often (rolls eyes)

      Reply
  • 10 October, 2021 at 1:26 am
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    Thanks for sharing your numbers. Seeing this kind of “under the hood” information helps me have realistic expectations for my own work.

    Reply
  • 10 October, 2021 at 11:24 pm
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    Interesting info about the book fair. One of these days, I want to get involved in those. Thanks for co-hosting.

    Reply
  • 12 October, 2021 at 2:45 am
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    Thanks for co-hosting and congrats on the book release! I draw the line at abuse as well. And agree that a content warning would be nice. I don’t like not finishing a book and explicitly detailed abuse, especially against women and children, will make me put a book down.

    Reply

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