Documenting your life

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It may seem a strange title for a post, but it is one which reflects much of what our modern society is about.

With the event of digital photography and smart phones, far more of our daily lives are recorded, most often in a haphazard fashion. A jumble of images stored on SD cards, memory sticks and in a long scrolling stream of incoherent, often unconnected messages.

Many vanish when we upgrade our phones or computers, memory cards are lost, external hard drives become corrupt or obsolete. Some files may be stored ‘in the cloud’ or ‘on social media’ at least for now, for the time being, until it all changes once again.

Nothing is secure from loss, deletion, corruption or becoming obsolete. Such is the way of modern technology, such is modern life. A simple power outage can render even the most expensive, cutting edge technological gadget useless, in less than a Nano second.

Books, on the other hand, tend to outlast anything else when it comes to keeping their content safe. Libraries, universities, country estate houses and museums, all hold venerable tomes from hundreds of years past. Volumes of information and knowledge that do not need an external, or rechargeable, power source.

This is why you need TOAD Publishing in your life. oie_transparent (5)

TOAD is a specialist publisher, who concentrate their efforts on glossy hardcover books, generally known as ‘Coffee Table’ books.

What is a Coffee Table Book?

 

In theory, you can put any book you like on your coffee table, but not all books inspire conversation. A Coffee Table book is usually an oversized hardcover book. It is designed to be displayed somewhere prominent, often on a sideboard, a visible bookshelf, or maybe a Coffee Table!

These books help to entertain friends, family and guests. They stimulate conversation, allow people to see what the interests of the owner, such as the arts, photography, fashion, style, travel, and family.

They are statement pieces, works of art, decorative and entertaining.

Now TOAD have taken the coffee table book one step further, one step beyond ubiquitous perception.

Enter the Heirloom Book.

 

TOAD create personal, unique books chronicling major events in your life, the moments you like to keep as a memento, to share with family and friends, or preserve as an heirloom.

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They will turn your photos into a glossy wedding album, or a chronicle your pregnancy, childbirth and beyond, to a child’s first birthday. They will document a life project, a holiday and more.

In the past, TOAD have created a record of theatre production, from foundation to the first night performance and city art students, as they created a street mural for the council arts project.

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These books are not about recording the past, they are about recording your life now, on the present moment, which will soon be the past, a too easily and too often, lost past.

When it comes to documeting your life, do not leave it to the haphazardness of chance, keep your memories safe, keep them in a Heirloom Book from TOAD.

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Heirloom Books, work for businesses too. Document special projects, feature successes stories and special events, like the annual conferences, share them with your suppliers, customers, or staff, in this wonderfully unique way.

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TOAD Heirloom Books enhance the perception of esteem to reception areas, hotel lobbies, waiting rooms, guest rooms, private libraries and, of course, on your coffee table.

Heirloom Books are full colour, unless otherwise specified, glossy, perfect bound, photographic and/or illustrated, hardcover publications. The interior layout and covers are designed by our in-house studio, PeeJay Designs and printed by our partners in the Netherlands, from where the books are distributed worldwide.

Put a TOAD on your coffee table?

Ask us to create yours at,  goo.gl/9SzH5O   

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TOAD Publishing, in association with CQ International Publishing.

NOTE: all images shown are for illustration purposes only. 

 

New home for Wild Geese

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I have moved my travel blog ‘Wild Geese’ to WordPress.

I am busy re-writing and re-posting all that was on the old site and I have a shed-load of new stuff, from my recent travels to share with you too.

I welcome any comments on how the blog is looking so far.

Oh yes, feel free to follow/subscribe if you will https://wildgeesetravel.wordpress.com

Many thanks, Paul

 

Why I am talking art on a writing blog.

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I have, at last, found enough time to catch my breath and write a new, long overdue post for this blog.

You see, I have had a busy start to this year.

First was the publication, in January, of my first children’s book, The Rabbit Joke, which is designed primarily as a ‘read to me‘ book.

A book for parents or older siblings, to read to the younger ones. The Rabbit Joke lends itself to being read to groups in schools and kindergartens too.

The Rabbit Joke is an outsized, hardcover, fully illustrated, perfect bound, landscape book, from https://www.peecho.com/print/en/263512

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In February, I released ‘Life in the War Zone’ a collection of stories, based on true accounts, of what life is like living between warring factions in an area of conflict.

Life in the War Zone takes a serious, no holds barred look at the devastation and trauma of life in the battlefields of the Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia, Israel, Palestine, Libya, Lebanon and El Salvador.

Ebooks are available direct from me, via my website. http://paulznewpostbox.wixsite.com/paul-white

Paperbacks from Amazon.

USA https://www.amazon.com/Life-War-Zone-collection-personal/dp/1542338700  

UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/Life-War-Zone-collection-personal/dp/1542338700

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Also during February, I published a ‘Coffee Table’ book called ICONIC, or to give it its full title, Iconic – Legends of music immortalised in art.

Iconic is an 8 x 8 inch, hardcover, perfect bound, glossy, book, containing a number of my own artworks, portraits of some of the most well-loved musical talent ever known, such as David Bowie, Amy Winehouse, Buddy Holly, Jimi Hendrix, Elvis and many more.

With each portrait is an abridged biography of each artist, covering their life and times. https://www.peecho.com/checkout/14716200169619823/279042

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March saw the publication of The Pussers Cook Book.

This became an instant hit and an Amazon bestseller. It is still, as I write this over a month after the books launch, at number three in its Amazon category.

The Pussers Cook Book details twenty-two of the best loved dishes, served on Royal Naval ships circa 1960’s to 1980’s. Along with the recipes, there are plenty of jokes and tall stories, some legendary myths are also dispelled!

You do not have to be a sailor to enjoy the Pussers Cook Book. It makes the perfect gift for a freind or loved one.

Paperbacks from Amazon. goo.gl/eTwfWN  

Hardcover from my printers.  www.peecho.com/print/en/282666

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You will see by this, why my time this year has been at a premium.

Now, I have touched on art, as in the title of this post, by mentioning my tribute to the great musicians in the book, ICONIC. Which clearly shows the link between writing, books and art.

As do all those millions of books with illustrations, photographs, pictures and images inside. Let alone the amazing and wonderful artistry shown by many book cover designers.

In that respect, books and art are almost inseparable, and never exclusive.


But there is more…

Art has always been a ‘go to‘ place for me, when I need to rest my mind from concentrating on writing. Whilst my form of art, digital painting, is still a creative discipline, it is creative in a totally differing way to the mindful concentration needed for writing.

In that respect, I find creating digital art relaxing, even ‘freeing up‘ the subconscious mind to continue its own creative endeavours, whilst I take my consciousness on a holiday of colour and form.

The problem arises, much as it does when writing, or I should say, when one has finished writing and has published their book.

Who will see it, who will read it, who will buy it?

It is all well and dandy to have a book, three books, ten? Sitting on the shelves getting dusty and covered in cobwebs. What we want, what we need is someone (Many someones) to come along and actually read our words.

The same is true of art. What is the point of creating wonderful, thought provoking, stimulating images if they are simply going to be stored as a digital code on a memory stick. If they are never going to be made onto a canvass, or a poster, or even printed onto a tee-shirt or coffee mug?

Both of those scenarios are, in my humble opinion, a total waste of time, effort and creative energy.

So…what to do about it all?

Firstly, I have made a Facebook page to help direct people to my works.

The main site is my artwork website, where you can browse through a selection of works albums and find links to the other places my work is available. https://goo.gl/pyPI7i

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That is why I am talking about art on a writing blog.

Thanks for reading this…if you have read this far!

I will be back to posting my normal Ramblings from now on.

Cheers, Paul.

 

 

 

 

 

Stop writing boring blogs, get the Feedback & Followers you really want.

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Honestly this is not a rant, it is a critical observation but with a solution.

You see, I am sick to the back teeth of starting to read a blog only to become brain dead by the second paragraph.

You may well have something to say, a point of view to express, or simply something you want to get off your chest. That’s fine, no problem.

Your content is not the issue here.

But come on, make it readable, even the most mundane and insignificant drivel can be fun to read, if you write it well.

Now, I know that not all you blogger folks out there are writers, journalists, authors and so on. Most of you probably do not know all of the writing techniques and tricks employed by professional content writers to grab and hold interest.

I understand that.

But go and write something now, then go back and read it a day, or a few days later when the immediacy has evaporated from your mind. Read it as if you do not know what has been written.

I bet you skip most of it. I would bet money you do not read every word, even finish that article.

Try it.

It really is a crap piece of writing isn’t it?

You know you could have done better, much better, don’t you.

Ok. Here is how you get to grab the reader’s attention, hold it and get feedback, likes, shares, re-blogged etc.

These tips are not the absolute definitive road to perfection, they are not set in stone.

Here I merely pass on to you the relative accepted, tried and tested methods which tend to work, a basic system if you prefer.

The following is a guide, not an unbreakable set of rules.

  • The first is to give your posts an explanatory title, one which hints at the topic of your blog. Such as the one I have used on this post.

This way you will attract readers who are interested in, or intrigued by, the subject described.

  • Second, lay out your text in a clear and easily readable format.

Too often do I ‘click’ to read a post and find endless line upon line of consistent text without clearly defined sentences, paragraphs and sections.

This text structure hurts the reader’s eyes and makes the content difficult to follow. You will lose all but the most persistent reader and possible your best friend.

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  • Next, are thing which are known as ‘hooks’. To help explain what a hook is and how they work I have used some in this post. For ease of identification I have put these hooks in italics, if you scroll back up you will see them.

Ok, now you are back with me, the idea of placing hooks in your text is to make the reader want to continue reading.

If you consider the headline as bait, the hook can be considered exactly as a fishhook to keep hold of your reader.

A hook is used by authors all the time, usually at the end of a chapter to encourage the reader to continue, to make them want to find out ‘what happens next’. This is what can make a book one which you ‘don’t want to put down’.

The same form of hook is used at the end of a soap opera or serial on TV as a persuasion technique to endear the viewer to tune in to the next episode.

Adding a hook or a few in your blog post will keep your readers….well reading!

  • Now we come to something known as PAS.

This is an acronym for a format which all content writers use frequently to promote products. You will find PAS in written and film (VT) forms, such as television advertising.

PAS stands for, Problem, Agitate, Solve and is usually combined with a ‘call to action’ which I shall come to next (the italics are a hook)!painkillers

Let’s take an analgesic, a headache table advert as an example of how PAS works.

 P=Problem…..do you suffer from headaches, migraine or worse…..blah blah blah. This is the ‘problem’.

A=Agitate…..constant noise at work, pressure of traffic while driving home, hyper active kids back from school, loud music, etc. etc……leading to throbbing temples, pounding brain….blah blah blah. This is agitating the perceived ‘problem’ which may not even exist!

S=Solution…with Paracetron, the fast acting solution for all head pain, you will be back to yourself in sixty miraculous seconds. What is more Paracetron is gentle even on the most sensitive stomach…..blah blah blah….you get the gist! Basically this is the solution ‘you need’ to ‘solve the problem’ you never had…until you saw this advert!

This is the basic format most advertising uses, most content and brand journalists are familiar with; in fact it is almost an industry standard, because it works.

So why not use this format to engage with you readers when you write your next post? Remember, written well, it works.

  • The last bit of advice I shall share today is the ‘Call to action’. This should come, for obvious reasons, at the end of your post. This is where you ask your reader to do something, for example it could be to ‘buy now’ or ‘follow this blog’ even ‘donate to this cause’.

Take a look at some professionally written commercial websites selling products or services, note down how they approach the ‘call to action’, the various ways they word this without alienating the customer or reader. You can then devise you own ‘call to action’ in a way which would most suit your own blog.

I shall be writing soon with more tips and advice on the techniques of professional writing which you can use in your own blogs.

Follow this Blog NOW and don’t miss out on the chance of making your blog better.

(The above is a ‘Call to Action’…..so do it, go on follow this blog NOW, you know you want too)!