Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Shopping as an Aspie

When I usually go shopping, I don't think about myself as an Aspie and how everything affects me. I just get on with where I want to go and what I want to get, then go home. But last time I went shopping, I took  note of all the things around me that could affect me as an Aspie. Here is what I thought.

On the bus going there, if I'm with my mum I will chat to her so I try to tune in to what she is saying and tune out others talking; but this can be hard when other people have v loud voices and shout to each other, and little ones crying. If I am on my own I usually look out the window and tune out other people talking around me.

Inside the shopping centre I noted all the lights and the music. The lights were quite bright and could really affect someone, esp a child, with a sensory challenge to lights. The music was quite loud in places, with different music coming from different shops at various levels. Can be a hard challenge to a child with major challenges with noise. I don't mind communicating with shop staff because I have to, but I try not to speak as much as I want to. One thing I don't like is having to go back and check something with staff in a shop eg being charged wrongly. I hate this as I feel that everyone is looking at me, and I hate confrontations.

So, here are my tips for shopping as an Aspie:

1. Write a list of what you want to buy
2. Put that list in order of the shops you need to go to
3. Try to tune out other people's chat on the bus
4. At the shopping centre, try to tune out the constant chatter and music
5. Concentrate on just what you want and where you are going.
6. If you get flustered, and have an Aspie card, and feel you might have a meltdown, then show it to people. Don't be afraid to do that.

So that is how I felt shopping as an Aspie and my tips for a good shop. If you have any more tips, please let me know.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

What is your brand?

Following my previous posts about the issue I have had (my book has now been taken off Amazon completely), I thought I'd write about what is a brand, or what I have learnt is a brand.

A brand is...You. It is not a name, a logo or your voice. It is you. So, learning this, I have decided not to brand my children's books now, but keep myself as an Aspie children's author as my brand along with what I write. So my brand is me writing magical realism and ghosts. When someone mentioned this to me on Facebook, it got me thinking. Yes, they are right. I started thinking about other authors and their brands, and came up with two that I often read who have a definite brand: Nora Roberts writing under her own name, and Jacqueline Wilson. Their style of writing, and esp with Jacqueline Wilson, the book covers are definite brands. So I am going to learn from those two about how to work on my brand as myself. I want my book covers to reflect me and what I write as my brand.

So, question for you; what is your brand like? Can you describe it, like I have for me? Go on... tell me.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Title and branding - A cautionary tale

I was going to post about shopping as an Aspie but something cropped up yesterday that made me feel I should warn others about. It is about titles and branding for book series. As some of you know, I have branded my new fiction series about children with Asperger's Syndrome a certain name. I did do lots of research on names back in May when I was thinking about it all. One name I really liked but had been used by someone else, so I message them on Facebook to ask if they owned the rights to it. I never heard back...until yesterday. Because I hadn't heard all this time, of course, I went ahead and used the name. The message I got yesterday was that the name was the name of the company founded by the woman who runs it and she had the rights to it, and the only other person who could use it with authorisation was a specialist publisher I know about. Anyone else couldn't use it, and if they did, they could end up being sued by the company. This gave me great worry and anxiety with my own Asperger's. I thought, oh no, I am going to get in to great trouble here and panicked. I had to come up with alternative names for my brand.

I came up with a couple of titles this morning, but when I Googled both, they were already taken by magazines and companies, so they were a no go as well. I got a few suggestions from others on a FB post I put up last night, but most of them are too similar to the first one I had. One suggestion, by my designer, Rachel Lawston, was to drop the idea of a brand. And this is what I now plan to do. Someone else I know said that if I do drop the brand idea, then my books would reach a wider audience. So, it is a good idea. I want my books to find as many readers as possible. I have deleted the brand name on the blurb for Billy, and will ask Rachel to delete it from the cover, too. For those books I already have ordered, I am going to blank out the name. The same with the postcards I have which were made from the cover. I might relaunch it again in the new year, we shall see.

So, the motto here is: if you are thinking of giving a series a brand name, like I did, do a thorough research. If it looks like it has been taken, even by a magazine, forget the idea. You will be thankful in the future. I did want to give all my books a brand but it might seem it is best not to. You will see from this post that I haven't actually put the title of the brand I had, that is because I have emailed the company concerned to say that I won't use the term anywhere again.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Me, Asperger's and Fireworks

Tis the season... to hear fireworks leading up to Bonfire night. Yes, we get them early here in SE London, and I know others have too. I know that lots of Aspies have sensory challenges with noise, and fireworks can be part of that as they are v loud, some of them. For me, most fireworks don't bother me as they aren't that loud. But there are a few that make me jump (and my mum too) because they are either v loud, sound as though they are just outside, or there is a silence for a few minutes before a loud one goes bang. It is those bangers that make me jump now and then. There was one last year that was so loud and so near, that it set off our sensor alarm on the house.

So if you are an Aspie and don't like fireworks because it is too much noise for you, I have a few tips:

1. Wear headphones.
2. Wear headphones listening to music
3. If you have headphones attached to your TV, then listen to the TV with those.
4. If you don't, then if you can bear it, turn up the TV.

I hope you get some help from this post.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Me, Asperger's and Trust Games

When I was a child I hated playing games where you had to trust someone eg leap frog. You had to trust the person you had to leap over not to move. I never could, which is why I wouldn't play it. The other game I hated, and esp in swimming, was when you fell back, trusting others to catch you. I never trusted the others to catch me properly, fearing that that I'd fall to the ground and hurt myself. I refused to do it. I also steered away from people when it was my birthday, afraid they would want to give me birthday bumps. No fear.

Trust games I call them, also happened in gym lessons, when you had to do handstands and get your team/partner to hold you up. I could never trust that person/people to do it, always scared that they'd drop me. I hated it and refused to go upside down. It made me go dizzy anyway, so never did them.

So, did you have problems with trusting other people like I did when you were a child? Esp if you have Asperger's like me. Be interested to know if it's an Aspie thing or normal. Let me know.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Why libraries are good places for Aspies

As an Aspie who visits their local community library often, I have found it is a good place to go for my sensory challenges. You have to plan what day you go though, or you might find you go there on a day where there is lots happening, so more noise. Like I did last Saturday for my book launch; there were 2 other events happening the same day, so there was more noise than normal. I usually my client on a Monday, and it is quieter then. People come and go and use computers, but it is quieter so I can hear what my client is telling me.

I also think the bigger library the less noise you will get. There will be more space to move around, so other people won't disturb you with noise. The lights aren't too bad either.

So, libraries are good places for Aspies to go, esp if you are a writer like me, and want to meet up with others to talk.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Book launch for Billy and the Sparkling Socks

So, on Saturday I had my book launch for Billy, along with my writing coachee, John Caritas (his pen name) who I had helped write and publish his first picture book. How did it go? Quite well, I believe. I got there early so I could set up my table. I put my book, my hand-made leaflets about Asperger's and poster about its price on the table. John had a smaller table. It started at 11am. A few people came in, had a look then went on to the arts stall at the back of the library. There was a group of ladies knitting there too. The lady behind the cafĂ© bought copies of John's book, then asked me to hold 2 of mine for her because she didn't have the money. I said I would and took the names of the children they were for. Short while later another lady came up to us. She gave us the name of an organisation who deal with children's books about equality and diversity and thought that mine would be ideal for them. I took the details down in my notepad (I have just emailed them via their website). Later on another lady came along and was v interested in what I was doing about raising awareness of Asperger's with my book. She said that she had just started running an organisation at the library helping young people with special needs and felt that I would be ideal for giving a talk. She took both of my leaflets and a postcard and my details, I took hers, and she took John's. We shall wait and see if anything happens about that one. My friend, Samantha Yagis (Hi, Sam) came in at the start. She bought a copy of each of our books and stayed all the time I was there, chatting to us. In the afternoon, just as the knitting ladies were about to leave, I thought, let's see who has grandchildren. One of the ladies came up to my table. She had older grandchildren, so I gave her postcards promoting my other books. One of the other ladies was interested and she bought a book which I duly signed.

Oh yes, how could I forget. One of the male volunteers there mentioned that he was setting up an internet radio from the library again in the new year. We became interested in having an interview for it. So, another promo opportunity. I think next time I see John at the end of the month we might have our interviews recorded. Exciting times.

So, all in all, even though I only sold a few copies of Billy, I felt it was quite a success, making contacts and leads for raising awareness of Asperger's.

So, my motto is for you authors: make the most of your library.