Friday, 29 January 2010

The Baby Juggler

This week our guest blogger is Sara Lloyd, author of our latest title, 'The Baby Juggler'.

This week I have been mostly tearing around like a semi-crazed individual, trying to balance the organisation and co-presenting of an industry seminar with some complex business negotiations at the same time as organising an 'Iron Man' party for my son's 5th Birthday, planning for my young daughter Ava's trip into hospital for a third eye operation later this week, and trying to carve out time to help my eldest daughter Eden as she faces the increasing politics of the playground. On the surface I appear relatively calm but if you look closely you'll probably see the slightly manic glint in my eye, and, cliched but true, I feel like the swan with the legs paddling wildly underneath the surface.

You'll notice that housework, household admin, time for my relationship with my husband or my friends and time for myself are notably absent from the above. Some weeks it's just like that.
I started my blog - - almost three years ago. It was a way to find the humour in this never-ending whirl of activity, the circus act that is juggling children and family life with work; the prioritisation and re-prioritisation to ensure the most urgent things get done each week, the endless attempts to assuage the guilt that I am a 'Bad (absent) Mother', the energy dissipated by trying to stay 'in control' at work and at home whilst feeling I am anything but. It's turned out to be a fantastically cathartic process, as well as a great way to laugh at myself, but it's also turned out to be a great way to connect with the countless other Working Mums who handle just the same hand-wringing challenges each day.

My new book, The Babyjuggler, beautifully read by Adjoa Andoh in audio download and also available as an eBook, is, I hope, a quick fix for other women about to enter on this new phase of their lives or just beginning to experience it. It's a guide, a 'How To' book, but I've tried to keep it light hearted and fun, like the blog, and it's mercifully short and to the point, since we all know Working Mums aren't known for having a lot of spare time on their hands.

You can download the audio at or and you can buy the eBook at I'd love to hear your feedback and ideas too, so do leave me a comment here or at

I hope you find The Baby Juggler helpful. Good luck with your own baby juggling! - Sarah Lloyd

Friday, 22 January 2010

All the little nerdies go 'tweet tweet tweet'....

This week CC director Lorelei King blogs about her love affair with Twitter...

When we published our audio digital download title ‘Blogging for Business’ by James Long last year, we decided we’d better put our mouth where our money was, and have a stab at social media ourselves.

We started this blog – still finding our way, but learning all the time – and decided to have a go at Twitter.

As I am the ‘techie’ one of the team (alright, those who know me can stop laughing and pick themselves up off the floor now), tweeting was my job. I bought a book – ‘Twitter Power’ by Joel Comm – signed up, and jumped in.

And loved it immediately! (Only 140 characters at a time – I knew that short attention span would pay off one day...)

We have three accounts: one for our business, @CCTheLowdown , plus personal accounts for Ali @AliMuirden and me @LoreleiKing.

We use our business account mostly to keep up with what’s happening in publishing and audio – but as a bonus, it’s been the most fantastic way to source writers! So far we’ve commissioned two book ideas that were pitched to us on Twitter.

Ali is still finding her feet and trying to find time in her busy day to tweet on her personal account, and although – having worked in publishing for 28 years – she’s interested in publishing news and articles, I’ve noticed that she seems to have a disproportionately high number of tweets about cats....

I started out using my account to get in touch with other audiobook people and writers in order to keep up with what’s happening in the industry – but found myself really enjoying the conversation and banter.

Who knew that one of my favourite activities would be watching TV with my twitpals? I admit it; I’ve always liked junk TV – but even the most boring edition of Celebrity Big Brother is fun if you’re watching with your tweeps. Their online running commentary is hilarious; they are some of the funniest people I’ve ever met.

Lest you think it’s all lowbrow, we also have a pretty good attendance at #unichall, where the Twitter University team plays against whoever Paxo’s tormenting that night on University Challenge. (A tip: if you want to get points in #unichall, it helps to be a fast typist!). Besides being funny, my tweeps are smart.

I won’t single any of my tweethearts out for attention for fear of accidentally leaving someone out – but they’re a great group of people who’ve cheered me up, made me laugh out loud, kept me ‘company,’ recommended great books, great movies, great TV shows, other great tweepies, and pointed me in the direction of interesting articles and pithy industry info.

Twitter is a party. It’s fun, it’s educational, it’s informational (is that a word? Must ask my tweeps!). If you haven’t tweeted yet – start! Follow me and Ali and our company, if you like – it could be the start of a beautiful tweelationship! -LK

We’d love to know: Do you use Twitter in your business?
Photo: wiselywoven

Friday, 15 January 2010

Anyone for a Prog Blog...?

This week Al Muirden (CC director Ali's husband) talks about his passion for drumming, prog rock ... and working for Creative Content!

This week, I thought I’d combine two of the my BIGGEST passions…working with/for Creative Content (yes I really DO have a passion for it !) and music - particularly the (very general) genre known as “progressive” or “prog rock”…

As you can see, the picture has a pair of drumsticks to denote the fact that I am a drummer - I hesitate to use the word “musician” as many non-drummers do tend to look down a little at us poor drummers, but I’m lucky enough to be able to actually CREATE and PLAY music with my fellow musicians, as well as revel in listening and enjoying my heroes by LISTENING to the awesome music that has been created since the late 1960’s (albeit with a bit of an hiatus in the 80’s when “prog” really became a dirty word and many bands folded or just got overshadowed by the many other musical styles that became popular during that period…)

Thankfully now, progressive rock is back and now more than ever, covers a MASSIVE cross-section of styles - many bands are now PROUD to slot into the prog-rock category…

So, how do I combine the two occupations for this blog I hear you ask..!

Well on Wednesday evening last, I was listening with some of my fellow muso’s to a drum track that I had recorded using my electronic “digitised” drum kit, into my friends digital studio (long gone are the days of spooled tape I’m pleased to say !) and I had played the most awesome drum fill at the end of this track, but my flailing right hand drumstick caught a cymbal by mistake - it spoiled the fill, but by the magic of Pro Tools (the same software I use for editing here at Creative Content) we were able to isolate the rogue cymbal hit and just delete it, thus restoring the fill in all it’s glory and un-denting my pride !

This links neatly into editing audio for Creative Content - unfortunately, when an audio track is recorded (in CC’s case voices rather than drums !) it is rarely perfect (unless it happens to be Lorelei, in which case perfection is almost guaranteed !) and there are many things that need to be “edited” to tidy up the track ready for the final version to be passed - so rather than removing rogue cymbal hits, I tend to be removing noises, breaths, lip-smacks and general (dare I say it)…mistakes, so that our buyers and listeners have the best version possible…

So there we have it, a neat correlation between being a prog drummer and a Pro Tools editor - often the twain shall meet..!

Bye for now ! - AM

Friday, 8 January 2010

CC director Ali Muirden reflects on the year just gone...

I know this is the time of the year when we’re all supposed to be looking forward to what the new year holds in store for us- but instead I thought I would do one of those “Reviews of 2009” in miniature ( I wonder if Channel 4 will be desperate enough to put it on the telly?)

I always transfer last year’s diary of out my filofax (I know it’s an 80s yuppie throwback, but I like it!) at this time of year and flicking through the pages from last year help to remind me of anything of note that happened!


Early in January, Lorelei and I met up with Alison Norrington and signed her up to write the Pulling Power titles for us over a fun drink and chat in Covent Garden. We also signed up with Tribeka to sell our books in “on demand CD format” via their fast growing network of retailers, a trip to the vet for Shortround was squeezed in (where I got a telling off for letting her eat so much and she was put on a strict - ha! - diet for the rest of the year. To date she has lost about half a pound!). We recorded Business Etiquette - India and we also signed up to sell our titles on pre-loaded MP3 players with Playaway.


Highlights this month included recording the Q&A for Top Tips for Wannabe CEOs with Richard Charkin which Lorelei spent hours patiently transcribing to use as a template for our recording script. The fantastically talented Steven Pacey eventually stood in for “Richard” with Lorelei re-enacting her interviewer role once more in the recording studio. I produced “Magic Flutes” by the wonderful writer Eva Ibbotson for Macmillan (in my other role as freelance audio consultant!) and we met up with everyone at Audible in Chiswick to talk them through our publishing plans for 2009.


We met up with Go Spoken to talk through our 2009 programme, I produced “A Song for Summer” by Eva Ibbotson (if you’ve not had the pleasure of reading her books buy one now!) met up with Sara Lloyd in Gran Sasso, Kings Cross to sign her up to write “The Baby Juggler”, popped down to Chippenham to talk through the eBook conversion project with CPI Rowe, started discussions with the PA to help them to set up a seminar on doing business in India with Mike Barnard in the chair, recorded Top Tips in Wardour Street with Steven and Lorelei and then I snuck in a short trip to Wales to recover!


This month we recorded “Blogging for Business” read by the peerless Lorelei, attended the London Bookfair to meet up with Overdrive, Gardners, Lightning Source and attend various seminars, contracted Lucy McCarraher and Annabel Shaw to write “A Simpler Life”, flew to New York to visit Audible in New Jersey, E Music and various other E-retailers and drink some champagne… in a FLUTE!


Sorted out a deal with Iamplify in New York to sell our titles, attended a course on E Publishing, produced “A Company of Swans” by Eva Ibbotson (read by the stupendously talented Adjoa Andoh) and recorded A Simpler Life with the equally brilliant Lorelei in Wardour St! Ooh! And the Gas Man came on 29th to check the boiler! It’s all glamour in my life!


Did my tax return for the first time as a freelancer! Thank goodness for Jack Sugarman, our accountant!

Then went on holiday to France for two weeks, the highlight of which was going to Richard Charkin’s birthday party at his lovely house near Toulouse and the lowlight of which was spending £11.50 on two bowls of chips in St Tropez… bloomin’ euro! We squeezed in recording Improve Your Speech - American English for Chinese Speakers with lovely Mark Caven at the end of the month while he was over here from Toronto.



Produced “Even Money” by Dick Francis for Macmillan Audio with the giant of audio Martin Jarvis reading. Went on a course all about Search Engine Optimisation tactics (more interesting than it sounds, believe me!) recorded a pod cast with Lucy McCarraher with Lorelei, produced “Blaze of Obscurity” written and read by Clive James who is such a clever writer… it was a total pleasure from start to finish!


Produced “The Queen Mother” audio with William Shawcross for Macmillan. Everyone else went on holiday!


Attended the PA’s seminar on doing business in India. Mike B was brilliant. So relaxed but in control… a tricky thing to pull off. Produced “The Morning Gift” by Eva Ibbotson for Macmillan. Took Shortround to the vet and got a ticking off because she hadn’t lost any more weight! Oh dear!


Recorded Pulling Power with lovely Caroline Lennon, met up with Lynne and Jeff from Crème de la Crime and we signed a deal to publish their fabulous crime novels in eBook format with them. Very exciting!


Went to the Houses of Parliament for a drinks reception with my “Chair of the APA” hat on, attended another SEO course (for PR this time! Hugely interesting) and as a result met up with Jeremy Spiller of White Hat Media who is going to write a book for us, and signed a deal to sell our eBooks via Amazon - very very exciting!


Attended the “Business Asia Conference” in London, produced an audio for Random House by Jeremy Hardy called “My Family and Other Strangers”. He was lovely to work with and the book is very sweet and funny. Recorded a pod cast with Sara Lloyd for her Babyjuggler book and then rounded the year off brilliantly by recording it with Adjoa Andoh who is just wonderful. Even better, so is the book!! - AM

We'd love to know: How was your 2009?

Friday, 1 January 2010

In One Year and Out the Other

Happy New year from Ali and Lorelei!

What do you think of New Year’s resolutions?

I have mixed feelings. I love the idea of new beginnings - but I also know that old habits die hard!

So instead of personal resolutions about alcoholic units un-drunk and pies uneaten, this year I’m going to try some business New Year’s resolutions.

Here goes!

In 2010 I resolve to:

1. Embrace the technology! Even though we publish eBooks, I’ve resisted the idea of e-readers until now. A Christmas Kindle has changed all that – eBooks are fantastic! Now that I’m a fan, I’ll be better placed to produce and promote our eBook titles (and I resolve to get a handle on that whole metadata thing to relieve my business partner Ali from time to time!).
2. Develop/cultivate new writers. Digital publishing gives us the opportunity to take some chances – so I’m going to be alert to new talent and open to new ideas/subject matter.
3. Be a bit more frugal and remember that we have to sell a lot of downloads and eBooks to pay for everything from stamps to website design (Ali will be pleased to see this resolution - she doesn’t let me anywhere near the checkbook...).
4. Remember to ‘breathe’! Building our business is exciting, but can be overwhelming at times – but everything is do-able if I remember to ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’! (That’s a quote from our latest title ‘The Baby Juggler’ – the author pinched it from a WWII poster. It was good advice then and good advice now!)

Ali and I wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year – and we’d love to know: What are your business New Year’s resolutions? -LK

Photo courtesy of Rochelle et al