This will be the first in a series of blogs where I intend to write about people I know and people I have met on my journey who have helped me, assisted me to get on my way (sometimes pushed me if necessary), supported me (emotionally, practically) and have been kind in general. I plan to write about a variety of people: friends, family, colleagues, and readers (yes, you too!).

On the first of the series y want to write about Magda Olchawska. (http://magdaolchawska.com/)  I came across her (or she came across me, I can’t remember the exact sequence) through Twitter. I had been doing my research and reading everything I could find (or so it felt like) about e-publishing, self-publishing, advice to budding authors on how to market themselves and build an audience for their books. I’m sure some of you must have done the same. Social media features very prominently in the advice. Join Facebook (if you aren’t on it already), go on Twitter, get a website…Easy…Well, I wasn’t on Facebook, I didn’t have a website, and I’d heard about Twitter but never tried it.

I decided that if I was going to have a go at it, I’ll better try everything.

Facebook…It’s there. I’m sure it will build up over time but…(check me out if you have nothing better to do: www.facebook.com/OlgaNunezMiret). The Website…I got a programme to build it and I put something together (still very much work in progress, but if you’re really curious, there’s no accounting for taste: www.OlgaNM.com).

Twitter…I found very interesting. To being with it could get frustrating at times as you felt like if you were shouting in the desert, waving your arms around and nobody looking at you, but eventually people start responding and you make some good friends and find like-minded people you can have chats with. You also find different minded people who spice things up and inspire you.

Magda is probably both like-minded and at the same time quite different. She’s also in the writing business (now focusing on her own scripts and wonderfully imaginative and educational children’s books) and she’s a great filmmaker. I love films and wrote a PhD on the films of David Mamet, but have no technical ability, so I’m always in awe of people who can translate stories and ideas into images. It remains magical and a mystery to me. (I don’t know why but this made me think about how much I enjoyed Scorsese’s Hugo. Beautiful love letter to cinema.) But I digress.

She was always kind in her messages and provided extremely useful information about how to navigate the world of book marketing, in as painless a manner as possible (particularly if like me, you’re fairly new to it). She has a consultation page were she provides advice tailored to your personal needs (http://magdaolchawska.com/consultant/consultations), but even before I decided to take that route, she send me tonnes of information that I’m slowly adopting and adapting but I feel has already helped me organise myself and provided really useful ideas.

I have made use of her consultation service and I have a PDF full of suggestions based on my project that I’m working my way through. If I ever manage to implement even a small amount of them I’m sure my book will be a success (or at least will have a fair chance of exposure…The only thing she does not do is write the book for you, or make the movie…).

We’re at the moment working on creating a book trailer for my first book. She provided me with information on how to do it myself, but I decided I wanted it to look professional and after watching some of her work, I can’t but think it was the right decision. (http://magdaolchawska.com/entry/530)

I particularly appreciate her willingness to provide immediate feedback and answer queries, thoughts, random comments (on more than a daily basis if required) and her honesty on talking about her own experience and what she has found useful or not. People are individuals and not everything works for everybody, but a lot of the marketing materials and advice are very impersonal and samey, and knowing the person and their work makes you understand and appreciate the advice for what is worth.

Magda is happy sharing her connections and introducing you to friends and colleagues who have always been ready to offer their own insights and provide support.

We are all talented in different ways, but Magda’s talent isn’t only in her writing and filmmaking, but also in her ability to communicate with others, support and share her knowledge and advice. And this is a great talent indeed. Also, my Mum is called Magda!

You can sign for her newsletter in her website…Or follow her on Twitter (@magdaolchawska) Tell her I sent you. She’ll treat you as a friend!