January 31, 2016 (2 weeks ago)

front-coverIn a stroke of marketing genius and profound business acumen along with a stenching wiff of extreme desperation, I’m giving away my first born novel away for FREE.

Amazon doesn’t allow you to price your ebook for free unless it’s exclusively with them, which mine isn’t and isn’t going to be, so you’ll have to grab your freebie elsewhere.

iBooks FREE

Nook FREE

Google Play FREE

The book has been professionally critiqued and edited and got a good review from SFBook – https://sfbook.com/in-a-right-state.htm – being one of their books of the year for 2014.

Some might say, you get what you pay for, but I like to think of it as ‘paying it forward in a bartering economy with no risk to the consumer’ – let my talent for concise, poetic prose dazzle you.

If you like it the book then repay the goodwill by writing a good review or mentioning it on a social media site. Don’t keep schtum.

Thanks!

supplyMy novel, ‘In A Right State‘, was launched in June 2014, about 18 months ago. The sales stats are pretty shocking. Sold about 30. So, what now?

I could keep the status quo and also hold fast to the principle that art costs money but, in reality, where is that going to get me? A few months ago I did a BookBub promotion giving away the ebook for free on iBooks and got a few thousand downloads. It also resulted in a few extra reviews on iBooks…literally, about 5.

Giving away my novel for free is a bit of a shitter but the main crux I have to resorting to this measure is that the USP of this book is the price; the ‘freeness‘ of it. Not the story, the writing, the plotting, the characters, the marketing, nor even the cover which I didn’t do myself, but the price. The most successful act of my writing career so far is giving something away for free.

But fuck it. It’s also a career move. I’m currently submitting ‘Blindsided‘ to agents with just the mention I’ve previously self-published a novel. But if I can successfully give away this first novel to a bunch of people, garnering more positive reviews and also drumming up some new Twitter followers then submitting to more agents with some positive numbers might help swing their opinion my way. Publishing is a business. Katie Price’s ghost written opus’s are published because they’re a guaranteed seller, not because they’re going to threaten the Man Booker shortlist.

So, my debut, self-published novel, professionally edited and designed, costing a pretty penny to launch is now a mere marketing vehicle. I had such elevated dreams for this young fellow, now it’s been relegated to walking the streets with a sandwich board over it’s shoulders.

First, I’ll list the ebook as free on iBooks, Kobo, etc and then hope that Amazon picks up that it’s free elsewhere and change their own listing to free (see – Amazon, Let Me Give My eBook Away!). Once it’s listed as free everywhere then I’ll try and do one more BookBub promotion. Hopefully that’ll really ramp the numbers up and see where that takes me.

Not to the bank, obviously :)

man-718582_640Here’s a double post rolled into one.

About this time last year I wrote about – My Writing Goals for 2015 – so here they are along with a quick review on each one;

  1. Finish 2nd and 3rd draft of Novel 3, ‘Blindsided’ by Easter. – Done.
  2. Give copies to beta readers for feedback. – Done.
  3. Write 4th draft of ‘Blindsided’ based on feedback. – Done.
  4. Get first 3 chapters and synopsis professionally edited and sent off to agents. – Done.
  5. Get ‘In A Right State’ onto other online retailers. – Done.
  6. Keep an eye out for marketing opportunities for ‘In A Right State’ and experiment with price. – Done.
  7. Get 2nd novel, ‘Broken Branches’, professionally critiqued and edited in the 2nd half of 2015 and look to get a self-published version launched early 2016. – Totally failed. ‘Blindsided’ took longer than I expected, eating up most of the year and it’ll be too expensive for me to release ‘Broken Branches’ next year unless a personal financial miracle happens.
  8. Write more blog posts. – Done.
  9. Think more about 4th novel (untitled) and make notes. – Half done. I’ve thought about my next project but haven’t made notes yet, see here – Starting all over again, a new ‘Project’.

My writing goals for 2016 are going to be a lot simpler as I’m at the beginning of a project. Here they are;

  1. Finish the first draft of my new writing project, whatever it is.
  2. Continue to list ‘In A Right State’ online and as a POD paperback but list the ebook for free to generate downloads and reviews.
  3. Write more blog posts.
  4. Continue to submit ‘Blindsided’ to agents.

I think that’s about it. Looks so easy, only four things to do!

dogThree novels written and now I’m at that beautifully naive stage; the very beginning. Anything is possible.

I was last here about 3 years ago – Novel 3 is Go, Go Go! – so it’s been a while but the feeling overwhelming me the most is not the dread of the blank page but not having anything to work on at the moment.

I’ve titled this post with ‘Project’ rather than ‘Novel’ because 2 of my 3 ideas are not novels. A part of me is tempted to go elsewhere, stretch my legs and test myself with something different.

Plus I’m not exactly showering myself with success writing novels so far.

I have the experience of finishing 3 novels so cold, hard determination to get to the end doesn’t faze me. The day-to-day grind of sitting down to write, wrangling plot holes, giving life to cartoonishly and crudely drawn characters, is something I enjoy. I actually love facing a blank page and turning it into a story.

With this knowledge and experience comes confidence meaning I feel empowered to step into a new arena and challenge myself with something I’ve never done before. A new novel in itself is enough of a challenge so maybe a better way to look at it is; I fancy a bit of a change.

So my 3 choices are;

  1. Contemporary Novel – I’ve got an idea of a man and woman meeting through one committing a (non-violent) criminal act against the other. Odds = 50%
  2. Football Film – I fancy writing a football film script, mainly for the reason that, can you name a decent football film? If you can name a fictional film with at least passable (pun intended) passages of play, let me know. Odds = 65%
  3. Interactive eBook/App – I’ve written some novels, I’ve produced an ebook and I used to be a web developer so it only seems natural to try and create some kind of interactive story. I’ve got a few ideas and I’m currently reading ‘Her Story‘ and I’ve got ‘Black Bar‘ lined up to go next. Odds = 80%

I’ve got my pre-project rituals all set up. There’s only two. A new A4 notebook and a new playlist of deep house tracks collected over the past year. Now to spend some time thinking, making notes and exploring these 3 ideas until one grabs me by the balls and says ‘Create me!’.

December 30, 2015

flyA couple of weeks ago I submitted my novel, ‘Blindsided‘, to 5 agents. I upped my game this time and hired the services of an editor BEFOREHAND for a critique of the whole novel, to copy-edit the first 3 chapters and help with the synopsis and cover letter.

Overall I’m well happy this submission package is a lot better than the previous 2 I’ve sent out in the past purely because I’ve had an editor work with me on it. Comparing what I’ve put together for Blindsided with my 2 previous novels plus the fact I think this novel has more commercial appeal means I’m giving it my very best shot.

Also, because my previous 2 novels were speculative fiction and this current one is more of a contemporary novel, I’m also looking for different agents which makes the searching a little more interesting and also widens the net a little.

So now I’m in a little dead zone between finishing one novel and starting another. A welcome break until I crack open a brand new notebook and start thinking about what to write next. I’m going to catch up on some reading this month and maybe do some more blog posts if I can think of anything remotely interesting to write about, whilst I try to await responses from agents, patiently.

FAILING!

 

EBB8C9D1-45DE-4D93-97D7-EA1DFA04D01C4277D4E0-A63F-4180-9287-34428ECAE143 I recently got this handsome letter from ‘The British Library‘ informing me the paperback version of ‘In A Right State‘ is now taking up valuable space on their hallowed shelves. Well, it’s deposited, not yet indexed, so it’s probably propping a door open or straightening a wonky table leg.

So how can a self-published slice of speculative fiction end up at The British Library?

Here’s how.

Go to – How to deposit printed publications – on The British Library website. Here it gives you a brief description of why and where to send it, there’s more in-depth information on ‘Legal Deposit‘ here. I simply wrote my address on a post-it note (sick of writing cover letters!) and stuck it to the front cover, signed the book and posted it off. No SAE required.

Easy!

From posting my book off to receiving this receipt took about 2/3 months.

My book was published by Completely Novel so it’s good quality and has an ISBN number. The British Library doesn’t mention either of these points as being a pre-requisite but I doubt they accept stapled pages of A4 paper.

CQ0U4TxXAAECJxV.jpg largeI was featured in last Thursday’s ‘Worthing Herald‘ on the ‘World of Words’ page which features local writers, poets, groups, events, etc.

10 questions to delve deeper into my writing life…leaving a few questions left over.

btw, my girlfriend’s son is not called ‘Hannibal’. The comma and apostrophe’s make it look like her son’s nickname is Hannibal leaving the reader to wonder, rather horrifyingly, “Why in God’s name is this young boy named after a cannibal psychopath?”. He’s not. We play Lego – he then goes to bed – then my girlfriend and I watch the excellent ‘Hannibal‘. Just wanted to clear that up.

 

Lord-of-the-covers-logoCompletely Novel, print-on-demand publishers of ‘In A Right State‘, have short-listed the book for their first ‘Lord of the Book Covers’ competition.

The winner is the cover with the most votes, so go here – http://completelynovel.com/articles/vote-for-your-favourite-book-cover – and vote by clicking the tick box next to your favourite cover and then adding your email address.

Vote for mine if you want!

You can view it on the right hand column over there or click here, what a beautiful cover it is!

The closing date for voting is 11.45pm (BST) on Sunday October 18th.

kittenI’m classing a ‘failed novel’ as one that has been submitted to agents and publishers over a year or two without having achieved a sale or any/much interest. This is what happened with ‘In A Right State‘.

‘In A Right State’ is my first novel and I sent it out to about 40 agents and 20 publishers, only getting a couple of sniffs – one agent wanted the complete manuscript but gave up after about 6 chapters, another publisher wanted the whole thing to read but then went ‘dark‘.

I started writing my second novel, ‘Broken Branches‘, whilst submitting the first and then after about 2 years I gave up on the first to concentrate on submitting the second and begin writing the third, ‘Blindsided‘. After finishing the first draft of Blindsided, I wanted to do something else before going onto the 2nd draft so I decided to self-publish my first novel, ‘In A Right State’.

So what led me to this decision?

…read more »

shhhThis is more of an anti-blog post to counter all those how to market your book type blog posts which contain a lot of crap, a lot of obvious common sense and a lot of ‘what planet are you on?‘, eg. Spend £20,000 on targeted Facebook ads!

Here’s a few things I see other authors do and other blog posts recommend which I won’t do because I think they’re either a waste of time or crass.

Ain’t no quick fixes here.

Tweeting…constantly about shit.

Oh look, my cat just took a dump. Buy my book.’

Streams and streams of retweets.

Tweeting at famous people, writers, publishers, mags, etc in an incessant, needy display of ‘someone please acknowledge me‘…OK, *blocked*.

If your tweet is selling something and is the 2nd one you’ve done this week selling something, then don’t tweet. I give writers a free pass on the week of publication, they deserve to go on an adrenaline fuelled rabbit session when they’ve made it that far.

If your tweet doesn’t interest someone who doesn’t give a shit, then don’t tweet.

…read more »