The Cynic’s ‘To Do’ List for Aspiring Authors.

  1. Read squillions of blog articles that detail definitive ‘to do,’ lists for aspiring authors: you don’t want to miss out on anything. Research needs to be thorough.
  2. Build your author blog: you could probably skip this step if your surname is ‘Anonymous.’
  3. Write frequent and interesting posts for your blog: like this one you’re reading right now, though obviously way better.
  4. Build a fanbase for your blog: to be honest– most of your ‘fanbase’ are not strictly ‘admirers of your writing. They are mutual back-scratchers. It’s all about the numbers, you know.
  5. Interact with other bloggers on a regular basis: my better results have been when I kept my comments polite and courteous.
  6. Establish an Amazon Author page: maybe not required until point #21, but it’s easier to do this while your enthusiasm is still high.
  7. Set up an ‘author’ Facebook page: it’s best to separate your personal life from your author persona. Readers / potential readers of your cutsie YA romantic novel are probably best shielded from your drunken antics last weekend.
  8. Invite all your personal Facebook friends to ‘Like’ your author page: they will, if you badger them long enough. Go on, go on, go on …. Remember, it’s all about the numbers, you know.
  9. Write frequent and interesting posts for your author Facebook page: I don’t – and look how many books I haven’t sold.
  10. Join a Writing Group. Online or the good old fashioned way, it doesn’t matter: don’t just sit there feeling alone and miserable, devoid of any ideas. Spend time with like (empty) minded people – a problem shared is a problem halved and all that.
  11. Read the WIPs of fellow aspiring authors in your Writing Group: actually, you will be well impressed by some. You will be inspired to write to such a great standard. Some though will be complete bobbins.
  12. Feedback to said fellow aspiring authors: try to find that precarious balance between praise, patronising and downright jealousy.
  13. Continue reading books of similar genre to that which you will (eventually) write: being an aspiring author is difficult. It’s fraught with pressures, not least, that on your time. Try to relax with a good book, but one that keeps you in ‘the zone.’
  14. Set aside some regular ‘you time,’ for planning your book: 3am is generally accepted as the only available slot for this. Blocks of ten or fifteen minutes will probably have to do.
  15. OH YEAH – WRITE YOUR BOOK!

  16. Revisit steps 1 to 15 for the next three years.
  17. EDIT YOUR BOOK! self-doubt, familiarity with the story and slight tweaks to the plot that involve complete rewriting of several chapters, mean this step could take another year to complete.
  18. FINAL EDIT OF YOUR BOOK!
  19. Submit book to every publisher you can track down: you owe it to yourself to at least try. If nothing else, once the submissions are made, you have a short period of respite and relief where your life may return to what passes these days as ‘normal.’
  20. Remember to recycle your rejection letters.
  21. Decide to follow the self-publish route: who needs a publisher anyway? Self-publishing means you are in complete control, right?
  22. Set aside a couple of weeks to correctly format your book for submission to Amazon: you won’t be short on advice and help. Fellow aspiring authors are always willing to help. Don’t be too hard on yourself. You are not stupid – they are just highly intelligent and technically gifted.
  23. A) Plan a marketing campaign through Amazon and offer your book at a generous discount: this will probably be the most hurtful part of the project. It’s not exactly a ‘loss-leader,’ but it will still stick in your throat to do this. You will likely generate some sales though. Results will however vary in line with how much you outlay on your marketing campaign. B) Don’t worry about the extortionate costs of doing so through likes of Bookbub – you’ll likely be rejected anyway.
  24. Request your doctor prescribe a raft of anti-anxiety medications. Or take up yoga: you will need something to calm you down each morning as you excitedly open your laptop to view the daily Amazon sales reports. Yippee! You made $9 yesterday. (Less, of course, the $10 daily average of your marketing campaign.)
  25. Take advantage of this quiet period and re-introduce yourself to your family: reassure the dog you are not a burglar.
  26. Be amazed as your book, boosted by initial sales to family and friends, rises to be #1 in the rankings: Ok – #1 in the (eg) Books > Home & Garden > Animal Care & Pets > Dogs > Dogs with a lisp, category.
  27. Be amazed at just how quickly your book can fall from an overall Amazon ranking of 3,023 on the first day: remain positive though. The book-buying public are fickle. Things will change.
  28. Nothing changes: after two weeks of crossing fingers, and selling your soul to the double-crossing book gods, you book is probably now ranked around the 2,435,647 mark.
  29. Run a promo campaign to give your book away free: your book instantly shifts 53,178 copies. Well, downloads. Now you need your doctor to prescribe some meds to calm you back down again. Or take up yoga. Again. The initial fad didn’t last long – it never does.
  30. Doctor simply suggests you look at the Amazon sales reports: No royalties from the freebies. You feel such a fool. And only two reviews on the Amazon page. From 53,178 sales? Sorry. Free downloads. The cold truth dawns. People like free stuff. Just for the sheer heck of it. How many actually read your book?
  31. Cheer yourself up by blowing all the earned royalties from actual, proper sales: the family are excited about a trip to the movies. And possibly a visit to the local burger joint on the way home. But best take the credit card for that, just in case.
  32. And tomorrow? Tomorrow, you’ll still be an aspiring author. Tomorrow you’ll start on book #2 and repeat the process all over. It’s just what we do.


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The Second Lord of Procrastination & Broken Promises.

That’s me, that is: The Second Lord of Procrastination and Broken Promises.
(The First Lord met an untimely end when, on the eventual realization that Time waits for no man, he tried to catch up with it by removing the batteries from his clock. He consequently failed to notice the time of High Tide was fast approaching and rather sadly, he drowned.)

Some authors have learnt well from this little parable. But not all. Like me, for example. Right now, I feel I should be editing the first ten chapters of ‘Evhen & Uurth,’ (w/t) and not procrastinating until I’ve written some half-baked blog post.

Or should I?

What’s more important? Writing a potential best-seller  or, letting prospective readers know that you’re writing a potential best seller?

I’ve been pretty slow to the social media table, but two years after the release of my first (ok – only) book, I’m becoming more convinced of its value.

See, I figure that just about anyone who writes a book, writes a ‘potential’ bestseller. Take the ‘Fifty Shades’ series by E.L. James. The first of these, and I presume the others, was widely acknowledged as being, well, for want of a better description … crap.

Tell you what – I wish I could write books as crap as them! And indeed, I probably can. You probably can. We all can. The difference between our crap books not selling and Ms James’s making her a very rich and successful woman, is social media. The hype, and even in this case the negative comments, that surrounded the initial ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ book piqued the curiosity of a certain demographic who just had to see what all the fuss was about.

It’s really a case of establishing a market-place for your book and unashamedly promoting it. But in the right manner.

From my experience, there’s no point in spamming the book-buying public. Scattergun Tweets to a following of possibly thousands is unlikely to generate much in the way of sales, if any at all. And cold-calling messages sent on Facebook are about as effective as a telephone call from a PPI claims team. What’s required, is genuine interaction with people interested in the subject matter of your book – be that flying saucers, trolls, cozy romance or in my case, psychopathic rabbits.

Over the past couple of years, I have read some really excellent books by authors I greatly admire, especially so regards the other members of the Goodreads CLOG group. (I distinguish them simply because their humorous writing is more the style I aspire to.) These books, regardless of how many have been sold, deserve to be read by many, many more people. Some, and I’ll spare the blushes of those to whom I refer, should in my opinion, have prominent display positions in national book stores.

The fact that they don’t, is down to a lack of self promotion. I know this to be true in the majority of cases to which I refer.

It doesn’t come easy. Most people, authors or not, worry about being perceived as boastful; being considered arrogant. As a Scot, it’s just not in my nature, for example, to tell anyone that I’m any good at anything. Self-deprecation is viewed as a valuable safety net up here:

“Ah – it’s just something I knocked up on a few rainy Tuesday afternoons. It was either that or clean out the cupboard under the stairs. Its not a serious effort to become an ‘author’ as such. If it sells a few copies, I’ll be happy.”

That’s the way do it. Glass half-empty. If the book sells well, then that’s a bonus. If it bombs, then we were prepared for it.

But with that attitude, which is the more likely?

I’ve learnt that with ‘Damp Dogs & Rabbit Wee,’ if I go quiet on it, and don’t undertake some targeted campaign or other, then it may sell the odd one or two copies a month. It will perhaps be read a couple more times on Kindle Unlimited.

But if I do some work on it, tell dog / pet lovers about what a darned good read it is, then sales can be increased ten fold. And this is two years down the line from publication.

So, my point is this: not all procrastination of a work in progress is bad. Proactive and targeted use of social media is just as valuable a use of time as writing that book.

Getting your name known through interaction with potential readers of your particular genre is key.

Right, there you go. That should just about do it.

Now, let me just check the time of the next high tide.

AMAZING REVIEW!

Amazon.com logo -500Since I stopped promoting ‘Damp Dogs & Rabbit Wee’ about a month ago, it has virtually flat-lined as far as sales go. But the time had come to give more attention to drafting my new book, ‘Soul Survivor,’ (working title.)

It seemed the kindest thing to do was to take ‘D&RW’ down that sad, one-way trip to the local book-vet, for …. well, sssshhh – you know.

But then last night, came THIS – an absolute belter of a review from a reader in USA.

The book has also been included in the ‘I Recommend …’ Top 10 Humor books on Lia London’s excellent blog.

Maybe there’s life in the old (damp) dogs, yet.

amazon-us-review-brilliant

ALMOST A GIVEAWAY!

Bramble.
Bramble.

Well ….. what do you expect? I’m Scottish. So sue me.

Damp Dogs & Rabbit Wee,’ was published a year ago this week, and to celebrate, the Kindle price has been reduced to only 99 pence (in Amazon’s UK store) until 11pm on Friday 29th July.

I know – I’m all heart, me.

When I ran a Goodreads Giveaway some months ago, there were over 1,200 entrants hoping to land a free copy. If you were one of the 1,195+ disappointed folk that missed out, then maybe you’ll want to grab this amazing opportunity to read the amusing antics of Marley and the gang for such a keen price.

Maybe, on the other hand, you’ll think, “What a tightwad – why couldn’t it be a freebie?”

I’m really sorry. Honest. But much as I’d like to hand copies away for nowt, I do have to eat. And 99 pence would allow me to buy a bread roll, a slice of ‘plastic’ cheese and maybe leave just enough for a Bazooka Joe bubblegum. Bazooka Joe

Anyway, please – it would be  great help if you could let all your dog / cat / pet loving pals know of this, ok, slightly less than startling offer, by any means of social media you have available.

Thanks so much.

I’m off now to have my evening bite of that roll and ‘plastic’ cheese slice.

99 cents book promotion in the USA!

Amazon.com bannerHere’s one for all readers of this blog in the USA, or who have access to buy goods from Amazon.com:

Damp Dogs & Rabbit Wee’ will be on a Kindle Countdown deal from Wednesday March 23rd until Saturday, 26th.

The price will be reduced to only 99 cents throughout this period, before returning to the original, $2.83. That’s a reduction of almost 67% if my arithmetic’s correct.

If this were Walmart, there’d be massive advertising hoardings in the car park and along every aisle in the store.

Bramble.
Bramble.

But it’s not. It’s just a wee blog, written by a wee bloke, in a wee country, who uses the word ‘wee’ in a different context in the book’s title.

So, if anyone can help spread the word to dog / pet lovers and dog walkers in the USA  by means of social media, or even personal interaction (remember those days?) then I’m on the beers.

Thanks.

Cee Tee

 

Sorry …. well – not really.

I know … yadda, yadda, yadda. Another chuffin’ five star review on Amazon.com (USA)

America  – I’m comin’ to get ya!

Sorry – this is not in my normal character, but I’ve learnt over these past few months that if you don’t bang your own drum, then there ain’t nobody else going to do it for you.

(Except, of course, these wonderful people who have taken time to leave such lovely words on both Amazon – 17 on Amazon UK and 6 on Amazon USA – and Goodreads. Thank you all.)Damp Dogs & Rabbit Wee - final - thumbnail

Format: Kindle Edition

The author explains how a couple of unexpected career changes ultimately presented him with a new job opportunity as a Pet Professional. This new job provided many stories and lucky for us, the author has written this book to share them with us.

Written in a comical and heartfelt way, we learn about the animals’ reactions to various situations and the way each pet formed their very own unique bond with him, and he with them. The author did a great job describing the vast personalities of these pets. I especially liked the comments he imagined them saying.

Overall, this was a fun read and I thoroughly enjoyed the author’s sense of humor. Of course, animal lovers will naturally be drawn to this book, rightfully so, but anyone who has gone through (has ever thought about or been forced into) a career change, will greatly enjoy this as well.