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.

RENEWED ENTHUSIASM!

Wimbledon 2015b - 200Right!  Summer’s over (it was early this year in the West of Scotland, being on 15th July) and my proper work has reverted to more regular hours. I now have some time to crack on with ‘Soul Survivor,’ and hopefully expand this blog into more than just a conduit for sales of ‘Damp Dogs & Rabbit Wee,’ which was published just about a year ago.

You know – one of the side benefits of writing and publishing a book, is the introduction it offers to similarly minded aspiring, indie authors.

This past year, I’ve read more books in a twelve month period than ever before. Those books were written not by Terry Pratchett, Frank Dikotter, Neel Mukherjee, Jang Jin-Sung, or Douglas Adams, some of my favourite authors. No – they were written by the likes of Rob Gregson, Jessica Collette, Andy Paine, Sarah Potter, Sue Harris, Robert Wingfield, Lia LondonCynthia Port, Will OnceJames Court and Ana Spoke– some of my new favourite authors! (Watch out also for a guy called Corben Duke. He’s just been signed up by a publisher for his comedic fantasy, ‘The Worst Man on Mars.’ Very funny!)

Bad Business 200Desiccation 200Indiot 200Kibble Talk 200Love Death and Tea 200Naming The Bits Between 200 The Contest 200 Unreliable Histories 200
The Fargenstropple Affair 200
Mulligans Revenge 200

Hopefully, over the next few months I can convince some of these excellent and entertaining writers to spend a little time on this blog, giving a bit of background to their inspirations and aspirations.

Indie authors everywhere …. I’m coming at you with a metaphorical microphone!

But for now …. ‘Damp Dogs & Rabbit Wee’ – the final push.

 

A Culture Addicted to FREE—How FREE is Poisoning the Internet & Killing the Creatives

This interesting, thought provoking and I reckon, totally ‘bang-on’ article first appeared on Kirsten Lamb’s blog on 9th February.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Image used with permission from the creator Ira Gelb. Image “Not for Sale” used with permission from the creator Ira Gelb who’s an activist in stopping Human Trafficking but authorized this image for use outside.

It’s funny, at various junctures I’ve felt propelled to tackle certain topics, even when that made me very unpopular. My biggest leviathan to date has been this notion of artists being expected to work for free, and I believe the reason that this topic is weighing so heavily on me is that, for the first time in years I’m no longer enthusiastic about our future.

In fact, I’m downright frightened, because of THIS.

I Feel Sick

Yesterday morning on my Facebook, a friend shared this open letter to Oprah Winfrey from a local performer in the Bay Area, Revolva, whose act caught the attention of mega-icon Oprah Winfrey.

Oprah was holding The Life You Want conference and the producers contacted Revolva to see if she…

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Book Week Scotland

Talking about Marley - not Bob, as on the T-shirt. The character from DD&RW.

Talking about Marley – not Bob, as on the T-shirt. The character from DD&RW.

With copies of ‘DAMP DOGS& RABBIT WEE,’ in all their libraries, West Dunbartonshire Libraries & Cultural Services invited me to host their closing session of the Book Week Scotland celebration.

To say I was surprised to be asked is an understatement. Especially when I saw that the list of speakers from earlier in the week included Arne Dahl, the Swedish crime writer whose books have been serialised on UK television.

I was even more, and very pleasantly, surprised that an audience of twenty-five interested people braved the horrendous weather to come long to Balloch Library to listen to my patter.

It’s been a while, a long while, since I last spoke to a group of people. I’m more used to talking to dogs, cats and rabbits these days. Lizards too. They’re hard work, though.Book Week Scotland - Balloch Library - 28th Nov 2015 - 3

A few excerpts were read from the book, followed by a pretty extensive Q&A session, followed by a book signing and one-to-one chats.

Hopefully more Personal Appearance opportunities will present themselves, and maybe some other local councils will decide to stock their libraries with the book.

But even if nothing else should happen from here, I thoroughly enjoyed my afternoon at the head of Loch Lomond and my thanks go to all who organised the afternoon and those who turned up  …… and even bought the book!

The last book is sold.

The last book is sold.

Ran out of books! Had to take list for order.

Ran out of books! Had to take list for order.

Time to get serious!

Serious Mode Activated 200 Ok – that’s it!

This blog has been too quiet for too long. It’s now time to get serious about this writing thing. More to the point – it’s time to get serious about the promoting and marketing of ‘Damp Dogs & Rabbit Wee.

Trouble is – where to start?

True, I’m awaiting some promised coverage from two excellent, dog-related websites, one in UK and one in USA. I also have the book-reading / signing session arranged for Balloch Library on Saturday 28th November.

There is also a possible game-changer in the offing. However, I’d rather not say anything about that at the moment, both from a confidentiality point of view, but more so because I don’t honestly think it will happen. I reckon I’ve probably outreached my potential and aspirations with that one. The good news, I suppose, is that it’s been several weeks since I submitted the book, and I still haven’t been issued with a rejection notice.

But maybe that’s the issue. Us folks from West of Scotland are not inherently the most positive in our outlooks. Neither are we very good at promoting ourselves. We tend to regard that a little like bragging. And that’s definitely frowned upon.

Damp Dogs & Rabbit Wee - final - thumbnail

‘Damp Dogs & Rabbit Wee‘ was never intended for publication, and perhaps I’ve been a bit too relaxed in my attitude to the book in general. When  it appeared on the Amazon bookshelf, I had no real expectations of sales or acceptance. Had it sold to even just the owners of the pets mentioned in the book, I’d have been happy.

However, although there are only eleven reviews on Amazon as I write, they are all ‘five star.’ Hardly a day goes by without my receiving a personal text or Facebook mention from others who have enjoyed the book, but didn’t want to leave a formal review. What a lovely thing to do – take time out to send a positive comment when there is no real incentive to do so.

Copies of the book continue sell – not in any spectacular numbers, but on a steady, almost daily basis, be that in paperback, Kindle or Kindle Unlimited form. Sales have long surpassed the number of friends and relatives I have (I know, sad, isn’t it?)  which means word is somehow filtering out there.

And that’s without any real, conscious effort to date.

So, buoyed by the positive feedback received, I’m going to get proactive, especially regards this blog. There will be more regular updates and I’ll feature some articles, not necessarily restricted to writing-related subjects, that I’ve found interesting or amusing.

I hope also to sort out a mailing list, so I can spread any relevant news on posts or updates more speedily.

There you go! I’ve made the move ….. more ‘proper,’ news tomorrow.

If anyone’s interested.

(Damn that West of Scotland insecurity!!)