DESIST, ASSIST and PERSIST.

Book Week Scotland - Balloch Library - 28th Nov 2015 - 3It’s now one year since I published my first book, ‘Damp Dogs & Rabbit Wee.’

Get me –  ‘first book.’ Now I’m talking in some kind of author-type language. Like I’ve got another book in me. Well …

I’ve learnt a lot these past twelve months: I cringe now when I think of the number of exclamation marks I used in my first drafts of ‘Damp Dogs;’ I now understand why many readers dislike the overuse of adverbs; head-hopping can become confusing and overuse of ellipsis (oops – see above) and quotation marks can becoming annoying.

I’ve also learnt to cultivate a thick skin – this being the result of submitting pieces of work to Critique Circle. Boy, can they be brutal? (See? – in the old days, I’d have had an exclamation mark just there. And there.)

But most of all, I’ve realised that to be a writer, successful or otherwise, you need to learn to desist, assist and most of all, persist.

STOPDesist from talking-down your book. Understandably, you will be unsure as to how it will be received. Will it merit many / any ‘five star’ reviews? Will it attract any reviews at all? Authors writing in the same genre are far better and more experienced than me. Those thoughts, and others, can easily lead to the conclusion that the best way to prepare for disappointment is to get your strike in early. Lower the expectations of any potential readers and work from the ‘promise low, deliver high,’ perspective.

Logically, this may be a sound approach. Except that the number of potential readers may have been greatly reduced as a result of the author’s perceived negativity.

Don’t do it. Tell the world how great the book is. Show some belief.

Sheepish modesty may be cute, but it doesn’t sell books.

You Can HelpAssist other aspiring authors in reaching their goals. Whether this is through constructively critiquing their work via online writing groups, or re-tweeting details of their work / special offers, or sharing links to their sales pages on your social media / blogs, it doesn’t matter. Writing is fun, but it’s kinda lonely. Not in a sad way, but it’s good to talk as a wee bird once said.

Mutual back scratching is way better and more productive than mutual back slapping. Be honest with your comments to others, but be positive. And guaranteed, you’ll receive the same benefits in return. Authors are a breed apart, but form a tight-knit, worldwide association.

I know from experience, I’ve had invaluable help from The Inca Project; Scribophile members; the CLOG group on Goodreads; Clean Indie Reads and numerous individual writers.

Show support, and if at all possible, buy their books. Kindle editions normally cost only a couple of pounds. I’ve read more books this past twelve months than at any point in my life since leaving school. And all have been from indie authors, the majority of whom have not yet made it into the High Street stores.

There are some tremendous stories out there.

PERSISTPersist with your belief. Writing a fabulous book is the easy bit. Telling the world it even exists, especially with no marketing budget at your disposal is another thing entirely. It’s a slog, I know, but a little bit of work, even just through social media can pay dividend.

This past week, I’ve run a low-key promotion in the UK – there will be a bigger effort made in the U.S. market after the Olympics. I spent a total of £10 and that was on a donation basis to a site that promoted ‘Damp Dogs & Rabbit Wee.’ The direct results of that promo were poor, but through my own efforts of persistence, I managed to sell another twenty-six books.

No – it’s not big-time. And no, I can’t yet give up work to become a full time author. But it’s all relative, isn’t it? The fact that the book rose from around 200k to circa 12k  in the Amazon Kindle rankings was good enough for me.

UK Promo -pre campaign - KINDLE27th July - 9am - KINDLE

 

 

I’m not writing for money – just as well, eh?. I’m writing for experience. So that I may learn how to make more of a success of the comedy-fantasy, ‘Soul Survivor’ that I’m currently working on.

Success is all relative. I started out as the hopeful writer at the start of the ‘desist‘ paragraph above. I reckoned that if I sold about thirty books to family, friends and clients, then I’d be happy. So, having sold over two hundred and seventy (when the average for a debut effort from an indie author is, I believe, ninety) I’ve now embraced the mantra from the end of that section.

It’s not rocket science, and it’s all been said before. But after a year, the penny’s finally dropped. With all your invaluable assistance and support, even from just reading this blog, I know both ‘Damp Dogs & Rabbit Wee,’ and when ready, ‘Soul Survivor,’ are / will be successes. Even if just in my own head.

See you on the shelves of Waterstones and Barnes & Noble.

Wimbledon 2015b - 200

(Cee Tee)

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.

Psssst! (I’m still here …)

Wimbledon 2015b - 200I know – it’s been very quiet on the blog front in recent weeks. All right, months then.

Life, it seems just continues to get in the way of my writing. Which, I suppose is infinitely better than Death interfering, but it’s still incredibly frustrating.

So – no more excuses. Time to prioritise and get the finger out. Here’s a wee update of where things are at:

SOUL SURVIVOR -200SOUL SURVIVOR (working title.)

Writing a novel is far harder than banging out a memoir type thing. Especially if it’s meant to edge towards the humorous side. Some days, it flows and everything seems to fit. Until the following morning and I look at it again. Other days, it doesn’t even get that far.

The first few chapters have been rewritten completely, and I’ll shortly be posting them to a couple of writing sites for some honest feedback.

Damp Dogs & Rabbit Wee - 200DAMP DOGS & RABBIT WEE.

I’ve not done any promotion at all in 2016, but sales keep dripping through. I’m still keen to get a foothold in the USA, and plan a couple of little initiatives shortly.

From what I’ve read, however, it seems that ‘Damp Dogs & Rabbit Wee’ has sold better than the average debut book by indie authors. So, a big “THANK YOU” to everyone for their support so far.

 

 

Coming Soon - postit 200COMING SOON.

There are SO many excellent writers out there whose books are not (at least, not yet) available in your local bookstore. In the coming weeks, I hope to introduce a few to readers of this blog. You will not be disappointed, I guarantee.

 

 

That’s it – I’m off now to be distracted by some other random nonsense.

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.

Five Star Weekend

How To SellAll Indie authors very quickly realise that promotion of their book is every bit as hard, if not harder, than writing the damn thing in the first place. Most would likely also acknowledge that marketing their work is more tedious and frustrating than the dreaded editing process.

It’s also alien to many of us to bum on about how good our book is. We view that as being ‘cocky,’ and certainly where I come from, bragging is viewed as a social ‘no no.’

But although the temptation is to cross our fingers and hope for the best, whilst concentrating on writing our new book, promotion and marketing is unfortunately  a necessary evil.

So, please forgive me. I’m not bragging. I’m simply ‘promoting’: this weekend saw another two 5/5 reviews of ‘Damp Dogs & Rabbit Wee.’   Damp Dogs & Rabbit Wee - final - thumbnail

The first comes from science fiction / fantasy author, Sarah Potter,and appears on both her excellent blog and on the Goodreads website. Coming from a more experienced writer, this means a lot!

The second review appears on the U.S. Amazon.com website and has been written by V. Demaine. Amazon.com logo -500

5.0 out of 5 stars It’s entertaining and funny, but also poignant

By V Demaine on February 27, 2016

Format: Paperback

An absolute must for all pet owners and animal lovers.

What a gem this is. It’s entertaining and funny, but also poignant. You can really tell that the author has a love of animals and truly cares about his work. I love stories based on real life situations and this book gives an insight into the complexities of what at first seems a straightforward job.I must say I admire the way this man has made a successful career change, not only from bank manager to pet sitter, but to author as well-it’s very well written. Read it yourself and it would make an ideal gift for any pet owner or animal lover.

Amazing! Thank you.

Come to think about it – I love bragging! (I mean, promotion.)

HELP!

Amazon.com logo -500I have a problem. Actually, I have a few, but now is neither the time nor the place.

Instead, let’s talk about my little quandary. (Behave.)

I am looking to run a book promotion in United States, hoping that this will generate some interest in ‘Damp Dogs & Rabbit Wee.’ The trouble is, without a good few positive reviews on Amazon.com none of the ‘big hitter’ promo sites will accept the book. Not even though I can point them to the Amazon.co.uk  site which presently has sixteen excellent, five-star comments.

No sales in USA = No reviews. No reviews in USA = No sales.

Weirdly, the one review (also five-star) that I’ve received from the States, replicated itself on the UK site. But for some reason, there doesn’t seem to be a reciprocal arrangement.

As I can’t determine who has posted on the UK site, I’m asking anyone who reads this post, and has previously posted a review there, if they would mind copying their comment to the Amazon.com site, and adding some reference to the comment first being added to the UK site on ‘xyz date.’

It really is time for me to move on from ‘Damp Dogs & Rabbit Wee,’ and get writing those promised ‘Soul Survivor,’ and ‘The Rambling Man,’ efforts. I can’t wait forever to crack the US market, but with your help ……

As a wee ‘thank you,’ here’s a funny video of cats stealing dogs’ beds.

Cheers!

KATZENWORLD – ‘Damp Dogs & Rabbit Wee’ giveaway.

Katzenworld logo

Nubia likes ....

Nubia likes ….

The ever popular, cat-centred blog, KATZENWORLD, is currently running a ‘giveaway’ competition, the prize being one of two copies of my book, ‘Damp Dogs & Rabbit Wee.’

For details on how to enter, and to read what  Her Meowjesty Queen Nubzilla the Disturber of Peace has to say on the book – click here.