#1 INTERNATIONAL BEST SELLER, BABY!

Damp Dogs & Rabbit Wee - 200That’s right – ‘Damp Dogs & Rabbit Wee,’ can now legitimately be classed as a #1, International Best Seller.

OK, it’s kinda stretching things a tad, but following a wee promotional push on the USA, Amazon.com site this week, ‘D&RW’ rose from an overall ranking of 1,127,973 to 15,902. (I believe there are over three million titles available on that platform.)

Not only that, but, wait for it …. it reached the #1 slot in the ‘Books > Crafts, Hobbies & Home > Pet & Animal Care > Rabbits.

It also reached a ranking high of #3 on Amazon UK – Kindle Store > Books > Home & Garden > Animal Care & Pets . Essays.

Yeah, they’re rather niche classifications, I know. It’s all good fun, though.

So that’s now a year since its release. It’s sold reasonably well and has served its purpose as an experiment in writing and finding my way around the publication / marketing landscape.

The latter really is most time consuming and is a necessary evil for indie publishers. Keep on top of it, and the book will steadily climb / maintain its position in the rankings. Stop, and unless you are an established writer with a substantial fan base, the title will drop like a stone to settle somewhere amongst the silt and dust that forms beneath the virtual shelves at Amazon.

But proactive marketing is a big distraction from new projects. So ‘stop,’ I must.

Maybe now’s the time to take ‘Damp Dogs & Rabbit Wee’ on that sad, last journey to the book vet. I mean, there’s no point staggering on trying to flog a dead, erm … well – you know.

Anyhows! Right now I have a rather bad tempered, cantankerous crow (or rook – I haven’t yet decided) and a psychopomp banging on the inside of my head, desperate for an introduction to y’all in the next few months.

You’ll know them when you see them.

Rook 300

SOUL SURVIVOR - working cover

DESIST, ASSIST and PERSIST.

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It’s now five years 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)

Back to reality.

That’s it, then: Christmas is over. Hogmanay is over. My annual holiday in India (Goa) is over.

Arossim Beach (Starfish shack) in South Goa.

Arossim Beach (Starfish shack) in South Goa.

Nothing left to look forward to ……. except immersing my imagination in the land of ‘Soul Survivor,’ and getting the damn thing written. That, and maybe ‘The Rambling Man.’ That’s the target for this year – one, if not both, books to be completed by the year end.

I had envisaged getting to grips with the former while lying by the pool or on the beach these past couple of weeks. But, having been to this place the previous five years, I should have known better. The combination of 90+ degree temperatures, lovely, plentiful food and cold beer can result in only one thing. And it’s not creativity.

The holiday, however, did present an opportunity for some creative, guerrilla marketing with regard to ‘Damp Dogs & Rabbit Wee.’

I thought I’d take a couple of copies with me and after carrying a copy around for a day or so, placing it strategically on my dining table at meal times, I’d leave them in the hotel library for guests to hopefully pick up.

Unbeknown to me though, one guest had already bought a copy to read on the plane over to India. And having read it, they also placed it in the lobby library. This meant there would be three copies potentially circulating the small hotel..

And even better – the owner of that particular copy, whom I’d met on previous visits, introduced me to other guests as ‘the famous author,’ much to my embarrassment.

The result of all this was that even before I could place copies in the library, I’d been asked directly if people could borrow them. They would then make them available for others to read.

Now, receiving royalties for your book is great. Of course it is. But I genuinely got more of a kick actually witnessing the interest in the book which went days before reappearing on the bookshelf.

I love it when a plan comes together!

Even Sandy, the stray beach-dog, found something to laugh about in 'Damp Dogs & Rabbit Wee.'

Even Sandy, the stray beach-dog, found something to laugh about in ‘Damp Dogs & Rabbit Wee.’