Category Archives: Novel

Want a new perspective? Go to an old place

Thinking that I may as well go old school to try and generate some sales, I recently had some fliers printed up for my book, which I dropped off at my local bookshop and library. As any self-published author will tell you, it’s so hard to get noticed these days and marketing yourself is like a full-time job in itself, so I thought I’d try to cover at least one extra base.

The print shop was about a mile away from my house, so what better idea than to walk over there in the stifling heat of the hottest day on record here in the UK to pick them up? Anyway, shade-hugging as I went, I found myself walking through my old neighbourhood on the way. It’s not somewhere I usually have to pass through, even though I walk into town regularly. The first thing to hit me was the presence of a nice-looking coffee shop that I would’ve been very grateful of back in the day. The second thing I noticed was how different that and other recent builds had made my old street look.

Once these cosmetic changes had settled in though, I was left with a strange feeling, part nostalgic, part melancholic. It was as if for a moment, I was transported back in time, and my mind of that time was inside my head of now (I realise how weird that sounds). It reminded me of all the goals and ambitions I had back then, the things I’d just done and the things I would go on to do. I don’t know why such an inconsequential thing as walking over to a shop to pick something up got my imagination going, but it did.

So if you find yourself in search of ideas, a fresh perspective or just a change of scenery, take a stroll around somewhere familiar from your past. You never know where it might lead.

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Filed under Authors, Writing, Books, Life, self-publishing, Novel

Test the Waters

OK, OK, I’ve made the obvious analogy of the literary ocean and throwing your work in it before, but sometimes it really can feel like that. Writing is hard. Marketing it is harder.

Sure, you can throw your hard-earned at any number of social media-savvy agencies who will promote your book and it may even work, but the hard truth is that with the freedom of self-publishing comes the reality that everybody is doing it. And that’s great. Let’s just make that clear SELF PUBLISHING IS GREAT.

So what does it mean? It means that even with a serious advertising budget, you’ll be up against some serious competition to get noticed. That’s why it’s a good idea to test the waters with your first foray in to self-publishing. OK, so you’ve been slaving away at your 100,000-word fantasy epic for months – years and it’s finally ready. Now, the world will know the true power of destiny and the irrepressible lure of the Tanthis Stone…but wait. Rush headlong into marketing it with no experience and it’ll probably just end up being read by your eccentric Auntie and Jeff your old college friend. And maybe Alison from work.

When I say experience, I don’t mean time served as a social media executive, either. I’m just talking about the experience of self-publishing and marketing and everything that brings. It’s tough, and a relentless grind. Doing it first with a shorter novella, like I did, is a sensible idea. Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of my novella Whisper Wood and worked hard at it, but I’m glad I used it to get some experience. I’m always learning and that’s the best way to look at self-publishing. Don’t expect readers to come to your book, take it to the readers, tell them why they should read it.

Comment on other authors’ stuff and write too. I’m genuinely grateful to fellow bloggers who follow and share my updates on here – each of them on their own creative journey. The same goes for Twitter’s supportive and fun #WritingCommunity. There’s enough space for us all, so let’s get writing!

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Filed under Authors, Books, Fantasy, Novel, self-publishing, Writing

Shameless self-promotion

Self-publishing is as much about promotion as it is writing, which is why I’m not ashamed to admit that this blog is a bit of promotion for my new novella. “Wow” you may be thinking, “he got the link in early on just then”. Well, yes, guilty as charged. But why not? Any aspiring writer who has a Twitter account will no doubt be familiar with the #ShamelessPromo hashtag, and everything that comes with it. Making self-promotion shameless is important because, lets face it, who is going to help us if we don’t help each other?

Without the marketing weight of a successful publishing house behind us, we self-published authors need as much help as we can get. Sometimes, that means shamelessly helping ourselves too, which is just what I’m doing here. There are loads of useful resources out there on promoting yourself, so you really don’t need any advice from me, but I’m going to give it to you anyway!

  • Set up a blog
    Yes this is blatantly obvious but it bears repeating. It’s easy these days to set up a basic blog using for example, WordPress to get it looking exactly like you want it. If you enjoy delving in to the graphs and stats of SEO, even better, because there’s plenty of ways to keep track of how your site is performing. Remember, your blog is your personal platform to waffle on about anything you want and yes, promote your stuff.
  • Test the water
    If you’re not ready to take the plunge into the near-bottomless ocean of online publishing, why not self-publish some short stories, or older work that never saw the light of day? You can host it on your own site, or on any site for authors and readers that lets you upload your own stuff. This is a golden opportunity not only to get valuable feedback from people who love to read, but it can give you a little experience in promoting your writing.
  • Network
    Spend any length of time on Twitter, and you’d be forgiven for feeling discouraged by just how many people are doing exactly what you’re doing. It may seem like everyone is a budding author these days, with their own tale to tell and story to sell. Don’t let that put you off. Really, it’s no different than walking into your favourite book store and seeing all the latest releases lined up side-by-side. Some people like one thing, others like something else. It’s the way it goes and helping to promote the work of others, and them returning the favour is all part of networking. The more people you follow, the more you’ll learn.

So, there you go! I’ll end this #ShamlessPromo blog with a shameless call to buy my book!

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Filed under Authors, Books, Novel, self-publishing, Writing

You don’t always have to box off

Believe me, that was a hard heading to write. I’m the kind of person who likes to box things off and get one thing done before starting another. It makes me feel good because I’ve achieved something and not left any loose ends. It doesn’t always work that way with writing though.

Sure, you want to get that novel finished above all else. You want to commit dedicated time to it and not procrastinate. I get it. But I’m guessing that if you like writing, you’re an imaginative person and you’re always getting random ideas. These could be a scenario, a sentence, or even just a bit of dialogue – it doesn’t matter. Write them down. Make sure you keep a notebook for all your random ideas and don’t worry about keeping them spinning away while slaving over your main story.

This is great for two reasons. Firstly, you’ll have a few ideas floating around, which is always rich food for the imagination. Secondly, it’s a brilliant solution if you’ve set aside time to write but you’re hitting a literary brick wall with your main project. That time will never be wasted, because you can pick up on one of your other ideas and see where it goes. You may develop a storyline for a sequel, or a whole new series. You may even dream up something so amazing that it becomes your new main project. Lots of fantastic things have grown from the germ of an idea, and your next idea could be one of them.

So, don’t be afraid to start something new and keep all those plates spinning. Great things could happen.

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Filed under Authors, Books, Novel, self-publishing, Writing