Tag Archives: self-publishing

Counting towards your write-a-day

On the art of writing, literary legend Ray Bradbury is quoted as saying: “Just write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens.”

This is great advice. But I must admit, I’ve been guilty of not writing a lot this week. Sorry Ray. I have in fact had my editing head on, working on a collection of short stories for a fellow author, my writing head being temporarily placed in its glass specimen jar on my office shelf. Wherever my head is at though, my mind is always wandering. Indeed, with my running head on, I let my mind wander free and it’s often when huffing and puffing through my local park that I come up with some of my best ideas.

By now, I’m starting to look like Cerberus, the ferocious three headed dog from Greek mythology. Or maybe a really lame hydra. I’m going to stick with the head analogy though. Indeed, it’s mythical creatures like this that first fired my imagination as a child. Having the Jason and the Argonauts movie and Tolkien’s The Hobbit evangelised to me by my father were probably a lot to do with a lifelong love of fantasy that hasn’t left me. To take nothing away from the immense skill of CGI artists, it was the second Ray of my blog, Ray Harryhausen’s stop-motion labours of love, that first drew me in to the fantasy world. I read a Twitter conversation recently featuring people from different generations all offering their thoughts on how much of an impact the iconic skeleton fight scene from Jason and the Argonauts had on them, their childhoods and their writing.

Role playing games are great too. I’m sometimes a player, using my vivid imagination to paint the scene presented to myself and my fellow adventurers by the Dungeonmaster. Sometimes though, I’m the Dungeonmaster myself, delighting in dreaming up adventures for my players to experience. I’m probably guilty of not spending enough time genning up on the rules and too much working on painting a picture, telling a story and dreaming up dialogue for the characters they’ll meet. But that’s my point, I guess. I’m using the game to nurture my imagination, and I figure my players will forgive a bit of furtive rule book fluttering in favour of a more enjoyable adventure.

What I’m getting at is that, whether you’re not using it all the time to write, your imagination is always there. It’s a well of ideas, some of which will inevitably come to you when you least expect them to. Use your mind creatively in different ways and you’ll be exercising it and keeping it primed and ready to dream up your next creation.

And no, writing a reply to this blog won’t count towards your write-a-day – though it would be really nice if you did all the same! Or, feel free to follow me and say hi on Twitter. I follow back and don’t snore (much).

Leave a comment

Filed under Editing, Movies, Authors, Fantasy, Writing, Books, self-publishing

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!

2 Comments

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!

Leave a comment

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

What is a book?

No wait, hear me out. Still there? Good.

If you’re reading this you’re probably looking for a little more than a literal answer, so here goes.

These days, books can take many forms. As well as a good old-fashioned charity shop find or a crisp new release hastily picked up from the airport newsagent before your flight, there is of course everyone’s favourite space-saver, the Kindle. Or indeed, the Kindle app if (like me) you’re slumming it just a little.

Delve into the world of online publication and you’ll have so much choice, you won’t know where to start. I’m guilty of perhaps not reading as much as I’d like to, but having dipped my toe into Amazonian waters, I discovered a few things pretty quickly.

Firstly, self-publishing makes it easier than ever before to get what’s inside your head out there for the public to enjoy. And if they don’t, well that’s their problem. At least you did it. This doesn’t have to be the 10000+ word fantasy epic you’ve been slaving away at for half your life though. These days, books take many forms. Your story may be great but you just find yourself wanting to get it over a little more quickly – that’s fine. In the world of self-publishing nobody looks down their nose at a novella.

It doesn’t even have to have a narrative either. From stream-of-consciousness ramblings and specialist cookbooks, to collected essays and structured how-to guides, pretty much anything can be a book these days.

So, get that idea out of your head and onto your screen and before long, it’ll be on everybody else’s screen as well.

Leave a comment

Filed under Authors, Books, Communication, Editing, Fantasy, horror, Life, Science Fiction, self-publishing, Uncategorized, Writing