The Invisible Blog.


I recently relaunched the third book in the Col Sec series, Discovery and to help it along I employed a marketing company. This company took control of all my social media so they could run the campaign which went well.

Since the campaign started though I have oticed something I find a little strange. Although my twitter followers increased by at least half as many again the views I got for my blog had dropped off to nothing.

I’m not sure if this is something to do with content, because I don’t think I’ve been blogging about anything radically different from what I usually write about. Perhaps readers are expecting more content about the books, I’m not sure and with this seemingly not being read I can’t really ask you for any suggestions.

It is a strange situation but one I will find my way through one way or the other.

Until next time.

Jan.

5 Star Review


Hi there,

last night we were getting ready to entertain some guests from work at, what now is going to be a regular curry night, when I received some wonderful news. I checked my emails on my phone and saw a link from AuthorAmp who had been doing some marketing for my latest book in the Col Sec series, Discovery. I opened the link to find a review on a blog by Stuart Anderson who owns the Fifth Dimension, A Sci Fi and Horror Blog.

After reading the review the rest of the night was a bonus, here’s the link to the review and you’ll see what I mean.

http://stuart66.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/discovery-col-sec-novel-volume-3-col.html

Everyone enjoyed the evening and this morning, despite the clean up facing me, I’m still walking on air.

See you soon

Jan.

Labels by definition


Hi there,

I’ve always hated labels, I would never buy anything just because of the label attached to it. I would much prefer to buy something because of the quality but it’s strange how so many of us are defined by such things. Society, or rather marketing companies tell us that quality is synonymous with certain labels, so we tend to gravitate toward them, if the purse allows. What we eat, drink, wear and other aspects of our lives, even what we read, depend upon these labels. These labels extend to other areas of our lives too. This probably started back when we were in school. To make it through this glorious yet trying time most of us had to fit into a sub sect of the microcosm that is school life. When I was in school this was not so prevalent, or at least not as defined as today. Yes there were the people who studied hard(nerds), and those who liked sports(jocks)  but I never bothered to try to fit into any of them as I had friends in both.

This can be said about my writing too. I have always struggled to fit the Col Sec series into any genre of writing. At the moment it’s listed as SciFi in the Amazon lists but I’m not totally comfortable with that. It’s not because the books are not SciFi, they clearly are but they could also quite easily fit into the Action Adventure slot as well. There are certain fantasy elements in the books as there is also thrills and suspense so I think you can see my point.

The Col Sec series are fast paced adventures with lots of action, car chases, gun battles, things getting blown up and there is also travel to far off different worlds. I used the novels of Matthew Reilly, James Rollins and Jeremy Robinson as a model for the pacing. I also used them for some of the character dynamics too. The books aren’t as visceral as the Spiral series by Andy Remic but that’s not to say there isn’t blood and gore because there is, and just as he set his series in a far future so is mine.

I suppose the only label I would be comfortable placing on the series would be Cross Genre.

There you have it my label by definition for the Col Sec series, Cross Genre. I don’t suppose Amazon will oblige by placing the series in a category on its own but there you go anyway.

Until next time,

Jan.

Naked Women here


Hi there,

now that I have your attention,

don’t you just hate it when you look at your Twitter notifications and you have a slew of new followers only to learn that they all want to connect so you’ll buy their book/video/marketing campaign or whatever?

This has been one of the major drawbacks for me in using this platform. In the past I have gone on record as saying I could not see the viability of it as a marketing tool but recently I have had to alter my opinion slightly. I was viewing the situation from a very narrow perspective, not seeing the larger picture. Now though I have begun to see the broader outlines associated with using Twitter.

At its heart it is a social media platform and I think that’s the best and probably the only way to look at it. If you try to see it as a sales platform then, like me you’ll probably fail. As a social platform it can be engaging but it has to be used right and that means finding when the people you want to connect with are using it too. This can be a frustrating task but there is a way around it as most people who are conversant with Twitter already know, you can program your tweets to be sent at any time you desire.

I see a lot of people on there who are desperately trying to push their wares, whether it be books or videos or just merely opinions they blanket their tweets in sales speak pushing you to buy this or that, it’s very frustrating especially if you just want to say “Hi,”

In this regard I’ve tried to temper my own tweets by posting random comments mostly just hoping someone will comment on some of them. Occasionally I’ll drop in a promotional tweet about my new book, Discovery, Book Three in the Col Sec series, but mostly I try to be social.

This is the long game. To use Twitter successfully you have to engage your followers, make them more than followers, turn them into fans. People who listen to every word you utter so that when you mention anything about the next thing you’re selling, they are immediately interested. I call it a long game because that’s what it is. It won’t happen overnight it will take time just the same as building a relationship.

That’s what I’m doing, being social in the hope of building a relationship with you all. Hoping to turn you into followers and from there into fans.

Jan

Publishing woes


My recent foray into reports about the publishing industry has left me feeling a little jaded.

The report that put me in such a state was about a talk an author was giving at a book fair. He had recently acquired a three book deal and was telling the audience the fails that self publishing authors were making. Some of the points he made were obvious and unfortunately mistakes I’ve made. The traditional publishers have the market pretty much sown up, but times are changing. Another report stated that self publishing has taken an increase in the market this last year and is on the increase.

Traditional publishers are known to wine and dine respective bloggers and reviewers when one of their authors books is due for release. It’s a form of bribery to get positive reviews posted on Amazon perhaps the largest book seller in the world. How can a self published author hope to compete with that kind of muscle? Don’t get me wrong, there are some that have achieved success going by this route and I would love to know how they did it. I’m sure that being in the right place at the right time, or knowing the right people has something to do with it. That’s not being cynical, just realistic.

I’ve had to give out copies of my books to get reviews from certain people and to be brutally honest I find it more than a little insulting. This is the only industry I know of that this is done. I certainly would never take my car for a service, expect not to pay on the assumption I would tell everyone how good a job they’d done. So in future if anyone asks if I want a review and expects a free copy I will inform them quite clearly to buy a copy of the book like anyone else.

A piece of advice I read long ago still holds true, and that is for a writer to be successful they must write and continue to write. So from now on I will follow that golden rule. I will write as much as I can and let the chips fall where they may. I still have expectations that my books will find the readership they deserve and until that happens I will continue to write.

See you soon.

Jan.

How to sell Books online?


Hi there,

I recently read a report which filled me with dread. It was a repot on how to sell books. The part that filled me with dread was the detailed list of things that most writers do thinking it helps to sell books and to my chagrin I do all of them.

I employ someone to market my work simply because of time and ability constraints. I have no marketing knowledge except that it’s extremely difficult and I do not have the time to pursue gaining such knowledge. I have a full time job and in what spare time I have left between that and my life in general I try to fill with writing. One tenet of writing and being successful I have always adhered to is to write. Success does not happen to a writer who does not write. So marketing has to be left to a professional. So far the marketing has been focused upon building my readership and following on Twitter, trying to get reviews and such. The report stated that these methods are ineffectual though. This is what filled me with dread. Have I spent all that hard earned money on wasted effort?

The report went on to mention that Facebook sabotage writers on their author page by not delivering their posts to the fans unless the writers pay for them to be boosted. This I have seen on my own page, the most I have reached on any of my posts without being boosted is a whopping 40. This is ludicrous and to me a company like Facebook that is making money hand over fist should pay some of that forward and help out writers who use their service. They should encourage talent instead of hijacking their pages and holding them to ransom. It’s a sad indictment of today’s society when the mighty dollar is more important than developing talent. Surely if they encouraged more talent then more people would use their service. I think Facebook only get’s away with this behaviour because there is no alternative to the service they provide. I see complaints on a daily basis from people who rant on and on about what a crap service they provide but seeing as how they are the only provider they don’t see a need for them to listen. After all, where else are you going to go?

Having said all that I am left with nothing left to do but hope. Nothing as yet seemed to work in regard to transferring followers to fans to readers to buyers so I must carry on with the only thing I seem capable of achieving and that is to write. When I started down this road looking for success I knew it would be a long one.I knew it would be fraught with difficulties that would challenge my resolve but I’m still here, still walking. One day I will reach the end and on that day I hope to see you all there with me.

See you soon

Jan.

Five Top Tips for Writing.


Hi there,

I was recently asked to write a guest blog for another website  http://chapterbreak.net by Kris Barnes of Authoramp. It was a  request that came out of the blue but one that I gratefully accepted. They wanted some tips on writing and so I searched the internet for inspiration to see what other writers did for inspiration. What I found was that some of their motivation was exactly the same as mine so I did as requested and wrote five of my tips.

The blog was well received, it was re-tweeted well over a hundred times in just a couple of days and I had some extremely nice comments of people who found the tips helpful. So much so that I thought I’d share the post with you here.

My Five Top Tips for Writing.

 

I often think what advice would I give to other writers should they ask, so here, in no particular order of preference are my top five tips.

1,

Set yourself a schedule of when to write. There is a train of thought that says that if you pick a time of day to sit down and write it’ll become a daily routine as common as your morning coffee. There is another thought that says what if you’re not inspired to write at that particular time? Do you write anyway and risk churning out rubbish or wait until you’re truly inspired? In my experience there is no ‘best time’ to write. I can feel inspired at the oddest of times and quite often when I’m away from my laptop so waiting until I’m inspired doesn’t work for me. On the odd occasions I sit to write and nothing comes, I read.

The thing is, this process is different for every writer, you just have to find a method that works for you and once you have it’s more than easy to adhere to, it becomes natural.

2,

Write; quite simply write what you want. If you have picked a subject, whether it be fiction or not, just write it. Don’t worry about editing or changing stuff mid-flow because that’s the quickest way to stifle your creativity. Let the words tumble out onto the page, you can sort them out into a proper order once you’ve finished and the re-writes and editing begins.

3,

Social Media,

Don’t be afraid to use this in all its myriad forms. I find this increasingly difficult to comprehend how a platform like Twitter can be of any use to writers. I also know of some who swear by it. Each platform have their own merits but the one thing that a lot of writers misunderstand about them is, they are not best used to sell their books but to connect with readers. The clue is in the name, social. You have to use it to let your readers know that you are a real person, and are approachable. Once that has been achieved then you’ll increase your sales.

4,

Marketing is essential to any writer whether they are self-published or are being handled by a publishing house. In the case of the latter it’s not so much of a worry as the publishing house will have a plan with a team in place to execute it whereas if you are self-publishing it’s something you have to consider very carefully. If you have no experience in this field I suggest you do one of two things; either do the research where you can gain the knowledge required to put a plan into place, or employ someone who has these skills already.

5,

If you decide to write a book then write the book you would want to read. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to write for a particular market, that way you will stifle your creativity. Write the book you would read yourself, it may be in a whole new genre, or a cross genre piece that covers many topics, whatever you chose throw yourself into it, body and soul. It won’t be easy but the rewards are beyond your imagination.

There you have it, my top five tips for writing. I hope they help and I wish anyone who is just starting out on a writing career the best of luck.

There you have it. Hope you like it, hope it’s helpful to anyone thinking of starting, or is already writing for either pleasure or gain.

In closing I would just like to wish everyone a very Happy Easter, I hope whatever you do over this break brings you great joy.

See you soon,

Jan.