Writer’s Blog: Stardate: 03.10.2013
This week I had an unusual icon appear on my blog’s message notification bar. On further investigation I discovered a note from WordPress saying: Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com. Has it really been a year? I asked myself. Yes, it has. Sixty seven blog posts (not including this one) which, for those readers with something of a mental blockage where mathematical equations are concerned, is an average of over one a week. (1.288461538 and lots of other digits that I can’t be bothered to type to be precise). So what? I hear shouted from cyber space. So what? It’s a milestone, that’s what.
My Acer Sansom books have been on Amazon for just over three weeks now – how time flies. It seems like only yesterday I was anxiously fumbling with the keyboard, like some green midwife delivering her first baby, trying to make sure I brought my twins into the world without a hitch. I wonder if any other self-publisher gives themselves a really pulse-racing, heart-thumping time over putting books on Amazon (Is that the right file? Is it the right edition of the right book? Did I choose the right image for the cover? What the hell does DRM mean and is it important to me? Should I click the box to be on the safe side?)
At time of typing, both books are doing reasonably well: Dirty Business is sitting at number twenty-nine in the Kindle Store>Books>Fiction>Action Adventure chart and Loose Ends is at number forty-nine. Encouraging. It really is something special to see one’s book in a chart sandwiched between Patricia Cornwell and Robert Harris, even if they are charging pounds for theirs and mine is virtually being given away. Incidentally, it’s worth mentioning that I started out with Dirty Business in the thriller category but when I saw that Loose Ends had made it into a chart I enrolled Dirty Business in the same chart to get more exposure. It’s all about exposure as Cartier-Bresson used to quip. I’ve had a couple of good comments on both books, too.
One thing I can report to myself this week with the confidence of statistical evidence to back me up is that the Romney and Marsh Files are selling quite well since the promotion day I had a week or so ago. (That’s always going to be a relative thing and I mean relative to recent sales not some blockbuster by Dan Brownstain.) Both books that I’m charging for have lurched back up the police procedural charts with all the elegance and grace of DC Grimes in hot foot-pursuit of a Dover toe-rag. Making a Killing was knocking on the door of the top twenty for a couple of days. However, no one answered and the door remains firmly shut.
I’m nearly fifty-thousand words into the fourth Romney and Marsh title. When I can find the time and the energy to have a good crack at it it moves along well, I think. But work and life are proving particularly demanding at the moment and time is just what I seem to have too little of. That and energy. I think I’m getting old. Crap.
It’s not easy writing a book, you know, when you’ve got a full-time job and other calls on your time. The further you get into it, the more you must keep on top of it. Leave it for a couple of days and you’re going to start forgetting stuff, losing threads. And then you’re going to have to have a big re-read-refresher, which can get quite annoying after a couple. Keeping notes just isn’t the same, I find. Writing is all about the mood. And all I’m in the mood for right now is bed and a good book.
PS ‘Life is full of mysteries, and whether you’re working with a traditional publisher or you are an artisanal publisher (a.k.a., “self-publisher”), the potency of your marketing platform can determine your success.’ Guy Kawasaki, Advisor at Motorola Mobility. (I prefer self-publisher, thanks, Guy. I don’t find much to commend the term ‘artisanal’ for something I’m making my life’s work.)
I have read both of the Acer Sansom books and loved them, can’t wait for the next one. I am definitely a fan of your books.
Thanks very much for letting me know you enjoyed the Sansoms. Thanks, too, for your purchases and continued support for my writing. It really is sincerely appreciated.
I’m heading down to Melbourne for a couple of days and needed a good book. Guess what Amazon suggested for me? Not one, but two new Oliver Tidy books! I hadn’t been keeping up with their birthing progress, so pleased they’ve been instantly “whispernetted’ to the other-end-of-the-world in time for the journey.
I’ll let you know how I get on. (I’ll keep any homophones to myself … 🙂
Hello again Jason,
I love Amazon a lot sometimes and the technology still awes me. Pretty incredible that the books can be in Australia in seconds.
Many thanks for the downloads. I sincerely hope that they don’t disappoint. And do let me know what you think. I look forward to it. I had proof-reading help with these two so my money is on zero embarrassing homophones. 🙂
I am really looking forward to the next Romney and Marsh, so glad to hear you are working on it.
Many thanks for saying so. I’m enjoying writing it so I’m confident it will be worth waiting for.
Hats off to you frankly for managing 1+a bit posts a week – my sorry backside can only manage 1 a month if I’m lucky (note to self: stop writing with backside). Hearty congrats for your success with the Sansoms – am genuinely pleased for you (a curious feeling – usually I create hate shrines to successful authors and chuck little dolls of them off the balcony). Surely this alone would make a publisher sit up and take notice? it worked for Oswald – in all likelihood because he’d already done all the hard work himself already. Good luck with Romney and Marsh #4 and you have my full empathy for the FT job / other demands / life in general and the strange undulations that is trying to write a goddam book! Best, Tin
Haha ‘hate shrines and dolls’. Me too! But I biro (biro as a verb?) the Amazon names of my detractors and 1* commenters across the foreheads of my dolls and then put them in the toaster on the kitchen floor and crank up ‘Fire-Starter’ and dance around it (sometimes naked. Depends who’s home. Once I even went as far as trying to put the flames out with a full bladder in a sort of coup-de-grace (?) of Voodooistic revenge and only just managed to avert my stream in time when I realised the toaster was still plugged into the mains. Could have been an awkward one to explain to Turkish paramedics. As it was I had a hell of a time convincing the wife that the cat fell in the sink while I was washing up.)
Funny thing with the blog – I got that message from WordPress and then realised that I had nothing to blog about this week and I couldn’t even think of anything to exaggerate or lie about. I suppose it’s a good job it’s really just an online diary – there’re allowed to bit a bit repetitive, dull and self-obsessed.
That said, heads up for next week’s post. Had a truly brilliant idea for further fame and fortune for self-publishers everywhere yesterday. I even cried off the third lesson with 3B citing ‘explosive diarrhoea’ so I could hide away in the school bogs and write a blog post about it for next week. Don’t miss it. It could revolutionise the industry. Make us all millionaires. In fact, I’m so excited about it I’m going to start a Twitter campaign today counting down the days to next Thursday and my sharing in an astonishingly uncharacteristic display of altruistic behaviour.
Where were we? Oh yes – publishers. Who needs ’em? I’m having the time of my life. I think it was ‘easier’ in Oswald’s day. And he’s got friends in the business. Can’t hurt can it? But I do say best of luck to him and to all self-pubbers actually. There’s room at the trough for all of us and so I wish each and every one all the best.
R&M 4 is shaping up well, thanks. But I’ll be a lot happier when I find out who the murderer is.
Best to you too, Tin. One day I hope we’ll have a beer on the south-coast lamenting our agent’s failings and how bloody awful the cover art was for the foreign translations of our last books as we light cigars with £50 notes.
I have read all five of your books, one after the other. If you don’t make it, no one can. Your books are terrific. I just gave you your first review for Loose Ends, five stars; only wish it could have been more. As the author of more than 50 books, all non-fiction, I know how hard it is to break in. You, I think, have made a great start. You have a fan in me. Keep up the good work.
Many thanks for taking the time and trouble to get in touch. And with such an encouraging and positive message. That and your purchases are sincerely appreciated. (If any/all of the books you read came through a free promotion it would make me very happy.)
I really appreciate the glowing comment you left on Amazon.com. I’ve replied to that there but I’d like to repeat myself here by saying that such comments make my decision to self-publish entirely worth it.
Congratulations on reaching the first-year milestone. Apparently most bloggers pack it in before they reach the first anniversary so you’ve done the hard part.
Good to hear your books are doing well. I think the fact you have five out to purchase is a great marketing plan in its own as every time someone likes a book they have others to buy to read next.
Here’s to the next 12 months. 🙂
I’ve come to love my blog and writing for it as much as my books. When I started it I really thought I would struggle for things to write about but turning it into an online diary of my self-publishing adventure gave it a great focus with lots of scope for content.
Best thing I ever did was to have three books written in a series and give the first away. People have got to have something to go on to if they like number one. The rest, as they say, is mystery. (Surely history!? ed.)