Prose and promos.

Writer’s diary: Star date: 11.11.2016

dirty-business-final-largeI recently tried a Facebook ad campaign with Dirty Business. It cost £42 and ran for a week. It was the first time I’d tried a FB promotion. The book almost got into the Amazon Top 100 free books. There were other factors at play that would have influenced the chart position: the book had just become free, I was posting and Tweeting about it and so were online friends. Thanks, all.

The book is back into free fall down the charts now. At the time of writing it sits at #469, and that’s only a couple of days after the FB promotion finished.

I can’t say that I’ve noticed much in the way of knock-on sales for the rest of the series, which was the main reason for dropping the price of the book to free in the first place.

Would I consider a FB promotion again?  The FB stats indicated that over the 7 day ‘campaign’ period the promoted post, which advertised the book as a free download from all major e-book retailers, reached 4340 FB users. From those there were 170 post engagements, whatever that signifies. Not a great return, so I don’t think I’ll do it again anytime soon.

On Monday Dirty Business is being included in a Bookbub mailshot. Bookbub are THE book promoters. They have a huge mailing list. It cost me $109 to get it listed with them, which doesn’t include the US market. I could have gone for that but Acer doesn’t seem to go down well across the pond and the cost of the ad would have been far higher, and Bookbub might have rejected my application if I’d ticked the box to include the US mailshot, and then it wouldn’t even have been going out anywhere. I just have to hope that Bookbubbers love a freebie as much as I do.

The last and only other time I ran a Bookbub promo was for Rope Enough (Romney and Marsh File #1). That did really well and there was significant knock-on for the R&M Files. Fingers crossed that Bookbub can do something similar for Acer.

cold-kills-mediumAt the end of last week I sent Cold Kills off to my proofreading friend. I’m happy with it. I got some good advice from a good mate that I tried to implement. One part of that advice that will stand me in good stead with all my writing is to always consider whether blocks of writing can be expressed through character dialogue instead of chunks of text. It does work a lot better, and speaking as as a reader I much prefer reading dialogue than blocks of text. I find them a bit of a turn off. The book is better for the adjustments. And five thousand words longer, even though part of my reason for working on it was to pare down the prose to make it more concise and punchier. I did do that, of course, but a few other things sprouted hitherto unrealised potential for exploring. That’s one of the good things about leaving a project in a ‘drawer’ for six months. Fresh perspective.

I adopted some other online writing advice I came across while editing: get rid of superfluous words.  It was suggested that the words: suddenly, obviously, clearly and the ‘f’ word can always be dropped without detriment to the writing. I ditched every single one of them and every sentence I pruned them from read better for it. I also have a couple of other words that are pet hates of mine, mainly because I tend to overuse them: just and that. I did a hatchet job on those, too. That just felt good. Damn! Felt good.

I’m heading back to the UK on Monday for a few weeks. Stuff unrelated to my writing life to deal with. Having finsihed with and sent off Cold Kills last weekend that gave me this week spare. B&C#3 is the next project on my list but I didn’t want to give it a week and then leave it for a few and then come back to it. I’m going to need to focus and concentrate on that book. So what I did was run with an idea I had for a short story – working title Femme Fatale. It ran and ran. I finished the first draft of about 20,000 words today. If nothing else it’s helped me get back in my writing routine after too long away from it. It’s also comforting, make that something of a relief, to know that I can still churn out a few thousand words a day when the mood takes me.

14 thoughts on “Prose and promos.

  1. Keep them coming, you have not written a book I haven’t liked yet, and I’m itching to read the next Romney and marsh one, I’ve said it before but I really do believe it would make a fantastic tv series , must be worth looking into surely ?

    • Thanks for your comment, Steve. Nothing would make me happier than to see R&M on the small screen. The stuff of dreams. But I think I need to find someone to make ‘real’ books out of them first. 😦

  2. That mate sounds like a keeper Oliver, really good advice. Even if you had decided not to go with the advice, it would have enabled you to look at your work with a fresh perspective. Sometimes there are things which are obvious to other people but we can’t see them because we are just too close. Whilst it may not be a good idea to share you work with too many people, judicious selection of people to cast an eye over it can be extremely beneficial.

    Still looking forward to the publication date for Cold Kills.


    • Hi Dawn,
      Thanks for your comment.
      She (the mate) said some other things too which, as you say, did help me to look at the writing in a different way. And I agree with you about not sharing the work with too many people. I never used to share at all before publication day but these days I’m too scared to do that in case I’ve made a terrible blunder.
      Pub date for Cold Kills coming soon, I hope. 🙂
      Best wishes.

  3. Agree entirely with Steve- more R & M please when you get the time. How can we get you “signed” by a publisher? What is wrong with these people?

    • Thanks very much, Les, for your comment. I think my biggest barrier to getting published is that there are just too many great writers churning out too many good books. Now, if we were to kill them all…
      Best wishes.

  4. From a US reader. I have followed you for a couple of years and think that if only more people know about you, they will read your books because they are good. It has taken me more time to get used to the Acer books. The Romney/Marsh and Booker and Cash are amongst the best. If I knew the magic for getting your books the attention they deserve, I would share with you.

    • Hi Brenda,
      Thanks for your comment and your ongoing support of my writing. I wish I could get more people from the US interested in my writing. But I suspect, and please correct me if I’m wrong, that the interest in UK based crime is not nearly as great as it is for the home grown market. That would be quite natural, of course.
      I have a great idea for how to get more attention for them: if i could get Donald Trump to tweet about how much he enjoyed the R&M Files I’d be made – it seems that the whole world is following his Twitter account these days. Do you think he’d do it?
      Best wishes.

  5. Interesting blog – thanks! Especially as you talk about needing to write more dialogue and less description. My fella has the opposite problem; he adores writing dialogue, to the extent that on my first read-through I normally have to nudge him to include more description. I think that’s because he visualises the action as a ‘film’ in his head, and writes the scenes almost as a screenplay…
    Different writing styles are what keep us readers entertained, however! Plenty of room for both forms, and everything in between…

    • Hi,
      Many thanks for your comment. Couldn’t agree more with you that variety is the spice of reading. Vive la difference. I’m a very ‘visual’ writer, too. I can also get a bit carried away with the sound of my own ‘voice’ which can sometimes spoil the narrative flow. It’s finding that balance.
      Best wishes.

  6. I got Dirty Business from Bookbub last week (?) and read it Sunday and Monday; i really enjoyed it, plus knowing Acer’s plight continued and he was still alive, thanks to the advertising of books 2, 3 and 4, I purchased those 3 books, read Loose Ends on Tuesday and Wednesday and tonight I shall start Smoke and Mirrors. I think it’s a safe bet that I am enjoying them – please consider me a fan.

    • Hi Patricia
      Many thanks for getting in touch to let me know how you came by Acer and that you are enjoying the reads. Much appreciated and good to know.
      I hope books #3 and #4 don’t disappoint. If and when you get the end of #4 there is one more short Acer available in my book Three Short Blasts it’s only 99p and includes a short story from each of my three series. The Acer story sort of ties some things up.
      Best wishes and thanks again.

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