Monday, February 28, 2011
So this week it's time to move into second gear. This week is devoted to out and out writing and shameless marketing. A boy's got to do what a boy's got to do to generate readers. Although I do have to say that I am very pleased with my first week of sales. Not bad for a little old English boy from the wrong side of the tracks.
I read an interesting book on book marketing over the weekend and it's given me lots of ideas. I have to admit I'm not looking forward to the press release writing part but still, it has to be done. I'll be interested to see if anyone picks that up. Then there's the registering for different communities and spending time on those to get your name known. What I want to know is when I am supposed to actually get time to sit down and write? Obviously at some un-earthly time of the day.
Speaking of which, it's now coming up to 7am and it's time to get back to work. Until tomorrow...
Sunday, February 27, 2011
So, armed with my trusty html and css guides I set to and after about 5 hours I think I'm just about done for now. The three main sites I have; johncox.com, pauldorset.com and this blog are now cross-linked and up to date with all my book information. I also cross-checked them all in all the different browsers too, just to make sure they display correctly on each one. I had to make a major rewrite of part of what I was doing as my firefox browser is set to block ads. And lo and behold, I have been using ads! I ended up making my own display blocks to showcase my books. If you are someone who doesn't block ads then you can probably see the amazon.com display ad to the left of this post. I am listening to Barry McGuire as I write this. Different music for a change!
Another big win was that I just finished my first draft manuscript for my book on project management. It's my first attempt at a reference book, and it has been an exciting process. I'll be writing more about that in the next few days. I'm also going to start posting a short video blog once a week. I tried that out this morning. I just need to make myself more presentable if I'm going to be showing my ugly mug on camera! Then finally, I am trying to get some book covers designed for another series of books that I hope to start publishing and talking about very soon. Like I said, life is not slow today!
Saturday, February 26, 2011
So today I thought I'd go look at that list of music that happily plays to me in my headphones and list it out. It will be interesting to see if it changes much over the next year or so.
My writing playlist consists of:
- Born by Bond
- Classified by Bond
- Shine by Bond
- A Baroque Collection
- Original Four Seasons by Vanessa Mae
- Classical Experiences III and IV
- The Most Relaxing Classical Music
- Essential Baroque
- Jazz for a Rainy Afternoon
- Jazz Veterans
- Obrigado Brazil by Yo-Yo Ma
- Vivaldi's Cello by Yo-Yo Ma
Friday, February 25, 2011
Thursday, February 24, 2011
So, it got me thinking. There were several things that this author did to get better known:
- Firstly, and most importantly, constantly pummeled all her friends into submission until they had bought a copy of her book and written a review about it
- Registered with several other book sites and published copies of the book there
- Submitted the book for review at a couple of Indie author sites
- Relentlessly marketed the hell out of the book at every opportunity
That just leaves the 'pummeling all my friends' part. You are all hereby put on notice! All I am asking you to do is to fork out $0.99 to buy a copy of the aforementioned 'Xannu - The Prophecy' (which by the way is a very good read) and then write me an honest review on the site at which you purchased the book. That really isn't too difficult is it? Then, hopefully at some point in the not too distant future I can fulfill my ambition of being able to 'give up my day job' and write full-time. So, is $0.99 a big price to pay for this? I don't think so!
Later today I am going to publish an excerpt from the book, just so you can tell I can actually write a little :-) And after that I look forward to reading your comments...
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Over the Christmas period I read Tim Ferriss' book The 4-Hour Workweek (see opposite). I have to say, it's an exceptional book. There is something to learn in every chapter. Now the book is not about only working 4 hours a week (although to a certain extent it is), it's also about changing your habits so that you position yourself to work smarter and earn more 'passive' income.
I have been trying to put his suggestions into practice in 2011 and so far I think I am working much more efficiently. Thankfully I was already doing a lot of the things he suggested. The next obvious step is to employ a factotum from somewhere (Tim suggests India or China) so that I can outsource a lot of the things I don't need to be doing myself. That's a really big step and one that seems difficult to justify when you don't have excessive income to divest. Still, it's going to have to be done at some time during the year if I am to become even more efficient.
Anyway back to the needing another 8 hours a day thing. If you are one of those people who just never seems to have enough time in the day (outside of your work 'day' job) and always seems to be overflowing into tomorrow, maybe you should consider reading Tim's book. The guy makes some really excellent points and as someone who believes I can make a difference to some people in the world, I for one need to get my working hours down to something approaching four hours a week!
PS. It looks like my second book in the Xannu series is just about to go live in the Amazon store - more on that tomorrow!
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
As I mentioned before, I am going to shamelessly promote this for a while. After all, if I don't, who else will? I am confident that if you enjoy a good tale, then you will enjoy Xannu - The Prophecy. The first book jumps right into the action and during its nearly 400 page length, allows the reader barely a pause to take breath. Just like the lives of the characters involved too! Although it is targeted at a young adult audience, the book will not disappoint adults.
I spent the day today creating a sort of video book promo which I am also linking within this post. I don't have a large budget and so wanted to do something that was fairly straightforward but piqued the interest of potential readers. But - If you're a budding video producer and want to produce something wonderful for me for free then please contact me and we can create something new!
To buy the book from the Kindle store, you can click the image above (the book is not yet linked to other formats of the book - paperback & hardback; I am told that will happen over the next day or so). If you have a B&N Nook, you can buy the book here.
Please be kind and write me a review too, once you've read the book (an author has to survive somehow). I will appreciate it. Then, if you like the book, please tell your friends and also purchase the second book in the series, Xannu - The Healing, which is coming to the Kindle store very soon. Until tomorrow, thank you and here's the video:
Monday, February 21, 2011
I smiled this morning when I read a tweet that simply said: 'Draft manuscript nearly complete. Publisher wanted to make me rich.' At least the words were very similar to that. If only it was that easy. Or maybe it is for some people.
The world of traditional books is changing. Up until 2010 the world revolved around printed books, both hardback and paperback. But the Internet revolution, specifically the iPad I speculate, is changing that model. Amazon itself has now come out and said that ebooks are outselling traditional print books on its site. So what does this mean for the future of books? I'm thinking the switch over to electronic books is going to be a long process. You can't just change 500 years of print in a couple of years. There's going to be a place for print for a long time to come. But, and here's my prediction, all new bestselling authors will come from the eprint side of the business within 5 years. That's not very long at all.
It's not going to be publishers that are going to be in demand soon. It's going to be a more direct model. I'm thinking of writing a new tweet very soon: 'Draft manuscript nearly complete. Readers wanted to make me rich.' Have a great day.
Sunday, February 20, 2011
The feedback I've been getting from old and new friends alike has also been very encouraging. It's like I have re-awakened a dormant elephant who wants to be loved. Hmm.. That sounds a little weird. Still, it's what came out so I'm sticking to it! So, it's time to write a little more of my project management book and then back to sitting and reading for a few hours. I'll be back soon.
PS. Still waiting for my novels to appear on the Amazon bookstore. I don't know why they're taking so long. I can't really start my all out marketing efforts until they arrive...
Saturday, February 19, 2011
If I look back at all the books I've written, it only adds up to about 400,000 words. That's not very good over an eight year period. The crazy thing is though that when I am writing in earnest I tend to write at about 2,000 to 2,500 words a day! I really need to become more disciplined about my writing. There have been several years during which I've written nothing. Shame on me.
So, that's the theme today. A thousand words a day, every day if possible. Little by little they will add up and form themselves into new books. It's not like I have a shortage of things to work on. It's also not like I have a shortage of ideas either. It's like I said, just a matter of discipline. So, onwards and upwards. It's time to write a little more of my book on Project Management...
Friday, February 18, 2011
As far as I can tell there are three main epublishing platforms: Amazon's Kindle, Apple's iBookstore, and Barnes & Noble's Nook. Okay, that's the bases covered. Yesterday evening I uploaded my first book to Amazon and the process went fairly smoothly. However, today nearly 24 hours later I am still waiting for the book to actually hit the Kindle store. Then this morning I uploaded the second Xannu book and that too is now 'in process.' In the process of uploading the second book I discovered that the Kindle store does not handle the Microsoft .docx format very well. After wasting a couple of hours I reloaded the book in .doc format. That worked a lot better.
Once the Amazon process was complete I tried out the Barnes & Noble process. That actually was very straightforward and my books are already available in the Nook store. Score kudos for B&N!
Lastly there's the Apple store. This is where I hit my first brick wall. Unfortunately you can only publish to the Apple store via a Mac computer. Alas I only have a PC. So, I guess this version will just have to wait until a later date. Grrr!
So there you have it. Several hours of my day taken up with uploading and file conversions. Then, after all this I also downloaded an ebook publishing / converting tool. This enabled me to get a copy of my books onto my iPad with the Kindle app. It also enabled me to see just how the books looked in eformat. Maybe there is a reason why all these publishers have had a monopoly on books for five hundred years!
I will post a further update with links as soon as my Amazon books go live...
Thursday, February 17, 2011
I am excited to be able to offer my books on Kindle. Tomorrow I'll upload the second book in the series and then I can concentrate on the Barnes and Noble reader. It looks like it's going to be a busy week!
It seems like I've been writing all my life and also no time at all - all at the same time. I am a terrible procrastinator sometimes when it comes to writing. The thought of writing excites me and when I'm actually in my groove, all is sweetness and light. But then there are those times when the writing just stays in my mind and doesn't spill onto the paper, so to speak. I hate those times.
The past couple of years have seen those times. I have started lots of projects and finished precisely none of them. Not good enough. Of course, there are a thousand excuses; mostly surrounding my 'day job.' But at the end of the day, they're just excuses.
I was sat in my 'local' last night, chatting with a close friend and of course the topic eventually got around to life choices and what we want to do when we grow up. Shoot, I'm already fifty! But it was an interesting conversation as we sat and contemplated our beers (and I've been so good recently, staying off the evil stuff!). But one thing became very clear to me. I actually do enjoy writing and getting things down for the world to see. I realized that this revelation should also affect my 'day job' choices (until my writing supports me - if ever). I am currently 'between contracts' as they say. My work life is a series of contracts, working for high tech companies, usually hired to solve a particular problem that they are willing to pay a professional for. I am currently interviewing for my next 'day job' and the break has given me a little time to reflect on what I really want to do.
I want to write! I wish I didn't have to worry about money and little things like that, but I do. Of course, that's no different than a million other budding authors out there. The only thing really holding me back is excuses. Lots of them, as I said. So, it's time to put an end to the excuses. It's time to just write and get things done.
I'm going to have to change a few things in my daily routine to make this work, though. In the past I have always written early in the morning (circa 5am), before I leave for my day job. Then, when my job gets busy or there's the odd late night, the writing goes by the board. One missing day becomes two. Two becomes three. You get the picture. Obviously writing can't be that important to me...
Except it is. I'm just easily waylaid by excuses sometimes. So, it's time for a change. I need to do two things: 1/ take a job that allows me an element of being able to schedule my own work hours 2/ be prepared to switch my writing time to a different time of day (evenings I guess). It's going to be a struggle as I never seem to be at my most creative in the evenings (maybe a glass or two of wine while I write might help?). But things are going to have to change.
So, there we go. I've put it down in writing now. I have no excuses (unless I hide this blog or delete the post). Today is Thursday 17th February, 2011 and it's time to refocus on my writing.
If I could find another rune coin I’d know how my Xannu stories were turning out. It’s been such a long time and there must be a lot of things happening in the Southern Lands. Still, maybe there’ll be an adventure or two soon that I’ll be able to report about…