KDP Select

So, I’ve been experimenting with KDP Select to see what Amazon’s tools can do. It seems that Kindle Unlimited reads can be worthwhile. The exclusivity is a pain and I almost opted out this round, but I think one Christmas season is in order to make a complete experiment of it.

Front200Of course I’m not that visible yet due to only having one book out. I wish I had all day every day to write because I’m constantly running aspects of my next stories through my head and time to write it all down is competing with making a living. Work slavery is a big challenge to the newer writer.

I’m not complaining though. I have the same advantages as anyone else in the Western world. I just have to keep plodding along and get the writing done. The multiple layers of the next story take longer to write and I want to make it good.

If you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, please do give A Spark of Justice a read. It’s a fun story, I promise! Then imagine a darker story done ten times better and watch for my next release to come out. It may not be fast, but it will be my best effort to date. I want it to stick in the minds of you, the readers. The first one was my own self-indulgence. This one is for you!

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Another Sale

Well, I’ve left myself totally unprepared this time, but there’s another sale this weekend.

The price will stay down through Monday, then I will be reassessing whether to stay exclusive with Amazon or move on to wider distribution. I’ve heard a lot of authors join KDP Select for a while with new releases and then take them out of the program and offer it in other formats and with other retailers. It sounds like a sensible plan.

I’m still slowly working on the next book. It seems to take a long time, but most authors with only a book or two behind them have to work a day job.

Writing is not a profession that offers an easy ride. Making enough money to give up gainful employment takes a lot of output and more time spent on marketing than I’ve managed so far. I should have had this weekend sale listed weeks ago!

The irony is that I could happily sit down and read this book myself this weekend. It’s just the sort of light entertainment that could take a man’s mind off some of the awful stuff happening in the world.

I’m Not Dead

Seriously, I’ve been busy.

However, things are happening. Sabertooth is coming along and I’ve got a sale coming up for A Spark of Justice.

Just in time for May Day! Look for a .99 sale from 28 April to 2 May.

Christmas and all that jazz

Christmas is coming! Books make great presents, need I say more?

Well, yes. All the commercialism and sales gets to me every year and having just finished spending far too much time promoting over Black Friday and CyberMonday, I’m looking forward to getting back to writing. It’s all very well promoting a book, but what a writer really enjoys doing is writing the next book, and I’m very pleased with how this one has been coming along! It does happen far too slowly though. Wouldn’t it be great if all a writer had to do was write?

A single book does not a career make. Writers who make a living from writing have to work around day jobs to get a few books out before sales can justify doing it full time. I’m not complaining. I’ll pay my dues like the rest. However, having indulged the market over the big sale weekend, I’m now going to ignore all the hype and get some work done while everyone else competes for your Christmas dollars. I’ll do a Winter sale in February maybe, when everyone else has exhausted their KDP sale days over the holidays.

sabertooth150I’m far enough along now to start talking about my next release a little. It’s called Sabertooth. It would make a great Christmas book in the same way that Gremlins makes a great Christmas movie, but it won’t be out this Christmas. Quality over speed. By Christmas 2017, it will hopefully be in all formats including audiobook, but the release should be well before then. I’m not speculating dates yet. The process of editing and rewrites takes time.

In the meantime, I’ve just agreed to have a few copies of A Spark of Justice released on the LibraryThing early reviewer program. If you’re signed up on LibraryThing, get your request in! Who doesn’t love a trip to the circus?

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Black Friday and Cyber Monday

November is upon us and all the holiday sales are approaching quickly!

So, in getting with the spirit of things, A Spark of Justice will be on sale for just .99 through the weekend of 25 November to 28 November.

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If you haven’t read it yet, grab it now! I’ll have something new for you in the new year.

The Marketing Monster

One thing that is pretty universal among writers is that we despise marketing.

As if it weren’t challenging enough to find time to write while holding a day job, taking care of a family and carving out some sort of writing routine, we are faced with the prospect of total obscurity if we can’t also make time to push our creative ideas onto an already jaded and glutted public who get bombarded with marketing messages at every turn.

Like my writing, my marketing comes in spurts. I’ve just added a header to my Twitter account after receiving some very good advice from a reviewer and I’ve started ticking other things off a list of suggestions she very generously gave to me.

However, like many other writers, I cringe at the prospect of foisting my scribbles onto a oversubscribed and sometimes hostile public. I’ve been fortunate to find my first book generally well received and I have confidence that the next one will be a vast improvement, but to stand up and shout my praises is not something that sits naturally.

I’d love to sit back and let the books speak for themselves, but if I do that, no one will ever know of them. So, I will take this good advice and make an effort to polish up my ‘author platform’ and do my best to participate more on social media.

It could be a long road.

Guest Posting

I’ve just finished a first draft of a guest post for a Mysteries Monday feature on someone else’s blog. This will be coming out on 6th June and I’ll link to it then.

So why write guest posts when my own blog is getting infrequent attention? Well, to be honest, I haven’t developed the blogging habit yet. Finding time to write is difficult enough, adding blogging and social media to an already busy schedule can be daunting to those of us who haven’t yet achieved full time writer status.

However, I’m starting to make an effort. By agreeing to guest posts, I set myself a deadline and someone relying on me to deliver. I’m big on keeping promises.

I’m told that I should try to privide new posts for my own blog at least once a month. I’m going to try to attain this. It doesn’t sound like a lot of commitment when you put it that way.

In the meantime, the occasional guest post will help keep me aware of this aspect of the writer’s journey when it’s so easy to forget. This will be my second guest post. I’m purposely not committing to more than one at a time so I don’t over pressure myself.

Meanwhile, just in case I forget, A Spark of Justice will next be on sale for May Day weekend. If you haven’t got it yet, now is your chance to grab it at rock bottom price!

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An Author’s Image

In these days of social networking, an author has to decide what sort of image they want to present to the world. A visual image is only the beginning. Everything that is said or supported over the Internet contributes to an overall impression that potential readers will develop of any particular author.

Like many authors, I’m a private person by nature and don’t like to spend a lot of time spammimg the world on social media. I don’t even have my own Facebook account, but have an author page hosted by a friend. I’m on Twitter, but I only tend to participate when I’ve got a promotion in progress. It’s just not my scene to sit and babble endlessly on a computer, especially about myself or my books. Having said that, a certain amount of ‘presence’ is required these days to let the readers know that the books we write exist. Compromises must be made.

I’m not one to have my photograph taken often. I did sit for a professional photo to be taken that I might use as an author photo, but it felt too posed and contrived to suit my personality. So, I set about finding an alternative. With a little investigation through Google, I found that photos can be altered in various ways for free online, most commonly to be ‘cartoonized’. Now making myself into a Southpark character or Manga image seemed a little too unprofessional, but I found a site at http://www.cartoonize.net/ that made subtle changes to my original image so that they still looked like the original, yet had a veneer of separation from ordinary reality. After spending some time experimenting with their more extensive styles, I managed to collect several variations on the original image that suited my personality.

JDcartoon1 JDCraculature

JDframe1 JDframe3

JDgreyscale JDframe2

And in thus doing, I have established my mask to the world. We all have our masks. Everytime you get dressed or put on make-up, you are presenting a visual image to the world that reflects something of how you wish to present yourself. The above altered images are my chosen facades. So, which do you like best? Answers in the comments below.

A Christmas Sale!

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Reviews have been progressing, albeit slowly. The 5 star reviews now outnumber the 3 star ones and I’ve just received a 4 star from someone who I hope will copy it to Amazon!

Most importantly, people are enjoying the story. That is its purpose after all.

The next story, which promises to be much more dramatic, is progressing slowly. I refuse to rush it and the holiday madness is taking its toll. So, no predictions yet about when it will be released as there is still a long way to go.

In the meantime, if you haven’t read A Spark of Justice yet, it will only cost 99¢ during the week 11-17 December so now is the time to grab a copy!