Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Do my books Sparkle?

Morning gang,

Really quick one tonight because I'm exhausted. First day back at work today, late to bed last night. Hard day.

Anyway, I've still managed a quick 500 words on the latest blockbuster but the big news is that I've submitted the first chapter of The 24 Hour Jazz Cafe to my new chums at Sparkling Books. I freely admit I'd never heard of them but they followed me on Twitter. I had a look at their website and thought it wouldn't hurt.

They seem keen on self promo by the author which as an Indie I do anyway but any help they can offer will be appreciated, assuming they don't want 95% rights to my books in return for a £300 advance.

Anyway, it can't hurt so I'll let you know the outcome.

Right, quick look at the tennis scores and then bed to plough on with Perfect People by Peter James.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Lance Armstrong and buying reviews

Evening folks,

Just a quick one tonight as there's US Open tennis on shortly. In case you're not a fan it's day one and the maestro himself is playing in the last session. There's a strong chance I'll miss it because it'll be on very late here in the UK and I have to be on the road for work at 8AM.

It's my first day back tomorrow after just over a week off. It's been a great week too. Written just over 55,000 words of the new novel, had some in laws round for a BBQ which went better than I anticipated and both myself and the wife are much more relaxed. We finally bought new lamps for the bedroom too as mine was producing an unpleasant burning smell when in use which was driving the wife mad. She's very happy with them in case you were curious.

Anyway, the goal now is to maintain some momentum with the novel as I only have 19 working days until I am off again for two more weeks. I'm hoping to finish the first draft of the novel in that period. Based on my other novels this one will be between 80,000 and 85,000 words so I'm nearly there.

Finally, what thoughts does anyone have on buying reviews for books? I read an article in the NY Times where a chap set up a company where an author could buy reviews of their books for marketing purposes. It's all a bit seedy and not something I'm comfortable with but then again, I can see why people do it i.e. to get sales, to get noticed, to get ahead. To me it's a form of cheating, a bit like doping in sport since that's a hot topic at the moment (Lance Armstrong - guilty or just pissed off the wrong people?) and I don't agree with it.

Anyway, there's a beef sandwich and a frosty ale waiting for me...

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Is my blog a success?

Afternoon folks,

Shocking weather we're having. It's my fault. I said I was aiming to mow the lawn today because we're thinking of having a little family Barbeque tomorrow afternoon. Brother in law and his wife and kid, football on the big screen, some awesome chicken kebabs marinated in Nando's Peri Peri sauce. Except there's weeding to be done and grass to be mowed and it's wet outside.

On the plus side I have already written 1200 words today and think I will probably get 2000 done before bed. Not much by many standards but plenty by my own. That will mean I've done in the region of 54000 words of the follow up to The 24 Hour Jazz Cafe. Hurrah.

It's been a steady month of sales so far. Started off quick and then nothing for several days and then a couple overnight. It's a long way from being enough to live off but my plan remains unchanged. Keep writing, increase the catalogue and then, when redundancy comes my way, treat that as my chance to write full time.

The title of today's post relates to the fact that I have had about 3000 views of the blog since I started it which got me wondering, how do I judge if it's been successful or not. I quite enjoy writing it and my stats tell me people all over the world are reading it. But I don't think it's leading to sales of my books and, to be honest, I'm not sure anything other than luck and word of mouth ever will. I do most of the things all the books and blogs recommend in terms of web presence and promotion but my sales tend to remain pretty similar no matter what I do.

Luckily I didn't start this adventure to become the next Peter James or even EL James. I just like telling stories and I really like that people all over the world have read them. It's all the motivation I need to keep doing it. That said, it would be great to have enough money to do it full time without the distraction of a full time day job.

Just as an aside, Blake Friedman have just launched a new agency Twitter account on top of their indivdual agent accounts. I mention this purely because, as part of my ongoing but infrequent attempts to get an agent, I have an extract of the Jazz Cafe with Carole Blake. It's been there for a while now but, judging by all the stuff she gets up to, it's a wonder she finds time to read any submissions. Carole, if you stumble across this blog, I'm a dynamic and charming young man ideal for radio and tele promotion and appearances in book shops. Plus my books are really good (he adds subjectively).

We all know that being at the forefront of a new wave helps, like EL James and her mummy porn. The shops are rapidly fillng up with similar books, with similar covers. So if seaside crime fiction in the north of England ever takes off, I expect to be leading the charge! Peter James can be in charge of the southern end.

Anyway, I'd best get back to it because I might struggle to write much tomorrow since Liverpool are playing at 4PM, there's the BBQ to prepare for and we're aiming for a couple of hours in the local pub before closing as it's a Bank Holiday.

Thanks to my blog followers and regular readers for supporting this blog, much appreciated. Until next time...

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Hi India, Welcome aboard!

Another quick post folks because I'm about to have a leisurely amble into town with the wife. It's blustery out and the view across the bay from the window is pretty awesome so we're going to walk down the promenade. I suspect we'll end up in Costa sharing a cake.

Anyway, the point of this post is to say a big hello to all my new chums in India. This morning I received my Kindle email informing me that is available in India. I logged onto my publishing aacount and sure enough, India is now listed.

I am far too excited at the prospect of selling my first book in India. I already get some blog traffic from that part of the world so hopefully it won't be too long coming.I was all overcome when I sold my first book in the US, and I was giddy for days when I sold a book in Germany. I realise that writers who sell in vast numbers might not share my excitement but since I sell in dozens rather than millions (for now) then every sale has an impact.

I shall report back as soon as I'm aware of my first sale!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Do you fancy a Kindle alternative?

Evening folks,

US readers are already able to enjoy their ebooks on a wide variety of devices. One which seems popular is the Nook by Barnes and Noble. In the UK Kindle is king, while everyone else has an Ipad, although a few folk have got the Sony Ereader.

Now, however, we're about to get the Nook in the UK as well. Apparently it's due for release in October. Why is this interesting to me? Because all my books are already available on Nook so if you do get one for Christmas, you can go straight to the B&N website and grab yourself a copy.


Right, that's all for now. I'm still quite hungover from last night and I'm struggling with the plot of the new book today as well.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Liverpool FC, my gran and a haircut

Afternoon folks,

What a marvellous day! Why you ask? Lots of reasons.

First of all today is the first day of the Premiership and, moreso than any other season, the players are in the spotlight to show a little humility and class. This is because of the frankly staggering success of the Olympics in London, not least the performance of the Team GB athletes and the way they conducted themselves, footballers have been in the spotlight a bit. They get paid unbelievable sums and, in some cases, have awful disciplinary records and are dreadful role models for children.

England manager Roy Hodgson commented on this following the Community Shield game last weekend, and since then this piece has appeared on the BBC website featuring comments from Hunter Davies, Michael Owen and others. My own view? I wish we could have Olympics every weekend and I was delighted to see that the BBC were showing highlights of the Opening Ceremony today.

But today is also great because it's my grans birthday. I took her a small gift and a card and am now attending an organ recital with my grandad tomorrow. It actually works out well because the wife's out tomorrow evening but when we both get back we're going to go to the pub.

Why go to the pub on a Sunday night? That's the other good thing. I'm off work for a week!! Hurrah. A full week of writing and staying in bed. Epic.

As I write this, prouly wearing my new Liverpool shirt, West Brom have scored. Bad start for the reds.

The reason I have time to be writing, watching football and typing this blog? The wife's out having her hair done. First time in about 20 years that someone new has been let loose on it. Early reports are that it's gone well. So, all in all, a great day. Especially when you factor in that I've sold a couple of books today as well.

Later on? Federer in the Cincinnati Masters semi final and footy highlights. All good.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Is there a link between my Olympic photos and book sales?

Evening gang,

Is it just me or did today feel like the first day back at work after a holiday? It's like everyone woke up and realised they had a life outside of the magic world of the olympics.

It was interesting to witness the cynicism return to Twitter. We've had two weeks of really positive trends, huge support for Danny Boyle, Team GB and the individual athletes and then last night it began with a systematic dismantling of the closing ceremony online. Pity, I for one was hoping to stay Olympic for as long as possible. Thankfully the worldwide reception seems to have been positive and not everyone seems keen to return to their usual bitterness quite yet. Long may it continue.

In that spirit I've decided to add a couple of photographs a family member took inside the stadium on the night Usain Bolt won the 200m. Apparently words are not sufficient to describe how impressive an event it was. The first just highlights where they were sitting and how big it was, the second is the man himself.

In case you were wondering the answer to the title question is no, there isn't a link between these photos and book sales, unless reading this post leads you to buying a copy. But since I've cleverly managed to get onto the topic of books I received a nice comment on Facebook today.

A chap was looking for pictures of Art Deco buildings on the internet. His son, I think, sent him a picture of the Midland Hotel in Morecambe. He liked it and looked for more, stumbling across what he described as a spooky looking picture of the hotel which was, it turned out, the cover of my book The 24 Hour Jazz Cafe. This led him to this very blog and from there to my Facebook promo page. After that, he downloaded a copy of the book. Now that is the best example I've ever had of all my marketing, promo and links coming together and I was delighted.

Anyway, the second book in the series is progressing. It's about 45000 words in so far. Next week is going to be a review week which will hopefully lead into the final push to the end. It's going to be tight to get it done and published by the end of the year but it's good to have a goal.

Right, that's all for now. To recap. Olympics awesome. I hope we can all retain the spirit as long as possible. Keep buying my books, it makes me feel warm and safe.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

My books are on Ebay!

Morning folks,

Lovely day for an Olympic marathon.

I actually typed this post last night and then managed to catch the "delete the whole post without saving" button and was too tired/drunk to retype it. Mind you it was 2:30AM and I was watching a film.

Anyway, as the title suggests, my paperbacks are now available on Ebay. It's nothing to do with me. I was on Ebay looking at original Millenium Falcons and decided to search for myself, no idea why. I was genuinely surprised when two of my books appeared. They're very expensive because whoever is selling them has added a couple of quid for themselves. They won't sell any but it's worth having a look next time your on Ebay. As ever, I've included subtle links throughout this paragraph.

In another twist, after a couple of months of low sales in America, this month I have sold twice as many books in the US as I have in the UK. Hurrah. Also, in case you missed it, The 24 Hour Jazz Cafe is still available for free via Smashwords. Just use coupon code SW52C at the checkout.

By the way, the film I watched was called Panic Button and it was quite good although it didn't seem to feature, or make any reference to, a panic button.

Right, I'm going to do a bit of work on th new novel and then perhaps an afternoon of barbeque in the garden. It's been an awesome couple of weeks, everyone loves Mo Farah and Team GB are good at sport in a way nobody expected. God knows what we're going to do for fun now because the Premiership is going to be rubbish after this.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Is it important to have my books available in the public library?

Evening folks,

Another monumental effort by Team GB at the Olympics today. We've won another gold medal in the last hour in the Taekwondo courtesy of Jade Jones. We also won gold in the Women's boxing and more awesome medals in the horses! Top work all round.

Tonight saw a world record in the 800 metres too as well as Usain Bolt making history by being the first man to do the double double in retaining his sprint titles. This was significant to me particularly because I had family in the stadium tonight who apparently had an amazing time.

I and others have noticed the ongoing feelgood factor up and down the country which I think has continued on from the spectacular Jubilee earlier in the year. At the moment Britain feels like a fantastic place to live.

And now onto the books. Regular readers may recall this post where I mentioned that someone I know had requested one of my books from the local library and met with some resistance. Since then, another person who works with my wife has been into their local library to request another of my books. Again they met with a little resistance although in both cases the book, I believe, has been ordered. But nobody, least of all me, is going to get rich from royalties from lending. But it's important to me as a writer to have my books as widely available as possible. I honestly feel that libraries should be actively supporting writers, especially ones local to them.

Still, it's done now and when I hear that the books are on the shelf I plan to wander in and have a look just for my own satisfaction, my own feelgood moment.

In other news, the follow up to The 24 Hour Jazz Cafe is progressing well. I have written over 42,000 words so far although I am struggling to hold onto the plot in places and some careful editing will be required when it's completed. The plan remains the same. Finish the book then put it away and publish a book from the back catalogue. Then I'm either going to publish the new book or.....

I'm not going to tell you what the other option is just yet. But it's something I've had on the back burner for about three years and the idea has never gone away. If I pursue it, I'll announce it here first.

Right, beer and pizza time until the small hours before one more day of work until the weekend.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah, the long jump & crumpets

Evening all,

So then, Team GB won a few epic gold medals today. Jessica Ennis will get all the headlines and rightly so, she's the best at what she does and looks stunning. But hands up how many folk had heard of Greg Rutherford before tonight? And now he's the Long Jump Olympic champion. As for Mo Farah, he's been good enough for ages, he just needed the Olympics to come round so he could prove it.

The thing is, it was all so exciting before this. I spent all day glued to the 100m qualifying, Serena winning the tennis, the rowing, the cycling. Utterly immense. Then I realised it was almost tea time and all I'd eaten all day was two toasted crumpets and a cup of tea. That's what the Olympics does, it draws you in and takes over your life.

In an attempt to link this excitement to books in some round about way, I suppose Jess Ennis is the bestseller, the Peter James, the Stephen King, Dan Brown, the EL James. Meanwhile Greg Rutherford, and all the other Indie Authors who quietly go about their business, waiting for their moment to shine and hit the big time.

Of course it's all about talent, but even more important is the support to get there. In which case go and buy my books so I can be Jessica Ennis. Failing that stick yourself in front of the tele and enjoy the greatest show on earth courtesy of Great Britain.

Friday, 3 August 2012

I'm feeling humble. It won't last.

Evening gang,

I'm watching Blur via the red button on BBC Radio 2. UK readers will know exactly what I'm on about. For everyone else, I hope you've heard of a band called Blur but if not just tap the word into Itunes or Amazon Music Store. There's over twenty years of quality music waiting for you.

Blur were arguably my favourite band growing up, along with the Rolling Stones (thanks to my dad and his vinyl). Now I'm 36, their back catalogue is attached to so many memories for me.

This is a Low - New Year night out in Lancaster, eary 90s. 2 dozen of us out together, the only time it happened. A friend turned up late and unexpected, very drunk and very upset. He sang this song as we stumbled through the town.

The Universal - Morecambe Dome, saw Blur live in the mid 90s with friends, one of whom was best man at my wedding just 2 years ago. I was best man at his 3 weeks before this.

Couple this with an awesome day for Team GB at the Olympics and I'm feeling unusally proud and humble. Not like me at all.

But in short, to those that have been there with me and done all the things we've done, I'd change nothing because we're still here doing it.

And finally to the books. I don't sell millions...yet. But to those who have bought my books all round the world, thank you. If you enjoyed them, and most seem to, even better. Stick with me, let's see where we end up. In 20 years we can look back and remember how awesome it was when the Olympics were in London.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Tired of the Olympics? Try a free book!

Afternoon all.
Obviously you're not tired of the Olympics, they're awesome. Plus Team GB started winning golds today thanks to the women rowers and Bradley 'Wiggo' Wiggins.

But if you fancy losing yourself in a 5* rated crime thriller for a few hours you can download my book The 24 Hour Jazz Cafe for free from Smashwords. That's right, any format you like for nothing.

You'll need to register with the site and then use code SW52C at the checkout.

Here's the blurb: The book begins with Mitch Johnson returning to his home town where he tells his lifelong friend, Rupert Watts, that a young woman is going to be murdered. Mitch thinks that the killing will mirror that of a schoolgirl fifteen years earlier, a crime Mitch himself was suspected of committing.
With no idea when the murder will take place, or who the victim is, the friends endeavour to find the girl before she comes to harm. But they must also contend with Don Hague, a senior councillor and central figure in the dark underbelly of the town who holds Mitch responsible for the ruin of his career and his reputation in the town. The police are watching Mitch, and they are also watching Don Hague.
Who is the girl Mitch is convinced will die? How is her death linked to the schoolgirl murder? Is Don Hague, or his associates, involved? Can Mitch and Rupert convince the police to take them seriously before it’s too late to save a girl’s life?              

So to recap. Go to Smashwords, search for Jamie Sinclair, click on The 24 Hour Jazz Cafe, and use code SW52C at the checkout and it's yours on your Kindle, Sony ereader, Ipad, anything you like.


Am I more successful than Michael Phelps?

The short and obvious answer is a loud and confident NO. He is, as of tonight, the most successful Olympian of all time in terms of medals won and it's a mighty achievement.

But humour me just for a moment. In terms of goals, mine is to be a published author. Done. I wanted to sell books. Done. In multiple countries? Done that too. So that's success right?

But of course we do rather need to quantify our success, to put a number on it and guage the degree of that success. So in those terms I'm something of a failure. I'm not a bestseller, I don't sell millions of books, I don't have a lucractive publishing deal with Hodder or Random House. I'm not Michael Phelps.

But to stick with the theme. I might end up being Michael Phelps. I still have time to sell more books, to become a best seller. At 36 I'm a long way from being too old whereas the most successful Olympic athlete in history is at the tale end of his glittering career. So I'll keep plugging away, putting in the hours, not giving up or being defeated and I will strive to achieve my goals. And that, folks, makes me Michael Phelps! Maybe.

One final note, and this will only mean something to UK readers. I searched for myself on the WH Smith website tonight and one of my books is listed. It was oddly satisfying to see my work being sold by such a British institution. Admittedly I have yet to sell any books through Smiths, but it felt good nonetheless.

Night folks, I think I'm going to do a book promo tomorrow to kickstart sales for August. I will decide exactly what format this will take during tomorrow and announce it after work.