Saturday, 22 June 2013

Adventures in advertising

Afternoon folks,

I've been making actual effort this afternoon.

Since I began my little adventure into Indie Publishing I've continually said the goal was to make enough money to enable me to write full time. So far that hasn't happened and, as I earn more at work, it becomes less likely.

But every now and again I have a word with myself, just a quiet reminder of the long term goal, my reason for being if you will.

With that in mind I've finally done something about it. I've danced around using paid advertising for months and today I finally took the plunge. It's nothing major but it's a start. I've bought $100 of pay per click adverts on Goodreads. The idea being I can create as many ads as I like for my campaign, target them to specific groups within Goodreads membership and see what happens.

The risk is that people will see my adverts and click on them only to not purchase the book. Either way I pay for the click. The goal for this first campaign is merely to break even, or as close as I can get. If I make a profit, bonus.

I'm at home for the duration of the campaign so I can monitor it. I am also able to tweak the ads in real time so if one seems to be working better than another I can adjust. Worst case scenario I've wasted $100 which is less than £65 in real money. Not the end of the world.

However at least I can I've tried. The campaign is only for The 24 Hour Jazz Cafe but if sales increase I'll try the same thing for every book. I also have another site lined up which works on a subscription basis. It's more expensive but again, the potential is there. We shall see.

In other news I have also submitted The Trust to our chums at Smashwords. What does this mean? Well, in a few days The Trust will be available in all formats i.e. Sony EReader, Kobo, Apple, Barnes and Noble, as well as Kindle and paperback. So there will be no excuse.

I'll keep you posted on the adverts.

Now I might have a quick snooze before tea.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Do you listen to music while you work?

Evening kids,

How's things? You will have noticed my blogging activity has increased. Benefits of being off work right there.

Anyway, I've spent a very productive evening listening to The Man Who by Travis and currently I'm halfway through Odds and Sods by The Who. The dog - Ralph - is asleep next to me on the couch and I've got the first 105 pages of the new novel in much better shape.

I do find that I focus better when I have music on. It has to be at quite a low volume, background almost, and then I sort of know it's there but I can concentrate on what I'm doing in a way that I struggle to do when the room is completely silent.

Quick update on the new novel then. I've tweaked a couple of characters, their relationship to each other actually, so that key scenes make a lot more sense now. The aim of this draft - the second - is just to make sure the plot holds together and to spot any glaring errors. Then I'll do a third draft where I pretty it all up, sort the formatting, grammar, lob some colour on it all I suppose.

But I'm pretty happy with it so far. However I've been known to do some pretty major rewrites at this stage before so we shall see. In a fun twist, the novel is set in and around Morecambe, specifically the Winter Gardens. Guess where the wife is tonight? Yep, Winter Gardens watching a colleague and a friend in a performance of Beauty and the Beast. I was going to go but then we got Ralph. I have to admit I'm pretty happy to be here rather than there.

Anyway, that's it for now. As ever my late evening plans are to watch more Breaking Bad on Netflix and drink ale.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

What are my choices?

Evening folks,

Been a superb day here at HB Towers. Sunny and warm, Ralph (the most awesome puppy in the world) has been hurtling round the garden and learning new stuff by the minute. But I have also edited 70 pages of the new book while listening to a selection of albums - currently Days of Speed by Paul Weller.

So all in all being off work very much agrees with me. No shock there right? Everyone likes being off work. But this is the reason for the title of this post, which the very keen amongst you may have spotted I have robbed from an episode of Two and a Half Men (back when Charlie Sheen was in it and it was good).

The question asked is "What do you want?" The reply being "What are my choices?"

The point being so many people don't know what they want, but if you give them a menu they'll pick something. I'm a bit like this at the moment. I have a lot of options, lots of choices, but I'm not entirely sure what it is I actually want. Obviously the core goal remains the same - book deal, book sales, achieve the dream. But lately I find myself earning a lot of money in the day job, which coupled with the wife's salary means we have more cash coming in each month that we manage to spend. Ace position to be in, I'm well aware.

But that opens more doors. Suddenly I can apply for jobs which offer more money still, jobs I could not have applied for previously. But these types of jobs will, I assume, require more time, certainly more effort, than I'm used to giving. Which will mean less time with the wife, with Ralph, less time to write books.

But I always have the option to return to my old job. Money was okay but it's a dead end job if I'm honest. But it requires little effort and the hours are good. So more time at home doing fun stuff. Trouble is the ambitious part of me, the bit that wants to write, to have money, to have nice things, to have three degrees and just generally be better than someone else, wants me to grab one of these jobs and earn even more dollars.

So there it is? What do I want? Not sure. What are my choices? Plenty. Sadly staying at home writing books full time is not one of those options. Yet.

Don't get me wrong, I realise it's a good position to be in and, it being me, it will all work out nicely.

In other news, related to my job in a round about sort of way, an organisation I work with sometimes is going to be national news tomorrow when the Telegraph and a few others papers run a story about a local NHS Trust here in Lancaster and the CQC covering up failings. You'll hear more about this, trust me. One thing I definitely won't be doing is applying for any jobs with them.

Right, I'm going to see if the little chap wants to have a sniff outside before bed and then I'm off to watch Breaking Bad on Netflix until the small hours. There will be beer and pizza if you're in the neighbourhood.

By the way, sales are slack in America this month, though someone has bought a copy of my Christmas short story (thanks). So by all means dive in and buy a book. I'd recommend The 24 Hour Jazz Cafe.


Monday, 17 June 2013

Editing the new book, US Open Golf and Ralph

Morning gang!

It’s been an age since I posted on here but I am delighted that so many folk are still checking out my musings. Almost 7500 views now from all over the world. Many thanks to each and every one of you, even the strange Eastern European ones which I’m sure are hacker/virus/dodgy porn referral sites.

Anyway, you find me in something of a state of flux. I’ve done very little writing wise for some time now although sales are okay and I’m still doing a bit of promo. Work has been taking up a bit of time, mainly the wife’s work in fairness but there you go. Plus most weekends recently have involved cruising up and down the country looking at puppy litters.

But I am now off work for 2 weeks. I don’t think I’ve had 2 weeks off in summer at all in the time I’ve worked in the NHS. In fairness a lot of that was because I worked with some fairly needy people who just had to have summer off every year without fail. Not missing them much I can tell you.

So what’s the plan while I’m off you might well be wondering? If you’re not wondering perhaps you’re reading the wrong blog. Well, I’m going to blog more, do more promo and this afternoon I shall be editing the sequel to The 24 Hour Jazz CafĂ©. Hurrah cried fan of the book. Believe it or not I have actually had messages from people asking about a sequel to this book so they should be delighted.

The rest of my time will be taken up looking after the latest addition to the gang here at HB Towers. Regular readers can’t fail to have noticed I may have mentioned Ralph once or twice. Well he’s here and, huge bias aside, he’s pretty awesome. Okay then, here's a photo.

Right, I’m going to crack because Wimbledon starts next week so my time will be dictated by When Roger Federer is on court. It just remains to say well done to Justin Rose for winning the US Open last night, well worth staying up for.

Sunday, 2 June 2013


Morning gang,

After several years of pondering, months of research, weeks of emails and driving up and down the country, we have at long last picked a puppy. Ralph, the newest member of our gang, will be joining the band in two weeks and I anticipate him being the coolest dog in the world. Future blog posts may feature him and he might well appear in future novels. My family retriever, Dennis, features in a previous book, I think it's The 24 Hour Jazz Cafe.

In other news I haven't made much progress with editing the sequel to the Jazz Cafe partly because of work, partly because of dog related travel and partly because I'm idle. But I'm also pondering the next book as well which is proving to be quite the distraction. The good news is I've got half of June off work so things will progress.

Finally, on the 9th March, I emailed a submission to Juliet Pickering at Blake Friedmann and have so far received no response at all. I find this really disappointing. I know every agent will say they are busy etc but there should be an element of professionalism. I follow Carole Blake on Twitter and all her advice is about how the submission is a business contact, it should be professional. Surely some sort of acknowledgement would be professional? I'm going to email Juliet today to remind her I exist and highlight the timescale.

Right, that's me done. I'm going to spend the day adding usic to my swanky digital home network cloud thingy and browse the internet for dog related paraphenalia.