Wednesday, 31 July 2013

How much is enough?

Kaboom! Don't worry gang I'm back. Wooooo!

Quick update. Ralph is awesome. But the wife and I have never been so tired. Working full time and looking after him is a genuine test. Most days we do okay. Some days not so much. 

In other news I've upgraded the home cinema. We are now a 7.1 surround establishment and bloody good it sounds too. 

We are also spending a few quid on the house, new door, replacing all the spindles top to bottom, which is nice. 

I'm viewing another house tomorrow as part of the ongoing property empire project and I spent my first day in what may become my new office if the NHS decides it can afford my vast salary. 

So with all that where are we with the writing career? 

Well, I've yet to hear back from Jenny Brown associates about my recent submission but fingers remain crossed. I am also entering a competition being run by The Telegraph with Harvill Decker. That will be mid august I reckon and the closing date is the end of the month.

My ad campaign continues. The traffic is huge. Since the 21st June the ad has been viewed over 286,000 times!! This has resulted in a pretty meagre 98 clicks but as I've said before, it's a learning curve. 

I've done zero promo this month owing to the stuff mentioned above but sales are good in the UK, crap elsewhere. I received a royalty from Smashwords today for US sales. Always nice to get paid from a non Amazon source as a reminder that there is a world beyond Kindle. 

The new book? It's getting there. Editing is being crammed in around everything else but I'm pretty happy with the current draft. 

Finally, a colleague who writes fantasy has just signed with a small US Indie publisher. She's rightly thrilled and when she has a launch date I'll be posting details here. 

Right, half hours editing before bed. Tomorrow? Do it all again. 

In answer to the question I posed in the title. For me, right now, nothing is enough. We're running at full speed, there's lots happening and I want to make the most of it while it lasts. 

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Does a dog take over your life?

Evening gang,

The short answer is yes. Based on the first month of having Ralph the Pointer in my gang it's pretty much non stop.

Don't get me wrong. He's utterly fantastic. I'd gladly spend all day with him, writing books, going for walks etc. But working full time is making life very, very difficult. Which all adds weight to my recent posts about making a change. The wife and I have discussed many options, a luxury we have since we're not short of cash.

The ideal solution seems to be that one or both of us reduces our hours/reduces the numbers of days we work which would mean only a slight reduction in income but allow more time with the dog and allow us to keep on top of mundane things like house work, shopping etc, all of which are proving to be a challenge with the dog and working five days.

Either way we think it will be sorted by Christmas. I'm going to be in a different job by the end of the year, we just need to sort out the money side of things and then I'll know which job it's going to be. It's also looking promising on the property front too as I had an offer accepted last week. So if it all goes well I should exchange contracts in 4-6 weeks and then we can start developing it as a long term investment. All of which takes pressure off me to earn the amount I do now.

So what's the end goal? Obviously more time at home, more time with the hound. But of course that will equate to more time spent writing and that, as regular readers know, is the dream. We can't all be Robert Galbraith.

Quick update on the adverts I bought. Over 90,000!!!! views in less than 4 weeks. But sadly only about 35 clicks have resulted from all that traffic and only a couple of those have led to sales. But it's my first go so I'll stick at it. Clearly it's worth pursuing it so many people are seeing the advert.

Right that's it for tonight. The plan now is to watch either the second Alien film on Blu Ray or something random on Sky. Did I mention I've just bought two more speakers for the home cinema? They should be here this week and then I'll be offering 7.1 surround. I suspect it will be impressive.

Night folks.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Pay per click advertising - the story so far

Evening gang,

Cracking weather we're having isn't it? We had a full weekend in the garden, folk round, lunch outside, pub for tea, the whole nine yards. The British Lions battered the Australians, Andy Murray only went and won bloody Wimbledon and the Ashes starts in a few days. Life is good.

And then there's my ongoing pay per click advertising experiment on Goodreads. Regular readers will know I tweaked the wording a little and I am now getting clicks. But it's not translating into sales. Not the end of the world by any stretch because the advert traffic is vast but essentially I am paying for being seen rather than for sales.

It's a learning curve certainly and not a very expensive one. But it is something I want to crack because I think the sales potential is there.

In other news Ralph is growing rapidly and learning fast. He's a tiny bit off his game today because he tangled with an 8 month old boxer yesterday which knocked him around a bit in a playful way. But he wasn't scared which bodes well for when he's bigger.

The day job continues to twist and turn. It very much looks like I'm going to be slotted into the gang at HQ in sunny Blackpool if I want it. But the money isn't ideal compared to what I earn now so unless that gets sorted I might well find myself back in my old job and that is not a good thing. Made me shiver a bit just typing it. Anyway, time will tell.

The estate agent continues to be a pain about the house I'm trying to buy. Just accept my offer and let us get on with it!!! The bank are on board and, interestingly, the bank said this happens a lot. They are happy to lend but the agents make it hard yet the banks take all the stick. Again, we shall see but if it's not sorted this week I reckon I'll be looking elsewhere.

Right, that's it. Editing on the new novel continues, but slower than I'd like. It'll be worth waiting for though. About a hundred pages away from a draft and then I'll point the wife at it, assuming I can tear her away from the hound.

Carry on.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

How effective is your advertising?

Evening gang,

In my case the answer to this question is "not very". But I'm still learning.

Regular readers will know that last week I bought some pay per click advertising on Goodreads. Since the 21st June the ads have been viewed 13,000 times. That's right, 13,000! Easy maths tells us that's about 1300 views each and every day on average. Now imagine if just 1% of those views turned into sales. That would be 130 copies of the Jazz cafe sold in just 10 days.

Doesn't sound hard does it. Except so far the views are not translating into sales. This, it seems, is the trick. So I've just tweaked the advert and will leave it until the weekend to see if anything changes. As it's pay per click it's costing me nothing to have it sat there being seen and I can edit it as much as I like, when I like. Probability suggests that if I stick at it I'll stumble across the magic formula eventually and the sales will come. Once that happens I'll buy adverts for my other books too.

As I've mentioned to friends recently and to my long suffering wife, it's time to make a change. I'm becoming one of those people who simply complains about his lot in life. God knows my lot is much better than most. I've got a very cushy job at the moment, we have plenty of money, big house, ace puppy called Ralph, it's all good. Except I want to do something else. So I'm finally doing something about it.

Buying the ads is the first small step to push the book sales. The new book will be ready soon and I am considering paying for a launch campaign to kick start it. In other news I also viewed a property last week to buy as an investment. If that works out, I might buy another.

The end goal? Regular readers know the answer. Less time at work. More time writing. It's all about making enough to pay the bills.

Anyway, I've got editing to do, quick half hour and then an episode of Breaking Bad before bed.

Carry on.