Friday, 28 February 2014

Do you want a Free copy of my book?

Hopefully the answer is yes. As part of a promotion I'm running at Story Cartel, you can have a free copy of my very tidy crime thriller The 24 Hour Jazz Cafe. The deal? You review it. The incentive? American readers are entered into a prize draw to win one of three $10 amazon gift cards. Woo!! Here's the link...

The aim of this is to increase reviews of the book which will enable me to promote the bookin other ways, all with a view to increasing sales. So crack on. It's free!!

Monday, 24 February 2014

Do you pay for promotion?

Short this case yes.
Also a short post as I'm doing this via my mobile.

I've paid for my new book to be listed on the bargain books bit of Kindleboards today, Monday Feb 24th. Ballroom, Bars and Seawater Baths will appear on their Facebook, Twitter and Blog. As ever, tell everyone. Here are links.

Wish me luck.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Are you brave enough to make big decisions?

Afternoon gang,

I've been doing a lot of pondering recently, hence the question posed above. As ever there's plenty going on but each thing is getting sorted in typical fashion. Face stuff head on and roll over it. We've been outlaying cash like we've been robbed so far this year. Vets bills, the roof, luxury set of Le Creuset pans which I admit we could have lived without but they are smart. It all adds up but it's all sorted.

Performance at work is okay, good enough that they've just extended my contract again until the summer. I've also got a job interview to work locally too which is giving me even more options. Less money, but enough money, and less travel.

I'm doing a book signing at the end of March and on the face of it, all is well.

And yet....

The bottom line is I'd rather work less and write more. A chap I know online, we're Facebook and Goodreads friends, called Stuart, is a writer. He sells lots more than me, but then he does seem to try a bit harder than me too in that he writes every night. He's so keen on the idea of making a living from writing that he's actively applying for lower paid jobs which will allow him more time to write. He's basically backing his own talent and drive to succeed. I admire him for it as it's something I've talked a lot about and never dared to do. It gets harder with each passing year as I earn more money and, on the face of it, have more to lose. But that little voice keeps whispering in my head, every day, you're a writer. It's all you want to do. So why are we sitting in this meeting talking about project x?

I'm regarded as decisive. I manage people, projects, I'm in charge of stuff, I sort stuff out. But when it comes to this I dance round it, have done for years. It is, I suspect, the source of all my frustration. But, here's the flipside, while I stay at work full time I get to moan about lack of time to write etc, while having plenty of cash and a very comfy life. But if I did quit, write full time, then it would come down to luck, talent etc. I'd have no excuse if I didn't succeed and then what would I do? It's a grim thought because I've never really failed at anything and I'm 37. I don't think I'd take it well.

And so we carry on. Work on Monday...

In other news, I've uploaded a cheeky promo video to YouTube for you to look at. Nothing spectacular. I just did it as a test to see how hard it was to do. If it generates traffic I'll doubtless make more use of it as a promo tool in the future. It's just a slideshow set to music at the moment but might be worth developing. I'm not short of ideas.

The paperback has been delayed for no other reason than I am unable to finish the cover because the Createspace website is currently not working. As soon as it's fixed I'll get it done, ten minute job. Book is re-formatted and re-edited and better than ever.

The paid for promo will be out on Monday. It's via Kindleboards with a view to lifting my American sales. I'll be pointing you towards it on the day.

Right, I brew time, hour on the Xbox and one eye on the football scores. Tonight and tomorrow, bit of writing (yay) on the new book FEAR. It's totally different to my other books, but awesome.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

The reviews are in!

Okay, so I've opened with a lie. It's a review, singular. But it's a really good review. It's for my new book Ballroom, Bars and Seawater Baths and, as ever, I've pasted it in below to save you the effort of going to find it. Needless to say, it was accompanied by 5 stars on Amazon.

"This book is the sequel to The 24 Hour Jazz Café and again features Mitch and Rupert, the two childhood friends who now own the café. Mitch has some psychic abilities and is called in to help the local police, specifically Jane Harper, in her search for the murderer of a local man. Mitch, however, is out of contact. Even his best friends Rupert can't get in touch.

This story weaves gang rivalries and family feuds into a gripping plot. The main characters become real; Mitch the larger than life and slightly off-the-wall man affected by his childhood and his unusual abilities and Rupert, the man still grieving eighteen months after the death of his beloved Emily, the woman they both loved. A great sequel!"

So, bottom line, if you're reading this blog but haven't bought my book, what on earth is it that's stopping you parting with your cash? It's keenly priced, good review, ace title, tidy cover, tight plot. Go on, be brave, read my book. Be part of the gang.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Do you think book signings help sales?

Evening folks,

Quick one tonight, football on Tele.

Given that Alexander McCall Smith did a low key book signing in Lancaster last week that went unpromoted and largely unattended, then I suppose the answer is I don't know.

But I'm doing one anyway!!

Me and awesome fellow local author Frion Farrell will be standing shoulder to shoulder to shift copies of our books. It will be on 29th March in Morecambe, likely at the Headway Hotel. More details to follow as I make them up.

Bottom line, I want to shift some books. I'll see you there.

Note - bloody Liverpool are losing to the bottom team in the league!! Shocking. Nope, hang on, just equalised. Game on. If Liverpool fancy the title this year then they have to find a way to win this one. Nail biting stuff.

Also, despite life threatening weather warnings the wife, me and the dog walked to the shop for half an hour earlier to buy wine. It was savage. But my neighbour was out sorting his recycling in just a t-shirt. Hardcore.

And I've submitted one of my books to Nielson with a view that Waterstones will stock them going forward. Potentially huge!

Friday, 7 February 2014

Do positive comments help?

Evening gang,

I suppose the easy answer is... depends on the context.

In terms of my last post about depression, the black dog etc, positive comments don't help apparently. Telling someone to "man up" and that "it's a lovely day outside" can apparently make things worse so best avoid that shit then.

Apparently being more helpful and knowing when to get out of the way are high on the list of clever things to do. It's all about reading the signs.

Which leads me nicely into some shameless book promotion. I've had a number of positive comments about the new book which I am about to paste in below. These are from folk who have bought the book, read it or are reading it. The theme is essentially positive.

"Got it. I loved Jazz Café so I'm looking forward to this one!"
"Same here! One-clicked!
Good luck with the new release Jamie"

"Finished it... not too shabby at all :)"

"I'm loving the memories the book is kindling. I visit Ayr every year and I think I remember the hotel in Morcombe as well, it was covered in scaffolding about 6-7 yrs. ago when we had a break in a wee cottage at Over Kellet.
The story has really grabbed me, 20% in and looking forward to bedtime;@)"

"51% in and the plot thickens ;@). Another early night methinks"

So you see, folk are right into the new book, which I have linked to throughout this blog. There is also an opportunity to read the opening scene for free at the top of the page. In other news my copy of the paperback arrived today. The cover is superb if I do say so myself. Createspace never quite get the internal print to look exactly like a mass produced book but it's okay. Bit small but that was necessary to keep size and cost down. It's 400 pages of a job band over 95,000 words. Value for money!

Anyway, that's enough for today. Few ales and some Xbox before bed and then Liverpool v Arsenal tomorrow lunchtime to start the weekend. Proper top of the table clash. Every game a must win now.


Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Are you living with a black dog?

Morning gang,

I've been reading a book called Living with a Black Dog lately. I won't bore you with details as to why though it perhaps doesn't take a genius of my calibre to work it out.

Anyway, it talks about symptoms of depression, techniques to deal, support for those with etc. Turns out when you start to learn a bit about it, half the people you work with and socialise with might well be depressed. It's a fine line it seems. Here I was thinking that because I drink a lot, am moody, don't sleep much and don't like my job I was just "arty". Perhaps that's not the case at all.

I'm no expert but apparently it was Churchill who coined the phrase 'black dog' in relation to mood disorder and there are now groups, books, societies all devoted to the study of living with the beast.

I make no bold claim to be suffering from anything other than a mild - severe malcontent with how my life has panned out to date. Some days I see that I've achieved lots, other days no amount of achievement will ever be enough. Most of the time I'm able to reason it away, sulk a bit and move on. A few ales usually helps. Writing books really helps. It's not rocket science. Fiction is just a long winded way to diary my thoughts. I can have the discussion I would not have in real life, win the battle I lost, right the wrong etc. And then I get to sell it to the public as a crime thriller.

I can't imagine, and I do try - hard, what it must be like to not be able to reason it away, to not simply jump on top of the black dog, thrash it with a stick and master it. But I'm going to try and learn. Folk are relying on me to do it. Important folk.

I usually have a plan, I tend to live my life with a series of ideas and plans. I have no plan for this, none that's worked so far anyway. The overall plan remains the same. Earn enough to do anything we want to do but have enough time to actually enjoy it. So far we've got about 50% of that sorted.

Anyway, I'm rambling. Bottom line is this. Some stuff you can't ignore, you can't fix with ale or by trying harder. Some stuff you just have to fix. The brave bit is acknowledging the issue and hoping your team roll into action to help you fix it. Well, issue acknowledged. We're rolling into action armed with good intentions and the kind of grim determination and refusal to roll over that Churchill tapped into when we still gave a damn about defending our shores.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

How much promo is too much promo?

Evening gang,

I suppose the answer is I don't know. My goal for this new book is clear. I want it to hi the number 1 spot on Amazon, even if only for an hour. Plus I have the week off work. So, promo is the name of the game.

Keen observers will have noticed the addition of a new tab at the top of the home page. Cleverly titled Ballroom, Bars and Seawater Baths, the page links you to the opening scene of the new book which you can read for free. Lucky you.

The new book is in the top 35,000 for sales on Amazon after day one which is fine, but not what I'm after. Today's big news, though, is that the paperback is available for those of you who prefer as real book and have more cash than sense. Needless to say I've ordered a copy so it can sit on the shelf next to the other books I've written. Amazon have been a bit tight and didn't offer me free delivery so that's hardly going to help sales.

In other news, Chelsea beat Man City. Didn't see that coming. Could have scored a few more too. Title race not over yet by any means.

Also, the wife and I spent last night in the pub. On a Monday! Basically we forgot to take anything out of the freezer so pub tea it was. That turned into a few ales and a surprise visit up to the managers flat to look at his new kitten. All very exciting. The steak pie was bigger than usual too so the wife brought a few chunks home for the dog in a tub. We're good people.

So that's the scene. Sales of new book doing okay but tonight is going to be a bit of Tele, bit of Xbox and a few ales before we do it all again tomorrow. In that vein, sales links for new book below. You know what to do.

Ballroom, Bars and Seawater Baths US

Ballroom, Bars and Seawater Baths UK

Monday, 3 February 2014

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Do you want to read a new crime thriller set in Morecambe?

Evening gang.

Finally the new book is here. Ballroom, Bars and Seawater Baths officially launches on Monday 3rd February. It will be on Kindle first but the files are already being reviewed by Createspace so the paperback should be out this week too. Here's the blurb:

"It is eighteen months since the Midland Hotel burned to the ground. Now the 24 Hour Jazz Cafe stands in its place.
Owner Mitch Johnson is missing, leaving his oldest friend and business partner Rupert Watts to run their new venture.
A woman's purse is found by children playing on the beach. Then a man is brutally murdered in his bathroom. Newly promoted DS Jane Harper must connect the pieces to find a killer.
But when Harper learns that the purse belonged to the wife of the murdered man, and that the missing woman has run away with Mitch, Harper begins to wonder if her consulting detective might actually be the prime suspect.
This thrilling sequel to The 24 Hour Jazz Café pushes Mitch and Rupert to their very limits as they are exposed to a case far wider reaching than anything they have faced previously. Even detective Harper, usually in total control, is floundering as the clues lead nowhere and mistakes are made.
In the end, with Rupert in danger and a lack of options, it is Mitch who is willing to risk everything to see justice done."

I'm having a launch event on Monday over on Facebook if you fancy it. Expect enthusiastic, but poorly thought out promo, possibly involving a hastily put together giveaway of some sort as panic sets in.

Here's the exclusive bit. I have continually said that readers of this blog will get the chance to buy the book before anyone else. So here's what everyone else doesn't know.....

The book is already available to buy!! Follow this link and you can be the first to own a copy of Ballroom, Bars and Seawater Baths. If you get one, a review would be lovely as I'm aiming to grab the number 1 spot on Amazon with this book, at least for a little while.

Any other news for those not interested in the book launch? I went to the Merseyside Derby on Tuesday. Liverpool won 4-0 and despite feeling like death I had a great time. The dog is a bit under the weather but he's being brave and I had an awesome full English breakfast today, made by the wife. First time in years. But really, this post is all about the new book. Spread the word. I'm back.