Thursday, 24 April 2014

Why does vinyl feel different?

Evening groovers,

Big news. I have finally pulled out my finger and replaced the belt on my record player. Best money I've spent in a year, easily. The belt arrived today, I fitted it tonight and since then have spent the evening listening to utterly fabulous music on vinyl.

I started with some Van Morrison (Astral Weeks), The Band, Exile on Main Street. If you're not familiar with vinyl, or you're just young and never heard of it do yourself a favour. Save up, buy the best speakers you can afford, an amp, a turntable and some records. Then let me know what you think of Mp3 afterwards.

Don't get me wrong, I've got a networked drive filled with Mp3, wireless headphones, an SD card in my car and I download most of my music off Amazon and long since sold all my compact discs (aside from the ones with sentimental value). But tonight I've listened to records and it's inspired me, moved me, made me feel something. I actually did some writing tonight because of it. I could happily stay up all night listening to music. I might yet. It's Friday tomorrow. I'll be tired. So what?

I don't know why vinyl is different, it's been debated for decades. But it is different. Somehow more immediate. You feel more connected to the band, the song, the music. I don't know. But it's bloody powerful.

Anyway, how's things? I've not done much promo this month because I've been trying to write. The new book will hopefully be done, a draft anyway, by mid May. I've even booked a few days off week after next. Glad I did now. Days of vinyl and writing. That'll do.

I've sold 130 books this month so far which I can't grumble at since I've done sod all to push them and I've been busy as all hell with work. Plus I've got viewings booked this weekend for another property to expand the empire. God knows how I'm gonna fund that.

Busy weekend in prospect too. Out to the theatre Saturday night then drinks. Lunch out Sunday and record shopping but must, must, must be back for the football to watch Liverpool beat Chelsea and place one hand firmly on the league title for the first time in 24 years. Tears might well be shed at the end of the season. I'm big enough and happy enough to admit to it.,

I've also written a handful of pages on the third jazz café novel and I have 3 events booked at the end of May which I'll Tel you about nearer the time.

Finally, I might have mentioned this. The wife and I bought two new cars. Aside from being full of kit and super to drive, they are very, very fuel efficient. Mine is delivering almost 700 miles on a tank of fuel. For no road tax! Ace.

Right, I've got to turn the record over and get another ale.


Saturday, 5 April 2014

How hard is it to get to number 1?

Evening gang.

As you hopefully know I'm running a couple of promos at the moment, centred on making a dent in the American market. As of the last screenshot I took my new book Ballroom, Bars and Seawater Baths was hovering around the top 20 in America for freebies while the Jazz Café was loitering in the top 10,000 for paid sales. It shifted 17 copies there just this afternoon which is quite the record for me.

But that begs the question, just how much effort does one have to make to grab the much coveted number 1 spot? God knows is my rather feeble answer but I'll stick at it.

Just been watching Bad Santa by the way. Awesome film. Always makes me laugh. It's Billy Bob Thornton. The man really can deliver a line and has a natural ability to do the slap stick stuff too. Love it.

Right, I'm off to promote myself on a couple of websites for half an hour and then treat myself to some Xbox and ale. First full day with the new car today. Wife took hers up the motorway to Kendal. I sat in a local car park playing with the stereo and various menus. Each to their own. I also took it for a drive along the prom, staring at the fuel consumption. I like to live right on the edge.

And then, tomorrow, it's Liverpool. I've talked enough about that lately. Suffice to say that Man City and Chelsea both won today so there's only one result that will do tomorrow. Dare to believe.

Now please download one of my books if you haven't already. The new one's free for Goodness sake.


Are you brave enough to jump off the treadmill?

Morning gang,

Bit grumpy this morning since the dog woke me up barking like he'd been stabbed at half 9. I get up early all week for bloody work so I value Saturday's to simply slump in bed, stewing until lunch when I get up and slump on the couch watching football until bed time. I know, I know, I'm 37 and I should get a grip. Bottom line is, I don't want to get a grip, I want to stay in bed.

An online friend of mine, Stuart Ayris, has recently made the decision to back himself as a writer, reducing his hours etc. He has also registered himself as self employed as a writer and is hoping to make a real go of it i.e. make money from books.

It's something I think about each and every day and I'm in a better position than most to do it. Wife has a great job, my family has a few quid should I fail, we've no kids etc. Yet I've got to 37 and still work full time, quietly moaning away that I'd rather be writing. Not sure what's stopping me. Fear of failure most likely. Fear that I won't get a decent job, or any job, if I have to go back to work later. Fear that my books aren't actually good enough when I remove the excuse of working full time as a reason for why I can't spend more time polishing them.

So, for now, nothing changes. What will make the decision easier is to consistently make money. I reckon if I could make a minimum of £1000/month from book sales I could work part time. I'd have to adapt the lifestyle a little but I could manage on about £2000/month as long as the wife was working. Last month I made £350 from book sales. Not bad? But clearly not enough. In real terms that £350 covered my half of the mortgagee for the house we live in. Which still left bills, taxes, car payments, groceries, mortgagee on second property etc etc etc. So I'm as far away as Arsenal are from winning the league! Ha.

So instead of moping I'm going to try a bit harder. Right now, RIGHT THIS MINUTE by new book Ballroom, Bars and Seawater Baths is free on Kindle. So stop reading this and get to Amazon and grab a copy. Read it, review it, buy more of my books. It's time to build momentum.

Also, MORE PROMO OFFERS, the first book in the series The 24 Hour Jazz Café, is just $0.99/77p this weekend and will be listed via Book Gorilla today. So if you subscribe to them, grab your copy of my book today!!!

In other news, the dog's ear is fine. Cone is off, stitches still to dissolve but essentially he's okay. New cars are lovely. Wife is thrilled with hers. I'm well pleased with mine, really like the interior and the wealth of features. No handbrake is hard to get used to, as is the adaptive cruise control. I'm used to driving the car myself, not trusting the vehicle to do everything itself. Still, it's got a cracking stereo so I can always sit back and listen to music while it drives me about.

And finally to Liverpool. I've thought about little else all week. Another must win game tomorrow at West Ham and we stay top. 24 years folks. It's big stuff and if it happens I'm man enough to admit there might well be tears shed. Brendan has made us all believe. Now he just has to drag all of us, the team, the city, the global fanbase, over the finish line all by himself. If he does it, I suspect they'll talk about him like they talk about Shankly.