fantasy

The advertising cycle of doom

megaphone-147176_640

Making a living is hard these days, no matter what business you’re in.  Books are a luxury item and as an author, making sales has become difficult, and many are resorting to all sorts of techniques in order to gain some visibility.  Those with money to splash around or working spouses to sting for money, can pay for online advertising.  The best known (which I won’t name as I don’t owe them any free advertising) is a site where you pay for them to add your name to their mailing list.  For those willing to spend a lot of money, this can create a spike in sales for a day or two.

This particular site charges a lot of money for the honour of being included in its list, and it requires that your book already has a lot of glowing reviews, or you get turned down flat.  Seems funny to demand that so many reviews be already in place, as I would think that if you had that many reviews already, you’d be less likely to need help getting visibility.  Ho hum, I guess I’m missing the point.

I can’t afford this site’s services, and don’t have the required truck-load of reviews anyway, so it’s off my radar.  I have to rely on ways to advertise for free, which tend not to have the same punch as paid for services.  It’s a vicious circle, if I could make more sales, I’d have more money to spend on better advertising, but in order to make more sales, I need better  advertising.

I’ve tried everything I can think of.  I’ve set my books as free at Smashwords, but as people never buy at Smashwords, no one downloaded them.  I can’t have them free at Amazon, because I’m in the UK, so they can’t be less than 99 cents there, where everyone buys their books.  American authors can list their books free there, and because so many are doing so, people get them and ignore mine.

People want everything given to them free these days.  Once, when I had advertised one of my books that I had just published, one gal posted “Let me know when you’re giving it away free, and I’ll download it.”  But when I did put them all as free, no fucker downloaded.  Make your damn minds up!

I find people are always encouraging, but won’t actually say they hate my books.  I’ve had people tell me they can’t afford to buy books, then they post in groups about how much they’re enjoying this or that book, and when I look for it on Amazon, it’s not free.  I’ve had people say “oh I don’t like sci fi,” then they post a status about some book or author they like, and it’s hard core sci fi.  Then there’s the “I have so many books to read, I can’t add any more yet,” and then their next post is about another book they’ve bought.

I don’t know what the answer is.  Well actually I know exactly what the answer is.  It’s money, and lots of it.  Get a truck load of money and pay a marketing firm a fortune to promote for you, then sit back with your coffee and wait for the tidal wave of adulation to hit.  Until I have the means to go down that route, I’m stuck with books I can’t even give away for free, to people who won’t admit they hate me/my work/everything I stand for/the colour of my hair/my choice in footwear/whatever else.

People don’t hate sci fi, people love sci fi.  All of the most successful movies are sci fi and many of the most successful books are sci fi/fantasy.  There are huge fandoms dedicated to Star Trek, Star Wars, Game of Thrones, Hunger Games, Harry Potter etc, all sci fi/fantasy.

No one likes to be told that their work is shit, it’s a blow to the ego.  In a way though, I’d prefer it if people were honest.  At least if I knew why they hate it, I’d have a chance of changing something.  I admit, I haven’t the first clue how to beat this or proceed.

Well done to those who have the money and friends to create a huge spike in sales for a day or a week.  Remember though, that this kind of quick sudden spike in sales isn’t the kind of presence or visibility that lasts for years.  Making 20k downloads in one day due to paying hundreds of dollars for a slot in an advertising site’s email list, will bring you a bonus that month, but five years later, no one will remember, or give a shit, who you are or what you did.  People might still know who I am in five years, even if it’s of the “oh she’s that woman who writes shit sci fi,” variety.

I’m glad I decided a little while ago, to slow down my attempts at marketing/promotion.  The constant work and ensuing disappointment creates emotions I don’t like feeling all the time.  Without the stress of wondering whether this book will be the one that becomes popular at last, I can just write what comes and be creative in the way that feels most natural, instead of changing things to try (and fail) to make them saleable. My local library lets me give them paperbacks, so I can continue to do that.  I also have the knowledge that well known and well respected places like The British Library, the Bodleian Library, Oxford University Library and Cambridge University Library, all have copies of my books.   Not because I asked them to take them, but because they asked me for them.  How many of the “look at me aren’t I successful” party on facebook can say that?

Advertisements

A New Novel is Born

Now that Floxham Island ~ Sinclair V-Log AZ267/M is out, I can turn my attentions to my next two works in progress.

I have the novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo 2012, Acts of Life to edit and proof read ready for publication in July 2013 and I’ve just begun writing a new novel featuring Sam Sinclair from Floxham Island.

Acts of life will be first of these projects you will see and features Jake, a famous movie star who agrees to work aboard an inter galactic freighter for three months as research for his latest movie role.  Events quickly take an unexpected turn and Jake finds himself and his new friends, stranded on a dangerous and uninhabited planet.  In a desperate fight for survival, not only from the indigenous life of the planet, Jake and his companions must also avoid capture by those intent on doing him harm.

The new Sam Sinclair novel, as yet untitled, sees Sam go undercover to find out the cause of seven mysterious deaths.  In the process he gains, and then loses, a great friend whose legacy ensures he finds an important ally in the future.

I’ve decided upon my plot line for this year’s NaNoWriMo, which will be published sometime in 2014.  This story is an epic quest involving a race across planets to save not only the protagonist’s true love, but also to save an entire planet from annihilating themselves in an unnecessary war.

Lastly for this year’s writing plans, I have ten short horror stories to write that will complete my planned horror anthology and hope to get it published this year.

I always like to have plots planned for a couple of books ahead as I have this dread of finishing a current WIP and then not finding another plot to work on.  Hopefully, by the end of 2013 I’ll  have eight books under my belt.

The Sinclair V-logs – coming soon

sinclair fb banner

A brand new space opera series is on its way

The first volume in my new space opera series will be available during February.  The Sinclair V-logs introduces you to Sam Sinclair, Freelance Law Enforcer with the Intergalactic Law Enforcement Agency who will be recounting the more memorable of his experiences in his own series of personal video logs.

Floxham Island

Sinclair V-log AZ267/M

Sam Sinclair thought this was just another run of the mill job.  As a freelance law enforcement operative, his job is to find the target and deliver them into the hands of the Law Enforcement Agency.  When his law enforcement contacts asked him to find Professor Nembier who they believed had murdered nine of his co workers out on a secluded archaeological dig on Agrillia 3, he fully expected to have the job done quickly.  Finding the Professor was the easy part and was to become the beginning of a terrible nightmare for Sam and his companions.

Delivering his prisoner to Floxham Island Prison should spell the end of the job for Sam and some much needed time off but once he and his companions find themselves stranded upon the strangely deserted prison planet and discover the horror that has recently taken place there, it soon becomes his worst nightmare.  Facing the horrors that lurk in the dark whilst avoiding those that dwell in the light, Sam discovers that a new killer is amongst them.  As their numbers dwindle, Sam races to find the killer and secure the lives of those still surviving amidst the terror that is Floxham Island.

The Lilean Chronicles is now complete

The fourth and final volume in The Lilean Chronicles series is now in the process of publication.  It is live at Lulu.com now and will soon be available at Smashwords and Amazon.

I’m delighted to reveal the cover and to send my gratitude to JL Stratton for his patience and expertise in making another fabulous cover.

The Final Chapter – Out Soon

Just letting everyone know that the fourth and final volume in The Lilean Chronicles series will be published within the next week or so.

All the formatting has been completed and I’m just waiting for my cover art guy to finish working his magic.

The Lilean Chronicles: Book Four ~ Avalanche Effect

It’s been more than two years since Vincent, Farra & Kyle returned from their harrowing experiences on Drycenia and their idyllic family life is shattered by the arrival of a mysterious stranger and the dreadful news he brings them.  Going against the wishes of the Lilean spirit people, Vincent and Farra race from world to world in search of Gabriel and as faces from the past re-appear, they discover the links between a dreadful war, a medal won for valour and a legendary angel.

It began with a broken promise and ended with a change to the path of destiny.  A small action taken in a moment of desperation that causes massive changes to the destiny of others.

Seeds of Inspiration

A friend on facebook asked me not long ago, “where do you get all your ideas from?”  A simple question indeed but one that is almost impossible to answer in a way people who aren’t ‘like me’ will understand.

By ‘like me’ I mean, well like me.  Let me try to explain.  I’m autistic, which means I don’t do the social thing at all well.  I don’t mix with folks effectively and I tend to quickly piss people off and if I do make a friend, I tend to lose it pretty quickly.  This means I’m alone for most of the time, both physically and inside my head.  You know when you have friends but they’re not actually ‘here’ at this moment but you know inside your head that they exist and they’re your friends?  You have an innate knowledge that you’re not emotionally alone don’t you?  Well I don’t have that.  I’m physically alone and alone inside my head too.  Now that’s freaking alone man..!

I also have major emotional baggage left over from an abusive childhood which means I have a trust issue.  Not something you want when you’re trying to make friends.  This also tends to add to my isolation.  I’m also physically unattractive so even if men did happen to overlook my other failings, the sight of me puts them off anway.  This also means I’m destined to remain just as alone as I am now.

All of this isolation takes its toll and not all of the effects are negative, for me as a writer anyhow.  I’ve developed an immense imagination.  Every moment I’m alone I’m living one of my internal fantasies.  People who see me may think I’m just shopping or taking out the trash but really I’m exploring the outer regions of some far flung planet, searching for the ancient truth stone that will save the people and show me my one true love who just happens to be mixed race, hugely muscular, clean shaven and hung like a horse.  I may appear to be driving to the store, or to my day job but really I’m on my way from my Los Angeles mansion to meet with my agent to discuss my latest appearance on the Ellen show and whether we could fit in a spot on Jimmy Kimmel the same day or whether we need to put that one back a week.  I may appear to be doing housework but really I’m searching the cargo bay of the intergalactic freight liner for clues as to the whereabouts of the hand written  notes that would prove that hugely muscular, mixed race, well hung hunk of a prisoner is completely innocent of those murders on Taxos 4.

You see what I’m driving at?  This is me every minute of every day and several hours into each night too as I toss and turn and struggle to switch it all off so I can sleep.  The moment I wake it all starts again.  This is the stuff that fills my mind 24/7 and all of the locations, the conversations and the people are as real to me as anyone I may physically meet.  Being completely alone both physically and emotionally too, allows me to indulge in this fantasy reality to a high degree and I’ve been doing it for so long that I doubt I could stop for long and I couldn’t imagine being able to survive without it.

It’s the easiest thing in the world for me to just write this stuff down.  I’m so tapped in to my creative flow that I can just sit down and switch it on and let the words come tumbling out.  I see it all happening as I write it.  I actually live it as I write it and I feel all of the emotions each time I re read it.  All I have to do is sit down, switch on and step out of the way.  My higher self does the rest, my creativity, my muse, call it what you want.  I always say that I don’t actually write my books; my characters write them and I just take dictation.

Last night I was bored so I sat down and opened a blank word document and then opened my mind.  An hour later I had a full plot synopsis for brand new epic space adventure novel.  No pain, no tears, no agonies of writers block (what the fuck is that anyway?) and no prob laymo.

So in answer to my friend who wanted to know where I get my ideas from.  The answer is, from me.

Intergalactic Guidebook – page 4 open now

I am delighted to announce that page 4 of my Intergalactic Guidebook is now open and available for you all to enjoy.

The Guide to Vinbuk 3

click here to visit Vinbuk 3

Intergalactic Guidebook – New page open.

I have great pleasure in announcing a new page is open in the Intergalactic Guidebook.  A guide to Terramora Prime is now up and available for you all to enjoy.

Click here to go to Terramora Prime.

Preparation for NaNoWriMo 2012

We’re now just 2 weeks from NaNoWriMo 2012 and I must say I’m excited for it to begin.  I’m looking forward to getting started and getting my new novel down and I fully intend to not only win NaNo but win with style.  That 50k will be reached and surpassed before the end of the third week in.  That is my goal and my aim and I’ll keep updated my progress here.

My NaNo project is titled Acts of Life and centres around a character called Jake Elloway.  Jake is a very famous and well loved actor from Earth who is offered a role that is a little different to the roles he normally plays.  Always glad of the opportunity to show how versatile an actor he is, he accepts the part and takes a job aboard an inter galactic freight liner in order to research his intended character’s job and lifestyle.

Of course things don’t go entirely to plan and with Jake being a narcissistic megalomaniac, life with his new companions isn’t as easy as it could be.  When they are forced into an emergency landing on an uninhabited planet, they must also be aware of the ever present dangers that lurk in the shadows.  Not only must the crew fight to survive, but Jake is forced to face his real self and deal with his personality flaws.

Will the crew survive the terrors that wait for them on the planet Tellizon..?  Will Jake leave his selfish megalomania behind and become an asset to the crew?

Keep watching to find out..!

Endorsed by the great and mighty (part 2)