Sunday, 20 December 2015

Getting a CPAP machine to improve my sleeping has made a world of difference and I am back to writing for much longer periods than I have been managing for some time,
I am still working on "Why'd They Kill Grandma?" which is the sequel to "Murder For A Grandmother" which is on offer to a traditional publisher. I am also working on "The Man Who Didn't Like People" as a follow up to "A New Era For Manny Youngman" and I am re-vamping "The Man Behind The Mask" which is a romance I wrote several years ago.
I know some people say they can only work on one project at a time but I find my mind tends to think in scenes. I write a scene of one book and then take a break before coming back and tidying it up before going on to the next scene. It is more productive to use those breaks to work on one of my other projects.
My aim is to have at least three books published in 2016 - either by a traditional publisher or I will self-publish them.
I am developing an extensive mailing list of people who liked "A New Era For Manny Youngman" and I am also embarked on an extensive programme of author talks, It makes much more sense to be promoting several titles instead of one.

Monday, 7 December 2015

I am back to writing Why'd they murder Grandma?, the second in the Grey Nomad series because I want to have a substantial part of it written if Fremantle Press do take up the first, Murder For A Grandmother.
For this book I've chosen Joan and Tom as my pov characters. It created some difficulties at first as I didn't have them as clearly in my head as Athol and Debby, though whose eyes the first book was told. However, I've got over that and the story is moving ahead. I haven't done an outline as such but I have a list of scenes and events that will be included as it goes along, I find this is essential in a murder mystery as there have to be red herrings and hidden clues built into the story and unless I know in advance what these are going to be it would be too easy to go off down a culdesac.
I still have to deal with the romance that was developing between Athol and Debby in the first book but I can do this by having Joan acting as cupid and trying to push them together when Athol in particular is hesitant.
The good thing at the moment is that I feel I know exactly how the book will develop and I'm looking forward to each stage of writing it.
I'm doing it in scenes in Scrivener so I can decide later where the chapter breaks will fall, I probably won't use as many short scenes as I did in the first book but they may change. Today I rewrote the first scene where Joan meets a new character, Sissy Wildflower, and we get the basics of who's who and what's what. Next I will be rewriting the scene with Tom at the woodwork shop.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

I'm coming to the conclusion that most of what is written about author marketing is fiction and is written by people trying to sell the author a service. I have set up a web page and a Facebook page, posted to Facebook to encourage people to my page, obtained good reviews from on-line reviewers, posted details of the book on numerous web sites, built up a big list of Facebook friends and Linked-in colleagues, taken part in on-line group discussions. persuaded book shops to take copies on consignment, had articles about me published in local newspapers and took part in a Book Fair which included an author talk. From all of this the only e-book sales have been my son and a friend and the only book shop sales have been friends. I have sold most by direct contact with people who know me with the exception of the Book Fair where a small number were purchased by people I did not know.
Talking to other authors I suspect that the strategy that works is to build up a list of followers, but this requires the author to have several books. It does not work for the first. Authors give away their first book to accumulate the first names on their list, adding the names of friends and others they are able to sell the book to. When the second book is published it is offered to the people on the list. Hopefully they will purchase it and also tell their friends about it. Gradually the list can be built up until by the third or fourth book sales are starting to be significant. That is hardly an attractive strategy for a first-time or one-book author.
I am concentrating for the moment on author talks because these generally result in a number of sales, even if it is small. Libraries and service clubs like Rotary and Probus are usually happy to have me give them a talk.
All of this results in small numbers of sales but getting onto the best-seller lists is highly unlikely.
What I need is a reviewer in a national newspaper or on TV to urge people to buy my book, but all the free books I have sent out to reporters and presenters have disappeared without a response. The only feedback I have had is that they are not interested in self-published books. Those reviews that do appear are largely the result of a lot of persuasion by agents or publishers' media relations teams.
This is all a little depressing but I will keep going. Ever the optimist I hope I will hit upon some magic trick that will propel my book into the sales stratosphere. It's really only an extension of the optimism and self-belief that got me started writing a novel in the first place.