Thursday, 15 November 2012

Adapt or flounder?

Adapt or flounder. As a writer we have a choice: to keep going on with our plan no matter how unlikely it is that it will come to fruition, or to take a step back, accept where we are going wrong and adapt our ways.

Money

This week I have adapted my plan, as it was just not going to work. Briefly, my long-term plan is to make money from my books, and as the money increases I'll work less at the day job, hopefully increasing my writing output and thereby getting to a day when I might finally be able to call myself a full-time writer. And why not? After all, I have about 15 more books to write, which should take me - roughly - a life-time!

Doverlord? One word or two?

Plan

I had been planning to write and publish 5 short stories based on my police experiences under the title The Rozzers. The first is out there (see here), the second is close to publication and the other 3 are planned out. The idea being that this would teach me all I needed to know about epublishing, marketing etc, leading me on to my first full-length stand-alone novel Filthy. Then, and only then, onto my baby - my big series The Dream Makers.

Cover

However, I was holding back from the finishing touches to my second short story. Why, when it is so close to being published? The truth is, I couldn't face having to go to the trouble of creating yet another ebook cover. I was also concerned that there would be no continuity with the second book cover as the original program I used for book one was bought up by Google and changed slightly. I realised that I needed a book designer.

Adapt

I have had my eye on a book designer for a while, since I like her work and she is UK based. But then I couldn't really justify the cost of an ebook cover for a .99c short story which is not main-stream and is unlikely to sell much. And the amount of investment needed (5 professional covers) was not a financial gamble I was willing to take for such a series. And it was then that I realised my plan needed adapting.

I need to be selling books - at least enough to cover the cost of the covers, or to seriously reduce the impact of such a financial commitment. Sure, the new covers might help me to sell more copies but that is unlikely, as the book is all but invisible. Obviously I can't quit on this series now either; it needs to be published sooner or later. Also, the follow-up stand-alone novel is unlikely to be a big game changer.

New cover

So what I have decided to do is upgrade my first book with the new cover, have book 2 ready for publication and to publish it when its cover is ready, then put The Rozzers series on hold for a while. The third professional cover won't go to Filthy, but instead will be used for book one of a new series that's burning in my head. I have to write it out or I might go insane, and it has the potential to be a decent series. This is Doverlord.

As soon as I thought about it I knew it was my way forward.  Let's get Doverlord 1 and 2 out there, then go back to book 3 of The Rozzers, then another Doverlord. Then add a bit of Filthy, and then reassess...

Doverlord, you came along at just the right time for me.

How about you? Happy with your long-term plan, or do you need to adapt it slightly?

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Why I'm giving all that hard work away - for free!

End of the Road took me several months of hard work to complete. It was also my first ever self-published book, so the learning curve was sharp. That was six months ago and that milestone was trumpeted across my on-line platforms loud and clear. I was dead chuffed. Cops Don't Run, part two of The Rozzers series, is begging to get the same treatment, and I hope to publish that soon.

Free? Yeah, like that is gonna change anything...

Dismal sales

Looking back at the dismal performance of my first ever book worries me not. End of the Road has been on sale for 0.99c and in that time it has been downloaded just 22 times. You see, it was never in my plan - nor did I expect - to sell this short story just yet. I'm laying the foundations for future sales.

Publishing

I plan on publishing 15 more books outside of The Rozzers series - from adventure and high fantasy, to children's books among others. I'm sure that that number will increase over time. Part of my planning has always been to give this first book away. Why? So that it reaches a wider audience, increases reviews of it and leads to sales of the follow up book, Cops Don't Run.

Tonight, I changed the sale price to zero on Smashwords, which will filter through to Amazon shortly.

Big jump in page views!

Nothing to lose

What do I have to lose, after all? Over the last six months my book was 'viewed' on Smashwords, on average, once every two days. Just viewed, not bought, although it made a hand-full of sales on Amazon. Within hours of giving it away, those viewing figures jumped to 35 views. Effectively, two months worth of views in a few hours.

I look forward to monitoring this humble experiment and reporting back with details. If you'd like to get the ebook for free, then click on the relevant link below to take you directly to the book. If you're just interested in the experiment, check back in a few weeks time.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Organising the disorderly: free writers' programs

Seen my laptop anywhere..?
I've epubbed one; have five in progress with nine others to write. Organised? No, far from it. But tonight I've got that irritating, self-assured smirk on my face that so annoys the wife. Why? Well, several reasons really. Despite not being able to write much of late, I have been planning for the day I become a full-time writer by organising myself!

Scrivener

First of all, a while ago I bought Scrivener*, the writers' program. I'm still not 100% comfortable with it, but each time I use it I learn a little more, and I'm sure it'll all make more sense to me if I go through the tutorial oagain, after having used it sufficiently to be familiar with the basics.

What I've done with Scrivener is create a project for each of my #wips, which means I no longer need to open word and figure out where I am before writing. Scrivener organises all of that for me, which means I can usually just read the notes and get on with writing. If you haven't tried Scrivener, I suggest setting aside some time to download it, running through the comprehensive tutorial and getting on with it. You won't be disappointed!

Dropbox

Secondly, I downloaded and installed Dropbox**. What a programme! Dropbox is a cloud storage programme with bells and whistles. The first 2GBs are free, with options of increasing the capacity simply by linking it to your Twitter account, Facebook account, viewing the tutorial etc. In fact, I'm only using 18.3% of my massive 4.4GBs, all of which I gained for free simply by doing the things they suggested I do to get the extra storage! If I want an additional 100GBs, it'll cost me just $9.99 US per month, but to securely back up my #wips and research, I have more than enough for free.

But what about the bells and whistles I mentioned above? Well, I do all of my writing on my creaky old laptop (with a missing 'L'). It'll give out on me one day, guaranteed. If it does, it's not a problem. Why?Because Dropbox has installed a folder on my computer, which is where I store all of my Scrivener files mentioned above. I simply open the Dropbox folder (just like any other folder), locate the Scrivener project I need to work on and open it. After I have finished for the night, I simply close the file - no back up, nothing.

Security

The reason I get to sleep so soundly, knowing by babies are well-looked after, is because the file is automatically backed up to the Dropbox on-line storage server. If my laptop goes bang in the night, I can log into my Dropbox account from any computer and access my #wips. What's more - and this is the really amazing thing with Dropbox - I have downloaded it to my office desktop computer and my Smartphone. After the Dropbox folders synchronise, I can access my #wips fully; from the office via my desktop, or from my Smartphone anywhere in the world. Whatever I add, delete or amend automatically synchronises across all of the devices I have added Dropbox too.

Anywhere

Imagine sitting on the train staring out of the window, running through your protagonist's latest scene when an idea hits you. You no longer have to make notes! Just open the Dropbox file on your phone and enter the notes as you think of them, directly into the Scrivener wip file you are working on back home! The file in the office at work and on your creaky old laptop auto-updates too! Dropbox means that you can basically work on your #wips 24hrs a day and never lose track of your latest updates, whilst the whole book remains securely stored for you!

Newsletter

Finally, I also managed to set myself up with a sign-up newsletter, again for free! Despite only releasing one short story as an ebook, I have a lot of books in the pipeline. I know I need to gather the email addresses of people who might well wish to buy my next release. I have over 7000 Twitter followers, but they aren't going to buy my next book once I release it - I need a list of people who will, and a simple means of sending them a newsletter to prompt them to do so.

Mailchimp

I've signed up to MailChimp***, permanently free if you have less than 2000 subscribers. If you get more than 2000, well you can jolly well start paying your own way. MailChimp suits me perfectly - I have added it to my blog (see above right), to my Facebook page and tweeted it. I can use this program for free until I have over 2000 subscribers! Then it'll cost you depending on the quantity of subscribers and quantity of monthly emails you wish to send them.



* Scrivener is one of those programs that writers toy with getting once they've heard of it, then swear by it once they've used it. It currently costs $40 US and is well worth the investment. Available for Mac and Windows, with a free trial! Just visit Literature and Latte for details.

** Dropbox will blow you away with its ease of use, functionality for writers and back-up security. Get yours here.

***MailChimp is free to use and a must have for any forward-thinking writer. Start collecting those emails now!

I hope my advice is food for thought for you? Is there anything else I should be using, or anything you need to know more about? Just leave me a comment below, thanks.

Monday, 15 October 2012

When chilling out becomes productive

The idea was to disconnect, do some reading and generally recharge my batteries so that I return eager to get on with my writing. No writing, no work, just chill...

Big old farmhouse with jacuzzi (left)

Inner courtyard
This big, old, isolated farmhouse in the French Pyrenees is perfect for doing just that. On Friday night I lay in the outside jacuzzi (temperature 36.4) and stared up at the stars, emptying my mind. When you are in complete darkness, the stars come closer.

And then I realised. That story that had been mulling over inside of my head for the last three weeks was in fact another book to add to my list of must-write-soon books! Well, a series of three books actually. The working title? Dover Lord. That's another three years of life I'll be needing then.

The birth of a book. When do your babies come to you?

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Why you should have a Facebook Author's Page

If you haven't got yourself a Facebook Author's page then you are losing out as a writer. We spend a lot of time on Twitter and writing blog posts to build up a following, in the hope that these people might just buy our books and spread the word about us. I know I do, my Twitter account currently has just under 6000 followers. Big numbers, eh? But that's nothing compared to my Facebook page, which was a lot easier to do and is far less time consuming.

Maybe you hate Facebook and refuse even to contemplate opening a profile? Maybe you are an addict? As an author, whatever your views, you must get yourself a Facebook page for promotion purposes. I'll tell you why in a minute.

What is a Facebook page? A page is nothing to do with a profile. To get on FB, you need a personal profile page, which is what most people have. If you don't want a FB personal profile, you can open it and then choose to forget about if you wish, using it as a platform to open your author's page. A FB page is completely separate from your profile. Think of it as a business site, a free platform to promote yourself as an author. It takes seconds to set up and can be modified/individualised to your needs. Keep it branded! By this I mean it should be instantly recognisable as you in your Twitter account etc. If you want to take a look at one, take a peek at mine > Diem Burden's Facebook Page. (For branding purposes, compare it to my Twitter page > https://twitter.com/DiemBurden. See how instantly recognisable they both are as my pages?)

Screenshot 1 (Diem's Facebook Author's page)
Give it a url name associated with you. For example mine is https://www.facebook.com/DiemBurden. Easy to remember, easy to promote. Once you have set up your page invite your Facebook/Twitter friends to visit the page and 'like' it. They will need a FB account to do this. You don't have to be friends with them on FB for them to like your page, and you cannot access their profile unless you become 'friends'. You will soon see the numbers begin to grow.

Once you have 30 likers, you will be able to access the stats (called insights on FB), and this is where it really begins to get interesting. My numbers have risen steadily, and the first thing I did to get going was to invite my personal FB friends to like the page (I have 167 personal friends). 69 of them obliged, and 55 others from Twitter etc came across and liked it too. So now I have a total of 124 people who have liked my page since I opened it 11 months ago. I know what you are thinking, 124? That's not impressive. It is, believe me. I'll tell you why but before I do let me tell you what this liking of the page achieves.

Whenever I post something on my page, it appears in the timeline of all of the 124 people who have liked the page. For this reason I don't duplicate it by posting it on my personal page too, as my friends and likers won't appreciate it twice! Usually I post something that 'encourages' them to either comment on my post or to like the post. If they do, this does two things for me. First, that post then appears on their own timeline, and is instantly visible to everybody who is friends with them too, ie people who are nothing to do with me or my page (a bit like a retweet).

Screenshot 2
On average, my 124 likers have 344 friends each. So if just one person acts on my post, it gets punted out to about 124 strangers, who all get to see my post/name/brand. Some then visit my page and end up hitting the like button too. That's another 124 friends of a liker, thank you very much. The more people who comment/like the post, the longer it stays at the top of the timelines (FB timeline defaults to 'top stories', so those with the most comments/likes appear at the top of the timeline for longer, so more people get to see it. Feel free to open up a conversation in your post!).

OK, I'm in danger of losing you here, so here's the dessert. My 124 likers have, in total, a staggering 42,617 friends between them! (See screenshot 2) And that figure is growing each day as they add more friends to their FB account, with no extra work on my part. (See screenshot 2. The number of 'friends of fans' has increased 2.36% in the last week alone.)

Let me repeat that, one hundred and forty-two thousand potential customers. Makes my Twitter account seem like chicken-feed! And remember, each new liker brings with them all of their friends. It is down to you what you do with them.

The numbers are potentially so big I've decided to use FB page as my principle page. By that I mean I want as many likers as possible on here, just so that I get to reach their friends too. So I use it by rewarding these people with promotional copies, news first etc and I ONLY write about me and my books. I don't want people to get bored with my mundane life - that's what FB personal pages are for!

I am not overly-promoting my page yet, and when I do I expect to see the amount of likers grow considerably, and with it, the amount of 'friends of fans' exponentially.

There are various other advantages to FB pages which I won't go into here. The stats are amazing, and if you want to know more about how to read that info I recommend visiting this really useful post by John Haydon.

I did an experiment with FB advertising too. I set the maximum fee to $30 and designed my advert. I arranged for the advert to appear to Facebookers who had a friend who had liked my author's page. It was an interesting experiment and something that I will post about once the figures have been analysed. You can see an example on the right-hand side of screenshot 1 above.

So, you're probably slaving away on Twitter to build up a following, whilst ignoring the simple - yet priceless - Facebook page. Come on, what are you waiting for..?

Monday, 13 August 2012

I'm not very good at writing.

The truth is, as a writer I'm not very good at writing. By that I mean the actual act of writing, not the result. I like to think that when I actually produce something it is quite good. In truth, I haven't put finger to keyboard for several weeks now. It makes me look like a wannabe writer. Why is this?

The Olympic park, as seen from the new Thames chairlift
Routine! I produce the most when I have a set routine. A routine gets books written. Take me out of that routine and diddly-squit happens.

It all went to pot when I spent a couple of weeks in the UK close to London, just prior to the start of the Olympic Games. There I experienced something which I haven't experienced since 1982 - British pride and British self-belief. I even visited some of the venues to take a ganders at what it was all about. It was amazing - the atmosphere was buzzing. Following on closely from the Queen's Jubilee celebrations, had my people found a new Britishness in the run up to the 2012 London Games?

On returning back to Spain I eagerly awaited the opening of the games; the first time ever for me. That opening ceremony blew me away - it was so British, so us. It brought a tear to my eye, a lump to my throat and a long-forgotten pride to my heart.

I then followed the exploits of Team GB, something I'd only ever paid scant attention to on previous occasions. I was soon hooked. Who were these guys? I didn't know their names or recognise their faces. That's what living in a place like Spain does for you. The only contact I had had with Team GB prior to the opening ceremony was in Madam Tussauds, where the only waxwork to really get my attention was that of a British female athlete (see pic below). I knew she was British from the Union Flag she had stretched out behind her, and her amazingly designed sports kit. Yet I had no idea who she was, but boy did she look good, even in wax.

Jessica Ellis
(courtesy of Firstnews.co.uk)
I soon learned that the amazingly-perfect body belonged to somebody called Jessica Ennis, and that Jess was the face of London 2012. I don't know if it was the result of bumping into Jess, the spectacle in my home country, the amazing fans or the incredible venues, but as Team GB achieved success after success I had to keep watching, right up till the end. Even my wife moaned at me. 'Haven't you got anything better to do?'

The closing ceremony was as amazing as the opening, although I do think we have greater musical talent to offer to the world than the Spice Girls.

And now it's all finished. The competitors are heading home, the venues are being dismantled and the world is talking positively about London 2012. So now it's back to a routine. My wife is away for 5 weeks and I am alone to do as I please. The floor needs sweeping; the dishwasher needs emptying; the car is in desperate need of a clean inside and out etc etc. And that's just for starters.

But now it's me time -  or more correctly writing time. Anyway, from my observations sat here at my computer, the breeze blows all the crap on the floor into one corner of the room; the dishwasher can be emptied as and when I need an item from it; the car's out of view in the garage and anyway, I can use my motor-bike for now.

My books - my dreams - are demanding my attention right now. And boy do they deserve it...

Friday, 11 May 2012

Why I'm not asking you to buy my 1st ebook

I've worked damned hard to get this first book out. I want it to sell and to sell well. Eventually, I want to be able to give up the day job and commit full time to writing all the books that I have lined up. So why aren't I promoting my first baby? Why don't I want it to sell just yet?

That's easy. If you buy it and like it, you won't buy anything else from me. The reason? I don't have anything else to sell you just yet, and by the time I do, you might just have forgotten about me!

Do not buy my book!
Once I have written the next four parts to The Rozzers, each priced at 99c, I'll put them all together in a collection for $2.99. Then I'll gladly give you End of the Road! That's right, it'll be free. And the reason being is that if you like it, you'll want to buy the next 4 books, which will all be available as a collection. So if you buy that instead of the 4 individual books, you'll save yourself $1. You'll buy the collection, and not the individual books, I know you will. Of course you will, don't get defensive, we all do that!

That works for me though, because I'll earn more royalties that way. If you were to get the 1st book for free, then the next 4 books at 99c, I'd earn less than if you got the freebie, then bought the collection afterwards, saving yourself a quid. We'd both win.

Once that collection is out there, I'll start actively promoting End of the Road. In the meantime, I won't get upset if you do buy the first book, but only if you do forget me later!

The only active promotion I will be doing is encouraging my readers to leave a review if they liked the book. And what's wrong with doing that?

M4 (or My Magical Monday Moment)

My book cover
OK, hand on heart, I can truly say I am really proud to be able to say 'I AM A PUBLISHED AUTHOR!' As of last Monday, I achieved my Dream and one of my 5 life-time ambitions (see below for other 4). Yeah, I published my first book...

OK, it's only 15,000 words short. OK, it's only priced at .99c. OK, I only get about 35c for each sale but that's not the point!

I worked hard to get to this stage. I started writing about 6 or 7 years ago, learning the craft of writing, punctuation, story lines, conflict, show don't tell, and everything else us authors have to learn to be able to call ourselves an author. Oh, I also needed a good looking cover, so I learnt how to do that too through trial and error, using various free image manipulation programs, making several up.

My baby was nervously sent out to volunteers to pull apart - the first people to ever read any of my work - then it was amended and given to an editor who really pulled it apart. After the final rewrite, I had it proof-read one last time and then turned to the formatting. I had to learn how to format my document for Smashwords and Amazon - no easy feat - yet it got through the first hurdle of being submitted for inclusion in the SW premium catalogue.

Me, around the time of  'End of the Road'.
Once all this was done, I had to check that the book looked OK on several platforms, that the people who were following me and waiting for the book not only got to know about it, but got a free coupon code for it too.

Then I discovered Amazon Central, a place to add author details, so I did this. Then I realised that this was only for Amazon.com, and that Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.es etc etc needed individual entries. Amazon also sent me to Shelfari to complete some book details, as these migrate across to Amazon.

I am also learning about where to follow my books performance, ie its sales, downloads etc, and so visited and set up home with NovelRank, My TitleZ, as well as learning which Amazon page to visit to learn of which sales...

A banner I created for the book
So you might forgive me for ignoring this blog, for dropping out of The Twitterverse, for basically closing the door of my cave to get this first task done. The on-line presence is essential to become a successful author, but it won't write your book for you...

So now I'm busy writing part 2, looking for a suitable image for the cover and trying to keep my on-line presence alive. I have to say, despite my absence, I have received some incredible support from certain Twitter folk, some of whom I have got to know over the months, others I hardly know at all.

It's fair to say that without the contacts I have made on Twitter, My Magical Monday Moment would never have come...

Thank you, you know who you are.
xx

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Book blurb for End of the Road (first draft)

Ruing the day he joined the British Army, bored soldier Corporal Dave Burden has just twelve short months left in the army in which to find a new civilian job. The clock is ticking away, and with the added burden of responsibility in the form of a new wife with a child on the way, he has absolutely no idea what he is going to tell his boss at the dreaded pre-release interview next week.

Fortunately for him, an idyllic outing quickly spirals into a day of tragedy. It was a day in his life he’d rather forget, a day full of horror and grief. On that fateful day a seed was planted, a seed which should never have seen the light of day. That seed only needed a slight amount of nurturing to begin its life, and that nurturing came from the most unexpected of places, as indeed did the damned seed...

Based on true events, END OF THE ROAD is the first part of THE ROZZERS series, a collection of five contiguous short stories by new British author DIEM BURDEN.


Look out for COPS DON’T RUN, part two of THE ROZZERS series, out soon...

(just for Chris @celwelsh !!)

Thursday, 12 April 2012

I'm OK, I'm still undead (sorry!)

I'm not dead, I'm not on holiday, I haven't had a nervous breakdown and I haven't been arrested. Truth is, I'm fed up with making excuses for not having a single book from my l-o-n-g list of 12 books published yet!

Knock before entering...
Ergo, I am hiding in my writer's cave.

I don't wanna be one of those writers who does more talking than writing, who does more networking than publishing. They aren't really writers, they are either people who talk about things they should be doing but can't be bothered, or social intercourse addicts who do a bit of writing when there's nobody on line...

Not me. I'm a writer. I know how many words I have written these last eight years. How many? Ooh, about a quarter of a million creative words, maybe more. But the only person to have read them is me! So it is a little absurd to be calling myself a writer or an author at this point, right?

Well, that's why I'm not here. Or on Twitter. OK, I have been boosting my Facebook page 'likes' when I can (and that's a story worth talking about later) but in truth, I have completely vanished from cyberspace! There is NO internet in my cave!

Because, to continue to call myself a writer, I must be able to do more than talk about it, I must be able to do more than Tweet about it, I must have a published book to offer you.

So that's what I have been doing, selfishly. I set myself a deadline of May 1 to get my first offering out there, and I need to cut myself off and get on with the craft of not just writing, but publishing my first book.

Life can't be ignored, the internet can - it's just a matter of will power (or a deep enough cave).

(The reason I am contradicting myself here and blogging tonight is that I have just finished the final edit of my first book, End of the Road, part one of The Rozzers series. My critique partners have been tapping their feet, believing I was just a talker-writer. I'm not. I am a writer!)

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

The Humptybackcrocodillopig Returns

It's so nice to see that, when most species are going extinct, one species we thought we'd lost is still with us! What's more, he's asexual and carrying an egg! All is not lost for the Humptybackcrocodillopig...


Praise be!!

Saturday, 10 March 2012

The Rozzers!

Yes, that's what I have decided to call this cop series, The Rozzers. I love the name...

And this is the ebook cover I have designed for it. At the bottom of the blog you will also find a banner for the book, linking you through to my Smashwords' profile. It's all coming together nicely now!


I'm looking forward to my epub summer!

Friday, 9 March 2012

Lifetime Goals - my progress so far

2000ft over Cambridge, England
About 10 years ago I set myself 5 specific goals that I would like to complete within my lifetime. I don't know why I felt the need to do this, maybe it was middle-age?

However, this is the list...

  1. To become a pilot (of aeroplanes)
  2. To learn another language
  3. To obtain a martial art Black Belt
  4. To learn to play guitar
  5. To have a book published
To date, I have achieved the following...
  1. achieved
  2. 40% achieved 
  3. 90% achieved
  4. totally bombed (time-wise, something had to give! #theresalwaysretirement)
  5. I am very, very close to achieving this
How about you? Ever set yourself lifetime goals? If not, why don't you do it now?

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Free kisses!

For any person who agrees to receive a copy of my first ebook (a 10,000 word shorty) and tell me where it is good/bad. Shouldn't take you long and, along with a kiss of your liking, you'll also get a free copy of the book when it is released!

How's that for a deal?

Monday, 27 February 2012

Are you using those old photos to boost your blog visits?

Lone tree
My artistic abilities started with painting and drawing. Over the years this has migrated, and now I apply these talents to the written word, although whether or not my writing is as good as my other art is yet to be judged!

One constant in my life has been photography. I have always enjoyed capturing something special on camera, especially since I bought my first - huge - digital camera. In fact, I have built up an enormous mountain of photos over the years, some of which I sadly lost when the old disk-drive they were stored on crashed and burned.

So I've been looking at ways of using these pictures to help me promote myself as a writer. Some of them are quite eye-catching, as you may agree. I thought that maybe if I can get them out there for others to see, with a link back to my blog - here - then I might drive traffic and links to this site.
Vineyards and sky

Traffic drives interaction, brand awareness and eventually sales of my books. Links boost the site's position within the search engines.

One method I have been contemplating is Google Maps. I often scour the map for places I am about to explore, clicking on the photos posted there to try and identify places worth a visit.

So I've just uploaded some pictures to Google Maps which allows me to add a website link within my photo account. Anybody who likes my pictures might look at my profile, see the link to my blog and come here to discover more about me. Certainly the ability to geo-tag these photos means that I can put them in high-profile places and just about anybody can find my lovely pics!
Oviedo cathedral

The photos remain under my copyright and should anyone wish to use them they can do so, provided of course they quote my name (brand-awareness) and provide a link back to here (links in = higher search results and more visitors).

So, my experiment has begun. As I upload more photos I will monitor to see if it does indeed drive traffic this way. I'll keep you posted.

What do you think? Is this experiment likely to do as I hope, or am I wasting my time?

Visit my profile and photos> http://www.panoramio.com/user/6727400

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Feed me, dear solitude. I need you...

Writing needs solitude. I need writing. I need solitude to write.

Unfortunately, my life gives me precious little time alone to pursue my passion: writing my books!

However, I am glad to say that I will be in the UK alone for two weeks over the summer, then my wife is away for two weeks doing a course, followed by a whole month in Brazil!

Solitude. She will be my companion for two whole months.

Feed me, dear solitude. I need you...

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Final cover for End of the Road?

Number 1
End of the Road is a short (true) story and will be my first ever epublish attempt. It is being done on a budget, so this little cover (number 1) was created by myself in about 45 minutes. Good enough? What do you think?

(Updates from the comments made - thanks!)
No 2. I've added the 'copter to help with the perspective. It is a military tale set in the centre of the UK's principal military training area. My name has also been darkened, reflecting the colour of the sky...

With No 3 I've coloured and wonkied the text. The red is more dominant and picks out the red horizon, and the yellow in my name reflects that of the sunset.

No 4 has a silver heading, which looks really nice, and No 5 has the heli' moved across slightly...

(I can't seem to organise these images in the way I want to - thanks Blogger!)
Number 2
Number 3
Number 4
Number 5

Number 6




Original image, from
http://yaymicro.com/search.action?search.photographer=yorkman

Saturday, 21 January 2012

2012 and my absence (ebook covers too)

A.
It's now three weeks into the new year and I haven't been a part of it yet! My absence from Twitter has been noted, my blog is gathering dust and I'm losing ground on selling my product - brand Diem!

My writings haven't been as neglected though, I did force myself to do two sittings and managed to push out 3000 words.

I have also been playing around with - and agonising over - my first ebook cover design. Now this is a totally new area for me. I love doing it - I just don't know my way around the programs and end up just hitting buttons to see what happens.

The cover is for a true-life short, about an horrific accident on a deserted road late at night, resulting in some deep soul-searching and an unexpected decision to later become a cop.

B. 
 Cover B was my first pleasing result, I liked the image and the car lights but wasn't completely happy with it. I do like the sense of foreboding, of danger. What's just over the rise ahead? Where is that car going and what's going to happen to it? Something's not right though. I've been getting some helpful feedback through Twitter and need to do some amendments to it (see first attempt at C below, although I don't like the lower font, and prefer the red/grain effect of B).

C.
Tonight I tried something completely different - cover A. It is much more simpler, has a nice combination of colours and less clutter. It is also easy to read as a thumbnail. The more I look at it, the more I like it. I have just enthusiastically showed it to my nearest and dearest who proclaimed, 'Yeah, it's alright...' Now there's a positive sign if ever there was one! In fact, I am beginning to feel that it doesn't convey the same feelings as B does. It might actually be more suited to my first full novel - Filthy Gorgeous/Filthy. In that book a guy takes a road trip which has a hidden surprise which lands him in jail, and in the sights of the local drug cartel. Had been worried about how to come up with an idea for that one...

Now, you might advise me to pay a pro to do this but I can't! My idea is that this little series of five short cop stories will cost absolutely nothing to produce, so one sale is a profit! Any profits that do come from it will go to the editing (and possibly pro cover) for Filthy.

And just for comparison, I've added the original pic!

(This is the original image for A - amazing to see what
an amateur can achieve with nearly nothing!)

D.

E.
F. (I really like this for rmy novel!)


Original Image: Pixomar / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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