Tuesday, 26 August 2014

When writing takes a back seat to a dog.

I try to write, I really do. At my last sitting a put down 2,500 words, but that was three (four?) days ago now and I haven't been able to get back to it at all.

Animals and the Spanish

Animals are partly to blame. You see, I live in a country where animals are treated merely as a commodity, with very little love shown to them if any. I live in Spain, a country famous for its bull fighting and bull running and numerous other 'traditional activities' which usually mean an animal has to suffer to please the people.


In the small region where I live (La Rioja, pop: 320,000), 5,000 dogs are abandoned each summer when families take off for three months vacation, the dog being nothing more than a costly nuisance. If it is there when they come back, they might even take it in again.  Over 300,000 pets are abandoned in Spain EVERY year, the worst country for abandonment in the European Union. After 10 days, Spanish law says they must be killed.


Me with Pitbulls ELTON (L) and Rasta (R)
Elton cuddles up to my wife
What's this to do with my writing? Well, due to my love for animals and in an attempt to make up for the Spanish indifference to their animals, I recently went to the local charitable dogs' home, (AsociaciĆ³n Protectora de Animales en La Rioja) with my wife to see if we could help at all. The amazing volunteers there collect dogs from the local government killing houses and attempt to give them a longer life at the shelter, trying to have them adopted by people who care. We sponsored two Pitbulls, simply because they told us NOBODY will have anything to do with them due to the negative publicity re the breed, and because they were two of the friendliest dogs I have ever met. It means that we now drive the 25 mins to the shelter each day and take the two dogs out for a walk. They love it, and so do we.

Own dogs

This is on top of my own two dogs. Nina the Dalmatian was bought in Spain and - due to inconsiderate breeding - is 100% deaf. She is now 12 years old and doing fine, capable of understanding at least 15 hand signals. Adah is a 9 month old German Shepherd we bought in La Rioja. Today we confirmed that she has severe Dysplasia in both hips and needs an operation. She is in so much pain and I feared we were going to lose her. Dysplasia is very common in Spain, as most people just breed any dog to make a profit with little thought for the welfare of the dog.

Adah (L) and Nina (R)
I'll never BUY another dog in Spain as I can't trust the people to care enough to breed healthy animals, but I will go to the shelter and adopt dogs from there. If I had space, I'd take in Elton and Rasta tomorrow.

As for my writing, it seems a tad irrelevant right now.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Foundation Monitoring

As I prepare for the release of book three of The Rozzers series, I like to keep an eye on what's happening with the previous two books.

Passive Marketing

As you may know, End of the Road is permanently free, and links through to the second book in the series, Cops Don't Run (0.99c). That is all the marketing I do, nothing more. This I call passive marketing (it is visible on my FB page, blog etc). I don't do active marketing (or very little, and only occasionally). If only I had the time!

So, how are the books doing?


End of the Road has been downloaded nearly 7,000 times in the last 16 months, and has never been off the #1 spot in various categories (that's over 100 copies per week). Success? I think so, although obviously I don't earn anything from it, but then that is not my intention with this book.

End of the Road on Amazon UK (today)


Since Cops Don't Run was published in Nov 2013, it has sold 250 copies (approx 10 per week). Again, it is not actively promoted. For the first few months I was selling one copy per day. The last few months that has doubled to two copies per day. The majority of these sales are conversions from book one readers (they liked what they read in the free book and decided to go on and buy book 2) - this was my marketing plan all along.

Conversion rate

The interesting thing is that as downloads for book one show a slight decline over the last few months, purchases of book two seem to be increasing. In January, the conversion rate was 13.2 copies of EotR for every one copy of CdR bought. That rate has steadily improved, and is currently at 6.1 free copies downloaded for every one copy purchased.




My mum, and #1 fan
As actual sales have steadily increased since January (now selling 2.2 copies per day, up from 1.2 in Jan), it would seem to be a good time to publish the third part, as I believe that the 250 buyers of book 2 will want to buy book 3 as well. If I can get them all to buy it on the release date, the book should get pushed high up the charts.

To achieve this, I plan to use the preorder option with Amazon and Smashwords, and of course announce its availability on my ever-increasing newsletter, Twitter, FB and blog.

I will also tell my mum, as she tells everybody and anybody back in my home town!

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