All posts in The Long Hard Road

IN MY DEFENCE

IN MY DEFENCE

Firstly, a few things I need to tell you. This will bring you bang up to date with what’s been happening in my world this month.

The short story collection ‘A Sting In The Tale’ went on sale from the end of October on Amazon both in the UK and the USA. Competitively priced at just under £1 or $1.50 it’s not designed to make me a fortune; its main purpose is to spread my name across a whole new raft of readers. As the collection contains love stories and ghost stories as well as some with an element of crime and revenge then the tags for the genres covered are much more varied than my first novel ‘The Final Straw’ which is being understandably swamped by the plethora of #crime #thrillers etcetera out there.

It’s still early days, but for instance ‘A Sting In The Tale’ has regularly featured in the upper reaches of lists of books containing ‘Humour’ and ‘Criminals/Lawyers’! Now, this may be a niche market but you never know who might stumble across it nestled among books by Martin Amis and John Mortimer and investigate further. I live in hope.

Early this week the reviewers on Smashwords eventually passed this short stories collection as suitable for their Premium Catalogue; they have had a glut of book submissions lately evidently. Even more competition, just what I need!

Now that hurdle has been crossed, the book is on sale in pretty much every format available out there, so if you are a Kobo person, Sony, Apple or Oyster plus half a dozen more, there’s no excuse – get moving and download a copy as soon as possible. As I said to someone I work with who did just that ‘You can’t really go wrong for a pound can you?’

As for the advertising campaigns, well they’re a mixed bag. The Orangeberry Tour continues until mid December for the novel and I’ve got a Twitter campaign running for another week or so for my short story collection. I’ve not had much time to drop into the World Literary Café but the Goodreads campaign has let me reach around 50000 potential readers so far and is going reasonably well.

The BookBuzzr giveaway campaign got underway last Friday (8th) and this could bring some more reviews in due course, but it’s a slow process. I spotted another site called bookclubreading.com via Twitter as well, which offered adverts for both my latest books for 15 days at a very reasonable price; after four days there has been a healthy pick up so I may use that site again very soon. Happy days!

There have been seismic changes in the Tayler household. At long last my wife Lynne has realised that work is a four letter word! The last year or so has seen a multitude of changes at her place of work and she’s crumpled under the strain bless her! We had a preliminary chat on holiday, then a summit meeting at the beginning of November and she’s currently working out her notice.

Whether she’ll take up the offer of a job as my full time PA (unpaid) is still to be decided. We also have the trickier task of the allocation of home duties! I’ve cooked, cleaned, washed & ironed for the past 13 years and I’m not going to give up any of these jobs without a fight! She reckons we’ll share the duties out between us & this will give me more time to write, but sometimes when you’re stood working your way through a pile of shirts with an iron in your hand, you get a great story line pop into your head. Sitting looking at a blank sheet of paper on the computer screen can be far less stimulating.

Dave our guitarist’s final Melksham gig passed us by I’m afraid, entirely due to the matter above; we were double checking our finances and writing an important letter, but it went pretty well by all accounts. Dave & I went to the Nose to listen to Dirty Arry last Friday (8th) and despite the absence of Lou (bass) who has left altogether and Lottie (singer) who was taken ill at the eleventh hour, it was a good night. It’s a shame about Lou because he gave the group a touch of gravitas; he always had the air of someone who had been there, done that… very little movement & never a smile, just rock solid bass lines throughout. I missed him anyway.

In case you were wondering what this chapter’s title was alluding to, well a lot of comment has been recorded on the group page for the Nose, reflecting on the ‘good old days’ when we had some pretty good bands playing there. Naturally, now and then we had some not so hot bands too. That’s life. Every band I watch gets a review on my personal Facebook page, which has hitherto been visible to ‘friends’ and ‘friends of friends’. My friends know where I’m coming from, they know my background and they realise I have a fairly sarcastic sense of humour (it’s not a character trait I’m proud of & I try to curb it as much as I can but every now & then I lapse! So sue me!). Since I resurrected my Author Page, with me as sole Administrator my personal page is now also set to ‘Public’ because I want as many people as possible to know about my books. I’ve asked Facebook why I can’t have two separate privacy settings but so far no reply. This means that the world & his wife can see my comments & some bands weren’t happy. One band member questioned my experience & thankfully someone leapt smartly to my defence.  So, could I do what the bands in the Nose do? Maybe not regularly these days at 68, but I served my time and I think it qualifies me to comment on what I hear.

I’ve been on Twitter for two & a half years and I have always described myself as a former musician as well as a writer. I have received something in excess of a thousand requests to listen to and comment on songs on SoundCloud &  other sites. I’ve heard more rap & hip hop artists than most radio DJs for my sins! I try to say what I think they need to do to the best of my ability; the girl singers who post a video clip of themselves sounding more like Adele than Adele, I tell them to ‘write their own material, the voice is in place, now you need your own identity, don’t cover other people’s work.’ Every day a new submission; every day I spend a few minutes listening, hoping that a ‘real gem’ will land on my doorstep. I give my time freely and the number of requests shows no sign of drying up. Will there be a ‘gem’ one day? Who knows? Why do I do it? It costs me nothing but time & I want to give something back to music for all the great times it’s given me.

I think that will do for now; Lynne & I are off to watch Farcue at the Forester’s on Friday night. They’re her favourite band & one of mine too, so we’re looking forward to it. Will there be a review? You bet!

BRIEF ENCOUNTER

HALL OF FAME_TED TAYLER

 

BRIEF ENCOUNTER

I’ve only got a few words to share with you this time. I thoroughly enjoyed Muttley playing at The Pilot a couple of Saturdays ago. Last week, Lynne and I had a marvellous break away in sunny Majorca. We celebrated our 42nd wedding anniversary too while we were there. Upon our arrival back in the UK we were greeted with the threat of ‘The Big Storm’ which thankfully for us, wasn’t quite as bad as feared.

I gave the book tour/promotion issue a good deal of thought and opted for another short ‘virtual’ tour, coupled with an advertising campaign on Goodreads; I’ve joined the World Literary Café and the Independent Author Network and hope to use both of those to my advantage over the next couple of months. The first objective is to recoup the money I’ve paid out; the second is world domination. One out of two won’t be bad I guess?

The short story collection ‘A Sting In The Tale’ will be on sale from next Monday (4th Nov).

The website updates have been completed but I have a couple of things to sort out regarding the title image and that ‘widget’ I was trying to get installed. I have no further news on the extra paperback copies of WLTDANN at present and as far as getting Amazon to reduce the price of the kindle version, let’s just say my patience is running out! They have been helpful but I need someone else to ‘pull their finger out’!

Keep up with all the latest news here and on Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/EdwardCTayler

BROKEN SILENCE

AstinginthetaleFinal200x300_300DPI

BROKEN SILENCE

I am struggling to come up with a different chapter heading for these offerings! On this occasion I’ve chosen ‘Broken Silence’ because I’m trying to decide whether to go out tonight to watch a band of that name or not. The first time I saw them my review was short and sweet – ‘I wished they hadn’t!’ Rumour has it they’ve improved, so maybe I will. With the holiday coming up shortly I won’t be getting a weekly music fix until November, so maybe tonight followed by Muttley at The Pilot tomorrow night is the way to go!

I spent some considerable time pondering this virtual book tour problem. On balance, for £35 it was an experience I wouldn’t have missed. The blog stops (still ongoing), the twitter blasts etc were all new to me and tremendous fun. The poll was exciting but energy sapping! How did it affect book sales? Not a lot really; the reviews are pretty slow in coming through; the blog stops postings are pretty predictable now; the interview, the guest posts I was asked to provide and the excerpt have all been used on several occasions. Maybe they should freshen things up with some additional questions and guest articles halfway through?

Orangeberry stress that the tour and the subsequent reviews are no guarantee of high sales. I have quite a few weeks left on the tour, plus exposure on all of their site’s pages for a year, so progress will be slow unless I take some other additional action.

I’ve asked for their advice on what is the best way forward. Their initial response was to confirm that for a new writer, breaking into the market is a mystery. For example, when it comes to sales, what is your focus?

A – Do you want as many people as possible to have a copy of your book? i.e. you don’t mind giving away your book for free.
B – You only want sales and don’t want to give your book away for free.

If you’re okay with A, then they recommend at least 3 rounds of KDP Select. This enables Amazon Verified Purchase reviews which carry more weight for their search algorithms.

If you’re in the B category, then they recommend Kindle Nation Daily, in addition, advertising on GoodReads for as low as £16 a month also works.

For both A & B, BookBuzzr (bookbuzzr.com) provides good exposure for your book as well especially with their paid modules.

I had already joined both GoodReads and BookBuzzr as I told you last month. It’s early days but both sites seem to involve a lot of reading, reviewing and following up with ‘friends’. My question was ‘When will I have time to write?’ Lynne keeps asking when ‘Unfinished Business’ will appear on her Kindle! Even if I write the sequel as quickly as the first book it will be three months hard graft. There won’t be a lot of time for reading that’s for sure!

Last time I told you of my progress on the short stories for the collection ‘A Sting In The Tale’. I’ve been a busy boy! Stories 10, 11 and 12 were completed by last weekend and Lynne read them and thankfully enjoyed them. I was really lucky this week because for the past few weeks I’ve been checking Melissa Alvarez’s website and she’s been writing, therefore not taking cover design commissions. On Tuesday, she was back on the scene! 24 hours later, the cover was completed. The following day I sent the manuscript for the collection to Lucinda Campbell for her to prepare the file for publication. We made a good team with ‘The Final Straw’ and I see no good reason to make a change. Lucinda is pretty busy right now and it will be November 1st before I’ll be receiving the finished article. No worries, I’m going to be on holiday in the sun for part of that time anyway!

There will be a couple of visible changes to the website in the next couple of weeks. I’m adding some new links and landing widgets (don’t ask – I don’t understand them either) and the ‘welcome’ message will be more appropriate for a writer with several books in the market place.

On that score, there have been two developments in the past fortnight. The paperback version of ‘We’d Like To Do A Number Now’ is out of stock as you probably know. I’m looking into the possibility of going back to the printers for some additional copies. I have 4 firm orders and if you know anyone that wants a signed copy for around £8 then please put them in touch with me. I know that a lot of you like the feel of a ‘real’ book, rather than a digital version and if you can put up with it having my signature in it, all the better!

The kindle version of WLTDANN is on Amazon at £2.05 and I’ve been trying for weeks to get them to reduce it to ‘Free’. My logic is that my ‘book of memories’ doesn’t represent who I am today. I’m proud of it as a record of everything we achieved all those years ago, but the price interferes with every new item I bring to the market. I hope that makes sense?

I’m giving Amazon a few days to make the necessary alteration to the price (after all it is MY book!) and if they don’t then I’ll have to take the matter further. There must be a keen reporter for a consumer programme/magazine that wants a Big Multinational versus Old Age Pensioner story to make their name in the world surely?

I’m off for some sun and an anniversary, and then back for November and some school work (Exam Invigilation). The short story collection will be up on all the usual retail outlets at 99p (bargain!) soon after the start of the month too, so there’s no excuse for not downloading a copy for that Christmas present for the relative with a Kindle!

Keep up with all the latest news here and on Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/EdwardCTayler

That’s all for now; take care.

Are We There Yet?

ob hall of fame med winner

ARE WE THERE YET?

I should never make promises then break them! I apologise for the delay in producing this blog chapter. In my naivety I thought that when the poll closed at midnight on the 10th there would be a lot of activity checking the ‘scores on the doors’ followed by the announcement of all the category winners on the 12th as indicated on the Orangeberry website.

Oh how wrong you can be! First of all, let me take you through the last 72 hours leading up to the poll closing. The gap in the votes had remained pretty much static for just over a week; I had hung on to a lead of between 25 -30 over ‘American Destiny’ by Greg Sandora. Then on Sunday morning he made a sudden and dramatic surge. I was still ticking over; picking up votes via Twitter, but by Monday morning the gap had narrowed to 10-15.

I tried my Facebook friends again and they were amazing. Whether some people were owed a big favour, who knows? The votes kept coming from friends of friends and beyond. So much so that even though my rival was adding votes at a rate of knots we somehow contrived to stretch the lead going into the last twelve hours. We have all had some stressful times in our lives haven’t we? There is no way I want to go through that again! At midnight on Tuesday 10th I had a lead of just fewer than 50 and it was over. I had won. The relief was tremendous. I didn’t feel elated, just shattered!

The following morning a YouTube video had already been posted on the Hall of Fame website carrying the category winners and yours truly was first up with the Best Book Ever. A message left for the winners suggested that details of our prize would be emailed to us between the 12th and the 19th September. We were asked to be patient.

Day after day I waited for the email. Nothing materialised. I thought I might as well get some writing done. Any fears of a mental block caused by the stress of the poll, or any other matters went right out of the window. In the past fortnight I have completed 5 short stories.

Bang To Rights is a tale of betrayal following a visit from the gas board.
The Class of 64 is about a group of bullies getting their come-uppance after 50 years.
The Last Bus is a ghost story.
Affair Of The Heart explores whether a couple can survive the break up of an affair.
What’s In A Name is a shaggy dog story with an ending you may say you saw coming, but I doubt if you’ll have guessed what the last line actually is!

So that makes 9 stories completed now and 3 to go to comprise the collection. I’m on target for publication before Christmas. It’s soon October and I’ve got my birthday, our wedding anniversary and a holiday coming up so that will slow me down for sure, but I’m on a roll now & I haven’t got the poll or any other distractions to stop me.

The notification of the ‘prize’ didn’t actually arrive until last Friday (20th Sept) and needless to say it wasn’t in the form of a large cheque! The virtual tour has been extended until mid December with 20 extra reviews promised; there are still five reviews outstanding from the first leg of the tour and if they’re as good as the first five I’ll be a happy man:-

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18377434-the-final-straw?from_search=true

What additional exposure will I receive from this success? My book will be placed on all Orangeberry Book Tour sites (in the sidebar) from October 2013 onwards and ‘The Final Straw’ was inducted into the Orangeberry Hall of Fame. I received a Winner’s badge (you can’t have missed it surely?) and a big incentive to book another tour in the near future.

In July Orangeberry linked up with BookBuzzr.com and I now have a flipbook widget on my Facebook Author page that enables you to read a short extract from ‘The Final Straw’ and in due course you’ll be able to get a sneak preview of ‘A Sting In The Tale’ and next year ‘Unfinished Business.’ I may add this feature to my website in the future but for now the link is:

https://www.facebook.com/EdwardCTayler

If you’d like to get a free copy of ‘The Final Straw’ via BookBuzzr.com, I’m running a Giveaway until the end of September (there are 5 copies left!) and if you’re already a member then get on over before they all go!

http://bit.ly/14BAJS8

I think I need a month or so to mull over the pros and cons of a virtual book tour. Are they worth doing? Will the book sales be greater because I joined one, or could I have done as well (or better?) by approaching a whole load of bloggers and asked if they would feature a Guest Post? Come back for next month’s chapter and I may have some answers.

My brother and his wife called in for an all too brief visit. Lynne and I went to lunch with her brother and his mate. Son Steve brought the grandsons over a couple of times. Daughter Kim and her husband Mal stayed last weekend. Lots of good things to keep me from getting bored! Dave the guitarist from my old band came over to the Nose to watch the Corinthian Casuals on Friday 13th and nothing went wrong, so we all met up at the Pilot last Saturday, with our wives this time, to listen to them all over again! We’re off to celebrate my mate Mike’s birthday (5th) and mine (7th) with a meal out in early October, then there’s Muttley at the Pilot on the 12th. Oh I don’t know! When will I get a chance to put my feet up? Roll on that holiday in Majorca I say!

That’s all for now; take care and I’ll be back in about three weeks or so with some more ramblings.

ONWARDS AND UPWARDS!

ONWARDS AND UPWARDS!

Welcome back my friends and other voyeurs who have stumbled across these ramblings. It’s September and I have returned to haunt your thoughts through yet another winter.

The virtual book tour for ‘The Final Straw’ continued throughout August with the Expo. Up to 10 reviews of my novel will appear on Amazon and other sites over the next few weeks.

The first of these came from Quality Reads UK, the book club that nominated my first novel for the ‘Best Book Ever’ category. It was a really heart warming feeling to see that someone entirely ‘neutral’ appreciated what I had written. Friends & family telling you they love it is fine too but a stranger doesn’t have to worry about hurting your feelings!

Quality Reads UK Book Club
The Final Straw by Ted Tayler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Did the plot pull you in or did you feel you had to force yourself to read the book? The plot pulled me in from the first page. The story is original, the characters unique and the writing is absolutely moving. What is the final straw for every person? Ultimately, that is what the book explores.

How realistic was the characterization? Very realistic. I’m assuming the author has done some research or experienced some kind of investigation like Colin. The main character makes you feel hate, sympathy and in the end, you end up reflecting on your own motivations and reactions to life incidences.

What was your memorable scene? When Eric dies, and Sue starts making a list of things to do. Very little love lost there.

Fingers crossed the other reviews are as good!

I’m afraid August has been a bit of a mixed bag with some highs and lows. A couple of sad farewells to those who have died; regrets for those doors that have been closed, perhaps for ever. I’ve felt a degree of satisfaction at tasks well done and also sense a promise of better things to come.

The poll has occupied far too much of my time. My family and friends have been very patient (mostly!) while I keep badgering them for votes. A couple of glitches on the Orangeberry website have meant the closing date moving further and further away to the 10th September. Final results will be posted on the 12th September. My 91500 Twitter fans have also been denied my diet of whimsy and things to ponder. I keep reminding them that if only 0.10% of them voted for me it would be done & dusted! As I write this at 10.30 hrs GMT on the 6th I have 204 votes and lead Greg Sandora’s ‘American Destiny’ by 26 votes.

I have written nothing. Okay, I have done the research for the sequel ‘Unfinished Business’ but nothing else. The short stories remain untouched. I’ve read half a dozen crime novels looking for inspiration but until next Tuesday I don’t think I’ll be relaxed enough to clear the decks and get stuck into it all again.

There have been changes at home and abroad! Our bathroom has been completely remodelled and I’ve been decorating furiously. The garden looks a picture and the lawn has been given loads of TLC. The snooker season has started and after over fifty years at Melksham House I have now moved to Seend Social Club! Very nice it is too. Very friendly people and my team are looking forward to a successful season. In other words, we hope not to lose too often!

My brother and his wife are coming down for a visit on Saturday. It will be good to catch up. The kids have been busy over the past weeks with our grandchildren home from school or nursery, taking holidays where possible and grandson Jack started ‘proper’ school on Wednesday. Where do the years go to eh?

I’ll bring you an update next week once this blessed poll is complete. Win or lose it won’t change things much. There are no guarantees that a handful of excellent reviews and a place in the Hall of Fame will equate to a ‘best seller’ or anything approaching it, so ‘plus ca change plus la meme chose’ as they say (well, not around here in West Wiltshire but I read they do somewhere!).

Thanks for coming back. I hope you’re glad I decided to ‘stay’ rather than ‘go’ and once the monkey is off my back I’m going to graft away on those stories and the sequel with a plan to publish a collection entitled ‘A Sting In The Tale’ by Christmas and ‘Unfinished Business’ in the Spring. No pressure then! Bye for now!

Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO?

Anniversaries are strange occasions aren’t they? Some bring back memories of happy times; others are a stark reminder of a tragedy, something that you might not wish to be reminded of. Unfortunately, just like birthdays, Christmas and New Year, they keep turning up on the same day year in year out.

It was on August 1st 2011 that my book of memories was released to the world at large. Two days earlier on the Saturday I had a book launch party and a healthy crowd of friends and family gathered to share in this proud writer’s moment of smug satisfaction. Six months down the road the paperbacks were sold out and the kindle version had been reduced in price to catch a few straggling sales.

Regular readers of these ramblings will know only too well what happened alongside this brief and only moderately successful foray into the world of literature. I had the bright idea of setting up a website! Its primary function was to help to sell copies of the book. (It still is as a matter of fact!) The people that helped me achieve this fanciful whim also suggested I might boost my sales by using Twitter. They suggested I could drive thousands upon thousands of people to my site, thereby encouraging them to part with their hard earned dollar, euro, yen or good old British pound on my book in electronic format.

Therefore, as one journey effectively came to an end, a new one began. I attacked Twitter relentlessly, seeking out followers who might share common interests – music, books, and spending money – the results spoke for themselves. A year ago, on the first anniversary of the book being published the figures stood at almost 45000 followers and less than fifty kindle sales. Was this the most productive use of my time I asked myself? Possibly, many others did too!

I was writing something for this blog and posting it every three to four weeks. I was enjoying the discipline. There were several hard nosed readers out there who seemed to enjoy reading what I had to say, so the question I actually asked myself was – why not carry on for another year?

The band reunion planned for November meant that there was plenty to write about; then as August drifted into autumn I developed a sudden urge to write a ‘proper’ novel and ‘The Final Straw’ carried me happily through the winter. The Twitter campaign continued, but although the follower numbers are now almost 90000, the kindle sales on the book of memories have dried up. In the past three months while I have been adding up to fifteen thousand new people, the core following I have are still musicians or music lovers. They aren’t necessarily book readers, let alone interested in an erotic crime novel. All this lead me to wonder as this second anniversary landed on my shoulder; should I stay or should I go?

The virtual book tour for ‘The Final Straw’ continues throughout August with the Expo.
A visit to http://orangeberrybooktours.com/expo/                                                 will show you the itinerary. It’s worth a quick peep surely?

Up to 10 reviews of my novel will appear on Amazon and other sites over the next few weeks. The initial sales will be revealed to me in about two weeks. What happens after that will depend on the reviews to some extent, but mostly on Lady Luck.

My wife Lynne asked me the other day how much this epic voyage had cost me. I did some quick mental arithmetic (I’ve still got it!) and even taking the worst case scenario, assuming that nobody has bought one single copy of the novel, which several of you know isn’t true (many thanks) it works out at £10 per week over the two years.

I can hear quite a few of you thinking; heck, my hobby or whatever it is that occupies your leisure time, costs me a darn sight more than that! On balance I’ve decided that an amount like that is manageable, but I still have doubts as to whether to carry on.

Maintaining and expanding the Twitter following takes time. Writing this blog takes time. Tackling a series of short stories (4 down and 6 to go) will take time. I might be able to publish them in time for Christmas. Perhaps if the sales of the novel pick up once the reviews are posted I’ll get a second wind and commit myself for a third year and try to persuade another raft of people to part with their money.

I’ve sketched out the sequel to ‘The Final Straw’; I know where Colin will strike first on his return to the UK with his new list. I know that music and musicians will play a big part in the story line and that a lot more lives will be lost before Colin and Phil Hounsell meet in their equivalent to the Reichenbach Falls for Holmes and Moriarty. Whether it will ever be written is debatable? Who knows?

For those friends and family who have stuck with me for the past two years, many thanks. I’ll take a few weeks off now as the tour comes to an end, to reflect on what has gone before and decide what to do in the future. I’m not getting any younger and there may be other things I could be doing. I have no idea what that might be as yet.

So there we have it! I’ll leave you with the song that will be occupying my thoughts during the month of August, prompted by this second anniversary – Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

Wednesday 31st July – 5.00pm GMT wrapped up ready to post

Wednesday 31st July – 7.30pm GMT continued writing with a ray of hope!

Do you believe in fate? I wrote the above piece and was all set to upload it to the blog in the morning. Lynne got in from work just before 6.00pm and we ate the chicken curry I was preparing about thirty minutes later.

When I checked my e-mails at 7.00pm I had received notification from Orangeberry Book Tours that ‘The Final Straw’ is a finalist for ‘Quality Reads UK – Best Book Ever’

Voting starts officially tomorrow (Aug 2nd) and closes on Sept 2nd. Please spare a few seconds to vote for me if you can at

http://orangeberrybooktours.com/expo/2013/07/31/hall-of-fame-quality-reads-uk-best-book-ever/

I’ll definitely be back in September with the latest news. If Lady Luck is smiling on me for a change it could be good news!

Why Is It So Difficult To Make Yourself Understood?

WHY IS IT SO DIFFICULT TO MAKE YOURSELF UNDERSTOOD?

A mixed bag this time around. There have been some good days and some bad days over the past couple of weeks. The tour has thrown up several extraordinary events which I never dreamt I’d be dealing with when I started writing seriously two years ago. Yes! Believe it or not, it’s almost our second anniversary here on this blog. And they said it wouldn’t last!

I’ll just pick out a couple of highlights from the tour so far. The Twitter View on Day 2 was a real eye opener! I told you last time that I had been asked to send answers to up to 30 questions from a list of 50 and I had complied like the good chap I am. I signed in to Twitter at about 8.30pm (GMT) and saw my name, alongside another author, together with a question on the OBBookTours page.

As it wasn’t one I’d answered in my submission, I was interested to see how it would be shown! I clicked on my fellow author’s page and shock, horror, she was online and answering her questions ‘live’! So I joined in. Of course I was tap-dancing on some questions, because I hadn’t got a script to work from. The old brain was working overtime!

I eventually logged out around 11.30pm when there was a lull in the questioning. I checked the various followings and retweets I was picking up on Twitter and was pleased to see that around 250000 people potentially were reading my succinct yet intelligent replies.

The next morning I checked my emails and I was off again! About an hour after I had packed in the previous evening, the next batch of questions had came through, so I was playing ‘catch-up’! I didn’t get a break to pop out for my morning constitutional until almost lunchtime!

There were a couple of days of Twitter Blasts too, which paid dividends it appeared. This didn’t involve me in doing anything, but OBBookTours and a sister site sent out a trailer for the book with a line from the blurb, every couple of hours during the day. I passed several of those on to my followers and the book started to move rapidly on the rankings on Kobo and Amazon. By the 8th July, for example, ‘The Final Straw’ had risen 155000 places on Amazon UK. Happy days!

There are quite a few more dates to come on the tour, with some fascinating sites being visited. The 10 Book Reviews will appear in due course and naturally I’m hoping they’ll be favourable. No matter what the final outcome is, it has been a marvellous experience and I won’t be giving up anytime soon! That’s something people will just have to get used to. I NEVER GIVE UP!

REMAINING DATES ON THE ORANGEBERRY BOOK TOUR

16th July – Guest Post at Paws on Books
17th July – Book Review at Gentleman Reads
18th July – Author Interview at My Life in Books
19th July – Book Review at Journey’s thru Books
20th July – Author Interview at Top Shelf Books
21st July – Book Review at A Novel Design
22nd July – Guest Post at Non-Stop Reads
23rd July – Excerpt at Quality Reads
30th July – Author Interview at Nobody Important
1st to 31st August 2013 – Listing at OB Book Expo
6th August – Guest Post & Book Feature at Book Connoisseur
13th August – Excerpt at Next Big Book Thing
20th August – Author Interview & Book Feature at Just My Opinion
27th August – Guest Post at Aspiring Books
3rd September -
10th September – Guest Post & Book Feature at High Class Books

There are tens of thousands of writers on Twitter. The competition for sales is immense, yet there are people who go out of their way to be sociable and to help you gain coverage. Just two ladies this month merit a special mention, Rosemary Lynch and Clarissa O. Clemens.

Rosemary lives in Wiltshire like myself and so is a perfect candidate for the Melksham Literary Festival (which doesn’t exist yet and she doesn’t know that I will be urging the Melksham Writers Group to invite her when it does!) If you like Epic Fantasy and Contemporary Erotic Romance then look no further; plus her artwork alone is worth a look for those of you who don’t like to read!

As soon as we linked up on Twitter Rosemary was spreading the word about my book & website and I have returned the favour. There aren’t many businesses who help to promote other competing products are there?

As for Clarissa, she lives in California and her genre is Erotic Poetry (The Poetic Art of Seduction is a big seller. Check it out if you dare!). We linked up a couple of weeks ago and whereas thousands never contact you direct again, we’ve had a running conversation ever since. It’s great to have someone who understands how a writer ticks to bounce ideas and feelings off and with her much greater experience I’m hoping to gain valuable tips to help me progress as a writer.

In case you were wondering when this month’s heading was going to make an appearance and become relevant, your wait is over.

These two ladies are prime examples of how easy it is to communicate. Either through their published works, or online with someone with a common interest, they achieve it with no apparent effort. This is because the language we three use is familiar to us; we’ve grown up with it. I’ve grown up with it for a lot longer than the two ladies, but that’s neither here nor there!

The problem of miscommunication lies with younger people, particularly the generation who use mobile phones and social network sites to communicate with their peers.  Whereas earlier generations kept in touch by actually talking face to face, using the old land-line phone and sending a hand written letter, today’s kids and young adults have a lot of tools available to them designed to get their message across quickly and in as few characters as possible.

People use abbreviations, emoticons, all sorts of ways of squeezing the maximum information into a text message, tweet, Facebook update etcetera, as I’m sure you’ve seen. Have a look online and see how many different explanations there are for some of the more frequently used ones! Nothing is set in stone!

If you don’t talk face to face or have to discipline yourself to write a proper letter (on an email say) it’s all too easy to misunderstand what is being inferred by the ‘text speak’ generation. It just takes some thought and consideration of how the other person might interpret things which are unfamiliar to them surely? So take care that you say what you mean and you mean what you say. It will save a lot of grief in the long run.

I look forward to seeing you all again next month. Fingers crossed for some good news on the book! Have fun; enjoy the weather while it lasts!

The Train Now Standing At Orangeberry Central

THE TRAIN NOW STANDING AT ORANGEBERRY CENTRAL

Well here we are again. I had to hold off a little longer than I had planned because of unexpected delays. For reasons beyond my control Orangeberry put my virtual book tour back one week. It’s now due to start next Wednesday the 3rd July.

There was a lot of preparation for that too! As if I hadn’t got enough to do with the busy examination schedule. Tomorrow morning (Fri 28th) I’ll be invigilating my last one for this summer. Spanish listening and reading for Year 9 students. El Doddle! Apart from a get together of all of the crew towards the end of July, then that’s me free as a bird until September. Happy days!

Orangeberry wanted their pound of flesh in return for the reviews the book will receive. Fair play! I had to answer about thirty questions for an author interview. You know the sort of thing: tell us about your family; have you always enjoyed writing etc.

The best one was ‘If you could have a dinner party and invite anyone living or dead, who would you invite – and why?’
My answer was easy! ‘Gallagher, Hendrix, Bonham & Entwistle to discuss the formation of a new supergroup – and to persuade them they needed a singer.’

The really crunchy part of the preparation was writing five hundred words on half a dozen topics (all books, reading and publishing related). That got my head in a spin I can tell you, I haven’t put that much work into anything since my A Level History exams fifty years ago. What a ‘grueller’!

We had the hectic social weekends I told you about a month or so ago. We attended Tom’s retirement party and enjoyed the food and wine, while suffering (sorry Tom ‘enjoying’) his favourite Beatle’s tribute act. Also there was Mark & Karen’s evening reception and another pleasant evening of food, drink, good conversation and the occasional decent track from the DJ. (He wasn’t a patch on Mark & Nigel in the old days it has to be said!)

With the typical weather we get these days in June, Ralph & Jenny’s 40th wedding anniversary hog roast was held under threatening skies and gale force winds, but it was a cracking evening all the same. I had high hopes of a meal out on Father’s Day but my kids all disappeared elsewhere and Lynne took pity on me and we had a couple of steaks with all the trimmings (steady!) and lashings of red wine. Boy was I glad of a rest on Monday! In fact I’m not sure whether I nodded off for a minute or two during the afternoon exam. Whoops!

When I was sixteen, maybe seventeen, I wrote poetry, really bad poetry, and that was all the writing I planned to do in my lifetime. Circumstances, inspired by my recently retired mate Tom again, led me to write my book of memories. After that, just as in my youth, I felt that was enough. I had no great urge to do any more. This blog kept the fire burning I guess, just on a low light. The occasional rambling load of old nonsense which a few hardy souls might read and enjoy.

It was pure luck that my original plot for a novel seemed to be little more than a short story when I got down to writing it. I was at a loose end after the reunion gig and wondered whether I could create some believable characters and make a story ‘hang together’. Once I decided to flesh out the story with Colin Bailey’s early years and typed in ‘Colin Bailey was invisible’ the story flowed out, it literally wrote itself. I was just a conduit for the web to be woven. My contribution was merely to hit the keys in the right order.

In the past month I’ve written three poems ranging from my normal tongue in cheek, hopefully humorous offerings to a deeply emotional effort on growing old. Some things are not for sharing with the big wide world, not yet at least. I’m the wrong person to judge my own work of course, but I believe the quality is improving as I get more comfortable with committing my thoughts and feelings to print.

Only a handful of my family and friends have read ‘The Final Straw’ so far, but those that have appear to be happy with my efforts. My son Steve pronounced it as ‘flippin’ brilliant’, while daughter Louise & husband Rich thought is was ‘gripping’ and a ‘helluva good read’. These reviews are wonderful for me, regardless of what the outside world come up with, but an American sci-fi author took the plunge into a genre he doesn’t particularly enjoy and his review was ‘ a relaxed writing style that’s easy to read’ and ‘genuinely funny’. Well that’s another box ticked! I listed it under the Crime, Thriller and Mystery categories. Perhaps I’ll add a Comedy tag and pick up some more readers.

Keep an eye open for the book scuttling up the rankings over the next month or so as a result of the book tour. There should be quite a bit of twitter activity too, which you may spot. If you’re still undecided as to whether to buy, as the tour progresses more reviews will be posted. No guarantees they’ll be 5* but what will be will be.

Take care over the next couple of weeks. I’ll be back in July with the latest news. Remember to pack your kindle or tablet if you’re off on your holidays. If you need a good book to read then you know where to go don’t you?

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00D6HYWG2

http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/book-mYopJjSEAkyj4JbsCrc8qw/

The refurbished website has had a few favourable comments. Hope you like it too? Bye for now.

Do You Need A Passport For A Virtual Tour?

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DO YOU NEED A PASSPORT FOR A VIRTUAL TOUR?

Well the news is coming thick and fast, so here we are again! I’ve listed down the items I want to share with you (it’s my age) so it may not be in the optimum order but at least I’ll cover it all….. hopefully!

I told you last time that I’d signed up with Book Blogs where over twenty thousand authors, bloggers and book promoters had gathered together for their mutual benefit. Well, I gave it two weeks and couldn’t work out what it was all about! I received over twenty emails every day from people commenting on threads and basically urging me to read THEIR book, but not one single offer of a review for yours truly. Well, not unless I was prepared to cough up $25 a pop for the privilege. No thanks. I sacked it. Continue reading →

Back On The Long Hard Road

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BACK ON THE LONG HARD ROAD

Another chapter in the life of a part time author! Sales of the new book ‘The Final Straw’ are slow but steady. The first 5-star review was posted last night and there are a handful of people still struggling through the book, who have indicated they would add their well chosen words in due course. Continue reading →