Friday, 25 July 2014

Adding Tabs To Facebook Pages - Your Book's Shop Window



This week we look at Tabs and how we can set them up to engage your visitors so that hopefully they will become fans. I decided to create a new page for two reasons:
  1. We can go through the process together.
  2. This page is about a specific book I am in the process of writing. So no worries about me trying to badger other authors into buying it!
 The time to start looking for an audience is not after you've written your book and maybe published it but while you are still toiling away writing it. You may be thinking:


 "Is this guy really a writer? Doesn't he know I don't have enough time to write the damn thing without wasting my energy trying to promote it."
It's not really about time, it's about motivation. Think how much more motivated you would be if you knew there were already fans waiting to read the finished article.

Enough of the motivational stuff, let's get down to business. The next thing we want to do is add a tab to our Facebook Fan Page.
This short video will show you how to set up your first Facebook Fan Page Tab:



If you need to then watch this video a few times until you are comfortable with how to add a tab to your Facebook page. Hardly 'Gone With The Wind' but it should get you there. It's possible to add up to 12 tabs to your Facebook Page but I'm guessing many of you will require less.

Scroll down your page and you should now be able to see your Welcome Tab:


What we are going to do now is add more Facebook Page Tabs. 
First watch this brief video then click on the link below and try it for yourself. 




Add as many Tabs as you want as you can always delete or change them later. 
Click on ADD TABS to start adding tabs to your Facebook Fan page. 

The next thing we can do is change the tab image so it reflects our brand, book or genre. Because Billy and the Pit of Shadows is the first in a series I want to create an image that people will identify with. To do this we use one of the free tools we looked at last week - SuperResizeMe

We need to create an image that is exactly the same size as the Facebook Page Tab image.  The dimensions need to be 111 x 74.
Follow the steps outlined in the first post of this series only this time choose 111 x 74. 
Once your image is ready save it your Desktop or the file you have prepared.
This is what mine will look like:

As you can see I've simply resized my profile picture. Now just follow the steps in this next video to change the Tab name and image.


If you have the old Facebook Page layout then watch this video.

You have now begun to brand yourself just by using the tabs.
In the next post we'll look at what content we can add to the tabs using Static HTML.

See you then.

Friday, 18 July 2014

How and Why Authors Should Create A Facebook Fan Page


In last week's post I began by showing you how to create a profile picture for your blog using three free tools. A friend pointed out that some people might not know how to set up a Facebook Fan Page in the first place! So slightly red-faced apologies to everyone who got a little left behind last week and also to those who were expecting to learn about Page TABS and STATIC HTML this week. I promise we'll get to STATIC HTML next week but for now let's make sure everyone knows how and why we set up a Facebook Fan Page.

Let's consider WHY you need to create a Facebook Fan Page in the first place.
  • ANYBODY can view a Facebook Fan Page. You are not limited to just 5,000 friends. As of October 2013 there were over 500 million users. You do the math!
  • You don't have to be a Facebook member to view a Facebook Fan Page. This extends your Facebook Fan Page reach beyond Facebook's 500 million users.
  • Facebook Fan pages are search engine friendly and free!
  • You also get to use all the great features available through STATIC HTML and more that are not available to you on your personal Facebook page.
  • Finally your Facebook Fan Page is totally focused. With the help I intend offering you later on this means you can laser target your potential readers and turn them into fans.
Ok, first off you need to be a member of Facebook so if you are not already then why wait? 

Simply type Facebook in your browser search box and this will appear at the top of the search results:


Click on it and you will be taken to this screen:





Fill in your details and Facebook will welcome you aboard.
You will now have your own Home page that looks something like mine:

Nice pictures by the way Rob!

On the left hand side you will see a list of pages. The page I created to show you how to go about making a Facebook Fan Page is called Help Your Child Succeed and hasn't been published yet. I now need to create a new Facebook Fan Page to show you the process of setting it up.

The first thing you need do is click the CREATE PAGE link under PAGES.
Once you've done that just follow the steps in this video:





We should now be ready to start making our Facebook Fan Page stand out from the crowd. 

Next week we really will take a look at STATIC HTML and begin to explore the possibilities it offers us.

Apologies once again to everyone who was expecting that to happen this week. Don't worry it should be worth the wait!


Thursday, 10 July 2014

Authors - Are You Unleashing The Amazing Pulling Power of Facebook Pages?


If you answered no, or if you feel your Facebook page isn't having any impact this post might just be the kick start you need. Over the next couple of weeks I'll show you how I set up my new Facebook page using free tools to spice up the content and persuade visitors to hang around a little longer and eventually become fans. Let's face it the internet has reduced most of us to 'browsing butterflies'. Unless we find something to immediately attract our increasingly limited attention span we flutter off to the next website. 

The Vital First Step: 
  • Your header must have visual impact.
  • It must make clear what your Page is about - what niche your books are in. It's vital you identify your niche in order to effectively target the reading audience you want to reach.
  • If possible include a brand logo of some kind.
To create a visually striking header I used three 'tools':
You can join for free. It's great fun and has enormous potential for authors. I have a GoPlus account which at $6 per month is great value. GoAnimate simplifies the process of creating animations making it is easy to create your own characters. My header picture features characters from two distinct groups of play scripts for children. One set of characters was created for the Chronicles of Bumblebania, a series of plays about an imaginary dysfunctional royal family. The other characters were Sherlock Ohms and Dr Watts-On who appear in the Science Drama series under the title Sherlock Ohms and the Mystery of Magnet Manor. They were all created using GoAnimate and are unique to me.

GoAnimate has multiple uses for promoting your books and you as an author. We'll take a look at other potential uses in later posts but for now let's just stick with creating the header. Once you open a free GoAnimate account you will find yourself on a page with this button:


Click on it. This page will appear:


Various options appear for making a video.
Try them out at your leisure. 
Most of my videos have been made in Comedy World. When you hover over the Comedy World image a Make a Video button will appear. The first time you click it this option will appear:


It's worth taking time to get to know the features available to you.
After watching the tutorial or if you decide to skip you will be taken to the videomaker screen.

On the left hand side are a selection of background images. Scroll down and see if any are suitable. Once you have chosen a background simply click on it and it will replace the background already there.
You can also upload your own background from your computer.
There are various icons on the menu bar top left of the videomaker area. Click them to access different elements. Try clicking the orange image of a man. A selection of characters will appear:


The characters that appear above are those I have already created in Comedy World and are now available in My Library.
Before I chose the characters I need to change my background. The Facebook page I am creating is to promote my Child's Play Maths program and children's play scripts. My background should project this and have visual impact. The background I choose is a screenshot of a starship created on the interactive software that supplements the math program.



Next I click on the character logo and choose two characters.

They now appear on the videomaker screen.

When you first click on one of your characters you are given a choice of what Action and Emotion you want your character to display. We can ignore the Voice feature for now as we are simply using GoAnimate as a graphic creation tool to create our Facebook page header.

I decide to make one of the characters behave in a disrespectful way to the Spock character. I also need to make this character smaller. To achieve this simply click on the character and he will be enclosed by a box above which appear a series of options. By moving the arrows on the rectangle you can resize and/or rotate your character. The options above allow you to flip left or right, move him to the background or foreground or delete him altogether. In this case I have made him smaller so he can sit on the spaceship and provide a little perspective.
Now we need some text. Click on the text icon (T) and this menu appears:

I want to create a speech bubble for Spock so I simply click on one I like. You may have noticed that I also changed the action of the character so he is now speaking into a communication device. Double click on the bubble and you can input text with the font of your choice.


Hopefully some people will recognise the Cuisenaire Rods and most will recognise Spock. This still does not explain what my page/book is about. Some people may think it is to do with Science Fiction. When we consider how to reach our target market through Facebook in later posts it is important we are clear just who we are aiming to reach. In this case it may or may not be Trekkies but it is definitely parents and educators interested in making math a fun experience for their children.
I think I need to add more text!
This time I click on one of the fonts. A text box will appear on screen.

Type in the text. From the menu on the left hand side you can choose various options:

Play around with the settings until you are satisfied you have the right Font Size, Style, Color and Background. 
My screen now looks like this:

It should now be pretty clear what the page or book is all about.

So how do we transform our GoAnimate scene into a graphic image?
We use a free screen capture software called Screenhunter,
You can download it here.

Once you have downloaded your Screenhunter software a desktop link should be created that looks like this:
I think it might be easier to watch this brief video:





There is one final step. Facebook page headers have to be uploaded with a minimum size of 720 pixels wide. However, the optimum size is 851 x 315. Don't panic because there is a super free online tool that will resize your picture for you. Introducing SuperResizeMe - click on the link to visit the website. You will reach this page:

Click Select image.



Navigate to the image on your computer. Select it and click Open
The image you have chosen will now appear in the box.


Now scroll down the sizes and select 851 x 315.
Make sure you select the Stretch/Squeeze button as you do not want to crop your image, simply resize it.
You must remember to click the blue Add to list button. When you do your selection will appear in another blue button on the right. It says: 851 x 315, stretch, Same


If you want to change the format of your image then you must click and open the menu directly below Stretch/Squeeze.
This list will appear:


I usually choose jpg or png. Png is probably best for computer based images.
Now you can click the blue Add to list button.


PNG will now replace the word Same.
Once you are satisfied you have chosen all the right options and added them to the list you proceed to Step 3:
Simply fill in the correct answer in the box and press Return.
If you answer correctly the text in the blue button will change to Uploading Image.


Once the process has been completed this will appear on your screen:






















To access your image click on the Success Link.





SuperResizeMe can also be used to create the small profile inset picture in the header. You may have a logo or simply want to include a photo of yourself. The dimensions are 180 x 180 and the process is exactly the same except you choose 180 x 180 not 851 x 315 - duh!

When I eventually launch my Facebook page, Help Your Child Succeed, at the end of August I shall be giving away copies of the software featured in the page header. Although it does not directly relate to you as an author if you have children or nephews or friends with children please let them know. Children love using it and it is a completely stand alone app although it was created to supplement Child's Play Maths.

Next week we look at setting up Tabs for your Facebook page using Static HTML. It may sound 'too techie' but it's not really. There are lots of  cool ways you can utilise these tabs to promote yourself and your book.














Monday, 31 March 2014

Calling Aspiring Science Fiction Writers


Who doesn't love the story of Orson Welles radio production of War of the Worlds which caused many listeners to head for the hills - literally. Deliberately introducing the play as a news broadcast proved too realistic especially when one of the actors described the emergence of an alien from its spacecraft:
 "Good heavens, something's wriggling out of the shadow like a gray snake," he said, in an appropriately dramatic tone of voice. "Now it's another one, and another. They look like tentacles to me. There, I can see the thing's body. It's large as a bear and it glistens like wet leather. But that face. It...it's indescribable. I can hardly force myself to keep looking at it. The eyes are black and gleam like a serpent. The mouth is V-shaped with saliva dripping from its rimless lips that seem to quiver and pulsate....The thing is raising up. The crowd falls back. They've seen enough. This is the most extraordinary experience. I can't find words. I'm pulling this microphone with me as I talk. I'll have to stop the description until I've taken a new position. Hold on, will you please, I'll be back in a minute."
Many people didn't bother to hang around as panic began to grip the population. Instead of suppressing a superior snigger at all those naive folks perhaps we shouldn't be too quick to cast the first stone of ridicule. Technology is moving so fast the lines between science and fiction are becoming increasingly blurred. Perhaps there never has been such a great time to be an aspiring writer of science fiction which brings me to the point of this post. If anyone would like to provide a paragraph from their work, unfinished or published, I will feature it on this blog next week along with a link to whatever you provide.

To kick us off I'll include a few paragraphs from my own project that I will have to finish one day soon! It is set in a post apocalyptic world where some of the survivors live within vast cellular domes protecting themselves from the anarchic wasteland beyond. Genetic technology has been developed to such an extent that it is now possible to identify deviant genes that give rise to anti-social behaviour. 

There was little traffic on the auto link. Occasionally they would speed past huge land transporters ferrying goods from zone to zone. Once, the monstrous bulk of an interstate freighter moved deferentially to one side in acknowledgement of the distinctive markings displayed on the sleek black limo. Only essential personnel owned petrol powered vehicles. Most drove solar powered transporters that were by law restricted to zonal sectors only. The advances in cellular construction which had made possible the development of the vast  'zonal domes' also concentrated the suns energy providing all necessary power. The domes also protected the inhabitants from harmful effects of solar radiation that so easily penetrated the impoverished atmosphere.

At least traffic jams were a thing of the past. Chief Inspector Dale had read of this late twenty first century phenomenon with amused fascination. He afforded himself a wry smile. The problem appeared insoluble to scientists and politicians alike as the multiplying mass of humanity threatened to exhaust rapidly decreasing global resources. Pollution, the suppurating wounds of industrialised society, festered openly. A disease many believed incurable. Overshadowing these horrors hung the threat of the nuclear holocaust.
Oblivion.
When the end came no one even recognised its coming. The collapse of the Western monetary system proved disastrous. Economies disintegrated. Inflation soared. Nations plunged into a world wide depression deeper than an ocean trench. Swept away by the tidal wave of events governments lay stranded and helpless like beached whales. Anarchy prevailed. Continents became one vast battle ground. Wars raged within and between nations. Nuclear weapons of unimaginable destructive power were unleashed and a second Dark Age enshrouded mankind. Famine, the camp follower of war, carried her children, disease and misery, at her breast. The human race teetered on the brink of destruction.
Out of chaos arose a saviour.
But salvation carried a price. Theirs had been Jonathon.
The car sped through the nightmare landscape. Beyond the elevated auto pass security patrols wailed as they passed along the restricted area that marked the boundary of the Outworld. The occasional staccato roar of a helipatrol thundered a primal challenge across the reddening sky as it swept over the wasteland in scything arcs. A vivid sunset seeped through the heavens bloodying the scarred earth. Against the skyline the wreckage of a lost world cast its grotesque silhouette like the exposed bones of an ancient beast time has long since devoured. Camp fires flickered amidst the sepulchres of dead cities. Still the car sped on.
Dale glanced at the window and saw his face reflected against the desolation.
Kay still believed he was out there.
In exile.
Punished.
She must never know the truth. No one must."
 That's my contribution folks the rest is up to you. If you are interested please contact me at philiprowlands@ymail.com.

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You may or may not know that I also write educational programs for children. If you have a young child I am currently giving away free copies of an app that simulates Cuisenaire Rods. My grandson, who's seven, loves using it. If you would like a free copy follow this link FREE APP






Saturday, 15 March 2014

Horror - Back To Basics.

One of the main reasons I set up Kindle Authors was to try and help other Indie authors in any way I could. That’s why occasionally I come up with ideas like the Authors Lottery that hasn’t received much support (IT BOMBED!!!). So let’s get back to basics.

Who loves a good horror story? If I could see you I imagine a whole lot of hands would be raised in the air. That analogy sort of gives away my teaching background doesn’t it? As a retired teacher it’s great to meet former pupils who still want to talk to you. It’s even more rewarding when one of them proves to be a very talented young writer of Gothic horror stories.

Paul Worthington’s short story entitled ‘Six for Supper’ is shortly to be included in Issue 2 of Eto. I was thrilled when I read it and feel sure that if the Pan Book of Horror Stories was still going strong ‘Six for Supper’ would be included. Here’s a brief extract: 
“The bodies lay about fifty metres apart in a ditch that ran alongside a country lane. A man and a woman both in their early twenties probably a couple, their lives brutally and prematurely ended. The ferocity of the attack was evident due to the victims torn clothes and the several deep gaping wounds present on each corpse. The chalky white gravel that lined the ditch had splatters of blood all over it; the blood had an eerie glow under the moonlight. It was 7.25pm on the 10th of February 1928 and on this secluded path that linked two tiny peaceful villages lay the fourth and fifth victims of what could only be a madman. The local constabulary had no suspects and no clues. . . “
There are lots of talented writers working within the horror genre waiting to be discovered.
Two of them are featured below:

Adrian Lilly


 Below is an extract from'Th e Arrangement' a free fiction story you can read from Adrian's blog.

“Lucy did not need to remember the full moons and the monster they made her; the mornings after, and the looks on their faces told her everything. And each time she changed, the walls of the vault became more gouged and pummelled so that she doubted Jared’s assertion that they “could use it until we find a cure.” Lucy feared that one day the door would rip from its hinges and she would awake with them dead, and no memory, just a new morning of regret.”
The Wolf in His Arms is Adrian'a latest novel and available at these stores:

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Amazon UK

"Werewolves are forming the ultimate pack—and only one family can stop them. The Wolf at His Door: Book One of The Runes Trilogy is a “multi-layered and unpredictable” novel that “oozes brilliance” and builds to “an absolutely epic ending.”

You can also find Adrian on Facebook.


Mike Yowell

















Excerpt from The Dogcatcher:

"This time the bullet hit its mark.  Clearing the half-open window, the slug buried itself into the neck of the werewolf, knocking the beast to the ground.  The purity of the silver instantly attacked the monster’s vile, diseased blood, and spread quickly throughout its body.  Fuelled by the successful shot, Slant kicked the door open and leaped from the vehicle.  He stood over the creature, watching while it growled and writhed in pain, confused as to why it was dying."

The Dogcatcher 2 is Mike's latest novel currently available on Amazon.
Below are some more of Mike's novels:



* * * * * * * * * *
I haven't completely given up on the Author's Lottery. I still think it could give authors a boost at no cost to themselves. There is no obligation if you subscribe to the free Twitter Author's Marketing Course (top right) - just very useful information.

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Friday, 28 February 2014

The Authors Lottery UPDATE

The concept of an Author's Lottery doesn't seem to have grasped the imagination and that's putting the best possible spin on it! (If you missed last week's post and want to know more then simply click on the Authors Lottery Tab above).

I'm going to give it one more try simply because I think it could benefit lots of us. First let me be clear, there is no financial outlay required or demanded of any one at any time. Our commitment would be to download the winning Author's ebook each week. What we do with it is up to us. Should the winning author decide to charge a small fee then he/she runs the risk of less people downloading his/her book. Authors who publish on Amazon Kindle may want to may use of their new Kindle Countdown feature for example.

The underpinning principle is one of support and trust. Personally I am willing to set aside $4 a month to support other authors. What's more I'm happy to forgo my own inclusion in the lottery itself. This blog is dedicated to supporting indie authors in practical ways. I don't know about you but I'm fed up of all the offers to attend events for this or that promotion that drop into my inbox. A lot of time and effort goes into these promotions but there are just too many to respond to everyone. Please Tweet this blog post or let others know about it on your blog.

Everyone who subscribes to the Authors Lottery - and all that means is that your name and number go into each weekly draw- will receive genuinely useful information on how to promote your books via email on a regular basis. Just provide your name and email in the  TWITTER AUTHORS MARKETING COURSE subscription box and you'll receive a five part information course on how to use Twitter to effectively market your books. There will be other courses to follow. Here is PART ONE of the TWITTER AUTHORS MARKETING COURSE to give you an idea of what to expect in the future.
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In this first lesson let's talk a little about how you can start building a large network of friends, potential readers, associates, and customers using the social networking website Twitter.

Many new users of Twitter are constantly asking how they can use the site more effectively for their business and since the site has grown into an Internet mega monster that is globally known and talked about, they are right to ask.

The fact is Twitter is a fantastic tool for authors who want to build a fan base within a particular genre.
Jonathon Gunson is an author who specializes in helping aspiring and established authors amass a readership via Twitter. You can read his guest blog post here.

Internet relationships are very different from actual personal relationships. They are based primarily on like, know, and trust. Many people are reaching out to others through social network websites like Twitter, Facebook and many others.

If you are new to Twitter you may not realize that you can create your personal brand and virtually dominate your genre, simply by building a list of followers. Let's talk about some of the ways you can you achieve this.

Once you've set up your Twitter account you will want to work on your profile. This way you can quickly customize the look and feel of your page to reflect your particular genre. This is something I have attempted to do. You can check my website at http://www.psrowlands.com You will want to pay close attention to your one line bio. Because this is what people will read before they decide whether or not they want to follow you. You will only have 160 characters to describe who you are and what you do, so you have to make it good!

The next thing you will want to do is get ‘followers’. If you have any contacts that are already using Twitter, invite them to follow you. Put link's in your emails, on your websites and blogs asking people to follow you. You could even put your Twitter url on your business card, so that you can gather followers offline as well. -  Yes, authors should have business cards.

Don't be shy tell everyone you meet about your Twitter page. Make it  sound exciting and let them know that you will be sharing important updates about your books, extracts and information with them if they follow you. You may be surprised to find out that almost everyone will click the follow button just to see what you're up too!

Another thing that I feel that is important especially for authors using Twitter is to seek out and follow the ‘big names’ in your particular genre who are on Twitter. J.K. Rowling immediately springs to mind.
This will benefit you in more than one way. It will give you a bird’s eye view of what they’re doing on Twitter, so you can learn how to improve your own results and it will also put you in front of all the people they are in contact with.

Curiosity, you can't fight it, so you may as well take advantage of it. People are curious by nature! They like to see who is following who, so often they will click on the links and check out the followers of people they know and follow them as well and by following the genre leaders, so to speak you may naturally end up will new followers as well. Just try and keep your readership in mind when you choose ‘best selling authors’ to follow.

Now let's talk about meeting even more people and making hundreds of new friends by using 'retweet’s’.
With this method, you take the original twitter message someone else has posted, and rebroadcast that same message to your followers. When broadcasting the message, you should definitely give credit to the original poster.  I know at first it may sound like this will only be good for the original tweeter, but retweeting can actually benefit you just as much if not more because:

1.  It provides more value to your followers.
When you provide value to your followers, you make them happy!
You are also more likely to attract followers. Providing quality content is always a great way to build your list of potential readers no matter what platform you use.

2. It will benefit your brand especially if you are writing a series within a specific genre.
If you point a reader to a source of good information that is truly relevant and beneficial to them, the amount of trust that they have in you will increase.

3. It will help you build relationships with the original posters.

Retweeting someone else’s content is an act of kindness, and for the most part bloggers like to return the favour. You shouldn't expect someone to retweet your content just because you retweet theirs.
Just keep in mind that your chance of being on the other end of a retweet increases as you retweet.
Retweeting is all about providing value to your followers so if you want others to retweet your post then you want to make sure that you are providing them with quality content worth tweeting about.
The bottom line is retweeting is a great way to add quality and value to your Twitter page. If done right, retweeting can help you educate your followers, build your personal brand, increase future traffic, and connect you to other great people in your genre or niche.

Just be careful if you use it incorrectly, retweeting can actually hurt your personal brand and future traffic. You want to treat your followers like gold. Don't ever send them to inappropriate websites or spam them with one sales pitch after another. I mistake I made once when enthusiastically over promoting my book!
Remember you want them to like what you have to say, so they will follow your lead. Then when you do recommend something to them you will get the results you are looking for every time!
That's it for today's lesson. Now go to Twitter and start building your followers by providing them with great content that they will love you for!


We have a lot to go over in the next few days if you want to learn more about how to use Twitter as an author make sure you look for your next lesson tomorrow. I will be talking about some tools that you can use to make your Twitter page more interactive and successful.

I hope this has whetted you appetite! As I see it if we are not prepared to help each other in as many ways as possible we make life that much harder for ourselves.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Amazon - Knight In Shining Armour or Emisssary of the Dark Side


Okay so I‘m not the greatest author in the world. Maybe I will never make the best seller lists but that’s no excuse for ripping me off.

As Indie authors we know how difficult and time consuming it can be promoting our books. Sometimes I feel like Hansel lost in a forest of social media never able to find my way out with new trees being planted around me all the time. HELP!!! Then one day I discovered a clearing in the wood. It wasn’t a house made of candy but an enormous edifice called Amazon - pretty appropriate for an empire in the forest!

I was enticed inside with the promise of self publishing on Amazon’s incredible electronic device called the Kindle. Amazon dangled before my eyes a dazzling array of world wide distribution rights and sales channels. I was tempted. Well more than tempted actually. I didn’t think twice. No more submitting work to publishing houses who just weren’t interested or agents who were even less so. The publishing dragon had been slain, or so I thought.

At the moment I am wondering if Amazon is my Knight In Shining Armour or an Emissary of the Dark Side. 

WHY the sudden change of heart?

It’s all down to personal experience.
My first published book on Amazon’s Kindle was a novella entitled ‘A Christmas Carol Revisited’. It had received an excellent review on BBC Radio Wales and in December 2012 the New York City Bar Association adapted it for a concert in the City Bar Building in Manhattan that proved a great success. I duly got some sales on Amazon.

So far so good, with Christmas fast approaching I bombarded my Twitter (4,000+) account with promotional tweets courtesy of Social Oomph. APOLOGIES TO ALL MY TWITTER FOLLOWERS I BOMBARDED!!!! Guest bloggers promoted it on their sites and my Google+ groups also got the full treatment! While I wasn’t expecting to top the best seller list I was expecting some sales. Some hope, NADA, NOTHING, NOWT!!! Not one measly sale showed up in my reports for November or December. I had more sales on Create Space and I hadn't done any promotion for any of them.

Okay, you’re probably thinking this is the case of another deluded would be writer with no talent and less hope having a gripe. You may be right but unfortunately my experience is not unique.  John R Clark, Managing Editor at Age View Press wrote on this very issue under the title:


Alright! Seems like there might just be a wicked witch lurking in them thar woods. So, what to do?
As I see it we can sit back and hope things improve OR do something about it ourselves.
BUT WHAT - How can we possible influence the LEVIATHAN that AMAZON has become?

I have an idea. Take a look at the lottery widget on the right sidebar.
What I propose is that we set up our own AUTHOR’S LOTTERY using the free widget (see sidebar).
Instead of winning money everybody who opts in would have to agree to buy or download the winning author’s book (reasonably priced or free!) either from Amazon or from the Author’s website.
At least this way the winner each week would know for certain that their book had been downloaded x number of times and could check with their Amazon Sales Reports. It would also give most Author’s a much needed boost as well as a little income. Everything would of course be based on TRUST.

HOW IT WOULD WORK
Every Friday at 11.00 GMT I would click the ‘Pick a new Lotto Number’ button on this blog.
The author whose number was drawn would be notified. His/her name and details of where to download his/her book would be publicized on this blog.

TO MAKE IT WORTHWHILE WE WOULD ONLY START ONCE WE HAVE 50 AUTHORS SUBSCRIBED.

To show your commitment all you need do is enter your email address and name in the subscription box. Once you have done this I will allocate a number. Mine for example is 1.
I will set up another page on the blog with each other’s name next to their allocated number.
I am using a free version of GET RESPONSE software for the simple reason if not enough interest is shown after posting this blog I will abandon the idea. I don’t intend wasting money pointlessly also. . .
AS A WRITER YOU ALL KNOW HOW PRECIOUS TIME IS! None of us can afford to waste it.

Hopefully enough of us will grasp the potential of what authors can do if we decide to stand together and help each other.

To make it worth your while subscribing I plan to run a number of courses designed to help you promote your books using social media. These will be delivered by email and the first course focuses on Twitter. It's called The Twitter Authors Marketing Crash Course. Some of the things you will learn about include:

  • The man who has made it his business to help authors build their readership on Twitter.
  • Free tools that will make your Twitter marketing extremely effective.
  • Integrating Twitter tools in Wordpress.
  • How to chat in 'real time' with your followers.
  • How to schedule regular postings using free or paid tools.
  • The basic rule you MUST follow.
  • Mistakes to avoid at all cost.
Please email me if you have any thoughts or suggestions at philiprowlands@ymail.com
WARNING: I am a married man and therefore impervious to abuse.

I think its's time for us Kindle authors to circle the wagons! What about you?

Next Week
Expand Your Literary Horizons.
Also - update on the Author's Lottery.

Friday, 3 January 2014

Mister Author, why are you Blogging so much when you ‘should’ be Writing?...

What better way to start the New Year  than with a post from a Scotsman.


An early career as a trainee banker led to a spell in London, where his pretence to be a missionary converting the English fell on deaf ears.

Escape to the Far East in 1980 opened up access to cultures and societies on a global scale, eventually bringing the realisation that the world is simply one large, extended village.

The lifelong desire to write resulted in THE VIOLIN MAN’S LEGACY, the first in a planned series. Seumas’ sequel novel, VENGEANCE WEARS BLACK was launched in early July 2012. The third, SAVAGE PAYBACK, was released in late 2013 with at least two other books to follow in the same vein. Ebook downloads on his novels exceed 70,000 to date.


Seumas lives in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

Seumas is a committed blogger and in his guest post he explains why. 

"…Mister Author, why are you Blogging so much when you ‘should’ be Writing?...

…there’s a teasing wee topic headline for yeez, eh?... I don’t expect to split the literary WURLD opinion down the middle with it… nor create too much disharmony in the Quill-Scrapers Society… however, let me ‘fess up… I have a kinda LUV/LUV relationship with the whole nine yards of the writing ‘business’… like most of us, its genesis is in the thought process prior to even scribbling or laptop-tapping a single WURD of the masterpiece all the way through the tracking of Amazon Kindle sales figures after the baby’s launched… in between, yeez have the actual writing, the editing, the more editing, the proof reading, the creating-the-cover-art bit, the boxing into Kindle format or whatever your publishing channel poison of choice may be, and over-arching all of that is the marketing and publicity effort, which is constant… yeez are almost mandated these days as a self-publisher to immerse yerselves in the SOSYAL NETWURKIN whirl… yeez Tweet and ReTweet until yer fingers are falling off… yeez share like billy-o on Facebook, trying all the while to avoid Master Zuckerburg’s Jail sentences for being too friendly with yer kindred Webbies… yeez build up trillions of Goodreads Brownie Points for indulgence in myriad ‘readers interest groups’… and with whatever’s left of yer brain time, yeez sprinkle around in other assorted linkages… presence, Mabel… it’s about presence… this is where the Blogging becomes the master-key… the elusive missing bit of the jigsaw… this ol’ Jurassic happens to use Wordpress to host the blogging website… and it must be said, at first it was because Wordpress is free… and being a true-tartan-bloodied Scot, the not-having-to-pay-element was a prime attraction… then, as time wore on, lo and behold, I was able automatically to connect every blog post to all my major SOSYAL NETWURKS… from direct contacts of a mere 200 souls two and a half years ago, the direct base has grown to 14,500+… not a bad reason to Blog… and the more yeez Blog, the more ye’re reaching out to yer global markets… but, wait… there’s more to it than that… reaching out is one thing, but aren’t yeez supposed to be writing?... well, yes… in the interim I’ve produced three crime thrillers and two Blog Post anthologies/collections… and so far Amazon downloads exceed 70,000 to date… not much wrong with these numbers… the attractions in producing the Blog continue… the crime thriller scribbling can be quite intense… the little grey cells get hammered incessantly… the attempted humour in the Blog is a healthy distaff to that… and what’s developed?... the novels contain my ‘Author’s Voice’… but the Blog carries my ‘Author’s Brand’… and finally, don’t let emb’dy ever tell yeez that Blogging isn’t writing… condensing yer thoughts into a limited amount of WURDS is great practice… go try it… yeez’ll LUV IT!…"

I am in the process of preparing a post on the subject of blogging and mutual self help for next week so, many thanks to Seumas. Great post and a great start to the New Year. Here's some links to Seumas and his books.





Click Here for Amazon U.K.

Click Here for Amazon U.S.

Blog                 : seumasgallacher.com

Twitter             : @seumasgallacher

Facebook         : http://www.facebook.com/seumasgallacher

Email                : seumasgallacher@yahoo.com



If anyone would like to feature on this blog as a guest writer please email me at philiprowlands@ymail.com


Friday, 22 November 2013

Flirting At Whose Funeral

Seeing new places and meeting new people has to be one of the most rewarding aspects of travel. The picture opposite combines both. The cool guy in the leather jacket and shades is author Chris Keil whom I had the pleasure of meeting while in Portland. If you are wondering, the magnificent river in the background is the Columbia which flows through the heart of Portland itself.

Chris is the author of 'Flirting at The Funeral.' The title refers to a hit song one of the main characters in the book once had. I enjoyed Chris' company so much I bought a copy even though it meant my wife would have to forgo a gift (only kidding). I really didn't know what to expect but I was determined to read it through to the end.

The thing I demand most of any work of fiction is a compelling story. Regardless of how the book is constructed that has to be the bottom line. Chris did not disappoint but 'Flirting At The Funeral' is much more than that. Characterization is also key for me. Chris has created a diverse and vibrant cast of characters. Such is their vibrancy that you feel you know or recognise them in a very personal sense. This is quite an achievement because at another level each can be seen as representative either of a section of society or of specific beliefs and philosophies. Set against the uncertainties of a world peering uncertainly into the abyss of financial collapse 'Flirting At The Funeral' becomes almost a parable of our times.

Matty James, who for me was the focal point of the novel, can appear at first glance to represent all that is superficial and facile in our society. Forever 'pursuing her star' in seeming disregard of the consequences to herself and others, she personifies the desperate desire to achieve celebrity status we witness on our television screens every week. Mammon rules and before we point a finger how many of us bought a  lottery ticket this week? Yet Chris' characters refuse to be judged at a superficial level. Like all really good works of fiction uncomfortable questions are continually asked of the reader. There is one scene that epitomizes this.

Matty and her friend Howard are engaged in a conversation. They stand in the ruins of an ancient building that in a distant past had been as imposing as the modern citadel built by the super rich Dr Arno Bendt. Howard attempts to persuade Matty to leave Dr Bendt and to return to London to be with her lover Morgan. Her response is pragmatic and in one sense profound:

"I have to follow my star." She took a breath."At any rate I have to make the best of it. I have to keep flirting at the funeral, like the song says."

Flirting At the Funeral is beautifully crafted and infused with sumptuous imagery. It is a book I wish I had written.




To misquote another once famous song, "It's my blog and I'll do what I wanna, do what I wanna. . ."
Which is a pretty tacky way of announcing some blatant self promotion. Well it is nearly Christmas and the book I'm attempting to promote is a reworking of Dickens classic. I promise to get back to featuring more Indie Authors in the New Year!

It's contemporary New York City and Clinton Ebenezer Scrooge III shares his thoughts on Christmas.
"Scrooge gazed out of the window. Somewhere below, the river flowed blacker than the Styx through the city’s dark heart into the eternal depths of the poisoned oceans. But Scrooge’s eyes were fixed upon another river. The unceasing flow of humanity condemned as surely to follow the course of existence to its inevitable conclusion as the river was compelled to flow into the embrace of the blind and restless sea.Christmas held out hope that the journey was not in vain. That was one of the reasons he despised it. Christmas was for the weak, for sentimental fools who had never grasped that salvation in this world was something to be wrung forcefully from life’s unwilling grip. Once the presents had been opened and the parties were over what was left apart from hangovers and a bigger overdraft? He smiled. He was above that now, had been for years. Just as detached and aloof as the gigantic reflection of himself superimposed on the vista upon which he cast such a scornful eye."


A New Twist To A Classic Christmas Favourite
 
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'A Christmas Carol Revisited' is a great way to enter into the Festive Spirit and it's available NOW on Amazon in Print or Kindle format.
 Prefer PRINT?              Prefer KINDLE?    Just click on the thumbnail of choice.
                

CLICK HERE  to listen to a brief audio excerpt.

CLICK HERE to download an extract in pdf format.

 
 
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   "View the Video Trailer . . . "
 

   
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   Have a Wonderful Christmas and may 'God Bless Us All."



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