Reflections of a Writer-Director

And so the curtains fall on what has been an arduous but rewarding journey. It has taken an incredible amount of effort by so many to create a show that reflects hard work by those who shared my vision.

The Iver Heath Drama Club has spent over 70 years presenting shows to the local community and is a place where all are welcome – from audience to stage or technical and even the massive efforts of those behind the scenes. Having been a part of this fantastic drama club for over twelve years I’ve always felt valued and accepted by them. My writing journey has always been embraced by IHDC and their encouragement is a major factor in why I’m still writing. Their unique approach to accepting and including everyone is so important and something the club must always fight for. Community based theatre is a staple of providing entertainment and escape for everyone in the local community and IHDC does that very well.

For their latest pantomime effort I proudly took on the prestigious role of director, my first foray into managing a full-length show and a view that I’ll never forget. To see those words I’ve written performed by so many talented people will stay with me for a long time. Having already been the resident panto writer for some years this occasion the whole thing rested upon my shoulders representing a new type of pressure and of course pride for the journey. But like I said, I was not alone and I don’t really consider myself a director but IHDC made me feel like one and they took my vision and converted it into the bright colourful lights of theatre.

Audiences, performers and crew all went home happy which was my number one objective in all of this.

Successful shows are fostered by work and dedication along with the collaboration of so many talented folks who I am proud to call my friends. We did an incredible job together and so for now let us all retire to the green room.

Like always, the writing continues as I have already penned the first half of my next pantomime and IHDC will be going forth into their next production. With a number of scripts now written we will also be looking towards officially opening our very own script store. We have already had one customer in the form of another wonderful drama group who presented my adaptation of Rapunzel to great success!

You can find more information about IHDC via their Facebook Page.

‘Clear and Convincing Evidence’ by H.C. Helfand – Review

A beautifully written continuation of a fantastic story about life and opportunity…

H.C. Helfand has delivered another fantastic and beautifully written story that see’s the continuation of Abigail Fischer’s journey and this second volume of the Arcadia Chronicles takes the reader on another wonderful ride and experience.

From the start, Abby and David have a lot on their plate, from unexpected plans to career aspirations while also maintaining their own farm not to mention the emergence of a long lost relative; straight away that familiar feeling from the first story began to creep in and remind me how likeable the two main characters are in this book – their love, their history and everything about them gives readers an urge to cheer for them. The title which I’ve now leaned from this book has a deep meaning that carries the theme which intertwines with family, drama, law, purpose and career aspirations while being wrapped up in that unique togetherness expressed between our two main characters. There is also a very important subject of mental health that highlights the importance of everyone having a right to freedom, no matter their health situation.

There is of course, some wonderful description in this book, and there are many quotes that struck me as poignant, meaningful and beautifully put. This story is about the drama of life and not necessarily where you are from, but where you are trying to go.

Some of my favourite quotes:

‘The mossy hills in the distance carpeted the barely clouded sky. A chickadee hovered over the cherry trees. Crickets in a choir rubbed their wings in song.’

‘Make the leap, Abby. You’ve done it before…’

‘Sometimes life gives opportunity at the most unexpected of times…’

‘I took my time walking toward the entrance. Rows of windows lined with shades stared at me. Some lowered; some rose. Were they winking? I shook the thought out of my mind…’

5 Stars – A book and series I’d highly recommend!

Weekly Ramble #164

To see my writing performed live on stage is an incredible feeling. This past weekend was a pinnacle moment for my play writing endeavours and I’m still coming down from it all.

Two of my plays were performed by two different groups this past weekend and I had the pleasure to be able to see them both in action. One of which was for charity to raise money for a wonderful school and the other was the premiere of my latest work and a pantomime adaptation which I also directed.

Seeing my words come life is something that will stay with me forever and they may be my words, but the stories told on those stages belong to everyone else. From performers to crew all the way to kind audience members of all ages. To see it all unfold and hear the applause, gasps and so much more truly is special. Many many writers spent their time in obscurity with their works and never get the chance I got this past weekend. To watch how others interpret my stories and to also see them succeed on stage with different groups really does give me a sense that what I have written, does work.

10 Years on Twitter: A Reflection

10 years ago I started my Twitter journey. Back then, I’d only really dreamed of having the numbers I have now as well as so many other cool things.

Join Twitter, build a following and share your writing with them…’

That statement is the narrow version of advice I found at the time and well, nothing worthwhile in this life is really simple or easy.

The truth is, I spent many years on Twitter not really knowing what I was doing or what I needed to do in order to reach people and grow. Everyone’s Twitter experience is unique to them and perhaps that’s what makes it special. You get back what you put in and social media is still quite a new concept viewed by many in a negative light but as someone who has spent an extended time on Twitter, good things can be found. That void you find yourself shouting into does eventually answer back because I am proof of that concept. In 2020 my following had crept to a moderate 3,000 or so followers. A year later it was 20,000 and during that time something happened, not just in the world but in my world because all I did was spend more time on the platform and with every tweet or interaction I learned. In my mind I marked what worked and what didn’t time and time again. Eventually and after that time, the needle began to turn and then eventually bend in my favor. People, good people began to notice me simply because I worked on my presence and what those people responded to.

Conversational tact and manners are all anyone needs to succeed on Twitter. You don’t need a gimmick or an act, you just need to be genuine and I say that from experience because for all the things social media is viewed as, most people look to it for an escape or to find others who are like them and if you do conduct yourself in a pleasant way, good things will eventually happen.

I couldn’t possibly sum up all of my experience on Twitter in just a blog post and those who do know me will also be aware of my many resources that delve deep into the intricacies of how to find success on the platform. While that success may be in the eye of the beholder, through my time on Twitter I have learned to reach people, keep people interested and even persuade them to buy my books and invest in me.

Of course I have returned that with my own support and as long as you can appear genuine in a sometimes volatile world online, you cannot be beaten. Supporting others is important to me and always will be.

You can find my best Twitter resources here.

Weekly Ramble #163

2023 has started brightly for me. Like always I do my best to hit the ground running and for it good things have already started happening,

I’m keeping busy with writing, editing, reading, content creating and even directing a show which I wrote that premieres at the end of the month, Being busy is what keeps everything rolling for me and it is true about what they say about busy people; they get things done! My efforts in all of those things require an energy that I’m full of, perhaps I’m like that bunny with the battery, I just keep going.

After a low spot at the end of 2022 I’m slowly rising while doing my best to hit heights I may have never seen. Having always been a positive person, I’ll learn from the lows and use them to climb, that’s how I have always got through things because no matter what happens and how many chips are down there is always a solution. All of this starts with believing in yourself!

Twitter Coaching Sessions 1 to 20 – Out Now!

Are you looking to get more out of Twitter?

During my decade spent on the platform I’ve learned a huge amount of highly valuable skills to turn my Twitter into a hive of followers, book sales and overall success as a creative online. Whether you are looking to grow or even make money from your content or perhaps you are just unsure where to start, my 20 Twitter coaching sessions will teach you how as I lay everything out to find success on the platform. These exclusive audio sessions cover a wide range of subjects such as:

Creating the best possible profile;

What to tweet about for sucess;

Selling and promoting books on Twitter;

Earning the trust of your followers;

Reaching a Million impressions and so much more.

These unique audio sessions will light the path for anyone at any level of experience on Twitter to better results through methods that work. Sign up here today and carve your own path to Twitter success!

‘The Memory Wood’ by Sam Lloyd – Review

Immersive, descriptive, addictive and full of mysterious intrigue

Point of view plays a huge part in this immersive, addictive and sometimes frustrating kidnap story that unfolds spectacularly as it progresses. For a debut book, its an incredibly strong arrival for Sam Lloyd in so many aspects but the style is both good for the genre and perhaps just a little confusing in some places.

We see this story told through a few different points of view, which is deliberate to immerse the reader into feeling what ‘Elissa’ is experiencing first-hand and that is a disorientating and harrowing trauma. We meet ‘Elijah’ and see things through his eyes but with a lot of details deliberately omitted for the twisting reveal later. His story and ‘Elissa’s’ kind of run point for a while but later on it feels as if she is second to what is effectively her story. Part of the fun here is trying to guess what is happening in the surroundings and for some parts I got right, others I was surprised by.

There is also a police procedural element which see’s a detective with her own personal issues that kind of enhance the situation a little creating some high stakes and urgency. Most of this concept was quite well done although dark in some parts. There are many details that are kept from the reader until revelations unfold and by then I was invested and addicted. That addiction along with immersion came in waves as it rose then fell in parts. I will say the use of description and keeping his cards close to his chest are two brilliant talents Lloyd has in storytelling and suited this genre perfectly because it kept me reading.

By the end I did find myself with a fair amount of questions left unanswered as explanations were a little on the thin side along with a kind of abrupt ending but my experience was enjoyable and immersive.

4 Stars

Five Ways to Find Success on Patreon

The subscription service, something that’s very much on trend these days and Patreon basically provides hosting for independent creatives to put together their own. Whether you are a writer, artist, video game reviewer or pretty much any other content driven creator with something to offer – you can put that content behind a paid subscription wall and start earning money but…

Simply saying that is a narrow version of a much wider picture because like most ventures, even ones on trend take work to reach some level of success. Just what does that success look like? And how do you get there?

Well, for me. I feel my content has some value and alongside a growing social media following, the time for me to launch a Patreon (back in 2021) was right. After quite some time now, I am proud to say that I’ve got several Patrons who regularly view my content and probably the most wonderful thing about that is, I’ve only had one person unsubscribe since launch.

This guide lays out what I have learned as a Patreon creator while convincing Patrons to invest in and stick by me. The following five ways aren’t in a particular order as they go hand in hand. Let’s dive in…

One: Exclusive is key…

Being a content creator online is a huge umbrella of different things but if you have something unique in what you create and can offer it exclusively on Patreon, you’ll generate some interest eventually.

This year I launched my Twitter Coaching Sessions which is basically me narrating to my Patrons all of the things I have learned over the years on Twitter. You cannot find this audio stuff by me anywhere else online.

Since then I have also extended that exclusive audio content into book narrations and even further guides or messages to my Patrons.

This stuff is also in the same neighbourhood as much of the guides I am known for in blogging and on social media. You can read a lot of my free guides on this blog, but I’ll always say to my audience that the better stuff is on Patreon and Patrons want to know they are getting something for their subscription.

Two: Two Tiers sells One Tier…

Talking of subscription, for most of my tenure on Patreon, I kept to a single low price Tier but being experienced with pricing from publishing books, I know that a slightly higher price can be a good tactic to sometimes drive sales. It can also drive sales for lower priced books on my backlist.

Using that theory, I launched a higher priced tier to try and get more lower priced Patrons. Upon launch, one of my existing Patrons immediately switched to the higher price and I even attracted another Patron for that higher tier as well as eventually getting more lower tier Patrons.

Having variety in price works to capture more Patrons on a side by side basis.  

Three: External Rewards Really Help…

Both tiers on my Patreon offer something in return for signing up and to me its important to give an impression that patrons will be getting a little more and then giving them more.

From a Twitter shout-out to a free digital copy of my guide book, these external rewards also attract the attention of others so they kind of work as indirect advertising – especially the regular shout-outs.

If you can think of something to give others which has some value, it will hopefully work to attract and then keep patrons.

Four: Regular Content over time is your friend

After launch, I began to regularly release content for the next few months. This gained just a couple of patrons in that time and then I kind of ran out of ideas…

Six months later I decided to re-launch with a brand new idea for exclusive content. That idea now represents 19 Twitter Coaching sessions and much more. Running point with that content is the regular influx of new patrons and patrons who have stayed. Since re-thinking and re-launching I have churned out content every month, so if you can think of content that has scope to be a series or regularly released, it will help.

Alongside the regular content, time is your friend because starting out can be hard on Patreon, and the more content you have, the more lucrative it will appear for potential patrons. A few month’s of exclusive posts is way better than just a handful. That re-launch month I put out nine different posts which gave potential patrons plenty of choice. Now I tend to release something at least every week/ten days. This frequency hasn’t let me down yet.

Five: The odd freebie helps…

Having exclusive content behind a paywall is great, but littered amongst my content is the odd freebie that aims to attract newer faces. Some of my Twitter coaching sessions are free for all to listen and this works quite well to give potential patrons a taster of what they could be investing in if they do sign up.

Many of my other guides premiere over on Patreon and will then later release on my blog with the original post linked.

I have even released a short snippet of a book narration for free and put the longer version behind the pay wall.

Bonus: Pick your moments on social media…

Now it might be easy to say that I’ve got thousands of followers on Twitter so surely that means its easy for me to attract patrons right?

Well, actually its been quite difficult because like a lot of platforms they tend to limit the reach of certain posts/subjects. Sharing anything Patreon based on Twitter hasn’t really done particularly well in terms of visibility for me. There is a lot to unpack with this subject but I have managed to attract people from Twitter to my Patreon but in a certain way.

We all want to shout about our content and tell the world we’ve got a Patreon, and I did that to begin with. Now I pick my moments on social media and share my content on occasion. Picking the right time is kind of dependent on your own circumstances but I’ll just say, less is more.

You’ll find my Patreon link in the bio of my Twitter profile and so whenever any traffic comes to my profile, its one of the first things someone will see. Sometimes just working on attracting others to my profile will naturally drive traffic to that link in the bio.

Overall my Patreon journey has been incredibly rewarding and to have loyal patrons paying their hard earned money to access my exclusive content is a dream come true, it is also really motivating so I’m going to carry on. I’ve got plenty of ideas for exclusive stuff and of course you’ll find it right here.

If you are thinking of starting your own Patreon journey my advice is simple, make sure you have a stack of content at the ready and keep creating.

You can find my Patreon here and it is stacked full of resources for creatives who want to get better results on Twitter, publishing, and so much more. There is even a full length sci-fi western novella.

Happy New Year – Discounted Paperback Alert!

Followers old and new, I wish you all a happy new year. May your 2023 be productive, healthy, happy and full of awesome things.

Talking of awesome things, I’m beginning my year with a one-off exclusive discount promotion of my guide book Consistent Creative Content.

For a very limited time you can grab this awesome guide book for half price in paperback. It is usually $12.95 but right now it is $6.95! (prices based on Amazon US and may vary depending on territory/currency)

This book is packed full of guides, methods and advice for any online creative looking to grow or sell their content. From being an author and selling books regularly to blogging and growing a following or even those who want to get more out of social media. This book lays out everything I have learned and is full of stuff I still use today to grow.

In recent times I’ve reached 40,000 Twitter followers and even crossed $1000 in book royalties for last year. How I got there is explained in-depth in Consistent Creative Content.

Start your year strong with the best possible chance at author/blogger/social media success for half price!

You can grab yourself a copy here!

Final Ramble of 2022

And as 2022 faces the final curtain I shall use these words to reflect on what has been a difficult but rewarding time that I’ll remember for many things.

From starting January with 20,000 Twitter followers and my mental health in the drain, to getting married and seeing lots of my friends and family that I hadn’t since before the pandemic. A truly wonderful personal moment for me and for the one I love the most. Love matters to me, it always will.

Anxiety was a theme throughout my 2022 and it was very much comparable to a rollercoaster for some time until recently it subsided. Perhaps reflection has put things into perspective or I’ve just learned to cope with it. Maybe it was reaching the 40,000 Twitter follower milestone. The human mind can be a complex and wonderful thing. I’m incredibly protective of mine, most writers are.

My books selling regularly and consistently brought me constant hope and reminders to keep going. The wonderful people I have connected with through so many ways, like the amazing authors who graced my life with their books to those reviewing mine. To those who took a chance on my relaunched Patreon, watch this space, more is coming in 2023. To the doubters who I might have convinced and of course to everyone who has helped push this humble blogging operation to over a thousand followers.

There were even those who voted in huge numbers for me to win actual awards – a first for me in life.

Thank you everyone.

Farewell 2022, you were many things but above all, I survived you. Until next year, dear followers.