A detailed, modern and refreshing take on creativity that covers so many applications for success!
I had so much fun reading this detailed guide that not only lays out so many ways in which you can explore creativity, but it also normalises and embraces laziness to the point where it can even help with that creativity.
Kyle Bernier delivers his outlook through several easy to digest chapters that work together as an intricate guide whilst using an approachable style littered with light humour and a relatable tone. It is also written in a way that anyone can follow and for that makes it must read. There is plenty to digest and take in but it never feels overwhelming even if I did read it all in just a few sittings, now I am equipped to be the best lazy creative I can possibly be. Bernier identifies so many applications and types of creativity such as quiet, ugly, big, small – this guy really knows his stuff and as an artist and academic he has the knowledge to back it up.
“Everything we need to be successful creative people is inside us…”
Most of us have incredibly busy lives and so finding time to pursue creativity tends to fall further and further down the priority list but this guide opens your eyes in so many ways to find time, even if it is just a short amount to pursue that creativity which to many like me, cannot function without. There are heaps of positivity here not just for being creative, but for everything that surrounds it.
For anyone creative or those looking to be more creative in a plethora of different ways, you’ll have a lot of fun reading this awesome guide which carries a great vibe throughout and will lay out everything you need to equip yourself to embrace laziness and become the best possible creative!
A well-written twisting thriller with darker themes…
Vicky Ball delivers a twisting tale that carries a plethora of darker themes while being executed in a page-turning style that hops back and forth in time with dual P.OV’s. Ball does everything to tell this story and succeeds. As readers we are shown just enough to suggest what is happening beneath the surface of a story that tackles the themes of naivety, coercion, trauma, addiction and of course danger that is a lot closer than first realised.
When ‘Beth’ returns home after several years after disappearing it brings up all kinds of questions and contention that places her younger sister ‘Abby’ on a twisting path of realisation. There is a lot to unpack and it happens gradually while the twists appear unexpectedly. Perhaps this a cautionary tale for those who are younger to not be so trusting to those who clearly want something – a powerful message aimed at readers of a certain younger age who will get something from this book. What we are shown is just enough without glorifying or even exploiting the many issues the reader and characters face. The concept of ‘Businessmen’ simply casts a long enough shadow to suggest what is really happening and the message being about trust.
With a story that goes full circle, Powerless is a thrilling and twisting tale that will take readers on a dramatic and sometimes unexpected ride.
Sometimes its good to get away from the grind and just spend a weekend away. That’s what I did this past weekend and my energy levels have been replenished from being alongside some good company. It might have been an action packed few days but one can always rest at work I guess, and being tired from weekend things is a different type of tired from work things…
My numbers are governed by a constant social media presence. Take that presence away even for just a day or so and it drops to near enough zero. The fun thing is that I know exactly what it takes to get those numbers back up, I’ve spent long enough figuring it out. The concept of social media algorithms being against the smaller person has always driven me to prove that we can defy them to get our message out there. The platforms might be the hosts, but our content drives them and that makes us needed just as much as we need them.
With March nearly being halfway done I’m looking towards some big plans for the next few months in terms of content and of course a book release. Watch this space!
An easy-to-read heart-warming story of friendship and nostalgia
Summer of ’77 is a wonderful feel-good tale about childhood, friendship and life that readers of all ages will enjoy. Rebecca Amiss has succeeded in delivering a page-turner that takes you back in time while also reminding older readers about what it is like to be a kid.
Albert Weiss and his father relocate from the big city to a small sea-side town in Maine to start again. With the grief of loss that is still very fresh its a struggle for them both in their own unique ways, Albert has left friends behind and his father needs to find a job. While the stress of leaving their old home plays on Albert’s mind he becomes distracted by the appearance of a girl called Robin. To begin with he takes her friendly persistence as a nuisance but eventually learns that she is a kind and good force in his life. Their friendship although a struggle at first becomes a mechanism for Albert to move on. Both of these characters have a depth and dynamic that works incredibly well for this story and they are better for knowing each other.
‘It was funny to think that even though Albert had only known Robin for a month, it felt as if he’d known her his whole life, and yet she still found ways to surprise him.‘
There are a host of fun nostalgic references littered throughout the story that took me back to a more innocent time where the stresses of adult life don’t exist but as a kid sometimes life can be hard and having good friends or family really helps. This is a rare gem of a story that any reader will certainly enjoy while having an important message and feel good vibes.
Original page-turning sci-fi with unlimited portals of potential…
A Twist in the Rift is an original and imaginative story about ‘Lyricia’ who has the uncanny ability to see and travel through ‘Rifts’ which are portals to other worlds. She grows up knowing this and it isn’t until adult age that she acts upon it and so the rabbit hole of possibility unfolds. The scope and imagination of author Meg Radiant is executed well with a page-turning style that leaves readers wanting more while there is a plethora of characters, cool concepts, terminology and worlds to be explored here. Above all this book is an adventure.
There were just a few points where there seemed to be more showing as opposed to telling in the writing but for the nature of this page-turning novella it works. For anyone looking to read some original sci-fi with new worlds and concepts, this one has portals of potential.
Sometimes it can feel like you have done everything you possibly can to try and market and sell your book which can be difficult, especially for those who are self-published or indie because most of us have to face marketing alone.
There probably is always something else to try when it comes to marketing books but the problem might be before that. This post is a troubleshooter that will hopefully lay out why a book might not be selling by focusing on the basics. It is taken from experience which for me is nearly 6 years of being indie published with 7 books that have all sold well. Let us dive in…
The Basic Anatomy
To me there are no real rules when it comes to books but over the years I have concluded that they need to be a certain standard or at least have basic anatomy to have a chance of selling. That anatomy can be seen as two separate entities. Firstly the visual basics:
An enticing book title that matches the genre;
Professionally designed cover that also matches the genre;
An enticing proof read blurb.
And secondly, the internal basics:
Professional or some level of editing that is reasonably practicable;
Professional or some level of formatting that is reasonably practicable.
These five basic things are important to get right or as right as possible depending on budget but I would say if you want to publish a book well then you need to invest in the right services. These five basics will eventually hook at least one reader in to the point where they might be interested in buying. If you think your book has these things, then the reason it might not be selling could be a little more subjective, so let us look at some more subjective factors that factor in to selling books.
PartiallySubjective Factors (visual)
A fair price;
Book Rating/Amount of reviews.
Pricing and reviews can be an enigma sometimes. Price too low and readers might not think the book has value, price too high and readers think you are just in this for a cash grab. To me, the price and the rating kind of go hand in hand with review quantity being the key here. If your book has over 100 reviews, the chances are it has sold well and proven it can sell well so you have scope to maybe price a little higher. This stuff has no real concrete answer as it is based upon the individual book and author but my suggestion would be to experiment regularly with pricing.
In terms of average rating, for books, again it can be quite subjective. My book The Teleporter dances between 3.8 and 4.0 stars on Amazon regularly and has only gone up in sales as the quantity of reviews has grown. The Teleporter is my most successful book by a large margin.
I would say as long as the basics are mostly there, these partially subjective factors won’t effect your sales too much unless they are at the extreme (really high or low priced) and I call them partially subjective because over time you can work to improve these things. Reviews coming in should make the sales situation better while you also figure out the perfect price, so what else is there to troubleshoot?
This deserves a whole section because a majority of the time, the reason a book isn’t selling is mainly due to visibility or lack of, so you have to ask yourself the question: what are you doing to sell your book on social media? Or sometimes what are you doing nottosell your book on social media?
Being on social media and being published places you in the glass house that is the public domain. So now it is time to think about what we say and do at all times. Everything you say online; good or bad, positive or negative will most likely be seen by your following and may effect your sales – for those on Twitter, the majority of followers will see an argumentative response – this stuff tends to be overlooked and of course freedom of speech is something I fully support but my advice would be to keep things light on social media.
What can you do to sell books on social media?
The good thing about social media is that it is busy. Things move quickly and so its important to remind your following and the wider platform users that your book exists. You could just drop a link everyday but that will probably be buried by the social media platforms as they would prefer to keep you and users right there so its time use a little variety.
These seven things are a week’s worth if you spread them out because variety is key on social media- keep it light, conversational and occasionally about your work. Click on my tweet to see seven more ideas. As you can see, all of these things don’t mention dropping a link, if you can, put your book link in your bio or somewhere easy to find – algorithms on most platforms tend to suppress links sometimes.
My biggest tip about selling books on social media is to focus on convincing people to invest in you first. If they enjoy your content such as good conversation or even a little positivity that will go a long way towards selling.Consider social media platforms your stage and your books are available out in the gift shop.
It takes some effort and time to build a social media presence so what else can you do to sell books?
Quick-fire short term and long term Miscellaneous troubleshooting
(Lot’s of Things to consider)
Have you thought about advertising?
If so is it paid?
If so, is it with a reputable advertiser?
Have you thought about a temporary price reduction?
Is it just for a limited time? (this works well)
If so, have you informed your social media following?
Are you consistently present on social media? (this helps)
Are you supportive of others in the industry? (this helps build trust and trust helps sell)
Do you have multiple books available? (this helps)
Do you have stand alone and series books available? (this really helps)
Have you really considered whether your book really has the basic anatomy?
The final troubleshooting question is in red because if you have tried all of the above without a single sale then it is probably something before such as the basic anatomy or even social media conduct. Understandably Rome was not built in a day but eventually if you follow the advice in this post you will sell at least one book, I am 99% confident of that. Now this is all subjective which is my favourite word when it comes to publishing anything and means nothing is guaranteed.
The majority of my guides are received mainly by beginner or debut authors and so I will say this whole deal gets better over time. One slow release doesn’t seal your fate in publishing and especially after just one release. If you really want your book to be read you need to get yourself out there and more importantly create new content. This journey got way better for me after 5 or so releases and even then the results were slow. Regular blogging and social media posting drives my sales and this isn’t my day job but I treat it like one. Today I sell books roughly every other day and that is driven by the fact I have kept going.
To conclude in as simple terms as possible, your book will most likely sell if:
It has the basic anatomy visually (pro cover, enticing title and blurb);
It has the basic anatomy internally (editing and formatting);
You have a decent conduct and regular presence on social media;
You try as many ways as possible to market yourself and that book.
Keep going, keep writing and don’t give up. Someday someone will read your work and it could change their life!
Thank you for reading, there were plenty of opportunities above to include links to my various free-to-read guides but I would prefer to leave them below so it does not interrupt the flow of this guide, so here they are:
And finally, you’ll find the Basic Anatomy of a Book mentioned in detail via my author/blogger guide book Consistent Creative Content which is a concise, one-stop-shop for everything I have learned in publishing:
Introducing author A-M Mawhiney who shares an exclusive excerpt of her dystopian sci-fi novel SPINDRIFTS…
Suddenly Fania gasped loudly and yelled, “I know where he is. He’s by the rapids. Poppy, come on. Gram, bring your kit and follow us.” She flew out the door with Kaib following fast behind her. “What was in that tea you gave her?” Hope asked, watching them go. Alicia was exhausted and unable to face another bout of Hope’s ire, so she merely shrugged her shoulder and stared at her daughter, gesturing with a sweeping motion of her hands for Hope to follow Kaib and Fania. Kaib could hardly keep up with Fan she was running so fast. She can really run, he thought as he started to fall behind. He was just able to keep her in sight. When Fania got to the rapids he saw her stop suddenly, and she turned to Kaib and signaled for him to stop and remain quiet. Fania’s gestures showed she was fearful of what she saw. As he crept up, he saw why. Ollie was on the rock shelf overlooking the rapids, his back turned to the water, too near the edge for him to be safe. Kaib was terrified Ollie could back off the ledge into the rapids. Kaib followed Ollie’s frightened gaze to see what held the boy’s attention. “It’s Mkwaa, a bear, Poppy,” Fania whispered quietly, pointing to a large sow reared up onto her hind legs, the bear and boy both frozen in place, staring at each other. One minute Fania was beside Kaib, and in a nano-second she was between Ollie and the bear. Kaib had taught Fania to be tall and make lots of noise in a bear encounter, but he gasped in alarm when Fania did the opposite, crouching down several feet in front of the bear. “Fan,” he started, but she motioned for silence, pointing behind her at Ollie and then to Kaib, telling him to get Ollie while she murmured to the bear softly. At first he could not make out what she was saying, until she switched to Anishinaabemowin and spoke at length, saying she wasn’t going to hurt the bear and she wanted to be friends. She asked the bear to let Ollie go with Kaib. Her calm voice seemed to soothe the animal. At that point Fania was sitting on the ground, and the bear suddenly came down on all fours and sat on her rump several metres away, mimicking Fan. Almost like a tea party, she thought, slightly hysterically before catching her breath to settle herself. The moment was surreal. Mkwaa looked over at Kaib, grunted, and turned her head to look at Ollie, as if to say “get on with it then. Get the boy cub to a safe place.” Kaib motioned for Ollie to approach him slowly, as he inched toward the boy. Once he was close enough, Kaib grabbed Ollie gently and swung him down off the ledge. A few moments later, Hope arrived to find Kaib holding Ollie in his arms, and Fania, of all things, sitting and chatting with a bear. Kaib passed Ollie to Hope, and once she’d checked him carefully and found no signs of injury, she sat with Ollie at the side of the trail. She gave him water and some warm soup while she glanced back at Fania over her shoulder, her heart in her throat, terrified to clear the tic lodged there in case it distracted Fania. Or the bear. She was paralyzed with fear that the animal would charge Fania. She could see Kaib was readying himself to intervene and that added to her worry, but she turned back to focus on the patient in front of her, steadying her hands so the soup didn’t spill, cooing softly at Ollie who had started to shiver. She knew she had to get Ollie to a warm place. It was time for him to be with his parents. “We’ll go home now, Ollie. Can you walk with me?” “Oh,” he wailed, bursting into tears. “I’m in so much trouble. My parents will be terribly mad at me.” “Oh no, they will be happy to see you safe, you’re not to worry about them being angry. They’ve been beside themselves ever since they realized you were gone,” Hope reassured him quietly, as she put her supplies back into her kit. Standing up and taking hold of Ollie’s hand, she indicated with hand motions to Kaib she was leaving. With great reluctance, she glanced back at her partner and granddaughter one last time before taking the first difficult steps away from where they remained in danger. Kaib whispered, trying to get Fania’s attention. “Ollie’s safe now. It’s time for you to step back and move slowly closer to me.” The bear looked over at Kaib as he spoke, grunted, and turned back to Fania. “Oh no, Poppy. I can’t move yet. Mkwaa has some kind of problem we’re trying to figure out. I’m not sure what she is trying to tell me, but she’s upset about something.” The bear suddenly reared up, and Kaib started forward to grab Fania, terrified the bear was starting to attack, but she slowly turned and waddled off into the bush. “Come along, Fan, it’s safe now, let’s go,” Kaib urged. “I can’t leave yet.” After a few moments of silence, punctuated by Kaib’s panicked gasps, the bear returned, carrying a young cub in her mouth. She put her cub down near Fania, but far away enough that Kaib could see Fania was safe—at least for the moment. The bear huffed at Kaib as if she could understand what he was thinking, and backed up to give Fania room to approach her cub. Kaib noticed the cub had fishing line wrapped around its snout. “There’s a fishhook in its mouth, Poppy,” Fania said quietly, as she gently picked up the cub and put in on her lap while the poor creature moaned in pain. He couldn’t open his mouth because of the fishing line. Fania gently pulled the hook out while she crooned to the cub. Once the line was untied, Fania put the cub back on the ground, stood slowly, and stepped back a few paces. The cub rushed back to his mother who stood and regarded Fania intently for a few moments, crashed to the ground on all fours, and herded her cub back into the bush, stopping once to look back at Fania before disappearing from view. Kaib quickly climbed up onto the ledge and urged Fania to sit with him, overlooking the rapids. The water level was low with the rocks showing though in places. As Kaib looked far below, at the churning water, he felt so relieved that Ollie hadn’t fallen. He’d never have survived such a plunge. Kaib put his arm around Fania, who had started to shake. She leaned in for his warmth and comfort. “This is so strange. I felt calm and safe the whole time I was with the bear and her cub, but now I feel scared with what could have happened.” “You were very good in such a difficult situation. It is natural to have a reaction right after such an intense experience. I’d worry if you didn’t.” He held her for several minutes, until she breathed deeply and stood up. “Let’s go home, Poppy. All of a sudden I feel exhausted.”
This is an excluisve excerpt from A-M Mawhiney’s debut book, Spindrifts, published through Friesen Press, November 2021 which you can find here.