Weekly Writing Inspiration…

Because if I can do it, anyone can so how about some motivational propaganda to start the month of right! And let us start with some very wise words…

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Darke Blood got it’s latest review via Goodreads; this has been especially rewarding after new marketing idea!

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It’s a bargain, but I’m not so sure about the story….

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AMIRIGHT….

Shout out to S.D McKinley for this awesome review of Open Evening

OE review

Word of the month…

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And Finally, ‘Every Stephen King Book; even the ones that aren’t macabre or supernatural still finds a way to be depraved…’ 

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Have a good rest of the week, and have a good month! Rock and roll man…

Let’s talk about… Star Ratings

Book reviews. What do they really mean? Unlike most products out there, books aren’t reviewed for whether or not they function properly, books are reviewed through the opinion of a reader which is entirely different…

The word ‘subjective’ gets thrown around a lot in the literary world, Agents will cling to it when rejecting a query and many other reviewers will use it as an excuse to give good or even bad reviews of stories.

Above the sacred book review is an often overlooked factor of governance, the Star Rating which is the subject for discussion because on at least 3 platforms I know of in the book reviewing world, it differs..

Goodreads

Is Goodreads Free?

Goodreads (the Facebook of the Book world) takes their stance on the star rating system as follows…

More on caveats | lucinda sans

Now I’m pretty satisfied with most of their definitions and let’s face it, the only thing available to review on Goodreads is books so it’s pretty specifically set for them, that is until it comes down to the 2 star and below. To me 2 stars is less than OK for a book…

The truth is, I’ve never rated a book below 3 stars on any platform mainly due to the fact I just haven’t found a read like that yet; I am quite picky and know whether or not I am going to enjoy a book, so I see the star rating as a score out of 5 and anything below three isn’t a pass… (this is just my opinion folks)

Amazon

More Amazon delivery restrictions are coming | TechRadar

Amazon, arguably the most important place for authors to get reviews as it is where their work is sold exclusively from, like me. There appears to be a little difference between their rating and Goodreads, now Amazon have done the Amazon thing and I can’t find anywhere reputable throughout the Google that tells us straight up what each star in their rating system means. This could be because they don’t know, they don’t want us to know or maybe it’s a combo of both. So let us look to the 2 star review as an example:

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This ‘review’ is taken from my super hero comedy novella ‘The Teleporter’ and as you can see it’s not only a negative review but a DNF review also which is hardly in line with the Goodreads 2 star review of ‘It was OK’.

When comparing probably the two most important book reviewing platforms they contradict one another and that is without another major factor; personal preference which is what Mr Beam me up decided to do with his/her review because even if you put out guidelines, whether or not they will be followed is another thing and this reviewer didn’t then hop on over to Goodreads.

Reedsy Discovery

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You can expect my very first Reedsy Discovery review tomorrow and it’s a good one trust me! Now their rating system is strict compared to others. They feel that you don’t need to give every book a 5 star rating and of course save that for the truly exceptional reads.

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As you can see from their emoji heavy rating system that it agrees with me in principle. Anything below 3 is a ‘not for me’ but this also makes things tricky going upwards because of their stance of 5 star reviews, one has to find a truly exceptional book to use that rating.

Personal Preference

I don’ think there is one true way to rate a book using the above platforms and their own star rating systems. They differ too much, even without us realising. A four star review from Goodreads could mean something entirely different on Amazon because of the personal preference of a reader or because the guidelines aren’t particularly clear.

Personally I might have been way to generous in the past but arguably the books I’ve read had an effect on me and motivated me to rate them the way I did. The journey these authors have taken me on has led to what I thought of them and I pride myself on the support I give. The 5 star rating I give might not be for a truly exceptional once in a lifetime story but for the effort they put in to write something, to do research or even help me escape this world for just a while.

Authors view reviews as gold dust or even currency these days and it’s big business trust me. If it wasn’t for reviewing books, this very blog would be a ghost town.

What do you think of the star rating system for books? 

Swimming in the sea of self published books…

With the emergence of self publishing or indie publishing the world isn’t short of books right now. Writers everywhere are all looking for the same thing and so the marketing techniques are quickly becoming tired.

The ‘Free to download’ promotion has a shelf life and if everyone is doing it then there’s no value to such a deal. Readers might even see more value in priced books and so the marketing situation spins.

The Boy On The Sea Of Books

Reviews don’t actually carry much value. I have a liberal amount and even with few reviews my books still sell as much as those with more reviews. Its all about reach.

I’ve been public with most of my marketing efforts but even major companies omit recipes or ingredients. So yes there are few cards I hold to my chest, this ain’t charity. you know…  Many writers come to me and my resource page. They use the info and move forward, sometimes rinsing and repeating. That’s fine for a time but everyone with content must find their own ways of reaching their own market eventually. Find your own tribe.

Much of my advice adopts a ‘help all’ style but this will only take one so far; trust me I’m the first to use this stuff so I know.

Finding new ways to create reach is called innovation. And in the social media world which is rammed full of writers all looking for the same thing it does feel like we are swimming in the sea of self published stuff. My marketing strategy has always remained for as long as I am an indie author and that is to focus on selling one book at a time to one person at at time.

Eventually some of those ones return for another book and another – my next pillar of marketing – create more content which is then galvanised by me being active in the writing arena by reviewing books and giving back. Those three marketing strategies may not sell large amounts of books but they sell a satisfying amount and the circle of books is complete in my eyes.

I read a lot because I want to be able to write well. Professional athletes probably watch their own sport as much as they play it -the ones who want to get better do anyway….

This is an eye of the beholder situation and always has been…. Don’t be disheartened for single figure sales, they all count.

Do you have any unique book selling ideas other than just making your book free to download? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Ramble #69

From every shit-uation there are positives and good eventual outcomes. People have a lot more time now. The hustle and bustle of life’s busyness has slowed down and even I can feel people are taking their time to do things they didn’t before.

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These are the best sales I’ve ever had outside of Book promo

Book reviews are up. Book sales are up. And social media engagement is up. I’m even writing new stuff. I’ve always tried to justify my place in the arena with both books and a presence and it’s times of struggle like this that people look for reads and people who are carrying on in the face of adversity.

Writers and artists are needed even more so and while the social media socialite types who produce nothing are being starved out of attention, people are looking to genuine content creators and it gets no more genuine than a book or a blog.

We’ll look back on this time as one of invisible pressure and hardship. But take those away and you’ll find it was a period where we all had time to read that book, watch that show or paint that wall. 

All of a sudden this will be over and we’ll be back in the arms of friends, family and even co workers. We’ll forget what it truly means to be isolated and away from groups. We’re a herd species, until recently anyway.  The rat race will resume and it will all be forgotten. Humans have a fickle way of carrying on. Whether it comes from a vaccine or even medication, we’ll beat it, we’re too resilient not to I salute all of those carrying on in the face of this adversity – by carrying on I mean, writing a few words a day, speaking to friends over skype, cooking that meal, staying busy; we’ll get through, we always do!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Ramble #59

I am fully immersed into book editing mode. Delving back into the pages and words I laid down nearly two years ago has lifted me. It’s surprising how well polished I left what I thought to be a first draft of ‘Darke Awakening’. Over the books and years my style of drafting has evolved into an edit and go process which pays off when you return to a project. 

This book will have it’s challenges but the most difficult part of the writing process has already been figured out. It’s a masterpiece, an intricate complicated shitstorm of fun intertwined with several story arcs combined to tell one great mess of a book which I personally adore. It may well be a tad ambitious but what I have edited so far has restored my faith in a story told over three books; Open Evening, Cemetery House and Darke Blood – three books readers must take on to enjoy this next one and hence the real challenge in all of this; marketing the whole thing.

Personally and it might sound indulgent and egotistical but I’ve said this before; I actually don’t care if people don’t like what I write, I do it for the story telling and not the reaction of mass audiences.

Yeah we get bruised as creators when someone gives us a scathing review but that isn’t why we are in this game. We do this because we want to create and to contribute towards art and literature. We do this because it fulfills us and shines a light into this dark void of life. Opinions and audiences are variable, the story we tell is the constant.

To reach the summit of those two sacred words ‘the end’ is to truly live as a writer. And to create something from the imagination entirely from scratch is to be free. All of us live to be free. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Ramble #44

It’s taken every ounce of my writing strength to reach this moment. Those words, those two words only the real writers will ever know and feel. It’s removal but with satisfaction. It’s acceptance but regret knowing it probably isn’t the best you could do, but nonetheless the track is laid, the motions are in place and the draft is done. Everything else after is yet to come and this is truly the beginning.

The real hard part is done. Getting it out of the thought process and onto pages and into words. Although some elements remain incomplete I am without the strength to carry on. I’ve used it all up creating something only now I was totally ready for. I’ve been on this journey since I was twelve years old, I realized this dream at fifteen and at thirty I finished drafting it. My whole life, my whole purpose as a story teller is to tell one story, everything else is for that, to prepare myself as a writer, to learn my craft, to find my voice, all of it is for that story I first devised over half my life ago.

Dreams have that power, they drive our existence and go deeper than anyone could possibly imagine. They grow as you do, they fight with you and they fight for you. Dreams can be bold, they can be crazy, they can be absurd but they are ours, and nothing will ever take them from us. The characters in my head have carried my dreams with me for as long as I remember and soon, on the horizon compared to the road before me, they will appear for everyone else. I urge you all to dream on, you never know where it will take you…

Jack Thorn and the maverick prophecy is a story that will change science fiction. And I’ll prove a bunch of people wrong along the way… feel that fire inside me yet, its wholly and entirely mine, but you’re invited to help it burn too…

Weekly Ramble #42

As creators we live and die by reviews of our works. In a world that seems so damn difficult to get them, when we do sometimes the process seems worth it. Of course I’m referencing to the good and I’ve been there before with the bad; sometimes it’s okay to respond but not directly, more as an exercise to flesh out feelings and to process.

It’s kind of weird that the stuff we create is judged by the final product. Very rarely do we get judged by how we endured a journey in flexing our creativity to get there, or for our ideas that may sit outside the box. Even though good reviews are marvelous, and bad ones, well they exist, I have always found the most rewarding part of creating is finishing it. Everything else – the editing, the cover art work, the opinions, they are a by-product of that initial accomplishment.

To be confident enough to release your work out into to world is an achievement enough so when we get a review, from a reader we don’t know, the feeling can cap off the already immense experience of creating.

To those who have reviewed my work, good and bad – thank you.

Weekly Ramble #37

Things never turn out how you expect them to. I guess the perception of one person can be clouded by the situation they find themselves in. Kind of like the sound of your voice, it seems different on film or recordings compared to hearing it out loud, either way its cringe. 

Writers lay in wait to find out if their stuff is well received, sometimes they never truly know but a live performer gets feedback almost instantly. An audience will react immediately with an applause or just a gasp or even worse silence which can be deafening. Some of the best gags may even go ‘unlaughed’ straight away but have a way of burning into one’s mind even days later. We’ve all laughed at something out of the moment.

The true power of performance or art in general is how it makes an audience member feel long afterwards. It’s a special feeling to reminisce about a show or story you were a part of some time ago. To be remembered is probably the highest of accolades for anyone in the arts. Then again they only saw or read that story on their side of the fence, I guess it all leads back to perception. Others will even argue that having their work move someone in any kind of way is the greatest of rewards.

 

Weekly Ramble #28

Success as a writer will always be in the eye of the beholder. The real aspiration is simple for me and plenty of other wordsmith folks out there. To get better. Everything else is just a reaction to the effort we put in as writers, a bloggers or content creators. 

Of course most of you know how much I appreciate the support. A follow, a like, a share or even a comment can propel amyone towards having a better day.

The arts will always be subjective. So will percieved success. Whether or not we reach such a thing doesn’t actually matter. To create something that takes just one person away from the mundane of life is to really succeed. I do this because I enjoy it and it makes me happy. To find something like that is rare. If you enjoy something make it your passion, want to get better at it by simply doing it. Put in the hours. Toil over the words, the characters, their conflict, the setting, everything. Listen to those closest to you and even those who are distant, especially when they give constructive advice, yeah we know they haven’t lived the lives we have through words, but their perspective counts, they live in this world too.

In every project I take on, I simply look to deliver it in a different way to the last as well as proving to those who follow me that I am getting better. Although I realistically do it for me, they are the ones who will be reading my work.

Progress may be slow, but then again when was the last time you turned around and realised not just a handful of loyal people were following you, but 200 plus. It took me 6 years, four books and 2 plays to convince enough people my voice was worth hearing, and still I try to prove to more people everyday.

Good things can happen in creating. The best results take time, work, honesty and above all, the desire to want to get better is all you need

 

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Good news can always be found, somewhere.

Humanity had a bad weekend. It seems like bad events such as the one in Paris are becoming more and more frequent. Most of us won’t be able to do anything that could help a situation that unfolded but instead we find ways of processing and paying tribute.

There are no words that could possibly describe what those innocent people went through and there is no justification for those who inflicted such diabolical acts. Life will find a way of being the judge.

As humans we do the best to process. Many who use facebook took the opportunity to pay tributes by covering their profile picture with a French flag. Many others vented via tweets and statuses.

The downside of humanity is sometimes the action we take. However the upside is our reaction we have as people. In extreme situations of danger people commit heroic acts to keep sometimes complete strangers safe from harm. That itself should be celebrated, but that doesn’t bring back those who undeservedly lost their lives. Sometimes in order to process and think about what is going on in the world we look a little closer to home.

Turn it back on yourself for just a moment and you can realise compared to those people who faced shear terror on Friday your life isn’t that bad. That’s how I process stuff like this because there isn’t really any other way for me. Sure we can live in paranoia that we are going be next but that isn’t living. None of us should in fact live in fear, we should all have hope that things are going to be ok and that is what humanity is to me.

You may be in a shitty situation at work or home. Money may be your biggest worry or the car you drive may not make the next view miles down the road. This road is in fact long and winding. All of those things mentioned find ways of resolve but are in fact minor problems compared to others.

‘One day you are on top of the world and one day you are the clown’ says one of my favourite vocalists Chris Daughtry in a particular song called start of something good.

To me that means one day you will be ahead and one day you will be behind. Just be glad you are in the race because those people on Friday were taken before their time. What better way to pay a tribute than to go out and make something of your life.

Without sounding too preachy my life is exactly as Chris Daughtry sings that song. ‘Things might work out how they should’.

I take a closer look at myself and things are good. Very recently I started a new job across departments at work. This decision is turning out to be the best I have ever made in my life, but work for me wasn’t always great, neither was my car and money situation. What’s money I still ask?

There once was a time where I said I’m a writer and had no content to show for it. Right now I sit here typing with a brand new book ready to be edited and then hopefully self published next year. After finding an editor and someone who can help publicise it (he says).

Good news can always be found somewhere but if it can’t make some of your own. We as people are powerful beings, just the power of words can change society. Although there isn’t anything we can do to bring back those many good people who left us in Paris, we can sure dedicate ourselves to appreciating and making the most of what we have. That is our life and our humanity.

Not many of us will ever win anything big. I personally haven’t won anything particularly big but the little victories, there’s something I specialise in and savour. I’m surrounded by good friends and people who make this life better to be in.

Its been a difficult but very rewarding year for me. The seeds have already been planted to make 2016 blossom into something good. It’s never too late to grow your own good news.

 

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