A Little Bit of Advice

A Little Bit of Advice

Pens DOWN!

Before you get too settled into writing your best seller, there are a lot of things you might need to know; a lot of things I wish I'd known before I started writing Day Two Dawns.

In this Friday blog I'll be sharing hints, tips, experiences and anecdotes. Hopefully, as you read, you'll become more prepared for the work ahead of you.

Asking for help takes strength...

Self RepresentationPosted by Judageddon Fri, March 13, 2015 14:18:29
Hello fellow writers,

Today, in a way, i'm talking about pride and stubbornness and the curses that they are, drawing from a mistake I made for a long time and the lesson I learned only recently.

I'm 43. I worked in a corporate environment for a long time; a place where every telephone conversation was target driven and every face to face, even with colleagues, was an opportunity to establish my value to the company by demonstrating superior ingenuity and unquestionable self confidence. Where I worked, sharing advice was strength, asking for help was seen as weakness (I believed).

I left that environment three years ago, in a storm of confusion, frustration and denial. Thankfully, I was already determined to apply my life long fiction writing experience to producing and publishing a horror novel (Still one of the best decisions I ever made), unfortunately, after two months, things weren't going as expected and I was running out of ideas. Keeping going still wasn't working. What could I do?

The mistake I made - was believing that the stuff I've written above, about the competition between peers in the workplace, was true and equally applicable to the online community. I strode out into the self publishing arena with my chest puffed up and my brightly coloured tail fanned out for all to see, full of ideas about how things should be done and how I was going to be best.
Imagine how I felt when nobody looked and nobody looked, no matter how much I told them how brilliant I am. You'll maybe understand then, why, when people finally started looking, I bombarded them with information about my book and how great it is (it is great, but that's beside the point), and how deflated I felt when, despite everything I'd read about online marketing and the time things take, deep down I still expected to have seen more sales than I had. You might not believe how close I was to giving up.

I was so close, I had no choice, i dropped my guard and asked for help. What happened next blew my mind... An online group of friends, people I felt I had competition with, came to my aid with genuine advice, encouragement and tales of similar experiences, reinstating my understanding of timescale, resetting my resolve and sharing invaluable views, resources and practices. I can't over emphasise how understanding and helpful they were.

The lessons I learned - Don't be afraid to ask for help from fellow writers. They are no more in competition with you than a person selling red paint, while you're selling blue paint. Some people like red, some like blue, but there's no reason why you can't both make a living off of paint. Share your successes and frustrations, give advice when you have it and take advice graciously. It's fine to admit that you are struggling. They've all struggled.

And the other thing is that friends on social media, which ever platform, should be treated as friends and nothing more. Be genuine and honest with them. Share things you believe in; things that have been of value to you and may well be of value to others. If you write a blog about something that's important to you, and is relevant to the group, share that too.

Become part of a community, or many, that share an interest with you, that you benefit from being a part of in terms of how much you enjoy interacting with them. And if people have helped in the production of your book, tell them when you release it, once or twice, as you would a real world friend or group. Let them share with the people, who share with their friends who talk to their workmates who'll do the selling for you.

Thanks for reading & keep writing.

Judaggedon out


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Build a followship

Self RepresentationPosted by Judageddon Fri, February 13, 2015 12:28:51
Hello Fellow Writers,

The fact that you are reading this suggests that you already have a social network presence. Good start. Today I'm talking about preparing a body of friends, colleagues and potential readers BEFORE you publish your book.

The mistake I made

I invested all of my social networking on one platform. I thought that posting on Facebook would be enough. I thought if I enthused friends and family to look at my developing web page, cover ideas and blurbs, that they would share my brilliance and new followers would like my page in their hundreds.

Guess what happened...

They liked my posts, gave helpful feedback when requested, and that was pretty much it. Don't get me wrong; I'm very grateful for the support and help my friends & family gave, but what I needed them to do was share.

I had launched a Twitter profile. My opening Tweet outlined plans to Journalise my progress as I wrote PROLOGUE. I received encouraging messages from people I didn't know, but I didn't follow it through. I didn't think about how important my online presence would be when the book was launched; I was living the fairy tail in which ebooks sell by their thousands without any active promotion; I thought it was more important that I commit my time to writing the best zombie horror book the world had ever seen.

The lesson I learned

If you're writing an ebook, the best place to market and promote it is online. If you already have a substantial followship, then your job will be so much easier. The best way to build your followship from scratch is...

Be proactively reactive - Start by searching for posts covering areas of personal interest, then comment on and share posts and tweets that you have something to add to. If you see actual value in everything one person posts, then post a comment saying so. Follow people who interest you and soon your followship will grow.

Avoid following everyone, or sharing everything you see.

Be sure to outline your craft and interests in your profile description, but don't let it be the only thing you talk about.

The three platforms I have experience of are...

Facebook - I started social networking on FB and I'll probably never leave. My primary profile is followed by friends & family and my posts cover family life and activities, which include references to my writing and design work, but I wouldn't think of it as a marketing platform, so rarely post book marketing material. For that I use Facebook Pages:

Gaz & Lou's Safe House - is a website that exists in my novel, so it seemed appropriate to build a page named after it. Here I post links to survival tips, news about the developing dystopia in which we live, and links to my blog of the same name.

Jumping Thumb - Named after my MULTeMEDIA web page. Here I post links to writing tips, zombie and horror media and this blog.

I try to post something new on my pages, once or twice a day, Monday to Friday. Posts on FB Pages can only be directed at Public and, unless you pay to have your post enhanced, will not be delivered to many users. Until a post is shared from your page, don't expect to see particularly encouraging seen by numbers.

Twitter - has become a mixed platform for personal and marketing posts. Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference, and I accept that many, if not most of the entities following me are bots, or have their own sales agenda. For example, a very high percentage of my followers are also writers, linking out to their own blogs and sales info, much like me. What I try to remember is that, like me, most writers are also readers (at least, they should be) and they are as valid as a potential customer as they are as a colleague or friend.

I tweet about my blogs and book info three or four times a day, Monday to Friday. I tweet about personal interests and retweet items I find interesting or funny and reply directly to tweets if appropriate. If there's space available, when I retweet I try to add a comment that explains why I'm retweeting.

Look out for entities that only seem to retweet from one source. I try not to invest much time in these marketing engines, but remember that behind that hi-res image of a beautiful person, there's a human being who might be interested in me.

If you can't think of anything to tweet about, look at the Trending list under Discover and join in with a #game or two.

Google+ - is an odd one. People have said that there are no real people on it, but I've found it to be a warm and welcoming community of helpful supportive people. I like the way that communities are structured and easier to understand than Facebook groups, and there's more real estate for words than on Twitter.

I try to post twice every day, Monday to Friday, sharing my interest in photography and photo manipulation, plus links to my blogs and helpful info.

The secret is to get involved: join in with conversations, comment on posts and tweets, share, like and follow people who interest you. Do unto others... i suppose is the bullet point of what I'm trying to get across.

I hope this has helped.

Thanks for reading and keep writing.

Judageddon out.

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So… What's it about?

Self RepresentationPosted by Judageddon Fri, January 30, 2015 12:15:13
Hello Fellow Writers,

Always remember that you are the first PR representative you will ever use and the most knowledgable expert on you that there will ever be. If you are not aware of that, then its time to get to grips with it.

This is a lesson I learned too late...

First a side note to create context: I compare my writing work structure with organic gardening: I plant the seeds where I want them to be, but relish the fact that I have limited control over how they'll grow. I understand that some plants will not grow well together, while others act as catalysts, and I expect I might have to move some of them into better growing conditions.

But… When I first started writing novels, I planted one seed, with no idea of what it was or how to cultivate it. What I ended up with wasn't exactly what I wanted, but it was the best I could do, with what I had. All novels written under those conditions are under my bed, waiting to be rewritten.

So, with that in mind...

Imagine you're at a friends birthday party; a barbecue in a park. There are people you know well, others not so much anymore, and people you've never met, but seem nice. You settle in with the friends you know, then find yourself with a stranger, stranded in the silence that follows introductions.

'What do you do?' you ask. It's a common icebreaker.

'What do I do?' they repeat, 'Well, I suppose I'm an electrician.'

'Oh! Right.' you are intrigued and probe for details. 'What sort of electrician?'

'Erm… Kind of commercial and sort of… A bit like doing stuff in houses.'

'O.K…' You're not sure how to proceed, are they an electrician or not? A better question might be… 'Are you working on anything at the moment?'

The supposed electrician seems embaressed. 'It's still in the planning stage. Bits are finished. Give me your email address and I'll send you some pictures of the things I've done. I could do with a bit of feedback actually. What was your name?'

'Erm…' You're unsure about commiting. 'What is it though, what… what's it all about?' you ask with controlled frustration.

'Imagine you go to work somewhere really hot and… OK, you've got a big family and so you need to do two big wash loads, lets say, twice a week and… It's a bit like you've got this massive building with loads of families like you but you all have to share only three washing machines and so they've decided to put a washing machine in every flat so… And they'll all need power so...'

'Sorry to interrupt you. I've just realised my sausages are going cold.'

That would be a strange conversation eh? Believe me when I tell you that this conversation happened. OK, most of the words were different, and it wasn't an electrician being vague about their chosen profession, it was me, the first time I felt it appropriate to answer the question 'What do you do?' with the words 'I'm a writer.'

I felt immature and unprepared, like I'd turned up at a black tie event, wearing a black tie. I had decided that I, if nothing else, had sufficient belief in myself as a writer to proclaim it… But I sounded like I was making it up on the spot.

Don't make the same mistake...

The determination to spend some years writing a compelling novel, that you will publish and promote while you write the next and the next is a life choice that deserves respect and firm handling. The first thing you must do, and it need only take a couple of hours, tops, is prepare the following:

A Mission Statement - It doesn't have to be long. A couple of sentences will do, though a paragraph would be great. Outline your plan. Here's mine (Keep in mind that I am 45)...

I shall draw on my experience as a hobby novelist and the training I have taken from the open university to write a series of Apocalyptic adventure books which I intend to publish and promote independently. I shall engage marketing and business training (as cheaply as possible) to help develop my marketing plan and, if nothing else, generate a retirement income from something that makes me happy.

An answer to 'What do you do?' - The path you've chosen isn't necessarily something to brag about, but it is something to be proud of. Have your punchy answer written down and ready to use. I say...

I'm a horror fiction writer; I write apocalyptic adventures.

An answer to 'What's it about?' - It's important to get this one right. Remember that what happens in your novel is not what it's about. If you don't already have a clear and concise answer to this question, I strongly suggest you stop writing and have a good think about it. You're allowed a little ambiguity. My response when asked what Day Two Dawns is about is...

The assumptions we attach to people we think we know, and what happens when they're proved to be false.

Lots of stories are about that, of course, but none will be like mine, or yours. Never fear that you're giving anything away when you reveal the heart of your tale. It is only a seed.

If someone is interested in what happens in the story, I recite whatever I wrote in the early stages of my writing plan, which I'll outline next time. For now though, show that you believe in your commitment to the writing path by doing the tasks above. Be your best PR representative...

Thanks for reading and keep writing.

Judageddon out

If you would like to see my website and associated blog, click on the word here, here

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