Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Signing off

Well, it's been fun, but all good things and all that.

Self-publishing Looking for Buttons was an interesting experiment.  I received useful feedback from readers, I 'met' some fantastically helpful people online who came to my aid as I learned the ropes, and I alarmed a few old acquaintances who thought they were the inspiration for characters in the book (generally, they weren't).  A couple of them are still talking to me.  As for the others, well, if the cap fits, darling...

But now it's time to call a halt.

Various reasons mean that writing has been firmly on the back burner for some time now.  I rarely update this blog or the Facebook page, so I think it's time I declared them closed.  For now, the book is still available on Amazon, and I do still occasionally loiter on Twitter (@looking4buttons), so if you've enjoyed the book, do say hello.

Thank you to everyone who's taken an interest, especially if you bought the book.

Fergus would suggest this would be a good time to adjourn to the pub.  Dob would suggest a cocktail, preferably accompanied by a debonair gentleman.  Kate would probably hole up with a cup of tea and a glossy mag.  I leave it to you to speculate on which of those I prefer.  Au revoir.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

A vaguely seasonal post

Yes, you're right, I haven't been very active on here this year.  Look, it's not easy being a jet-setting multimillionairess best-selling author.  Or so I imagine.  It's certainly complicated enough being a disorganised (im)mature student and semi-professional hermit.

And no, I'm not going to make up for my absence with an extended post full of seasonal jollity.  You know where you keep the mince pies and alcohol, you can fend for yourselves, seasonal jollity-wise.

What I can do is offer you a Festive Freebie, with Looking for Buttons available to download for nowt but the price of your internet connection from Christmas Day until 29th December.

Ho ho ho.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Never mind the quality, feel the gigabytes

Here in England it's a Bank Holiday weekend, which for those of you outside the UK means a national holiday in which people tackle home improvement projects quite beyond their capabilities or queue in endless streams of traffic to go to beaches packed with people huddled miserably over sandwiches now containing real sand as the wind lashes them with the driving rain.  It's a cultural thing.

So as usual I'm having a Bank Holiday Bonanza and giving away free copies of Looking for Buttons on Amazon.

Which is fine, except I'm not really sure anyone actually reads them.

When books are so cheap, even free, you can pretty much download as many as you like, memory permitting.  Never mind the quality, feel the gigabytes.  But when it's so easy to pile up the words, it loses meaning.  You get the buzz of a download without the deep financial commitment of, say, an enormous hardback to compel you to actually read the books you've amassed so avidly.

I might shift a few hundred books during this promo if I'm lucky but those stats are meaningless if no-one gets any enjoyment out of it beyond those fleeting seconds of the download rush.

So if you're reading this I hope you're here because you've read the book and you've enjoyed it.

Please tell me if you have.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I have to find my adjustable spanner...

Sunday, 21 July 2013

My true identity

Just to make it absolutely clear, I am not J.K. Rowling writing under a pseudonym.

Thank you.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Happy birthday Kate Harper!

This week marks the first anniversary of the e-publication of Looking for Buttons, so it's obligatory for me to mark that by sharing some of the things I've learned from the experience:

1.  People like free stuff.

I've shifted hundreds of copies of the book.  I've sold far fewer.  Despite this, I did get my first UK royalty cheque earlier this year.  Should have had buns a la Nesbit for tea, bought fish and chips instead and the rest went on the rent.

2.  Being a writer is not 24/7 glamour.

See rent comment above.  And I still haven't had an opportunity to wear my frivolous shoes.

3.  People are fab.

People I have seldom or never met have helped me with technicalities and promotion.  Friends have read the book, bought the book, plugged the book, listened patiently to me fretting about the book and generally been very positive about the whole thing.  Complete strangers have sent me nice messages via Twitter, Facebook and the Kindle Users' Forum and posted reviews on Amazon.  As a shy and retiring hermit, I find this all slightly overwhelming.  Thank you, all of you.

I won't witter on.  You're busy people and I'm supposed to be writing an essay (being a mature (immature) student is a great way to put off writing the Difficult Second and Third Novels).  But it's been an interesting and sometimes fun year, so if you're reading this, thank you for coming to the party.

Do help yourself to tea and buns.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Another cover story

Yes, you're right.  It has been a while.  And while I'd love to have something exciting to report, it's actually all been terribly mundane.  Life as an author is not all one giddy social whirl, you know.  However, I do have a few nuggets of information to impart:

1. If you have nothing to say, don't say it.

It's not terribly helpful when one has a book to plug, but as I hadn't anything worth posting, I didn't.

2. The Difficult Second Novel lives!

It has revived and, what's more, I'm off to work on it in a minute so I can't hang around here chatting all day.

3. Looking for Buttons has had a facelift.

Now I'm against facelifts on principle (putting a bag over one's head is so much cheaper, and reversible).  On the other hand, marketing Looking for Buttons as a romance wasn't doing it any favours, so I'm putting the emphasis on its humourous side, with a recategorisation on Amazon and a new cover.

(A new cover, pictured sometime today.)

It's an experiment to see how these changes will affect sales, if at all.

4. And it's FREE!

To kick-start the new look, I'm holding a three-day Bank Holiday Bonanza from today until Tuesday, so get it while you can.  (Or wait until Wednesday and pay for it, that's fine by me.)

Right, that's it for now.  I've got another book to write.  Over and out.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Never knowingly oversold

When you're an indie writer, you're something of a one (wo)man band.  You can rope in other people for some of it, of course.  I can't design covers for toffee (or for books, come to that) so I was overjoyed when a kind gentleman did it for me after a timely intervention by the wonderful Norfolk Bookworm.  But the bulk of it falls on the writer.  Ah, cries the voice of reason, you wrote the book, so why not?  After all, it's all your fault and it's entirely self-inflicted.  But, oh, I do have trouble with promotion.

Partly it's down to inherent bashfulness, which is why most of my family have no idea that the book even exists.  I've managed to overcome this to some extent, irritating my Facebook friends* with intermittent chirpy enticements to buy the book even though all the ones that are going to have done so already (a few are still talking to me).  But selling myself doesn't come easily.  The only way I can bring myself to tell people about Looking for Buttons is if I've got a free promotion running.  The Valentine one went so well I extended it into a four-day extravaganza and the book hit Amazon's humour top twenty in the UK charts.  I was bold that day and actually told a few colleagues, who got quite excited and told more people and so I shifted about five hundred books in a short space of time.  Word of mouth does work, and it's the best sort of advertising.

It seems I am going to have to work on developing an outgoing character.  This is going to be harder than writing the Difficult Second Novel.  Perhaps I should just strap on a bass drum and cymbals and march down the High Street blowing my own trumpet.

* apparently this still isn't an oxymoron, even though I never see most of them for years on end