Bucking the trend (or one reason why you are not making money)

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Unlike many of my Ramblings, this post is written in a far more focused manner, giving a clue to the importance I place on this content.

I think, ALL indie authors NEED to read the following, in full.


 

Recently I have seen a large number of indie authors discounting their books, or giving them away freely, offering a plethora of ‘giveaways’, from the humble bookmark to expensive looking jewellery, even a combination of all the above.

Whilst this form of promotion is not unusual by itself, the number of offers has increased to such a degree, that it seems no one is selling a book at full value price.

In fact, a quick scan of the internet shows very few books, (in relative context), for sale above zero, naught, nil, zilch, nothing.

This is excellent if you are a reader. You have the largest and widest choice of reading material ever produced in the history of human life, being offer to you at no cost; even incentivised, bribed, to take up such offers, by the additional giving of gifts.

Life has never been so cosy.

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This recent explosion of free books has been boosted by the hundreds of book promotion sites, offering authors the service of marketing their works to millions of potential readers, for a small fee.

The sales gist of this is, should the author give away books, each person receiving a free book may like it so much, they will buy more of that authors works.

This seems a viable strategy… in principle.

BUT… there is always a but!

This form of book marketing was, for want of a better word, pioneered by Amazon when they were quite a young organisation selling only books.

At that time, the indie authors publishing phenomenon had not established, making it a very different market place; one where the novelty of being offered a free book was the exception not the rule.

Furthermore, add this marketing fee to the cost of production, editing, proofreading, formatting, cover designer, advertising, etc. Now, work out your royalties per-sale, because that is what must pay for your books production costs.

From this simple equation, you will see how many books you must sell to break even.

NOTE: This figure is cost based only. It does not include a budget for your time, your internet bill, your software licence fees, office space offsets (even if ‘the office’ is a table in your lounge) and other associated costs, which as a business person you need to consider. If you do not, whatever monies you think you have made form that book, will be demanded from you by those wonderful, friendly folks at the Inland Revenue.

So…how much do your royalties add up too…oh, nothing… because you gave it all away, with the bookmarks and coasters you paid for to boost your sales.

Not very business minded, are you?

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Let’s fast forward to today.

The indie publishing business is a global industry, with hundreds of thousands of books being self-published each month, in every country and every language on earth.

This is a world where an adage I loth, ‘A victim of our own success’, has the hollow ring of truth.

Because computer technology has allowed the growth of, what was once referred to as ‘desk top publishing’ to grow in such an unprecedented way, the competition in the indie publishing scene is immense.

However,… there is always a however, too!

While the market place for book sales has undergone change akin to continental drift, the methods used by indie authors is still as primitive as the those used in the embryonic days of Amazon’s birth.

You see, Amazon has outgrown the indie author world. It has outgrown many, if not all the established mainstream publishing companies and, by doing so, has irrevocably altered the landscape of publishing in general.

Neither is this giant called Amazon about to offer indie authors a helping hand.

It does not have to and does not want to. Not only has it outgrown the publishers, but it has established itself as the master of sales opportunities. Basically, as an independent writer, if you want to sell a lot of books you must factor Amazon into your marketing mix. What is more, Amazon will need to be your prime ingredient in the clear majority of cases.

Which brings us back to the reader, those illusive, almost mythical creatures who may, one day, if you are extremely lucky, buy one of your books.

BUT… yes another but!

BUT… it is getting less and less likely any reader will put their hand into their pocket and pull out some money, simply to get hold of a copy of your book.

You see, they don’t have too.

There are hundreds and thousands of books available for free. The reader can order any of these, or simply download an eBook version, which they can add to the hundred unread books waiting on their Kindles and E-readers, without ever spending a single penny.

Oh, that fleeting promise of maybe’s, the one the book marketing sites sold you, you know, the one that goes… “if they like your style they will buy the rest of your series/books….”

You didn’t fall for that old spangle, did you? 

Because they will not.

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Please do not dismiss the reader thus. Like all of us, our readers must be canny when it comes to spending, whether buying packet of sausages in a supermarket, or buying a good book to curl up with in front of the fire.

These folks will:

A, wait until another of your series is offered for free.

B, read another free book. (They may enjoy it better than yours.)

C, Both, of the above.

This is a reader’s market. It has got this way because of several factors, but (another but!), it is you, the indie author who has brought this situation upon yourself.

By publishing your book at a ridiculous low price, then lowering that price and eventually giving your book away, you are part of the overall problem affecting many, if not most indie authors.

You are simply adding to the situation you are moaning about. You know the one, about having too many free books on Amazon. That the competition is too great, because the market is flooded with cheap books, 99 cents and below.

This WILL NOT CHANGE until you…yes, YOU do something about it.

Ideally, for me. As of tomorrow morning, there would not be one book, not a single novelette being given away.

Novella’s and the such would be priced at around £2.00/$2.40 for the shortest book and escalating up from there.

Novels would kick in at a minimum of £10.00. Book prices would be back to a decent level, a level not too dissimilar to that before Amazon muscled in.

We all, from time to time, often with good reason, knock the major publishing houses who controlled publishing, much as DeBeers control the diamond market. Yet they ensured authors got a fair return for the time and effort involved in creating a book.

That cannot be said of Amazon, or any book promotion site encouraging free and 99c priced book sales.

I know there is a movement within the indie community, one which is trying to discourage the giving away of books.

I am part of that movement.

I believe, if ALL indie authors removed ALL free books, re-priced their books to reflect true value for authors, we would see a major shift change within the industry almost overnight.

Don’t worry.

People will not stop reading.

They never have and they never will. They shall simply be paying a fair price for the goods they receive.

Authors will start earning a fair return for their creativity, effort and investment. The quality of books will increase.

The world will be full, once again, of wild unicorns running free in green woodlands full of Tinkerbelle fairies… well, I may be pushing it a bit too far now; but the facts are, indie authors will be better served without cheap and free books…. FACT.

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Which brings me to the title of this post, ‘ Bucking the trend’

What give me the right to state such?

Firstly, this is not me simply making a vortex of hot air.

I stand by my convictions. I do not have any FREE books. I shall not be giving any books away. I do not have gifts of incentives. I have no bookmarks or jewellery.

In fact, I am deliberately ‘Bucking the trend‘.

Recently, I have increased the price of all my books, both Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.

One of which, is an Amazon No.1 bestseller.

The coveted No1 position, is something I doubt would have occurred, if the book was priced undervalue.

You see, perception plays a large part in decision making.

What value you initially consider an item, is easily disputed once furnished with a low price. Hence altering perception.

With that in mind, a low cost, or free book will hold little or no perceived value to the reader.

If the same book is viewed at a higher price, the value is assumed to be greater.

In association, the assumption of quality is also presumed higher or lower in direct proportion the estimated value implicit.

This is my view and the principles I adhere too.

I shall charge a fair price for my books. Not a penny less.

Readers can buy them, or not.

BUT…. (The last one I promise), consider this:

Should I just sell one copy of one of my books this year, I would have made more money than you, giving a thousand copies away.

I’ll leave you to muse over this.

Sleep tight, 

Paul

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Distracted.

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I sit back, sighing heavily. The writing is going well, but I need to take a break from this particular work. So I fill a large mug full of hot black coffee...the preferred drug of most writers…and sit back down, allowing my thoughts to scramble over the untidy mound of scrappy ideas which need to be sorted into some cohesive order.

Problem is, as I sip the scalding liquid, my thoughts leave the junkyard of unformulated notes and come here, the rambling parkland of gibberish and spill over this page in an uncontrollable splash of ink. Rather like the drips from the base of my coffee cup.

I know I should be focusing all my attention towards the new novel ‘Floyd’, because you cannot leave a psychopathic murderer running loose, which is precisely what Floyd is doing as you read this. Or maybe I should be writing some more short stories, or editing some old blogs ready to create another book. After all it is what I set aside these current hours to do. It was my sole intent today. So, in some respect I feel guilty I am not writing content for any of those projects.

However, I am also aware that in the shadowy recesses, in those dark corners of my mind where I have little, if any control, the cogs of intuition, of creativity, of inventiveness and imagination are whirling away without any conscious effort on my part.

I know they will, or at least I hope they will, rearrange the untidy pile of random thoughts, those initial ideas and concepts, into an organised and comprehensive inventory of clarified sketches which will then be ready for me to utilise.

This is one of the reasons I write such as this, (and drink copious amounts of coffee late into the night and often into the early hours of the following day)!

A few years ago, I was given a very good piece of advice by a successful writer; “Whatever you do,” he said, “just write. Write anything that comes into your head. Do not think about it too much. You can always re-write it, change it, even scrap it another time. But when you sit down to write do exactly that, write, write anything because what matters is not the first few words you put down, but the creative juices they cause to dribble down your thighs of inventiveness”.

I have followed his advice ever since, which is why I have very wet inventive thighs and write these ramblings. Hence I have found the cure for the condition that afflicts many, the so-called writers block.

Have a good, creative and productive day.

.

© Paul White 2014

To read more of my work, or find out more about me, why not visit my website?

http://paulznewpostbox.wixsite.com/paul-white

There is always a tomorrow.

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It has been over a month since I last posted on this blog.

That is not because I have been lazy, or that I have had nothing of interest to share, it is simply that I have a full life and priorities are in constant flux.

Take this morning for an instance; I awoke with three tasks on my mind. Three simple little chores that needed attending to. The same three chores I thought of last night when I crawled under the duvet.

I have now, at seven o’clock on an evening accomplished all three of those jobs. They are done and dusted. Finished.

BUT…and this is the point…I have only just completed the last of those three tasks.

You see, life came between the plan I had in mind when I retired last night, the same basic idea which was in my head, as I stumbled from my bed and bounced off the walls on my way to the bathroom, while rubbing the sleepy-man’s dust from my eyes this morning.

Other things swam to the top of the quagmire of the ‘urgent’ lake. Like festering bubbles of noxious gasses, they rose swiftly to the surface of ‘to do now’ forcing other tasks and more pleasant jobs back under the surface of crucial undertakings.

I am not a list man, not any longer anyways. I now, in my years of semi-retirement, prefer the ‘Mañana’ approach to life. I am a firm believer that ‘Irie’ is a far better way to avoid a heart-attack than a daily dose of aspirin.

Therefore, slotting another job into a day, or in fact removing one, causes me no stress or bother. Even the prioritising of these tasks are not really my concern, I allow other people, notably my wife, to dictate the order in which they should be undertaken, if not completed.

I am happy to simply bumble along, plodding my way from errand to errand. Those that are concluded are concluded, those that remain undone, or partial are left as such until the next sunrise.

Simple.

 

This is the way I think it would be best for all of us to live our lives.

As I said at the start of this post, I have a fairly full life which means that all things in my world are constantly and consistently changing, which is the one thing which stays the same!

It is a way of life I have got used to, I have honed the skill of relaxation so that now it looks like I am working. The truth is the same of work, only of course vice-versa.

I consider that to stay de-stressed, calm and collected in this high-speed, terabyte infused, interweb fed technological day and age is a rather rare talent.

But please, consider this…

I have not seen many Rastafarians that look particularly stressed-out if the electricity bill is a day late being settled.

The Spanish Lothario, your amante muy joven, will not be rushed from the bedroom to attend a job interview.

All those things will happen; they will come again in due course. There is no reason to stress about them right now.

Yes, as with my day today, things will alter.

Some things will transcend others, they will, for a short period of time, become prominent in your mind, urgent if you wish to use that term. But they are transitional, they are themselves just another ripple in our flux of life.

Many of these urgencies, the pressures of time and such restraints, are unworthy of true measure. They are false, fake, self-imposed, self-accepted limits.

Take a step back I say. Reassess exactly why it is you are rushing around, why you are stressing out.

Consider this…what is the worst thing that could happen if you do not complete that task within the time limit you have set?

Accept that.

Think. Is it really important enough for you to become so agitated, for your blood-pressure to soar, for your heart to pump so fast?

I think not. Do not allow them, do not allow circumstance to rule your life like that.

Live your own life. Chill out a little.

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There is always a tomorrow.

If there is no tomorrow, there will be no worries either.

Simple.

Now, my own tasks for this day are done, or can wait until ‘later’.

I am going to sit and write some more of my forthcoming novel ‘Floyd’, which I have FLOYD6finalfrntjpgneglected for too long. It will be nice to get re-acquainted with this psychopathic murderer. 

 

I may get one thousand words written tonight, I may get absolutely none down on paper at all.

But then I have tomorrow.

Don’t I?

See you all on the other side, Paul.


To find out more about me, my works and what I am up to right now take a mosey around my website at

 http://paulznewpostbox.wixsite.com/paul-white

A great find for better Book Marketing

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Like most authors I am continuously looking for ways to do things better, not only improving my writing, my plots, characters, details and realism/escapism of my words. But also in ways to promote my work, to get my books in front of potential readers, dare I say, even to create ‘fans’ of my writing, people who just ‘cannot wait’ to read my next book.

None of these things are easy and, as I often ask myself, why do I bother at all to make my work public? Why do I publish my stories, and why, oh why do I expend so much time promoting my books and my blogs?

There must be a much easier way to achieve my goals without spending hours upon hours in front of a computer ploughing my way through the hosts of social media sites, in the hope that one person may, just may buy one of my books today.

The trick is of course to have a marketing strategy and a comprehensive promotional plan. Yep, that was the first thing that sprang into my mind the moment I finished my first book.

When that final keystroke printed the ‘d’ in ‘The End’ I should have been focused on an

integrated advertising and publicising stratagem, designed to maximise exposure and to create interest and awareness of my book in all the constant and variable media channels, avenues and vehicles possible, being fully inclusive of traditional forms as well as online technology based means such as social media platforms and internet related mediums

or at least something along those lines.

But I chose to heave a great sigh of relief and swill down a cold beer.

I do not think that I am alone in doing such a thing on completing a one hundred and ten thousand word novel either?

Which brings me back to the start of this rambling, ok it does not, but I’m going back there anyway!

So how can I do things better? As for the writing it really just comes down to writing, editing, re-writing, more editing and then doing it all again. That is something generally called practise and, in all honesty, that is the only way anyone can improve, although some suggestions and mental nudges can help stimulate ones muse.

In this blog, if you care to look back and read some of the previous posts, the archives, you will find a plethora of tips, ideas and ‘other stuff’ which will assist, I hope, in doing just that.

The second part, the marketing and promotion, which is the bit we all would like help with, the bit we could all do with making easier. Once again I have jotted down a few tips in the back catalogue of this blog.

But, and this is a big but, there is so much ‘out there’ that I am still finding. Some I dismiss as pretty darned stupid, inappropriate, or too expensive…even a few ‘dodgy’ sites and apps. I am certain you know of some of these too.

However, every now and then I come across a gem or two, or three. When I do I try to share them with you via this blog,‘Ramblings from a Writers Mind.

Today’s little gem is in fact a big shiny diamond.

Melanie Rocket’s website is a pretty cool place to visit if you are a writer or author. The problem is where I start in explaining what she has going on here.

Firstly I think a brief bio will set the scene, so here goes.

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Melanie’s background of writing, photography and television production, positioned her perfectly for the Internet. She has been developing websites and marketing strategies for the Internet for the past 20 years and has worked with some of the top Internet marketers in the world.

Melanie has written twenty-six books, thousands of articles, hundreds of television scripts and is a non-stop idea machine. She often says, “I work far harder for my clients, than I do for myself!” This is evident from the strong Internet presence she develops for her clients.

Her clients have referred to Melanie as “the Web Witch, the Internet Wizard, “the Internet Goddess, the Traffic Cop” and as “Simply Amazing.” Melanie happily answers to all of them, though she admits to preferring “Goddess.”

Check out Melanie’s blog about book marketing http://melanierockett.com/category/book-marketing/

Or how about tips on using WordPress http://melanierockett.com/category/wordpress/

Like something more, then take a peek at some time saving software  http://melanierockett.com/category/productivity-tips-and-tools/

Looking for a good book reviewer? Check out the directory http://melanierockett.com/book-reviewers-directory/

There is so much more here too, like the services Melanie offers.

“I work one-on-one with authors and publishers to assist them with their  book writing and publishing projects.  From consulting to coaching to providing marketing advice and services.   It all starts with an email or a phone call”.

You can contact Melanie via her ‘contacts’ page on her website, just use any of the links above.

I hope you find at least one thing to make your life easier and your marketing planning better.

Books end

Have a great day, Paul.

Harper Lee has nothing on me! Miriam’s Hex…….the truth behind the story.

It may have taken about fifty years for ‘Go set a Watchman’ to be published, because of Harper Lee’s uncertainties!

It has also taken an awfully long time for ‘Miriam’s Hex to be published too.

This is the story behind the book.

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About two years ago (2013) while having a household de-clutter I found an old cardboard folder in a box in my loft.

This folder contained many poems I had written in the late 1970’s & 1980’s. Many were hand scribbled, most were type-written, yes I did say type-written!

Also in this folder were notes for use in, or as, ‘possible and potential’ stories, old abandoned writings, half started tales, partial paragraphs and such like. It really was a rather eclectic combination of various scribblings.

I was filled with personal wonderment as I read these sheets of yellowing paper. Here were my thoughts, my emotions, my ideas of a lifetime ago.

Some of the writings and poetry I recalled instantly, others staggered out from the mists of amnesia. I was amused by some, horrified by others; the amateur nature, the naivety, the bad grammar and miss-spellings made me cringe.

All however, transported me back to another time, another world, another life which was connected yet somehow detached from myself. It was partially like an out-of-body experience, but somehow more so while being less direct, less united. Possibly that is the effect of passing years?

Bunched at the back of this folder was a wad of A4 sheets held together by a rusting paperclip. I started to read, it was an untitled story. A light hearted black comedy, if that is at all possible, of selfishness, of greed, impatience and latent curses.

Despite the many changes, the crossing-out’s and the pencilled notes the story drew me in, as I read through small pinpricks of memory began to seep back. This was a story, one of the few I had written at that time, which had a beginning, a middle and an end. (Although throughout there were still many threadbare patches).

You see, I first scribbled out a rough draft of a storyline in 1978, according the dates on the draft. This (first?) draft had no title and no end. In 1980 I reviewed and re-wrote it, apparently! (I found a few margin notes to confirm this), although I cannot recall doing so. This time is when I added the final few paragraphs so there was now an ending…of sorts.

It was thirty five years later, after I had become a professional writer and published author, I rediscovered this early work, first started when I was in my late teens.

At first I simply returned it to the folder, the archives if you wish. But something was nagging at me. It was that this story was, in fact pretty good, it was something different, there was an originality about it.

So I pulled the manuscript from the dusty cardboard folder once more and began, letter by letter, word by word, to type it onto the computer, to re-write certain parts, to edit and eventually to complete the story. All the time I was doing the re-write I was conscious of not changing the basic story, not to expand or cut too much. I wanted, needed to keep the piece as close to the original draft as possible while making it readable.

Once I was as happy as I was ever going to be, I gave the work a title for the first time. I called it Miriam’s Hex.

In November 2014, thirty six years from its conception, I self-published Miriam’s Hex as an eBook.

Miriam’s Hex is a very long short story! A Novelette of twenty two pages.

It is a story I would like you to read, not only because I am certain you will enjoy it, but because of this story, the story behind the book.

I hope that it will not only add a provenance to Miriam’s Hex, but will lend encouragement to all the writers among you who, at times, have doubts and worries about their own works and capabilities.

Harper Lee…..phiff!

Thank you for reading my story.


As a bigger thank you I have reduced the price of Miriam’s Hex to just .99pence/cents (plus any applicable taxes!), so please feel free to download and enjoy. Just put this ASIN: B00PM249TO into your search bar or go to any Amazon site worldwide.

Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/Miriams-Hex-selfishness-latent-curses-ebook/dp/B00PM249TO

Amazon USA http://www.amazon.com/Miriams-Hex-selfishness-latent-curses-ebook/dp/B00PM249TO


Now there is a ‘SPECIAL EDITION’ of Miriam’s Hex, one that includes this story too!

The Special edition is ONLY available directly from me through my website

Just click on this cover image.

Miriam's Hex new


I am also open to feedback and comments about this post, Miriam’s Hex or any of my other books, my blogs or anything you want to discuss.

Simply email me!

paulznewpostbox@gmail.com

Why would you even bother reading a book?

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    Believe it or not this was said to me today in a general conversation. Needless to say that the person who spoke these particular words did not know I was an author; I did not enlighten them either!

    However, for my part these simple few words started a chain of thought that, as the day progressed, continued to reoccur in various forms. This post is the result of some of the fleeting impressions these musings have left me.

    By the way I am solely writing with regards to reading fictional books, as this was the original topic of discussion this morning.

    For those techno-loving geeky types, I am not separating e-books from their paper counterparts as they were not distinguished as separate entities during the debate.

So on with the post…….Firstly, why read a book when we are surrounded by a plethora of various media platforms, allowing access to just about every form of entertainment available by a simple click of a mouse, a push of a button, or a touch of a screen?

My answer to this is that all forms of moving picture media leaves very little exercise for the mind.

Once again I will say ALL forms, whether it is a chick-flick or shoot-um-up film, a drama, play, soap opera, or another genre.

Each and every one spoon feeds the viewer the information required and therefore leaves very little, if anything for the imagination to create.

However involved the viewer may become in the plot of the programme he or she is watching, their mind is purely focused on the screen, watching antics and listening to the words of the actors alone.

Do not get me wrong, I enjoy a good film as much as the next man; I love watching plays and intriguing dramas, and yet no matter how well directed, produced, or acted they may be, such simply cannot begin to compete with a well written book.

What is so special about reading is that it can do something that no other form of entertainment can possibly achieve.fit-girl-working-out-fgp9n

A book can give your mind a ruddy good workout, a neuron enhancing, cognitive improving gym session like no other.

Allow me to explain……When you watch something on a screen you are seeing a story through the eyes of the director, via a screen writers interpretation of a story that has most probably been adapted from another medium, possibly that well written book I mentioned a short while ago.

Therefore what you are seeing is actually a director’s vision, of a third of fourth hand edited version of an original work. Doesn’t seem so good now does it?

Another downside to watching a screenplay is when one of the characters, (which will be the actors portrayal of the watered down interpretation of the directors version of that original piece of work), walks across the car park and drives away in a dark shiny car, you will see exactly from which direction the actor enters the car park, see how the parking lot is lit, know what model car he climbs into, and just how fast he drives away.

That is okay, but it is hardly fascinating, is it?

However, within those magic pages of a book all that action is yours, and yours alone. No one else will ever see the same man walk through the same car park and slide behind the wheel of that car. Only you know how the parking lot smells, which lights were dim and flickering. Only you can sense the suppleness of the leather seats and watch through the windshield as he drives, tyres squealing, up the ramp and out into the….daylight / darkness of a rainy night?

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Now you are beginning to see why I love reading.

Everything conjured up by the words on the page are designed to stimulate your mind, not only by guiding you through the storyline, the plot, sub-plots and twists to bring you to a conclusion, but to excite every cerebral nerve in your mind to create entire worlds where you can escape to for hours on end.

It is your personal world, an exclusive world, where every drop of rain, each blade of grass, the people who inhabit it, the scents, the very texture of material are all yours, and yours alone. A semi-mystical fantasy world where love, hate, lust, passion, jealousy and forgiveness can be experienced without fear.

There is no other form of entertainment that can even come anywhere close to that which can be delivered by a good book.

As I have said above, I love reading, I enjoy the escapism it provides. Which is also why I enjoy writing; when I write I hope to give my readers the same experience, the same satisfaction that I get when I’m deeply lost, in my own netherworld, following the storyline of a Novel.

Even if you do not read one of my books, please buy one, even two of somebody else’s and start reading straight away. I know you will enjoy.

Thanks for reading this!

Paul.

Showcasing your work to the world

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I do not know why you write.

I am uncertain most of the time why I write.

Oh, I do not mean the writing I do as a job, My books, my novels and such. I know why I do that, it pays the bills  and keeps the wolf from the door… at least for now.

The writing I’m speaking of is this type, these Ramblings, my ‘Wild Geese’ travel blog, social media posts….all that hoo-ha. I certainly do not make any money from writing this stuff.

Sometimes, I think my posts simply evaporate into the ether of the net, floating around in cyberspace, like an errant satellite never to been seen again. That is, until twelve years in the future, some lost soul in Outer Mongolia ‘likes’ the post.

Hey… that’s two ‘likes’ in twelve years, for an absolutely brilliantly written essay regarding a major social event which touched everybody’s life at the time.

But don’t worry, because at the same time I posted a snapshot of my cat licking its tail, that got ten thousand ‘likes’ and half a million ‘shares’ in three days.

Does that mean I am now going to join in with the massed hordes of cat picture posters and give up writing constructive and entertaining articles?Dead cat 2

 

Not on your life. (Besides, my cat died last month

 

That lost soul in Outer Mongolia may have be the Dalai Lama on a pilgrimage, or a young American backpacker, one who is destined to become the president of the United States at some point.

Who knows?

What I am trying to say in my usual rambling manner, is I am a firm believer in the quality of those who ‘like’, ‘plus’ and ‘follow’ my writings.

I do not write purely to amass great numbers of ‘followers’ or ‘subscribers’ to my Blog’s or other media posts.

Yes, it is nice to see your numbers growing, it shows your work is appreciated. Which is one reason I use social media.

Yet, I would rather my work is respected by those who value the content and not just because the accompanying image caught their eye.

Another reason I write, is to introduce my books to those who may not know of them.

You see it takes a long, long time to take an idea of a story and turn it into a published book.

That is many months, if not years of hard graft. After which, it is an absolute shame to see it languishing on a shelf collecting dust, or hanging in cyberspace waiting to be downloaded by the Dalai Lama after his pilgramage and meeting that nice American chap.

Therefore, I mention my books on many occasions during my writings. I think it is the right thing to do, knowing when you, yes YOU, read them you will enjoy them, (so what are you waiting for….go buy one now.)

Then of course, there are the other reasons for writing. The main reasons for writing. 

Some find it a form of catharsis, allowing them to expel worries and anxieties. Some see it as sharing, a social form of interaction. For others it becomes a need, almost an addiction. Often it is a combination of all and more. The overwhelming must though, is the need to share, to have someone, somewhere to be reading our words.

Right now, it is possible that my novel, ‘The Abduction of Rupert DeVille is being read by someone lazing on a hot tropical beach in a faraway land, where the azure blue sea laps the golden sands of paradise, or by your sister as she sits, legs tucked beneath her, on her favourite chair sipping a hot chocolate and nibbling on digestive biscuits.

Who knows?

The main thing is that someone, somewhere is reading something I have written at some time.

Even if it is on a mountainside in Outer Mongolia.

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The Potala Palace

 

The point which I am attempting to convey, is to get the quality and quantity of people we, the writers and authors, need to read our work, we have to reach out and show our writing to the world.

With that in mind, I want to introduce to you to CQ International Magazine.

Okay, so many of you will know about the magazine, many however do not, while others have seen, but not looked, not read it and difinitley not showcased their work in it.

To keep it simple, CQ Magazine is a global, online periodical which is free, yes I said FREE, to read. It has built up a regular, loyal readership base in eighty countries.

CQ International Magazine is dedicated to promoting the indie world, that’s writers, authors, poets, artists, cover designers, ilustrators, musicians, designers, modlers, artisans, painters, sculptors, just about every artistic medium you can think of… and then some.

Recently, CQ International Magazine has launced the C-club, a simple, annual membership, which gives its members the opportunity for free promotion and marketing of their work in CQ International Magazine and to benifit from associated marketing.

Find out more by visiting the CQ Blog at, https://cqmagazineblog.wordpress.com/

Read the current edition of CQ International Magazine Here 

CQ SummerFantasy

 

 

 

Down by the Dockside

  I am not usually taken to reviewing books, or recommending those from well-established mainstream authors, instead I like to support and promote the hard working, inspiring and enthusiastic Indie Author.

However, I am often asked which books I read, what novels inspire me personally, which Authors I like and lots of stuff like that. So I have broken my usual reserve and for once shall reveal a book which had a profound effect on me as a writer, albeit the young, and not very good writer, I was at the time!

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Down by the Dockside by ‘Criena Rohan’

A review by Paul White.

Sometimes and for some unknown reason a book resonates within your soul, this is one such book that did, and still does resonate within me.

Down by the Dockside is a too long unrecognised Australian urban classic. Compassionate and sympathetic to the working class in post war Australia.

I first read this years ago, (circa 1975). It is about a plucky, literate girl who grows up in poverty in Port Melbourne during the Depression, marries a sailor during the war and loses him in a fight at Christmas in 1946, teaches dance and consorts with the criminals her childhood pals have become, it’s a lively and endearing tale of Australia in the 1930s and 1940s.

You may encounter problems when searching for biography on Criena Rohan, because this was her Irish pseudonym. Her real name was Deirdre Cash (1924-1963), novelist, was born on 16 July 1924 at Albert Park, Melbourne.

Criena’s first book was The Delinquents (1962). A compassionate tale, set in the 1950s, of defiant, street-wise, ‘bodgie-5767203widgie’ teenagers oppressed by their elders and the welfare state, it was dubbed ‘a back-street Tristan and Isolde’ by London’s Daily Mail. The Times Literary Supplement called the characterization of the heroine Lola ‘a triumph’. In 1989 The Delinquents became a teenage cult film with Kylie Minogue as Lola.

As poignant and harsh as the life and stories of her characters, so was Deirdre’s own life.

Deirdre was pregnant when, on 4 February 1948, she married a law student Michael Damien Blackall at St Augustine’s Church, Melbourne, but she was also lunging at a gentility she could not sustain. Leaving her husband and son, she earned a living as a torch-singer and ballroom-dancing teacher, occasionally on the fringe of the demi-monde. Although the autobiographical glow of her novels suggests otherwise, she was teetotal, earthy but not indecent in speech, and never in trouble with the police. Similarly, her fictional, family-based portraits are sometimes romanticized, sometimes cruel. In 1954 she met her true inamorato, a coastal seaman Otto Ole Distler Olsen, whom she followed to various ports. Her divorce having been granted on 18 October 1956, she married him eleven days later in the office of the government statist, Melbourne.

Cash was dying from a now correctly diagnosed colonic carcinoma when she finalized her second novel, Down by the Dockside (London, 1963), which attempted a more complex characterization of alienated, working-class people in wartime Melbourne. While her often sentimental and melodramatic social realism lacks literary polish and form, this weakness is offset by Dickensian humour, sharp dialogue, throwaway gibes and a gutsy narrative style. She allegedly wrote a third novel, ‘The House with the Golden Door’, but, if so, the manuscript mysteriously disappeared. Survived by her husband and their daughter, and by the son of her first marriage, Cash died on 11 March 1963 at the Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, and was buried in Fawkner cemetery.

This is not a literary masterpiece in the common sense, even being rejected by several Australian publishers whom she subsequently scorned as jingoistic. But it is haunting and touching and should be on every ones ‘Must Read’ list.

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Thank you for taking your time to read this. Should you ever get yourself a copy I would love to know your thoughts on it.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Down-Dockside-Criena-Rohan/dp/1863401032/ref=sr_1_8?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1419354395&sr=1-8&keywords=Down+by+the+Dockside

Telekinetic creative cognitive imagery

Ramblings from a writers mind

   Those of you who have read my irregular scribbling’s which I post under this title will know that each post focuses on a particular, although random topic.

   Each post is written without any formal structure, hence my use of the word ‘ramblings’.

   These posts are not intended to be or give a definitive, they are just my own personal view regarding the subject of choice.

However I do hope that these posts stimulate your mind and create discussion, even debate.

   Bearing that in mind please feel free to add your own observations, views and opinions to each and any of my ‘Rambling’s’ posts.

Today’s subject is a little more direct than most of my previous posts, it is about the writer’s ability (or inability) to create the right form of imagery in their reader’s minds.

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Making you see it

[Telekinetic creative cognitive imagery]

One of the major tasks for a writer is to capture the mind of the reader right at the beginning of the book and to keep that attention throughout, right to the very last word on the final page and even beyond, so that the feeling that the story created remains embedded in the readers mind for ever.

This is what every author seeks, to deliver a memorable, unforgettable story that will be the next global blockbuster, and by doing so win new readers who will seek out the authors other works and be eager for the next new novel to be published.

So here you are, sat at your computer, or typewriter, or poised over your desk with quill in hand ready to start writing the first words of your story….what now?  You know what you want to say, but somehow everything you write seems either poor or overly complicated, and neither deliver your thoughts the way you imagine them yourself.

This is where I find it best to ‘live’ the part, become the scene or character; drive that car, get shot, stabbed, or have a screaming argument with the wife, mistress, boss, or coked-up street junkie. Then use the feelings, the images that you felt and saw while ‘living’ that scene, in short ‘takes’, like each edit in a film clip, to slowly build that small part of your story.

Using this method will allow you to ‘transfer’ much more of your own visual imagery to the reader, remembering that you will only be suggesting and guiding the reader to ‘see’ what you are writing, you will never be able to transfer the precise imagery you have in your mind to another, and even if that were possible it would destroy the very basic reasons for reading in the first instance.

At this point I think I should explain what I refer to as mental imagery.

A mental image is the representation in a person’s mind of the physical world outside of that person. It is an experience that, on most occasions, significantly resembles the experience of perceiving some object, event, or scene, but occurs when the relevant object, event, or scene is not actually present to the senses.

Common examples of mental images include daydreaming and the mental visualization that occurs while reading a book.

According to psychologists and cognitive scientists our experiences of the world are represented in our minds as mental images. These mental images can then be associated and compared with others, and can be used to synthesize completely new images.

Now that is clear, how much detail you add will depend, in part, on whether you are writing a short story or a novel, also much will depend on just how important this particular ‘scene’ is in the chapter or to the entire plot.

As an example I will take the ‘drive that car’ from the above paragraph. In a short story like a flash fiction you will not have time to describe too much detail, (unless the car is the main character or a very pertinent feature). So something along this line would most probably suffice…..

   ‘The car came around the corner at high speed and pulled up next to me. The door opened and he called out my name’.

That short sentence creates just enough imagery for you to transfer your thoughts to the reader as a visual image. That is enough for a very short piece where the writer has to ‘edit’ the work to the length of the story.

However, unless the writer wishes to be vague in this instance, I do not believe that this sentence would be suitable when writing a full length novel where the detail is not only requisite but also allows the writer greater scope for creativity. Therefore I would suggest that the same scene would be written along these lines……

   ‘The black limousine’s tyres squealed as it sped around the corner of Liberty Avenue onto Main Street and headed directly towards the fire hydrant where I was sitting. I knew it would be him, it always was. As the car lurched to a sudden stop next to me the door opened and he called to me.

‘Get in the car now, Sally’ he commanded.

Here I have added just enough detail to transfer a lot more of my own mental imagery to the reader. The reader now knows that the car is a black limo and the speed it was travelling was fast enough to make the tyres squeal. The place (setting) is urban, the street names and the use of the words ‘fire hydrant’ suggest an American city.

In this version the reader is also aware that the character on the sidewalk is female, this was not revealed in the first version.

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The real skill of the writer is to know how much detail is required, to what proportion and in which instances. Many new writers either give far too much detail on irrelevant or less important items, which then detracts from the gist of the work, or not nearly enough which in turn leaves the reader at a loss as to the actual meaning, or content of the work.

The above method works well for ‘scenes’ and ‘action’ sequences. For character description I use a number of various methods to deliver my cast members to my reader’s cognitive conscience.

In my shortest works, like flash fiction, I find that it is not always necessary for any description whatsoever, I often leave the reader to create the characters physical image themselves. In short stories I give just enough detail to outline a characters physical attributes and, or their personality traits, once again leaving a good deal for the readers to create themselves.

In a piece of full length writing I tend to use one of two methods to reveal my characters, the first is what I call the ‘Biographical introduction’, something Stephen King excels at. This is where the character is brought into the story through a lengthy introduction starting at some point in the past and ending when they (the character in question) becomes part of the books plot.

This method allows great detail to be given about any particular character so when they enter the plot the reader is already familiar with their characteristics.

The second, and the method I use most, because most of my stories are character driven, is introduction by ‘drip feed’. This is giving a little of each characters traits a little at a time through a large, if not all of the novel.

I find this method has the effect of the reader ‘getting to know’ the person much as one would do in real life.

Of course a little of both of these methods also works quite well.

At the end of the day it is up to you, the writer and creator of your fantasy world, a world where you are the puppeteer of those characters and the situations they encounter, who has the choice of how you transfer your mindful images into the heads of your readers.

I do hope however, that this rather odd rambling has stimulated you to try to write something in a format that you have not previously done, or at the very least you enjoyed reading my drivel!

Enjoy your day

Paul.

© Paul White 2014

http://paulznewpostbox.wix.com/paul-white-writer

Do not cry for us

writers-block

It is another late night. I have taken myself off to bed once, but to no avail; sleep evades me, scurrying away into the darkness the moment my eyelids become heavy.

So I return to the keyboard and start tapping away, to see what devils play within my mind tonight. Only it is no longer night, it is two thirty in the morning.

Sometimes this is when all the indiscriminate arbitrary concepts and vague notions I have considered during the days previous, formulate themselves into a cohesive interrelated and reasonably logical order, thus forming a coherent chain of words, which when read back, actually convey my original inspiration and intention to the reader.

This period, at least for myself, generally occurs at arbitrary times. It is haphazard, irregular and unselective. Although these late nights, these solitary, unsocial and introverted hours are those that commonly prove the most creatively productive.

In the morning, (read later today), after and eventually I have achieved some sleep, I shall present myself to the world in a fashion that shall cause the observer to regard me as introverted and unsociable.

Although this would not be my elected preference, I cannot chastise those who would consider me as such, because I know I shall be ruminating and deliberating over the words that I have written tonight, and as such my demeanour shall convey such meditation as distant and antisocial.

This is a burden that is carried upon the shoulders of many, if not all, creative writers.

The creativity ingenuity required to conjure fictional lives from the rawness of neural pathways, to weave nether worlds from mere suggestion, or pen flowing poetry that stirs passions and excites emotion, thrives best when it is born from the isolated world of the solitary writer.

Distraction is a temporary remedy, a partial relief of this symptomatic characteristic trait. However there is no cure. This is the writers curse.

   Do not cry for us.

This is our choice, our drug of life which brings its own highs, begets its rewards in other forms of alternate kinds.

Satisfaction and stimulation of your mind, your heart, and your soul is our reward. To tease and toy with your emotions until you lose for those moments your sense of the world around you and escape into ours, into our fictitious realm, our domain of narrative legend.

That is our reward, our incentive and our recompense.

   Thank you for reading, Paul White.