Say what you mean

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This blog, as its sub-title states, is where I write about writing for writers.

When I do so, I want to make it clear what each of my posts are about, so you can choose to indulge in my words, or skip on to something else which blows your frock up in the moment.

The point is ‘CLARITY’.


Allow me to explain where my thoughts are…

I read an awful lot of stuff about writing and being an indie author; articles, blogs, books, newspapers, social media posts, written by other writers, authors and publishers with the intent of giving advice or insight into the ‘black art‘ of a writer’s life.

Generally… and I know one should not generalise by right, but on this occasion, I shall… Generally, all these posts are written with a single perception in mind, that of fiction writer.

It is assumed, by most authors of these posts, articles and essays that ‘writing’ or being a ‘writer’ means you are working on a fictional novel.

Do not simply take my word, browse away all you like, look for yourself.

I can understand why.

Most of these articles are written, with good intent, by authors of fiction, reaching out to help others. Sharing knowledge and accumulated wisdom. Something which is rarely done in other areas where another person could be perceived as being and often is your competition.

This is one matter where the indie writer’s community excels. It is supportive and encouraging to all whom venture within the dark realms of the quill.

Yet the terms writer means so much more and covers a far wider sphere, than fiction alone.

I try to be as inclusive as possible in my own posts.

If I am not writing directly about a particular aspect of fiction, I try to make my posts content as equally applicable to those writing a blog, a historical article, poetry, or a non-fictional account, as I am to the writers of fiction alone.

A writer could be a reporting journalist, a diarist, a playwright, or engaged in composing a technical manuscript as well as engaging in stories of fantasy and fiction.

So, come on all you other bloggers who tap away on your keyboards. Make it clear from the outset of you post if it is about something which affects all forms of writing, such as grammar, or your view on the loneliness a writer may endure.

Please alert people if it is specific to a certain genre or area of writing, like romantic fiction, historical recording, technical manuscripts or horror. ZGPIAp

Why?

Well, I for one do not want to start reading your post, which I am sure you will have made as interesting and comprehensive as possible, to find, a few paragraphs in, it is covering a subject which I have no connection with and is therefore of absolutely no interest to me.

Being unnecessarily drawn into such, will only make me disregard any future article you post, even if it then covers a subject I am concerned about.

You can still have a ‘catchy’ headline or title if you don’t want a fully descriptive header. Just ensure, for those browsing a subject they want to read, that you clarify, in the first few lines, the subject matter of the post.

It will help the reader find what they want and it will help you gain followers who like your subject matter.

That’s all I have to say for now.

Enjoy the rest of your day, Paul.

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Oh…before you go, you might like to visit ‘Wild Geese’,my new blog for the independent traveler. https://wildgeesetravel.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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How to be very, very SEXY and attract lots of attention.

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I have recently posted a number of articles intended to assist you with self-promotion and the marketing of your books, blogs and other writings. (If you have not read them scroll down and take a look after you have read this).

In this post I am not going to get technical or start preaching, but simply ramble away about how you can use the oldest attractor to help generate many more ‘hits’ to your site, Blog or book promotions.

It is something you know well, even intimately! Yet are still hesitant about showing it off to the public at large!

You will, no doubt be aware of the old saying that ‘sex sells’.

It is one of the most truthful quotations ever and one which continues to prove its own legitimacy on a daily basis.

Now before you go off in a huff of indignation or embarrassment let me make it quite clear this is not a post about sex per se, but the use of sensuality and titillation to initially attract readers to your works.

I have already demonstrated the simplest of these methods, the word itself.

In this case the word sexy made you stop and read this blog today. Okay I teamed it up with a few other words to make a sentence, but it was that single word ‘sexy that has bought you right here, right?

Therefore, as long as you employ some link however tenuous it may be, to lead the reader from the ‘sex’ word to your content you have made the first step, you have attracted another potential follower, or purchaser of you goods.

If you are averse to using the word directly you can substitute it with other words which create passionate or sensual imagery adopting a subtle ‘softer approach’. The outcome however will be the same to the reader, a mental stimuli which is difficult to ignore!

The next step is to add an image, which again I have done here, (at the top of the post).

Whether you use the soft curves of a female torso or the squarer, muscular masculine is dependent to which audience you are directing your writing towards.

Although overall the female form has a greater impact on the general populace as both sexes are attracted, albeit for a variety of reasons, including gender and sexual persuasion, which I shall not endeavour to delve into in this particular post.

Once again however, I am not speaking of pornography, unless you are solely directing your work to that market, in which case I would then suggest looking at a very different approach altogether so as not to become enmeshed in the mass of generality.

For the most part soft suggestive stimuli is all that is required, after that it is you work, your content and presentation which must endear your readers.

Basically I am saying that, yes…SEX does sell.

Do not be afraid to use it for your own gain; after all you won’t know how good it is until you have tried it!

Enjoy, Paul.

Have you read my Blog ‘Further Ramblings’ yet? It’s all about life and living, go take a look now. http://wp.me/5njAU

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