I do not use Ramblings from a Writers Mind for direct promotions because it is not the raison d’etre of this blog.
These ramblings are about sharing knowledge and experience. They are about in-depth consideration, informative articles, about highlighting the good and bad regarding writing, publishing and indie authorship.
It is not a place for advertising.
Considering the above, the following may seem directly opposed to this ethos. But read on, you will see I am seriously designing something to help and aid writers and authors like ourselves.
What is more, I am asking for your views and feedback on this project, a project I have called, @Open24.
@Open24 is an online Amazon store, my online Amazon store. (which is Open 24 hours a day, hence the name.) But… it is a store with a difference, a difference which I think will be of use to you.
Allow me to explain…
I have been an indie author for several years. Years during which I learnt far more than I could have imagined when I began to pen my first novel, ‘The Abduction of Rupert DeVille’.
In the early days, I struggled to find high quality, comprehensive information on writing, authorship, formatting, publishing, and all the sundry things which are part of being indie.
Do not get me wrong; the information was there, in libraries, on websites and, of course, on Amazon. My issue was and, to be honest still is, finding it.
For instance, if I want a book which covers sentence construction, I will have to carry out several searches, scroll down, past many irrelevant publications to find something vaguely, possibly akin to my want. That is for one single book. If I want to compare it with other books or find something similar, I need to repeat the search all over again.
A good writer has no need to look for inspiration and ideas, they will come flooding unto them.
The fact is, each moment of every day we are surrounded by a million and one stimuli which only need us to recognise their being. We must feel, hear, sense what is around us, what is happening in front of our eyes.
We must allow our perception to absorb, to let our mind create fiction and fantasy from implied interpretation. We must permit our creative seed to run wild.
I have written on this subject before, albeit from another perspective, in a post calledThe Curse of the Muse
This post is a little different.
A short while ago, possibly a good few months past, I read a post on a social media site from one of my connections. I think ‘friends’ is the general term used.
I was touched by the raw honesty of the post; so much I saved their words so I might use them as a basis for my own writing, either in situation or character creation.
I feel a little guilty for ‘stealing’ these heartfelt outpourings, yet, I am acceptive to the reasoning of creativity and the understanding of where, how and by what means we writers find our inspiration.
You see, most of my works, regardless of genre or setting, focus on our humanity, on social and personal interactions and on life itself.
The following is an edited version of the social media post mentioned. I am sure you will understand the reason it resounded with me, especially if you are a reader of my books and other works.
This is it…
“This isn’t poetry.
It’s not placed on a pretty post.
There are no pictures to pull you in.
This is just me needing to vent and I suppose those who want to know will read it through; there are a few thousand of you, maybe more and I’m just this sickly, tiny, thing who is easy to overlook.
My life isn’t an open a book, but should the play ever be released it will read like a tragedy of comedic design, one that tears the heart and rips the mind.
Irony, you’ll find, is the underlying theme.
I was everything I was told I would be; yet with time viewed through a rear-view mirror, I am nothing which holds value beyond the front door and those therein are on their way out.
I’d leave too, but domestic skills, they don’t count and writing words has yet to pay the bills; besides, without a degree to back up the lines, there are those who say I’ve spent the last three years wasting my time.
It’s pride, I know, but I’m pushing four decades old and I’m not sure I’m equipped to go back to the shit I did before I became a mom and wife.
I mean no offence, but I’m better than a burger to flip, or the next bag of groceries to sack, my mind knows too much to do that any longer.
I could go back to school, try and educate, but what do I do with the stack of debt that’s all late?
I have no resume. That’s the cost, the loss, of being nothing more than a stay at home mom.
Who am I without the domestic, the wife, the parental role to play, day to day?
So much needs to change and I’m scared to death I’ve waited too late.
Surely this cannot be my fate?
Even this, the sound of my self-pity makes me sick; but this decline of mine, it didn’t happen overnight.
It wasn’t quick.
My worth was stolen by minuscule measures, so slender the slices, I failed to feel the knife and yet looking at my life there’s nothing left but a bloodied mess.
I should find my way out of this.
I’m not as weak as I seem, but at this moment, I am on my knees.
This is not who I am, but damn, I don’t know what I’m supposed to be.
I’m a little lost and there’s no one looking for me.”
I titled this blog post, ‘Inspiration does not have to be Pretty’.
It does not.
Neither do the resultant writings. But I genuinely believe our words should be honest, open and emotional. After all, these are the driving factors of life, our lives. It is what we all have in common, it is what we all respond to… even in fictional stories.
Thank you for reading another of my Ramblings.
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Visit my website (HERE) to see my books, works in progress and other projects currently underway.
This is what The Frugal Author says you can achieve, in this book of the same name.
He has written this book as an aid for independent authors in pursuit of economical, prudent self-publication.
The Frugal Author produces his own eBooks, paperbacks and high-quality hardcover publications with very little if any, financial outlay.
This book is full of the distilled results, the acquired knowledge and personal practice of being a successful indie author who dislikes paying out more than is absolutely necessary.
In this book, he explains how he achieves that, along with insights into indie publishing and sharing his ideas of how you too can implement the same type of methods for your own books.
The Frugal Author is NOT a ‘how to’ book. It is NOT a step by step guide or tuitional publication. The Frugal Author simply shares methodology, ideas and principles which you can adopt fully or partially, implement in part or whole over time and adjust to suit your own working practices.
You may well ask what credibility The Frugal Author has? and you are right to do so.
To date, he has published 19 books, ranging from children’s stories and poetry to psychological suspense. From Tales of Crime & Violence through to true accounts of Life in the Warzone. Pulp-fiction comic book yarns are written alongside romantic stories and non-fictional military social history.
The Frugal Author is a true multi-genre author. He is also a multi-format author having eBooks, Paperbacks and Hardcover publications.
Two of his books are recognised and authenticated Amazon bestsellers.
He is a well-known and respected member of the global Indie Author and Writers community and a founding member of APC, Authors professional Co-operative, Founder of Electric Eclectic books and chief editor of CQI Magazine.
He is acknowledged for the help and advice he shares and the initiatives he employs to help all writers succeed, irrelevant of their experience.
Now, he is sharing some of his ideology and methodology with you in this book, The Frugal Author.
Download yourself a copy today, start saving money and start heading into profit… NOW.
Before I talk about Electric Eclectic in detail, lets set the layout of the indie publishing ground.
It is something like this….
I constantly hear writers say they are looking for new ways, or better ways, or alternative ways to market their books.
I also hear many authors saying they would like to find an effective way to promote their books without spending a fortune.
Not forgetting those who lament they never knew about a new initiative, or would have loved to be in at the beginning of… whatever it may be.
In this post, I shall offer you one of those alternative ways… and the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of something special… read on, but only if this is the type of opportunity you would really like to grasp.
The general consensus it seems, is Facebook adverts don’t work; unless you are willing to give all your hard-earned cash to Mark Suckonaburger (to gain a small exposure to a limited number of people for a minimum amount of time and still have no guarantee anybody, outside of your regular social network, will actually see this paid for promotion.)
The same goes for the confusion which is Goodreads and the plethora of similar book/author/reader platforms such as (in my opinion) the expensive Library Thing. Authors Den tries hard but is much the same and just as confusing as Goodreads.
Of course, you can pay for people to ‘give away’ your books, there are plenty who are willing to freely distribute all those months of your hard work, not to mention the money you have invested for… well, more of your money.
They will use the old adage, the saying that a short-term investment (read loss) is a way of gaining new readers. You know the type who will take your free offer, one of those folks who ONLY read free books “because there are thousands of free books ‘out there’, so why do I need to pay for any?” type of folk.
Why then, should they suddenly have a change of heart and convert to actually paying to read someone’s creation because they see your book going for free?
It is NOT going to happen.
Books are perceived to be devalued when they are offered free.
If you ever do find a grand number of these folk, enough to create an income large enough to sustain an author’s life, please let me know, because no one else has achieved that, so you would be making groundbreaking world history.
Please do not get me wrong, I am not against people paying for marketing or promoting books. All I ask is you consider exactly what they can/are doing for you and what realistically you can expect as a return on your investment.
Try calculating the cost/return usingthis thought process:
Equate the cost/fee the person/company is asking, as a royalty return per-book. (after tax).
Calculate how many book sales that figure equals.
Note how long you have to achieve your target.
This will tell you how many paid for books you MUST sell to replace that spend. (Your break-even point for this promotion.) and how long you have to accomplish this.
Remember, this calculation does not take into account the amount of money you have already spent on getting the book published in the first place, such as cover design, formatting, editing, maybe printing costs and so on.
If you are looking for a return, or to achieve an income from your promotion and marketing, doing this simple calculation is a good way to judge the portent of such an investment.
You do the math.
You decide if its genuine value for money.
Now… to Electric Eclectic. (EE for short)
Because I often approaching marketing from a slightly different angle, some can find my concepts a little confusing or difficult to comprehend at first, even though I try to keep things a simple as possible.
What gives me the right to write this… and who am I anyway?
I spent several years working in marketing, primarily with the larger advertising agencies such as John Walter Thompson, BBDO, Saatchi & Saatchi and so on. It was back when computer manufacturers had names like Sinclair, Dragon and Amstrad. Google was something to do with cricket, Windows were for looking through and cleaning, telephones had curly wires attaching them to the wall and programming used a language called Basic.
I now employ many of the principles learnt during my time in London, albeit updated and developed to work on social media, in the marketing of my own books. Doing so has served me well; I am a recipient of several literary awards and I am credited as an Amazon Bestselling Author.
Continuing with the development of my online marketing techniques, I have created a way for authors to earn royalties from their advertising while promoting their books.
I have branded this as Electric Eclectic.
You see, I know most, if not all writers have many short stories, part stories, old stories lingering in rarely accessed files. These stories are the ones they have not finished yet or are keeping to work on at a later date, (a date which never comes), or once used in a charitable anthology years ago. Some are little more than rough notes waiting to be developed, others unused cuts and edits from a previous novel.
No matter which or why they are there, most if not all writers have unused ‘stuff’ lingering around.
I have an idea how you can Moneytise these loitering tales.
At the same time authors are spending even more money, time and effort discounting and giving books away, ones they have worked so hard and so long writing. They are doing so in the rather vague hope of hooking the odd appreciative reader.
This is to me, like throwing the proverbial ‘shush’ at the fan. Sometimes called the shotgun or scattergun approach. Using a big unfocused blast in the hope we hit something.
More often than not, all that happens is we suffer splashback.
You must admit, it all looks and sounds a bit amateurish and silly when considered from this perspective.
So… what have I devised which makes any difference?
The answer is Electric Eclectic books.
It works like this; You (the author) digs out one of those old stories, one of your half-written, lingering, lost works, or you could write a new piece for Electric Eclectic books. It’s up to you.
The story is edited and formatted using EE guidelines, a cover produced under the same EE format, (working within the EE guidelines is of paramount importance) This results in the creation of an eBook between 6K and 20K words.
In other words, a Novelette.
By creating this book or books, (there are no limits to the number of EE books any author can produce, although two to three would be a good starting number.) using the Electric Eclectic branding, the book becomes an EE book.
The author pays a small, once only/lifetime fee, to licence the use of the EE brand for their book. (It is a franchise licenceif you wish.)
The EE licence applies and is associated with the books ASIN. Therefore, each book requires its own EE licence.
(Sorry, but certain parts of the EE formatting and branding system can only be revealed to authors after the licence fee is paid. They will not be revealed here.)
The Author publishes their own book, under their own name on Kindle and any/all other sites they wish.
ALL rights remain with the author.
The author keeps all royalties.
As an EE author, you now benefit from the Electric Eclectic branding.
This means sharing in the exposure of all EE book promotions and marketing; the general ongoing brand marketing, the general promotions, even each individual title and author promotions helps the brands overall publicity. Not forgetting inclusion in online magazines and recommended book listings and the EE search page on Amazon.
The final part of the jigsaw is… when readers purchase an EE book, not only does the author receive the sales royalty (rather than paying to give their book away), but the readers are shown and directed towards the author’s other books and works directly by hyperlink.
To conclude; by using unused stories, re-published works etc. Electric Eclectic branding allows authors to earn from their stories which were previously just collecting dust. EE books link readers directly to your other books, greatly increasing potential sales of your prime works.
Increasing income, having a greater chance of sales and gaining new readers, saving money on marketing and reducing costs by not discounting or giving away your major books, makes publishing an Electric Eclectic book a win-win situation for all authors.
Electric Eclectic is a marketing brand designed for the promotion of indie-authored books.
Electric Eclectic is NOT a publisher.
Electric Eclectic do NOT take any royalties.
Authors are not contracted, leaving them unrestricted regarding other publishing options.
Would you like to join us?
Would you like to be one of the first Electric Eclectic authors?
I have been working on an awful lot of ‘Stuff’ these past few weeks.
I am always busy, it keeps me from hanging about on those street corners. But these past weeks I have been busier than most.
Let me give you a clue….
Over the last two weeks, I wrote approximately 630,000 words, 350,000 last week and 280,000 the week before.
I have promoted the November edition of CQI magazine, the Sci-Fi season special. Click on the cover image to read.
I am in the midst of compiling two annual catalogues for CQI, ‘The Collection – a guide to year-round giving’ and ‘The LIST 2018′ a catalogue of commended and acclaimed books.
During which time, I have beavered away at marketing to keep my two latest books high on the Amazon sales lists. Successfully.
I finalised and formatted a further two books, including designing the covers. They are:
Dark Words – dark tales & darker poetry is scheduled for release on the 1st of February 2018.
Within the Invisible Pentacle, a collection of intriguing feminine titles is due out on the 1st of June 2018.
That done, I can concentrate my efforts on completing two other WiP:
Floyd a Novel about an escaped psychopath on a bloody rampage of revenge and…
On the Highway of Irreverent Rumination & Delusion, which is a rendering of my past blog of the same name, about musings of life, living and our society, with many additional perceptions, formed into a book.
I am hoping to have both completed by the end of 2018… but who knows?
Included in this time, right up until yesterday morning, I have published three new eBooks, Kindle ‘novelettes‘ under the collective brand of Electric Eclectic.
Electric Eclectic books are absolutely fantastic, they enable readers to ‘taste‘ a previously unread or unknown author at the extremely low price of just 1.00 (Dollar/Pound/Euro). HOWEVER… unlike many low-cost books all EE novelettes are vetted to ensure they meet exacting standards, so readers can buy Electric Eclectic branded books with confidence.
EE is a Franchise, where the individual authors benefit from the marketing and promotion of being associated with the prime EE brand itself. Enquiries about becoming an EE author to EEbookbranding@mail.com
My current EE novelettes are:
North to Maynard, a tale of Gremlins in our modern world of high tech.
Three Floors Up, where a psychotic man watches those below until…?
Mechanical Mike, a tongue-in-cheek sci-fi robot story, set in Paris during WW2.
Oh, I have also helped a fellow author to create a fully illustrated children’s book, written by an eight-year-old girl. A project not without its problems, but one where I have enjoyed overcoming the challenges.
I took three days out to travel to Belguim during this time period too.
Like many writers, I have a store of part written works. Literary orphans, many of whom deserve better parenting than I have given.
Some, are first drafts of short stories, ones which need attention before I could possibly allow others to set eyes upon them.
Some, are beginnings of new books and novels. Many are several chapters – or more – in length. A few far longer, yet abandoned and gathering dust in the archives of‘I’ll take another look at it, soon, one day, when I have time, sometime.‘
Some, are mere scribblings, outlines of thought, rough drafts of similar concept, or of unjointed notes, sort-of-bullet-points, fleeting notions.
Occasionally, I have pulled the odd page from the depths of neglect. In a few instances, I have reworked such a piece, even developed it into a viable story.
But those times are seldom.
Generally, when I unearth an old unfinished, partly written, abandoned tale, I quickly scan it, faintly recall its birth and return it, with a promise of coming back and spending some time with it ‘when I can give it the attention it deserves.’
Which is probably, almost certainly, a long way off from this current day, like… never.
We make the excuse of having more pressing and urgent tasks as current commitments. We enjoy the conception of creation, of having new babies in the making and we look forward to the birth of our next.
That is if they reach as far as the publicatory birth. If our current focus is not waylaid or distracted by another fancy, another attractive proposition of literary lust which causes us to forsake the unborn penned pages, formed only weeks ago, during our crazed desire to conceive another narrative fable.
We, as writers, are not good role models for caring and nurturing our creativities.
This is, as you can tell, one of the ‘things‘ which I have been silently musing over during the past however-long it has been.
I wanted to understand why I could not simply open a file, drag out the unborn foetus of past indulgence and continue writing where I had left off. Even a re-read and re-write, rather like a genetic splicing of characteristics, to take each past, abandoned child of mine, from infantile scrawling to full-blown manuscripted beauty and let them loose in the world.
So, I tasked myself to do precisely that. To wrench open the doorway of dusty archives and let the light flood in.
I was astounded by the mass of unloved writings huddled in the dank corners of my RAM. However, I was determined to make amends for the neglect suffered by these poor, unassuming, word documents. After all, they never asked to be created.
One by one I read the works.
By the time I reached mid-way point of the fifth part-work, I had my answer.
It is all to do with mood, muse and moment. At least it is for me.
Allow me to explain…
As I said earlier, literary lust and crazed desire set us on a special relationship in the attempt to conceive a beautiful outcome, a desired work of the bestselling nature.
While our mindset is concentrated, focused on a single relationship we flourish, some of us are capable of holding two, maybe three such affairs on a steady and productive track.
But each and all of these are balancing on a knife-edge of frustration, distraction and boredom. Unable to help ourselves, our minds are constantly on the look-out for other attractive propositions and exciting ventures.
Therefore, once our muse is diverted, the love for what is under our fingers wanes. Rarely is it lost, just lessened. It diminishes, at least for the present.
Then, one day we find these lost loves or that which we once begat from such a relationship; they reach out, arms feebly grabbing for our attention.
But are we ready to take them to our bosom once more?
Most time, the shame is, we are not. We are not ready or willing. So, we slam the door in their faces, committing them to the darkness of closed files one again.
Why are we so cruel in our neglect?
The answer I have found is that mindset I mentioned earlier. To pick-up and move forward from our past indulgences, we must rekindle the fondness we felt before, relight the old flame of particular creation.
Without us being ‘in the zone’ with regards to each individual story, we shall never see them grow into the works they surely deserve to be.
Maybe, to assuage your guilt, the shame and self-reproach I have now raised in your heart and mind, because of your own wicked neglect over your part works, maybe you should unlock the archive doors and take some time with your unborn literary children.
Bring them out of the shadows, let them dance in the sunlight of new development and re-writing nirvana. You never know what wonderful orphans you may have forgotten.
If you are looking for somewhere to home your orphans, then Electric Eclectic could be exactly the place you need?
Show your love; release your orphaned, lonely, short story(s) as an Electric Eclectic book(s) and let them help you gain readership and royalties.
It may seem a strange title for a post, but it is one which reflects much of what our modern society is about.
With the event of digital photography and smartphones, far more of our daily lives are recorded, most often in a haphazard fashion. A jumble of images stored on SD cards, memory sticks and in a long scrolling stream of incoherent, often unconnected messages.
Many vanish when we upgrade our phones or computers, memory cards are lost, external hard drives become corrupt or obsolete. Some files may be stored ‘in the cloud’ or ‘on social media’ at least for now, for the time being, until it all changes once again.
Nothing is secure from loss, deletion, corruption or becoming obsolete. Such is the way of modern technology, such is modern life. A simple power outage can render even the most expensive, cutting edge technological gadget useless, in less than a Nanosecond.
Books, on the other hand, tend to outlast anything else when it comes to keeping their content safe. Libraries, universities, country estate houses and museums, all hold venerable tomes from hundreds of years past. Volumes of information and knowledge that do not need an external, or rechargeable, power source.
This is why you need TOAD Publishing in your life.
TOAD is a specialist publisher, who concentrate their efforts on glossy hardcover books, generally known as ‘Coffee Table’ books.
What is a Coffee Table Book?
In theory, you can put any book you like on your coffee table, but not all books inspire conversation. A Coffee Table book is usually an oversized hardcover book. It is designed to be displayed somewhere prominent, often on a sideboard, a visible bookshelf, or maybe a Coffee Table!
These books help to entertain friends, family and guests. They stimulate conversation, allow people to see what the interests of the owner, such as the arts, photography, fashion, style, travel, and family.
They are statement pieces, works of art, decorative and entertaining.
Now TOAD has taken the coffee table book one step further, one step beyond ubiquitous perception.
Enter the Heirloom Book.
TOAD create personal, unique books chronicling major events in your life, the moments you like to keep as a memento, to share with family and friends, or preserve as an heirloom.
They will turn your photos into a glossy wedding album, or a chronicle your pregnancy, childbirth and beyond, to a child’s first birthday. They will document a life project, a holiday and more.
In the past, TOAD has created a record of theatre production, from foundation to the first-night performance and city art students, as they created a street mural for the council arts project.
These books are not about recording the past, they are about recording your life now, on the present moment, which will soon be the past, a too easily and too often, lost past.
When it comes to documenting your life, do not leave it to the haphazardness of chance, keep your memories safe, keep them in an Heirloom Book from TOAD.
Heirloom Books, work for businesses too. Document special projects, feature successes stories and special events, like the annual conferences, share them with your suppliers, customers, or staff, in this wonderfully unique way.
TOAD Heirloom Books enhance the perception of esteem to reception areas, hotel lobbies, waiting rooms, guest rooms, private libraries and, of course, on your coffee table.
Heirloom Books are full colour, unless otherwise specified, glossy, perfect bound, photographic and/or illustrated hardcover publications. The interior layout and covers are designed by our in-house studio, PeeJay Designs and printed by our partners in the Netherlands, from where the books are distributed worldwide.
In February, I released ‘Life in the War Zone’ a collection of stories, based on true accounts, of what life is like living between warring factions in an area of conflict.
Life in the War Zone takes a serious, no holds barred look at the devastation and trauma of life in the battlefields of the Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia, Israel, Palestine, Libya, Lebanon and El Salvador.
Also during February, I published a ‘Coffee Table’ book called ICONIC, or to give it its full title, Iconic – Legends of music immortalised in art.
Iconic is an 8 x 8 inch, hardcover, perfect bound, glossy, book, containing a number of my own artworks, portraits of some of the most well-loved musical talent ever known, such as David Bowie, Amy Winehouse, Buddy Holly, Jimi Hendrix, Elvisand many more.
March saw the publication of The Pussers Cook Book.
This became an instant hit and an Amazon bestseller. It is still, as I write this over a month after the books launch, at number three in its Amazon category.
The Pussers Cook Book details twenty-two of the best loved dishes, served on Royal Naval ships circa 1960’s to 1980’s. Along with the recipes, there are plenty of jokes and tall stories, some legendary myths are also dispelled!
You do not have to be a sailor to enjoy the Pussers Cook Book. It makes the perfect gift for a freind or loved one.
You will see by this, why my time this year has been at a premium.
Now, I have touched on art, as in the title of this post, by mentioning my tribute to the great musicians in the book, ICONIC. Which clearly shows the link between writing, books and art.
As do all those millions of books with illustrations, photographs, pictures and images inside. Let alone the amazing and wonderful artistry shown by many book cover designers.
In that respect, books and art are almost inseparable, and never exclusive.
But there is more…
Art has always been a ‘go to‘ place for me, when I need to rest my mind from concentrating on writing. Whilst my form of art, digital painting, is still a creative discipline, it is creative in a totally differing way to the mindful concentration needed for writing.
In that respect, I find creating digital art relaxing, even ‘freeing up‘ the subconscious mind to continue its own creative endeavours, whilst I take my consciousness on a holiday of colour and form.
The problem arises, much as it does when writing, or I should say, when one has finished writing and has published their book.
Who will see it, who will read it, who will buy it?
It is all well and dandy to have a book, three books, ten? Sitting on the shelves getting dusty and covered in cobwebs. What we want, what we need is someone (Many someones) to come along and actually read our words.
The same is true of art. What is the point of creating wonderful, thought provoking, stimulating images if they are simply going to be stored as a digital code on a memory stick. If they are never going to be made onto a canvass, or a poster, or even printed onto a tee-shirt or coffee mug?
Both of those scenarios are, in my humble opinion, a total waste of time, effort and creative energy.
So…what to do about it all?
Firstly, I have made a Facebook page to help direct people to my works.
The main site is my artwork website, where you can browse through a selection of works albums and find links to the other places my work is available. https://goo.gl/pyPI7i
That is why I am talking about art on a writing blog.
Thanks for reading this…if you have read this far!
I will be back to posting my normal Ramblings from now on.