99 Books and 99 Authors at 99c (with $990 in prizes) Marketing Writing

Apologies for the blog silence while I put the finishing touches to Let’s Get Visible. I’m poking my head out of the writing cave to tell you about a very special promotion I’m taking part in today: 99 authors who have dropped the price of their 99 books to 99c for one day only. There are also $990 worth of prizes up for grabs, and you can find out more here (where you will see the line-up of participating books. Amazon is featuring 80 of the participating books as a very special Kindle Daily Deal today  – including my historical A Storm Hits Valparaiso –  and it will be fun seeing how high the books go. I’m scheduling this post in advance, as Read More…

Bacon, Booze and Books: What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank Resources Writing

When I first heard about What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank: A Fantasy Lover’s Food Guide I knew it was going to be brilliant. The concept alone demanded it – which I had heard about a few months beforehand. I’m in a writers’ group with Krista D. Ball, and when she explained what she was working on, I wasn’t alone at being filled with a mixture of excitement and envy. I wasn’t jealous because I could have written this book – I couldn’t have – but because it’s one of those once-in-a-lifetime fantastic ideas that you know is going to be a huge hit. What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank is a writers’ guide, a cookbook, and a history of food all rolled Read More…

Fill The Shelves – A Great New Initiative To Help Underfunded School Libraries Writing

Chronic under-funding of school libraries has led to the tragic spectacle of empty shelves, leaving children with nothing to read; but a new initiative called Fill The Shelves hopes to change all that. This story starts in a Pennsylvania K-8 school called Pittsburgh Manchester, where the librarian – Sheila May-Stein – decided to do something about the empty shelves in her own school (pictured left – that was the entire Fiction section of Manchester’s school library). Last month, Sheila posted that photo to the Facebook wall of University of Pittsburgh professor Jessie Ramey, who then wrote about the problem on her education blog Yinzercation, along with ways that people could help – including ordering books from an Amazon Wish List. Then things Read More…

Never Kill A Client: James Bond and the Perils of Product Placement Writing

I’m back from the Czech Republic, but have a show to put on in the gallery tonight, then tomorrow morning I’m off down to York to give a workshop at the Festival of Writing and take part in what is being billed as a fiery debate on e-books and self-publishing. All of that should be great fun, but I won’t get to return to blogging duties until next week. Given the new Bond film is being released next month, I thought it would be a good time to re-run this piece I wrote for IndieReader in April. See you next week! * * * Never Kill A Client: James Bond & the Perils of Product Placement It’s one of the most Read More…

Gone Fishing Writing

I’m off on vacation today for two-and-a-half weeks. While I will have some limited internet access, I’ll be spending any free time writing. The blog won’t be completely quiet in that time – there’s a post or two in the pipeline for while I’m away – but you can expect a delayed response to any emails, and limited participation by me in the comments etc. On my return, I will  again be pitching in at my partner’s new gallery – House of Vostrovska. On the first Thursday of each month, all the galleries in East London open late, and there is quite a crowd going from gallery to gallery and a much more relaxed atmosphere. My partner will be putting Read More…

The Bonfire of the Straw Men Publishing Writing

In the third of a series of increasingly misguided essays for The Guardian – Why social media isn’t the magic bullet for self-epublished authors – Ewan Morrison builds a bonfire of self-publishing straw men. Morrison is convinced that “epublishing is another tech bubble, and that it will burst within the next 18 months.” The reason given: epublishing is inextricably tied to the structures of social media marketing and the myth that social media functions as a way of selling products. It doesn’t, and we’re just starting to get the true stats on that. When social media marketing collapses it will destroy the platform that the dream of a self-epublishing industry was based upon. Where do I start? Perhaps I should first point Read More…

How To Query Amazon: The Little Goat That Could Amazon Writing

This wasn’t supposed to happen to George Berger, especially when he was this close to throwing in the towel. You see, George made a (rather public) vow after two years of tepid sales – he would give it one more shot, and, if his latest story was also universally ignored, he would hang up his quill, for good. His next release wasn’t overflowing with obvious commercial potential. It was, after all, a coming-of-age story about a goat. On top of that, it was a defiantly literary story – and fans of same have been relatively slow to switch to digital. And, being a 12,000 word novella, only an e-book edition was planned. Undeterred, and with his vow to quit fresh in Read More…

Was Self-Publishing The Right Decision? Publishing Writing

Sunday will mark a year since I first uploaded to Amazon. At the time, I was wrestling with a question that many writers are still dealing with today: should I self-publish? The argument about whether to self-publish has been debated in great detail both here and elsewhere. I don’t want to add to that general discussion today, rather I want to offer up my personal experience of self-publishing. Given that this is an anniversary of sorts, I would like to look back over the last twelve months and examine the results of that decision, and compare it with what would likely have happened had I decided otherwise. Regular readers will know that I broke my own impasse by deciding to Read More…