Monday, July 30, 2012

Work Update

I haven't done an update for some time, so here I go.

My first novel is now available in paperback on Amazon (see advert on the left), after the ebook was available for a free download last month.  It was downloaded 525 times and then bought 15 times.  I now have a total of £5.25 in royalties.  Woohoo.  Once I get organised, after the school holidays have finished, I'll run a competition for a paperback giveaway.

The short story collection didn't do quite so well, being downloaded only 85 times with no follow up sales.  This may be due to it being a short story collection or its relatively small size.

The current WIP (Apollo the 13th) is nearly done in first draft form.  It's just short of 30K words and will hit about 40K when I'm done with the draft.  After its first rewrite, it'll probably double in size, though I've already rewritten the first chapter after some feedback.

As for W1S1, I had a terrible June, but in July I not only wrote two new stories, but resubbed one old story.  I was about to resub another story when I checked my spreadsheet and saw it was still out on review for Gold Dust.

Other than that, I've scribbled an idea for the follow up to my current WIP, outlined a book on how to form a writer's group and am debating whether or not to include a section on electronic publishing as a group in it.  Should I?

I've also started to explore the idea of article writing to earn money, using this blog for inspiration and the columns I have on electronic publishing.

Lastly, I'm still getting used to this new keyboard and its odd shape.

What have you been up to?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday Fun

Another week has ended, more goals have been missed and many more achieved.

Some people go shopping for underwear, others go shopping IN their underwear.  Yep, it's oddbox.  Also includes people dancing with the Olympic flame and a bus doing push-ups.

If you're coming to the see the Olympics, the BBC has compiled a helpful page of information about Britain.You can find out how to behave at the pub, how many regional accents there are and how best to insult the Welsh and Scots (call them English). 

Ever wondered what happens to stage shows that flop?  Nope, me either.  However, one man has turned the experience into a comedy show.

The moment you've all been waiting for...Picture Time.

I won a competition during the week and my prize was this cartoon, created and drawn by Chris Bamburgh.

(Please note that this picture is copyrighted, so don't use it without his permission)

And with that I bid you adieu and I'll see you on Monday.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

How Many Of These Things Do You Do In A Day?

  • Research
  • Edit
  • Read
  • Blog
  • Observe
  • Cogitate
  • Talk with/email editors/magazines/agents
  • Write
  • Beat yourself up for not writing
  • Sketch out a plan of the city in your novel
  • Design the Starship your hero flies
  • Sit in a corner and cry over a rejection letter
  • Map the world you're building
  • Imagine what it'll be like to spend your million pound/dollar advance
  • Create character profiles
  • Go to a writer's group
  • Critique another writer's work

If you practice one or more of these things for a total of two or more hours a day, congratulate yourself.  You're an author.

See you on Friday.

Monday, July 23, 2012

We ARE The Long Tail

Ever heard the phrase 'The Long Tail'?  It was first coined by Chris Anderson nearly ten years ago to describe part of the business model in the digital economy.

It breaks down into the following points.
  • Blockbusters are not as 'blockbusting' as they used to be.
  • Internet economics mean it is profitable to stock items that sell once or twice every three months.
  • Our interconnected world has created large numbers of small communities.

The results can be seen in the dismemberment of television and radio, where instead of a few stations, there are hundreds, most of which turn a profit, and when you add the number of online stations the choice is almost immeasurable.  Yet, although the number of viewers or listeners to each show may be smaller, the total number has grown.

They can also be seen in music where the cost of storing digital downloads on a computer is almost zero, so every sale makes a profit.  If you have several hundred tunes which sell once every three months, that's a lot of profit. 

The same goes for books, which is where we come in.

Amazon, Smashwords and other digital booksellers can store a book so cheaply on their servers, they can afford a very low sale price and still turn a profit on each sale.  This applies not just to ebooks, but to Print On Demand (POD) too.  If you only store the 'idea' rather than the physical product, your overheads are negligible.

As a self-published author, I am part of that long tail.  My books don't sell well in the traditional sense, but they sell enough in the digital market to make it worthwhile for big corporations like Amazon to stock them digitally.  In fact, all self-published authors are part of this tail and take advantage of the digital economy.

We may not become millionaires overnight, but we appeal, and will continue to appeal, to a smallish, worldwide niche market that, in some cases, can run to millions of people.  Yes, I did say millions.

Let's say your books are so niche, they appeal to only a hundred people in your area/state/nation (depending on the size of the population).  Across the planet, linked by the internet, there are lots of those regions, each with a few hundred people who would like what you write.  If there are a thousand such areas attached to the internet, 100,000 people are ready to read your book. If your book appeals to hundreds or thousands in an area, then...well, you can work it out for yourself.

The one problem that hasn't changed is marketing, but there is good news for all self-published authors.  As each niche has its own area on the net, it's easier to find and sell to.  It could be online magazines, websites dedicated to the particular interest, forums etc, but it's there and far easier to locate. We no longer have to worry about the publisher's, or the the agent's, marketing department, we can go direct to the people who would be interested in our book.

Self-published authors don't have the overheads of a publishing house, or shareholders demanding a percentage of our earnings.  Our costs are low, our outlay low and our product just as good as the one being sold by the big boys and in some cases, such as celebrity novels, better.

We are the long tail and we should be proud of it.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday Fun

I have a new, ergonomic keyboard to type with now, a treat for myself.  It means my wrists and arms can be comfortable while I make the same old spelling mistakes.

First up, oddbox.  Mud, more mud, tomatoes, toe wrestling, dancing on the London Eye and moonwalking down the side of a building.

Did you know it's nearly impossible to poison an Opossum?  That and 9 other things you probably didn't know...or care about.

Picture Time

And on that happy note, I bid you adieu and a great weekend.