The meaning of Easter, a holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after his crucifixion at Calvary is lost on most of us these days. I suspect that uppermost in our minds are thoughts are of Easter Eggs and four days rest!
My religious convictions are battered and tired, but I cling to childhood notions of Christmas and Easter being good, calm, relaxing times. Times when people tried just that little bit harder to be nice to each other, even if the religious origins of the celebrations were lost on them.
This week, my ‘cat’ blog is without cats! Not a feline to be found! I am heartened and boosted many times by inspirational postings on facebook and this week, just for a change I am sharing three of my favourites inspirational or amusing ones with you. It just seems appropriate this week.
In terms of writing, this long weekend is for finishing and starting, so I guess there is a little bit of similarity with it’s original meaning – the ending of Christ’s earthly life and the start of his work at his father’s side.
My finishing, is the end of my revisions to my book ‘Deadly Election’ – it has been edited, ‘beta’ read, critiqued, and re-edited to death now. It is nearly ready for release upon the unsuspecting reading world – target date, early May – let’s see if I can make it. It now has an amazing cover design by Jane Dixon-Smith - www.jdsmith-design.com and has been professionally edited by Joan B Simon ( you can read a review of her excellent book here - http://www.femalefirst.co.uk/books/muttus-281878.html ) and other wonderful friends. My beginning, is the planning of a launch and marketing campaign – so much to do, so little time.
Seeing as I am in the mood for giving credits (it’s a bit like the Oscars isn’t it - “...none of this would have been possible without my outstanding chiropodist.....”) I think I better give a plug for my amazing girlfriend, Lance, who brings great fashion from Asia and sells all over the world by mail order. She will have a website soon – still working on it – she has a great Facebook page - http://on.fb.me/14m26fT (please go and ‘like’ it or I may not get my Easter egg!). Talking about ‘likes’ I am pleased to announce (drum roll) that my fan page went over 1,000 likes a couple of days ago - I still need more – here is the link! - on.fb.me/Uj4uLN . I told Lance when we went over 1,000 likes I would buy a kitten. I have told her now that when we go over 2,000 likes I will buy cat food! – The chances of me getting an Easter egg are disappearing fast!!
I don’t have much more to say this week, but regardless of your religious or otherwise inclination, use the free time to relax and refresh, and do some good for somebody – it will make you feel good.
Happy Writing, reading, relaxing and renewal. See you next week . The cats will be back.
Being a writer is fun. If you do not agree with that, don’t bother to read any further – just go off and do something else – something that might even earn you money perhaps!
We have to face it. Increasingly, with the advent of ‘instant publishing’ an increasing number of ‘published authors’ are unlikely to earn enough to feed our pet mouse on. (You don’t have one?... Really?) I used to have a pet cat, but now..... I am a writer, and catfood is expensive.
Getting back to business, at least we all ENJOY our writing – we meet so many nice people, we are (sometimes) admired, we can be proud of our achievements. We have to face the fact that the rewards for our labours are not likely to be monetary, at least nor for a long time, and not in great amounts.
If we are to have ANY chance at the ‘big time’ (I define that as earning enough to put food on the table – at least once a month) there are several key words which I keep in my mind and try to dredge up when even the poor mouse is going hungry.
DEDICATION. Whatever time we are not working, being a mom/dad, sleeping (optional) we need to be writing, or doing jobs associated with writing, like marketing and planning – I am not a ‘planner’ by nature – but I surprised my girlfriend by taking her to my bedroom and showing her my marketing plan – newly posted on my bedroom door. Not sure why she looked disappointed, but at least I know I am going in the right direction.
PERSPIRATION. Getting going, and keeping going, is not easy some times. We all have bad patches – that is what wine, friends, and more wine is for... We are allowed days of lethargy and sloth – as long as we pick ourselves up and carry on – it can take practise sometimes, but usually once you start you can keep going.
INSPIRATION. We live by new ideas – whether it be a new twist for our plot, a new marketing strategy or a new cage for JKR (pet mouse). Our life blood is a constant stream of newness – especially in our writing and our marketing. There are a million excellent articles/blogs/websites to read. Mostly, they will inspire us – and they are free – there is no excuse.
MEDITATION. We all need quiet times, times away from writing, relaxing – this is often where we get our inspiration. I know I said we had to keep going (see Perspiration) but we also need mental recharging. You will know when you need it if you start to enjoy your writing less or cannot stay awake when you should
This weeks posting is not meant to inspire, or motivate – just to comfort, I guess. it’s ‘comfort eating’ for the hard pressed and hard working author. Keep at it – you’ll get there one day!!
It's the cats that keep me going!..... I would be grateful if you can 'like' my face book page - www.facebook.com/arthurcrandonauthor - and follow me on twitter - @arthurcrandon - that's all for this week. Happy writing
More than fifty years ago President John F. Kennedy gave an inaugural address which has remained memorable for just one part of one sentence – “... ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”
Authors, whether not yet published, struggling, or successful, would do well to reflect on these words.
(if you want to see the full address here is the video link KENNEDY SPEECH )
These words apply not just to service to country, but to EVERY part of our writing, business and personal life. Gaining recognition and success as an author today is like fighting a war. The ill prepared, the lazy, the selfish will all fall by the wayside and be drowned in the deluge of new books hitting the virtual bookstores every day.
To fight this war you will need ammunition (your book should be the best, professional, work you can prepare – with an amazing cover) and you will need allies. If you have the ammunition, it is your allies who will make or break you as an author. The Author community is supportive and understanding, but you need to GIVE before you will RECEIVE.
This is not the advice of a successful author. I am not very far along my writing journey, but I am helped along the way by my writing ‘family’. I urge all aspiring writers to join an author network. I only have experience of one, ASMSG (which is amazing), so I cannot comment on others, but I am aware that there are many. Most are free to join at a basic level, so try them out. Within my new ‘family’ I have found brilliant editors, honest reviewers, cover designers and marketing professionals – and I cannot thank them all enough for the modest success I have achieved so far.
I do what I can for them, retweeting them at every opportunity, reviewing their books when I can. There is still much more I could do – I need to understand Goodreads and use it to assist others more (sorry, guys), and I need to understand and take part in ‘blog tours’, book launches, joint promotions and many other things – I will get there eventually – there are only so many hours...............
Anyway, a BIG thank you to all who have helped me (please keep it up! ) – and I will look out for ways I can assist you – you only have to ask.
If you are in a generous mood I could do with some more ‘likes on my face book page to get me through the 1,000 barrier – www.facebook.com/arthurcrandonauthor - I will certainly like and friend you in return.
I hope your writing journey is enjoyable and rewarding. See you next week, Arthur. Usual cat pics once again adorn this monumental piece of prose for your delectation and enjoyment!
There is something rotten in the state of Denmark! And, apparently in the state of Amazon!! I am talking about book reviews. Not the well thought out and lengthy contributions by genuine readers, but contrived sales aids written by the author himself (under another name), his friends or paid scribblers.
My shelves are filled with books of wonderful advice on self promotion as a newbie author. They all tell you that you need lots of reviews, preferably five star reviews, on Amazon and other sites to make your book a success. I am sure that they help a lot, but surely readers are beginning to question the value of them. If you type ‘fake 5 star book reviews’ into Google you will get a mountain of comment on this growing trend.
Ok, five star reviews look very impressive – but I think we are in danger of devaluing the currency. You only have to look at some of the brief reviews, short on substance but fanatical in their praise, that now adorn many books to realise that a growing percentage of book reviews may not be what they seem.
Tempting as it may be, and pleasing though it must be to see countless five star reviews praising our work, we must sit back and be honest with ourselves and with book buyers if reviews are to continue to be valued as part of the decision making process by serious readers.
Amazon are taking some action. They are trying to weed out anomalous reviews, but I cannot see how they can effectively tackle all aspects of the problem. In my research for this piece I read about one health book that, after a few really bad one and two star reviews, received more than one hundred five star reviews – in one day! And also about the sci-fi publisher who offered a $25 gift voucher to anyone leaving a five star review of their book (this offer was quickly withdrawn following negative publicity).
I have the same distaste for one star ‘spoiler’ reviews. I, personally, would not write a negative review – I just could not – I would prefer that the reader drew their own conclusion from the lack of reviews on a book. I have always believed that if you cannot say anything nice, do not say anything at all! I hear that Amazon are now addressing this also, and have caught authors writing such reviews just to spoil the sales of another author. I hope they were banned from the site.
It is early days yet for my book (yes, here’s the plug – amzn.to/T0Hthk) but so far it boasts two, four star reviews – and I am proud of having earned them, not paid for them or begged granny to write them!
Ok, that’s enough of the heavy stuff for this week. I hope the cute pics below will amuse you – I love the squirrel that thinks he’s a puppy – thank you Su Williams!
Happy writing until next week, Arthur
I have two things buzzing around in my head today (sorry about the bees reference – you are going to have to put up with it right through the blog this week – I am in that kind of mood).
First – my one and only bee joke. “I’ve just been stung by a bee” says one man. “Oh have you?” asked his friend. “Yes I have,” said the first man. “He charged me $30 for a pot of honey.”........... Ok. Ok, I can hear the deafening silence from here! No more jokes... the blog can only get better from here on in...
“Why the constant references to bees?” you ask..... You don’t? Oh well, I am going to tell you anyway. As writers we are wonderfully supportive of each other. We give each other free copies of our books, we write reviews for each other, we guest on each others blogs, we like, friend and follow each other – and this is all wonderful. Please do not get me wrong. I really do think the ‘fraternity’ of authors is wonderful, and extremely supportive.
The problem is we are all spending our time (well, at least I am , and I do not believe I am the only one) engaged in these mutual backslapping exercises that maybe we are losing sight a little of what maybe should be our main objective – finding READERS to buy our books. This is why I am reminded of bees. It seems we are all like bees in a hive – we are trying to sell our honey to our fellow bees and wondering why we are getting few sales. (Yes, alright, I DO know bees do not try to sell honey to each other – you know what I am trying to say, please give me some poetic licence!)
The question is, what other ways can we get at our READERS? I do not have the answer, I merely pose the question. I will give it some thought and I hope to address it in my blog next week - any suggestions will be included and acknowledged. I hope I can open a discussion here – please comment if you have a view –
Right. On to the second topic. Amazon. I am reading everywhere that Amazon has changed the terms of its Affiliate agreement to make it in some way less advantageous to give ebooks away. I have not read the detail of this change yet, so I am shouting my mouth off before understanding all the facts (I am a lawyer after all!) but my knee jerk view may not please some readers.
I really believe that the wholesale giveaway of 95% of independently published books, either on special days or as a permanent offer really does devalue the skill and effort that we put into our work. Any moves which discourages the current deluge of giveaways gets my backing. Again, I would love to hear others views on this, so please let me know how you feel.
The cats are still here, and always will be – just so that I do not take myself to seriously. While you are here, you may like to check out my review of Rags Daniels book, Lallapaloosa, and visit other bits of my website – no charge, make yourself at home. Happy writing until next time.
Meet the author
Arthur Crandon is a lawyer, the boring office kind, not the exciting (and much better paid) courtroom type. He worked as a solicitor for a while before embarking on an interesting life overseas. He has spent most of his time in recent years in South East Asia, more recently in Hong Kong. Before that, Arthur lived and worked in the Philippine Islands.
He loves to fish, and play the piano – but spends most of his time writing, eating, drinking and sleeping
– usually, but not always, in that order.
His first book, Deadly Election, draws on his strange imagination and his
experiences, together with those of others, in a land that, beneath a veneer of civilisation, operates like the Wild West and is very
dangerous to innocent and gullible foreigners.
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My thriller - Deadly Election - is now on sale at Amazon. Anyone who buys the book and leaves a review will get a signed paperback. Please subscribe to my blog and newsletter here