Saturday, May 29, 2010

Holidays and energy

Well I’ve been away with the family this week to Sussex. While there, we visited Brighton – a couple of months too late for the World Horror Convention, but we still had a great time. The travelling wasn’t so great though. Four and half hours to get there, and six hours to get home. At least the sun made a rare appearance during our break and stayed with us for the duration.

While I was down that way I called into a couple of Waterstone’s shops, talked to some very nice people that worked there, left some info sheets and they agreed to order in a couple of copies of Deadfall (I’d already spoken to the Waterstone’s staff in my local store in Crewe, and they’ve ordered some copies in too). I’ll be writing to a few other stores to see if they would be interested in stocking the book, and calling into a few more when I get the chance - if any other shops want to order copies in, of course that would be great. Talking of Deadfall, a couple of reviews appeared online while I was away:

Also the day before I went away, the second auditions for The Kult took place. You can read the directors journal on the process here:

And for yet more linkage, you can read a PDF of The Kult for the bargain price of $2.36 at Drive Thru Horror (where the book is currently number 2 in the top 100):
Or of course there’s always the printed version available from most online vendors.

Now in recent years, I’ve been feeling very tired, so I was very interested in a bracelet I saw in a shop made by Trion:Z. Trion:Z combines the natural power of magnets and the energising effect of negative ions to balance the bodies magnetic and electrical fields.

Many users have reported that Trion:Z and Colantotte products, have helped relieve pain, stress and improved concentration, stamina and energy levels.

While many people will probably call it all rubbish, I purchased one and can honestly say that after a few weeks, I do have more energy and don’t feel as tired, so that alone is worth the purchase cost to me. Of course I can’t say it would work for everyone, but if you suffer from a lack of energy or anything else that it’s supposed to help, it’s got to be worth a shot, and I certainly wouldn’t endorse it if I didn’t think it worked:

Right, now with all my newfound energy, I’m going back to the grind.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Philosopher's Stone

A few more bruises have been added to my collection, but my son and I received our Taekwondo blue belts on Monday.

For those who have been following news about The Kult film, the director Kip Shelton has been posting a journal about the progress, which makes for eye-opening reading. You can read it here, and then click the other links that continue the journey:

And for anyone in the Nantwich area of Cheshire, the Nantwich Bookshop now has copies of my books with my spidery scrawl inside, so you can check out the book that the film’s based on.

Now as a small press author, promotion and the selling of books is one of the hardest things. I’m competing against thousands of other authors. To give an idea of how vast the market is, I recently read that in 1975 there were 3,000 publishers in the United States. Today that number has grown to 200,000 publishers made up of large, medium, small, as well as print on demand companies. Together, they put out 560,000 books a year of which approximately 295,000 are self-published. So as you can see, competition is fierce. But what’s the best way to reach your target audience?

Of course having books in shops helps, but that’s not always possible with small press books as the shops won’t stock them, preferring to stick with the major publishers with whom they have a tried and tested relationship.

Now I’ve tried most things that I can think of to promote my work, from adverts to message boards, and I’ve had numerous good reviews, but I just haven’t hit upon what I call ‘quantity x’. Now ‘quantity x’ is a magic formula, a metaphorical philosopher’s stone that occurs when there’s an increased awareness in an authors work, and everything seems to fall into place. Like the alchemists of old, I’m still searching for it, but if anyone can give me some clues …

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Kult auditions and kicking ass.

Well it’s the first of The Kult auditions this Sunday (May 16th) and I’m looking forwards to seeing who lands the roles, and whether any of them match the descriptions I had in my head when writing the novel. Of course having a film made of my work is a dream come true, and not something I ever really imagined would happen. Now I’m getting fed up of pinching myself, and I have the bruises to show for it. Or perhaps those are from Taekwondo, the latest grading of which I took last Thursday with my son. If we passed – results on Monday - then we’ll be blue belts (4th Kup). Obviously being 7 years old, my son is a hell of a lot more flexible than me, but I’m getting there, one creaking joint at a time.

Writing wise, I’m working on a screenplay with the writer of The Kult screenplay, Danielle Kaheaku. It’s a departure compared to what I’m used to writing, but it’s interesting to try a different format.

And finally, had a couple of great reviews for Deadfall this week: (scroll down)

Sunday, May 09, 2010

In the bag

It’s been one of those weeks when I can’t really get into my stride. Having said that, I finally finished the first draft of my second Prosper Snow novel, tentatively titled ‘Killers’. It will need a lot of sorting in the second run-through, but the bones are there. Just needs fleshing out now. Speaking of Prosper, if anyone wants to read The Kult, it’s currently available as a PDF download from Drive Thru Horror for the bargain price of $2.36: Or if you prefer your books from dead trees, it’s available at another bargain price from the Book Depository for £4.93 with free worldwide delivery:

As for my latest novel, Deadfall, it’s had a couple of great reviews on Goodreads: I’m also giving away three copies of The Kult and three copies of Deadfall on the Goodreads giveaways if anyone wants to enter. Just click on the books on the site and follow the giveaway links to enter the draw.

Although The Kult has continually suffered from an availability issue in the UK, which is something to do with the ISBN listing, Deadfall doesn’t suffer the same problem and is available to order from most bookshops and is listed on WH Smiths, Waterstone’s etc. Now if only they stocked the book in the shops ...

But if anyone ever sees any of my books on the bookshop shelves, I’d love to hear about it. They're like an endangered species, so any reports are welcome to help keep them alive in the minds and hearts (at least in mine anyway.)

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Piracy and self publishing.

I was following a message board thread recently that discussed written works being offered illegally on download sites all over the net. Some of these sites offer the work for free, others want to charge for it. All have one thing in common: they do not have the right to offer the work in the first place.

Now of course I don’t agree with this, and I wouldn’t like seeing my own work offered in this way. But it’s a bit of the pot calling the kettle black, because who can hand on heart say they’ve never watched a pirated copy of a film, who’s never bought or downloaded an illegal computer game, who’s never seen and bought a ‘brand name’ article sold on a market stall that’s clearly not the real deal, who’s not succumbed to anything that’s been offered to them at a knock down price because it’s not legal: a fake watch, bag etc. Where pirates once sailed the high seas, they now ride the internet wave and trawl the high street. And the reason they proliferate is down to money. If something costs £10 and up for the official item, but you can pick it up for £5 from a nudge, nudge, wink, wink seller, then many people will turn a blind eye and hand over the money. It’s a fact of life. And it’s not something I think anyone will ever be able to stop.

For those who follow my writing, they’ll know that I wrote a novel called Fangtooth. Said novel was accepted twice by different publishers, but for varying reasons, I withdrew it from both parties. Now I was recently made aware of a film called Snakehead Terror that when I read the synopsis, sounded an awful lot like my story. To make sure, I rented the film (an official version to boot), and I’m glad to say that the actual film is hardly anything like my manuscript. I was relieved as it takes me months to write a novel, and I’d hate to think it was all a waste of time. Of course, I’ve not yet sold Fangtooth again, but then I’ve not really submitted it to many places either. The submission process is the worst part about writing.

Which brings me on to self publishing. There seems to be a renaissance surrounding this path. With the advent of electronic books, more and more people are putting their own work out at little to no cost to themselves. Of course, there’s still a lot of bad writing out there, and it helps if someone has a fan base, but what do people think about self publishing? Would you be prepared to pay for a book published by the author? Does it make a difference if you’ve read something by the author before? Do you prefer printed copies or electronic copies?

And last but not least, the Audition Sides for The Kult are online for those intending to go for one of the roles in the film. Auditions are set to take place at 41133 Raintree Court Murrieta, Ca 92562 on May 16th and 23rd at 8:00 am – 5:00 pm: