Saturday, 31 August 2013

J.K. Rowling, please say you wrote my book too

Have you been following the latest J.K. Rowling business?

How a book that was credited to a writer named Robert Galbraith (called I believe The Cuckoo's Calling)  turned out to have been written by J.K. Rowling.

What I find interesting is how all of a sudden, a book that wasn't setting the world on fire as far as sales went has suddenly become a global bestseller, just because it turned out to have been written by...well a global bestseller.

Now there's all sorts of discussions that could spin off this. We could talk about what it is that makes a book good or not. We could talk about the influence of the name of the writer on the perception of a book. We could talk about the criteria readers use to select the books they choose to buy (and the image of a farm animal covered in wool does come to mind). But I'm not. I've got something much more simple as the focus of this post.

This is a request to J.K. Rowling - please say that you wrote my book too.

Because if we're talking about books whose sales are not setting the world on fire, I reckon that's me in a nutshell. I suspect my book is doing exactly the opposite - what would you call it - setting the world on ice? But with the name of someone like the mighty J.K. associated with it, light the rockets and get ready for take-off.

Ok, so maybe there's the small issues of royalties, but I'm sure we could come to an arrangement on that. Maybe I could hand over some percentage. She doesn't seem to need much, so I'm sure it wouldn't be too onerous. I hear she's very into giving to charities, so that's something I'm more than happy to support.

There you have it. A sure fire way to rocket me - oops I mean her - into the bestseller lists again. So how about it, J.K? What have you got to lose? Wherever you are and whatever you're doing, why not say that you wrote my book too.


Thursday, 22 August 2013

Awesome Indies Grand Opening Party

Writing is awesome. Being an indie writer is awesome. And what is really awesome is that a group of writers called the Awesome Indies is having an awesome launch party over the next few days.

The Awesome Indies site is a place where you can find quality independent books (and maybe a few by me as well). To celebrate the opening of this site, they are holding a Grand Opening Party from August 21-25. There's a bunch of books reduced to just 99c (including some by me) as well as prizes and fun events to participate in.

Here's a list of some of the fun stuff happening:
  1. On August 22 you can play "Who is the piano playing dog?" Watch an amazing video and vote on the best explanation for who the dog is and what he’s doing. 
  2. On August 23, you can participate in a fun Awesome Indies quiz.
  3. August 24 is meet the author day, when you can read stories of why authors chose to go indie.
  4. On August 25 you can win a Kindle Paperwhite. There will also be a bunch of free books available.
So hopefully you'll come along and join in the fun.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Smile, say cheese, and watch the birdy

I really don't like being photographed.

Usually I manage to avoid it pretty easily. Hang around in the background. Don't make myself too obvious. That way, I can be sure the furious gaze of the camera won't be directed towards me.

But there are times when being photographed is unavoidable. Most of them tend to be family related moments when you just have to grin and bear it. But every so often, there's a specific requirement for a specific type of photograph.

I recently had one such situation. Due to my new arrangement with Evolved Publishing, I had to provide an author photo. Bad enough that I had to submit myself to the torture of getting photographed. But what made it even more difficult was the idea of creating an author photo.

What exactly does an author photo look like? What am I supposed to do that will specifically say to anyone viewing it "This person is an author"? I had no idea. I even tried to do some research, to look at other examples of author photos, but that wasn't much help. There were so many different types of authors, and I had no idea which one I was.

Some authors are serious. They write serious books, and so their photos are also suitably serious. But I don't see that as being me. And besides, when I try to look too serious I end up looking constipated.

Other authors are funny. They might do funny, whacky sorts of photos. Maybe this suits me better. After all, my books are at least intended to be funny. But I just can't bring myself to do whacky for the camera. It doesn't feel right.

In the end, I try to think of the best way I can categorise my stories. I think my stories are friendly. They're easy and fun to read and make you feel good (again hopefully). That's the sort of author picture I need. A friendly author picture.

So, after numerous attempts, I end up with a picture. I send it in. It's now up on the Evolved website - you can look at it if you want. Hopefully I look at least a little bit friendly. Hopefully, 9 months before my book is released, I'm not already scaring the punters away.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Lions and tigers and turtles, oh boy!

Let me just preface this post by saying the heading is just slightly inaccurate.

While the tigers and the turtles are totally relevant, I'm afraid that there won't actually be any references to lions. I'm sorry if anyone feels misled. I just wanted a third animal to round out the title and lion seemed to foot the bill. I'll try not to do it again.

Anyone, so given lions are off the menu, what is this about tigers and turtles? Well, it isn't exactly about tigers and turtles. It's more about Tiger-Turtles. And that is the real subject of the announcement I'm making today.

I am extremely pleased to announce that, thanks to the help of the fine people at Evolved Publishing, I will be publishing my first children's picture book in 2014. And the title of that book is, of course, Thomas and the Tiger-Turtle.

So what exactly is a Tiger-Turtle? I'm not telling. You'll have to wait and see when the book comes out, which should be in May next year.

This is a bit of an adventure for me. I'm excited, after self-publishing my novellas and novel, to be working with a publisher. I'm also excited to be moving into a different type of storytelling. While I still plan to keep working on more of my dag-lit type stories (I'm still hoping to have Neville #3 out before the end of this year), I really enjoy writing stories for children as well. And I'm especially looking forward to working with an illustrator to see the story take visual shape before my eyes.

So keep posted. I'll hopefully have more news as we move forward. Because I think it's time the world knew all about Tiger-Turtles. 

Saturday, 3 August 2013

The most interesting person on the internet

It's tough work, this blogging caper. Twitter is tough work too. Basically, anything about getting your name out in internet land is a pretty big ask for someone like me.

And I'll tell you one of the biggest reasons why I reckon it's such a challenge. It's because I have to be interesting.

Being interesting is really hard work. If you ever get to see me, you'll understand why. I'm not that tall or short. I'm a bit on the thin side but not excessively so. There's nothing about my features that particularly stands out. I don't have a loud voice, or an awful lot of charisma.

In short, I'm not really all that interesting. And that can be a problem.

There are a heap of people out there on the web. Lots of them are better known than I am. Actually, let me rephrase that. Pretty much all of them are better known than I am. And many of them are actually more than a little on the famous side.

When you're famous, every one wants to follow you. Everyone wants to hang onto your every word. There's no need for you to go out of your way to be interesting. You're interesting, merely by virtue of being who you are.

I don't want to name names but I've followed a few of these famous people on twitter and checked out their websites or blogs, and to be honest, I haven't been particularly inspired by what I've seen. What they post is really not that interesting at all. But what does it matter? They've still got millions of followers.

For me, it's different. The only way for me to get even a minuscule amount of attention is to be interesting. It's hard work, and it really doesn't seem fair. Part of me feels like saying, "Right, that's enough. I've had enough of being interesting. I don't want to do it anymore."

But then I look at my pageview statistics. And I figure that maybe, for just one week, I can have another go at being interesting.