Archive | October, 2018

Why I won’t write for free (and why you shouldn’t either!)

25 Oct

So in trying to understand more about “book marketing” I’ve been reading a gazillion posts about how you market and sell books. I’ve read so many words about keywords I literally want to tear my own eyeballs out of my head and shove them in the nearest plug socket to sizzle.

Literally, I’ve had it.

If I have to read one more post that tells me to have a “promotional strategy” before I publish (too late for that then!) or else give my book away for free (also gleefully known in the trade as “giveaways”), I think I may well just shove my wanting-to-write-snappy-little-fingers up my own arse.

Seriously, this advice is a joke. And I’m pissed.

giveaway free books

Why O Why is it that I am expected to write for free? I don’t see most other people working for free? Aside from voluntary workers who are great people and perhaps don’t need the bucks and want to fill their time, the rest of us need some spondoolies to pay the bills.

Haha! I hear you laugh – pay the bills and be a writer? Jog on.

And seriously that is what my internet search has taught me: If I want to “sell” books I must give them away for FREE.

Now, I may not be the world’s best mathematician, but free ain’t equalling any money.

And so I had a rant with the OH this morning about this. To be honest, he wasn’t even faintly interested as he got ready to go to his PAID job, but he did deliver advice that only a man who doesn’t want to live for much longer could.

“Why the fuck are you spending so much time learning how to try and sell books rather than just writing them?”

His reply, to be fair, caught me off guard. I don’t think I was ready for such sage advice delivered in such a cavalier and, one may say, inhumanely simple way.

However, I am a woman. Need I say more? Of course, that wasn’t the end of the story because I had more to say.

“But…but… you don’t understand, it’s all about keywords and stuff and I have to choose appropriate keywords otherwise no one will ever be able to find my book…” Even I could hear the pathetic whine piercing my voice and dragging me to shameful levels of teenage-angst behaviour.

“You know shit about keywords and even less about SEO. Even at my company where we spend tons of money and time on SEO it doesn’t really get us such great results, so what are you going to REALISTICALLY do, knowing nothing about this going to achieve?”

I did the shock, horror, can’t-believe-you-just-said-that-you-moron face, but deep down I knew he was right.

Off he went to work and back I went to the billion tabs I had open to try and figure out “book marketing for dummies.”

And then my laptop started hissing and whirring. I don’t know if it was the overload of so many “book marketing strategies that work” or the FREE downloads on offer or what. But quite simply and after a little spatter of indignation it turned itself off.

I stared at the black screen.

Then I looked at my scribblings – inane notes jotted down in illegible handwriting that at some point in the future I thought would be useful and add to my arsenal of winning ways.

And then I realised. Bollocks to it. Yes, bollocks to it.

The OH is right. Who gives a shit if I don’t know how to sell a book, I didn’t get into this game to sell books, I got into this because I wanted to write books. And so now I am back on writing. It’s highly likely you’ll never be able to find any of my writing from the barrage of books that are out there. But sod it, I’m writing now, and I’m writing for me.

On being a writer.

19 Oct

So being a writer is a really bloody lonely existence. You spend hours, days, weeks just sat looking at a screen tap-tap-tapping away with your own thoughts and moods driving you crazy. You write down a bunch of stuff you imagined happened, and then wonder: did that happen?

And then you spend the rest of the time wondering if the thing that happened should’ve happened, and if indeed, something else should’ve happened that would fit in better with the other thing that happened, and then you wonder again: what happened?

Being a writer is a very fine balance between living in this world and living out of this world. Oftentimes the two can’t really meet up, because when they do it bursts the bubble of the world you were in – and that can have terrible consequences. I don’t know off-hand how terrible you think that can be – but, for example, you could be there writing an exotically, heart-pounding love scene and the plumber calls to tell you the what-ya-mathing in the boiler at so-and-so property is bust and what to do about it, and you answer as you do, and then when you return to the love-making on screen and in scene, the sizzle has sozzled and you find yourself all out of sorts.

And this is the other difficulty in being a writer, because the ability to write is so bloody fragile I often wonder how anything at all gets written. It takes absolutely even-less-than-you-would-ever-think-possible to break the writing spell. And I think it is a spell, because when the magic of writing comes upon you, you just pour out so many words and pages upon pages of stuff that you feel so alive and on fire it makes your brain sing. Like really sing; really, really sing so loudly and so expansively that sometimes you think you may just well explode with the happiness of it all.

And then the fucking phone buzzes. Or the doorbell rings. Or the neighbour starts his saxophone practice and you’re all out of kilter again and you’re trying to get your buzz on, but it’s buzzed off.

Being a writer is a very fraught and anxious existence interspersed with what I can only describe as the happiest and most in-tune-with-yourself moments you will ever experience. And when you’re in the flow, or if you’ve ever known the flow, you long to return. You long to tappity-tap as though your fingers may fall off or grow numb with such tapping excitement.

Being a writer involves a constant sense of yearning, a longingness to be what you hope to be, to find that place of ‘flow’ where the words trip over themselves and onto the page and reach out to a reader who will nod and say “Yes!”

Being a writer means you always long for a reader, for a reader to read the words you have written. And, I guess, it’s enormously selfish. Because not only do you want the reader to read, but you also want them to react; to read and react.

And so in being a writer and true to my selfish streak I’m going to ask you to react in the comments below, or else to read more of my stuff – you can preview my debut novel Eternal Forever for free on Amazon.


Do you want to be Eternal Forever?

16 Oct

You know we’ve all got so used to posting stuff online and being online that I wonder how many of us think about what they’ll do with their online profile when they’re dead?

You could say, “Nada – I’m going to be dead, I don’t give a shit.”

You could say, “Nada – until the socials go down, I’ll leave my profiles up.”

Or you could say, “Shit, I hadn’t really thought about that!”

Out of my small straw poll sample, the third option appears to be the most popular response. Which is surprising really – given how much time we devote to online.

And when I’m talking about online, I’m not just talking about social media stuff, I’m talking about all the digital stuff you do. Think banking, shopping, subscriptions, file sharing, loyalty schemes, storage, gaming – you name it and there’ll be a digital footprint of yours out there somewhere in the ether.

So what happens to this when you die?

Well, as I said above, fact is – most people haven’t even thought about this. And the worrying thing is, at some point, you are certainly going to die and when you do, it’s best to have an idea of what you wanted doing with your digital DNA.

Thing to consider for starters:

  • Are you OK with your family having access to your private emails and messages?
  • Do you want your Facebook/ Twitter/ Instagram/ LinkedIn/ Etc. account to be memorialised or closed down after you die?
  • Have you got any images or accounts you’d rather not share after death?
  • Did you have anything you wanted to keep secret?

The thing to remember in all of this, is that online life after death is not a very private affair. Everything you’ve done will leave a digital footprint – and those memories will be there for people to search, trace, track and reveal.

And so perhaps take a moment to think: are you happy with your digital legacy? Is the ‘you’ that’s online the ‘you’ that you want to be Eternal Forever?