So, here's the thing. I said I'd tell you about my writing day in this blog didn't I? I can't imagine why you would even want to know! Mind you, I have to admit, I do like to read about other people's trials and tribulations. Well, we do, don't we? I guess we're all just too damned nosy about each other for our own good. We like to open other people's cupboards and doors, rummage through their underwear drawer, prise open their boxes that display large clear signs saying: "Don't open the box, stupid!" Hey, isn't that what Pandora did? Human nature, that's what it boils down to. I'm a student of human nature, always have been. We're social animals see, not happy unless we're in groups, touching, feeling, loving, chattering and nattering, getting the scuttlebutt, and spreading the news (gossiping).
Did you know that in the dark and distant past before you were born, gossiping was a sin punishable by death (found that out as part of my research for The Wages of Sin)? Yeah, so just you think on before flapping those gums of yours, Baby Jane! Well, I get up at 5 a.m. (I know, a tad early, but it's the old Army discipline ingrained in me. And not only that - no distractions). I make a coffee, let the dogs out, switch the laptop on. Yeah, we (my wife and I) don't have a PC we have a Dell Inspiron laptop each (mine's black, the wife's is red) and a BT Broadband hub sitting snugly behind the television. Nope, never had any problems with the laptop or the hub, and we won't talk about the wife's foray into netbooks! So, the dogs curl up and go to sleep again, and I check my email - read and delete, or put them in folders, or if they're Twitter followers I'll log on to Twitter, see who it is and maybe follow them back. I hate having Twitter open as a tab because the Tweets start mounting up and stress me out. Within minutes they're 368, 399, 462 - then I click on them - and almost immediately - 9, 1078, 3,000,000 - Aagh! I have to close the tab down before I crack open a bottle of ginger beer!
So, after I've cleared my emails - oh, I forgot to tell you that I have folders for agents and publishers emails - they're both empty! Anyway, next I open and log onto KDP to check my overnight sales in America, UK, and Germany. Now, American sales are mostly non-existent - I don't know what that's about. You know what I think the lack of sales is down to? Well, I'll tell you - readers can't find my book among the million other books on there. A good analogy is an alien planet in the vastness of space - everyone wants to find this planet, but where to look? Now, I've put tags on my book, but so has everyone else, so what's a bod to do? We all know that Amazon have made it verboten to publicise your books anywhere in the known universe, so what's a bod to do to get noticed? And don't say social networking - done that, got the T-shirt, seen the DVD, listened to the MP3 - none of it or all of it works, but who the hell knows - not I Horatio!
UK sales are good, but not in the same league as Amanda Hocking, Saffina Desforges, or JA Konrath (plus many others who have sold more than 2 books!) It's stop and start! One minute there are three sales, I move up the 'Police Procedural' rankings to No. 17 and I think, "Hey, hey!" I here the rusty gears and cogs of the flood gates opening, but then nothing happens, and I slide back down the rankings again to #250,757.4 or something just as obscure (that's a lovely word, init!) So, sales in blighty are good, but could be better - a lot better. As an aside, I received a wonderful email from a fan (one of my two fans! Insane or what - me with fans - he he!) last night saying how much they loved the Quigg books (Body 13 and The Graves at Angel Brook) and where was the 3rd one (The Skulls Beneath Eternity Wharf). Well, if all you get are a couple of negative reviews it kinda puts you off continuing with the series, so my advice to you readers is - if you like a book write a review on Amazon, because it has a cuddly warming effect on the author, and makes them want to get up in the mornings to write some more. German sales - well, the less said about that 'beige bar of shame' (BBOS) the better - nul point! You know what I think...
If there are any sales, I record the numbers on my Excel spreadsheet where I keep a consolidated ongoing record of my month-by-month sales and royalties as notified by Amazon and Smashwords - how sad is that! Then, I go to my website and bounce onto Amazon.US and Amazon.UK to see if any kind person has written me a review - usually the answer is non (that's French for no apparently!) The last review I received was last week - a wonderful person left me a 5* review for Jacob's Ladder! Now, here's another thing! I sent Jacob's Ladder out to agents about 2/3 months ago, and this morning a rejection came through the letter box! I don't think I need faceless agents rejecting my books anymore - I'll let the ereaders decide whether they're any good or not!
So, I've been up half an hour and I haven't even started writing yet, but then I do. I leave all my tabs open (oh, I use Windows 7, IE (sometimes Chrome), and Office 97 (my wife's got Office 2007 if I need to save anything as a PDF). I open up Word and my latest magnus opus, which at the moment is The Flesh is Weak (the 3rd Parish & Richards novel) and get going. Now, you want the lowdown, the nitty gritty, the... Yeah well, I start at the previous scene break and read/edit as I go to get back into the book. I have a notebook by my chair that I record key details in i.e. future things people have to do, a clue, a red herring, etc. I also make notes like: Describe the characters, don't assume people have read the other books! and I describe key plot details, which eventually make their way into the book. I don't plan, or write an outline - that's for wimps. I just write and see where the characters take me. I have an idea in my head, and that's about it. Sometimes, I end up in a cul de sac and have to backtrack, but most of the time its full steam ahead mixing metaphors and battling cliches!
Well, that's it! I know, you're thinking, "He was going to tell us about his writing day, and all he's told us about is the first half hour!" You kept diverting me, making me talk about other things, the blog's too long now, people will get bored - I'm bored! Tell you what I'll do, I'll write a part two - how's that? There see, I can be reasonable if you're nice!
Hi, I'm Tim Ellis - I write a lot and I hope you enjoy what I write.