So, here's the thing! Keeping this damned website relevant - as Simon Cowell says - is a full-time job. I was tinkering around with it most of yesterday - so who needs to write for a living when you can muck about with jpgs, html code, create and publish new pages, and so many other wonderful webmaster things?
Anyway, I thought I'd cobble together a blog although I've got absolutely nothing to say. I sold 1,399 books in June - thank you to all those wonderful people who bought one or more of my books - I'm filling up with plumptiousness.
A Life for a Life keeps slipping and sliding between 3 and 5 in the Police Procedural charts, and still bubbling outside the Kindle Top 100 - I wish it would make up its damned mind and put me out of my misery!
I haven't told you about my wife's Japanese Maple (we think) and all the things she keeps hanging on it, have I? Well, I'm gonna spill the beans now! It all started with a couple of candle lights, then fat balls and half-coconuts for the poor starving birds, and then some yellow plant pots, and today she's got some yellow buckets and a yellow watering can (she's got a thing about yellow!) The birds come from miles around for the bread, the birdseed, the mealworm, and to laugh at the things on the dangly tree! I'm beginning to wonder whether the wife has got one of those strange diseases that affect beautiful twenty-one year-old women - I hope its not catching!
So, let's get back to my favourite subject - me! I'm getting up early tomorrow morning. Well no, that's not strictly true, I always get up early, but instead of writing my thousand words I'm gonna sell all my books at a car boot sale and sellers have to be there by 6 a.m. I know, there's some crazy people about! And... you're wondering 1) What books?; and 2) How many books has he got? You're confused, Toady! I'm not talking about the books I write, you know - Oh no, no, no! I'm talking about all those useless factual books on psychology, sociology, management, business, theory, research, philosophy, quality, and... I'm sure you get my drift. When I was doing my Masters degrees and my Doctorate I collected books to read, to cite, to appear intelligent. But anyway, I don't want them now because I'm retired. Also, I've given up reading factual books unless its research for a book I'm writing, and they were clogging up my garage, so I'm gonna sell them at a car boot sale for a £1 each - I must have about 500+ of the damn things and now they're weighing down my car ready to go in the morning!
That's a picture of one of my five dogs called Buddy. I'm sure you've guessed, put your hand up to your mouth in shock and horror, and screamed "He won't be doing Sample Sunday!" Well, that's where you're wrong, Toady. Through the magic of technology I've scheduled about 24 (or so) tweets every half-hour from 0905 until about 1935 hours - my usual #SampleSunday tweets plus lots of others. I've created tweets so that people can sample the beginnings of all my 11 books, and put up two new pieces of work. The start of a crime novel called The Removal Man about a man that takes children from their homes, and the beginning of a thriller called The Gates of Hell about a team of archeologists that find the gates to hell in the Negev Desert. I outlined this book over two years ago! I need two clones! How much do you think two clones would cost me? Now, I don't want uppity clones like me, just brilliant writer clones to write my books and then get back into the closet!
Now, I know what you're thinking - you're wondering how I'm gonna retweet yours if you retweet mine. Am I right, or am I right? Well, I'm gonna be back from making me fortune Gov'nr at about 3 o'clock (1500 hours to us military types) and after I've counted all me money I'll be retweeting as if the Devil were burnin' my butt, Mabel, so don't you go frettin' none.
So, here's the thing! You wait for a tram for hours, and then seven come along all at once! Not that I've been waiting for a tram, because there aren't any here in this part of the world. It was purely an old saying to reflect my second blog in as many days! Anyway, on to the business at hand - let's do a post mortem (PM, or for my American readers - Autopsy) of SampleSunday (SS). Don't you just love acronyms? Being in the Army I was fed on acronyms. For a start, I was in the RAMC (Royal Army Medical Corps), at various stages in my career I was a PN (Pupil Nurse), a WO I and II (Warrant Officer), RSM (Regimental Sergeant Major). I've got the GSM (NI) General Service Medal (Northern Ireland) and the LS&GS (Long Service & Good Conduct) medals. I worked at an MRS (Medical Reception Station), a BMH (British Military Hospital) - Oh yes, we love our acronyms! Don't get me started on Internet Acronyms 8 (oral sex - say what!), CD9 (code 9 - parents are around), TDTM (Talk Dirty To Me - the real thing is better!)! Don't you just love the kids today! And we're not even gonna mention the AAAAA (American Association Against Acronym Abuse) - Pah! The Americans are the worst culprits, they've created a new acronym language. LOL!
So, I was up early on Sunday morning, and I opened up my SampleSunday document with all my tweets on! Yeah, you don't think I make them up every time, do you? The first time I did it, I copied all the tweets I used into a document. Now, all those samples are on this website. If you have a look around, I'm slowly building it up into a resource, and what I find interesting is that - unlike some sites and blogs, which are clunky - the Weebly sites are reasonably smooth. What I mean by this is that when you scroll up or down, it moves smoothly instead of chugging like an old worn out engine! Also, some sites, when you go to them, are really slow to load because people have put too much on the front page (which also does not look attractive either, so look at layout), especially the Amazon widgets, Bookbuzzr, etc. What I'm saying is, if your site is difficult to navigate around, or people have to wait ages for it to load, they won't bother to stay. Remember, the attention span of the average person can be measured in nanoseconds, so you don't have long to grab them, lure them into that dark celler, and inject them with a cocktail of hallucinogenic drugs, and chain them up for torturing later.
I think it was the stunningly beautiful Mel Comley from her boudoir in Normandy who suggested that I go to the Kindleboards and put a link there, so I did and the fabulously changeable Morgan Gallagher had opened up a thread. I put all of my 13 tweets in a post on the SampleSunday thread (although some said "one for one" not "one for thirteen", but that was OK) like everyone else had put their tweets in there. I copied and pasted each of their tweets one at a time into Twitter and tweeted them, and they did mine (I also did it later in the day as well). Now, some of these people were American, and my US sales didn't skyrocket - in fact, they stayed firmly on terra firma! So, whether this (or any of it for that matter) had any effect on sales - who knows! Now, one thing you should notice is that none of my samples are the books I have on sale, they're just the first (or more) chapters of books I'd like to write if people ever stop asking me to write blogs!
After I've written my current book The Flesh is Weak (Parish & Richards 3), I'll be focusing on The Timekeeper's Apprentice, then The Skulls Beneath Eternity Wharf (Quigg 3), and Orc Quest: The Last Human (Book II). Although, there's merit in continuing to write more crime novels seeing as they're selling so well, and as well as The Shadow of Death (Parish & Richards 4), I have a number of other crime novels up my metaphorical sleeve such, The Blue Butterfly and another one I only have a title for: Where Do You Go To My Lovely? (Remember the song by Peter Sarstedt?)
Oh, what I also did, but forgot this time, was to do a tweet directing them to my Books page, because they can sample about 24 pages of each of my books through the Bookbuzzr widgets. So, they have a choice of 11 book samples on one page!
I suppose you're wondering, "Why 13 samples?" Well, the idea is that you want those lovely readers to sample your writing (although - before I forget - some people create a website for one sample - that's a bit of a wasted opportunity if you don't mind me saying, because I don't know about you, but I like to peek in the cupboards, rummage through the drawers, nosy in the cellar and attic, and bounce on the beds, but if there's only one sample to read - how boring is that?) Anyway, if you're only offering one sample of say, Chicklit then there's a lot of people who won't even click the link - me for one! If I'm offering some crime, historical, biopunk, scifi, horror, paranormal, etc (and these are just samples - i.e. I've not had to write a whole book, it's merely samples of my writing - it could be short stories, but different genres) then a lot more people are likely to visit, and some will stay and nosy around, and maybe click on my book links - that's the theory anyway! Oh yeah, if they wanted a sample of your book(s), they could just download it from Amazon or Smashwords, so I give them something different, and if they like my writing then they might try my books!
So, I think I'm done! Except, the following day, I found out who'd retweeted and mentioned me and thanked them. One other thing, only one person has ever left a message saying, "Loved your sample!" so I don't know what that's about. Maybe, people click on the link, laugh, and leave! Maybe, people click on the link, copy/paste what's on offer, remodel it and steal your work! Maybe, people visit, copy all my ideas, and write the book before I get the chance to! Maybe... I'm being paranoid! Maybe... if I take my tablets when the nurse opens the door she'll let me see the daylight today! Please...
Hi, I'm Tim Ellis - I write a lot and I hope you enjoy what I write.