Reviewing the pain….

Another day, another batch of facebook and instagram and a little bit of twitter….

So the saga continues, I keep banging away at social media, my followers continue to grow and so do the following. None of which helps sales though, which could be considered poor to non-existent. Reviews are the thing, without them any book will just languish in the dusty basement of Amazon’s Kindle shop.

A while ago I ran a free offer to try and generate some interest and gather some reviews, I gave away over a hundred books and in return I think it generated….. wait for it…. A review. Whoopee…. I’m not sure why this is, a fellow author I’ve met on facebook did the same and within a week had 38 reviews. Okay so his was a travel blog and wasn’t a long read, but still. I suppose here patience is the key. My priorities are different from everyone elses…

Other news I updated my cover on the basis that although I was pleased with my cover, it made a poor thumbnail. A weekend on Photoshop was spent and I was really pleased. But guess what? The thumbnail was shit. So I updated the Kindle cover only to make it stand out a bit more. We will see if it helps. The thing is though it won’t help with reviews, there are so many promotion sites out there that won’t even look at your work until you have twenty plus reviews. I have eight.

Now this may sound like a moan. There is a reason for that. It is a moan. Hey it’s okay though, nobody reads this either, so I can moan away to my heart’s content.

What to do next? I actually have no idea at all, I will plug away at it, the feedback I get is all positive and having read other authors work(It’s a thing you do once you start mingling on the same facebook pages) I can honestly say that I believe my book to be at least as good as I’ve read and in most instances actually head and shoulders above the other stuff I’ve read, even the ones I have enjoyed have been below my own quality. And I’m not usually one to bang my own drum. What this does mean is that while the confidence in my own ability has grown so my enthusiasm to grind away at sales remains undiminished.

Moan over, that feels better, sometimes it’s just good to get things off your chest…. Until the next time….

The pain continues….

So the building of my social media empire continues, it is still painful but now I cast a cursory glance as I see a post from a ‘newbie’ on all the author and writing promotion facebook groups you find yourself being sucked into. I laugh as I think how short a time that fresh faced enthusiasm has to live. If this was ‘Nam I would be the blank eyed marine in grubby and blood stained fatiguies watching the next generation of enthusiastic recruits disembarking with their shiny uniforms and their dreams intact.

..’you get a facebook following consisting of people who follow you to get a facebook following.’

But it all seems to work to a degree, you swap follows and likes with other authors and bloggers, you post instagram links, you share others work and others share yours. The end result is you get a facebook following consisting of people who follow you to get a facebook following. The general consensus amongst all these people swapping likes is that at some point you achieve a momentum that will become a self sustaining thing. We shall see.

I am now an instagrammer too, which is another exercise in frustration. Not much to report on that, at the moment it is early days. Hopefully will have something more to report when I write my next blog. Also my first newsletter went out to a muted response and a barrage of emails and whatsapps explaining my typo’s to me. I wasn’t even sure it had been sent when I got the first response. Hey it works….. All publicity is good publicity. Well, within reason, “Author joins American police force for shits and giggles,” could be an exception…

Other news, I contacted the local paper in Scotland where I lived and they are, hopefully, going to run a feature. That would be great if it happens, which is pretty certain, but no chickens are being counted yet. I’m not going to say much more in this blog, because well there isn’t much more to say… it is all social media, social media, social media at the moment. Please somebody save me, it really is against all my natural instincts…

Tales from the darkside…

The darkside being social media, of course. It’s been a while since my last blog. Apologies but all sorts of stuff been keeping me busy. So, how’s my campaign going?

Well I spent a painful few days trying to publicise a one day free book offer on the kindle edition. I took to social media like a pro(although not a pro at social media) and boosted posts and linked to sites and jumped through hoops etc. I went onto a site called fiverr where you can pay “influencers” to promote your post. I chose two of these and paid about £40.00 to have my offer “Blasted” across twitter and instagram.

‘I gave away a load of books…’

So did it work? Well something did, I had a target figure in my head and I gave away double that figure. In fact I gave away a load of books, it was bittersweet… Unfortunately I have no real way of finding where the traffic came from. And who actually took advantage of the offer. I suspect that paying contractors in fiverr was not a great part. Just from the reaction to my facebook posts and the amount of people who shared and liked the post. I won’t rush back to fiverr, the upshot of this is I think to concentrate on ‘Organically’ growing your following.

And just by-the-by for anyone looking to do the same sort of thing, amazon still charge you 0.06 to deliver each ebook(What??) so having a free book offer means you get all the fun of giving your work away and watching your hard earned commision shrink at the same time. Great stuff!!

‘virus ravaged world…’

What else is new? I now find myself in a bit of a conundrum, I was looking through some old writings and I found the first couple of chapters of a book I started many years ago. It was set in a virus ravaged world, and even though I say so myself it was pretty good, and prescient. To the point that I wasn’t sure whether to postpone my latest Alfred Jones and Son, Bros. project and concentrate on this instead. I made a decision and well… the news will be in my latest newsletter.

‘competition’

Current news/ situation, I continue to publicise my book on social media, which with the current lockdown is as good as it gets at the moment. Currently I’m running a competition to give away three signed copies… However the lockdown is easing and my favourite bar here in Spain is going to be the first book signing event, hopefully sometime in July.

That’s exciting.

Facebook link is at bottom of page if you fancy entering the competition.

Next Up….

An Anti-social on Social Media

I freely admit to not being the most social of creatures. I have a Facebook account which I have a look at now and again and think to myself, hmm, maybe I should be a bit more social…. Tomorrow says my inner-self, to which I readily agree, knowing that tomorrow the same will happen again…

In fact, in the current circumstances this could be an example of a conversation.

The wife, (well, ex-wife actually, long story). “I’m sick and tired of all this self-isolation and social distancing.”

Me. “Oh is that still a thing, is it?”

It would be fair to call me ‘The reluctant blogger.’

So, as I mentioned in my post ‘Trials and Tribulations,’ the fact that to sell an eBook requires a social media presence came as a bit of a disappointment. But hey ho, it’s off to work I go and so I created a Bob Sharp Author Facebook profile(link at bottom of page). And truthfully I actually quite enjoyed the process, okay it isn’t going to turn me into a best-selling author overnight, but it did increase my profile and it did generate a few sales, and now it’s running and I have to work at it. But here’s the thing, I find myself wanting to work at it. I’m proud of my novel and I would like to see it out there. That’s a big carrot.

What else Have I learned over the last few days?

I suppose Instagram and Twitter will follow in due course, but I’ve never used them and so it seemed easier to start with Facebook.  They will happen, but there’s some procrastination to be done first.

What else have I learned over the last few days? Not much really, it is still a bit of a jumble in the old head. But it is becoming clearer, I have listed in a few book review/promotion sites, I will wait and see how that pans out. I have a free promotion running on Saturday when the Kindle version will be free, another thing that helps apparently, again I will wait and see the results. I am of course promoting it on face book and have purchased some advertising, I will find out if it’s worth it and post the results.

Now to the Newsletter, I hadn’t thought about ever having a Newsletter, so I was quite apprehensive about doing one. I couldn’t think of what content to put in. But I’ve given it some thought, and actually I’m now pretty excited by the idea. I have loads of great ideas, some of which I think are quite unique and I’m sure will be entertaining. There will also be prizes in the first one. I have decided initially it will be a monthly thing until I see how it goes. It will go out on the first Saturday of the month, so the 6th June will be the first one. It looks like the Newsletter will get the launch my novel didn’t.

For anyone that’s interested in the story so far and is trying to do something similar I will give a brief description of how I got to this stage.

To Which I said F***!

1 The obvious place to start is with a domain name and hosting, I bought mine and the hosting through ionos

2 I used WordPress to create the design, it gives lots of templates but can be quite confusing initially. Stick with it, once you get the hang of it, it’s a dawdle.

3 I have added a few plugins to WordPress, two of which I paid for, the two I paid for were – slider(which creates the sliding banner) and an upgrade to WPforms(for form creation). The last one wasn’t actually needed as I found out after the fact.

4. I then spent a day in the mire of trying to figure out how to set up a Newsletter(it was at some point during this that I decided that buying WPforms was required) after trying various paid services(which all the bloggers say is essential… it isn’t, at least not initially). I eventually found one called mailchimp, it’s free up to a decent limit of emails/subscribers and it works. I was delighted, all you then do is install the mailchimp plugin in WordPress , set up your preferences and templates etc and you’re good to go. And that was the weekend taken care of.

5. Yesterday was social media and website promotion day. And that is going to be the rest of the week too, another journey of discovery as I start to push the webpage, Facebook and the book to try and generate some traffic.

I can kind of see the sense to it all, and it seems to be a proven formula. Everyone says it is required. Everyone except for the blog I read this morning, according to this chap none of it works. To which I said F***! But then again I did read it in his blog.

As for writing this blog. Another thing I thought I’d hate, but you know what I’m really rather enjoying all this. Maybe I’m not as anti-social as I think.

Below are some links to some useful pages I have found. I’m not affiliated with these companies in any way, I don’t make a penny from listing them. They are just what I’m using to set all this up and what I’ve found to be useful.

https://www.ionos.co.uk/

https://mailchimp.com/

Hope this makes some sense.

Cheers

Bob

Trials and tribulations(Sticky)

So having just published the first in my series of novels and stuck it up on amazon all I have to do is sit back and wait for the sales to flood in. Right? Wrong. Not that I ever expected it to be so, but with hindsight I should have been far more prepared for ‘launching’ my book than I was.

As it was I had a quiet launch over zoom with some family members. These being the days of lockdown and social isolation. Only once this was done and the book was uploaded and available on amazon did I actually look into the mechanics of selling it. Well…

It’s a minefield. I supposed an advertising campaign on amazon or facebook would be all the kickstart that would be needed. Wrong again. I blush now at my own naivety. You need reviews, you need social media presence, you need to blog, you need to plug away at book review sites. You need to list here there and everywhere, you start to learn terms like CRM and SEO. You need to research and track your target audience, you do promotions and free days and make decisions like joining KDP select or not.

So there it is… a web that needs to be understood and untangled, and I’m standing right at the threshhold. So what needs done, in what order and what will be succesful. I have no idea but you need to start somewhere…

So here’s a webpage… That’s a start.

And here’s a blog, I wasn’t sure what to blog about so I thought about I might as well blog about my journey to despair or bestseller, or more probably… somewhere inbetween…

Next comes the attack on social media…. which to be honest I’m not looking forward to, being an anti-social sort of fellow.

Cheers folks, here’s to the journey…

Bob

Stay safe

These are obviously difficult and worrying times. Perhaps uniquely, there is no them and us situation, a virus doesn’t care whether you are rich or poor, a statesman or dishwasher, black or white. Naively I would like to think that at the end of this(for it will end) we can take lessons from that, borders and race won’t seem so important, idealogies and religions will step back and take a look at themselves. We are all human, we can all suffer. We are all one species struggling to exist on a remote rock in the vast emptiness of space.

We are vulnerable from so many angles, global warming, meteors and asteroids, tsunamis, earthquakes and volcanoes. Disease. They have all happened in the past, they will all happen again. They are happening currently.

And yes it is naive. But when we can stand back and take a long hard look at what just happened I hope the right lessons are learned. We are the generation it has fallen upon to make sure this happens. Let’s try our hardest, let’s make sure the right decisions are made to ensure we protect ourselves. Not within borders, not because one leader values the life of their population more than their neighbour. But as a species, as a species that can be so much better than what we are…

In the meantime, stay safe, look out for your neighbours and friends and more importantly those who haven’t got neighbours or friends…

Once that’s done sit back, make a cup of tea, read a book, take up a new hobby, be thankful for your blessings and stay safe….