Sunday, December 23, 2012
Saturday, December 22, 2012
|Please don't laugh - I'm a writer not a graphic designer!|
|They had my book even before I did!|
|Coordinating the soundtrack with the blood drops|
I'm really please with having added doopfilms to my support professionals. With others, such as SiteGround.com whose superb service has given me 100% uptime for my web this year, they take away a major portion of the ancilliary worries, leaving me to get on with what I like to do best: write thriller novels.
Season's Greetings to you all.
May the New Year bring you all you wish for!
Thursday, December 20, 2012
This is the awesome book trailer that www.doopfilms.com have produced for my latest novel.
Check it out!
In my next post, I'll tell you how this video came to be and the fantastic experience I had working with these professionals of the digital arts.
Season's Greetings to all,
Eric @ www.ericjgates.com
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Amy is a very talented writer whose debut novel, 'The Academie', was a Quarterfinalist for the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. I have been chasing her for a while to contribute a guest post (she's a very busy lady) and it's with great pleasure I present to you my guest blogger this month:
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
- I used to write Operating Systems for Super-Computers and the technique stuck.
- It’s a new keyboard and it’s not house-trained yet.
- I think like this. I also hear voices telling me to… (fill in as desired).
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
My pal and fellow scribbler, Eric Gates, him what’s let me loose on his virtual space without so much as an Interpol disclaimer or an Alsatian dog-handler present, has asked me to give some insight into life as an author in the Middle East, given that many of *us/we/us (*delete whichever you can’t grammatically handle) professional expatriate souls ply our trade in similar far-flung foreign fiefdoms (try saying that six times swiftly with a dram or three aboard.) Specifically what, if any, restrictive impact there may be creating a marketing presence for our books.
Let’s bear in mind the motto ‘when in Rome do as the Romans do’. This applies to every part of our lives when we choose to live in someone else’s country (we are still guests, after all), so it shouldn’t be too difficult to understand that any material which would prove offensive in local terms should be avoided. Here in Abu Dhabi I presented each of my two crime thrillers to the National Media Council for pre-approval prior to publication. I found the process simple enough, and was pleasantly surprised by the courtesy and professionalism I met. Suffice to say that one small bedroom scene (three tiny paragraphs) had to be removed, altering my story line not one iota.
Then I was set to go.
What next then for the swashbuckling author-y pioneer?
I decided to invest a modest financial outlay as part of my business campaign of creating reader interest, in pretty much the same way that any of us might do in Weymouth, Peebles, or Swansea. I hired a hotel banquet area to formally launch my masterpieces (both at once---get me, Mama!) and invited anybody daft enough to accept my free wine, beer and finger foods. (Amazing how that little word ‘free’ does help). Having local magazine columnists at the ‘freebie’ was a given, and Hey Presto! print inches appear, bedecked with pictures of my kilted frame (Braveheart, eat your heart out!)
Next on the agenda was bugging the ears off the local large book distributors to carry the tomes (which I’ve had printed myself), letting them know that these two have attracted an aggregate of 40,000+ downloads on Kindle in the last year. Clincher! They smell money. They’re now smelling my books on their shelves. The first lot was delivered to them yesterday, courtesy of Master Gallacher’s Delivery Haulage Service. So, fingers and all other digits and pieces crossed, they’ll haunt the local best-seller charts in sharp course.
Short summary of all of the above is quite simple for me…if you wanna see your books out there, get yourself out there, do talks, guest speaking engagements, signings, push, push, push. It’s no longer appropriate for authors merely to write, If you’ve got it, flaunt it.
Seumas' crime thriller novels:
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
- Write your novel! Just get it down on paper! Don’t bother about spelling, grammar and the rest of that stuff; concentrate on telling your tale. How? We’ll this in of itself is another mind-blowing question. My simple answer? Read at least 2 of James N. Frey’s books: Read the generic “How to Write a Damn Good Novel” (Amazon link: http://amzn.to/QdiDeF) and the nearest genre-specific one to what you want to write (‘How to write a Damn Good Thriller’ was and is one of the best investments I have ever made.) James has a no-nonsense style of explanation; his books are chock full of superb pragmatic advice. You can do no wrong here, bro.
- Write until your fingers bleed. No, I don’t mean that literally, but writing isn’t something you do for ten minutes every other day, when it’s raining, and the dog isn’t clamouring for a walk.
- Make constant (every ten minutes) saves of everything. When you get to the end of a chapter (or end of a day’s writing) make at least one copy on a thumb drive and keep it on your person – that way if your PC overheats (through writing so much) and sets your house on fire, you won’t lose months of work. That has happened to me, minus the resultant house fire, though.
- Don’t discuss your story with anyone at this stage. That includes the wife/husband/lover/co-worker. The only exceptions? The dog (or cat). If you find yourself listening to their advice – for God’s sake, take a break!
- Once you’ve written your tale, run it through your word processor’s spell-checker, with all the options turned on. Take your time over this; don’t blindly except the suggested corrections – think about them and learn.
- Then run it through some self-editing software, such as Stylewriter (well worth the investment – link: www.stylewriter-usa.com). Again, make sure all the options are switched on; especially check that it is set on Fiction (you’re not writing term papers now!) and that the correct English set is selected (US, UK etc.) This will also take some time – probably days. It’s well worth it – again think before making ANY changes.
- You should now have a decent First Draft. Good, but this is the start… Print it out, double spaced, single-sided (yes, on paper. Seriously) and switch off your computer. I said unplug it!
- Go do something non-writing related for a couple of weeks. Snail-wrangling in the Peruvian mountains is a personal favourite.
- Then, find a quiet room, away from your PC. Lock yourself in; no interruptions. Read your First Draft aloud – interpret the dialogue, live the words. Make changes, add stuff, cross out whole paragraphs/pages (painful, isn’t it?)… EVOLVE your work! You’ll pick up things that don’t work; dialogue that sounds stilted; tangent storylines that go nowhere; pacing that doesn’t do what you want (if you’re yawning, imagine the hell you’re putting your readers through) and a long etcetera. This is one of the best and most productive steps in writing a novel; believe me – do it once and you’ll convince yourself.
- When you have finished reading the whole manuscript, not before, go back to your PC (it will have cooled down by then) and apply the changes. Don’t worry if you find yourself changing even more stuff as well – that’s just creative juices flowing.
- Repeat steps 5) and 6). Now you’ll have a Second Draft.
- Find some people and coerce, threaten, blackmail them into reading copies of your tale and providing you with DETAILED comments and suggestions. Tell them, in no uncertain terms, you will never speak to them again, babysit, walk their dog or whatever unless they give you a no-holds-barred critique. If what you’ve written is crap, they should say so – AND tell you why! Real friends will reveal themselves at this juncture in your life.
- Read through all their suggestions – apply those you think will improve your work. Don’t discuss what you are doing, even with the dog! (at this stage it's got its own agenda!)
- Repeat steps 5) and 6) again. You’ll be seeing the text in your worst nightmares by now with stuff highlighted as infinite corrections dance before your eyes. Good. That’s progress.
- Find a professional, experienced Editor, ideally with several books under their belts in the same genre as your own– this will give them a better feel for the market segment and how to tweak the text to home in on your potential readers. This is expensive; the good ones aren’t cheap. They usually charge by the word for a full line edit, so if you’ve written a 150,000-word epic or a five-volume fantasy you want to publish all at once, prepare yourself.
- Apply the changes you feel warranted. Remember, editors will help you polish your prose, make it more efficient and acceptable to Joe Public, but they won’t have your passion for the tale.
- Repeat steps 5) and 6). Yeah, I know: by now you hate the book. Good. We are almost there.
- Repeat steps 7), 8), 9), 10) and 11) – now you’ll have a Final Draft.
- Now it’s decision time. How do you want to publish it? Basically if you want to get your work out to a paying public, you have three options: a) Self-publishing, or the Indie route, b) Traditional publishing, or the patience route or c ) which is a while waiting for b. If a) is your choice, then find a reputable, experienced platform (many of the good ones are free) that have tools to help you get covers designed, text formatted, etc. If it’s b) then Patience. Start sending out Query letters to Literary Agents. Patience. Send out more query letters. Patience. Try to find an agent that works in your genre. Patience. While waiting, do step 22). If it’s c, read on.
- Decide how you want to market your book. You’ll need to do this irrespective of which route you took in the previous step. Check out the options. Note: it’s never too soon to market. I’m already writing about ‘the CULL’ and it’s not out for 2 months yet and ‘Leaving Shadows’ and that’s not out until May of next year! Generate some undercurrent today! “But hey, I chose route 2 – don’t the big publishing firms do your marketing?” you say. Simple answer; NO! Complex answer: NO, not with the passion you’ll put into it!
- Take a blank sheet of paper. Write out your expectations for your novel (copies sold, royalties, anything else you want). When finished, burn that page! Take another sheet of paper, halve the previous figures, then halve them again. Lastly, halve them! That’s reality, babe! Any improvement on what you have now, is GOOD NEWS!
- Write another book!!!!!!!!!!!! (damn, it’s happening again!!!!!) Here’s a super, secret, highly confidential marketing tip: Books sell books! (Don’t tell anyone!) Yeah, you’ve got it. You find a writer on Amazon; never heard of them (that’s you, now). One book to their name. Okay, you’ll give them a shot. Great read, want more, but… Take a look at the bestseller lists – most have multiple titles to their name. Plus, to become a better writer you need to write often. What’s your objective here? Simple: you want your readers to love you, not just [insert the title of your only novel]. Remember, people talk about Lee Child’s latest novel, not about another book by that guy who wrote whatsitsname. They call this Branding – personally I hate the phrase, but the idea is sound.
- One magic day the postman will deliver a parcel, or maybe you’ll log on to Amazon and download it to your e-reader. It will be YOUR NOVEL. There’s nothing like that feeling! You’ll only get it once, so savour it. Even when it’s book two, or three, it won’t be quite the same.
- Another magic day will come. Again the postman with a letter this time, or maybe, if you’re lucky (yes, this is a friendly dig at my chums at Amazon KDP) it will be an EFT transfer. It is your first royalty payment! It won’t be much, but it’ll have an emotional value greater than Pure Gold!
- Grab your loved ones (remember them,? You’ve been ignoring them for months now; they may not even be on speaking terms anymore; they may have even moved house.) Take them out for a celebration – blow the royalties cash that day –all of it! They deserve it – hey, and don’t forget your writing partner – the dog!
- Repeat 1-25. Welcome to the Writing Life!
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
|"Stick labels in your pipe, and smoke 'em!"|
Saturday, September 15, 2012
|Palmeira, Galicia, Spain - a first step|
More tips on my website.
Saturday, July 14, 2012
The Chinese have a saying, half curse, half blessing: 'May you live in interesting times!'
These are 'Interesting Times!