We all struggle to promote our work and turn to the numerous social media sites as avenues of interaction. We can spend hours posting book links, reviews, book cover art, links to our blog etc. When it comes to determining the success of all this activity, we can feel despondent. A tweet is lost in a multitude of other tweets within seconds, a face book page post may last slightly longer but its place is taken once the feed renews. Now you may feel such random and spasmodic promotion does little to help you become known but take heart in the fact that these efforts are not in vain. Re-tweets and shares are confirmation that someone has seen your post and it spreads to other media sites in the process.
There are analytic pages for most media sites, where you are able to track the success of a particular promotion. You can focus on specific groups or locations as well, giving your promotion an advantage and ensuring the ‘right’ people view the information you supply. I utilize all the usual social media sites but have to confess I am not an everyday user so ‘miss’ whole days or even weeks of potential promotional opportunities.
That is why I was so thrilled to find a site called Co-Promote last year. At the time most of the users were involved in the music business. Once I read how the site worked I was intrigued but thought there was no room for authors. I wrote an email asking if they would be expanding their reach to other enterprises. The reply was quick and favorable. Anyone was welcome to join no matter what their trade, business or creative genre. I was informed new options would be added for books, magazines and blogs. Encouraged by this willingness to accommodate, I joined up and have found this site to be excellent. You can join for free or register for a sliding scale of options. More here: https://copromote.com/about.php The added bonus is that whenever there is a share you are sent an email advising you of who has shared. Each email also shows you new shares, new engagements and the reach of your promotion has achieved. Each promotion can be run for a few days or a few weeks, whichever is preferable to your requirements. My current promotion began on 12th October – so far it has reached 27.5K people! I could not have done that with any other site in such a short time.
Wayward – definition: disobedient; turning or changing irregularly; irregular
Let’s start with a problem a great many writers/authors face – the consistency of our social media presence. We are encouraged (read expected) to have a platform and engage our readers on a constant basis. So how can the majority of us do that? Holding down a day job, a home, family commitments, some sort of social life, and the time to write, limits our ability to have the presence we are ‘required’ to have. The result is an irregularity of posts, blogs, tweets and so forth.
The answer is different for everyone because all of us have restrictions on our time to varying degrees. How can we change the irregular into the regular? Here are two scenarios:
Tom – He works full time, is married with three kids ( 6yrs, 10 yrs and 13 yrs), his wife works part-time, and they live in a 4 bed roomed house with a large yard. The majority of his weekdays are taken up with work, helping get the kids to and from school and their activities as well as looking after them when his wife is working evenings. Weekends are more kid related activities and yard work.
Angela – She is married, has one child (8 years old) and works full time. Her husband works away a lot leaving her with household and yard chores for the majority of the time as well as looking after their child.
So where can they fit in writing and social media? The trick is to find periods when there is less demand for their involvement.
Tom – travels by train to and from work – he can write and ‘blast’ social media while travelling. Evenings when his wife is at home he can ‘escape’ to his writing space for an hour or two.
Angela – Her child’s school bus picks up thirty minutes before she needs to leave for work – writing or social media time. When her husband is home she allots an hour or two during his time off to her writing.
Obviously these are fictitious characters, but hopefully it gives you an idea how time can be managed. A routine of posts on social media can be created as long as the frequency is workable for your schedule. Look at when (date in the month, time of day etc.) works best for you and make it your ‘writer/author’ time. Personally, I found drafting blog posts in advance has helped me a great deal…no mad panic each morning thinking of a subject.
Today’s word is Loath – definition: unwilling to do something : reluctant. As you will soon realize Yasir is loathed to be restricted to one genre.
Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?
Gregorian the demon & Fagnor the banshee, side characters have an air of mystery about them. These two aid the protagonist, kind of, in his quest for revenge. Their qualities are as random as their presence, having wild-cards in a tale gives a story the kick others don’t have.
Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?
Do I ever? I am definitely a dabbler, I have an imagination threshold when it comes to genres. I’m not a horror aficionado like Stephen King, I find that my words become somewhat stagnated. I have been warned by an author friend of mine that writing in multiple genres is dangerous. It may be my naivety or ignorance but I fail to see his logic. So to keep things refreshing for the reader I have already started dabbling, but I’m not going to tell you much more. Always leave them wanting more…
What do you enjoy most about writing?
How anomalous occurrences become the crux of the story, I fall into the category of writers that say the story writes itself. The side lines, the back stories and the random excursions are what give stories that texture readers crave. My own mind keeps me guessing so as I’m typing I am discovering. As the story unravels and characters reveal themselves I find myself immersed in the lunacy of creation.
Have you got a favorite place to write?
I wish I did, it’s a family home so we all share one computer. If I had the money I’d buy a nice house that has a nice study, a quiet room that has all the hallmarks of a writers retreat. I would surround myself, in this room, with vestiges of inspiration and creativity. One day my friends, one day…
Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?
A bit of both, I found planning gives the story structure and the “seat of the pants” strategy gives it flavor. Inspiration normally comes at night so I am always arms length from pen & paper. I write the idea down in my despicable handwriting and then when I get a moment I add it to the manuscript. I’m still growing as a writer but I am finding a rhythm to writing.
What inspires your stories?
Oh! Everything and anything. Films, books, music, theatre, dancing, a bird on a perch having a very large poop (apologies, I don’t mean to offend) it’s totally random. I could listen to a poem on the radio and it moves me to tears. Then again I could see a toddler hand a flower to his parent and I can feel every much joy as the parent. Inspiration by its very nature is from spirit so I suppose it’s in the spirit of the moment.
What are you currently reading?
OK, don’t hate me for saying this because I have been criticized in the past for saying what I’m about to say. I don’t like reading fiction, even though that’s pretty much what I write. I don’t mind poetry, I can read poetry but even short stories bore me. Now I know in some regions of the literary world I have just committed blasphemy. If I were to read anything then I only read self-development books. Currently I am not reading anything but I do want to get my hands on some NLP and mind programming books.
Do you have any odd habits or childhood stories?
I do have some odd habits, but I don’t care to mention them. Childhood stories, if I told you it would sound quite generic. I got in trouble at schools, teachers annoyed me and I them, over the years I matured and discovered that life can be an adventure and I have the best family and friends in the world. See, generic.
Do you have any pets?
I have one zebra-finch, a miniature pooping machine (same apology as before)
I belong to New Writers UK, it’s a writing group that is run by authors for authors. It’s for writers in general but predominantly to help new writers, such as myself, to find their feet. They have exclusive events and resources that I am privy to being a member.
What age did you start writing stories/poems?
I started writing poetry at age 8
I started writing short stories at age 16
I tried writing a stage play at age 24
I am still dabbling in all of the above at age 25
Do you have a book published? If so what is it called & where can readers purchase it?
I do, it’s called Memoirs of the Damned and it is a horror story it can be found here:-
If you could meet one favorite author who would it be and why?
Maybe Dale Carnegie for his wisdom but I’m not too fussed with him. More than Mr. Carnegie I would like to meet Edgar Allen Poe to see if he was as crazy as everyone says. Also I would like to hear him read “The Raven”, James Earl Jones and Christopher Walken both have hypnotic voices but I believe that the true insanity of that poem should be experienced 1st hand from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. Don’t worry I don’t have a morbid fascination with Poe, unlike the creator of The Following with Kevin Bacon – urgh –
If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be?
Japan. I would like to live in a dojo in the country side. I would wear a kimono all day, be protected by a legion of Samurai in the morning and a squadron of Ninjas at night. A man can dream…
What’s your favorite movie of all time?
I have phases, what my favorite movie is at the moment might not be the case in a few months time. It’s a tie with Payback, Get Shorty and The Usual Suspects at the moment.
As writers and authors we have to be aware of how we present ourselves not only on a face to face basis but also on social media. An extreme political or religious view, either on the vast array of media sites or in person, can seriously harm how we are perceived. If we are disrespectful, arrogant or act aloof our prospective and current readers opinion of us will alter negatively and more than likely stop them buying our books, following us in cyber space or attending author readings. Be aware of the links and comments you make and ‘like’. If something is too extreme you may chose not just to hide it but unfriend or block the person responsible.
It is also best to be circumspect on the types of ‘friends’ you are adding. If someone is politically bias, posting foul language, pornography or has extreme religious views, their opinions could be a interpreted as your own. Utilizing the settings on your particular media is a good way to ensure your professional image is not damaged, as is separating personal and professional pages or sites. Try to view your ‘virtual’ presence as a stranger would to make sure it is reflecting you positively.
Of course there are exceptions to every rule and being a member of a particular group could be advantageous for your genre or novel. However, if you are a multi-genre author you have the option to use different sites specific to each one or write under pen names.
Gossip can be a good thing if it is in regard to how wonderful someone found your latest novel or how marvellous you were at a local book signing. Maintain a professional but friendly demeanour whether in the real world or the cyber one. Engaging with your fans, or prospective ones to discuss your novel’s characters, the plot or your creative processes is a great way to entice a greater readership. Nonetheless remember to keep a balance between your professional life and your personal one.
Have you experienced any negative feedback?
negative feedback system (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
To honor Ian’s favorite character, Sup Sup Rose, I have paired his interview with today’s word – Panacea – definition : a remedy for all ills or difficulties : a cure-all.
a) Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?
That’s a tough one. If I have to choose one then it has to be Sup Sup Rose. He’s quiet. Stays in the background but is very knowledgeable of all things nature. If there are any injured animals, then he’s the one to help them out. Any questions about herbs and flowers, Sup Sup will know it. He’s very gentle, shy but very loyal.
b) Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?
No, I like to look into different genres as I think it helps with your writing. I’ve focused on children’s stories at the moment, but I have some horror novels that are in different stages of edits. They are the two favourite genres. I have partly written a bio-graphical account of a relative of mine fighting in WW1. His and his wife’s accounts of being apart. That will take some time to finish.
c) What do you enjoy most about writing?
Being able to put into words the images I see in my head. I’m very visual so I get excited when I am writing and acting out the scene at the same time.
d) Have you got a favorite place to write?
I do most of my writing on a large table in a spare room, during the day and at night when I have time. If not, then I always have a pad and pen, but lately I have been trying out some writing tasks on a tablet I bought. That is working out quite well.
e) Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?
The first book was on the seat of my pants as I more or less have had the whole story in my head for the last 30+ years. Book 2 and 3 have been planned. I have a few diagrams I have mapped out for book 2. It helps me to see where each character is going and how they deal with problems. I also need it to show where in the story the highs and lows are. So, if I can map it out I will.
f) What inspires your stories?
As soon as I visit the countryside then I have a story in my head. I love trees and grass and everything nature. Sometimes if I see an image then I want to just jot something down. As I love photography then that is happening a lot.
g) What are you currently reading?
Cricky! The Hobbit. Stardust. Dead Hunt (An indie book by Kenn Crawford) If you like to be scared then this a great book or e-book to read. Crafting scenes by Raymond Obstfeld and the proof version of book 1 of my story. It’s nearly ready for Amazon’s POD service.
h) Do you have any odd habits or childhood stories?
Just before I start to write, I have to have everything around me neat and tidy. I can’t help tidying things up before I write. Probably as my mind is so jumbled up with ideas and stories I just don’t want the physical world around me to be the same. My writing space really has to be neat.
i) Do you have any pets?
Not now. I use to have a Rough Collie called Toby. Blind as a bat but the most amazing dog I have ever come across.
j) Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?
A few. They are on LinkedIn. They are very good and give great advice. Write It Down, Aspiring Writers, Authors and Publishers Association, Authors, Writers, Publishers, Editors and Writing Professionals, Book and Writers, Children’s Book Authors, Informed Ideas. Just a few.
k) What age did you start writing stories/poems?
I started when I was kid about 12. The first one was about an alien that came to earth to hunt. A couple of years later a film came out called ‘Predator’ I wish that was me. As soon as I started higher education I just stopped. The idea that my writing is not very good probably had some influence on me.
l) Do you have a book published? If so what is it called & where can readers purchase it?
The Faeries of Birchover Wood, The Bad is book 1 and is downloadable for Free on Smashwords
The blog is about e-publishing. It has tutorials, written and video on how to get your written book into a professionally formatted e-book so that it can be given or sold on any of the e-book stores.
q) Do you have plans or ideas for your next book?
Loads! Book 2 of the faeries is a little darker. A few upsets and shocks are installed for the humans and faeries. Not looking pretty for any of them.
I am working on re-writing my horror novel from 1st person to 3rd person and I need to finish a vampire novel I wrote about 6 years ago. There are times when I wish I was an octopus.
r) Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?
Without doubt my wife and my father. My wife who has had to go through some of my ‘What!’ ‘I don’t believe you can’t…’ ‘Come on, can you read it faster!!’ times. She understands I am passionate about what I do. She’s great and very patient. My father who always believed that I should ‘go and do my thing!’ He loves my stories. Probably too much as he never gives me any criticism. That’s why parents are the worse readers of your book if you are looking for a critique. He wrote the poem at the very beginning of Book 1.