Thursday, 27 September 2012

The good, bad and the ugly of social networking

These days, it's banged into writers that they need to get stuck into social networking, but it can be a minefield. And it can kill your writing.

Here are the things I've learnt -

The Good
The internet makes the world seem a smaller place. You get to meet people you might not otherwise meet (in the cyber world at least). It's a great place to meet other writers.

Through social networking, I've discovered markets (and competitions) for writers that I wouldn't have otherwise known about. Not just in the UK, but worldwide. This increases opportunities for writers. Now thanks to epublishing you don't need to live in say Australia to be published there.

As long as you set time limits, you don't need to spend hours on social networking. Twitter for instance can take no time at all and you can tweet when you're waiting at a bus stop.

You can join forces with another writer to write a book.

The Bad
Most people you meet on Facebook and Twitter are lovely, but there are some disturbed people out there. You may find yourself being cyber stalked.

Social networking eats into your writing time, big time. Sometimes you just have to pull the plug on your computer.

Having a presence on Facebook, Twitter and other sites can help you raise your profile, but I'm not sure it helps sell books. A blog - in my opinion and a website - is far more effective.

Sites talk big about all the precautions they take to stop bullying and harrassment, but often they are useless when you are targetted.

The downright ugly
There are trolls, or as I like to call them trawls because they trawl sites, especially Facebook and they deliberately set out to upset people.

For example, if you post something about racism they'll post a racist comment or say that black people are too overly sensitive about being called the n word. Note - this is a real example.

There are some seriously weird people online. Old men posting comments on sites aimed at kids. If that's not a paedophile alert I don't know what is. People paid by companies to post comments, who often don't even hide the fact.

Bullying A Parent's Guide is now out in Kindle in the USA and in the UK. Priced at £3.99.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Bullying A Parent's Guide Now out on Kindle

When I wrote Bullying A Parent's Guide, I wanted the book to be available to as many people as possible because I genuinely believed I wrote a book that would help bullied children and their parents.

So, I'm delighted to announce that the book is now available on Kindle in the UK, priced £3.99.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Royalties v flat fee

Today, I was asked by a writer friend, who'd been offered the choice of a percentage of royalties or a flat fee for his book what he should do.

So far I've had six books published, all a mixture of advance and royalties and just flat fees.


Flat fee
The book that has sold the most copies, took 2 weeks to write, but was my own concept. It has sold in the tens of thousands and is still in print over a decade later and still selling.

I was paid one thousand pounds to write it and it's made the publishers many times that amount.

There are days when I regret not pushing more for royalties (the publisher commission most of their books on a flat fee basis), but I estimate that in total, including the fee, I've made three thousand pounds from this book. This extra two grand came from articles I sold to magazines and newspapers on the back of the book.

I was paid an advance of 500 pounds for my second book and given royalties. The book took months to write and was very stressful. The topic gave me nightmares.

So far, I estimate I have made round about 4 thousand pounds from the book. I've had to do a lot to promote it and a huge chunk of that money has come from the PLR and ALCS.

Without that money the reward for so much work would be an insult. Well, at an income of four thousand, I estimate I made less than a pound an hour. Only a writer would work for that!

So, what would my advice be -
If you want a guaranteed fee, opt for the flat fee. But, only if it's FAIR.

I would still always try and get royalties and an advance. Your book might sell well, like my flat fee one did. But, remember, with royalties you will be relying on the publisher to actually sell your book. Of course, you need to be proactive there too.





Friday, 7 September 2012

Great things about being a writer

One of my books, Living Cruelty Free at the Frankfurt Book Fair

Okay, I hold my hands up. There has been some complaining of late from me about how tough it is to be a writer with publishers giving your books away free without telling you and creepy people cyber stalking you.

So, I reckoned it was about time to look at the good stuff.

1. You can look up any website and claim its research. Last night I searched for 'how to kill someone and get away with it.' If the police think I'm up to something, I have a ready-made excuse, 'I'm writing a book' even if I am plotting murder:) Only kidding.

2. You get to develop multiple personalities without ending up on medication.

3. You can sit doing nothing for ages and still say you're working. Well, you can't expect those plot knots to unknot themselves.

4. If you're life is depressing you can create a better one. Become a character you’ve created. Immerse yourself in it. Live in it.

5. You can get revenge on anyone you like by having something awful happen to them in your book, and there's not a thing you can do about it. A dentist who was horrible to me, was eaten by his dogs, penis and all. I did change his name.

6. You will never be alone. You have all those characters to keep you company.

7. You can change the world; mould it into whatever you want. Create happy endings. Make sure the bad guys (or girls) get their comeuppance. Things you don’t get to do in real life.

8. There is no better feeling that a parcel coming containing the books you have lovingly crafted.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Things I wish they’d told me about being a writer

1-You will see the world in a way that others will find extremely disturbing. To others an ice pick is for breaking up ice, to me, it's a potential weapon for my main character in Hell to Pay to use on the most vulnerable part of her attacker's anatomy.
Sadly, I don't earn as much as this guy. I wish.

2-Non-writers think you earn way much more than you do. That you're in Stephen King's league and if you're not they think your writing can't be that good. Well, it's easy to make money writing. No, sadly it's not.

3-When you try and build a platform for yourself to promote your work, you may attract unwanted attention. See Sinister side of Facebook post.

4-You'll have a deathly pale pallor from all those hours sitting in the near dark, crouched over a laptop/scribbling away. People will keep saying, 'Are you ill?'

5-You'll develop a belly from all that sitting down writing. There's no time for exercise unless it involves walking the dog. Well, he listens to you outlining possible plots (with his ears plugging up his lug holed).

6-People will think you're being rude when you don't acknowledge them, when you're really preoccupied with working out how your character can get away with killing someone.


DI Duncan Waddell - Detective in a Coma Book 2

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