Tag Archives: #amblogging

100 Word Story? Is it possible?…..

As an indie-author one of the questions I get asked on a regular basis is “How do you do it?” My standard answer is “One word at a time.”

However, how many words do you need to tell a story? How many to add a bit of intrigue? How many to add a hint of romance?

I decided to set myself the challenge to write a 100 word story.

Anyone who has read my books will understand that limiting the word count is perhaps not my forte! Ha Ha.

However, I was strict with myself here and rose to the challenge.

So, in a 100 words here’s  Cat’s Eyes.

 

Cats’s Eyes

 The cat watched the car approach. Recognised his owner in the passenger seat. As he licked his fluffy paws, he watched as the car stopped at the end of the driveway.  Squinting into the early evening sun, the cat saw the driver reach over to kiss his owner. Pausing to wash his long tail, the cat continued to watch the long, slow, passionate embrace. The car’s window was open but all he could hear was music. As he licked his bits, the car door opened. His owner stepped out. With a wave, the car drove off. Cat and owner smiled.

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Indie Author Seeking Shelf Space

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As an indie author there are many “hats” you need to wear to get your “book babies” out into the world.

Over the past four years I’ve been through a steep learning curve in relation to getting my books babies written, typed, edited, formatted, cover designs created (Photoshop is evil), published, launched and subsequently marketed on a shoestring budget.

The marketing aspect is probably the toughest challenge an indie author faces.

Actually writing the book in the first place is the fun part!

Since KDP and other self-publishing platforms made books so relatively simple to self-publish the market has been flooded. There were circa 2 000 000 books published in 2017 alone. Competition is tough, VERY tough!

A quote from a Forbes.com article from 2013 sums up the challenges succinctly: “Here’s the problem with self-publishing: no one cares about your book. That’s it in a nutshell. There are somewhere between 600 000 and 1 000 000 books published every year in the US alone, depending on which stats you believe. Many of those – perhaps as many as half or even more- are self-published. On average they sell less than 250 copies each. Your book won’t stand out. Hillary Clinton’s will. Yours won’t.”

Harsh but honest words.

I’ve said many times if you’re writing a book to make money then you’re in for a hell of a shock!

To date, I’ve been extremely fortunate that no one has said my book babies are ugly, they’ve each earned 5* reviews and I’ve received a Royalties payment every month, even if it is only for pennies.

The majority that have been sold have been e-books but each of my book babies is also available as a “real” book too.

E-book marketing can be done through social media. “Real” book marketing, actually gaining shelf space, is far tougher. I’d love to see my books  on the shelves in bookstores but getting shelf space as an indie author is nigh on impossible. I managed it once with Stronger Within for a whole six copies. A major accomplishment that I remain very proud of.

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For me personally though I’d love to see my Silver Lake series on sale in the book stores in and around the town where the stories are set. That small town is somewhere I am passionate about. A lot of the feedback that I’ve received has been that folk want to visit Rehoboth Beach, De. (It’s not a big place but in my own quiet way from over 3000 miles away I’ve introduced my readers to this jewel on the Delaware Riviera.)

On more than one occasion, I’ve approached a “local” bookstore in an effort to open discussions about the possibility of them putting a few copies on their shelves. My polite approaches have been met with silence.

So I reverted to advertising on social media and added pages and groups linked to the locale to my list. I don’t over advertise on these- one post every few weeks on these “local” pages at most. To an “outsider” looking in on the group/page descriptions they look to be about promoting things linked to the area, including books, events, places etc about the area so the Silver Lake books meet the criteria….. or so I thought until recently. One well- meant post met with a brief but sharp barrage of complaints that I was routing shoppers to Amazon instead of local stores and was detracting from the town. I quickly deleted the post as that most definitely was not my intent. The comments stung. If local businesses supported indie authors, regardless of where they reside, who are writing about their town then local folks wouldn’t have to shop online….. marketing lesson #700….. I won’t be engaging with that group again.

Maybe Forbes.com was right “no one cares about your book.”

However, authors, including indie-authors, are storytellers at heart and, for as long as they have a story to share, they will find a way to publish or self-publish their work. I know I will.

As for marketing, well despite having been kicked back down that learning curve, I’ve picked myself up, dusted myself off and will start all over again.

Can I interest you in a book?……..

 

Amazon.com links –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XSQHG71

 

Ellen – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FYHKR44

  

 Amazon.co.uk links  –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XSQHG71

 

Ellen – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07FYHKR44

 

 

 

How many times……..

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How many times have you gone to bed thinking “I should have messaged XXXX. I’ll do it tomorrow”? Or driven home from work thinking, “I’ll phone XXXX once I’ve had dinner, done the laundry and got the kids to bed.”?

How many times have you thought, “I haven’t heard from XXXX for a while. They must be busy.”

How many times have you scrolled through Facebook and thought “XXXX hasn’t posted in a while. They must be taking a social media break.”?

Sounding familiar?

I’ll hold my hands up here. I can be as guilty of this as the next person.

I am not standing in judgement here by any means. Maintaining friendships takes work on both sides of the relationship.

In this frantic 21st Century world we live in, there are countless ways to keep in touch with friends and family. Stop and think for a moment how many different ways you can contact someone if you choose to.

Maybe in days gone by we were actually better at being friends to one another. In the past, pre-mobile phones, pre-internet and pre-social media, we picked up the phone (dragged it into another room till the curly wire was straight) and spoke to our friends. We met up more often to socialise in person. We wrote letters and sent them in an envelope with a stamp on it via the mail.

How many friendships survive these days on social media posts and text messages alone?

Yeah, I’m as guilty of that as the next person too.

Social media posts and text messages can mask so many things though. It’s so easy to create a false impression in our digitised world.

How many times have you posted something cheerful to your social media when you’ve really been miserable inside?

How many times have you replied to a message saying all is well and added a smiling emoji to reinforce the lie?

Yeah, I’m guilty of that one too.

If we met those friends face to face or spoke to them and actually heard their voices, would we pick up on the subtle signs that something might be amiss? If we spotted the signs, would we reach out to help them through whatever was troubling them?

I’ll leave that thought with you….. there’s no need to answer it.

About six weeks ago, I sat down to undertake the annual task of writing my Christmas cards to friends and family. Over the years, my friends have become scattered all over the globe. As I wrote one particular card, the thought crossed my mind that I hadn’t heard from that friend in a while. Neatly written (who am I kidding? My handwriting is a scrawling mess!) I sealed the card and added it to the pile to be posted.

Now, six weeks down the line, I don’t know if that card ever reached the address on the front of the envelope. I don’t know if it was ever opened by the addressee. I don’t know if it arrived too late.

My heart tells me it was never opened. 

As the quote says “Good friends are like stars. You don’t always see them but you know they’re there.”

My post-script to that quote would be “Let the stars of your friendship shine bright and be filled with the love of light and the twinkling sound of laughter.”

 

2018……time to reflect

With only two weeks of the year left, I found myself reflecting back over the past twelve months while I was out for my lunchtime meander earlier. There have been some incredibly highs, some real low points but there have been a lot of precious memories along the way. Guess that’s the rhythm of 21st Century life.

So, in pictures, here’s my reflections of life in 2018

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Then there were the musical highlights of the year…..

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And there were some extra special music related moments too….

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And, of course, I added to my Book Baby family too….

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So, as we prepare to celebrate Christmas and welcome in a New Year, I’d like to thank each and every one of you for your ongoing love and support.

love n hugs

Coral

xx

 

 

Paused for Musical Interlude…..

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normal blog service will resume next week….. once my ears stop ringing 😉

Define Success……. Go On I Dare You To…

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Like many indie authors and bloggers I have “liked” and “joined” numerous….ok countless….author and book promotion Facebook groups and pages. I use these as a means to promote my author page, this blog and my book babies and very rarely comment on any discussion style posts.

Recently one caught my attention… “Do we have anyone in here with a lot of success?”

Initially I read it and scrolled on…. but it was bugging me….so I scrolled backup and replied.

“Define success? It means something different to each of us. If you mean “Do I feel I have succeeded with my writing?” then the answer is “yes” as I have told folk a story that entertained them and caused an emotional response. If you quantify success as hard cash then you’re in the wrong game. There’s more to life than money when there’s a story to be told.”

My response was well received by other members of the group.

And I stand by what I said.

It took me a long time to think of my writing as being successful in any shape or form. Self-publishing my first novel in 2015 was a surreal experience. It took me so far out of my comfort zone! Even having published three more novels, it still feels surreal.  Seeing my name on the cover of those books feels like a dream I am about to be rudely awakened from. However, as time has passed, I’ve come to realise that I’ve achieved something pretty special. Well, it’s pretty special to me.

How many people can say they’ve seen one of their lifelong dreams come true?

I can and that genuinely makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Makes me feel successful in my own quiet way.

I’ve been incredibly fortunate that no one yet has said my book babies are ugly. Seeing them sitting on Amazon.co.uk with lots of twinkling stars and multiple reviews makes me feel proud of what I’ve achieved (with the love and support of my Infamous Five and my cavalry) Seeing them with stars and reviews on Amazon.com, which is such a huge arena, blows my mind. It makes me feel successful in my own quiet way.

You can’t put a price on the emotions you experience when someone tells you they’ve loved your book and that it’s evoked an emotional response whether it be laughter or tears. Feedback like that is truly priceless.

If indie authors and bloggers were in it purely for the money, there wouldn’t be many of us left. FACT!

Let’s be honest, unless you strike it really lucky and your work lands before the right person at the right time and catches their eye then, chances are you’re not making a huge income, if any. I half-joked when I published my first novel that I hoped to earn enough to cover my concert ticket budget. My royalties come nowhere near to covering it! Most months they would barely cover the cost of a couple of coffees.

Authors are storytellers. We write to tell the story that’s grown inside us. At the risk of sounding cheesy for a minute, writing is a passion and I’ve always maintained that as soon as I stop feeling the love for it, I’ll stop.

But, do people realise the length of time it takes to pull an article/blog together or the number of hours of work a short story requires? Or the hundreds of hours a novel requires?

I’ll use this blog as an example and it’s not a long piece. It has taken me roughly an hour to write and re-draft and it’s taken another hour or so to type and re-draft again then say it will take ten minutes to publish it. That’s about 2-3 hours work. And guess what – it doesn’t earn me any royalties?

Last week, I published a short story on this blog page.  The word count was roughly 4000 words. It took me about four hours to write it. It took another couple to re-draft it, another couple to type it then fifteen minutes to post it. Let’s call it eight hours of work. And guess what – that didn’t earn me any royalties either.

Novels take months of effort. I really should take note of the time spent writing, typing, editing etc one of these days. All in all, it’s probably about four hours of work in total per thousand words ( rough guesstimate). My novels so far have ranged from 107000 words to 186 000 words. Let’s do the maths – that gives us about 428 -744 hours of work and that’s before you factor in the time to design the cover, the time my alpha readers (my Infamous Five) and my beta readers (the cavalry) donate and the time to upload the file to Amazon for publication…… and then there’s marketing and promotion to be done…..

The current National Minimum Wage in the UK is £7.93 per hour.

If I had been paid that for writing Ellen, my latest and shortest novel, that would have earned me £3400 approximately. To date, Ellen has generated around £100 in royalties.

I personally don’t define success in respect of my writing in terms of hard cash. If it was about the money, I’d have closed over my notebook and put the lid back on my pen a long time ago.

Success for me is about seeing people enjoying what I write. It’s about folk saying I’ve made them laugh or cry. It’s about entertaining readers. It’s about telling the story and setting my characters free from my imagination.
So, next time you read over a short story in your lunchbreak or a blog post, pause to think of the time and effort that went into making it a success.

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(images sourced via Google – credits to the owners)

Re-learning the A-Z of Music

There are some jobs around the place that you keep putting off and putting off. There is one I have been putting off for years….
And what is it?
Sorting the family’s CD collection back into some semblance of order.
Once upon a time, a very long time and a few hundred CDs ago, they were all stored neatly in alphabetical order. Finding the CD you wanted to play was easy and took seconds.
Then we moved house…. and then moved again…. so for the past nineteen years the CDs have been stuffed randomly on a shelf.
As time passed and the kids grew and music tastes evolved, the collection has grown and grown…. and has never been put back into order.
Hours have been wasted scouring the shelf in search in search of a particular album only for the search to be abandoned in favour of an album that you found while searching that you haven’t heard for years!

CD collage 1Finding myself with a free morning last week, I decided to bite the bullet and tackle the chore.

After the first half an hour, I was questioning the wisdom of the decision.

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After the first two hours, I was questioning my sanity!

 

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Methodically, I lifted bundles of CDs down from the shelf and split them into the letters of the alphabet by artist name.

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Slowly the piles grew.

B proved to be the most popular letter of the alphabet, closely followed by S. But what to do with the growing pile of compilation CDs?

With all the CDs now off the shelf and stacked all over the study floor, it was time to sort each letter’s bundle into alphabetical order and to return them to the shelf.

I reached N and decided it was time for lunch. This was taking a lot longer than planned!

Finally, I was left with the large pile of compilations. How best to arrange these? ….. hmm….

I split out all the musicals/film soundtracks and put these in alphabetical order. I put the NOW CDs ranging from 44 to 81 into numerical order. The rest I split by genre and placed them back on the shelves.
(The High School Musical and Disney CDs were stashed in the awkward corner where they will no doubt lie untouched forever…. Hannah Montana is there too!)

It might have taken me over three hours and, at first glance, look exactly the same as when I started but it’s a job well done.

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Some useless musical trivia about the 600 strong collection:
-Stars by Simply Red was the first CD purchased (before we even had a CD player!)
-Bob the Builder actually belongs to The Big Green Gummi Bear
-Boney M also belongs to the The Big Green Gummi Bear
-No one is claiming ownership of the Boyzone and Westlife CDs!
-I’ll confess, the Status Quo ones are mine

It’s an eclectic mix of music and just highlights that we all have differing tastes in music. No one’s taste is better than anyone else’s – it’s just different. (Well, the rest of us might argue we have better taste in music than The Big Green Gummi Bear) There truly is something to cater for every taste on that shelf!

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