I’ve decided to retire from eBook promoting. My life away from books is moving in different directions and as I mentioned last week Sam’s Song reaching #1 for the seventh time has changed my attitude to promoting. I’ve achieved my goals. Sales, chart positions, don’t really matter anymore. The fun part is striving for goals, even if it’s a frustrating process. Once you achieve your goals the feeling isn’t hollow exactly, but the motivation isn’t the same.
I intend to keep writing. Less time spent promoting should help my writing. And my commitment to Mom’s Favorite Reads remains the same. Maybe, next week, next month, next year, I will have a new set of goals, but for now I’m content with what I’ve achieved and happy to leave it at that.
My main point is, enjoy the journey you are on because, quite often, it’s more satisfying than the destination 🙂
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For me, it’s been an eventful week. A very eventful week. I have experienced great distress and great joy. The joy centred on Sam’s Song. On Wednesday, Sam’s Song reached #1 for the seventh time. For the past two years this has been an ambition. You could argue that there is no difference between six times #1 and seven times #1, and you would be right. For a reason I can’t really explain reaching #1 for the seventh time was important and now that that landmark has been achieved the desire to reach new readers isn’t as great. I wouldn’t say that I don’t want to reach new readers, but if it doesn’t happen it no longer matters. In terms of eBooks on Amazon, I have achieved my goals.
I still have goals in other areas of publishing, with audiobooks, translations, paperbacks and secondary rights. I also want to write many more books, develop Mom’s Favorite Reads and her projects, and help authors find more readers.
I do believe in the concept of setting clear, obtainable goals and plans to achieve those goals. My main aims with writing are: to entertain my readers and to prove certain things to myself. On a personal level, Sam at #1 this week proved something to myself, and that’s all that matters. Now I feel ready to move on.
I first met Val Tobin around five years ago, through online author groups. At that stage I became aware of her high quality books in a number of genres, including mysteries. Val studied general arts at the University of Waterloo, then obtained a diploma in Computer Information Systems from DeVry Toronto. She worked in the computer industry as a software and Web developer for over ten years, during which time she started to get serious about energy work and the paranormal and occult.
Val uses her background and knowledge in her novels and this adds a great air of authenticity to her stories. She is an excellent author and I highly recommend her books. Furthermore, she is very supportive of other authors.
Val is doing podcasts on Anchor, reading Walk-In chapter-by-chapter. If you want to hear how she sounds when she tried to mimic a minor character who is Hungarian with English as a second language, you can listen to the story here: https://anchor.fm/val61
A productive week with lots of ideas flowing. Sometimes, it goes like that. I have ideas and make notes on a regular basis, but occasionally the ideas come so thick and fast I have to place other writing tasks on hold and develop them. The main ideas this week centred on the storyboarding of The Fifth Man, my novel set in 1948, and my novel about the Spanish Civil War. I am researching the Spanish Civil War and yesterday I ordered this book as part of my research.
I’ve also had ideas for my next Sam Smith mystery, Snow in August. Book sixteen in the series, this novel will be set in west Wales. Writing will begin next week. It’s always exciting to start a new Sam Smith mystery. I like to have my covers in place as soon as possible because sometimes they offer suggestions for the characters and storyline. The book will be available for pre-order in the near future. Here’s the cover.
I also have ideas for Stormy Weather, book seventeen in the Sam Smith Mystery Series. The theme of this book will be climate change. Here’s the cover.
I’m the co-founder and co-editor of Mom’s Favorite Reads, and this week we published the June issue of our magazine. This is our retro issue with lots of great articles about the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, plus features about modern times. The magazine is free, so please take a look. We include some big names in our magazines and a future edition will include an exclusive interview with bestselling novelist Bernard Cornwell.
This week, my youngest son, aged eleven, came to me with a collection of songs he’d been listening to on YouTube. Many of them were country songs, including this classic by the Highwaymen. He has a great love of music, which I hope he will develop. Incidentally, he received his school report this week. His target was level four in Mathematics, Welsh, English and Science, but he achieved level five in all subjects, and solved mathematical problems in level six too. Of course, he inherited this ability from me 😉
The editing of Victory, Ann’s War book five, has gone well this week and now I’m at the ‘polishing’ stage, tidying the occasional word and phrase. This is the last story in my Ann’s War series, so it’s sad to part company with the characters. That said, it’s encouraging that the pre-order sales for this book are the best in the series and that I’ve received emails from my local library informing me that readers are keen to know when the book will be published. When the book is available, from 20th July, I will donate a copy to my local library. Copies will also be sent to all the major libraries in Britain and Ireland. I’m delighted to say that all my books are featured in these libraries.
This week, I’ve been storyboarding The Fifth Man, a novel set in 1948. During the storyboarding I had an interesting experience when one of the characters, Laura Lewis, ‘disagreed’ with my intentions for her. These author v character clashes sometimes occur and I think they are a good thing because it shows you have created a strong character. When these clashes occur the character always wins. This will mean more work for me as I redraft the storyboard, but I don’t mind because ultimately it will mean a stronger story.
From this weekend, I will step up my book promoting. To be honest, I don’t enjoy this aspect of the business, but it’s all part of publishing. I’m an author, a storyteller, and that’s what I love doing. However, if you want readers to discover your books you have to promote them. It’s amazing to think that Sam’s Song has been in the top fifty of Amazon’s private detective chart for four years. The book has reached #1 on six occasions, which is beyond my wildest dreams. As time moves on, chart positions become less important to an author. The real satisfaction comes when someone says they have enjoyed your book, or they are looking forward to reading the next one.
It’s been an indifferent summer so far, but today I’m planning a barbecue. I’m a vegetarian, so veggie burgers for me. My family are meat eaters, and I have no problem with that. Sam is also a vegetarian. Sam shares many of my traits, but she is not me. Maybe the best way to phrase that is to say Sam isn’t me, but maybe I’m Sam 😉
I always find that music is the perfect accompaniment to any barbecue, and here’s the track that’s playing on my jukebox at the moment.
As ever, many thanks for your interest and support.
This week I’ve been editing Victory, the final story in my Ann’s War Mystery Series. I used to find editing the hardest part of writing, but after publishing twenty books I think I’m getting the hang of it 😉
I’ve also been outlining ideas for two Sam Smith novels, Snow in August and Stormy Weather. Climate Change will be the theme of Stormy Weather. These will be books sixteen and seventeen in the series, with more planned.
Storyboarding is one of my favourite parts of writing and currently I’m storyboarding The Fifth Man, a spin-off from my Ann’s War series, a novel set in 1948. The National Health Service will be central to this novel because 1948 saw its birth. With talks of privatising the National Health Service gathering momentum it seems appropriate to write about this subject. Pictured, Aneurin Bevan, the ‘father’ of the National Health Service.
Reading the political columns of The Guardian and Independent newspapers brought to mind the concept of civil war, when friends, family and neighbours become enemies over political, ideological or religious beliefs. This is fertile ground for a novelist, so I played with some ideas.
I don’t know enough about the American Civil War to write about that subject and the English Civil War of 1642–1651 does not appeal to me because neither Cromwell and his Puritans nor Charles and his Royalists are heroic figures. So my thoughts turned to the Spanish Civil War. This period of history resonates with today and already characters are filling my notebooks. I might develop this idea into a novel, or a mini series, depending on where my characters take me.
Away from writing, I love listening to music. In particular, I’m a big fan of Apple Music. I have thousands of songs on my personal jukebox and I play them on random. This song popped up first this morning.
I first met Sylva Fae around three years ago in a Facebook author group run by a mutual friend. We interacted in that group, on occasion, and became casual friends, as you tend to do in Facebook groups.
At that stage, I didn’t know much about Sylva or her books. However, as our Mom’s Favorite Reads project developed we interacted more often and I did get to know Sylva and her books. In a short space of time, she became a key member of our team producing beautiful graphics and supporting other authors in tireless fashion.
The first thing to say about Sylva is she is a beautiful person. And that cannot be said of everyone in the world these days. She also writes and produces beautiful children’s books. These books are amongst the finest on the market and I highly recommend them. Her books are a joy to read. Sylva’s books not only entertain and educate, but they are items that children will treasure and look back on with great affection.