Instantaneous feedback – and some embarrassing praise.

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This week, several events coincided and left me walking on air…

I was assigned, as part of my day job, to the sparkling town of Blackpool (you know, the Northern English town with its own version of the Eiffel Tower)

jason31 tower

During my time at the sweet (candy) factory there, I found the largely Polish workforce to be very receptive to my book and I’ve already seen some sales from the bookmark handout, the concept of which I covered in several previous posts.

That might be the end of the sales run, but I’d like to think that the Polish community might pass the word around. After all, one of my minor characters DOES have a Polish Grandmother… :)

I also found a fan in a colleague who not only bought my eBook whilst we were working together, but took an active part in promoting it on my behalf, reinforcing my bookmark spiel with his own enthusiastic endorsements.

Thank you Peter! :D

His sister, Penny, has also bought a copy (on Peter’s recommendation) and she is peparing to read it as I write this. When he told Penny that he was sitting next to the author, she became curious as to my personality and asked him all about me –  something that brought a warm glow to my insides.

Peter read through several chapters of ‘A Construct of Angels’ each evening, allowing us to discuss the events and characters as we worked through the next day, although I had to be very, very careful not to utter any spoilers. As he talked about the book, his obvious enthusiasm for my writing left me with a peculiar feeling of conflict; I was happy that he was enjoying the book and took some pride from the fact that I’d created something that had affected him in such a positive way.

And yet, I couldn’t help but feel slightly embarrassed when he offered praise. It’s a wonderful thing to receive and I ought to soak it up like a sponge as it’s a rare beast. However, being somewhat reclusive in nature I don’t feel at all comfortable when it comes my way - I really don’t know what to do with myself.

So, Peter, if I appeared to squirm and look mildly uncomfortable as you enthused, you were doing nothing wrong.  It’s not you…it’s me. :D

And yes, please feel free to nag me regarding the sequel, ‘ A Vengeance of Angels’, which has fallen behind schedule due to other committments. I WILL endeavour to get it finished. Plus, you’re now on my beta readers list for when it’s completed. :)

hortongrou nag nag nag

McCaw #1:nag nag nag
McCaw#2: All right, all right, I’ll finish the book – I promise!

One other event that cause me to stare and utter the immortal phrase ‘No Way…’ was an abrupt and completely unexpected spike in the number of followers of my author page on Facebook.  In the space of twenty-four hours, the followers rose from a rather sad 11 likes to a staggering (relatively speaking) 256 likes.

:O

There are two possible explanations for this unprecedented event:  I’ve been part of two promotions this week.  One was Cassandra Giovanni’s cover reveal - a reblog on my previous post (as well as being echoed on Facebook and Twitter)  – and the other was ‘The Mega Giveaway’  on the ‘For the Love of Fiction’ Facebook page.

If you haven’t already seen this, please take a moment to check it out. Although if you are reading this on a re-run (i.e. after June ’13), the Giveaway may have ended.  Still, you could always drop in and have a peek at my author page whilst you’re there. :D

All the events of this week illustrate the power of communicating effectively, whether it’s by word of mouth or by using the Interweb.

Stop Press; I’ve been told that it was ‘The Big Giveaway’ that boosted my author page.  One of the requirements of entry via Rafflecopter is to ‘like’ the author’s page.  That boost to 256 indicates a good response to the giveaway…

Write On!

keep calm plus author inside

What’s it all about…Author?

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Image courtesy of mattox at Stock Xchng

Since ‘A Construct of Angels’ was published as an Amazon Kindle eBook, I have been asked this question many, many times.   And if I’m honest,  I haven’t always answered it well.  But if you plan to publish in the future (or indeed, you have already) then you should spend a few moments rehearsing your reply.

A verbal synopsis can be as important as the written one, so it’s worth getting it right.

Nothing puts off a prospective buyer more than;

‘Er…um…well…it’s kind of…’

If you, the author, can’t even verbalise a quick synopsis, how can you expect to transmit your enthusiasm to a potential buyer?

The answer that I have found to be very effective is to immediately compare ‘Construct’ to an existing…nay, a household name – Twilight.

Yes, I know it’s a bit cliched and it’s just one of soooo many vampire stories in a super-saturated market…but consider this;

Who HASN’T heard of it?

So if you’ve just written a political thriller , don’t be afraid to say ‘It’s a lot like Tom Clancy / John Grisham / John LeCarre.’

Your rip-roaring sci-fi adventure could do a lot worse than be compared to the huge success of Star Wars.

Even if they forget about your book, the next time they see whatever you’ve compared your work to, they could very well be reminded to browse for your story.

Try ‘You’ve heard of……. right?  Well, this is similar, except….’

And once you’ve established your genre, you can then go on to qualify your comparison, by adding something like; ‘It’s similar to Star Wars, but without the Wookies’ or ‘but Tom Clancy never went where my story goes..right into the corrupted heart of the DEA.’

The verbal synopsis of ‘Construct’ has evolved into something like this;

‘You’ve heard of Twilight and all the other vampire books?’

They nod.

‘This is similar, but with no vampires or werewolves allowed.’

‘Okay…’ they say, wondering what IS allowed.

‘It’s based in York.’

That gets their attention – it’s somewhere local (to us).

‘A paramedic who works there goes to the mortuary because she thinks her dead brother has just been found.’

Awww…the sympathy expression.

‘But while she’s there – she accidentally pulls down an angel into one of the bodies.’

‘Ooh?’  is the usual surprised reaction.  ‘How could this be?’ they may wonder.

‘It turns out that this angel has only six days to save the world, otherwise Hell will take over and civilisation is finished.’

‘Six days?’

‘Yep.  The clock is ticking.  Six days – and everything goes to Hell.’

After that, they usually begin to ask questions about the story and how long it took to write, and the synopsis is no longer in the spotlight.  Job done.

So, my advice is to Compare, then Qualify and finally Expand.

Give it a try when you’re in a quiet place (a railway platform or a bookshop is probably not the best venue).

Imagine that you’ve finally landed that longed-for radio interview.  Millions are listening with baited breath (don’t worry, they can’t see your reclusive yet artistic face) to hear what your book is about – and you have between fifteen and twenty seconds to sum it up.

Go for four sentences.  Short and snappy.  Get their interest.  Compare, Qualify, then Expand.

In closing, I should tell you this;

My worst ever answer?

‘So what’s your (High Fantasy) book about?’

‘It’s…er…it’s complicated.’

The curious party walked away, none the wiser.  Don’t send potential buyers away with no desire to check out your book.

Write on!

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