Come what? May …

Come what? May …

Well, it’s the month of May, and I’ve decided to try an experiment, as we indie authors are known to do on a regular basis. This particular indie author is always experimenting.

I’ve just returned with my wife from a week in the Netherlands. I would say Amsterdam, but we are in the habit of getting out and about, so although we spent a lot of time in the beautiful city in which we were based, as usual, we ventured further afield.

Delft - the Netherlands
Delft – the Netherlands

Anyway, I digress.

Whilst away, I spent at least an hour every day working on my latest novel. I wrote several new passages and reinvented one of my fictional abodes. I also introduced a new character for the team of bad guys, so I was pleased with my progress.

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What else came to mind?

What else indeed. There were four main things:

1. Like any indie author, constantly promoting their own brand, pushing their back-catalogue, their latest release, or keeping up with social networking – I lose a lot of actual writing time.

2. The result of the constant marketing activity may be tedious to the author concerned, but I believe that it is as we often refer to it – a necessary evil. I consider social networking to be a promotional activity, although to a lesser degree.

3. There are occasional comments on social networking sites that demonstrate quite clearly that there are some dissenters concerning the self-promotional posts. It may be one comment, or one comment that prompts others to voice an opinion, but they will always be there.

4. I wondered about ceasing my promotional activity for the remainder of this month. When I got home after my break, I checked social networking contacts and my Amazon sales activity for the most recent 30-day period.

There were some surprising results.

a) I had in excess of 90 Facebook notifications, (of which, at least 30 posts involved me). I’ll refrain from including Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, emails, etc.

b) In the week up to 9th May, I had a book on promotion; reduced to half-price – but it sold less than my other work.

c) In the month up to 9th May, I have only had two days where I have had no sales or lending.

d) My sales over the most recent two months are only marginally higher than my lending rate. Keep in mind, if books are borrowed there is still a royalty payment.

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My intention now is to concentrate on my writing for the remainder of May, which will mean 20 days without self-promotion. I am a member of the Independent Author Network so as part of their agreement with authors they will promote my brand occasionally on Twitter, but as I don’t believe Twitter is an effective platform for book promotion I’m not concerned about that area.

I will of course continue to pay one or two daily visits to social networking sites on the off-chance that there is a conversation in which I would benefit from taking part.

Instead of a regular update on the topic here on my blog, I’ll leave the next three weeks to run their course and then I’ll write a blog post to report on my findings.

Now at the risk of repeating the title of this article….
Come what? May….

As always, I appreciate any views and comments.

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Amsterdam Calling – the novel

Amsterdam Calling - the cover 260714In the wake of having recently reviewed the writing of others, and formatting for another writer, I thought it was time for a little self-indulgence.

My latest novel, Amsterdam Calling, was born from a simple idea. Knowing that I had visited Amsterdam several times, I was asked by a friend to describe the city and some of its many attractions.

I developed the plot from there.

In a similar style to some of my other work, I used two main characters to create an interactive partnership from early on in the tale.

Dan is an investigative journalist from the UK, who, for reasons that rapidly become apparent, feels the need to, ‘lie low’ for a while.

Crystal is a fashion designer from the USA, but her heritage lies in the Netherlands. She flies from Chicago to New York to attend the reading of her father’s will, and is handed two letters by the family lawyer. Crystal decides to visit Europe for the first time, to find her roots; in Amsterdam.

The two travellers meet at Amsterdam Airport, Schiphol, and continue the journey to the city together.

As Crystal starts to uncover her family’s history, she realises that her distant relatives were heavily involved in the Dutch Resistance movement during the German occupation in WWII. A neo-Nazi extremist group takes a keen interest in the American, and they stalk her.

While touring the city with his new acquaintance, Dan discovers that as a result of his recent revelations in a Sunday newspaper, somebody has been tasked with bringing him to account, and not in a good way.

As the story develops, the reader is taken on a tour of many places of interest, in and around Amsterdam, including some of the finest museums in the world.

I delayed publication of the book for over a month, whilst I awaited permission from certain establishments to use their copyrighted names. I think it was worth the wait, and now as sales get underway, I await my first reviews.

Why not sample the beginning of the story on Amazon.co.uk, or Amazon.com