Finally… I have my name in bold…
(I honestly didn’t know that it was going to be a half-page article).
Click to Enlarge –>
Finally… I have my name in bold…
(I honestly didn’t know that it was going to be a half-page article).
Click to Enlarge –>
Although I’m not releasing the sequels to Disconnect (which is Free by the way at Amazon and iBookstore) until July 29, there’s a lot of preparation that has to take place.
To date – I am shifting between each of those tasks depending on my mood, but I am on target to have all done by mid-May. Then will begin the promotion phase. I have a Kickstarter campaign up to help with the costs, but am not overly concerned about that being my main promotion.
Come June, the Goodreads page should be up for the sequels. Those readers that left a review about Disconnect on Goodreads before the end of May will receive free e-copies of the sequels. I’ll also be doing some giveaway campaigns on Goodreads for the sequels at least 1 month prior to release.
So… stand back… I am in a full-blown state of working my socks off.
Oh… and during the aforementioned tasks, I’ll be working on redrafting Novels 3 and 4, that were written in 2012. And if that didn’t flood my timeline, I’m also planning a series of shorts to be released for free across the world.
Life is a busy arena.
At this moment, you’re probably thinking:
a) Huh – why’s he doing this?
b) Yuck -I’m sick of Kickstarter, or
c) What is he offering?
Self-publishing Disconnect and the eventual sequels was always going to be a financial investment. And I have put a lot into it. Take the Kindle giveaway, the blog tours, the cover reveals and the Goodreads giveaways… add onto that the costs of Covers, editing and proofing… I like to think that I haven’t cut corners.
As far as this campaign goes, I’m offering some great rewards that are value for money.
- E-books (DRM Free PDF, Mobi and ePUb) of all three books 8 weeks prior to release on July 29.
- Signed paperback copies of all three books 8 weeks prior to release on July 29.
- Signed paperback copies of all three books with EXCLUSIVE Covers (that will not be available anywhere else) 8 weeks prior to July 29.
- Also the opportunity to gain LIMITED EDITION Covers for future novels. (And believe me, I have a whole load being worked on with plans to release at least 3 a year).
You’re in the London Underground, waiting for a train, or hanging around a station, pondering where you should go next.
A breeze flows from the grates, smacking you in the face, and reminds you that a 40 minute journey awaits. Oh, and the signal on your smartphone is defunct, let alone a 3G signal with Virgin.
Alas… this could be a long journey.
You spot something on the train, or left at a station. You gaze at it, and read the sticker on the front. To your surprise, the book has been left behind by the ‘Books on the Underground’ venture. Their aim is simple: read the novel and then leave it behind for someone else.
That journey will take you someplace else now.
Now then… the reason for this post… I love this venture and the joy it could bring to so many readers and travellers. It’s awesome. And I want to be part of it.
So keep a look out on May 10 2013.
Disconnect could be lurking closer than you think.
Above image is of them getting ready for World Book Night.
Note: Disconnect can be downloaded for FREE from Amazon (UK and COM) and iBookstore and Nook.
This piece of flash-ficton was written as part of the Dark Fairy Queen Writerly Bridal Shower Group in support of the marriage between Anna and Michael. A collection of tales will be made available in the near future for free.
This took me 30 mins to do, and is a rather sombre piece of 700 words.
A plus is that it’s the first time I’ve attempted First Person.
Sacrifice by Imran Siddiq. Ebook Yes.
Sometimes it is said that marriages are made in heaven and celebrated on earth. I have my own take on that; marriages are decided on earth, yet celebrated elsewhere. One thing for sure, my wedding today won’t be celebrated by the majority attending. They’d rather be elsewhere, or behind a protective barrier because they’re afraid of being within a mile of us.
The tie isn’t one of those crumpled scarf things that Emily would have wanted for me. I never saw the point in dressing like a badly-done scarecrow with bits hanging out and a top hat made to hide messy hair. A charcoal suit, shiny from the light coming through the large window of my room, maintains my keep-it-simple motto. The velvet lining under the collar tingles my fingertips as I check my appearance in the mirror.
“It’s time to go, Curtis,” says Jake, my brother, in the doorway.
I nod. That’s all I seem to do nowadays, because I’m sick of explaining why I’m going ahead with this wedding. It’s my choice. I know what’s at stake.
“Curtis,” says Jake as I pass him, “dad called me this morning.”
“Is he coming?” The shake of my brother’s head released a grunt that could have stripped the inner lining of my neck.
“Dad might not ever talk to us again.”
“Dad said that when you married Gwen.”
“He changed and realised that she’s not a bad person.”
“Neither is Emily.”
Jake grabbed my arm. “Why are you doing this for her?”
The front door must have been left open intentionally for me to see the faces outside on the street. Was this meant to be a casting call for a new production of Oliver Twist? Sombre. Inquisitive. Dissent. Across the road, Gwen pats my eight-year old nephew’s disgusted face.
I brush Jake’s hand off. “Is everything ready?”
“The police have brought her in.”
A gasp breaks the silence in the street on my swift turn to Jake. He’s a shorter version of me with similar mousy brown hair, long and stroked to the side, but his eyes, though blue like mine, show fear.
I charge down the front stairs and head to the church a hundred metres away. I don’t care for the shocked expressions around. If the police are with her, then she may be closer than I thought. Please, is it too much to ask for more time? Emily and I used to talk about this day when we were children.
My heart thumps inside, and almost explodes on the smack of my fists onto the church’s door. I skid across the alter, eyeing the priest who sweats on this autumn day.
“Let’s start now,” I cry, seeing several police officers on the benches. “Bring her in. Sod the music,” I yell at the organist. “Just bring her in.”
The priest’s brow creases. “Are you sure me son that –”
“I’m not your son. Bring her in.”
Jake enters panting as a police officer talks into his walkie-talkie. The handgun sitting between his legs and the packed holsters shiver my spine.
A side door opens.
I inhale, and hold.
A police officer walks out first, and then comes Emily.
My heart bounces quicker than her slow steps.
The white dress flows below her shoulders, letting her long blonde hair appear majestic and takes me back to the time that she scolded me for stealing her place at the kindergarten sandpit.
Foundation below her green eyes can’t hide the bags or the tears. Sunken cheeks and dry lips are signs that she is moments away from falling victim to the bite, five days old.
Emily clutches her bouquet. Her neck trembles. She looks ready to melt.
The priest backs away as I take her hand.
“You look perfect,” she muffles.
“So do you,” I reply.
Emily’s smile warms my heart.
Nobody knows what goes through the mind of a human when the zombie infection takes over and reduces them to a walking ghost. I don’t care. I just want the last thought in Emily’s mind to be that she had a wedding, and that I love her.
“Start,” I say to the priest.
Emily squeezes my hand.
Things are in megatastic mode at the moment, and I don’t see myself slowing down at all!
Tomorrow – Saturday – I’ll be attending the Get Writing Conference 2013 in Hertfordshire – and I can’t wait. There’ll be workshops, meeting agents, editors, friends and meeting lots of new people.
It’s also a shameless way for me to plug Disconnect.
I’m at the stage of editing Book 3 to the Divided Worlds Trilogy and hope to have them all ready for a July 29 release!
In between running around, progress of redrafting Novel 3 that I last saw in Feb 2012 is moving along at a great pace. The world is better defined, characters more weighty, and the plot is more fluid. Plans are to release this in Nov 2013.
Other things I have in the pipeline are a better marketing campaign, and … although I can;t say too much yet… a Kickstarter Campaign… but don’t worry (I’m not in it for the profit) the aim is to get Disconnect out there.
Satisfaction comes when you sit back, stare at the screen, and give yourself a pat on the back for completing the first draft.
Depending on how much work you put in – or in my case “didn’t” – your first draft could be a piece of creative art or a jumbled shell that needs unpicking. I adopt the Think Less Write More strategy, so usually my first draft is 50% good and 50% garbage.
The much needed second stage of writing a novel comes into play at this point – the Redraft.
But when should you do it?
The answer is as subjective as the number of buttons I tap per minute.
Some will say that you should leave the novel for at least 3 months, some will say 6 months, and there will be some that don’t wait and jump back into it straightaway. Everyone had their own quirk.
I once tried the 3 month gap before redrafting, and it thrust me into a pickle. I ended up being caught between writing a new novel, redrafting the previous, and editing another. My brain was frazzled. Now, I apply a 2 week gap after the first draft. Sure, it’s a tiny gap, but by that time, I’ve already forgotten much of what I wrote, so it works for me.
I find that if you have too large a gap – like 13 months (as what has happened with Novel 3) – then you might redraft at a slower rate because the novel is totally alien. Yes, that’s a good thing… but it’s also a bad thing. I’m scouring every word without knowing what will come next… so I’m going back and forth like a lost bee a million miles from his hive.
I have pros and cons for how big the gap should be:
Straight after completing First Draft – There are no Pros. It’s all a con. You need some time away.
2 Weeks after completing FD – Pro = You won’t remember all from earlier parts of the novel. Con = Won’t suit everyone, and they might know too much, and fleet over glaring issues/mistakes.
4 Weeks – Pro = As with 2 Weeks. Con = None in my opinion.
3 Months – Pro = You’ll attacked the novel with a vague idea of what happened where. Con = Does it impact on where you are with another novel?
6 Months – Pro = It’ll be like stepping into a long-lost journey. Con = You may struggle to piece together the plot or why you wrote what you wrote.
1 Year – Pro = You’re redrafting something that doesn’t feel like yours and are totally redrafting as a reader. Con = Has your voice changed in terms of a writer to how you envisaged the novel to play out? And are you spending longer on trying to put it all together?
Remember – it’s all subjective.
I prefer to go for 2 weeks, because I forget about what I wrote last week.
How long do you wait to redraft?
The great thing about Twitter is meeting other writers that share the same passion to deliver greatness. Anne Michaud is certainly one of them, and I am proud to have her do an interview as part of her Blog Tour (March 25 to April 30).
Her novel Girls and Monsters is due April 30th
If you could describe this in one sentence what would it be?
Girls & Monsters is a collection of dark horror stories about girls and monsters.
What is your average writing day?
It totally depends on what needs to be done, my mood, the weather, the state of my brain, what’s in the fridge. Some days, I set a goal of 1k and end up writing 4,000; sometimes, I squeeze each sentence out to reach 250 words. If I’m lucky, I write a chapter good enough to make me feel accomplished, which is about 2,000 words.
What inspired you to write this?
I like to identify with strong female characters, I want to see them win against evil, to achieve something on their own without having to rely on adults or boys. I find it so sad when I read a YA book where the girl is weak and fragile – I never was. And I’m not alone, there’s a bunch of us out there.
What were the challenges in writing it?
No repeated flaws, moments, incidents, sentences, girls, monsters – it sounds totally stupid, but what I feared the most was repeating myself (like I just did).
What did you enjoy most about writing it?
The different worlds that fitted each of my characters and their monsters, and the diversity it brought to write five stories with the same themes of family, leaving something behind and letting go of loved-ones.
Any advice for new and budding writers?
Don’t do like I did. Actually, do the exact opposite: find a career that won’t make you sick to wake up to, and as you study and get a job, never stop writing. To break into a world based on luck is so hard, everybody needs a back-up plan.
Do you have any other current projects at the moment?
LOADS! I’m writing the sequel, Girls & Aliens, and outlining the third, Girls & Ghost; I’m editing a French novella about Hiroshima; I’m planing my summer project, an indie-drama screenplay; and I’m obsessing on my next YA thriller, Killer Girl.
And hey – Anne is doing an amazing giveaway.
Win a Softcover copy + The Monster Collection Skellies, 5 pieces handcrafted by the author:
Winner announced during the LIVE CHAT on APRIL 30th 9PM east http://www.darkfuse.com/events.html
She who likes dark things never grew up. She never stopped listening to gothic, industrial and alternative bands like when she was fifteen. She always loved to read horror and dystopia and fantasy, where doom and gloom drip from the pages.
She, who was supposed to make films, decided to write short stories, novelettes and novels instead. She, who’s had her films listed on festival programs, has been printed in a dozen anthologies and magazines since.
She who likes dark things prefers night to day, rain to sun, and reading to anything else.
She blogs http://annecmichaud.wordpress.com
She tweets @annecmichaud
LIVE CHAT on APRIL 30th 9PM east http://www.darkfuse.com/events.html
Think back to pre-1997 (in my case) when – to know about a new book – I’d have to walk past a bookstore, or catch a glimpse of a poster at the railway station. If the cover, description, or the name of the author caught my eye, I’d stop. Fast forward to now, and although the above exist, the norm for gaining attention is via the World-Wide-Web.
There are blogs-a-million out there, and review sites that help to put the book into someone’s viewpoint. However – an author can’t rely on just secondary outlets to promote their novel. No – the author has to do to that themselves. The instant method of letting the world know about you and your novel is … a Website.
During the Self-Publishing Conference, I was teeny-bit startled by the number of writers/authors that didn’t have their own personal website.
Yes – of course you can use the one page sites that are offered by Indie Publishers, Self-Publishing Companies, Amazon, Goodreads, Wattpad, etc, etc, e…t…c… BUT – they are limited as to what they offer – or more importantly – what you can offer. Use them as additional platforms – though focus on a site that represents you as a whole, rather than being one of many.
Quite simply – she knows her stuff and doesn’t use jargon to bamboozle the audience.
Her tips/reasons are:
1. It’s a way of Interacting with the Audience – rather than just being the name on a cover. People like to read about celebrities, and to know what they’re up to. Think of yourself in that manner. If you gain a readership, by letting those readers into your world, you’re engaging with them.
I use my website to keep your updated with how I’m progressing, and sneak peeks of images, ideas, and novels that I’m working on. I’m engaging.
2. It’s about Marketing. Don’t assume that just because you’ve landed a mega-deal from a publisher, or you have a zillion friends and family that will promote your book – that they actually will promote.
Come on – even if your family and friends purchase a copy, the likelihood is that they will promote with one another, thus not amplifying your reach. A website is your portal to the world. If anyone wants to know about your novel (product) and you (the creator), they can visit your site.
And what if a publisher or a journalist visits your site? Don’t you want them to say “wow, this person cares about their creativeness.”
3. Branding. Often overlooked in website design. If you use a DIY site to create your own, you may be overwhelmed by the features available and end up with a clumped/messy site.
Be mindful of the image you are trying to create. It must be easy and intuitive for the visitor to navigate your site and get to what they want.
When creating your menu and where to place items, think of a filing system at home.
4. Naming the Site. When creating this site, I thought about ImranSiddiq.com ImranSiddiqWrites.com or ImranSiddiqWriter.com. In the end I went for … imranwrites.com.
Why? I wanted to keep it quick and simple to write.
Why didn’t I create a site called Disconnect.com to promote my Debut YA Science Fiction novel? Because it’s not the only book I’m writing. If my intention is to write and market one book – then a site that refers to that one book is fine. But, in my case, I’m aiming to write many, thus, my site represents me.
So, think about the name.
A site called: ArnoldSchwarzennegger.com is quite a lot to put in. And Disconnect_DividedWorldsTrilogy_Book1.com is confusing.
Some of the best author sites are simply the author’s name.
5. Entice them. A Website can be used to:
The above can be as blog posts or as a page (in the menu) in its own right.
What’s that famous phrase from Ratatouille? “Surprise me.”
6. Tap into the Resources. If you see a site that’s been created, and it keeps you interested (for more than 3 seconds) then there’s no harm in enquiring about who created the site.
Note: Aimee has built and advised on many author sites.
Again – it’s all about promoting and engaging.
And if someone likes your tweets, or they Like your Facebook author page, then there’s a greater chance that they will visit your site.
From experience – any author without a website loses my interest.
Don’t think; “I haven’t got time to use all these sites.” It can take 30 seconds to create a tweet or a message, and you can do it whilst walking, sitting on a bus, at home, waiting for the coffee, sitting in a meeting, or lying in bed.
For tips on Twitter: See my Post on Tweeting Responsibly.
Face it … Social Media and Websites are part of the evolution of communication:
8. Use Google Analytics. It’s the one fantastic place where you can find out about who is visiting your site, which country are they from, how did they get there, what device are they using, and how long they stay on your site.
This is all vital to understand if a Blog Post about your characters got a lot of hits as opposed to a post about your editing schedule.
Aimee provided a simple tip to me of adding more colour to my site. And she’s right. I need a better header and a little funky-gunk to the clean design.
Overall – she reminded and introduced many to why a website is important. Great Session
Aimee Fry can be contacted on:
Whether you’ve been traditionally, indie or self-published, you’ll know (or will come to know) that promoting your novel is tough. Heck – forget tough, how about mega epically difficult!
Marketing and promotion of your novel can make the difference between low sales and greater coverage. Avenues that must be explored are getting yourself into newspapers, journals, magazines, radio broadcasts, and the ultimate platform: the television. If you don’t have connections to such media, then you have a tougher job of letting journalists know about you.
And that’s where a Press Release could be the answer. Press Releases are important for them to take interest. If you’re not intriguing or have something ‘different’, why should they waste their pages or airtime on you?
At the Self Publishing Conference March 2013, I attended a Workshop on Writing a Successful Press Release – led by the amazing Helen McCusker of Booked PR. In a nutshell, it was fantastic! Helen gave a summary of what I need to do to gain that extra edge. Of course – she didn’t write the whole Press Release for me, but her tips were exactly what I needed.
Let’s be honest here; if you Google Press Release Novels, you’ll find countless sites, but hey – what if you had the opportunity to speak to an expert?
Ta-da – Helen is the expert.
A Press Release should consist of:
And now the tips:
1. The Press Release is the pitching of your novel. You can’t expect a journalist to give you 10 seconds of their time to hear how brilliant your novel is. No – the only way you can – hopefully – grasp their attention is to produce a Press Release. It is your moment. It is your time. There is no force, All Spark, or Horcrux to make everything happen – no – you have to pull it together to show the journalist how serious (and good) a writer you are.
And *News flash* journalists will take interest in you regardless of if you’re self-published.
2. State the Unique Selling Point. If your novel is about a girl who loves a boy but can’t have him – that’s a very poor USP. But, if your novel is about a girl who fancies a boy from an opposing religion who is engaged to her sister, you might have something a little different. Okay … rubbish example (from me), but do you get the idea?
There are too many vampire novels. If you’re planning to do one; what is unique about it? If it’s about Edward from Twilight being murdered within the first page, it may be a strong enough USP to gain huge coverage.
3. Keep the plot summary to 1 to 2 paragraphs. And keep it concise, to the point, without any purple prose. If you can’t summarise, then what does say about the rest of the novel?
4. Why did you write the novel? Do not state ‘to be rich’. An example given; A woman’s relationship to food caused personal relationship problems with her husband. That possessed enough info within to make journalists hungry.
If you have a reason for writing it. Did someone give you the idea. Is it based on a hole in the market? Whatever – state it. Place it in your Author Biography.
5. Controversy Sells. If there is any controversy in your novel or something that could make some cringe/sweat or lick their lips – state it. This ties into your USP.
My YA Science Fiction novel Disconnect deals with poor vs the rich, protesters vs corrupt governments, and the breaking of rules by machines. It’s not controversial (except for the twists at the end), but I could link it to the current climate of protesters in the current world.
6. One Page. Simples. Keep it to one page. Don’t cram. 1.5 spaced lines with a clear layout should be enough.
7. Spellcheck and Proofread it. Need I say more. You have one chance. Don’t blow it.
8. Mention Location. I’m from Leicester, so it makes perfect sense to mention that in the subject line of an email, when contacting Leicester journalists.
9. Follow up. Don’t be afraid to follow up on your mail outs. There’s no guarantee that they will have seen your Press Release, but you won’t know if you don’t ask.
10. Have Professional Contact Details. It will be far better for me to have an email like: Imran@Imranwrites.com than email@example.com. Don’t you think?
Writing a Press Release can be daunting, and you may question if you’ve done it right. Well … you’re not alone.
I self-published in January without a Press Release. Big mistake. Time to rectify that.