Category Archives: ebooks

How NOT to sell your eBook.

author, writer, writing, screenwriting, amazon, itunes, kindle, books, greenstreet, top dog, essex boys, sex, bollocks, bullshit

This morning, whilst staring out of the window at the white-out that karma is continuing to inflict on me to keep me off my motorbike as punishment for my former ill-deeds, it occurred to me that I hadn’t blogged for a while.

To be fair, not that many people actually read my blog anyway and so my failing to post anything is no great loss to humanity. However, shortly afterwards, a notification mail landed in my inbox from one of the many writing sites I once subscribed to (yet never take any notice of) which contained a link pointing me toward an article about the importance of blogging to authors.

As a believer in omens, I took this as a sign and gave the article a read because the thought struck me that it might contain some golden nugget of information which would change everything and propel my blog numbers into the stratosphere. It didn’t. It was instead, bollocks.

Now I’m not knocking blogging and indeed, am well aware of the irony to be found in the fact that I am er… blogging. However, there is a massive difference between blogging as a way of letting off steam, entertaining or even showcasing and blogging to ‘teach’. Because speaking as a professional author with a degree of experience about what does and doesn’t work, I can say with some authority that 90% of the blogs I’ve ever read relating to writing are inane drivel. I’d even go so far as to say that most are written by people who have little or no actual experience of anything except rewriting other people’s articles and passing them off as their own which is little more than a con.

The reason it continues of course, is that so many people want to be authors and make their living selling their books. Yet the simple reality is that if you want to sell books then there is only one thing that will do it for you and that isn’t reading about how to sell books or even writing about how to sell books, it’s actually sitting down and writing books. And if you want to sell lots of them, write good books because if you do that, the rest will eventually take care of itself.

That my friends, is as good a piece of writing advice as you will ever read anywhere.

.

readers, film, ebooks, itunes, amazon, blog, publishing, author, writing, top dog, brimson, screenwriting, the crew, green street, elijah wood, leo gregory, charlie hunnam, essex boysI am not a little delighted to say that my novel The Crew continues to hold onto the #1 slot on both its Amazon and iTunes chart which means that it is now approaching 18 months as the top downloaded sports book in the UK. That’s none too shabby even if I say so myself so could I say a huge thanks to everyone who has read and reviewed it. It really is most appreciated not least because as I have said many times, nothing sells books like word of mouth (and that includes blogs! – see above).

Of course the recent news that Top Dog is heading for big screen has helped immeasurably and we have taken huge and very exciting strides with that project in recent weeks. All being well, I’ll be able to reveal details of where we are with it quite soon.

And on the subject of Billy Evans and his exploits, work is progressing well on the third book in the series and I am still battling away to get my latest novel, Wings of a Sparrow, to the screen. Ironically, I receive more mails asking me about that than almost anything else which is really most gratifying because it means that the story has actually struck a chord with people which is kind of the point!

How I discovered the most unique eBook marketing tactic ever.

ebook, marketing, social media, kindle, facebook, twitter, brimson, trolls, money, amazon, itunes, booksMy previous blog regarding eBook marketing generated a quite astonishing response and in doing so, inspired me take a fresh look at my own performance in an effort to examine what has and hasn’t worked for me.

As I said in that blog (which can be found here) I am a firm believer in the notion that there is no magic formula for eBook success and that for the most part, it boils down to one simple thing: how much luck you can create for yourself. And if you need me to explain that to you, then I would suggest that marketing really isn’t your strong point.

For the most part, I’m quite happy that the majority of what I am doing is proving effective and am also confident that I’m meeting the right balance between marketing and writing given that fresh output is vital to maintain an authors platform. Something that is fundamental to long term success and, by extension, my income.

However,  as someone who is prone to thinking laterally, it also got me thinking about ways of selling books which might not have been tried before. And then it struck me. Potentially the greatest marketing idea ever.

You see like every author who writes for money, my focus has always been on how to reach potential readers and hopefully, encourage them to buy books. This after all, being the very point of eBook marketing.

Thus far, I have done this by exploiting my USP and utilising the tactic of target marketing with to be fair, a reasonable degree of success. But like all authors, like all businesses in fact, I have more than one USP. I actually have several.

So what I did was to write them all down and consider the ones I hadn’t used before and as soon as I did that, one in particular jumped out and punched me square in the face.

You see, I am hated. Seriously. This hate originates from the fact that when I began writing, I wrote about a subject and within a genre which was, to say the least, controversial. Not just to those on the outside, but to many people on the inside.

As a consequence, I received all kinds of abuse ranging from hand gestures at football matches to death threats on the telephone. Just as importantly, whilst after 16 years as a writer (and having seen off 99% of the people who jumped on my writing coat tails) that hatred has dissipated somewhat, there is still a huge amount of dislike for me and my books and this most often manifests itself, not surprisingly, on Facebook. Usually in the form of posts urging me not to write any more books because they are (quote) crap.

The key of course, is how to exploit that hate and the answer was fairly simple. Don’t look for people who want to buy my books, target my greatest and most vocal critics and offer them the opportunity to actually stop me writing. And so to kick start this process, I posted the following on Twitter and on areas of Facebook where I know they lurk:

I’ve had an epic idea. If everyone who hates my books buys just one, I can retire from writing which means there will be no more…. ever. That has to be worth 99p/$2 of anyone’s money yes?  So why not do your bit and buy one here!  

Time will tell how successful it will be. But it will certainly be fun finding out.

.

readers, film, ebooks, itunes, amazon, blog, publishing, author, writing, top dog, brimson, screenwriting, the crew, green street, elijah wood, leo gregory, charlie hunnam, essex boysIronically, given the above post, my sales seem to be increasing across the board. Billy’s Log and Top Dog in particular have shown steady growth whilst The Crew continues its 18 month run at number one on the free sports book download chart. Proof, if any were needed, that what I do continues to work.

Maybe I should write a book about my methods! Now that would be funny…

Finally, the picture on the left is the sales poster for the movie adaptation of Top Dog which will shortly go into pre-production hopefully ahead of filming in the summer. I really like it, but what do you think?

How I discovered the most unique eBook marketing tactic ever.

ebook, marketing, social media, kindle, facebook, twitter, brimson, trolls, money, amazon, itunes, booksMy previous blog regarding eBook marketing generated a quite astonishing response and in doing so, inspired me take a fresh look at my own performance in an effort to examine what has and hasn’t worked for me.

As I said in that blog (which can be found here) I am a firm believer in the notion that there is no magic formula for eBook success and that for the most part, it boils down to one simple thing: how much luck you can create for yourself. And if you need me to explain that to you, then I would suggest that marketing really isn’t your strong point.

For the most part, I’m quite happy that the majority of what I am doing is proving effective and am also confident that I’m meeting the right balance between marketing and writing given that fresh output is vital to maintain an authors platform. Something that is fundamental to long term success and, by extension, my income.

However,  as someone who is prone to thinking laterally, it also got me thinking about ways of selling books which might not have been tried before. And then it struck me. Potentially the greatest marketing idea ever.

You see like every author who writes for money, my focus has always been on how to reach potential readers and hopefully, encourage them to buy books. This after all, being the very point of eBook marketing.

Thus far, I have done this by exploiting my USP and utilising the tactic of target marketing with to be fair, a reasonable degree of success. But like all authors, like all businesses in fact, I have more than one USP. I actually have several.

So what I did was to write them all down and consider the ones I hadn’t used before and as soon as I did that, one in particular jumped out and punched me square in the face.

You see, I am hated. Seriously. This hate originates from the fact that when I began writing, I wrote about a subject and within a genre which was, to say the least, controversial. Not just to those on the outside, but to many people on the inside.

As a consequence, I received all kinds of abuse ranging from hand gestures at football matches to death threats on the telephone. Just as importantly, whilst after 16 years as a writer (and having seen off 99% of the people who jumped on my writing coat tails) that hatred has dissipated somewhat, there is still a huge amount of dislike for me and my books and this most often manifests itself, not surprisingly, on Facebook. Usually in the form of posts urging me not to write any more books because they are (quote) crap.

The key of course, is how to exploit that hate and the answer was fairly simple. Don’t look for people who want to buy my books, target my greatest and most vocal critics and offer them the opportunity to actually stop me writing. And so to kick start this process, I posted the following on Twitter and on areas of Facebook where I know they lurk:

I’ve had an epic idea. If everyone who hates my books buys just one, I can retire from writing which means there will be no more…. ever. That has to be worth 99p/$2 of anyone’s money yes?  So why not do your bit and buy one here!  

Time will tell how successful it will be. But it will certainly be fun finding out.

.

readers, film, ebooks, itunes, amazon, blog, publishing, author, writing, top dog, brimson, screenwriting, the crew, green street, elijah wood, leo gregory, charlie hunnam, essex boysIronically, given the above post, my sales seem to be increasing across the board. Billy’s Log and Top Dog in particular have shown steady growth whilst The Crew continues its 18 month run at number one on the free sports book download chart. Proof, if any were needed, that what I do continues to work.

Maybe I should write a book about my methods! Now that would be funny…

Finally, the picture on the left is the sales poster for the movie adaptation of Top Dog which will shortly go into pre-production hopefully ahead of filming in the summer. I really like it, but what do you think?

Why now more than ever, we must all show pride in the Poppy.

poppy appeal 2012This blog was written two years ago. Sadly, in light of recent events involving allegations made that some of our major supermarkets and motorway service station operators have banned veterans from selling poppy’s on their premises, it is more relevant now than it was when I wrote it. The fact that I have to even think that let alone write it is a shameful reflection of what is being allowed to go on in this once great country. 

I am, it is fair to say, something of a patriot. Indeed, I am as proud an Englishman as it is possible to be and certainly follow that old mantra, English first, British second and European never.

To some of course, this will immediately label me as some kind of racist xenophobe but to be blunt, I don’t care. I’m too old, too set in my ways and have been through far too many mills to give a shit about what anyone else might think of me and as such, have neither the inclination, desire nor as far as I’m concerned, need to justify myself to anyone else. Take me as I am, or don’t take me at all. Simple as that.

I write the above for one very simple reason. You see as I wrote in my last blog, I have passed the point where I’m going to pull my punches and if something gets me fired up, then I’m going after it with all guns blazing and write what I actually think. This is one of those times.

In little under a month, it will be Remembrance Sunday and like the vast majority of the nation, I’ll be taking the time to pay my respects to those who made the ultimate sacrifice. In actual fact, as a veteran of the Falklands War I will once again be taking part in the parade past the Cenotaph in London as part of the South Atlantic medal contingent and am proud as punch to be doing so.

Now the build up to November 11th is always a poignant time for the British as there can barely be a family in the country who have not been touched either directly or indirectly by war either past or present. However it is especially so for those of us who have been lucky enough to serve in the military because to everyone who has done time in uniform the fallen and the injured were, are and always will be our comrades. There but for the grace of god and all that.

That’s also why the poppy has such a special significance for us. For the mere sight of a person wearing one indicates their support not only those who have served and given, but for those who continue to serve. Just as importantly of course, buying a poppy puts money into the amazing charities that support those suffering as a result of injury. Be it physical or mental.

Equally, it is the reason why we get so angry when we see stories about poppy sellers being harassed in the street or of groups planning to burn poppies as some kind of protest. For the poppy isn’t a flag or any kind of political or religious symbol and it most certainly is not any kind of celebration of war, it is a symbol of gratitude. Indeed, if you are anti-war (as most right-thinking people are) then the white poppy is an excellent way of signifying that.

But whilst I readily accept that anyone has the right not to wear a poppy if they so wish -the notion of free speech being at the very heart of our democracy which so many fought and gave to defend- what I do not and will not accept is the defacing or abuse of something which signifies so much. Because to do so is at best disrespectful, at worst incitement. It’s certainly provocative.

The irony is of course, that the scum who do such things can only do so thanks to the freedom those who made the ultimate sacrifice have provided for them. Yet of course they are too stupid to understand that. Instead, they simply take the piss and hide behind the law and the freedom which they seemingly so despise  And worst of all, we allow them to do it. In some cases, they are even protected by the police whilst committing this most cowardly of acts because in this free country of ours, they have the ‘right’ to protest.

Well fuck that. What about the rights of the old boys who want to sell poppies as a way of paying homage to their former colleagues but who are spat at or abused when they try to do so? Why are they not being afforded the same kind of protection as they seek to go about their lawful business as the bastards who support those who seek to harm us are seemingly handed on a daily basis?

More importantly, what about the rights of the lads whose bodies still lie strewn and unburied across the Somme or Ypres? Or the poor souls who never made it off the beaches of Normandy? What about those who lie at the bottom of the South Atlantic or who lost their lives in Iraq or Afghanistan? They aren’t just names on a memorial, they are heroes. And this country owes them a damn sight more than simply standing by and watching as the vermin who we have somehow allowed to infest our society disrespect their memory.

For that is what they are doing, disrespecting. Yet at the same time they have the gall to demand that ‘we’ respect their opinions, their beliefs, their way of life whilst showing none toward ours in return. The hypocrisy is staggering and if it wasn’t so tragic, it would laughable. But not only must it stop, it must be stopped fast.

Now I absolutely acknowledge that what we are talking about is a tiny minority of a minority but I seem to remember another minority stepping out of line not so long ago and the law of the land going all out to stop them and exercise control over pretty much everything they did. Something it succeeded with great efficiency and stunningly quickly. Yes, I know it might be trite to bring football into this but as a precedent, the war waged against hooliganism isn’t actually a bad one. So in the same way as laws were rushed through to seize passports from suspected offenders and impose banning orders on those convicted of football related offences, given that this problem seems to be increasing each year why haven’t laws been rushed through to afford the poppy -and for that matter, our flag- the status of a national sacred symbol with the result that if you desecrate it, you can expect the full force of the law to come down hard upon you?

I for one would wholeheartedly support such a law and with the poppy such a source of pride and importance to so many and the flag now more a symbol of unity than hate thanks to it’s long overdue rescue from the right-wing, I can’t imagine many people would be against it. So why not?

After all, we can’t make people wear the poppy and nor should we even try. We can’t even make people respect it. But we should certainly not sit back and let anyone disrespect what it means. For to do so dishonours the memory of those who made this great nation what it is.

However, until such time as those who are supposed to reflect the opinions of the majority see sense, let me put on record one simple fact. Burn a poppy or abuse a veteran trying to sell them in my presence, you’re fucked.

That’s a fact.

.

violence, racism, racist, anal sex, oral sex, bum, poppy

The Crew continues it’s quite astonishing run at #1 on the free sports book download charts and is now well into it’s second year at the top! It’s also been receiving some great reviews which is always heartening (and if you haven’t left one, why not?).

If you use iTunes to download books, you might be interested to know that with the release of Wings of a Sparrow approaching, we’ve slashed the prices of all my books with most, including The Art of Fart now just 99p! The Crew and Everywhere We Go are still free so just click on the following link to download all or any! iTunes

Hopefully Amazon will follow suit fairly quickly as they operate a price matching policy however, you can let them know about the lower price by clicking on the relevant link on the page of the relevant book.

poppy appeal, british legion, ISIS, muslim, Britain, Bastion, Falklands, army, navy, RAF, military, war, WW1, WW2

 

I don’t have one internet troll, I have loads! And they picked on the wrong person!

Dear internet troll, you are fucked.
Dear internet troll, you are fucked.

I have recently become fascinated by the issue of trolls. Not the Peter Beardsley kind or the big hairy creatures featured in Lord of the Rings, but the people who haunt the internet and all too often (but not often enough) end up in court for saying things they really shouldn’t say.

However, I have a confession to make. I am also a troll. Or at least I am if you use the definition of a troll as being someone who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument. Because I’ve been doing exactly that.

But my target hasn’t been some poor kid, sensitive woman or celebrity sort, oh no. My target has been people who are clearly trolls themselves. And boy, do they get the arsehole when you give them a taste of their own medicine.

I won’t go into the reasons how I became involved in all this but suffice to say, I became a ‘victim’ a few weeks ago shortly after I posted something on a forum relating to writing and in particular the issue of self published authors. Naively, I assumed that as an author who has enjoyed a bit of success, some experience might be welcomed. Oh no.

Within a few hours I’d had everything from my ‘claim’ to have been at #1 on the Amazon sports charts for ever with The Crew to my role on Green Street dissected and dismissed. Not just as irrelevant, but by one individual as downright lies. Yes, that’s right, I made it all up. It’s all a dream.

And this continued, for days.

Now I’ve had to put up with some crap in my time from lousy reviews to death threats from extremist nutters and so a few idiots hiding behind ‘tags’ on a message board don’t bother me at all. I actually found it all quite amusing and so being me, I had a dig or to back.

This of course wound them up even more not least because they quickly realised that as someone who was already established, didn’t care, took everything with a pinch of salt and wasn’t adverse to saying what I thought, they were powerless.

Then, out of the blue, I began to receive emails from people talking about these people who were trying to have a dig at me. And the more I read, the more it became clear that these people weren’t just acting like dicks, they were  up to no good.

In short, they are a small group of people who using numerous fake identities and hiding behind some spurious ideal of ‘policing’ the quality of self published books, get their kicks from ripping apart the confidence of amateur and particularly first-time authors.  They do this by various means including posting bogus and extremely critical 1 star reviews of their books on websites such as Amazon. These being backed up by other members of the clique as well of course, by themselves using their numerous fake ID’s.

And some of these reviews are vicious, personal even. The very definition of trolling.

The more I dug into what they were and are up to, the more uncomfortable reading it became and so I made an allegation that there was some kind of review mafia operating on Amazon.

*Boom*

They were at me like a pack of hounds with more attacks. I was anti-woman, anti-American, sexist, racist, a bigot, etc, etc, but when this didn’t work they began to employ diversionary tactics. Every time a legitimate discussion would begin or a sensible question asked, it would be hijacked by debates about biscuits, sea monkeys… anything. A typical bullying tactic.

So from that point on, with the help of a few other people who they’ve also had a go at, I began digging into the background to some of these people and what I uncovered staggered me.

In a sense it’s no different from the hooligan world. I’m often asked about the type of people who become involved in football violence and people are always shocked to discover that very few are the knuckle dragging right-wingers they expect them to be. They are instead, relatively normal members of society who simply get off on what goes on at games.

The same thing applies to the reviewing trolls. Amongst the people I’ve traced are kindergarten teachers, lawyers, engineers, IT professionals, you name it. Some are even authors themselves and indeed, are acting in the very manner they are so quick to condemn in others.

But what they all are, are people who you would normally regard as respectable. And here they are for all to see acting in a way which is as far from respectable as it’s possible to get. That is quite scary.

Now I don’t like bullies and I’m certainly not fazed by them. I’m also of the belief that the best way to deal with a bully is to not simply stand up to them, but to name and shame them. This time is no different and in the fullness of time, these people will be exposed.

I already have the real names of some as well as the list of identities they use on various forums but I will only make that public once I am absolutely certain that the evidence I put forward is indisputable.

Not that it matters of course. After all, as I tell everyone who wants to write, if you can’t take criticism, don’t do it. Because sooner or later someone somewhere is going to rip you to shreds and that is often extremely difficult to handle especially when it is based on things which are fundamentally wrong.

The trolls who have infected Amazon and Goodreads will experience how that feels very soon and I hope they’re ready for it.

Then again, I don’t really care if they’re not because it’s coming anyway.

*

crew, violence, racism, racist, anal sex, oral sex, necrophilia,
The Crew. Still #1

I never get bored of saying this, truly, I don’t. A huge thanks to everyone who is keeping The Crew at #1 on the Amazon and iTunes sports charts. We’re now into out 9th month at the top of the tree which however you look at it, is quite something.

Top Dog is also sitting pretty in the top 3 which proves what I said years ago, that if you give people what they want as opposed to what you hope they might like, they’ll buy it.

My next book, Wings of a Sparrow, is almost finished and then, thanks to the success of The Crew and Top Dog, I’ll be starting work on the third book in the Billy Evans trilogy.

Trust me, it’s going to be the best one yet!