Tag Archives: writer

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?

Everything you wanted to know about being the ex football hooligan author Dougie Brimson (but were afraid to ask)

football, soccer, books, brimson. hooligans, violence, coin thrower, matt haig, manchester city, manchester united, violence, racism, amazon, itunes, ibooks, writer, author, self-publishing

As I sit here, pondering my navel and doing pretty much anything I can to avoid actually writing, I often stumble across things which not only make me laugh, but strike a chord. One of the most recent items to achieve this double whammy was a blog I read today entitled ‘Everything you wanted to know about being an author (but were afraid to ask).

The reason this caused such mirth in Brimson Towers was because only this morning I received not one, but two emails asking me about that very thing. Now in both cases, given that Matt Haig, the author of said blog, is a far better and more accomplished writer than I will ever be and had pretty much said everything I would have said and more anyway, I simply passed on the link and wished the individual well.

However, as I mulled it over whilst standing in line at Tesco’s an hour or so ago (I’d had an urge for pie. Seriously) I decided that if I was going to accurately apply this excellent list to my own writing life and process, it would need a tweak or two.

So what follows is a bastardised version of the list in question. I have included the original in italics for reasons which will become obvious and hope that Mr Haig will accept my apology for brutalising his excellent efforts which, if you would like to read them, can be found here: 

1.     We live on toast. And cereal. And caffeine. And wine. But mainly toast.   Since I am banned from eating bread due to my lard arse frames dislike of wheat and rarely drink alcohol of any description, I only survive at all thanks to a daily plate of eggs and bacon, this being supplemented by a ready supply of Bourbons. On reflection, this could explain my aforementioned lard arsed frame.

2.     By the time our book comes out, it feels like a childhood memory. But more distant.   As an author who is intent on spewing out ebooks on a scarily regular basis until such time as readers finally suss out that I am a talentless hack (a fact I am already well aware of), I am no longer hindered by the agonising time it takes publishers take to get books from emailed file to the shelves of Waterstones. Hence, when a book is released into the marketplace, or as I prefer to call it, Amazon, it is still scarily fresh in the memory.

3.     Our daily word-count was approximately three thousand words higher before the arrival of Facebook and Twitter.   Absolutely true. Indeed, there is a whole heap of irony to be found in the fact that whilst the world wide web provides the engine for what passes as my writing career, it also does all it can to slam it into reverse on an almost minute by minute basis. Proof of which can be found by looking at my Twitter and Facebook timelines.

4.     At parties someone will always say, ‘So have you written anything I’d have heard of?’ Or, ‘How are the books going?’ Both questions end in awkward silence.   Again, absolutely true although the reality is that I rarely get invited to parties. In fact for rarely, substitute never. I suspect people assume I will turn up, get pissed and wreck the place. This being as far from the truth as you could possibly get.

5.     If we were number two in the bestseller charts, the only book we would ever be thinking about is the one selling more.   Partially true. Well OK, mostly true. Although in some instances, I do look at who is languishing below me and mutter a contented ‘take that you fucker’ to myself.

6.     We never know if the book we are writing is the right one until we have written it. And even then we are not sure.   In my case, I know it’s the right one because I ask my readers in advance and they tell me what they want. That’s the joy of being a digital author who actually talks to the people who buys his books.

7.     It is harder to make friends after you become a writer than it was before. But way easier to make enemies.   True and very true.

8.     People think you are automatically a bit weird. (Or is that just me?)   No, it’s not just you. Although in my defence, I am actually a bit weird.

9.     We need editors ‘like a fat kid needs cake’ – to quote that sensitive literary soul, 50 Cent.   This is golden rule number 5 in Doug’s golden rule book of writing. It is so, so true.

10.    The best day is when we get to see our book cover. Unless we don’ t like the book cover in which case it is the worst day.   Being a digital author, my publishers involve me in developing covers from day one and often I have the final say so this isn’t the case for me. My best day is usually when I write ‘the end’ and the worst is when I realise that it usually isn’t.

11.    ‘Royalty statement’ is Latin for disappointment.   Thanks to the web, I see my sales figures on an almost daily basis. Sometimes they are orgasmic, other times I want to kill myself.

12.    We get stomach pains every time another writer wins something. (We have continual stomach pains).   Not only have I never won anything, I’ve never even been nominated. Come to that, I’ve never even been invited to anything where any author won anything. My stomach pains are entirely due to my Bourbon intake.

13.    We all want to be Hemingway, minus the suicide part.   I’m quite happy being me.

14.    We would probably all be writing poems, if people actually bought poems.   If I could earn a living writing football chants or perhaps greeting cards for lads, I’d be happy with that. Who wouldn’t?

15.    We spend a lot of our time going on five hour train journeys to events where eight people turn up (and only three of them buy the book).     The only events I get invited to involve court or family and generally speaking, I tend to avoid both of them like the plague anyway.

16.    We chose not to choose life. We chose something else.   This is true. It’s called solitude.

17.    We are generally quite bad at dancing.   Untrue. I have the moves! Or at least I did before my back gave out.

18.    In most cases, the person we don’t like more than any other just happens to be another writer. But then, the person we admire most is one too.   This is true. Although in my case it is more to do with personality than the nature of their output.

19.    We may have our name on the front of a book but we always feel slightly outside the publishing industry, looking in. Like Keats at that metaphorical sweet-shop.   Despite my apparent success, I am firmly on the outside of the publishing industry and always have been. I fear that is unlikely to ever change.

20. If we were a neurotic wreck before we were published – and we were – we remain one afterwards. Our brain chemistry doesn’t fundamentally change.   This is absolutely true although my insecurities tend to be more about my other efforts at writing than about my books. Screenplays are terror inducing.

21. If we get good reviews, we want good sales. If we get good sales, we want good reviews.   I want both. Is that too much to ask?

22. We are happy for five whole minutes after a book is sent off. Then we realise all the mistakes we made.   True. Although thanks to the magic that is the eBook, we can if need be, continually edit!

23. We start off wanting to be published. We get published. Then we want a nice review. We get a nice review. Then we want an award. We get an award. Then we want a film deal. We get a film deal. Then we want a film to be made. And so on. For ever. (We are never happy).   Well as previously discussed, I know I’ll never earn an award although I have had a movie and plenty of film deals. Another première would be nice though as I wasn’t actually invited to the first one… (long story)

24. If someone reads our work midway through the writing process we need them to faint in awe or it goes in the bin.   People are constantly reading my work at every stage from one-line idea to final manuscript. As a consequence, if they are happy, I am happy. If they’re not, I listen to what they say and change things until they are. They are legends!

25. We are a little bit lonely.   True. Thankfully, despite coming from a large family, I have always been a bit of a loner and my favourite company is er… me. That has stood me in good stead over the years.

26. Bad reviews are always taken personally. Always.   Totally and absolutely true.

27. Writing a novel is like a relationship. During the early stages every other possibility looks incredibly attractive. But commitment pays off.   True. And since manuscripts, like screenplays, are always females, occasionally, when you get to the end, you’re glad to see the back of her.

28. We rarely write in coffee shops.   True. Instead we watch and listen and use the fact that we are writers as an excuse for loitering. Or is that just me?

29. Writing is heaven. Re-writing is hell.   Oh god yes.

30. We are rubbish at other jobs. And DIY. And most other things too.   I was an engineer in a previous life so I can do pretty much anything. The biggest problem I have is getting myself motivated to actually do it whatever it is that needs doing.

31. We say the wrong things at parties.   I refer the honourable reader to the answer I gave some moments ago. I don’t get invited…

32. The definition of discomfort is the moment after your mother reads your semi-autobiographical novel.   Substitute ‘mother’ with ‘daughter’ and you’re about right.

33. There is no praise more treasured than that of an author you worship.   I wouldn’t know about this. It’s never happened.

34. The best book we have ever written is the one we are about to write.   It better be!

35. The best ideas we have are the ones that arrive accidentally.   True. In fact the idea for my next book actually arrived thanks to an accident. I was in hospital with my wife who had broken her arm when the plot came to me!

36. There is no email in the world nicer to receive than the one from a reader who has been moved by your work.   Oh yes. Thankfully, I have had many of those over the years and each and every one is valued.

37. We know, in our heart of hearts, that we have the very best job in the world.   The truest of all truths. On which note, thanks to everyone who has downloaded my new book Wings of a Sparrow. Feedback and reviews have thus far been brilliant which makes all the effort and late nights worthwhile.

football, self publishing, soccer, money, inheritanceWork is progressing on getting more media exposure although many publications are reluctant to give reviews to eBooks and of course, as many of you know, I am banned from certain magazines and TV shows on account of my criticism of them in the past. The only thing I can ever see changing that would be if a book becoming too popular to ignore and since Wings of a Sparrow is a hooligan free zone, it provides possibly the best opportunity for that to happen so could I once again be cheeky and ask you all to keep spreading the word because the more people who know about it –and buy it- the better.

One other thing which would help is of course, the film version and I am still working hard to make that happen. The stumbling block at the moment is the financing although we are making progress with that so fingers crossed. I’m also in tentative talks about a new movie based on my previous novel, Top Dog which would be quite awesome!

And finally, on the subject of Top Dog, work on the third book in the Billy Evans trilogy is progressing nicely. It’s much darker and more violent than the first two books but the plot line is quite possibly the best I’ve ever come up with. I’m aiming for a publication date in the spring and will release more details closer to that point.

Laters…

Hillsborough. RIP the 96.

Never forget.
Never forget

On this most awful of anniversary’s, please take a few moments to remember the 96 souls who died at Hillsborough 23 years ago today.

I’ve written much about that fateful day over the years, much of it admittedly controversial, but the bottom line is that people died simply because they wanted to watch a game of football. Even now those words seem shocking.

Thankfully, we will never see the like of Hillsborough again in this country again and tragic though it was, as a lasting legacy that’s a pretty damn good one.

Never forget.

The perils of a pantser. Who’d be a bloody writer?

writer, brimson, lazy, ebooks, amazon, itunes, screenwriting, author, novel, green street, sex, monkey, imac, windowsStrange though it might seem given my lowly standing within the literary world, I am often asked for advice on different aspects of writing. However as someone who has never received or sought any kind of formal training (no need for any comment there thank you!) I have nothing much to fall back on and so in the majority of instances I can only offer advice based on my own experience. Not that there is anything wrong with that of course.

But these last few days, I have been the one seeking advice because I’m confronted with a major quandary and truth to tell, I’m still some way from making a decision.

You see when it comes to writing non-fiction it’s all fairly straightforward. Basic idea, outline, research, tweak outline, write. Easy.

Fiction however, is a different matter and the way I write it very much depends on the genre. For example, if it’s a comedy such as Billy’s Log, I’ll develop a plot and then work on constructing my characters until I know them inside out. For me, that starts with a name, a face and a voice. Once I have those (and they can be based on absolutely anybody from Vinny Jones to my mum) I’ll develop a back story for each of them until they become pretty much real people in my head and only then will I start the actual process of writing the book.

However if it’s a thriller such as The Crew, it’s all about the ending. That after all, is what people tend to remember (and if you doubt that, read the reviews of The Crew on Amazon and see how many people mention the ending) and so I take a great deal of time to get that right before I sort out my characters and start finalising the basic plot which in many respects is only there to get you, the reader, from the beginning to the ending I already have tight in my head.

At that point, I’m ready to start the actual process of writing and the first thing I’ll tackle is the ending. Always. Only once I am totally happy with that will I head for the opening line and go from there.

Now be it comedy or thriller, I always write the actual story in the same way because I’m what is known as a panster. And by that I mean I write by the seat of my pants. I know my characters intimately and I know exactly where they (and by default, the reader) are going but I’m never totally sure how I’m going to get them there.

The joy of writing in this way is that it allows me to be totally flexible with every aspect of the plot. I can add things in, take things out and even go off on completely odd tangents if I want but no matter what I do, I’ll always find a way back to the all important ending. That makes the process much more exciting for me and if I’m excited by what I’m writing when I’m writing it, that can only be a good thing when it comes to the finished product.

However, whilst being flexible is generally a good thing, occasionally it isn’t. And that’s where I am right now.

You see I’m currently working on a new comedy novel and up the two days ago I was more than happy with the way it was unfolding. The story is great, the characters believable and both the dialogue and humour sound. I’d even sent some to a couple of fabulous people who provide me with totally honest feedback on in-work projects and they were both extremely positive. All was looking good and then an idea suddenly hit me.

You see like The Crew and Top Dog, this new book is written in the third person. However, given the emotional journey the central character has to go on coupled with the fact that there will be a lot of ‘me’ in there, it suddenly occurred to me that it might actually be stronger and funnier if it were written in the first person.

Quite why I hadn’t considered this before continues to escape me but the fact is that for whatever reason I hadn’t and so I am now faced with the aforementioned quandary. Do I carry on with my third person version and end up wondering if I made a wrong decision and delivered a weaker book or do I start from scratch on a full first person version even though I’m still not sure if it would work properly.

Of course the obvious thing to do would be to write a new opening in the first person and show that to a few people to get some feedback on which works best. Well I’ve done that and all I’ve ended up with is a 50/50 split. As if that’s not bad enough, the more I read both, the more each version actually feels right.

But I still have to make that all important decision and I have to get it right because once it’s made there will be no going back. If I do decide to change my approach it will require pretty much a full rewrite and whilst that would usually be no problem, I actually have a very tight deadline because this book has to be out ahead of EURO 2012. However in the back of my mind is the nagging thought that if I make the wrong choice I might not realise it until after publication. Can you imagine the horror of that?

Who’d be a bloody writer!

writing, thriller, author, screenwriting, uk film

Could I once again say a very humble thank you to everyone who has kept my books so high up in the various online charts. I really do appreciate that you guys spend your hard earned cash on my work and utilise your valuable time reading it which is why I answer every single mail, tweet or Facebook message.

I think that’s the very least I can do!

Oh, and in case you hadn’t realised, this is an old blog and it refers to my latest novel, Wings of a Sparrow which is now available in ebook and print formats.

The perils of a pantser. Who’d be a bloody writer?

writer, brimson, lazy, ebooks, amazon, itunes, screenwriting, author, novel, green street, sex, monkey, imac, windowsStrange though it might seem given my lowly standing within the literary world, I am often asked for advice on different aspects of writing. However as someone who has never received or sought any kind of formal training (no need for any comment there thank you!) I have nothing much to fall back on and so in the majority of instances I can only offer advice based on my own experience. Not that there is anything wrong with that of course.

But these last few days, I have been the one seeking advice because I’m confronted with a major quandary and truth to tell, I’m still some way from making a decision.

You see when it comes to writing non-fiction it’s all fairly straightforward. Basic idea, outline, research, tweak outline, write. Easy.

Fiction however, is a different matter and the way I write it very much depends on the genre. For example, if it’s a comedy such as Billy’s Log, I’ll develop a plot and then work on constructing my characters until I know them inside out. For me, that starts with a name, a face and a voice. Once I have those (and they can be based on absolutely anybody from Vinny Jones to my mum) I’ll develop a back story for each of them until they become pretty much real people in my head and only then will I start the actual process of writing the book.

However if it’s a thriller such as The Crew, it’s all about the ending. That after all, is what people tend to remember (and if you doubt that, read the reviews of The Crew on Amazon and see how many people mention the ending) and so I take a great deal of time to get that right before I sort out my characters and start finalising the basic plot which in many respects is only there to get you, the reader, from the beginning to the ending I already have tight in my head.

At that point, I’m ready to start the actual process of writing and the first thing I’ll tackle is the ending. Always. Only once I am totally happy with that will I head for the opening line and go from there.

Now be it comedy or thriller, I always write the actual story in the same way because I’m what is known as a panster. And by that I mean I write by the seat of my pants. I know my characters intimately and I know exactly where they (and by default, the reader) are going but I’m never totally sure how I’m going to get them there.

The joy of writing in this way is that it allows me to be totally flexible with every aspect of the plot. I can add things in, take things out and even go off on completely odd tangents if I want but no matter what I do, I’ll always find a way back to the all important ending. That makes the process much more exciting for me and if I’m excited by what I’m writing when I’m writing it, that can only be a good thing when it comes to the finished product.

However, whilst being flexible is generally a good thing, occasionally it isn’t. And that’s where I am right now.

You see I’m currently working on a new comedy novel and up the two days ago I was more than happy with the way it was unfolding. The story is great, the characters believable and both the dialogue and humour sound. I’d even sent some to a couple of fabulous people who provide me with totally honest feedback on in-work projects and they were both extremely positive. All was looking good and then an idea suddenly hit me.

You see like The Crew and Top Dog, this new book is written in the third person. However, given the emotional journey the central character has to go on coupled with the fact that there will be a lot of ‘me’ in there, it suddenly occurred to me that it might actually be stronger and funnier if it were written in the first person.

Quite why I hadn’t considered this before continues to escape me but the fact is that for whatever reason I hadn’t and so I am now faced with the aforementioned quandary. Do I carry on with my third person version and end up wondering if I made a wrong decision and delivered a weaker book or do I start from scratch on a full first person version even though I’m still not sure if it would work properly.

Of course the obvious thing to do would be to write a new opening in the first person and show that to a few people to get some feedback on which works best. Well I’ve done that and all I’ve ended up with is a 50/50 split. As if that’s not bad enough, the more I read both, the more each version actually feels right.

But I still have to make that all important decision and I have to get it right because once it’s made there will be no going back. If I do decide to change my approach it will require pretty much a full rewrite and whilst that would usually be no problem, I actually have a very tight deadline because this book has to be out ahead of EURO 2012. However in the back of my mind is the nagging thought that if I make the wrong choice I might not realise it until after publication. Can you imagine the horror of that?

Who’d be a bloody writer!

writing, thriller, author, screenwriting, uk film

Could I once again say a very humble thank you to everyone who has kept my books so high up in the various online charts. I really do appreciate that you guys spend your hard earned cash on my work and utilise your valuable time reading it which is why I answer every single mail, tweet or Facebook message.

I think that’s the very least I can do!

Oh, and in case you hadn’t realised, this is an old blog and it refers to my latest novel, Wings of a Sparrow which is now available in ebook and print formats.