Tag Archives: Facebook

I don’t know about you – and most people don’t agree with me, get upset and throw me in the bin (I’m sure they’d like to literally) – but, I’m really disillusioned over this whole social media business. Using it as a promotional tool, I mean. Does it work? I’m not convinced. Let’s be honest, often when I go on Facebook I see quite a lot of promotional stuff, covers of books, people telling me how great they are, and I simply delete them. I do think a lot of authors get carried away, that they believe social media is working, so they are afraid to stop. Unfortunately, by dominating the pages the way they do, it feels almost as if they are spamming. I like to go on FB to interact with people, usually people I know personally or have a strong connection through the site. I myself do use it to occasionally promote my work, but this is purely because I feel pressurised to do so. But it doesn’t work.

And then there is Twitter. Twitter is now simply a promotional site, with so many screaming headlines about ‘my wonderful book’ or ‘the latest from best-selling author bla de blar’…I’ve often wondered, if they are best-sellers, why are they still promoting their book in this way? I still feel word of mouth is the best recommendation, with browsing in a bookshop coming a close second. I love that about Waterstones, where the members of staff write down their own recommendations. I’ve bought quite a few books this way. I remember many years ago going into my local W’s and finding a recommendation card, written in a spidery hand, spouting off about a little known Swedish author called Henning Mankell. I was so won over by the recommendation that I bought the book and, from that moment, bought every other thing Mankell has written!

Wow…to get a book on the shelves of Waterstones…

That’s my ambition, my dream…

I know most of you will scream in derision, but I do not believe I will not have ‘made it’ as a writer until I see one of my books in there.

Anyway, the thing is, what to do. I don’t know, is my answer. Just keep plugging away, I suppose. But I am sick and tired of reading about other people’s books on social media, so I am sure people must be sick of reading mine. I try to keep all my author stuff on my FB author page, with links to my website where I usually try to put some excerpts from my books. I’m going to try not to put much on my personal FB page. And I’m culling my list of ‘friends’ as a lot of them have ideas that are totally contrary to mine. I actually feel a lot better for this.

I remember when I first started buying books, for pleasure. Agatha Christie, Sven Hassel, Ian Fleming, they were the big three. I read every book Sven and Fleming wrote, but I’ve still got some way to go with Christie. But here’s a thought – I never once thought I’d like to meet the author, interact. For me, an author was like a god-like figure, distant, all-powerful. Their words, their creations were enough for me. Now, we are bombarded with interviews, webinars and all sorts of stuff. I never read them. I’m not convinced they serve any purpose, I’m really not.

Well, I have good news. My dystopian thriller ‘Tears in the Fabric of Time’ is about to be published and I can’t wait. This has been a labour of love for me for many years. I loved writing it and now it is going to be published! The cover looks cool and the first chapter is available on my website, so go and have a look.fabric-of-time-cover

Also, Varangian Volume 3 – HARDRADA – is out soon too. This has been a long haul but we’re almost there. Some people have asked me about Hardrada (YES, on social media…wow!), so here is a little taster about Volume 1:

2 books

His name was Harald Sigurdsson, but the world knows him as Hardrada. Having fought his first battle at fifteen, where he watched his brother, King Olaf, die, he fled south to the fabled city of Constantinople. Here he enrolled in the legendary fighting unit known as the Varangian Guard. His love for the Empress Zoe is legendary, but Harald seeks more than mere love. To regain his birthright drives him forever onward. To be the King of Norway. The year is 1042 and Harald is imprisoned, betrayed. The first volume of this great Viking king tells of his attempt to flee the great city and return north. It is a violent, uncompromising tale of murder, deception and depravity, for the Emperor is the lust-filled Michael V, and he wants Hardrada’s head. Hardrada, the very name means ‘Hard Ruler’, but how can he ever rule unless he can escape. And to escape he must forge allegiances with some of the most despicable men in the entire empire.

HERE is a link to the Amazon page for Varangian.

My website: www.stuartgyates.com for further information.

Thanks for dropping by and thanks to those of you who have bought my books. I hope you like them.

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Adventures in writing … pot pourri!

Bit of a mixed bag this month, so feel free to skim!

They say Twitter is good.

Just who are ‘they’ I hear you ask. Well, experts I suppose. I’m not an expert, so all I can go by is my gut-reaction, my instincts. So, I’m probably wrong, but nevertheless, I just don’t get it.

Okay, so I looked last time at how many followers some of the top authors have and, yes, they have lots. But does it help their sales? This is where I have the problems. I’m not sure who generates all this advice, you see. I suspects they are associates of Twitter, Facebook, Book Baby and Amazon. They are all in each other’s pockets anyway. Any idiot can see that. So, can we trust them?

I’m not sure.

I have just received an email informing me I have a new follower on Twitter. I wonder why, as the person is somebody I have never heard of. Perhaps they have bought one of my books, a new fan? With beating, expectant heart, I checked out their profile.

This person follows around 200 people. And how many follow him? 75,000. Say that back to yourself, slowly. SEVENTY-FIVE THOUSAND! I mean, how does he get the time to even obtain that many followers? And does it actually mean anything? Imagine if every one of those followers went out and bought his book. Imagine! In a flash, he’d be more successful than almost everyone else on the best-sellers list. However, a quick check on Amazon reveals he is not.

So … what is the point?

I don’t know. I’m very cynical. I don’t think it means diddly. I follow more people than I have followers. I’m not sure if I have ever bought anybody’s book from a tweet on Twitter. And I do read. I read a lot. I suppose all of us struggling to make it in this over-loaded world of authors and publishers need to explore every avenue in getting ourselves known. But it’s a long old road and it is very disheartening when I see the sort of thing described appearing on Twitter. I will never have 1,000 followers, let alone 75 thousand of them. Perhaps I should give up and not worry so much.

Well, I’m not giving up writing, that’s for sure. I’m working on a screenplay of one of my books at the moment, but as the gales are roaring through my village, knocking out the electricity every five minutes, I have resorted to using my notebook. It has a battery you see, and can continue when the house is stripped of power. Ah, the joys of living in the dark ages!

I received a post from a friend, about Stephen King’s top 10 best reads.

Here it is: http://www.openculture.com/2014/11/stephen-kings-top-10-all-time-favorite-books.html

It’s really interesting because as a horror/thriller writer you’d expect his list to be peppered with titles from the genres he writes in, but it’s not. You could say, at a push, that 1984, even Bleak house, have scary moments, and ‘Lord of the Flies’ is certainly very dark, but … not your true-blue horror. I guess it all has to do with what you like to read. My interests are very wide.  It got me to thinking about my own top-ten, so I-ll work on that and present it next time. What is yours?

I’ve finished the third in my Hardrada series and will send it off to my lovely publisher soon. Enjoy the first two volumes, both of which receiving super reviews. If you like historical fiction, with plenty of twists and turns, and written at a cracking pace, you’ll enjoy these. Oh, they have Vikings in them, so that can’t be bad!

I have other genres too. Check them out here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss/279-4230230-2335426?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=stuart%20g%20yates

Thanks for dropping by, and happy reading.

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Adventures in writing … Facebook and Twitter, the way to success?

Random shots … well, it is The Season!

Just finished reading another of those little articles that cause me to stop and think…this one from The Guardian, recounting how publishers are now expecting authors to have Facebook and Twitter accounts, with as many ‘followers’ or ‘friends’ or ‘likes’ or whatever else you want to call it, as they can get.

Okay … you see, I’m always a little cynical about all this, wondering who exactly creates this stuff. A little bit like receiving posts from Book Baby and Kindle glowing with the stories of self-made authors who are making thousands every week. Apparently, this can’t be said for authors signed by major publishers as everyone there is losing money.

Which is why, I suppose, they tell us to get out there and sign up those ‘friends’.

Well … so I did a little research, just to see …

I chose five of my favouirite authors (I have a lot more than five, and this is only a random list)

Here they are, in no particular order.

John Harvey, Mark Billingham, Harlan Coben, Philippa Gregory and C J Sansom.

The results were really interesting.

On Facebook, Mark Billingham has 6.424 likes, C J Sansom 10,726, Philippa Gregory a whopping 129,229 and Harlan Coben an utterly amazing 306,448! John Harvey does not have a Facebook page. Mm …

Okay, on Twitter, the results are somewhat different. These are followers, and I haven’t done ‘following’. Maybe I should, or you could, and let me know. Anyway … John Harvey has 337 (which is less than me, I think!), Philippa Gregory has 13,400, Mark Billingham 16,200 and Harlan is way out in the lead again, with 57,000 followers! C J Sansom doesn’t appear to have a Twitter account, but there a thousands of Tweats about him, which may or may not mean the same thing.

The thing is, of course, these authors don’t seem to have ‘personal’ pages, which is probably a good thing as it keeps their private lives separate from their professional ones, although some of them do share quite a lot of personal stuff other than their writing on their author page, and Twitter accounts. I notice many self-published authors combine their private and author pages into one. I have two, one personal and one for my writing and related news. I have probably gone about this in totally the wrong way, but nobody was here to guide me when I set it all up. And my poor old Twitter account uses my Young Adult author name, which proves I am moron when it comes to social media.

Which, in the final analysis, means I’m not going to be taken seriously by a big publisher.

Great. What a lovely way to end the year.

However, I do take solace in the fact that my very favourite writer, John Harvey, is in exactly the same boat. He has published NINETY books and is internationally regarded as one of the finest thriller writers there is. So, although I see the sense in having all these people following me (wouldn’t it be great, to have 5,000 likes on Facebook, and 15,000 followers on Twitter. Wow, the thought is intoxicating!), I am warmed by the fact that me and John are true soul-mates when it comes to this sort of thing. I don’t know what I’m doing. Perhaps John doesn’t either, but it hasn’t stopped him selling millions of books.

Wonder what my excuse is?

Anyway, lovely people, hope you had a very lovely Christmas and a wonderful New Year. 2015 is going to be YOUR year, don’t forget. As for me, I have a new book, ‘Whipped Up’, the 2nd in the Paul Chaise thriller series, coming out on the 5th January, so please pop over to Smashwords and reserve your copy! For Kindle, it’ll be on Amazon as that beautiful day dawns.

whippedup_cover_big

Thanks in advance

God bless us, everyone!

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Adventures in Writing…oh so many ‘authors’…

I sometimes feel like one of those ‘grumpy old men’, which was such a wonderful series on BBC. It may have been politically incorrect, but it was spot on.
Why do I feel this way?
Well, okay, here goes.
I, along with many of you probably, join a group online. It is supposed to be a support group, a place where you can go to share stories, seek advice, listen to those who have been through it all and come out the other end smelling of roses.
Well … how many times to you open an email from one of these groups and are presented by such declarations as, ‘So-and-so’s new thriller is the best thing I’ve ever read, buy it now!’ Or (even more sickening ) ‘I’ve just discovered my latest thriller ‘The Private Dick is not as Big as you Thought’ has got to number 10 in the Amazon’s ‘low-life thriller’ chart!’
Why is it that every single group I’m a member of, no matter where: Facebook, Linked-In, Goodreads, is hi-jacked by these people. And, even WORSE, is when I try to do something similar, my post is suspended and I receive a really snotty letter from the administrator (not Facebook, I’m relieved to say!). I can’t fathom it. It must be me.
And then, today, I received an email inviting me to join Amazon’s ‘FAST TRACK’ . For a small ‘donation’ I can get five reviews. I’m relieved to read it does not say ‘Five 5-star reviews’ because that would be so wrong I’d be forced to post a blog about it.
Sounds great, doesn’t it. But imagine, all those countless thousands of ‘authors’ out there, desperate to sell their books and make a million. They’ll be pushing and shoving to get those reviews. Because it is easy, right?
Are you, like me, one of those authors who post their books on any number of Facebook groups and then, perhaps once a week, perhaps once upon a rainbow weekend, you go onto said site and simply scroll down, and down, and down, and… And you never once stop because you are sick to the back teeth of seeing these awful self-effacing adverts? Well, I’m sick of it. So what is the point? Nobody stops to read what these adverts have to say. There are perhaps fifty million authors out there (okay, okay, I exaggerate, but it feels that way sometimes) and most of them are simply awful. And, swimming around the edges of this pond of sickening banality, are the sharks and the crocs. The countless ‘experts’ who offer every trick in the book to make you a best-selling author.
I wonder when it will end?
I wonder when it will get back to readers buying good books, and authors writing good books.
Do you think it will happen? And how are we to know the good from the dreadful? The Kindle explosion has done no end of harm to those writers who are good. Readers are a discerning bunch. They pick up a piece of pap and will never, ever pick up anything that is offered free or cut-price again. They don’t want to take the chance. So, they buy their 12.50 edition of a Kindle by an author whom they know and trust. We’re doomed. You and me, the good ones.
Well, I’m going to watch some re-runs of ‘Grumpy old Men’, sit back, and wallow in the knowledge that I’m not the only one, that I may be a grump, but actually, every now and then, I do actually speak some sense!
My follow-up to Burnt Offering has now been accepted for publication.

 

Burnt Offerings is now available at a new, reduced price for the Kindle. Visit any Amazon site to take advantage.

Burnt Offerings is now available at a new, reduced price for the Kindle. Visit any Amazon site to take advantage.

I can’t say when it will be out yet, so watch this space. In the meantime, pick up the first in the series and enjoy!
Thanks for passing by.

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Adventures in writing – a personal view by Stuart G Yates: how do I get known?

There are so many authors out there now, it’s like a world gone mad. I feel sorry for the poor reader, avid or not. How are they supposed to choose who and what to read? It’s something I’ve been trying to think about a lot.

How do I make my choices?

It’s difficult for me right now. Living in Spain, I have little opportunity to visit a bookshop. An English one, I mean. We used to have one where I live, but it has closed. They even stocked my books for a while, but now the whole venture has disappeared – along with my books! I’ll never get them back, nor will I get anything from the company. I’m not even sure if they exist. But I wander from the point (which isn’t uncommon for me!).

So…how do I choose a book?

Sometimes, it’s by the only really credible way – recommendation. A friend reads something, they pass on a copy to you. You like it, you then go out and buy another by the author. We all do this, and it’s a great way of discovering new books. Then there are recommendations in magazines, newspapers and, of course, Amazon. I like the way they link similar themes together, so if you put in a search for a well-known author you could end up buying a book by someone totally different. I read the reviews and take the plunge. This is how I came to Simon Scarrow, and his wonderful Roman Empire novels.

We might come to them via films – this was how I ‘discovered’ James Bond, or TV, which is how I came to Ian Rankin and ‘Rebus’. There are so many different ways, more than I’ve listed, but isn’t the best one simply going into a bookshop and sifting through all those lovely, freshly printed volumes? At a visit to ‘Waterstones’ I saw a staff-recommendation for a book, priced at only £1 as an introduction to an author. This was about ten years ago, and the author was Henning Mankell, and what a find he turned out to be.

Of course, as an author, I have another problem. How do I get people to pick up my books? Being with indie publishers, I have to do the marketing myself, which is a total pain I can tell you. I’d much rather be writing. Somehow, you do feel the pressure, even sitting alone with just your word-processor for a companion, to try and promote. Panic, frustration, they all gnaw away at you. How many times have I taken a break, popped over to Facebook and become dragged into to replying and commenting on posts? And as I do this, I become increasingly agitated by the armies of authors I see on there, shouting out about how brilliant their latest book is. So many now are wound up by the need to be published and to find success. Success, which means, sales. I look at their posts and I’ve now got to the stage where I simply scroll by, not even giving them so much as a glance. Unless it is by an established author. Then I might stop, and read. I did this actually. I tried to find some top authors on Facebook. John Harvey, for example. If you like thrillers, you’ll know who he is. He hasn’t got a Facebook page. The aforesaid Ian Rankin, he has, but I’m not at all sure if he writes it. The same goes for Lee Childs…is it him?

Some authors, like Simon Kernick, Harlan Coben and Michael Jecks often post something. Michael even tells us about his walks over the moors, which is fantastic. I love this approach, which is so unassuming, so personal and nothing to do with his books (which are great by the way). Natural. There are others, however, who simply use Facebook to declare their brilliance, or their particular bigotries. These latter ones happen to be also so-called sock-puppeteers and I no longer have them as ‘friends’ or, more importantly, buy their books.

As for me, I’ve had enough. I’m so disillusioned by all this social-networking rubbish that I’ve decided I’m pretty much going to turn my back on it. I’ve just read a blog by Bernard Cornwell. It’s like a breath of fresh air and reaffirms what I’ve always known – write a good story. The rest of it is nonsense. All these marketing tips may well be very good, but if your story sucks, what is the point?

There is a whole world out there full of hard-nosed profiteers who will take your money and promise you the earth, with interviews, author pages, guest blogs. There’s one right now, on Facebook, advertising ‘How to become a best-selling author’, or words to that effect. Another ‘Make your book sell…find out how to become the next Stephen King’. These books cost 4.99. Great, pay the money, and discover what? The magic formula? I think not.

There are thousands of ‘friends’ who LIKE your book but never ever buy it. They take your free-promos, but they never have the time to write a review. I’m sick of it, there has to be another way to get yourself known, and I wish I knew what it was.

So, what do you do as somebody who wants to write? I’ll tell you my own experience, after doing this since the mid-70s, with 14 books published and 2 more due out this year. You get a job. You earn money. And you write in the evenings, or the weekends, or during your holidays. You write because you love it, because you have the urge to create. And when you’ve written a good story, you write another one. And you don’t stop, because it is what you do. You may never make any money, you may be rejected a thousand times by every agent on the planet, but you don’t care, because for you the writing is all.

That’s it. No big secret. I write, I re-draft (about 3 times), I get it proof-read, I then submit. I’ll no longer go to small independents, and I’ll not self-publish. If an agent one day likes something of mine, I will crack open the champagne and rejoice. But until that day, I no longer have any desire to shout my wares from the rooftop on Facebook. If people buy my books, that is because they like the sound of the story. And that’s good enough for me.

Here’s some timely advice about finding an agent: http://writingteennovels.com/2013/03/21/finding-a-good-literary-agent-for-your-novels-by-paul-volponi/

Visit my websites to find out a little more about me, with links to my books: www.stuartgyates.com  and

www.glennstuart.co.uk

Thanks for dropping buy, and keep on reading. Here’s a selection of some of my books, with links.

 The cover of my first 'legitimate' novel, Cold Hell in Darley Dene

big coverFront cover

 

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Adventures in writing part 20 – a personal view by Stuart G Yates

It’s been some weeks since I’ve written anything.

Lots of reasons for this, but I suppose the main one was an almost total rejection of social media as a means to promote. It had been brewing up inside me for quite some time. The endless stream of writers, editors, interviewers, all of them spouting off about how great they were, how much the world owed them, and I knew, right then, right there, that I would never, ever buy any of their books. So, equally, why on earth would anyone ever buy my work? They hit the ‘like’ button, but nothing ever comes of it, so what is the point? There is none, and that is the point!

I’m not gregarious, not at all out-going. I prefer to sit in the corner, smile politely, self-effacing, quiet, ‘humble as the dust’ as the Taoists say. I find it all so uncomfortable to pontificate over how sublime and life changing my words are. Because they’re not. I write to entertain. Novels. Thrillers. Escapism. That is my medium. I don’t shout from the roof-tops at how great I am, and I can’t stand people that do. So I’ve turned my back on Facebook. Twitter is better, because I don’t understand what people say, with all those weird hash-tags and Cyrillic looking web-site addresses. Better to live in ignorance. Someone told me that they were unhappy that I did not think FB worked, and that actually it took ‘a special type of person’ to achieve success. Thanks. And good to know you think of yourself as ‘special’.

Balls.

That’s the only word to describe it all really.

I remember in the early days, writers lived in a strange, self-contained world. Lonely, but happy.  I would sit in my room, my only friend the typewriter. I’d write all day, every day, and I’d create worlds that I slipped into, populated with characters that became my friends. They weren’t real, of course. Imagined, created by me. The only difference with Facebook ‘friends’ is that they are not created by me. They exist. But are they any more ‘real’ than those ones I penned all those years ago. Unless I’ve actually met them (and I actually know perhaps only one-third of my total number of friends on FB) how can I be sure? This is coming close to all those horror stories of stalkers, and ‘dirty old men’ who lure girls into meetings and ultimately attacks. The film ‘Hard Candy’ took this to its natural conclusion, and it makes for deeply uncomfortable viewing. So, it follows, that if these people are not ‘real’, why should we believe a single word they say?

There’s a lot of material here for a whole host of good, heart-stopping thrillers. Perhaps I’ll write one. Nobody will buy it, but at least I would have got it down on the page and out of my system.

I got a lovely message the other day, from someone who had read my thriller ‘Burnt Offerings’. They said if it had been a movie it would have been ‘one of the best gangster films’ he had ever seen. To say that lifted me was an understatement. There is more honesty and good grace in such words than anything spouted by the self-aggrandisement one sees constantly on FB. All it does is switch me off.

Of course, I probably will occasionally post something there, but nowhere near as much as I once did. I’m going to begin to hone down my ‘friends’ too, cull the ones I don’t know, or can’t stand. The ones I wouldn’t choose to know in real-life. There are better ways to get ones voice known. Writing novels is the best way, for me. And as more people pick up a book or two, and see what I do, then they’ll pick up another, tell a friend, and the word will get round. It may take a long, long time but I’m not here for instant fixes, or multi-million sales, I’m here to write.

Simple as.

 

Glenn Stuart’s latest paranormal thriller is available in paperback, and it’s the best thing I’ve done in that genre. Visit my website for details of where to buy it, and thanks for dropping by.

www.glennstuart.co.uk

 

 

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