Portsmouth Avenue Released

You know, I think I’m going to make a new rule. When it comes to releasing titles, I’m going to deliberately hold off past Christmas. With the development-o-meter hitting a full scale deflection, the obligatory seasonal parties, obligations and preparations, and the viruses that hover about until you’re just on the edge of desperation before striking you down, there’s not a lot of time left for everything else that falls under the category of ‘not immediate’.

So it got to yesterday – at least I think it was yesterday – and I was asked, “Hey Jez, don’t you have a book coming out?”

Oh, crud. Right. That. When was that again? Between all the competing voices nagging and braying and screaming and screeching, there was a meek little squeak calling, “Jez, Jez. Don’t forget about me.”

Well I didn’t really forget as much as neglect. Sorry, little guy. It’s a bit pathetic, but here’s your launch. Ahem:

Hey, y’all. Portsmouth Avenue Ghost, Paranormology Part 5 is out on Kindle, Kobo, Smashwords, iTunes, Barnes and Noble and Google Play. And a bunch of other, independent distributors. I hope you enjoy it.

You can find the book’s links on this page, Portsmouth Avenue Ghost or you can go to the following:

Smashwords

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

Google Play

Kobo

iTunes

It’s not on Lulu just yet, that’s taking a bit of time, but all electronic formats are supported.

Cheers!

It’s on again – Smashwords Summer Sale!

For the ninth year in a row – there’s a trend, can you tell? – the Smashwords Summer (Winter in the Southern Hemisphere) Sale or, as I like to say, SS(WSH)S is on.

From the 1st of July to the 31st of July – that’s the month of July for you guys playing at home – Authors at Smashwords are, well SMASHING their prices.

There are a lot of independent authors, among which you will find yours truly, screaming for an audience, someone to pick up their electronic wares and have a flip through over a cup of tea.

Go to www.smashwords.com and have a poke around, fill up your cart with heavily discounted books and give your independent authors the love they crave.

As for me, you can find all of my books for free during this period at:

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/JeremyTyrrell

That’s right, don’t adjust your monitor, it’s working fine. I’ll say it again: All books free. You’ll need to use the coupon code:

SW100 or with an extra S at the start, like: SSW100

Enjoy, with my compliments, and please, spend some time to leave feedback, good, bad or otherwise. It’s an author’s lifeblood.

Well, what are you waiting for? Go on over to Smashwords now! Mini Jeztyr Logo

** Actually, I just checked and, at the time of this post, the sale isn’t live yet. Maybe wait an hour or two. **

That Octopus is on his way!

I told you I’d do it! Tedrick Gritswell of Borobo Reef is up for pre-release.

What does that mean for you?

It means you can pre-order it so that, on 1st of June, 2017, it gets automatically added to your library and you get the honour of being the first spud to read it! It also means you can rest easy knowing that I’m going to use the next few weeks to spruce up the book, get the formatting down, all of that.

Here’s the link:

What does it mean for me?

It gives me a chance to slow down and take stock. The work doesn’t stop, though, you should know that by now. I need to:

  1. Work on the cover (woot!) some more. That’s not the final iteration.
  2. Fix up some grammatical and spelling errors.
  3. Make a few last minute additions and subtractions.
  4. Rev up the marketing engine and concentrate on that properly.
  5. Get this into a hard-copy version el-pronto.

I’ll keep you posted about how it all goes, including how the KDP uploading went. In the meantime, I’m going to take a break, have some lunch, maybe even head to Bunnings for a walk-around.

Haven’t done that in a good while.

Mini Jeztyr Logo

Editing – Ugh… Do I have to?

Who ever said that writing was glamorous? Not me, I can assure you. I can think of many words to describe it. Glamorous doesn’t make the list.

The writing bit is fun. You know, making up the story and getting all the words on the paper and building up characters, scenes and plots. That’s a hoot, but not glamorous. It’s fun, sticky and sugary, like eating dessert for an entree.

The marketing – promotions, adverts and posts – that’s all boring but essential, like steamed vegetables.

The worst part, for me at least, is editing. I’ve already read the damn book. I’ve worked over little details, scrubbed whole bits out, rammed other bits in, smooshed it, smoothed it, worked at it and sat on it. Then, after a period of recovery, I get to do it all over again.

And that’s just the second draft.

Rinse, repeat. Third draft. Oh brother. Looking down at the plate, you’ve got something in the realm of cold porridge, mixed with a spoonful of unsoaked lentils.

Ugh. Editing. Spoon by spoon, it’s a slog to get through, especially the third draft. It’s where I have to concentrate not only on grammar and spelling, but flow, repetition and any major flaws that are sitting there. Did Barnes come before or after I fought the Unome? Was Belvedere oblivious to Sassam’s plot? How much did Wyra blab to Coraline?

Yes, these should have been taken up in the Second Draft. Doesn’t mean they were. Consider it the last chance to nut all of that out before the galley is produced. I’ve had some assistance to this end in the form of my father grabbing a red pen and for this I am very, very grateful.

Of course, since he stole the red pen, I’ve been forced to use the green for my own amendments. I can live with that. Want to hear the good news? It’s all done. The hard-copy side of things, that is. Now comes the second part of the editing task: working back over the printed pages and translating the scribbles and scrawls, side-annotations and asterisks over to the electronic version.

This the is down-hill part of the task. Doesn’t mean it’s any less unpalatable, just that it takes less time.

What’s the date today? May 1st. Cool. In that case, I have reached the decision to put this book up for pre-release May 4th on Amazon’s KDP (the Kindle Direct Publishing thing), for an official release June 1st. That’s from a Thursday to a Thursday.

I’ll try my best to document the process. I’ve got Smashwords and Lulu down, but the KDP is still a bit of a foreign concept.Mini Jeztyr Logo

Baby I’m Yours – The Blitz

Remember when radio was fun? When it wasn’t about playing the same-o lame-o crud hour after hour and the presenters all for the music? It still is! You just have to know where to look.

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of 92.6 The Blitz, not least because they have the chutzpah to play real world-wide indie music in favour of cookie cutter crapola. They also go out on a limb to try new things.

And when in say new, I mean old in this case: Baby I’m Yours is a trip back to the time of Radio Theatre. That’s right! The cast are all proper actors, from the stage and radio, and have given their talents to reviving that imaginative art form. The play has made its way from stage to your speakers and all you’ve got to do is kick back and enjoy the zany gags.

As I always say, though, if you enjoyed it then help out. Let others know, join in the fun, become a Blitzer (official term, mind). Check out the Indiegogo site and throw a few bucks in their direction if you can, otherwise you can catch them on the Spreaker App on your phone. In fact, I installed that just the other day and it works a treat while bottling beer in the outdoor kitchen.

Enough reading, go ahead and listen to the official trailer, spread the word and get behind the guys that get behind the artists.

Mini Jeztyr Logo

Branding Yourself (Ouch, baby)

Last post I ended with the line “…Why not stick a little of you inside there?” ‘There’ being your work, ‘you’ being you.

It’s a vague line. It kind of smells arty-farty or new-age or cliched or something, doesn’t it? But I meant it. Putting yourself into your work is by far the best way to brand yourself. Not the easiest, not the fastest, but best for longevity.

But how?

Put yourself into it

Knowing that this applies to all facets of your work (not just art), I’ll use writing as an example. Let’s start with style.

If I try to write like Dean Koontz, and I’m sure I probably could if I studied his style and mannerisms and all of that, then my books would be merely ‘Koontz’ clones. I wrote them, yet I’m not in them. If, however, Dean Koontz is a major influencer of my work, but I’m not actually seeking out to emulate him, then I’m free to add my style to it. It might be considered ‘Koontzesque’, that is in the style of Koontz, but since there’s too much of me in there, it’s not a Koontz clone.

To give a different example, say I paint in the manner of Van Gogh. If I copy his works and contribute nothing new, then my paintings, although nice, don’t have me in there at all. If his style influences the way in which I paint, not dictates it, then I can do stuff ‘my way’. My painting may be considered ‘Van Goghish’ but they are distinctly my own – I’ve made them, not copied them.

I would argue that it’s practically impossible to come up with a new style of anything that cannot be linked to someone who has ‘done it before’. OK, that’s fine. Not an issue. You are still quite capable of producing original work.

Substance

While my style my be linked to someone else, what cannot be attributed is my experiences, my history, my life. We are shaped by our environment. All those events, big and small, those catastrophes and celebrations, explorations both physical and metaphysical and, importantly, your decisions, all of these have contributed to what you are.

That’s a fingerprint right there, isn’t it? That’s something unique to you and, while it might be similar to another person’s, it cannot be the same. Two men go off to war together, fight on the same line, see the same things, but their upbringing, their circumstances and their philosophical outlook on life – and just about everything else – will be different.

How does that help you? Simple. Stick it in your books. Build your characters off those characters you know and love – or hate. Use them as a template. Exaggerate their attributes. They’re your creations, built from your experiences, viewed from your perspective – they are extensions of you since they come from your world.

Likewise the places you’ve been. Used to live in a depressing suburb? Walked the streets of a shantytown? Entered the marbled floored foyer of a grand hotel? These are things you know because you’ve experienced them. You smell the bacon frying whenever you walk past the corner cafe every day, you hear the cars and trucks rumbling the overpass on your way to work. These are experiences unique to you.

Signatures

I read a few Morris Gleitzman and Andrew Jennings books when I was a kid. Generally narratives, they start off with the ‘near end’ of the story, then back track to the ‘how I got here’ and finish off with ‘And here’s the end’. Not every time, but often. Often enough that, after a while, I could pick the pattern.

Lately I’ve been reading some Henry Beam Piper. Through each of his books, he has common elements of science fiction: Burp guns, sonic stunners, Para-time police. While these things aren’t unique to him, they are his in as much as he uses them, to great effect, to drive his stories.

How about Asimov’s positronic brain or the Laws of Robotics? Other authors have used these, but they remain distinctly Asimov-esque.

Even the elements that make up a story can be a signature. Bedford-Jones with his swashbuckling, reluctant hero. Frederick Forsyth and his multi-plot spy thrillers. Defining a signature isn’t necessarily about a word or a phrase or a theme or a character or a situation or a plot-device… it’s about any or all those little things, and more.

How would Tim Burton portray a fairy tale? How about Spielberg? How about Linklater? How do you know? Not because they shout from the rooftops their style and ideals, they put all of that, themselves, into their work.

Who, Me?

Remember: It’s not about inventing a new ‘you’. You’re already there. All the pieces are in place. If you try and make yourself out to be something you’re not then your audience will be more than a little miffed.

It’s about looking in the mirror and figuring out just what you can enhance, what you can play on to make what you produce unique to you.

Next post I’ll be looking at using the internet – this magic thing that does stuff – to help your quest to be seen and heard, so stick around.

Mini Jeztyr Logo

The Struggle of the Artist – Marketing

You’ve written a book. Super! You’ve edited it, you’ve put it through the wringer a few times, ironed out the bumps, made a front cover, and it’s looking shmick. You head over to your favourite publisher – Smashwords, KDP, Lulu, or perhaps you’re going the route of Calibre and doing it all yourself – and your fingers are trembling, your heart is racing.

Here it is, the big moment. The point where you give the world your work. You triple check everything, chew the last of your nail from your punished fingers and push the submit button.

And wait.

The Anticlimax

It’s all published. Some publishers take a few hours or a day to get it online, others are instant. Great. But it’s up, it’s up. You can’t sleep that night and feverishly check back throughout the next day. One download.

One. Measly. Download.

The subsequent days aren’t much better. From the reports you get, there’s little or no interest at all. Why? Is your book not good enough? Did you need to do even more editing? Was the front cover lame?

Perhaps. Perhaps not. Arguably the latter. Why?

The Reality

How many books are out there, right now, in a library? Now, how many more are out there online? Now, how many books are being created every day?

The answers are, respectively, lots, even more and heaps. Your amazing book is a flash in a very bubbly pan. It’s almost luck that anyone got to download it. Sure, there are ‘New’ lists that people watch but, if they are asleep at the time you push your book out, there’s that opportunity gone. Even if you happen to hit the timing perfectly, that’s only a tiny portion of the people

If you have an agent, or get published through a large house, advertising and marketing is part of the (substantial) fee. They have people paid to reach customers and entice them to take a look-see at your book, and they’re good at what they do.

If you’re an independent then you are on your own. OK, so you can tell your family and friends, that’s good, it’s a start, but it cannot end there. Why? Because unless you’ve written for your family (or painted, or sung, come on now) then they aren’t the people who you want to see your work. Uncle Bob might be into your garage music, but sure as heck Aunty Mavis ain’t.

What you want is to thrust your goods into the ears and under the eyes of those who might actually dig what you’re dishing. OK, easy job, just go stick some fliers in some letterboxes or staple them to the telephone poles.

Nah.

Making noise

The fundamental problem is this: There’s you. There’s guy who would actually like to see what you’ve got. And between you are a thousands of other you’s in exactly the same boat, seeking to reach a hundred thousands of the other guys in the other boat. It is now your job, and it is a job, to get what you’ve done out there.

Over the course of a month or two, there will be people who trawl through the lists, bots that pick up on new releases in genres and tweet them to subscribers, reviewers who are looking for the next big thing. Relying on these things to get your book under people’s noses is folly. What you need to do is blow that horn, beat that drum and make some noise already!

The internet is your friend in this instance. It serves as a platform on which to serve your music and books and film, excellent, and it also serves as an enormous soapbox reaching, well, the entire world. Let me say that again: The internet soapbox has the potential to reach every country in the world. That’s a lot of people.

“But,” you say, “You said that there are a thousand people just like me doing the same thing, and many of those people have professionals to help them out!”

True, true, but let me put it this way: If you bury your head in the sand, you severely (dramatically, extremely, vastly, pick your own adverb) reduce your chances of been seen. If you stand up on the soap box, even though you might be rubbing shoulders with a bunch of your peers, at least you’re in the game.

Get active, go join a forum or three, give advice and chats, start a blog, post updates about what’s cracking in your world.

99% of people won’t give a coin about your antics. That leaves (Pauses to do the math) 1% who do. And its that 1% you want to reach. 99% of people don’t dig war novels. 1% do. 99% of people don’t like vampire romance. 1% do (Actually, that figure, unfortunately, may be higher). The point is, don’t give up because you can’t fathom the sheer numbers. Even if there’s one shmuck out there who gets you, awesome, you need to let him / her find you.

You have to be able to reach who you’re after in a manner that will encourage them to stop and take a look at you.

Word of mouth is good if your audience is of the type that likes to recommend things. Forums and social media work if you can pick the right niche, and get a rapport with the people who frequent them. Don’t stop with the internet, though. You know those fliers? Not a bad idea if your target demographic is at a uni campus. Not a great idea if they are farm hands.

The reality for any artist is that, in order to be seen, they need to raise their voice. It doesn’t have to be an earth shattering crescendo, or a big explosion, or a stunt. Rather, a consistent, well articulated, “I’m here” is a great place to start.

Over the next few posts, I’ll be sharing some of the marketing techniques and pitfalls I’ve come across.Mini Jeztyr Logo

Smashwords Summer Sale

The Steam Summer Sale was on. Drastically reduced prices across the board. Yes, I stocked up. Yes, I maxed out my internet connection downloading a lot of games I’ll probably never play. Yes, I had to sleep on the couch (Wifey was not impressed).

What could be better?

The Smashwords Summer (or Winter in the Southern Hemisphere) Sale, of course! Click on the link below:

Smashwords Summer Sale

2016 July Summer/Winter Promotion

July 1- July 31

SmashwordsSummerSale

When the clock ticks over, you can pick up ebook bargains galore! Books half price, books free, and yours truly is right there with you. Head on over to:

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/JeremyTyrrell

and grab yourself (in any format):

Just use the coupon code for the respective books. If you can’t find the coupon code, let me know and I’ll dredge them up for you (I’m expecting them to appear on the page when the clock ticks over).

And, of course, Adaptation Part 1, Grosvenor Lane Ghost, Jolimont Street Ghost and Atlas, Broken are always FREE.

What are you waiting for? Oh, right, the clock to tick over to midnight, right? OK. Wait for that. Then go bananas!Mini Jeztyr Logo

Presenting – Grosvenor Lane Ghost

Wow! I’m bushed.

I thoroughly gave a Synfig, Audacity, Anvil Studio, Gimp, Corel and good ol’ Microsoft Movie Maker a workout.

I haven’t got a lot to say except that the promotional animation for Grosvenor Lane Ghost is now up on You Tube and Daily Motion (hehehe… Daily Motion. You know, like, one’s daily constitutional?) and any other place that I can find.

Please share, enjoy and criticise. Don’t worry, I won’t be listening, I’ll be sleeping. Right now it’s a warm Milo and off to bed.Mini Jeztyr Logo