Get a FREE copy of Resolutions!

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Resolutions cover - Final - 02082014As it’s the festive season, and my birthday on Dec 14th, I thought I’d offer you all a special Christmas gift. My science fiction short story collection, Resolutions, is available for free from Smashwords until Dec 15th.

Here’s what readers have said about Resolutions:

“Some great thought provoking reads that showcase a great writer… really nicely written and formatted with believable characters and tight descriptive writing.”

“Some excellent twists and great use of language… highly recommended read.”

How do you claim your free copy?

  1.  Visit the Resolutions page on Smashwords
  2.  Use the code ‘FH86F’ at the checkout to a 100% discount.

Offer ends on Dec 15th – don’t miss out!

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Time to write!

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IMG_1471.JPG I’ve been taking some time to plan a strategy for my writing, working on setting long-term goals as well as how I’m going to structure my regular writing sessions as part of my weekly routine. One of my main objectives, which crosses over the boundary between long-term and ongoing, is to write my first novel. The big question is, what do I write?

My plan for awhile has been to convert my short story Beyond Thought, part of my Resolutions collection, into a full-length narrative. I’ve started doing some planning, and have a good idea of the characters, plot, and setting. However, with the limited time I have to write at the moment, I’ve rediscovered another story that will work better as my first novel.

Time to Die is the narrative I will be working on in the coming months, drafting a novel based on this idea. Once again, this story began has one of short stories from Resolutions, Only Time Will Tell. I’ve already converted this story once before, running it as an interactive adventure via my StoryMechs project. This adventure was run whilst the project was still known Tweet RPG.

The beauty of using Time to Die as my novel template is that I already have a plot structure developed in the form of my game plan of the interactive adventure. This also contains unused content which was bypassed by the players, offering me options for extending or altering the narrative.

Want to know more about Time to Die? You can review the Tweet RPG adventure here, or purchase the Resolutions collection to read the original story.

Resolutions is now available to buy!

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Resolutions cover - Final - 02082014The day has finally arrived – Resolutions is now published! It’s taken a while, but I wanted to get it right. You can purchase the Resolutions ebook from:

Amazon UK (£1.24)
Amazon US ($1.99)
Smashwords ($1.99)

Resolutions is a collection of science fiction short stories about ordinary people facing extraordinary situations. The narratives within explore questions about the future of technology and humanity. Resolutions is all about the way things end. By the final conclusion, you will have smiled, shuddered, and will take away some food for thought.

I would love to hear what you think of the collection. You can comment below, tweet me or post on my Facebook page, and also leave a review on your retailer site of choice. If you’re a reviewer and would like a review copy, please feel free to get in touch.

Enjoy the collection!

The end is nigh: my launch plan for Resolutions

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800px-BookshelfThe time has almost arrived for Resolutions, my science fiction short story collection, to hit digital bookshelves. I don’t want to be too specific at this point, as a spanner could easily enter the works, but I am hoping to have the collection available to purchase and download by the end of next week (Friday 26th Sept). I’ve never electronically published a book before, so there could be some unknown hurdles still in my pathway, but I’ll keep you posted if there is a delay.

I’ve tried to be methodical with the preparations for publishing, and thought you might find it interesting and useful to see my plan for how I have gone about this.

Phase one – create content

Draft text meta-data – anything that the retail site(s) need to create a profile for your texts, generally a short description, an optional long description, and content tags. Follow guidelines precisely (character limits, etc) and take advantage of the opportunity to sell the product.

Draft launch blog post – this will be the foundation of the promotion, as it’s the place where the most data can be shared about the text. Make sure to include (and make prominent) links to the retailer(s) where the text can be purchased, a clear description of the text (can be reworked from meta-data), and a call for readers to feedback on their experience of the text in a variety of ways.

Draft press release – this will be useful to send out to any mailing lists you have for supporters or other contacts (work, church, hobbies, etc), and for any relevant media contacts who might be willing to promote your text. For a guide to creating an effective press release, see the free Smashwords Marketing Guide.

Draft social media content – don’t assume you’ll know exactly what to say on the day. You’ll have various links that you’ll be wanting to drive traffic towards (retail sites, your blog, launch reviews, etc) and you need a plan for how to manage these links. You’ll also have a variety of networks to utilise (Facebook, Twitter, email, message boards, etc) which all demand a specific method of engagement. One size doesn’t fit all so work on the style, timing, and frequency of messages.

Phase two – publish!

Upload your text – even if this isn’t your first time publishing online, block out some time to get your text uploaded. Who knows what kinds of technical gremlins will pop up at this point, so it’s good to have some time to deal with them. If possible, ‘soft launch’ your text prior to full promotion, so that you can test that everything works as it should.

Phase three – promote!

Change your online profiles – add the appropriate links to your text, upload any promotional images you may have. Don’t forget the simple updates like your email signature!

Send promotional/supporter emails.

Put your social media plan into action.

Phase four – PROMOTE!!!

Once you are certain that the process of purchasing your text is working smoothly and buzz from your initial launch has died down (even if it is a small buzz with just a few sales and reviews), work on innovative ways to promote your text. Here are some ideas:

  • Write a blog post detailing all the ways you can obtain and read the text – some supporters may not have the technical understanding how to use the retailer sites you’ve chosen, so guide them on how to do this.
  • Organise ‘interview swaps’ with other authors
  • Arrange a competition to drive sales – source a tasty prize, write an engaging press release, draft the rules of your competition
  • Plan a discount promotion – or give your text away for free for a limited time

I hope these tips are helpful – I’m currently at the end of phase one, not long to go now! If you have any suggestions of your own, questions about my plan, or if you downright disagree with my ideas (you’re allowed to!), please comment below.

An update on StoryMechs

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IMG_0909You may have noticed that things have been quiet on the StoryMechs front since we completed our first adventure under the new brand. I thought it would be good to give you a little update.

For those who haven’t been involved, StoryMechs is a project run by myself and Mr Mook, which provides adventure narratives that can be shaped by multiple users through a ‘play-by-crowd’ format. The project used to be called Tweet RPG, and has been running since 2011.

Why have things gone quiet? The answer is simple: life. One of the big realisations we’ve had about running StoryMechs is that it’s a hobby and we’re happy with that. We’ve tried to take a business-like approach to it, but have ended up setting unobtainable goals which require too much from us.

Don’t get me wrong, we want to have a level of professionalism with the project. It won’t be worth playing if the quality isn’t there. However, neither of us wants to compromise all the other stuff in life – family, friends, church, employment, voluntary work, etc – to make this happen. It isn’t worth it.

Don’t worry, we will be bringing you more awesome adventures to shape with friends online. In fact, we have one almost fully prepped and ready to go. However, we have some format changes to implement, and those things take time. Right now, both of us have other things to focus on.

We plan to take a more relaxed approach to StoryMechs than we have done, working it into the rest of our priorities in a realistic way. I have benefitted massively from turning my attention away from it for a while, as I’ve had time to work on Resolutions, my short story collection.

Keep a look out for news on the next adventure, we hope to get back on this in the Autumn. Thanks for all your support.

Happy adventures!