My latest novel, She Who Returns, is now available for purchase on Amazon, in both ebook and print form. AMAZON: US UK CA AU In case you missed the pre-order discount, it will be available for one more week. That applies also to She Who Comes Forth, the first novel of the pair.She’s Launched! — Audrey Driscoll’s Blog
On the subject. This afternoon I had this experience, there is no other way to describe the event. It was not a bad one, nor was it one which opened up a brightness which illuminated a pathway to a certain level of success. This was more of a certain type of epiphany, an enlightenment on the subject. Let me explain.
Firstly if one should type in Google ‘Marketing My Book’ in 0.70 seconds the dear old programme will proudly announce it has located ‘About’ 8,150,000,000 results, which suggests there are more items on the subject than there are people in the world: currently estimated at ‘About’ 7,874,965,825. Therefore using a certain skewed logic it could be fatuously argued that everyone on the planet has an opinion on how to Market A Book.
It must therefore be argued in the Writing process that Marketing and views on Marketing are topics of some importance; possibly second only to How To Write A Book ( Google records 14,360,000,000). And therefore a matter which should be taken with a degree of seriousness, maybe not as much as writing itself but certainly deserving of attention. Although I did encounter an advice pamphlet some years back and geared to the self-publishing sector which had the sub-heading ‘You’ve written your book. Now comes the hard part- Marketing’
Anyway on a personal level, making an effort to view the issue in a far more mature and constructive manner and having noticed an article on how to use Instagram to assist, it seemed only correct to consult this. I began to and was quickly drawn to a sub-topic of using hashtags as a means to promote your work. This was written in a confident, informative and intelligent style, obviously the writer had experience in using Instagram hashtags to further their own efforts and there was much which made sense; although I was struggling to make the necessary connection with advice and the intentions swirling about in my head. At this stage my attention should have been given to this lapse; the warning sign that my concentration was not correctly attuned. But onwards, ever onwards, maybe things would be clearer. Sadly this was not to be so.
There was a harmless enough suggestion on hashtags. This one revolved around the hairdressing industry and as an example for a hashtag which people could relate to used ‘hairstylemens, this was a example which was obviously well-founded and whereas may not be blindly used could be a good foundation or ‘food for thought’. Errr….not so.
You would have thought a 70 years old with several unsuccessful books would have stopped here and given the topic some thought in the hope of sales improvement. No, instead my eyes fell on the last six letters, flashed the signal back to the brain which promptly translated this hashtag into Hairsty Lemens and aside from the sniggering which would have been more in place with myself 55 years ago had me thinking how I could build a book around someone of this name, was ‘Hairsty’ a nick-name or their true first name and should it be pronounced as ‘Hair-sty’ or ‘Hair-stee’ ?
The sad point here is that whereas there may be some cause to celebrate the imagination of a febrile brain, such gyrations of perception do nothing to further the cause of making previous efforts known to the public. It is actually essential to adopt a serious and structured approach to some sort of Marketing, albeit in a ‘Garage Band’ sort of way, it would at least get you, maybe 4 figure sales. Therefore at what ever stage you are in your work consider some approach to Marketing, though be warned about those who claim to assist you professionally, there will be those genuine and hard-working folk who will do their best, for a fee of course, it’s a business after all; regrettably they work in a jungle replete with opportunists who talk a talk but have no intention of walking even one step of a walk. There is a great deal of free advice out there take it on board and invest some time in the processes.
Hairsty Lemens may be amusing company but they will not help you sell even one book.
Meanwhile on Kindle:
Firstly, there was nothing new in the option, process, call it what you will. Books uploaded on Kindle and as a Promotion Option select a number of days…Free. I’ve taken that pathway before and notched up maybe 10, 15 tops on each occasion, and no reviews, the latter is understandable, more about that later.
This time I decided ‘What The Heck’ and put the whole trilogy up as Free, to summarise for those new hereabouts:
The results were, to repeat……interesting. Now maybe it was the chance to snap up an entire trilogy for nothing or maybe it was the stunning art work on Vol 2 & 3 by Matthew David Sharpe See FaceBook or Odiousrule on Instagram. It certainly was not my haphazard, chaotic, sometimes barely visible Marketing stratagems. Anyway as of today 1st November 2021 at 08:54 GMT the totals are 2 sold and 110 taken up for free. Well that was different. I’m not certain of the breakdowns because neither figure divide into 3, and there are various permutations: Taking up the whole trilogy; opting for Volume 1 as a tester; taking Volume 2 and/or 3 to get the full set. Who knows?
Of course there always have to be perspectives on these matters. A noticeable take-up on a free offer, does not signify the beginnings of a writing success; you have to be practical and consider the paring down. Not everyone who picks up a free book will read it, not everyone who intends to read a book free or purchased gets around to reading it straight away; (I have five sitting in my Kindle and have given myself strict orders to read them, no excuses); not everyone who reads a book even if they like it finds time to rate or review; not everyone who takes the time to place a review is going to complete the book and the review within but two weeks and finally not everyone who breaches those previous ‘nots’ is going to be kind about the business. To name but three Brandon Sanderson, George R. R. Martin and Joe Abercrombie may get 5,000 to 15,000 ratings with 80% 5 star and many positive reviews but not everyone is at their standard or has that sort of following. Thus the sense of perspective is vital to avoid any crashing disappointments, just file the whole event in the ‘Interesting’ category and see if anything else comes of ‘The October 2021 Initiative’.
This, therefore, is not a post of the sort which suggests ‘A Way’ . No, this is nothing more than one writer recording an event which was, and it cannot be stressed enough, …’interesting’ (in a modest way of course). I will of course follow the progress, what author wouldn’t? But will only report back my findings at the end of 2021. Did this ‘interesting’ pick up have any profitable (not in terms of monetary gain) results? Who knows?
Meanwhile back to reading, jotting down notes for a Space Opera SF, which may or may not see the light of day. As maybe writing up more on the trilogy of its own little blog
It does need up-dating.
Whereas I had tremendous fun with Marketing earlier on this year, it seemed more appropriate to be serious now that the full trilogy will be up and running in the next few days. Apologies to those who have read previous posts on the subject, this is for visitors and potential readers
Currently available on Kindle. Free from 27th October to 31st October
Will be on Kindle in the coming week. (No thanks to Amazon’s unhelpful ‘error’ message on cover…sorted by human effort)…Free from 27th October to 31st October.
Fantasy. Not in the style of George R R Martin or Joe Abercrombie. By Fantasy standards- overall theme ‘Lite’ . Complex interplays, adventure, battles, some graphic violence, snatches of satire, some comic interludes, romance ( with adult themes). Warning for those who read Fantasy: overall up-beat theme throughout, to repeat you’ve been warned; don’t moan to me if you read them and don’t find them ‘gritty’ enough.
The trilogy charts the progress of three women caught up in a series of events which are part of the long history of The Oakhostian Empire; this has lasted not because of the iron grip of one family, or a dreaded back ground administration, but for the simple reason no one has come up with a workable alternative. There are agencies which keep the whole thing running with the usual smatterings of rivalries aided or sometimes encumbered by the composite of princedoms and city states. There is religion which at this stage is usually nodded to but generally not very influential in the ruling process.
What everyone does pay attention to is The Stommigheid or Ethereal or Astatheia, depending which agency or preference you work for. This is an elemental which manifests itself in various ways, physical, mental or spiritual by a combination of these it has given rise to Realms which are linked to The World Physical and thus can be utilised as a means of travel. Those who have managed to gain some deeper knowledge of this enigmatic manifestation appreciate no one has control over its potentials at best only having an accommodation; there is dispute over whether it influences people or the other way around. How or when this arrived upon The World no one is wholly sure of, there are records of great disruptions and the appearance of the demonic apparitions The Lords of The Land and the Lords of The Deeper; later The Lords of The Air, collectively called The Zerstorung.
Against this backdrop the three major characters move:
Trelli (later known as Trelyvana Waywanderer). Once satisfied to be a dutiful and responsible housemaid with an eye on becoming a Housekeeper to a general respectable merchant family. However thanks to the meddling in the The Stommigheid by the younger son Wigran, she has been inadvertently suffused with some of its abilities; the process and manifestation making her a source of interest amongst various folk. She has to struggle with keeping a perspective and responsibility with this ‘new gift’
Arketre Beritt Initially a medician (medic) in the military LifeGuard. A state within a state in The Oakhostian, charged with security and specific military actions. Beritt is chosen as part of a file (unit) charged with seeking out Trelli. Seemingly easy going, friendly and skilled at her task, Beritt has a mixed at times roguish past, while can be chillingly brutal against foes, either physically or mentally.
Karlyn Nahtinee Seeming to have originated from Elinid a city of dubious reputation and possessed of a peripatetic mind. Karlyn discourses with animals and plants, has a singular sense of smell and direction which includes the Stommigheid, a talent for arson and an acrobatic prowess. Despite all evidence to the contrary she is initially recruited by a Custodian (think Inquisitor) to seek out Trelli. At the onset her true background is a mystery, even to her.
Volume One: Of Patchwork Warriors (As spoiler free as possible)
This introduces the three major characters and something of the world(s) they inhabit. Karlyn and Arketre as part of separate missions to find out ‘what is going’ in a port town (The ‘what’ being Trelli). The ‘what’ has attracted others. In the confusion it is Karlyn and Arketre who find themselves responsible for Trelli. They start to bond, Arketre begins to have doubts over handing Trelli over to her LifeGuard commanders. Karlyn, literally sniffs out other issues and leads the party off track on what she sees as more important a cause. In another realm they have their first conflict with The Zerstorung and an inefficient group known as The Obsidian Council. It is here the three start to demonstrate their differing potentials . This volume also brings in other characters and groupings relevant to the whole narrative and sets the backdrop for complexities in the following volumes.
Volume Two: Our Skirmishers of Lace, Steel and Fire
In this volume more is written of Elinid and its crime family The Silcs, The LifeGuard, The Devoteds, the once legendary and assumed powerful race of The Shadow Lords and the Oakhostian. Karlyn learns more of her previous life, Arketre faces the conflicted demands of her medician training and her instinct to take on the harder role and demands of battle, Trelli’s relationship and skill with The Ethereal grows as she begins to appreciate the full and possibly dangerous potential.
Following on from the events in ‘Of Patchwork Warriors’. Karlyn and Arketre are in the North East of the Oakhostian in the Princedom of Terasonia, content with being snatched there and have an opportunity to explore their love. However they are despatched by the LifeGuard to investigate a rebellion by the local Grand Dukes against their prince. Trelli is in the South under the care of The Devoteds, an ambitious member Coltello wishes to utilise Trelli’s abilities to ‘harvest’ a source of Ethereal in a nearby land. Through the bond the three had forged in the previous volume, their paths cross. Karlyn assisting Trelli, leaving Arketre to be the Officer on the Ground trying to broker between Prince and Grand Dukes. The situation is complicated by an incursion from the domain of a Shadow Lords Prince with ideas of starting his own empire. The theme of conflict is based on the history of many a seemingly superior force being bested by a local opposition familiar with the terrain, particularly when the sophisticated weaponry of the former is found wanting. Again there is the presence of the Zerstorung in manifold forms.
Volume Three: Daughters of Circumstances. Arbiters of Consequences.
This is the volume where the full potentials of the three women are realised in various and some unexpected ways. And here is the book blurb:
Nothing is simple in the aftermath of Our Skirmishers of Lace, Steel and Fire. Wars, conflicting agendas, calls to fealties. All these range across The Oakhostian empire and the Realms beyond the World Physical. Ever present the enigma known as The Ethereal, Stommigheid, or Astatheia is no one’s to control, though maybe the opposite is so. As Officer of one small LifeGuard outpost Arketre Beritt’s initial attention is on the invasion of her jurisdiction, Valeneg, by neighbouring Krenderenberg’s opportunistic prince. Trelli, is drawn to investigating the possibility of dangerous and nefarious activities by the Silc Clan in their home city of Elinid. Both women however are swept up by concerns of Karlyn Nahintee, spouse of the former, best friend of the latter and assumed to be of Custodian rank by most, she believes all troubles can be laid at the feet of one of the Zerstorung demonics The Lords of The Air. A surprise request to aid in a rescue of a previous opponent enthuses her belief to the point of dragging (in Arketre’s case, literally) the other two off to confront these Lords. This pitches the trio into or back again across the complex relationships between groups within the Oakhostian empire and those dwelling beyond the World Physical. The three women must face, individually, in pairs or together conflicts, avoiding conflicts and demands of duty while struggling to hold fast to their own personal ties. Seemingly ever fated never to start anything but constantly to be drawn in; their skills, judgements and courage are constantly tested at a juncture which threatens to tear beyond one empire into other entireties, as some dare to believe they can control not only events but the evasive elements of The Ethereal. Conceits which neither Arketre, Karlyn or Trelli subscribe to, nor intend to leave flourish.
(Not blurb just additional information: The Battle for Yermetz takes some of its influences from German/Italian/Romanian/Hungarian conflict with the USSR at The Battle of Stalingrad in 1942/43)
That’s it folks
Nearly one year ago I posted up that Part III of the Precipice Dominions, being Daughters of Circumstances. Arbiters of Consequences’ initial draft had been completed and the fun part of editing, re-writing and so forth would be begin. When the volume is around 250,000 words this tends to encourage the urge to make sure everything melds together and continuity of the previous volumes Of Patchwork Warriors and Our Skirmishers of Lace, Steel and Fire runs smoothly. Since neither had sold well, there was the luxury of yet another re-edit of those works. Thus the past year has been an epic of not just rooting out persistent typos, but straightening syntax and a modest adjustment here and there. In addition along came the bonus of having tremendous fun in two less than serious marketing campaigns:
There was some worrying or to be precise reflection over the length. Though in setting out a backdrop which involved several seemingly separate conflicts; being military, political and one of obligation which actually all overlay and interlock; to give each their fair due the narrative would have to be long. I also have this need (Flaw? Some might say) to go into depth on how events and their own subsequent actions affect a character; this comes from reading much military history; some of my writing is thus a dedication to those who have been there at ‘The Sharp End’. Having worked in the UK Civil Service for most of my life there was also the need to illustrate some of the complexities, frictions and downright follies which go on. Combining personal experience with reading military history convinced me there are no perfect or cunning plans by a villain or group of villains which nearly go right. A great number of the decisions are made on the hoof as it were. Hence witness blundering, hasty reactions, indecision and being wrong-footed by the unexpected. Heroics combined with astute tactics and strategies are valuable, but for them to work they require the foe to display error and sometimes stupidity which must be seized upon.
In these days of worrying news and illustrations that the ‘bad guys’ do not get their neatly served up just deserts, something which is common in fiction too, there was a tendency to kick back. My intention was for the reader to enjoy the journey (a lot of differing ‘scenery’ out there folks) and indulge the feel-good factors…… Which didn’t stop me stretching credibility, after all this is a Fantasy Novel with many different things happening in the greater environment; reading cosmology and trying to understand the basics of quantum mechanics / physics while including spirituality and some might say nods to ‘Gaia’ tended to also add to the mix.
A mash-up some might accuse me of. A Complete hodgepodge of themes untidily mixed together. A wandering series of confused elements. My response is a shrug and to reply ‘Have to you looked around the messy world, read the confusions recorded in history and seen the questions arising in the sciences these days? Arguably these books are as close to A Reality as anything out there in your world,’
And, so there it is:
Sometime in the next week there will be an announcement of the launch on Kindle….a few days free of course. Now all that’s left on My List being:
Worrying whether Amazon will upload the whole lot.
And musing on how to correctly and seriously interest folks in the whole trilogy. For this Volume would be a hard slog, if not incomprehensible without reading the previous two. Therefore there will be another post giving an Overview of the entire Trilogy; intentions, themes and commentary on the narrative.
About 5 to 6 years reaching this point. And I admit to feeling very durn good about the whole business. Sales would be nice, but ‘High Holy‘ (as they say in the books) seeing the project completed and out there….well, Satisfied and Content don’t come close.
Matt continues to let his imagination and artistry work wonders with the characters out of my work.
Here is Trelli, moving up in a modest way leaving behind her housemaid’s drabs and travel robes. Now wearing sedate clothing when assisting others with diplomatic ventures.
Of course separation from her friends does not last long and here she is striding out with Arketre, about to get her hands, boots, blouse and skirt dirty.
As Daughters of Circumstances. Arbiters of Consequences, Volume III of my trilogy The Precipice Dominions draws closer to its final edit Matt, the artist who carried out the evocative cover of Volume II Our Skirmishers of Lace, Steel and Fire has started work on the latest volume for me. Here is Arketre, even with just a few simple lines of a sketch he has brought her character.
I suppose it may have been the Summer again. Or to be more objective my attitude to the summer season. The heat, the bright sunlight, long daylight, activity even muted by Covid; these do not suit me. Of course at 70 one should not wish life away, years, months even days should not be squandered and yet winter draws me ever on.
Summer brings out the worst in me, particularly this one had me in a very combative mood and willing to engage in arguments on social media, on all manner of topics, just because. All very undignified and not the least bit profitable There was an effort not to smear this mood all over WP and keep it where it belonged – FaceBook. Hence my general absence from WP
Happily there was a smidge of constructive dignity still working within. This, of course being attention to my own writing project. If you have followed my blog you will know about my ragged progress and less than serious approach to marketing
Although the last volume of the trilogy was in theory completed one year ago, the re-write process beckoned. This, personally is an enjoyable stage, aside from the obvious corrections, tinkerings and checking continuity in all its manifold ways, there is the joy of realising the overall intentions were surviving the necessities of a narrative. On this particular jaunt there was an urge within to re-visit the previous two volumes and work through them one last time to ensure they led in a sort of cohesive manner unto the third. Thus 2021 has been a year in which three large (If you are doing epic fantasy ‘large/long’ is something of a requirement) volumes were aligned. Yet another series of re-writes, I like to muse over the situation that should these books ever achieve noticeable sales status how early purchasers could brag they have ‘first editions’ and argue the case for the writing or narrative of those. A writer whose history does not contain even the words ‘some modest success’ should always keep an element of whimsey in their head (either that or take marketing and allied disciplines seriously)
On the whole the process has been yet another enjoyable and enlightening process. AS WE all know Word has many failings. Yet Read Aloud along with the ability to shift entire chapters around like chess pieces do carry their own particular appeals, also a sense of The Unexpected. In the case of the former this would be the sudden lurch into another gender’s voice, like some intrusive boor blundering into a conversation you are having with a friend, while Word throws up a frantic yellow bar warning in a woefully inadequate attempt to deny all culpability. When it comes to the latter shifting portions of the narrative might look fine at a particular juncture, but they could have a tectonic effect in The Continuity much further on down; by then the original revision is so embedded into the narrative it is necessary to give way to the impetus set in place back at at Chapter Fifteen and amend with much vigour to the events laid out in the first (or second) draft at Chapter Fifty-One. These are something of a melding of the Artistic, Imaginative and above all Inventive in the business. Some folk enjoy crosswords, siduko, chess or card game puzzles. for me the challenge of the re-write is the thing.
The Third Volume nears final (only three re-writes) completion, the artist who did such stunning work on Volume Two’s cover is on the case. So maybe the final work will see the light of Kindle by the end of the year.
Ah me, this is where I should have been spending more time than was spent. Three volumes completed, a joy in itself. But soft, I have tarried long enough. Time to break camp and set forth on the final clime up the last 35,000 words.
Daughters of Circumstances. Arbiters of Consequences. (Being Volume 3 of The Precipice Dominions)
I do love this happy burden.
No sales. The last acceptance was on the 4th and that was free.
Aye, I know. Oft have I walked these desolate roads, with naught but the chill winds of The Realty of Low Profile to accompany me. Ah, who cans’t I blame but myself for this fate?
Maybe it’s time you did the unthinkable and sent it off to an agent or publisher? Just saying. Y’know?
Nay, nay and thrice NAY! For they would not understand the many nuances and sub-text and would pour ignorant scorn upon the work
It would seem to me your approaches are either very plebeian or shockingly drenched in self-indulgence. I would suggest a Classical Theme be given to this venture. Underscore the Tragedy of the entire enterprise, in viewing, quite frankly the folly of the whole enterprise the audience would be curious as to the nature of this work and thus one…or …two may be inclined to purchase a copy. The obvious choice would be the Greek playwrights such as Sophocles…..
He’s gotta point ya’ know. I got just the set-up for you. First I give you the Greek Tragedy Chorus.
Oh woe. Oh woe. The sales are slow.
Oh woe. Oh woe. Why, we do not know.
Oh woe. Oh woe. Ashes we doth throw.
Oh woe. Oh woe. Oh woe.
Then the Maid of Tragedy Electra:
My resolve is not new, but long since fixed.
Don’t you just love that girl and her cool quotes
Tragic. Yet heroic.
The fellow is very stoic
Let us hope he does not get choleric
I think we’ll just leave it to Vox Populi
Wrong civilisation dear boy
An’t those dames sweet…Hoch-cha-cha
Just buy the blessed thing will you and make this all stop.
Yowza! Yowza! Folks!
Gather around and let me brighten up your day with news of the release of this incredible piece of adventure, of action, of romance, and of daring-do. I give you…….
This literary effort five years in the making, by a fellow who is not ashamed to admit his mistakes but was dedicated enough to keep on until he was able to produce for the reading world…in my humble opinion……PERFECTION!!
I tell ya, this may appear just another fantasy work, but folks I can attest to you here and now. You will gasp. You will twitch to be hurrying on the next page. You will laugh. You will cry. You will cheer on three of the most dogged, courageous, faithful young women ever to grace the page.
An’t they adorable folks? Don’t you just wanna rush out at get your copy now? Read about this trio who an’t afraid of the world or to speak their minds. I tell ya, you will not want to put it down. Believe it or not my good lady wife
Kinda busy now Frank
An’t she a Wow folks? ( that’s the way Francine- the ol’ chiggin’ routine gets them every time)……Anyway like I was sayin’ me an’ the missus we got so wound up in reading these adventures we didn’t watch TV, not for two whole nights! Can ya believe that Ladies an’ Gentlemen?…..Not just ONE, but TWO whole nights, I tell ya it’s that kinda book. I could go on longer, but I tell ya folks…..I gotta go back and read it ALL over again…And anyway who wants to hear some old guy go on…..So I’m gonna hand the whole show over to our lovely, our amazing, our bundle of energy……our wunnderful daughter Spark of Fire…..
WHeeeeeeHEEEEEEEE! I wanna thank ya Dad lots an’ lots but I gotta tell the folk here about this superb book! Can you hear me out there? Show me your hands! I wanna see you hands! Lemme see those hands!… Alright-alright-alright. I gotta ask you folk. Do you wanna be predictable….NO ‘course you don’t. You wannna be seen doin’ the same-old-same-old other folk do?…NO! Like how many folk have read that Game of Thrones stuff…More to the point…Do I care?…Like…..NO!!….Listen here…I downloaded copy of ‘Of Patchwork Warriors’ and read the tome in public!…Why??? Because i wanted to show folk I had brain cells up here and individual working brain cells! Yeah folks, you all read critics reviews’, on the web, in the papers, professional or wannaebees and like they all about wanting there to be sadness and tragedy and bad folk getting the upper hand. Well I say I’ve had my fill of that! I want to see the little folk taking up the load, doing what has to be done and getting a goodness out of it, without my intelligence or integrity insulted! Right ladies? I mean forget all what they say about equality, it an’t there, but it is here. And men? Well if you got a real pair, then you aren’t worried about girls being your equals. Right? Come on guys prove me right. A man is a man who accepts women as equals… Right?
That’s what I’m talking about folks. And that’s what this book is all about. It’s empowerment people. Empowerment for girls to show they can take the weight. Empowerment for men to say ‘Sister. I salute you! Rock on!…..Yeah rock on!
And folks, in this book, the message is. It doesn’t matter who you are, how you were raised, what blood you come from, and who catches you eye, or your heart. It’s all about being, striving…attaining and achieving!
She’s Straight Fire man!
And if anybody asked me ‘Hey Jillian. What you reading there?’ I’d raise up my hand and say ‘Sorry. I just have to see how this chapter ends. Then if you are lucky I’ll be able to haul myself away,’ And they’d say ‘Gosh Jillian it can’t be that good!’ and ‘I’d say. Your loss’ and just carry on reading!…Yeah I do! I do!!
And right now what I just have to say is….. I want to see your phones out there. I wanna see the Kindle App!!. I wanna see you downloading the book!!! And if your signal is bad right now, or you need to recharge your mobile soon, then I wanna read about your download on social media. I want you go out there and do it now! Do it! Do it!
………………………………………………………….O-M-G!!! I must download! NOW!!!
Meanwhile… a little later…
Be honest. Do you think it was wise to sign that marketing over?
Oh my Lord. What have I done? ……….. I feel your mortification