Musings

A-Z of Blogging…

I’ve stolen this idea from the wonderful Clare Dugmore. I’ve realised that I don’t utilise this blog anywhere near as much as I should, so a month of daily blog posts should help, right?

I’ve completely stolen her theme for this month, which is Romance. Should be easy… yeah, somehow I doubt it will be. But, I’m willing to give it a go.

Here’s the full schedule, with some letters still to be confirmed.

Saturday April 1: A is for Attraction
Monday April 3: B is for Best Friends
Tuesday April 4: C is for Crushes
Wednesday April 5: D is for Dates
Thursday April 6: E is for Exes
Friday April 7: F is for Flirting
Saturday April 8: G is for TBC

Monday April 10: H is for Happy Ever Afters
Tuesday April 11: I is for TBC
Wednesday April 12: J is for TBC
Thursday April 13: K is for Kisses
Friday April 14: L is for LGBT+
Saturday April 15: M is for Marriage

Monday April 17: N is for Nicknames
Tuesday April 18: O is for One True Pairings (OTPs)
Wednesday April 19: P is for TBC
Thursday April 20: Q is for Quotes
Friday April 21: R is for Relationships
Saturday April 22: S is for Sex

Monday April 24: T is for TBC
Tuesday April 25: U is for TBC
Wednesday April 26: V is for Valentine’s Day
Thursday April 27: W is for Weddings
Friday April 28: X is for TBC
Saturday April 29: Y is for TBC
Monday April 30: Z is for TBC

I hope I can pull it off and get one post a day done…

To Camp or Not To Camp?

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Every time I sign up for NaNo, I fail spectacularly (last November was the best word count I ever managed at just over 42k)

So… do I sign up for Camp next month? I would get to set my own target word count (which is great), and I have plenty of projects I can attempt to finish off – maybe even more than one could be completed.

I wasn’t originally going to sign up because of the Chester Signing next month, but sadly, I have had to withdraw from attending because of Childcare issues (urgh), so I would have the time to write, and it may kickstart the motivation that has been seriously lacking so far this year. Honestly, every time I sit down to write, I find something else to do and the word doc gets closed without me adding anything to it.

It’s getting ridiculous and frustrating and I’m getting angry at myself more than anything. I have multiple projects that need to be finished this year. I’m currently writing a charity piece (minimum 15k word count) which will be in an anthology to raise money for Clusterbusters. While Girls and Boys is complete, editing will be starting soon (ick) and I still need to finish Andy’s accompanying novella. This will be titled A Wicked Game and is about 9k so far. I’m aiming for it to be at least 35-40k (more would be great).

Next month, I am releasing The Exchange Series: The Complete Collection in both ebook and paperback.

So, with all that, I can’t afford to have no motivation right now. So, yeah. Just going to sign up for next month’s Camp…

 

Shhhh… It’s a Secret, Apparently.

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If you’re a reader who is active on Facebook, Twitter, any social media, you’ll know that there are literally hundreds of authors (both indie and trad) trying to get you to buy their books. We post in FB groups, on our author pages, well thought out tweets, Tumblr posts, Thunderclap campaigns etc… the list goes on and on. The hardest part of this is to know what is actually working and what is potentially turning readers away.

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As a reader, someone who buys books and then talks about them on my review blog, there are a lot of things that other authors do that will instantly blacklist them.

  • Instant DMs on Twitter when I follow you telling me to check out your FB, Blog, Amazon page… nope. If you have an auto message bot set up on your account telling me about your product, then I will unfollow and never buy your books. Take the time to interact with your readers, gauge them as a person, not a consumer.
  • Inviting me to ‘like’ you author page the moment I accept your friend request. See above.
  • Spamming FB groups – this is a fine line. I, along with a lot of other authors, utilise FB promotional groups. That’s what they are there for. Every 3-4 days, I pick a book, write up a snazzy promo post (Or pick a pre written one – judge me) and I will post in around 25 groups that I’m a member of. Yes, this is spamming… however, I limit how often I do this. There is nothing worse than seeing the same authors doing what I do, either every single day, or even multiple times per day (I have seen it done twice a day). I get you have a lot of books you wish to promote, but after a while readers will start to hide your posts.
  • Authors with poorly written and mispelled social media posts. This is a bone of contention for me. Yes, I make mistakes and mispell my words all the dam time, especially when I post using my phone (fat finger syndrome), yet I will then go back and edit that post. More often than not, I am seeing authors mispelling simple words, using the wrong word, and even worse – using the wrong homophone in their post. I’m in no way a self proclaimed ‘grammar nazi’, but if you don’t know the difference between your and you’re, there, their, and they’re or to, two, and too, then why should I pay for you book? – That sounds extremely condescending, I know. But it’s a pet peeve.

There are the main things that bug me as a reader, and as a reader I wonder if these forms of marketing actually work.

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As mentioned above, I use Facebook promotion groups a couple times a week. I have noticed that on occasion, after I’m done ‘spamming’, I can get 2-3 sales. But, when I post these promotional posts in the groups, I also post them onto Tumblr, Google+, and on my FB Author page (which then tweets it for me), so in honesty, I can’t say for definite that the sale has come from FB.

I haven’t tried paid ads through Facebook as yet, but I have seen mixed reviews from friends. Admittedly, these sponsored posts get seen a hell of a lot more, by more people, but does that equal a boost in sales? I don’t know and it will be something I investigate further eventually.

I’ve also used a promotions company to host blog tours for new releases, and again, while that gets my books visible, it doesn’t also equate sales.

Social media as a whole is a great tool for advertising, but to get that post, tweet, or anything seen, you either have to pay for it or have a gazillion followers to share it. I’m lucky in a way, I have a few good friends who will share or retweet something when I post it and I appreciate that more than I can express, but again. Does visibility equal sales?

This brings me to Thunderclap campaigns.

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If you don’t know what these are, in very simple layman’s terms, it’s a bit like a kickstarter campaign without the money. Basically, an author (in this instance) sets up a campain to release on ‘x’ date. They need a certain amount of supporters for it to go live on that date. If they get the required amount, the message is posted on Facebook, twitter, and Tumblr. If they don’t reach the required amount, nothing is posted.

Now, I have used Thunderclap on three different occasions and I can honestly say that while I have reached the required amount of supporters, I can’t say for definite that they have helped with my sales.

This is the problem I and many other (indie especially) authors are facing. It seems like there is a secret strategy to boost sales, yet no one knows exactly what that strategy is. Other than word of mouth, none of these seemingly proactive advertising strategies seem to work (for me at least).

It often feels like that although we all do the same thing, what works for one, doesn’t work for others… it’s like a state secret or something, and I know I would LOVE to crack it wide open.

I’d love to hear if any of these have worked for you or not, or if you have any other ideas for advertising that don’t break the bank. Ones that don’t equate to me begging for you, the reader, to buy my book or I’ll not be able to buy my dog a new tennis ball, or those that piss potential readers off before they’ve even picked up one of my books.

 

A Quick Update

Hi all,

I thought I’d write this post to keep you updated on what’s going on in my crazy life (I post on Facebook, but it’s bitty and can be all over the place)

Firstly, I have set up a form for you to subscribe to a newsletter I am working on sending out no more than once a month. If you’re interested in receiving the newsletter, click on the quill in the top right corner of this blog. (Just in case you’re not at a laptop or a PC, HERE’S the link.) I’m aiming for the first to be compiled and sent out after the signing next month (Liverpool, UK, 18/19 March 2016). Check out the events page for more details on this – I hope to see you there. – I am trying to work out if I can have the newsletter post on here as well as being emailed out. . . if anyone knows how to do this, let me know 🙂

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It Started in Texas –

When I released it, I kept it exclusive to Amazon via KDP Select. I have now decided that once that expires, i will be uploading it to other platforms including Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks. This should happen within the next two weeks, and once I have links, I will be sharing them over on Facebook and on the Books page of this blog.

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Valentine’s Day Anthology –

As you know, I have co authored a short with the wonderful L. J. Harris for a charity anthology which will be released on Valentine’s Day (4 days to go people!) We have been friends for years, and she is a wonderful Aussie author. This is her first foray into publishing a M/F book – not the last might I add – and she is just fantastic. have you pre ordered yet? If not, why not?

Get your copy NOW for only 0.99. All the royalties will be going to a wonderful charity based here in the UK. The British heart Foundation which strives to help people prevent heart disease which is one of the biggest killers in the UK.

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Gage’s POV –

If you follow me over on Facebook, you’ll be aware that I have been working on an accompanying novella to Texas. I can officially announce that the title is . . . Looking Back from L.A.

It’s not a complete retell of the original story from Gage’s POV (I HATE those), but there will be some overlap, but mostly, it’s Gage’s thoughts on some of the more important aspects of his and Charlotte’s relationship, with a few extra bits added in.

I finished the first draft today and sent that over to the amazing R. E. Hargrave for editing. I’m hoping it’ll only need a polish *fingers crossed* and then I can get to formatting it, ready for the pre order to go live.

This will be happening around the time of the Liverpool signing (hopefully), and I am planning on the book itself to go live at the end of March – across multiple platforms straight away.

I am starting to gather information for anyone who would be interested in receiving an ARC copy. If you would like one, please fill out this FORM.

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Other than these news updates, I have a few more projects planned for this year, some larger than others, that I will keep you updated about as much as I can. I really want to get more, quality releases out for you all.

Now for the cheeky bit.

If you have read any of my books, please consider posting a review either on Goodreads and/or Amazon (it doesn’t have to be essay length and in depth). Good or bad reviews count. I know I’ve said it before, but reviews of all ratings give authors the feedback they need to be continually improving. If readers don’t let us know if they like/dislike something, we don’t know how to get better. At the end of the day, we write for our readers, and we want to always improve to impress. We can’t do this if you don’t review.

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That’s everything from me. If you have any burning questions, don’t hesitate to message me on my Facebook page or via email to mbfeeneyauthor@gmail.

Writing Prompts

I’m a visual person, and photography is one place I get my inspiration from. When I get ‘blocked’ or unmotivated to write, I go looking for photographs that will hopefully kick start my muse.

So, I thought I’d share some with you in the hopes it’ll ignite that little spark in you…

All pictures were found over on this Tumblr account, and have been fully credited to where they were found.

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As you can see, it’s a wide range of images, which is great. Hopefully something will spark me or someone else.

Looking Back . . .

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When I first decided to rework It Started in Texas, I honestly expected it to take forever. It was going to be a side project that I would dip in to as and when I wanted as I worked on the next in The Exchange Series (which HAS been started for those of you who want to know); but when I opened the prologue, I fell in love with the characters all over again.

Gage and Charlotte – along with their crazy family and friends – have captured my heart again in the best way possible. While I’m sad that I’ve put other projects to one side while I concentrate on this book, I’m excited to get this as polished as it possibly can be.

I want this book to do well. I want all my books to do well, but Texas has a very special place in my heart, and I really don’t want it to get overlooked. Not many people know the origins of this book, and while they’re in the past, they are a driving force behind my working so hard on it.

I have some little surprises up my sleeve which will be announced when I feel appropriate, and I hope people get excited the way I have revisiting these characters and their journey; to connect with them, particularly Charlotte. She’s just a regular woman trying to find her way in the world when her life is flipped upside down by meeting Gage. I want my readers to think about how they would react in that situation, to relate.

I am currently working through the 2nd draft, looking at feedback from my amazing pre readers. The word count, which at the end of the 1st draft was 86,990, is slowly creeping upwards. It’s highly likely that this book will end up at around 90k – which, if you know me, scares the bejesus outta me 🙂

Once this draft is done, my pre readers will be looking over the manuscript in it’s entirety. While they are doing this, I will be organising the cover reveal and looking for bloggers interested in receiving an ARC copy, so keep an eu.ye on my FB page for the links for these. I’ll also have more of an idea of release dates and when I’ll be putting the book up for pre order on Amazon.

I’ll also be organising a promotional event over on FB which will include a ton of giveaways and author takeovers. I’ve already secured 2 fantastic prizes. It will be during this event that I shall be announcing some great and, to me at least, exciting news about this book and it’s characters…

So, onwards and upwards.

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Second City Signing – The Comedown

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So, last weekend (18 July), I attended my first signing as an author. As a reader, I’d attended signings in shops with a single author before, never anything with multiple authors, so I honestly didn’t know what to expect. This is why I chose this signing as my first. It’s local to where I live, so I could run away if I made a complete tit of myself.

I woke up on Saturday morning panicking that I didn’t have enough swag or books, but it was too late to do anything about it. It’s been a busy and tough year, and I’d done the best I could with time and availability of funds. My assistant for the day, Tori from Lily Loves Indie arrived to pick me up. We loaded my stuff up and set off.

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We arrived at St Andrews, the home of Birmingham City Football Club, a place I had only ever been inside once – many moons ago for BRMB’s party in the park. We unloaded my gear and went inside.

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I’d been seated in the Legends Lounge (That always makes me laugh,for  a legend I am NOT) where I met the brains behind the entire thing, Cassie. She was trembling and a little hyper from nerves. I tried to reassure her it was going to be great, but I may have made it a bit worse. She went off to work with the few volunteers that had arrived early to help set up while I went off to find my table – I was the first author in the room.

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It didn’t take that long to set up my table, so I was done fairly quickly. It gave me the chance to have a walk round, chat to a few other authors, so I had met before such as Keren Hughes and L. A. Cotton, J. A. Heron, and the wonderful S. M. Phillips – whom I refer to as ‘the wife’. Many I hadn’t met before, but had chatted to online throughout the year and was really excited to meet such as Carrie Elks, Sophie Jackson, and J. G. Clay (DUDE!) – this is just a small selection of the authors who were there.

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Soon enough, the doors were open and people flooded in. Now, let me say that for months I have been saying that I didn’t expect many people to stop by my table because I’m not exactly the most well known of authors. A few people came over as they had pre ordered my books or had won a prize from me. I chatted, smiled, and a lot of the time in the first half hour or so, spelled my own bloody name wrong (yep, only me).

I hadn’t thought I was actually that nervous, but I must have been, but everyone I spoke to was lovely and I was soon able to relax. I had a few gaps of time where I didn’t have many people approaching my table, and looking back, I wish I’d used this time to go and catch up with people, but my lovely assistant kept buggering off to do just that (Love you Tori!) So, I didn’t get much chance to get round, which I regret and will make sure doesn’t happen next time.

A lot of people complemented my swag (thank you JC Clarke) and I was shocked at how many people were hesitant at picking it up. I’ll definitely need more next time.

The volunteers were quite frankly brilliant. I have never been asked so much if I was ok, or if I needed anything. Cassie, Kelly and Nicola did pick a great bunch of ladies. And the bingo game was great. It gave the readers the opportunity to approach authors they may never have considered before, get chatting, check out their books, and basically get to know people. Many may not have bought my books, but hopefully, my name will stick in their minds for future reference.

One thing I have come away with is something I want to thank Sally (I think, sorry if I’m wrong) and her daughter for. Up until the event, I hadn’t seriously considered releasing my books in audio book format, but after talking to these lovely ladies, it is definitely something I’ll be looking into in more detail over the next few weeks.

 

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All in all, the event itself was nervewracking and fun. I had no idea what to expect, and it far surpassed anything I could have even thought of. The after party… that was just as great. Dancing, drinking, and having a laugh. What more did we need?

Already, I know what I personally will do different at future signings, and I want to thank Cassie and her fantastic team for putting the event on. When’s the next one?

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