I’ve been doing a bit of thinking these last few days. I know, that’s dangerous right? I mean thinking, it’s bad for the health, it forces us to try and do things a little differently at the end, and that’s not good as it means we have to change right?

Well maybe, but the stuff I’ve been thinking of, well yeah, maybe it’s a little dangerous.

See, the last few days I’ve been running a ‘free’ promotion of my book ‘Sting of the Scorpion’ as every few months KDP allow the books priced in its range five days ‘free of charge’. It means no royalties for me, but hopefully, people like the book so much that they come back and buy others you’ve written.

What’s the result? Well it got about a dozen downloads, not exactly spectacular, least it doesn’t sound so spectacular at first, and that got me thinking “was it worth it?”13419107_1290666714281668_338369810850854355_n

The other day, I got an email from a group that I work with that showed me how many people actually saw my posts, and that made me sit up and take notice.


Total of about fifty saw the post, but this doesn’t include the FB groups I posted in


Maybe around 150 saw the message.

I used to work as a door to door sales person, and one thing I remember from those says was that for every twenty presentations you do, you’ll get maybe three leads that’ll turn into sales, but I’m not talking sales here, I wasn’t selling anything, was I?

Think about this, only maybe a hundred or so actually saw the ads I put out, and out of that hundred, some went and had a look, but about a dozen downloaded the book, it made me think of a saying that Dad used to have ‘Quality always sells itself’ (I’ve linked the post here, so go ahead, read what I wrote)


There’s basically only one thing going on here, those people saw the opportunity and decided to trust me with their time, trusting that the book will keep them entertained enough to want to read it, and I’m sure they’re going to enjoy it, but it does something else, it builds trust.

Have you ever seen an advert for Rolls Royce? Or what about Ferrari or Aston Martin?

They all sell cars, just like Ford and General Motors, but you never see the adverts! Why is that? Yeah, they appeal to a small market, and they intend to, but come on! You still need to tell people what you sell right?

Unless they already trust you that is!

The people who buy those cars want a car that’ll do what it says, and those companies have taken years to build trust, what they say their cars will do, they do, and probably more besides!

The one thing I realized this week is that everything is built on trust, ‘My word is my bond’ as the old business saying goes, and for us writers, the same has to be true.

I’ve also come across the idea recently that when a writer ‘signs’ with a regular publishing company it’s the publisher that takes the risk, but the truth is, they don’t really, see the reason I say that is they’ve taken years to build up their list of outlets and people who buy their books, they know that they can sell ‘X’ amount of books in specific genres, and that’s how they target the books, they take very little risk because they’ve built up trust over the time they’ve been in business.

Incidentally, 85% of new businesses fail because they don’t build enough trust to make things ‘viable’, they fail within the first three years before they’ve had the time to build that trust.

What are you getting at? I can hear the question whirring round in your head! Well, what I’m getting at is we succeed when we take the time to build up trust, and that’s done by getting involved in groups, making our presence known, showing that we’re reliable and produce good quality writing on a regular basis.

Okay, so how are we doing in that area? It’s early days, but things are going good so far I would say, how about you?

By the way, take a look at the book, even though the deal’s now finished, it’s still a steal at 99c ‘Sting of the Scorpion’

Meanwhile, I’ll keep building on the trust I’ve already gained.



When Amazon disagrees

Guess what? Amazon and I have a bit of a disagreement going on! Something that I was a bit surprised about, but that’s what’s happening at the moment.

It’s not a major ‘earth-shattering’ thing, and I’m not likely to get booted off the site, but it’s regarding something I asked them to do, and they got back to me saying “Not enough evidence to warrant us doing it!”

See, I’ve got two novels out through CreateSpace and Kindle. To me, they’re the first two books in a series, they’re ‘standalone’ books as well, but they also follow a team of Special Forces as they deal with a situation, but Amazon said that I hadn’t put enough into the books to make it obvious they were a series!


I know what they were getting at, that at the beginning of the book they wanted me to ‘list’ the books and put links in there to the next in the series, but at the moment I haven’t done that, maybe I will or maybe not, I haven’t decided as yet.

One thing I did do this morning was I took a look at my previous sales on Kindle, it was quite interesting, see I’m thinking of running a ‘Kindle Countdown’ sale later in the month, but the last two times I ran one I didn’t sell a book! I sold in the month before and after, but not during the countdown sale! Not sure what to make of that really.

By the way, I’m running a ‘free giveaway’ at the moment, click on the link and see what it is, it’s only running for the next five days, then it’ll be back to the regular price.

Regarding the rest of the Marketing, well I’ve got the books listed on a couple more sites, one of the books even got a five-star rating on Goodreads, that I was impressed and really happy with.

Anyway, that’s all for now.

Bye for now


‘Self publishing’ or self Marketing?

One thing they never tell you when you start this ‘self-publishing’ thing is that you also need to be a ‘self-marketer’ and boy, can it be a big learning experience!


Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying every step of it, and so far it’s not half as ‘scary’ as I thought it might be, it’s a lot of work, but the things you learn along the way, the people you meet, they’re amazing.

Last week we started this journey with a look at some of the things that I’d already done, that didn’t take long as there wasn’t that much. But quality does sell itself and after two years on Amazon, they’d sold a few, though it wasn’t much more than a trickle.

Actually, as I thought about it, the fact is that most of us want to do a bit of marketing and hope that it turns into a huge flood right?

Guess what, ever taken a look at any of the rivers here on this wonderful planet of ours?

I remember as a kid being fascinated by the story of David Livingstone and his journeys, his quest to ‘find the source of the Nile’

Guess what, it doesn’t have one source, or even two, it has literally hundreds, all tiny streams that flow into the slightly bigger streams, and then into the small rivers, then the bigger rivers, and finally into the huge torrents that we know as the ‘White Nile’ or ‘Blue Nile’, not to mention the other bits that flow into ‘Lake Victoria’

Guess what, good marketing is like that! Take a look at any product on the market, they’re in literally thousands of shops and stores.

This week I started to look at marketing my books on the Market, and the results haven’t been totally what I expected.

See, no books sold, not so far, but there were extra visits to the Team’s facebook fan page

Here’s the fan page

So, that’s a boon right?

And it gave me some pretty good ideas.

One thing that I did was list the book for a paid advert on a site called Awesome Gang, here’s the link to the site

Awesome Gang, ‘Sting of the Scorpion’

But that gave me an idea, see the first one I listed was a ‘paid’ advert. but there’s also a ‘free option, granted it doesn’t get you ‘featured’ on their site, but it does get you listed.

I wondered if there were any other sites that you can list for free.

There are more than a few, but for the sake of being brief, I’ll talk about the ones I went ahead and did something with.


Just go over to my page on Goodreads, I’ve got my two books listed there, along with other books I recommend reading.

And another I signed up for, and listed the books on, though they aren’t showing up yet is

Pretty hot books

So, I’ve been pretty busy in that area, and I hope that it gives any other authors struggling with ‘getting the word out’ ideas on how they can make inroads in making their books known. By the way, one thing I discovered is that my book ‘Sting of the Scorpion’ actually had five-star ratings from readers (okay a reader) on Goodreads, and it wasn’t one I put there! So that goes to show, quality does sell itself, but sometimes it appreciates a ‘little help from my friends’

Bye for now.





“Quality always sells itself?”

So, the book’s on Amazon, you’re all poised for the big time, now the question is how to ‘break in’ to the big time?

I was watching a YouTube interview a few weeks ago from an author who just knew she had a book that would sell millions, if she could just get someone to publish it that is!

Eleven publishers rejected the manuscript, but she kept plugging away, and eventually, one small publishing house took it on, and seven years and seven books later that writer was a Billionaire whose books were found on every child’s bookshelf, or if not on the shelf they were on the ‘wish list’

An inspiring story, but what about those of us who’ve taken the gamble and cut the ‘middle man’ publisher out?



I got my book onto Amazon, and truth was, I’ve had no idea what to do next! My sole ‘marketing plan’ was just put the books on Facebook and sell directly to people, I didn’t really expect to sell that much.

Actually, I kind of hoped that someone would stumble across the books and things would go from there!

In one sense, that’s what happened when I got asked if I’d enter the second novel into the Ngaio Marsh 2018 crime writers awards. Yes someone did ‘discover’ the book, but it wasn’t because of any kind of marketing I did.

Quality always sells itself!

Dad was a Coal merchant when I was growing up, going from door to door in the North of England selling bags of coal to the general public, most people had coal fires back then, but one thing that used to surprise me was I don’t think I ever remember him advertising his business!

Forty years he was in business, and not once did he ever put an ad in the paper, or on the radio, or anything like that!

I once asked him “Dad, why don’t you advertise?” thinking that even though he was always busy, it would bring more business in, that had to be good right?

I’ll never forget his reply, “Quality always sells itself”

Dad knew that if you were selling the best product, then once the word got out, people would come to you for your product, and forty years in business showed there was some truth in those words.

But how to get the word out?

That’s why Amazon relies on the system they do, they rely on people reviewing the books they sell, and they’re pretty fierce on enforcing the policy of making sure any ‘reviews’ are obtained fairly.

Hey, I never said I’d give you the answers on how to, I said this was a journey we’d undertake together, and so far this is what I’ve done, judge for yourself if I’ve done it right, it’s about us working these things out together.

When I published I basically had no idea what or how to get any reviews, and all I got was ‘post on facebook’ and the like.

Well, I did, I joined Facebook groups, and I’ve learned a lot from them, but mostly all I got when I posted stuff for sale was ‘Likes’ which were nice, but they don’t pay the bills.

But Quality does sell itself. See, I got some books that I sold ‘face to face’ and guess what, people started asking “When’s book two coming out?” and when it did, they were asking about book three, so I guess Dad might have been right.

But here’s a guy who’s helping me on the way

Meet one of my Mentors Dave Chesson

Dave doesn’t know I’ve put the link there, but he wouldn’t mind anyway.

One thing I did a few days ago (and it blew me away) was I went onto my Kindle page and took a look at the history of my books since the day they were published, and I discovered they have been selling, but tiny amounts!

See, quality does sell itself, and that’s what they’ve been doing, but how to get the word out, Facebook got me known a little around the ‘indie’ world, but mainly only ‘likes’ when I put stuff up for sale.

However I did learn some great things from Facebook, and I’ll be using them when I ‘ramp up’ the selling in the bookshops!

One thing I have learned, is I need to ‘target’ whom I’m going to approach to market the books to, but that’s for another post.

If you want an idea which Fb groups work, then leave a comment.

By the way, the ‘book’ I talked about at the beginning was ‘Harry Potter and the Philosophers stone’ and the writer, JK Rowling, need I say more!

My Book’s on Amazon, now what?

“You’ve done the hard yards, you’ve written the book” you’ve heard, or read the ‘spiel’ usually followed by, “now all you have to do is follow my ‘xyz’ plan and you’ll make a bundle of cash”

Ever come across those lines? I have, and usually, they just don’t sound right!

Over at my regular job, we’ve got a poster on the wall that says ‘if your brain is saying “is that safe“, it probably isn’t’

I’m going to say that it’s probably true of those sites as well, it probably is too good to be true!

Okay, so the book’s on Amazon, now what?

Well, sorry to disappoint, but if you’re looking for a ‘quick fix’ and a ‘how to’ article then you need to go find one somewhere else, I don’t have what you need.

But if you want, you can join me on a journey, one where we might just find the answers together.

See, a few weeks ago, I got the opportunity to do something I thought was totally out of my reach as an author, I got the chance to do a ‘book promotion’ in a local library, and it was ‘bloody awesome’ (remember, I’m English, not well practiced in the art of understatement!).

What happened was a few months back, I’d just posted my second novel on Amazon, and a guy was looking up ‘New Zealand crime’ when Amazon nicely told him of my novel, set in NZ (and I live here) so he asked me if I’d consider putting it into the Ngaio Marsh competition, which I did, and hey presto, it’s actually doing pretty well, they asked me if I’d like to take part in the event in the library and I pretty much snapped their hands off!

That showed me that actually, it’s not just me that thinks my novels are good, and not just friends ‘being nice’ but they really are good, and worth the effort learning how to market them, then came the big surprise.

Yesterday, when I was thinking about this post, and thinking whether I’d have the guts to write it, I did a check on Kindle (both books are available on Kindle) and bearing in mind I’ve done nothing apart from the occasional Facebook post, the two books have sold about seventy copies of the ebooks, and been read in the Kindle Unlimited!

My first book, “Sting of the Scorpion”

Okay, they’re not screaming to the top of the bestsellers lists, but if they’re doing that with no marketing, what can they do if I take the time to learn how to do it properly?

That’s what I’m offering here, a chance to sit back and enjoy the journey, possibly learn from my journey as we set about learning how to market books on next to no money, we make mistakes, we make sales, and we build a platform for marketing books.

The second one that got entered in the competition “Scorpion’s Reach”

Take a look at them, by the way, they’re both on Kindle Unlimited so you can read them there for free.

Join me next week as we begin the journey.

Strange things these be!

It’s true if you stop and think about it, someone who takes the time to help on the way, that’s what a ‘Mentor’ is or are they?

Think about the great movies, and the role that the ‘Mentor’ plays in them, I’m thinking of Yoda in Star Wars, Obi-Wan Kenobi (or Old Ben Kenobi as we’re introduced to him in the very first movie made, ‘Star Wars, a new hope’) or Mr Kiysaki in ‘The Karate Kid’ and you get some ‘old guy’ (or in Yoda’s case a very old Alien) showing up to help out a young and pretty inexperienced kid get out of a huge jam they’re in, is that a pretty accurate picture?

But things aren’t always that way with the real one, see, we all use ‘mentors’ in some way or form, the fact is, most of the time we just don’t know we’re using them!



(A Very good life Mentor)

“What is a Mentor?”

Ever asked that question?

They’re sort of guides, guides for life in general, and also they can be guides for specific things.

Ever asked a buddy how you do something? Like how you fix the damn car that won’t start, or could they show you how to cook up that amazing breakfast you just had?

They roll up their sleeves, and away you go, learning what you just asked about, then a few weeks later, they’re asking how you’re going with the ‘new skill’  checking in, seeing what the progress is like, they’re not much further ahead in that skill than you are, but guess what, you’re both learning, and ‘mentoring’

Just recently I’ve taken on a mentor for marketing my books, he doesn’t know it as I’m using a website, but it’s there, and every few days I check into the site to learn a new skill or set something up, but each step is mentored as each step I get clear instructions on what to do and what not to do. I leave feedback at times on what works and what doesn’t, that way we both learn, and we both grow from the process.

So what about you? Are you using a ‘Mentor’?

By the way, they don’t have to be Human, or alive to be a mentor, they can also be a book, take a look at one of my biggest mentors above.

Leave a thought.

via Daily Prompt: Mentor

Words not to listen to

Does that sound a strange title? It does to me! but you know something, just as it’s important to listen to certain things, there are also times when it’s really best not to listen!

Okay, that doesn’t mean that when the wife or partner is wanting your attention that it’s okay to ‘turn off’, that’s not what I mean, and it’s 100% sure a time to actually listen, but there are times when we really shouldn’t listen.

“You’re so useless”

Ever hear those words? I did at times, I didn’t listen then, and as sure as hell I’m not going to now! but how many of us did take them ‘onboard’ without intending to?

“You’ll never make it!”

I heard that a lot, in a number of ways, there were times when I listened, and times when I said: “Screw you, I’m going to make it!”

Earlier today I was listening to a podcast by an ex-Navy SEAL, who also happened to be an Admiral, so maybe he knows what he’s talking about. One thing he said was that SEALS when they do their training. They go through a week called “Hell week” where they have to do long-distance swimming.


In that week the instructors take great delight in telling them about the sharks they’re going to have to face in the water, and they tell them the only way through is to face the shark, and don’t back down, if he comes too close, then punch him right on the nose, he’ll move off, because you aren’t the easy prey he wants!

The sharks of this world are looking for ‘easy prey’ so stand firm, punch them in the nose and say ‘Screw you, I am going to make it!”

And let’s change our world for the better by getting rid of the ‘sharks’ or at least our fear of them.

They say, “If you want to change the world, then judge a person by the size of his heart, not the size of his flippers”

What about you? are you going to ‘make it’?

Darn right you are! Just keep pushing on, and give the ‘sharks’ the occasional ‘black eye’

Think on that one.

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Breaking the mold

I just read a comment that sparked a thought, something I was struggling with as I tried to think about what to write as a post this morning, and I was pretty stunned by the simplicity of the thought.

The thought was pretty basic really. The guy was Hal Elrond, and at the beginning of his book, ‘Miracle morning’

(Just want to say hello)

He said that when we were little we were pretty much told we ‘could be anyone, or anything we wanted’

My first thought was ‘he obviously didn’t grow up where I did’! For us, life was set out before we came along.

Born, school, factory (or office) marriage, kids, retirement and ‘final curtain’ (as ole blue eyes once sang) was our path, or that’s what I was told.

Then I realised something, see I ‘broke the mold’ and I did it without realising!

You see, I’ve always been one who sorts out what I can achieve, then pushes one step beyond, and if I think that steps coming too easy, then I re-sight and aim further out!

Has it worked, well it got me a diploma from one of the most prestigious universities in the world (Cambridge university) and the equivalent of a degree from Sheffiels university just for starters, so does it work? Yeah, I can vouch it does, but it takes work, and time, by the way, I highly recommend that book I mentioned earlier.

Bye for now

Leave a comment.


Busy Lives

Busy lives.

We all lead them right? Up early, out the door, sometimes struggling to even get breakfast in. ‘Noses to the grind’ as it were, just not enough time in the day!

I’ve got to admit, there have been days when I seriously thought of asking the Good Lord why he didn’t make an extra hour in the day or an extra day in the week, but it appears he knows better than me, and he knows if he did, I’d fill it, probably with more ‘junk’ and within weeks I’d be back to where I was before, full day, not satisfied with the amount done, and pushing the limits. That sound familiar?

Well, I’ve got some good news for you, God’s not gonna listen to that request for ‘more time in the day’

But he might listen to someone saying “Lord, help me get the most out of today, and help me be satisfied with what I do get done”

What do you think? Is that a good idea?


The last few days, I’ve been reading a few posts by writers who’ve passed some significant ‘milestones’ in their journey as people and writers. It’s caused me to stop and think about some of the ‘milestones’ along the way.


Back ‘in the day’ a milestone was just that, a stone put at the side of a road that marked the distance between two cities. Simple, but they showed how far you’d travelled, and how far was left to go.


But here’s a thought we often forget, someone has to walk the road between the two so as to record the distance, literally to ‘mark’ out the milestones for others to follow. We often call those people ‘EXPLORERS’ or ‘PIONEERS’ or at least we call the first few to do it that.


But did you know, every few months or years someone walks those roads? Measuring wheel in hand they set off and measure out the route again, see the earth’s crust is constantly moving, and they have to, so that we know exactly how far it is to our destination! Here’s the thing, satellites can do it as well, but it takes someone actually ‘doing the hard yards’ to check they get it right!


Okay, where am I going with this? Well, I will pass a milestone in a couple of weeks, actually it’ll be two. One says I’ve been with the bus company five years, and am one of the ‘senior drivers’ and the other says it’s a year since my first book was published. Am I on course for where I want to be? From the signs others have left the answer is yes, but there are changes ahead.

Here’s the ‘Milestone’ I’m talking about

Some of those changes might take me into ‘unchartered territory’ so, I guess I better get ready with some milestones, so as others can see the way