Second Chance: New edit, new description!

It has been eight months since Second Chance was published and I have been bowled over by the response. Like many first time authors I had no idea what to expect. I was – and sometimes still am – expecting to be called out as a fraud, yet to date Second Chance has received 32 reviews on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk, the majority being four or five stars.

But despite all the work that went into getting Second Chance ready for publication, I knew there was room for improvement.

So Second Chance has undergone another round of  professional line-editing to further tighten the text, remove any errors and get it into the best shape possible. I even made a couple of very minor changes to help clarify a couple of areas ready for the launch of its sequel towards the end of this year. The new version of Second Chance is already available through Amazon and those who have already bought the book receive the new version free of charge in the next couple of weeks via the Kindle auto-update function.

At the same time I have created a new description – or blurb as they call it in the trade.

“Political intrigue, neuroscience, a missing-persons investigation – this well-written novel has it all.” Carrie Rubin, author of The Seneca Scourge

One crime, four people and a secret that could shake the world to its foundations.

Four lives become linked by a student’s disappearance: a politician looking to put integrity back into politics, an investigator hoping to atone for past mistakes, a data cleanser searching for a better life while haunted by his past and a re-life technician creating new lives for old souls.

But it soon becomes clear this is no ordinary case, and in the pursuit of the truth, long-held secrets are at risk of being revealed.

Set in the near future where everybody is connected and death isn’t final, this is the story of how far those in power will go to retain control, and the true price to pay for a Second Chance.

 

I believe the new description has more punch than the old one but what do you think? If you have read Second Chance, does the new description reflect the book? For those who haven’t read Second Chance, does the description make you want to find out more?

To buy Second Chance from Amazon.co.uk click here

To buy Second Chance from Amazon.com click here

 

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Recommended Reads – Dark as Night by Mark T. Conard

darkasNight

If you like your crime fiction dark, brutal and gritty; then this is the book for you. Dark as Night follows the story of Morris, a young man dying to make his way as an up-market chef having escaped a troubled past. But when his brother, Vince, is released from prison, Morris finds himself dragged back into a world he’d thought he had left behind. And what a world it is. There is no glamour here, no elevation of criminals as heroes. Cornard ensures each and every page is tainted by the grim, seedy reality of what I imagine life in the criminal underworld of south Philly is really like. This is less like Goodfellas and more like The Wire.

This is not a book for the feint-hearted. Many of the characters are deeply unpleasant. This is a world where violence, greed and mysogyny are rife, and while very few characters come across sympathetically, it is clear that these people are a product of the world they inhabit and the choices they’ve made. But don’t think the book is all bleak. Despite his flaws, in Morris you have somebody trying to do the best in a bad situation, and you can’t help but be drawn into the his story to find out whether he succeeds, or not. Recommended.

To buy Dark as Night from Amazon.co.uk click here.

To buy Dark as Night from Amazon.com click here.

 

Recommended reads are independently published books that I have bought and enjoyed. They are part of a commitment to ‘pay it forward’ to other independent authors by buying their work and promoting those that I have enjoyed, both here and on Amazon and Goodreads. I don’t accept submissions but instead focus on people who have helped or inspired me through their blogging or who actively support other writers, but I only recommend those books I have personally enjoyed. If you are an independent author I would encourage you to do the same and help pay it forward to the community. For more information please see my blog post here.

Recommended Reads: Riding The Mainspring by Andrew Knighton

riding-the-mainspring-high-resolution

I’ve been following Andrew Knighton’s blog, Andrew Knighton Writes, for a while now. He has been a very supportive blogger, always engaging and interested in what others think. He has particular interest in science fiction, fantasy and his beloved steampunk, but he is one of these people who appears to generally be interested in everything. I felt he was a great candidate for Recommended Reads and I’m very glad I decided to read his first published book.

Riding the Mainspring is an interesting collection of steampunk short stories. In each case, the author has taken a period of history or literary genre and re-imagined it infused with steam- or clockwork-based technologies instead of electricity. Each is a little intellectual exercise of “what if…?’. What if a the best gunslinger was a steam-driven robot? What if Industrial Revolution period Europe was destroyed by volcanoes?

There are 10 stories in all, a couple involving the same characters but most stand-alone, and all entertaining. My favourite two were Urban Drift, just for the setting of a city with ever-moving houses drifting along a network of streets; and Bullets, a tale of intrigue set in a world not dissimilar to that of the Inquisition – a struggle between religion, science and the ruling houses.

It’s clear that Knighton is a talented writer with a fertile imagination. Definitely one to watch. Recommended.

To buy Riding The Mainspring from Amazon.co.uk click here.

To buy Riding The Mainspring from Amazon.com click here.

 

Recommended reads are independently published books that I have bought and enjoyed. They are part of a commitment to ‘pay it forward’ to other independent authors by buying their work and promoting those that I have enjoyed, both here and on Amazon and Goodreads. I don’t accept submissions but instead focus on people who have helped or inspired me through their blogging or who actively support other writers, but I only recommend those books I have personally enjoyed. If you are an independent author I would encourage you to do the same and help pay it forward to the community. For more information please see my blog post here.

Pay It Forward – an update

Pay it forward

It’s been four months since I wrote my original Pay It Forward post. For those unaware, I came to the realisation that I only bought books from traditional publishers and decided it was time to support my fellow self-published authors by buying their books and promoting those that I enjoyed both on this blog and through leaving reviews on Goodreads and Amazon.

Since the original post I’ve bought over 20 books from self-published authors in a wide variety of genres and styles. This sounds like a lot of investment but it only cost me a little more than the equivalent cost of one traditionally published book per month. As with any selection of books there were some that didn’t work for me (although I am sure they would be liked by other readers), but I have been pleasantly surprised by just how many I have enjoyed, including a new-found love for the short story format. The only downside is the number of books sitting on my ever-growing ‘to be read’ list.

Below is a summary of those books I have enjoyed to date, with a links on how to purchase. Please give them a try, you won’t be disappointed. And if you are a self-published author, if you aren’t doing it already, I encourage you to support your fellow authors in a similar way. I think you’ll also be pleasantly surprised.

 

Duck by Stephen Parolini

The cover of the book Duck, showing a picture of a bomb on an orange backgroundDuck is a short story about Thomas Lingonberry, a young boy growing up in 1950’s USA who’s life changes when a bomb lands on his desk. We follow Thomas on his journey of  love and discovery, as the fallout from that day resonates through. It is a wonderful and warmly written coming-of-age tale. Stephen Parolini draws you into a world which while alien to someone of my age and nationality was also strangely familiar. He brings to life beautifully the memory of young love and my only complaint was that it ended. Highly recommended.

You can buy Duck from Amazon.co.uk here and from Amazon.com here.

 

 

The Prying Game by David Palin

resource

If you found an old post-it note in a bush with a telephone number on it, would you call it? That’s the opening premise of The Prying Game, a wonderfully written novella by David Palin. It’s dark, erotic psychological thriller that twists and turns in unexpected ways. If you are looking for an intelligent page-turner with genuine surprises then this is the book for you.

You can by The Prying Game from Amazon.co.uk here and from Amazon.com here.

 

 

 The Seneca Scourge by Carrie Rubin

Seneca Scourge

The Seneca Scourge is a great, fast-paced medical thriller, with a twist. The heroine, Dr Sydney McKnight, is asked to work with the eccentric Dr Casper Jones to fight what looks to be an deadly outbreak of a previously benign form of influenza. As the situation deteriorates, the behaviour of her partner raises different, more serious concerns.

I really enjoyed this book. It was a well written, easy read with characters you believed in and a plot that kept you guessing to the last. I was concerned to start off with with the amount of medical terminology but I needn’t have been; Rubin explained things in a way that any layman could understand. There is a point halfway through the book where the story takes a very different turn from the usual medical thriller but I urge you to go with it, because you will be well rewarded. Highly recommended.

You can buy the Seneca Scourge from Amazon.com here and from Amazon.co.uk here.

 

 Ravens Gathering by Graeme Cumming

Ravens Gathering

I really enjoyed Ravens Gathering. Graeme Cumming captures perfectly life in a close-nit hamlet. When one of their own returns, strange things start to happen and it is the newcomer and outsiders that shoulder the blame, at least at first.

From the insular outlook, mistrust of outsiders and the ongoing friction between locals; everything has an air of authenticity about it. History weighs heavily on all, and it’s only during the second half of the book that you truly begin to understand why.

While the writing style is straightforward, Cumming likes to play tricks on his readers, meaning passages you thought you understood are revealed to have a different meaning later on. If, like me, you enjoy piecing a story together as you read and having your initial expectations confounded, you’ll enjoy Ravens Gathering.

You can buy the Ravens Gathering from Amazon.com here and from Amazon.co.uk here.

 

Moondust Memories by Vaughn Stanger

Moondust Memories

This is a great collection of speculative fiction short stories. Stanger shows his breadth of range, moving from alternate history to pure science fiction whilst keeping us entertained with a range of interesting, well-rounded characters and scenarios. Whether writing about an alternate version of Mallory’s tragic attempt on Everest, alien first contact or the all to real possible ending had the cuban missile crisis ended differently; Stanger brings warmth and humanity to each story, allowing us to view the various what ifs and possibilities at a very personal level.

The tell-tale sign of great speculative fiction is that you are still thinking about it days after you finish reading. This has been the case for me with Moondust Memories. Highly recommended.

You can buy the Moondust Memories from Amazon.com here and from Amazon.co.uk here.

 

Identity Part 1 by Claire Duffy

identity

This wonderfully dark & complex nordic thriller comes with plenty of twists and turns. Don’t be fooled by the “part 1”, this is a self-contained story with a satisfying conclusion. However, if you like your stories to follow a comfortable, predictable path where you know where you are at all times then this book is not for you. The narrative is split between a number of charter’s viewpoints and location. This can be confusing at first because other than a page break there is no indication of you moving from one scene to the next, however don’t be put off. Once you become used to the structure the story unfolds at a rapid pace and you will be rewarded by a gripping tale where your gradually built assumptions are continually pulled out from under you.

The writing style can be a little rough around the edges at times, especially early on, but one of the pleasures I gained while reading the story was to see Duffy’s confidence develop as the book progressed. All in all a really enjoyable mystery and I can’t wait to find out what she has in store for us in part 2. Recommended.

To buy Identity Part 1 from amazon.co.uk click here
To buy Identity Part 1 from amazon.com click here

 

The New Mrs D by Heather Hill

new-mrs-d-cover-design-smaller

It’s safe to say I’m not the target demographic for The new Mrs D but that didn’t stop me from really enjoying the book. In it we follow the eponymous Mrs D. as she embarks on what she thinks is the start of her honeymoon but soon becomes a voyage of self-discovery. While I may not have been able to relate to the main character directly myself, I know a number of people that share some of her characteristics and it didn’t take long to get sucked into her adventures. While reading I smiled a lot, even laughing out loud on occasion.

The book generally has the light touch but Hill isn’t afraid to explore some tougher themes in an open and honest way. For the most part, though, it stays true to its roots – a good, light-hearted comedy. Yes, the plot is heavily signposted at times, there are one or two clichéd characters and the story occasionally strays into the area of cheese, but this is cheese in a good way, like Dirty Dancing or Abba Gold. If you enjoyed Bridget Jones or Shirley Valentine then this is the ideal holiday read for you. Highly recommended.

To buy The New Mrs D from amazon.co.uk click here
To buy The New Mrs D from amazon.com click here

 

Contract of Defiance by Tammy Salyer

salyer_spectra_defiance_ebookedition

Contract of Defiance is a blast from the opening paragraph to the closing page. We follow the story of Aly, a smuggler and ex-military fugitive who becomes separated from her brother and crew on a botched job. She is rescued by a group of hardened settlers and becomes embroiled in a series of adventures that take her further from her goal of rescuing her brother and at the same time raises questions about what really went wrong.

Salyer has created a very believable future where a dominant military forces good people onto the wrong side of the law. While the story contains plenty of action to keep things going, it is the characters that draw you in. In Aly you have a strong, female protagonist who is no caricature. She is flawed, makes mistakes but continues to struggle against what life throws at her in order to save her brother.

As the motivations of the support cast are revealed, you realise what a fantastic job Salyer has done to create an ensemble of characters of real depth while at no point slowing the plot through overuse of back story or exposition. Another thing I really liked about this book was that each act of killing has an impact on the characters involved and isn’t purely there as entertainment. There are consequences for each and every action and Salyer isn’t afraid to show them.

If you like the fantasy of Joe Abercrombie or Glen Cook, or if you are a fan of the film Aliens, you will love this really enjoyable book. Highly recommended.

To buy Contract of Defiance from amazon.co.uk click here
To buy Contract of Defiance from amazon.com click here

Since writing this review I’ve also read the follow up books in the series – Contract of Betrayal and Contract of War – both of which maintain the excellent standard of the first.

 

Othella: Arcadian Heights #1 by Therin Knite

othellasmaller

What a fantastic read. It is 60 years in the future and civilisation is close to collapse. To save the world, hard decisions need to be taken. The best scientists are brought to Arcadian Heights – a purpose-built oasis in this crumbling world – with one goal: to develop technologies to avert disaster. But how far do you go before those trying save humanity end up losing theirs?

The book is written from the point-of-view of three main characters: Quentin – a spokesman for Arcadian Heights, Georgette McClain – a hard-nosed investigative reporter, and Marco Salt; each tied to what is happening in Arcadian Heights for reasons that become clear as the book progresses. The first two-thirds of the book switch not just between the different character’s points of view but also varying timelines, so I would recommend you pay attention. However, this structure worked perfectly to draw me into the world and lives Knite created.

This book works on two levels. On the one hand it is a fast-paced, science-fiction thriller, on the other a treatise on the moral grey area of the good of the whole over the good of the individual. Knite’s writing style is tight, hard-edged and uncompromising; as if Raymond Chandler decided to have a go at re-imagining Hunger Games. I was hooked from first page to the brutal finale.

I’ve read and enjoyed many self-published novels but this is the first one I wish I’d written. I cannot wait for its sequel.

Othella by Therin Knite is available from all major ebook retailers. To buy click here

Recommended Reads: Moondust Memories by Vaughan Stanger

Moondust Memories

This is a great collection of speculative fiction short stories. Stanger shows his breadth of range, moving from alternate history to pure science fiction whilst keeping us entertained with a range of interesting, well-rounded characters and scenarios. Whether writing about an alternate version of Mallory’s tragic attempt on Everest, alien first contact or the all to real possible ending had the cuban missile crisis ended differently; Stanger brings warmth and humanity to each story, allowing us to view the various what ifs and possibilities at a very personal level.

The tell-tale sign of great speculative fiction is that you are still thinking about it days after you finish reading. This has been the case for me with Moondust Memories. Highly recommended.

You can buy the Moondust Memories from Amazon.com here and from Amazon.co.uk here.

Recommended reads are independently published books that I have bought and enjoyed. They are part of a commitment to ‘pay it forward’ to other independent authors by buying their work and promoting those that I have enjoyed, both here and on Amazon and Goodreads. I don’t accept submissions but instead focus on people who have helped or inspired me through their blogging or who actively support other writers, but I only recommend those books I have personally enjoyed. If you are an independent author I would encourage you to do the same and help pay it forward to the community. For more information please see my blog post here.

Recommended Reads: Ravens Gathering by Graeme Cumming

Ravens Gathering

“Martin Gates left the village fifteen years ago because he didn’t belong any more. Now he’s back, and looking for answers. The problem is, no one wants to hear his questions. Well, maybe Tanya McLean, but she has an ulterior motive and her husband won’t like it.

I really enjoyed Ravens Gathering. Graeme Cumming captures perfectly life in a close-nit hamlet. When one of their own returns, strange things start to happen and it is the newcomer and outsiders that shoulder the blame, at least at first.

From the insular outlook, mistrust of outsiders and the ongoing friction between locals; everything has an air of authenticity about it. History weighs heavily on all, and it’s only during the second half of the book that you truly begin to understand why.

While the writing style is straightforward, Cumming likes to play tricks on his readers, meaning passages you thought you understood are revealed to have a different meaning later on. If, like me, you enjoy piecing a story together as you read and having your initial expectations confounded, you’ll enjoy Ravens Gathering.

 

Recommended reads are independently published books that I have bought and enjoyed. They are part of a commitment to ‘pay it forward’ to other independent authors by buying their work and promoting those that I have enjoyed, both here and on Amazon and Goodreads. I don’t accept submissions but instead focus on people who have helped or inspired me through their blogging or who actively support other writers, but I only recommend those books I have personally enjoyed. If you are an independent author I would encourage you to do the same and help pay it forward to the community. For more information please see my blog post here.

Why Hemingway was right

This quote more than any other kept me writing (source: www.redbubble.com)

This quote more than any other kept me writing (source: http://www.redbubble.com)

If you happen to walk past my house over the coming days you may hear the odd squeal of delight. No, not that sort of squeal. It’s just me getting excited because I’m coming to the end of the 1st draft of my sequel to Second Chance. The process has taken a little longer than I had expected, not because of any particular writing issues, just that life had a tendency to get in the way. There may also have been the odd moment of procrastination – some of them odder than others – but I was soon brought to heel by writers I have befriended, either through this blog or more recently through twitter. You know who you are and I can’t thank you enough for your support.

As is usual at this point of my writing process – listen to me, the experienced novelist with one whole book under his belt – I’m already thinking about what I’m going to change. Now this might come a surprise to some of you. In fact, I know it will due to a number of recent conversations I’ve had, mostly from writers starting out on their path.

“Why haven’t you already made the changes?” I hear you cry. “You haven’t finished your first draft yet, there’s still time.”

Well there are a number of reasons.

Disclaimer

What I’m about to tell you is something that works for me. Having spoken to other authors and having read plenty more texts on how to write, I believe it works for many others too. But it is not the way to write because there is no the way to write. The only way for you to write is the way that works for you; anything else is hot air.

When I write my first draft, all I’m worried about doing is getting the ideas out of my head. I’m not concerned about the prose, whether I have captured things well, if the dialogue is stilted or not or if I’ve committed any grammatical sins; all I want to do is tell the story. This doesn’t mean I’m not trying to write well, or I don’t think about what I’m writing. I’m not advocating a stream-of-consciousness methodology (unless of course you are a stream-of consciousness poet, in which case move along, nothing to see here). During my writing process there have been days where I feel I could crap gold, and other days where I’m convinced what I have written should never see the light of day, but unless I have trouble sleeping at night they are both kept as part of the first draft.

I haven’t always been this way. When I started writing would often spend days trying to perfect a single scene. I would become frustrated if I couldn’t find the exactly the right word and my writing would grind to a halt as I stubbornly refused to open a thesaurus. There were times where I would write a sentence, delete it, write it again then delete it once more. Then I read what Hemingway wrote about first drafts.

The strange thing was, I had heard from various quarters that with the first draft, you just needed to get it down. Don’t look back, just write. But I thought this was advice for new writers, for amateur writers, and I didn’t want to be an amateur writer, I wanted to be A WRITER. It all sounds a little ridiculous now, looking back. As far as process is concerned, there is no difference. It was only when I read what Hemingway wrote, that I realised the advice was universal.

So instead of searching for perfection first off I wrote the rest of my first draft without looking back, and it was only when I finished it that I learnt the reasons why this approach is so highly regarded:

You don’t know what your book is about until it is written

This may seem counterintuitive. Surely you know what the book was about before you start writing, especially if you are a planner like me. Before I wrote Second Chance I had certain themes that I wanted to explore and I thought that the first draft covered them well. The problem was, my brain had other ideas. Even though I thought I knew what the book was about, it was only once I had finished that I realised the core story was something else entirely.

What you thought was good may not be, but what you thought was bad may not be either

You remember me mentioning days where I thought I could crap gold? When I read back some of those scenes I was embarrassed with the prose. At the same time, there were scenes I had written and felt depressed afterwards where I got a pleasant surprise.  This is why it’s important not to get too hung up on what you have written in the first draft. It is very difficult to know what is good and bad at the time. By the time you have finished writing, a number of months (if you are lucky) or even years may have passed between your first written words and the last. Your thoughts on the story and your skill levels will have changed during that time. You need space to forget about the book for a while (which is why it is recommended that you leave it for a few weeks) so that you can look at it with fresh eyes. You’ll be surprised what you find.

But the most important part I learnt was:

It is during the editing process that your story and prose reaches its full potential.

When you go back to your book and start the edit, there will be scenes that need a light touch, others that need a hard prune and still others that may need ditching or re-writing completely. But you cannot do this, or at least I could not do this, until I had the context of knowing what the book was about and got to know each of the characters , and that couldn’t happen until that first draft was finished.

So instead of worrying, get the first draft down and enjoy the ride; the real work starts during the edit.

 

Recommended Reads: The Seneca Scourge by Carrie Rubin

Seneca Scourge

She may not know or remember this, but Carrie Rubin was one of the first people to encourage me during my writing adventure. I started following her blog – The Write Transition – around 18 months ago because it was warm, funny and contained lots of information on the ups and downs of writing a novel. She is nothing less than supportive to many people, which made me nervous about buying her book in case I didn’t like it. I’m glad I ignored those fears.

The Seneca Scourge is a great, fast -paced medical thriller, with a twist. The heroine, Dr Sydney McKnight, is asked to work with the eccentric Dr Casper Jones to fight what looks to be an deadly outbreak of a previously benign form of influenza. As the situation deteriorates, the behaviour of her partner raises different, more serious concerns.

I really enjoyed this book. It was a well written, easy read with characters you believed in and a plot that kept you guessing to the last. I was concerned to start off with with the amount of medical terminology but I needn’t have been; Rubin explained things in a way that any layman could understand. There is a point halfway through the book where the story takes a very different turn from the usual medical thriller but I urge you to go with it, because you will be well rewarded. Highly recommended.

You can buy the Seneca Scourge from Amazon.com here and from Amazon.co.uk here.

 

Recommended reads are independently published books that I have bought and enjoyed. They are part of a commitment to ‘pay it forward’ to other independent authors by buying their work and promoting those that I have enjoyed, both here and on Amazon and Goodreads. I don’t accept submissions but instead focus on people who have helped or inspired me through their blogging or who actively support other writers, but I only recommend those books I have personally enjoyed. If you are an independent author I would encourage you to do the same and help pay it forward to the community. For more information please see my blog post here.

My adventures with Twitter

A blue twitter logo with a white bird

Being a self-published author is very confusing. The problem isn’t a lack of advice, but too much, a lot of it conflicting. Social media is a good example. On the one hand you are told to prioritise and not waste time ‘playing’ social media when you could be writing your masterpiece. On the other hand you are told to build your platform and not publish anything until you have a ready-made audience.

Facebook is the way forward, or it is a waste of time.

Blogging is a time drain or a great way for people to connect with you, the author.

Twitter is a distraction or…

I joined Twitter in 2012 but had no idea why. A few friends had joined so I thought I would too. I saw it as a nice way of keeping in touch with certain celebrities I admired. I found – unsurprisingly – that a number of my favourite authors used twitter and started following them too. It was an eye-opener. Some were just as I imagined, others… less so. But I was amazed how many would interact with their readers. It seemed a great way for those already established to reach out to their audience, but for those of us less established? I wasn’t sure.

By the middle of March this year my book had been published for a couple of months and I had been blogging for a year. My Twitter followers had risen from a paltry 30 to a slightly more respectable 70, but for some reason people were not flocking to follow me. I’d been hash-tagging for all I was worth and would get the occasional retweet, but as a promotional avenue twitter seemed a dead end. When I looked at how other self-published authors used twitter I found a number with 20,000, 50,000 or over 100,000 followers; churning out tweets and retweets seemingly every minute of every day. Was this what I had to do to get the best out of twitter, turn myself into a promotional machine? I understood the concept – tell your message enough times to enough people, some are bound to bite – but it didn’t seem the right approach for me. It felt soulless and impersonal.

Then again, maybe there was something in their approach. I started looking up other authors on twitter and following them. I did this for 30 minutes a day because I was worried that it would become a time drain. Amazingly, many of the authors who I followed, followed me back. My follower numbers grew. Within a week I had a thousand followers, many of them authors like myself. This was great, until my timeline became filled by endless promotional tweets and seemingly mindless retweets by those that preferred the blunderbuss approach. What made this worse, I was losing any meaningful contact because of all that extra noise. This was a real shame because a number of people were contacting with me, giving me feedback on my blog, my tweets. Others were writing really insightful comments and sharing their writing experiences but I was missing them because of the noise.

That was when I discovered Hootsuite. It’s a website and app which allows you to create custom timelines from lists. For those that don’t know, lists are a way of grouping together followers within Twitter. I created two lists, one for friends and one for what I called “interesting people”. Within Hootsuite I was able to look at a twitter feed (or stream, as they term it) that contained only those tweets of the people on that list. If I looked at the “friends” stream only the tweets from those listed as my friends would be there.

It was wonderful. Instead of being like a bear watching thousands of salmon swim past, occasionally swinging out a paw in the hopes of catching a fish, I was able to identify those people who seemed interesting, and those that engaged with me. I discovered a wonderful writing community who supported and encouraged each other. I discovered wonderful bloggers. I helped and encouraged, and was helped encouraged back, by many people. And I also discovered new readers.

But calling these people new readers is a disservice. For authors, twitter has changed our relationship with readers. The term readers is too passive. Instead I got to feel what it was like to read my book through others eyes by receiving tweets like the following:


twitter 2

 

and

twitter 1

 

These wonderful tweets and others like them at a time when I was struggling to find the time and enthusiasm to finish the first draft of the follow up to Second Chance. They were the social media equivalent to 3 triple espressos. Instead of becoming a time drain twitter redoubled my energy levels and commitment to write.

I’m so glad I decided to give twitter a chance. It has been more rewarding than I could have imagined. If any author asks me whether they should use social media I would say yes. You can use it as a selling tool, but if you want to get real value don’t treat your followers as prospective customers, but as prospective friends. It’s much better for the soul.