Tabla de Contenidos
1. The Darkness Beneath - Free Copy
2. It's All About You

The Darkness Beneath: Sex, Death and Trains, all Yours For Nothing (still!)*

*Terms and Conditions apply: you can get a free copy of my first novel, The Darkness Beneath, by following this link - but hurry! Only the first 100 people to sign up can claim a free copy.

It's All About You - Time to Get the Excitements On
This Wednesday an unsuspecting world will wake/be already awake/fall asleep to the news that my very first It's All About You blog will be published.

And our first contributor will be the very marvellous writer and extremely industrious Maureen Hovermale. She'll be catapulted into the digital stratosphere on the 20th June.

It's All About You will then appear every Wednesday and will probably vary a bit for a while as I'm sure I'll have to get all experimental on the format. 

I've already got five people lined (three writers/two artists) but I'm greedy and want more contributors, and I want them now! And any of these could be you. Yes, that's you I'm talking to, the one looking at your computer or other handy digital device. 

I want to know what turns you on about being creative: what book or work of art gave you the wanna-do's and the I-must's? And when you did done or were all must-ered out, what did you produce?

I want to know about that too, so it's a great chance to show a slice of your work and tell everyone why it thrills you to have created it. You never know, you might even give someone else the wanna-do's and I-must's - and sharing and spreading the power of creativity has got to be, in my opinion, one of the best things any of us can do.

All you have to do is write 250 words on something or someone that inspired you to go create (and supply the quote or a pic of the art work). The second part features an example of your work and another 250 words on why you like it or how it makes you feel or... well, whatever you like really.

The only rule is that this isn't an opportunity to big up a mate, unless you happen to be mates with Cormac McCarthy or Francis Bacon. That said, it doesn't matter where you are in your career: I want to hear as much from the unpublished or unexhibited as much as I want to hear from those further up the success ladder. All are welcome.

If you want to take part, contact me via my blog's comments or comments form, or on the Twitter: @mickdavidson.

OK, so my first novel, The Darkness Beneath, has been on Amazon for the last week or so and I've gotten over the mild adrenalin rush that warmed my ego for a while: what now?

What now is, of course, the Great Marketing Push. Or rather The Rather Feeble Marketing Push. 

I know that as a self-publisher I have to get out there and smack the marketing baby all over the park and try reach as many potential readers as possible. And I've been doing that, but in reality it's a slow train to ride and it's one that you have to jump on every day without fail. I can live with the slow, slow build up to ever-lasting fame and fortune (who'd be a writer?), but the continuous effort to market my book is probably harder than writing actually is.

So, my fellow self-publishers, how do you deal with that? Do you have any methods or processes that you use to keep yourself on track? For example, do you set yourself targets or goals of any sort, and if so, how do you stick to them and do they work?

Friends and Spamily
I'm also very wary about hassling friends and family: I've told all my Facebook gang about it three times now: doing more makes me feel uncomfortable, and I wouldn't like to be on the receiving end of the same thing, so I'm reluctant to keep banging on to them about it. And just because they're my Facebook friends, it doesn't mean more than a few are my natural audience, at least for this book. 

To the Twitter End
Twitter is a bit easier because it's slightly less personal, plus I know that anyone who's interested might RT me to their followers. This is a potential market of 100s of 1000s of people, something I can't ignore. But even so, I still feel that one tweet per week is enough, or is it? Some people never stop banging on about their books, like on a daily basis. I ignore all such tweets, but I don't mind that they do it, I just don't feel comfortable doing so myself.

Writing V Marketing
It's a double-edged sword: why do the first and not the second? If you are serious about the former, then you can't avoid the latter - it simply isn't professional is it? I am fortunate in that I have the Libboo team behind me. At least their subtle prodding and regular emails keep the marketing monster in my mind - my efforts would be nowhere without them.

Personally, I'd rather be away with the fairies, ghosts and lovers that live in my writing: and as all writers know, life isn't long enough to write all the stories we have typing away inside us already, so losing time to other activities is a difficult choice. 

Marketing is really a full time job (on top of my real full time job and other commitments), so even if you give it a maximum of 50% of your writing time, that's a huge chunk of writing time that's being devoured by the marketing monster. (BTW, I'm not against marketing or doing it - I'm just coming to terms with it.)

How does one find a balance between the time spent writing and the time spent marketing? Finding a balance is essential, because with that I'm just osscilating, prevaricating and going nowhere.

Ego O'Clock
Then there's the ego: a powerful and dangerous weapon that may well be the driving force behind why we write in the first place. Yes, I do think my work is good, but I could be delusional. I'd been writing fiction of various sorts for 20+ years before I felt confident enough to start trying to get it published. And I've been writing professionally for 20 of those years as a journalist and technical writer so I'm no wallflower when it comes to writing and being published. 

But still I wonder if I'm not kidding myself about my abilities. (And despite numerous compliments from my readers of the 'It's a real page turner' variety. See my reviews for evidence.) We have to question what we do as writers otherwise we run the risk of writing rubbish (and allow our skills and imaginiations to stagnate), but there comes a time where, if we want people to take us seriously, we have to take ourselves seriously too. We have to stand up naked in front of the world and demand it takes notice of this great work we've laid before its feet. And that is a bloody hard and confrontational thing to do.