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Blog For Authors

Writing in the Haar

February 12, 2017

What is the Haar?

The haar in Aberdeenshire, north-east Scotland, can refer to a light coastal fog or a downright pea-souper. Either way, if you’re out in haar there’s an eerie, almost unworldly quality about it. If driving, fog lights are pretty useless since haar has a tendency to drift in and out like the tidal surges you’d find on the shoreline. If walking, take a deep breath. Haar isn’t like Los Angeles smog where you can actually taste the pollution: haar can actually be quite an uplifting face bath, albeit one where you are in a sauna-steam situation without any heat. Regardless, in any haar, seeing the way forward is a cautious process.

Each morning I wake up at 4am, pour myself a strong cup of tea then take a seat at my desk. My wife is still asleep along with the rest of the world and for two hours I will be alone and undisturbed. This precious writing time has been set aside with the aim of adding a couple of thousand words to my next novel. But wait, I haven’t checked my social media accounts! There may be messages and unread posts waiting. Opening Facebook, I diligently post my replies and comments.

How long does it take to write a book? Hmm, tricky question. And the answer probably depends on who is asking.

If you are a fledgling writer, the answer is, “How long is a piece of string??”. It might depend on how much time you have available, your style of writing and the book genre. If you are writing fantasy or paranormal you’ll need to do lots of world building and most genres need research, historical fiction requires boatloads of research.

There is a simple formula out there that people pay thousands for that I will share here for free in getting your book visible. However, if there is no spirit in helping others, it won’t work! Plain and simple.

What are launch teams?

Launch teams are used by the big 5 traditional publishing houses to get their authors pushed up the ranks in Amazon. People on this list will tell you that, as group owners, they are regularly approached to provide reviews for a book that is being traditionally published.

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is a social media website where people look for inspiration, ideas or entertainment and is an important platform often underutilized by authors.

“Pinterest drives more referral traffic to websites than Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube combined.” ~ Mashable.

So, you have just finished your book and you rush off to Amazon and upload it with a sigh of relief. Ideas are popping into your head for the next one and you cannot wait to start. Have you given any thought to marketing your book now that it is uploaded? No? Do you have a marketing strategy? No? Are you too busy with your next book? Yes, you probably are. Congratulations! You have just started killing your book, slowly, but surely.

Self-publishing is hard. I am not going to tell you otherwise. You are a one-man band that has to find a book cover designer, an editor, book reviewers, form launch teams and be your own marketing guru. If you have gone to the trouble of writing a good book, you need to make sure that when you self-publish your book, it succeeds. However, sometimes, indie authors are unaware of what is needed to be successful. Are you one of those authors whose books are in the doldrums? If so, what have you done, or perhaps, what haven't you done, and what can you do to improve your book sales and marketing strategies?

Launching a self-published book takes time if you are to do it right. You need time to contact your book reviewers, your launch team, plan your pre-marketing strategies and your social media campaigns. You need time to fix any spelling, grammar or syntax errors that were found and listen to feedback from your launch team on any changes needed to be made to the story itself. So what should you be doing from one week to the next in order to be successful at self-publishing your books?