A Big Thanks To Everyone!

Well, it’s been a week since the giveaway and three weeks since The Path Of Swords was released and I just want to say thanks to anyone and everyone who has supported, helped, bought, downloaded, tweeted, shared or just wished me well.

The launch has been a success, with the book selling steadily and also getting picked up on Amazon Unlimited. The giveaway resulted in the book getting to no. 14 in the top 100 free epic fantasy (see below).

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The Path Of Swords also got to no. 3 in the top 100 free Children’s ebooks category below.

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Categories are weird on Amazon, and the free ones are different from the paid ones. Just one of the things I’m finding out as I go along!

There’s been a slight dip in sales since the giveaway, which could be that people who might have bought it too got it free, but I’m not too worried. I’m trying to build readership rather than make money so I’m not worried whether someone pays or gets a freebie. The book now has 3 reviews on Amazon UK, all of which are 5 stars, so that’s nice as well.

If you think you might like The Path Of Swords then you can find it using the links below:

www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B071LBJNTC        for the UK

www.amazon.com/dp/B071LBJNTC           for the US

Thanks again.

M

 

Calling Out Around The World…

GIVEAWAY ADVERT

…are you ready for a brand new book?

Summer’s here and the time is right to go and take a look!

(Apologies right now to Martha and the Vandellas)

Today you can download The Path Of Swords for free from Amazon.  Just click here:

www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B071LBJNTC        for the UK

www.amazon.com/dp/B071LBJNTC           for the US

www.amazon.com.au/dp/B071LBJNTC          for Australia (big shout out to the one Australian who has bought it already!)

www.amazon.ca/dp/B071LBJNTC                for Canada

www.amazon.de/dp/B071LBJNTC                for Germany (sold one there as well. Thanks!)

www.amazon.in/dp/B071LBJNTC                 love to sell some in India

www.amazon.fr/dp/B071LBJNTC              Come on France!

If you haven’t got a kindle you can also download a kindle app from the same page that will work on any device.

It would be great if you could download it. It will give the book a boost at this early stage that is very important in making it visible. Even if you think it doesn’t sound like your sort of thing and never read it, you will really be helping me.

However if it does sound like your sort of thing then I would love it if you read it. It’s not very long (only about 130 pages) so shouldn’t take up too much time. I would value your opinion.

If you read it and like it then I would be very grateful if you leave a review on Amazon. You can do it on the page where you downloaded the book.

Share the links with anyone you think would like it.

Book Giveaway this Saturday

GIVEAWAY ADVERT

“Luan ap Garioch, second son of the house of Artran, this is the day of choosing. How do you choose?”

On the last day of the summer of his fourteenth year, Luan takes the first step on The Path Of Swords.He has been told that the path will be hard. He knows that it will lead him into danger. The reality is beyond all his imagining.

This Saturday you can download The Path Of Swords for free from Amazon.  Just click here:

www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B071LBJNTC        for the UK

www.amazon.com/dp/B071LBJNTC           for the US

www.amazon.com.au/dp/B071LBJNTC          for Australia (big shout out to the one Australian who has bought it already!)

www.amazon.ca/dp/B071LBJNTC                for Canada

www.amazon.de/dp/B071LBJNTC                for Germany (sold one there as well. Thanks!)

www.amazon.in/dp/B071LBJNTC                 love to sell some in India

www.amazon.fr/dp/B071LBJNTC              Come on France!

If you haven’t got a kindle you can also download a kindle app from the same page that will work on any device.

It would be great if you could download it. It will give the book a boost at this early stage that is very important in making it visible. Even if you think it doesn’t sound like your sort of thing and never read it, you will really be helping me.

However if it does sound like your sort of thing then I would love it if you read it. It’s not very long (only about 130 pages) so shouldn’t take up too much time. I would value your opinion.

If you read it and like it then I would be very grateful if you leave a review on Amazon. You can do it on the page where you downloaded the book.

Share the links with anyone you think would like it.

An Act of Faith

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Gardening is an act of faith. I remember a friend of mine saying “I knew my Dad was going to get better when he went out and started planting up his vegetable garden”. His father had been very ill, and for a while it had looked like he might not recover. Planting the vegetables showed that he himself believed he would be around to harvest them. Gardening is indeed an act of faith.

I was reminded of this when reading a piece on Alec Nevala Lee’s excellent blog entitled ‘Are you a gardener or an architect’ referring to a quote from George R. R. Martin. The idea being that there are two types of writer: Architects, who plan everything beforehand and work to a blueprint, and Gardeners who start with the seed of an idea and then cultivate it and watch it grow. You should read the piece.

It is an interesting idea, but I don’t think I fall into either category. To me writing a novel is like going on a journey. You have a plan, you know where you want to get to, and you probably have a good idea of the route you want to take, but you still have to walk it. As you go along there will be things that surprise you and things that make you wonder, places where the going is hard and places where the view is worth it. Sometimes you can see your goal but you don’t know what’s round the next corner.

I’ve been walking my path for over two years and I’m nearly at journey’s end. I’m keeping up the pace, it’s January 8th and I’ve written 800 words this month, spot on my 100 words per day. Sometimes I feel impatient, I want to rush to the end so I can turn round and enjoy the view, but I know it’s not the way.

Sometimes writing is also an act of faith.

I wrote this a year and a half ago as I was coming to the finish of writing what became a trilogy of novellas. Given that I have now published the first, The Path Of Swords, it seemed a good time to look back. The first week has been pleasing, we’ve sold a few and at one point ranked around 43,000 which may not seem very high but isn’t bad out of over a million books!

Have a look at the book on Amazon.com in the US or Amazon.co.uk in the UK

 

Path of swords watercolour (2)

The Path Of Swords is out today!

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And there it is. If you want to go and have a look you can click:

Here

There were a few sticky moments and I had to do a bit of tweaking, and for some reason the price on Amazon.com is $1.38 even though I set the price as 99cents but it’s there. Book one of the series is on sale.

I would like to take the opportunity to say a big THANK YOU to all of you guys who have supported me along the way. You are the best.

So tonight I will celebrate and have the evening off. Tomorrow I make a start on book 2.

be happy

M

The Fellowship Of The Bling

I’ve discovered a way of becoming a successful author, and that is simply to give your book a title that is very similar to another very successful book. You see I thought I had bought this book:

But I had actually bought this book:

Some time ago I got one of those Amazon emails offering books at sale prices and thought: “I’ve heard of that, probably worth a go.” So I paid my 99p, downloaded to my kindle where it sat for some considerable time among all the other bargain books I haven’t got around to reading.

Then my wife read The Girl On The Train and said how good it was. She then watched the film on the plane and remarked how she didn’t like it compared to the book. All this prompted me to start reading it myself. It was only when I was about a quarter of the way through and we started to talk about it that I realised I was reading a completely different book!

I have to admit at this point that this may have coloured my view slightly, in that I felt a little bit conned. Having said that I did read it to the end and actually quite enjoyed it, in a light holiday read kind of way. All in all it left me a little conflicted so I looked up the reviews on Amazon:

So you can see that although it’s not The Girl On The Train it is pretty successful, in fact it’s sold a lot of copies, although how many were bought by people who thought they were buying something else is impossible to know.

Note:Spoiler alert

If I was to review Girl On A Train it probably wouldn’t be a good one. I know I said I quite enjoyed it, but on reflection it is a load of old tosh to be honest. It starts off pretty well with our heroine, Anne, investigating the suspicious death of a girl, Elly, that she happened to sit next to on a train. Turns out that Elly has left all sorts of clues that Anne tracks down in a kind of low budget Dan Brown Angels and Demons style but set in Brixton rather than Rome. Her motivation for this is that she doesn’t believe Elly committed suicide, and she knows about such things because her (Anne’s) husband killed himself 2 years previously because he was gay (!). It soon appears that the whole thing might be related to the abduction of Elly’s 2 year old nephew also 2 years previously. The problem is that it starts out a bit far fetched and then just gets more and more unbelievable. I’m pretty good at suspending disbelief but this had me going “Oh come on!” by the end. It also had a completely unnessessary section in the middle where the story up was retold from the point of view of Elly up to the point where she died. This added nothing to the book and felt to me like the author had just stuck it in to make the book longer. Also one of the characters does one thing that is completely out of character, the act simply does not fit with the way they are portrayed. The character is question, Lewis, comes in as a nice guy, a policeman who takes Anne for rides on his motorbike and gets her heart all a flutter. He looks after his drug addicted sister and is acting as stand in parent for his tear away 9 year old niece. Then it turns out he was Anne’s gay husband’s secret lover (what!) who raped Elly (!) because Elly found out he was gay and that was his way of shutting her up.

I didn’t get that bit either.

It turns out that Elly didn’t commit suicide, she was attacked by the niece with a stun gun that she bought off the internet and that made Elly fall in front of the train, and the gay husband didn’t commit suicide either, he just had an argument with Lewis, dramatically climbed onto a bridge in a kind of ‘if you don’t love me I’ll kill myself’ moment, and then fell off by accident.

So there you go. I’m now going to write The Fellowship Of The Bling so that loads of people buy it by accident and I make a pile of cash. I’ve already got the start.

“One Ring to rule them all. One Ring to…Hey don’t gimme that one ring crap! Nobody wears just one ring! I want at least ten! And a gold chain!”

 

Simple doesn’t mean easy.

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I’m coming to the conclusion that whatever it is you’re trying to do, the way to be successful can usually be reduced to a set of simple steps.

This should come as no surprise. Throw a metaphorical rock at the Internet and you will hit dozens of articles telling you how to do stuff. Want to lose weight? Follow these steps. Want to play the guitar? Watch this video. Want to write a book? Buy this book.

The problems come when people actually try to do these things, because simple is not the same as easy. Losing weight is a simple biological process, take in fewer calories than you use, and then do it the next day, and the next,  but for some people that is a very difficult thing to do. If it wasn’t then Weight Watchers and all the other companies who make money out of people wanting to be thinner would be out of business.

Playing the guitar is a simple process, you hold the strings down with one hand and twang them with the other. Whether it sounds good is another matter, to sound good you have to practise, for a long time, like several years.

Writing a book is simple. Put one word after another about 50,000 times. Hoorah! You’ve got a book. Anybody want to read it?

Part of the problem is that these simple steps are usually written down or demonstrated by people who are actually very good at what they do. They’ve been through the process, they’ve sweated and toiled, they’ve put in their 10,000 hours.

(Not totally sure about the whole 10,000 hours theory btw. In Outliers, Malcom Gladwell suggests that this is how long you need to practise in order to become expert in a particular field. This is based on evidence from what experts have done. The bit that’s missing here is that I’m not sure how hard he looked for people who had put in their 10,000 hours and were still crap.)

Either way, you go to an expert and ask them “How do you do that?” and they will then try to summarise what they do, usually in a set of simple steps. And to them, it makes complete sense, that is what they do as they see it. But then give someone else those steps and it doesn’t work.

You see there is no magic ingredient, no magic button, no golden ticket. You’ve got to put the time in, do the work, make the mistakes, feel like giving up and then keep going anyway.

At this point you could just watch Kung Fu Panda rather than reading this post, it’s longer but will make you laugh more.

The point is this. If you keep going long enough you will get to the point where you can outline your success in a series of simple steps. Steps that will seem deceptively easy but that you know are simply the signposts on a long and difficult journey.

The Path Of The Sword by Martin Swinford will be published in May. For a limited time you can download a free review copy here