Thursday, 28 October 2010

Help boost your favourite author's books - by clicking Amazon tags

If you like an author's work, there is a very quick and easy way you can help give him/her a vital boost: via 'Amazon tags'. This is a simple way to help make his/her books sell better, and that can only lead to more books from that author!

Just scroll down any Amazon book page and you will eventually find a heading called 'Tags Customers Associate with This Product'. Beneath this are the 'tags' that readers have already associated with that book. (If the link 'see all tags' is there then click this to see them all.) The idea is that when people use search phrases matching these tags, the results will include that particular book; but Amazon takes the number of times a tag is placed against a book as a 'vote' for that tag's validity. As a result, tagging a book by just confirming existing tags helps that book to rise a little higher in relevant search results—and to sell more copies. You can add new tags if you like. Lots of people assume it is pointless tagging if the tag already exists, but this explains that is far from the case.

So, on a personal basis, please, if you enjoyed my novel SANDMAN, it would be really great if you 'tagged' it by confirming as many of the tags you think appropriate. This won't take you a moment—just a few clicks of your time—and those clicks and ticks will go a long way towards making it more likely I will be able to get more novels published in the future through greater sales of SANDMAN. Thank you so much if you can help in this way! Just go to either the American or UK book page for SANDMAN to do this.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

We're helping to train dogs for the disabled. Could you help sponsor one?

In my post of 22nd September 2010, I told how we had lost two dogs in a year to cancer. The house seemed so empty without a dog and we do not yet feel ready to take on another rescue dog, so we're doing something quite different. My wife and I have become socialisers for a charity which trains dogs to help the disabled by doing wonderful things like fetch the phone, unload the washing machine, help dress/undress, take purse to till, push buttons on pedestrian crossings, etc. They are all wonderful golden retrievers, and we get one for anything between a few days and a month. This is prior to their intensive training at 18 months old for 6 months.

We teach them good manners, to be cool with traffic, noises, distrations, strangers, other dogs, to obey basic commands, etc. It is very rewarding. No one keeps them for too long during training to prevent mutual heartbreaks! The downside, of course, is that we cannot become too attached. But the secret is to think of this as having a lot of (very similar) dogs. And when we lose one we gain one. Hopefully we'll see a lot of the same dog over a year, anyway. We only started yesterday, but our first trainee, Mia, is a delight.

Would you like to help sponsor one of these dogs? It costs £5,000 to train a puppy during the first 2 years, and then a further £6,000 for backup during its 10 active working years. Schools and firms often sign-up to sponsor a dog. How about you or yours? Or you can contribute as little as £3 per month as an individual. Please  let me know if you would seriously like to get involved in this and I will give you further information.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Fellow authors: Publish details of your novel on Scribd

I recently discovered Scribd as a high-profile source of books and documents put out in the public domain. It is a really interesting website, and it prompted me to publish an outline and extract of my novel Sandman there. I would suggest other authors do not miss out on this site, given its really high Alexa Ranking: meaning it will gain lots of 'eyeballs'! However, if you just want to get to an extract of 'Sandman' fast, I would suggest you go straight to Sandman on my own website for an easier form.

Gaining online presence is a never-ending task for authors these days and so knowledge of high profile platforms is valuable information. Publishing a reasonable extract from your book makes a lot of sense. I hope this information aids fellow authors to find a great place to do just that.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

20 Little Mysteries of Life

Time for a smile? Here are 20 Little Mysteries of Life. If you know of any better ones (that will also be meaningful in the UK), then please feel free to suggest them and I will update weak mysteries with better ones. (They are not in any particular order.) Revised Mysteries will have an asterisk (*) placed in front of them.

1) Why some Amazon Associates offer used copies of books at up to twice the price of new ones.

2) Why anyone would buy used copies of books at more than new copies.

3) Why celebs you haven't heard of for years are so 'in your face' once they've published their autobiography.

4) Why no one ever parks in Coronation Street unless it is time for their car's annual outing.

5) Why 'Corrie' people have a car when they only use it once a year.

6) Where 'Corrie' people park their cars when they're not using them.

7) Why something will always go wrong if you expect it.

8)  Where Ross and Phoebie live in 'Friends'.

9) Why important Wimbledon tennis matches move between channels so you can't record them if you are out.

10) How children develop selective hearing from such an early age.

11) Why the UK government sees no correlation between sex education given at ever younger ages and an ever increasing number of children born to under-age youngsters.

12) Why payments for works of art are inversely proportional to the time it takes to create them. (For example, a year to write a book, or a morning to compose a pop song.)

13) Why publishers are always looking for something new and fresh yet abhor anything not readily identifiable by genre.

14) Why TV ads are always much louder than programmes.

15) Why children's voices are always so much louder than adult's.

16) Why women think they are logical and men think they are empathetic.

17) Why it is impossible to pick the shortest queue.

18) Why only English children are born with an innate ability to queue.

19) Why the diameter of a lad's car's exhaust is inversely proportional to their brain power.

20) Why dogs are born to chase cats.