Monday 30 January 2017

Writing a book: Social Media, the Pitfalls

This is oversold in my opinion. Facebook has a limited catchment and if you believe other posts this is deliberate to make people spend on advertising. What I've heard is that Facebook messages don't even appear to all your contacts and it can the percentage of people who see your post can be quite low.

Twitter does seem more helpful and hashtags are very useful as these put your post on various lists. For authors the following hashtags are useful, but are not exclusive. I'm sure there are many more so feel free to add to this list.

#books #read #readthis #booklook #review #shortstory #bookreview #samplesnday #storyfriday #fridayreads #iartg #writertip #writingtip #selpubishing #kindle #freebook

However, Twitter posts scroll very quickly down the page so disappear  from view fast.

Aboutme is a useful page to have and people look at this site without doing to much work.

LinkedIn is mainly about seeking jobs, I think. I am on that but not very active on that forum. 

My blogs are setup to always post on Google+ but that is one site I rarely hear from.

Pinterest is useful but the information you can post is limited, unless I am doing something wrong.

I have not tried Instagram but a colleague who is a very active photographer uses it a lot. It's really about showing images and photography is good as you are getting new images to show frequently. Having a few book covers may not suit that media, in my view. For a fuller list of social media sites try here

My experience is that Social Media is nice to have but won't necessarily drive lots of people to your website. Facebook messages, for example, will appear in front of the same people over and over and it is likely that, unless the message changes, they will become bored of it. I haven't yet spent money on advertising on Facebook but from the response from other people it is not always money well spent. 

I am not advocating not using social media but pointing out that expecting instant traffic is unlikely and one problem is you can commit a lot of time to it for little reward. 

One irritation I have is there are lots of posts on the Internet about book marketing and many spout lists of things you must have such as an author's website and being active on social media. That is so easy to say and yet how to direct traffic from these sites is actually very hard and at that point the advice dries up.

Role Playing Games for Fantasy Fans

Path of exile comes recommended although it can be very frustrating, I've played others, Diablo I through to III, Guild Wars and POE is the only game I come back to.

If you are a fantasy fan and like finding new and better weapons then POE is a great starting point, It's well worth getting advise and on their website folk offer up example skill trees to follow. It's very complicated and the choice is excessive perhaps and makes for a challenging game. It can also be very frustrating. Many folk offer advise but it's usually half-thought out or wrong. There are soime real experts and finding these is essential.

Perhaps it is too complicated? The screen shot shows an example damage from one attack method. Achieving high damage is incredibly difficult and requires very expensive equipment that takes hours of game play to afford. Some bows, for example, cost 40 Ex and yet in going from level 1 to 89 I have only ever found 1. Trade is an essential part of the game but good equipment drops are far few and far between and making your own costs lots of Orbs of various types. As I say -- it's very complex.

Check it out at

The complex nature of POE.

Sunday 22 January 2017

An Author Goes to Pot!

So what does an author do when not writing?

Well today was not a good example. I went metal detecting with a club, but it was -6 degrees C this morning and the car's brakes were frozen on. Not to be put off, I borrowed my wife's car so not a disaster. However, fog remained in the area all morning keeping the ground frozen. It was so bad that my spade bent almost double trying to dig. After a few hours I decided digging was almots impossible and so gave up.

And the rewards? A couple of old belt buckles and something possibly from a horse's harness.

The conclusion - remain indoors where it is warm and write!

Friday 20 January 2017

My Two Top Romantic Fantasy Films: Does This Make me Soft?

OK, weird subject but what the heck. Weird in the sense that Fantasy ought to be heroes bashing goblins or at least slaying the odd dragon. Not that the dragon has to be loopy-odd, just rare-odd. Bringing romance into fantasy has its place of course and a hero rescuing a damsel in distress, such as in Shrek, has plenty of room for development.

My two top favourites are Beautiful Creatures and Stardust Groundhog Day sneaks in for comedy element as a distinct runner up.

I only saw Beautiful Creatures recently and whereas it's not alone and other films have followed this line, such as Twilight, I found Beautiful Creatures to be less pretentious and quite refreshing. The CGI magic sequences were very well done. The plot rocked along at a gentle pace and hooked me from the start. The characterisation was good and Jeremy Irons played a great role. I thought Alice Englert was suitably gorgeous to entrap a young man's heart.

My favourite film still remains Stardust. It's the rare occasion when a film is better than the book. The humour is well done and I'll always remember bubbling candles. The scene in the first fantasy market was great and showed tremendous imagination in the film makers' minds. Like Harry Potter's Diagonal Alley, I could wander around there for hours.

Great films and we want more.

Alice Englert as Lena Duchannes

Tuesday 17 January 2017

Sorcerer versus Wizard. Who would win?

Considered weak and ineffectual by sorcerers, a wizard's power comes from within them. Only those born with a "well" for magic inside of them can become a wizard. The deeper the well the stronger the wizard.

Sorcerers, however, are much more intriguing. Sometimes described as necromancers, they gain power through the spirit world. The simplest spells are cast using elementals, such as fire, water and air among others. More powerful magic is cast via demons and the lowest form of demon is an imp, a sly, small creature who carries plague for his more powerful cousins to reap ill in the world.

So which is the stronger? A wizard or a sorcerer.

That depends on the sorcerer's abilities. Most rely on elementals for their power, as dealing with demons, even imps, comes at a price. A minor slip and the demon will take your soul screaming to Hell. The strongest sorcerers have incredible abilities...if they dare tap into the power of the most powerful demons that is. Such a summoning is very complex and the sorcerer has to match the demons strength...or suffer the consequences.

However, Wizards are not as inept as sorcerers like to believe. A wizard with a kara stone can cast very strong spells as kara stones are a deep well for magic. Kara stones are very rare and only the most powerful wizards jealously guard them...with their lives.

This sets the scene for the Prophecy of the Kings. Throw dragons in to the melting pot and the land becomes very dangerous indeed. Follow Kaplyn as he strives to stay one step ahead of Vastra, a self professed sorcerer in a land where few now exist. Vastra, a bitter man with a dark secret for which he will kill to protect.

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