Archive | August, 2015

Self-published, self-absorbed and self-obsessed? – Listen – it’s not all about me you know…

27 Aug

It was hard work but you got there. You created a piece of literary art and you finally got to press the “publish” button on Amazon. You built it and now they will come…but they didn’t. Hopefully, the reason why they did not come is not because it is rubbish but because they don’t know about it.

It comes as a shock to many self-publishers that, having written a book, they then have to sell it. Most people are uncomfortable with the idea of selling. It’s a bit grubby and demeaning. You can tell a battle hardened salesman by his flat nose and bruised toes, both injuries having been caused by slamming doors.

I, myself, personally have learnt to accept the literal meaning of “self-published”. There are thousands of guide books on this subject. They should all be categorised on the D.I.Y. shelf.

The broad thrust of the advice given in these “how to” books is that the self-publisher must harness the power of social media. A strategy must be devised to create awareness of your great work using the power of Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, your own website and whatever else you choose. All your efforts must be focussed on driving traffic to the “buy” button – either on your website or directly to Amazon etc.

These efforts must be subtle and must not be seen as a disguised version of “please buy my book”. The big reader/author websites, like Goodreads, urge wannabe best-selling authors to be nice, polite, helpful and giving. They must participate energetically in discussions. Useful information and advice must be given. Detailed and professional books reviews must be offered. That seems like way too much work for a dubious return. Authors selling to authors is not an efficient use of one’s time.

Potential customers also try to be nice. For example, they place your book on their virtual “to read” shelf. That’s cruel. You high five when you see you have another “to read” customer. Then you dig a little deeper and find that your book is 547th on their list. Your only hope is that these keeno readers have bionic eyes which can speed read 100 books each simultaneously.

Self- publishing does exactly what it says on the tin – it’s DIY. That’s the deal and if you get a great buzz (like I do ) each and every time the Amazon sales graph stops dragging along the bottom and shoots skyward – then just keep doing what you’re doing.

P.S. The ebook version of my book is available at a promotional price of 99c in the USA from today, Thursday 27th August, for a few days.

P.P.S. Please note the P.S. above is not a plea to buy my book. It is merely the dissemination of useful information which may help you to improve the general quality of your life.

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Kilkenny City: the Arts Festival, its wonderful castle and … Oliver Cromwell.

17 Aug

Kilkenny City is perfectly appointed for tourism and especially its Arts Festival.  It would be hard to beat the breadth and depth of events available during this festival week in mid-August each year. There is classical music, performed in the ancient cathedral of St Canice, Jazz, Blues and, of course Traditional Irish is played on every corner of the winding streets of this historic city. Drama includes a daily open-air performance of the work of Shakespeare in the Castle yard and there are many, many art exhibitions and street performers around the City.

The medieval streets lead to a magnificent castle located on the banks of the river Nore. Although built in 1195, this castle is not an ancient ruin through which you must try to imagine what it must have been like in its glory days. No, it is a grand, habitable and lively building which has been beautifully restored and maintained. Please make sure you take a guided tour of it.

Oliver Cromwell is not held dear in Irish history. However, one unintended consequence of his pillage is the view of Kilkenny castle from its adjoining park. The castle was originally built around an enclosed, rectangular courtyard but in 1650 Cromwell destroyed the east wall with his cannons – thus providing the view you can now see in the picture below.

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Ireland wins the Aga Khan Trophy at The Royal Dublin Society’s Horse Show !

10 Aug

Founded in 1731, the aim of the Royal Dublin Society(RDS) has always been to improve Ireland’s economic condition by promoting the development of Agriculture, Arts, Industry and Science. It is a magnificent amenity located in Ballsbridge,one of Dublin’s most salubrious districts, and comprising 40 acres of land.

Last Friday it staged the annual Aga Khan Nations Cup involving national teams from the US, GB, Germany, Italy, NL, Spain, Switzerland and Ireland. It’s always a great day but it’s even sweeter when Ireland wins! I hope the attached photo’s give you some idea of the great buzz and craic that’s to be had at this event.

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Pierce Brosnan certainly likes Dalkey!

6 Aug

A view of Killiney Bay and the Irish Sea from Sorrento Park.

Fyi, Niel Jordan ( Film Director: Michael Collins, Mona Lisa, The Crying Game, The Actors etc) lives in one of the terraced houses that can be seen behind Pierce. On a warm & sunny day (a rare thing) Niel can be seen plunging into the said same sea.