Murder (Mystery) is Easy


Agatha Christie as a child, promoting the 1977 book An Autobiography, by Agatha Christie, published by Dodd, Mead Publishing House

Agatha Christie as a child, promoting the 1977 book An Autobiography, by Agatha Christie, published by Dodd, Mead Publishing House

Few authors have managed to use the “village” as a background to murder mysteries as successfully as Agatha Christie has. It is a setting she returns to again and again, not just for her Miss Marple stories, but also for many of her Poirot books. As Murder is Easy is quite a short, neat little novel, I’ve chosen it to demonstrate how village life can serve brilliantly as a background to a story, be it romance, horror, sci-fi or a cosy whodunit. The “village” is more than just a “location” in this particular story, it represents the novel’s theme: appearances can be deceptive.

Is this a murder mystery or a romance novel? One isn’t quite sure, for the hero Luke Fitzwilliam, a retired policeman returning to England after many years abroad in the Mayang Straits, is rather inept at sleuthing, but quite skilful at courting gorgeous Bridget, his fellow amateur sleuth.

Published in 1939, the novel does show its age in the way that Luke views his potential future wife at the start of the novel, but rather surprisingly for the era switches at the end to a far more enlightened way of looking at relationships, one that a reader in 2015 can appreciate and understand.

An aptly named Lady

Meeting a dithering old lady on the train to London, Luke is amazed to hear that his fellow passenger Miss Lavinia Pinkerton is on her way to Scotland Yard to report a series of murders. She lives in a small village where several unexpected deaths have led her to believe that a serial killer is on the loose. Lavinia reminds Luke of a much loved aunt, which is why he gives a certain amount of credence to the old lady’s story. His confidence in her is simply based on the fact that favourite aunts, no matter how eccentric, usually know best. And besides, anyone called “Pinkerton” must have a talent for sleuthing!

First edition, published in 1939

First edition, published in 1939

Sinister Village Idyll

Luke is soon haring off to the village where Miss Pinkerton lived. Intent on completing the old lady’s detective work, for the Pinkerton lady herself has been foully murdered before she ever had the chance to cross Scotland Yard’s threshold, Luke is soon faced with a barrel full of red herrings and a list of suspects as wide and long as a village green.

At first glance, the village of Wychwood-under-Ashe is picturesque and tranquil, a little haven among the sheep, wild flower meadows and blue bells. Upon further inspection, however, Luke discovers the village is awash with sinister characters, from the antique dealer with a penchant for satanic rites and pornography to the affable, but arrogant young doctor and the village drunk with a tendency to wife-beating. Even children can be quite nasty, horrid enough to get themselves murdered. Soon Luke’s imagination runs wild. Indeed, the girl Luke falls in love with may secretly be a witch; she resembles a lady with a broomstick Luke once saw in a picture!

Ashe Ridge is not a beauty spot for hikers and bird watchers – it looms threateningly above the village like a vulture waiting to strike at any moment; verdant meadows and fields are more likely to host Walpurgis Night celebrations for a coven of witches than be the setting for toddlers’ teddy bear picnics or village fetes with bunting, tea and crumpets.

Appearances can be deceptive, the author tells us with her setting. And therefore we should watch out for the most unlikely of murderers…

Well-placed Cousins

Luke’s friend in London arranges for him to stay at Lord Whitfield’s mansion in Miss Pinkerton’s village. Whitfield is a self-made man of humble origins, a newspaper magnate who was born in Wychwood-under-Ashe and now lords it over his fellow villagers at every opportunity. A prize bore and self-important puffed-up little man, Lord Whitfield’s behaviour is responsible for much of the humour in this story.

Since Whitfield’s secretary and betrothed is a cousin of Luke’s friend in London, Luke goes undercover, posing as an author researching a book and pretending to be one of Bridget’s cousins. This allows him to stay at Whitfield’s mansion, where Luke enjoy a certain amount of “protection” from nosy village gossips and preying eyes. Romance looms on the horizon as soon as Luke arrives and Agatha Christie has great fun with the English attitude of fair play here. How can Luke call himself a gentleman and remain under the same roof as the man whose betrothed he’s stealing?

Creating Mirror Images

The use of the mansion in a village setting is also a familiar Christie ploy. Here we have another closed and potentially lethal microcosm, even smaller than the village itself. What goes on in the mansion is a mirror image of the village world beyond the wrought-iron gates.

There is the middle-aged poor relation, who talks about nothing but gardening and takes no interest in anything around her, just like the widow of the murdered doctor or the village solicitor. There are the servants who don’t take their employer seriously and try to steal a march on him the moment his back is turned, just like a young murder victim from the village did. There is the secretary who has set her cap at bagging a rich man, just like the old doctor’s daughter, who is secretely engaged to the doctor’s successor.

The very building of Ash Ridge Manor is not what it seems, having started out as a beautiful Queen Anne mansion and now sporting Gothic turrets and other Victorian architectural horrors. Using the mansion on the outskirt of the village also serves to create a “them and us” atmosphere, always good for a few sinister goings-on in a whodunit!

In a typical Christie twist of events, it is Bridget, not Luke, who unmasks the murderer before a few more corpses can litter the blooming countryside. As Miss Pinkerton warned at the outset, the killer is the most unlikely of people, and the revelation is therefore quite shocking. Bridget is in many ways a younger version of Miss Pinkerton, an unlikely sleuth. She is beautiful and accomplished, but not an open or friendly person. Like Miss Pinkerton, Bridget is also blessed with a keen intellect and powers of observation, but this fact is lost on most people, because like Miss Pinkerton Bridget is able to mask her true nature very well. The two women are another example how the use of mirror images, be they locations or people, can create a far deeper meaning and more satisfying reading experience for the reader.

This is also a good opportunity for Christie to highlight another disadvantage of village life and constrast city life versus village life: the lonely spinster who everybody knows, everyone relies on to help out but nobody loves or values.

Nobody believed spinster and “busy-body” Miss Lavinia Pinkerton and that fact cost somebody their life. In London, so Luke’s friend from Scotland Yard confirms, Miss Pinkerton’s suspicions would have been taken seriously. In Wychwood-under-Ashe, however, the local policeman is too narrow-minded to believe Miss Pinkerton.

Many of us, like Lord Whitfield, dream of returning from city life to the rural “idyll” because we imagine we’ll matter more there than we do in the metropolis. This is yet another case of appearances being deceptive, as we see with Lord Whitfield, whose good intensions get up villagers’ noses to such an extent that everybody mocks him, sometimes openly as one chauffeur does to his face and sometimes behind his lordly back, like one young murder victim did.

Catching a Glimpse of the real Miss Christie

Murder is Easy is an enjoyable read, and quite revealing at the very end, when the author lets something of herself shine through. Bridget asks Luke, if he LIKES her, caring far less if he is in love with her.

“Liking is more important than loving. It lasts…I don’t want us just to love each other and marry and get tired of each other and then want to marry some one else.” (Bridget, page 254, line 16, 2/6 Edition published for The Crime Club by Collins)

One feels that Agatha Christie is speaking truly from the heart here, having one failed marriage under her belt and now being secure in a far, far better relationship with her archaeologist husband. Reading between the lines, one suspects the author was dazzled by dashing good looks and romance the first time round, but found her true soul mate after divorcing her two-timing cad of a husband.

Naturally, Luke and Bridget have the good sense to run off to London to start their married life, away from gossip, narrow-mindedness and preying villagers’ eyes.

Lavinia’s right: Murder is easy!

heathersanimations(dot)comOverall, it’s not one of Christie’s best murder mysteries, reminding one too much of plots used for her Poirot and Miss Marple novels, but the author does present us with a truly terrifying killer here and a view of village life that rings true – without the murders, obviously, but with all the resentment and neighbourly feuds that brew up so nicely in closed communities, I can recognised every village I’ve ever lived in. Villages are witches’ cauldrons, where disappointments and dislikes are likely to bubble and simmer quite harmlessly for quite sometime before erupting into something foul and deadly.

At the end the reader is left with the uncomfortable question, if perhaps this sort of thing goes on far more often than one thinks? After which thought my mind drifted off to Harold Shipman and Rose West. Ye-es, it seems that Murder is Easy. There simply aren’t enough Miss Pinkertons and savvy aunts out there to keep us safe!

And, of course, in 1939, when murder mystery fans where nosing through Agatha’s book, London’s children were being evacuated to safer grounds, since the greatest murderer of them all was getting his weapons ready to kill us all…

A Study in Scarlet


640px-A_Study_in_Scarlet_from_Beeton's_Christmas_Annual_1887Ever since Sir Conan Doyle’s most famous creation, Sherlock Holmes, said: “There’s the scarlet thread of murder running through the colourless skein of life, and our duty is to unravel it, and isolate it, and expose every inch of it,” fictional amateur sleuths and professional real life detectives have striven to do just that.

A Study in Scarlet was the first Sherlock Holmes adventure – and by chance, the first I ever read. To this day, some 40 years later, it remains my favourite. There is such unspeakable evil pervading the closed world of Utah’s Mormons of the 19th century that reading about it makes me shudder and count my blessings that I grew up in a family of atheists in the safety of laid-back protestant Schleswig-Holstein.

However, my reason for choosing Conan Doyle’s celebrated classic is not because of Sherlock’s brilliant deductions, it is because of the utterly brilliant use of location. The highly atmospheric descriptions of very different locations have always stayed with me as the perfect example of how influential location is in a story for drawing in the reader and how important locations are for introducing a drastic change of pace successfully.

The Meeting of two unequal Minds

Limitless greed, not religious fervour, is at the bottom of this particular murder mystery, but it is not just greed for another’s wealth and land Conan Doyle describes here. It is the coveting of somebody’s daughter for the brutal amassing of sexual slaves. It is the glorification of rape within marriage by a despotic religious sect that makes this Sherlock Holmes story so memorable and chilling. In essence, this is a revenge story, played out over a period of more than 20 years.

Holmes and Watson have just started their memorable partnership, which only comes about because Holmes has found splendid apartments in Baker Street but can’t afford to rent them on his own and Dr. Watson, badly injured in Afghanistan, has returned from the wars a broken man in need of recuperation, occupation, companionship and cheap accommodation.

I spy with my little eye a murder most foul!

I spy with my little eye a murder most foul!

Amateur Sleuth and professional Chameleon

The first three chapters are devoted to describing the unusual character of Holmes, and as such they are among the most important chapters ever written in whodunit fiction. This is a wholly new type of investigator, a consulting detective who is called in when official sources are as baffled as the ordinary man in the street. It is also one of the most unusual protagonists ever created in fiction, an arrogant, even rude man, a character it is very difficult to like or even tolerate for long. Conan Doyle introduces the reader – and the world – to the “Science of Deduction”. He also introduces us to a modern anti-hero who will resurface again and again in modern fiction, on TV and in films: the deeply flawed investigator.

When we first meet Holmes, as seen through the eyes of Dr. Watson, he is as charming as can be, friendly and smiling, even a little shy and gauche. Only when Holmes is more sure of Watson’s friendship and continued support (financial and emotional), he begins to reveal his true nature to his new flatmate. Typical for Sherlock, he doesn’t just sit there in the snug apartments of 221B Baker Street and tells his new flatmate about himself by the fireside one evening.

No, Holmes must be theatrical about it. Enter the newspaper article a smug Sherlock presents Watson with at breakfast time. Rather than admitting to having written something for a newspaper about the science of deduction, Holmes draws attention to his work by circling the headline with a pencil. Naturally, Watson misses the clue of the “drop of water” in the article completely, clearly added by Sherlock for Watson’s benefit and enlightenment.

Attentive readers will know right away that the newspaper article was written by Holmes. Watson, having missed this clue, makes fun of the newspaper writer, ridiculing the writer’s theories. However, Watson is soon made to eat his words to his great irritation. In this small episode Conan Doyle sets up the relationship of these two men for all time and reveals pretty much everything there’s to know about their different personalities. Watson’s character is as plain and uninspired as the nose on this reviewer’s face – Sherlock Holmes, however, remains an enigma, a professional chameleon among the multitude of amateur sleuths modern fiction has presented us with to-date.

Sherlock_Holmes_Portrait_PagetConsulting Detective with an Attitude

Holmes scoffs at the comparison with Edgar Allen Poe’s fictional hero Dupin, setting himself up as a far superior detective, fictional or real, right at the start of the book. We only warm to such an arrogant protagonist because Watson does, and what a splendid fictional creation he is. Loyal, brave, inquisitive and ready to give credit where credit is due, even if he isn’t always able to follow Holmes’ quick-witted observations and deductions, Watson is the perfect audience for Sherlock, but also his anchor and protector with regard to society. Watson is us, the reader, rushing headlong after Sherlock’s long intellectual legs, trying ever so hard not to miss important clues along the way.

A man as unemotional and antisocial as Sherlock would have driven clients away in droves! Enter affable Watson, a doctor, a respectable man able and trained to relate to people. Always looking for a new intellectual challenge, Holmes tells us at the start of the story he’s far too lazy to investigate the common place murder in Lauriston Gardens, another empty, cheerless and inhospitable place incidentally, where the killers shows his powers of improvisation.

It is only Watson’s intervention and assertion that something must be done about such a horrible crime that finally prompts the consulting detective to leave the comfort of his Baker Street rooms and get involved. This investigation sets a precedent in the two men’s relationship. In Conan Doyle’s following stories we’ll see that it is typically Watson’s emotional response to a client’s conundrum that eventually moves Sherlock to investigate.

Locations as hostile as a Murderer

By the unexpected literary device of beginning with Dr. Watson as the narrator and then switching to a totally different style of narration, location and point of view in part two of the book, Conan Doyle draws the reader into two very different worlds with perfect ease, displaying great skills as an author and observer of mankind.

Sir Conan Doyle

Sir Conan Doyle

To show us the killer’s character, Conan Doyle employs two very different locations, both hostile in their own way, both difficult to survive in, unless you have the stamina to hold onto life with both hands, no matter what hardships you’ll face in pursuit of your objective or how long it will take to succeed. Although the audience doesn’t meet the killer until the latter part of the story, the reader feels the killer’s presence throughout the book; we know what type of person the killer must be simply from the hostile environments he has mastered.

The harsh desert landscape of the Wild West and the run-down districts of London are two sides of the same coin for the killer, an anti-hero who is not judged by mankind in the final chapter, but brought to justice by God. Whereas a person could die of thirst in the hot desert landscape of the Wild West of America, where no animal or plant can live, where only death is thriving, the streets in London are teeming with life, but are mud-filled, the very air is water-logged and the sun hardly ever warms the bones. The desert’s vultures are replaced by criminals here, birds of prey hunting the weak and gullible.

Having introduced the reader to the hot and arid American desert, where a person could walk for days without ever hearing a sound other than their own footsteps and the squawking of vultures commenting on the lonely traveller’s inevitable demise, Conan Doyle plunges us back into the maze of London, a bustling metropolis with four million inhabitants, a city as noisy as the desert is silent, in the third and final part of the book.

This is a city full of smog and cheap boarding houses, a settlement where streets are crawling with horse-drawn carriages, rude cabbies, street vendors and newspaper boys, elegant men with side whiskers and canes, ladies with wagon wheel hats and bustles, street urchins and beggars in rags.

In the desert, the reader is positively squinting into the brightness of the sun before the reader can see the approaching column of wagons more clearly. London, by contrast, is dark and dingy, tall houses block out the sun. The fresh air of the mountains and the verdant farms of Utah are nicely contrasted with the unpleasant odours of city life back in the old world. The literary audience is forced to hold their noses as the stench of horse manure in the streets and human excrement in gutters, rotting vegetables, rat droppings and coal fires assaults their collective nostrils.

Both locations serve exceptionally well to characterise the killer for us before we are ever introduced to the man himself. This is an anti-hero who can deal with every situation and hostile environment. It is an exceptional man, not an ordinary criminal, a man who will make use of whatever he finds in his surroundings to achieve what he has set out to do.

An impoverished killer has only one way open to him to track down his quarry in the bewildering cesspool of humanity that is London – and it is due to Sherlock’s brilliant deductive powers that the perpetrator’s disguise is revealed. And again Conan Doyle breaks with literary tradition here. Instead of haring after the killer, as Lestrade and Gregson would have done – and with them most writers of adventure stories – Sherlock lets the killer come to him. Directly to cosy Baker Street’s airy sitting-room. At this point, the reader suspects that it is the amazing character of the killer which moved Sherlock to investigate in the first place and not Watson’s pleading.

Changing Place to change Pace

Picurycadilly, London, turn of the cent

Picurycadilly, London, turn of the cent

221b Baker Street is a womb into which the two friends can retreat to take stock of their investigations, recover from their adventures and re-affirm their relationship. Their lives in Marylebone are only interrupted by their landlady’s culinary offerings or the occasional clients who make it past the vigilant servant and up the stairs. For two gentlemen of limited financial means, this is a veritable domestic haven “with a couple of comfortable bedrooms and a single large airy sitting-room, cheerfully furnished, and illuminated by two broad windows”.

We learn of their respective vices, which are that Dr. Watson keeps a bull pup and is extremely lazy, and Sherlock likes to do chemical experiments and play the violin. Both like to fill their sitting-room with smoke and newspapers and get up at irregular hours. For two bachelors, this is a blissful environment where they can remain “boys” and don’t have to grow up, be responsible husbands, bread-winners and fathers.

Whenever these two friends enter the large airy sitting-room in Baker Street, the reader breathes a sigh of relief – our heroes are safe from harm and about to present us with another clue in the present mystery or the beginnings of a new adventure. It’s also a brilliant literary device for changing pace entirely. Here Conan Doyle can take his time to reveal more about the characters of these two unlikely heroes.

When the identity of the killer is known to Sherlock, he has no need of chasing through the streets of London in a horse-drawn carriage; the comfortable surroundings of his home will do to deal with the rest of the adventure. Only one more location switch is needed, this time to a small, quiet but cheerless interrogation room at Scotland Yard, and justice has been done. The gaps in the plot have been filled in for the reader and Conan Doyle can put away his pen. Exhale everyone!

The literary Cradle of modern Crime Investigation

Interestingly, the reader learns an important fact about the first murder victim early on, a clue to the victim’s personality so subtle that we blink and almost miss it. The murdered man has in his possession the pocket edition of Boccaccio’s Decameron…and when the narration switches to Utah, we begin to see why such a book would have been in the possession of victim Mr Drebber.

In modern crime investigation professional detectives begin by looking at the victim and what type of person they were etc. Gregson and Lestrade only regard clues that may hint at the identity of the murderer as important. However, Sherlock Holmes looks at the whole picture and deduces from the personality of the victim and the nature of the crime what type of murderer he’s hunting. Sherlock Holmes looks at crimes committed throughout history and deduces a pattern, whereas Gregson and Lestrade only see unconnected dots in front of their noses.

Many, many years later, murder mystery writer Agatha Christie would employ much the same deductive and comparative methods with her splendid creations, village spinster Miss Marple and former Belgian policeman, Monsieur Poirot, two of modern fiction’s most influential and beloved sleuths.

By using two inept Scotland Yard detectives, Gregson and Lestrade, as an example of outdated police methods and attitudes, contrasting them with successful duo Holmes and Watson, Conan Doyle introduces his audience step by step to the kind of modern investigative methods, including forensics and profiling, that should be employed in crime detection, a totally novel concept at the time the story was published.

The story ends with a disillusioned Sherlock, who even at the outset of his career must be content with the status of amateur sleuth, while idiots like Lestrade and Gregson take the credit. We are back in Baker Street, the safe womb, at this point, which allows Conan Doyle to deepen our knowledge of his protagonist and to lay Sherlock’s deductive methods before the reader at a measured pace.

By offering to reveal the true facts to the public, Dr. Watson assures himself of Sherlock’s friendship and gratitude (and ours!), even if that infuriating man will never admit to it during the long years of their partnership. It is another brilliant device by Conan Doyle to explain to readers in a subtle way, why a brilliant man like Sherlock Holmes would continue to share his life with a man of Dr. Watson’s limited deductive abilities.

It is a must-read for anyone interested in reading whodunits, a classic without which we would not have this genre today and an example par excellence, how the use of location can serve a multitude of purposes within a story.

You can’t write well


mariathermann:

I think we all know what should be done with lousy teachers like that! Yep, we smile diabolically while posting their invitation to our latest book launch and signing session!

Originally posted on HarsH ReaLiTy:

“You can’t write well. Pick a new hobby.” 11th Grade Pre-AP English Teacher

Nothing motivates me more than being told I can’t. I can’t write. I can’t write well. I can’t write on that. You definitely can’t write that.

Fucking watch me.

-OM

View original

Writer’s Easter Egg Hunt


free gif from heathersanimations(dot)comHappy Easter everyone!

If you’ve ever been on an Easter Egg Hunt, you’ll know that a substantial percentage of eggs never find their way into a child’s gob, because a child chasing for eggs will eventually grow tired of the game and ignore their parent’s carefully chosen hiding places in favour of easier targets  (grandparents usually) . Although some kids come prepared and bring a fully trained chocolate sniffing hound to the annual Egg Hunt, (guilty as charged).

A substantial number of book ideas swirling around my head will also never make it onto the page, because I’m too busy chasing after blog ideas, article ideas or press release ideas on behalf of my clients, who pay me to be as original as the Easter Bunny when it comes to delicious offerings. Like the famous Swiss chocoloate bunny I shake my head at the seasonal madness of it all, until the little bell around my neck tells me my head’s about to explode.

So instead of hunting for chocolaty goodness I could present to you on a weekly basis, I’ve been concentrating on red herrings in my Inspektor Beagle murder mystery (German language, hence the spelling) and juicy morsels for The House Detective , my novel for children aged 8 – 12 (English language).

I also discovered via the Bookrix(dot)com platform’s sales and download-per-book data that English readers apparently want to consume everything for free, while my German readers are quite happy to pay for the books they download. So instead of casting my free literary eggs before unpaying greedy-guts readers, I have been concentrating on blogging in German and gathering research material for future German blog entries to promote my forthcoming German language murder mystery.

My full-length Inspektor Beagle novel, this precious “Osterei” , German language readers will only be able to obtain by offering hard cash, not sweet talking or the promise of sending me an electronic Easter card next year or saying something nice in the review part of Bookrix. Maybe I’m turning into rather a material girl-Bunny but I don’t see why my hard work should always go unrewarded while English readers gobble up whatever they find for free in a hunt round self-publishing platform’s hiding places. Consumers hand over hard cash to get their hands on a chocolate egg at their local supermarket, right? So why not pay for the literary egg authors have crafted for them? Calory free, I ask you!

Now we know what most readers are hunting for at Easter: Freebies. The most desirable Easter egg a writer can hunt for, in my opinion, is TIME, that sweet old favourite of mine. Taking out time to write fiction is a real treat for me. Also calory free, which is a bonus. And stealing moments for reading. Ferociously. Reading series writers’ stuff, for here we can see how characters are constructed over time, in new circumstances, with new side kicks, using readers’ feedback to create the most perfect Easter Egg a fiction fan could possibly want. free gifs from heathersanimations(dot)comA book that transports readers, taking them on an adventure or a journey, inviting them to become part of a family saga, a fearless amateur detective duo or play their part in a thrilling heist, a steamy romance, a hair-raising thriller, a spine-tingling horror, ghost or vampire story. Or maybe some cute chick travelling the world with the help of an egg.

What are you hunting for this Easter?

If I were a Terrier…


…I would hurl my cute little body in front of every nasty jogger who huffs and puffs past my Mistress, those supporters of child-labour produced sports shoes, who spread their sweaty stinkiness to all and sundry.

A whole herd of joggers emerging from Buckingham Palace

A whole herd of joggers emerging from Buckingham Palace

If I were a terrier, I would bark my head off at every runner and shame them for the pavement-hogs that they are, never giving way, no matter how much space there is to left and right or how laden mothers are with toddlers and their buggies or how much elderly women with their shopping bags struggle to remain upright, when forced to jump out of the way of nasty joggers.

As my terrier self I’d nip the ankles of those grunting women, whose mighty bottoms I see wobbling past me at little over 4 miles per hour, their pinched faces expressing nothing but the ardent desire to get home to their couch, their box of chocolates and their favourite TV soap, if only Cosmo and Vanity Fair would declare fat-arsed women the next beauty icon!

Have I mentioned how much I loathe joggers? With my terrier tenacity in over-drive I’d chase after every long-limbed macho jogger, who has replaced his 60-a-day addiction with obsessive running, came rain or shine, and now splashes through puddles, covering innocent passers-by with an avalanche of mud as he races past them with haughty superiority.

Bute Park at dawn - even then not totally jogger-free!

Cardiff’s Bute Park at dawn – even then not totally jogger-free!

Grrr, if I were a Jack Russell called Bertie or Bob, I’d poo on the favourite trail of every jogger who’s ever sneaked up on my beloved human, those men and women who pass by so closely that their pervy elbows touch my beloved Mistress in their wake, treating her to a bout of heavy breathing in the process.

Woof, if I were a button-nosed fluffy Yorkie with an anarchic attitude I’d trip up charity runners who blithely take over an entire city park to show the rest of us how altruistic they are.

Why exactly do pensioners and mothers with toddlers who come to the park for a bit of fresh air have to jump out of the way when these park-pests arrive without warning and insist on running three-in-a-row? Parks are there for everybody and not just for those who obsessively support one cause to the detriment of everybody else around them.

Doggies unite and free this planet from these fiends, these joggers with their i-Pod deafness, their “talk to the cheek” attitude and their total disregard for other pavement users!

Oh, and if I were a Rottweiler with big teeth and jaws the size of T-Rex I’d rip the ankles off those WordPress geeks who are constantly messing around with the layout – it’s taken me nearly 8 minutes to get to my dashboard…who in their right mind makes it so difficult for bloggers to update their blog? Grrrrrr, biting, biting, tearing off those geeky trouser-seats NOW!

How to Import Your Linkedin Contacts to Google+


mariathermann:

I’m reblogging this to my own site so I won’t lose track of Doris Heilmann’s excellent blog and advice! although I detest LinkedIn and try to avoid it at all costs…it’s as intrusive and creepy as FB, brrr.

Originally posted on Savvy Writers & e-Books online:

.
Import
.

Import From Ireland (LinkedIn) to California (Google+):

In a recent blog post on SavvyBookWriters.com/blog we explained the possibility to connect all your Social Media accounts.  The task was to post or tweet more – in case you need this for a campaign to go viral.  Saving time on Social Media, allows you to interact more with your followers and readers.  But it also shows them where else they can connect with you.  You can import for example your LinkedIn Followers to Google+.  How this works?  Read more on our new blog site:

Our WordPress blog http://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/ has moved to our web domain at: http://www.savvybookwriters.com/blog.

As we cannot transfer thousands of subscribers, so we will re-blog for a while.   If you want to get these valuable tips in the future, please sign up when the pop-up window shows up after 10 seconds on the new site, to make…

View original 11 more words

What Time Of The Year Should You Publish Your Novel?


mariathermann:

Ah, yes…I am currently in the final stages of writing a German language novel and was wondering, when, WHEN, WHEEEEEENNNNN to publish the thing to catch book buyers when they’ve still got a few pence to spare before the Festive Season bankrupts us all. Thanks to Tara Sparling’s blog post I now feel a bit calmer…

Originally posted on Tara Sparling writes:

I’ve been getting quite a few hits lately from search terms such as “when do I self-publish my novel?” and “when does a book need to be published for the Christmas market?

I already pontificated on the issue of self-publishing for Christmas in this post, but that only dealt with one time of year. Now I’d like to talk in more general terms about seasonal trends in book sales. I have inhaled oodles of data on the subject. And so, in this post, and more to follow*, I’m going to take a look at questions like these:

  • Which month of the year sees the most sales?
  • Which month sees the least sales?
  • How many sales do you need to make it into the Top Ten Bestseller list? Are there times of the year when the target is lower and this might be easier?
  • Are there particular weeks in the year…

View original 767 more words

What Time Of The Year Should You Publish Your Novel?


mariathermann:

Ah, yes…I am currently in the final stages of writing a German language novel and was wondering, when, WHEN, WHEEEEEENNNNN to publish the thing to catch book buyers when they’ve still got a few pence to spare before the Festive Season bankrupts us all. Thanks to Tara Sparling’s blog post I now feel a bit calmer…

Originally posted on Tara Sparling writes:

I’ve been getting quite a few hits lately from search terms such as “when do I self-publish my novel?” and “when does a book need to be published for the Christmas market?

I already pontificated on the issue of self-publishing for Christmas in this post, but that only dealt with one time of year. Now I’d like to talk in more general terms about seasonal trends in book sales. I have inhaled oodles of data on the subject. And so, in this post, and more to follow*, I’m going to take a look at questions like these:

  • Which month of the year sees the most sales?
  • Which month sees the least sales?
  • How many sales do you need to make it into the Top Ten Bestseller list? Are there times of the year when the target is lower and this might be easier?
  • Are there particular weeks in the year…

View original 767 more words

Hidden Gems of the City


on Tower Bridge

on Tower Bridge

Before I launch full-scale into major tourist attractions, I wanted to take you on a stroll down the River Thames towards the delightful village of Rotherhithe. We start off from Britain’s most recognisable attraction, Tower Bridge.

At either side of the River a fabulous promenade or river embankment allows people to admire the city from its best side, the Thames. When first entering Tower Bridge look out for staircases on either side, leading down to the river.

On Tower Bridge, looking towards The Tower and Tower Bridge Exhibition Building (to the right)

On Tower Bridge, looking towards The Tower and Tower Bridge Exhibition Building (to the right)

I walked down the steps that lead to the Tower, but before going there I turned left instead of righ, walking towards the restaurants and shops now occupying the former dockyards.

A new lease of life has been given to the erstwhile warehouses and docks that were once part of Port of London all along the Thames.

Now these lofts and condos exchange hands for well over a million pounds, but in earlier centuries they were nothing but industrial buildings and hovels for the desperately poor, those who worked in the docks and eeked out a living from scraps thrown away by others, by pick-pocketing and nefarious nocturnal activities.

Restaurants and cafes are clustered around Tower Bridge on this side of the Thames. I walked through an archway to investigate the possibility of a steaming cuppa on a windy day, when I came across these fantastic barges moored just outside Tower Bridge.

Thames "paddle steam" boat

Thames “paddle steam” boat

Copyright Maria ThermannThey are tourist cruise ships, obviously taking a Sunday afternoon rest here from ferrying chattering hordes of visitors.

Thames Houseboats St Saviours Dock

Thames Houseboats St Saviours Dock

Walking towards the even smarter housing development of St Saviour’s Dock one soon comes across a flotilla of house boats, some colourful and bohemian, others more like a floating suburban home that wouldn’t be out of place in Surbiton or Kingston.

Canada geese inspect house boat potential

Canada geese inspect house boot potential

Make no mistake, these are some of London’s most expensive dwellings, although the house boots moored at Chelsea are perhaps the better known floating homes, having in the past been sold to famous people like Damien Hirst (that awful man who thinks displaying dead calves is “art”).

Copyright Maria ThermannEven the small bridges and gangways that connect the various housing developments with the promenade sport an interesting architecture.

with every passing river cruiser these homes get buffeted by the waves, BOOM!

with every passing river cruiser these homes get buffeted by the waves, BOOM!

The Thames Path is well sign-posted and although it leaves the immediate proximity of the River at times to wind its way through charming mews housing developments, alongside parks and through former warehouse complexes now transformed into luxury apartments, the Thames Path never leaves the River for long and it’s not really possible to get lost.

St Saviour's Dock, Thames Embankment, London

St Saviour’s Dock, Thames Embankment, London

Copyright Maria ThermannEn route one comes across wonderful sculptures and statues such as this head at St Saviours Dock. At every turn there is something interesting to see. Plaques tell walkers where they are, what local communities are doing or who is being honoured with a plaque or statue and why. The whole thing has a real community feel about it and seems a great place to live. I can still feel the impact each wave made when hitting the moorings of the house boats, BOOM, the hiss of the spray of brown Thames water escaping over the sides of the embankment’s walls, sending careless walkers squealing and running for cover. I remember the scent of petrol from the passing cruise ships and the noise from the tour guides’s announcements over loudspeakers when recalling the history of the Thames. One day soon, all this will find its way into my writing…at another river setting, an imagined location but remembering one sweltering hot Sunday afternoon at the Thames. Perhaps the background for a murder mystery, a romantic interlude before the killer strikes!

Rotherhithe Church, Mayflower plaque

Rotherhithe Church, Mayflower plaque

Eventually one reaches a park, where the Thames Path suddenly seems to end in the church yard of Rotherhithe Village; it’s a delightful place and the appropriate spot for honouring the intrepid Rotherhithe citizens who sailed one fine day off into the unknown blue yonder on a wee ship called The Mayflower. Can’t remember what happened to her but yon American citizens might recall that part of the story….

Rotherhithe village

Rotherhithe village

Encircling the church and small churchyard are various 17th, 18th and 19th century houses – this one with the statues above the entrance caught my eye because it was adjacent to a cafe and small park. By now the weather was deteriorating and working itself up to a full-scale storm with thunder, lightning and torrential rain thrown in for good measure.

London's temperamental weather strikes again

London’s temperamental weather strikes again

Naturally, the village has all sorts of connections with the Thames’ staggering historical importance and various famous people stem from this part of London. A miniscule museum honours one of the world’s finest engineers, Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

Voted as one of Britain’s 100 most important people ever, this extraordinary Victorian is responsible for the world’s first tunnel under a navigable river (the Thames Tunnel), the Great Western Railway, the first propeller-driven steamship that went across the Atlantic (1843), the Clifton Suspension Bridge and countless other famous structures, bridges and ships. Sadly, I didn’t have time to visit the Brunel Museum that day, but hope to do so in the next few weeks.

Mayflower Pub in Rotherhithe Village

Mayflower Pub in Rotherhithe Village

A typical English pub honours all those dockhands, tally-men and mariners who worked and drank (beer and gin mostly) at Rotherhithe Dock over the centuries. By an amazing co-incidence the pub is called The Mayflower – I wonder who thought of that one…

Pilgrims at Rotherhithe Village

Pilgrims at Rotherhithe Village

A look into the future

A look into the future

The Pilgrim's Pocket - plaque at the foot of the bronze sculpture

The Pilgrim’s Pocket – plaque at the foot of the bronze sculpture

Finally, before leaving the village of Rotherhithe one comes across this lovely threesome, a boy, his pilgrim father and their dog. Step onto the pedestal and take a peep into the pilgrim’s book, for the Mayflower pilgrims’ future is revealed in its pages, hence the pilgrim father’s bulging eyes!

Staying Cool in the City


Copyright Maria ThermannNow that the skies are grey and the rays of the sun are no longer tickling our red and blistering noses, it seems inconceivable that only a few weeks ago it was too hot to work in the office.

Taking a refreshing stroll along the Thames Embankment on a very hot day, I spotted how London’s citizens tried various ingenious ways to stay cool in the city.

Thus I’m sneakily introducing my first, and most favourite point of interest in the capital – sorry HRM Elizabeth II, but the River Thames beats the “lady of the stamp” any day as London’s best tourist attraction!

Even on the hottest day of the year there was a gentle breeze blowing that cooled the wrinkled writer’s brow – walk along the lovely Thames Embankment and sooner or later you’ll come across a fountain where you can cool off your steaming toes.

 

Blackfriars Bridge in the Background

Blackfriars Bridge in the Background

Tide's out, kids!

Tide’s out, kids!

When the tide’s out, people walk along the patches of “beach” that appear along the river bed.

Just cruisin’

For those with more money than sense there are the official river cruises, some via stately old river barges, cruisers or former steamboats, others via power boats that zoom past with an almighty roar and spew up brown waves in their wake. The much cheaper version is to take an ordinary river bus.

St Katherine's Dock by Tower Bridge

St Katherine’s Dock by Tower Bridge

Cruises start from various points along the river, my favourite spot is at St Katherine’s Dock, where this couple sat patiently in a little pavilion – like a bus stop for the Thames – and awaited the arrival of their cruiser, while enjoying the magnificent aspect of Tower Bridge.

 

 

 

Making a Splash

My favourite image of this summer are unquestionably the parents and children who stayed cool by diving into the fountains at the National Theatre, which overlooks the Thames Embankment by the London Eye, roughly opposite Westminster and Big Ben.

Fountain at National Theatre, Southbank

Fountain at National Theatre, Southbank

Kids keeping their cool in the city

Kids keeping their cool in the city

Pedestrians startled by Mayor Boris Johnson's latest efforts to clean up the city's mean streets

Pedestrians startled by Mayor Boris Johnson’s latest efforts to clean up the city’s mean streets

At certain intervals during the day the kind people of the South Bank-National Theatre complex press a button and within moments people are engulfed by refreshing spouts of water – only they don’t know where the jets of water will come from next, for the fountain’s sprays shoot out at random in different spots.

With a lot of squeals and laughter, the youngest of London’s citizens find relief from the searing heat, a perfect image of summer as it should be, don’t you think?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HMS Belfast near Tower Bridge

HMS Belfast near Tower Bridge

Family Fun by Hayes Gallery, Thames Embankment

Family Fun by Hayes Gallery, Thames Embankment

At the other end of the river, that bit where HMS Belfast, a cruiser from WWII, is moored, whole families gathered around fountains, had a picnic and enjoyed the spectacular London skyline from just outside Hayes Gallery.

Erasing horrid Memories

This summer I’ve seen a different side to London, one I liked very much. Many years ago, when I worked in the city for more than a decade as an office slave, London was a complete construction site, where it was virtually impossible to get anywhere near the River. My memories are of noisy construction crews whistling and jeering at anything looking even vaguely female, of cranes polluting the skyline, of mud and dust everywhere.

southbank street artist blowing soap bubbles

southbank street artist blowing soap bubbles

Over the intervening two decades the embankments on both sides have been transformed and turned into London’s best attraction – and I’m clearly not alone in this point of view, judging by the hordes of people who use the River Walks every day from dawn till dusk and beyond.

My next post will be about my splendid walk from Tower Bridge to Rotherhithe, which turned out to be a delightful village, not a boring suburb with uniform new apartment blocks, as I had suspected.

This is where my post took you today

This is where my post took you today

After more than three decades in the UK, this summer has been the first time that I’ve actually begun to understand why people rate London so highly – up to now, I’ve detested it. These past few weeks, hot and steamy as they have been, have done much to clear my mind of horrid work-related memories and regain my “cool” about the Big City.

The true aim of my snap-happy wanderings through London is, of course, to gather background material for a future murder mystery series. So alongside the pictures I’ve been taking notes on the smells, sounds, temperatures and light conditions I’ve encountered along the way. I can still hear the children’s giggles, when a flurry of soap bubbles headed our way…

Summer in the City


Which City? Have a guess!

Horseguard Buckingham Palace

Horseguard Buckingham Palace

Yep, my camera and I were let loose by an irresponsible friend and snap-happy I took hundreds of pictures of landmarks, architectural highlights, attractions and the city’s star attraction, the big old River.

Vintage Bus outside Scotland Yard

Vintage Bus outside Scotland Yard

London Eye to the left, Big Ben straight ahead

London Eye to the left, Big Ben straight ahead

Big Ben telling me it's time for elevenses!

Big Ben telling me it’s time for elevenses!

Old River Thames, my favourite attraction!

Old River Thames, my favourite attraction!

London Skyline seen from Tower Bridge. The Tower to the right, the Gherkin to the left

London Skyline seen from Tower Bridge. The Tower to the right, the Gherkin to the left

There is a reason for this sudden outbreak of tourist fever – I’m preparing two murder mystery series, one is set in London in the 1920s, the other at the Kent coast in the 1940s.

Fountains at Trafalgar Square

Fountains at Trafalgar Square

Millennium Bridge before Harry Potter got there!

Millennium Bridge before Harry Potter got there!

Both make good use of locations, so it helps me when I’m writing from some hovel based at a different part of the UK or on the Continent (being an location independent online writer does have its advantages!), I don’t have to imagine what a place looks, smells, sounds or feels like at a particular time of year, I can look back at my photographs.

Borough Market in Southwark

Borough Market in Southwark

It was also huge fun snapping away, for this summer there’s been very little rain and although some of the pics look as if taken against a grey sky.

Tower Bridge, Southwark

Tower Bridge, Southwark

It was actually boiling hot at the time, the sort of hazy sunshine one only gets in The Big Smoke.

Imagine me standing there with an opened umbrella to shade my noggins and camera from sun and 30 degrees C temperatures, and you get the “feel” of the situation…

Horseguards emerging from Buckingham Palace

Horseguards emerging from Buckingham Palace

Her Magesty's secret agents having a chin wag?

Her Magesty’s secret agents having a chin wag?

London's full of mad artwork and statues

London’s full of mad artwork and statues

Dolphin statue & Spring at Tower Bridge

Dolphin statue & Spring at Tower Bridge

So to start off my series of city impressions, interesting landmarks and famous attractions, here are a few snapshots. I will do a post on each of the attractions/locations with more pics and proper descriptions over the next few weeks.

Golden Hinde, Sir Francis Drake's old ride in Southwark

Golden Hinde, Sir Francis Drake’s old ride in Southwark

Entrance to Buckingham Palace from Trafalgar Square

Entrance to Buckingham Palace from Trafalgar Square

Shakespeare's Book Bench outside Globe Theatre, Thames Embankment

Shakespeare’s Book Bench outside Globe Theatre, Thames Embankment

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, Southwark, Thames Embankment

Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, Southwark, Thames Embankment

The Clink Prison, Southwark

The Clink Prison, Southwark

The London Eye, Thames Embankment

The London Eye, Thames Embankment

Join me on my Summer in the City tour, but please bear in mind, I’m just an amateur photographer with a rubbish Olympus camera, so please don’t expect too much!

Gates at Buckingham Palace

Gates at Buckingham Palace

 

 

 

 

Queen Victoria Monument & Fountain o/s Buckingham Palace

Queen Victoria Monument & Fountain o/s Buckingham Palace

What Puts Readers Off Self-Published Books?


mariathermann:

Am so glad I found Tara Sparling’s blog! All I can say that she repeats here exactly my own thoughts on the whole “read my stuff/buy my book” ethos of a large section of self-published authors. My reaction to Twitter/Bookrix/Goodreads bombardment of “check out my stuff” type messages is also “shan’t”! Thank you Tara for this blog post:)

Originally posted on Tara Sparling writes:

ANOTHER graph! Heaven.... I'm in Heaven.... ANOTHER graph! Heaven…. I’m in Heaven….

Oh, we’ve come a long way from What Makes People Buy Self-Published Books last week, ladies and gentlesirs!

Brace yourselves now, as we enter the dark side of book marketing: the things which make you REFUSE to buy self-published books.

And we’ve all experienced this to some degree. Self-publishing often gets a very bad rap. If people avoided some of the behaviour which follows, the industry can only benefit.

Cobbled together from the feedback from you, the nice people who comment, I now have a list of what’s most likely to make sure you will never buy a book from a certain author, let alone read one.

These fall loosely into 3 categories:

1. Pushy Marketing Tactics
2. Bad Book Design
3. The Writing Itself

These categories also come in the order which they would turn readers off a book. Even if a book didn’t…

View original 875 more words

The Steps of Publishing & Crowdfunding


mariathermann:

And as we are still on the subject of #book marketing, here’s an interesting new development: crowd-funding. I saw some authors use this to get a book tour (real travelling, not virtual) off the ground and another writer published a fabulous educational #book about how to create #fantasy art with the help of #crowd funding. Clearly the way to go, my fellow authors!

Originally posted on Authors Helping Authors:

wine_book_IIAlmost every writer dreams of one day being published, but not all writers realize what exactly goes into publishing a book. Whether you are self-publishing or pursuing the traditional publishing route, writers need to learn to navigate the publishing process. After all, writers are first and foremost just that—writers—and learning the ins and outs of publishing is not an easy task. However, as the publishing industry grows, new tools are becoming available to authors to help them publish more successfully. Crowdfunding is one of these resources and many authors are learning the importance of this step in the publishing process.

View original 574 more words

Hidden Gems: Google+ Hashtags


mariathermann:

And since we are on the subject of useful Google resources and Doris Heilmann, the expert on all things book marketing, here’s some hashtag advice from her for all you savvy writers out there:

Originally posted on Savvy Writers & e-Books online:

.

Google+-Hashtags

.

If you are a long-time reader of this blog you might have realized that I am a big fan of Google+ – or GooglePlus – however you want to write it.  And I am not the only fan of this Social Media site, more than a billion other people signed up and it won’t take long until Facebook is a thing of the past.  At least for professionals who realized how important their Google Search Engine ranking is.  Now let’s look at one of the most interesting features Google+ has to offer:

.

#Hashtags
Do you know of any Social Media site that creates custom #hashtags for you? Well, Google+ does!
And they do even more: when starting to type a #hashtag, Google kicks in and offers in a drop-down menue with suggested hashtags starting with the letters you have typed so far. Isn’t that fantastic?
And the…

View original 410 more words

5 Tips for a Successful Google+ Presence


mariathermann:

I have yet to get my head round all the different aspects of Google+ and, as I’m highly suspect of social media in general and Google in particular, I’m not sure that I want to sign over my writer’s soul to this potentially evil empire. Still, here are some very useful tips from Doris Heilmann at Savvy Writers of how writers can improve their Google presence:

Originally posted on Savvy Writers & e-Books online:

.
Your presence at Google+ means you are high-ranked from the very moment you post something on your Google+ timeline, your Google+ author and book pages, and certainly when you post on Google+ community pages, even when you re-post and comment on other Google+ posts.

Treat Your Google Plus Page Like a Micro Blog, and Post Valuable Content wrote Stephen Walsh at Entrepreneur.com
Don’t just comment and “Plus One” the content of others. Post your own engaging content.  Make sure you are updating your Google Plus page on a regular basis. The content needs to be exclusive, valuable, and compelling, both in terms of visuals and substance. Knowing that Google Plus posts are searchable, you should treat them like a micro blog (and a very powerful one at that). For your business page, you should keep the content strictly on topic, but you can use your personal profile to post content…

View original 661 more words

Who are Your Readers – and Your Competition?


mariathermann:

Here’s more sound advice from Doris at Savvy Writers & ebook international. One word of warning though, start saving up now to have your genes cloned, for it takes at least a triplet version of each author to get through the workload of writing one’s novel and promoting it effectively.

Originally posted on Savvy Writers & e-Books online:

.
study-your-competition

.

Authors often do very little research to really understand who their potential audience is – or could be.  Asking them: “Who is your audience and who is your competition?” one might receive only vague answers …  However, these are essential questions that are not only very important for self-publishers, but also for authors who want to go with a traditional publisher!  They need to proof to the agent or the publisher that they have done their homework.
.

How Can You Research Your Competition?
First of all make a long list with possible keywords that readers might use to find a similar book.
Check out the complete categories / genres at Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Kobo, Apple, Sony, Google Books, Waterstones etc. and study all the books, that could be akin to your future work. Visit several public libraries to learn about your competition. Borrow the most interesting ones…

View original 565 more words

Edwards'_Dodo public domain

Twimagination’s as dead as a Dodo


Edwards'_Dodo public domainBeware, this is a rant! Twimagination is as dead as a dodo as far as I’m concerned.

I’m not having a good time with technology this week.

Firstly, it took me ages to find a WordPress template that would at least vaguely work for my new German language blog Inspektor Beagle ermittelt.

Secondly, I have just wasted my valuable time signing up to Twimagination, Twitter’s new application for authors and poets. If you launch a new application aimed at one of the largest user groups on your platform, it seems like a good idea to test the wretched thing actually works, wouldn’t you agree? Not the Tweet-Empire.

So far there are less than 500 authors on it by the looks of it (I called up English and German language options), so perhaps others like me tried and gave up or word is out that it’s not a good place to be. Who knows. What I do know is that I shan’t be back.

What’s worse, after advertising grandly that one can upload one’s book links with cover, description and blurb, the wretched thing won’t work. Try browsing and then uploading a cover for your book and you’ll see what I mean. Naturally, the Tweet Team have NOT installed a friendly HELP button anywhere, so I’ve simply written a rude message to my own timeline and hope that somebody way more tech savvy will see it and give Twitter what for, as they say in English.

What has irritated me more than anything is that there is no proper explanation anywhere of what one is to do to use the new application to its full potential. We don’t all work at Twitter, are probably not all related to their cyber geeks…so how are we to know what Twitter intended us to do, especially when things don’t work as they should do?

Even more irritating, when you add the link to your book into the little box, a message comes up that tells you Twitter may alter the link to another online bookseller, if that happens to be one of their partners. This means if you’re trying to point readers to your print edition or promote yourself as a writer for a specific publisher, Twitter may well alter it to $0.99 or ebook edition on Ebay, where somebody else may have illegally posted it, just because Twitter’s got a partnership with Kindle or whoever they partner with. The whole point of using this damn platform for brand building and promotional purposes from a writer’s point of view is to use social media more effectively, and to target a specific market segment, while at the same time showcasing one’s work to a wider audience.

Twimagination clearly has a lot to learn when it comes to writers’ imagination and aspirations for their work.

And, while I’m ranting about bl**dy cheeky platforms, would you believe those awful Wattpad people apparently tried to link to my post Bye Bye Red Room! Deleted at this end faster than you can say sign-up-with-Jukepopserials-you-guys for there you’ll be treated with respect.

 

 

50 Web Links to Let Your Book Go Viral!


mariathermann:

Here is an updated list from Doris at Savvy Writers for all you loverly writers out there who want to promote their books. Stay clear of Wattpad, if you are a writer of anything other than teenage sex/romp/vampire/film&popstar romps and dippy fan fiction.

Originally posted on Savvy Writers & e-Books online:

.

PART ONE Tips to “Advertise” your Book for FREE:  Forums / Networks / Book Communities / Book Bloggers – all this means free show casing of your book and free PR.  

For your book to sell, you need to create the demand. You need an audience, a platform – which you will get when your book is showing up on many websites and forums, visible to readers, bloggers and to book reviewers.

Here are fifty links to top websites for you and tomorrow’s blog post will bring you even more!

.
.

  1.        http://www.wattpad.com/
  2.        http://www.kindlemojo.com
  3.        http://blog.booksontheknob.org/
  4.        http://www.askdavid.com/free-book-promotio
  5.        http://www.goodreads.com/
  6.        http://www.booktalk.org/
  7.        http://www.booktalk.com/authors/
  8.        http://www.librarything.com/
  9.        http://www.shelfari.com/
  10.        http://authonomy.com
  11.        http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums

View original 361 more words

Introducing Broadcast


mariathermann:

Jukepopserials is becoming a better and bigger writers’ and readers’ platform by the minute! Virtually every month something new is being introduced that will help both sides to have a better reading and writing experience. If you are writer who wants to get exposure for their work but you haven’t completed a novel yet, this is the place for you to get some real constructive feedback, not just a “like” click that is in the greater scheme of things rather meaningless. If you are an avid reader and would love to see “novels in the making”, this is the site for you, too. There are some incredibly talented people showcasing their work on this site (no, I’m not talking about me here!), so have a look at it…and I have no doubt you’ll enjoy the chapter by chapter experience.

Originally posted on JukePop Serials Bloggity:

Following up on our latest site update to make our growing community of authors and readers more engaging, we now introduce the “broadcast” feature–a way to directly send a message to all your followers or those you follow!

Our previous update enabled the community feed and personal feed, two display columns which track most of the activity around the site, including individual comments on serials. These tools are great if you want to see what other people are saying about the serials you’ve never read, or if you want to participate in discussions about your favorite chapters. But what if you want to make a general announcement? Not just a comment on a single chapter or review, but a comment concerning multiple chapters or serials, or even something else?

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 5.10.17 PM Personal Wall for Announcements to Followers

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 5.08.23 PM Friend’s Wall for Leaving Messages

This is where the broadcast feature comes in. With broadcast…

View original 269 more words

6 Social Media Sites, Essential for Writers


mariathermann:

Once again excellent advice from Doris at Savvy Writers & e-Book about effective use of social media for writers. What would we do without you, Doris?

Originally posted on Savvy Writers & e-Books online:

.

Winter/ Deutschland

.

Going through my list of tweets for the day, I paused at this one:
1. Why engage in yet another social media when I am already on Twitter, Pinterest & Facebook ?
.
It reminded me of other statements from new writers, I hear on a daily basis:
2. None of my friends is on Google+ …
3. I have a website, why should I additionally have a blog?
4. Writing my book, I don’t have time for all these Social Media…

.
Answer for question 1 and 2 – Google+
This says it all: Google+ = Google, the famous Search Engine… You don’t join Google+ to meet your friends and family as you do on Facebook!  You join to improve your Search Engine Ranking: As the main search engine, Google indexes and ranks its own site much higher than any other content. Google+ posts – with a…

View original 873 more words