Saturday, 12 July 2014

Going great guns

So far so good. I managed about 3000 words yesterday afternoon in about 3 and a bit hours. I had to have a break for dinner!

It turns out that there is a wedding reception here today (Saturday) and the main hall is set out for the evening disco. The Baronial hall, which is where I got married and had our wedding breakfast is all set out for the happy couple today ... who I have no idea about.

I've been told they will be arriving from about 2pm onwards, so guess there'll be plenty of people to chat to later (probably not the best thing for writing!). So I apologise in advance for the crashing of the party tonight if it's your wedding!

I did have a slight issue with the room, but as always the staff here are more than helpful. I had been given one of the rooms in the main building, which shows it's age in the decoration and creaking floor boards. But they have character and it's nice. Unfortunately when I walked into the room yesterday to unpack, it was REALLY warm in there. I opened all the windows and spotted two floor standing fans ... a sign maybe?

Anyway, I ventilated the room as much as I could but there was no airflow (even with the fans). Come bed time, it was just as hot even though outside was cooling down quickly. 4am came around before I managed to get to sleep when the room cooled off enough to be comfy.  I hate fans blowing on me in the night and they aren't new Dyson jobbies, but old noisy caged beasts, so that didn't help.

I spoke to the staff this morning and they moved me to one of the modern rooms further away from the main house ... with air conditioning!! Awesome!  The room is cooler anyway, so probably won't need it. It is smaller but I don't need a huge room anyway, so am a happy camper again.

We're forcast for thunder and lightning today, but at the moment it is a beautiful day outside, and a bit too bright to see the laptop screen, so am back in the lounge drinking coffee.

Oh, I had a chat with the Manager this morning, who was the manager on the weekend that we got married here. I remembered him, but (not surprisingly) he didn't remember me. We had a chat about books and writing, and wished me luck with the novel. Must remember to send Paul Williamson a signed copy when I get them :)

Right, break over, back to those pesky airships!

Friday, 11 July 2014

An exciting weekend ahead ...

... and a very busy one. I've got my writers retreat (not an officially sponsored event, just like to call it that) starting this afternoon at Highgate House in Northamptonshire. I said goodbye to the family this morning, come to work for half a day ... then off I go!

I've just about hit 60,000 words and am looking to get another 10k+ words done between now and Sunday afternoon. As I'm quickly discovering, even the best laid plans for sitting down and writing don't always turn out very productively. I spent a little time yesterday just going over my scrawl laying out the connections of all the characters, just to make sure my plot works. Didn't want to get there today and think "Erm, what am I going to write about" or "How the f**k did that happen" as I sit down to write.

Twitter

I've also been slowly gaining Twitter followers, so thanks to all those who are actively following me. I've deliberately not followed those just looking for follow-backs, you know the ones:

  1. THEY find you in an app they've bought
  2. THEY follow you
  3. THEY send you a randomised and generic "Hey, your stuff looks great. Follow me back?"
  4. I check their stats - as many followers as they are following
  5. I don't follow them back
  6. I get an Unfollow a couple of days later
I'd rather follow people that are interesting, in the same line of work as me (actual work or writing) and don't spam the hell out of my feed daily for the sake of posting tweets. I'm sure there are books and guides out there about maximising your Twitter presence and fair play to those that take the time to manually increase their Twitter-base, but those bots just annoy me (and not just me).

I've got (a whole) 81 followers at the moment and these are people that I hope ACTUALLY want to follow me. Once I start the marketing process for the book later in the year/next year, hopefully these followers will actually be interested and Retweet my work. No point having lots of accounts following me, because I'm following them and getting nothing from it.

It's like these ads you get for "Buy genuine Likes and follows on Facebook/Twitter", why? OK, so when someone looks at your page they see a vast number of followers or Likes, but how many people look at that figure and think "Hmmm, something isn't right here." OK, so they say it makes your page look better and more authoritative on the subject, because ALL these people follow you, but it's just bull .... isn't it?

I understand that celebrities have lots of followers and for good reason. People like to feel close to people they see on TV or in the Movies, and Twitter has become a great place to get a little peek inside their daily lives (unless the account is run by their agent). Don't get me wrong, I follow a certain amount of celebrities. 

Take Robert Downey Jr for example. He only set up a Twitter account in April and because he is who he is, has 2 million followers and he follows 46 people. The power of celebrity.

I follow quite a few accounts who are in the Fantasy genre community and one, for example, Mythic Scribes (currently) follows 16k users and has 17k followers. Which just says to me "Follow me, follow you". As this is a community Twitter account, it's understandable. For an author, I'm not so sure. Jasper Fforde for another example, well loved author, has 17.9k followers and follows 59! That sounds more like someone I would want to follow for a start. If he followed me, then it probably MEANS something, rather than the "He's followed me because I followed him" feeling I'm increasingly experiencing.

Ah well, I was one of those people who signed up to Twitter way back in the early days and said it would never catch on!

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Propeller Heads & Anoraks

Disclaimer

I found this content that I used to use extensively when testing our internal mailing engine this morning. I cannot for the life of me remember where it came from originally, but it was at least 8 years ago or more that I started using it (I think). Anyway, if this is your content, no copyright infringement was intended, but it is a nice explanation of the difference between Propeller Heads & Anoraks.

Friday, 4 July 2014

An update or two

Eating far too much

Myself and several colleagues (and one now ex-colleague) went out for a meal to send him off last night. Bye James. We went to a restaurant floating (half beached) on the River Nene and lots of food was had by all. Their set menus provided us with full bellies last night and aching bellies this morning (well for me anyway). It has been a long time since I was last there, but the food was still as amazing as ever. I can't get enough of their 'nana Fritters and ice cream. Anyway, if you're in Peterborough (the UK one not the Canadian or Australian ones) I'd recommend a visit to East, you won't be disappointed. Should get a free meal for the plug. No? OK then.

Cover Design Concepts

I spoke to my publisher and the design concepts should be ready around the end of the month, which will be cool. I'm intrigued to see what Alex comes up with based on my ideas and thoughts. I did my best to describe what I can see in my minds eye, but we'll see if she can get that onto paper.

Manuscript Progress

Well, it's not quick at the moment. Family stuff still taking priority (and last night's feast), but have made some progress. Am now at just over 56,200 words and expect to maybe get to 60k before my weekend away next Friday, where I want to see just how much I can do when I'm not distracted.