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Less is more… July 31, 2012

Posted by mattfarmer in Copy writing.
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In the past week I have had two copy writing jobs which required me to write, or edit, a load of text down to less words while keeping the message. And this post is also to show that while a lot of what I blog about is my novel & creative writing, I do have a professional writing side to myself as well.
The first job required me to take a company whose website I had been writing, and boil down who they are and their unique selling point into a 40 word blurb. This is a case of finding one or two points, and just writing about that. Getting that one point of difference is a selection process in itself! It came down to the fact this company would slip in and become a part of your business, taking away that pesky work you don’t want to do, so you can get back to running your business – working on your business, not in your business, as they say.

My first effort came out at 60 words. The second just under 50. And then I nailed the word count. Looking at the words on-screen, it was about 2 and a half lines of text, depending on the size of the words. This was a good visual cue to work with, so when I was near the second line of text I knew I had to wind it up.

I gave the clients 4 examples of 40 words or less. And then a week later I followed up with 8 more examples. All were slightly different, and I was quite happy with what I produced.

And recently a girl came to me saying she is trying to get into a course with the RSPCA about animal welfare and caring for animals etc, but she said – I can’t write. I hear that a lot. She had written something, which obviously meant she could write, but she couldn’t focus on the important parts of what she wanted to say, and get it within the word count limit of 200 words.

I had her dot-point the main reasons she wanted to study and work with the RSPCA. I then matched those dot points with the text she had given me (close to 600 words). I then used very economical word choices, cut out a lot of fluff, and still said exactly what she had said, but I managed 199 words. And yes, I did go back and see where I could add just one more word, but thought the better of it.

She was very happy with the result 🙂
These two jobs highlight what it is I like about copy writing. Being creative in a tiny little box. You still have to use all your skills as a creator and a writer, but you have these hard rules defining what and how to use your creativity, and still produce something which makes sense, and fits all the checks and balances of the creative brief.

So, while it was a quiet week in regards to volume, it was good to exercise those parts of my brain, just to know I can still do it if I need to.

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The further adventures of a recently born novel… July 18, 2012

Posted by mattfarmer in writing.
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I have been a published author for 2 weeks now. I had a chuckle the other day when a friend told me the number of weeks old their baby ways, and then later in the conversation I told them how many weeks my book had been published. The parallels amused me, but also thinking about how I felt about the book, as ‘my baby’. Now I know that the feelings and connection are not the same, but I created my book, so I do have some affection for it.

But I digress. This week saw sales of my book rise to 12. I don’t get email notifications from Amazon, so I have to remember to check, but only check once a day. Something about a watched pot not being a kettle? I have been told by many who have gone before me that it will not be a quick thing, you will not make millions. Now, while there is a part of my brain that knows this, GOSH I would love people to buy my book and discover how awesome it is, and tell ALL their friends.

Which leads me onto Goodreads.  . That will take you to my Author Page, where you can find my book. What Goodreads is, in my layman terms, is a social network of readers and writers. People put your book on their bookshelf. If they like it, they rate it. Their friends see what books they have read and then think – we have similar tastes, I too will read this. And so on. A massively potential word-of-mouth marketing opportunity. AND a place where I can find books I don’t think I would normally read.

I have often felt that reading and writing is a bit of a solitary pursuit. I have wanted a community of like-minded creatives. I have that in Nanowrimo, and soon perhaps I will have the same in Goodreads. Here is hoping 🙂

And did you know, I have yet to buy myself a congratulations gift for publishing my book! What should I buy, I wonder….

A week in the life of a published writer July 10, 2012

Posted by mattfarmer in Uncategorized.
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Good evening. It has been just over a week. I remember it was very late on a Monday night that I finally managed to get my book up onto .

 

Later that same week I managed to get my book into the .

 

I was mentioned in a blog –

 

 

And another one –

 

Friends have mentioned me on Facebook, in emails, meetings, newsletters and such. It feels strange being the centre of attention, to be totally honest. Being congratulated on publishing a novel feels strange. I am not trying to sound arrogant or unwelcome to the attention, it just feels strange. I don’t think it has sunk in yet.

A friend said to me during the week- “You’re now a published author!” This hasn’t sunk in. It didn’t bounce off me and not leave a mark. I think it hit me like I was made of foam. An indentation has been left, but most of it bounced off. It doesn’t quite feel real.

Writing is what I do, what I have done for so long. Now to be published, feels strange. It has been something I have been avoiding for so long. There would always be one more re-write, or I was still editing, or the belief the book was not good enough. Or I should try and send it to publishing houses, agents and such. That doing it myself wasn’t worthy. All these silly notions in my head.

And now here I am, with a book released into the wilds of the internet, for a week now. And you know what? The world hasn’t ended. No monsters crawled out from beneath my bed. I have developed an unhealthy habit if checking emails for the ‘another sale’ subject line. I may need professional help for that.

So, now what? Well, now I must market my book. I need to get the message out there to people I know, to people I don’t know, that this is a good book, and they should buy it. And it is, its a good read. 97 000 words, so it isn’t a book you’re going to buy cheap and be done with in an hour. It will take you longer to read, time to invest in the characters, in the story, and care about what happens next.

So, the next steps? I need everyone I know to tell their friends! If you’re reading this, grab a free sample, read that book, tell all your friends. 🙂

I am looking into , and I am looking at print-on-demand, through .

Lots to do!

In the mean time, visit my website, grab a copy of my book from either Smashwords or the Kindle Direct store!

For sale – 1 Steampunk Novel with that new book smell July 3, 2012

Posted by mattfarmer in writing.
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After many issues uploading, finally my novel is online and available to purchase! I invite you to follow the below link and buy this monster which I have been talking about for so many months!

A rollicking adventure set in a world of steam-powered metal men, sky ships, rouges, scoundrels, demons, dragons, sword fights, gun fights and true love.”

 

I managed to get the book up and online at 11.30pm my time, which is probably not the best time to announce to the world- hey! My book! Since most of the people in my world were asleep. But now comes the fun part of telling loads of people about it. I have the link above, I have friends on Twitter (waves to friends on twitter- re-tweet me!), sig file on email.

Also, this Thursday I am going to be featured on this blog :

Claire is having a week of promoting indie authors. I chose Thursday, I like Thursdays. There is also going to be a give-away of my book. 2 lucky people will win a free copy! I would like to say signed, but I don’t know how to do that.

Although, if I sign something, with a personal message, and add it as a page to the document….

 

They say you can edit a book forever. I received some edits from a friend after my last blog announcement saying it is about to be launched. They were good edits, meaty edits, the kind of edits which needs a load of brain power to compute. I started going through them, but by the time publication date came around, I hadn’t gone through them all. And then Smashwords would not let me publish. So, all day Sunday and Monday I was going through the edits and managed to work through them all. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy with the book before hand. I am just more happy now.

And the next time I read the book and decide that it could be EVEN BETTER….   they say you can edit a book forever…

It is a strange feeling to publish a book. There is something out there which I can no longer touch. Well, of course when I release the 10 year anniversary edition with extra scenes and DVD commentary, but right now, the book that is out there, is it. I have novels sitting on my computer that I can go back to and tweak here and there. But The Girl From Out of Town? Nope, it is there, it is out on the internet. I must now let it go to be its own thing, to be loved or hated by millions.

And now it is time to move on to a new writing project. Hmmm…