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Busy is as Busy does March 27, 2013

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wooshToday has been a very busy day for me. Good busy, very good busy, but darn it to gosh! A client meeting in the morning, discussing a social media content package, plus and information pack of what I do so they can on-sell it to their clients who would also like social media.

Then a meeting with my business coach, 1208 Business Logo - Blue - Full Logo-01where we talked about 48 hour goals, fortnightly goals, planning and such, building products for me to sell, marketing me. I know I have written before about taking myself seriously, but getting coaching about my writing as a BUSINESS, and changing how I think about myself as a writer, as a business, is making me take myself seriously again. Hard to explain….

From there I went and spoke to another client, a law firm, about doing social media and training and writing articles and blogs. Good client interview, they really challenged me and I mostly was up to the challenge. Some technical knowledge I couldn’t be perfect on, but, I left them convinced I know what I am doing and can really help them. Of course, there are discussions to be had, but, positive.

I am looking forward to writing for these people.

This evening I attended a networking event. Not such a great event. Not formal networking structure, no selling to each other. I need to sell myself to you, so you can then sell myself to someone else. That is networking, surely. Anyway, a speaker asked- why are you in business? And I answered- because I am good at what I do. Two people whom I have done work for before both said- yes you are.

That made me feel really good. Add this is why I want to work for more people. Yeah, the money would be good, it would relieve a lot of tension in my shoulders. It would allow me to do more and achieve more. I would be able to invest in me, my business and my relationship…s. But it would also allow me to write. A simple little thing, surely. If I get to write for these clients, on a regular basis, then I get to write, on a regular basis.

But, hang on Matt, don’t you have a novel you are writing? Can’t you write that on a regular basis? Well, yes I do, and no I don’t. I have been regular in the past few days, but when I promised to get it done by the START of March and it is near the END of March? It kind of implies I’m not writing on it regularly. I would love to, but work writing prioritises, and then tonight, I don’t have the brain power to get into character.

Writing is what I am good at, and to be given the chance to do good writing, regularly, would be absolutely awesome. And not for myself, but for other people.

Speaking of my novel, sorry, late call there on the segue-way, my editor has Acts 1 and 2. Did a quick word count, Act 1 is only 24 500 words, Act 2 is nigh on 50k words! A little bit lop-sided, but, the acts end where it feels natural. And the current Act 3? That is sitting at 13k, more or less. So a big middle act. I hope you went to the restroom at first interval.

Once Act 3 is finished, even while it is being edited, I will then engage my cover designer. She likes to read the book to get a feel for it so she can craft the cover better. So, it is moving, it is building steam. 🙂 Joke there, did you see it? romney laff


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

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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….

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

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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…

A baker’s dozen June 18, 2012

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I have been counting down to the end of June. At the moment, it is 13 days until July. I have been doing this through the profile picture on Facebook. So far, only 4 people have asked me what it is I am doing. I might have to make it more obvious.

So, 13 days until I launch my book. Is it finished? Gosh no. I will read it in the coming months and years and think- wow, if only I added that. Perhaps I needed to add a scene with a city square so I can include it later. Oh, wouldn’t it have been awesome if I had thought of that…  And it is not finished in the sense that I am just going through the final editing notes. When your editor suggests you write MORE because she wants to see MORE description, well, who doesn’t like to write more? I have this world lavishly coloured in my imagination, and now I get to dip the paint brush back into my mind and dab it on the page again? I just might do that, thank you very much!

So, with the creative side of the book coming to an end, sadly, I am now shifting to the marketing and selling of the book, which is fun in a different kind of way? How do I represent it on the web? How do I get the message out? How do I get the message to lots of people? Where do I sell my book and what do I need to sell my book? So, I am getting the talented  to help build a landing page for my book which ties in thematically with the feel and look of the book as it is now. It will be hosted on my website and then direct you to where the book can be sold. I am also thinking of getting other marketing material from her, but we will see how far the coin stretches.

I am also re-launching myself as a professional writer. I am re-branding myself. While I am, indeed, Matthew Farmer, Copy Writer, I am much more. I have edited and helped re-write a website or two, I have audited a website from a content point of view. I have written a tender document, helped with presentations and report writing, which is much more than ‘just’ copy writing. So I am re-branding myself to reflect this. I am hoping to do this on the 1st of July as well.

BIG DAY, huh?

There will, of course, be related marketing surrounding that, with new business cards, a new-look website and such; promotional and thank you gifts, of which I have been given some great ideas. But, as you know, marketing costs money, but you have to spend money to make money. Well, we will see.

It has been such a busy month, with just under half of it to go. I am going to be full of nervous energy in the coming weeks, and during July it is going to be crazy!

I like this kind of crazy.

2 Weeks in and counting. March 3, 2012

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Good morning! Didn’t get to my blog during the week. I actually had a busy week. This is both good and bad for me. Busy in that it was worky work writing, bad because I have been craving getting my teeth into my novel.

Monday I went and met with a talent agency. I thought to fill in the time between freelance gigs with some TV and Film extra work. But they wanted a large sum of money to register me with no guarantee of work. While I like the idea of being an extra, I currently don’t have wads of cash to throw around. Later perhaps.

Tuesday was meetings with people. I have joined a group of business people who help each other with business related problems. I know mine is currently getting myself out there to get business, but I know my problem and I am currently working my way through some solutions, so I am just sitting and helping others for the moment.

That meeting lead on to another meeting with an awesome business coach. We chatted for well over an hour on some strategies for me and the business of writing. I never really thought business or life coaches would be my thing. I have some very good people in my life to help me and tell me off when I am being silly. But business coaches? A very cool idea in my opinion.

Wednesday was a three-hour meeting with a graphic designer. A guy who has been in the business for over thirty years? He is the first person from my networking group who has said to me that my writing is not up to standard. I was taken a back, and hurt, of course. It may be copy writing but it is something I create. It’s a natural reaction to think- you don’t like it? OH NO! But, he went on to say what he didn’t like, how the start of some things I wrote did not grab the reader, did not pull the customer in with WOW AWESOME copy. The bulk of the work was good, it’s just the start was not punchy enough. He is kindly going to help me improve myself as a copy writer in business. I like this, I appreciate him giving me the time to semi-mentor me? But I can also see he is building me up to work for him as well. He wants to improve me for his own ends as well. I don’t mind. I am humble enough to want to improve myself and admit that, while I am a good writer, the business side of things, may need some beating of panels.

Thursday rolled around with BNI and meeting with a client for web work. This continued into Friday as well, with the weekly BNI newsletter to produce. So, very little time to squeeze in novel writing.

But, being the stubborn person I am, squeeze it in I did. An hour here, a few minutes there. I have written past the pit fights, so I am near the end of Act 2. I had a dilemma with the pit fights. I was in a head space where I just wanted to kill someone, in the books I mean. I thought – wouldn’t it be shocking and cool if the fights were to the death. That would give an added sense of tension when one of the characters chooses to fight in order to save my main characters. But upon speaking with my editors, they asked me – what benefit to the story would it be? What would turning the fights into death matched add to the story? I couldn’t really answer that. And then someone else said they would not want to read a book where women were fighting and killing each other. So I let it sit for a day and came back in a better head space, and left the fighting to submission, not to the death.

And just to finish up, before I start my weekend. I cracked 200+ downloads for the free Act 1 on Smashwords this week. That is so cool. I am planning, with others, how to market the full book when it comes time for release. And to see 200 downloads with very little marketing is so encouraging. I have had no feedback though. No one has left a review, or told me if they like it or not. I hope they’re not just being nice….  😉

Act 1 is now up and free to download February 19, 2012

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You can now read Act 1 of my steam punk adventure novel- The Girl From Out of Town. Follow this link – http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/matthewfarmer

The Next step is still waiting to be taken February 18, 2012

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What a week! The day that I was supposed to launch Act 1 of my book, and Smashwords fell down. I have been checking their Site Update blog every day, sometimes every hour, but the file validation and conversion program- Meatgrinder, is still off-line. I have been trying every day to get my book up, but to no avail.

It feels like such an anti-climax. I busted a hump last weekend editing, re-writing, butting heads with my editor. And then Tuesday morning… nothing! All week… nothing!

I must say, the marketing campaign I implemented had a lot of people asking me where my book was. I visited my old workplace and they all asked how it was going and when they could read it. My old team leader said she was going to email me on Tuesday to ask how it was going, but thought, with all the excitement I was going through, to perhaps leave off for a day or two. Heh, I like the sentiment, but little did she know…

Copy Writing trundles along well. Two people would like me to write newsletters for them. Which is good, since a job popped up online which had a lot of newsletter components involved. So I applied. There’s a potential informercial magazine concept coming up which would involve interviews and research and writing. It has been a while since I interviewed people. Fun working out the right questions to ask, and transcribing and all that. I do find some mundane things fun, don’t I?

Ah well. time for the weekend. I will most definitely tell the WORLD when my book is ready for you all to have a look at and give me awesome feedback!

The day before the rest of my life… February 13, 2012

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A little dramatic, I know, but it is kind of how I am feeling. Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, February 14th. The date that I proclaimed I would release my debut novel, The Girl From Out of Town on to an unsuspecting world. Well, if you were reading this blog you might have suspected something.

That plan changed, and I offered a free preview, Act 1, to grab readers who want to know the rest of the story. Still to be released on February 14th. This nearly did not come to pass. I gave one of my editors permission to go balls’n’all nasty on my manuscript. I thought – it’s not THAT bad. I received something to the contrary back from her.

Now, admittedly this was an email conversation, and upon actually talking the news wasn’t all THAT bad. She wanted MORE description. I was sitting in the school of an economics of writing. Write the scene in as few words as possible to get the story across. But she wanted more, more description of the environment. I am creating a rich and colourful world, so I should show the world. And some of the scenes had no direction, there were a lot of names no one would remember, things like that.

This left me deflated on Sunday. But, we came to a compromise. I want to get something out as a free preview. I have added some more colour and depth, I have removed names that are irrelevant, my poor lead character only has 3 friends now, not 4. I removed an entire plot hook since even I saw it was kind of dumb.

And so now I sit, late afternoon, February 13th. I have yet to format to Smashword’s specifications. I must go out and run around a basketball court now. And then come home and figure it out. Should be easy, right?

But, I am sitting here, and I am paranoid scared and proud. I am paranoid people are going to read it and find spelling errors. Words which are spelled correctly but are the wrong word for that place, and they will think- what a hack. Couldn’t get that edited out? I am waiting for me to find something I left in which could have been better! And then I should re-write it and re-publish it and tell everyone- hey! I changed 5 words! Download the new version!

I am scared because I have never done this before. I have let people read my work before, but I knew them. This is the internet we are talking about now. There are far more people out there I don’t know, than I do. There is a possibility they wont like what I have written. I am both okay with this and not okay with this. A) Okay with is because not everyone likes everything. People are entitled to their opinion, and I know, in myself, that it’s a good story. I enjoyed writing the story, I love the characters and the world I have created. So in myself, I like it. However B) because I like it so much, I want everyone else to like it as well. And if they don’t, and if they throw mud at me, that might hurt. That would give my inside voices ammunition to use against me.

And I am proud because this is a MASSIVE step along that journey I started ages ago. I started this blog to chart my journey as a writer, and this here is a massive step along the way. I announced a date and, while I had to compromise along the way, I am sticking to that date. That is something I am proud of.

Tomorrow is most definitely going to be a strange day.

When re-writing becomes new writing February 6, 2012

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February 14th gets closer much faster than I would like. But you cannot stop time. You must face it and accept it and all that deep and meaningful stuff. I am well into Chapter 5 re-write, the last chapter of Act 1, so I am on track to release the free download on time. It is just chapter 5 has now taken on a life of its own.

But it is a good life, I will have to say. In the first draft my heroes received and invitation to the Royal Ball, the bad guys had to go find them, there was a chase scene, and then they bought their way on board a ship. The new version is much better, more action, and makes more sense. There is going to be a bigger fight scene, things are going to explode. What better way to end an act than with explosions!

But, I have reached this place of major rewrite through minor changes back in the first chapters. Keeping one character at a mysterious distance and changing his motivations, and upping he mystery of my female lead has led to major re-writing, for the better, by chapter 5 alone! Amazing to see the amount of change now, from small shifts prior to that.

The copy writing is still bobbing around. The flyer about selling myself has hit an impasse. The first version was good, but it didn’t really promote me as a product. The advice given was going back to basics and doing a features and benefits chart about myself. I have done that, with some input from friends, now its how to lay them all out in a way that isn’t ‘this therefore that’, and rate them in order of significance.

I am prioritising my novel this week, over copy writing, for obvious reasons. But, as I have said before, if a big job comes in and I have to miss that deadline, then so be it. I actually think I would write late into the night on my novel, rather than miss the deadline. Just like the good old days!


2 Days until it begins – National Novel Writing Month October 29, 2011

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Where I live, Nanowrimo starts on a public holiday. This is a good thing. I always try to get a head start in the daily word count because inevitably something will pop up which will mean some days I don’t write.

The difference this year is, I WANT something to pop up that means I can’t write my novel. Yes, you heard… or rather , read me correctly. I want something to pop up which means I am too busy to write the novel.

Yes, it was a brave move, and the right move, I still believe it was the right move, to be a freelance copywriter. It’s just not bearing many fruits just yet. One project briefly flashed into life, and then just as quickly disappeared due to budget cuts. Other ideas have surfaced which need to be thought upon before committing. And other projects, well there were some delays, I will just say that. This has put me in the position of willing and able, but not doing. So, if, as many people have been telling me, it is going to pour, not rain, then I will be too busy to write the novel. Then I will be stressing about finishing the novel in between writing reports and brochures and web pages and suchlike. That’s what I want.

But, until then, I will try to enjoy playing around in the sandbox of my magical steampunk verse. I use the word ‘try’ because I know my own mind. In years gone by when I have had the 9-5 job and written my sci-fi epi, I did enjoy escaping to that place and writing of a ship crew against the corporate MAN, trying to survive.

Now part of my mind is going to nag at me saying- you need to be earning coin.

ARGH! It even makes it way into this blog post!

So, with two days left, what do I have? I have a map! YES! It’s no where near as pretty as what you can get online at the cartographers guild, but it will serve for me. It has the general geography that I NEED. It has the city, and it has the plains leading to the hills. Beyond the hills it has deserts and sparse, desolate valleys. Then it has the tundra, which lead to the second and more imposing set of mountain ranges, where my frontier town lays. And that’s all I need.

I know there are frozen wastes to the north, with active volcanoes. I know there are tropical jungles and tracts of desert wastes to the south, and people ride dinosaurs there. I know there is a massive inland sea further to the west. But for THIS story, they’re not important, so they are not on my map. But, I know them.

Some people go to outrageous lengths to create a world, and then, because they have put so much effort into making that map, and that world, they feel the need to share every facet with the reader. I know I have a little bit of that in me, so part of a self-constraint was to only map the areas I knew my story would take. That and I suck at drawing maps, so the less map I had to draw, yay me!

But I have 2 characters ‘from the south’. They dress different, and their skin is darker. But pretty much that’s it. There is no interjected history about them and their race or culture. They’re just – from the south. I have some ‘mountain men’, giant creatures with blue skin. You could call them trolls, I guess, but I’m not. They’re mountain men. They are tribal, and have their own language and culture. But am I going to dump all that on the reader to say- how cool was this idea?!?! Nope.

Now, if, in book 2, our intrepid adventurers are forced into Mountain Man country, well, that gives me a chance to explore that culture. If, in book 3 theres something of value in the south, then you know what? They can go exploring the vast deserts and oasis kingdoms of the south.

Until then. I am going to assume that every character in my world knows enough to get by and say no more. If the reader doesn’t, well, that’s too bad.

Plus it means I don’t have to draw those maps until next year!

Am I ready to write novel number 10? Yes I am. I am really looking forward to stepping away from 5 years of sci-fi, and into a new universe, new characters. Its going to be fun.