Free copies of The Man Behind The Bar

Hello everyone!

Apparently it’s World Book Day today. I’m not much for world days personally, but I figured this is a good chance to give something to story lovers around the world (and increase my readership, of course). So, starting from today (Sunday, April 23) my Amazon-hosted short story, The Man Behind the Bar, will be free for two full days (until Monday, April 24). It’s under 3500 words, so it shouldn’t take you more than 10-15 minutes to read it (most likely, less than that). Grab a cup of coffee and relax. Did I mention it’s free?

You can find it here. Enjoy, and please consider leaving a review. If Amazon gives you a hard time reviewing it, try Goodreads.

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Writing Prompt 40

Minor changes to the blog. There’s a static homepage now, where I show my published work. Yes, I know. My web design skills are appalling. On to the writing prompt then.
Barry rushed to the living room.

Little Cathy removed the hand axe from Mr Wilkes’ chest. She titled her head to the left a little and let the heavy killing thing drag her arm down.

Barry’s face turned ashen and his mouth opened for a scream that never escaped his mouth.

Cathy smiled. “What? Oh, this?” she said. “That’s nothing.” She took a step closer to him, dragging the axe on the floor where it left a trail of blood. “Did I tell you the story of how I finally became an only child?”

Little Cathy’s Story

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The Man Behind The Bar – Available for purchase!

My first self-published short story, The Man Behind The Bar, is out and waiting readers and reviews. You can find it here.

The past never really stays hidden or forgotten. Ben Stingler left his past for a quiet life, until a young man steps in his bar, and brings with him all the things Ben tried to put behind him five years ago. An overdue debt is back on the table.
I hope you enjoy it. If you do, consider leaving a review.

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Discovering the power of Pinterest

For the past week, when I announced the publication of my first short story on Amazon, I’ve been tinkering with Pinterest in an attempt to divert some traffic to my blog. I wanted to see if using Pinterest as a form of getting my name out there and making my presence in the world wide web known, would have any impact.

I’ve been using Pinterest for some time now, but mostly through my personal account and usually for things that ended up on my hidden and private boards. At the time, there were only three public boards, two of which were for inspiration to fellow writers (with images and text), and for tips on writing that might be helpful.

I decided to change my account from personal to business. Nothing fancy or hard or expensive. Just a click of a button that converted the account. Simplest conversion ever. I did that to make sure Pinterest mods wouldn’t delete my account or take any action against me once I started advertising my work through their platform. Not to mention that a business account gains access to analytics that personal accounts don’t have.

Then what I did was to join some group boards that are related to writing and were accepting new contributors. For that, I used Pingroupie. Once I found the ones I thought I could fit in and contribute, I sent the creator a message and asked if they could add me. As it turned out, that was the most important step; group boards.

Some of those boards have literally thousands of people following them, which means a few people are bound to see your pin and either follow the link to wherever it leads them (amazon, blog post, etc) or repin it to some of their own boards for others to see and share. The combination of Pinterest and Pingroupie is powerful for this kind of thing.

Since the transition (I think it was Monday or Tuesday), I published three original pins (plus several repins, but they don’t redirect to my blog) and waited for the outcome. Now, my blog is not very popular nor have I ever tried to make it as such. That’s not why I started blogging in the first place. Still, take a look at the number of visitors for March 2017.

Which basically corresponds to these numbers for diverted traffic

Pinterest is at the very top, with only a week of promoting one previous post and one pin about the upcoming story, plus a third about publishing contracts that directed to another site.

Simply put, I’m amazed. Of course, that doesn’t mean that all these visits would translate into sales when the story goes public. I’m not walking in the clouds. Perhaps, one out of all these visitors would click to buy it, and that’s probably stretching it. But that’s beside the point of this post. The point is, that Pinterest does help to put you out there and make your content (and, why not, your stories too) known.

In the next few weeks, I’ll go over some of my older posts, and try to find the ones that could be interesting to readers outside wordpress. I’ll enhance them with Pinterest-friendly images, upload them there, and see what happens.

Though too early to reach to any definitive conclusions, it seems the visual power Pinterest has and its ease of use, might be a good way to draw attention to your blog, if that’s what you want. It may also help promote some of your work. If you haven’t tried it already, give it a go.

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Short story cover reveal (The Man Behind The Bar)

As promised, this will be the cover for the first short story I plan on publishing through Amazon.

The Man Behind the Bar – Coming 9 April 2017

The past never really stays hidden or forgotten. Ben Stingler left his past for a quiet life, until a young man steps in his bar, and brings with him all the things Ben tried to put behind him five years ago. An overdue debt is back on the table.

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Inspirational prompt 39

I stepped out of the shop and scanned around me for anyone watching. The barrel of the gun felt warm through the leather holster. Across the street, a little girl with a huge swirling rainbow-coloured lollipop – couldn’t have been older than maybe six or seven, the lollipop almost half the size of her head – broke free from her mother’s grip. She halted, turned, and looked at me.

A voice growled in my ears. “I too create corpses, mortal. You’re next.”

The girl giggled and stuck her tongue out at me.

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Moving forward

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I intended to publish some of my short stories on Amazon. Some are previously published on literary magazines, some are not. I was hoping to start my career in self publishing with a science fiction short story I wrote a while ago, but it’s still under consideration (I submitted it around last Christmas) and it seems it won’t be reviewed for at least a few more months. Last time the magazine updated their twitter status as well as their online tracker, they were still reviewing submissions from August 2016 and there are about 500+ submissions before mine. So, I guess I’ll start with another story instead.

Which brings me to my question: would you like to see the cover for the story before I hit the publish button? I know cover reveals are usually for novels rather than short stories, but I’m learning things as I go along about Amazon and self publishing, and I don’t know if revealing a cover for a short story is something people would like to see. However, I’d like to know what you think. In the meantime, I’ll start creating some advertising images about it on Pinterest (you can follow me or any of my boards here) and see if I can
generate some traffic and hype. Because, you know, marketing demands it.

I’ll be honest with you, it’s moments like this that the dreaded beast of Marketing rears its ugly head. In all my academic years (and they were plenty), Marketing was the only subject I failed and had to resit the exam during the summer. Its concepts simply eluded me at the time, and, quite honestly, I doubt it will be any different now. I hoped I’d never ever have to hear the word Marketing again. Bet that beast is having the laugh of a life time right now, huh?

Today also marks the anniversary of my first story that got accepted for a magazine. Needless to describe how excited I was when I got the email. I remember I read it four or five times to make sure I didn’t misread it. Three
years later and four more publications in various magazines, and the feeling of being accepted, of knowing someone out there not only read my story but also liked it still makes me elated.

I wonder if this new endeavour through Amazon will be as exciting.

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