Monthly Archives: November 2012

Hardly an RT? What did I do wrong?

It’s three days since The Girl with the Haunting Smile went live on Amazon and Smashwords. My epublisher tells me it did well on the first day (mainly thanks to family and Facebook). I haven’t kept tabs on it since and don’t plan to for a month or so. Meanwhile, I’ll keep up my promotion efforts and hope they pay off.

One thing has taken me aback, however. As of today, I have 8,200 Twitter followers. I’ve been quite choosy, adding only those with whom I shared interests. I’ve been supportive of the writers among them, often handing out RTs and Favorites (even posting a few reviews) and building up a good rapport in the process.

Yet, just when I need them most, they’re nowhere to be seen. My first five tweets since my novel was published have brought me – wait for it – one single RT! There was nothing unusual about my tweets. The first two read “The Girl with the Haunting Smile is now out US UK $3.11/£1.94 #romance #mystery”. When they produced no RTs, I made a more direct request. “Please RT. The Girl with the Haunting Smile is now out etc”. I know how easy it is for tweets to slip off screens unnoticed but mine were sent at various times of day to acknowledge the different time zones and with hashtags to give them more focus. I can hardly believe that none of the folk with whom I’ve regularly exchanged tweets have spotted any of mine over the last couple of days.

Or am I missing something? What could I have done better? If you have any thoughts, I’d love to hear from you.


The Big Day Has Arrived

The big day is here at last! My first novel, The Girl with the Haunting Smile, is available as an ebook on Amazon and Smashwords ($2.99/£1.94). The web links are:


This is my shortest post yet, as I have to spread the news on Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets. Back soon with more reaction!


10 Days to Publication

It’s a funny time, the period just before your first novel hits Amazon’s virtual shelves. You’ve blogged till the cows come home. You’ve done your share of social networking and built up strong followings on Twitter and Goodreads. You’ve joined in the chat on their forums and on World Literary Cafe.

Okay, I know I could have done a whole lot more. There have been no blog tours, no Q&A sessions, no giveaways. My epublisher isn’t a fan of Amazon KDP Select, so I’m not going down that route either. I’ve spent very little time on Facebook and Linkedin and I haven’t gone near Pinterest. If that means I deserve to fail, so be it. When you’re learning the tricks of the self-marketing trade, you have to prioritise. You can’t do everything.

Two fabulous blog hosts, Paul Dorset and Jenny Milchman, have offered me the chance to feature on their blogs. I hope others will be equally helpful. I’ve arranged for some publicity in the Mensa magazine and am contacting local newspapers in Scotland and North Carolina, where a big chunk of The Girl with the Haunting Smile is set.

What more can I do at this stage? Any ideas will be gratefully received.

Coming to a Kindle Near You

The Girl with the Haunting Smile will be published on Monday 26th November, so it’s high time I told you what it’s about. The simplest way to do that is to share with you the synopsis that will appear on Amazon:

Greg Harris has been besotted since he was eight. As soon as the young Scot saw a photo of Ellen Fromm, a gorgeous ten-year-old from Wilmington, North Carolina, he was hooked by her soft, haunting smile.

He is devastated when, six years later, his beloved pen pal stops writing and vanishes. For many years he makes feverish attempts to contact her but in vain. He feels as if all meaning has gone out of his life. But he never forgets Ellen and clings to the dream that, one day, they will be together.

At long last, when he is thirty, he finds a letter Ellen once wrote to his granddad that transforms his life. When she and Greg eventually meet, it says, she reckons she may fancy him in a big way. As this huge boost revives his mission in life, Greg arranges a job in Wilmington, flies out and for ages hunts high and low for Ellen.

But a major doubt lurks in his mind. Ever since he was a kid, he has had Tourette’s Syndrome. He has never told Ellen about it. Even if he finds her, will his secret ruin his chance of happiness?

That’s it, then. At its core, The Girl with the Haunting Smile is a romance novel, the tale of a sensitive love that embeds itself deeply and refuses to be dislodged by the passage of time. But it’s also the human story (told in the first person) of a guy with Tourette’s, what it does to him and how other people treat him. I know of only one other novel whose main character has Tourette’s, so the theme hasn’t been overworked. In the last month or so, two TV programmes – The Town That Caught Tourette’s and Let Me Entertain You – have increased public awareness of the condition, so this may not be a bad time to bring my novel to the market.

In the course of my career, I’ve met a fair number of people with Tourette’s, so I’ll say a bit more about it in my next blog.