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Dear Diary… 2020

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Before I start, this post was not wholly my idea. This post is vaguely in the form of a diary which looks back on 2020. It is an amalgamation of pieces taken from other blogs, social posts and such, with a snippet or two of my own observations mixed in for good measure. This is my disclaimer… as such, the following is far from my usual form of ‘Posting’. The following is purely for entertainment purposes, the expressed views herewith in are not necessarily those of the author. January. Australia caught on fire. I am unsure if the fire was extinguished, it may still be smouldering away. The reason I don’t know, is because the media circus had not finished talking about those fires when their ...
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New life for ‘Old School’ QR marketing

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Generally, my posts on ‘Ramblings from a Writers Mind’ focus on the art of creative writing, authorship and ‘being indie’. To help with such, I have published two books, ‘The Frugal Author‘ & ‘Lots of Author Stuff you Need to Know‘, both easily downloadable from Amazon. (See below for details) Rarely do I venture into posting about promotion and marketing as these are areas which deserve a blog of their own, allowing for comprehensive explanations and discussion. However, there are many simple elements authors can utilize to assist the sales of their books. Many of these aspects, like listing your ‘other titles’ as part of your books backmatter should be standard practice. Some mainstream pu...
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Injuries, wounds and healing… information to aid your accuracy.

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  This is far from my normal ‘Rambling’, but… After reading several books over the last few months I have realised the need for authors to portray far more realistic accounts of their victim’s injury and healing processes. Getting this wrong not only disrupts the believability flow of the story but often wrong-foots the reader’s perception regarding the course of the true timeline. How many times do we such inaccuracies represented in ‘blockbuster’ movies? One moment the protagonist is beaten to a pulp and cannot stand, the next he is running after the perpetrator of a crime with nothing more than a slight limp in his left leg… oh, now it’s his right leg… no left again. Of course, when our h...
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Realistic character building, regarding novels, series and sagas.

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While many authors are proficient in creating individual personalities for their fictional persons, it is imperative when developing such characters’ lives, for one to write in a convincing and accurate mode to cultivate believability from the readers perspective. Failure to originate plausible credibility of personality and interactions of fictional characters, over prolonged periods, proves detrimental to the reader’s gratification as it detracts from the overall principle and foundations of the author’s storyline, the very premise of which the reader chose for their entertainment. Reality is fiction is all-important. Therefore, understanding the social structure your characters inhabit is...
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A bit more Rambling…

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As always, my intention of posting regularly is not happening; as they say, (whoever ‘they’ are), the highway to hell is paved with good intentions! Even now, in lockdown or self-isolation or whatever you may be calling it, my life is far too hectic to guarantee I post in any other way than at random intervals. Generally, my posts tend to be informative, either about publishing or to give insights into writing or ‘being indie’ while trying not to get too technical and academic… hence boring. This post is not focused on any of the above, it is simply me ‘Rambling away’ about what has taken my time over the past… however long it has been. So, without further ado this is it. If you are a follow...
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Unconnected connections of habit.

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I recall reading Roald Dahl’s ‘Georges Marvellous Medicine’ to my son when he was a child. One phrase I found particularly hilarious was when George’s grandmother said, ‘Growing was a nasty childish habit’. I’ll give you a short extract for context. ‘You know what’s the matter with you?’ the old woman said, staring at George over the rim of the teacup with those bright wicked little eyes. ‘You’re growing too fast. Boys who grow too fast become stupid and lazy.’ ‘But I can’t help it if I am growing fast, Grandma,’ George said. ‘Of course, you can,’ she snapped. ‘Growing’s a nasty childish habit.’ As it happens, in the ensuing years I found my son adopted other ‘nasty childish habits’ growing ...
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Amazon’s A9 algorithm, dispelling a myth and the future…

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In most of my posts, I ramble away in an unplanned manner, eventually making sense of, or come to a conclusion, about whatever topic is being discussed. I tend to stay clear of jargon and try not to get too bogged down with the technical aspect of… stuff. I have tried to do the same here; if you really want to get all techy and scientific you’ll need to undertake some research of your own. Otherwise, please read on, some explanations, tips, and links are included. ‘A9’ is the proprietary search algorithm developed by Amazon. It is named after the company’s subsidiary which handles SEO It has one job, to answer customer’s purchasing queries. Please note, it is NOT Google. Amazon is the primar...
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The Devil is in the Detail

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After the powerful lavishness of my Ford Granada Scorpio I could not simply give up on luxury, so the next vehicle I chose was for the qualities I had become used to, extravagance, indulgence, comfort and opulence, along with power and speed. Did I mention I was a petrolhead! I would have purchased another Scorpio, but somewhere in the corporate world of Ford, they threw out everything which made my old car magnificent, replacing it with some freakish, pathetic, strange and ugly looking piece of sh*ty tin. The only connection between my old car and the new model Ford offered was the name badge. So, I elected to buy a Jaguar… Deal done; I drove away in a dark blue Daimler Sovereign. Now, befo...
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A big chunk of (fast) luxury

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My next significant car was one I regard as my first ‘sensible/adult’ car. The first of only a few which could be classed thus. When I say ‘sensible and adult’ I mean a four-door saloon. A large family car with plenty of boot space. (That’s the trunk to my American friends.) That this model boasted a 2.9ltr, 24valve, V6 Cosworth engine was just a simple little bonus. I loved my Maroon coloured Ford Granada Scorpio Cosworth. It possessed all the best luxury mod cons of the time; quick clear windscreen, electric controlled seats – heated front & rear, electric reclining rear seats, heated wing mirrors, a trip computer, abs and so on. In fact, Ford threw every luxury they had into this big beas...
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The ELECTRIC ECLECTIC NOVELLA FICTION PRIZE 2020… is open for submissions

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Are you an aspiring writer or an indie author looking for a publishing contract? If so, the Electric Eclectic Novella Fiction Prize 2020 is ‘right up your street’. Simply write a 20K to 30K word story, in any genre and about anything you want, and enter the Novella Fiction Prize. Entry is just £10.00 GBP, (via official entry form) and the winning authors will have their manuscripts published as Novellas. The top prize is a full paperback publishing package.  Second and third places having their work published as eBooks. There are also associated prizes, such as cover designs, marketing packages and author assist support. The Electric Eclectic Novella Fiction Prize 2020 is an international li...
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Mexico, shopping and a passion for words

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  This is the fifth post in this series, where I feature a car from my past and link it with something to do with being an author. Today’s post features a British Classic, the ubiquitous Ford Escort Mexico Mark1. Mine was bright yellow. I think it is called Daytona Yellow, but I’ll stand corrected if you know better. The Mexico was a product of Fords famous Advanced Vehicle Operations (AVO), built to capitalise on their success in the 1970 London-Mexico Rally. It used the same strengthened bodyshell as the RS models but was powered by a 1599cc pushrod engine, developing 86bhp and 92lb ft of torque. Top speed? 99mph all-out (although ford said it could do 124mph.) That may seem pathetic now b...
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CB 200 for 300, bargain.

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I struggled to come to a decision about which car to include next in this series of posts. I wanted to mention one which played a significant part in my life and that was proving difficult because, as I have said, I spent many years at sea and moving from one shore base to another when at home, so there was little point in owning a vehicle to leave it sitting idle for several months on end. Which means I skip several years or so, until 1975/78 (ish), to continue these blog posts. Also, I am not writing about a car, but a Motorcycle. You see, with me being away so often and for so long, I deemed it easier for storage and running costs, to buy an easily maintainable and reliable motorbike. Not...
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After Caroline came the Hunter…

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After Caroline,  (read ‘Meet Caroline’ here) … it was a long time until I owned another vehicle. You see, I was back at sea, often for long periods and there is not much of a requirement for cars aboard a ship. However, when I was home from leave I did have the opportunity to drive whichever car my father had at the time. It seemed each time I returned home a different car was in our garage. I cannot remember them all, but I do recall one I enjoyed driving, the Hillman Hunter. The photograph shown above is about the closest example I can find to my fathers’ car, a gold-coloured Hillman Hunter with a vinyl (leather look) roof, (all the rage at the time), The car was an automatic, making it a ...
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Meet Caroline

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Last week I based my post around the car I learnt to drive in, way back in1973. This is the link if you want to read the post:  https://wp.me/p5nj7r-1nM This week I continue with the ‘cars I have owned’ themed series of posts. (Okay, I did not own the Vauxhall Viva in the first post, but that’s just a little technicality we can dismiss for the sake of this blog.) This Cresta is very much like ‘Caroline’ So, where was I… oh, yes. I was back from sea. My trip from Portsmouth took me over to Lisbon, on to Keel, then up to Copenhagen and onwards to Oslo before heading back to England, via Scapa Flow and Inverness. After which my sailing schedule was halted for a short period and I found myself b...
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1973, a Vauxhall Viva and no excuses.

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I thought I would start this year’s posts based on a theme of the various motor vehicles I have driven over the years. Doing such links with other projects I am working on, such as my new artwork collection ‘8mm’ and one of my current works-in-progress ‘On the Highway of Irrelevant Rumination and Delusion’. 8mm is where I take a still from an amateur home movie and combine it with a short excerpt from one of my books. You can view the 8mm collection on this link. https://paulznewpostbox.wixsite.com/artworks/8mm On the Highway of Irrelevant Rumination and Delusion is my musings on life and living, taken from my old blog series of the same name and explored during a fictitious road trip, itsel...
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Publishing trends, predictions & forecasts for 2020

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Those of you who follow Ramblings from a Writers Mind will know this time of year I put my ‘professional neck’ on the line by expressing my prognostications regarding the publishing industry for the coming year. The first of these predictive posts was made way back in December 2017, when I forecast my assumptions for 2018. Looking back now, you will agree I pretty much nailed it. See for yourself, ‘Insights & Publishing Trends for 2018′  Last year I published, on the 27th of December 2018, my review for this year, 2019. How accurate is this forecast? ‘Publishing Trends & Indie Author Insights for 2019′  This year, I am once again sticking my neck above the parapet by suggesting what will be ...
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Bait your books to catch more readers.

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Okay, so the title of this post is probably not the best metaphor ever written. Maybe, I was just fishing for compliments, or reeling you in… okay, okay. Enough. But relating your books sales, or rather your book marketing, to fishing is not so far off the mark as you may think. I am sure you would have heard the term ‘hook’ used many times when referring to writing, particularly fiction Most authors know and recognise the importance of having a ‘narrative hook’ in their book’s opening lines and at the end of each chapter, even in the closing paragraphs of books in a series. The idea, of course, is to leave your reading wanting more, wanting to know what happens next or indeed, on ‘tenterhoo...
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Authors, are you sitting on a fortune without realising it?

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A short while ago I wrote a post about the different ways and reasons authors might sign their books. Why you should take signing and inscribing your books very seriously… This post follows on from that one, but not along the route you might think. Once again, this is an in-depth and informative article, from which I think you will take far more than just the main points I make. At least, I hope so. The idea for this post came about while I was chatting away with a friend, discussing how easy it is to recycle print books nowadays, especially since the introduction of environmentally friendly inks, papers, films, card and such. However, as with most conversations, our chat wandered across man...
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Why you should take signing and inscribing your books very seriously…

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But first, here are a few bits of book lore authors may not know. By tradition and convention, authors should always sign their books on the title page, the page which has the author’s name printed on it, generally under the printed title of the book or nearer the foot of the same page. If the author wishes to add an inscription, a message along with their signature, it should also go on the title page if it is very short, about a word or four in length. Longer inscriptions should be written on the half-title page, the page preceding the title page, or on the front endpaper, sometimes referred to as the flyleaf, if of a serious length. An old tradition has the author put a line through their...
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What’s the difference between an Indie Author & an Indie Publisher?

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Sort of following on from my previous post, ‘a Bit about Indies and Readers’, this article delves into the terms ‘Indie authors’, ‘self-publishing’ and ‘Indie publishing’ and is aimed at clarifying them… sort of. “Five years ago, self-publishing was a scar. Now it’s a tattoo”…. Greg White, Bloomberg News, 2016 Let’s not beat about the bush. I’ll get straight to the point. This is the generally accepted definition of self-publishing. Self-publishing is the publication of media by its author without the involvement of an established publisher. In common parlance, the term generally refers to physical written media, such as books and magazines or digital media, such as e-books and websites. It ...
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