Wednesday, August 29, 2012

38 . . . the vanity game by h.j.hampson

About time I started reviewing the books that I read, especially given the cauldron that has been bubbling since Harrogate about sock-puppetry, paid for reviews and cyber bullying.  (More on my views on this later).

Here's the latest book: met the author at Harrogate Crime Writing Festival.  After speaking to her and hearing about her debut book, I downloaded it immediately on to my mobile phone while balancing a pint of Theakstons.  Didn't work; in the morning, the book wasn't on my phone.  Rectified that quick smart and finished the book in good time. 

Check out my  review below (produced totally free of monetary reward):

The Vanity Game is like reading a trashy celebrity mag, poring over an entertainment website, or watching reality TV – pure indulgent entertainment!  There’s sex and drugs and rock and roll – “celebrities” behaving badly – and its loads of fun.

A great debut from H.J.Hampson – she really captures the life of the D grade celebrity, the overpaid footballer, the 15 minutes-too-long of fame, and the industry and media that feed off them.  The dialogue is witty and quick, the characters enjoyable, and you do feel like you are peeking behind the curtain of celebrity stardom as it is today.  Although the central plot of the novel is intriguing and quite original, it’s the scenes of photo shoots, roof top parties and expensive debauchery that really kept me reading.

The protagonist, Beaumont Alexander, is not exactly a likeable character though.  He engages in a number of acts, especially in the first few chapters, that can turn readers right off.  I did find it hard to sympathise with the multi-million pound footballer and gained more pleasure reading about his suffering and the crazy world that threatens to consume him.  I could be wrong, but I think that’s intentional: for what other reason do we enjoy seeing photos of celebrities in uncompromising positions and read stories of falls from grace?  It’s bloody entertaining!!!
Check it out here: Amazon UK

Friday, August 10, 2012

19 . . . simon finally on line

Discovered a few days back that David Simon is finally on line with a new web site.  He's had the rights to the web address for a long time but only now has he started to use it.

He has started out by populating his blog posts with old articles and essays - a bit a rehash one might say, but for someone not living in America, all this is pure unseen gold from Mr Simon.  Very interesting stuff indeed, as expected.

That said, I still do miss The Wire big time.

WARNING: Language, violence and worst of all, SPOILERS!!  If you have not seen all 5 seasons, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT watch this video, feel me?  Otherwise, enjoy!

Sunday, August 05, 2012

eleven . . . inspiration

Regardless of what nationality, you can't help be moved watching athletes achieve their goals to the tune of 80,000 roaring fans.

Well done Mo!  Well done Greg!  Well done Jessica!

Come on Australia - be inspired!

Thursday, August 02, 2012

ten . . . speaking of self promotion

I haven't self promoted in the past, mainly because I don't have anything to promote - yet!

This blog is a version of self promotion for sure and ultimately it will form part of my very own writer's website (I've already purchased the URL!).  But I don't want this blog to solely be about promotion - that would just get too boring and tired and I'd feel dirty doing it.  Instead, I want my blog to be informative and entertaining, something you might find interesting.  You might even relate to my plight of searching for that path to publication.

Self promotion is a bit foreign to me and at times, feels a little bit strange.  In fact, it feels downright wrong in some respects.  Not sure I like forcing things down people's throats - I know I squirm a bit when normal blogosphere chat turns to shameless promotion. 

Of course, it is necessary.  The way I see it, without a little bit of promotion, people will miss out, especially any loyal readers or fans you may have picked up along the way.  New book out - why didn't you say?!   Also, there's nothing better than the build up, nothing more exciting than anticipation - so people love that and to be along for the ride.

Once I hit that marketing trail, I'll learn the ins and outs of promoting my work - either through my own channels or with the use of my agent/publisher/publicist.  In a perfect world, I would want people to get something out of the promotion, that it is entertaining as well as informative.  I want to get people excited and hopefully meet those expectations in the finished product.

I've always seen this blog as therapeutic, as a diary, as a record of the ups and downs of a budding writer.  If no one else read it but me, it would still serve a purpose.  Of course, I'd love people to read the blog and make comments - the interaction with friends, fans, (potential readers), is what makes things exciting.

Getting readers to come back to my blog consistently is conditional on interesting and regular content.  That's up to me.  But how do I get people to start reading the blog?  How do they find it?

Self promotion, of course.  Or using a more preferable term: visibility.

I recently checked out the stats for this blog and was excited to see that, yes, if only a handful of people, I do have some traffic coming through and reading the blog.  Without any promotion, except one post up on Facebook, that's not too bad.  But I dug deeper to see where this traffic was coming from.  Surprisingly, most of it is coming from USA and Russia.  Weird.  Then I looked at the source of the traffic and that's when things became confusing and reality kicked in.

Most of the recent traffic has come from websites that aren't search engines - references to myhealthcare and devscripts websites are all a little perplexing.  There are some that come via other blog entries, google, facebook and searches on photos - like Daniel Craig in swimming shorts - but most come from strange sources.

So I conclude from this that most of the hits on my page are either spam related or from people who were directed inadvertently here and didn't really read the blog.  There are some geniune readers (thank you!) but its hard to identify them.  As touched on in the article I linked to yesterday, determining the impact of self promotion on social networks and the web is difficult, and therefore, reading the stats is pointless.

So, if I want people to read my blog (which I do!), then a little "self promotion" will not go astray.  I've just got to find a way of feeling comfortable doing it - and have interesting things to say to keep people coming back.  And dropping a few comments now and again.

Maybe another Daniel Craig photo will do the trick!

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

nine . . . does self promotion on social media work?

An interesting question that I would love to dig deeper into when time allows.

For starters, check out this interesting article which raises a few interesting points about self promotion on social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter.

Surprisingly, the numbers suggest it could be a waste of time.

(via The Nameless Horror) -