Archive for January, 2014

Writing Retreat Planned For April

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

IMG_1319This Easter I will be spending two weeks travelling through Malaysia and the Philippines with fellow author and StreetWise Global business partner, Frank Green. A major objective of the trip is to actually meet after over a decade of online friendship and nearly three years in business together. We have shared many hours of  VoIP conferencing (Skype) and email exchanges but nothing beats spending time face to face. Frank is an Englishman who lives on an island off the west coast of Ireland with his two children. A superb writer in his own right, Frank handles a lot of the ‘grunt’ work of running an online writing business.

StreetWise Global is one of the StreetWise group of businesses, but separate to my personal StreetWise Publications. SWG handles the factual self-help series of StreetWise Guides and Language Courses that currently focus on the Philippines. One of our goals is to explore Malaysia a little more than we already have on previous individual visits. (I was last there in November 2012 after attending the Singapore Writer’s Festival). We both believe there is a lot of potential in providing StreetWise Guides for those looking to retire to Malaysia, especially those who can’t quite afford the superb ‘Malaysia My Second Home‘ retirement scheme. We have some unique insights to develop on how expats can enjoy everything this fabulous country has to offer, but at a more affordable retirement budget.

IMG_1274While in Malaysia we will be undertaking a road trip, not quite as epic in length and duration as the one Scott and Greg enjoy in ‘Never Be Unsaid’, but epic nonetheless. The plan, so far, is to drive from Kuala Lumpur to Kuantan on the East Coast, then north to Kota Bharu, across to Alor Setar and then back down to KL before flying on to Cebu. In Cebu we will circumnavigate the island as we both believe road trips are ideal for focusing one’s thoughts and giving us plenty of time to talk things through in detail. While on this trip we have pledged to write at least 1,000 words per day of short fiction. The theme will be decided but the setting will be wherever we are that day. The resulting anthology will be published online and in print.

Another objective is to scout out various WW2 and Malayan Emergency (1948-60) battlefields and add them to the planned tours of Singapore. Once the focus on Gallipoli, Flanders and WW1 dies off and everyone has done the Kokoda Track and Vietnam, I think there will be interest in the Malayan Campaign, Fall of Singapore and the Emergency and Confrontation with Indonesia (1964-67) as a place of military historical value to visit. In the Philippines I have to visit my inlaws and make sure they are getting back to normal after the devastation of Typhoon Yolanda, meet up with old friends and refresh a lot of material for my existing titles. While you can update many things via the Internet and forums, there is nothing like boots on the ground (or sandals in my case) to get you genned up.

When we return there will be a lot of writing to be done and no doubt some new publications to be promoted. I can’t wait to challenge Frank to a Satay Eating Contest!

Awesome Result In 24 Hours

Monday, January 13th, 2014

Screenshot 2014-01-13 00.54.48In the first 24 hours of being available for sale on Amazon.com, ‘Out of Stock, Sir!’ has made it to a ranking of 172,187 in the Paid Store! I am stunned. I did push a free coupon download to facebook friends last night and so far two dozen half availed and a few have written great reviews. I have sold one copy on Amazon.com but I still have no idea how come it is ranking so well, so soon. Stay tuned!.

Update 24 Hours Later: Within 30 minutes of publishing this post the ranking sank to 180,000. The following morning it was at 230,345 and now, 24 hours after first checking and finding it at 172,187 the rank is 115,522! Will it crack five figures? Who knows, stay tuned!

 

Guest Blogging’s Good For The SEOul

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-01-04 at 11.35.11 AMI have had a blog post published over at The Writer’s Shack. Guest blogging can be a very positive way of improving your ‘brand’ for various reasons. First of all people you would otherwise not be read by get the chance to learn of your existence. They might click the link you leave in your author-bio box, visit your site and decide they  like what you have to say. That could lead to them buying one of your books, then becoming your biggest fan. You never know.

Guest blogging is good for your SEO (search engine optimisation) and site ranking. These days, ‘black hat’ SEO boosting tricks are pretty much a thing of the past and getting ranked well relies on social influence and relevance of content. Being out there on blogs other than your own says you are considered worth reading by other people and so your rank is increased. When what you post has a lot of views then it adds to the social influence and relevance of the blog and by extension those blogs and sites your post links to.

Guest blogging is also good for you because it is giving something back. Your host gets some great content to add value to their blog and entertain and inform their audience as well as a hike in ranking and relevance. Their audience gets a fresh viewpoint and the chance to discover a new voice. Everyone wins. Of course, like guests everywhere, behave appropriately. Consider your host blog and their audience. Tune your post to suit, there is nothing to be gained in upsetting anyone for no return other than a brief moment of smug contentment that yeah, you showed ‘em! As a writer and a professional, keep the objective in mind and don’t burn bridges. Nothing helps your own brand and ranking like a guest blog except being asked to come back and blog again!