Monthly Archives: October 2015

…becoming more of a Legend in my own Lunchtime… a-hem…

…it’s not often an Author gets the pleasure of reading an interview article  and find the interviewer has truly captured the essence of what yeez have shared with them… superb journalist, m’Lady, Rachael Perrett, Deputy Editor of the Abu Dhabi Week magazine has done me proud…

Finding His Way With Words

Successful self-published Abu Dhabi author explains how receiving death threats helped ignite his writing career

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It wasn’t supposed to happen this way.

Hooked? Seumas Gallacher would hope so. It’s the first line of one of the books in the author’s Jack Calder crime series.

Personality oozes out of this Scotsman. He loves talking, flirting and telling stories that often see him going off on a tangent, which leaves me wondering how he managed to focus for long enough to write the four-book series in the first place.

And yet, this is exactly what makes Seumas so good at selling books.

The Scottish gent has built a name for himself, not just from his byline, but through branding and marketing himself.

Foreword

“I was born on the same street as Manchester United’s former boss, Alex Ferguson,” boasts Seumas. “He’s seven years older than me and has got a lot more money, but I’m better looking. But I’m meandering…

“When I was 15, I did the classic Glasgow thing and left my house with my ukulele and duffle bag, and that was me off.”

Eventually finding work in a bank, Seumas ended up in the Hebrides.
“It’s the most fabulous place; everyone is a character and knows almost everyone else’s backgrounds so there are no airs and graces,” he explains.

It was here that Seumas began singing Bob Dylan songs in ceilidhs, a traditional Scottish social gathering. With a nudge from locals, he then learned Gaelic and went on to win local and national competitions singing in his newfound tongue.

Still finance paid the bills so he moved around the world working as a chief trader and then troubleshooter for banks from London to the Philippines to Australia and eventually the Middle East.

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Re-Kindled memories

When working in Manila, Seumas was a troubleshooter for a ferry company. 

“I fired 600 trade union dock workers in the first month, and I fired local policemen and mayors who were on the take. Within three weeks, the mayor of Manila told me I was under threat and he didn’t want me taken down on his patch. I told him, ‘I’m a banker, not Rambo, give me a break!’”

With the threat looming, Seumas was advised to get a bulletproof car with bodyguards, so he employed the services of a company run by an Irishman and ex-SAS soldier. He was trained how to operate so that no one knew where he would be going or which route he’d be taking. Little did Seumas know, this perilous venture would eventually form the “nub” of his first novel, The Violin Man’s Legacy.

But it wasn’t until years later when walking along the Corniche that Seumas decided he would write “that book that everybody has in them”. 

“The storyline is three former SAS officers set up their own specialised security firm looking after high-value people and products around the world. We’re running up against international crime lords, drug barons, people traffickers, cash laundering, the whole bit.”

Just four months after his Corniche stroll, Seumas had wrapped up his first crime novel.

“I thought, great, now all I have to do is send it off to London and someone will buy it and give me $1 million, right?”

Wrong. Seumas received 40 out of 40 ‘No Thank You’ letters from publishers but admits: “I learned that’s par for the course”.

At the same time, someone asked Seumas: ‘Why don’t you just put it on Kindle?’

“I thought, ‘Yeah why don’t I?’… I didn’t have a clue what Kindle was.” In fact, this self-confessed “computer Jurassic” only bought his first laptop in 2008 to write the first book. “I’ve had a very quick learning curve.”

Following various requests for hard copies, Seumas did eventually print a limited number of books, but notes that the process of going to a printer in Abu Dhabi, getting a ‘galley proof’ and having the media council scrutinise his book for offensive material, wasn’t a simple process. But that’s what he did and stores that carry it include Jashanmal, WHSmith and Borders.

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Business is business

Besides learning about technology and e-publishing, Seumas had to learn about the business of selling books.

“Business is business, no matter what it is. You’ve got to build your platform and learn how to attract people,” he explains. “In any business you’d have a budget, time and money. You’d have demographics, you’d know your markets, competition, pricing and distribution.”

Being a ‘Jurassic’ – as he puts it – Seumas’ idea of networking was attending cocktail parties, so his list of contacts consisted of “a handful of emails and 200-plus LinkedIn connections”.

But when he read a post from someone on LinkedIn saying his boss would pay him $1 for everyone who liked his post, something clicked. “After a day and a half, he had 1,700 likes and I thought, bingo! Now it makes sense,” he recalls.

“I went on LinkedIn and told my contacts: If you download my book that’s a bonus for me, but what I really want you to do is put it out to your address book. Tell people this is my book and it’s available here. Ask them to do the same with their address book and let’s see if we can do this silly thing called ‘going viral’.

“Within a month, we had sold 80 copies and I thought ‘Mamma look at me, your boy’s an author!’ It was a heck of a buzz, so I started on the second one. By the time I’d finished it four months later, the first one had been downloaded 7,000 times. The third one went out in 2013 and the three have been downloaded over 80,000 times collectively.”

But Seumas knows it’s not just about the number of books he sells.

“I started developing Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and so on, realising these were my business relationships. Having numbers for the sake of it doesn’t work; you’ve got to have a purpose to it. I’ve now developed into 20,000+ direct contacts.”

Then someone suggested Seumas start a blog. “What’s a blog?” he had asked. But after learning about blogs and starting one of his own, he realised it was a great tool for reaching out to potential readers and fans. 

“I realised the difference between books and blogs: books use the author’s voice but the blog gives you a brand. So I developed into ‘I’m just a stupid old Jurassic writer who’s bumbling through the social network banging his knees’, and people love it.”

Seumas even won ‘Blogger of the Year’ in 2013 and works hard to interact on a daily basis and avoids spamming his fans and contacts.

“It’s about being available to people. Your persona, the brand you are, is how people will see and think you are. I like to be a decent enough fellow, I like to help other authors because they’ll help me, and that gets you kudos. Frankly, I get a great buzz from doing it.

“If I go to a fair I can chat with someone for 20 minutes; even if they don’t buy a book I’ll thank them. That engagement is where it’s at; that’s your affirmation that you’re a writer.”

Seumas admits that some people are more inclined to this type of interaction, citing his Gaelic glory days as preparation for his future self-promotion as an author.

The next chapter

Five years and three books later, Seumas’ hard work paid off when he was signed to Crooked Cat publishers in Edinburgh.

“If you don’t have ambition, you’ll never get it,” he says. “I believe in my work: false modesty is for stupid people. I’ve learned a lot and I take a pride in sculpting my work. I do a lot of things authors tell you not to: I edit my work every day. I box it, skim it, taste it and get into my work. I love my words.

“Self-publishing taught me I had to learn the business, the components, what works and what doesn’t in various markets.

“If I’d have tried this 40 years ago it probably wouldn’t have worked because we didn’t have the internet or communication skills, the immediacy of readership. Today there’s a cartoon mentality: ‘entertain me now or I’m going somewhere else’.

“Learn your craft. I’ve been doing this for seven years, and I’m still learning my trade.”

Seumas’ learning curve continues as he works on his fifth book in the crime series, and another in a completely different genre.

Whether or not he intended it to happen this way, Seumas paved his own way and the road continues. We can’t wait to see what’s next.

– See more at: http://abudhabiweek.ae/finding-his-way-with-words/#sthash.3ReurreD.dpuf

 

…I’m indebted to m’Lady, Rachael Perrett for capturing the spirit of what I think this ol’ Scots Jurassic is really about in my scribbling… thank you, m’Lady… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!...

ALL MY BLOG POSTS ARE FREE TO SHARE OR RE-BLOG SHOULD YOU SO WISH—BE MY GUEST!

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…Authors, when one of yer wee literary masterpieces resembles the runt of the litter…

 

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…as with a large part of the human race, this ol’ Jurassic has a soft spot for the proverbial ‘runt of the litter’… the number of times yeez hear of some wonderfully generous-hearted person picking up a wee puppy or kitten from the animal care shelters because ‘the wee soul looked as if nob’dy cared for it’ abound… similarly, watch any children’s sports ground or school race meeting, when a tiny male or female person, valiantly pitches up against opposition much bigger and stronger-looking than them, yeez start hollering for the underdog… the Brits especially, have made an art of championing the underprivileged (unless, of course yeez are politicians, with a completely alien mindset as far as that stuff goes)… it should therefore come as no surprise to anyone, that the same concept  applies with Authors and their literary offspring… my stable of Jack Calder crime thrillers now saunter around on Amazon Kindle with four titles… the sales numbers cause me no concern, but I’ve noticed that one of the tomes seems to have donned that mantle of ‘reading runt’… the second in the series, VENGEANCE WEARS BLACK, whilst tying down respectable downloads, slightly resembles having been ostracised by its siblings… there’s no obvious reason for that, as the abundant reviews compare favourably with the others… it met excellent acclaim when launched, even by folks other than my Grannie… I re-read it over the past coupla days, and must confess, with no false modesty, there’s nowt in it that I would change… I like the story, but then, I’d say that anyway, wouldn’t I?… but seriously, Mabel, as an author, I endeavour to polish and sculpt my narratives to the best level I can find, and VENGEANCE WEARS BLACK was no exception… I’ve given a few encouraging WURDS to the wee thing, told it not to worry, that even if nob’dy else reads it, I pwwomise, pwwomise, pwwomise, I’ll continue to do so every now and again… there, now, that’s better… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

VWB cover

 

Amazon links:

UK http://amzn.to/1ACk5eq

US http://amzn.to/1DPx2WN

Can http://amzn.to/1vYv0nb

Aus http://bit.ly/1zV9aNR

ALL MY BLOG POSTS ARE FREE TO SHARE OR RE-BLOG SHOULD YOU SO WISH—BE MY GUEST!

 

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…hey! hey! Yo-Yo! get off of my cloud!… string me along, then…

…being as I am, computer-gadgetly-challenged, I’m blissfully unaware of what it currently costs parents to purchase for their offspring the range of ‘pastime-absorbing’ stuff such as iPads, iPhones, X-boxes, and the like… and as for the latest gimmickry in mobile phones and  applications, this ol’ Jurassic pleads the Fifth…not a clue… my parents had no such budgetary constraints to keep our lot happy ‘way back when… a few pennies were all that were required to keep us at arms-length with self-made ‘toys’… the purchase of a handful of simple wooden canes and some string transformed a five-year old boy into the next version of Robin Hood, with his bow and arrows (with rubber suckers on the tips of the arrows so yeez widnae hiv sumb’dy’s eye oot wi’ that!)… some even had folded-and-glued-newspaper ‘quivers’ to hold the parcel of arrows… old packing cases and discarded prams provided the platform and wheels which became racing buggies, the brakes for which were the soles of our shoes against the front wheel, better applied when not going downhill… but the pride of pocket went to the humble Yo-Yo

yoyo1…a pair of wee blocks of circular wood fastened together, with twine spun around the centre gave hours of pleasure… later versions went on to polished plastic versions, but the older wooden prototypes were unbeatable… the craze caught like wildfire throughout the UK… local events featured competitions, with fabulously inventive tricks… those of yeez of a certain age may remember the ‘walking-the-dog’, the ‘Eiffel-Tower’, the ‘stars-at-night’ tricks, and many other string-tangle-defying manipulations…

yoyo2yoyo3…the piece de resistance involved having the string loosely fastened to the middle of the Yo-Yo, permitting it to spin at the end of an extended arm-throw, and. on command, with a deft jerk of the wrist, having the whole thing spin back into yer hand… magical stuff… X-boxes? iPads?…kids… yeez don’t know what ye’re missing!… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

ALL MY BLOG POSTS ARE FREE TO SHARE OR RE-BLOG SHOULD YOU SO WISH—BE MY GUEST!

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…howdy, partner… meet the fastest draw in the Web…

…it’s not often yeez’ll find a Scotsman delighted to be giving stuff away… but I’m tickled tartan today at the response to a wee ‘giveaway’ off’ring I undertook this month… one of the SOSYAL NETWURKS where I have a multitude of so-called ‘followers’ is Goodreads… and much as I’ve tried to get my grey cells around trying to figure out how Goodreads actually WURKS, that particular medium still defeats my comprehension… it had occurred to me that I might try one of the much-lauded ‘freebie’ promotions on there… then it further struck me, that I have never felt much affinity with it… better to show a bit of respect for others whom I know for sure who do subscribe to my blog and trail my ramblings in other places… case in point, my pals on Facebook… and more especially, the troop of great members of the Bookshop Cafe Group—avid readers all, and terrific two-way dialogue interactors… so I went that route instead… the draw was made this evening in the hallowed arena of my computer desk… the background trumpets and cymbals were provided by the SkyNews television drivel, but, safely selected, out came the lists, thus:

for THE VIOLIN MAN’S LEGACY:

Cover for Violin Man

…the postal authorities globally have been alerted to the upcoming flurry of packages, a kinda practice run for their Christmas trade, I suspect, a-hem… and if yeez missed out on the tombola picks  and still wanna read the two literary masterpieces that were on view, here yeez go :

THE VIOLIN MAN’S LEGACY:

UK amzn.to/1Hp3wbI

US amzn.to/1F4qTbk

Can amzn.to/18w496F

Aus bit.ly/1F4rSbk

VENGEANCE WEARS BLACK:

UK http://amzn.to/1ACk5eq

US http://amzn.to/1DPx2WN

Can http://amzn.to/1vYv0nb

Aus  http://bit.ly/1zV9aNR

…see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

ALL MY BLOG POSTS ARE FREE TO SHARE OR RE-BLOG SHOULD YOU SO WISH—BE MY GUEST!

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…60 Greenfield Street, Docklands Govan, Glasgow, 1950s… the epitome of fine living…

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…much nonsense prevails whenever people begin to ‘reminisce’ about the ‘bad old days’ growing up in the Glasgow slums  60 years ago… this ol’ Jurassic is a product of that environment, and whilst I won’t pretend it was urban Utopian bliss, it still serves up mem’ries that cause me to smile… money for 99.999999% of families there was tighter than the proverbial duck’s a*se… as it was in countless other granite-carved conurbations in the UK… food was never counted in calories or proteins or carbohydrates or gluten, but on what a meagre household income could purchase, with a wee bit of ‘pay-yeez-at-the-end-of-the-week’ when the husband’s pay packet was delivered… clothing was generally home-knitted, and ‘hand-me-downs’ a matter of course… school classes numbered up to forty and fifty children in each classroom… yeez can spot me as the future Trainee Financial Master of the Universe in this photograph, front row, squinting at the camera, second from the left, with the light-coloured jersey…

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…from the age of eight upward, most kids were familiar with the ‘Uncle’ disguised as the pawnbroker on most street corners, to whom, and from whom, ’invaluable’ household items such as alarm clocks, dresses, and odd bits of small furniture were pledged and redeemed on a regular basis for amounts in shillings (that’s old money, Mabel) to bridge the spending needs of the week… our family moved from the Govan tenements to the then palatial outskirts of Glasgow, to the Scottish version of ‘The Projects’ ….forty years later, and these too, had come full circle… crumbling, broken-down, vandalised, graffiti-strewn, suburban slums, rejoicing in salubrious district names such as Priesthill, and Nitshill (I kid yeez not!)… in our top floor, three storeys up, for the first time we had a real bathroom with a real bath … no shower, but at least a real bath… prior to that, our previous address, 60 Greenfield Street, Docklands Govan, Glasgow, the epitome of fine living, offered an iron sink in the front room cum kitchen cum sitting area cum guest room… into that sink on a weekly basis our wee children’s scalps were dunked and scraped to rid them of the perpetual lice that thrived on our assorted crania… carbolic soap was the order of the day… none of yer bars of ‘fresh-scented-as-the-lilies-of-the-fields’ nonsense… and here’s the thing… back then, it seems, I never heard that anyone died of starvation… nobody froze to death for lack of clothes… solid education was had despite the classroom population size… so, for me, ‘the bad old days’  are simply ‘the old days’… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

ALL MY BLOG POSTS ARE FREE TO SHARE OR RE-BLOG SHOULD YOU SO WISH—BE MY GUEST!

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…Written Acts of Kindness Award… Authoress, Sarah Jane Higbee…

kindness

 

…I so much admire people who combine their own writing skills as a scribbler and blogger with that of being a regular reviewer of other writers’ WURKS… the kind of selfless ‘giving’ that often goes unsung and unheralded… meet one such heroine… m’Lady, Sarah Jane Higbee

sarah

…her participation on the SOSYAL NETWURKS extends even further than that, with constant support by way of feedback and positive comments on many of the blogs which she also follows… her own blog rejoices in the terrific handle of ‘Brainfluff’… doncha LUV IT, Lads and Lassies of Blog Land?… go take a wee look at her pages… https://sjhigbee.wordpress.com …she’s also on Twitter @sjhigbee …tell her the daft Scotsman sent yeez…

…m’Lady, Sarah, the rules for passing this Award on are very simple:

  1. You are welcome to give it out as many times as you like, but it is only to be given to a maximum of one person per blog post. If you wish to give multiple rewards, please space the blog posts so the sincerity is maintained.
  2. Introduce the person; say how they encourage, help or inspire you; then link to their work and/or social media profiles. There may be a specific post you wish to link to which helped you. It’s up to you.
  3. Please publicise your award post to Twitter or Google Plus using the hashtag #writtenkindness so that others can find and follow the award winners.

This award is open to anyone to use. You don’t have to receive it, in order to be able to give it. Once you have received it, it isn’t obligatory that you must pass it on.

…see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

ALL MY BLOG POSTS ARE FREE TO SHARE OR RE-BLOG SHOULD YOU SO WISH—BE MY GUEST!

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…Oh, for Pod’s sake!… yeez wanna listen to this!…

chip

…down the years there have been frequent raisings-of-assorted-eyebrows at my mangled diction of English… for a starter, coming from Dockside Govan in Glasgow gave me a definite leg-up in the incomprehensible vernacular stakes… when I eventually turned up in London as a Trainee Financial Master of the Universe, I was compelled to slow down my speech delivery, and asked to enunciate more clearly the Queen’s spoken English (coming from ‘Laahndeners’ in the capital, I found that a bit rich, frankly)… the tongue-twisting continued apace as different countries in the Far East and now in the Middle East found me contorting their local languages… comes now a new spin… my first ever sojourn into Podcasting… that’s stuff on the Internet, Mabel, where yeez have real-live conversation with people across the globe through the wonder of the web… my terrific pals, m’Lady, K.J.Waters and m’Lady, Suzanne Kelman, both currently living in ‘Merika, run their Blondie and the Brit podcasts from there… this ol’ Jurassic had the delight of being one of their victims… I mean, being one of their guests… the resultant recording is ‘clickable’ here, http://blondieandbrit.podbean.com/  and on iTunes here, https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/blondie-and-the-brit/id1042661151?mt=2 …this is where the sound of English I make departs once more from the accepted norm… in truth, the dulcet modulations from the tongues of the esteeemed ladies is mellifluous in the extreme, but with the vagaries of intercontinental elink transmissions, my voice delivery sounds like a Scottish chipmunk… pleasing, I’m sure to those aficionados of Disney cartoon classics… have a wee listen and see what yeez think… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

ALL MY BLOG POSTS ARE FREE TO SHARE OR RE-BLOG SHOULD YOU SO WISH—BE MY GUEST!

 

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