Category Archives: Blether

…authors, the lowdown on book promo sites… honest feedback from an ol’ Jurassic Scots scribbler…

…I promised yeez a wee while ago to revert with the success or otherwise of dabbling in the ‘give-us-yer-money-and-we’ll-get-yeez-gazillions-of-sales-for-yer-masterpieces’ websites… I’m never averse to trying new (for me) channels and avenues for prospective book sales, and am currently giving this field a whirl… early returns are disappointing so far… let me recap :

All the sites require titles ALREADY to have been reasonably successful, with a certain number of reviews rating at least 4-star or above…

All the sites require a significant discount to normal pricing.

Website 1…

Paid US$ 15 for a one day exposure for one title in a list of prob’ly around 40 or 50 others, with the title remaining on their ’trailing list’ for a further unspecified period…

Email list (they claim) is 35,000

Result: Sales for the period through this channel  — 2 copies only…

Conclusion– A waste of this author’s time and money on that website…


Website 2…

Paid US$ 16 for a one day exposure for one title in a list of prob’ly around 50 others, with the title remaining on a ‘trailing list’ for a further unspecified period.

Email list (they claim) is 121,000

Result: Sales for period through this channel —2 copies only.

I ran a simultaneous promo for another of my titles at the same discounted pricing, same genre, but exclusively through my own normal promotional activity (with which as some of yeez will know, I am constantly active)

the result of THAT personal effort, sales : 6 copies… with no cost to me…

Conclusion… a waste of this author’s time and money on that website…


Website 3…

Pending toward the end of this month:

Allegedly one of the more effective websites (let’s see) with supposedly 100,000 email subscriber list…


Paid US$ 50 for a one day exposure for one title in a list of prob’ly around 50 others, with the title remaining on a ‘trailing list’ for a further unspecified period.

Fingers crossed, and I’ll keep yeez updated …

…here are some of my titles, and quite simply, one of the ways I market them is on here :








Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…another day… another time… another flashback image…


…the ongoing, current ‘rummage in the attic’ adventure produces more ‘photographic blasts from the past’… and has uncovered this prize piece of ancient historical Kilt-ism… featured on the left is a great friend, Cameron Sloan, for many, many years the Secretary of the Hong Kong St. Andrew’s Society, a thankless role, but carried out with enormous diligence as with everything he tackles… on the right, weighing in at a gazillion kilos lighter than his current fighting weight is Master Gallacher… you will note the chap with the elegant sideburns in the wall portrait behind us… no prizes for guessing who he is, but I wonder how many of my non-Scottish followers will know his name?… the usual comments are expected regarding how many years have lapsed since my hirsute topping drifted into the mists of distant memory… the self same Anderson tartan Kilt is still in use, although the straps at the side which allow for ‘expandable human body content’ admittedly have since been stretched to their limits… however, I’m proud to say I can still fit into the same brogue shoes and socks sizes… the bow tie also still fits… thankful for small mercies… so there yeez are, Messrs Sloan and Gallacher, prime models for Vogue for Teuchters… wha’s like us?—damn few, an’ they’re a’ deid!… slainte mhath!… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…a wee ‘speriment in Author promotions… yeez pays yer money and yeez takes yer chances…

…I’ve no desire to upset animal LUVVERS, and ‘specially fervent feline followers, but it’s often said, ‘there’s more than one way to skin a cat’… likewise, there’s more than one avenue to promotional markets for writers and their masterpieces… the Great God Amazon’s usual suspects such as Free Promo Days, Reduced Price Countdown features, and Kindle Unlimited, are prob’ly the easiest mechanisms for self-publishers to get engaged in selling their stuff… of late, Master Gallacher has seen fit to dabble a little bit more broadly… selective, modestly-priced access (remember I AM Scottish) to websites with significant mailing list bases of potential readers have attracted my attention… but, not satisfied with merely following that trend, here’s what I’m attempting this week… a wee ‘speriment in Author promotions… yeez pays yer money and yeez takes yer chances… a parallel offering of two of my titles… both at similar discount prices of  Sterling 1.39 / US$ 1.99… the first is KILLER CITY, trumpeting that with my own SOSYAL NETWURKS as the principal means of broadcasting it, which generally finds more success in the Amazon Kindle UK market… secondly, THE VIOLIN MAN’S LEGACY, running with one of these aforementioned mailshot purveyors, The Fussy Librarian, which aims mainly at the Amazon Kindle USA market… I will run them in sync and measure how each week-long event performs… either way, it’s fun, and already has drawn sales/downloads from the UK… in fairness, the second has only just launched, so it’s too early to gauge and compare… p’raps across the pond I’ll have to try for a while to wean focus away from The Donald and onto The Seumas… the click-buying links and photos of my wee babies follow:



Cover for Violin Man

…see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…ah, there was a time, a time there was… the young Lochinvar has come out of the East…


…every now and then, a glimpse of yesteryear comes floating back, but seldom have I had it so solidly reinforced with photographic evidence… and this from the days before the plague of ‘selfies’ was visited upon an unsuspecting WURLD… the image above has lain hidden in long-since-forgotten filing boxes… intrepid family archealogi-explorers sum’how dug through the myriad layers of dust and brought to light a (very very much) younger impression of Master Gallacher… this was captured fully 35 years ago (!), when yours truly  was Chief Dealer and Treasurer for a banking institution in Hong Kong… the hair covering and the pseudo-Mex, Burt Reynolds  ‘tache have long since disappeared… in the interim, the body shape has (in polite terms) expanded in  several directions…  (the sartorial elegance of the Banker’s-de-riguer-uniform-of-the-pin-striped-suit came from the famous ‘Sam the Tailor’ in Hong Kong)… here’s the modern version:


…that this young fully-paid-up Master of the Financial Universe should eventually morph into a latter-day scribbler, blogster, and crime fiction novelist, was a gazillion miles away from emb’dy’s thinking back then… I mean, just look again… would you buy a used Bank from this man?... ah, there was a time, a time there was… further digging in that chest in the attic continues, and Lawd knows what other scene-of-the-crime evidence may come to light… I shall keep yeez posted (along with my lawyer)… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!…




Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…Authoress, Angela Wren invites yeez aboard for a picturesque wend through the French canals…

…some Guest Blog Posts just have a way of truly ‘transporting’ yeez to another place and another time… here’s a delightful piece from my dear friend, Authoress, Angela Wren, whose own blog kicks off a new series of posts beginning today, May 17th and is all about Robert Louis Stevenson and his travels in France…



A Wooden Train to Paris

I have a dilemma to resolve. I’ve been poring over my maps of France for the past three or four weeks now, trying to decide where next to explore. I could re-travel old routes taken before and relive previous adventures or I could try something completely new. That’s my dilemma.

Robert Louis Stevenson has taken me through the Cévennes on a number of occasions and his first published book, An Inland Voyage, has made me think about taking the rivers and canals in northeast France to follow in his sway. But I have a niggling problem with that idea.


Having read Terry Darlington’s book, Narrow Dog to Carcassonne, I’m very much aware that it is possible to navigate a canal barge from the north coast of France through the inter-connecting system of waterways down to the Mediterranean coast. I also realise, from my own wanderings in France, that the waterways within the country were very important in the past and remain so even now.

If you think about it long enough you will realise that, of the 90 plus départements into which the country is divided, around two thirds of them are named after rivers. Along with these rivers there is a system of canals and locks, some of them pre-dating our own once heavily used canal system. So, as I gaze at my maps, I am drawn to an exploration of the waterway that stretches from the Morvan to the heart of Paris. From as early as the 16th century the Morvan was supplying the ovens of Paris with wood through a linking system of rivers and canals – the Nivernais being part of the route.


A favourite haunt of mine, Clamecy (Nièvre), was a major point on the route.

The town sits on the fast flowing river Yonne and everywhere you look in the old town there are reminders of that ancient trade. In the museum there is a large room dedicated to the Flotteurs – the raftsmen, women and children who worked the river and ‘les trains de bois’. The tools they used are on display along with a detailed explanation of their work and their lives. Old faded photographs show these people at work and at play. The trade continued until 1880 when the last ‘train de bois’ made its way to Paris.

So my journey would have to start in the forests of the Morvan. Here the trees were felled and logged – made into ‘bûches’ just over a meter in length and marked to show ownership. The logs were then floated down the river and along its course were families who waited and tended the cargo, making sure no logs were trapped by pushing them back into the mainstream. I feel sure some must have been missed though!

Once at a navigable point in the river, teams of men spliced the logs together to make rafts about 36 metres in length. These rafts were then sailed along the waterways – the river Yonne, being one – and the canals. As they neared Paris and the river widened, the rafts were connected together making vast floating wooden platforms, 72 metres long. Each raft was managed and driven into the heart of the city by only a couple of men and perhaps one of their sons. Some task, I think.

It would take about 10 to 15 days to reach the city and then the men and boys who had sailed ‘les trains’ would walk the 200K back to Clamecy.

ClamecyThe year’s work done there would be a great celebration when the men returned to their hometown. How I would have liked to have been at that party!

So my dilemma and my niggling little problem. Do I take to the road and the Cévennes or do I sail? And if I sail, which route to choose? The niggle is that I can barely swim to save my life. I achieved my swimming proficiency certificate at the age of seven and I haven’t been to a swimming pool since!   I don’t do beaches either, just in case you were wondering. I suppose it will be terra firma for me then.

And the slight mistranslation? Yes I know, but ‘A Wooden Train to Paris’ sounds so much more romantic and intriguing!

Author Bio

Having followed a career in Project and Business Change Management, I now work as an Actor and Director at a local theatre. I’ve been writing, in a serious way, since 2010. My work in project management has always involved drafting, so writing, in its various forms, has been a significant feature throughout my adult life.

I particularly enjoy the challenge of plotting and planning different genres of work. My short stories vary between contemporary romance, memoir, mystery and historical. I also write comic flash-fiction and have drafted two one-act plays that have been recorded for local radio. The majority of my stories are set in France where I like to spend as much time as possible each year.

…m’Lady Angela’s novel, Messandrierre is a cracking read… here’s a wee blurb taster for yeez:


‘Sacrificing his job in investigation following an incident in Paris, Jacques Forêt has only a matter of weeks to solve a series of mysterious disappearances as a Gendarme in the rural French village of Messandrierre.

But, as the number of missing persons rises, his difficult and hectoring boss puts obstacles in his way. Steely and determined, Jacques won’t give up and, when a new Investigating Magistrate is appointed, he becomes the go-to local policeman for all the work on the case.

Will he find the perpetrators before his lover, Beth, becomes a victim?’

Messandrierre – the first in a new crime series featuring investigator, Jacques Forêt.

…thank you, m’Lady, Angela… the rest of yeez Lads and Lassies of Blog Land can catch up with Angela on any of these links:


Amazon UK

Amazon US

Website :

Blog :

Facebook : Angela Wren

Goodreads : Angela Wren

…see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…Author deadlines?… at my time of life?… are yeez kidding?…


…I am unashamed in admitting I’m a selfish scribbler… oh, sure, I gladly share my blog space and (albeit limited) experience in the arena of self-publishing with whomever wishes to engage with me on that… I’ll ReTweet and share other authors’ efforts and successes on Facebook and the other  SOSYAL NETWURKS where I lurk… I regularly post reviews on the various Great God Amazon pages for books by new quill-scrapers (we all started sum’where, and I remember always with immense gratitude the wonderful generosity of spirit and support afforded me by the amazing global writers’ diaspora along my own authorial path)… but there is one element I guard ferociously—my promise to myself to enjoy my WURK… in essence I write for me… if others derive entertainment or pleasure from the product of my wee grey cells, that’s a welcome bonus… but first and foremost I create stuff that I like to read myself… so many times I read efforts from our fellow ladies and gentlemen of the alphabetical persuasion, and I cringe to note the obsequious pandering to a ‘target market’ or a ‘pitch-to-them-what-sells-readership’… and believe me, Lads and Lassies of Blog Land, some of the biggest names in our industry indulge that game… and I shun it… and I mentally paraphrase, ‘what shall it profit an author if he succumbs to a publisher’s whims to serve the need for sales, if he loses his own creative writing soul?’… or sum’thing like that… in like manner, from the outset of this marvellous self-publishing journey, I committed not to be ruled by the stupidity of deadlines… the daft notion that the WURLD will dance to a timetable and schedule demanded by a sales partner at a major publishing firm…


…for this ol’ Scots Jurassic writer, I revel in the languished time of crafting my books as I please… and if that means one or twenty more titles before the candle in the garret extinguishes, so be it… Author deadlines?… at my time of life?… are yeez kidding?… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…Authors, the longest days…waiting for your editor’s feedback… Susan Toy tells it…

…an Idiot Author’s Guide to waiting for Editorial comment… from my terrific pal, Authoress, Susan Toy


10 Ways I pass the time while waiting for my editor to finish editing my novel …

by Susan M. Toy

 It took about 12 years to complete a final draft of my second novel, a draft I felt was finally ready to send to my most trusted first reader—my editor.

 You’d think after all the time the file has sat in four computers and various memory sticks during all those years, sometimes never seeing the light of day, I’d have embraced patience and would now be willing to allow for whatever further time was necessary to complete the editing process. After all, I know that it does take a great deal of time and concentration to complete the stellar and most thorough job my editor is currently doing.

 But, Hey! I’m an author! I constantly seek immediate gratification that any reader can supply my ego when they read whatever it is I’ve written, furthermore proclaiming it to be brilliant! This is especially true when my editor reads my writing. And no pressure meant here for you, Rachel Small … If you don’t enjoy it, I promise not to slit my wrists. J

 As I say, I’m an author and, just like most other authors, I write for readers who I hope will love my stories. Or, at least, enjoy them.

 I’ve learned over the years to not release my writing into the wild until it’s good and ready. I’m not in a rush to publish anything. But that doesn’t mean I’m not anxious to hear back from my first and most-important reader!

 So to while away the time as I tap-tap-tap wait for the edit to be completed, I’ve discovered many ways, 10 actually, in which I can waste be productive and take my mind off that precious manuscript. I offer them here now as possibilities, in case you find yourself in this same situation of playing the Waiting Game … (Oh, by the way, you are getting a professional edit done on your own manuscript, right? Okay, just checking.)

 1) Gardening

I mowed my lawn at the trailer. Not a big deal for most people, but I’m not a gardener by any stretch of the imagination, and I live next to a bunch of over-achieving weekend lawn mowers who always make my lawn look like an abandoned corner lot, the only things missing being a couple of wrecked cars and a broken window on the trailer replaced by a piece of cardboard. Plus gardening is akin to housecleaning—I only do it when absolutely necessary. Another Page – Lawn mowers and Jimmy Stewart


 Photo 1

2) Organizing

I’ve begun filing and resorting everything stored on memory sticks—Do you have any idea how much “stuff” I’ve downloaded and kept over the years?? Again, filing is not my strong suit and is generally right up there along with gardening and housecleaning as activities I’d rather not be doing at any time. Still, good busywork while I’m waiting.

 3) Cooking

I’ve been reading through recipes that were clipped from magazines, downloaded, or are in the few cookbooks I have here at the trailer, looking for those perfect meals to experiment with and cook for myself. (Trying to eat healthy and refrain from binging on popcorn and ice cream, which I would normally turn to for comfort while waiting.)

 4) Sorting

While filing (see #2) I’ve earmarked certain story files and sorted them into “complete and final” or “needs editing” and am amazed to discover just how much I’ve actually written over the years. Some of it may even be good. (Although that second category is proving to be a much bigger file than the first.)

 5) Editing

I’ve re-edited two of the short stories I’d written earlier and am now casting around for homes for both. I’ve discovered a contest that accepts published work so I’ll be entering one of my earlier stories in that. As well, I’ve begun working on an edit Rachel completed for me some time ago on a novella, but I had to set it aside to finish that second novel. I’ll need to decide whether this novella will become my next IslandShorts publication. 

Photo 2 

6) Thinking

Since I’m trying very hard not to think at all of possible changes to the novel Rachel is currently editing (although there have been a couple that came to mind and she has now incorporated them into her copy), I’m considering instead how I might change the stories and characters in the two novels that follow this one in the Bequia Perspectives series. (Yes, they were both largely written many years ago and have been languishing on computers and memory sticks almost as long as this current novel.)

 7) Publishing Other Authors

For some time now I’ve been working with other authors who I will publish under my IslandShorts and IslandCatEditions imprints. So there’s been a lot of initial editing to do for them in preparation for a professional edit, and organizing formatting, designing, ePublishing and listing for sale, as well as promoting have been going on in and around my computer these past couple of months.

 8) Promoting

Even though the edit is not yet finished on my own novel, it’s not too early to begin promotion. I started that as soon as I sent the MS to Rachel (with a guest post on Kristina Stanley’s Mystery Mondays and the post, A small request of all my readers, on my own blog …) But I’ve also been thinking ahead by asking two friends who well know the setting of Bequia to beta read for me. (Dennis has read the MS, but he doesn’t count, except as a ballistics and demolition expert … although he did declare it to be totally brilliant. That man knows which side his bread is buttered on!) As well, I’m compiling a list of readers who may offer to write blurbs for the book for future promotion. I’m organizing writing other Guest Posts (see #10) and announcements on my own blog leading up to publication. I’m redesigning my website (Thanks, Kevin Brennan!) and reorganizing my blogs.

 I’ve discovered a couple of writing contests to enter. While I had stopped entering my writing into anything a long time ago, I figured that, in this case, nothing ventured. It’s all part of promoting myself and, if I win either of these then that will be icing on my cake!

 And I’m forever thinking, thinking, thinking of new methods to develop for promoting not only me and my writing but also promotion to benefit all my author friends and their writing.

Plus I continue promoting other authors through my Reading Recommendations blog.

9) Reading

Kind of self-explanatory, huh? But I’m still shocked by the number of writers who don’t read books regularly, let alone while they’re writing or waiting for their editor to finish an edit. This is a great time to remove yourself from the worries of your manuscript and just lose your mind in a good book. (While I read I also listen to great music. That’s a given for me.)

 Photo 3

10) Writing Guest Blogs

This partly goes along with #8 in that I write guest posts to help promote my own writing. But it’s also a way to keep writing and encourage those creative juices to continue flowing … as well as being a constructive means of killing time while I wait for my editor to finish her edit. Plus I’m creating content for my host blogger to post. Everybody wins!

 In fact, this Guest Blog Post I’ve written for Seumas came about as a result of #1. Yes, I composed most of this post in my head while I mowed the lawn. You just never can tell where any of this seemingly non-related busy-work activity is going to lead while you’re waiting for something to happen …

 ** I’m very pleased to report I have received a preliminary email from Rachel and she said, “Just wanted to touch base to say I’m eagerly devouring your story, and immensely enjoying the editing process.” This news certainly helps make the remaining time I have left to wait that much easier to bear!

 Here’s a lovely musical interlude that goes along with our theme today of waiting …

 Susan M. Toy is the author of Island in the Clouds, the first novel in the Bequia Perspectives series, and That Last Summer, a novella. If all goes as planned, she hopes to be announcing the ePublication of One Woman’s Island before Sept. She’s currently cooling her heels at a trailer park in southwestern Ontario, close to the eastern shore of Lake Huron. About Susan M. Toy

Photo 4…links to the LUVLY Susan are easily clicked:

My main blog:
Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing, And, for good measure, a bit of Cooking and Eating
A blog dedicated to promoting other authors and their books:
Reading Recommendations 
And a blog offering honest reviews of those authors’ books:
…thanks for these great time-filler, nail-gnawing, desisting-from-sticking-needles-in-voodoo-doll-images-of-yer-editor-while -yeez-wait-for-feedback tips, m’Lady, Susan…
…see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff