Tuesday, March 26, 2013

EFCB Logo Contest on Linkedin

Yes, I have applied to a logo contest for the Eastern Fairfield County Business group on Linkedin.
I'm not sure how many entries have been rec'vd, but I do know that my design has been rec'vd.
Wish me luck! I'd appreciate YOUR VOTE when the EFCB group posts the contest entries on /after April 1, 2013!  Here is my logo design entry.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Today's Meet the Author: Alex Laybourne

Today TheMerryBird is speaking with author Alex Laybourne to learn about his writing process and his feelings about today's  publishing industry.

Tell us about all about you…as the non- author first then about you as author.
I am 29 years old and have 4 children aged 6, 4, 2 and 6 months. I live in Holland but was born and raised in England. I moved to Holland at the end of 2006, and view it as one of the best decisions I have ever made. My four year old son has autism and so I am always actively looking to help people understand what is it, and how it works. I have plans to write an epic story collection about it.
As you have hinted, I am a writer, and have several items available for sale, including my debut novel Highway to Hell (book one of a trilogy). The sequel comes out in June, so you all have plenty of time to grab your copy and get up to speed on things.

How long have you been writing?
I have been writing since I was old enough to hold a pen. I have always written stories. When I was a kid at school out first assignments were only supposed to be one page long and I was regularly churning out fifteen or twenty pages. I first decided to write a book when I was fifteen, and I did. I was crap, but I wrote it, and to be honest, I still have plans to do something with it. Rather, the main character in it was my own hybrid sort of werewolf and I have a whole YA series planned out with those characters.
I wrote Highway to Hell back in 2006-2007. It took best part of two years in the end, to write and edit. In between I also wrote four short story collections – which should be published around August this year – and numerous other short stories.

What inspires you to write in the style that you do? (what genre do you write in? does it vary?)
I write horror, with the odd flirtation with Fantasy and both standard and urban. If I am honest, I don’t believe in genre, I believe in words. I view writers as artists, and with art, there should be no boundaries. A sculptor does not need to define his work, neither does a painter. We feel the need to classify words because they are so easy to interpret, but really, words are art, and therefore need no explanation.
If a story I am writing heads in a certain direction, I will not reel it in for the sake of a label such as genre.

How many words per day do you like to write? Is that a daily goal or weekly goal?
I like to get between 1500 and 2000 words written every day. Now with the kids, and a full time job as well, this is often easier said than done. That being said, this year I have come close to the 2,000 mark every day. Sure, I sacrifice sleep, but who needs that. At the moment I am writing a zombie serial, and each chapter is around 12,000 words, so I have more of a weekly target at this moment in time, but once after two more chapters I am done. Then I should probably get back to work on the third Highway to Hell novel. That is due for sale around December time, so I had better get my skates on. Don’t tell my publishers that I have no started yet.

What is the name of your first book? How long ago was
It printed? Where did you market it and did you have a good sale number?
Well, my debut novel has been published twice. I self-published on Amazon and Createspace to being with, but after about six months I signed a book deal with MayDecember Publications, and so Highway was pulled from the shelves and republished in December 2012. Until now sales have been poor. I will be honest with you. I have struggled to get sales and reviews. This is not down to the writing but down to myself. I am not a great salesperson, and lack the liquidity to invest in promotional materials. I am learning every day about the whole marketing side of things, and will get there eventually. I am not afraid of the hard work required to pull it off, and that is half of the battle one.

How do you feel about online book reading? Do you have a book that you’ve written for a digital shelf like ibooks or kindle?
As I mentioned, I self-published my first novel originally, and am self-publishing my zombie serial. I think self-publishing is a dangerous game. There are a lot of people who do not take it seriously, or are flooding the water with unedited and untidy work. On the other hand there are a great many authors who are professional and put together great packages. The trouble is being able to separate the wheat from the chaff and not get lost in the middle.
I would like to think that I will always mix and match my methods. I mean, my serial is published once every two weeks, and that is too quick for many publishers, but it is fun and really gives me a good writing workout in between novels.
I do think we will continue to see some big changes in the world of indie and self-publishing, and without wanting to sound arrogant, I hope that it makes moves to separate the good from the bad.

Do you think it’s worth to ask buyers to purchase a digital novel for the same amount of $ as a print novel?
Charging the same price… no not at all. I would not pay the same price for an ebook as the paperback. I am a fan of real books. I think they are now and always will be the best choice. If the prices were the same, I would much rather buy that. On the other side, I think too many authors are pricing themselves out of the market. Setting your books to 99cents may have worked for John Locke, but we are not all John Locke. If we were, then the world would be a very different place. Independent authors should not be afraid to charge that they deserve for their books. $3.99 for a full length eBook is not extravagant. It is fair.

How do you think the change in the publishing industry affects authors today?
I think the modern publishing industry is, as I have already alluded to, a double edged sword. It is now easy to publish. One button and your work is available to the world. Yet, too many people expect to push that button, go to bed and wake up on a diving board like Scrooge McDuck and pull a double gator into a pile of cash. It doesn’t work that way. Being an indie publisher is like working on a market. You are surrounded by stalls all selling the same product as you, and you need to make sure you shout the loudest without scaring anybody off. We are in the middle of an explosion at this moment in time, but I firmly believe this will die down. Things will take a big swing and not necessarily in our favor. Nothing lasts forever, and when the big rush dies down, those left standing, will be the professional and dedicate writers That will, in turn, usher in a new age of indie writing, and it is that which I look forward to most.

If you could give a budding author advice what would it be?
Write, write every day. Live it , breathe it, sleep it. Writing is not an easy ride, it is not a coast. Sit your ass down in a chair and type until your fingers bleed. Tape them up and write some more. It doesn’t have to make sense, it doesn’t have to be good (in the beginning), you just need to write. Letters, emails, lists, short stories, novellas, character biographies, interviews, you name it, if you can put words to it, write it down. In those moments when you are not writing, read, read as much as you can across a wide genre, don’t limit yourself or your imagination. Don’t listen to people that doubt you, simple write on and prove them wrong.
If you think writing is easy, then stop, and find something else to do, because when the writing is done, and you have a product, that you think is wonderful. Sit on it for a few weeks, don’t even think about it for 14 days, and then go back with a red pen and a thick skin, because that is when the shit gets serious. Edit out anything that brings the story down, that detracts from the story in anyway. Tweak things and re-write things, but don’t get lost, too many people get lost in their first novel and never find their way out.
Sounds like a lot of work… well, I have not even started to get into detail yet.
If you still want to be a writer, then you have what it takes, so stop reading this interview now and go write… oh wait… go buy my book first.
Yes, buying my book. That should be the first piece of advice I give. It’s awesome.

Can you recommend our readers a publisher that you like to work with?
I am contracts to MayDecember Publications LLC, and I am delighted with them. I cannot fault Denise or Todd in anyway and I am delighted that they have agreed to publish me. There are so many other publishers out there; small presses, and I am friends with a great many people within them, but two currently companies that really have my eye are Evolved Publishing and Evil Girlfriend Media.

If you could be a famous author, who would it be and why?
That is a tough question. I guess Clive Barker or Stephen King, if we are looking at modern writers. Clive Barker is a genius and his words read like poetry, and Stephen King… well, surely his name says enough. Looking at years gone by, well, I am not sure if I would want to be them, but to write with them, or in the same time as them – as friends – I would say Poe, Charles Dickens or in slightly more recent years, Richard Matheson. His work I love, or George Orwell… ok, there are just too many on this list now, so you know what. If I could be a famous author, I would be myself… in a few years’ time. Because now is the very time, because it is the time we have. The past or the future may look nice, but it is today, this very moment that we live in.

Tell us where we can find your book(s) and please provide a link!
All of my work is available on Amazon (both US and UK)
Highway to Hell

Diaries of the Damned: Jessica

Diaries of the Damned: Leon

Diaries of the Damned: Robert

Thank you for Interviewing with TheMerryBird.com Designs!

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Helping to Grow Your Business the Smart Way

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