It’s Official. The Official Website is Now Officially Open… Yay!

Hello Readers,

My new ‘Official Website’ is now open and you can check it out at: AllanWalshAuthor.com

I will not be posting to ‘Allan Walsh Author – A Writer’s Journey’ any longer. For those of you who have followed this site, I have moved you across to the new one and you should now receive blog posts from ‘Allan Walsh Author – The Official Website’.

Thank you for your loyalty over the years and I hope you like the new official site just as much.

Happy Reading.

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A Quick Update for my Readers

 

Image by Jcrakow

Image by Jcrakow

Hello Readers,

My blog has been a little quiet lately, I know. I’ve been focussing on running a promo for Easy Prey and testing some AMS ads out for both The Crimson Guild and Blood Rage. The promo went quite well with 50 downloads over 3 days. This isn’t bad considering I only used free advertising on a few newsletters. I also feel like I am making some progress with my ads. People are clicking on them, that’s a start. The next step in the process is converting the clicks to sales. So I have been revisiting my book blurb for Blood Rage. Reviews also help out with converting clicks to sales and thankfully I have had a few come through recently. They act kind of like a recommendation from a friend, so thank you to every one of you who have left a review so far.

This has been taking up a lot of my time, but in the midst of it all I have been trying to write. I haven’t made much progress here, but I have been creeping forward with a fantasy story I have been working on. I have also been fleshing out another fantasy/sci fi idea that I have knocking about in my head. I really want to get a few more stories out this year, so at some point I may have to lock myself in a room with no internet access and get stuck into my writing.

As for reading, I have made some headway this year. I think I have read 5 books to date (though a goodreads glitch says I have read 2 of them twice on my reading challenge) and I’m over half way through a beta read I’m doing for another author. I’m also 25% through another book, but I’m struggling with this one. The story is original and quite good, but the writing style is not working for me and I think it is going to be a DNF (Did Not Finish). I’ll see how I go, I really don’t like not finishing a book as I like to post a review when I’m done, and polite, constructive criticism can help an author to improve.

Anyway, that’s about it from me, take care and happy reading!

 

Book Review – Smashwords Book Marketing Guide by Mark Coker

Smashwords Book Marketing GuideSmashwords Book Marketing Guide by Mark Coker

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Book Review – Smashwords Book Marketing Guide by Mark Coker
Smashwords Book Marketing Guide by Mark Coker is a non-fiction that covers off of marketing techniques.

The Cover: The cover is basic but professional and clearly fits the non-fiction title.

The Bad Stuff: This is an obvious Smashwords promotional tool and the tips provided really shouldn’t be anything new to the average author who has been publishing for a while.

The Good Stuff: The book is well produced and all the basic marketing tips are here in one place (along with a few things that some authors may not know or have considered). This would certainly be a very useful resource for a new writer and will help them set themselves up as an author, giving them the best shot at making their writing a successful business.

Overall, this is more a marketing tool for Smashwords and I really don’t have an issue with that. In my opinion this book does not contain much in the way of new information for a writer that has been self-publishing for a while (though I appreciate there are differing levels of experience out there). It is however a treasure trove of good ideas and advice for the novice. For this reason I’m giving this one a profile lifting 3 out of 5 golden bookmarks.

View all my reviews

Allan Walsh writes Fantasy and Horror. If you’re looking for something new to read in these genres, why not check out his books here.

Book Review – Never: Prequel to The Amber Isle by Ashley Capes

Never: Prequel to The Amber Isle (Book of Never, #0)Never: Prequel to The Amber Isle by Ashley Capes

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Book Review – Never: Prequel to The Amber Isle by Ashley Capes

Never: Prequel to The Amber Isle by Ashley Capes is a short fantasy story about a thief with bad blood (hmmm… why does that sound familiar to me). We follow the story of Never as he steals he way towards a cure.

The Cover: Okay, I’m adding a new section for cover design in my reviews as I feel they need to be spoken about. I love the cover on this book and probably would not have bothered to pick this title up if not the beautiful artwork. It screams fantasy to me, provoking a mood of gritty action and danger. Just my kind of book.

The Bad Stuff: The name of our protagonist threw me off. Every time I read his name I was confused by the actual meaning of the word, expecting a sentence to form somewhat differently. The writing style didn’t grip me and pull me in either, I found it a bit passive.

The Good Stuff: I must say that once I got over the character’s name and the writing style, I actually enjoyed this story and the world building that was developed over this short story. It is certainly a fantasy set in a world I enjoy to read. The characters were also quite well rounded for a short story. The storyline isn’t bad at all, but as with any new author you read, it may take a few pages to get into the swing of things. I’d say give it a chance and see what you think, I found it free on amazon and if the end matter in the book is up to date, you can get the following book free if you sign up to My Capes Newsletter.

Overall the story was interesting and well-paced, I wasn’t fully invested in the characters, but feel if I were given a little more time with them, I would form a stronger bond. If you are looking for something quick to read with a fantasy setting, I’d say give it a go. I’m giving this one a shadow hugging 3 out of 5 golden bookmarks.

Allan Walsh writes Fantasy and Horror. If you’re looking for something new to read in these genres, why not check out his books here.

Is it Time to Try Something New?

Photo by Renaud Camus

Photo by Renaud Camus

Hello Readers,

Cor blimey! That’s right, you heard me correctly, I said cor-bloody-blimey. My reading world has been turned upside down. I am currently reading a book written in a first person point of view (POV). What on earth is happening? Anyone in my writing group will tell you, I don’t read first person and I don’t write first person. I do not like this POV, I have never liked this POV and I didn’t think I ever would like this POV. Yet here I am reading a book in… you guessed it, first person POV. And I am loving it! You know that saying, “if you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right author.” Well this must be a case of I had never found the right ‘first person’ author.

So what am I reading? I hear you asking. That is another conundrum. It’s a YA book called Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson – a book I would never have picked up to read if I had not enjoyed his Mistborn series so much. So, I think it is fair to say it is time for me to re-evaluate and consider what I might have been missing out on all these years. I may even try to write a story in a first person POV. Who knows what wonderful emotions it may stir, what creativity it may bring out. Not me, because I have never tried it. Is it time for me to give it a go? It just might be.

2017… That’s a Wrap!

Picture by Sebastien Wiertz.

Picture by Sebastien Wiertz

Hello Readers,

Well it looks like every man and his dog are doing a wrap up of 2017, so I thought I would jump on the band-wagon. This is the bit where I have to reflect on what I have achieved over the last 12 months. With a memory like mine that is a tough call, but thankfully I have the help of social media to fall back on. So, this is what 2017 looked like for me:

  1. I just scraped in on my Goodreads reading challenge of 26 books for the year, and when I say I just scraped in… I mean I finished book 26 on New Years Eve. Phew! I admit, I took a few shortcuts when I fell behind, reading a few volumes of Tite Kubo’s manga sensation “Bleach”. I even re-read a couple of my own short stories, which was a good exercise, because I still enjoyed the read and can see that I have improved my writing (at least in my opinion). If I did audiobooks, I would have ‘read’ some of these too, But I don’t do audio books, they just don’t work for me.
  2. I published 5 books in 2017. My Blood Rage series in the fantasy genre, which consists of a short story, a novella and a novel. The others 2  were short stories – Easy Prey and Making Magic, one of which I would classify as horror, the other is more fantasy with horror elements and a little humour.
  3. I managed to get some of my books into bookshops and work out that this isn’t very economically viable when you they take 35 to 40% of the RRP (that’s the RRP, not the profit) to put them on the shelf. So I won’t be actively pursuing this as a sales channel until I can get a reasonable print cost (noting price generally comes down the more units you buy, but until I know I can sell the units, I’m not keen on large orders).
  4. I also got ‘The Crimson Guild’ and ‘Blood Rage’ into some libraries, so if you are in the Logan city area and want to try them out, visit your local library and you can loan them.
  5. I have written a book on how to self-publish, but I’m not sure if I will release it or not. I finished it a few months ago now, but the playing field is constantly changing and it may need to tweaked if I decide to release it.
  6. I have spent hour after hour researching writing and marketing techniques.
  7. I put some of these new skills into practice and commenced running a few ads on FB and Amazon.
  8. I have tried to maintain a constant blog across the year, but did slack off a little at times to focus on writing/editing so I could get some more work out.

I’m sure there is more I could add to this list, but I can’t think of it right now and I have covered the main items from my FB timeline now. Looking back, I am quite happy with what I have achieved over the year.

On a personal level, I have been very lucky to have an amazing woman who not only supports me with my writing, but spoils me on special occasions. I’m not easy to buy presents for, so she tends to get me ‘experiences’. This year I have learnt how to drift a Lotus Elise around a skid pan, which was an awesome and exhilarating activity. I have flown a light aircraft over Brisbane, yes… I actually piloted the plane for a 30 minute flight. Now that was quite scary for me. I’ve been fortunate enough to holiday in Japan during the Cherry Blossom season and I’ve managed to get back to the UK and catch up with family and friends (only my 2nd time back in 20 years). As this only happens once in a blue moon, we made the most of it. We took the train through the Channel tunnel to Paris (crossed that one off my bucket list) and drank Belgium beer in Belgium. I really don’t think I would have half of these things without my great woman’s drive and motivation.

What’s lined up for 2018?

Well, on a personal note, I already have a ride in a Centurion tank and a “learn-to-fly-a-helicopter” flight lined up. We won’t be doing much travelling this year though. We’ll need to knuckle down and save for the next trip.

Writing wise I plan to continue to learn as much as possible about writing. I am starting to plot a bit more these days, so I’ll see if that makes much difference with my writing this year. I have a few unfinished titles I’ve been working on over the last year or so and I’d really like to finalise some of these for publishing them this year. I tend to jump between projects while I work though, which slows the progress on individual stories, but sees me finish a few closely together. I’d love to get a few more short stories and another novella or novel out this year, so I look forward to looking back at the end of 2018 and seeing if I met this goal.

Book Review – The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson.

The Hero of Ages (Mistborn, #3)The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Review – The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3) by Brandon Sanderson
The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson continues the Mistborn saga as Vin, Elend and the rest of the crew try to unite the Empire and save their crumbling world.

The Bad Stuff: I really can’t think of anything that stood out to me. There were one or two spots where I questioned if a character had learned some of the information they knew, but I didn’t want to go back/read over to find out. I just wanted to keep moving forward with the story. I trust that Sanderson would have covered this and that I had not registered these snippets of information as I was reading.

The Good Stuff: I loved this book as much as the first two. It progresses the story of all our favourite characters – Vin, Elend, Sazed, Tensoon, Spook, and more, as well as introducing some new characters we start to care for. The magic system continues to expand as the story reveals more of its hidden secrets and I feel that Sanderson has found a good balance of giving new readers what they need to know while not repeating too much of what existing readers have already learned. Sanderson has done a great job holding back story details that are drip fed to us over the series, and this last book reveals the last of those secrets, bringing us to a full understanding of the world and why things are the way they are.

Overall this is a great resolution to this fantasy series and a thoroughly enjoyable read. I’m going to give this one an earth moving, pewter filled 5 out of 5 golden bookmarks.

View all my reviews

Allan Walsh writes Fantasy and Horror. If you’re looking for something new to read in these genres, why not check out his books here.

Visit the ‘Hall of Whispers’ here for updates, special offers, etc…

So You Want To Sample My Writing, Do You? Well, here is a taste of ‘Making Magic’

Making Magic posterized 3d render

*Please note that the 3D render of the cover is not to scale, this is a short story of approx. 32 pages. 

Hello Readers,

Your next sample of my writing in an excerpt from ‘Making Magic’, a short fantasy/horror story with a touch of humour. This story takes a look at Alcus, a wannabe writer as he attends his first critique session. But not everything is as it seems.  I hope you enjoy reading this spellbinding fantasy/horror.

Making Magic by Allan Walsh

Alcus stared at a note pinned to the notice board. The corners were furled, itching to roll shut, but the words sparkled, as if calling to him.

‘Do you create your own worlds? Bring characters to life? Create magic you want to be seen? If the answer is yes, this may be the group for you.’

This could be it. The writers’ group I’ve been looking for. But what if they don’t like my work? What if they laugh at me? I can’t spend my whole life wondering. I’ve got to grow a spine, face my fears and get it done.

He grabbed his note pad from his pocket and scribbled the address inside.

The days passed, Alcus counting them down, the way he used to at Christmas when he was a kid. That same feeling of excitement fluttering in his stomach just like it used to. When there were no more days to count, he found his way to the address in his note book. He looked down at the writing on the page.

Room 1
The Old Library,
21 Orion Way,
Forest Hill.

Then peered up at the building before him. Lichen crusted rocks loomed up above the entrance, as if their weight smothered and squeezed the tiny door into the wall. Alcus felt goosebumps creep up his neck.

This is silly, I shouldn’t be here… But If I don’t go in, how am I going to know if my work is any good?

He grabbed the iron ring on the door, tugged it open and ducked inside. The doorway opened up into a large entrance hall. Alcus strode past a wooden sign pointing to a room with an iron-studded door at the end of the hall. He paced back and forth outside the door, stopped and rubbed at his chin.

Just go in Al, try it out. If you make a fool of yourself, just don’t come back, he reasoned.

If you enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends.

Allan Walsh writes Fantasy and Horror. If you’re looking for something new to read in these genres, why not check out his books here

Enter the ‘Hall of Whispers’ here for info on updates, special offers, etc…

Reviews and Self-evaluation – Level Head or Big Head?

 

picture-by-shannon-hauser

Picture by Shannon Hauser

 

Hello Readers,

I’ve seen a few posts lately where an author have asked other authors if they should review their own work. I’ve even responded to a few of these posts with comments giving my own opinion. I read somewhere that you should like your own blog posts, because if you do not have confidence in yourself, why should anyone else? By liking your own work you are letting people know that you trust yourself.

Personally, I don’t see any harm in liking/rating/reviewing your own work – just as long as you’re giving an honest opinion. There is no point is saying something is awesome, when you know it is not. I think this is a sure way to lose the trust of your readers. Rather than saying I love my work, I tend to give a bit of a synopsis when I ‘review’ my own stories, and I rate them at the level I feel they deserve. I know some of my work could be better and in these cases I do not give a 5 star review. In fact, I have never given myself a 5 star review and I doubt I will ever be that satisfied with my own work; there is always room for improvement.

Preference is subjective, so it stands to reason that some people will like things that others do not. And truly, the world would be a boring place if everyone liked the same things all the time. I enjoy my stories and I don’t see any reason I should not rate them accordingly. After all, I wouldn’t publish them if I didn’t believe they were worthy to put out in the world. But, I am interested in knowing your thoughts on the matter. I certainly do not want to turn my readers off.

So, as a reader, does it put you off an author when they have rated their own work? Does it bother you at all? Do you like it and take an interest in the authors thoughts about their own stories? Just how do you feel about it?

Allan Walsh writes Fantasy and Horror. If you’re looking for something new to read in these genres, why not check out his books here.

Visit the ‘Hall of Whispers’ here for updates, special offers, etc…

Apologies for error on post :(

Oh no - picture by Tom Woodward

Oh no – picture by Tom Woodward

Hello Readers,

Last week I was over the moon to release my new short story ‘Easy Prey’. I jumped onto my blog, typed up a post to announce it to the world and included a link to the book. I must now apologise to all my readers that clicked on the link and found themselves on my ‘Blood Rage boxed Set’ buy page. It appears that in my excitement, I made a rookie error, placing the wrong link on the post… Doh!

I have now corrected the link to redirect to Easy Prey on Amazon. I am sorry if this caused any confusion, banging heads off walls or book rage outbursts. And just so you don’t have to go back and find the fixed link on the previous post, the correct link is here.

Happy Reading.