Whilst waiting for Halo5 to drop last night at midnight I spent a little time on Forza 6 creating another custom paint job. This time for, yes, you guessed it Reconfigure It is part of my immersion in my own product to use it in places that I already have done similar things and provide a little twist on the traditional.
I have done Eightbar (in 2007), Epredator, Feeding Edge, Choi Kwang Do and Cool Stuff Collective decals in the past. It is a complicated process involving layering stickers and resizing them not just paining and uploading. It makes for an interesting challenge to get the spirit of an image if not the exact replica.
Here is a lambo done up with Reconfigure.
I also recorded a lap of Brands Hatch just for a bit of fun too.
Whilst this car will appear, and show Reconfigure when I race, and also appear on a drivatar racing in someones living room I doubt anyone will buy the book on the basis of this, but it is what I do, so I did 🙂
I was attempting to promote the book and get up the sales rank a little by natural sharing.Many thanks to those people who have supported me with a purchase. It means a great deal.
Having always tried to help and support other people in their projects and sharing all sorts of things that may be interesting to colleagues and followers out there I found I succumbed to having to advertise. The book numbers could reach a tipping point with just the people who I have worked with or shared time with popped £1.99/$2.99 in the help epredatar out project. People don’t just buy books, or ebooks for no reason. They are not impulse buys. You have no idea what is in it, unless there are reviews, or people are saying good things about it. Me just wibbling on and enthusing probably sounds more like a noise of “here he goes again”. However, this is a book based on metaverse concepts, on software and game design as well as adventure. When I help people out I don’t expect anything in return so I feel guilty for even asking. Anyway, Facebook ads have been my first forays into the weird world of online targeted ads.
I created 3 ads each with a very low maximum spend. One is a page like for the Facebook page. The other two are direct links to the Amazon book. One targeted at US and Canada the other to the UK. It will be interesting to see what happens there. My numbers are such, at the moment, I can see a one to one relationship between and add and a potential sale.
I had targeted people into tech, my old company, Unity development and Second Life and virtual worlds. It obviously worked as I got sent the ad myself, as did elemming.
I didn’t click on my own ad as its the click to go to Amazon that calls off against the ad budget. It is a pity it does not relate to the sale of a copy, but Facebook is just pushing a URL and the shop is Amazon.
It’s early days, and I am non established author. I like to think I have a bit of reputation as a forward thinker who might make something interesting. I welcome all feedback, good and bad. I will try some other advertising options as the months go on. This is all an experiment after all 🙂
It is only a few days since Reconfigure went live on the Amazon store. I need to apologise for the single minded promoting of this 2 month project. It has been a both nerve wracking and exciting time. I have spent many years promoting other peoples ideas, getting buy in and passionate about what they have produced. Now I have to do that for my own product. From a standing start, not having written like this before it is an intriguing position to be in. I believe I have some social capital across social media and the tech industry, but it will be the sales figures that tell me that or now. The Book is only £1.99 so I hope friends, family and followers just support it with a purchase to help the sales rank. A good ales rank draws other people to the book.
However to promote it properly I have done the following.
1. Share the fact it was happening. This was form the outset, helping me through the writing and editing process with people retweeting or asking me about the book.
2. A URL for Reconfigurebook.co.uk. This links to a page on Feeding Edge but it acts as a central point for sharing the book before it was live on Amazon.
3. A Facebook page for the book too. It is replication but some people share those things and not blog posts or tweets. You have to try and be everywhere.
4. When it went live tweeting the link and pinning that to my profile
5. Instagram post of the front cover and the URL
6. Creating profiles on Author central in the US and the UK I now have amazon.com/author/epredator
7. Author central suggested creating a video. So I did, and also then put that on youtube. A bit of editing and bit more information and background to the whole project is in this mini advert.
8. Linkedin. Sharing there too. Adding it to the publications I have listed
9. Pinging a few people privately. I did not want to spam everyone, but just a few hello’s to some nice people who might like the book, or like the fact I have done the book and share a bit wider.
10. Empire Avenue, I created a little mission for people to click through
11. With the video uploaded to Facebook is can be linked to an action, just as there ar links in the youtube version to the site or to amazon
12. Make a print copy of the book. This is in process at the moment. CreateSpace is part of Amazon and helps you put together the different layout and parts for a print on demand. I will have to see how that goes as it was not in the original plan. It might be nice to have a few copies.
13. What next? Well if the social network and everyone out there helps the sales figures this may not need much more, it may tip. However, next would be the costly options of advertising. Where and how and with which service I have yet to work out. I can see direct sales figures so have a good idea of how many people have been good enough to support this for me, not and hopefully with some more sales over the coming weeks.
14. Write another one. It seems having more than one book or a series can attract more people to what you are doing. As with all these things it can be a case of ‘yeah so what you wrote a book’ 🙂
15. Get positive reviews. These are important. It has already started but more would be lovely.
16. I realised I had not actually advertised on Amazon. It makes sense to be there after all. So I just did started an ad run there too.
I am going to explore and keep an open mind. The story is out there, it feels like I am at the end of my own box set series and now I am looking for the next thing. I did not go down the agent route as I wanted to see and experience this part. Doing everything form start to finish using the tools available to me. I did some unusual twists in that path. e.g. the swirls on the cover are actually effects in Unity with a planetary plugin. I created the layout and background, removed some parts added others and snapped the 3d view into 2d. It forms a backdrop for the cube, which was also Unity3d. It fits with the story in a nice meta way too.
On Wednesday I embarked on the start of a journey, like many others have taken to try and write a book. A science fiction near future adventure. Currently called Reconfigure. Firstly thankyou for all the advice and mentoring and support. This while Author thing is something that many people have tried at various times with varying degrees of success, so Thankyou for sharing. I am writing in a bit if a frenzy at the moment as I am in some sort of zone. I start at 9:30am and kind of wake from the blitz of typing at 1pm. That leaves some time to decompress and then chase all the other pieces of work and jobs that might end up paying their way at some point.
Whilst not obsessed on the whole word count thing I am following some great advice to just go with it, but to keep it in mind. If there is stuff there, it needs to come out. The flow I am experiencing is very much like those really productive coding sessions. When you are just on it and away you go. I made a plan at the start, a story board with some key moments and discoveries within the story. I am mostly sticking to that, but as things pop up in this voyage of discovery I do pursue them.
The underpinning of the story is technology and approaches I know and that I do all the time. It is working as a substrate on which to grow the more esoteric elements of the story. The unusual limit breaking adventure elements.
Like everything I do there is an element of obsession to try something and see where it goes. Well after five days of blasting through I seem to have something that might just work. At about 25k words so far its feeling about 1/4 or 1/3 through. If it was a TV series, which it would work as one I know, it would be the start of the regular adventures. So writhe now it depends how many scrapes, twists and quirks I throw in on the ever increasing discovery arc.
Just like a good DVD with extras I have a couple of endings. One I really like but just don’t want to do and another that might be a bit of a cheat.
I am aware that finishing the main body is just part of the whole thing. Editing down and making sure they are no continuity errors or spelling/grammar errors will be very time consuming. Still I have no publisher to worry about so I will, as usual, do my own thing and see what happens.
Now time for a bit of background research that extends what is currently the books operating system. 🙂
We just spent the past 2 weeks in a villa in Mallorca on our family holiday. It was, as with all holidays, great fun and a change of scenery and pace. Though I still was on the look out for some interesting new projects and had a few calls to discuss things. It is a time to reflect though.
I spent a lot of time doing my Choi patterns out in the sun, as well as us all swimming, eating and playing games like Exploding Kittens and Forgotten Dessert. We travelled around a bit in the hire car and visited some interesting places. Caves, mountains and beaches. I managed to read an entire book too. I finally go to reading Andy Weir – The Martian. It was an odd dichotomy to read the claustrophobia of being stranded on an unforgiven planet, but having to use maker and engineer wits to overcome the problems the faced. The technical detail in it was superb, the maths and calculations around how much water, oxygen, fuel, soil, potatoes etc that he needed kept whirring in my brain whilst in this baking heat and relaxed family atmosphere.
We were not cut off completely, we had WiFi in the villa. So the predlets were constantly streaming minecraft and other vloggers. Of an evening I found CBS Action on the TV and got the predlets into watching Star Trek The Original Series, followed by MacGyver which they had never seen before.
Somewhere this all seemed to come together in a blinding flash of inspiration and I suddenly realized I had a scifi story in my head. One I needed to write.
I know, its something loads of people do, but I do love writing. I realized that my technical know how spanning so many years had a value in bringing some genuine flavour to any story. Also I specialise in the near future with emerging technology. Often in articles, and in posts and tweets I extrapolate a little further. I have played a lot of games, watched a lot of films, and like to riff on ideas. My book reading is of course not great, I am not an avid reader, but I think that means the things I have read have a bigger impact on me.
So I came back home, sat down and started. Having mused over the idea for the second week of the holiday I thought I best storyboard it first. After all this is like trying to build software. You need to architect it first, based on the requirements. This requirements I had, mostly. The base premise, some of the development and potential end.
Yesterday was just day 1, it may take years but I got 2 chapters worth of 5,500 words in total out. As I wrote it flowed, it was like watching a boxed set on the TV. I didn’t totally know what was going to happen and things cropped up and needed to be addressed. Again this was very much like coding. You just do it, find the flow and ride it. I hope I can continue to find the flow. I didn’t have a specific character in mind but yesterday they just arrived on the virtual paper I was typing into.
Of course there is no money in this, but whilst I wait and chase those customers and even potentially a regular job I might as well try something that I should have done a long time ago.
It seems that despite my wide ranging experience both technically and sharing with people and doing the right thing I am not finding the right avenues to express those talents and get paid properly.
So my plan is to get it done and just self publish on Amazon or some such place. If it works great, if not then its another experience. I also get to keep my tech skills without writing too much software as the book needs to use the right tools and work in the right way. So I figured this is another excuse to keep up to date with everything.
I started off with Feeding Edge thinking I would write the book about the virtual world experiences in corporate life, some great positives to share but also some ridiculous negative human behaviour in big organisations too. It is the latter that stops me writing that factual book. I may do after this fiction on but I think the scars are still to fresh to want to open those up again.
So here we go, lets see what happens on this little experiment. If a massive piece of traditional work appears requiring my full undivided attention, well at least I have started 🙂
The working title of this is “Reconfigure”. I have not checked out if this already is used in places but I am not married to the title. It’s a real world sci-fi thriller. Full of true technical detail and science fact but asking some challenging questions of the world.
Right, time to write 🙂