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Twitter and Branding

I’ve decided to have two Twitter profiles. Will this be helpful? I’m not sure. I feel like I already spend too much time on Twitter, but I need to try something new to reach more readers.


My general account is @WesleyMcCraw (I would love a follow) and my new one is @VampireFiction. @WesleyMcCraw will still be my unfiltered,  everything account. @VampireFiction will be my more horror focused account. It won’t have all my political posts and will be more focused on my darker fiction. All the tweets will be more branded and on message for a horror writer.

I’m not willing to let economics compromise @WesleyMcCraw, but I still need to market my books and short stories somehow. This way I won’t have to edit myself, yet I’ll still have tweets consistent to a brand I’m trying to create.


Day 8 of 9: Through the Cave

Super Bowl Sunday I stayed mostly at my desk all day. For quite a few hours I wasted time on Twitter. I finally got to writing around the time of the halftime show. I accomplished quite a bit the rest of the day, probably eight hours of writing out of the fourteen I was trying to write, but my confidence in my book is wavering.

This dark moment of the soul, when you think the feat is impossible because you seemed to have tried everything, is a natural stage when you are getting close to accomplishing a tough goal.

Art-Illustration-Magic-Mushrooms1You put a lot of work into a section and it just doesn’t work and you fear it never will. Sometimes it needs to be cut or rearrange, but if you have done all the work, and you’ve fixed all the big problems, the writing still might be in a form that seems awful to you.

This is usually right before it gets good.

When you are in that dark cave, you have to keep going.

It’s an odd thing that happens, reaching the light. I’ll work on a chapter and work on it, and it will spring to life unexpectedly. I can often feel the shift like it’s a bit of magic.

This has not yet happened with the problem section, a talky bit around chapter seven.  But I have faith. I’ll get through the dark cave and reach the other side if I keep at it. It’s just the nature of the work.

Current draft status: The first six chapters are mostly finished. I’m still working on the hard copy of eight and nine. I’ll try my hardest to finish the draft on day nine, Tuesday, but I worry I still have too much left to do.

Day 3 of 9: Learn from Yesterday

I had high hopes for progress yesterday.


I got to a coffee shop, wrote my blog post, but then got distracted by Twitter. I made some progress on chapter four, but only made it halfway through. And then went back to Twitter again.

Twitter can validate or reject you or both, and rejection can zap your willpower to write and get stuff done. Lesson learned. Twitter interaction can be saved for after writing, so I don’t run the risk of feeling rejected and unmotivated.

In other news: House of Cabal Volume One: Eden is FREE on Smashwords for a limited time!

Current draft statues of volume two: The first three and a half chapters are mostly finished, five and a half to go. Only a week left!

Wesley McCraw’s Video to Say Hello (My Room)

Hello, I just wanted to make a short video to say hi and introduce myself. I’m returning to my blog, as writers do from time to time, and so here is a new beginning. Thanks for reading and watching.

Tough Love, Blog

Almost a year and a half ago, I started to focus on strengthening my “media platform.” That included this blog and my twitter feed. I wrote:

With the rise of the internet and our virtual lives, an established platform is a must for any writer, even those going through the channels of traditional publishing. Readers want to connect, and connected reads buy books and spread the word. A writer is nothing without excited fans and followers.

So how is my media platform creation going? Let us check in.

Jamal Afzal

Jamal Afzal 2007

Views to my blog haven’t really gone up since the first few months, despite the fact I now have a book available. Currently about twenty people a week visit my blog. I have more than a thousand people following me on twitter, but only a few respond to anything I tweet. This leads me to believe that maybe about twenty people pay attention to my twitter posts, if that. Not great.

After posting a code on this blog to download a free copy of my new horror novel, only two people used the code.

So where have I gone wrong? I have a few ideas.

My brand is an undefined mess. Most of my readers have very little clue as to what kind of writer I am. I also haven’t identified my audience. Horror or thriller readers? Joss Whedon fans? Clive Barker fans? White gay guys? Anyone and everyone is not a target audience.

My posts are too sporadic. I post whenever I feel like it and with no respect for any predictable schedule.

Many of my posts are self-indulgent and not all that helpful to my readers. Are my blog posts my random thoughts, self-help for self-publishers, or thinly veiled advertisements for my book?

I’m tempted to start from scratch. My blog has fifty followers. Not bad, but how many of those people are even reading my posts, and more importantly, finding my posts worthy of their time?

It’s time to try a new strategy.

The “Official” Release

Hello everyone. The official release of my horror novel is a little more than a month away. But I couldn’t really wait and so I’ve been telling people to buy-buy-buy it anyway.  It’s on Amazon and Smashwords.

I’ve sold seven copies so far. Which of course isn’t many, but these are the first books I’ve ever sold, so I’m still excited. It took me a day to realize that it is less exciting that I’m selling books and more exciting that people are reading my work. I’ve been writing for more than fifteen years and my first book is finally available to the public. I’m taking a moment to be happy about this.

I’ve put up author pages on Goodreads and Amazon. I’ve made a blog, just for The Forgiving. I’ve tweeted about it and posted on Facebook. Here is the link to the book on Goodreads. *Click*

As I’ve mentioned, over the next few weeks I’m going to be contacting as many ebook review blogs as I can to get the word out. The nice thing about an ebook is that it’s not going away any time soon. I can market it until the end of time. I can tweak the blurb and the cover and continue to spread the word. Once my second book is released it can help the sales of my first. As they say, this is a marathon, not a sprint.

I’m still working out the kinks. Smashwords seems to be having some formatting issues. Nothing too bad, but I think it makes the book look less professional than it could. The Amazon version looks pretty good, and that is the one that is selling, so I’m not too worried about it.

I’ll be posting regularly over the next two months to keep all of you up to date on how the release of my novel is going. If you have any question or advice just leave a comments.

Thank you for your support, whether you buy a copy (it’s only $2.99!) or you just read my blog.

How to Market a Horror Novel

Now I need to figure out how to market my horror novel, The Forgiving. This is going to be tricky.

Step one: write a kick ass book. I’ve done that (including hiring a proofreader).

Step two: the pre-publishing work of writing this blog and interacting on twitter to create a platform. I’ve done that too, though not very successfully. My blog traffic is relatively pathetic and few people respond to my twitter posts.

Step three: release The Forgiving on Smashwords and Amazon. I’ve done Smashwords (you can buy the book here), with only Amazon to go. This step included making a professional looking cover and writing a brief pitch:

Three lovers, as a way to save cash, seek out a real estate agency that specializes in poltergeist activity. What they find in their prospective house will test their faith in God and their faith in each other.

Now the path is getting a little fuzzy. I know I need to get blogs to review my book and that I should have a release event, and that the reviews should be timed so that they line up with this magical release date, but how do I do that?

Getting blogs to review my book is exactly like querying agents and publishers: it sucks. I’m not a salesperson. But I am, because I’m self-publishing and that means every job is my job. All I can do is politely ask, and if anyone wants to review my book they can. There are a lot of blogs. It’s a numbers game, and I’m going to win if I contact enough of them.

How much time should I give reviewers to review my book? I guess I’m just going to pick a random date and go with it. How about Sunday, September 1st? That sounds like a good release date to me. I just need to get as my reviews as possible to go up around that time. Simple enough.

One step at a time.