Blog on the Bus pt 22 (practically giving it away)

Good day to you fair traveller, aboard today’s venture on the number-4 across our fair Southampton. I hope this journey finds you in high spirits and fair favour?

Today’s topic of text (alliteration driver) is on freebies (gifts, not STIs). I have been pretending to be a writer of sorts (and of books) for two and a bit (not yet half, more of a quarter) years now and in my time I’ve come across a number of writers (some indie, some traditional) who each preach (hey, maybe I need to consider becoming a poet) different methods of establishing readers and how to actually make some £cash $dollar and €dosh from this writing business. Some argue that the secret is to keep your books low priced i.e. under £1. Others decree that the higher the price, the more distinguished a reader you will locate. Similarly, there are arguments for giving away your books for £free (I know, crazy right?). Why spend 6+ months of your life pouring your very soul into a project and expect nothing in return? It’s lunacy I tell you…

Or is it?

As an unknown writer (for that is what I am) my target must be in growing an audience: one that will enjoy my work so much that they come back and buy one of my other stories and tell their friends of this wonderful author (for that is what I aspire to be) they’ve discovered. This leads to world recognition, interviews and movie projects (there maybe something missing from the middle of that journey but I haven’t figured out what it is yet). So, how do I convince someone who’s never met me to read my work?

That freebie idea suddenly makes sense.

So, for 4-days only (this offer will not be repeated) I will be giving away copies of my debut novel Integration on Kindle at no charge starting Friday 01 February. A freebie February frenzy if you will. So shout it from the scaffolding, bellow it from your balcony and holler it from the hilltops. Tell your friends (hell, tell strangers too, I don’t care!) to download their copy this weekend and give it a go.

UK: Integration

US: Integration

Thanks for listening and thanks for sharing the news!

Stephen

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Blog on the Bus pt 21 (Samsung saga)

I feel privileged today to be riding in the lap of the Gods (metaphorically and literally) for not only have I been inundated with requests for an update to my TV troubles See Blog on the Bus pt 20 but I am also riding the upper deck of the bus this evening. I’m not sure which excites me more. I’m not on the number-4 this evening but the number-1 (for reasons that would probably bore you) and so I’ve been granted the opportunity to travel in the clouds. I appreciate I’m exaggerating the picture a little (okay, a lot) but there is something to be said for the better class of view from up here. To those who’ve not been to lovely Southampton then I highly recommend it because it’s…well lovely (like what I said).

Anyway, so when I last posted I was on my way home to await the visit of a Virgin engineer. Well when I got home I walked the dog and with 10mins to go before he was due I decided to shower, after all engineers are never on time are they?

So I’m naked upstairs (full frontal starkers I swear) when the doorbell rings. So I desperately scramble to find some trousers and a top before haring down the stairs to answer the door. I bet he had no idea I was commando! He asked me what the problem was (I nearly referred him to the blog to be honest) so I explained the issues. He played around with the cables for a bit, took a call about another job and then decided it was the TiVo box that needed replacing. Within 20mins he was gone with the new TiVo downloading its updates. Fair enough to him, the new box worked and, touch wood (everyone hug an oak tree for me, please?), it has been working perfectly ever since.

So a happy ending you might think? Not exactly. In true Stephen Edger style, the bitter twist in the tale is that we lost the 30% worth of recorded programmes on the old box that we had yet to watch. But in this day and age of on-demand viewing with i-players, p-players and z-players we are hoping to still catch up on some of the content.

So what has all this taught me? Not sure really. Don’t spend ages waiting to make important purchases because it’s more hassle to delay?

Which reminds me, if you have a kindle and are looking for a good read, look no further than my Stephen Edger page on Amazon (that plug was seamless, right?)

Until the next time, happy reading.

Stephen

Blog on the Bus pt 20 (televisual tribulations)

Good afternoon to you. Here we are on the early 3.30 number-4 bus. I’ve left work early to get home for an engineer (consider this the prologue to my story).

And here’s the beginning…

For the past few weeks I’ve been umming and aarghing over whether to upgrade the telly in the living room. We had a 32″ model, which was about 3years old. It had freeview built in but we tend to watch most things through our TiVo box. It’s funny actually, we don’t watch many live shows, we watch recorded stuff when we have the time (by the time we’ve seen an ad for a shop sale it’s usually finished!). Anyway, I’d spotted an LG 42″ model that I liked in the Curry’s sale (this is in no way an endorsement, other electrical retailers exist…). I spent a good fortnight trying to convince the wife that it wouldn’t look too big for the room but then decided I wouldn’t bother upgrading the set as I couldn’t figure out where to put the old model (I wanted to put it upstairs but the wife was against it). The wife then decided we should get it and spent all last week trying to convince me to buy the one I wanted and to sell the old 32″ on the web. So on Friday afternoon I went online to order the LG set from the aforementioned electrical store only to find the only place it was available was 40 miles away. I decided to order it only to receive a phone call to say it was an ex-display model without a stand. Back to the drawing board…
I found another LG TV in Sainsburys online (same model but without Freeview HD) so I dragged the wife to the store Friday night, cash in hand, only to find that they didn’t stock them and I’d have to order it online to collect in store. I got home and ordered it.

Here’s the first twist…

I woke up on Saturday morning and the old 32″ would not turn on. That’s right, knowing it was about to be replaced, my old tv died. So having spent weeks trying to decide if I should upgrade, now my hand had been forced. The one I’d ordered wasn’t due in store until Wednesday so I decided to cancel the order and see what I could pick up that day. At this point I decided I would invest some extra cash in the model and narrowed it down to 2 SMART TVs. I went to visit that electrical retailer (reminder, sounds like an Indian takeaway) to compare the picture quality of the two (wasn’t much in it). I decided to ask the expert (I use this term in the loosest manner possible) for some guidance on which was better. His opinion was the Samsung model but also pointed out that the LG version was as out of stock as the earlier model I mentioned.

Before my expedition to the store I had seen that the Samsung was available elsewhere with a 5year warranty so plumped to phone them instead to check if they had any in stock. They advised they didn’t buy could order one over the phone for Monday collection. I gave them my card details but the card was declined (owing to the fact I had withdrawn the cash the night before, before going to Sainsbury’s).

When the wife returned from work we headed to town to order the tv with cash, only to be advised they had 5 in store ready to take with us. Finally, I thought, my luck was changing. I parted with my cash and returned home with my new set. I was pretty excited at this point and eager to see my new purchase in action. I wired it up…

and…

My TiVo box would not connect to it. The Freeview worked great but no matter what I tried (numerous wires in numerous ports) I just couldn’t get the bugger to work. I eventually gave up at 10pm and headed for bed. I spent another 3hours fiddling with it (the TV you understand) on Sunday morning with no luck. I phoned the (I won’t say lovely) people at Virgin but they couldn’t figure it out either.

So now I find myself homeward bound on the early bus to await a Virgin engineer who will probably tell me the TV is incompatible with my TiVo box.

Sadly, the epilogue to this story is yet to be written. Please wish me luck for the next 4hours as I’m sure nobody deserves the amount of bad karma over a TV as I’ve suffered.

Until next time, happy reading.

Stephen

Blog on the Bus pt 19 (never buy a DVD before Christmas as they’re half the price afterwards)

I am stood at the bus stop on this chilly Tuesday morning and it has just started to rain. You may have seen in an earlier post (Blog on the Bus pt 5)that I tend to predict how well my day will progress on how my bus journey goes i.e. if the bus is late it’s gonna be a s**t day. That the bus is both late and it’s now raining should tell you how I’m feeling this morning.
I wouldn’t describe myself as a believer in psychic mumbo-jumbo. I occasionally read my horoscope but only to see what b.s. is being shovelled, but like most I do tend to judge a book by its cover. Last week I bought Peter Kay’s most recent stand-up DVD. I love Peter Kay (no, not in that way) and in my view Peter Kay, Michael McIntyre and Jimmy Carr are the 3 funniest comics in the UK, each capable of bringing me to tears. You can imagine my excitement at sitting down to watch my new DVD last night. The cover advertised it as Kay’s latest sell-out stand-up tour. It even boasted it included a whole 55mins of new stand-up material! I was excited, the wife was excited, heck, even the dog was excited. I removed the DVD from its case, inserted it and pressed play…

***spoiler alert***

If you don’t want to know what happens, please look away now…

Oh, you’re still here. Thanks for staying. Incidentally the ‘X4’ has arrived at last and whilst I’m hardly sitting comfortably, at least I’m dry. Anyway, where was I? Oh that’s right, I’d just pressed play. What then proceeded to play out was an hour or so of backstage monologues from Mr Kay himself, interspersed with some clips from his tour. At first, I thought this was just an introduction to the show but it kept going. My second thought was that I’d happened to stumble upon one of the DVD’s extras so returned to the menu to check but no this was it. I continued watching until the end, still clinging to a vague hope that the show would eventually start.

But it didn’t.

The DVD ended and I felt thoroughly dejected. Don’t get me wrong, I am still a massive Peter Kay fan and had I wanted a behind-the-scenes tour this would have been brilliant. But that’s not what I’d knowingly bought. I suppose the point I am trying to make (there’s one here somewhere?) is that false advertising is frustrating for genuine fans and all those indie writers out there claiming to be the next Cussler, Child or Barclay need to consider their reader’s feelings. I don’t claim to be anyone. I’m just me. I don’t even claim to be good. But I’ll tell you this much: I’m getting better!

Until next time, happy reading!

Stephen

Blog on the Bus pt 18 (progress update)

This is the first number-4 bus I’ve caught this year. It’s so nice to see you could make it along. The way we are bouncing about makes me think that the driver is still as drunk as he was on New Year’s Day but hey, who am I to complain?

Thought I’d just give you an update on my new project: I’ve started.

Thanks for dropping by. Until next time…

What do you mean? You want more? Oh. Okay then…

I have written the first 5k words of Dead Drop. For those familiar with my previous publications, this novel continues to follow the career of Southampton’s least-revered DCI, Jack Vincent (pronounced Vin-sent). This time round, he has 3 massive cases to contend with (not suitcases, criminal cases). A terrorist bombing at the West Quay shopping centre, an office shooting and a plane hijacking (That’s just the first 30k words you understand). The 3 cases seem unrelated, but like any good episode of 24, the real story will emerge halfway through. I’ve been plotting this story since November and I believe it will be the slickest paced story to date.
I don’t want to give away too many more details just yet, but hopefully I’ve given you enough of a taster to keep you salivating until June’s publication.

Must dash, I can see my bus stop rapidly approaching. Until we’re next on this beautiful journey, happy reading.

Stephen