Monthly Archives: November 2012

When Werekynd Called, You Came

Today’s post is, above all other things, an expression of thanks to you for coming when duty called. A couple of weeks back I asked you to sign up to Jukepop Serials and caste votes for my story, Werekynd. The response I got from you all was truly awesome. I started out as the 115th on the Jukepop author rankings, with a mere 15 votes. As of writing I’m now in 4th place with 390 votes. My wildest long-hot-shower-induced fantasies could not have dared hope for such a result. Even better, over 300 of those votes were gained in the first 24 hours.

The long and the short of it is that you’re all just too good to me. But as the voting furore dies down I find myself intrigued by my own happy success. Galvanising people to interact with your work, whether it’s voting, reading or buying, is the raison d’être behind the commercial author. Aspiring as I am to such heady heights, this whole undertaking has been a fascinating opportunity to ‘test the waters’ of my potential readership.

From the outset my goal was to spread the word and generate as large a readership for Werekynd as possible. From what I could discern there were two types of people I could call upon – those who were almost certain to vote provided I gave them the information on how to do so, and those who occupied a greyer area who may or may not vote if they have the time. The former, the ‘certains,’ consisted of my family, close friends and a good number of those who follow this blog and my twitter. The latter, the ‘uncertains,’ consisted of my large but often silent list of friends on Facebook as well as the denizens of a number of writing and fanfiction forums which I only rarely frequented.

A two-pronged approach was devised, whereby I used this blog, email and a small barrage of twitter messages to get the certains onboard. The crux of the operation, however, revolved around a Facebook event I wrote up, detailing what I was up to and how everyone could help. 115 people were invited. As of right now 47 are ‘attending’/have voted. That’s a far larger number than I expected, and represents the crucial swing of a number of uncertains to certains. From what I can gather this was caused by good old-fashioned hype – as mentioned the vast majority of votes came in the first 24 hours. People heard about it, saw it in their newsfeeds, noticed friends were attending it, shared it. The result was that about 2/3 of my final vote tally was due to Facebook friends unleashing the social networking powa.

Without the Facebook drive the vote push wouldn’t really have been a success, but the backup provided by bloggers, forum users and the twitterati was what shoved me head-first into Jukepop’s top 10 spot. Using both aspects in a timed, concerted, big-favour-asking drive really opened my eyes to the power of marketing. It’s a lesson I’m planning to repeat next month, though after that I rather fancy I’ll have pushed my luck far enough for the time being. 

A final note – the upsurge of support from just about everyone really was a humbling experience. In an effort to repay the great debt of kindness I owe to all of you who voted, I donated £10 of my projected Jukepop cash award to the CLIC Sargent charity for children with cancer. I can understand why J. K. Rowling is such a philanthropist. Getting paid for doing something I enjoy so much just seems wrong. Thankfully, paid or not, if it wasn’t for you lot, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Your Robbie Needs YOU

Hello dear, precious, much-loved-and-appreciated readers! I hope you’re all doing well today, really, really well!

In the words of my father; “you’re being creepy, what do you want this time?” 

Okay, I admit, I have a favour to ask. Just a teeny weeny lil’ favour. AND IT WON’T COST YOU ANYTHING, OR RESULT IN ANY SPAM EMAILS. Promise.

So, you might not have noticed, but I’m kinda into this writing thingy. Fiction, non-fiction, if it’s putting words on paper I enjoy doing it. Generally. I enjoy it even more if I get paid.

YOU DON’T HAVE TO BUY ANYTHING! Caps! But I would be hugely indebted to you if you’d VOTE for something! You see, there’s this rather awesome place called Jukepop Serials. You might have heard of it. It just started up a few months ago. Its role is to bring readers serialised, regular works of fiction. And, unlike so many writing gigs online, it pays. It’s already given me my first even semi-pro fiction cash cheque, but here’s the deal; readers get to vote on their favourite stories. And the stories with the most votes at the end of each month get more monies.

You can see where this is going can’t you?

My story, a fantasy tale of bloodshed and intriguge, premiered a week ago under the title Werekynd: Beasts of the Tanglewild. Now most of the other stories on Jukepop that I’m ‘competing’ with have been about for months, so they’ve raqued up a load more views and votes than me. I’ve worked my bee-hind off this past week writing up 7 chapters to try and catch up, despite Uni work (I’ve never been a good at prioritising). But the only way I can actually get up there on the rankings list to play with the big dogs is with your help. So, if you’re so inclined, here’s what you can do.

First you need to register. ‘Uh oh,’ I hear you say. No, don’t worry. All you need is your email and a password, standard stuff. And there are NO SPAM EMAILS after you’ve confirmed registration. After you’re signed in, go to this link or search “Werekynd.”

Scroll to the bottom of the page. See the little button that says + Vote Chapter? Click on it. Then go to the next chapter, just to the left of the vote button, and click the + Vote Chapter button on that one too. There are 7 chapters, so do it for every one and you alone can garner me 7 votes!

And if you feel bad for blindly voting for someone when every other work on the site is probably actually better, don’t worry. I think you can vote for as many serials as you want (just not multiple times on the same chapter).

Well, guess that’s about it for now. If y’all really do love me and my votes soar (I’m on 10 at the moment…) then I’ll keep you updated. If they don’t then you won’t hear from me, since I’ll be crying in a corner.

Until next time!


Filed under Uncategorized

Paper Vultures – A SITREP (part 2)

It’s that time of month again. No, not that time of month! I’m a boy for goodness sake! What I mean is, it’s the time when I feel the need to pause and take stock. Life’s hectic for me recently (which, to be honest, isn’t saying much), and nothing centres the mind quite like a long-overdue WordPress post. So bear with me as I talk to myself for the next couple of minutes, and don’t bother trying to call for help, I’ve cut the phone lines (as though phones have “lines” any more, pfft. Just go with it).  

So, um, Uni. Yeah, that’s all good. Essays and stuff. Next.

Writing. A bit more complex. The Big One remains the novel, which is currently in a state of limbo as it undergoes extreme scrutiny. I’m getting its attendant query ripped apart nicely on the Agent Query Connect forums, which is always fun. I’m having the writing itself looked at by three sets of much-appreciated eyes; Craig Schmidt who buddied up with me for GUTGAA and who still hasn’t been scared off yet (more Chapters for you soon Mr Schmidt!), my parents (lots and lots of oldschool pen annotations on my printed drafts make me feel like a real writer) and, perhaps most feared of all, Steve Parolini (yeah, his name is Stephen, but I call him Steve because we’re, like, y’know, bros. And he said I could) aka “The Novel Doctor.” Go check him out for either his critique work or his cracking blog, I care not which.

Trying to steal the writing limelight from The Big One is my ever-growing Brood of Short Stories. The current pet project is a rare effort of sword n’ sorcery fantasy entitled “Werekynd – Beasts of the Tanglewild,” recently accepted by Jukebox Serials. Funny thing about this is that it isn’t a one-off short, but a monthly instalment of 5,000 word chapters which people (yes, even you!) get to vote on. The serials with the most votes at the end of each month get MONIES as prizes! Rest assured there’ll be a separate post about all this (and, more importantly, how you can help me with it) soon.

Lurking backstage are the Other Writing Plans. I need an entry for Edinburgh University’s Lewis Edwards Memorial contest by January, if only because there’s £1,400 cash prize up for grabs (the “I’m not in this for the money” mantra struggles sometimes, I’ll admit). I also really want to write a third short for my Heavenbloom series being published by Books To Go Now. We’ll see.

So in brief it’s all go. Standby for the next SITREP.


Filed under Uncategorized

The Half-Post

Oh, er, hi WordPress? Remember me? Yeah, this is awkward…

So last night I woke in an icy sweat, shaking with the knowledge that I hadn’t blogged about anything for over three weeks. Yes, I’d been a busy, busy bee with University work, but dammit, commitments are commitments and you, my dearly beloved readers, deserve so much more. And sure enough, I went online today to find “Robbie MacNiven” is currently running at 666 views. If I don’t get my writerly productivity back on track I just know bad things are going to happen. So without further ado…

I’ve been griven the Liebster Award, “to new and upcoming blogs with fewer than 200 followers.” What’s funny is that I’ve been awarded it by two separate people. Craig Schmidt and Rhiann Wynn-Nolet both run cracking writerly blogs. The former is helping crit my novel, Covenanted (a daunting task at the best of times) whilst the latter is always around with a much appreciated wry comment or two. Check out their twitters too

The thing about the Leibster Award is that the person who nominates you gives you 11 questions for you to answer on your blog. Thing is I’ve been nominated by two people, so technically I have 22 questions. That’d feel a bit like cheating though, so I’ve picked 11 from the 22 at random and render up the answers to thee below;

What is your favorite flower? Being as I am a good Scot… THE THISTLE!


If you had to live prior to 1900, what century would you choose, and why? As a History student you’d expect a really juicy answer to this one, wouldn’t you? Well you’re in for a disappointment… If I had to live prior to 1900 I’d choose 1899. Seriously, studying history really opens your eyes to how horrific basically every past period was compared with the one we live in today. We’re super, super lucky. Appreciate it! (note, if I could time travel and witness events without actually having to live in the period then of course I would, best of both worlds! 17th century ahoy!)

What is your motto? Vivis Sperandum – where there’s life there’s hope, the Clan MacNiven motto. Alternatively, the ancient battlecry of our wider clan, the Campbells of Argyle – Cruachan!

Tell us three things about a favorite character you’ve created. Lucas Schro was an old sci fi character I created about five years ago, a mutant recruited to do battle with other mutants. Clichéd to hell now I think about it, but I really enjoyed his flawed nature, conflicting objectives and backstory twist. Mayhaps one day he will return…

Which author influences you most as a writer, and in what way? Bernard Cornwell. I devoured his Sharpe books at a tender age, they reinforced my fledgling love of history and opened my eyes to historical fiction for the first time.

What movie scared you (and maybe scarred you)? Haunting in Connecticut. Predictable film, yes. But still goddamn scary. The Woman in Black wasn’t far behind though.

What was the first thing you remember writing? A military sci-fi fanfic for Warhammer 40,000 when I was 11. I think it got to be about 50,000 words in the end.

If you were to recommend one vacation spot, what would it be and why? Strathpeffer, the Highlands of Scotland. Yes, my family totally owns a Guest House there so I’m biased, but it really is amazingly beautiful, the food is good and its supper relaxing. Coming home from Uni is like going on vacation.

What goal are you most focused on right now? Getting that damn novel agented (it should be passing University, I know, but I’m a bad boy)!

What is on your bucket list (things you want to do before you die)? *List just one or two. See a book with my name on it on the shelves in Waterstones. Go to Waterloo for the 200th anniversary re-enactment.

If you were to write a “Thank you” note to someone you’ve never actually met, who would that be and why? The guys on the Black Library forums. My youngling, formulative writing years were spent fanficing there. Much indeed was learned from their kindly advice.

So that’s half the Leibster post done. I have an issue though. To complete it I’m supposed to now pick 11 of my favouritest blogs, write 11 new questions for them, then get them to answer them and continue the happy blogging cycle. Thing is a) I’m still a newbie blogger so I’d struggle to find 11 people to give the award to b) I’m waaaay late with this so chances are those bloggers I would give it to have already done it and c) I desperately need to get on with Uni work. So until I get a bit of quite time this will remain but a humble half-post. Watch this space…


Filed under Uncategorized