SJB Gilmour Writes

…and rants and ruminates…

Month: July, 2013

Camping Trip To Bunyip State Park – The Planning Stage

I’ve got the gear.  Wet weather clothing, camp food, a stove, lanterns, tent, etc.  Come Friday midday, I should be biking, tent and all, to Nash Creek Campground in Bunyip State Park.  There are some pics of the place on Exploroz.

One of the things I’m really looking forward to, is getting out my old compass and a topographical map to find my way there.  Oh, I’ve used Google Earth to download a great map and route, which has given me a estimated travel time.  And, I’ve also got a bloody brilliant interactive map and the Avenza map reader for my phone, but I hope I won’t need any of that.

The weather forecast says it’s gonna be wet and cool.   4 – 14 C on Friday, and 2 – 13 on Saturday.  That’s only just above freezing, and if there’s wind, it’ll be “interesting”, but I’m really looking forward to it.  The wattles are starting to bloom, and lyrebirds are starting to get frisky.  I saw one a week or so back but didn’t get a good photo, but maybe this trip, I will.

However the trip goes, even if I don’t see a thing and spend all my time being wet and miserable (unlikely, ‘cos I don’t really mind the rain), next week you can expect pics and a report on how it went.



The Big Move

Last week I decided to pull all my books from Smashwords and the various channels to which it distributes (B&N, Sony, iTunes etc), and concentrate on Amazon’s self publishing platform KDP Select.  So, I clicked “unpublish” on all the titles I had on Smashwords and waited for the command to filter through.  B&N were first to make the cut.  Then Sony.  Finally Diesel and iTunes and the rest got the message.

So, now all my work is available on Amazon only, and I’ll probably keep it that way until a trad house writes me a cheque.


If You Know An Artist

We’ve all seen the memes.  They drive us nuts.  Insipid little “inspirational” postcards get plastered all over social media so constantly our eyes glaze over every time we see them.  They might as well not even exist.  Whatever message their creators are trying to get across disappears into obscurity because they’ve put it into a meme, which means the vast majority of the people for whom the message is intended just skip past it as if it’s an annoying insurance commercial.  I’m one of those people.

But there are some doing the rounds that actually do strike a chord with me, and make me wish their creators had the time to spread their message in a more creative or articulate form than a fucking meme.  They are the “If You Know A Writer/Artist” memes.

The message is pretty simple.  For this I’ll use writers as examples, but the same applies to musicians, artists and just about any other creative type trying to make a buck out of their skull-sweat.

Writers don’t care about the money they get from the books they sell to their friends.  Seriously.  It’s not about the money – it’s about the numbers.  We need those sales to boost our rankings on best-seller charts.

My latest book is $4.99 – that’s less than a coffee and a doughnut, but some people close to me seem to think I ought to give it to them for free.  Fuck me, I’ll happily give each and every one of them 5 bucks (keep the change!) if they’d just buy the fucking thing.  They don’t have to read it.  I just need the numbers to go up.

We need reviews.  Not just “It was okay” kind of bullshit.  We need our those all-important stars which will let others know we’ve penned something worth reading.  They can do it anonymously – in fact it’s usually better if they do.

We need our nearest and dearest to mention our work to others.  Shit, we all gossip about what film we just saw or what article we just read.  Why the fuck is it so hard for them to recommend a book by someone they know?

That’s what we need.  Supportive sales.  Supportive reviews.  Supportive word of mouth.  Spotting a theme here?  S U P P O R T.  Support your artist friend or relative.  Not by patting them on the head and telling them how wonderful they are.  Jesus, they’re not fucking four year-olds.  Support them by buying, reviewing and talking about their work.

And you know what?  Artists tend to pay it forward.  We give money to buskers and street performers.  We buy other artists’ stuff even if we think it’s crap.  We know they don’t care about the $2.36 they might get from Amazon in three months.  We know they do care about seeing their ranking go up, and that review we leave telling other potential customers what great work they’ve produced.

That kind of thing spreads not just goodwill, but encourages other artists to make, create and share their work.  That my friends, is a very good thing.  It’s good for the individuals specifically, and society in general.

There.  Rant over.  Move along.  Move along.


Writing And Self-Pubbing – Things I Love, Things I Hate

I love writing.  Umm, let me re-phrase that.  I have to write or I’ll go fucking bananas and self-combust.  Sometimes I do it in dribs and drabs.  Other times, I can write for days without really noticing what’s going on around me.

I love self-pubbing.  It’s so fantastic to be able to be the complete master of my own domain.

I love watching my Amazon dashboard and seeing the sales tick along, just as I get that amazing rush when I see a new review.


I don’t like it when Amazon’s KDP platform is super slow to report sales that I know have taken place.

I really don’t like Amazon’s returns policy, especially when it’s abundantly clear there’s some pirating going on.

And, even though I do love being an indy, I can’t help but wish I had more promotional muscle and access to the kind of professional story and copy editing offered by a traditional publisher.  I’d be able to spend so much more time writing instead of all the non-writing stuff that goes with being an indy writer.

Of course, I doubt I’ll be joining the ranks of the trad-pubbed any time soon.  Not because I’m some fanatical pro-indy/anti-trad scribbler, determined to remain in the shadows than ever stoop to taking a single cent from one of the big six (five?).  Hell, if (insert trad house here) offered me a deal, I’d probably take it, just to let them do the work I don’t want to do.

I don’t have any real need for this mythical validation some writers seem to get only from having a house logo on the spine of their book.  I have a day-job, and if you know anything about family business, I’ve got a snowball’s chance in hell of ever leaving it.

I just want more time to write.




Make My Assistant Sing for The Elite by Coey Cain (Now Why Didn’t I Think Of That???)

Guys, here’s a fun promotion!  We’ve all got a favourite song.  In fact, most of us probably have several.  At the moment, I’m kinda hooked on Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke, but one of my all-time fav’s is Rain by The Cult.  Anyway, here’s your chance to have a writer’s assistant – and I should point out that even though I have no idea what her singing voice is like, it’s lucky I’m not the one doing it; my voice that can tune hacksaws – sing, or at least try to sing your favourite song.

All you need is your Amazon purchase order # for The Elite: Unveiled by Coey Cain.

Step One: Buy a copy of The Elite: Unveiled by Coey Cain.


Step Two: On the pinned post, enter your purchase order # and the song and artist of your choice.

Step Three: Join Coey Here on Saturday, August 17th for all kinds of fun games and prizes.

The Winner will be chosen on and her assistant will sing your song of choice in English on Webcam.  She will dedicate it to you and she’ll post it on!

So, what are you waiting for???  Get clicking!


ps: And while you’re at it, check out my new book too!

It’s (A) Live!

Armies of Nine, Book Three of The Adventures of Sarah Coppernick is finally live on Amazon!

It took a while…  Okay, it took a LOT longer than I expected to get it out there.  Family, the day-job and my own shtoopid mood swings all seemed to combine to create the perfect storm.  Nothing got done.  It was all I could do to maintain a presence on social media and the odd blog post.

So, apologies to all my kind and loyal fans who’ve waited so long for Armies to come out.  Also, a very big thank-you to all the lovely people who have helped and supported me during this past year.  Without you all, (and you know who you are 🙂  ), Armies would still be in limbo, and I’d be a quivering huddle in a corner somewhere.


A Slight Change In Direction…

My adventure in self-publishing sure has had a few surprises.  I had no idea how easy it would be.  Nor did I have any clue about promotion (and I’m still very fuzzy in that area!) or blog tours.

Another thing I didn’t know was just how much market share Amazon had.  Putting my work out through Smashwords, and then on to Barnes & Noble, Sony, iTunes etc sounded great, but to do date, I’ve received $18.24.  I’m not joking.  That’s the entire amount I’ve made through Smashwords and its other channels.  With Amazon, I’ve earned thousands.

So, I’m slowly pulling all my work from Smashwords and its channels, and sticking with KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) Select.   This might bug a few readers who can only work with epub files, but then I haven’t sold that many through B&N, so it’s kinda moot.

And another thing…

Armies of Nine, Book Three of The Adventures of Sarah Coppernick is being processed now.  I expect it to be live on Amazon some time within the next 12-24 hrs.


I’m Back!

I’m Back!  And, now that I’ve made it through the metric tonne of crap on my desk, I can start doing the important things, like explaining why Armies Of Nine is taking so freaking long, answering fan mail (Yes, I do get it occasionally!) and blogging.

crap 002 cropped



Armies of Nine.  Well, it’s like this…  I have a day-job.  And, I have two young kids.  Sometimes, these take up a lot of my time.  Also, I’m bi-phasic (that’s fancy new-speak for a bi-polar person whose moods swing rapidly).  The past six months have been bloody hectic, and on the odd occasion when I have had time to write, my head just hasn’t been in the right space to do so.  The good news is that things have calmed down a lot and now, finally, I can write.  July 30 is the official date, and nothing is gonna change that.  Armies of Nine will be released on July 30, 2013.

Fan mail.  While I do occasionally get the odd crazy missive from a reader, most are lovely.  Like this one!

“…I absolutely LOVE your books. They are the first ones about werewolves that I’ve heard about that isn’t gory. I am waiting excitedly for Armies of Nine. The way you write the books is so good that I can’t tell what is going to happen next…  …Please finish writing the next book soon. I can hardly wait!!”

Reading that just made my day.  Aren’t I a lucky bugger?



* (Don’t you just love that tin?  I bought it in Singapore.  It’s spot in my house is now right there in what was formally known as my “Hole” in our Ikea bookshelf.  That place has now been renamed “Sam’s Crap Hole”.)