Tuesday, 16 June 2015

My 100th Blog Post

So it turns out that this is my 100th Blog Post. As a writer it is something to be celebrated. As an Author, well.... it seems I've got a little sidetracked blogging about my travels, riding on trains and sharing some advice on writing. All of these have taken away from time I could have otherwise spent writing my next book. So what else can I do except acknowledge the occasion, and take a walk back through some of my highs and lows of the past 4 years.

Why did I need to write a blog when I had just signed my third novel with a publisher in the United States?

I read somewhere that a blog was a necessary tool as a writer to engage with his or her audience. I think the premise went something like this; a blog is a means of directly conversing with your readers, whereas a website is more of a shopfront window for your books. I didn't care much for the idea of blogging at the time. I already had a website for my books with my publisher, and I'd already spent money having my book promoted at book fairs around the world. Success was going to come my way, it was just a matter of when. Nevertheless I started this blog, and since June 2011 I've been banging away on my laptop while trying to find that magical way of bringing myself to people's attention without inventing a hundred new ways of saying "please buy my book".

I started blogging about the places I visited while touring with my books, and it all got out of hand from there.

Shortly after signing with a US based publisher for my third novel Last Wish of Summer, I pulled the rights to my first two novels with my self-publishing company and spent the next year writing a sequel, The Rag Doll Cafe. Yet only two years after my signing, and with my sequel being prepared for release, I received the news that Last Wish of Summer was being pulled from their list due to a slump in sales. I then made the call to not proceed with a sequel to a book that was no longer going to be in print, and suddenly all I was left with was this blog.

My blog was soon documenting my every move while exploring the railways along Australia's east coast, and helped spawn my Train Tripping series of books which would go on to become Number 1 Bestsellers on Kobo.

So I suppose I owe everything to this blog. It was the one constant positive in what was a depressing time in trying to regain the rights to all my work. And my blog was there to enjoy each book's re-release, (including the first time release of The Rag Doll Cafe), after an extended period of outsourcing cover designs, formatting and publishing my work in eBook form through Smashwords. As my blog posts about my travels and railway adventures grew, so too did the idea for a book, and this year I will release the fourth installment of my Train Tripping adventure books. All three to date have become Number 1 Bestselling railroad books on Kobo and Smashwords. So for what is my 100th Blog Post, I say Happy Birthday. May the next 100 Posts be even better, and my next book not be too far away.

Now let's look at some of my highlights from the past 4 years.

My Top 5 most-read Blog Posts

  1. Other Side of 40 - Ouch! This still hurts.
  2. Adding Some Local Flavour - Popular post on sponsorship.
  3. Byron Bay: Australia's most easterly point - Still a huge favourite.
  4. Maydena: rail-track riding in Tasmania - Featured on Discover Tasmania.
  5. Coffs Harbour: fish, chips and trains - A surprisingly popular post.

My Top 5 least-read Blog Posts

  1. Why should I care? - I guess nobody did.
  2. Is social media working? - Does anybody really care?
  3. Beware of the snakes - Maybe there aren't any.
  4. The Christian Fiction conundrum - Apparently there's no conundrum.
  5. Start selling books somewhere - Couldn't sell this idea.

My Personal Top 5 Photographs

Moffat Beach, Queensland - I survived a brush with a six foot shark here while surfing one morning. You can read the story by clicking on the photo.

Casino, New South Wales - I retraced a 48 year old photograph of my mother to find the spot where she would have stood when working as a dining car attendant for the New South Wales Railways.

Rotorua, New Zealand - I was invited by Neil Oppatt to experience Rotorua's Railcruising experience when visiting New Zealand. You can read my first travel writing assignment by clicking on the photo.

Rotorua, New Zealand - My first trip outside of Australia, ever. This was a family holiday I will long remember. You can read about New Zealand's thermal wonderland by clicking on the photo.

Cairns, Queensland - Despite getting very few hits on this post, this photo was special in that I finally made the 1,681 km trip by train from Brisbane to Cairns only months before The Sunlander train was retired. It was a snap decision I'll never regret making.

What were your favourite posts?

Why not let me know what you enjoyed reading most by adding a comment below? After all, who knows what I'll be writing about another hundred posts from now.

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