Posts Tagged ‘oom’

Small Success For Oom

February 26, 2010

Oom made it to the second round of ABNA – the “Amazon Breakthorugh Novel Awards”. What does that mean? Well, from 5000 entries to the YA section, Oom has made it into the top 1000 (not exactly a shortlist). However, the first round was only judged on the “pitch”, which went something like this:

Set in the dry Australian grasslands, “Oom” uses an original take on the boy-meets-alien storyline to provide an intriguing look at humanity from the outside.

When Oom, an alien exiled from his home planet, appears to Joe, the ten year old son of an Australian farmer, everything changes. Joe’s family face the prospect of having to sell their drought crippled farm to their arrogant and self-righteous neighbours. Oom knows the farmland intimately by another name, “Ascension”, and tells Joe of a secret that could save the farm.

But Oom is not visiting Earth to make contact with humans. His higher purpose is to seek the wisdom of, and be judged by, another species entirely. These telepathic creatures have been intricately connected with Oom’s people for millennia, remotely acting as their supreme leaders.

Through their philosophical discussions, Joe and Oom become close friends. Later, Joe accompanies Oom for two important meetings. Firstly, Oom indulges humanity’s curiosity and agrees to meet with the US president. The second meeting is infinitely more profound and changes Oom’s life forever.

Unfortunately, the next round of judging will be based on the strength of the opening three chapters, and I know from the feedback I’ve had that these are the worst in the book. But at least this is validation that Oom is a good book concept.

100 Interesting Things: #4 Dreams

February 21, 2010

Dreams are another of the great unknowns. Sometimes ones own dream can be the most exciting and interesting thing, although can bore the pants off the person you tell it to. I might do that to you in a minute when I describe one of my recurring dreams.

I am going to skip the research and the encyclopaedic regurgitation of facts, which you can read here. I’ll go straight to my own musings, which is what self indulgent blogging is all about.

Have you ever “woken up”, so that you are left in a conscious, though a definitely not normal state, where, when you close your eyes, you see patterns that you are not consciously controlling? Patterns which, could have been generated by a computer (like the Mac OS screen saver Electric Sheep) and change and evolve constantly. Shapes swiftly morph into other shapes, in full colour on a black background. This is a strange state to be in because you can literally just lie there and enjoy the show that your brain, and not you, is controlling.

One important property of this introverted light show is that the shapes are most definitely fractals, and as the observer you have the power (or the illusion of it) to zoom in and out of the patterns. The definition of the “image” is enormous, we’re talking HD TV x 100. There is no blurring. The image is perfect.

I have had this experience enough times to know that it was not a dream itself. I have pinched myself and am sure it was a “real” experience. My theory is that, when we sleep, our brains are creating fractal images all the time in our “mind’s eye”, or the screen on which, while awake, the real world is projected from our eye-balls. I don’t know why the brain does this, but it must do it because I’ve seen it. The interesting thing is that I think the patterns, generated by one part of the brain, cause the dreams in another part. The unconscious dreaming brain is forced to look at the screen, as it is always forced to look at the screen, day and night. The screen is the source of input to the part of the brain that thinks while we’re awake and dreams while we’re asleep. This part of the brain cannot help but “look” at the screen and have it search for and manipulate mental symbols (we know the manipulation of our own mental symbols as “experience”), and thus, dreams are created and pushed hither and thither by the randomness of the patterns on the “screen”.

That’s it really, except that I was wondering if anyone out there can tell me why I have the following recurring dream: I am back at school studying for my A-levels (I am now 33 years old BTW) and time is running out. The exam is imminent but I have not been to a single Maths class, and I know that there is no way on Earth I can pass it. The dream seems to go on for ages and is quite unpleasant. Why do we so often dream about the past? Or is it just me?

Authonomy

January 27, 2010

Oom is now on authonomy.

Reviews Slowly Dropping In

January 25, 2010

I’ve started getting some interesting feedback about my book from the giveaways on goodreads and librarything.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7236060-oom

http://www.librarything.com/work/book/53937542

I got one quite bitchy 2 * review on goodreads. I won’t post it here, since I am trying to promote my book (I’m not a complete idiot), but the link is above.

Someone else only gave Oom 3 stars, but the review really cheered me up:

Oom, a smart, kind creature from the planet of Llevro has been sent to Earth for a reason unknown to him. As he waits to find out the reason for his adventure, he befriends Joe. Together, they exchange stories of their home planets while awaiting the meeting that will change Oom forever.

When I started reading OOM, it was a little slow, but it quickly picked up and made me want to read all the time. The story was very original and the unforeseeable twists and turns were enjoyable. For me, all of Joe’s questions and Oom’s answers were the best part.

It is a strange feeling to read the reviews. I guess I didn’t realise how naked one can feel by going through the self-publishing game. All in all I am glad I self-published the book, but with hindsight I would not have put in the time to promote it. I think there is more dignity in going through the usual approach of sending manuscripts off to publishers one at a time, privately!

But I can’t go back now so I’ll just have to take the rough with the smooth.

Nephew’s Verdict

January 18, 2010

I was really pleased with my 10 year-old nephew’s response to Oom, especially since I have had a little criticism that the book is too advanced for a ten year old. Could my 10 year old nephew be telling white fibs to make me feel better? It’s definitely possible. Here is his email, which I hope he won’t mind me publishing in full, so you can judge:

Good Reads Ad

December 4, 2009

Goodreads.com have recently started paid-for advertising on their site. I thought I would try that with $5 per day for a few days. You pay a flat rate of $0.50 per click. I like the idea of the flat rate, but I guess they will not be able to keep it like that if the demand for advertising slots exceeds supply – they will have to adopt some kind of bidding system like Facebook and Google.

Here is the ad:
Yesterday I got all 10 clicks ($5/$0.50=10!) and a click through rate of 0.05%, which is reasonable. It may be more sensible to use Goodreads to try and generate interest in the book rather than try and lead people straight to the Amazon purchase button – that just ain’t gonna work!

Make Room For Oom

November 26, 2009

Well I tried my mum’s advertising slogan, and I actually have had a few clicks-throughs on the Google ad. No sales yet though! But I haven’t lost all hope, I mean, I can’t expect people to buy the book straight away when there are no reviews, no look-inside feature and a chart position of 300,000!

But it is a small success to have had over 10,000 page impressions and 14 clicks for 23 SEK (about £2).

This was just an experiment. I will run the campaign for longer when the LookInside feature is in place.

I am worried about something I read about with Google Ads called the “Google Slap”. Apparently new campaigns seem to get good results in the beginning but many people claim that after a while their ad’s page-impression rates slow down if they don’t raise their bids – that’s the “Google Slap”.

Oom out on Amazon

November 23, 2009

Oom is now available on Amazon. This is the permalink :

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1439261873

There is no “look inside” feature yet, so I may hold off on the ad-campaign for a while. Or maybe I’d get more sales if people couldn’t look inside! 🙂

Book Arrived

November 20, 2009

More expense yesterday as I had to pay 160 kronor for shipping on receipt of the physical proof! I worked from home so that I would be in when it came, but it didn’t arrive because the UPS driver got lost and couldn’t find our street, which is hilarious. Finally at about 7 in the evening, UPS Customer Service called and said they would send a taxi over with the package. A little while later there was a knock on the door. I sprang up in excitement but when I opened up I was greeted by a teenager selling socks. He probably had never met anyone as disgusted to see him as I was, but I let him finish his pitch and actually bought 9 pairs of socks to get rid of him. If only I had had the books then maybe I could have sold him a copy – it would have been good for his English studies.

Anyway, as he left, the taxi pulled up and the tall, gangly driver handed me the first ever copy of Oom.  Booksurge has done a good job. The cover seems a bit shinier than on a “real” book, and the pages don’t quite have the same feel as other paperpacks, but on the whole I am happy.

Chapter 2: School

November 17, 2009

I never knew I was so good at accents.

oom chapter 2