Learning from mentors helps us to improve and evolve in our chosen field, and I still recall the advice given to me at the start of my writing journey.
To help other writers, I started a feature whereby established authors shared their words of wisdom and top ten writing tips.
It was a huge success, and I was delighted to bring the feature back for a second season! You’ll find all the Top 10 Writing Tip articles here.
I met my next guest via Ladey Adey’s Book Academy. I did a guest speaker spot and invited the authors of the group to join me on the Top 10 Tips feature. I was thrilled when Bruce jumped at the opportunity to share his writing journey, tips, and novel.
Meet Bruce Roberts. He has a fascinating story about how he began his writing career.
A Nottingham man who started writing a year ago while recovering from two brain haemorrhages has completed his first novel. Soon after being rushed to A&E, Sci-Fi fan Bruce Roberts experienced vivid images of the novel he was about to write.
Advised to lie flat for a month, the narrative took shape as he lay looking at the ceiling. Although he couldn’t physically write, he spoke his ideas into his phone or dictated them to his wife, Sue.
Bruce, a self-employed e-learning content developer from Mapperley, hadn’t written any stories since he was at school decades earlier. His novel features characters he created for a sci-fi convention four years previously. He said the haemorrhages released his creativity.
“My brain did a rewire. It was like being hit by a sledgehammer. Everything was brighter and became better. I started to dream vividly about characters I’d created for EmCon, and the novel stemmed from there.”
As soon as he could use a computer, he wrote prolifically, penning more than 1,000 words daily to complete his 103,000-word novel.
Bruce’s book The Godot Orange is a multi-media experience containing QR codes that, when scanned, take the reader to a whole new interactive world, including images and music.
It tells the story of the TimeTech Team – who Bruce describes as ‘A breakdown organisation like the AA or RAC for time travellers’. It’s a journey of discovery through time and space with locations including New York, Berlin, Brussels and a secret airbase between Cleethorpes and Mablethorpe.
The novel, which Bruce says is a humorous take on the 1970s, has received glowing endorsements from a Dr Who Book Author, a Cambridge Biophysicist and a former Vulcan pilot.
Some of Bruce’s vivid dreams were about locations, including a pub in Lincolnshire which turned out uncannily similar to a real setting which Bruce had never visited. On a day out in Lincolnshire, he found places that fit some of his other visions, including a ruined monastery and an airfield.
Bruce’s wife took him to the hospital a year ago when symptoms he’d been experiencing for a week – which he attributed to an ear infection – grew suddenly worse.
“I started to feel drunk when I hadn’t touched a drop,” said Bruce. “Although my symptoms eased off at night, they’d return in the daytime, and I was like someone staggering out of the pub.“
He then experienced a catastrophic bleed on the brain and, within 15 minutes, couldn’t walk, speak, or operate his phone. Because lockdown restrictions were in place, Sue was not allowed to stay with him.
A CT scan revealed the brain haemorrhages. Fluid had been leaking out of his spine, causing a bleed on the brain into his frontal lobe, leading to memory problems. Because of COVID, he was discharged quickly and told to rest. Despite a relapse in August with similar symptoms, a scan in October revealed the haemorrhages had healed.
Sue said: “Writing has really helped Bruce with his recovery. Going within a year from being
incapacitated to finishing a novel is amazing.”
Whilst writing his novel, he has been trying to rebuild his business with the aid of his colleague, who is based in Kyiv. Another story you couldn’t make up!
Bruce’s Top 10 Publishing Tips
- If you find your book in a results list, make sure you select it. You are teaching the search algorithm that it correctly selected your book.
- If your forename is lower in the Alphabet than ‘M’, ensure you don’t let Amazon add your title – Mr, Mrs etc. If your name is Mr or Mrs Ali Author, you will be listed after an author with the name Matty Majuscule.
- Keywords – You have seven fields. They accept up to 50 characters each on Amazon. Add multiple keywords in each line. Amazon’s algorithm will juggle them to create complex search results.
- Book titles – create one with unusual but easy to spell words. Common and difficult to spell words in titles will be fighting for air amongst all the other similar titles and typos.
- Book descriptions – words in your blurb take priority over your keywords, so add some of your keywords into the Amazon sales page description of your back blurb.
- Write more words in your Amazon description field than you had space for on the back cover of your book. It gives your book leverage in the search.
- Include ‘For fans of ‘author x‘ in the description field where ‘author x‘ is your greatest competition. People searching for this author will also pick up your book in their search.
- Always add the graphical Amazon A+ content to give your description a more graphical attraction.
- Wherever possible, include your book title in conversations. You are your greatest advocate
- Wear T-shirts bearing the name of your book wherever you go, and include a link in all your email footers. It starts conversations and catches the eye of passers-by, as I find with my book, as I’m the Official Peeler and Squeezer of “The Godot Orange.”
Connect with Bruce here:
Facebook – me: https://www.facebook.com/bruce.roberts.923
Facebook – TimeTechTeam: https://www.facebook.com/TimeTechTeam
Instagram: Station Master @waverleymount
Book Blurb for The Godot Orange
Wherever you scratch the surface, you will find a whole new universe beneath…
Averting the East of England’s accidental annihilation wasn’t high on Eddie and Will’s To-Do list as the wheels of
their Vulcan bomber left the tarmac on that cold winter’s day in 1970. Impending doom can quickly change your priorities.
Have you ever wondered, when disaster strikes, how great it would be to be able to turn back time,
or at least call for help from a time technician?
The Godot Orange is a journey of discovery as Eddie and Will join Ruby Rowe, to time-jump headfirst through the unstable event horizon of family, friends, myths, mysteries, tragedy, triumph, and the dawn of the
one and only Time Tech Team: The Fourth-Dimensional Emergency Service.
Their mission: ‘To save the universe one day before yesterday’.
For you, the budding time traveller, there are QR Codes launching interactive content and tools to help discover
in your reality; the nearest toilet, coffee shop, or if you have devious alien spies among your friends and family.
All this excitement is chaperoned by ZUKANN, the Artificial Intelligence voice created with IBM technology.
For your added protection, All time streams and future events are controlled and maintained by
FENDER, The Future Experience Neutrality and Destiny Equilibrium Restoration organisation;
and IGLOO, providing International Governmental Logistical and Operational Oversight.
Welcome to the new genre of SCIENCE FRICTION.
Where Sci-Fi swipes at solidity; fact feels fake, and fiction rubs raw on the realms of reality.
BUY your copy of The Godot Orange here: