31 Dec 2019

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, dear readers

I can say with certainty that 2019 has been a difficult year for me personally, as well as for Alex Stargazer Books. Since I decided to self-publish Fallen Love on that fateful mid-summer day, I have been kept continuously busy—I’ve been working with my designer to create the covers for both Fallen Love and the Vampire Eirik; with my consultant, I’ve been mastering MailChimp and my mailing list; and I’ve been writing too.

I published the Vampire Eirik in December, and Fallen Love is coming January 7th (I was forced to delay for various annoying reasons). Moreover, starting with the first day of the year, tomorrow, I will have my work cut out for me promoting the book.

So to all my readers: I wish you a peaceful 2020. May you live in comfort and peace.

26 Dec 2019

The Vampire Eirik: On Sale Now!

Hello readers! Thanks to all of you who have downloaded my book so far on Smashwords. Let’s keep the momentum going, shall we? From December 25th until January 1st, the Vampire Eirik is free on Smashwords. Click the link on the cover and get your free copy now!

25 Dec 2019

Merry Christmas!

It’s time to be a merry…

Merry Christmas!

I hope you are enjoying the Christmas festivities—beautifully deocrated trees, twinkling lights, and tasty food. Though I’m not allowed to drink much (thanks, acne medication) I hope you’re enjoying a nice glass of wine or maybe cognac.

For some of us, the times may be dark and the future uncertain. But remember: Christmas is an ancient, pagan celebration. Before the capitalist accoutrements and Christian allegories, it was to commemorate the darkest night of the year. To bring light in the darkness. And I hope it brings you a little light in these dark nights.

I’ll leave you with a picture of a cat to cheer you up. Cats are wonderful creatures. One used my leg as a scratching post today :)

23 Dec 2019

Fallen Love Landing Page

Hello everyone!

I am now back in Romania and celebrating Christmas with the family. I am also writing, promoting, and perfecting my platform in preparation for launch. As part of this, I’ve created a beautiful new landing page for Fallen Love, which I’ve linked to the respective tab above.

Landing pages are a curious thing, and you, fellow readers, may not know what exactly they are (I sure didn’t!) A landing page is a special kind of web page that doesn’t contain navigation links; there are no tabs, no home button, or any of the other accoutrements you see here on the Magical Realm, like search functions and columns.

The purpose of the landing page is to get you to buy the book. In this case, it’s getting the reader to subscribe to the mailing list (as Fallen Love has not been released yet). In marketing speak, this is known as the “conversion rate”—the ratio of site visitors that turn into subscribers. It turns out that landing pages have a much higher conversion rate than blogs and normal websites.

This won’t be the only landing page I make; I plan on making one for the Free Stuff and one for the Necromancer. The Magical Realm will retain its blogging and general update functionalities, and it will continue to act as Stargazer HQ.

That’s it for now! I’ll reveal my Kickstarter campaign soon, so keep following.

18 Dec 2019

The Vampire Eirik is free on Smashwords!

Hello readers,

I am pleased to announce that the Vampire Eirik is free on Smashwords (and only Smashwords) from December 25th to January 1st (2019–2020). You can of course still get a free copy if you sign up to the mailing list here: Sign up now!

If you’ve signed up already, or if you want to do just do me a quick favour, follow the link to my book’s Smashwords page here: Buy on Smashwords Remember! If you buy my book (even for free) it will increase the ranking and help me find new readers.

In other news, I am currently in Vienna and going back to my home town in Romania. I am also busy setting up a Kickstarter campaign to raise more money for Fallen Love; I will tell you guys more in a future update. Hang on in there for a few more days.

Oh, and before I forget: Merry Christmas!

13 Dec 2019

Comments on the Election

Hello readers!

As of this morning, Friday the 13th, the UK General Election 2019 results have been declared. This post will be separated into multiple parts, to account for my predictions before the campaign (spoiler: I was right); to the result here in Scotland; and to the reality in England, and what it will mean for the future. I aim to provide a preliminary analysis of why the results turned out as they did, though we will need more in-depth data to uncover some of the mysteries.

My Predictions

In this post written six weeks before the election, I made three concrete predictions, and raised the point that the NHS would be a major part of the election campaign. The polls agree that, besides Brexit, the NHS was indeed a big part of voters’ concerns.

As for my three predictions, I was correct on all of them, though some were more prescient than others.

Claim 1: “I don’t think the Liberal Democrats are going to do as well its leader, Jo Swinson, hopes.”

This proved fantastically accurate, or dare I say, prophetic. It’s true that the Liberal Democrat vote increased 7.4% to 11.5%, but this did nothing other than gift seats to the Tories. Jo Swinson lost her seat, confirming what I thought and what the polls were saying: no one likes Jo Swinson.

Moreover, judging from the campaign, Jo Swinson’s Lib Dems lost for the exact reasons I predicted: their revoke policy was undemocratic, and a large number of Remain voters (especially we, the young) care about the NHS, education and welfare. Jo Swinson’s record in coalition was less than stellar on those counts.

Claim 2: “the Green Party will do pretty well, though it probably won’t gain any new seats.”

This was precisely correct: the Green vote increased from 1.6% to 2.7% and they retained their 1 seat. The high profile of environmental issues in the media helped them. I should say that Labour would have won some more seats if the Greens had stood down in some constituencies, but hey, who cares about Brexit if we can pretend to save the planet?

Claim 3: “The Conservative Party will be punished hard in Scotland.”

This one turned out to be mostly correct. The Scottish Tories lost 7 of their 13 seats, and their vote share decreased by 3.5%. I was hoping for a wipe-out, but I’m sure my fellow SNP activists are happy with the result.

As for why the Scottish Tories got 25% of the vote, I’ve tried to understand it, and I’ve come to the following conclusion. About half of Scottish Tory voters do see Boris Johnson’s policies on the economy and NHS as being pretty despicable. I think they justify voting for the Tories with the idea that those policies can be fixed, whereas the breakup of the UK—and exit from the EU—are permanent decisions.

The thing with identities is that they are powerful. Unionists in Scotland believe they are British, and it’s incredibly difficult for them to give that up; they will vote to keep it, even if it means enormous child poverty, homelessness, and decimating the NHS.

What will happen to Scotland?

In one word: Independence. In two words: EU membership. The long, in-depth explanation is going to be too complicated to discuss here. The road to independence will be long, hard, and treacherous. An almighty confrontation between the Scottish government and the Tory government in Westminster will be just the start.

I wish I could be optimistic and say that everything will be alright for Scotland. I think it will—in the future. But the next couple of years are going to be chaotic and uncertain. The double whammy of Tory government and Brexit is going to devastate this country.

What happened in England?

I don’t need to tell you this: Corbyn lost and BoJo’s Tories won. But you know who also lost? England, as a nation. British democracy. Rational thought and truth.

As for why this happened, I’m not sure yet. There are many obvious answers: the antisemitism debacle which was parroted by the media ad infinitum—and which Corbyn would have nipped in the bud long ago, if he had any sense. It’s true that the media coverage was pathetic, and incredibly hostile to Labour; but that doesn’t excuse Corbyn for giving them ammunition.

Then there’s Corbyn himself, who could not get across to the electorate like he did in 2017. But hey, I predicted this long ago. I loved most of Jeremy Corbyn’s policies, but I was always sceptical of the man himself; I called him “less than prime-ministerly” and pithily remarked: “Corbyn? Get a tie.”

I was hoping the young were going to save Labour the same way they did last time, particularly since 1.5 million people registered to vote. Source I don’t know what the hell happened. Did the young vote for the Lib Dems and Greens in a grand act of irony? Did we not come out to vote on polling day? Or was it simply not enough to outvote the bloody pensioners and turkeys?

All of this pales in comparison to the biggest reason for why the Tories won the election: “Get Brexit done.” As John Crace has remarked, this was the biggest lie of the election—and it will cost the English dearly. Look, English voters: the Brexit paralysis we have experienced for the past three years has not been because the Tories didn’t have a majority in Parliament. It’s because Brexit is complicated, difficult, and costly.

The media has encouraged this foolish, self-regarding stupidity. Brexit isn’t hard because British Remainers don’t want it. It’s hard because I, along with the 440 million people in Continental Europe, aren’t going to hand your unicorn on a silver platter. Neither will Trump’s America or China. We have our own interests and we are going to protect them.

I repeat: you are not a world power anymore. If you try and force a deal, you will get nothing, and your economy will implode.

I’m going to abandon my normally calm, rational tone and say it like it is. If you voted Tory, you’ve fucked the young. You’ve fucked the disabled, the homeless, and the people on low pay. You put a noose around the neck of the NHS. Don’t come begging to me when Brexit screws you over; I told you so.

6 Dec 2019

Fallen Love Publication Delayed to January 7

Hello readers!

I am announcing today that I am delaying the publication of Fallen Love to January the 7th, 2020 (which is one month from now). This was not an easy decision to make—I deliberated for some time—but I feel it is the right decision. I’m going to explain why. It boils down to two things: personal and business.

The Business Reasons

I’ve read a very helpful book called Amazon Decoded, and the author, David Gaughran, explained how successful book launches are supposed to work. Essentially, it’s about selling as many books as possible in a relatively short amount of time—a sustained period of five days where sales increase day-on-day.

There are a number of ways to accomplish this—including advertising—but the best way is Bookbub, mailing list promotions, and lots of exposure. At the moment, I don’t think I have enough in place to do that on December 10th. And there are a variety of other good reasons why launching it in January is a better idea.

Reedsy Discovery. This platform—which is run by Reedsy, the company I work with to hire designers and editors and marketers—can help me in two different ways. Firstly, they pay me $50 for every reviewer I refer, and thanks to you guys, I have people who can do this and earn me a bunch of money. Secondly, I have paid them for a launch and have over 250 followers there. But: the earliest launch date available was January 7th. No co-incidences here!

YOU CAN HELP: Sign up to the mailing list on the right-hand side and I’ll send you a reviewer referral link.

WHSmith and Waterstones. I have been in touch with the managers in my local (Glasgow-based) WHSmith’s and Waterstone’s, and I have high hopes I can get Fallen Love on the shelves of at least one of these stores. The potential for exposure is huge. Once again, the earliest available opportunity is in January.

Other funding opportunities. I am looking into the possibility of doing a crowdfunding campaign.

Reviews. I don’t have a huge number of reviews yet, and I am expecting more to come in.

The Personal Reasons

My personal life has been chaos these past three months. I’ll spare you all the gory details, but there are two immmediate things that make a December 10 launch extremely difficult: I will be travelling to Romania (by car) on December 15th. Moreover, I am currently exploring the possibility of going to study for a Master’s in the Netherlands on February 1st.

The uncertainty in my life is very difficult—extremely difficult—but I can’t dither and delay forever. January 7th was the best compromise based on the available knowledge.

To receive automatic updates on Fallen Love, the sequel, promotions and free books, sign up to my mailing list.