The date is August 1914. The British Expeditionary Force is in France and You're in the Royal Field Artillery. You're riding alongside one of the battery's gun limbers on its way to the assigned position on the east side of Mons, Belgium. This begins your journey into the Hell they called World War One. To purchase this historical memoir go to https://createspace.com/3649268

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

New Information

Continuing my research into my grandfather's military experience, I posted a request for information about the Royal Field Artillery special reserves, ranks, makeup and such to the Great War Forum. As I've always said, this forum is a must for anyone trying to find information about a relative that served in the British Army in the Great War.

I found out that my grandfather joined the regular RFA in or around 1905 (which put him at the age of 18). After 6 years he transferred to the RFA reserves, which is not the special reserves. He remained in the reserves until he was activated in 1914. While serving in the regular RFA he received an additional education, as shown in his composition certification. In 1911 he received his assistant signal instructors certification.


I was told by a knowledgeable person that to sell books you have to really get involved in social networking, which includes "Tweeting". Now I'm a person of reasonable intelligence and I'm fairly savvy with today's technology. Somehow I missed the training manual for Tweeter. I received all these tweets that I don't understand and don't know how to respond to. I send out tweets that are not responded too, or at lease I don't know if anyone responded.
   I have several followers but I'm not sure what they are following and I'm following several tweeters although I'm not sure what I'm following. It is a different world and I always thought I was current until now. So, if anyone understands this tweet thing I would appreciate a short dissertation on how it works.

As of now book sales are moving along and I'm expanding my marketing base. Marketing is harder than writing. Writing you can put it down and when you work on it you can focus on just your ideas.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Western Front Assoc

The Western Front Association is dedicated to educating others on the history of the Western Front during World War One. I believe in the fine work that this association performs in presenting and preserving WWI heritage.
   I've been in communication with them regarding my grandfather's journal and they decided to post my transcription of the journal as well as the digital images of the first half. To view the journal and read the transcripts, go to http://www.westernfrontassociation.com/great-war-people/diaries/2613-the-diary-of-frederick-l-coxen-rfa.html

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sample Journal Entry

April 29 th 1915           THE GREAT PROMISE

We must have been spotted by an enemy observation airplane, for the German artillery gave it to us warm in the afternoon.
In the evening the officers made a bivouac beneath a layer of trees, just a few yards on my left. A few shells, real coal-boxes, were bursting very near the officers, so they moved into a dugout further over to the left. This was good fortune because a few minutes later a shell hit the tree and snapped it like a match.
Since other shells followed we had to leave the guns for a while. When the shelling was over, we went back to where the officer’s dugout had been. The hits had blown the place to pieces. The two coats that hung on the tree were absolutely in ribbons and almost everything else was ruined.
One of the officers had been sitting on a box of biscuits that was now blown yards away. The box was reduced to a piece of twisted metal with not even one biscuit remaining. Everything was almost unrecognizable, including the bodies of the officers.
Mr. Dowling, one of the officer’s servants, got both his arms badly splintered. All night the enemy continually shelled the roads to our right rear.

Monday, August 20, 2012

F G Coxen's Military Career

My grandfather may or may not have had an interesting military career but I believe that he did. He entered the service when he was either 17 or 18 by joining the Royal Field Artillery special reserves. I never had a chance to ask him why he choose the RFA but perhaps it was a chance to ride horses and fire canons.
  The training in the special reserves sounds much like that of the US National Guard. The reservist go each summer for two to three weeks of training and they can be called up for active duty when needed. Which was the case for my grandfather when he was called to active duty when Britain declared war on Germany on August 4, 1914.
  When he was activated he had received training as a signalman for the RAF. This position required him to be in a forwards observation post to identify where the artillery shells were landing and report back to the battery so that they could adjust their effectiveness. In the beginning this was accomplished by using flags but by the time the war erupted they were using field telephones.  (see front cover on The Great Promise)
  My book, The Great Promise, is based upon my grandfather's memoirs of serving with the RFA during the early battles of the war. In one entry he describes how he and one of his close telephonist were called into their CO's office where he told them he was recommending them for a field promotion. He was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant in August of 1915.
  According to his military records, he returned to England in September 1915 and was sent to review the AA (anti-aircraft) defenses around Liverpool; he was in this position from 5/1916 to 11/1916.   During this time he held the position of Adjutant and was responsible for the establishing and operating the defenses for Liverpool.  
  By December of 1916 he returned to the RFA and was responsible for training new recruits until November of 1917. At his time he was sent back to France and placed in charge of an anti-aircraft battery in Paris, France. He remained in this position until November of 1918 when he returned to England.
  In July 1918 he was temporarily transferred to the newly formed Royal Air Force to be in charge of their payroll department. He was promoted to the temporary rank of Lieutenant and after partitioning the RFA he was given the permanent rank of Lieutenant. The RFA requested his return but the RAF needed him so he remained with the RAF until his departure from the service later in 1919. After his departure he requested that he receive the rank of Captain since his responsibilities with the RAF were that of someone with a captain's rank. He was given his permanent rank of captain later that year.
  So my grandfather served with the RFA, the AA defense battery and the RAF during his military career.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Additional Research

My grandfather received a field commission to 2nd Lieutenant in 1915 but after that his commissions were rather confusing. Case in point is the following letter.

In this communication he is requesting that he be considered for permanent rank of Lieutenant with pay reimbursement at a Lieutenant's pay scale retroactive to when he was promoted to Lieutenant on July 1, 1917, which must have been a temporary rank. I say this because this correspondence is dated June of 1919 and he uses 2/Lieut Hon Lieut F. Coxen. Yet, in this correspondence dated 10th December 1916 he uses "From t-Captain F. Coxen R.F.A, "t" possibly representing temporary.
  So was he promoted to the temp rank of Captain prior to his temp rank of Lieutenant?  Was he given this temp rank because he was Acting Adjutant, Liverpool A.A. Defenses.

Then in 1919 he partitioned for the permanent rank of Captain, which was awarded.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Blessed With Friends

Everyday I experience unexpected help and support from so many people. Today a fellow writer congratulated me on releasing The Great Promise. He pursued it further by including my story in his blog, http://www.lifeisabook.com/blog/?p=308  I now realize how many lives I've touched during the past four years and how they took the journey with me and find joy in helping me bring my dream to fruition. To ALL of you - Thanks 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Old George

The journal contains two Georges, the first being George Bramwell and the second is George Millington. If you purchase The Great Promise then you'll find the differences between the two. However, George Millington was a major character in my grandfather's writings and they were dear friends; as shown by the following letter. I don't know if my grandfather ever found "Old George" but I hope that he did.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

More Research

Even after I completed the book I continued to look over my grandfather's military documents and in the process I've uncovered missing pieces of information; such as: Promotions

In April of 1915 his CO recommended him for a field promotion. According to his record book he was awarded the promotion to 2nd Lieut on 8/21/1915. Then when he was adjutant for the AA batteries defending Liverpool he was given the temporary rank of Captain. However, he was given the permanent rank of Lieut on 7/1/1917.

He was transferred to the newly formed Royal Field Artillery in 1918 and remained there until 1919. After leaving the service he partitioned the military to award him the permanent rank of Captain because of his position of responsibility during his time with the RAF. He was award his rank later in 1919.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Social Media Marketing

Spent time using social media sites for marketing. Since Amazon posted my book to their site today I was able to use this information for promoting the book.
  First I added my book to "GoodReads" website. For those that don't know about this site, it is one of the best sources for reviewing and rating books. If you're an avid reader and you know what books interest you, you can go to this website and pull up the appropriate category  for your type of book and presto books appear and you can checkout their review rating. It is a little risky for the author to post their masterpiece because your book may not receive favorable reviews, which is usually a death sentence for sales.
  Of course I posted information on my Facebook page and sent messages to everyone I could think of. The only problem is that CreateSpace doesn't report live sales numbers so I don't know how the book is selling. According to CS Amazon sales are reported within four days after the manufacture of the order. What this boils down to is a customer places an order and it is forwarded to production which schedules the book to be printed. Once printed it is boxed and shipped. The author's account isn't credited for the sale until the book is printed and your account is up-dated. Wouldn't it be nice if they credited the account when credit card is approved?

Now my loyal followers it is time to go to Amazon and order your copy of The Great Promise. If you've been following my posts, you know the work and time I spent on presenting an unforgettable book. Please check it out.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Post Partum Blues

Here I sit wondering what to do next. I released my book but it hasn't appeared on Amazon yet. Until that happens it really doesn't exist except in my e-store.

I order books for my book launch on August 24th but they will not arrive until, cross your fingers, August 22.

I thought I heard a drum roll when I clicked the button "I approve the proof". However, the cymbals never reported the results. How true it is that participation is ten-percent of  anticipation, or is it the other way around. Regardless of the structure, I was anticipating more of a response and it didn't happen!

It will never be known when or whom purchased the first book. I would like to know that information because that person purchased a part of me and I would like to thank them and find out why they did it; what made my book stand out from the rest.

So here I sit. All dressed up with nowhere to go. God! I'm beginning to sound like Eeyore!

The site "Good Reads" is brought up by many. They ask if my book will be listed on their site. Until they asked I didn't know it existed. I'm now a proud member but after trying several methods for adding my book it came down to, "only librarians can add a book"; I didn't pursue that avenue. I believe that a book has to be released by the publisher in order for it to exist - at least it seems that way.

So here I stand - got tired of sitting, pacing the floor wondering what I can do to make life move a little faster - at least in the realm of books.

Monday, August 13, 2012

First Journal Entry

This is the first page from my grandfather's journal. The entries begin on August 4th 1914 and end in May of 1915. He served in the 40th Battery, 43rd Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery. In 1918 he was transferred to the newly formed Royal Air Force where he served in accounting and payroll until 1919.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Hard Marketing Facts

Everything I've read relaid the message that to be successful you have to develop a marketing plan and then stick to it. I did just that and so when my book was released, I started to implement the first part of the plan, which was to activate my support base.

I thought that my family and friends would help spread the word and push my book - wrong! With releasing my book I was riding on an emotional high by finally reaching a four year goal. However, my support group wasn't directly involved and therefore not at the same level of involvement as I was. Personal involvement leads to commitment, without participation, words are not converted into action.

People, which includes family and friends, are involved in their own lives and by nature they proceed through their day without wanting additional burden. Therefore, your greatest asset of a pyramid of exponential numbers is only potential energy.

Thank goodness I was diverse in my plan which included organizations and websites. Even these are difficult to motivate to action. I found this to be true with the Western Front Association, Great War Forum, and a few others.

Only sure thing is paid advertising and that is cost prohibitive. I suppose that marketing a book is like writing one in that both take a great deal of time before results are displayed.

I was hoping that upon releasing the book I would see leap in initial sales - it didn't happen. Disappointing but expected.  

Friday, August 10, 2012

For Sale!

I just approved the final book proof and "The Great Promise" is for SALE!!

It will take a couple of days for it to be listed on Amazon, however it can be purchased on The Great Promise

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Houston! We Have a Problem

In one of my earlier postings I said that I talked with a customer service representative from Create Space regarding the correction of just one element. I thought that I gave her my approval of the remainder of the book so that once the correction was changed they could move on with printing.

Will it never goes like one believes it will. I received an email informing me that the service group applied for a proof book to be printed and shipped. Now I have to wait a few days for the book to be printed and a couple more for shipping. This would place the print date around August 17 th, just one week prior to my book launch. This is not good!!

I'm thinking of accepting the proof before I actually receive it in order to move up the print date. I examined the digital proof in detail and didn't fine an error so my comfort level is elevated.

I'll wait until Friday to see if they printed the book and shipped it. If it isn't, I'll accept the changes and the book should to into print next week and shipped by the end of the week. They should arrive at the gallery by the middle of the week of the 24th.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Second Proof

Received an email from Create Space that the corrected proof could be downloaded for review. I downloaded the file but I was about to leave on a trip so I didn't have a great deal of time to look it over. The first error was found within the first few pages.

The first change I made was removing the "fictionalized description of the following", and added "memoir account of the following battles:". The change resulted in, "memoir account of the following: the following battles".

I quickly reviewed the other changes  and each seemed correct so I called the Create Space service desk. I requested the correction to the double "following" and told them that the other changes seem correct so I approve the proof. The representative said that the minor change would take two business days, which is hard to believe in this day and age.

Even if it does take two days the book would be finished on the requested date of August 8th, although it would be ready for printing on that date. It is my hope that the book would be in print by the end of the week.

I'm feeling that the up-coming book launch is going to be huge so I'm considering the purchase of 200 books, that is in addition to the 50 free books. With that quantity I'll have to prepare a standard quote or the signing would become a nightmare. Anyone out there have a suggestion on how I should handle this?

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Electronic Book?

In this day and age many readers have strayed from the marvelous feeling of hold a book while reading. The smell of a newly printed book when it is first opened. However, like so many of our old standards such as magazines, newspapers, music CD and movie DVDs, times are a changing.

In order to make money, or break even, I have to consider publishing my book electronically on the Kindle format. The royalties are higher but the reader's cost per book lower, but then again the volume is higher, so I guess the money that can be made is about the same.

To convert the book to electronic format I contacted Create Space. They have a program that will convert the book but they didn't say if it is free. It seems that nothing is free except advice and often, if taken, can be very expensive.

I haven't heard from Create Space on the progress they're making on the changes I've made. Wondering why, I logged on and saw that my upload of changes were still active. I clicked on the update button and my upload vanished from the page. This worried me since I uploaded the changes over a week ago and my print deadline is approaching. Worried, I sent a message to my support contact wondering why I haven't been contacted regarding the changes and I was told that until I actually sent the changes they didn't have the information to work with. It would take 7 business days for them to make the alterations and then a couple of days for print and mail the proof. My God! This is cutting it close - too close.

With the launching coming up on the 24th, I fear that the books will have to be sent express in order to make it to the Gallery on time, which will cost a lot more for shipping. I'll keep you posted on how this event unfolds.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Planning The Launch

I met with Nancy from the gallery that will host my first book launch. She sent out their news letter that included an ad for the launch (eyecandygallery@centurylink.net via mail29.us1.mcsv.net 
An ad is was also placed in a local magazine, the Pinestraw. 

I'm concerned if the book will be published in time to place an order and have it delivered to the art gallery in time for the

There hasn't been any feedback from Ken, my WWI expert even-though it is the first of August and he said that he would
read it by the end of July.  I'm also waiting to hear from the webmaster from the Western Front Assoc. to see if he received 
the journal images I sent as well as the corresponding transcriptions. It seems that you try so hard to do what counts and 
then it comes down to depending on others and I'm helpless to influence the timing. 

This coming week I'll meet with my daughter to organize a time and place to give a presentation to a group of seniors in 
one of her healthcare facilities. I'm going to promote that they consider writing their stories for their family's. In the process 
I'll tell them about my experience in writing the book and the power of the journal.