Brittany properties for sale

I have just started another new chapter in my life, that of becoming an Agent Commercial/ estate agent in Brittany. My partner has been doing this for the past five years, so I sort of knew what  I was getting into.

I have to find my own properties to add to my portfolio for sale in and around Loudeac, where I am based. So I cover an area within an hours maximum driving range. I am presently adding new properties weekly, so I hope to build up to about 50 properties.

Average sales for agents are about one a month, once they get into the swing of things. Luckily I have two sales in progress in my first month, however they were two very well priced properties, so sort of sold themselves.

I had spent most of my working days in sales and I have missed the buzz it gave me, so being back in a sales role has given me a new focus. We only get paid commission on sales, but being paid to drive around Brittany showing properties is not a bad way to earn a living.

Check out my properties for sale in Brittany

My property Facebook Page 


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Publishing on Kindle

Re-posted 1.6.2015

I found it very easy to publish my book on Kindle, in fact I cant think why I had not done it before as my finished book had been sitting around for 12 months.

Basically you add it in simple stages and the link is below to the site. (Just reposting this post with updates) Continue reading

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Vantastic France free 19th to 21st April 2015

My novel Vantastic France will be free on all amazon Kindle sites from 19th to 21st April so get your free kindle copy if you have no got one yet. Although my novel was published in January 2012 it is still selling and I am amazed to say that I have sold over 3000 copies to date.

Amazon UK    –    –    Amazon FR  plus it is on all the other Amazon sites.

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Win a paperback copy of my Novel

Win  a paperback copy of Vantastic France at Goodreads

There are hundreds of books entered in the Give-away and here is a link to the other books listed

at Goodreads.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Vantastic France by Steve Bichard

Vantastic France

by Steve Bichard

Giveaway ends February 27, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win


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Keep your e-Book sales momentum going strong.

After proudly publishing your new novel then telling all your friends and family so they will hopefully download it or purchase the paperback, you do need to keep the ball rolling or you will lose momentum. A few early sale might have got your novel in the top one hundred in a certain category, so you really need to keep it there.

Marketing your e-Book does not have to cost you a penny, or very little if you are prepared to put in some initial work. I had thought that Twitter was for celebrities, tweeting about their latest escapades and millions of fans following them to be part of the circus.

Little did I realise the power of Twitter for marketing your novel, which I know for certain has brought in sales and even a few blog posts and interviews from some of the people who followed me. Twitter is a two  way thing, you do have to spend some time re-tweeting and not just expect everyone to re-tweet you. With automated tweets and other applications, Twitter can just takes a few minutes each day to keep it active. The problem I did find at the start was who to follow, what was a hash-tag for and where to find the best free automatic tweeting applications.

Fortunately for me Jo Harrison a virtual assistant who formatted my book runs a website full of advice for marketing your e-Book, so I found most of what I needed to know on her site. She has even just produced a mini e-Book marketing course, this was free of charge and I had daily emails with tips and advice.

There are many other ways to market your novel, do not just think that it will sell itself. With so many new books launched daily there is a lot of competition and only the lucky few will generate thousands of instant sale. Freebies are not sale, they might be good for your ego when you see hundreds of people daily downloading your book, but they will never pay you for a copy. You might hope that they will purchase your next novel in the future, but with so many freebies to read they will probably have forgotten about you by then.

I constantly see posts on the Amazon forum from people complaining about Amazon not reporting all their sales, they claim that they have been lost in cyberspace or even given to an author with the same name as them! Anyone with an ounce of common sense would realise that we are competing with thousands of new authors monthly and also with the freebies from the KDP select programme, it’s hardly rocket science. Just because you had hundreds of sales last month, it does not mean that this will continue this month. Maybe it those complaining spent a little time on marketing instead of posting on a forum, then they might see a few more sales registered.

I am not saying that you will see hundreds of extra sales overnight by marketing, but you should keep your sales momentum ticking over. I am also not in the big league when it comes to book sales, my personal target after a year is just a few book a day. Some days I have no sales, others three to six. However if a see a few days with no sale I put a little extra effort into my tweets and facebook posts and try to participate in any other free promotional offers that come my way.

To keep your novel on the boil is not easy, but it will be the best platform to launch any new publications from if your previous novel is still keeping its own momentum.


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Another 5 star review for Vantastic France

I had a sudden blip in my sales in the last few days, so I checked to see where Vantastic France was in the Amazon Best Sellers Rank and saw that I was:

  • #16 in Kindle Store > Books > Nonfiction > Travel > Continental Europe > France
  • #45 in Books > Travel & Holiday > Countries & Regions > Europe > France

I am happy if my novel stays in the top 100 in the first category and I have found that if I keep the price at £1.99, it tends to stay there. Although this does keep me out of the higher profit margin bracket, 35% instead of 70%, it is far better than giving my book away free for a few days just to keep it there.

I have also found that my low star ratings are from people who had previously downloaded it for free, so maybe they just didn’t have real interest in the story in the first place. On the other hand they might have been less forgiving and were just brutally honest about my writing skills.

I also saw that  I had a received a 5 star review from @aplaceinfrance ,which was a nice surprise. This might be why I had a sudden blip in my sales, so a big thank you to @aplaceinfrance

I have to apologise for the long delay in the sequel to Vantastic France, I have been very busy with my website French Classified and have had quite a few new French estate agents on the site. This also means more French properties advertised for sale in the property sections, but obviously means a lot of work as they have been adding new French properties. I have also added some for them, which also means that I have a far better selection of properties, so far mainly for sale in the  Brittany property  and Normandy property sections.

There is a lot of competition and hundreds of websites advertising French properties for sale and French Classified advertising sites. However, the more I can do for my advertisers, the better chance of my websites success. There is no easy quick way to build up a website, just hard work and dedication, which is why I have not been able to concentrate on my writing, which I do thoroughly enjoy.

We can all make excuses for not having time to write, yet some authors do seem to manage their time exceedingly well. Women do seem to be able to multi task better than most men, or is that just another excuse for me!

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The Next Big Thing

I have to admit that I was slightly shocked when I received an email requesting me to participate in ‘The Next Big Thing’. Being in the company of some wonderful authors is a true honour. However,  what I have noticed in the short space of time that I have been a published author, which sounds rather grand to me, but it is true as I keep getting these little cheques from Amazon, is that the way other authors help each other.

I do like to do my bit and promote other books about France on my website French Classified, which has a French book section. I am not worried about competition, in fact I embrace it. I feel that if someone enjoys a novel about life in France, then they will look for another one. As Amazon shows what other people who bought my book also bought, it  also works both ways so my book shows in their list, well sometimes.

 The person who tagged me was Victoria Corby who moved to the South West of France in 1993 with her husband, three daughters and elderly cat and they currently live half an hour from Bordeaux. She has four published novels to her credit, including Something Stupid, Seven Week Itch and Up To No Good,

What is the working title of your next book?

‘Encore Vantastic France’

Where did the idea come from for the book?

It is the sequel to Vantastic France, which was my first fictional novel based on stereotypical ex-pats living in Brittany. I thought I would take a different tack to the likes of ‘A Year in Provence’  or the standard true stories of families moving to France. In the sequel ‘white van man’ returns to France with a fish and chip van, which seems to be a growing business venture for a number of ex-pats. It is rather like a soap opera set in Brittany and I now have the main characters, so it is a matter of embellishing some gossip that I may have overheard, but of course none of the characters are based on real people!

What genre does your book fall under?

Going by Vantastic France it seems it would fit into the non-fiction Travel France, although it is fiction.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Clarissa, the snobby antique dealer could be Patricia Routledge from ‘Keeping up appearances’ or better still Penelope Keith from ‘The good life‘. Jean-Pierre the suave  horse riding Frenchman would be played by Jean-Christophe Novelli. Barry Taylor the main character with a short temper but soft underneath is a bit like Gordon Ramsay the TV chef, so maybe Jimmy Nail from ‘Auf Wiedersehen Pet‘ who also released the song Crocodile Shoes.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Slightly stolen from  previous reviews;

‘A French-farce with a predominantly English cast, gossips, fist fights, drink drivers and fish and chips; the real lives of ex-pats in France.’

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I will definitely self-publish, good returns and profit margins. I would love a publishing deal, but I have a feeling the publishers are not lining up for me just yet.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

A fair way to go yet as I am trying to fine tune my writing skills, so it will take about 8 months in total. Unfortunately earning a living gets in the way.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Most books about a new life in France, although most of these are not fiction. It’s a bit more like the cringing TV show Benidorm, but Benidorm  meets Brittany!

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Initially a ‘white van man’ I met who moved to Brittany, I have always wanted to write a novel, so I thought why not start with what I know a little bit about.

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

The novel, although being tongue in cheek, does offer a less glossy insight into life for ex-pats in France. It shows what can go right, plus what could go wrong if you keep your rose tinted spectacles on.

The previous version seemed to be a ‘Marmite’ book for ex-pats, some loved and recognised the  characters, others I might have rubbed up the wrong way. I can hear them saying; ‘Moi, an ex-pat snob, never!’

I would like to tag the following writers to continue the chain, I have read and enjoyed all of their books. Please re-visit this post and their links to give them time to get their own ‘Next Big Thing’ posts published.

Karen Bates  author of ‘Faking it in France’ started writing as therapy she said it was that or Gin and Prozac, amazingly she found she loved it and couldn’t stop, she soon found she had written a book and then another. Does this Ring any bells with anyone?(Karen has no internet for a while so her post will be a little later.)

Helen Ducal – I am a big fan of ‘All expenses paid’, Helen’s tale of single woman baby sitting an 82 year old English woman called Betty living in France with her daughter. Betty’s boyfriend rode a large motorbike, so she turned out to be a bit of a fast woman to keep up with.

Alex Martin writes in her garden shed, which is where she created ‘The Twisted Vine’.  The Twisted Vine, is based on a happy time picking grapes in France in the 1980s. She met some amazing people there, but none as outrageous as those that sprang to life on her screen.

Kerry Dwyer is a British ex-pat living in France. She teaches English to adults and is married to a French man. Her last novel ‘Ramblings in Ireland’ tells of a holiday taken in Ireland with her husband, of course being a story teller at heart she does go off on tangents, which makes for a wonderful read.

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Coming soon the next big thing.

A new post coming soon about ‘The next big thing’, new exciting novels from some great authors.

Watch this space!

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A Tutorial on eBooks, Mobile Devices and eReaders

Blogger Sentral always has very helpful posts, for bloggers and general website help. It is well worth signing up to their email for new posts, as you get many helpful tutorials.

The latest guest post from Veronica Clyde might be helpful to those of you that are new to e-readers, as she lists all the various types from Kindles to iPhone apps

Here is the link to the  Bloggers Central article

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A Poignant Poem for Animal Lover

Myself and my partner had to make a really hard decision a few days  ago, our beloved dog Bramble had to be put to sleep. I put a little post on my other blog Mr Tomato King as Bramble was constantly by my side when working in the garden, and was in many of my photo’s, so I did a little montage of her.

One of my lovely followers Jean, posted a very poignant poem in the comments for people who might find themselves is a similar position as we were a few days ago.

We still feel very sad about our loss, however, the touching poem has helped as realise that we made the right decision for Bramble.

The Last Battle
If it should be that I grow frail and weak
And pain should keep me from my sleep,
Then will you do what must be done,
For this — the last battle — can’t be won.
You will be sad I understand,
But don’t let grief then stay your hand,
For on this day, more than the rest,
Your love and friendship must stand the test.
We have had so many happy years,
You wouldn’t want me to suffer so.
When the time comes, please, let me go.
Take me to where to my needs they’ll tend,
Only, stay with me till the end
And hold me firm and speak to me
Until my eyes no longer see.
I know in time you will agree
It is a kindness you do to me.
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I have been saved.
Don’t grieve that it must be you
Who has to decide this thing to do;
We’ve been so close — we two — these years,
Don’t let your heart hold any tears.

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