Tag Archive | Amazon

Yay editing done!

Editing

Well I’ve actually done it! I’ve finally finished editing my novel Reunion of the Heart. OK so technically I told you I’d finished the other day.  But it needed tweaking, so I tweaked it.  Now all it needs is to be proofread by my mum once she’s back from holiday. Hooray!

My husband is gonna work on a cover for me, so I’m hoping to publish it by the end of the summer at the latest. But I was wondering about something – whether, once I’ve published it, to do a blog tour or not? What are your thoughts?

I did one for The Inheritance when I published it last year, but although I worked really hard for it I didn’t get many comments on the blogs I was a guest on.  I’ve actually heard that blog tours tend to generate more traffic to the host blogs rather than interaction for those doing the blog tour.

I’m DEFINITELY doing a cover reveal this time.  I have to say it didn’t even occur to me to do one last time – I didn’t really know much about the whole process of self-publishing and all that I would need to do to promote my work.  Having seen a lot of cover reveals on various blogs, I think it’s a good idea for me to do one.

And now that I’ve finished editing Reunion of the Heart, I can FINALLY get back to working on my next as-yet-untitled project – another romance, this time with a young woman who’s a teacher as my MC and VERY different to my MC in Reunion of the Heart. I’m looking forward to this; it’ll be good to continue on with it.

When I last looked at it, I remembered that, having written a bit over 4K on it, I’d gone back to the drawing board so to speak and I’d made a whole load of new notes which I really need to read through.  I made more notes because I really needed to flesh out the plot and actually invent some scenes for it – I truly am a plotter rather than a pantser.

Although I don’t always stick rigidly to my original plan, I do find that I can get a bit lost in the story if I don’t have a clear idea in my head as to where the story is going.  So for me it’s best if I have a clear plan in place.  That way I don’t become stranded, as I was with this new project before I did some more planning.

To update you with my blogging progress – well I’ve had some hiccups i.e. not doing WIPpet Wednesday this week as I mentioned in my last post.  But I am blogging more often than I was.  I’m not doing so well keeping up with reading other people’s blog posts.  I must confess I delete most of what comes into my inbox!!

Anyway as I mentioned in a previous post, I’m doing what I can and ultimately that’s all I can do.  I’m getting new followers on Twitter all the time and some new followers to my blog, which is slightly harder to see since I linked my blog to my Twitter and Facebook accounts lol.

I would like to change the theme on this blog sometime soon – I’m a bit fed up with all the pink!  It’s a bit much even for me lol.  So I’ll be working on that at some point.  But not today :-P

I also want to sign up to Google+ (although I may be signed up for it already as I have an Android tablet and phone and they keep telling me that so and so have added me to their circle or something like that) and maybe a few more.  But all in good time.

Where are you at in your writing journey?  Are you happy with the way it’s going?  Do you find it helpful to have a big presence on social media?

Guest post by Barb and Babs for their blog tour

Today I’m pleased to welcome Barb Drozdowich and Babs Hightower to do a guest post on sharing blog posts as part of their blog tour for their collection of books which have the aim of enabling writers to fully develop their social media platform.  The books and their topics are listed at the end of this post.  They look really great so please check them out.  So now I will hand over to Barb.

What is Sharing and why do you need to encourage it?

I’d like to thank Elaine Jeremiah for inviting me to share some thoughts today! My name is Barb Drozdowich and I teach WordPress and work with authors on a daily basis to help them understand the technical aspects of Book Promotion.

Today I thought I’d talk about Sharing. This is a topic that comes up frequently in my interaction with authors.

Authors love to get comments on their blog posts – don’t we all? Comments are lovely! I often see comments encouraged in blog tours that are posted on my blog as well as others. In the big scheme of things, however, comments are not very important. Sharing is hugely important. Sharing buttons are those little icons that sit at the top or bottom of post or maybe float along the side. Ideally, they have icons for every social media platform known to man.

It’s your job to create great content that your readers want to share with their friends and followers. I don’t care if you don’t have a Stumbleupon account. Maybe your readers do and that’s where they want to share. You just need to make the content interesting and easy to share.  You want your readers to share your post on Twitter, on Facebook, on Stumbleupon and on whatever other social media accounts they favor.

Easy, right?

So why do I think that sharing is more important than comments?  Because Google thinks that sharing is more important than comments. Although readers will find your blog from many sources, some will find you from a Google search. You want to do everything that you can to make your blog rank as high as possible in a Google search. Think about it – most people will only look through the first few pages of a Google search. So, you want to be on one of those first few pages.

Understanding some of the technical aspects to promoting your books is challenging for many authors. Authors write beautiful stories – that’s what they do really well! You wouldn’t hesitate to take a writing course or go to a workshop. Likewise, don’t waste your valuable writing time wrestling with technical issues; ask for help.

Bio: Social Media and WordPress Consultant Barb Drozdowich has taught at Colleges and Universities, trained technical personnel in the banking industry and, most recently, used her expertise to help dozens of authors develop the social media platform needed to succeed in today’s fast evolving publishing world. She owns Bakerview Consulting and manages the popular Romance Book blog, Sugarbeat’s Books. Barb has published 4 books specifically to help authors understand some of the technical issues that they come up against when promoting their books.

Barb can be found: 

Bakerview Consulting (Business Site) http://bakerviewconsulting.com

Barb Drozdowich (Author Site) http://barbdrozdowich.com

Sugarbeat’s Books (Book Blog) http://sugarbeatsbooks.com

Facebook (Author blog) https://www.facebook.com/BarbDrozdowichAuthor

Facebook (Bakerview Consulting) https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bakerview-Consulting/576090425782155

Twitter http://twitter.com/sugarbeatbc

Google+ https://plus.google.com/110824499539694941768

Goodreads http://goodreads.com/BarbDrozdowich

Amazon Author Page http://amazon.com/author/barbdrozdowich

Information for Barb and Babs’ books:

B&B no 5

Do you feel out of your comfort zone when dealing with book bloggers? They are the New Gatekeepers to book publishing success – but how can you tap into that source of free promotions by putting your best foot forward?

The Author’s Guide to Working with Book Bloggers combines the advice of 215 blogging professionals collected in a survey covering all aspects of communication between authors and Review Blogs. Whether you are a new author, or have many titles under your belt, let us demystify the promotion of your book on a book blog.

You’ll learn about whom and where book bloggers are, and the following:

The Query,

The Review,

The Giveaway,

The Author Interview,

The Guest Post,

The Book Blurb Excerpt and Cover Reveals and more!

“I’ve found Barb’s advice on forging a professional relationship with the blogging community indispensable. Her step-by-step approach will help you garner the reviews needed to increase book sales.”

–Christine Nolfi, bestseller author of Treasure Me

The Author’s Guide to Working with Book Bloggers is available on:

AmazonUS  AmazonUK  |  Kobo  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Smashwords

Creating buzz for your book – and your career as an author – just got easier. Go Global: Building an International Author Platform That Sells will help you decode the mystery behind building a powerful author brand and navigating the social media platforms essential to publishing success. Social Media and WordPress Consultant Barb Drozdowich will steer you through the technology behind international marketing without all the techno-speak. She has helped many authors just like you build an author platform that engages readers and builds sales.

B&B no 3Go Global teaches you why you need the various facets of the author platform to build visibility.  Barb uses a simple analogy, Operation Book, to help you understand the steps to successful book marketing in the media age. She covers:

- The Difference between a Website and a Blog

- What Your Blog Should Contain

- The Important Components of a Blog

- The Nine Essential Social Media Platforms

- Newsletters

- Amazon’s Author Central

With simple-to-follow steps, Barb will help you create and manage an Author Platform to support your career.

Go Global: Building an International Author Platform that Sells is available:

AmazonUS |AmazonUK | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

B&B no 4What are Book Blog tours? Are they something that you have tried yet? “Book Blog Tours – An Essential Marketing Tool for Authors” covers the topic of Virtual blog tours from beginning to end with the following topics explained:

• What is a book blog tour?

• How is a tour different from Online Public Relations

• How to set goals for a blog tour

• How to choose a Book Blog Tour Company for your book

• Giveaways and Tour Graphics

• Author responsibilities before, during and after the tour

• Follow up and planning for your next tour

• Book Blog Tours from the point of view of a book blogger

This book covers all aspects of a Book Blog Tour in easy to follow language that will help any author take on the challenge of a blog tour with confidence.

Book Blog Tours – An Essential Marketing Tool for Authors is available:

AmazonUS | Amazon UK | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

 

 

 

The Ultimate Goodreads Guide for Authors is the must have book for all authors. Every author has heard of Goodreads – some like it, some not so much. With over 120 color graphics, this book leads you through the process of creating your account, adding your books, making friends and so much more.

B&B no 2Let us share with you all those little gems of networking potential that Goodreads offers, such as:

- Blog posts

- Excerpt downloads

- Widgets

- Apps

- Event invitations

- Groups

- Polls

- Lists

- Trivia and Quizzes

- And many more

The Ultimate Goodreads for Authors is the most comprehensive book available today. Suitable for all authors, from the newly published to the experienced. It has something for everyone to learn.

The Ultimate Goodreads Guide for Authors is available:

Amazon US |Amazon UK

B&B no 1Getting help to promote your book just got easier. Public Relations for Authors Take Hold of Your Own Promotions will help you locate that special publicist who will help you promote your book the right way. A Publicity Director for two publishers Babs brings knowledge to this book.

Public Relations teaches you why you need a publicist and how to find the right one for you. To understand what you need she covers:

How publicity can help sell books

What you need to know about publicity

Writing Pitches

Media Kits

Press Releases

Where to find a PR agent

What to send to your PR agent

A practical, step by step book that helps you find the correct publicist, when publishing a book. ” by Lynelle Clark

 

Public Relations for Authors is available:

Amazon US| Amazon UK| Kobo| Barnes & Noble| Smashwords

About the authors:

Barb Drozdowich

Bio: Social Media and WordPress Consultant Barb Drozdowich has taught at Colleges and Universities, trained technical personnel in the banking industry and, most recently, used her expertise to help dozens of authors develop the social media platform needed to succeed in today’s fast evolving publishing world. She owns Bakerview Consulting and manages the popular Romance Book blog, Sugarbeat’s Books.

 Barb can be found: 

Bakerview Consulting (Business Site) http://bakerviewconsulting.com

Barb Drozdowich (Author Site) http://barbdrozdowich.com

Sugarbeat’s Books (Book Blog) http://sugarbeatsbooks.com

Facebook(Author blog) https://www.facebook.com/BarbDrozdowichAuthor

Twitter http://twitter.com/sugarbeatbc

Google+ https://plus.google.com/110824499539694941768

 

Babs Hightower

Bio:Babs has been helping authors since 2000. She owns a book review blog Babs Book Bistro which got her started in PR and helping authors promote themselves. In 2012 she started working for Entangled Publishing and worked her way up to Publicity Director over the Scandalous Imprint. She is a publicist for World Castle Publishing. She is also known as Morgan Kincaid writer of Historical Romance.

Babs can be found: 

Babs Book Bistro website: http://www.babsbookbistro.net

Babs Hightower PR website: http://www.babshightowerpr.com

Author website: http://morgankincaid.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/babsbookbistro

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BabsMorganKin

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BabsHightowerPr

Facebook Author: https://www.facebook.com/authormorgankincaid

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/babsbookbistro/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/1970552-babs

Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/102563748897854093407/posts

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/babsbookbistro

Emergence by K. L. Schwengel – Cover Reveal!

coverreveal

I’m pleased to have the privilege of doing a cover reveal from one of my favourite fantasy authors, the lovely K. L. Schwengel.  First of Her Kind, the first book in the Darkness and Light series can be found at Amazon.com and Amazon UK.  Emergence is the second book in the series, and continues the story of Ciara, a young woman who in the first book was gradually learning about the forceful magical powers she possesses and how she could control them…

Emergence ~ Book Two of the Darkness & Light Series

The battle for Ciara’s power has drawn the full attention of the Emperor and the Imperial Mages, forcing Bolin to put duty above safety and take her to Nisair. It won’t be an easy trip, even with an Imperial escort and a Galysian elder accompanying them. Especially since Donovan has found himself some new allies, one of whom wields a dark magic that has literally gotten under Bolin’s skin.

For Ciara, coming to terms with the increasingly tangible manifestation of her power could destroy her. Even if they make it to Nisair–something that grows more unlikely by the day–there is no surety of safety for Ciara, or any of them. Not with Donovan willing to gamble everything to achieve his goals, or Bolin’s uncharacteristically reckless behavior, the result of which is the attention of something that has everyone worried.

Loyalties will be tested, lives will be lost, and no one will emerge unchanged as they find things are not always so clear on the line dividing Darkness and Light.

About the author:

K. L. Schwengel lives in southeast Wisconsin on a small farm with her husband, a handful of Australian Shepherds, Her Royal Highness Princess Fiona the Cat, and assorted livestock. Growing up as the youngest of nine children, and the daughter of a librarian, Kathi spent many hours between stacks of books, and secluded away in dusty archives, drawn to tales of medieval heroes and conquering knights. With so many characters and ideas spinning in her head, she had to get them onto paper or risk what little sanity she possessed.

She has been penning wild tales of magic and mayhem as long as she can remember, but opted to follow her artistic muse first. After earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts and spending many years working as a freelance artist, grocery clerk, art teacher, graphic designer, stable hand, advertising account coordinator, dog trainer, and process technician (among other things) she answered the call of her writing muse. When not writing, Kathi trains and trials working Australian Shepherds, still paints, dabbles in photography, graphic design, and anything else creative her assorted muses send her way.

Kathi’s work is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and other on-line retailers in both paperback and e-book versions. Signed copies are available via her blog.

mequinnHow to connect:

Blog: http://myrandommuse.wordpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KLSchwengelWrites

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/kathils01/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KLSchwengel

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6871795.K_L_Schwengel

 

Interview with David Lewis

David Lewis

Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing an exciting new author David Lewis who has just published his debut novel Xakk Marks the Spot.  Here’s what he had to say about his writing process and the path to publication:

When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?

The dream originally struck between 2nd and 3rd grade.  I had read the entire “Goosebumps” series by R.L. Stine and knew right then I wanted to be an author.  Though the dream came and went over the years, as do many things growing up, it returned in full force around 3 years ago.  I began 2 other manuscripts and decided the stunk.  Finally, the right idea hit and I never looked back.  I’ll continue this in the next question.

 

How did you come up with the idea for Xakk Marks the Spot?

There I found myself hanging out with a friend of mine who happened to live in my garage at the time.  As we were there listening to music and simply relaxing with nothing better to do, a vision popped randomly into my head.  There on the deck of a pirate ship staring back at me were two teenage boys and a girl the same age; a younger boy in the center, on his right a clearly related boy closer to 20, and to the young boy’s left, a blonde girl whose looks could kill.  The ideas began to flow and one day at a time, things became solid enough to begin a book.

 

Did writing Xakk Marks the Spot require much research and if so what did that research involve?

Before I began writing the first book, I went to the library and read deeper into books on writing, and the process as a whole.  It wasn’t my first manuscript, but I was so ecstatic on the idea that I wanted to do everything write (lousy pun intended).  During the same three weeks or so, I plotted out what was originally a series of five books.

I would say more and more research truly came during the actual writing of the book.  The main goal of my new age world of piracy was to avoid becoming the same old 17th century cliché pirate tale with swashbucklers, nearly impossible to understand, go hunting for Black Bar’s cursed gold while on the run from Port Royal.  We’ve all been there and done that; Hollywood, too.  While classics such as Treasure Island, of my favourites, can never be replaced, I felt it was time to give the world something new.  Why not have their tale take place in the future and have them hunting for “lost” treasures of today?

Overall, more of my research went into geographical information, nautical language, and root words of foreign languages in titling elements of the story.  During the year and a half it took to get it to where it is today, I’d like to think I sat on most elements of the story to bring out originality and to avoid nasty plot holes.

 

What’s the biggest challenge you faced while writing it?

My biggest challenge was waking up every day and continuing to work.  Between over 100 rejections by literary agents, people who thought I was crazy and that it would never succeed, stress, and insomnia, the challenges were never ending to say the least.  Though that many agents rejected versions 1 and 2 of my work, version 3 (which is the published work) was only turned down by one agent.  Her response made it feel like she sat on it for 11 weeks, then opened to page one already set on finding something reasons to reject me.  She was very nice about it, but I’d wish she read more than 10 pages.

 

What have you found to be most helpful to your growth and development as a writer? 

Rewriting, editing, rewriting, editing—wash, rinse, repeat.  I look back to the original version of my book, and even at past manuscripts in the drawer, asking myself how in the world did I ever think this was good enough for anyone to spend time on?  It wasn’t.  My biggest growth came from practice, practice, practice.  Tiger Woods never stepped out onto the course for the first time without countless repetition on the driving range.  I had the ignorant opinion that my work would shine through from the very get go due to its originality.  That just wasn’t the case.  There are tons of great books being written by no name authors that will never reach the shelves.  I’d like to think some of the greatest works ever composed will never be read.

 

What has the experience of going through the self-publishing process been like for you? 

The process of publishing seems synonymous to the word migraine.  I found myself in constant mental anguish over every small detail, constantly second guessing my “executive decisions”.  Between final edits, formatting, and the difficult process that is having an artist bring your characters to life, I lost plenty of sleep.  However, being published, regardless of sales success or not, was a major dream of mine since a young age and now it has come true.  Seeing it up on the e-shelves (soon to be paperback) is an indescribable feeling.

 

Looking back over the whole process of writing and publishing Xakk Marks the Spot, is there anything you’d do differently?

I would’ve waited to query literary agents.  I rushed the editing process in a couple months, which felt like enough, only to be rejected again and again.  Even my first full rewrite was rejected again and again.  Also, I would’ve started my social network such as Twitter and Facebook much sooner.  Agents take authors who’ve established a platform much more seriously.  It shows you’re not another hack who read Twilight or Harry Potter with plans of writing something way better.

 

Have you got any tips for other aspiring writers?

Going off what I just said—my absolute number one piece of advice for authors beginning the journey is DON’T QUERY TOO EARLY.  Once you are turned down by your whole list of dream agents, you’re faced with tough decisions.  My next piece—never give up, EVER.  I wanted to quit and give up more times than I can count.  I convinced myself, however, that I’d regret giving up way more than finishing the job and failing.  Once you reach a certain point, failure isn’t an option, as if it ever was…

Thanks to David for being a great interviewee.  If you’d like to find out more about David, his blog can be found here and he can be contacted on Twitter via: @DMWLewis

You can buy Xakk Marks the Spot from Amazon.com or Amazon UK.

 

 

Meeting her new agent

Hello and welcome to my contribution to this week’s WIPpet Wednesday.

Thank you so much to all of you who gave me suggestions for the title of my novel.  In case you didn’t catch my earlier post, some weeks ago I did an Amazon search for Reunion just to double check that there wasn’t too similar a book with the same title. Unfortunately there was so I needed to come up with another title.

I was  stumped but Xina Marie Uhl and Kate Frost separately came up with the title Reunion of the Heart.  I really like it.  Seeing as it’s a romance I think it’s a great title as I want to ground it in the romance genre if that makes sense.  I needed a title that people who were wanting to read in that genre would be able to find and recognise it as being a romance.

So a big thank you to Xina Marie and Kate!

Back to the main event.  Continuing my spate of generosity in terms of length of excerpts I share, here’s two paragraphs from chapter five of my novel for the 5th February.  I’m hopping about a bit with my excerpts.  This one is a bit further on from last week’s.  My MC Anna, who’s an author, has just walked in to her new agent’s office.

She glanced surreptitiously around her.  It was the same office his predecessor Geoffrey had used but it was a lot different now.  It looked a little as though World War Three had hit it.  There were half emptied boxes on the floor with their contents spewing out.  The books on the shelves which lined three walls of the room were arranged haphazardly, some standing vertically, others lying horizontally in piles waiting to be arranged properly. And Peter’s desk.  That was a work of art in itself – a work in disorderliness.  Anna couldn’t even see the desk through all of the papers and books that covered it.  She smothered a smile as he rooted around his desk trying to find something.

‘Ah ha.  Here we are,’ he said brandishing the piece of paper in his hand like a sword.  ‘Before we start I should reassure you that I’ve read all your books and thoroughly enjoyed them.’  Anna felt her face flush with pleasure.  Peter went on, ‘These are some of the notes that Geoffrey gave me which relate to you and to how things are with your work.  But in all honesty, I’d rather hear from you.  What stage are you at with your current work in progress?’

Hope you enjoyed that. :) If you don’t already take part in WIPpet Wednesday and would like to, simply post on your blog an excerpt of whatever you’ve written lately which relates to the date.  Then add your details here.

Thank you K. L. Schwengel for hosting.

Wow what a wonderful WIPpet Wednesday!

Argument

OK so last week I promised you a longer excerpt from Reunion this week.  Using my clever WIPpet maths, I’ve come up with 4 paragraphs from chapter 14: 2+2=4 (amazing that, I can do maths!!) and obviously chapter 14 for the year. :)

I have something to tell you that made me frown.  I’ve told ReGi already… I did some searching on Amazon just to check and there’s another book out there called Reunion with a plot that’s not completely dissimilar to mine. :(  ReGi was kindly trying to help me come up with another title.  My husband reckons it doesn’t matter too much if I have a subtitle with it.

But… aargh!  I kind of get the feeling that if I don’t change the title and the plot stays the same (that’s one thing I’m not changing for love or money!!) then I could land myself in some hot water.  *Sigh*  It’s so difficult coming up with brand new inspiring titles.  I need help!!  Any more suggestions??

All right then, on with today’s WIPpet.  This scene takes place just after Anna has had a row with her now-boyfriend Peter.  These are turbulent times for her…

Waving goodbye to Peter as he made his way to the platform to catch the train back to London, Anna felt relief wash over her.  Relief quickly replaced by guilt.  She shouldn’t feel relieved that he was going – he was her boyfriend for goodness sake – but she was.  Turning away from his disappearing form, she began to make her way out of the station.  The cold dry weather they’d been experiencing had turned to cold wet weather and it was beginning to rain.  Anna pulled her hood up and dashed to her car.

She used the journey home to brood over Peter’s visit and how it had made her feel.  Remembering their love making, her face grew hot.  There was certainly nothing wrong in that department.  But why oh why had he felt it necessary to try to bestow expensive trinkets on her?  And more importantly, why should it matter to her if he did? 

As these thoughts were whirling around her head, Anna was startled by a horn blasting at her.  Shocked, she realised she’d been drifting into the opposite lane on the road.  Get a grip, Anna, she told herself.  Forget about Peter and concentrate on driving if you want to make it home.  She banished the troubling thoughts from her head and focused her attention on getting home safely.

When she reached the safety of her driveway, Anna turned the engine off and sat there for a moment in silence, staring blankly at her garage door.  I could have been killed, she thought.  This obsessing about Peter could have cost me my life.  Slowly, she got out of the car and leaned against it for a moment as if for support, ignoring the cold of its metal shell. 

Thanks as always for having a look at my work, all comments gratefully received!  Anyone can take part in WIPpet Wednesday.  All you’ve got to do is share a bit of your work that relates in some way to the date. Then add your details to this.  Be sure to take a look at what the other WIPpeteers are sharing.  Thank you, thank you, thank you K. L. Schwengel for hosting! :)

A post-Christmas post

Writing just do it

Hey everyone. I hope this post finds you well and that you all had a fantastic Christmas. I did. It was quiet and uneventful (apart from the usual family-seeing, opening-presents time) but good. It was lovely to catch up with my brother and sister who I don’t see that often.

Well I’m still working away on my current novel-to-be Reunion. I did over 1100 words on it yesterday, so I’m pleased with how it’s going. I hope to publish it some time in 2014.

I haven’t found the process of self-publishing entirely easy, but then I don’t think any self-published author I’ve been in contact with has. My debut novel The Inheritance hasn’t done as well as I would have liked. Like my good friend Jade Reyner I’ve experienced some, shall we say, less than favourable reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.

But it’s easy to focus on the negatives. I’ve had plenty of good reviews too and that keeps me going. Also as my husband is quick to remind me, I wasn’t originally going to publish The Inheritance and it’s largely down to him that I did. He felt it was important for me to have a book out there being read by people, to have the experience of self-publishing.

And I have to say I get a real buzz seeing it on Amazon and Goodreads, getting feedback from people who’ve read it, even if that feedback isn’t always positive. Now that I’ve been through the process of self-publishing a novel and learning to market it, I feel stronger as a writer. I’m constantly learning – aren’t we all – and I feel that my writing style is improving.

So I hope that when I come to publish Reunion, which is more of a straightforward romance than The Inheritance, my acquired knowledge of self-publishing will stand me in good stead.

On another note, but related to writing, I’ve given up with Scrivener. A week or so ago I had another play around with it and I couldn’t make sense of it. It just seems so complex and I was going round in circles with it. Luckily I didn’t lose any work as I just copied and pasted from Word into Scrivener. But it was really frustrating for me to not get anywhere with it. What I really need is to sit down with a physical person at my desk who is experienced with using Scrivener and can teach me how to use it.

Till then I’m sticking with Word! Or for the moment at least anyway. It’s a far simpler programme than Scrivener and far easier to navigate my way around! I wonder if there’s a way for the people who developed Scrivener to make it more user friendly?

Anyway I’d love to hear your reflections on your writing experiences of 2013 and if you’ve had more success (or less if that’s possible!) with Scrivener than me.

Until next time… Happy New Year for 2014!

Ups and downs on the self-publishing journey

I’ve been experiencing the different sides to being a self published author since I published my debut novel The Inheritance in September.

It was selling quite well to begin with and I was really encouraged. Then it slowed right down. I wasn’t doing very well in the US until I did my free promotion over 5 days from the end of October to the beginning of November. I had nearly 9500 free downloads during that time, the vast majority of them in the US.

But after that I came back down to earth with a bump. My novel was selling much better in the US than before the free promo, but worse in the UK. My sales in other parts of the world weren’t good either. Eventually my sales dived again and now I find myself selling one or two copies here and there.

Well I guess one or two is much better than none! It is quite disheartening though. I do feel that The Inheritance is a bit tricky to place in a genre, which could be partly why it’s not selling hugely.

And then I had a couple of bad ratings on Goodreads. Although they were unaccompanied by a review, for some reason I felt worse than when I read a review with the same rating on Amazon. But as my writer friend Kate Frost says, bad reviews come with the territory.

Bad reviews can be a little hard to stomach though after you’ve worked so hard on something. Although as my husband said, it’s not necessarily because my writing’s that bad, it’s just that it wasn’t to someone’s taste. As Kate also said you have to take bad reviews with a pinch of salt, just as you might a five star review which raves about a book. You don’t  know if they’re being fair or not.

I guess I’ve just got to keep my chin up and keep trying, promoting The Inheritance when I can and not being too downcast that it’s not selling that well.

How do you deal with disappointments in this self publishing journey?

Post breakup

Breakup

I thought I’d be a bit kinder this week and share with you 23 lines from the first chapter of Reunion. They follow immediately on from the revised beginning of the story which I shared with you a few weeks ago, where Anna is confronting her boyfriend Elliot about his cheating. She proceeds to kick him out.

You may recognise some sentences in this week’s excerpt because this passage has parts in it that were from my original beginning. So apologies if some of it seems the same. I have, however, changed a fair bit of it so hopefully it won’t overlap too much.

At this point in the story Anna has just kicked her cheating boyfriend out. Her best friend Melissa, who currently has nowhere to live, is moving in with her. Anna is still struggling with her emotions over the breakup and Melissa is doing her best to help her to move on.

My WIPpet maths goes like this: 6+11+2+1+3 = 23 lines. So there you have it. Hope you enjoy it.

‘He did you wrong, Anna. He cheated on you,’ Melissa said looking Anna straight in the eye, a no-nonsense expression on her face. ‘You were absolutely right to give him his marching orders.’

Anna didn’t answer for a moment. There was a pain in her chest which had been there since she’d thrown Elliot out and it wouldn’t budge.

‘That’s the last of them,’ she said finally, heaving Melissa’s suitcase through her front door and ignoring her searching gaze.

Melissa picked up one of the many bags in the hallway and took it into the slightly tidier front room. ‘Well it’s all in the past now anyway. It’s a new start for both of us.’

Anna nodded and followed her from the hallway overflowing like a swollen river with suitcases and bags into the relative tidiness of her front room. Her hair was coming loose from its ponytail and falling into her eyes, so she vigorously tugged her hair out of its band and retied it, pulling it tightly until it hurt. Tears were threatening to fall, but she held them back like water by a dam.

Why should she give way to tears when there was no point? Elliot would win if she did that and yet… The world is your oyster. The thought popped into her head as she was standing a little dazed in the middle of the front room. Well it was, wasn’t it, now that Elliot was no longer a part of her life. Or the oyster is your world as he used to say. She scrunched her eyes up; try as she might she just couldn’t seem to get him out of her mind.

‘You’re thinking about him again, aren’t you?’ Melissa’s voice brought her back from the brink.

‘Only a little,’ Anna lied unable to keep her voice steady.

As you may have seen on my blog, the free promotion of my debut novel The Inheritance ended yesterday and it went really well. I’ve had nearly 9500 downloads, most of them in the US so I’m happy about that. Hopefully it’ll lead to more sales. :)

If you would like to take part in WIPpet Wednesday, all you have to do is post an excerpt of your current writing work on your blog. Then add your name to this linky. Only rule is that it has to relate in some way to the date. Happy writing! Thanks to K. L. Schwengel for hosting.

The Inheritance does well in free promo!!

Well that was certainly an exciting 5 days. From Thursday last week until yesterday, my debut novel The Inheritance was free to download on Amazon.

I’d worked hard in the weeks leading up to it and applied to lots of free promo sites to register my details with them in the hope that some of them would mention me.

I paid for 3 of them to feature my book, the rest I left to chance. I was amazed when over the course of the 5 days a total of 9 sites I’d applied to for free featured my book on their site. I was happy to say the least.

What surprised me the most about the free promo was how well it did Stateside. Having only had meager sales of The Inheritance over there, I was amazed at the huge number of downloads there were. I had just over 9000.

The image I’ve uploaded from Amazon isn’t very clear, but I got to #53 in free ebooks on Amazon.com as well as #1 in romance and #3 in teen/young adult fiction. This result is more than I could have hoped for. I’m grateful to my blogger friends and Twitter followers as well as friends and family for spreading the word.

Although I didn’t do as well back here in the UK, I did get a few hundred downloads so I’m glad about that. In total, when I notched up the number of downloads across the world it came to 9461 which is just incredible for me.

Having had great success in the US but less in my own country, it got me to wondering why exactly that was. Thinking about it, I guess it may have been the cover that appealed to the American market and less so in the UK. It might also have been the subject matter, that a story about an inheritance and family issues may have been more appealing in the US than the UK.

Whatever the case, I’m just glad that thousands of people are now reading my book. That’s a good feeling. I’m also hoping that I’ll get a few more sales out of it. I was rather disappointed that my ranking in the sales category on Amazon had plummeted, both in the US and UK. Then I thought a bit more logically and remembered that technically I hadn’t sold any books anywhere since my free promo began, so it’s not all doom and gloom.

I’ll definitely be keeping a close eye on how The Inheritance does in the coming days. It’s exciting times.