Advice needed

OK guys I really need some advice here. As many of you will be aware, I’ve self-published two novels, The Inheritance and Reunion of the Heart, on Amazon Kindle within about a year of each other (September 2013, August 2014).

The thing is neither of them have taken off – I mean AT ALL – and I’m feeling really low about it. I will admit that I haven’t done a huge amount of promotion for either and I guess you would all say that that is why they haven’t sold much.

But here’s the thing: I’m not entirely convinced about the positive impact of lots of (and sometimes costly) promotion. I’m not convinced that putting them on a number of different promo sites would make a massive amount of difference. Or tweeting about them. Or Facebooking etc.

About a year ago I put The Inheritance on a free promotion. I got nearly 9500 downloads. But I was really disappointed that it didn’t translate into sales. I think part of the problem was that around that time Amazon stopped promoting free books hence my struggle to get more sales afterwards.

So anyway last weekend I decided to do an experiment and put The Inheritance on sale at 99c. I thought maybe I might get a few more sales. I did tweet about it but so far nothing.

I’ve read some ebooks about getting to know how Amazon and its algorithms work and how to use that to my advantage. I’ve tried changing some of the keywords on Reunion of the Heart but that hasn’t seemed to make any difference either.

Some of these books have also suggested various ways to promote your novel strategically, things like setting up a mailing list. But would these work or affect my sales if I haven’t got a book coming out soon? I would also struggle with setting up a mailing list as I haven’t got a clue how it’s done!

I feel frustrated because I think (maybe erroneously!) that my books are as good as many other people’s that are out there and doing OK for themselves. The main problem is that no one knows they’re there. Also, as my husband has pointed out, I write in a broad genre (i.e. contemporary romance) and so it’s hard to target my potential audience with things like good keywords because there are so many titles out there.

Argh! Anyway, I feel like I need to create a good strategy, a plan to give my books a bit of a kick start so that I can somehow let people know that they’re out there and are worth a read. But I don’t know where to start. I’m also tired from my new day job (which is great BTW – I can be thankful for that at least!) and I don’t want to take on too much extra work at the moment.

Any suggestions? Or anyone going through a similar experience?

*I should add that I’ve heard from a writer friend that ebook sales (particularly in the UK) are down which I guess doesn’t help!

I START MY NEW JOB TOMORROW!! (and here’s my WIPpet for Wednesday)

Yes I am indeed starting a new job tomorrow which is why this post is late and short (but hopefully sweet!). I’ve been doing all my washing and other house jobs today because I won’t have time tomorrow or Friday as I’ll be working all day. :)

(Great excuse not to do housework hee hee!) I should add that I might not get around to commenting on many WIPpets this week because of said job. My apologies. Anyway as I said today’s WIPpet is a short one because of the time thing. So using my incredible powers with mathematics, you get 2 sentences: 1 + 1 for the month of November. :)

I’m not going to say much about it except that it’s from Teaching Mr Leavis again (which I’m hacking to pieces editing at the moment) and it’s taken from the first chapter. Here you go:

Rebecca heard a snap – probably the man closing his phone – and began to walk around the corner to get her bike. She collided with a solid, muscular chest and nearly fell over before strong arms caught her and lifted her upright again.

If you’re reading this and thinking ‘Ooh that’s something I’d like to take part in’, it’s easy. Just post on your blog an excerpt of what you’ve been working on lately writing-wise. Ideally it should relate in some way to the date. Then add your details to this linky thingy here. Don’t forget to check out the other WIPpeteers’ contributions.

Thanks to the fantabulous K. L. Schwengel for hosting once more.

Romance Writer’s Weekly Blog Hop #lovewritechat

RWBanner

If you’ve just joined me from Collette Cameron’s blog, welcome!

This week in the Romance Writer’s Weekly blog hop it’s going to be a short but sweet post as we’re doing something a little different. The question we have to answer this time is what is our favourite seasonal dish.

Well for me at this time of year it has to be a traditional British roast. So for me that’s roast chicken or turkey with roast potatoes and parsnips (I absolutely ADORE roast parsnips!) with carrots and stuffing, as well as some greens like cabbage or sprouts.

Why not go and check out Elizabeth Janette’s blog now and read what she has to say about her favourite seasonal dish?

 

An interview with my MC Rebecca – WIPpet Wednesday

I wasn’t sure what to share today as I’m up to my neck in editing Teaching Mr Leavis and changing a whole lot of stuff. OK that’s putting a bit crudely, but you get the idea.

Anyway I thought I’d share with you something I’ve written especially for today: an interview with my main character from Teaching Mr Leavis, Rebecca. It’s a bit rough and ready but I hope you enjoy it. Oh and I should say that it doesn’t relate in any way to the date and it’s over 500 words long. My apologies! Here you go:

Me: I’m pleased to be interviewing the main character in my story Teaching Mr Leavis today. Her name in case you didn’t know is Rebecca. By the way I should add that we’re travelling back in time as the story is set twenty years ago. So over to you, Rebecca. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Rebecca: I will but what do you mean by the story being set twenty years ago? (Folds her arms and looks stern.)

Me: Um… nothing really. Please continue.

R: (Looks suspicious) All right, well I’m an English teacher at a secondary school called Wyncliffe High.

Me: Could you clarify what a secondary school is? We have an international audience.

R: (raises an eyebrow) We do? OK, a secondary school is for 11 to 16 year olds and at 16 the children sit their GCSEs – that stands for General Certificate of Secondary Education. Then they leave.

Me: (nods) So what’s it like teaching at Wyncliffe?

R: (shrugs) It’s pretty good. Though what with this being my first year it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster ride.

Me: In what way?

R: (cheeks turn pink) I’ve had to get used to teaching – this is my first teaching job since completing my QTS – that’s qualified teacher status for those who don’t know. I got that after my degree. Anyway, I feel like I’m settling into the job now.

Me: (murmurs) In more ways than one.

R: (sharply) What was that?

Me: Um… nothing.

R: I suppose you’re referring to my love life?

Me: Well…

R: (turns red in the face) I don’t see how it’s anyone’s business but my own. Yes I’ve had my ups and downs in that department, but haven’t we all? (Pauses, smoothing down already smooth hair.) Mr Leavis and I are…

Me: What?

R: We might be an item, but we’re keeping it under wraps. For now anyway. Daniel, his son, has just finished his GCSEs so it should be easier without him at the school. I mean, it just looks bad if I’m dating my pupil’s father.

Me: (nods) But I don’t suppose anyone really cares. It’s not illegal is it?

R: (shakes head) No, that’s true but I’d hate to think that I was the subject of gossip. Though I have been warned that people do gossip at Wyncliffe. It’s just what seems to happen. I suppose that’s life. (sighs)

Me: And are you happy in your life at the moment Rebecca?

R: (smiles) Yes, very. I wouldn’t turn back the clock, not for anything.

Me: What do you mean?

R: Ending my engagement with Alex. We both made the right decision and I know that he’s happy now and I’m happy too. It’s taken a long while for me to get to this point. Now that I’m with Jonathan things are good for me. Though I hated his guts for a while. (smiles)

Me: Well I’m glad you’ve found happiness. Thank you for taking the time to talk to me, Rebecca. (I hold out my hand for her to shake.)

R: Thank you very much too. You helped me and Jonathan to find each other.

Me: I did? (feigns perplexity)

R: Yes, you know you did. I’m grateful for it.

Me: Maybe I helped you a little… anyway I’m glad you’re happy. See you around, Rebecca.

R: Yes, see you in the twenty first century.

(I blink and she’s gone.)

If you would like to take part in WIPpet Wednesday all you have to do is share a piece of whatever you’re working on writing-wise. It should ideally relate in some way to the date, though I’ve broken that rule today! Then add your name here.

Thank you to K. L. Schwengel for hosting. I believe she’s back from her travels now, so why not pop over to her blog and take a look? :)

Spotlight on author Laekan Zea Kemp

bio1I’m pleased to be promoting my fellow author Laekan Zea Kemp on my blog today. She has just released her new novel The Girl In Between, which will become perma-free on October 31st. See the links below for where you can download copies for free! And I am appearing on Laekan’s blog later on today too. She’s interviewing me about my writing process and my experience of self-publishing. Click here in a while to check it out.

Synopsis: Bryn Reyes is a real life sleeping beauty. Afflicted with Klein-Levin Syndrome, she suffers episodes of prolonged sleep that steal weeks, and sometimes even months, from her life. But unlike most KLS patients, she doesn’t spend each episode in a catatonic state or wake up with no recollection of the time she’s missed. Instead, Bryn spends half her life in an alternate reality made up of her memories. For Bryn, the past is a place, until one day a boy she’s never met before washes up on the illusory beach of her dreams with no memory of who he is.

But the appearance of this strange boy isn’t the only thing that’s changed. Bryn’s symptoms are worsening, her body weakening as she’s plagued by hallucinations even while awake. Her only hope of finding a cure is to undergo experimental treatment created by a German specialist. But when Dr. Banz reveals that he knows more about her strange symptoms than he originally let on, Bryn learns that the boy in her head might actually be the key to understanding what’s happening to her, and worse, that if she doesn’t find out his identity before it’s too late, they both may not survive.

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23124500-the-girl-in-between
Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NQL0LRC/ref=s9_simh_gw_p351_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=1GT1AKPRWGQ1B9VMPF3A&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1688200382&pf_rd_i=507846
Barnes & Noble link: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-girl-in-between-laekan-zea-kemp/1120421881?ean=2940150744608

TheGirlInBetween1600x2400Author Bio:

Laekan is a writer and explorer extraordinaire who grew up in the flatlands of West Texas. She graduated from Texas Tech with a BA in Creative Writing and is the author of the multi-cultural New Adult novels The Things They Didn’t Bury, Orphans of Paradise, Breathing Ghosts, and the Young Adult novel The Girl In Between, which is the first in an upcoming paranormal romance series.

Blog: http://laekanzeakemp.wordpress.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LaekanZeaKemp

Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6577467.Laekan_Zea_Kemp

Wattpad: http://www.wattpad.com/user/laekanzeakemp

Sort of finished – WIPpet Wednesday

wippetwednesday

Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday, that time of the week when we WIPpeteers share some of what we’ve been working on writing-wise lately.

As the title of this blog post suggests I’ve finished the first draft of Teaching Mr Leavis. Yay! you might say – I’m sort of yay but not quite because now comes the hard part.

It’s come in at less than 50,000 words and ideally I want it to be longer than that. Also it needs a LOT of work on it and when I say a lot, I mean a lot! I need to tighten things up plot wise, develop underused characters, make it more romantic (yes really!) – the list is endless!

So I’ve started going through from the beginning and starting to change things. I want to edit the entire thing myself before anyone else sees it. Then maybe get an alpha reader to look at it. And only after that will I get any beta readers to take a look. Right now I’m feeling like I don’t want anyone to see it in its present state! (WIPpet Wednesday doesn’t count – I can share the better bits with you all for that!!)

Anyway onto what I’m sharing with you today. I’ve decided to share something a bit different. I thought I’d introduce you to Judith, my MC Rebecca’s disapproving mother. Rebecca and her parents – Judith and Martin – don’t see eye to eye. Judith and Martin have always wanted Rebecca to do what they think she should be doing – they don’t approve of her teaching. Rebecca won’t play ball so there’s tension. Lots of it! This scene takes place after Rebecca has had another encounter with Jonathan Leavis. Today Judith is visiting Rebecca in her flat. Rebecca’s preoccupied and things aren’t going well between them…

For today I’m sharing with you 21 sentences. My maths goes like this: 20 + 1 = 21 (I’m cheating again, taking the digits from the year!) Enjoy!

‘So how’s it all going at the school then, Rebecca?’ her mother Judith asked, taking a sip from her bone china cup of tea. It was Saturday afternoon. Rebecca’s mother and father were visiting Stokington for a few days. Maria had point blank refused to let them stay with her again so soon after their previous visit, so Judith and Martin, Rebecca’s father, were staying in a local hotel. Judith was visiting Rebecca while Martin went to explore the Stokington aviation museum, which was on the outskirts of the city.

Rebecca was silent for a moment, pondering her mother’s question. Memories of her encounter with Jonathan Leavis two days ago came flooding back. She felt heat rush to her face and downed the rest of her tea in one go.

‘Are you feeling hot?’ Judith asked. ‘It is a bit warm in here; maybe you should open the window.’

‘No, Mum, it’s all right, I’m sure I’ll cool down in a minute,’ Rebecca replied, her face warm with embarrassment. ‘School’s going well thank you. It’s busy but I’m coping.’

Barely, she added silently. She was feeling the pressure of continuing to prepare her pupils for their exams later in the school year.

Judith nodded. ‘Well you know what your dad and I say. You can always…’

‘Give it up, yes I know,’ Rebecca snapped. ‘But that’s not going to happen. I’m not going to give up after just one term. I know how much you’d love it if I did, but I won’t.’

That’s it from me today. :) If you have any advice re editing/pulling a book apart let me know!

WIPpet Wednesday is open to anyone who’d like to take part. Just share with us on your blog an excerpt from whatever you’ve been working on writing-wise lately. Preferably your excerpt should relate in some way to the date. Then add your name to this linky thing.

Thanks goes to our lovely currently-travelling K. L. Schwengel for hosting.  :D

 

 

 

 

I’ve finished… sort of!

BookThis is just a quick post to say that I’ve finished my first draft of Teaching Mr Leavis, the romance about a school teacher I’ve been writing.

It’s come in at less than 50,000 words though, so at the moment although it’s technically classed as a novel, it’s a short one. Now comes the hard part. It needs a heck of a lot of editing, which in a way I’m looking forward to.

I reckon I can significantly increase the word count while at the same time improving on what’s written as I go through the editing process. Why has this story kind of run away from me and made me end at the end at what feels like too soon?

Well maybe it’s because I didn’t stick to my plan enough, that I didn’t make a detailed enough plan and so things just kind of evolved. But it’s definitely been an interesting experience so far. I’ve discovered more about the characters who’ve developed and changed during the course of the story and I’ve been able to take the plot in new and interesting directions.

So anyway I’ve decided that for now no one is going to see this story apart from me. I’m going to go through it and edit it as thoroughly as I can. Then I may well see if I can find an alpha reader to take a look at it and only after that get it beta read. I’m hoping that way I can greatly improve on what I’ve got at the moment.

I do believe it’s a promising story and could be made even better when I’ve gone through and corrected things, developed some of the subsidiary characters more and fleshed out the plot. I have to say I’m actually looking forward to this process. It’s going to be a lot of hard work, but I’m hoping it’ll be worth it in the end.

What are your current writing projects looking like? Are you in the middle of editing?