Archive | Uncategorized RSS feed for this section

3 New Year’s Resolutions I intend to keep

1 Jan

IMG_7836 (2)

In 2015, I will be more careful with my time. I want to work in a way that is more effective, creative and efficient.

1. Outsource more

This year I will increasingly outsource the work I don’t want to do and look for new opportunities in self publishing. I will consider outsourcing anything that takes me away from the actual business of writing. I am doing some of these I outsource already. But I intend to do more:

  • Editing
  • Proofreading
  • Cover Design
  • Formatting
  • Audio recording
  • Marketing
  • Advertising
  • Research
  • Translations
  • Foreign Rights

2. Work on simultaneous projects.

I find that is easier to stay inspired if I dip between projects. I will have one main project at a time, but I’ll allow myself half an hour here and there to dip into something else if I want to. It’s not that different to spending a little time on social media or blogging. I see it as a way to warm up before starting work, or as an alternative if my attention is flagging. The main thing is to make the most of the time I have for writing.

3. Blog for readers, not for writers

I started Self Publish Bible at the beginning of my self-publishing career, when I was still had everything to learn about the business. A couple of years in, I feel my focus has changed. I have a little bit more experience and although the world is constantly changing, I know where to go for good information. You can’t beat blogs like  The Creative Penn. There are also some great podcasts – I love Rocking Self Publishing and The Self-Publishing Podcast; a great mix of enthusiasm, information and entertainment. I still like to talk to other indie authors and swap ideas, but I don’t need to do that on my blog.

So I’m starting a new blog.

Lorna Breaks Stuff is aimed at my fiction readers. It will be light-hearted and fun, with lots of colourful pictures. It should be an enjoyable way to keep in touch with readers without bombarding them with emails.

What do you think of my new year’s resolutions? Are you making any yourself?

Advertisements

Literary festivals – what’s in it for indies?

20 May
Image

With indie entrepreneur, Joanna Penn

As a self-published author, you might wonder what you’d get out of attending a literary festival that primarily celebrates published authors and their books. I’ve just returned from Crimefest, an annual event in Bristol, England, and I would definitely go again. 

In recognition of independently published authors, Crime Writing Day began with a talk from self-publishing guru, Joanna Penn. Joanna emphasized the need to make self-published books as good as traditionally published ones, by using professional editors and cover designers. She also pointed out the fact that each book is not just one product, but many because it can be an eBook, a print book and also an audio book. It can also be sold in many countries, both in English, and in other languages if you get it translated. This is a good reason not to sign all your rights away to a publisher, but does not stop you from accepting, say a print deal whilst keeping your eBook rights. Joanna added that it was the business side of things that had made her self-publish. Once she had worked through the process of publishing her first book, she found that it was not that hard and she did not need a publisher to do it for her. 

Image

Some of the other writers I met at Crimefest had been holding out for traditional publishing deals but I think the Emerging Indie Voices panel was an eye-opener for many. This panel featured successful indie authors, Tim Cooke, Eva Hudson, Mel Sherratt and Carol Westron, who each spoke about their decision to self-publish. Mel Sherratt said she was grateful to Amazon for giving her the opportunity to publish her own books, after many years of seeking a traditional deal. She has since signed with a publisher for at least one of her books, but it was self-publishing that gave her the opportunity to do so. 

As a reader, as well as a writer, I can’t deny that I found It exciting to mingle with successful authors, many of whom had plenty of advice.There was also the opportunity to meet literary agents and editors, as well as readers and bloggers. But I think the thing I liked most about Crimefest was the shared love of books. It made me want to write more than ever. 

Have you attended any literary festivals as a self-published author? How did you get on?

Disaster and contingency planning for self-published writers

28 Apr

320px-Insulators_and_electricity_pylon

Last month was the anniversary of the launch of my first novel, FRY. I can’t say it was as special as the anniversary of my first baby being born, but it still meant something to me. I was planning to do a post to commemorate the event, but the internet had other ideas. 3 weeks, 2 engineer visits and 1 new router later, it’s finally working again.

Our internet issues got me thinking about how fragile the self-publishing environment is. It’s predominantly eBook based, which requires both authors and readers to have near regular access to the internet. Of course, this dependency on the internet must be true for a lot of businesses, but it especially applies to self-publishers. The internet brought down the costs of publishing and distribution to near zero. It is a market based solely on the existence of the internet. Without the internet, our current opportunities would not exist. I would not be writing this blog, and most likely, FRY would not have found an audience.

This latest outage was not the first time we’ve been without internet in recent months. At Christmas, we were without power for the best part of three days, and there were more power cuts in February. On both occasions, we were lucky to avoid the floods that affected the villages around us. But for me personally, the power cuts meant that I could not participate in social media or work on my new novel, as I had saved it on my computer. Without electricity, the batteries on our phones and laptops quickly ran out. Not having electricity in the house is a major hindrance, but it is still possible to do most things; we lit candles for light, bought a camping stove for cooking/heating water and we still had a car to get around in. Working on my novel, on another hand was impossible. We are completely reliant on electricity and if it cut out and stayed out – I would not be able to blog, distribute my books or finish my novel, without starting all over again from scratch. But then again if we lost electricity for good I would have bigger problems… no more Eurovision!

200px-EuroUE.svg

 

So what can I do (other than digging an underground lair and stacking it full of water and tins of Spam?) Well, I don’t think we are likely to lose electricity or the internet any time soon. It’s possible but unlikely. It’s far more likely that I will spill coffee on my laptop, drop the flashcard down the loo or overwrite a backup file. It’s also possible to back up to an empty directory instead of a file (yes, I was doing that for a few months). So what is a writer to do? Well, here are my suggestions:

  1. Back up. Then back up the back up and take a back up of that. It won’t hurt. Just make sure you set up a process so you don’t confuse yourself. I back up every day to a flashcard, then back that up every week or so to another computer. I then back up that up to an external hard drive  and also back up to a cloud every few weeks. This is not paranoia, but a cautious back up strategy.
  2. I also print. It’s easier to read when proof reading and also means you have an additional hard back up.
  3. If possible, I also avoid using the same laptop for writing and the internet. There are a lot of viruses out there and I don’t want them!

What do you do to safeguard your work? Do you have a contingency plan in case of disaster?

May Queen Killers and a game of WordPress tag

3 Mar
Image

Image taken from Wikepedia

I was tagged in a game of WordPress tag by the fabulous Lorna Lee of the very colourful Lorna’s Voice. I have yet to meet a Lorna who wasn’t fabulous. If anyone knows a rotten Lorna, please don’t tell me. It will break my heart. The game is simple. I have to answer a set of questions about my writing, then tag three more writers to continue the game. Here are my answers:

What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on my 2nd thriller, May Queen Killers, which is set on the English/Welsh border. Here’s a little teaser:

Where have all the May Queens gone?

At 34 years old, Sapphire Butterworth is a little old to be crowned May Queen, but she has her heart set on the title and no one is going to stand in her way. But then Sapphire disappears in the middle of the May Day celebrations and someone throws a brick through the window of her tea shop. Soon, there are scenes of May Day carnage throughout the village; lambs mauled by vicious dogs and may poles ripped apart. 

Mystery writer, Jock Skone is one of the last to see Sapphire and determined to use his detective skills to find her. But Jock quickly discovers that Sapphire’s friends do not know her as well as they thought they did. And Sapphire is not the first May Queen to go missing. Is there a deeper reason why Sapphire wanted the title so badly? Does she know more about the May Queen Killers than she’s been letting on?

How does your work differ from others in the same genre?

I write very British psychological thrillers. My books are fast-paced, five hour reads that are hard to put down. I use a combination of action and dialogue with a splat of dark humour. My mysteries are hard to solve, but I write in a simple and accessible way. I don’t like too much gore, and don’t do a lot of swearing. I leave out the parts I would skip as a reader, so you won’t find any long-winded descriptions in my books. And although the police may make an appearance, they are never the ones to solve the mystery!

Why do you write what you do?

I write what I love, but I do try to stick to psychological thrillers because I have created an audience for those. If I write anything outside of that genre, I keep it short and just for fun. If my mystery readers like my side projects, then that’s a bonus.

How does your writing process work?

I usually get the idea for the next book while I’m working on the one before, so I have to write everything down before I forget it. I am chaotic at heart, but I am slowly moving towards a more planned style of writing. I still end up taking twists and turns that I had never intended, but I no longer spend time polishing my first draft until I have to. I like my work big and messy and covered in scorch marks until I am absolutely sure of the story.

 And now I have to tag three more writers

Pete Denton, is currently working on a couple of crime novels. You can download a free sample of his work here.

Rami Ungar is the author of the Reborn City series available on AmazonCreatespace, and Smashwords

Roberta’s Dreamworld – Roberta is the author of Hugged by an Angel, The Melody in our hearts and A Christmas Melody.

As always, thanks for reading!

I gave away 40,000 copies of FRY last week!

12 Jan

 

Image

Picture credit: selfpublishingorg.com

Hi everyone,

Ever thought of trying out Bookbub? Well, last week I had my first promo with them, and gave away over 40,000 copies of FRY in the US alone! The promo was also picked up by some big sites who’ve featured FRY before; Digital Books Today and eReader News Today, but Bookbub definitely accounts for a large chunk of those downloads.

Prior to this promo, I had left Amazon KDP and experimented with making my book available on other sites such as Smashwords for a few months, but in the end the pull of Amazon proved too much, so I decided to go back to an exclusive agreement with them. I had to wait a couple of months for the other sites to take down my book, but after that I was ready to go. I applied for a Bookbub promo, not really expecting it to be granted, because I’ve heard from a lot of authors that Bookbub turn most books down. Then to my surprise, FRY got the nod, and from there it was plain sailing. I think the fact that I hadn’t done a promo since the end of May probably helped my download numbers too, especially as the book sites don’t like to feature books which are available for free too often. In the end, FRY reached number 16 on the Amazon.com free chart, and might possibly have gone higher, if the top of the charts weren’t dominated by one author, Beth Moore. Moore’s popular spiritual books were all available for free at once, and the cross promotional effect seemed powerful, making it difficult for any other author to reach higher than about number 14. An interesting strategy!

All the same, I can’t quibble about 40,000 downloads! If you were in any doubt about how effective Bookbub is, I think my experience shows that it does the job! I am certainly raking in the reviews as a result, and seeing an increase in sales too.

Have you done a Bookbub promo? I’d love to know how it went. 

Self Publish Bible’s New Year’s Resolutions for 2014

2 Jan

Happy New Year!

Self Publish Bible is one year old today (ahh!)

P1020292

It’s a good job I’m not the superstitious type because the rain is lashing against the windows and the river is rising (again.) We spent much of Christmas in darkness, so I’m just hoping the power will hold out while I write this. I have always loved making New Year’s Resolutions. Not sure why really, except I really, really love to plan. After a good long think, I’ve boiled it down to the following, (besides keeping dry of course. That goes without saying.)

Read more

My Goodreads Reading Challenge for 2013 was a paltry 10 books. I met my target, but I’m sure I could read more. (And no, I’m not counting all those bedtime stories about farmyard animals that my daughter makes me read every night.) Before I had my children, I probably read a book a week, but as a full-time mum, I just don’t have much free time, especially as I need time to write. This year, I’ve set a goal of 15 books, with the intention that it will keep going up. I am including audiobooks in my total, as I hope this help me to access books I otherwise wouldn’t get to.

Write faster

In 2014, I hope to get quicker and more efficient at writing. I want to make a better use of my time by banning the internet, and perhaps even using a timer to keep me tied to my desk while I write. I am also hoping to find more time to write once my son starts school in September, and my daughter goes part-time at nursery. The real trick will be not to use too much of that time up on household tasks. It’s amazing how much time you can fritter away on a few chores. The good news is that I do seem to be getting quicker. I took years to write FRY. My second book, May Queen Killers is due to come out in May and should take 14 months total.I just hope that my speed will continue to improve with experience.

Write better

I intend to read at least one on book on writing/editing skills this year. If possible, I’d love to attend a writing workshop. It’s great fun to get together with other writers and you always pick up something new.

Don’t waste too much time on social media

This is not to say that I’m giving it up altogether, but now that I’ve been at it a little while, I’m starting to see what works for me. I like to blog, but not too often. Really only when I’ve got something to say, or an occasional book review or author interview. I update my Facebook author page whenever I blog, but probably not more than that. The same goes for LinkedIn and Google plus. My favourite place is definitely Twitter. In addition to meeting other authors, I have found readers through Twitter and more importantly, reviewers. At first, I was a bit retweet happy, but these days, I am careful not to bombard my followers with too many messages and I just pop on for a few minutes here and there. Of course, I am a bit more active when I’m running a promotion.

Have you made any resolutions for 2014?

I’d love to hear what they are! Until next time, stay dry, folks!

FRY makes indiereader’s best books of 2013 list!

17 Dec

So I have some exciting news! FRY made indiereader.com’s best books of 2013. Not only that, but the list includes best-selling author Hugh Howey. How’s that for a great way to end the publishing year?

http://indiereader.com/2013/12/irs-best-indie-books-for-2013/

%d bloggers like this: