Tag Archives: self-publishing

Literary festivals – what’s in it for indies?

20 May
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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. 

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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?

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Five star reviews, paperback problems and forging ahead

30 Sep

 

 

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Just a quick post to let you all know what I’m up to at the moment. I now have a very rough first draft of my second novel, May Queen Killers, but it will need a fair bit of rewriting before I am happy with it. It’s quite different from my last book in that I’m telling the story from more than one perspective. It’s still very psychological, but there’s more of a detective element this time. Like FRY, it will be fast-paced and full of twists and turns. I like to keep my readers guessing!

Later this month, I also have a short story called Vampire Driving School coming out in a charity anthology called ‘In Vein‘.  The anthology is in aid of St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and features the work of 18 different authors, so it should be a good read.

And finally, FRY got a fantastic five star review from IndieReader.com  a few weeks ago. They even made it their book of the week. As it was featured on their site, I also got a sticker to go on the book cover, which is great as we’ve just been finalising the paperback version. Getting the paperback out has taken longer than anticipated, so I’m really glad I launched the eBook first. When the paperback proof came back, there were a few minor problems such as the page numbers being larger on one side of the page than the other. It took a bit of fiddling to get the cover right as well, but it now has the IndieReader sticker and review on it, as well as an author picture and a few other features which were not available on the eBook version.

Indie Authors – do you release your eBook and paperback versions at the same time, or do you prefer to put out the eBook first? 

 

 

Interview with Demons in the Big Easy Author, Jamie Marchant

3 Jun

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This week I interviewed urban fantasy Author, Jamie Marchant.

Tell me a bit about yourself

 From early childhood, I’ve been immersed in books. My mother, an avid reader herself, read to us, and my older sister filled my head with fairy tales. When I was about six, I started writing stories about the Man from Mars for my older sister. I devoured every book I could get my hands on, and I wrote my first fantasy novel while in high school—not that it was publishable. Taking into consideration my love for literature and the challenges of supporting myself as a writer, I pursued a Ph.D. in American literature, which I received in 1998. I started teaching writing and literature at Auburn University and discovered the excitement of teaching. But in doing so, I put my true passion on the backburner and neglected my muse. Instead, for a few years, I wrote literary criticism. Then one day, in the midst of writing a critical piece, I realized I had no interest in doing so. What I wanted to do was write novels. My muse thus revived, I began the book that was to become The Goddess’s Choice.  I have an entire series planned.

I live in Auburn, Alabama, with my husband and son. I still teach writing and literature at Auburn University.

 What’s your latest book about?

Demons in the Big Easy is an urban fantasy novella. Adventurous in her youth, Cassandra built gateways between Domhan and its parallel realm of Earth. Now she’s too old for that kind of thing. But something is making it easier for demons to pass into Domhan. Not only that, but their behavior becomes inexplicable: whenever Cassandra banishes one, it laughs at her rather than resists, and it promises it will soon devour her essence and that of every resident of her small village. Cassandra is certain such a thing is impossible, for strong wards protect her village.

But then Cassandra’s granddaughter Aine falls through an unstable gateway. Cassandra is the only one within a hundred miles capable of creating a gateway and bringing Aine back. Despite her aching joints, Cassandra goes after her, and the gateway lands her in New Orleans. But something goes wrong with her tracking spell, which indicates Aine exists in four different places at once. As Cassandra struggles to find the true location of her granddaughter in the Big Easy, she discovers the source of the demons’ confidence.  Now, with an unlikely pair of allies—her timid granddaughter and a homeless man who may or may not be crazy—she has to not only save her granddaughter but also prevent both Domhan and Earth from being overrun by demons.

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 How long did it take you to write?

About 4 months. Fast, considering the years it took me to finish my first novel, The Goddess’s Choice.

 Why did you choose to self publish?

 A small publisher published my first novel, but I found that they did nearly nothing to market it. If I wanted it to sell, I had to do all the marketing myself. I decided that if I was going to have to do all the work, I should garner a larger share of the profits, so I self-published Demons in the Big Easy.

 Would you be interested in a publishing deal if it were offered?

It would depend on the size of the publisher and what they were going to commit to in terms of marketing.

 Who created your cover? 

I did it myself. I hope it doesn’t look like it.

Did you hire an editor? If not, how did you go about editing your book?

I didn’t hire an editor. I belong to a writers’ critique group, and they helped me edit it.

What are you doing to market your book?

I’ve been doing a lot of blog appearances. I have also participated in some giveaways.

What’s next for you?

I have all but the final edits done for The Soul Stone, a sequel to The Goddess’s Choice, in which Samantha struggles to solidify her rule, and Robrek must confront a bigger threat to the safety of the joined kingdoms.

I’m also working on an urban fantasy novel, The Bull Riding Witch, which has a princess from a parallel realm switching bodies with a rodeo bull rider.

Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed on Selfpublishbible, Jamie!

You can catch up with Jamie on facebook ,Goodreads and Twitter or follow her blog 

 

High or low? Choosing a price-point for my self-published eBook

21 May

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When I launched FRY on Amazon back in March, I initially priced it at $2.99, which translated as about £2.06 in the UK.  For the first few weeks, it sold steadily on both Amazon.com and Amazon UK. Then after around three weeks, my UK sales started to pick up as it was swept into the orbit of some much more prominent books in my genre. By orbit, I mean that it appeared in the ‘Customers also bought’ category for these books, and by prominent, I mean Amazon top 100 books – top 10 at one point. I believe that this happened because I went free for a couple of days shortly after my book launched, which helped give my book more visibility, even if it didn’t lead to a sales bump at the time.

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I knew that FRY would not probably not stay in the orbit of these more prominent books forever, and noted that most of them were priced lower than mine. £1.99, or even 99p or less were quite common for books in my genre, so after the first month, I took a gamble and dropped the price right down to 77p (99 cents.) This definitely had an impact. I went from a best of around 20 sales a day, to 70 sales in one day (nearly all in the UK). Albeit temporarily, FRY rose to number 4 in psychological thrillers on Amazon UK, above some of my favourite authors.

And now? A few weeks on, I do not make more money at the lower price-point, but I do sell a lot more books and I reach a lot more readers, which is very important to me. As a writer, I want people to read and enjoy my book, and I also want to build an audience for the next one, May Queen Killers, which comes out next year. I also get more reviews, which have been overwhelmingly positive, and I’m sure this helps to convince readers to give FRY a go.

Many self-publishing gurus advise that you don’t drop your price, or attempt any other marketing tactics until you have a number of books out, but for me at least, the low price is working. For now. And of course, I can always change my mind. That’s the beauty of self-publishing. Nothing is set in stone.

Have you experimented with different price-points?  I’d love to hear about your experiences!

Interview with Garry Kay, author of psychological thriller, Don’t Fear the Reaper

3 Apr

 

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This week I interviewed self-published author, Garry Kay. Don’t Fear The Reaper was the first self-published book I read on my brand new kindle and I was really impressed by the quality. If you would like to check out, Don’t Fear the Reaper is going to be free on Amazon for the next two days (Thurs 4th and Friday 5th April.) Read on to find out more…

Tell me a bit about yourself 

I am 49 and live in Cornwall with my wife Ginny and two teenage children Hannah and Sam. I did an economics degree at the University of Surrey and Michigan State University. In 1986 I started as a trainee reporter on the West Sussex County Times in Horsham. After the County Times, I joined the Yorkshire Gazette & Herald in York as sports editor. I then took a career break with Ginny to work in a bar in Lanzarote while she worked as a holiday rep. I returned to York as chief sub-editor before joining The West Briton in 1995 as deputy editor. In 2000, I joined the Press Association in Leeds as new media chief sub-editor, but missed Cornwall so much that I returned. Since then I have made a living through property investments and writing novels. During my time at the Yorkshire Gazette & Herald, the paper won the coveted Press Gazette national award for Newspaper of the Year, a success I repeated at The West Briton in Cornwall.

Tell me about your books

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Break Free: Stockholm syndrome is a psychological phenomenon in which hostages have positive feelings towards their captors. Andrew Leopard has not been kidnapped. He is a teenager starting university, but he has lived in his father’s shadow for so long that he struggles to break free when endless opportunities slap him in the face. He falls in love with Pink Socks. He doesn’t even know her real name. She’s a fox … but is Andrew the incapable in pursuit of the unattainable?

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The Door: Jack String and Bruce Morfield don’t like each other. The feud steps up when they become reporters on rival newspapers. The race is on for the  big front page splash. Bruce is always one step ahead as Jack is distracted by the dark-haired daughter of a wealthy property developer  … when he’s not playing football. He’s never far behind Bruce but as  he closes in, the light at the end of the tunnel is switched off. Jack is left with questions. He hopes to find the answers behind a mysterious locked door.

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Don’t Fear The Reaper: One of the best film endings ever is The Italian Job. ‘Hang on a minute lads, I’ve got a great idea.’ But what happens next? Don’t Fear The Reaper starts where The Italian Job ends but there’s no gold and it’s not in Italy. It’s a crashed bus full of tourists balanced upside down over a cliff in Corfu. The Grim Reaper arrives in playful mood with a quota of 16 to fill. As you face death, your whole life flashes before your eyes. This book explores that fascinating and most fleeting moment.

What gave you the inspiration for Don’t Fear the Reaper?

I was fascinated with films like Flatliners which look at what happens immediately after death … the out-of-body experience which many people have spoken about after being revived from near death. In short, the moment your life flashes before your eyes when you face death.

When and where do you write?

Ideas fill my head in the night and I wake up with a head full of new chapters. Can’t write with others in the house, so must wait till they’ve all gone, then I play key mood songs, which for the Reaper included Hurt by Johnny Cash,Seasons in the Sun by Terry Jacks and The Scientist by Coldplay, then I tap away at my desk in the bedroom (warmest room in the house) 

How long did it take you to write your first novel? Have you got any faster?

First novel took 16 years. Second and third were six months each.

Why did you decide to self-publish?

Big publishers are understandably profit-driven and only touch new authors if their work is similar to something which has previously made them money. Basically there is very little scope for originality. I’d like to think my books are a little bit different … all have a few psychological surprises, which may spook the majors. Self-publishing does not have these constraints … clear winner.

Who designs your covers?

I do. Newspaper design was may first career, so my book covers use the same ideas.

Do you use a professional editor?

Having won newspaper of the year (national title) on two separate papers, I’d like to think I am a professional editor … although there are always a few “literals” which sneak through

What’s your top self-publishing tip?

Don’t be dis-heartened if you don’t outsell Fifty Shades. There are a lot of very good self-published books … FRY by Lorna Dounaeva being a perfect example. You’re not going to make millions without a lot of luck … right place right time.

Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed on selfpublishbible, Garry. Wow, 16 years to complete the first novel and then the next one in just six months. That gives me hope! And I can’t believe you designed your own covers! That’s awesome, not to mention money-saving! 

If you’re in the mood for a psychological thriller with a difference, Don’t Fear the Reaper is free for the next two days.

Book review: Beaird Glover’s Syd and Marcy – If you like Quentin Tarantino, this one’s for you!

25 Mar

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‘Some people have to die. Other people have to kill them. That’s how it is.’

Syd and Marcy gives the reader insight into the minds of serial killers who struggle to distinguish between reality and fiction. This is an incredibly dark novel about disturbed, downtrodden people who have should never be in the possession of guns. The book contains graphic scenes of sex, drugs and violence but it also addresses some of the underlying causes. Whilst I didn’t quite feel sympathetic to the main characters, I felt sorry that their pasts had lead them to such twisted situations. Beaird Glover has a sophisticated narrative voice. This is not violence for violence sake, but a journey into the depths of deranged minds.

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Interview with Vampire Queen, Jodie Pierce

2 Mar
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This week, I interviewed Jodie Pierce, an author who has been published  traditionally, but later chose to self-publish. Read on to find out more.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on a charity anthology of vampire tales by various authors that will come out on Halloween 2013. All the proceeds of the book will go to benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. I’m also working on a vampire story that I had in a weird and twisted dream but I don’t have a title for it. Titles are the last thing I do after it’s finished.

What inspired you to write about vampires?

I’ve always had a fascination with vampires since I was a child. It wasn’t until I read The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice that I started writing about vampires and have never looked back.

Do you have a favourite vampire film?

Queen of the Damned, a book by Anne Rice as well…go figure…LOL!

When and where do you write?

I write when the mood hits me or I have a crazy dream. Also, in the middle of writing books, I have a dream sequence that will fit into my story. It’s weird really.

What sort of books do you like to read?

I like most paranormal books (but no zombies or werewolves). Some romance and fantasy are okay as well.

Why did you choose to self-publish?

I got published traditionally and found out that I was making very little profit and doing all the promotions myself anyway. So, I read online about self publishing and am going to continue down that road from now on.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Go for your dreams. When it’s meant to happen, it will. It took me 17 years to get published so never give up.

What would you do if you met a real vampire?

Hug him/her, make out with them (always wanted to feel their fangs on my tongue), ask them to make me like them and then turn my wonderful hubby into one to keep me going through eternity.

If you were a vampire, who would you bite?

Probably only women…red heads…voluptious women only…don’t like sticks though…LOL!

Jodie Pierce is the author of The Vampire Queen, The Vampire Chronicles and Demise of the Vampire Queen.

 

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