Category Archives: E-Publishing

Halfway there…

So I’ve passed the 50,000 word mark now, and am approaching 60,000 at a good pace. With a target of 100,000 words (Message Bearer was 101,000), it’s looking good.

I’m coming into the back end of the middle section now too, which is a great relief. It’s this area that always sags and where the story seems to meander all over the place as it strives towards that end goal. True, I have my “must have” scenes that link the story together, but the path getting there can be a confusing spaghetti-like mess of random scenes, conversations and characters that appear in one chapter only to never be seen again.

Thankfully, the beginning of the end is in sight. I’ve just written a pivotal sequence of scenes that not only ramp up the tension significantly but also explore in much greater detail the mythology of the Auran Chronicles.  There’s a lot of history behind the magi and the Weave, and it’s nice to delve even more into that, especially when it relates directly to our protagonists. Obviously there’s going to be a heavy amount of chopping, changing and re-aligning for the second draft, but I’m happy the end of the story as envisaged in my synopsis is on track, even if all the stuff in between hasn’t quite so stuck to plan 🙂

The problem now, if indeed, it is a problem, is that not only am I almost certain that the story requires four books not three (although I really want to get in done in three) , but in expanding the world significantly in book 2 I’ve also introduced a new bunch of characters, of which at least two I’d love to spin off into their own series, or at least, to steal a Disney term, an Auran Chronicles “anthology” story or two. Aside from Cade, the half-daemon Brotherhood warrior who so deserves his own story (mental note – Auran Chronicles: Born of Blood), we also meet Shimmer, a Borderguard from the barren lands that exists between shards (the shattered worlds of the Auran Chronicles), who has a fascinating back story of his own that I can’t wait to explore.

So all in all, definitely a good problem, the challenge is, which one to write first?

Anyway, must dash, last night I left Seb several hundred feet up in the air with the ground rushing to meet him. I didn’t know how he was going to get out of this one, so just left it like that. It seemed a good idea at the time, but as I stare at the flashing cursor I’m not so sure. The joys of writing I guess!

 

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2 Months Self Published – Lessons Learned So Far

Technically that headline is a lie. I’ve been self-published since 2014, but it’s only been two months since I published Message Bearer, which is my first novel-length foray (and my best, hopefully!) and so felt more appropriate this time round.

Some may also think that two months is waaaay to soon to have lessons learned, but, as with any venture into something new there’s lessons to be learned at various points along the way, they just change depending on your experience.

Anyway, in bullet point form, please see below some key things I’ve learned (both “do’s” and “don’ts”) in the past couple of months.

  • DON’T keep checking the Amazon sales dashboard every five minutes. Unless you’re the Next Big Thing and people are buying your books like there’s no tomorrow, there’s going to be little movement in that red/blue line between 14:02 and 14:03. Trust me. I’ve done it, especially in the early days where my eyes were glued to that cursed dashboard. Now, I’ve managed to limit myself to 3 views a day – first thing in the morning, half way through the day and last thing at night. As most of my readers seemed to be in the U.S the sales seem to start coming when my american cousins are up and about.
  • ENGAGE with the community. Now, when I first heard this piece of advice (and it’s repeated widely by those with much more experience than I) I didn’t really buy into it. What’s to gain by posting in forums, twitter, facebook etc? How would it help sales? And you know what? I’m not sure it does. However, what it DOES do is give access to many talented and friendly people who are happy to give their time and knowledge to help newbies like me in this scary new world. Everyone has their own experience, their own advice and so forth. Some of it won’t work for you, but other stuff will resonate and you can add to your own portfolio. And most importantly, you make new friends who understand the challenges of indie publishing, who can emphasise with the fear of that empty page or the damage of the plot doubt monkeys. Do it. It’s worth it.
  • LEARN from your peers. Find other indie authors who’ve done the job well, especially those in your genre. See how they promote, see how they engage. Look at their covers, their blurbs. I’m not saying copy them, I’m saying stand on the shoulders of giants and learn from those who’ve walked the road already. It will save you time and you will learn a lot.
  • MARKET. But do it intelligently. Look at the Self Pub forums on Absolute Write, see what sites are recommended for promoting work. When you do run a promotion, monitor the impact it has on sales whilst it’s running. Learn what works and what doesn’t. I’ve made the mistake of running multiple promos at once so it was hard to track which one was working (or were they all working?) and which wasn’t. Retweet when your book is featured, Like it on Facebook. Let your followers know. Don’t spam. DON’T SPAM.
  • KEEP READING, but try and avoid your genre. In my last post I talked about the plot doubt monkeys that arose when reading in my genre whilst working on book 2. Others may disagree, but I still stand by this. Read, and read widely, but do it in different genres. I’m currently reading a crime whodunnit and loving it.
  • BE PATIENT. Don’t fret. Rome wasn’t built in a day. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. I’d insert another wise statement but I can’t find any more. The point is, don’t fret about slow sales, no reviews and all that. It will come, but this kind of thing takes time, it’s organic. People will read, they will spread the word, but it won’t happen overnight. When you read about the latest overnight success I suspect if you look deeper you will see said author has been plugging away for years before they finally struck gold.
  • KEEP WRITING. KEEP WRITING. KEEP WRITING. I felt this one was worth repeating. I’ve written several novels and many short stories over the years. Only a handful I felt were good enough to self publish and many of the others now reside in digital heaven (a bad usb stick and a bad backup strategy on my part – don’t ask), but the key thing above all else I’ve taken from the release of Message Bearer is to KEEP GOING. I’ve continued into book 2. I’m still talking about and plugging Message Bearer but if I’m serious about this writing game I need to get more work out. It keeps the writing muscles honed and you feel like you’re progressing. My writing is improving every week and it’s nice to see how it’s evolving.
  • WRITE EVERY DAY. Now, this advice is nothing new, but it’s so relevant. It really is. Perhaps not even every day, but try for at least 5 days a week if you’re serious. I try for 1000-1500 words a day, which I fit in after family and work. Sometimes it’s bloody hard, but what I’ve found works is that even if I get one line down, one sodding line, it has a psychological impact that I can’t explain. You feel like you’re making progress, even it’s just a few words that day. I’ve found that if I stop writing for one day, then it easily becomes 2, then 3, then a month, then…you get the picture.

Hopefully these lessons will resonate with some of you. In reality what I’ve said is nothing new, and there’s a plethora of more experienced and talented writers than I who will tell you the same. Check out Absolute Write and KBoards. There’s lots of support on these sites and advice (and tough love, if you need it) and they’re well worth a visit.

Anyway, good luck, and keep writing!

My Top 5 Tips For Launching a Writing Career

Great advice at the right time of year ☺

A Writer's Path

Business

by Meg Dowell

Everyone wants to be a writer.

Not just any kind of writer, either. A successful writer. Everyone wants their name on the New York Times bestseller list. Everyone wants to add “author” to their Twitter bio. Everyone wants to take what they enjoy doing and make a career out of it.

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Paperback edition out now – at last

Well, after 14 attempts (and several shouting matches with my computer screen) at converting my proof manuscript into a pdf that looked right in the CreateSpace digital viewer, I’m pleased to say that I’ve finally managed to get Message Bearer out and available in paperback as well as Kindle.

I don’t expect many sales from this version, the price required for PoD (Print on Demand) seems a bit on the excessive side to be cost effective, but at the very least I get to own a few “real” copies that I can share with friends and family.

Also, I learned a few lessons formatting the word document to be fit for use on CreateSpace, and found a few good links in the process which I’ll add to the blog later as these proved to be a godsend! I thought I knew MS Word until I encountered this particular challenge!

Anyway, I digress, the link is below. If you prefer your books in dead tree format then please take a look 🙂

PS – I need to link the ebook and paper versions together on Amazon, as at the moment they don’t appear as alternate options for the same book. Yet another challenge on this self-publishing roller coaster!

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

AuranChronicles_CVR_LRG

The proof has arrived!

The proof of Message Bearer arrived this morning courtesy of CreateSpace. I’m very chuffed, it’s great to see it actually “in the flesh” for the first time rather than existing out there in the digital ether!

I might have to tinker with the chapter heads slightly (they appear too far up the page for my liking) but aside from that I’m very pleased with the outcome!

Cover_real

It lives! The Auran Chronicles: Message Bearer is out now

At last, Auran Chronicles: Message Bearer is alive and well on Amazon after 18 months of hard slog.

For those who may be interested, the Auran Chronicles is a series of Urban Fantasy novels that can be best be described as a mix of a gritty, older Harry Potter-type story mixed with the Matrix and some quantum physics thrown in.

Book 2 is well underway, and will be out 1st half of 2016.

Blurb…

‘You were drawn. I can see it. You are Latent.’

For reasons unknown, Seb is constantly drawn to random places without meaning, following an instinct he doesn’t understand.

One night that instinct lands him in trouble when he encounters Sarah, a young woman hunted by a fiend that can only be described as the stuff of nightmares. Against his better judgement Seb attempts to intervene, only to nearly get himself killed in the process. Before she passes, Sarah transfers something to him, an arcane knowledge that gets buried deep into his subconscious.

Rescued by the Brotherhood warrior Cade, Seb’s life takes on an unexpected turn when he is told he is a Latent, able to manipulate the very energies of reality to his own devices. He is brought into a world within our own where the Magistry and its allies engage with the demonic Sheol in a timeless conflict that has traversed entire universes.

A world where he, and he alone, carries the message that could change the course of the conflict forever.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0184PNP22?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Cover artists, any recommendations?

Well, the time has come, the final draft is complete, only 12 months behind schedule(!), and I’m now looking to get this thing in a shape fit to enter the (eBook) indie publishing foray.

One of the things I did consider was doing my own cover, but after a brief effort I realized that my skills lie far, far away from that particular area, so I’m looking to hire a freelance to do it for me.

I’m going to be looking around the old t’internet to see what I can find, but if anyone has any good recommendations for a cover artist please let me know. Specifically, the novel is an urban fantasy along the lines of the Dresden Files or Stephen Mchugh’s Crimes Against Magic series – so I’m thinking a cover that’s moody, urban, with a good bit of mysticism thrown in. Nice and clear, right? 🙂

Any recommendations please fire them over!