• My Marketing Journey Update, Jack Solar’s Journal & UK Southern Book Show

    Hello from Littlehampton, West Sussex. I think summer is really here as we have had two days of sun and I am feeling positive that good times are ahead for my books and for my new writing projects. Jack Solar’s Journal (January 3008) is completed and this time instead of self-publishing, I have decided to try and get an agent to find me a good children’s publisher.

    Why would I do this? Well, I have a plan to get older children reading which I don’t think I can do by myself. I have noticed that older children would rather watch YouTube clips, than pick up a good book. Jack Solar’s Journal is about his life at age 12 in 3008. He is one of my leading characters in my dystopian novel 3006 and is quite a character. He writes in his digital journal and also vlogs about his worries and his adventures. So, my plan is to have a Welch, 12 year old boy read out half his journal on a YouTube Vlog site and then for it to cut out at a critical point and direct the viewer to read the rest as an e-book on their tablets. Do you think this will work and get children reading? I hope so.

    Finding an agent has been an interesting journey. I believe it is almost as hard to get an agent to represent you as it is to find a mainstream publisher. I have approached a handful and am waiting for a reply – it could be a long wait!

    It has to be said that marketing a book or to put it more accurately finding good avenues for book promotion has been the most trying and exasperating thing, that I have ever done.

    I have to balance book marketing and writing evenly. What I am finding is that I get a spate of good ideas about marketing and then focus on these in the morning, work furiously to promote my existing books and then feel too exhausted to write. So my answer to this problem is having a 30 minute power sleep after lunch which I can justify now as I work from 5:00am until 10:00am in Asda as an internet shopping picker. After my power sleep, I feel regenerated and can write quite easily until 5:00pm – creating what I hope will be the one book that will fore fill my dreams of my work being recognised.

    I have had some inspiring authors on my blog as guests and really appreciate their contribution. It is so hard to get yourself noticed as an author and there are very little places in the UK where you can display and sell your books. The mainstream book shops are not interested in self-published authors and will only let you do a book signing if you have sales on a book produced by a publisher. I know this, because I tried to get Waterstones to let me do a signing and they were only interested in 3004 published by the Book Guild and not my self-published books. My sales were not good enough to do a book signing for 3004.

    I have followed author Mark Dawson’s advice about promoting books and think that he really gives you easy instructions on how to master Facebook Advertising and Sponsored Amazon Ads. He and Joanna Penn have been an inspiration for me. I do make sales using their advice but my outgoings do not match my income. Still some fine tuning to be done on the marketing bouncy castle I think!

    THE UK SOUTHERN BOOK SHOW – A eureka moment! It came to me not in a dream but as a passenger being driven to Ikea in Southampton. I have been looking for a book event in the South of England, where authors can come together and sell their books to the public. I decided that I would take the bull by the horns and try and arrange such an event. So I have been trying to find authors in the UK that are interested in selling, doing readings and speaking on book related subjects on stage. I chose the Pavilion Theatre on Worthing pier as I want a high traffic venue to draw the public in. Hopefully this event will attract our readers and those that would like to write a book.

    For the show to go ahead on 9th September 2017, I need 60+ authors to attend and have 15 so far. To find out more and sign up if you are interested, then please visit

    https://goo.gl/forms/jmKTYMWEa2apeInj2

    I will update you all soon with my progress.

    Going for a walk up to the sea for some inspiration.

    Natasha x

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  • My Guest Today Is Robin Crumby Talking About His Perspective on Indie Publishing with Some Insights into Book Marketing Tactics

    Robin is an author and lives in London. He ran a B2B publishing business for 20 years and specialised in marketing. Robin says:

    "‘Everyone has a book in them and that, in most cases, is where it should stay’ or so said Christopher Hitchens.

    There’s a revolution underway in book publishing. Over the last few years, Authorearnings.com data shows digital book sales from independent (self-published) authors remain on course to outsell those from traditional publishing.

    Up until 2014, if you wanted to have your novel published, then you needed an agent and a publishing deal. For 99.8% of aspiring authors that meant the end of the line. No publisher meant no distribution and no readers. In many cases, that didn’t mean your novel wasn’t good enough, it meant it wasn’t commercially viable.

    Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) changed all that. Launched around 2008, KDP allowed authors to self-publish their book and earn up to 70% of royalties on sales.

    It all sounded almost too good to be true. All you needed to do was upload your book to the Amazon platform and hey presto, thousands of people would buy your scribbles and you could retire on your new passive revenue stream. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.

    Over the last year or so, I’ve been undertaking an enjoyable voyage of discovery in the world of self-publishing. After nearly 20 years of co-founding and growing Melcrum, a research and training business, now part of CEB, I wanted to do something I’d always talked about, but never found the time to do: write a novel.

    For anyone who fancies themselves as an entrepreneur, self-publishing is a lot of fun. From the creative writing process itself, to working with an editor, proof-reader, advance readers, book cover designer and formatting for digital devices, there’s a lot of work to be done before your book is even ready to upload.

    For years, independently published books got a bad rap for poor quality. Not many people knew about self-publishing so telling friends that you didn’t have an agent or a publisher was like admitting that you didn’t wear underwear. It prompted a variety of reactions from disapproval to pity (the self-publishing bit I mean). The first assumption is that your book didn’t make the grade and that self-publishing is a last resort. However, for many authors, myself included, self-publishing is a choice.

    So why choose the self-publishing route?

    For a start, you retain control. You are master of your own destiny. You can do as much marketing and promotion as you want. You can experiment with different platforms such as Facebook advertising, Goodreads, Twitter, Amazon Marketing, Google advertising and others to generate awareness and ultimately readers and sales. You can choose to make your book free and run competitions and giveaways. For many authors, retaining control is everything and making your book a success is hugely fulfilling.

    That doesn’t mean to say that traditional publishing is inherently bad or redundant. Lots of successful authors have chosen to switch between models, and back again, and speak highly of both approaches.

    What it does mean is that to be successful, aspiring authors now have a choice. If they just want to write and don’t want to roll up their sleeves and get involved in the ‘business’ of selling and marketing books, then a traditional publishing route is probably right for them.

    So what works when you’re launching a book?

    I’m still learning as I go, but already there are many lessons I’ve learned. For a start, as tempting as it is to press publish and be done with it, the reality is that your novel won’t be ready until it’s been through successive rounds of edits and corrections. Self-editing is not advisable and feedback from your friends and family is unlikely to be free of bias. The good news is that digital publishing allows for unlimited revisions. The bad news is that you’re never done and eventually, you have to step away and recognise that further changes will only make for incremental gains, at best.

    On the sales and marketing front, the best advice I was given was to sign up for Mark Dawson’s Self Publishing Formula 101 course which has been outstanding. Mark is a best-selling author who has created a step-by-step guide to every aspect of the process. His SPF team has established a community of like-minded authors helping each other out and sharing what works. Mark Dawson is living proof that this self-publishing approach works.

    Through experimenting with Goodreads Giveaways, Amazon free promotions, enrolling your book in Kindle Unlimited, you quickly learn what works and what doesn’t. There are a lot of people out there who just want freebies and will probably never pay for your next book, write a review or help spread the word.

    Because my first novel Hurst is book one in a post-apocalyptic thriller series, I’m playing the long game and am very happy to either give book one away or sell it for a notional $0.99 to help build an audience. By the time I’m on book five or six, my hope and expectation is that I’ll have grown a loyal readership and be able to charge a reasonable amount for the digital version or audio book, certainly enough to repay costs and earn a living.

    Printed books are another story though and the economics of printing remain rather against the low-volume author. For example, Amazon is happy to print your book on demand but in return, they pay the author a token royalty and the lowest sale price available is $15 or so. Unless you are prepared to print copies and sell them direct (not recommended), digital publishing remains the only real viable publishing route.

    So as I race towards my self-imposed publishing deadline for book two, I can’t say enough good things about the self-publishing experience so far.

    Have I made any money from self-publishing?

    Not yet. I’m still underwater from the upfront investments, but with over 1,000 books sold so far in 9 months, I’m confident that with more books and more selling time, this will become more than just a hobby and prove a nice little earner.

    If anyone wants to get a copy of Hurst, you can download book one for free by joining The Hurst Chronicles Readers’ Group. http://hurstchronicles.us12.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=e60b9a6d4136330da8a2c8666&id=08e41beac1"

    Honest feedback and constructive criticism very welcome

    Hurst - "An action-packed, disturbing and thought-provoking story of an all-too-possible dystopian future." - The Book Reviewers

    "One of the most original and just flat out interesting and intelligently profound dystopian novels I’ve ever read." - Indie Book Reviewers

    What would you do to survive during an outbreak? Where would you go? Where would you be safe?

    At the end of the world, surrounded by the tidal waters of the Solent, the survivors of a pandemic flu virus hide behind the high walls of a Tudor fortress. Scraping a living far away from the smoking ruins of the cities, they wait in hope.

    Hurst Castle stands alone. Its seventy-four occupants united in a struggle for survival against all the odds. The Millennial Virus is the least of their concerns.

    When the arrival of outsiders threatens to tip the balance of power, the people of Hurst are faced with a desperate choice: set aside their differences and join an alliance that promises new hope or unite against the newcomers and their plans for reconstruction. Who can be trusted? Only time will tell.

    The battle for Hurst has begun.

    If you enjoyed fast-paced, post-apocalyptic stories such as The Day of the Triffids, The Road, Station Eleven, The Stand, and The Atlantis Plague, you'll love The Hurst Chronicles series.

    To get your copy, then please visit Amazon

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hurst-Post-Apocalyptic-Thriller-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B01E5G8Q2S

    I too have been influenced by The Day of the Triffids and I think your book looks great and I can't wait to read it.

    Many thanks

    Natasha

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  • Today's Interview is with Peter Davidson, Author of Penny: Hands I Passed Through…Things I Saw…Stories I Can Tell!

    1. What made you want to write a book?

    "As a youth, I always had a paperback in my back pocket and read every chance I got. That, along with a few nice comments on my writing from a few college professors, was the inspiration for my life-long passion for writing books.

    PENNY is my twenty-eighth published book. Every now and then, my wife or I would look at a coin in the palm of our hand and say something like, “If only this coin could talk, it could tell some amazing stories of the places it has been and the people it has met.” That thought, simply, was the inspiration for me to write this book. PENNY is the story of the last one-cent piece ever minted in the United States that is made of 95% copper, minted on October 22, 1982. After that, all one-cent pieces are pathetic and puny, consisting of 97.5% zinc with only a touch of copper thrown in. PENNY passes through the hands of ordinary people, the famous, the infamous, the saints and the sinners and hangs out in churches, honkytonks, and everywhere in between. This book tells the stories of the people whose hands PENNY passes through.

    2. Tell us about you and where you live.

    My wife and I spend about six months at our home in the Lake Okoboji resort area of Northwest Iowa and spend about six months at our winter home in Arizona.

    3. What have you written and what are you working on now?

    My book, PENNY, is scheduled for June, 2017 release, so I am working on promoting the book right now and will be for several months to come. After that, I will work on a humorous book of marital advice to a young newlywed.

    My published books include fiction, non-fiction, college textbooks, and children’s picture books. My works have been published by McGraw-Hill Book Company, Perigee/Putnam Publishers, Sweet Memories Publishing, Haworth Press, and others.

    4. How do you market your books and do your promotion methods work?

    The most difficult part of the writing process is the marketing and every writer must be involved in the marketing process, regardless if the book is published by a major traditional publisher or the book is self-published. I am contacting book reviewers, bloggers, newspapers, magazines, and others to generate publicity for the book.

    5. Where can readers find your book for sale?

    PENNY is available on amazon.com in paperback and on Kindle. It will soon also be available from Barnes and Noble, various book distributors, and other sources."

    Thank you Peter for telling us about yourself and your work.

    If you would like to buy Peter's new book Penny, then please visit Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Penny-Passed-Through-Things-Stories-ebook/dp/B0716VY8G5

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  • Roy T James Talks About How the Desire to Write Ambushed Him and How Anthropology Drew Him In

    Welcome Roy, to my blog.

    Roy T James (born1957) started writing on retirement from Indian Navy in 2013 after a career spanning 34 years, during which he had the opportunity to come across a true cross section of the world, as colleagues, subordinates and superiors, including quite a few from other countries.

    Roy, please tell everyone about yourself and your books.

    "I am a Writer by Default? - I never had any dreams of becoming a writer. In fact I used be one of

    those to brandish the view that all those who land up with writing as a profession are generally the unsuccessful ones in other types of verbal and nonverbal communication, the innate choices of expression for all forms of life. Writing never comes to us as you would expect, whenever we feel strongly about something, the natural response always is to express, share or to tell someone. When that becomes an impossibility, either due to our inability in conveying opinions, thoughts or ideas well, or due to our lack of success in finding someone willing to listen to what we say, we are forced to resort to

    unnatural paths of release, writing being one such path. The most likely causes are unpopularity, seclusion and other undesirable elements of life. Naturally, the more such elements are associated

    with someone; the greater are the chances of achieving success as a writer!

    During my student days onwards I used to enjoy lengthy and protracted discussions on topics of contemporary charm, temporal relevance and mutual interest. I had been noticing that whenever the topic of discussion seemed to veer around caste, a strange transition took place in our circle. Almost all participants started losing their steam, some of them instantly coming up with an excuse to withdraw

    from the conversation with a few among them going to the extent of detaching completely from all future discourses! It was only their earnest desire to maintain the friendship that made the few, who

    continued their involvement with this ‘intellectual exchange’, do so. Caste being a stark reality of daily life, topics related to that could not be kept away for long. It used to appear in our midst oftentimes and as a consequence, the size of our discussion group kept on diminishing. Finally, it reached the condition where difficulties were being encountered in mustering even a minimum quorum for initiating a chit-chat, let alone deliberations, and I had to resort to writing whenever the need to release myself arose. I became an

    occasional writer and only when I started to put my thoughts on paper did I become aware of my gross ignorance on these and other issues of sociology which luckily prodded me on to read every book that

    contained some serious discussions on social stratification and related topics.

    As luck would have it, I found myself in hospital quite frequently for a few years beginning with one year at a stretch, injured and confined to bed with books as the main companions. To add to my good fortunes,

    specialists of more than one discipline of medical science were needed to examine and treat my injury and that necessitated frequent visits to many hospitals. In all these places, the patient’s library was well

    stocked, with the complete works of Mahatma Gandhi adorning the main bookshelf. I randomly took one of the volumes and read. To my shock I found Mahatma Gandhi’s opinions on most of the topics of social

    relevance to be vastly different from the prevailing and generally accepted view. And that egged me on to read the collection in full to find myself completely at variance with the popular opinion, on almost

    all social issues. The ideas presented, in all the books dealing with the issue of caste that I happen to read for the next 20 - 25 years, can be summarized in one sentence. In reality, caste is nothing but an apparition instituted by certain group of people to suppress the rest, the plethora of rules and observances aimed to keep them always under a tight leash and in perpetual submission. Any worthwhile exception to

    this could be found only in Mahatma Gandhi, whose writings exhorted those lower in caste to release themselves from the yoke they are under and to surpass the upper caste brethren by freely competing with

    them.

    I ended up collating my skewed thoughts, which could assemble together and put across a substantially different view of caste. And the result is my first book, Origin of Caste in India, revised and republished as

    Caste: The Unexplored Territories. But something didn’t fit. For every answer that I did conjure up, my

    book in fact posed many new questions. How come we in India came to adopting such system like caste, which has the potential to bring down the capabilities of Indians lower with each passing day when compared to those inhabiting the rest of the world? Which, by any standards, is highly irrational? Further reflection on similar issues affecting other societies could easily convince me that we in India are not the

    only ones to choose the irrational. Man always will choose the most complex or contorted one, among all the available solutions to a given problem (it is only incidental that some solutions turn out to be

    rational!) and caste happened to be one such solution to the question of maintaining social harmony. Now I am faced with a bigger question, what makes us choose thus, going always for the input intensive?

    At this juncture, some images of animal behavior that were lying dormant in me for long, came to fore. I had been observing that discernible differences exist between the ways male and female of the animals reacted to events and occurrences of living. Mulling over, I had to admit that equivalents for the particularities found among men and women (see bestsellers like ‘men are from mars…’) could easily be

    identified among all other forms of life. That male and female of all species react differently to the same signals and circumstances was an aphorism I could easily formulate. It was only a matter of time that I

    could publish my new theory; all that makes us greatly uncomfortable, like the scourge of extremism and its repercussions, is easily understandable, if one is to read the fundamental nature of life, a little differently. And these peculiarities originate from a single source, the one that is intended to give each species, the impetus to evolve. And also, how, discovery of VIAGRA holds the potential to cause significant changes to the incessant flow of life. I published the theory as my second book, Origin of Evolution. But in a short while and with closer look, I revised, further developed with an intuitive title and published the book as 'The Unsure Male'. I was carefully observing my surroundings, always with an eye to locate the nonconforming, anything that can pose a question to this theory. As time went by, not only that I did not notice anything that could have put this theory to question, but also found present, many remarkable peculiarities in all the activities of life and living. These I compiled initially as 'hubs' at hubpages.com, and was published later as a book, ‘Hubs that Provoke’. Matter didn’t rest there. Much more of such quirks continue to appear each day. And get lost in the melee of radical shifts, violent changes and other expressions of extremes. Some of those attract my attention, like what follows in this book."

    All of Roy's great works can be found on Amazon at https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=dp_byline_sr_ebooks_1?ie=UTF8&text=Roy+T+James&search-alias=digital-text&field-author=Roy+T+James&sort=relevancerank

    Roy T James' latest book published in March 2017 is 'Chasing Evolution: Evolve, for what?'

    Thank you for sharing with us all.

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  • Some Great MarketingTips from Samuel C. Stokes Author of A Coronation of Kings and When The Gods War

    My guest today is Samuel C. Stokes, thank you for answering my questions.

    1. What made you want to write a book?

    I have always enjoyed telling stories and reading great books, so writing came as a natural next step where I could combine many of the things I enjoy. I started my first book years ago but returned to it about 18 months and began writing in earnest. Since then I have published two books and two novellas. I love to write Fantasy adventures but lately, have been considering an idea for an urban fantasy series that I cannot seem to get out of my head. So maybe there will be a little bit of urban fantasy in my future.

    2. Tell us about you and where you live.

    I am a Tax and Business consultant from Brisbane Australia. At the moment my main hobby is Live Action Role Play (or LARP) where I dress up in medieval armour and do battle with my friends and fellow club members (picture attached, I am on the left). I also enjoy eating and sampling foods from other countries. I like to travel but so far have only visited the USA and Japan where I lived for two years. I would love to see Europe, South America and a host of other places. One day I hope to catch the Northern Lights, I think that would be incredible.

    3. What have you written and what are you working on now?

    I write fast paced Fantasy adventures. So far I have written two novels. A Coronation of Kings and When The Gods War. I have just finished the first draft of a novella The Woman In The Wind which will be available in a few months time. The Third Book in my series is also almost complete I am hopeful it will be available by early July. After that, I need to decide what to write as I have ideas for two different trilogies in the same universe. So many ideas but not nearly enough time to write. My biggest challenge is to ensure I spend some quality time at my keyboard every day.

    4. How do you market your books and do your promotion methods work?

    Currently I market my books by making the first book in my series, A Coronation of Kings, free on all platforms. I then advertise it using a variety of platforms like Instafreebie to get it into the hands of hungry readers. To date, I've probably distributed almost 20,000 copies and it has helped me develop a great readership. In time I plan to use Amazon and Bookbub ads to help drive sales of my box set that will be released with all 3 titles. I think the biggest challenge for emerging authors is awareness. I think giving away a title for free helps readers try my work without risk. From there they tend to look into my other books. Like most indie authors I am still learning a lot about promotional efforts.

    5. Where can readers find your book for sale?

    My books are available at all major ebook retailers. I will post some links below of how people can find me and my books.

    A Coronation of Kings (Free) -

    Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Coronation-Kings-Samuel-Stokes-ebook/dp/B015TWRVCS

    iBooks https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/a-coronation-of-kings/id1042110200?mt=11

    Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-coronation-of-kings-samuel-stokes/1122682305?ean=2940152364613

    Kobo https://www.kobo.com/au/en/ebook/a-coronation-of-kings

    People can connect with me on:

    My website: http://www.samuelcstokes.com/

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

    If there is anything you or your readers would like to know please let me know.

    Kind Regards

    Samuel Stokes

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County Times April 21st 2011

Follow My Marketing and Book Promotion Journey

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