Don’t @ Me

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Reading reviews can be a bit of an emotional roller coaster. The warm and fuzzy feeling when someone has connected with your characters; understood what you were trying to do and are happy they bought a ticket to your show. The shock and anger when someone dismisses your work, casually labels it ‘boring’ or the real killer, ‘light reading’. Some authors choose not to read their reviews, which is completely understandable. But for a lot of us, this is the only kind of feedback we get and so we cross our fingers, keep one eye closed and dive in, hoping for the best.

Over time, you come to realise that your book is no longer your private property. It belongs to anyone who hands over their hard-earned cash to buy it and their experience of reading it is unique to them and something you have no control over. This knowledge has given me a certain amount of detachment from reviews. As someone once said, reviews are for the readers and that is as it should be. But does that mean that authors don’t read their reviews?

I remember when I published my first book, The Heirloom. I hoped that people would buy it, read it and with any luck, enjoy it. It took roughly two years to research, write and rewrite. As a newly, self-published author, it took a very long time to get off the ground. If someone had told me back then that people would not only read it, but contact me to say how much they enjoyed it, well, I would have felt like my dreams were coming true.

That’s why I think the recent discussion on Twitter, sparked by an author who said it was ‘rude’ to tag them, is confusing a lot of people. On a basic level, writers write because they want to share a story with the world. Now, they might not care what the world thinks about their story (I’m thinking of Sally Rooney who said in an interview that she doesn’t read reviews or let them hold any sway for her) and that is their right. Writing a book does not automatically lock you into a contract where you have to be open to everyone’s’ opinion on it.

However, this is social media. It’s where you come to interact with people and if you’re an author (especially a well-known author), people are going to @ you. I see that Sally Rooney no longer has a Twitter account, which is really the only way to go if you don’t want to be involved in the conversation. I also noticed that Gail Honeyman, author of one of my favourite books, has also been inactive on her account since 2017. Now, I don’t know the reason for this (she’s probably writing another amazing book!) but prior to that, she responded to everyone who tagged her.

Which makes me wonder about the other part of the tweet – how we are limited ‘professionally’. Does this mean that publishers preclude authors from engaging with reviewers? Perhaps that’s a valid point – but I’ve never heard of this being the case and it certainly isn’t for me. In fact, the more interaction the merrier. But I think saying ‘thank you’ or liking a tweet is hardly going to create any conflict of interest. Or is the author referring to negative reviews and the unwritten rule that authors should not engage in online spats about their books (are you listening John Boyne?!) Maybe that is what she meant – it is so difficult to have a nuanced conversation on Twitter.

But speaking of negative reviews – I think it’s safe to assume that most authors do not want to be tagged on those! I saw Erin Morgenstern had to ask people to refrain from tagging her in conversations about how they didn’t really enjoy her new book. That’s just …. shit, really. I don’t know why anyone would want to call an author’s attention to their negative opinion of their book. Where is that conversation going to go? Is the author supposed to apologise? Give up writing?? Of course not. I like to use Goodreads to write my reviews, but I’m always cringing that an author might see the negative ones. Yes, it’s my honest opinion, but I’m not going to draw their attention to it by tagging them.

The fact is, everyone is entitled to make their own boundaries and I respect that. Judging from the comments, most people don’t expect a response from the author anyhow, but it’s nice when it happens. I tag other authors when I’m in love with their book – you can bet your butt I tagged Gail Honeyman with a link to a gushing review on my blog and she said something along the lines of Yay! thanks and we all went home happy. But I have tagged one or two authors who haven’t responded, for whatever reason, and that’s cool too. Maybe we should just agree that it’s not rude to tag and it’s not rude to not reply. Simples.

However, I don’t like the idea of self-appointed spokespeople making sweeping generalisations on behalf of all authors everywhere. We have all taken different paths to this place and some of us see it as a validation of sorts when someone has taken the time to say, hey, nice work.

Neil Gaiman added his tuppence worth, giving credence to the belief that authors do not want to read their reviews. Again, it came off a little patronising and, as happens on Twitter, we all have knee-jerk reactions. Later, he qualified his comment with the following:

This just goes to show what I believe to be the crux of the issue. Most of us would struggle to get reviewed in the mainstream media. Our aim is to be read by regular readers, not critics. So yeah, of course we want to hear from those people! The day I have a bad review in the Times and someone tags me in it, maybe then I’ll understand the annoyance these writers feel. But you know what? Maybe I won’t, because I’ve had to grow a very thick skin over the years – something all those articles written by publishers and agents tell us we need to do if we want to be authors!

It sometimes feels like all of this advice for writers is being sent in the wrong direction. I’m a fan of Neil Gaiman, but he does not speak for all of us. Just like he didn’t speak for me when he said eBook piracy was ‘an incredibly good thing’. Illegal downloads are having a seriously adverse affect on authors trying to establish a career in the digital age, affecting sales and creating an environment where readers no longer see the value in paying for books. You cannot assume that everyone in this industry is on a level playing field. We are a diverse ecosystem and one of the most integral parts of it are book reviewers/book bloggers. Elizabeth Bear’s tweet was especially dismissive of bloggers who read/review/promote book reviews and naturally tag the author as an FYI.

Whatever the intention was (and I’m learning that your intention can be very much misconstrued on Twitter) it has again highlighted the amount of unpaid work bloggers do with little or no credit. Another tweet (oh my God, I’m spending so much time on Twitter!! Help!) from a book blogger laid out how much time it takes and commitment to keep a blog going and how a simple high five from an author can make it feel worthwhile. It strikes me that in a multi-million euro industry, the people who do all the work get the least reward. Authors receive tiny royalties, have to do their own marketing and bloggers work for the price of a free book.

Anyway, I don’t want to end on a bum note. No-one is forcing us to be here, we do it because we love it, but as in life, it only takes some small courtesies to make it better for everyone. Try to not to illegally download books – I know we’re all on tight budgets, but please borrow from a library instead and if you can, leave a review. Show book bloggers some appreciation by liking their reviews – yes they love books anyway but I can’t imagine having to read loads of books I didn’t choose and then promoting them and promoting other bloggers, all for free! And do tag authors – most of us are not guaranteed newspaper reviews or even book deals. So it’s a lovely boost when someone takes the time to review your book (just don’t share the negative ones with us – no good can come from it!)

As Rebecca Solnit said, a book is a heart that only beats in the chest of another. We need each other.

Reviews – The Sequel

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My previous post about reviews (The Good, The Bad and the Ugly) was all about garnering reviews without annoying people or driving yourself crazy. However, I think this subject deserves a sequel, because asking for something and getting it are two entirely different things.  I recently received a 1 star review on Amazon which read like this:

THIS ITEM HAS NOT ARRIVED ON MY KINDLE, ALTHOUGH THE MONEY HAS BEEN TAKEN FROM MY ACCOUNT !!!!

*deep breaths*  Now I know that I have been a part of the movement which encourages readers to leave reviews, so I guess this was some kind of Amazonian karma, but I was kind of hoping for reader reviews.  Seeing my ratings go down because of a technical glitch in the downloading process suddenly brought it home to me; my book is now a product. It’s no longer the organic, living, breathing story that I painstakingly translated to paper (well, screen). It has now become something that shoppers add to their cart, along with a whole pile of other miscellaneous items.  All you have to do is look at the person’s buying history to see that your book entered their lives somewhere between an eyeshadow palette and an inflatable swimming pool. So when they leave a review, they are reviewing a product, just like any other. And lets face it, most people are motivated to leave a review when they’re either really happy with something or really unhappy. All of those in-betweeners tend not to leave reviews at all.

Yet, while Amazon is a marketplace, Goodreads is a platform purely for readers, or as they put it themselves, ‘a free website for booklovers’.  None of your brow wow palettes or Avery address labels here!  Goodreads is a place for people to share their reading lists, so despite the constant battle to feed the hungry Amazon algorithms with more reviews, I really appreciate the ratings from Goodreads readers, which can offer a more balanced picture of how my books are being received.  I have 125 ratings on GR which average out to 4 stars, so whenever I get a scathing review, I just remind myself of that and get on with my day.

In my last post I spoke about book bloggers who sometimes felt harassed by authors when it came to writing honest reviews of their books, especially if those reviews were negative.  It would appear that some authors think it’s best practice to pester someone into reading their book and then argue with them if they didn’t like it.  Not exactly the way to ingratiate yourself to the book blogging community! It’s an unusual relationship because, for the most part, authors don’t usually get the opportunity to engage with their readers and to be honest, this is probably a good thing. Unless someone is contacting you specifically to say how much they enjoyed your book (which is a magical moment and one to be savoured) the golden rule is simple; DO NOT ENGAGE! However, when you send your book to a blogger for review, there is a teeny tiny connection there and for some, it’s enough to make some authors disregard the golden rule.

But the fact is, not everyone (and by everyone I mean even people you’ve given a free book to) is going to love your book. Believe me, I know how it feels to have spent years working on something, only to have some randomer trash it as though it were nothing. All of that effort, slaving over every sentence, every decision… it hurts. But this is all a part of it. The life cycle of a book includes having readers that just won’t get it. And as an author, you have got to make peace with that.  *keep breathing!*  What does strike me as odd though is the amount of authors who see 3 Stars as a negative.  To me, 3 Stars says average, which, in the grand scheme of things is quite good actually.  On Goodreads, 3 Stars means ‘I liked it’.  Great!  I’m happy with that.  To be honest, as a reader myself, I give a lot of books 3 Stars and only edge up to 4 when I’ve been really moved by the story.  5 is for pure perfection.

In the week that saw book blogger bashing become an online sport, lots of people made some interesting contributions to the whole discussion around reviews.  I read one comment that suggested authors need to ‘disengage’ with their book once it has been published and let readers have their opinions. Another said that if you can’t handle negative reviews, don’t publish your book and just give it to your mother to read!  It is difficult to switch off from your work and at times, it’s hard not to take the criticism personally.  But they’re right – if you’re trying to avoid criticism, you’re in the wrong profession.  Using your voice, however you choose to express it, is more important than making people like you.  They might not like your book, but that’s not your business.  Your business is to write.

Conversely, you cannot remain blind to constructive criticism that can actually help you grow and improve as a writer.  There is a MAJOR difference between critical reviews and just plain bad reviews. And as an author, you can feel it. When someone reviews your book criticially, pointing out weaker sections or parts that didn’t work, you find yourself reluctantly nodding along and thinking, ‘Yep, I need to work on that.’ When you read a bad review, you just feel like shit. Reviews like, ‘This book is crap’, I mean really, where do you go with that? Nowhere – fast! I’m learning to let these kinds of review go. There’s a radio DJ here in Ireland called Larry Gogan who has been running the ‘Just a minute quiz’ for millennia. When a contestant is diabolically useless at the quiz and gets all the answers wrong, he has a catchphrase. ‘They didn’t suit you,‘ he’d say, with all of the kindness of an understanding grandparent. That’s how I try to see bad reviews now – my book didn’t suit them, and they didn’t suit my book.

When you publish your books, they go on a journey and will find their way to the right audience as well as a few wrong ones along the way.  I’ve been able to form this new outlook because of all of the positive reviews I’ve had from readers who have really connected with the characters and enjoyed the story. So I know my books suits a lot of people, but they don’t suit everybody and that’s got to be okay. As authors, the most important lesson we were never taught at author school was that, once you hit publish, your book becomes a product that people either like or don’t like. Like a vaccuum cleaner on amazon, people will have opinions about it that have nothing to do with you – it’s their experience of the book.  And you have to respect their right to express their opinions, whether you agree with them or not.

Joanne Harris, my go-to author on all things… authory, created the hashtag #TenThingsAboutReviews.  If you’re looking for ways to deal with bad reviews, I would strongly recommend you check it out.  And remember, negative reviews aren’t always bad.  For one thing, it means your book is selling and sometimes, it can offer you a valuable insight into what readers want more of (or less of, as the case may be!).  Use it as market research for your next book, but if there is nothing to take away from a review, leave it behind.

*Update*  Since writing this post, I’ve come to another conclusion: Reviews are for readers, not for authors.  Perhaps what people write in their reviews is simply none of our business because it’s not directed at us.  Think about it, when you review a book, you consider your audience to be other readers – potential readers of the book and those that have already read it.  I wouldn’t imagine for one second that the author is ever going to read my opinion of their book, or that it would matter to them one jot.  So maybe we shouldn’t be reading them at all!  I know there are authors who don’t, so at least this gives us an alternative to ‘start growing elephant skin and stop moaning!’  

You can check out my books (and my lovely reviews!) on Amazon

Book Snobs

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A woman in my online book-club opened her review post with a kind of caveat: she said that even though she knew she would probably get ‘slated’ for recommending a certain book, she had to admit that she did enjoy it.  The fact that she felt she had to apologise for her taste in reading really struck me.  I’m pretty new to this whole book club thing, but shouldn’t everybody be entitled to read (and enjoy) whatever they want to read?  And whose wrath did she not wish to incur?  Yep, you guessed it, the book snob.  But what is a book snob and how do you know if you are one?

I’ve created a totally scientific questionnaire* that might help elucidate matters.

  1. Do you wax lyrical about the smell and feel of ‘real books’ and develop an angry rash on contact with an eReader?
  2. Do you think Amazon is the devil incarnate and despise anyone who buys their books online?
  3. Does your reading list consist of only prize winning and impossibly obscure titles?
  4. Do you feel superior to other readers and often find yourself telling them what they should be reading?
  5. Do you believe that if a book is popular, it can’t be good?
  6. Do you still refer to self-publishing as vanity publishing?

Ah yes, the book snob.  We’ve all come across them.  Individuals who are notoriously suspicious of change in the book world, and who openly judge people for what they read, how they read, and where they get their books.

I suppose we’re all guilty of snobbery, to a certain extent.  Just look at your bookshelf and see which spines you’ve decided to put on display?  It’s no different to music snobbery or even fashion.  We want the world to think our lounge-wear is all cashmere sweaters and low-rise jeans, when really we’re in last years’ jogging pants and a bobbly fleece with some questionable stains, listening to Kylie!  I think we are all inherently worried about being judged by other people, but in so doing, are we just proliferating the pattern of snobbery?

There’s a difference between taste and snobbery.  Not liking a book is not the same thing as dismissing its value based on its genre, audience or author.  Assuming that one author or book has a greater value or merit than another, is absolutely detrimental to the joy of reading.  Obviously, there are lots of crap books out there that are badly written and fall well below a certain standard, but that’s not what I’m referring to here.  Book snobs view reading as a worthy, noble pursuit.  It’s not about being entertained – you’re not supposed to be enjoying it!!  This is such a narrow view of what reading should be.  Reading is so many things to so many people.  It’s a way of learning, a means of escape or just pure entertainment.  How can you quantify a books’ worth, other than the impact it has on the reader?  How we read is often more important that what we read.

In the same book-club, another woman announced that she’s not going to read any more books that are shortlisted for literary awards because she never ‘gets’ them.  I was glad to see a reader taking ownership of her reading list and showing that she wasn’t going to be swayed by other peoples’ opinions.  Reading is such a personal journey.  Again, it’s like discovering a new band or a new album; the discovery is half the fun.  If you’re constantly being told what to enjoy, it does tend to take the fun out of it.  How many times have you fallen for the lauded book that everybody’s reading, only to find it’s not to your taste at all?  And you feel cheated, because the people in the know said it would be good.  The same people in the know that would probably scoff at the stack of mainstream fiction on your night-stand.  To the book snob, critical acclaim is more important than commercial success.

Authors like Ken Bruen, the Godfather of Irish crime, are the book snob’s nemesis.  He has penned 35 novels including the Jack Taylor series, which has recently been adapted for screen, winning Bruen an even wider audience.  He has won a plethora of crime writing awards across Europe and America, but in his native Ireland, he has been left firmly outside the literati circle.  This is book snobbery at its finest; shunning genre fiction as ‘less than’.  In Ireland especially, there is a very clear divide between the literary set and the rest of us.  It’s as if what we have to say isn’t as important and the message is received loud and clear by their exclusion of talented, successful writers.

The greatest stories appeal to our deepest selves, the parts of us snobbery can’t reach, the parts that connect the child to the adult and the brain to the heart and reality to dreams. Stories, at their essence, are enemies of snobbery. And a book snob is the enemy of the book.

Matt Haig

At the end of the day, we all love books for the same reason, even if we don’t love the same books.  Never make another reader feel ashamed of their reading choices, because when it comes down to it, there are only two types of books in this world –  those you enjoy and those you don’t.

*might not actually be scientific

 

new heirloom1+1 Amazon (Paperback)Kindle

 

The Mysterious Bakery On Rue de Paris (7) - Copy Amazon (Paperback) ~Kindle ~Nook ~ iTunes ~ Kobo 

The Morning After The Night Before

It’s official – book number two is launched!  And I’m happy to report that the feedback has been wonderfully positive.  It’s always a tense time, just after you release a book, and people are finally reading all those words you’ve knitted so carefully together.  You hope and pray that you’ve managed to be entertaining, interesting and unique, both in style and subject matter.  But the proof of the pudding is in the eating….. hang on, I’m totally mixing up my metaphors – knitting and baking?!  That’s what a book launch will do to you.  Anyway, the point is that writing a book is only the beginning.  As much as I would love to sit back in a leather, wing-backed chair and give myself a congratulatory pat on the back for a job well done, maybe even smoke a cigar and wave a tumbler of brandy under my nose, the reality is, I’ve got to promote my tushie off!  My book might have made it onto the Kindle Store Best Seller List, but there are zillions of people out there who have no idea it exists and I have to spend every waking hour trying to figure out how to reach them.  Rather, I have to figure out how to reach them, without being lost among the swathes of other authors trying to reach the same people.

So here’s the part where you come in.  “What, Me?”  I hear you say.  Well you didn’t think you were just a sleeping partner in this blog post did you?  If you have been wonderful enough to download a copy of ‘The Mysterious Bakery On Rue De Paris’, then let me just tell you right now that you have invested in my future as a writer.  It’s a common fact, that every time someone downloads a self-published book on Kindle, an Indie Author gets their wings.  Okay, maybe that part isn’t entirely true, but the first bit is.  Writers just want to write, but the validation of a reader really gives you conviction to keep writing.  This is a tough industry in a major state of flux, so more than ever, readers are calling the shots.  And rightfully so.  I’m going off on a bit of a tangent, but my point is this:  If you download a book by an Indie author and you enjoy it, please share your thoughts with your friends and most importantly (if you can) leave a review.  Reviews are always a great help to people when they’re trying to make their mind up on a purchase, but especially when it comes to self-published books.  We are unknown authors with no marketing team behind us, so basically our readers are our marketing team.  Which is actually brilliant, because they have no vested interest in encouraging others to buy your book.  Readers just want a good book, no matter who published it.  So, if you can, please do write a review, short or long, scant or plentiful, it doesn’t matter.  Just a few words to say what you thought of the book can really make a huge difference to an author’s career.  Seriously.  Even if it’s not a glowing five stars, a book can have its flaws, but still be an enjoyable read.  I’d be happy to recommend books I’ve given three stars to, because they were worth the journey.  

Now, seeing as I’ve got my sales hat on, I had better provide you with the links (smooth, no?)  And remember, if you have a subscription with Amazon Prime, you can borrow my book for free!

Amazon UK £1.83

Amazon US  $2.99

The Reviews Are In!

I was so excited to read the first reviews of my new novel, The Mysterious Bakery On Rue De Paris, that I thought I’d share them with you all here 🙂  You can still get your copy here for $0.99!  

 

In a departure from her historical fiction roots, Evie Gaughan has taken on the paranormal world and made the hairs stand on the back of my neck! This book is full of echoes from the past, but is set in modern-day France…  I would totally recommend this book to lovers of mystery, magic and of course, l’amour.  4 stars

 

I don’t want to give too much of the story away, but there’s a reason why the bakery is named ‘mysterious’ in the title of the book. I totally did not see this aspect of the story coming and I thoroughly enjoyed the uniqueness of it and how Evie Gaughan managed to use this element to really turn her story into something special. Next to that, her writing style is warm, well-paced and just really comfortable to read. I really enjoyed this book, and I look forward to picking up Evie Gaughan’s other book, ‘The Cross of Santiago.’ ‘The Mysterious Bakery on Rue De Paris’ is an engaging, warm-hearted and thoroughly enjoyable novel which I can definitely recommend to readers who are looking for chick lit with a twist; you’ll adore this!  4 stars

 

The description in the blurb is right…  it’s magical. The way Evie describes the scenes and the story has a real spark. I really liked it.  3.5 stars

You can find the full reviews on Goodreads.

Why Readers Should Go Indie

small__5599873685   I recently read a piece by Richard Lea in The Guardian Books Blog about how self-publishing may well be a revolution for writers, but that the same might not be true for readers.  It wasn’t so much the article itself, as the comments that inspired me to make the following points:-

Readers, please don’t make the erroneous assumption that just because a book has been traditionally published, it is somehow ‘better’ than a self-published book.  

Phew, glad that’s out there.  Now I have to be honest and admit that I’ve also been under the same illusion – if it’s published, it’s a safer bet.  But how true is that?  The whole self-published -vs- traditionally published argument has been flogged to death at this point, but it doesn’t always consider the readers point of view.  As a reader myself, I’ve read many ‘lemons’ in my time and wondered  how the hell they ever got published.  But to know that, you would have to understand the inner processes of a publishing house, which I don’t pretend to know, but suffice it to say, it all comes down to sales.  ‘Will they sell?’ is the question at the heart of every publication decision and that’s only natural.  At least, that’s the only reason I can see why The Random House Group have published no less than five novels by Katie Price.  Five.  NOVELS.

There are lots of reasons why really good authors get rejected by traditional publishers, everything ranging from (a) the length of the novel (b) they might already have a similar book on their lists (c) they might already have a similar author on their lists (d) they don’t have money to invest in new writing.  Of course we all know the story of how JK Rowling was rejected by no less than 12 publishing houses, despite having the representation of a good agent.  Imagine if she had just given up?  Or decided to self-publish Harry Potter?  Would people still be looking down their noses?  The gatekeepers, as they are known, therefore control what the public reads.  They decide whether or not this year’s craze will be vampires or wizards.  But readers have had the most recent laugh, because with the revolution of self-publishing, readers can pick and choose what they want to read, not what the publishers have decided they should.  A recent example of self-publishing success is Mel Sherratt, who had her novels rejected for reasons varying from not fitting into a genre to being too generic!  No such rejection from Kindle readers however, who sent her debut novel onto the bestsellers list.

Sometimes authors actually choose to self-publish.

Imagine that!  Readers might not be aware, but a lot of  authors actually choose to self-publish rather than sign a contract with a publisher.  Polly Courtney is the perfect  example – she ditched her publishers HarperCollins because they insisted on creating ‘chick lit’ style covers for her novels, despite the fact that her novels did not fit that genre.  And frankly, I don’t think the move has done her any harm either.  There are lots of examples of authors feeling pressured by publishers to ‘fit in’ and compromise on their creative output.  Equally, there’s the time it takes to get your book out there that can make self-publishing more appealing.  For a newbie such as myself, if I sent a submission to a publisher, it could take the best part of six months before receiving a response.  Only then do you send the entire manuscript, give that another few months.  Then there is the whole acquisitions process, give or take another few months.  Only then will the actual production begin, editing, layout, cover design etc.  It would take at least a year or more to see your book on the shelves.  Then there are the royalties.  I think the standard rate for new authors is 10% of net.  Yikes!

Where’s the risk?

People have commented that they don’t want to take the risk on an Indie Author that they don’t know, but I ask you, where’s the risk?  On both Amazon and Smashwords, you can read a free sample of the book before you buy.  If you’re still not sure, most of us Indies have websites and blogs, so you can get a good sense of our writing style.  And if you’re still unsure, check out the reviews on Goodreads and other sites.  That’s about as much information (if not more) as you will get in a bookstore about a traditionally published book, only eBooks are cheaper so you’ve risked even less!  Not to mention all the promotions and giveaways that self-published authors run on a continual basis, you’re bound to get a bargain.

Are there a lot of crap self-published books out there?  Of course there are, just as there are a lot of crap traditionally published books.  Writers who are serious about producing good quality books will do their best to create a great book.  Those of us who are in this for the long haul want to build a readership that can trust our ‘brand’, so we are not going to release anything that would fall below our own self-imposed standards.  Self-published authors now  have easy access to book designers and editors, creating a new and exciting space for other freelance experts to create outside of the traditional constraints.

Being self-published is challenging and don’t get me wrong, I would welcome the support and backing of a publishing house to help get my books out there.  It’s hard being a one-woman show and I know that when I launch my second novel next month, I will be doing the equivalent of standing on the Cliffs Of Moher and trying to shout across to America!  It would be fantastic to have the marketing and promotional services that a publisher can offer.  So I don’t want this to be a publisher-bashing exercise.  In my opinion, I think the industry is adapting to what readers are demanding and we now have ‘digital imprints’ and ‘digital first’ arms to many of the traditional houses, which is great to see .  My point is that self-publishing can be (and is) a revolution for readers too and I think we are reaching a stage where the reader doesn’t care who published the book – as long as it’s good.

Happy Friday 13th

I can’t say that I’m having more bad luck than usual today, but I have noticed that it’s started to snow on my blog, so I’ll have to watch my step 😉

For anyone who is weeping silently on the last day of my blog tour – cheer up!  I’ve extended the tour by another week, hurray!!  So that means The Cross Of Santiago is still available to buy on Kindle for the ridiculously good value price of £1.88 or $2.99, depending how you look at it and you can still enter the giveaway to win free copies of my book.

Check out my reviews page here to see all the lovely feedback I’ve received from this weeks’ reviewers here.  It’s great to hear readers’ opinions, so if you wish to write a review, please let me know and I’ll post it on my site.  Alternatively, if you or someone you know enjoys historical fiction with a touch of adventure, romance and good humour thrown in, this is the winter read for you!

~The Cross Of Santiago Blog Tour – PART TWO~

December 18th –
Dreamer *Review

December 19th –
[OPEN]

December 20th –
Crossroad Reviews *Review

Launch Day Is Here!!

I am happy to announce that The Cross Of Santiago is now available to purchase on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.  For the price of a good latte (or even a mediocre one!) you can have a door-stopper of a read, full of adventure, romance, history and a few laughs along the way.  But don’t take my word for it, the reviews are in!

The Cross of Santiago is a heart-warming, astonishing novel of love and destiny.  The writing really pulls you in from the start, and it doesn’t take long before you start to care about the characters and the adventures they find themselves in.  I also liked the time slip, and the historical setting. All settings were well-described, and I got the sense I was really there.  It’s well-written, with a complicated, mesmerizing plot and characters you’ll root for. 

 

You can find the full review here and if you want to enter a competition to win a free copy of The Cross Of Santiago, you can enter here. Don’t forget, you can also download an excerpt from the book from Amazon and Smashwords, so you can sample before you buy!   Thank you for you support 🙂

101 Self Publishing Questions

It’s a very exciting time here at ‘The Cross of Santiago’ HQ (that’s the title of my novel… keep up!).  The cover is nearing completion, my final edit is almost at an end (only four more chapters to over-analyse) and so it’s off to Mr. Kindle and Mrs. Smashwords with my manuscript so they can magically make it into an online literary sensation 🙂  Woohoo!  

Now I’ve been doing a lot of research on self-publishing up to this stage, but it’s only when you get this close to publishing that a lot of really important questions need answering pronto.

I suppose the first question is, KDP Select.  What’s it all about, is it worth doing, is it a big mistake not to?  Let’s see what Amazon says about it:

KDP Select – a new option to make money and promote your book. When you make your book exclusive to Kindle for at least 90 days, it will be part of the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library for the same period and you will earn your share of a monthly fund when readers borrow your books from the library. You can also promote your book as free for up to 5 days during these 90 days.

The other thing is, you can’t publish your book on any other platform for the 90 day duration.  That’s three months people, which is a mighty long time, as Prince once said.  But the whole freebie thing, that’s what seems to drive your book up the charts, which is extremely important because it gets you on the ‘Customers also bought’ list, which I have heard described as prime real estate when it comes to marketing.  My question is this: should you use the free days to give your book away to all your family and friends (rather than begging your old aunt Irene to buy your book – which she’ll say she’ll do, but we both know she won’t) or use it to flog to complete strangers on Social Media?  Or both?  Answers on a postcard.

Secondly, reviews.  I’ve already written about how important blogger reviews are to the success of your book, but should you send out your book to be reviewed before the launch, thereby (hopefully) garnering some good reviews on Amazon or Goodreads for potential readers to see?  In which case, should you delay your launch until you’ve got some good reviews in place?

Thirdly, the launch.  I’ve come across quite a few ‘companies’ running book tours, launches, tweet attacks and general tactics to beat people in submission to buy your book online, but do they really work?  I would imagine word of mouth is the best marketing tool (something you’ll only achieve if you’ve written a decent book and people actually like it), but could your book use a little extra help at the launch stage?

So there you have it, three big questions I’m hoping to find the answers to and as soon as I do, I’ll post them  up here.  Alternatively, if any of you out there have already been down this road and wish to share your writerly wisdom, please do add a comment and help a girl out!