Showing posts with label promotion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label promotion. Show all posts

Thursday 10 May 2018

Meeting C.J Tudor - author of The Chalk Man...

It was my Wednesday evening out at the Writers' Club last night (that was the 9th, if
you' re reading this at the weekend).

The guest speaker was author C.J Tudor, whose debut novel 'The Chalk Man' was published this January in hardback; there will be a paperback later this year.

C.J Tudor author of
The Chalk Man
As Caroline is a local author the club was already connected on Twitter, so that made arranging the talk much easier for me; being able to suggest what we'd be interested in hearing about and adapting to her way of working.

Caroline began with reading the prologue of her book and there was a definite ooh at the end...

We heard about her journey to publication with the "little notes of hope"- the comments she received from agents she'd submitted her earlier books to; but it was clear that the process can be long and the path not always smooth just getting an agent.

The insights into the actual publishing process (once The Chalk Man manuscript was accepted- after an auction) was something many writers don't usually hear about.

Anyone who ever wondered why it takes so long for a book to be published- about 2 years- would have understood why, after Caroline explained the process she and her book went through. Editing and more editing featured heavily.

But it did also give some useful insights that self-publishers can learn from.

Creating a buzz using social media and the value of book bloggers, especially with debuts.

The value in getting pre-orders and the concentrated effort needed the first two weeks the book comes out.

All writers are aware of book covers, so it was surprising to hear why the cover of The Chalk Man had to be changed for the US market; they had an orange cover.

It seems they don't like black covers...

Caroline's talk was entertaining, and interesting. She is a pantser as a writer and her talk was that way too, but it worked well.

If you get an opportunity to see her at an event you won't be disappointed. And the same goes for the book...

As it says...

Sunday 8 November 2015

A Little Help from Your Friends...

The great thing about writers is that they are not only fun friends to have, but they are willing to share their knowledge to new and developing writers.

I know I wouldn't have improved without the generosity of experience of many current writers, and those who are no longer with us.

One of my roles at the writers' club is Prose Secretary; I find judges for our assorted competitions held throughout the year. The valuable comments each entry receives back helps the writers continue to develop their skills, and highlight where they may be going wrong- as well as what they are doing right.

So when I was tasked with finding a judge for the 2016 Nottingham Writers' Club, National Short Story Competition, I had a few potential people in mind.

I'm very glad to say that my first choice, a successful short story writer and novelist agreed to the job.

Admittedly, Patsy Collins sprung to mind due to her short story pedigree, plus the 2016 theme which is 'Fire'. Patsy just so happens to have released a new book- a few days ago- called 'Firestarter'. I have it ready to read on my Kindle.

I'm assured there's a hunky fireman involved... :D

You can find out more about Patsy's latest novel over on her blog Words about writing...

The club's national competition usually opens on the first day of the New Year, but for 2016 we're holding the submission period during February. And as next year is a leap year, there will be 29 days to submit entries, either online or by post.

PLEASE NOTE that only entries from writers residing in the UK can be accepted.

There are a few rules of course, so do read and follow them. Often newer and less experienced writers are put off entering competitions by the thought of competing against 'professionals'.

So the main criteria for anyone considering entry: if you've earned £300 or more from short story writing during 2015 please don't enter.

For more details about the 2016 competition, pop along to the page on the Nottingham Writers' Club website.

Firestarter- the new novel
from Patsy Collins

Sunday 18 October 2015

Reading to an Audience - Start with the Basics...

Recently I shared an article from Stylist magazine on my Facebook account, and it had quite a number of views. It was a top ten tips for speaking in public.

It's not surprising that the subject is popular, as writers need to do a lot more promotion now than they needed to ten years ago.

Though some writers may be more confident from past experience, or they have a daytime job that requires them to stand up in front of an audience- whatever their ages may be...

I have to admit that I had a head start, so it wasn't such a shock.

When I was in secondary school x number of years ago, I was part of the drama group, and it was a great way to learn basic skills, breathing correctly, standing up straight and projecting your voice, and taking on the voice of characters- but in my case the biggest problem I had to overcome was talking too fast.

All those are the same skills writers need to learn, or develop. But you don't need to practise in front of an audience, you can do it by yourself at home.

I'm a firm believer in reading my work aloud during the editing phase, as you can hear when text doesn't flow, phrasing is awkward, or you've changed tense/viewpoint, but you need to read slower to pick out the issues, so try recording yourself reading out a passage, then play it back, or ask a trusted friend to listen to you.

Is every word distinct, or are you chopping off the ends of words, and rolling them together? When you're conscious of what you are doing, you can pick it up, slow down and try again until you get the right pace for you.

Practise and eventually it will become automatic.

Breathing: stand up straight and breathe in slowly until your lungs are filled- if you put your hand flat just below your rib cage you can feel the rise as you breathe in. Then let your breath out slowly- you do need to concentrate.

When you have that under control then the next time you breathe out use that to propel your voice- choose a simple short word, 'pop' for example. So often, it seems, we're not aware of how much our voices are capable of until we try- this will.

If you are reading your own work out you can of course add reminders to your manuscript. Apart from printing in a larger font, you can add spaces between paragraphs, insert (PAUSE) at appropriate points, and underline anything you need to put emphasis on. Practise your pace.

Microphones seem scary, but you just need a quick test to find the right distance between you and it using your regular reading voice. If the microphone is not on a stand then get someone to hold it, as juggling a microphone and turning pages it not a good image and will get you flustered- not what you want or need.

Do you see the common word now? Yes, it's practise.

I've been fortunate to have generous writer friends who have shared their advice over the years, and I've put it into practise when I've been on the local BBC radio station (promoting a book I was in with another local writer), as well as other literature events like the Lowdham Fringe.

There's a lot more you can do, wear bright colours so you aren't lost against pale walls or furnishings for example.

 You may be an introvert, but you can pretend you aren't. Master the basics and build upon them...

My first public reading as a writer
in 2012 at the Lowdham Fringe

Monday 27 July 2015

Almost There...

It was a busy weekend, as I was trying to get everything still to do for Serena's website and remaining social media links completed.

Although I published Serena's first proper blog post on Saturday and it could be read via my links, it wasn't showing up on the blog page I'd created. Clearly I hadn't done something I should have and I couldn't see what it was... :(

After consulting fellow writers: Patsy Collins and poet, Liz Brownlee who both have Wordpress sites, I finally found what I needed to do. It did mean changing pages and moving text, but finally this evening everything went where it should- and worked.

Tomorrow I'll start the domain mapping process to apply Serena's domain name - and pay the annual fee for doing so.

Meanwhile, Serena now has a Facebook page to go with the  existing Twitter account...

My pictures from my trip to Bath last year have begun to be helpful. Beside my lady with a fan, you will probably be seeing the dancing figures- these were on the wall in the Fashion Museum and represent the different positions in a dance- sadly I didn't make a note of what the dance was...

All I need now is to get on with the Nottinghamshire novella/potential short novel.

I've probably got another three to four chapters left of my contemporary romance to write, and as soon as that draft is completed, I'll be returning to Hugh and Sarah's historical romance story.

I'm amazed how much I've managed in a little over a week. And now that's done I can concentrate on writing, knowing the support framework is in place and there when I need it...

How to dance...

Sunday 29 March 2015

My Day at the Writing Conference - Part 1...

I'm finally recovered enough to share my review of Saturday's writing conference. Yes, it was busy, and it was a few hours before the 'buzz' faded; probably the best way to describe it is a low level of background adrenalin that lasted beyond the conference, but didn't make dinner time. By 8 pm I was yawning- despite telling myself it was a bit too early for bed...

(In the U.K the clocks also had to be put forward an hour, so my Sunday lie-in didn't help any!)

Where to begin? I'll do this in two parts because the day covered so many subjects, but even so they will only be snippets from each session.

Generally I've paraphrased, but where I've used quote marks that's exactly what was said by the named person.

On arrival delegates received a Writing East Midlands (WEM) cotton goody bag- WEM had organised the event and had support from a number of other organisations, ALCS, The Writers' Guild, Writing Magazine, the Arts Council and others.

Each bag contained a variety of literary related promotional flyers, a neat little booklet detailing all of this year's Arvon writing courses, a copy of the April issue of Writing Magazine and a book- my bag had a copy of Sue Moorcroft's 'All That Mullarkey'. Another writer friend had a poetry book in her bag, so it was pot-luck what you received.

The keynote speakers were both brilliant, Maureen Duffy, and Kerry Young. And I was fortunate to attend a few of the panels that Maureen Duffy was taking part in and sharing her considerable experience from her long writing career.

Onto the panels: I started with Finding Your Place in the Writing Community. Each panel only had 45 minutes in total, so it was more about the writing community that various social media sources can provide. The editor of Writing Magazine, Jonathan Telfer, emphasised that writers should be themselves, and don't be " a spam monkey". He suggested that a 10 to 1 strategy was useful; for every ten constructive posts, have one sales pitch.

While Aly Stoneman (Poetry Editor at LeftLion Magazine) suggested once a year take an overnight trip to another festival, or a workshop, as it helps expand your network, and also find out what's happening elsewhere, or what magazine/publishing opportunities there may be. Join writing organisations, and support other writers who in turn may support you.

After a 30 minute break- more coffee, tea, fruit juices, and biscuits, we moved on to the next session...

I went to, Myth Busting- Self-Publishing Be Damned: Maureen Duffy shared her experiences of the changing attitudes of publishing that she herself has experienced, and has, with the help of her agent, self-published. She emphasised the importance of a good cover design. To sum up she said you need to "dedicate yourself to it to make it work."

Author of the romantic-comedy 'No-one Ever Has Sex on Tuesday',Tracy Bloom, explained how even having an agent doesn't guarantee success, despite foreign rights selling well, a decision made by Tesco in 2012 not to stock new authors, made self-publishing viable for the book- which went on to sell 200,000 copies. But she did emphasise that a book does need to be good enough - to "have a level of quality."

Key points: covers need to stand out when they are a THUMNAIL size; blurb- snappy, catches the attention and leaps out, as you only have seconds to capture the readers attention. Book bloggers, you could send individual emails to individual bloggers. Don't forget local media, as they want local stories, so give them a local hook.

And "is it the right thing for you.'

There was a lot more from the other panel members, but at the end of the session Maureen Duffy mentioned that books should be accessible for the visually impaired too. E-books need to be produced in the e-pub3 format to be easily convertible for those with visual impairment, but at the moment producers like Amazon and others do not yet use it, so readers have a limited choice of books available.

Then it was time for lunch; to eat and absorb the first half of the day...

I'll post part 2 in a couple of days, which covers the panels on earning a living as a writer, and why having an agent is important...

Tuesday 12 March 2013

Bonus Material in Bookshop Books- Will it Get You to Buy?

I was interested to read an article in The Telegraph online today, about bookseller Waterstones offering exclusive extra material in books, and according to The Independent online, they have signed exclusive deals with some authors for a version of their latest book with extras, which can only be obtained by buying from Waterstones (or other bookshops that authors may have contracted to)...

Which authors you ask?

"Anyone who buys the new Joanne Harris paperback Peaches for Monsieur le Curé from Waterstones will find it contains an extra chapter not included in copies sold elsewhere."

The hook in this case is that "The chapter, which Harris says can be read either as an epilogue or as “the prologue to an as-yet-unwritten story”"

(Both quotes from The Independent article.)

They mention other recent exclusives from Claire Tomlin, author of the biography published last year about Charles Dickens; and Alexander McCall Smith who included and extra short story in a booklet with his last book.

Now forgive me for cynicism, but the mainstream publisher/author has a big advantage with a bookshop- they can get their books distributed to all the branches, and are guaranteed to be stocked, and Waterstones would probably let themselves be walked over if the writer was able to go instore and do book signings.

E-book buying is increasing, and the book shops are coming up with these ideas because so many are buying their books digitally.

Why go to a book shop looking for a particular book only to find: they don't stock it; they will have to order it and it will take a week, or even more- so that would be another trip; when with a few clicks of a mouse, or press of buttons/symbols, that book can be on your e-reader and ready to start reading within a few minutes..It's the one big advantage that e-books have over a bookshop.

So what can self-published / e-book authors do to compete? In fact, do they need to compete?

It is as easy for them to include an extra short story, or the first chapter of their next book too.

If Waterstones want to make it more attractive to buy a solid book from them, then they'll need to do a lot better...

So, what do you think about extras to attract book buyers? And what extras would tempt you?

Saturday 6 October 2012

Say Hello to Serena Lake...

I've mentioned Serena before, so I thought it was time to introduce her properly- more of why now, later...

Serena writes historical romances, and she does include intimate love scenes in them- sex scenes suggests that there's no emotional connection between the characters and she insists that there has to be an emotional tie between the couple involved, not just lust- even if one, or both of them haven't recognised/admitted it by that point.

Her heroes have responsibilities that they often don't want to take on, but will because they believe in justice, family honour and duty. Though it won't stop some of them rebelling along the way...

Her heroines don't simper. They know what they want, and some resent that they can't grab the object of their desire openly - without public disgrace.

You may have guessed already that Serena Lake is my pseudonym for the historical romances I'm writing, these stories are set between the mid 18th to early 19th Century.

I've submitted competition entries (when it's historical) with this name for a few years now, but finally Serena will be published in an e-book-hopefully before the end of the year, if not sooner.

The One Word Challenge Anthology is a collection of micro fiction and poems inspired by different words. Serena and I, each have a story in the anthology.

Members of the Talkback forum on the Writers Online website, have been writing these stories and poems with a new word each month for many years; now e-book publishing has made it possible to put a collection of them together.

It's getting very exciting, as each stage of the process takes us closer to a publication date.

Serena will eventually have her own site, but for the moment she'll be getting her own page on here.

When more news is available I'll let you know...

Monday 1 October 2012

October is Here and It Starts Getting Busy...

The remainder of the year is going to be busy. So I'm glad I've got the organisation in place before I start.

Not only is there all the normal planning for Christmas (sorry, I know that word is forbidden by many until the beginning of December :-) ) but I have five birthdays in one month, so I have to start present choosing and buying early to get it all done.

On the writing front I have a couple of competition entries to get on with.

The Mail on Sunday Novel Competition- that needs to be sent at least a week before the 29th October closing date (I always allow 7-8 days for anything that has to go by post). I have a scene in my head and a few ideas germinating, but no flowing words...yet.

Then there's the annual Manuscript of the Year competition at Nottingham Writers' Club (NWC) in early November. Members deciding to take part need to write a story in 250 words on the theme 'Coming Out'. The entries (using a pseudonym) are read by a panel of readers, and the audience on the night vote for the entry they judge the best, or they like the most.

An original slant will be needed with that theme...

On the publishing front there's news.

I've been fortunate enough to have a sneak preview of the cover for the One Word Challenge Anthology ( I have two pieces in ) and it's a wonderful design.

It will be an e-book first, and fingers crossed it will be available before Christmas. There's hopes of a print copy in 2013, but nothings confirmed yet.

And finally I'm involved in co-organising the 2013 NWC workshops. We hope to do three, but depending on availability and cost of tutors we might have to limit this to two.

Meanwhile I'll be getting on with writing the novella.

I'm so glad I have my 'office'...

Thursday 2 August 2012

The Next Stage-Facebook...

When I joined Twitter earlier in the year I said the next stage would be Facebook.

Well today I joined Facebook and my head is now spinning!

It is really simple to get started- which I thought might not be what I call 'simple', but it really was easier than I expected-as soon as I'd gone through the settings adjusting where needed...

I have my main page-Carol Bevitt, and my Carol Bevitt-writer page.

At the moment finding my way around is a little daunting, but I'm getting used to the mechanics of it.

But I really must get some up to date photos done...

So many people use Facebook for getting information and staying in touch, as well as offers and competitions by companies I use, that I decided I had to spend some time getting organised.

In the autumn two pieces of my flash fiction will be appearing in the One Word Challenge Anthology e-book, so a writer/author page is important, and best set up and established before the anthology is released.

And I still have hopes for my short story sent to Woman's Weekly...

Friday 22 June 2012

Best, Fifty Shades and Zombies...

I regularly trawl the book related sites to keep in touch with the world of literature. Some months are quieter than others, but fortunately the summer months are usually busy.

So I thought I'd highlight a few things- just in case you'd missed them, or have got bored of my office saga and my spells of self promotion. :-)

News of short stories in Best magazine comes from writer Vivian Hampshire. Apparently there are no guidelines yet, but 800-1,000 word stories are wanted. Though studying the magazine's current style will be essential to target your stories. One story a week isn't much, but it's better than no stories at all; and fiction has been appearing in the seasonal specials I'm told

Best's website is being revamped as is the magazine, so perhaps details will appear once it's all completed.

* * *

Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James and her other two books in the trilogy have been setting sales records.

"James, a London-based former TV executive, is now the first author ever to see three of her books sell more than 100,000 printed copies in just one week. She has also broken the weekly sales record for a paperback novel after the first book in the trilogy sold 205,130 copies in seven days, beating the previous record of 141,000." (Guardian books.)

You can read the rest of the article here.

Now I don't begrudge any writer success, good luck to her.

The book apparently has page turning quality- but from something a non writing reader told me this week, turning the page to get back to the story might be part of it.

A few months ago I received a regular newsletter from the publisher promoting their upcoming books and these three were prominently displayed.
There was already lots of discussions about the book on the web so I clicked through to the publisher's website and took up the opportunity to read the first few chapters of the first book.

I was not impressed- it needed a good editing- so I didn't bother looking at the other books, or buying them.

That was probably part of the problem. I'm a writer who has been taught to edit out inconsistencies, cliche's and all those other bad things drummed into us on how to improve your manuscript before you even think about submitting it to a publisher or agent.

If you're not convinced, then do see Sally Quilford's enlightening reviews of book one starting here, though I've been told by an acquaintance that (the second book) was nothing but erotica and BDSM- how true that is, I can't say...

* * *

Finally if you happen to know any fans of Charlie Higson's The Enemy series of books, there's a competition for a chance to appear as a zombie extra in the trailer of the fourth book, The Sacrifice.

"Would-be zombies must be over 16 and have to send a photo of themselves and 50 words, or less, describing why they would make a good zombie to by 26th June" and filming is set to take place on the 30th June.

So you need to be quick- not something zombies are usually good at, or so I'm assured by one of my sons who is a fan of the books.

Have a good weekend. I'll be sorting boxes.

LATE NEWS: A Harlequin/Mills and Boon opportunity is coming in a few months, see here.

Friday 9 March 2012

Is the Recession Good for Some Writers?

As I was out food shopping today, I noticed more price rises. By making a few changes in my weekly purchases, I can still afford the occasional book- their prices don't seem to be rising the same amount.

In fact, there seems to have been a surge of small pocket type recipe books covering, baking to quick meals, and all aimed at showing the consumer how they can eat well but at reduced cost...

A couple of days ago, I went to a publisher's website intending to browse some cookery books- I'd received an e-mail newsletter.
I came across a few of these pocket type books (to be published very soon) and looked to see who the author was. Well I was a bit taken aback when it said the author was to be announced...

Now it's only my suspicion- but have they rehashed an older work/s, updated it and added some enticing pictures of the completed recipes? Are they looking for a recognisable 'name' to go with it to boost sales?

I could be entirely wrong, but that's the lurking cynic in me!

But when there's a trend that will last for some time (as this recession surely will) publishers are sure to join in. It's business and they're part of it.

For the average (but brilliant :-) ) writer, the current recession is going to be a challenge, when magazines are either paying less than a few years ago, or doing more in-house. Then there's the reduction in short story markets; with the 'only previously published' restrictions implemented by a few...

It means the competition for both previously published, and those trying to get accepted for publication is going to be high.

Even simple things like entering competitions, your writing skills can give you an edge.
E-books are a different matter- especially if you have your own back list. If you've published to Kindle, or other digital outlets, you can control your asking price, up or down; even offer your book free for 24 hours and promote, promote promote.

For many writers these tactics have brought increased sales, so there's income from royalties- but there's no guarantee, and some genres sell better.
Though in long term planning, hopefully many of those readers will go on to buy the writer's other books- and I'm sure it's a good idea to be able to demonstrate a following for your work when you get the interest of a publisher.

The public may not be buying as many tree books, but e-book sales are on the rise, so a little judicious planning by digital authors can pay.

If you have any views on the subject, then you're welcome to share them in the comments section.

Thursday 8 March 2012

Social Marketing -the Talk...

I spent most of Wednesday answering the phone, exchanging e-mails and putting together a hand-out on social media, and a mini talk sheet on blogging, for myself -because the speaker who was booked for Wednesday night at Nottingham Writers' Club was ill, and as I was also going to be the chair that night, I needed to get an alternative arranged.

Aware that writers of all ages and experience need to make the most of current technology, I contacted fellow member David Bowman-writer, e-book publisher, and proficient in social networking-and between us we agreed a format for the evening.

Now my part was very small, I covered blogging, so anyone at the meeting who might be considering a blog would (hopefully) realise that it isn't hard to do and is a great way to start making themselves known. I talked about free blogs, building up followers and the types of posts a writer might use their blog for- such as announcing a competition win, or a short story sale/publication date...

David talked about Facebook and Twitter, and also author websites.

The recommendations that I picked up, relating to Facebook, was keeping your account for personal, fun things, and your writing for your author page- (your name) writer; so book news, links and photos relating to your writing goes only on that page, so your readers go there for the information. And of course if you have different pseudonyms, it makes it easier to distinguish between different genres, if you write in more than one category- so that's more than one writer name for me then.

As I recently joined Twitter and was discovering for myself, hashtags # are not only useful but important; retweeting can be helpful. That there is a fine line between over promotion and sharing good news, so its clearly something that you learn by actually doing once you're on Twitter.

But never underestimate how widely your tweets can be seen. Every tweet seen by your followers, is seen by the followers of each of them- so you never know who and how many will see that interesting piece of information...

Now websites. This was interesting; having a press area that was kept up to date, so the latest press release was available was important. As David explained if a journalist wants to interview you they'll have gone and checked out all the information on your website so they don't need to waste time asking basic questions- which is logical when you consider modern day journalism.

We finally talked about Amazon and e-book ratings, and how a writer promoting their books on Amazon can use these various methods of social marketing to bring potential book buyers to their work, by promotions and free book offers- so get high up in the Amazon rankings and it will enable you to get Amazon to promote your book which could be very useful if you're a relative unknown.

I'd not considered all these various methods being used together to maximise exposure- but then I'm only on stage 2 of my marketing plan at the moment... Yes, apparently you should have a marketing plan.

The words I did take take away from the talk were as follows: politeness; being professional and start this networking before you have the publishing deal...

I've got a long way to go, but at least I've started.

Friday 16 December 2011

If You Use Amazon Community Forums to Promote- Read This Now...

A few months back I mentioned the problems some writers were having with promoting their books on the forums- where even a mention of your book within a discussion could get you banned.

So this announcement from Amazon is very important. Read the statement here. It applies from the 15th December- yesterday. Thanks to Carol Arnall for bringing it to my attention.

"Shameless self-promotion activity will be limited to the `Meet Our Authors' community. Promotional threads outside of these forums will be removed. " (Extract from the statement from the Amazon Community Team.)

Now forgive me for being naive, but how will you make readers aware of your books without shameless self-promotion?

You can add your views here.

Will potential buyers arriving at Amazon be given the option to go to the Meet Our Authors section? Probably not, until Amazon see a large section of their market not performing to their calculations, or they get complaints...

Will readers realise that it is for them too? Not every reader is aware of how much information there is available beyond the main information pages.

As Amazon haven't distinguished between the different genres some wise writers have started posts for specific genres, which should help any readers who venture in looking for book information.

But I have to say this really is the wrong time of year to make a major change like this.

Writers do have lives beyond writing and promoting their books, so having to begin updating one of their promotional outlets in the week before Christmas is not good.

If you know of fellow writers who use Amazon forums to promote their books then spread the word, as I'm sure there will still be a few writers unaware.

Monday 21 November 2011

Self Publishing with Kindle...

I've lost count of how many e-mails I've had from Amazon promoting their latest Kindle e-reader in the past couple of months- you can't escape it. Admittedly their e-readers do seem to be popular Christmas gifts.

Whenever I check the stats for my blog there are regular hits for my Kindle posts, so I thought I'd add another one.

There is a great article (in the December 2011 edition of Writing Magazine) by Kindle author Lily Childs explaining how to format your book for uploading, what to do once it's ready and lots of other useful information.

Lily has just published her second Magenta Shaman book via Kindle and has started to build up a readership for her novels.

Now I'm not the most technically minded person, but I think even I could do it following Lily's instructions...

The December issue of Writing Magazine is worth getting hold of as it has a section solely related to self-publishing, including an article by Malcolm Welshman about generating publicity for your book- yes he did dress up as a rabbit, I saw the original video...

If your newsagent has run out of copies of the December issue, you can buy a copy at the Writers Online website, and a digital edition is available for a reasonable price here.

It will be some time before my work is ready for Kindle, so I better go and get on with writing it... :-)

If you've Kindled your book/s do let me know (in the comments box below) if you think it has been worthwhile...

Saturday 1 October 2011

Does Super Thursday Make You Buy Books?

Super Thursday (29th September) was the day when publishers released over 225 hardback books. The aim: to get high sales in the run-up to Christmas, so a number of 'celebrity' books are guaranteed to feature just as they have in earlier years with varying degrees of success.

I know publishers need to make money from these high profile books, but imagine how much help a similar publicity campaign would be for the ordinary writers out there...

In the days surrounding Super Thursday there have been mentions on the television news channels, in newspapers and online making buyers aware of some of the books coming out.

But will it work this year?

Book sales have recorded month-on-month falls of a few percent and it's not unreasonable to expect it to continue.
Money is tight for a lot of people in 2011 and I wouldn't  be surprised if a lot of promotional discounts are needed to boost sales nearer Christmas. In 2010 there were a number of celeb bios that had been expected to do well, but didn't. I'm sure there were more than a few advances not recouped in sales.

Every year more people leave their Christmas shopping as late as possible to pick up bargains when stores start getting worried that their stock isn't moving and they start making 20-30% reductions or specific weekends with similar reductions.

Plus the last few Christmas's have seen a surge in the purchase of Kindles and the resulting rise in e-book sales has followed. Hardbacks seem to have suffered the most with the e-book effect.

Of course fans of a particular author will probably buy the latest novel in hardback rather than waiting until it appears in paperback; and a buyer perhaps looking for a Christmas gift for a family member might purchase a celebrity biography because they know that person likes that celebrity (and if it is on offer then even better).

So will you be buying any of the Super Thursday books in your local bookshop, or will you go online for the best price? Perhaps you'll opt for the e-book version. Maybe you won't be buying any hardbacks...

I'd be interested to read your comments and you can post as an anonymous user if you prefer.

Thursday 22 September 2011

Writers and Publishers...

Last night (Wednesday) I was at a manuscript meeting at the writers' club I attend. I took the first chapter of my novella along, but we didn't have enough time for everyone who wanted to read a piece of their work and get constructive feedback, so next month we get to go first.

But what has inspired today's post was something mentioned by one of the club's published writers- social networking and how essential it is for writers who want to get books published.

Some of the audience were dismayed, they felt that if a story was good enough to be published then why should they have to do Facebook, Twitter, forums and blogs?

So a few of us explained how vital it is for making yourself and your work sellable to publishers. Your book may be great but if the accountants don't think they can make money, that book won't go any further. Promotion is essential whether you are with a big publisher, a small press or self publishing.

I understood early on in my writing that you need to understand how publishing works. If you don't have any idea then find out, it makes your writing life a little less frustrating and easier to keep up with the rapid changes publishing is currently going through.

A hundred years ago, well before the digital age, writers didn't have the same demands placed on them as now. The writer sent the book to their chosen publisher, if it was accepted it went through the system and appeared in the bookshop.

But there were writers even in the 19th century who understood the value of getting out to their readers- Charles Dickens is a perfect example. He went around the country giving readings of his stories very successfully; he attended dinners- early after dinner speaking...

Perhaps some of that explains why his name is still known when many of his contemporaries have been forgotten.

(The original building of the Nottingham Mechanics hosted one of Dickens' events- our writers' club meets in the third generation building.)

I reckon Dickens would have embraced Facebook and Twitter with enthusiasm if they'd been available to him...

So please share with us your opinions on promotion.