This Week in the Blogs (5th-11th December 2016)

Today I’d like to highlight some of the useful, and informative blog posts I’ve read over the past week.

sabotaging-writing-dreamsThe Writer’s Enemy List: Are These People Sabotaging Your Writing Dreams?
Mystery author and top blogger, Anne R Allen discusses the different types of people who can have a negative impact not only on your writing progress, but also your mental and physical well-being. In the post she says:

‘It’s hard enough to live with the constant rejection we have to deal with in this industry.  So when you’re attacked in your personal life, it can feel like a double-whammy.

You need to erect strong boundaries and be fierce in defending them. But if you’re serious about your work, the people who really care about you will learn to treat your time and work with respect.’
Reading this article will help you identify the kind of people in your life your writing could probably do without!

 

 

12-9-16-how-writers-can-improve-their-seo-without-pricey-expertsHow Writers Can Improve their SEO without Pricey Experts.
Frances Caballo discusses all the changes Google et al make to their algorithms and how it can affect all types of blogs and websites, including those run by authors. She suggests a WordPress plug-in called Yoast SEO Primer which can help you check your blog posts readability and SEO. It’s free to download and at first glance looks as if it could be useful – and easy to use. As Frances says ‘I don’t think there’s been a better time for authors to improve their SEO ranking. You, perhaps more than any other blogger on the internet, already know what constitutes good writing and what’s readable and what’s not. You’re in a prime position to do what you know best: write for your readers.’  Continue reading

Self-Publishing Myths

Today, I thought I’d talk about some of the common myths I’ve come across in the self-publishing world.

typewriterYou can write a book by yourself.
Selling platforms such as Amazon and Smashwords have given a large number of people the opportunity to publish their books. This has allowed many more writers the chance to showcase their abilities, but as the old saying goes, ‘no man is an island.’ A writer needs to have a team of beta readers and an editor to point out what needs improving or changing. Extra pairs of eyes may see things you have missed, and they can give an impartial opinion on the plot, flow and character development.

Then there’s making your book look as appealing as possible. The general consensus regarding book covers is unless you are a talented graphic artist, then you should seek help with designing a ‘look’ for your book. The interior appearance of a book is also important. Formatting a book for Kindle can be a complicated and frustrating process. Unless you want your readers getting annoyed with chapters starting half way down the Kindle screen, or too many spaces between words, find some help. JJ Marsh and Jane Davis discuss this myth in their blog post ‘Self Publishing Myths – Busted.’

 

partner_logosYou can upload your book and people will find it.
The majority of indie authors upload their books to Amazon, along with other platforms such as Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, and KOBO. Just uploading your finished book doesn’t mean it will sell. Yes, the occasional reader may come across it and download it, but that won’t lead to many sales. As I found out, you have to do A LOT of research about book publicity and marketing.

Just because someone, or a company, say they are book publicists, doesn’t mean they do the job well. Unfortunately, there are many ‘publicists’ who receive payment from authors for their marketing services, and then deliver very little in return. Again, research is needed. Drill down into what a potential publicist can provide in terms of visits to your Amazon page and book sales before paying for anything. Ask for recommendations from other authors who have had successful promotions. Who did they use and why? You can find some excellent advice about finding a publicist and working with them in Jane Friedman’s blog post ‘How to Find and Work With a Book Publicist – Successfully.’ Continue reading

Exciting News!

 

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Today, I’d like to share with you the wonderful news that Bloodhound Books have agreed to publish my third novel, The Abattoir of Dreams. This is such a massive opportunity for me, and a great chance to reach a bigger audience. Bloodhound Books was the first publisher I’ve approached with any of my work for a very long time. The reason? I simply love everything about them. Not only are they extremely approachable and helpful, they have an excellent track record with the works in their care. They actively seek out unknown authors, and specialise in the darker side of fiction – my preferred genre. Also, they don’t follow trends, and prefer individuality. Bloodhound owners, Betsy and Fred, focus on publishing the fiction which they enjoy.

I couldn’t be more pleased about this association. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support, especially those who bought The Revelation Room and The Eyes of the Accused. And special thanks to those who have taken the time to offer help and advice, especially Maggie James, Maxine Groves, Heather Osborne, Mel Comley, Louise Mullins and Cassie Adland. And, of course, Bloodhound Books!

As always, many thanks for reading,

Mark

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The Top 10 Facebook Groups for Indie Authors.

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Facebook is an invaluable resource for indie authors. It enables you to connect to other authors, and to your potential readership. The following 10 Facebook groups are the ones I’ve found to be the most useful for finding help with all things publishing, and for engaging with my readers.

*1 Without doubt, the most useful group I’ve found is THE Book Club. It’s a secret group that currently has 6200+ members. It has a mixture of authors and readers, and everyone is very enthusiastic about books. If you need some advice about writing, book covers, or how to price a book, for example, then you’ll always get some help from other authors. Also, the readers and book bloggers of the group are always happy to spread the word about the books they’ve read – and leave those important reviews on Amazon.

*2 Turning Pages – Book Lovers Group, is a group where authors share news about their books, and where readers can share their opinions and reviews of the books they’ve read. I find this group useful, as it enables me to share news about my writing progress, my book offers, and the publication dates. I’ve also found some great books to read from other members recommendations.

*3 Great Reads UK is a group that focuses on books written by British authors. Authors can promote in the group, as long as they and their books are in the UK, and the promotion is done in a creative way. The readers of the group share their recommendations of books based in the UK. I’ve found this a useful group to be part of as it enables me to discuss my books’ settings/locations, and gather some interest in my writing from people who prefer books set in the UK. Continue reading

Interview with Occult Horror Author, Sarah England.

Sarah England

Sarah England

Today I’m happy to welcome Sarah England to the blog. Sarah is an author of dark occult horror books that send a chill down your spine. She is currently busy putting the finishing touches to the third book in her trilogy, Magda, which will be available at Halloween – spooky! If you haven’t read Sarah’s previous books, Father of Lies and Tanner’s Dell, then I highly recommend them. Lets find out some more about Sarah:

Hi Mark! Thank you for inviting me onto your blog – I really appreciate it.

What were your favourite childhood books?
I was introduced to reading at a very young age by my mother, who was an English teacher – I can remember reading her cast-off Victoria Holts and Georgette Heyers in the back of our Cortina on rainy English holidays… I actually loved them…guess I started off being unusual way back then. My very first books were the Miffy books – so much so my nickname was Miffy. I also loved Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and Secret Sevens series…showing my age here, whoops!

Was there any interest in the supernatural when you were younger?
I got freaked out so easily and so badly my dad was a bit worried about me. I saw a film on Christmas Eve at the age of five where one of the presents under the tree was a doll, and as the family switched off the light for bed and closed the door, the doll’s eyes snapped open and its head span round on its stem. I hated dolls after that and wouldn’t have them in my room. Also, I was convinced the wardrobe door would open and would watch it on full alert until my parents came to bed in the next room. However, what really tipped me over the edge was my first ever boyfriend taking me to see the Exorcist age 17. I’ve been terrified of the supernatural ever since.

hat-manDuring your career in nursing did you experience anything occult in nature?
There were a lot of stories around in hospitals – mostly when we were staffing a ward at night …great when you had to go into a side ward with a terminally ill patient in the small hours…but the most common was that patients who were about to die would miraculously seem to get better the day before, and then deteriorate rapidly after that. This happened so many times it almost became an omen. But the other thing was – again when someone was about to die – they visibly brightened and stared at a far point no one else could see. Some said the man in the black hat had been to visit. All common stories and personally witnessed. I never saw a ghost though! That came later – a lot later. Continue reading