5 Things I’ve Learnt as an Author.

Today I’d like to talk about some of the things I’ve learnt since I’ve been writing. I hope sharing my experiences will help other authors.

Don’t pay for things you don’t need to.
There are many people out there who claim to be miracle workers when it comes to marketing books, or getting more book reviews. Most are not, and should be avoided. I had many people approach me when I started writing trying to market my first book, claiming they could send the book shooting up the Amazon charts with no proof of any previous successes.

Book marketing is a steep learning curve that I’m still on, but much of what is offered by these ‘services’ can be done yourself. Offering your book for free on Amazon, for example – you can set this up yourself and make social media posts telling people about it. Book reviews shouldn’t be paid for – Amazon will remove reviews if they believe they’ve been bought, rather than given by a genuine reader. You can approach book bloggers with your book description and cover and ask if they’d be interested in reviewing it for you. Make sure the bloggers you ask read the same genres you write in, to ensure you get more positive responses.

 

Write your book how YOU want to:
What’s the best way to write your book? On Word? With Scrivener? Plan every detail, or just have a rough idea of the story? It’s all up to you – whatever works best. I write in Word because that’s what I’m used to, and I don’t see any benefit from changing to Scrivener. The most important thing is that you’ve got an idea and you want to write it. Don’t feel as though you need to use everything that is suggested to you. If you’ve read books telling you how to write a book and you get something out of it, then great, but it isn’t necessary to read them. You can help yourself though, by reading a variety of authors and picking out what does and doesn’t work in their writing. Continue reading

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!

 

happy3

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

bloodhound-logo-small

The Top 10 Facebook Groups for Indie Authors.

facebook-wordle

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