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

Interview with Tracy Fenton, Founder of THE Book Club – Part Two.

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Today I’d like to welcome Tracy Fenton back to the blog. Due to overwhelming popularity, I thought it only right to invite Tracy back for a second interview. If you haven’t already read the first interview, then you might like to read it here. Thank you, Tracy, for taking the time to answer my questions. Let’s begin.

 

Since your first interview here THE Book Club has grown to now having over 6000 members. How do you keep everyone in line?
I’d love to say with a taser gun and through threats of violence, but the truth is that the group pretty much regulates itself now, as we have such a strong group of dedicated members who are very quick to report “inappropriate” posts or even in the past calm down controversial posts just by being the kind and supportive people they are. We also have a very strong admin team who are online 24/7 watching and lurking and ready to delete when necessary. Shout out to Helen Boyce, Helen Claire, Sharon Bairden, Loo Elton, Teresa Nikolic, Carol Ellis and Sumaira Wilson and obviously Charlie Fenton.

tracy-with-tess-gertsonThere was a lot of excitement about (and photos of) the recent Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Festival in Harrogate. What was your personal highlight of the event?
I had a fantastic time in Harrogate this year and quite a few stand out moments. I was invited to a private lunch with Linwood Barclay which was pretty cool. Listening to Tess Gerritsen (with Tracy, left) speak for an hour on her panel was jaw-droppingly awesome and so inspirational and then getting a signed book and photo with her. Meeting up with several TBC members who I hadn’t actually met in real life before and being able to give them a hug. Sitting next to Linwood Barclay at a private lunch. Meeting up with 4 of the TBC admin team for the first time despite chatting with them 10 times a day for the past year. tracy-with-linwood-barclayTaking a selfie with Linwood Barclay at a private lunch (as seen on the left.) Being invited to a special panel to discuss Mark Edward’s new book The Devil’s Work and finally did I mention I met Linwood Barclay?

 

 

 

How important is knowing authors on social media to your book buying choices? Are you more likely to choose a book by an author you know, rather than one you don’t?
Honestly? Not important at all. I read what I want to read when I want to read it. At the moment I have decided to only read TBC author members during the month of September and only read authors I haven’t read before #cherrypop which I am thoroughly enjoying as I am reading genres I probably would never read before… and some I will never read again. Knowing authors on social media can sometimes be a double-edged sword because I might LOVE them on Twitter and Facebook but I know that I wouldn’t read their book because it just isn’t my type of book, but because there is a social link there is a slight element of pressure to read their book.  Continue reading

Interview with paranormal suspense author, Shani Struthers

shaniToday I’m really pleased to be able to welcome paranormal suspense author Shani Struthers to the Blog. Shani is a Brighton based author who has set her Psychic Surveys series in the city, and is working on a new series based in the most haunted cities around the world. Thank you for taking part today Shani, lets begin:

 

You set some of your books in and around Brighton. What makes the city such a great location for fiction?
Well first of all I live in Brighton so I know it very well and secondly, it’s just a great city! It’s diverse, it’s cosmopolitan and it’s very tolerant. Seriously, all of life is in Brighton, the normal, the not so normal, the weird and the wonderful. It’s a great place to base a Psychic Surveys high street consultancy. I actually think if there was such a business in real life it’d be embraced by the locals! Now… there’s a thought…

You go into a lot of detail for the paranormal investigations that Ruby and her team conduct in the Psychic Surveys series. Is the paranormal of interest to you outside of writing about it?
Definitely, my mum had a life-long intellectual interest in it and so paranormal matters would often be discussed in out house. I grew up with it and developed an interest myself. Also, I’ve veered towards that genre in film and literature but I’m not into gore or gratuitous stuff, like the less is more angle and stuff that’s been well researched too.

What is the one thing you wish someone had told you about being an author before you started to write?
So many things but certainly that you’ve got to have a thick skin, not everyone will  like what you are doing and not everyone is afraid to say so! Also, that it’s a marathon not a sprint and to take time delivering a quality product that you can be proud of.

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Review of Tanners Dell by Sarah England.

My current work in progress is a step away from the Ben Whittle series. It’s a supernatural thriller written in the first person. I’ve been reading more of the same genre recently, and Tanners Dell by Sarah England stands out from the crowd.

Tanner's DellBook Description:
A Darkly Disturbing Occult Horror Novel.
Following the hypnosis of violently disturbed psychiatric patient, Ruby Dean, an unholy dark force was unleashed on the medical staff who tried to help her. Now only one of the original team remains – Ward Sister, Becky.
Despite her fiancé, D.I. Ross, being unconscious and many of her colleagues either dead or critically ill, Becky is determined to rescue Ruby’s twelve year old daughter from a similar fate to her mother. But no one asking questions in the desolate mining village Ruby descends from ever comes to a good end. And as the diabolical history of the area is gradually revealed, it seems the evil invoked is now both real and contagious. Don’t turn the lights out yet!

Extract:
At that moment a cloud floated across the surface of the moon and he looked up. Was there ever such a haunting sight? A breeze sighed into the back of his neck and a flurry of leaves rustled around the porch door.
He frowned, his attention was suddenly drawn to a line of yews at the far end of the graveyard. Was there someone there or was it his imagination? A lit cigarette? A spark of red? He narrowed his eyes, peering harder into the gloom. No, it was just his wild imagination. He blinked and shook his head. He was spooked, that was all – how silly – imagining a dark shape standing there; a man in a long black coat with a black dog on a chain, the dog with red eyes. How silly. How very Rosemary’s Baby. . .Those films – The Exorcist and The Omen – they’d scared him witless as a boy and they scared him witless now. Continue reading

Interview with bestselling murder mystery author, Peter James

Peter-James-author-photoI’m delighted to be able to welcome Peter James to the blog. Author of the Roy Grace series of detective thriller novels as well as stand alone books such as Alchemist, Perfect People, and Host. Peter has sold millions of copies of his books and has had them translated into 36 different languages. When he’s not writing, Peter enjoys skiing, tennis and motor racing. Thank you for agreeing to take part today Peter, let’s begin the interview.

 

You say that everything changes when you read. What was the first book you read as a child that changed something for you?
When I was 14 I read Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock and this book totally changed my life.  It is quite simply the book that made me realize I wanted to be a writer, the first time I read it, as a teenager. It is also the inspiration behind my setting the Roy Grace series in Brighton. This timeless novel is both a thriller and a crime novel, although police play a small part and the story is almost entirely told through the eyes of the villains and two women who believe they can redeem them. Greene has a way of describing characters, in just a few sentences, that makes you feel you know them inside out and have probably met them, and his sense of “place” is almost palpable. It is for me an almost perfect novel.  It has one of the most grabbing opening lines ever written (Hale knew, within thirty minutes of arriving in Brighton, that they meant to kill him.”), and one of the finest last lines – very clever, very tantalizing and very, very “noir” – yet apt. Green captures so vividly the dark, criminal underbelly of Brighton and Hove, as relevant now as when the book was first written, and the characters are wonderful, deeply human, deeply flawed and tragic.  And yet, far more than being just an incredibly tense thriller, Greene uses the novel to explore big themes of religious faith, love and honour.”  And additionally, a bonus, It is also unique for being one of the few novels where the film adaptation is so good it complements rather than reduces the book. But it is not just Brighton Rock – I learn so much from Green’s writing. I don’t think any writer before or after him has been able to create such vivid characters with so few words and description.

Host - Peter James You were there at the beginning of the digital age of books. What do you think of how the industry has grown since then?
In 1994 my novel Host became the first ever electronic novel and I was pilloried around the world, accused of killing the novel!  I do think that as e-books become cheaper they will become even more popular, but personally, I still love the smell and touch of printed books and they will be around for our lifetimes and way beyond. There has been a lot of fear about ebooks, and there is of course justification in this because of the fear of piracy and the terrible damage done to the record industry, but I think this is different with books and the culture is different. Many people, for the foreseeable future will continue to read printed books. But for others it has opened up huge new potential for reading. For instance one of my fans was a soldier out in Afghanistan.  Thanks to his Kindle he could take dozens of books with him out on operations in the desert, which he could never have done before as he could not have physically carried them. I have many elderly fans who like the fact they can increase the font size on their ebooks. And I have had dozens of emails from fans who have bought my recent novels electronically, but who tell me they have also bought the hardcover version to have on their bookshelves as collector items. Personally, although I have almost all of the e-reader gadgets, in general I much prefer to hold a printed book in my hand.

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