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

The Whittle Investigations to be re-released!

I’m thrilled to announce that Bloodhound Books have offered me a 3 book deal that includes the re-release of The Revelation Room and The Eyes of the Accused, as well as the publication of the third and final book in the series.

The re-releases will happen in June and August, and will see both books with new covers. I am currently planning the third book, and hope to write it in the summer.

I’m really happy with this development, and it means that all my books to date will be with Bloodhound. Both The Revelation Room and The Eyes of the Accused have been unpublished from Amazon, but will still be available to Kindle Unlimited users until May.

 

All the best,

Mark.

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

Interview with psychological suspense author, Maggie James – part 2

maggieToday I welcome Maggie James back to the blog. Maggie signed a publishing contract with Lake Union earlier this year and they will be publishing a re-release of His Kidnapper’s Shoes tomorrow and Maggie’s next novel, After She’s Gone, next March. Thank you for visiting the blog again Maggie. Lets begin the interview.

 

 

 

What are the mains pros and cons of now being a hybrid author?
A friend of mine told me the term ‘hybrid author’ makes me sound like a space alien, but I’m happy to be one! I have yet to discover the answer to this question, though, as my first book with Lake Union hasn’t yet been published. (His Kidnapper’s Shoes will be released on November 15 2016 and is now available for pre-order). After that date I should find out the pros and cons quite quickly! I think being a hybrid should give me the best of both worlds – I’ll have the marketing power of Amazon behind me for two of my novels, yet still retain control over the rest of my writing career. I’m still very much a newbie at this, and I’m learning all the time. At one time, I would have said I’d never sign a publishing contract, yet this year I’ve done just that. Who knows what 2017 will bring?

kidnappers-shoesWhat elements from your published work can you also implement in your self-published books?
For me, the main benefit has been working with a top-notch professional editor. This has been something I couldn’t afford before, but I’m now getting my other books edited by her, and hope to release new versions as soon as possible. Going through the process of editing His Kidnapper’s Shoes made me realise the blind spots we authors have with our work, and how an objective eye will spot things we can’t. It’s also made me consider getting new covers for my books, as first impressions are so important. Continue reading