My Favourite Book of 2016

At the time of writing this post, Goodreads informs me I’ve read 87 books (so far) this year. I’ve decided that the final post of 2016 should celebrate the book which I’ve enjoyed the most. I’ve read lots of excellent novels this year, but there has been one which really stands out, by an outstanding author… 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

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

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

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