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

Interview with mystery author and blogger, Anne R Allen

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Today I’m pleased to be able to welcome mystery author Anne R Allen to the blog. Anne is the author of ten books, including the bestselling CAMILLA RANDALL MYSTERIES and HOW TO BE A WRITER IN THE E-AGE, co-written with NYT bestseller Catherine Ryan Hyde. Her latest is SO MUCH FOR BUCKINGHAM, a humorous mystery about Internet trolls.

Lets begin.

Did you always want to write? Were you inspired from an early age from the books you read as a child?
I’ve been a writer pretty much since I could hold a crayon. I used to write stories in the margins of my coloring books to go with the pictures. My parents were both PhDs who taught literature at the university level, so I was born into a house full of books. My parents read to me every night. Books were always part of my life. I was especially inspired by the Wizard of Oz series. I think because the hero was an independent little girl.

How quickly did you become involved in the ‘Kindle Revolution’? Could you see the potential from the beginning?
I wasn’t one of the first to join the Kindle crowd. I’ve always been with small presses and let my publishers make decisions about format. But as soon as they put my work on Amazon as ebooks in 2011, I saw my sales soar, so I knew they were onto something. I already had a blog, and it was easy to see how my online presence could influence online sales, so I made a point of learning to use social media.

I think I learned the most about online marketing from the fantastic women of the Indie Chicks Anthology. They invited me to join because I was with an “indie” micropress, even though the rest were self-published. They taught me the ropes.

You write both fiction and non-fiction. Do you enjoy writing one more than the other?
I probably write a lot more non-fiction than fiction—if you consider the amount of time I spend writing blog posts—but my heart is still with my fiction. Writing fiction is hard, but I love it. Writing non-fiction is easier, but it doesn’t give me the same sense of joy.

Continue reading

Book Review – Wrong Place by M. A. Comley

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DI Sally Parker has a serial killer on her patch. One thing that sets this killer apart from the others she’s hunted before: his willingness to leave DNA at each of the crime scenes. It’s up to Sally and her partner DS Jack Blackman to find out why before the body count rises to double figures.

 

 

 

Extract

Sally Cringed. “Are you Brenda’s sister?”
“Yes, at least I was.” Darla broke down in tears.
Sally and Jack glanced at each other and shook their heads. It was never easy telling a person that a loved one had passed over, let alone been murdered. Sally waited for a few minutes before she placed a hand over the woman’s and asked is she was okay.
“Not really. Would you be? What happened?”
“It’s difficult to tell right now. We were called out to the crime scene, and discovered you sister’s body.”
“In a church?” Darla frowned.
“Actually, she was found outside, in the graveyard.”
“Shit! How did she die?”
Sally swallowed hard. “I’m not going to lie to you. Her naked body was found propped up against a gravestone.”
Darla stared at her open-mouthed for a few seconds, then she found her voice again. “Was she raped?”
Sally nodded. “I’m sorry. There’s no other way to say it. If it’s any consolation, the suspect left valuable DNA at the scene. We’re hopeful that will lead to his capture soon.”
“He did? Then why aren’t you out there, going after him? Sorry, dumb question.”
“Not at all. A logical one under the circumstances. We have to inform the next of kin before we can begin our investigation.”
“I see. Do you have a suspect in mind? Any witnesses?”
Sally shock her head. “Not yet. Can I ask when you last saw your sister?”
“Just before her shift last night. I came home from the office at five thirty. We passed on the stairs, as she had to get to work before her shift started at six.”
“Does your sister have a boyfriend?
“No. she’s not the type to settle down with one person. Umm… that sounded bad, didn’t it?”
“Not at all” Given Sally’s own experiences with men, she totally understood why women wouldn’t want to start a permanent relationship with a man in today’s world. Continue reading

The Top 10 Resources for Self-Publishing Authors

Self-publishing authors have a fair bit to do: Write, edit and format books, design covers, learn how to use Kindle Direct Publishing (and other publishing outlets) and explore how to best make use of social media to market their work. The following is a list of resources which I found to be the most helpful with the self-publishing process:

The Book Designer   1JoelF

The Book Designer is put together by Joel Friedlander, and it covers all aspects of self- publishing. The site is easy to navigate and has popular posts grouped together on the home page with articles put into categories. Personally, I’ve learned a lot from Joel’s site and from the authors who guest-write posts on his behalf. Take a look at the ‘Start Here’ section on the home page to introduce yourself to the scope of articles which are available.

2 Joan Stewart, The Publicity Hound  1JStewart

You’ll find more than 2,000 blog posts and articles, hundreds of learning tools, and lots of free advice on how to tell your story to the world on Joan’s site. If you’re having trouble deciding how best to market and promote your book, then there are numerous articles here that will help. Joan is also great at blogging and shares tips to help you improve your author blog posts  Continue reading