#wwwblogs 1 month to go: The Lost Sentinel 99p / 99c pre-order http://mybook.to/LostSentinel #fantasy

There is just under a 1 month to go until the publication of The Lost Sentinel and I’ve been very busy.

The paperback cover is complete and I love the design. Thanks so much to The Cover Collection for their brilliant artwork and swift service.

image paperback full spread

The proof copy is ordered and already on its way from Createspace.

I’m adding the final touches to the kindle edition (hyperlinks etc).

ARC’s have been going out to reviewers.

I’ve agreed a book stall at my daughter’s summer fair, and am thinking of contacting the local newspaper to see if they’d be interested it featuring the event.

Oh and I’m about to be 40! I have a couple of cool birthday treats lined up; visiting the caves at Cheddar Gorge, the Roman baths at Bath, and a falconry day. All great fun, but also research and photography opportunities.

Back to the book;

image kindle and pb

Oh, I love it!

I haven’t decided whether to do a blog tour or not yet, as I’m struggling to think of material. Some book reviewers and bloggers have already agreed to do posts around the publication date so I need to get organised and book in some dates.

This is where I put out the call for help. Would you be willing to post something about The Lost Sentinel before or after the 16th June?

I’m happy to do interviews etc.

I’m also still looking for more reviewers. You don’t have to commit to the publication date, I’m happy to be reviewed however it fits in with your schedule.

And of course, don’t forget you can pre-order your kindle copy now for only 99p / 99c The Lost Sentinel

 

Lastly, I was very happy to see this email in my inbox this morning. You’ve got to love Amazon and Author Central – follow the author facility. It’s a must for all authors.

Please get in touch, and have a great day.

#Mondayblogs #fantasybook update and new #kindle #countdowndeal for Visions of Zarua

I’ve taken a long break from blogging to concentrate on my next book, The Lost Sentinel – Book 1 in the Silent Sea Chronicles.

I’m pleased to say it’s now with my editor for an edit and proofread, so fingers crossed I’ll soon be able to set a publication date. I can’t wait to do the cover reveal and to start contacting book reviewers to offer ARC of the finished book. And I can’t wait to finish book 2, which I’ve also been neglecting for too long.

In other news, Visions of Zarua has finally been seeing some action on Kindle Unlimited which I’m really pleased about. There’s nothing quite like checking the pages read to see it spiking over 1k pages in a day. That’s the equivalent of 2.3 books read and although that may seem small to many authors, I’m chuffed.

Now I need to convert some of those reads into reviews! The reviews have slowed down, nothing since late December, so if anyone is interested in reviewing Visions of Zarua please get in touch for a review copy.

Or you could pick it up for 99p on Thursday 23rd March when the Kindle countdown deal starts in the UK & USA. It’ll then be 1.99 on 24th March and revert to its usual price on 25th March.

Here’s the book link Amazon UK & Amazon USA

Visions of Zarua Book Cover.jpg

cathy - pyre picture quote

I’ll be blogging about it throughout the deal, and I’d love your support in sharing the posts. Thanks very much.

 

 

Two #giveaways for Visions of Zarua #epicfantasy #darkfantasy #swordandsorcery

Want to win a paperback copy of Visions of Zarua?

There are two giveaways running at the moment for my standalone, epic fantasy.

UK Goodreads giveaway – Only 3 days left to enter.

International Rafflecopter giveaway via Brizzlelassbooks who also posted her review yesterday – 12 days left to enter.

I’m so proud of how well this book has been received by book bloggers and reviewers over the last year. Why not check some of the reviews on goodreads, as well as Amazon UK and US where it’s free to read for all Kindle Unlimited subscribers.

Please consider leaving a brief review if you do read Visions of Zarua. Reviews really make my day and help other readers discover indie authors like me.

Here’s a taster of the most recent reviews:

4.0 out of 5 stars A Thoroughly Enjoyable Sword and Sorcery Based Epic Fantasy, 28 Dec. 2016

4.0 out of 5 stars A dark story with many twists and great characters, 17 Dec. 2016

5.0 out of 5 stars A super fantasy read, December 4, 2016

Thanks for reading and good luck to all those that enter.

#WWWblogs 1 week to go with #KDPSelect – My thoughts & why I’m renewing #indieauthor #indie

The first 3 months

It’s been an interesting 3 months using KDP Select for the first time. So far the biggest impact has been having my book enrolled in Kindle Unlimited. The page numbers read has increased each month from 0 in Aug, 768 in September and 786 in October. The figures are modest, but they are still readers, that’s what matters most to me!

I’m always so happy when I check the daily report to see the line on the graph has moved up. Thank you unknown readers, whoever you are.

I’ve yet to see an increase in reviews or sales through KDP Select, but I’ll take this success and continue to be positive about it – after all I sold nothing through Smashwords and the various retailers after the pre-order buzz for Visions of Zarua.

So based on the small success of Kindle Unlimited, I’m going to renew for another 3 months. At least I no longer feel as if my book is completely lost amongst the thousands.

5 day free promo or Kindle Countdown deals?

The next question is shall I run a 5 day free promo or go with kindle countdown deals again? People seem to have mixed opinions on what works best. I suppose it depends on the outcome you require. I want to encourage readers to read and review my book, I’m not so interested in hitting Amazon’s best seller lists for free book downloads. That would be great of course, but my genre is too big to get near those rankings.

With the Countdown Deals at least I understand how things work this time around. I’ll make sure I run the UK & US deals starting on the same day! Thanks Terry Tyler for pointing that one out!

Amazon Ads

I’m also going to promote the Kindle Countdown deal this time, which I plan to do via Amazon Ads: Sponsored Product and Product Display Ad for the sale period and maybe a few days after as well.

My current Amazon Ads have cost me quite a bit with only one sale coming out of 64 clicks! I don’t understand why so many people have clicked on the Ad (which shows the book cover, tag line, cost and star rating) and not followed through. Maybe some of them have gone on to read it via Kindle Unlimited. I have asked Amazon if there is more data available regarding these clicks, and will let you know if I hear back from them.

Hopefully combining the Ad’s with the Countdown Deals will see a better return.

Other book sales sites

I want to try other sites that promote book sales, can anyone recommend any that aren’t too expensive?

***

I hope you’ve found my 3 month experiment with KDP Select helpful.

My other posts were 1 month in with KDP Select and 2nd KDP update

What are your thoughts and experiences on the scheme? If you have any tips to share, I’d love to hear them!

And of course, if you have read Visions of Zarua, would you consider leaving a review? Just a short one, letting other readers know what you think and what you liked / didn’t like.

 

#WWWblogs – My 2nd KDP Select update on Ads, Giveaways & a review request #indie

I had some great responses to my post a few weeks ago about my experience 1 month into Kindle Select. See original post here. There were many people who were struggling with it like me, and others who had advice to make the experience work better for you.

Here’s a quick update of my findings:

  • Stick with KDP Select – Most people believe KDP is the best place to sell your indie books as Kindle is the highest retailer of ebooks.
  • You still have to do ALL the marketing yourself – I had been naïve enough to think that once you went with Select, they would promote your book to all their unlimited subscribers.
  • Reviews – Once you hit a certain amount of reviews, Amazon does start to help you with promotion. This is one I’ll be looking out for with interest once I hit that magical number, whatever it is!
  • Countdown Deals – You can run them in the UK & US at the same time, but not if you put in different starts dates as I did. You NEED to promote Countdown deals yourself. Pay to advertise your sale on the many different book ad sites out there. I haven’t used any paid ad sites myself, but will be looking into this option. Any one have any recommendations?
  • 5 Free book days per enrolment period – Best to do when you have more than one book published. Others have reported success with lots of downloads on their free days, and if it can help get those sought after reviews, all the better. I may hold off setting up my free days until my next book comes out though. Don’t forget to advertise.
  • Free Copies to reviewers – This one was a real issue for me, but I have since heard back from Amazon who stated a free copy of a physical product is permitted if the author states they welcome positive and negative feedback, and the reviewer states a free copy was received in exchange for an honest review.
  • Other ad options – There are other marketing options to try with KDP Select – I’ve set up several ad campaigns.

Sponsored products – You only pay when someone clicks on your ad, which is shown on the Amazon website when your selected key words are searched for. I’ve had this running a while and according to them I’ve had over 3k impressions but only 3 clicks. So far this hasn’t resulted in sales, but maybe the people who have seen the book cover a few times will get intrigued enough to click on it and find out more.

Product Display – This is where your book will appear on people’s kindles and Amazon.com when they search certain genres. I held off with this as you have to set a minimum budget of $100, but they only start billing you when people start clicking on your ad. Mine only went live today so I don’t know if it will help with sales.

And finally the big news, I’ve just set up my first ever Amazon.com Giveaway. Anyone in the US can enter for a chance to win my paperback. I’ve set it that they have to follow me on Amazon.com so we’ll see if anyone is interested and if this will help me get more coverage in the US.

If you’re in the US and want a chance to win a paperback copy, please check out the link here.

A note of caution for those wanting to set up an amazon giveaway – as per the set up rules the details cannot be changed once submitted. I misunderstood what the Welcome message was, I assumed it was once someone had clicked to enter. But it appears with the ad so would be much better suited as the blurb or tag line of the book. Now I have to plug my giveaway, the whole time feeling like a fool for getting something else wrong. (This indie author learning curve is a steep one, and never seems to end!)

UPDATED 4.40pm 20th Sept 16. I don’t understand the Amazon giveaway. It closed after less than an hour and a winner has been picked after only 57 entrants. I set it up to be 1 winner in 100. The upside is now I can redo it without my mistake on the Welcome message, not allow everyone to share the giveaway, set it up to have a higher amount of entrants. The downside is, I have to pay for another giveaway already, I thought this one would last a week! 

Now over to you – Have I inspired you to try Kindle Select, or put you off trying it altogether? Have you any findings to share or tips on improving sales whether through KDP Select or other means? Maybe you’ve made some mistakes you’d like to share. I’d love to hear your views.

***

Finally my cheeky request.

I’m looking to reach that magic number of reviews on Amazon, I’ve read that it could be 20. I have 14 great reviews so far, and I’m really hoping to reach 20 reviews by the end of the year. I’ve been researching book reviewers and will be contacting some over the next few days, but I thought I’d also put the request out to you guys. If any of you are book reviewers and are interested in reading Visions of Zarua, please get in touch in the comments or via my ‘contact me’ page.

I’m also willing to take part in Q&A sessions and author interviews if anyone would like to feature an indie author on their blog.

I’ll leave you with the Amazon link here if you want to find out what the book is all about. Obviously its free if you’re a Kindle Unlimited customer (Amazon suggested I tell reviewers that!).

Thanks for reading.

1 month into KDP Select – my thoughts so far… #indiepub #selfpub #writetip

I signed up to KDP Select in August 2016. It was a horrible experience to unpublish with Smashwords after all the work that goes into preparing the manuscript for them. It feels like a step backwards to remove the book from so many book buying platforms, but I decided it was worth it to go exclusive with Amazon Kindle.

I came into KDP Select with high hopes. There seemed so many benefits of offering them  exclusive ebook rights, and being enrolled in Kindle Unlimited seemed like a win win for everyone.

Well, I’m disappointed to report the results so far are no better than when I was going it alone. I don’t see any benefit to being exclusive, rather I feel tied to Amazon with no help in return. Even running the Kindle Countdown deals has been a disappointment. They haven’t help with the promotion. All it has done is made me clutter my twitter feed, facebook etc with buy my book posts, which I hate. But if I don’t try to spread the word, whose going to know there is a sale on and what’s the point of doing it in the first place?

I did rush into KDP Select without reading the small print, but they draw you in by saying you can reach more readers, earn more money and maximise your sales potential. However, you can only run one promo in one enrolment period. I opted for UK countdown deals, not realising I couldn’t run the US one  at the same time. I also wanted to use their ‘5 day free’ book promotion, but do I want to tie myself to them for 6 months?

I had big plans to approach lots of reviewers in September, but I cannot give away copies of my own book. How ridiculous is that? I believe I may be able to gift copies, but I’m waiting for Amazon to get back to me on how this is done without going against their terms and conditions.

Anyone out there have any advice on how to make the most of KDP Select?

This is a very dispiriting time for me. I don’t like to be negative in my posts, and I’m sure when the next marketing opportunity comes up that I’ll feel more positive again. I suppose I just need to let off steam and then I can focus on finishing my next book. That is why I’m doing this. I love writing and I’ve loved sharing Visions of Zarua with the world and reading the wonderful reviews people have written.

I would just like to thank all those who have supported me. Without you guys, I’m sure I would have given up on self publishing by now.

***

I’m feeling a bit blogged out at the moment, but I hope to start sharing book reviews, writing advice and my photographs again soon. Thanks for bearing with me.

#Tuesdaybookblog – Visions of Zarua KDP Countdown Deal #epicfantasy #kindle

News Update

I’m running my first promotion since joining KDP Select. On Thursday 9th September, Visions of Zarua will be £0.99 in the UK. As part of the Kindle Countdown deal, it will then be £1.99 on 10th until returning to its usual price of £2.99 on 11th September.

It’s also available for free if you are a kindle unlimited subscriber.

Why not take a chance on this standalone epic fantasy that’s currently shortlisted in the Creative National Writing Competition 2016.

Visions of Zarua Book Cover.jpg

Here’s what a few reviewers have been saying;

5.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling and dark fantasy novel that really keeps you gripped from beginning to end!, 27 Jan. 2016

5.0 out of 5 stars brilliantly written fantasy, finished it and wanted more!, 7 July 2016

4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful 3-dimensional characters in an epic fantasy, 12 July 2016

4.0 out of 5 stars A gripping fantasy with a strong premise and endearing characters, 16 July 2016

See all the reviews on Amazon UK

Blurb

Two wizards, 350 years apart. Together they must save the realm of Paltria from Zarua’s dark past.

An ancient darkness haunts the realm of Paltria.
Apprentice wizard Paddren is plagued by visions of a city on the brink of annihilation. When his master Kalesh dies in mysterious circumstances, the Royal Order of Wizards refuses to investigate.
Helped by his childhood friend, the skilled tracker Varnia, and her lover Leyoch, Paddren vows to find the killer.
The investigation leads Paddren down a sinister path of assassins, secret sects and creatures conjured by blood magic. But he is guided by a connection with a wizard from centuries ago – a wizard whose history holds the key to the horror at the heart of the abandoned city of Zarua. Can Paddren decipher his visions in time to save the Paltrian people from the dark menace of Zarua’s past?

***

This is an experiment and I’m interested to see if the KDP Select countdown deals have any impact on sales. Please help me spread the word.

I’ll blog about the results once I’ve finished working through the latest draft of The Lost Sentinel, my next book planned to be published late 2016 / early 2017.

#Tuesdaybookblog – Visions of Zarua is available via #KindleUnlimited #fantasy

When I first published Visions of Zarua I wanted to reach as many book markets as possible. So I published with Kindle and Smashwords (which covers markets like Kobo, iTunes, Nook).

However in the months since publication I’ve only sold half a dozen copies through these platforms via Smashwords. Even running various sales, and a half price sale throughout July has not helped. Kindle has produced much better results so I decided to unpublish with Smashwords and try out KDP Select.

Amazon UK Kindle Unlimited

It’s just gone live this morning, so I’ll give a progress report in a few months on how this is working. I’m really hoping it will boost sales and that having access to extra marketing opportunities will allow me to step back from my own efforts and finish my next book – I’m miles behind schedule for publishing this year!

I’m also looking at the option of an audiobook. It would be a very expensive audiobook to buy, but not for readers who are monthly subscribers to audible etc. I’ll update on this as I go along.

Maybe these new platforms will lead to bigger and better things. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

In other news;

Visions of Zarua is still in the running for Mark Lawrence’s #SPFBO 2 (self published fantasy blog off). Some of the reviewers have already whittled down their list to a few, so I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in my group of 30 authors.

As September draws closer, I’m eagerly awaiting the results of the Creative National Writing competition. Visions of Zarua has been shortlisted and several prizes will be awarded. I have everything crossed hoping it gets placed amongst the winners.

***

I think I have just about exhausted all the marketing opportunities for indie authors – goodreads giveaways, blog tours etc. As much as I want to let go and focus on other projects, it’s hard to see Visions of Zarua disappear amongst the millions of other books available. Does anyone out there have any other marketing suggestions? Are there any avenues I’ve missed?