Tip for #indieauthors Check your Royalty payments! #selfpub #indiepub

This is just a warning to other self published authors who might not be aware of the 30% tax withholding that’s applied to Non-US citizens royalty payments. This affects Amazon, Createspace etc. Maybe you’re a new self published author, or hoping to self publish in the near future. If so, read on and learn from my mistake…

When I checked my royalty payment due from Amazon US book sales and KENP pages read, I realised there was a 30% tax withholding fee. At first I thought it was a mistake, then I thought why the hell hadn’t I noticed it before? They don’t hide the fact from you, I just hadn’t paid any attention to that column until now. Looking down the list, each month I’ve been deducted 30% on my US royalties (haven’t told the husband yet!).

So I’ve spent the morning trying to find out what went wrong when I did the tax interview on Amazon back in 2015 and how I can rectify the issue. I’ve googled, checked forums and blog posts, cursed and pulled out my hair.

Finally, I re-did the tax interview on Amazon and Createspace and added my non-US tax reference. Now its showing as 0.0% tax withholding. It’s a huge relief and turned out to be a very simple solution. If only I thought to do it when I registered as self employed last year.

So this is a word of caution, although maybe I’m the only one silly enough not to check their royalty reports properly. I also want to ask a question of those more clued up than me on the whole royalty payment and tax process. Is there any chance Amazon will kindly refund me the 30% underpayments which started in June last year?

Does anyone know how to go about requesting that refund, or have you any experience of trying to get your money back?

If not, it’s back to google and the forums for me.

Want to create an Amazon short link for your book and author central page? #writingtips

I’m trying something new today, something that’s been on my to do list for over a year! I’ve decided today is the day to set up universal links for my book and author page on amazon. I’m running a kindle countdown deal right now, so I was stressing about getting the right book links into my tweets. So I googled it.

It was so easy, I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to work this out. Here are my links if you want to check them out.

Visions universal book page

Suzanne’s author page

How to do it yourself:

1. Go to booklinker

2. Paste in the URL of your book

3. Hit the button create universal link.

4. You need to give it a short name and save it.

5. Register the link as yours.

It all happened so quickly, I think I’ve covered every step. I don’t think you can go wrong anyway.

Now when you sign in to Booklink and look at Your Book Links, it shows all the clicks in each country.

I’m assuming the links work. I’ve tested and they seem ok for the UK, but maybe one or two of you bloggers can test it out for me and see if you are taken to your correct country. Let me know in the comments if you have time. Thank you!

By the way, here’s the site that led me to this amazingly simple discovery – Kindlepreneur. There looks like lots of articles to help the self published author here, so I will definitely be returning to browse this site.

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Now it’s time to update my blog and email signature with these quick links – if I could only remember how to do it. Time for another google search. I’m on a roll this morning!

 

#Mondayblogs KDP select, updates, reviews & competition news

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, so I thought it was the perfect time for a little update.

Review News

Firstly, Visions of Zarua had two reviews within hours of each other over the weekend! I’m suffering with a cold at the moment and these reviews were the perfect pick me up. See them on the Goodreads book page and Amazon UK.

One reviewer even said Paddren was one of her top five favourite characters of the year. That is amazing to hear and really makes me smile, thank you Karen.O.

Visions of Zarua has received some wonderful feedback over the last year with 17 reviews on amazon UK and 15 on goodreads. These reviews have been my inspiration to keep writing and I never tire of re-reading them.

New Competition

A UK only Goodreads competition will be running over the Christmas period. 22nd Dec to 1st Jan 2017.

I’m also about to set up a Rafflecopter giveaway, something I’ve not done before but we’ll see how that works out.

Next Book News

My first two beta readers reviews are in. The consensus is that The Lost Sentinel is almost ready to publish! There’s still a few tweaks and mistakes to rectify, but it’s pretty much complete. Then it’ll just need a professional edit and book cover.

Book 2 is written but awaiting the insertion of many, many scenes. I hope to start planning book 3 soon with a view to writing the draft during Nano next November. Scary to think of Nov 2017, but it’s good to have a plan.

One of my beta readers is really pushing me to approach agents before I self publish The Lost Sentinel. She thinks it’s a much stronger book than Visions of Zarua and the fact its book 1 of a trilogy might make it a better prospect for agents and publishers to consider. What do you think of switching directions?

I’ll be researching my options over the next few months. It’s exciting, but I’ve enjoyed self-publishing and I’m not sure I want to hand over control to others. There’s also the rejections to face again. Am I ready for that?

Reading challenge

I beat my 25 book target on Goodreads, which I’m really pleased about. There’s still time to get another book or two in and I’m hoping to post a review tomorrow of A Wedding in Cornwall by Laura Briggs.

There are plenty of book tags around that I’d like to have a go at, and maybe I’ll try to select my favourite book of 2016. It’s harder this year as I’ve read more books than I’m used too. 2015 my fav book was Ink and Bone’ by Rachel Caine.

KDP Select / Countdown deals & Amazon Ads

Well the exclusive publishing is not going well and Kindle Unlimited KENP has gone down to zero pages for the last two months. At the back end of October this was looking like an exciting new way of reaching readers, now I don’t know. I’m stuck with it until Feb 2017, after that it will be decision time.

The second Countdown deal didn’t go to plan. It worked in the UK and US, but seemed to start at different times. The Amazon Ads I’d scheduled didn’t work properly and the book price didn’t increase on the second day for some reason. This isn’t really an issue, but it just made my blog/tweets about it harder – I didn’t want to mention price in case it suddenly hopped up to 1.99. I made a few sales, but nothing to worry the bestseller lists!

I spent more on Ads with Facebook, Amazon and Goodreads than I made in sales. Still, it’s all exposure for the book.

Call for help

If you have Kindle Unlimited, don’t forget Visions of Zarua is free to read in the UK here and the US here.

I would really appreciate it of someone who has the facility would read a couple of pages and let me know when, just so I can check the pages read are being registered.

Also, I had this crazy idea that I’d like to hit 20 reviews on Amazon before the end of the year. If you have read Visions, would you consider posting a short review? It really does make my day to read them.

I’m sure I’ll post again soon, but if not before the big day…

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!

#Tuesdaybookblog #Bookreview Getting Book Reviews by @RayneHall #indieauthors

Getting Book Reviews by Rayne Hall

Part of the Writer’s Craft Series

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Blurb

Reviews help sell books.
When browsing online for their next read, most readers are drawn to the books with many reviews. More and more readers glance at what other readers have to say about a book before they hit the ‘buy now’ button. The more people have read and liked the book, the more they want to experience it for themselves. This is a known psychological factor called ‘social evidence’, and it plays a big role in purchasing decisions.
The more reviews your book has, the better, especially if they are genuine, personal, thoughtful and positive. Reviews can multiply your sales and catapult your book to the top of bestseller lists – but how do you get them?
Perhaps you’re a new author and can’t get those crucial early reviews to start the train rolling. Maybe you’re a seasoned author and your books have garnered reviews, but not as many as you need to break out. Or perhaps you’ve gone the corporate publishing route, and find that your publisher’s publicist isn’t getting your book the attention it needs.
This book shows you many proven strategies to get the reviews your book deserves. Instead of urging you to labour through tedious, spirit-draining procedures, I’ll reveal quick, fun, empowering tricks.
All my suggestions are legitimate and ethical. In this book you won’t find methods for manipulating, faking and cheating. Strengthen your readers’ bond with you, don’t sabotage it.
Most of the methods I suggest are free, although some incur expenses. You will definitely need to spend time. You can apply them all these techniques, or cherry-pick the ones you like now and keep the rest for another time or a different book.
At the end of most chapters, I’m sharing mistakes I made and learnt from. They all seemed a good idea at the time.
Rayne

My Review

First thoughts

Since I self-published for the first time in 2015, I’ve been trying to increase my book’s profile on Amazon by getting more reviews. This book sounded perfect to help me do that.

Summary

Each chapter in the book covers your options when trying to gain reviews. They state the method, along with pros and cons for each and lessons learnt by the author. There were chapters on things like beta readers, approaching amazon reviewers, review circles and general product review agencies.

Writing Style

The book has a friendly, easy to read style just as the previous book of Rayne Hall’s I read and reviewed recently. Why does my book not sell? 20 Simple Fixes

Issues

My only real issue was that I’d already learnt alot of this by myself the long and hard way! It would’ve been great to have a manual like this to work through, to save time and effort.

Final thoughts

I have stumbled my way throughout the process of self-publishing and the same can be said for the way I’ve tried to get reviews. I have made connections with some brilliant book bloggers and gained some wonderful reviews, but I wish I’d known about this book long before I hit publish; things like putting a personal letter at the back of the book would have been easier if addressed beforehand.

This is a quick read, and one you can go back to again and again for sound advice.

Recommend to

I think this book is most helpful to authors who are soon to publish. Of course if you have already self-published, there are still plenty of helpful tips in here for you.

Rating  4 stars

#Mondayblogs My 10 tips on running a book stall/signing #indieauthors #writingtips

I ran my first book stall at the local Christmas fair the other day. I was nervous about it during the weeks leading up to it, but I knew it was time to start putting myself out there. It felt a bit like coming out of the closet ‘My name is Suzanne Rogerson and I am an author.’

I did sell some books, which is wonderful, but most importantly it was a big step in building my confidence. For those of you who are nervous about trying it, I say go for it! Here are a few tips that might help you make a success of your own event.

My Tips

  1. I had a sign stating ‘Local Author’
  2. Display your log line big and bold to draw some interest.
  3. My posters of the book cover could be seen from a distance and were eye-catching.
  4. The boards were great for displaying everything a potential reader might want to know without having to ask.
  5. Have readers quotes on display so the browsers can see others have enjoyed your book.
  6. Have different forms of information on display. I had posters, picture quotes that I used in my blog tour, quotes from readers with star ratings and my author photo.
  7. Display the price so you don’t have the embarrassing discussion of money
  8. Be approachable, but not pushy. I was happy to talk to anyone who wanted to, but I didn’t throw myself at them.
  9. I had a sign to show where the book is available and the prices. I also mentioned it’s free to read for Kindle Unlimited readers.
  10. Don’t go over board with stock.

 

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Things I wish I’d done

  1. I would have had a sign that said please take a card.
  2. I could have walked around handing out cards – but I didn’t want to force myself on people. I don’t like that approach in the street, and it’s just not me.
  3. I didn’t mention the magical words ‘If you like it, would you consider leaving a short review.’ Some were bought as Christmas presents so that wouldn’t really have applied anyway, but it’s still a missed opportunity.

 

I haven’t made any money, but I didn’t enter into it for monetary gain. It’s all about getting my books into readers hands and getting exposure. I’ve already had some lovely feedback and that is what matters. People have been really supportive – friends and strangers alike.

My final advice to any shy writers like me, don’t let it hold you back. Go for it and see what happens!

#WWWBlogs My review of the self-publishing summit #indieauthors #selfpublishing #indiepub

On Saturday I had the pleasure of attending a self-publishing summit at Kings College London run by New Generation Publishing.

It was a very informative day. There were 3 Q&A / talks with panels of industry professionals and self-published authors. I’m still processing much of the information  but I wanted to share an overview of the day and what I feel I’ve gained from it.

Start

The day didn’t start well. It was pouring with rain, and during a dash across Waterloo Bridge I got soaked twice by vindictive bus drivers. It took until lunchtime for my trousers to dry! My map got so wet I couldn’t read it, but thankfully Kings College was easy enough to find, and everything improved from there.

The talks

As I mentioned there were three scheduled talks with Q&A’s. The first talk focused on the two guest authors experiences and advice for new authors. The second was about marketing and how to sell your work. The third discussed the future of self-publishing.

I found the talk about marketing the most interesting and helpful to my current situation.

Some nuggets of advice from the talks

Look at marketing as fun and be creative.

Think local news – Create an angle for you / your book. Local interest for radio and newspaper could lead to bigger opportunities.

Say yes to any publicity.

Contact book shops – prove to them they can sell it, who will buy it, what you are doing to market it. Remember they like to buy in advance of publication.

Publicity timelines – Differ for bookshops, radio and magazines.

Think about your ideal reader – where do they shop and how can you find them.

Cover Design – think audience, create a buying impulse.

Elevator pitch – Think how you can grab someone’s attention and make them want to buy your book. Be able to talk about your book and sell it!

ISBN’s – Buy your block of 10, rather than 1 at a time. You can’t sell in a book shop with the Amazon ISBN’s and they won’t accept the createspace paperback.

Pitching sessions

The best part of the day for me was the pitch sessions with individual members of the panel.

I spoke to an agent, Kate Nash, who unfortunately doesn’t represent fantasy but provided a lot of interesting information in her talk and great advice to the other authors in the group. I asked whether she would be more likely to consider a self-published author if they had gained a following on social media. She said any decisions would be based on the book submitted.

I spoke to Ben Galley, a fantasy author and self-publishing consultant. He is about to publish his 11th book, so it was great to get my book in front of him for some advice. I asked him what I could do to get more readers to find and purchase my book.

His Tips:-

Buy your own domain name to look more professional.

Don’t lower the price.

Use a professional typesetter to make the interior of the book really stand out. This can help the search inside feature really sell your book to the browsing reader – make the experience a pleasure.

Consider a UK company for the UK printing of paperbacks. It will be cheaper and better quality than Createspace.

Join genre forums and facebook groups and get involved.

Have a newsletter.

I also spoke with the two self-published novelists, Roz Morris and Toni Jenkins, who were both lovely ladies and happy to discuss their experiences within the industry. Among other things we talked through ideas on how to get more readers, reducing my social media output to really focus on those that count, and a website called MEETUP where I could advertise to start my own local writing group.

I spoke with David Walshaw the publishing exec of New Generation Publishing. He was happy to talk me though the options of self-publishing with his company, but there was no hard sell or pressure in any way. It’s great to know there are other options and that I don’t have to do everything myself. I still need to research whether I can afford this for my next book though.

Downside to the day

For me the coffee breaks, and in particular lunch break were painfully awkward as I wasn’t comfortable mixing and chatting in large groups.

Things I wish I’d done differently

I didn’t hand out my card to anyone or swap contact details with other authors as I had hoped to have done.

I didn’t mingle enough / at all!

I didn’t have a proper pitch prepared for the pitching sessions

Value for money

At £59.99 I thought it was great value for a day of immersing myself in the world of self-publishing. The food could have been a bit more varied, but it was fresh and tasty. And there was a constant supply of drinks, although it did arrive a little later and after the soaking I received from the bus, I needed that hot drink!

Overall view

It was a very worthwhile experience. I gained some knowledge and had my book looked at by others with more knowledge of the industry. It was generally felt that I’d done a good job for a first timer! So I came away proud of my achievement and buzzing with ideas for what to do next.

If you get the chance to go to a summit in the future, I recommend you try it out for yourself.

 

Update: 1 week until Visions of Zarua’s book birthday! Join in the #fantasy goodreads giveaway

Well it’s only a week to go until my debut novel is a year old!

The goodreads giveaway is still live until the big day – 16th Nov 2016. Enter here if you want the chance to win a signed copy.

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I’m still planning a Rafflecopter giveaway, but I’ve decided to wait until I’ve been to the Self-Publishing Summit at the weekend. Maybe I’ll get some tips about marketing these giveaways.

I’m also running a new Amazon Ad as I’ve just reduced the US Kindle book price to $2.99. I’m stating the cost in the ad to see if this makes a difference to the amount of people who click and don’t buy. Fingers crossed!

Kindle Unlimited has also been disappointing – my KENP read has been a depressing flat line for the last 10 days. Hopefully this will pick up with a bit of advertising.

Can I ask your opinion on my log line

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

New option – Two reluctant heroes, 350 years apart. Can they save the realm of Paltria from Zarua’s dark past?

Please let me know if either intrigues you.

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The blog may go quiet for a few days while I prepare for the Self-pub summit, but I’ll still reply to all your comments.

Help, I’m going to a self-publishing summit! Any advice? #indieauthor

I’ve finally decided to put myself out there and attend a self-publishing summit next week. I haven’t been to any network events before and I hope this will be the start of me gaining confidence as a writer.

It’s easy enough to sit at home and think you’re a writer (I still cringe when I state that’s my occupation), but to actually physically go out into the world is a gigantic step for me. I don’t know how much I’ll get out of the day, but I’m nervously excited about the opportunity and looking forward to meeting some like-minded authors.

I have my notebook and pens ready, business cards to hand and I plan to have some book blurbs prepared to share. The trouble is I’m the world’s worst at selling myself. Whenever I hear the words ‘So what’s your book about?’ my brain freezes and my tongue disappears inside my head.

Have you been in this position? Do you have any tips for being more confidant, or advice to make the most of this networking day?

I look forward to sharing my experience with you and hopefully I’ll have lots of new ideas to put into practise for my current self published novel, and the book I hope to publish early next year.

Results of the poll ‘Are book trailers worth it?’ #indieauthors #writers

Last week I ran a poll to see if it was worth my time and money investing in a book trailer (original post). As promised here are the results.

40% stated it’s a waste of time.

40% stated they would consider buying a book if it had a good trailer.

20% voted other – (waste of money, don’t know what a book trailer is)

0% have sold books because of a book trailer

0% find books to buy that way.

I’ve had some interesting comments from other bloggers who mention other options available to people wanting to make their own trailer. As well as Fiver, there is iMovie, moviemaker and an Animoto app. I’ll be looking into these in more detail when I get the chance.

I still haven’t decided whether to go ahead with the trailer idea. And if I do, will I make the trailer myself or pay for a trailer to be made for me. It’s an extra marketing tool, but there’s still no saying it will encourage people to buy the book.

I like the idea of having a trailer to add to my Amazon page and post on YouTube. Plus there’s the option to get people to watch the trailer for entry into Rafflecopter and Amazon giveaways. These would be great for the trailer’s exposure, but yet more expense.

As one blogger said; ‘While I’ve watched a few book trailers out of sheer curiosity, I’ve never *wanted* to see one. They don’t tell me anything the blurb doesn’t tell me, and I have other things I’d rather watch.’ Lilyn G of Sci-fi & Scary.

So, after this little experiment, I remain undecided.

My thanks to those who took part in the poll, and to those who’ve taken an interest in the post.

Have you anything to add to the discussion? Has this poll encouraged or discouraged you to make or pay for your own trailer?

Are book trailers worth it? Join in the poll #WWWblogs #indieauthors #writers

I have been making my way through my list of marketing ideas, which includes giveaways, blog tours and a book trailer.

I worked out a pitch, found a trailer format I liked on fiver, but then I chickened out. I started to question if it’s worth the £50+ price tag. Will I reach more readers? Is the £50 better spent elsewhere?

Before I take the plunge, I thought I’d open the question up to you guys. Please join in the poll.

I’ll post more about my thoughts on book trailers in a few days, along with the results of the poll.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts and advice on the matter, please get in touch.