Day 6 The Lost Sentinel’s blog tour – #writers 12 Questions to ask yourself before writing a series #amwriting

On day 6 of the blog tour I’m featured over on Sacha Black’s blog, sharing my insight on writing a standalone novel vs a series. I’ve devised 12 questions all writers can ask themselves before embarking on the task.

Please head over and let me know what you think.

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The Lost Sentinel blog tour will continue later with a book review from Another World Book Blog. See you then.

Guest author: Suzanne Rogerson – 5 ways spreadsheets can help writers plan and edit their novels

As promised, here’s the first stop on The Lost Sentinel’s blog tour. Find out why I love spreadsheets as a writing tool.

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

I’ve always loved using excel spreadsheets, which probably goes back to my office job days (yawn!). But it was only as I recently plotted and planned the second book in my Silent Sea Chronicles, that I wondered if other writers had considered the benefits of using spreadsheets as a writing tool. Excel is great for;

  1. Planning your novel
  • Plan scenes in brief (or detailed if you prefer)

I do a mixture of both on the spreadsheet. Sometimes I plot out the basic scene, but I might add a few bits of dialogue to help me get into the scene when it comes to actually writing it.

  • It’s easy to copy, cut and move scenes around until you find the right place for them in the story.
  • Keep track of viewpoint characters

This is great when you have a cast of characters. I don’t like to leave too long between…

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Launch day bargain £1.99 for 13 Steps to Evil by @sacha_Black #amwriting #writingtips

I love villains!

I love reading about them and I especially love creating them in my own fantasy books. When I heard Sacha Black was publishing a book dedicated to creating evil characters, I snapped up a copy of 13 Steps to Evil. I can’t wait to read this how to book and my review of it will follow soon.

In the meantime, here’s some information about the book. Why not pick up a copy yourself while it’s on sale at £1.99?

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Book Blurb

Your hero is not the most important character in your book. Your villain is.

Are you fed up of drowning in two-dimensional villains? Frustrated with creating clichés? And failing to get your reader to root for your villain?

In 13 Steps to Evil, you’ll discover:

  • How to develop a villain’s mindset
  • A step-by-step guide to creating your villain from the ground up
  • Why getting to the core of a villain’s personality is essential to make them credible
  • What pitfalls and clichés to avoid as well as the tropes your story needsFinally, there is a comprehensive writing guide to help you create superbad villains.

Whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned writer, this book will help power up your bad guy and give them that extra edge.These lessons will help you master and control your villainous minions, navigate and gain the perfect balance of good and evil, as well as strengthening your villain to give your story the tension and punch it needs.

If you like dark humour, learning through examples and want to create the best villains you can, then you’ll love Sacha Black’s guide to crafting superbad villains. Read 13 Steps to Evil today and start creating kick-ass villains.

Purchase from: All good retailers, but universal link to all bookstores is here.

Sacha Black Author Bio

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Sacha Black has five obsessions; words, expensive shoes, conspiracy theories, self-improvement, and breaking the rules. She also has the mind of a perpetual sixteen-year-old, only with slightly less drama and slightly more bills.

Sacha writes books about people with magical powers and other books about the art of writing. She lives in Hertfordshire, England, with her wife and genius, giant of a son.

When she’s not writing, she can be found laughing inappropriately loud, blogging, sniffing musty old books, fangirling film and TV soundtracks, or thinking up new ways to break the rules.

Contact Information

General

Email: sachablack@sachablack.co.uk

Non-fiction Website: www.sachablack.co.uk

Fiction Website: www.sachablackbooks.com

Social Media

Twitter: @sacha_Black

Facebook: Sacha Black author page

Pinterest: Pinterest profile

Instagram: Sacha Black profile

Goodreads non-fiction: Sacha Black profile

Goodreads fiction: Sacha de Black profile

Tumblr: Sacha Black profile

Google+: Sacha black profile

Linkedin: Linkedin Profile

Amazon Sacha Black profile

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!

 

#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

#WWWBlogs My top ten tips for New Writers #indieauthors #writers #amwriting

I’ve been writing novels for over 20 years and as this is the anniversary of my first year of self-publishing, I thought it would be great to go back and revise the advice I had for new writers at the start of my own journey back in November 2015.

1. Online courses

I’ve completed both novel writing and short stories courses. You learn as you write and having your assignments critiqued by experienced tutors helps you improve as you go along. Online course can fit around your work and family.

2. Go to writing workshops and creative writing classes.

I’ve attended several adult education classes over the years, and a couple of one day workshops. Meeting like-minded people was a real turning point for me. Critiquing and editing others work helps you look at your own work more objectively. Also having others critique your work helps you develop that famous thick skin all writers need.

I’ve made writing friends from classes too. It’s so important to have people in your life who understand the struggles of a writer. Now with online forums, and blogs etc. it’s easier to connect with other writers, but I still think the workshops can play an important part in the learning process.

3. Enter competitions, especially those offering critiques

There’s nothing worse than sending your story into a competition and never hearing anything again. Not knowing where you’re going wrong. The critiques can help you grow as a writer. And if you follow the suggestions made, next time your story may just get placed.

4. Don’t rush. Don’t pitch too soon.

I’ve made this mistake many times. Thinking the book is ready and contacting the agents I would love to work with, or the publishers that accept unsolicited submissions. Once they’ve turned your book down, there’s no going back. It’s the same with some novel competitions; once they’ve seen your entry you can’t resubmit when you’ve made a better version. If you do it looks unprofessional.

5. Start building your online profile now.

I’ve been blogging since July/Aug 2015. A lot has happened in a year and a bit. I’ve gained followers and made many online connections with writers and bloggers. I’m close to reaching 4K followers through the various platforms – Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads. I’d say that’s not too bad for a year, though the time involved has taken me away from my writing. Challenges like the April A-Z blog challenge and running my own my blog tour in Jun/July were very time-consuming, but lots of fun and well worth the effort. 

6. Beta readers can make a huge difference.

Especially beta readers who are writers themselves, who understand the structure and techniques of writing. I’ve been lucky enough to have made some really good friends from writing classes. We’ve kept in touch and still occasionally meet up to critique each others’ work. They’ve offered honest criticism about where I’m going wrong, but also shown me my strengths as a writer and their encouragement has been a big boost to my confidence.  

7. Join a book group

I’ve been a member of several book groups. It’s really interesting listening to readers critiquing books you’ve read, and to imagine how your own book might be seen from the readers’ perspective. They also force you to read outside your comfort zone, which can help you grow as a reader and a writer.

8. Get all the professional help you can afford

This is in the form of critique companies, professional editors, paid for beta reads if you don’t have writing friends you trust to be honest with you, cover artists, proof readers. The list of help available is endless and you need to work out what is most important to you and where you need to invest the money most. My first choice would be a good editor every time.

9. Know when it’s time to let go and move on

This is probably the hardest part; to tell yourself it’s finished, and let go of your book as you hit publish.

This is also true once you’ve been published for a while. You need to stop obsessing over your sales, book ranking and the amount of reviews you have or haven’t got. There is only so much marketing you can do, and as I have been told by many professionals, the best thing to do is get another book published.

10. Enjoy the journey, and celebrate being a writer

It’s an amazing feeling creating worlds and characters, and not everyone can do it. It takes hard work, dedication and an absolute determination to succeed.

Now that Visions of Zarua has been published a year, I look back and think wow. All that hard work has paid off. I’ve gained over a dozen wonderful reviews in that year and that is proof enough that it was worth taking a chance on self-publishing. 

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What is your advice for new writers?

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.

#Bookreview Why does my book not sell 20 Simple Fixes – Rayne Hall #writers

Why does my book not sell? 20 Simple fixes

Author – Rayne Hall

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First thoughts – I saw a review of this book recently and thought great, this is just what I need to give my book sales a boost. I had high hopes it would show me what I was doing wrong and how I could sell more.

Summary – Each of the 20 stages is relevant to indie authors. The book covers topics like the blurb, know your reader, targeting your readers and social media.

Writing style – It’s very easy to follow, down to earth and not condescending. I especially like the lessons learnt section at the end of each chapter, where Rayne Hall shows us examples of her mistakes.

Issues – It seemed at times as though the book assumed you were already selling some copies, so it was a bit depressing on that front. I’m doing pretty much everything she suggests, so there are no miracle fixes for me. But it’s all still great advice and it doesn’t hurt to go over everything now and then to see how you can improve.

Final thoughts – The book was short and sweet. I read it in an evening and made plenty of notes. For me the best section was probably about the blurb. As she states its the biggest factor when a reader chooses to buy your book.

I’ve picked up a lot of my knowledge over time, but I wish I’d known about this book at the start of my self publishing journey and had read it much sooner.

Recommend to – Every indie author will benefit from this, especially if you are just starting out or preparing to self publish for the first time.

Rating – 4 stars

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.

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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.

Guest Post: 15 Tips for Self-Publishing (the second time around) #writingtips #indie #writers

I’m really pleased to share my guest post over on The Eternal Scribbler’s blog. If you’re thinking of self-publishing, you might find these tips useful.

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This week’s guest post is the wonderful Suzanne Rogerson, author of Visions of Zarua, sharing her tips for self publishing 🙂

15 Tips for Self-Publishing (the second time around)

by Suzanne Rogerson

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