First novel – top ten tips

John Mountford has been a keen commentator on this blog for many months. Has has just published his first novel, and I asked him to share some tips about his experience with us all.  I have just Amazon-published my first novel, KILL MANDELA, two years and ten months after writing the first word. Despite the plethora of help for new authors on the web, I took my fair share of wrong turns along the way. And so I decided to give something back by adding my bit to that vast pool of self-publishing help – and where better than the blog of one of the most helpful writers in the business, Rachel Abbott. A quick disclaimer: these tips are from my personal experience, and may not perfectly match your circumstances. Nonetheless, I stand by them.

Defining a winning strategy – update

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post about defining a winning strategy. I laid out my ideas, and explained my thinking about pricing. I decided that today it was time for an update. (You can find the original post HERE if you haven’t read it.) Some of you eagle eyed readers may have noticed that – contrary to my last post – from 1st May the price of Only the Innocent and The Back Road both dropped to £0.99. You can check them both out by clicking the title links, but I thought I should explain what has happened. This is an intrinsic part of my strategy, and not a change of heart! I have to admit that after my last post, the temptation to drop the price of The Back Road to 99p did prove quite hard to resist, once I’d realised that only books that were

Do video book trailers work, and how do you make one?

I have been questioning the impact of video trailers on book sales for some time. I’ve seen some very good trailers – usually with specially shot video – and some very poor ones where scrolling text describes the whole story for seemingly endless minutes. I played around a bit with some utility apps that I had on my Mac (and I do love messing around with software), but I really didn’t know where to start. I checked out Animoto – a free app – but although it was quick and easy I didn’t really like the fact that I had no control at all, and with little more than the cover of my book to work with, it just didn’t seem to deliver – so I temporarily gave up. However, I was impressed with the impact that a good trailer could have when I went to one of S J

Five-Star Book Corner – a guest post from Victoria Twead

I was fortunate enough to come across Victoria as recently as a couple of weeks ago. She runs a great site, which is dedicated to books with more than 25 Five Star reviews – a great place for readers to visit, and a brilliant opportunity for authors. I invited Victoria along to tell us all about it.  Thank you for inviting me to talk about this new free promotion opportunity for authors, Rachel. My Five-Star Book Corner is growing fast, and that’s thanks to fellow authors like you who are being featured and telling others. Just to introduce myself, I’m a British author living up a mountain in Spain. I’m supposed to be writing the fourth book in my Two Old Fools series but have got a little sidetracked with this Book Corner project. But I’ll begin at the beginning, and explain how it all began… I was shocked when I

The Back Road to Success – defining a winning strategy

As many regular readers of this blog will know, my second novel – The Back Road – was launched just four weeks ago, and being my usual obsessive self I had a carefully considered (and very long) marketing strategy. Based on my experience with Only the Innocent and its startling success, I had tried to analyse what made it shoot to the top of the charts and stay there for so long, and my plan was based on identifying those key points and making them work for me again. My expectations were lower. There are not only more books out there now, but other authors are much more savvy about how to market them (I knew I shouldn’t have blogged about my methodology! 🙂 ). On top of that, until the day of launch there were still lots of 20p books in the charts, and my book stood no chance against

Killer tips for self-publishing by Mel Sherratt

I am sure many of you will have heard of Mel Sherratt, whose book Taunting the Dead was a bestseller in 2012. She’s a great supporter of other indie authors, so I have asked her to share some of her knowledge and experience with us all.  Since my novel, TAUNTING THE DEAD, became one of the top ten self-published Kindle bestsellers of 2012, I’m often asked how did I do it. The answer could be one of a few things: did I get lucky? Did I get noticed in some way? Did I have a marketing strategy? Did word of mouth take over once people started to read it? The answer is obviously the latter one – joking! In truth, it’s probably a bit of all of them. So I thought I’d share a few tips with you: 1. IMAGE IS EVERYTHING: Cover, cover, cover. Personally, I think covers are everything

Hooking Readers – The Power of a Great Book Blurb

A guest post by Mark Edwards Writing a novel is hard. Writing a good synopsis is really hard. Writing a great blurb for your novel is harder still. And writing a fantastic single tag-line is almost impossible. It seems that the shorter the piece of writing, the more difficult it is to do it well. Everybody will tell you that the most important thing is to write a good book, and that is true, but the sad truth is that good books don’t sell themselves. Great books do not sit on Amazon, or on bookshop shelves, emitting rays of goodness, drawing people towards them. You have to work to let people know that your work exists – only then, if people like it will they write reviews, tell their friends and do the hard work for you.

Marketing in a nutshell : A year in the life of a self-published author – Part III

This is the third in the series of blog posts to celebrate the first year anniversary of the launch of Only the Innocent, and today I’m going to talk about the Marketing Plan. Yes – I know that I’ve done several posts on this already, and you can find them here and here – but I couldn’t talk about the last twelve months without talking about the marketing plan, and even in this short time, I would change my approach to marketing. Those of you who have followed these blog posts in the past will be aware that I didn’t actually have any plan at all at the launch of my book. That was a very significant mistake, because I had taken no time at all to build a sales platform and could only rely on friends and family to buy in the initial stages. (A sales platform can be

A year in the life of a self-published author: Part II – Preparing the book for launch

In the second part of this blog series to celebrate a year since the launch of Only the Innocent, I want to talk about everything that happened between the decision to publish, and the actual launch date. I will touch on the things that I did, and more importantly the things that I should have done – the lessons that I have learned. In the world of technology, things move at a remarkable rate. When I was preparing Only the Innocent for the Kindle, the process I went through to convert my file from a Word document to a mobi file was very long-winded. I couldn’t find any really good converters, and there were plenty of warnings about bad output from Amazon’s own system, so the first thing that I had to do was spend time considering how best to format my book.

3 Ways to “Automate” Your Social Media Efforts—And Why You Should

I’m delighted to welcome back a guest blogger, Nick Thacker, whose post earlier this year resulted in some interesting feedback. He has some great ideas here, many of which are new to me and I am already planning to try out.  “Automation” is a word that tends to invoke thoughts of iRobot-style post-apocalyptic societies, machine-versus-human world wars, and other disturbing concepts. It’s easy to see why: we’ve gone from an unplugged, eating-dinner-at-the-table family lifestyle to a smartphone-wielding, status-updating and Pinterest-crazed world. There are automated banks, door-to-door grocery delivery services, and machines that will eat your money and turn it into a hot and “fresh” hamburger. But that’s just one side of the argument. We can’t forget that all of this automation and the fast-paced society we now live in have given us some remarkable innovations as well—including marketing innovations for authors.