US Book Blast! (Limited numbers)

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Although we now live in a world of electronic books, there remains a healthy number of people who prefer the smell and feel of real paperbacks (and hardbacks, lets not forget) and would always choose the physical over the virtual.

To that end, I was persuaded to produce a paperback version of  ‘A Construct of Angels’ so that these traditional readers could also enjoy (I hope) my written word.

With the help of my US writing bestie, Sonya Loveday, two boxes of freshly-printed copies have now arrived in the US.

CoA paperback arrival

The first fifteen peeps to order one of these books will receive a signed copy, plus bookmark, plus a choice of miniature ‘Construct of Angels’ paperback bling created by Tarnya Rutheford:

tarnya bling mini cover tarnya bling oval cover

This is a one-off offer (for the US) as I’ll be returning to England within the next few days.

I’ll be leaving on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again. 😀 (That was a free earworm for you to enjoy!)

So, grab ’em while you can!

Numbers, as I said, are limited.

Click on the Paypal ‘Buy it’ button on the right side of this page (under the book cover) for ordering details.

Happy Reading!

acern270ginger write on

 

 

To CreateSpace…or not to CreateSpace?

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hbrinkman bookseller

Over the past six months I have introduced ‘A Construct of Angels’ (using my bookmarks) to hundreds of people. In that time, a clear pattern of responses has emerged from my endeavours.

Pretty much everyone is initially startled by my ‘Do you read much?’ query, but they soon settle when I hand them a free bookmark and ask them if they’d care to try my book. Most stare at the bookmark, then at me and I can almost hear the penny drop as they say; ‘This is YOURS? You actually WROTE this?’

It always surprises me how people change when it dawns on them that they are standing next to someone who has (self) published a novel. Having had six months to get used to the idea, the shock and awe of finally completing a book has worn off, and I often forget how humbled I always felt in the presence of Jenna Burtenshaw, the author of Wintercraft and Blackwatch. Last year, I attended her book signing in Darlington and there she was – a published author and there I was, a newbie wannabe unpublished speck of nothing. I wasn’t fit to stand in her shadow…and so on.

It’s very strange hearing people using words like ‘honoured’ and ‘amazed’ when they talk to me – words that I try to shrug off. I’m not a movie star. I’m simply a writer who managed not to succumb to the depressing idea of never having a book see the light of day – nothing more.

Generally, the people I talk to are quite receptive to the idea of the bookmark and most will assure me that they will have a look at the free chapters available via Amazon. Of those who tell me that they don’t own eReaders, most are surprised that Amazon will offer them free software, ‘Kindle for PC’ that allows them to read Kindle books on their PC, Laptop, Netbook or Tablet. I’ve probably been responsible for a few dozen non-Kindle readers now being able to buy and read Kindle eBooks. 🙂

I also point them towards Smashwords, where ‘A Construct of Angels’ is listed in ePub, pdf and several other formats.

With the remainder, I have hit a stumbling block and I feel that the time has come to address that problem. Some readers, for various reasons, remain committed to paper books – something that I am currently unable to supply for sevral reasons. For one, I have been rejected by every genre-relevant agency in the UK, which is one of the reasons that I decided to self-publish. The other reason for my remaining entirely electronic is that the cost of a paper book was so far above that of an eBook, it seemed prudent to sell my work at the lower cost rather than try to push the more expensive paper version.

But I have seen so many faces registering disappointment when I admit that my book doesn’t exist in physical form, I am now reconsidering my decision to remain purely and unshakably twenty-first century electronic.

CreateSpace seems, for the moment, the best option for me. My book is already uploaded to Amazon, so having it available on the same site would appear to make sense. I’m currently using Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo and Scribd to shift copies (some with better success than others), so a fifth site would just complicate things – unless of course that new site was far better than CreateSpace.

If you’re also in the position of thinking about offering a paper book, Karen Inglis has posted a huge amount of information on the subject. As a UK-based children’s author, Karen is favour of using a combination of CreateSpace and UK print-on-demand company LightningSource to save on shipping costs and delays.

*One day later;*

A couple of my blogging friends (thanks guys) have advised me that CreateSpace may now be advanced enough to be able to use for distribution on both sides of the big pond.

Sounds like a plan…although the goalposts are constantly shifting.

Watch this space…I might be entering the twentieth century once again. 🙂

.

keep calm plus author inside

Instantaneous feedback – and some embarrassing praise.

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This week, several events coincided and left me walking on air…

I was assigned, as part of my day job, to the sparkling town of Blackpool (you know, the Northern English town with its own version of the Eiffel Tower)

jason31 tower

During my time at the sweet (candy) factory there, I found the largely Polish workforce to be very receptive to my book and I’ve already seen some sales from the bookmark handout, the concept of which I covered in several previous posts.

That might be the end of the sales run, but I’d like to think that the Polish community might pass the word around. After all, one of my minor characters DOES have a Polish Grandmother… 🙂

I also found a fan in a colleague who not only bought my eBook whilst we were working together, but took an active part in promoting it on my behalf, reinforcing my bookmark spiel with his own enthusiastic endorsements.

Thank you Peter! 😀

His sister, Penny, has also bought a copy (on Peter’s recommendation) and she is peparing to read it as I write this. When he told Penny that he was sitting next to the author, she became curious as to my personality and asked him all about me –  something that brought a warm glow to my insides.

Peter read through several chapters of ‘A Construct of Angels’ each evening, allowing us to discuss the events and characters as we worked through the next day, although I had to be very, very careful not to utter any spoilers. As he talked about the book, his obvious enthusiasm for my writing left me with a peculiar feeling of conflict; I was happy that he was enjoying the book and took some pride from the fact that I’d created something that had affected him in such a positive way.

And yet, I couldn’t help but feel slightly embarrassed when he offered praise. It’s a wonderful thing to receive and I ought to soak it up like a sponge as it’s a rare beast. However, being somewhat reclusive in nature I don’t feel at all comfortable when it comes my way – I really don’t know what to do with myself.

So, Peter, if I appeared to squirm and look mildly uncomfortable as you enthused, you were doing nothing wrong.  It’s not you…it’s me. 😀

And yes, please feel free to nag me regarding the sequel, ‘ A Vengeance of Angels’, which has fallen behind schedule due to other committments. I WILL endeavour to get it finished. Plus, you’re now on my beta readers list for when it’s completed. 🙂

hortongrou nag nag nag

McCaw #1:nag nag nag
McCaw#2: All right, all right, I’ll finish the book – I promise!

One other event that cause me to stare and utter the immortal phrase ‘No Way…’ was an abrupt and completely unexpected spike in the number of followers of my author page on Facebook.  In the space of twenty-four hours, the followers rose from a rather sad 11 likes to a staggering (relatively speaking) 256 likes.

:O

There are two possible explanations for this unprecedented event:  I’ve been part of two promotions this week.  One was Cassandra Giovanni’s cover reveal – a reblog on my previous post (as well as being echoed on Facebook and Twitter)  – and the other was ‘The Mega Giveaway’  on the ‘For the Love of Fiction’ Facebook page.

If you haven’t already seen this, please take a moment to check it out. Although if you are reading this on a re-run (i.e. after June ’13), the Giveaway may have ended.  Still, you could always drop in and have a peek at my author page whilst you’re there. 😀

All the events of this week illustrate the power of communicating effectively, whether it’s by word of mouth or by using the Interweb.

Stop Press; I’ve been told that it was ‘The Big Giveaway’ that boosted my author page.  One of the requirements of entry via Rafflecopter is to ‘like’ the author’s page.  That boost to 256 indicates a good response to the giveaway…

Write On!

keep calm plus author inside

Are you a ‘Secret Identity’ Author?

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SP_AL_UK mask

Do announce the existence of your writing self to the world?  Do you tell all and sundry that you are proud to call yourself writer, or author?  Or do you hide your writing-ness under a bushel, hoping that sales will continue regardless of your introversion?

Despite being a quiet sort of soul, I tell everyone what (little so far) I’ve achieved.

Many years ago, when I was working within the world of MLM (multi-level marketing), I was taught to declare my presence to everyone with whom I conversed – it could only boost sales.

Now, as an author, I had to decide what was better – to hide in a corner and just hope that my books would quietly sell, or to promote them to everyone I met at the risk of being thought a pest.

bookmark

Back in November 2012, I produced a healthy number of bookmarks using nothing more than a colour printer, a laminator and a cheap guillotine.  The result was a useful ‘hand-out’ version of Ravven’s cover artwork. 

Whenever I met someone new, I would simply ask ‘Do you read much?’  If the answer was yes, then I would pass out one, sometimes two bookmarks to promote my work.  More often than not, the recipients were happy just to receive something for free.  In most cases, they were truly interested and asked all about the novel.

It’s still interesting to see the looks on my colleague’s faces when I tell them that I’ve (self) published a novel.  They look at me as if I’d just said ‘That song that’s at Number One..I wrote that.’

*Takes a moment to bask in adulation, then returns to reality*

If you don’t tell people that you have worked your socks off for ten, twenty years, applied your time to editing, reviewing, querying agents, sending out to beta readers before finally, finally, finally seeing your work in print, then why bother publishing in the first place?  True, you may not be worried about sales and are content to see your book sell just a few each month.  I count myself as a member of that happy group – at least for now.  But it cheers me every time I see another sale – it means someone else has downloaded that which I’ve worked so hard to achieve!  

On that last point, if you haven’t yet achieved that lofty and seemingly-unattainable goal, don’t ever, ever, ever give up on your dreams.  You are so close, and deserve it so much more that those who simply threw in the towel!   Don’t just take my word for it – ask anyone who has been published or is self-published.

There’s an old saying; ‘The only guarantee in life is this; If you give up, you will achieve nothing.’

But back to the main point of the post…if you have a book or a short story that is live, let as many people as possible know about it via Twitter, WordPress, LinkedIn, Facebook etc plus word of mouth.

free advertising

I even invested in a set of magnetic signs for my works van – something that has spurred many people to ask me about them.  As soon as that happens – they get a free bookmark! 🙂

Even if they don’t download a copy immediately, the bookmark will linger on a desk, in a drawer or pocket for a time and might remind them at a later date, or be found by a curious family member who could then be intrigued enough to search for the story.

Other authors have produced fridge magnets and keyrings – other items that can last for years and subsequently trigger a sale.

So, don’t be afraid to put your name out there, display your cover and spread the word.

What other items of ‘swag’ have you created as a reminder that your book is ‘out there?’

Place your answers on the side of my fridge, please! 🙂

untitled3

Bookmark – this page.

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bookmark

A little while ago, I was asked by Ryan Casey for feedback on how well my (home-made) bookmarks were being received.  Well, I can tell you that since November – a period of four and a half months – I’ve given out every one of the 500 I made in those first exciting days.

 Last Thursday I had to open up my next batch of 600, which I’d made back in January.  Five days later, I’ve already given out thirty or so.

I mentioned a while ago that my day job keeps me busy, sending me (randomly, it seems) to all parts of England, Scotland and Ireland.  This gives me the opportunity to meet a great many people, from engineers to office workers, and allows me to (tentatively) offer my book to those that seem receptive to the idea of a supernatural romance novel.

The conversation, always a work in progress, usually opens like this;

‘Do you read much?’

‘Me?  Yes.’

‘Well, can I give you one of these?’ *Hands over bookmark.*

‘Oh, what is it?’

‘Just my little contribution to literature.’

‘You wrote this?’

‘I did.’

‘What’s it about?’

And so the conversation begins.  For my thoughts on how to best describe a book, click here.

Today, I hit gold.  I asked one lady if she read supernatural romance and her reply was ‘My Kindle is absolutely stuffed with it!’  If I hadn’t intrigued her with a bookmark, she wouldn’t have gone on to BUY IT!!!  Woot, as so many people are fond of saying. 😀

My job also, as I circle the country and begin to pop up in places I haven’t visited for months (or even years),  allows me to chat to old friends who automatically ask me ‘what have you been doing?’  What a gift!  Immediately, I drop a bookmark onto the table and tell them that I’ve been writing a book.

‘You wrote this?’

‘I did.’

‘What’s it about?’

and so on…

The point of all this reminiscing is that swag – even home-made swag – is a conversation starter, an ice-breaker, a way of introducing the fact that the person opposite the conversationalistee (IS a word, so there!  And if it isn’t, it ought to be) is a bona-fide author and that the said conversationalistee (I’m not so sure it is a word now) ought to be bowing and scraping and muttering ‘I’m not worthy O Great One.’

Or at the very least, they should say ‘Sure, I’ll buy your book. I realise how difficult it must be to have applied that much dedication to your art and produce something of worth.’

‘Oh, thanks,’ is nice too, although not often productive in a salesy way.  I DID get my hand shaken in a congratulatory manner not so long ago (for getting published), so that was a boost for me and my oft-perforated ego.

Anyway, enough of the self-worship.  I’m not worthy of it.  But you are.  If you have spent a lot of time creating a complete story or poem and want to publish / have published it, then why on Terra shouldn’t you advertise?  There are other methods of introducing your work to people.  Mine is a simple free giveaway that starts a conversation.  It’s a must for me…someone who’s essentially a non-people person.

And it’s captured a few extra sales along the way.  The product of a bit of graphic manipulation, a colour printer, laminator and a cheap guillotine, it’s a low-budget method of shifting a few extra books. 

Don’t walk amongst potential punters in silence – be interesting, be something a little bit special.  One day you may just introduce yourself to a literary agent or publisher.  Or Steven Spielberg. 

Okay, that last one was a bit of a stretch, but you don’t know who his friends’ friends are, do you?

Tell the world that you’re out there – and write on!

untitled

P.S. In the interests of balance, I feel that I should say this;  I may have handed out over 500 bookmarks – but I have yet to sell 500 books.  Not every one strikes gold.  However, the bookmarks might lie around for months or even years before triggering someones curiosity – whereas a fleeting memory is pretty much gone for good and is very unlikely to result in a sale.

It’s been a busy old month!

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Hello Fellow Bloggers!

I haven’t posted anything for nearly five weeks now and I feel terribly guilty.

You may (or may not) have noticed.

The lack of posts, that is,not the guilt.

Following the upload of my book to Amazon, I have had my head down and have been peddling (!) furiously in an effort to spread the word about ‘A Construct of Angels’.

Complimentary PDF copies have been sent out to those who assisted me in the research phase back in 2010.

I’ve produced laminated posters and around 300 bookmarks (Excellent idea, thanks Sonya!) which have been passed out to everyone who admitted to being a reader of books.  The bookmarks have also been liberally scattered wherever reading material (magazines and books) were found to be clustered on waiting room tables.

My works vehicle has become an advertising hoarding, plastered with magnetic signs in the hope of generating further interest.

I’ve fluffed up my Facebook account, joined MySpace, KindleBoards, a dozen authors’ forums at LinkedIn, the World Literary Cafe, Goodreads and sent links to half-a-dozen book review sites.

Next up is CreateSpace, Search Inside the Book and Author Central.

I’m even considering contacting regional newspapers as a ‘local author’ to see if they’d be interested.

I have, however, stopped short of Tweeting, although it has now become apparent to me how useful it could be.   Tweeting 140 characters instead of waiting for a spare half-hour (which never seems to arrive) to compose a full post?  That has possibilities.  I may yet find myself becoming a Twitter convert.

Naturally, with all the new traffic, I now find that my Inbox is overwhelmed *sighs* and is now in need of a re-jig, i.e. creating new folders for comments, updates and notifications to flow into.

And on top of all that, I have finally, finally managed to forge ahead with my sequel, ‘A Vengeance of Angels’.

By an odd and completely unplanned coincidence, I began it on the first day of NaNoWriMo.  Not that I could keep up that sort of pace.  1500 words a day?  The first day saw me pen around 1000 words.  The second? About 500.  And so on down a sliding scale until I found myself not writing at all on some days.

But I’m back in the saddle and currently 10,000 words or so into ‘Vengeance’ and re-discovering the joy of ‘pantsing’ – but more on that later.

The project that I’m most excited about is slowly coming together.  Normally, my work bats me around the country like a ping-pong ball, but lately, I’ve been working in one place for the past six weeks and that looks to continue up until Christmas.  So, I’ve contacted a local drama group with a proposition;  Would they like to be actors and extras in a three-minute video that will ultimately serve to promote ‘Construct’?

My question has apparently caused a great deal of excitement amongst the students.  Their Head of Department is currently reading through ‘Construct’ and is very keen to discuss my ideas.

Watch this space…

So, what I now need to ask is; in addition to the endeavours above, has anyone had notable success with any particular method of advertising?

Bearing in mind that ‘Construct’ is an eBook, activities such as book signings and book parties wouldn’t work, unless anyone has a ‘twist’ that could be applied…

As always, all ideas and comments are welcomed. 😀

Write on!

 

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