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I attended her book signing in Darlington and there she was – a published author and there I was, a newbie wannabe unpublished speck of nothing.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. 🙂

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keep calm plus author inside

How to find more bloggers like you…

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Female student outdoors with computer

If you’re short on followers or don’t have many interesting blog posts appearing in your feed, a simple way to search for others who are writing about your interests is to explore via the bloggers that you already follow.

By commenting on your (I’m assuming here) small circle of bloggers posts, others will see those comments and perhaps be intrigued enough to search for you – especially if your comments are witty and / or informative. The more often you comment, the better your chances.

The flip side of this is that when you see a useful comment on a blog site, you can visit that blogger in one of two ways;

Click on the blogger’s name (beside their gravatar) blank Gravatar

and that should route you directly to their site.  You can then browse to see if their content is of interest to you.  If it is, ‘follow’ them, ‘like’ their posts (if applicable – if not, why would you follow?) or even leave a nice comment…which might intrigue other visitors to seek you out.  See how it works?  Caution – if you leave a comment without following too, your comment will most likely be held in a moderation queue pending approval by that blogger.  This will not only delay the posting of your comment, but a busy blogger may miss it altogether.  I know because I’ve discovered pending comments days after they were posted. 😀

Another (sometimes less effective way) to find bloggers is to click on their gravatar.

blank Gravatar

This will route you to the bloggers gravatar page where you can read all about them – assuming they have posted anything.  Not everyone does and you can be left staring at nothing more than a larger version of their gravatar.

Note to other bloggers – please put some details on your gravatar!  Other bloggers are interested in you.

Here’s mine;

my gravatar

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I’ve tried to include as much relevant information on my own gravatar page so that I can be located on WordPress, Twitter, Goodreads, Twitter and LinkedIn.  To find my WordPress site, you’d only need to click on the site name, andrewtoynbee.wordpress.com.

However, even if a blogger that you are desperately keen to follow hasn’t posted any details (and one has to wonder why), the mighty Google can come to the rescue.  Simply copy (or memorise it if you’re good) their blogging name, open the mighty Google (other search engines are available if you prefer) and type ‘WordPress’ followed by their name;

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google wordpress

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Voila!

You can then click to find the site and ‘follow’, comment or ‘like’ as before.  The blogger may be kind enough to follow you in return and hey presto! you have increased your feed and your following in one simple move!

For blog sites that are not hosted by WordPress, you may have to be a little more creative, omitting ‘WordPress’ from the search and perhaps adding spaces in their gravatar name.  If you know which host they are using, add that into the search box instead.  Then, if you wish to follow their feeds, copy their web address, go to your ‘Blogs I Follow’ page and paste their URL into the box at the top of the page.  I’ve covered this in slightly more detail on my How to follow non-Wordpress blogs post.

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Happy blogging!

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