Archive for » December, 2014 «

The 21 Day Debt Revolution

I grabbed this book on pre-order a week or so ago on recommendation from a friend (don’t worry I’m not struggling with debt, I just believe being responsible with money is a very worthwhile task).

It starts off with a bit of an explanation about the author’s own situation and then a reassurance that there is a way out, something I’m well aware people need to hear when they’re facing mounting debt. It then suggest a 21 day strategy for working from the bleakness of being managed by debt to the exact opposite in very simple steps. The first few deal with stopping the situation get worse and then it progresses into a daily lifestyle that not only stops you going backwards but once the debt is gone will help people save for the things they want like houses, holidays and even investments.

Although the book comes across as quite basic I found myself nodding along with the suggestions and ways of handling finances, but even more than that, it made me feel the hopefulness that comes with a secure financial future. I don’t even struggle with debt and it made me feel better. That a little hard work and sensible decision making can change everything.

For anyone who wants in debt this is a great way to get started on the journey back to freedom, and I’d recommend even those who aren’t in debt put some of these things into practice. I look forward to reading more by the same author.

A look back at 2014

I know there’s still a week or so of this year left but lets face it, that’s not much of the year and I’m unlikely to get much done in the way of work.

This year I had quite big hopes in terms of book releases both in print and ebook and I think it’s the first year that I’ve just not managed what I set out to. at the start of the year I intended to publish my Tales of Ethanar anthology, Sherdan’s Country, The Fire of Winter and write and publish at least one more novella in the same world as my novella in the Kiss anthology, The Slave Who’d Never Been Kissed.

The only one of those I achieved was finishing and publishing Sherdan’s Country. It doesn’t mean I didn’t write much this year. I wrote more this year than I did in 2013, it’s just not all ready to be published yet. I did write and publish the first novella in a new series under a pen name I invented this year. The Hundred Year Wait under Amelia Price is one of my best selling books this year so I’ve also now written two sequels. The Unexpected Coincidence and The Invisible Amateur.

The fantasy publications intended for this year haven’t been forgotten. Both of them require some maps to complete the information inside (as well as a few other bits and pieces). Those maps have proved incredibly difficult to handle with my limited skills when it comes to computer graphics and formatting an ebook. I’m getting closer with them but will definitely need help with the last part.

I’ve also started two other series works this year that I didn’t foresee at the beginning. Both are collaborations with other authors. I’ve mentioned the story in the works with author TR Harris and that it will appear under my Amelia Price pen name. The second I’ve not made mention of before and I’m hoping to have a blog post dedicated to that early in the new year.

Sales wise, the year hasn’t been my best, stopping my trend of at least doubling my sales every year but this has still been my second best year so far in terms of sales numbers and if it wasn’t for having no print release this year would be my biggest grossing year, so it comes in second for that as well. Considering the releases I’ve had and expenses it’s not been a bad year.

Across the board authors are talking about how it has been a harder year this year for indies. Several changes have lowered the visibility and I’ve noticed it has been harder to get ads and promote my novels than it was in 2013. I only expect that to get worse in 2015. There’s also Amazons Kindle Unlimited program which is not good for indies. A few have said it’s raised their exposure and royalties but most have found it has cannabalised their sales and made them less per borrow than they would get if they had a sale. On top of that the traditional publishers are finally working out that ebooks should sell for less. That means more and more competition at the lower prices Indies are used to dominating. Something great for the reader, so in a lot of ways I’m not complaining about that one, but it does mean more competition for visibility even if it doesn’t for spending budget.

Over all it’s been a tough year and reminded me that being an author is a fickle business and hard work. I’m definitely not giving up, however. Instead I’m already working out a plan I’ll have more hope of sticking to that should make more use of Amazon’s rankings and the different books that are selling well this year despite the tougher climate, but I’ll post about my plans for 2015 next week.

Great Expectations: A Review

This is the next of the classics books I challenged myself to read. I remember trying to read a Dickens book when I was a lot younger, although I can’t remember which one it was now but this is the first time I’ve finished one of his stories.

Great ExpectationsI found myself quite disappointed with this one. I struggled to get into the story, often bogged down by difficult to read sentences and I never really felt for Pip the way I do for other characters. He was a tad on the wet side and did very little to make him a good sort of character, although the few things he did do were very kind and led to him not entirely failing at the end of the story.

The book focused most on Pip and his living style while making very little of the scandals and adventurous side of things, almost adding them in as afterthoughts and gossip Pip happened to hear from people. Although people were often said to feel something, it wasn’t shown very well, often making me unable to feel whatever they might be feeling with them.

Definitely not a classic I will be recommending. I only managed to get into the story enough to read more than a chapter here or there once I was at about 70% and the action of the end part picked up, and that’s a lot of a book to read before you care enough to really want to read on.

Ebook pricing change on Amazon UK

Recently the European Union decided that the way VAT was applied to a sale would change. Instead of it being the VAT of whatever country the seller is in, from January 1st it will be the VAT of whatever country the buyer is in. At the moment Amazon’s UK server is hosted in luxumbourg where VAT is only 5% so as of the start of next year, all my UK buyers will find the prices adjusted up by 15% to compensate for the increase in VAT.

As far as I can tell from the email Amazon have sent this will be automatic and will apply to a lot of books (not just mine), although I don’t know if it will apply to the big 5 publishers or not, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it does. Not even they can take a 15% hit to the profit margin, so if you plan to buy any ebooks in the next little while, do get them before the end of the year or you may find the books you want to be even more expensive after.

Print books will remain VAT free, as they’ve always been.

Gone Girl: A Review

I read this book for my bookclub in November. I must admit we only read it because the trailer for the film made us curious.

Gone GirlThe book has a bit of a slow start and isn’t quite missleading enough for you to not know what’s happened, although it makes a good stab at being unobvious. Then strangely a little after 50% of the way through the book they let you know what happened and give you the whodunnit part of the storyline.

After that the book just gets more and more twisted. I kept reading because I had to know if there was justice and exactly how the author was going to end this crazy crazy idea, but it was with a sort of dread that it was going to end the way I feared. But it didn’t. The ending was worse. I won’t have any spoilers here but suffice to say I think I may well hate a character more than I hate Joffrey from Game of Thrones and that’s saying something.

In terms of writing style, it wasn’t anything exceptional, but I definitely can’t complain either. There are a lot of bestsellers that aren’t written this well.

Character wise all of the main characters and side characters have plenty of depth to them. They have quirks and everything that makes them come alive so a lot of respect to the writer for that. Her characterisation is wonderful.

Do I recommend the book? No, not really. It’s just too twisted and there are just a few too many complete sociopaths in here (one is debatably a psychopath) for me to suggest people should read it. The book is interesting in terms of the psychology of it all but otherwise, steer clear! You won’t be satisfied and you’ll feel totally creeped out.