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New Stuff in the Sherdan World

The anthology I was part of recently has finally been made free on Amazon.co.uk, so all those kindle readers out there can grab a copy and check out the 30+ authors contained therein.

In this collection I’ve got a short story about Sherdan and some of the people close to him, called Sherdan’s Road. It’s not long but it gives a bit of a glimpse at his future and the people in it at that time.

The rest of the collection is also pretty awesome and they are all themed around the title. That does mean quite a few of them are sad but they are well written and there’s more than a few that have happy moments and other awesome things in them.

It also gives a great overview of the sort of stuff all the authors write so it’s a great way to find more authors in different genres without risking any money.

The other piece of news in the Sherdan world is book 2! It’s being launched this Saturday via facebook as usual. There’s going to be the normal party with some quiz type stuff and prizes. The full list will be posted in the event when it’s finalised.

Here’s the blurb for anyone interested, although you don’t want to read it if you don’t want some of the first book’s plot spoiled:

Now that Utopia is established Sherdan has a full time job as a diplomatist. Everyone wants to know how his country is protected and whether they can persuade him to part with his secrets, but he has other things on his mind. Has Utopia come at too high a price?

When Anya left Utopia she expected to fit back into her old life, but too much has changed and God is not finished with her. Did she make the right choice in leaving, and will Sherdan let her return, even if she wanted to?

The second book in the Sherdan series continues the journey Sherdan’s Prophecy started, bringing the world closer to the end and whatever might follow.

So there’s the two new Sherdan things and Saturday is the big launch day. Do come join the fun!

The Plan: October 12

Last Month

It’s hard to believe another month has flown by already but it has so here’s the bullet list for last month.

  • Typed 16k of the latest WIP The Fire of Winter (Was Lady Winter)
  • Finished off Chains of Freedom for print
  • Spent approx 10 hours working for red feather writing
  • Spent approx 20 hours marketing
  • Spent approx 40 hours reading
  • Edited approx a third of Sherdan’s Prophecy
  • Sent 39 emails

I had the first week of this month off so I could have got a bit more done but I didn’t do too badly all things considered. I’ve had a handful of new reviews of all three ebooks and all of them positive.

Chains of Freedom is now on the way to being available in print and the proof has arrived. It looks absolutely amazing.

This Month I’m hopefully having a launch party for Chains as well as planning out my novel for NaNoWriMo. I’m hoping to get started on the sequel to Sherdan’s Prophecy for NaNo.

I also plan to finish the editing for Sherdan’s Prophecy and send it off to my very amazing proof readers. I would also really like to get the cover design started for that.

Once all of that is done I’ll write some more of the fire of winter book, which will be my focus again after the Sherdan’s sequel.

All in all it’s going to be a very busy month.

How to have a successful book launch

With ebooks it’s harder to have a proper book launch. Amazon doesn’t let you put an ebook up for pre-orders unless you’re one of the big 6 publishers. The rest of us just have to pick a day and upload it and that becomes our published date. Then you have to wait for the Amazon bots to process the book and publish it, which can take anywhere between 6-24 hours.

This makes it quite hard to build a hype towards the launch date to get the boost from initial sales to all the loyal fans waiting for the next book. There is, however, ways around this.

So far I’ve had a fair amount of success in picking a day about 1-2 weeks after the ebook appears for sale on amazon and making a facebook event for this day. This becomes the books ‘official’ launch day.

Having it so far after the upload day gives people time to get a few reviews, build hype and also make sure as many people as possible hear about it. (believe it or not, not everyone is on facebook) So here’s my step by step guide to a good book launch once the books published.

Step 1

Set up your facebook event. Use the front cover as your event picture and ‘the name of the book- book launch’ as the title. Location, the internet and fill in the details of the event with the date you want everyone to buy the book, why that day (it makes the amazon advertising robots go into overdrive if you have lots of sales in one day) the blurb of the book and the link to it on amazon. Also if you have any reviews already you can add choice comments from those, making sure to credit the reviewer.

Once your review is set up, consider having a friend to help you on the day and invite them and make them a host too. This is optional but it can be tiring running the event by yourself the entire launch day. Tag teaming with someone can be a great way to keep the buzz without having to be glued to the computer for 15 hours of the day. Do make sure you trust them to be encouraging and not rude while also singing your praises too.

Invite all your friends on facebook, and I really mean all. If they don’t like being invited by you beause you’re happy you’ve published a book and take offense at it they aren’t worth having as friends, in my personal opinion. Obviously use your discretion if you’ve got some friends on facebook that are actually only business contacts. I’ve assumed all your friends on facebook are all friends, family or non business acquaintances in some kind of way.

Step 2

Email anyone else who isn’t on facebook that’s a friend or family member and give them the details in your facebook event and the link to amazon. Let them know the date and thank them for their time. Also if there is anyone else you know who might be interested and you’ve not got them on facebook (or other social network) and email then send them a text with the details and the name of the book, again thank them.

Step 3

Ask 3-5 people right away to read and review the ebook, provide free copies if necessary. Make sure they’re not going to just be friends gushing about how long they’ve known you and that they always knew you’d be successful. You want honest reviews from people who know how to review well to get you started. This is easier when you’ve had a few books out because you an approach people who’ve reviewed earlier books but in the case of the first book, try any other authors/writers you know and make sure you point out you want an honest review. Getting loads of friends to give you 5 star reviews regardless won’t actually help at all. People see through it!

Step 4

Every day or two post something in the event on facebook. Ask friends who are coming to invite any of their other friends who might be interested. Post links and excerpts from the reviews as they come rolling in and chase any slow reviewers a couple of days before the event.

Step 5

The 3 days before do a count down on the event and I don’t mean hourly just the number of days to go. It’s also a good time to post a link to something like the list of kindle apps on amazon and remind people they are free and also work on computers. It’s surprising the number of people who don’t know this. I’ve been published over a year and posted the link to the apps a number of times but I still find at least one person every couple of weeks who doesn’t realise they can read my ebooks.

On the day before the event check all your reviews are on amazon where people can see them and post on your blog about the launch event. Also text everybody who’s only reachable that way again and towards the end of the day send another gentle reminded email to your email invitees. Then get a good nights sleep and put the bottle of champagne in the fridge to chill. Include reviews if you’ve not done so already.

If there are one or two friends you know really well who are going to buy the book really early, maybe even just after midnight, ask them if they’ll read the book quickly and post in the event when they’ve done with a small snippet of what they thought, even if that’s later evening on the actual day.

Step 6

Launch day. Get up reasonably early, depending on the day. You can get up later on the weekend but you want to be up before most of your attendants so you can post to the event page and tell people it’s time to start buying. You can also coordinate this with your helper if you have one. I’ve been a helper and got up first so posted that message for the author. It doesn’t matter as long as people know it’s time.

So far I’ve always found there’s quite a spike in the mornings about the same time as the initial message. Then every couple of hours I post the amazon rankings (check them every hour and note them down somewhere, or take screenshots), especially if they shoot up quickly, making sure to thank people. Don’t start with the overall ranking unless that’s all you’ve got to go with. It sounds a lot better to say I’m 69th in the fantasy section of kindle. If your ranking gets above a few thousand then by all means include it, even point out the million or so books it’s out of.

Also like and thank any time anyone puts that they’ve bought it on the launch page. It will encourage others to do and make the person who has realise how grateful you are.

Finally if it gets to about 4-5pm in the afternoon and no ones posted to say they’ve finished reading, check on your few friends who you asked before to read quickly. Give them a very gentle nudge to post something, possibly even if they’ve not finished. This can often boost sales from the people still making their minds up. The ones who stilla ren’t quite sure that you’re the amazing author you say you are.

When others start enthusing they will be more likely to buy it. I had a lot of success with this on the last book launch I did, about 3pm someone posted they had finished and that they loved the book. Less than two hours later another couple posted the same thing and there was another very large sales spike, almost as big as the starting spike which catapulted the book up the rankings a lot further. I’ve no doubt that it wouldn’t have happened without the recommendations coming in.

Step 7

At the very end of the day, just before the event is going to close, post the highest ranking you achieved that day, maybe a new reivew or two and a thank you message to everyone who helped. This bit’s all about good manners and that triumphant we did it feel. Make sure it’s toned to say ‘we did it’ rather than ‘I did it’. Then go crack open that bottle of champagne in the fridge and as a very awesome guy (Ben Cooley from Hope for Justice) I know said recently, celebrate what you want to replicate.

Step 8

Yup, you’re still not done. A few days later when some people have had time to read your new ebook (give different lengths of time depending on the length of the book, but no longer than a week) post a status asking thos readers who bought it and have read it to give some reviews. Stress being honest again and that you are very grateful.

That’s the job done. With any luck it will get your book off to a good start though you probably can’t expect your book to stay that high unless you’ve had a few successful books already. All I’ll say is this has worked well for me. I hope it works for others too.

Of course Print book launches done yourself are a whole other kettle of fish and not one I feel qualified to speak on yet.

Book launch results

As many of you are probably aware, yesterday I celebrated the release of my new book Chains of Freedom.

I’ve posted about it recently but you can check out my book page by clicking on the cover on the right if you want to find out more about it.

The launch went better than I expected and I shot up the charts pretty quickly and stayed there for most of the day and part of the next. Here’s a screenie of my best position:

Considering that the historical fiction top 100 is actually very hard to get into due to the number of very popular historical fiction authors with a large number of books (I think there were 8 Bernard cornwell books in the top 100 and a similar number of Ken Follet ones) which doesn’t tend to leave much space for newer authors trying to work their way up.

I also managed to achieve two great 5 star reviews from readers as you can see in the screenie as well. I couldn’t really have asked for a better start to the books journey.

Now that the book launch is done the price has been raised to it’s normal price and it now sits at $2.99/£1.99 so hopefully sales will continue at a reasonable rate at what’s still a fairly cheap price but a bit less of an impulse purchase.

So thank you everyone who helped promote and bought the book so far.

Elsa’s Reality book launch

My publisher Red Feather Writing has just published the first ebook by the amazing author Andrew Bellingham so I wanted to share a little about it. Here’s the cover and nice short blurb.

Elsa grew up listening to her father’s tales of a witch who nearly destroyed her home town. As strange occurrences start happening again, Elsa, Mama and Father are moved to a new home. The Man in Red says Elsa is sick and as she tries to get better she can’t help thinking that Mama’s temper, Father’s fear and their moving are somehow all her fault.

The ebook is so far up on amazon.com and amazon.co.uk. Hopefully it will also appear on Barnes and Noble, Kobo (WHSmiths ebook provider) and Apple’s ibookstore within the next month or so.

Tomorrow, however, is the official book launch day and the author is asking everyone who would consider buying the book to do so tomorrow, via either of the two links above. The aim is to shoot the book up the hourly calculated rankings on amazon and get the amazon robots to kick in and help market the book.

I’ve had a fair amount of success with this method as well so I’d like to ask anyone interested in the book to also join in the launch plan and buy the book tomorrow.

The Plan: December 11

Last month I completed NaNoWriMo. Pretty much as planned. I finished a few days early so I did a few minor other things as well towards the end of the month, although I mostly took it easy.

This month I intend to get my two short stories out in an ebook. I’ve decided to get those out together in only ebook form as they are just sitting around collecting dust now they are finished and that’s never good for writing.

I’ve also got my book launch for With Proud Humility, December 17th. I know I’ve plugged this quite a few times but I’m plugging it again. It should be a blast and lots of people have already said they’re coming.

When I’ve finished everything above I’ll get back to editing book 2 and writing book 3 till both of those are done.

The Plan: November 11

Last month

Here’s the bullet list for last month’s work.

  • Typed approx 10k words (including emails and blogs)
  • Spent about 15 hours reading
  • Spent about 10 hours working for Flight
  • Spent about 20 hours working for Red Feather Writing
  • Spent about 5 hours promoting book 1
  • Approved the final print version of book 1 and ordered the first copies
  • Arranged book launch party
  • Did all my NaNoWriMo prep
  • Second drafted book 2
  • Final drafted 2 shorts
  • Sent 67 emails

I feel like I’ve had a realy productive month this month, I think I’ve knocked off about 10 things that have been on my to-do list for a while. I’ve not got much left on it at all which has prompted me to finally decide to do NaNoWriMo. At the start of last month I wasn’t 100% sure I was going to get enough done to manage it but I did with a few days to spare.

Most importantly I finally got book 1 completely finished. Other than marketing it there really isn’t anything left for me to do. As I’ve noted in a lot of places I’m now taking pre-orders for the first few copies of the book. I’ll be signing them and selling them at my book launch party but I’ve had a large number of pre-orders already. I may well have to get some more before the actual party in December to make sure I have enough. I honestly wasn’t expecting such a high demand for the print book. I guess print isn’t quite as dead as I thought it was.

The party is going to be at Starbucks on December 17th in Bath, there is a facebook event page here and anyone that wants to come is more than welcome, just click the attending button on the public event page or comment below to let me know you want to come and if you want to pre-order a book.

This Month I’m obviously doing NaNoWriMo so I literally don’t expect to do anything else, other than eat lots of hot soup, chocolate and other easy to prepare but yummy to eat foods.