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My 400th Blog Post

I just happened to take a glance at my blog post counter a couple of weeks ago and noticed that I was very close to a multiple of a hundred and found I couldn’t just ignore such a figure once I reached it. I have somehow managed to keep blogging and hit the 400 point!

Last night I asked my husband, Phil, how I should celebrate this. He said I needed pandas so that’s that criteria sorted. Panda babies for you to go awwww over.

Personally I don’t think it’s a celebration without cake, but I’ve not got time to bake today (mostly because I spent a few too many hours looking up origami kusudama) so here’s a picture of some origami I made instead. It’s not a full kusudama yet, but with another 11 of these all put together it would be.

The other thing that celebrations usually have is some kind of free awesome and since Sherdan’s Country is almost finished in second draft and will be on its way to my editor very shortly, I’m giving away an advanced ebook copy of it! Whoever comments on the blog will get their name stuck in a hat and in a week I’ll announce a winner. Standard t’s and c’s will apply, with the exception of the prize delivery time. The advanced copy isn’t technically ready yet but the reader will get a copy of the ebook at least a week before the official launch in late Autumn.

So thank you everyone who’s been reading my writing blogs, reviews, random thoughts, creative experiments and all the other sorts of things I’ve decided were a good idea to blog about in the past and here’s to hundreds more.

Kindle Fire giveaway

The Indiethon.com website is doing a kindle fire giveaway this month, which also includes some ebooks from my collection, to the right there.

There are many different ways to enter and all are managed by the very lovely program/website/tool/thing called rafflecoptor. It walks you through what you need to do to be entered (including liking my facebook page and following me on twitter, so a bunch of you already have a head start).

In total there are 50, one off ways you can be entered into the raffle and another 5 daily ways, so there is plenty of opportunity to get yourself a chance of winning that amazing Kindle fire. You should be able to do all that in the widget below.

Also throughout the month there’s going to be lots of blog posts where all of the authors involved, including me, talk about writing and many other related things. So come join in the fun!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

With Proud Humility: Print Book Cover + Giveaway Result

I’ve finally got my print version of With Proud Humility ready to print and have ordered my proof. Since people have been waiting so long I thought I would share my very shiny new cover for the book.

As people might remember from a few months ago I gathered every item seen in this cover and my very awesome designer came up with this for me. As I also promised in the post I made to gather the parts I will be giving a free copy of the printed version away to one of the helpers.

Kezia Warren is the lucky winner and I will be making sure she gets one of the first ever printed copies of the book signed and delivered to her.

Giveaways Galore!

Quick update to let you all know about the giveaways running currently for my ebook, With Proud Humility. You can enter to win a copy on my facebook fanpage just by commenting. Nice and simple.

For something a little harder but for chances to win other ebooks and prizes as well The Romance Reviews blog has a summer event going where you can answer questions to earn points and be entered for all sorts of different prizes, one of which is my ebook.

I’m also going to be chatting live in the lounge at The Romance Reviews on Friday from midday. Come on over and have a chat if you are about.

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The Plan: June 11

Last month’s progress

Well they say things don’t always go exactly according to plan and this month they definitely didn’t. I didn’t manage to make anymore tshirt designs, didn’t work on the graphic novels or my language and still don’t quite have my print version of the first book’s cover done. What I did do, however:

  • Decided on a company name for the clothing company.
  • Picked a t-shirt printer to print our designs.
  • Hand-wrote approx 2k of the novel.
  • Hand-wrote approx 11k of short stories.
  • Typed approx 15k words (including emails and blogs).
  • Spent approx 60 hours promoting the first book.
  • Worked approx 10 hours for Flight.
  • Spent approx 15 hours reading.
  • Gathered the final parts needed for the book front cover.
  • Sent 116 emails.

My promotion hours were very high last month as I lowered the price of my ebook to 99 cents as a promotion to tie in with the 4th pirates film release. I’ll post on how that affected sales in a short while. It can take a little while for all the sales figures to come in from all the different places.

I had an interview published on the Brazilian Book blog here, complete with a giveaway to win my book which runs until June 16th. All you have to do is go to the blog and comment on the post to enter. There aren’t many entrants yet so there is a high chance of winning.

As I posted last month The Romance Reviews is running a summer event and on the 9th June and 23rd June they will be running a giveaway competition for an ebook copy of my book each of those days. Click the picture to head to their blog and keep tabs on them. On 24th June I will also be available for a live chat about my books, writing etc here. If there is anything you’d specifically like me to talk about let me know in a comment and I’ll be sure to bring that up. It starts at 1pm BST and will last until I go to bed that day.

I’ve contributed to the I love Smashwords blog here and I’ve also been working hard (read as chatting) on the kindle discussion boards and have my very own little meet the author section here, please come on over and have a chat with me sometime.

Finally you may have noticed that I added a bullet point for hand writing short stories. I’m pleased to say as a development of last months not going according to plan I have found myself involved in a collaboration of fantasy shorts being written straight for ebook release. As I found myself with two very nice ideas right after the possibility was suggested I dropped everything to pen them down. The first is in editing stages now and will hopefully be out very very shortly.

This Month the plan is to catch up on everything I didn’t manage last month, including the second books first draft and those last few t-shirt designs. I’ve also got quite a few hours I’ll need to spend on both companies as they are both almost ready to launch something each and I’ve got things like contracts and business details to finish off. If I manage to get all that sorted I’ll spend some time editing the second book but I have a feeling this months going to be very businessy.

Promoting a self published book

Once a book is completely finished with cover, formatting and all the uploading to all the various sites is done, the real hard work begins.

Most writers will agree, writing they can do. Selling themselves and making their name into a brand that people trust to write well is entirely another matter, especially in this shifting age of ebook self publishing and reduced numbers of paper sales. So far my approach has been these things.

  • Social networking
  • Pricing
  • Blog reviews
  • Giveaways
  • Blogging

I think Social networking has become a big part of promoting anything these days and to a large degree goes without saying. Also covered which ones of those I’m using in a recent blog here.

Pricing

A lot of traditional publishers have adopted a model of pricing where they price their ebooks above or the same as their paperbacks, in a few cases even as much as their hardbacks. ebook readers are savy though. They know that it doesn’t cost the publisher or author anything to sell them an ebook. There is no printing, storage or anything like that. There are a lot of readers that refuse to pay more than $3-4 for a ebook. There are even some readers who won’t pay more than $1

Pricing the book right is, therefore, imperative. Most authors are pricing full length novels of 5ok+ words at $2.99 with shorter novella’s and poetry being around $1.99 and short stories being $.99

Blog reviews

This has been one of the most time consuming for me but potentially the most rewarding (assuming you’ve written a good book). I’ve found there are several ways to go about getting these.

Trading with other authors by giving each other free copies of your book in return for theirs. This works well if you are happy to read anything you are given and can do a good review. Has the potential to mean people give good reviews when they don’t want to, however, out of fear of getting a bad one back. It can also lead to good opportunities of working with other authors though and is sometimes the most rewarding way of working and helping other authors.

Searching for book reviews of the same genre can also be effective but can be time consuming, as it’s usually best to take a good look at the blog and check if they accept self published ebooks and are right for your book etc. Blog reviews are one of the best types of reviews you can get these days, however, so the time investment is completely worth it. Their reviews will stay on the internet forever (most of the time) and will continue to drive traffic to your books long after you have moved on to other books.

Giveaways

While lots of giveaways can be expensive they are a great way to get people to take notice of your reviews from blogs as well as your own blog. Everyone likes something they can get free. If your blog is well designed and interesting those new viewers can sometimes turn into long term fans.

Blogging

This one kinda goes without saying too. The best direct way you can get your own brand and name out there is to write things for people to see. Blogs can be the quickest most cost effective way of doing just that.

You do have to make sure your writing is good though. It’s difficult to get people to come back if you are not helping or your posts are full of spelling mistakes and grammar errors.

While all of the above is useful to get sales, the best way to promote yourself is to write good books and to keep writing. If you write well and have patience and perseverance you maximise your chances of having other people talk about your work and spread the word.

Book cover: With Proud Humility + Giveaway

I’m interrupting the normal blogging schedule to ask people for some help with something.

I’ve recently been exploring many different options to get my first book in print. The good news is that I’ve decided upon one.

The bad news is I therefore need to update my front cover, as the ebook version already done won’t actually stand up to the high res test needed for a print run.

This is where all of you come in. I need to gather every item in my cover picture into one place and take a bunch of photo’s.

As you can see that’s not an entirely normal set of items.

Cutlass: Believe it or not this is the only item on there I’ve already got/know someone with one (Me and my friends like swords)

Rose: Well I’m sure I can buy one of these come photoshoot day so no worries there.

Lace gloves: I don’t have any of these so if anyone has any white lace gloves they’d be willing to lend/give that would be appreciated. – Have managed to acquire these now

Playing cards: I really need these to be as old as possible as I need them to look like they are from early 19th century. Dirty and well used is good too. Again I only need to borrow as these can often be collectors items. – Acquired.

Hemp rope: I need at least 1 metre of this, borrowed/given.

Hand: I think I’ve got that one covered. Just.

Background: I’d really like to use something made from a dark wood like Mahogany or dark oak as the background. Will need to be something bigger like a table or coffee table so all the items can rest on top of it and I don’t actually want to keep this at all. If I can would prefer to just turn up somewhere with me and a photographer and use someone else’s furniture.

And what do you get out of it? Well since the book is about to be in print, anyone that helps will get entered into a prize draw for one of the very first signed printed editions of the book (if lots of people help I’ll give away more copies).

If people know useful info they can either comment below, facebook or tweet me. If you comment remember to give me some way to contact you in case you win.

I’ll obviously be running this giveaway of sorts until the book cover is done and uploaded and will do the draw as I close it (winners will have to wait a bit for their prize, however, as it takes a few weeks from me submitting everything before I get physical copies in my hands).