Things you should know about a potential publisher

questions

Traditional publishing can come with risks. I was going to write a post about the different things to look out for before jumping into a publishing contract. The main thing comes down to questioning everything though. Sometimes you need to be asking the publisher questions you may have. Other times you need to be looking for certain information yourself.

It’s a common rite of passage for most authors to receive tons of rejections before finally being accepted. It’s easy to mistake that first acceptance for a sign you’ve finally made it, but that is usually just the beginning. You’ve worked hard on your book and that is your time, which is worth just as much as anyone else’s. Don’t be dragged into the common belief that it’s just writing and it’s not like proper work. It may not be sixty hours a week carrying up to 15kg in a warehouse, but as enjoyable as writing can be, it is work. You don’t want to just throw all your hard work away.

I’m not suggesting you treat your new potential publisher like they are lying about everything. I believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt until I see something to make me think otherwise. It’s okay to look into their history before signing a contract though. Have there been any previous problems? Why? And if you see a term you don’t understand at first, look it up. That’s what Google is for. If you have friends with different areas of expertise who can help you understand something, ask for their help. It you don’t know anyone who can help, there are usually places where you can get free advice. Again, use Google to search for this help.

Another useful thing to know is how many other authors are signed with them? If it’s a small number, that means more chance of them giving your book the attention it deserves. If it’s high and the publishing experience resembles an author production line, then it will be difficult, if not impossible for the publisher to ensure that every book is properly formatted, edited and marketed in the way it needs to be to stand any chance of success.

The next thing to do to is check out other books published by your potential publisher. This doesn’t have to involve spending money. Amazon allows a free sample to be read on many of the books. What you’re looking for here are any errors or formatting issues. That could suggest that your book will be badly edited in the same way.

A question you can ask, is if you sign on the dotted line, will you be sent a proof copy to look through? In this digital age, a word document may be the fastest way to look through and approve your edits. However, if you haven’t seen a print version, you won’t know how it actually looks in print, or if there are errors in the blurb for example. The chances are, if a potential reader picks up a book, flicks through it and spots one of these errors somewhere, they won’t care how good the story is and will leave without buying your book. If they purchase the book online and find the errors after receiving it, they will probably remember you (not the publisher) for the wrong reasons.

Ask about Marketing: you usually have to do some, most or all. It’s rare you don’t have to do any at all. However, you want to make sure your book is going to be widely available before you start spending time and money on marketing, or you try to gain exposure by entering the book for awards. You can only market something or win an award if it’s readily available. So, you need to ensure the book isn’t going to become unavailable in any format for an extensive period of time. The more difficult it is to get hold of, the more likely your potential readers will buy someone else’s book instead.

Assuming your book is marketed, easily available to buy, published without errors etc; how can you be sure about the sales figures? The short answer is, you can’t. The tracking sites that I’ve found only track certain sources and some charge for this service. I think you can lessen the risk of being ripped off by following my earlier advice to research the publisher beforehand.

This article isn’t designed to put anyone off traditional publishing; just to make people aware of the things that can go wrong if you jump in blindly. Please feel free to add your own advice in the comments.

 

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Kindle Scout update

THE DESTINY INITIATIVE

 

I Posted on my blog at the start of my Kindle Scout campaign. That post can be found HERE. Unfortunately, Kindle Scout didn’t choose my book as one of the lucky few to publish. So for anyone who is considering trying Kindle Scout in the hope of publishing their book, I’ll tell you what I tried as part of my campaign. Although they don’t seem to select books just on votes alone, I’m guessing it plays a part in their decision. So you’ll probably need to do more than I did to stand a chance.

I started off well by tagging everyone I thought might vote for me in a Facebook post, as well as posting to Twitter and my Facebook author page. This got me in the hot and trending category for five hours.

The few days following that I was short on ideas, other than reposting on social. I didn’t want to sound like I thought I was the next JK Rowling by contacting newspapers and the media in general and saying the should interview me/write about me etc.

I did contact a local newspaper hoping they could help, but they ignored me. After that I asked two people I know from local radio stations and they were kind enough to give my book a plug three times between the two of them. One of them even read out an extract of the book. I read out an extract myself at two different spoken word events in an attempt to get votes.

I was also interviewed by a podcaster and had a handful of people who shared my requests for votes.

So the bottom line is, you probably need a large following and/or lots of contacts who can publicise your Kindle Scout campaign for you, or maybe just a more supportive local newspaper.

Despite Kindle Scout not picking my book, I will be self publishing it and the release date is 15th May. Follow the links below if you want to pre-order it.

Alternatively, I will be running a competition to win PDF copies and possibly even a paperback copy. More details on that to follow at a later date.

US link

UK link

Kindle scout campaign – day 3 update

poster

I’m now into day three of my Kindle Scout campaign and already beginning to wonder why I ever though this would be a good idea. I had ideas for who to ask for votes. Unfortunately, I used up the majority of those ideas on day one. The excitement of been “hot and trending” for an entire five hours has now gone. My book slipped back down into obscurity.

So, what now? I could contact a local radio station and try not to sound too big-headed as I ask them if they would like to interview me. If I do that, I should probably do it soon, as there’s only 27 days of my campaign left. I could have contacted them earlier but there was no way of knowing if my book would be approved. For anyone considering Kindle Scout, you should know that they give you two days notice before your campaign goes live, if it is approved.

I have more things to try on social media and I will writing my progress of lack of it on here.

For anyone who might want to vote for me, I’ll tell you a little about the book and my inspiration for it.

I’ve written and self-published before, but like many writers I want to be able to say I’ve been published. I was trying to have a lie in one Sunday morning, back in October 2016 and the idea came to me for my book, First Charge, the first is a three part series of YA books.. It was obvious I wasn’t going to get any sleep and I had to start writing down the ideas as they came into my head. I had other projects I was working on and told myself I would start it in the new years. I started it in November instead, it just kept nagging me to write it.

Meredith (the main character) is descended from Mermaids, although she’s not a mermaid (or at least not at the start of the story) and Theo is descended from shape shifters. The two of them and others who are also descendants of mythical creatures are either destined to be part of the Destiny Initiative or The Destroyers. The prologue explains a little about what each side does. The short version is one side protects people with important destinies. The other side tries to stop them.

I enjoyed writing the book and exploring both sides, because each side had some valid points. Though as Meredith hints towards further in the book, if you’re saving the world, what kind of world do you want it to be? I definitely lean more towards her viewpoint that there has to be something worth saving.

Here’s the link if you want to read more and maybe vote while you’re there.

https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/3LNFS6YEHHYC9

 

Not Human – out now

bookcover_final1

 

If you’ve enjoyed reading “After the zombies” and want to know what happens next, the sequel, “Not Human” is out now and available to buy in eBook format HERE

 


Blurb

The sequel to After the zombies. Although it can be read as a standalone book.

What can you do when zombies are everywhere? Aiming for the head is the easy part. The real challenges are distinguishing zombies from humans and knowing which humans to trust.

Not learning their lesson from the Manchester outbreak, the government are still intent on creating a more compliant race. It looks like they will keep trying until they get it right, or until humanity is completely wiped out, whichever happens first.

Grace knows she carries the cure. She knows she can’t become one of them, but that doesn’t mean she can’t be affected if she is bitten. Some things are worse than death. Sometimes having to face yourself, is worse than than facing the monsters and other times, it’s hard to tell the difference.


 

If you haven’t read “After the zombies”  you still have until 28 September, before I delete the free chapters on here and Wattpad

 

Why my books are my babies

I’m not (completely) insane but I do get feelings that must be similar to how parents feel about their children, except they’re for the books I’ve authored. So I thought I would write about how writing books is like bringing up children.

First an idea is conceived, then there’s the period of planning. After months, (maybe not nine months exactly) in some cases it’s years, the book is finally finished. Imagine being pregnant for that long!

There is the time in between conception (of the original idea) and the book finally being ready to be unleashed on the world (similar to a child growing up and leaving home?) For me, there will be times when I feel like the book I’m writing is the best thing I’ve ever created. Then there will be times when I wish the words on the page would behave themselves, but I could never bring myself to scrap the whole thing or really hold onto any bad feelings about it, because I’m already too emotionally invested. I’ve spent long nights and early mornings and sometimes been woken in the middle of the night by my characters. Yes, I know they’re not real, but isn’t making them real what writing fiction is all about?

During the editing process, I will shape and do your best to make corrections. I aim to be a good author. I hope I know when to let the words wander off in a direction, other than the one I originally intended the book to go. Equally I need to know when to reign in the words for the good of the story.

When the book is released, there’s a mixture of emotions from missing the characters to knowing I did the best I could, putting everything into the whole process. However it’s not over at that point either. The book will also need to be marketed and promoted. Similarly, grown up children might go to their parents for support and encouragement.

I will always feel proud if my book sells, or gets a good review, or a compliment from someone who has read it, making all the difficult times, seem worth it, in the same way a parent feels those emotions about their child’s accomplishments.

So those are the reasons, why I feel like my books are my babies, although admittedly, without all the dirty nappies, but sometimes there are lot of tears and frustration.

Zombies, a free short story, smashwords and talking to myself on Twitter

I haven’t posted for a while, but I’ve been busy.

Firstly, I wrote and published a short novel called “After the zombies”. This was inspired by watching TV shows such as The Walking Dead and wondering what would happen to people who had survived a zombie outbreak and were faced with having to go back to normal, after all the things they would have had to do to survive. This is now available to buy on Amazon (in paperback and eBook), Smashwords and Kobo.

Amazon UK link

Amazon US link

Kobo

Smashwords

I’ve also started a twitter page HERE for the main character “Grace” from the novel, because although it’s just a short novel at the moment, I hope to write a full length novel with the same characters, to be released either near the end of this year or at the start of next year. I have sequels to write for “While I was gone” and “Captivated” first.

Lastly, I’ve taken my short story “Crazy bitches” off KDP on Amazon, meaning I could publish it on other platforms. So now it’s available HERE on Smashwords and best of all, I’ve made it free.

 

 

Sick of hearing about Valentine’s day? Have a free short story

I know it’s nearly two weeks away, but I’m already tired of hearing about it. I know that sounds like I’m bitter, but I’m really not. I’d just rather be single than be with the wrong person AGAIN! So if like me, you’re feeling anti valentine’s, then this short story is just the thing for you. It’s free until 5th Feb. It was inspired by one of the many bad dates I went on and led to me writing about a group of ‘superheroes’ who go around exacting revenge on men on behalf of wronged women.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE SHORT STORY

You don’t need a kindle to be able to read it, as there’s a free app you can get, which allows you to read on other devices.