Podcasts, a poetry reading in Bolton and a chance to win my book

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Firstly, Andy and I were guests on Welcome to Bolton, which you can listen to here.

https://overcast.fm/+Mmf0m1iKk

Now, because I’m awkward, a lot has changed since the podcast was recorded. My book “While I was gone” is now called “Lost and Found: Part 1″ and is under the pen name “Aleesha Black”. The link to it is here.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lost-Found-Part-Aleesha-Black-ebook/dp/B07DY26Q72/

I will still be reading at The Wigan Diggers warm up bash in Bolton, but not from my book. Although, if you do want to hear me reading the first chapter, it is available at the link below. This was recorded back in May from the previous version, and I struggled in parts due to the words hanging off the pages, but the story is generally the same now, with the exception of improved editing and formatting in the new version.

http://www.podcastgarden.com/episode/amanda-steel-while-i-was-gone_128182

Finally, if you are in the UK you can enter to win a copy of Lost and Found: Part 1. All you need to do is go to my book trailer on Facebook and share it. One winner will be picked after the closing date of 1st September 2018

https://www.facebook.com/AmandaSteelWriter/videos/1833528343622063/

 

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Things you should know about a potential publisher

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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.

 

Reading in Bed episode 5

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Episode 5 of Reading in Bed is now here.

This month we reviewed poetry and fiction.

We discussed mixing fairy-tales with zombies, and I talked about a book I hated and why. As (possibly) the last two people on the planet who hadn’t read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Andy and I both read and reviewed the book. You’ll have to listen to hear our thoughts on the book though, or to find out about the reply I had on Twitter from the author.

See the list of books and the podcast below.

Remember, if you are a writer we may be interested in reviewing your book. We just ask for a free copy, either in print or as a PDF. We can’t promise to feature all books received on the podcast. If for whatever reason we can’t fit yours in, we will write a review on Amazon (or another platform if you prefer).

Contact me through my website.

http://amandasteelwriter.simplesite.com/439723719

 

This month’s books

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon

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Guilt Game – L.J Sellers

Plague: The Tale of Sleeping Beauty – Mark Mackey

Sending a Drunk Text Whilst Sober – Simon Widdop

 

 

Reading in Bed (podcast 4)

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This month’s books on the Reading in Bed podcast are:

Anything you do Say by Gillian Mcallister

The Weeping Price by Alice VL

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Crash by Keith Houghton

I have Learnt by Jaqueline Woods

 

We talked about strong female characters, whether bad characters need to have something to attract the reader and small details that can potentially make the reader question the plot. For all this and more, listen to the podcast below.

 We also have a Twitter page and Facebook group so that you can follow us and find out what we’re currently reading.

https://twitter.com/Reading_In_Bed_

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/readinginbed/

Reading In Bed 3

The third podcast is now online.

I really enjoyed recording this one, and between me and Andy we had five books to review, so this is a much longer podcast than the first two.

We discussed whether sequels of successful books were just milking their success, if being solely in the protagonist’s head for an entire book can work and Andy talked about the read a book he read, which was published pre Benjamin Button, but contained a lot of similarities.

To hear all of the above and more, please have a listen and let us know what you think. Also, if you think either one of us might enjoy your book, please get in touch and we might be able to review it on a future podcast.

 

The books we reviewed this month are:

Still me by Jojo Moyes

If I Die Before I wake by Emily Koch

The Book of Illusions by Paul Auster

La Belle Sauvage (Book of Dust 1) by Philip Pullman

I Haven’t Dreamed of Flying For a While by Taichi Yamada

 

 

 

A new podcast and free or discounted books

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First of all I’ve started a new podcast with my partner. We review and discuss books which we’ve read. This month we read Nightmare Realities by Amanda J Evans, Queen and Country by Greg Rucka and Things We Never Said by Nick Alexander.

To find out what we thought of them, check out the podcast.

https://readinginbed.bandcamp.com/album/podcast-1-january-2018

My other piece of news is that I’m planning to unpublish my novels and novellas (or at least start the process) at the end of this month (January 2018).

That means these books may never see the light of day again, or they may get taken on by a publisher.

I’m running various offers before then. The Kindle versions of some of my books will be free or reduced.

I’ll be posting these offers on my Facebook and Twitter, so like/follow me to find out more.

https://www.facebook.com/AmandaSteelWriter/

https://twitter.com/Amanda_S_Writer

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