Writing Plans Update

A couple of weeks ago I outlined my writing plans for the future. I had returned from holiday all fired up and ready to get my books out there. Well, it’s been a busy couple of weeks since then so I thought I’d share my progress with you.Free Book Promo

Free Book Promo – I’ve set the date for 21st August and here is the link that you need to visit to get your free Kindle download www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B008IG41DU. Since I set the date I’ve been working very hard on getting the word out. Free book promos do not have the miraculous results they used to have on Amazon so I realise that it’s important to let as many people know about it as possible if it’s to be a success. In addition to that, my readership for “Kids’ Clubs and Organizations – A Comprehensive UK Guide” is UK only, as confirmed by the sub-title. This means that I have to work extra hard on spreading the word as my readership is substantially smaller than that for novels etc., which sell worldwide.

So what have I been doing up to now to publicise the promo?

Sending emailsWell, to start with I’ve notified over 20 websites that advertise free book promotions. I’ve also emailed a couple of sites that specialise in parenting promotions although I’ve not had any response from them to date. A few of the book promotion sites have kindly agreed to feature the book though. Next, I’ve mithered the life out of friends and relatives and asked them to share any posts on their Facebook pages. I was really pleased with the response and send a big thank you to everybody who offered to help.

I’m currently scheduling lots of tweets to book tweeters and parenting groups to try to build up a big buzz in the couple of weeks preceding the promotion. I’ve also joined Facebook groups and Google+ communities that will allow promotional author posts, so I will be adding mine a few days before my promotion. I really need to get more active on Goodreads as well so that I can utilise it to greater advantage. For those of you who are non-authors, Goodreads is a vast writing community with a massive following. Consequently, independent authors are constantly advised that having a presence on the site is an absolute must.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank my lovely author friend Alice Huskisson in advance for showing me the way to manage my free book promo. This will be the first one I’ve done so all the information I found through her blog and her one to one advice have really helped. Alice is the author of the brilliant The Man in a Haystack. If you read and enjoyed Bridget Jones’ Diary then I’m sure you’ll enjoy this book, which logs Alice’s experiences of Internet dating. You can find out more about Alice at: http://alicehuskissonauthor.wordpress.com/.Writing Books

My Second Parenting Book – As I’ve been so focused on the free book promo and client work, my second book is still 70% complete as it was a couple of weeks ago. However, I have now received information from all but one of the 23 organisations that will be featured in the book. This means that once I get back to writing the book, it shouldn’t take too long to finish. I’m so looking forward to publishing my second book and I’ll update you as we get nearer to publication date. For this parenting book I plan to include colour photographs but I haven’t quite ironed out how that will work in practice so I think there will be fun and games ahead.

My Debut Novel – I originally planned to publish my first novel “Slur” towards the end of 2013, but it may now have to wait until early 2014. It’s difficult to predict at this point as it depends on my client workload and how long it takes to complete my second parenting book. Again, I’ll keep you updated via the blog.

I enjoy receiving feedback from readers of my blog so if you have any questions or comments regarding any of the above, feel free to let me have your comments below. If you’ve enjoyed reading the blog, please let me know by hitting the ‘like’ button.

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Post Holiday Writing Plans

There’s nothing quite like a holiday to help you clear your head and put a new perspective on everything. Before I went away I was feeling quite stressed as I had a lot of things on the go. I still have many plans in terms of my writing but I’m now feeling more relaxed and prepared to take things in my stride. Instead of trying to do things all at once I will let them take their turn and will accept that it will take as long as it takes. Before detailing my plans I thought I’d share a couple of holiday snaps while the memories are still fresh: 20130714_16155520130714_16190120130713_194016 Book Promo I will be holding my first free book promo in the next couple of weeks for my book entitled “Kids’ Clubs and Organisations – A Comprehensive UK Guide”. I need to contact a few websites and other avenues first to ask if they will publicise the promotion so I haven’t fixed the date yet. I will make the first promo a one day only event and will give further information via the blog in the near future.

2nd Parenting Book My 2nd parenting book is about 70% complete. I have reached a bit of a sticking point with some of the research so I really need to push this further to enable me to finish the writing. I will be taking measures to complete the research and will give more details about the book via this blog as I get nearer to the publication date. It will include a few special features though, which will be likely to appeal to a wide range of parents and children.

Debut Novel I have already written my first novel and can’t wait to launch it but I’m waiting until after I have launched my second parenting book. I still need to edit, fact check and proofread the novel, which is a crime thriller. Not having touched the manuscript for some time it will seem strange to revisit it, but I am really looking forward to the task. I must admit that I am becoming a bit frustrated with the process of collating all the information for the parenting books, which are heavily research based, so it will be good to take a break from them and concentrate on fiction instead.

Client Projects I probably should have put this at the top of the list since client work has to be done as and when it is received in accordance with agreed client deadlines. In addition, I have a few regular commitments that I have to meet. It is for this reason also that the books will take as long as they take because client work must always take precedence.

Originally I planned to release the non-fiction book in the late summer and the novel at the end of the year but I now realise that I was perhaps being a little bit over ambitious. I’ll have to see how I progress with the non-fiction book and will detail my experiences via this blog as I go along.

Self-Publishing Facts and Figures

Following on from last week’s blog in which I stressed the importance of supporting independent authors, I decided to find some figures to back up my claim that independent publishing is a growing trend. I’ve also included some other interesting facts and figures relating to self-publishing, which I’ve gleaned from various Internet sources. For simplicity I have used the term ‘self-publishing’ to refer to all publishing that isn’t through a traditional publisher, including independent publishing. For a fuller explanation of the terms ‘self-publishing’ and ‘independent publishing’ please refer to the paragraph at the bottom of this post.

Pie chart

1) According to figures published by Bowker Market Research, self-published books accounted for 2% of all UK book sales in 2012, but 12% of all digital UK book sales. However, in the crime, humour and romance genres self-published UK book sales reached more than 20%!

2) Between 2006 and 2011 the number of self-published titles produced in the US tripled, reaching a combined total of 235,625 books and eBooks in 2011.

3) In 2012, 17 of the top-selling 100 Kindle books were self-published.

4) Included amongst the growing list of famous authors that have self-published some of their work are: Jane Austen, Mark Twain, Virginia Woolf and John Grisham.

5) If authors use a traditional publisher they can expect to earn between 17.5% and 25% royalties on an eBook, whereas by self-publishing they can earn up to 70-80% of the sale price of the eBook.

6) The total number of books produced by self-publishers and micro-niche publishers in 2009 was a whopping 764,448.

7) In 2009 CreateSpace produced 21,819 books and Lulu produced 10,386.

8) Apart from financial gain, self-publishing offers a number of other advantages to authors; the self-published author sets the price, retains all rights and decides the release date.

9) There are more self-published eBooks than print books, which contributes to the overall trends although the publication of eBooks is growing generally. From 2006 to 2011, total US eBook production rose 129% compared to a rise of 33% for print book production.

10) 39% of all self-published print books were produced via CreateSpace in 2011. This represents a total of 58,412 titles published using CreateSpace in 2011 compared to 21,819 in 2009.

Bar chart

Self-Publishing or Independent Publishing?
There is some confusion about the terms ‘self-publishing’ and ‘independent publishing’ with many people using them interchangeably. Self-publishing is the term that has been used for many years to refer to any publishing that isn’t through a traditional publisher. At one time the only way to do this was through vanity publishing where authors would have to make an upfront payment to the vanity publisher. However, the publishing platforms available nowadays give authors more freedom, especially with the growth of digital publishing. This enables authors to be listed as the publisher as well as being able to obtain their own ISBN numbers. This is what is known as independent publishing. Through their own publishing businesses many authors also choose to publish books for other authors. When figures are quoted regarding the publishing industry, many people use the term ‘self-publishing’ to refer to both independent and vanity publishing.
If you have enjoyed my fun facts please let me have your feedback below or feel free to add your own interesting facts relating to self-publishing.
N.B. This information was drawn from a variety of Internet sources and I cannot give any guarantees regarding its authentication.

Why it’s Important to Support Independent Authors

You may have noticed on Twitter and other social media sites that there is a growing breed of independent authors and publishers (or Indies as we’re affectionately known). You can spot an Indie author as they’ll usually be doing all their own book promotion and will often accompany their promotional tweet with ‘#indie’. You can also check their books on Amazon or other book websites to see who is listed as the publisher; you’ll find that many are listed as both the publisher and the author.Book

Even if the name of the publisher is different from that of author, it may still be an independent especially if it’s a publisher you’ve never heard of. This is because many authors that self-publish choose a different name for the publisher when they list their books. For example, I publish my books under the name ‘DM Writing Services’.

As the number of independent authors continues to grow it’s important to support us for the following reasons:

–       It is harder than Ever to Publish through Traditional Channels – You may have heard the stories about bestsellers (and resulting blockbuster movies) in the past that were initially turned down by the major publishers. This is increasingly the case and it deprives the book-reading public of some excellent books. Traditional publishers rarely take a chance on an unknown author no matter how good the book is. This is because they have to finance the publishing and promotion, and they want guaranteed returns.

Sadly, this means that talentless celebrities are far more likely to get published than talented authors just because they already have a following. Ironically, once an independent author proves that they can sell shedloads of books, publishers then vie for their attention. Time for the two finger salute I think.

Pulling a Tongue –       We’re not Pigeon Holed – Most traditional publishers want books to fit into specific genres, which stifles creativity. Generally they don’t like to take a gamble and often prefer something that has been tried and tested. However, not all books are mainstream and some can spread across a number of different genres. For example, my forthcoming novel could probably be described as ‘crime thriller meets 1980s chick lit’.

–       We’re Raising Standards – We’re now combatting concerns over poor standards in indie books through organisations such as IndiePENdents and Awesome Indies. These organisations have volunteer readers who review books so that the organisations can give the books their seal of approval if they reach certain professional standards.

Just because a book is self-published doesn’t necessarily mean that it is of poor quality in terms of spelling, grammar, flow, plotting and all the other essentials. In fact, I seem to be finding a higher incidence of grammatical errors with traditionally published books and even some by major well-known publishers. I wonder if other people have also noticed this. Could it be that they are cutting corners to enable them to compete with the rising poweMoneyrs of the Indie army?

–       We Don’t Have Big Marketing Budgets – Most of us do all our own promotion. We contact magazines, newspapers, radio, websites etc. in the hope of having our work featured, and we ‘shout’ about our books using social media and blogs. Word of mouth is vital for our success.

–       We’re the Future – More and more writers are choosing to self-publish their books and there are several reasons for this:

a)    Digital media makes it easier.

b)    We don’t want our creativity to be stifled because of restrictions imposed by the traditional book publishing industry.

c)    It’s now cheaper to print books due to the availability of platforms like CreateSpace.

d)    We’re disillusioned with the traditional publishing industry.

e)    Certain promotional tactics can make it possible to compete with big publishing companies and, consequently, a few independents are making a good living from their writing.

How you can Support Independent Authors

Here are a few quick and easy ways that you can lend your support:

Supporting Authors

1)    If you have read and enjoyed a book by an independent author, be sure to leave good reviews on websites such as Amazon and Goodreads.

2)    Help us to spread the word by sharing any promotional comments that we post on social media.

3)    Read and respond to our blogs and share them too if you like what you see.

4)    If you have a blog, offer guest post opportunities to writers whose books fit your business niche.

5)    If you run a magazine or newspaper that features book reviews, include more books that are written by independent authors.

I hope that you have found this blog enlightening. If you have any comments to add, or if you are an author and there is something I have missed, you are welcome to leave your feedback below.