Thursday, 28 June 2012

Cover Reveal - Demon's Revenge

I am REALLY excited. Only 6 weeks to go until Demon's Revenge gets unleashed and today I get to share the new cover with you. *excited dancing around my writing cave and girly giggles*


I know you want to scroll down and feast your eyes on the gorgeousness but before you do I'd like to send a huge... Mr. Nigel Johnston, the Graphic Designer. Once again he took my words and found exactly the right mood and images to accompany them - that's a fabulous gift you have there, Mr. Johnston - and I'm absolutely delighted with the results. 

What do you think?

Demon's Revenge back cover blurb:

'My name is Emily Carson.

Last year my twin brother, Seth, and I discovered that we have Demon DNA and things got a bit...messy. Surprisingly, Asmodeus (our Daddy Dearest) doesn't seem to have forgiven me for my actions the last time we met and the word is that he's out for revenge.

It's okay though 'cause there's a plan - escape to Italy with gorgeous Fallen Angel, Sariel; meet his buddies, catch a few rays, convince him to wear Speedos and maybe even engineer another excuse to lock lips with him (that's my plan anyway). Sounds good, right?

What could possibly go wrong?'

Friday, 22 June 2012

The countdown begins!

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In 7 weeks time my second book will be published. I'm excited, slightly nervous and being visited fairly constantly by my old friends Fear and Doubt. You may have met them at some stage in your life too - they're a right pair! 

Fear likes to snuggle up tight against your ear and whisper that you missed some important detail - your files are incomplete, you only sent half the book, the file is so messed up that it will infect every other file in the Lightning Source, Amazon and Smashwords vaults resulting in the loss of millions of books from the face of existence; your book won't sell and all the money that your hard-working husband has given you from his wages to fund your little venture will be gone, other bills will go unpaid, you'll lose your home, your kids will have nothing to eat, you won't be able to afford pencils or paper and will have to write on the walls in your own blood! (Fear's a tad theatrical.)

Doubt creeps up on you, yells urgently and darts off again - no-one will read your book because it's not good enough, you're not good enough, you weren't 'properly' published and so you're nothing but a fraud and a pathetic, egotistical fool; someday soon you'll be found out, people will start pointing at you and demanding that you be sent back to your writing cave and promise never to inflict your words on humanity again! (Doubt does a lot of arm-waving and eye-bulging whilst yelling which is very distracting.) 

As you can see they travel around together for a reason - they complement each other beautifully - Fear feeds Doubt and Doubt fuels Fear. Now, I don't for a moment believe that I'm the only person in the universe that they visit and I'm fairly certain that writers and self-publishers aren't the only folks that they choose to pick on but I'm willing to bet that most people spend a huge amount of energy projecting a 'Fear & Doubt? Don't know them' fa├žade rather than admitting to having several Pity and Panic parties a day/week/month. Of course, I may be incorrect about this and be the only....nope, that's doubt whispering again. Ha! Caught you out there you naughty little bubble of angst!

I've listened to Fear and Doubt's thoughts on self-publishing another book and yes, their arguments are pretty sound and sensible (the fact that they use voices eerily similar to my own probably helps) but I'm going ahead anyway - 'Fortune favours the brave' and all that jazz - so next week I'm going to do a cover reveal for my new book here on this Blog, publish snippets from the book for the six weeks after and then on publication day I'm going to bake cupcakes and have a Courage and Confidence party which Fear and Doubt will most certainly NOT be invited to!

You, however, will be very welcome :-)

Thursday, 14 June 2012

The ADA Epidemic.

There's a terrible disease infecting a huge number of authors and self-publishers. It's called ADA - Author Data Addiction and it claims more and more victims every hour. If it's possible that you might have caught or even been in contact with someone who has caught this disease then stick your tongue firmly in your cheek and read on...

Symptoms of this infection include:

1) Refreshing and obsessively checking Amazon sales rankings and/or sales figure either weekly, daily, hourly...and in the worst cases, every minute.

2) Having a ritual check of all the data available on Amazon, Smashwords, your blog, website, Twitter, Facebook etc - again this can be weekly, daily, hourly or minute to minute.

3) Sending random emails/texts to tell friends that your blog/website etc. etc. is being followed or visited by someone from Barbados, Outer Mongolia etc. etc.

4) Obsessively scouring the web to find MORE ways to view data and more providers of information for the data-obsessive.

5) Mumbling 'What the hell does THAT mean?' whilst biting your nails and turning your head side-ways to contemplate a pie chart, line graph or shaded map of the world.

It truly is a dreadful affliction and, as a recovering addict I sympathise with those in the early stages of this disease - it's a crazy downward spiral of co-dependency that has us scuttling to forums and FAQ pages every time our books sales take a dip to find out what might have gone wrong in the world of eBooks (It's NEVER the addict's fault, remember) to cause such a slump, or ranting in the 'comments' section of other blogs about the changes to Amazon algorithms or how social media isn't working for us. 

Do you believe that you may have caught ADA?

Please don't panic! 

This disease is caused by self-publishing your own work and whilst studies suggest that an over-active ego may be to blame there is also the possibility that living the life of a reclusive hermit and plumbing the depths of your soul to find just the right word to fit in just the right place amongst the rest of your blood-sweat-and-tears-produced work may also be a factor. For most sufferers, however, the simple explanation is that we get caught up in the hype of self-publishing and forget why we're there to begin with - you love to write, don't you? If you're in this to sell loads of books and make money ...well, that's a whole other disease.

So what's the prognosis?

In most cases it's darned good. Treatment includes encouraging the patient to take a step back from their computer and recognise the problem. This causes feelings of acute embarrassment and shame which leads to the making of coffee and eating of a biscuit whilst staring out of windows and mumbling 'what am I doing?' - good signs that the patient may make a full recovery. It is also helpful to point out that this is a marathon, not a sprint and the patient should perhaps be working on their next book instead of obsessing about the first. This leads to feelings of euphoria and eventually contentment as the diseased individual begins to write again and their stress levels fall back into their natural blood-sweat-and-tears rhythm. 

If you or anyone you know are suffering from ADA then I am reliably informed that there will soon be a program available to track your use of data producing sites and how they are affecting your daily life. Results will be emailed to you hourly and will be available in the form of multi-coloured bar graphs...

Best wishes!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Second time around...

My marketing strategy  for my first book, Demon's Daughter, was to press the 'Send' button and smile a lot!

Strangely this approach didn't work very well.

Since those first few heady months of 'oh-my-God-someone-might-be-reading-my-story' (they weren't!) reality has definitely set in and the fact that a book release is neither the be all nor the end all of the self publishing journey has finally made it past all the rest of my brain clutter.

I was lucky with Demon's Daughter - I had incredibly enthusiastic family and friends who spread the word and kept telling me that self-publishing my wee story had been a great idea (Bless them!). I was also very lucky that I began to get invited into local schools to read and do short creative writing presentations - these scare the living daylights out of me and I'm often attempting to read from a book held in hands shaking so much  that the print seems to dance all over the page; but I also LOVE the experience once I get going and settle down a bit. Talking to children about books is just brilliant and although it may not necessarily be 100% effective as a marketing tool, it's 1000% effective as a 'connecting-to-my-target-audience' tool. The feedback from these meetings is invaluable in letting me know what the content of my next book should be. And it's FUN!!

All that, as I said, was pure luck! So what SHOULD I have done?

Thank goodness for all the self-publishing bloggers out there who are sharing their tried and tested (or tried and failed) methods of marketing with those of us who really, really need some guidance. My favourites at the moment are:
Catherine Ryan Howard whose blog isn't just informative but also very, very funny - well worth a read even if you have no interest in learning about self-publishing and pretty much required reading if you do. At the moment I'm reading her collection of self-publishing blog posts called 'The Best of Catherine Caffeinated' which is excellent!
Then there's Aaron Shepard, whose book 'POD For Profit' guided me through getting my eBook into paperback (I didn't agree with his strategy of ignoring bookshops - I use to work in one and couldn't manage without 'proper' books so ignore them? No, thank you!) which would otherwise have been more than my tiny brain could ever have coped with - if you're looking for a step-by-step manual on POD publishing then I recommend it.
And Molly Greene whose blog is a treasure trove of good, solid information and honest admissions about self-publishing that have me nodding in agreement as I read. If you enjoy her straightforward, inclusive and friendly style of blogging as much as I do then I recommend following her on Twitter too since she guides her followers to loads of fabulous blog posts that I'd never have found otherwise.

So, now that book 2, Demon's Revenge, is on the way what have I gleaned from these wise ones?

I've learned that you need to make your book VISIBLE. (If you've just made a 'Duh' face at your computer then just quit it - there's more!) In order for your book to be visible, you need to have a PLATFORM - this doesn't require the use of power tools or even a hammer but is the building of a solid foundation on the likes of Twitter, Facebook etc. etc. I'm still learning about social networking sites and the like but if it's all just about 'connecting', chatting and making new friends then yep, count me in! Next you need to BUILD ANTICIPATION for the launch of your book - in my case I'm going to be posting excerpts of Demon's Revenge on this blog for the 6 weeks before publication and having a cover reveal (oh, dear Lord it's glorious!) the week before. I'll also run a competition during publication week to win copies, have booked to have Demon's Daughter as a 'Read To Review' title on Goodreads about a week after publication of Demon's Revenge and have been invited to launch the paperback of Demon's Revenge in my local Waterstones towards the end of the month. There'll be a blog interview in early September 2 on An Avid Reader's Haven blog and then I'll take a breath and see if all this has managed to give Demon's Revenge a little nudge in the right direction. Phew!

Of course, I'll still smile a lot as I press the 'Send' button ... just in case!
Emotes face wink icon

Friday, 1 June 2012

What do you mean it's June?!

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I woke up this morning, fed the kids, pushed one of them out to school and the other towards her pile of revision, fed the dogs, cats and single remaining fish (his name's Bob and he's a Plectostomus in case you're wondering!), made a cuppa and sat down at the computer. And down in the bottom right hand corner it said 01/06/2012. I blinked, rubbed my eyes, took a slurp of coffee and looked again.

It's JUNE?! Already?! What happened to the rest of May?!

Okay so the run up to the end of the fifth month is always a bit busy - there's my birthday (21 + vat. AGAIN!), parents' wedding anniversary, our wedding anniversary (19 years this year!) and this year there was also my son's school play (they produced 'Annie' in a proper theatre - magical, marvellous night) plus I had a reading/presentation at a local school (Coleraine College - had great fun, they were fabulous!) and have another 3 to prep for. I've also been devising a strategy for marketing my second book, trying to write book 5 (NOT going well), clean up book 3 and deal with the fact that the next four weeks are going to be a roller-coaster since it's my daughter's first year of 'big school' exams and my son's last month at primary school - my babies are growing up!

But still. June? I toyed with the idea that my computer had malfunctioned (hey! It could happen!) but when I checked the TV it was also telling me that June had arrived. Ditto the radio. And my phone. Maybe the rest of the world has gone crazy and lost a week or two somewhere? No?

So, what's the point of this blog post? Ah, it's a simple observation that I'm sure everyone else has figured out long ago;

(Quote by John Lennon - I just borrowed it!)

Best wishes :-)