Uprising delayed, but Firestone is FREE!

I was expecting to release Uprising upon the world today, but unfortunately I am delaying the release until January. It needs a bit more work done to it and it just wouldn’t be right to release it before it is ready. I hope you all agree it is worth waiting just a little longer for something that is done right, rather than getting something less than perfect right now.

In the meantime, because it is Christmas, you can download Firestone FREE from Amazon for the next few days. So if you haven’t already got a copy (and why the hell not? :p ) now is the perfect chance.

Please also let all your friends, blog audiences, Twitter followers and Facebook friends know that Firestone is free. Every download helps towards a successful promotion.

Merry Christmas!



Nooks, crannies, Kindles and Kobos

Ok, so maybe there isn’t an eReader called the Cranny (yet :s ) but unlike last Christmas, the Kindle isn’t the only kid in town any more. When in Asda a couple of weeks ago I saw a rather prominent display of Nook and Kobo eReaders. It was the first time I had seen them since their release in this country and am now convinced that I shouldn’t just stick with Amazon and their KDP Select programme for my novel(s).

Lots of people will end up with one of these new devices instead of a Kindle this Christmas day and they are probably going to want a little bit of help getting set up with it. Now, if it were a Kindle they opened, I would point them in the direction of http://www.kuforum.co.uk for everything they need, including a whole list of free eBooks for their new device.

But that’s for Kindles. But wait, there’s a new site just for those who now suddenly find themselves with a Nook or a Kobo: http://www.nobooko.com

Set up by the owners of KUF, it hopes to cater for the Nooks and Kobos, so if you find you are the proud owner of one of these, thanks to Santa, and have somehow ended up on this blog, do take a look and join this new forum. In fact, why not join them both?

And remember, an eBook is for life, not just for Christmas! šŸ™‚

REVIEW: This Thirtysomething Life

This Thirtysomething Life by Jon Rance

Firstly, I just want to say that this is one of those ebooks that gives hope to the rest of us poor Indie authors. Last month, after a successful free promotion on Amazon, Jon Rance was offered a two book deal by a proper publisher after they discovered this book floating around in the top 100 Bestseller’s List. Congratulations, Jon!

Now for my review…

The Thirtysomething life is a story told in the form of a diary. It’s not Bridget Jones, nor even is it Adrian Mole, but it’s not far off. Occasionally funny, a bit sad somewhere (possibly- no spoilers here!) and even a little bit annoying at times. This book has everything you could want from a story about an average 30+ bloke who’s coming to terms with impending fatherhood

Yes, there are a few oopsies in there (31st July disappearing completely being the most stand-out one) but that doesn’t detract from what is, overall, a very enjoyable read.

I recommend this book to women and men alike, as all will identify with at least some of the story, be it through someone you know, or who you are yourself.

I give this eBook 4 wonderful little stars and with my personal recommendation that you buy a copy of this right now.


Do you know what you are doing?

This post goes out to all the other Indie Authors who may read this šŸ™‚

The year is nearly over and we are now turning our attentions to 2013 and what it might bring. Almost every author I know (online obviously) would love to be standing here in a year’s time, able to tell everyone they are a #1 bestselling author who has quit the day job and now writes full time. I do too!

Great, but how do you achieve that? If there has been a theme on the forums in the latter half of this year it is one of that things are getting harder (not that they were ever easy to begin with) to get noticed as an Indie. Running a 5 day promo on Amazon doesn’t reward an author the way it did earlier on in the year. Many now find themselves surprised to find that they didn’t give away as many copies as they hoped for, and the subsequent sales bump wasĀ negligibleĀ if anything at all. “What now?” they all cry. What now indeed.

Next year probably won’t get any better in terms of KDP Select success. Sure, there will be a handful that release a book and see it rocket up the charts without any kind of marketing to epic success, but 90% of Indies will see nothing more than a small handful of sales each month. Why? Because 90% of them will either do nothing to promote their work, or if they do, it will be exactly the same as everyone else. They will use Facebook, Twitter, their blog, forums etc, run the occasional free promo and that will be it.

Now, I realise that I am pretty new to all this Indie publishing malarkey, but in the last three months I can tell you I have learned a hell of a lot. I have asked questions and listened to those who have been around the block a few times, I have found patterns in what newbies do (myself included) and see why they aren’t getting anywhere. I believe I know why the majority aren’t doing as well as they could do. There is no planning.

Ask an author what they are doing right now to promote their book(s) and they will tell you much of the above. Ask them what they plan to do come January. What are they hoping to do at Easter? Most will likely say they don’t know. Some will say they expect to have a new title out and hope that will help boost sales of the other(s). Great. What else are you doing?

Now, assuming you are one of those Indies that wants to sell as many copies as possible, become the next name in fiction and be successful (some are just content to know that their novel is “out there” and don’t care if they only sell one copy a year) take note of this statement.

An Indie Author should see themselves as a small business.

A small business exists to make money and hopefully become a bigger business. A small business has a product or a service to offer. An Indie Author has a product to offer. They wish to sell said product for a profit. Author = small business. Got that? Good!

Now, any small business (actually, ANY business) needs a business plan. You have your idea/product/service and you go to your bank and tell them you want to start your own business and want some cash to start it up, they will want to see your plan. They will want to know things like, who is your target market? Who are your competitors? Where will you sell your product, etc etc. Where do you want your business to be in a year’s time. What is your profit/loss forecast for the next 3-5 years?

So with that in mind, what are you doing in 2013 to get yourself noticed as an Indie Author? How does that differ from everyone else? Taking the overnight successes out of the equation (theĀ equivalentĀ of those who win the lottery), the big success stories of next year will be those who have planned ahead, thought things through and busted a gut to get there. Sure, a little bit of luck is needed, and even a shed load of those who plan everything down to the smallest detail will still fail to sell more than a handful a month. But at least they tried.

I am an Indie author. I am a small business. I have a business plan for 2013 and 2014. Of course I am not going to reveal too much about it here. I will say that I have 1 book out before the year is out. I have 4 planned for 2013. I have something else planned for 2014, something special. Most of this revolves around my new IP. I know where I want to be at Easter, by the end of Summer. I know what I will be doing next Christmas. One thing I will say is that I am not relying on Amazon and their KDP Select programme. Uprising won’t even be enrolled in Select.

I may fail, I may get nowhere. But I will die trying.

Do you know what you are doing next year?

Amazon reviews

Now, anyone in the Indie Author world will know that recently there has been a bit of aĀ furore regarding the removal of reviews on Amazon in recent weeks. Indeed some of these removals have been warranted, with the likes of so-called “sock-puppet” reviews and malicious 1-star and other paid for reviews all someĀ being removed. Great, lovely, wonderful.

Unfortunately, a lot of reviews written by other authors (such as myself, not that any of my reviews have been removed to my knowledge) have been deleted also. We are readers too! We want to leave honest feedback for the books we love and hate the same as everyone else. For this reason (and the fact I have been mega busy writing other things) I haven’t posted any reviews recently, though I have kept on reading.

Today, I discovered though Kindleboards that Amazon have released a new updated FAQ sheet regarding their reviews.

The crux of it is that Amazon do want to encourage us to leave reviews, but with a few caveats. I won’t repeat them here, follow the link to read the full details.

So, now that that’s cleared up I will start writing my reviews again. I have a couple lined up and would imagine I will post the next one tomorrow.

Uprising official announcement!

Today I can reveal that Uprising, the sequel to Firestone will be released upon the world on 24th December 2012. As an added little bonus, here is the cover that will go with it. Again it is by the very talented Todd Hebertson. I hope you like it!

It’s in the title.

Right you are everyone. I am now officially announcing the title to the sequel. Coming soon to an Amazon near you… Uprising!

For those of you have read Firestone, the title is enough to give you a hint of what to expect from this follow up. Watch this space for more details as the release day (tba) comes every closer!

I do have to say that I am quite excited about this novel now. It is shaping up into quite a story!

My thoughts on KDP Select

Well, it’s been a few days since my giveaway of Firestone, and the final numbers are in. Across all countries I gave away 1155 copies of my book. This got me to around 350 in the charts, and considering the lack of reviews and lack of take up from big Free Promo sites, this is about as good as can be expected.

The main goal of my promotion was to garner some reviews rather than new sales as the post-promo visibility is pretty much zero. The number of free downloads has no impact whatsoever on paid sales rank. Only the popularity rank is affected by free downloads. 1155 downloads is nowhere near enough to gain any sort of momentum in the popularity ranking, so unsurprisingly I have had no sales at all since the promo ended.

If you are reading this wondering if you should make your book free for a few days, then listen to these two pieces of advice.

1. You need to have a good number (10+) reviews before you start.

2. Getting your book listed on Pixel of Ink and/or eReader News Today is an absolute must!

Now, to get listed on either of those two sites you need to have reviews. You can do all the blogging, tweeting and facebooking possible and still not get the momentum you need if neither of those sites pick you up. I managed to get my promo picked up by a Twitter user with over 100,000 followers, which in turn was retweeted almost 150 times. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, the impact of that tweet, despite it reaching over 250,000 accounts was probably only about a dozen or so downloads. Compare this to Freebooksy, the biggest site to pick up Firestone which resulted in approximately 500 downloads and you can see the importance of exposure on places where readers *actually* go to find free titles.

Am I happy with my results? Yes I am. I knew I wouldn’t be picked up by either of the major sites. I hope to get some reviews over the coming weeks and a few new readers that will be interested in the sequel when it comes out.

23:30. 87.5 hours done.

Just a quick update tonight as I’m up early for work. Will post in more detail tomorrow…

US: 800

UK: 215

Germany: 24

Italy: 1

Total: 1040

Also, got my first 5 star review today!

This is a great debut from a new fantasy author. Usually i’m not really into fantasy, dragons etc BUT i really did find this a great read that got me engrossed in the story pretty quickly. I don’t really want to give anything away so i’ll make this short and sweet.

If fantasy, dragons etc is your thing give it a read, IF NOT, give it a read anyway as i’m sure you will enjoy it.

Looking forward to the sequel.

Happy days!