Summer Holiday Sale 2018

With the holiday season rapidly approaching its time to start thinking about what books you’re going to take away with you. That’s why all of the books listed below will be on sale throughout the holiday period.

Heir to the Sundered Crown on sale – Free from July 23 -27

covs
Unconquered: Blood of Kings – 99p/c from July 28- Aug 4

bok
The First Fear – 99p/c from August 1st- August 5th

FF3
Nightblade – 99p/c from August 6th to August 13th

nb
The Sundered Crown Boxset – 99p/c from August 14th to August 19th

TSCS

What I’ve Learnt About Self-Publishing – Is getting a traditional publishing deal better than going Indy?

Is getting a traditional publishing deal better than going Indy?

As a member of many writing groups online I’ve seen more than a few authors brag about landing traditional publishing deals. I have debated and in some cases outright argued with some who claim that landing such deals means that they are superior to us Indy authors.

Sure, landing a deal with an internationally recognised or genre leading publisher is fantastic! Well done you, but in this post, I’m not going to be talking about the big players but rather the small presses of which there are hundreds. Now, some of these are fantastic at what they do and genuinely support their authors with marketing etc., but far too many don’t provide those they ‘sign’ with any support at all.

The thing I think that needs to be made clear is whether going the traditional publishing route will indeed prove more effective than self-publishing. I’ve seen many authors delighted to land a deal, but then their book disappears into oblivion as the publisher does not promote the book at all. I’ve been in arguments with some authors who look down on Indy publishing and believe that because they’ve landed a deal with some obscure publishing house, they are better than those going alone. A simple look at their books ranking on Amazon however soon proves that in reality, their book is doing terribly and that for example, my Indy book sells better than theirs. I get that there are some kudos for landing a deal but at the end of the day if we truly want to be true authors our writing has to make us some form of income.

There are countless scammers out there posing as publishers. (Read my blog about vanity publishers here.) Unlike vanity publishers who demand an author pay them to publish there are some that offer contracts and even pay the author for the rights to their work as well as promising to market the book. I’ve seen many authors fall for these small presses who often turn out to be one man shows or run by people who don’t really seem to know what they’re up to. The number of books ‘signed up’ to these publishers that then go onto to vanish without a trace is quite frankly shocking.

Publishing is a gamble either way

A good friend of mine in the USA wrote a fantastic Sci-fi novel that exploded in popularity on a writing forum. He was then approached by a ‘publisher’ who paid him an advance and promised him to support the book. This was over 8 years ago, and his book has still never seen the light of day, and he is now embroiled in a legal battle with the publisher to get the rights back from them. I know for a fact that if he’d taken the Indy route and published it himself, then that book would have done well, and no doubt would have made him more cash then he’d earn via the small press. In short, he took a gamble and lost.

With Indy publishing, everything is down to you. You control the rights, you control production, and you control your marketing. In my view, its better for your book to be out there then locked away gathering dust. By going Indy, there is always a chance that your book could take off, whereas if a small press is mismanaging it or refusing to publish it, then there is no chance at all and you could end up in a legal battle to get back control of your story.

What do you think? Have you had a bad experience with a small press? Have you achieved success going Indy? Let me know in the comments or get in touch via Facebook and Twitter and please sign up to the newsletter

 

What I’ve learnt about self-publishing – Book Promotion is Changing

Often when indy authors are asked; ‘What is the thing you need the most help with?’ the answer is most often ‘marketing’. And it’s because of this answer that there are now hundreds of different services offering to promote your books.

Since publishing Heir to the Sundered Crown back in 2014 I’ve experimented with a wide variety of these services. Sites such as Booksends, Fussy Librarian etc are basically businesses that have large mailing lists that they send daily deals to their subscribers. An author pays them for a spot on one of their mailing lists (often sent out on a specific day) and these prices can vary from as little as a single Dollar to hundreds of Dollars.

Bookbub

The holy grail of these sites, however, must be Bookbub. With a mailing list of hundreds of thousands from across the world, landing a promotion with this site is incredibly difficult due to the sheer number of authors applying for promotions. This fact alone tells you just how highly regarded Bookbub is to many Indy authors.

Personally, I’ve only ever managed to get a UK Bookbub promotion and that was a good few years ago now, the results of which were by far the best I’ve ever had in comparison to other promoters. Now don’t go thinking Bookbub will propel your book to the top of the sales charts, the book still has to be good enough for people to want to buy it which means having a professional looking book cover and quality writing.

The market is changing

As I mentioned in my previous post I’m part of a small group of authors called Firebound Books. We regularly compare our promotional data and the main thing that we’ve all discovered is that the market is changing. Whereas a few years ago a promotion on the smaller sites would guarantee a decent amount of sales and a boost to the sales rankings. Today, the payoff from the same sites is a lot smaller for paid titles. Even 99p/c sales result in very few sales and often fail to cover the initial cost of the promotions. As I’ve discussed before (read here) it now seems that the only way to guarantee large numbers of downloads is to give your books away for free.

The main cause of this seems to be that the majority of the promotion sites are massively oversubscribed with authors. Some of their mailing lists have gone from advertising just three books per day to ten and if your book is put at the bottom of the list then you’ll likely see a poor return for the investment.

To overcome this decline in returns we must do things differently. The market is now swamped with books and only by improving the quality of indy books can we hope to continue to make a dent in the market. Good book covers and most importantly well-written books are key. Unfortunately, Indy authors are often given a bad name because of the countless poor-quality books produced. We need to up our game if we are to remain competitive in this ever-changing marketplace.

For a list of book promotion sites look here.

Leave a comment below or get in touch via Facebook and Twitter and please sign up to the newsletter

Get Heir to the Sundered Crown for free!

Hi all, the release of book 3 in the Sundered Crown series is rapidly approaching. The book is currently at the editors being worked on and I’m excited for you guys to read the next chapter in Luxon, Ferran and Sophia’s epic adventures.

To celebrate the release and to build up some extra interest I’ve decided to give Heir to the Sundered Crown away for free!

Get your copy from https://www.instafreebie.com/free/XvmZJ

Facebook Advertising – A useful Tool for book promotion or utterly useless?

Something a bit different for this week’s blog post. This time I am going to tell you about my experiences with Facebook advertising and why I will not give Facebook another penny.

I’m sure we’ve all heard the stories online that self-published authors have seen huge success promoting their books via Facebook advertising but from my own personal experiences with it, I have to call ‘BS’.

Sure you could spend thousands of pounds (seems that’s the only way to even reach a large enough audience to make it worthwhile these days) promoting your books, blogs etc but are they worth it?

Let’s go back a few years before Facebook introduced its ads. It was a great time for advertisers and marketers as your posts were pretty much guaranteed to be seen by a large amount of organic traffic and all for absolutely nothing.

Then Facebook decided to take advantage of its huge user base and smartly decided to charge companies and the like to promote their content and ads. All well and good you might think, they’re making cash that’s the whole point of business but then they changed things up.

At the start you could pay a tenner and your ad would have been seen by thousands of relevant people from the audience you chose in the options.  Today this is not the case. Even after you painstakingly tailor your target audience for your ad, you’re lucky if more than a 1,000 people see it at all let alone your target audience.

I recently ran an ad campaign targeting people in the USA and UK in the age group of 18- 50 and tailored their interests to relevant book genres and famous books. I thought that it was a solid audience to aim at. I submitted the ad and left it to run its course (this was with a £30 budget).

Sure enough, over the following days, the ad seemed to be getting some interest. A dozen or so people had liked the ad and the stats even said that it had generated a few clicks. Great, I thought, this should convert into book sales or Kindle Unlimited reads. No. No, it did not. Comparing the Amazon stats with the amount of clicks and likes the Facebook ad generated there was a huge discrepancy.

Ads Don’t Even Reach Your Intended Target!

I took a closer look at the Facebook ad stats and what I found both surprised and angered me. Of all the likes on the ad only one was by someone actually from the UK and USA. I clicked on each of the names that had clicked the ad and discovered that 99% of them were from countries like Indonesia, Iran, Nigeria and judging by their profiles they were either fake accounts or people with no connection to the US or UK at all!

More than a little peeved I did some research online and found numerous articles on the subject written by people who have all experienced similar discrepancies.

Here’s just a few –

http://radar.techcabal.com/t/is-facebook-advertising-the-biggest-scam-ever/4328

http://www.businessinsider.com/mans-600000-facebook-ad-disaster-2014-2?IR=T

http://digitalsynopsis.com/buzz/facebook-fake-likes-fraud/

With such hit and miss (mostly miss) results, it makes it extra annoying that Facebook now demands more money to reach such a small number of people. If you want to reach many thousands then you have to be willing pay out a LOT of money. With the ads not even being shown to your target audience, the whole thing just feels like a right scam.

I for one will not be wasting my cash on Facebook ads again.

What’s been your experience of using Facebook Advertising? Let me know in the comments or on social media.

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