Posts filed under 'Marketing and Promotion'

Update: of books and backs

It’s been a while.

The last few months have seen a resurgence of my back pain, as bad as it first was. To cut a long story short, I’ve opted for surgery this time, and I go under the knife next week. Spine surgery is never something to be undertaken lightly, but everyone’s case is different and unique.

To books. Being laid-up gave me the opportunity to catch up on some things. One of those things was to advance the promotion of Broken Evolution, to cross those last things off the indie-author’s to-do list.

Firstly, I set about getting some reviews from real readers – readers I don’t know and who have no vested interest in sparing my feelings. Friends and family and fellow authors are all well and good, but they will veer towards encouragement. I had the niggling sensation that I never really knew what I had with Broken Evolution and that I would have to get real at some point to find out. I would have to get actual reader reviews. The result: average. Broken Evolution is not brilliant; it’s not a disaster either. It’s an ok read. And I’m convinced now that “well-written” in a review is a euphemism. Anyone who has ever used it or received it will know what that means! However, I have learned from them all, and could carry what I’ve learned through to my writing in future.

The second goal was to get the novel into as many readers hands as possible, to start building a readership. Here’s what I’ve learned. Paperback is a waste of time for an Indie author. EBook is the only way to go to start with. Amazon have the indie author market sewn up. With the introduction of KDP Select, it is the only reliable way of pushing your eBook up in the search results and differentiating it from the millions (and counting) of eBooks just sitting in the Amazon catalogue. If you’re an unknown author, 99 cent eBooks do actually work to get some sales (better sales than at 2.99). Free is even better (assuming you are more interesting in starting a readership than making money. If your goal is to make money out of it – start something else). With the latest ebook price fixing ruling, it seems certain that Amazon now set the terms of indie publishing (and even trade publishing) and for many years to come. Indie authors will need to be familiar with Amazon’s rules of the game – albeit the visible rules only.

For now, I now have a novel read by thousands of readers – what any starting author needs.

It’s been a ride. On the other side of recovery I’ll decide whether it’s a ride I should return to. Chronic pain alters you. It drags your spirit down. Concentration is lost. Motivation becomes a struggle. Motivating to write is hard even at the best of times; this isn’t the best of times. You teeter on the edge of depression – and the view from there is ghastly, let me tell you. Pain is very personal journey that can not be shared. Only those who have experienced severe unremitting pain understand. I can only hope mine is now near an end.

Raw, but real.

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1 comment April 27th, 2012

A Welcome Review

I got word of the first of the pre-publication reviews to come back for Broken Evolution. I must say it was one thing to get good feedback from beta readers, friends and family, but it takes it to a whole different level when the opinion comes from a person I’ve never met – and a person with a high profile in the field of bioethics.

To read about my own work things like “enjoyable and a very good read” and “the author does seem to have done his homework both from an ethical and scientific perspective” and “I really believe this book should be made into a film” is wonderful and great validation of the years of work in getting it to this stage.

But the nicest surprise is this: a totally independent view of the meaning of this story.

Of late, I had been so mired just getting it all right, making a good thriller, tweaking the pace, or editing the grammer and punctuation, or fixing typos, or submitting to agents, or receiving the obligatory agent rejections and false starts, only to be left spinning and wondering what I actually had in this story at all. How nice to get this assessment – pinpointing with laser precision – the true meaning of this tale: “this book raises the fundamental bioethical questions about the definition of human dignity, how it is conferred and the manner in which a person understands his or her identity.”

Thank you Dr. MacKellar; you have reminded me why I sat down to write this book in the first place.

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Add comment August 11th, 2010

Why wait for an Apple eReader when the iPhone is already here?

iPhone
Image by William Hook

The iPhone has been grabbing my attention. As if to reinforce the now undoubtable shift in the publishing paradigm, it seems that the number of books being published as apps on the iPhone is growing … fast. Book apps releases in the appstore overtook game apps for the first time ever. 20% of the apps released in September were books. It seems publishers and indie authors are not waiting for the mooted Apple eReader, the one that’s easy on the eyes and the batteries (… yada, yada …), but rather are willing to take advantage of another distribution channel for eBooks here are now. And why not? There are, no doubt, more iPhones than eReaders out there. There’s a huge user base who scan the appstore everyday. Sure, there is eReader software like Stanza on the iPhone, but I can see the attraction of a custom app in terms of its attention, customization, regular updates, linked interactive content, options for free/purchase content, etc. I’m not the only one.

There’s early adopter advantage to be had here. After all, where is an Apple eReader likely to get its content? Are they likely to do a content distribution deal with a competitor like Amazon who have their own eReader to shift? I don’t think so. Maybe Google? Or Stanza. Or will they open up a bookstore of their own, just like they’ve done for every device they’ve made recently. Perhaps. The answer might be simpler than that. It wouldn’t surprise me that many of the books will just come from the appstore anyway, and run on the eReader as they would on the iPhone.

Perhaps its time to dust of my programming skills and write my first iPhone app. As I know from writing software for other handhelds, its not trivial — beyond the ken of most authors. Maybe I should make the fruits of that effort available to other authors and publishers too? Well, let’s see where it goes – that’s pretty much the mantra for the whole publishing business right now.

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3 comments November 3rd, 2009

Snake Oil and Salesmen

I’ve been searching reviews for a natural dietary supplement to see what it does and if it’s any good. The process brings me face-to-face with the real nature of the internet, and a lesson in marketing, during the very week I’ve been planning my own internet marketing strategy.

Snake Oil Remedies
Image by inky

Upon searching for this particular supplement, I find that the reviews on the first couple of Google pages of links were all very positive. Nothing is so perfect. Perfection makes me suspicious. The reviews were similar in their wording. My guess is the marketing man (who shall remain nameless) from the company who make the supplement has entered into as many blog and review sites as he could find. SEO at its best … and worst. Manipulating search engines and saturating the bandwidth for those searching on the efficacy of a product is very shrewd marketing strategy, but I find it a little sad, because it erodes the internet’s usefulness as a resource for impartial, genuine, user reviews of a product.

Ah well, moral of the tale: if you want the genuine stuff, click straight to page 20 of the search results; if you want to sell stuff, get it into pages 1 and 2!

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Add comment October 26th, 2009


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