Tag Archives: #Amazon

What Happens Next Monday?…….

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I’ll start this week’s blog with an apology….. technically there isn’t one. A blog that is.

My creative focus has been on finishing the first draft of Book Baby 5 and I’m almost but not quite there. Another three or four productive hours should finally see it complete- albeit a few weeks later than  originally planned.

Unusual for this stage in my creative process, it’s more or less all typed as well as written and it’s not naked!  Well, it has a bare bum as I’ve not finished the back cover for the paperback edition but it has a front cover.  🙂

I already revealed it’s title a while back – Shattered Hearts – so what is there left to reveal?

The cover and the release date……..

Watch this space and my author page next week…… all will be revealed.  😉

https://www.facebook.com/coralmccallumauthor/

 

Shattered Hearts

 

 

 

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It’s all about the date …… and a little itty bitty announcement

So, a year ago today I put pen to paper and began to write Book 4 in the Silver Lake series.

I blogged about it…. in fact, I had intended to blog about 8th May being the sixth anniversary of putting pen to paper blah blah blah blah but realised I did that last year.

Missed it?

Here you go, you can catch up here: –

https://coralmccallum.wordpress.com/2018/05/08/whats-in-a-date-quite-a-lot-actually/

In the year since I posted that blog, I’ve been busy…very busy. I finished the writing and editing for Book Baby 4 aka Ellen and successfully self- published it via Amazon’s KDP, albeit slightly later in the year than planned. I’ve worked steadily on Book Baby 5 and, a year down the line, its still not fully written but I am on track (just!) and the proofreading process has recently commenced. Cue my nerves being shot to hell even more so than usual! Yes, the old fear of letting people read what I write has returned with a vengeance.

So, having discovered that I’d already posted the blog I intended for this week I have been left with a bit of a dilemma….. how to mark this creative Silver Lake anniversary?

It feels wrong to let it slip by without doing or saying something.

I’m going to take a leap of faith here. (Those of you who know me personally will realise just how big a leap this is shortly.)

I’m very superstitious about not naming my Book Babies until their first draft is more or less complete. I may have their title in mind but I tend to keep it under wraps almost for as long as I can for fear of destroying the magic of the creative process.

However, Book Baby 5 aka Book 4 in the Silver Lake series has proved to be a little different.

Its title came first before I’d even put pen to paper. That has never happened before!

So, to mark six years to the day of the evening I sat down in the sun with my notepad and pen and began this incredible creative journey, I’m going to share that title with you.

The cover reveal (yeah, that’s kind of almost done too) and the publication date (yeah, I have one of those in mind too and it is another date that is special to me) are a way off so please don’t get too excited here.

Drum roll please, Paul……..

The title of Book Baby 5 aka Book 4 in the Silver Lake series is………

title reveal 

Watch this space…….

 

 

If you’ve missed the start of the series, you can download the books or purchase paperback copies from Amazon

Amazon.com links –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XSQHG71

 

Amazon.co.uk links –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XSQHG71

 

and if you missed Ellen –

Amazon.com link

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FYHKR44

Amazon.co.uk link

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07FYHKR44

 

 

 

 

 

Indie Author Seeking Shelf Space

bookstore3.jpg

 

As an indie author there are many “hats” you need to wear to get your “book babies” out into the world.

Over the past four years I’ve been through a steep learning curve in relation to getting my books babies written, typed, edited, formatted, cover designs created (Photoshop is evil), published, launched and subsequently marketed on a shoestring budget.

The marketing aspect is probably the toughest challenge an indie author faces.

Actually writing the book in the first place is the fun part!

Since KDP and other self-publishing platforms made books so relatively simple to self-publish the market has been flooded. There were circa 2 000 000 books published in 2017 alone. Competition is tough, VERY tough!

A quote from a Forbes.com article from 2013 sums up the challenges succinctly: “Here’s the problem with self-publishing: no one cares about your book. That’s it in a nutshell. There are somewhere between 600 000 and 1 000 000 books published every year in the US alone, depending on which stats you believe. Many of those – perhaps as many as half or even more- are self-published. On average they sell less than 250 copies each. Your book won’t stand out. Hillary Clinton’s will. Yours won’t.”

Harsh but honest words.

I’ve said many times if you’re writing a book to make money then you’re in for a hell of a shock!

To date, I’ve been extremely fortunate that no one has said my book babies are ugly, they’ve each earned 5* reviews and I’ve received a Royalties payment every month, even if it is only for pennies.

The majority that have been sold have been e-books but each of my book babies is also available as a “real” book too.

E-book marketing can be done through social media. “Real” book marketing, actually gaining shelf space, is far tougher. I’d love to see my books  on the shelves in bookstores but getting shelf space as an indie author is nigh on impossible. I managed it once with Stronger Within for a whole six copies. A major accomplishment that I remain very proud of.

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For me personally though I’d love to see my Silver Lake series on sale in the book stores in and around the town where the stories are set. That small town is somewhere I am passionate about. A lot of the feedback that I’ve received has been that folk want to visit Rehoboth Beach, De. (It’s not a big place but in my own quiet way from over 3000 miles away I’ve introduced my readers to this jewel on the Delaware Riviera.)

On more than one occasion, I’ve approached a “local” bookstore in an effort to open discussions about the possibility of them putting a few copies on their shelves. My polite approaches have been met with silence.

So I reverted to advertising on social media and added pages and groups linked to the locale to my list. I don’t over advertise on these- one post every few weeks on these “local” pages at most. To an “outsider” looking in on the group/page descriptions they look to be about promoting things linked to the area, including books, events, places etc about the area so the Silver Lake books meet the criteria….. or so I thought until recently. One well- meant post met with a brief but sharp barrage of complaints that I was routing shoppers to Amazon instead of local stores and was detracting from the town. I quickly deleted the post as that most definitely was not my intent. The comments stung. If local businesses supported indie authors, regardless of where they reside, who are writing about their town then local folks wouldn’t have to shop online….. marketing lesson #700….. I won’t be engaging with that group again.

Maybe Forbes.com was right “no one cares about your book.”

However, authors, including indie-authors, are storytellers at heart and, for as long as they have a story to share, they will find a way to publish or self-publish their work. I know I will.

As for marketing, well despite having been kicked back down that learning curve, I’ve picked myself up, dusted myself off and will start all over again.

Can I interest you in a book?……..

 

Amazon.com links –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XSQHG71

 

Ellen – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FYHKR44

  

 Amazon.co.uk links  –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XSQHG71

 

Ellen – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07FYHKR44

 

 

 

Define Success……. Go On I Dare You To…

success collage

Like many indie authors and bloggers I have “liked” and “joined” numerous….ok countless….author and book promotion Facebook groups and pages. I use these as a means to promote my author page, this blog and my book babies and very rarely comment on any discussion style posts.

Recently one caught my attention… “Do we have anyone in here with a lot of success?”

Initially I read it and scrolled on…. but it was bugging me….so I scrolled backup and replied.

“Define success? It means something different to each of us. If you mean “Do I feel I have succeeded with my writing?” then the answer is “yes” as I have told folk a story that entertained them and caused an emotional response. If you quantify success as hard cash then you’re in the wrong game. There’s more to life than money when there’s a story to be told.”

My response was well received by other members of the group.

And I stand by what I said.

It took me a long time to think of my writing as being successful in any shape or form. Self-publishing my first novel in 2015 was a surreal experience. It took me so far out of my comfort zone! Even having published three more novels, it still feels surreal.  Seeing my name on the cover of those books feels like a dream I am about to be rudely awakened from. However, as time has passed, I’ve come to realise that I’ve achieved something pretty special. Well, it’s pretty special to me.

How many people can say they’ve seen one of their lifelong dreams come true?

I can and that genuinely makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Makes me feel successful in my own quiet way.

I’ve been incredibly fortunate that no one yet has said my book babies are ugly. Seeing them sitting on Amazon.co.uk with lots of twinkling stars and multiple reviews makes me feel proud of what I’ve achieved (with the love and support of my Infamous Five and my cavalry) Seeing them with stars and reviews on Amazon.com, which is such a huge arena, blows my mind. It makes me feel successful in my own quiet way.

You can’t put a price on the emotions you experience when someone tells you they’ve loved your book and that it’s evoked an emotional response whether it be laughter or tears. Feedback like that is truly priceless.

If indie authors and bloggers were in it purely for the money, there wouldn’t be many of us left. FACT!

Let’s be honest, unless you strike it really lucky and your work lands before the right person at the right time and catches their eye then, chances are you’re not making a huge income, if any. I half-joked when I published my first novel that I hoped to earn enough to cover my concert ticket budget. My royalties come nowhere near to covering it! Most months they would barely cover the cost of a couple of coffees.

Authors are storytellers. We write to tell the story that’s grown inside us. At the risk of sounding cheesy for a minute, writing is a passion and I’ve always maintained that as soon as I stop feeling the love for it, I’ll stop.

But, do people realise the length of time it takes to pull an article/blog together or the number of hours of work a short story requires? Or the hundreds of hours a novel requires?

I’ll use this blog as an example and it’s not a long piece. It has taken me roughly an hour to write and re-draft and it’s taken another hour or so to type and re-draft again then say it will take ten minutes to publish it. That’s about 2-3 hours work. And guess what – it doesn’t earn me any royalties?

Last week, I published a short story on this blog page.  The word count was roughly 4000 words. It took me about four hours to write it. It took another couple to re-draft it, another couple to type it then fifteen minutes to post it. Let’s call it eight hours of work. And guess what – that didn’t earn me any royalties either.

Novels take months of effort. I really should take note of the time spent writing, typing, editing etc one of these days. All in all, it’s probably about four hours of work in total per thousand words ( rough guesstimate). My novels so far have ranged from 107000 words to 186 000 words. Let’s do the maths – that gives us about 428 -744 hours of work and that’s before you factor in the time to design the cover, the time my alpha readers (my Infamous Five) and my beta readers (the cavalry) donate and the time to upload the file to Amazon for publication…… and then there’s marketing and promotion to be done…..

The current National Minimum Wage in the UK is £7.93 per hour.

If I had been paid that for writing Ellen, my latest and shortest novel, that would have earned me £3400 approximately. To date, Ellen has generated around £100 in royalties.

I personally don’t define success in respect of my writing in terms of hard cash. If it was about the money, I’d have closed over my notebook and put the lid back on my pen a long time ago.

Success for me is about seeing people enjoying what I write. It’s about folk saying I’ve made them laugh or cry. It’s about entertaining readers. It’s about telling the story and setting my characters free from my imagination.
So, next time you read over a short story in your lunchbreak or a blog post, pause to think of the time and effort that went into making it a success.

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(images sourced via Google – credits to the owners)

Dead In A Day….. introducing a new “whodunnit”

 

dead in a day

To those of you who follow this blog regularly, you may recall I introduced you to a fellow indie author at the start of this year – PF Gregory.

To those of you who missed the introductions, here’s the link to that post https://coralmccallum.wordpress.com/2018/01/15/introducing-pf-gregory/

Well, Paul has been busy this year and has recently published his third crime novel, Dead In A Day.  I finished reading it at the weekend and loved it!

As a fellow author, I take my hat off to crime writers who can weave such an intricate plot and keep their readers guessing. I took the opportunity to ask Paul for a little insight into the book that I could share here along with my review of the book.

“I guess the spark of inspiration came from the ‘WHAT’ would kill a person? Readers of this book – and of a certain age, will likely know a high profile murder was committed with the same WHAT in London, decades ago. I then needed an ingenious and original way for the HOW? Having devised this, I next needed to build a plot and storyline around these points.”

So, having decided the WHAT, how do you decide on the WHERE?

“In terms of setting, then – and sticking to my ‘Ten Commandments of Davieson’ I wanted another rural village setting and a handful of quintessentially English elements. We start, then, with a village Open Gardens and a good excuse to have all my list of characters in the same place together.

As a lover of real ale, I also included a real ale/homebrew and Microbrewery element – and the traditional village pub with its weekly quiz night.

Another influence was witnessing an English Civil War re-enactment at an Open Farms event with the family in 2017. I now had a nice backdrop in which to set sinister events.”

There’s a colourful cast of characters in Dead In A Day and a couple of familiar faces.

“Davieson and Kent are the key protagonists again but (with almost equal billing) so is a village gossip and stereotype nosey busybody. In some respects, this character is a little like one of my literary heroines ‘Miss Marple’ but hopefully my character comes across as a lot more annoying and somewhere between the well-intentioned Marple and the annoying deaf old lady in Fawlty Towers!

As in my previous novel there are links, over-and-above Davieson/Kent, to my other novels so we share a character and building with ‘The Evil From Among You’ as I continue to build and develop my fictional world.”

And that leaves us with the HOW and the WHO………

If you want to discover more about that then you’ll have to read Dead In A Day for yourself as you’re not getting any spoilers here.

You can pick up a copy via Amazon. I’ll even make it easy for you. Here’s the links:

Amazon.com :  https://www.amazon.com/Dead-Day-P-F-GREGORY-ebook/dp/B07FS6X68G/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1541967746&sr=1-1&keywords=pf+gregory

Amazon.co.uk: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dead-Day-P-F-GREGORY-ebook/dp/B07FS6X68G/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1541967814&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=dead+in+a+day+pf+gregory

 

Oh and as for my review of Dead In A Day….well, here it is.

Dead In A Day is PF Gregory’s third crime novel and, in my humble opinion, his best work to date.

Set in the quaint English village of Folestree Parva, PF Gregory introduces us to a colourful cast of characters.  Due to the creative twists and turns of the storyline any one of them could easily have been the murderer. I particularly liked Mrs Richards, Folestree Parva’s answer to Dot Cotton.

Once again, this novel features veteran crime reporter Merv Davieson and Chief Inspector Kent. An unlikely pairing on the face of it but, in fact, a very likeable pairing. Think Watson to Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. Great characters who grow stronger and more believable with every outing.

On a personal note, I do hope Phillipa Shales was not based on any romantic novelists that the author knows!

PF Gregory captures all the key elements of a great murder mystery in Dead In A Day. Like his previous two novels, Kindly Invited To Murder and The Evil From Among You, this book will keep you guessing right to the bitter end.

Already looking forward to the next one!

 

I’d like to thank Paul for the insights into Dead In A Day. If you want to keep up to date with Paul and his work you can find him here:

https://www.facebook.com/Kindly-Invited-To-Murder-a-novel-by-PF-Gregory-1837097583236305/

 

paul gregoryPauls books

 

 

I need your vote….

Ellen final version front cover

no, I’ve not turned to politics!

Book Baby 4 aka Ellen is in the running for the All Author book cover of the month…… woo hoo… but I need your help.

Please spare a moment and cast your vote for her using the link below

https://allauthor.com/cover-of-the-month/2741/

thank you.

xx

 

Once Upon A Time……

Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time……
We’ve all heard it.
Having just read it, probably out loud in your head in a voice from your childhood, you now expect a story.
The art of storytelling predates written books and was a crucial element of society in days long since gone by. Storytelling was a means of passing on history, knowledge, beliefs, myths and legends, and, of course, entertainment. These tales were brought to life by the narrative of the storyteller and occasionally supported by dance and music.
As a little girl, I loved being read to. Bedtime story time was a time to delve into the adventures of various characters as read to me by my mum. She read me stories from some very old children’s story collections, books that already been old when she was a girl; she read me Disney stories from a big blue book I was given one Christmas; she read me library book after library book (I loved Mr Grimpwinkle!); she read me books we chose and bought together. Even when I was old enough to read for myself, we kept one “special” book aside for bedtime story time.
The bedtime stories ended when I was about nine years old…. I never did finish Anne Of Green Gables. We moved house part way through reading the book and, for a myriad of reasons, never got back to it and I could never bring myself to finish it alone….. the magic spell had been broken.
When my own children were little, I read to them, trying to instil a love of books in them. I read some from my childhood (yes, I read them the big blue Disney book); I read library books; I read tales of Katie Morag and of Hairy McLary from Donaldson’s Dairy and tied my tongue in knots reading Dr Seuss.  What even is a seven hump wump????
The last book I remember reading to both of them was The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe. The three of us would sit in my bed and read a chapter a night. Precious memories……
Confession – now-a-days, I hate being read to. I really struggle to maintain concentration in lecture/presentation situations and I absolutely loathe radio programmes where they just drone on and on and on……. Give me music any day!
As an indie author, this has presented me with a dilemma. An audio book dilemma.
There’s a whole market out there that I’ve yet to fully explore but I suspect that I’d hate even my own book babies in audio format. That’s not to say that others would….. I just can’t bear to listen to audio books. I appreciate that they are a Godsend to those who love a story but for whatever reason are unable to read it for themselves. Audio books are great for people who drive long distances or folk who travel a lot in general; Audio books are great for book lovers who love to multi-task and don’t have time to sit down and read a book. They are readily available in CD, mp3 and other digital formats. But, as an author, where to begin?
A couple of years ago, I did a trailer video clip for Book Baby 1 aka Stronger Within and, if that short clip taught me nothing else, it taught me that I am NOT a narrator! (Here- listen for yourself –
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VObOV6c0FXs )

If my Book Babies are going to find their niche in the audio book world, I’m going to have to find a narrator (or two).
I suspect this is not going to be easy……
I’m not sure if all authors feel the same about their work but I can “hear” it in my head as I read it. That’s the voice I’m searching for!
All four books have been added to ACX.com accompanied by a short audition script. The opportunity to narrate them is being offered on a “royalty share” basis so I suspect my target narrator is someone fairly new to the craft who is looking to build up their portfolio. Is that you? Is it someone you know? Does the person with “the voice” even exist?
Time will tell…….

If you wish to submit an audition please check out the link below:
https://www.acx.com