Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Are Fiverr Promos For Your Ebook Worth It?

I tried out a Fivvr promo last week: one of those, "We've got thousands of loyal Facebook fans" type things for US$5.

I was hesitant because I've found in the past that Facebook page networking is a good thing but paid for Boost promos don't work very well.  However,  for a few dollars I thought I'd have a go, just to see.

I put up a Wildcat in Moscow, a full length mainstream romance I haven't promoted for a while so that I could see exactly how well the promo worked in terms of hits and sales.

In 3 words: waste of time.

Really.  Complete, total, utter waste of time. Didn't even get a spike in hits, never mind a single sale.  

So I'm back to doing my own networking and promo.  It's hard work, but at least I know it generates sales.

Now, if you like the idea of a cool purple haired Goth heroine, check out The Gift: An Erotic Romance in Kiev  Just US$1.99

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

The Indie Author, Grammar and Punctuation

Grammar and punctuation are a pain to get right, especially if you're working without a raft of editors.  So to save my pal Julie who does my proofreading for me some extra work, I've been reading grammar books again.

It's always the quoted speech that gets me.  Maybe you're good at it, but can you tell straight off which is correct?
“Did you enjoy the party?” She asked.
“Did you enjoy the party?” she asked. 
And which one of these is correct?

"My brother," she said, "Is a student."


"My brother," she said, "is a student."

In both cases it's the second alternative.  Before reading my textbooks I would have put the first properly and the second incorrectly.  Now I have to reread all my books and see if I've made errors.


I'm also noticing these same mistakes in ebooks that I love - including some published by big names like Random House!  I'm glad because it means nobody's perfect.

PS: if you want a good read for this weekend, do check out Blackmail Bride: An Erotic Romance In Scotland  a full length novel for US$2.99

Average ratings for all six Storm Chase books: 4.05 from 89 ratings combined Goodreads, Smashwords, Kobo etc

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Guest Blogger: "Why I Read Historical Fiction" By Bookish Owl

Are you writing historical fiction?  Check out why Kayla, aka Bookish Owl, has a passion for the past...

Ever since I was introduced to literature, I’ve always had a soft spot for historical fiction. History has always been fascinating to me as there was always something so dreamy about dresses, corsets and old-fashioned speaking. There are a lot of reasons why I love historical fiction. Here are some of them:

1. Insight on dead people

Okay, that was morbid.

I have a perverse interest in long dead people. I find their lives a good mystery, what did they eat? What did they use for toilets? I could read non-fiction books but all they ever state are names, dates and places. Believe me, I’ve read about 3 historical non-fiction books. Pooh, who cares about dates? I want to read their daily doings and innermost thoughts.

This is also the reason why historical fiction diaries are THE BOMB. 

2. Reading about women in corsets, petticoats, hoops, etc.

Can you imagine being laced into a tiny corset until you can barely breathe? Can you imagine maneuvering metal contraptions under your skirts to be able to sit? Well I can’t. But I can get a glimpse of how it was like because of historical fiction.

Corsets...can you imagine such a thing?! I’m complaining about bras restricting my breathing capabilities but one that covers your entire torso? *runs screaming for the hills*

3. I’d much rather live in the past

Jay Gatsby called. He wants his mindset back.

Thanks to historical fiction, I can humbly say that I have learned a lot, most of which aren’t even for my age group. It may be difficult to discern between fact and fiction, but if you’re like me and take to Google after reading a historical fiction book, then you’re pretty well off.

What about you? Why do you read historical fiction?

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Are Free Books Killing Authors?

There are so many free ebooks out there that you could read a book a week and never put your hand in your pocket (or your Paypal).  Authors are told it's accepted marketing to offer one book free "so that people get to read you and buy your other books".

I'm not so sure.  I don't see J. K. Rowling, Stephenie Meyer and other big names giving their work away for free. Part of me suspects that companies like Amazon say this so that they get to sell their ereaders on the basis that you pay for a piece of hardware and get thousands of new books free. I really wonder how many people stop buying books once they have Nooks and Kindles because there are so many free books out there.

But I'm not totally certain so I do offer one free book.  I wrote Sold! A Romance In The Sudan in order to practice writing a long sex scene. I got most of the arguments from friends (Malaysian Indian, South African and Nigerian) on their troubles trying to date across cultural gaps.

The thing is, Sold! is fine but it's not brilliant.  It's just as good as a Mills and Boon, but I don't think they are particularity good. I could totally rework it but I decided to move on and do some "real" writing. (which you can see here!)

I suspect lots of authors do this, which means the free books are only a taste of what their true storytelling is like.  Me, I don't rely on free books.  I always read the first few pages (20% free) and then decide if I want to buy.  That's how I choose print books too.

I'd be interested to do a study to see if readers go on from free books to buy books. If you ever hear of one, please leave a note!

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Book Ratings - A Micro Study

After 6 months of writing Storm Chase erotica romance, the books are beginning to move so I'm super excited.  Looking at what works and what doesn't I've conducted 10 email discussions with readers and have found some interesting feedback about ratings.

When readers see less than 10 ratings it's as good as no ratings because readers assume they are put up by friends and family.  They all like to see a book with several dozen ratings which they perceive as "honest ratings". Interestingly, 3 stars and up is all they look for.

I also asked how often they go back and rate a book, and got the answers "never" and "almost never". However, they all admitted that on the rare occasion they do rate a book, they are more likely to rate one that is famous, and they are more likely to trash a book than praise it.

So there you go! I'm thinking that if I want my books to sell, I'm going to have to beg for ratings.  And cross fingers they mark them as 3 stars and up!