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Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Price of Vengeance Kurt Springs Book Tour

Today I welcome author Kurt D Springs, who is visiting my blog on his virtual book tour for his latest book. Don't forget to enter the Giveaway below.


What is the Price of Vengeance? 

One could understand why Liam was angry. He was orphaned at the age of two by a group of giant carnivorous insects called the chitin. Adopted by High Councilor Marcus and his wife, Lidia, Liam was raised with their older son, Randolf in New Olympia, the last remaining city on the planet Etrusci. As an adult, Liam becomes a soldier. After being cut off from the city, Liam finds that there is an alien intelligence behind the chitin. To defeat it, he must discover who he is and how to use his powers. Then, Liam discovers that a traitor, responsible for his birth parents’ deaths, had murdered his beloved foster parents. Will the price he has to pay in his quest for vengeance prove to be an even more unbeatable foe?

Price of Vengeance Excerpt...

"Liam! What have you done?" Marcus demanded. "You know our teachings on revenge."

Suddenly, irrationally angry, Liam straightened. "How can you defend him after what he did? To you, to Mom, to my birth parents, to everyone we cared about?"

With a howl of despair and emotional agony, Liam dashed forward, through the shade of his father, blindly running into the sewers.

What is the Price of Vengeance? One could understand why Liam is angry. Orphaned at the age of two by a group of giant carnivorous insects called the chitin, he was adopted by High Councilor Marcus and his wife, Lidia, and raised with their older son, Randolf, in New Olympia, the last remaining city on the planet Etrusci.

As an adult, Liam becomes a soldier. After being cut off from the city, he finds that there is an alien intelligence behind the chitin. To defeat it, he must discover who he is and how to use his powers. When Liam discovers that a traitor responsible for his birth parents' deaths has also murdered his beloved foster parents, he might find that the price he has to pay in his quest for vengeance will prove to be an even more unbeatable foe.
Barnes & Noble link

About the Author:

Kurt D. Springs is presently an adjunct professor of anthropology and archaeology in New Hampshire. He holds a PhD. in anthropology from the State University of New York at Buffalo, as well as a Master of Literature in archaeology from the National University of Ireland, Galway, and a Master of Liberal Arts in anthropology and archaeology from the Harvard University Extension School. His main area of interest is megalithic landscapes in prehistoric Ireland.

Where can we find you?
Twitter Link

Friday, 25 April 2014

How do we Reach the Readers?

How do you get your book seen, and get the attention of those precious readers? The truth is, I don't really know, but here's what I've tried and tested.

For those who can afford to buy advertising space, their marketing methods of their books might be successful. On the flip side, for those who have a shoestring budget, free advertising is the only way. I'm not saying that it is successful, for me it hasn't been, but yet I do it daily.

1 - Reviews = FREE
Initially, I thought the best way to be noticed would be to have lots of good reviews. This meant searching for book reviewing blogs. I requested reviews on them, only to receive promises that my books would be added to their very long lists. For me, this wasn't going to work. Clearly, these type of book reviewers were becoming bogged down with all the new self published authors saturating the market, just like me. Incidentally, I'm always happy to provide a FREE e-copy of any of my books, in return for a review on Amazon. Just contact me.

2 - KDP Promotion Days = FREE. I tried the KDP promotion run by Amazon. If you join KDP for 90 days, you are allocated 5 days promotion, of giving your book away for FREE. At first my downloads numbers were quite high. For books 2 & 3 they were pretty poor. Did I achieve reviews via this method? In short, no. Did I get extra sales - no.

3 - AUTHOR INTERVIEWS = FREE. This involves filling in Interview Forms on blogs and book sites. In return my piece was included within their pages. I can't say this method did anything for my book sales but they all looked nice.   

4 - GROUP COMMUNICATIONS = FREE. Joining groups such as Goodreads and many FB pages. Over time you can weedle out the good groups to remain in. Didn't increase sales, but it did increase reviews. By talking directly to individuals, and giving them free e-copies of my books, those reviews slowly increased. 

6 - BLOG = FREE. Since my very first book being published, I have had a blog (this blog), dedicated to my books. I've tried many different approaches for increasing followers, such as other author interviews,  hosting Book Tours. Nope, didn't do anything for my sales. 

7 - SOCIAL NETWORKING = FREE. Have an author Facebook Page that I have been slowly building up. I have fun on my FB page, talking with other likeminded people, but it doesn't lead to sales. You cannot blitz blogs and FB pages with your own book advertising, you'd soon lose your followers if you did. However, sneak in the occasional post about your  book and have links to your books and sites. I also automatically Tweet from my FB pages, so that's two ways of getting out there.

8 - EMAILING READERS = FREE. I heard from another author that they had some success with  emailing readers directly. So I created an emailing list of about 100 readers. However, as with the social networking, I didn't want to spam readers, so never used it.  I still have an emailing list with Mailchimp, but will save it for when I release something new, or run free promotions. 

9 - WEBSITE = FREE. I enjoy running the website, because here I tell readers all about the world I have created. I've even started to add images of characters. It's great fun, but does it lead to extra sales - Nope. 

10 - BOOK TOURS = NOT free. The only advertising feature I have paid for. Didn't work. Led to no extra sales.

So what am I doing wrong? Well, I say 'NOTHING'. 

I have every confidence in my writing and story telling skills. But, it truly does take time, when you're a one man band. You really do need lots of stamina. Build up that social networking i.e. FB page, Blogs, Websites. Gain the confidence of other readers and other authors. I say other authors because it's a strange world being a writer. We're not in competition, we actually help each other to sell. We've all created something different and unique. If you help them, they will try and help you back. Not always, but most of the time, this seems to be the philosophy of the social networking world. But, are we all just messaging each other?

I do have a Forward Plan, or a Business Plan for 2014. I'm working on it, as I write. If I just achieve the goals I have set, then I will consider this a success. Will it increase sales, probably not, but I'm thoroughly enjoying the ride.  

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Author Support on the Social Network

Hmm, life for an Indie Author is not an easy one. We must find readers for our books, our Facebook pages, our blogs, our websites and anything else we care to join on the platform of social networking.

I'm a long way from achieving high numbers of Followers, on any one of these sites, but I constantly put out a hint in the hope of gaining just one more 'Follow' or 'Like' or 'Review', all of which we writers love to receive. Why? All an artiste wishes to do is show off their work for the entertainment of others. It's that simple.

So, anyway, if you don't want to follow any of these, then why not just join my 'Email' sign up. This way I only contact you when I'm about to publish something new OR running a promotion.

FACEBOOK: Please pop in and LIKE my page. I work on it daily.
BLOG: You can JOIN on this page that you are reading. I work on this weekly
WEBSITE: This one's fairly static but explains the fantasy world of my books
EMAIL SIGN UP: I just send you a message when something is about to happen in my publishing world as an author

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Trilogy or Series? That's the Question

So far I have told you about using the incorrect margins in Create on Amazon, which resulted in the first paperback having a very tiny font. 

Then I went on to talk about the difficulties of editing, without money to pay for a professional Editor. 

In my continuing saga of the mega mistakes I have made as a new Indie Author, I want to tell you about why I separated one large book into three smaller ones.

My original plan was to create a trilogy of large thick books. This is how I like to read fantasy, with the knowledge that there are lots of adventures to be had. My first book was going to be approximately 450 pages. I printed it as a paperback and also as an e-book. However, it just didn't get any sales. Upon seeking advice from fellow authors, I discovered that short books are more popular with readers, if it is a new author. This seemed to make sense to me. Hence, I split the large book into three smaller ones.

Sounds like it should have worked, but I feel there were good and bad that came out of doing this:

*The positive things were that the books were shorter, and therefore might appeal more to readers. 
*It now became a series instead of a trilogy, as I had always intended to write more. After all this was only the beginning of the trilogy. This meant I should make more money by selling more, but cheaper, books.
*It should also mean that future books will be easier to write, as each piece will be shorter.

*The more negative things were, that it left my books without any real structure. The original thicker book was written with it's beginning, middle and end. But splitting them lost that structure. 
*Books 1 and 2 didn't really have proper endings. I tried to create new endings, but it just proved impossible. So I had to rely on the fact that the books ended 'in the air', and perhaps that would make readers want to buy the next one. I don't think this really worked very well. Feedback indicated they wanted to see closure to each book. 

For future books I will not have this problem, because they will purposely be written as shorter books. Therefore, the structure should be fine. However, in my mind books 1, 2 & 3 are still the beginning of the tale, so I have called them Series One. Putting them together as an omnibus will help to eliminate some of the problems, as the reader will feel the flow between books by reading them all together. But, for the reader that likes a tale in shorter shots, the smaller books will remain available. 

Presently, I am tidying up each book before I release them as an omnibus, later this year. I have nearly written book 4 (part of Series Two), but need to find an ending for it yet. 

Next time I'll tell you of my experience in marketing, with a shoestring budget. 

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Editing Problems of an Indie Author on a Shoestring Budget

I promised I would share with you, the hurdles I have jumped, since commencing my days as an Indie Author.

Next mega mistake, as a novice writer, was my editing skills. Whilst I had edited and re-edited and repeated this so many times, prior to publishing my first book, it was still a shambles, I'm ashamed to admit. Spelling was fine and grammar wasn't bad. It was just my style of writing was so immature, and I just couldn't see it.

Whilst at school, English was one of my best subjects. As an adult, it just doesn't come so natural, any more. Plus, now I'm all grown up, there's no teacher to mark it. I have forgotten all the technicalities of the English language. However, I set out to write because I love creating. I have now discovered that writing as an Indie Author isn't really about creating, it's about delivering. The writing is the easy part, and the most enjoyable part. Presenting that writing to the world in exchange for readers' money, is a whole new board game.

So, a million re-edits down the line and I'm still not selling many books. Professional editing is just not an option in my budget. Though you will hear many writers shouting loud enough, 'do not publish without professional editing', I had to ignore their advice. I simply continued to edit and improve, and it was all I could do.

A year down the line, I have finally found the solution. I now edit everything through electronic software. The one I use is the FREE version of and I am so joyous that I have found it. First, let me tell you, it is hard work. Editing is long and laborious, and no where near as much fun as creating. On the good side, it has improved my writing no end. I am now running every chapter, of all three fantasy books, through this programme. It is doing a wonderful job of tidying the grammar and presentation of my works. My writing style is finally improving.

When I have completed the electronic editing, it is my intention to release books 1, 2 and 3 as an omnibus which I have called Series 1. Not long after the release of the omnibus, I will publish book 4. The editing is much easier on my latest works, as I put them straight through the programme.

If you're an impoverished writer like myself, then I highly recommend putting your work through this kind of system. Once you have dragged your work through it, you will find your words flow much better. For me, it's my form of professional editing, and it's just another role I play in the life of an Indie Author.

NEXT TIME; I'm going to tell you why I split my large book into 3 smaller ones. Why this tactic? What were my expectations? Did it work?