Sunday, 28 August 2011

A Postcard from Kate

Yes, I've been on holiday for the last week - I visited my sister who lives on the Isle of Wight. In the very best possible way, my sister is like Daffodil and tries to look after my best interests by cooking me wonderful meals, making me go for long walks and generally encouraging me to relax. 
   Despite the fact I had my sister looking after me and the Isle of Wight is not exactly bear country, I still couldn't get away from Burly and Grum - downloads of The Secret City continued to steadily rise (over 5,300 now), I had my first author interview by the wonderful Kitty Bullard from Great Minds Think Aloud blogspot (and a great deal of fun it was too!), I updated the Burly & Grum website with Stuart's help (finally cracked the Facebook like link!), I've started work on the third book and am now formatting the first two books for print on demand. 
     I'm trying to keep my logical head on when I think of the breath-taking number of downloads I've had for the Secret City as Beyond the Forest is only just into double figures! It will only be when those who have downloaded The Secret City have actually read the story and then actively search for other books I've written, will I know whether I've been successful or not.
   However, I'd like to digress for a moment and go back to Great Minds Think Aloud. I first came across this group when I joined Goodreads and they kindly invited me to join their Facebook Literary Community. I'd recommend this group to any aspiring author; the organisers take a genuine interest in your work, give you a platform to tell people about your writing and the opportunity to meet other authors. They are extremely positive and very welcoming and have been very supportive to me so thank you GMTA!
   When I first set out to become an indie author I had no idea how eventful it would be, how supportive other writers were, how many skills I'd have to learn and I certainly had no idea just much it would take over my life. Next year it'll all be under control and I'm going to have a proper holiday away from it all! (Did you believe that?!)

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Burly & Grum and the Secret City - ranked 152 on!

Last week I wrote about the quickly changing dynamics of the publishing industry and the impact ebooks are having on it. This week I've felt the full force of the power of social media networking.
   On Tuesday, I popped into my kindle publishing account to see how my books were doing. I don't go very often because, to be honest, I don't sell very many - the Smashwords site is where I usually have a greater number of books downloaded. To my amazement the figures on showed that over 2,300 copies of Burly & Grum and the Secret City had been dowloaded. I ran around in little circles and then lay down on the floor before writing to Amazon to check whether or not there had been a mistake!
   Burly & Grum and the Secret City is now ranked 152 on (it was 93 earlier this week) and as of this morning over 4,300 people have downloaded it! This all happened because one site PixelofInk picked up my book via Penelope Fletcher. Thank you Penelope and PixelofInk!
   However, heaven forbid I should get big headed and just to keep myself grounded, Beyond the Forest has sold 7 and is ranked 46,227 on Amazon!!
   Just to keep myself even more grounded, I hadn't realised that even though I'd listed the Secret City to sell at .99c, Amazon matched the price with Smashwords and Barnes & Nobel where my books are free so I've made no money. But then if it had been priced at .99c, the chances are that no one would have downloaded it. So I'm very happy - people are reading my work and I can't ask for any more than that.
   On Thursday I was interviewed by Steve Scruton on BBC Essex. I spoke about indie authors and the writing group Ithat I'm part of here in Chelmsford. Although I've previously worked on radio, I was on the production side so I was very nervous about being live on air and spent the morning pacing and talking to myself! I didn't have to be nervous though, Steve put me at my ease and the time sped by - it was all quite painless although I have to admit I haven't  been brave enough to listen to it yet! 
   Yes, it's been an exciting and wonderful week and I'm looking forward to what the next week has to offer.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Changing dynamics of the publishing industry, ie. learning to move fast enough

I forgot my kindle today and felt somewhat bereft on my way into work - it's hard to believe that six months ago I didn't even know what a kindle was!
So with 40 minutes to kill I sat on the train and thought about how much I've learnt over the last few months, especially about social media networking and marketing, and how excited I am by it all.  When I say 'all' I mean the ongoing dramatic changes in the publishing world and the opportunities for indie writers. People like myself are grasping the opportunity to self publish with huge enthusiasm and energy.
Meanwhile, publishing companies and literary agents have been slow to grasp the fact that self published writers can, if they have enough talent and dedication, become successful without their help. As more and more indie writers like Louise Voss are hitting the headlines with their success it is an issue that publishers have to face up to. Or are they already being smart? In theory, now all the publishers and agents just have to sit and wait for dynamic authors to do all the hard work to get to the top of the pile and then step in with an offer. Some indie authors love the social media and marketing side of their business, some just want to write and have the security of a large organisation support them.  On the other side of the fence meanwhile, long established authors are rebelling against publishers and, seeing what royalties indie authors can achieve, are demanding a higher percentage, better services. It's all fascinating stuff and it's going to become even more complex and fascinating as time goes on.  I'm looking forward to it!
If you're interesting in the changing dynamics of the publishing world read Mark Coker's presentation - Literary Agents' ebook Roadmap - it really does give you a lot to think about.