Book In Hand

Just a quick post to show off that the print copies of my book I ordered finally arrived:

I’ve seen pictures of the book myself, and I received a proof copy shortly after the paperback first went live, but this is the first time I hold the finished book in my hand.

It feels pretty good.

A few of these will go to my friend who painted the cover. I’ll keep one for myself, and the rest will probably be sold at the cafe where I wrote the book. I even have a special deal worked out with the owner of the cafe, but I’ll show that off on Monday when I know for sure it’s all going through as planned.

EDIT: I’m apparently crap at self-promotion. Here’s the link to the book on Amazon: Emma’s Story.

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Book In Hand

Poetry As Promotion

A while back I wrote a poem to go with my book Emma’s Story. As part of promoting the book I turned the poem into a slideshow and shared it on instagram (I even paid a few Euro to promote it). I’m quite happy with how it came out so I wanted to share it here too:

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The poem tells of the events of the story from an outside perspective and from the angle we expect that kind of story to be told. Then, towards the end, it turns around and says that the story’s really told from a completely different point of view.

When I originally wrote the story, I didn’t want it to be a subversion of the traditional fairytale. I didn’t even think about it, and it wasn’t until after the second draft that I realised I had. That’s probably just as well. If I had actively tried to subvert the trope the story would have been very different. Most likely it would have been worse too.

Front Cover - OnlineNow it’s really just a story about a young woman facing a difficult decision, and not about a supporting character in someone else’s adventure.

However, from a certain point of view the story really is about the fair maiden that the hero wants to win the heart of. Only, it’s not really told as such, and if anyone tried to call Emma a fair maiden to her face she’d probably punch them…


In other news, I’m not getting rich, and I won’t be able to quit my day job anytime soon, but I have sold a few copies. It’s not enough to make back what I paid in advertising, but it’s more than enough to be encouraging.

I’m happy with how I’m doing, and I’ll do better next time.

Poetry As Promotion

It’s Alive!

My book (Emma’s Story) is now fully released. Yesterday the ebook version finally went live on Amazon. It can now be purchased for kindle, or read for free through Kindle Unlimited.

Before I tell you about it, I need to share this link with you though:

Free Kindle Books & Tips.

I’m featured on their list of New Releases for the weekend (even though the book isn’t actually free). My book is the second one in the list so it’s in a good spot for visitors to the site. Check it out, and have a look at the other new releases as well. The link to purchase the book is on that page (so I’m not including it here).


Now, about that release…

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Paper crane in a window covered by condensation.

The release was, I’m somewhat surprised to say, not that big of a deal. I expected I’d be a lot more nervous and that I’d be freaking out and refreshing the sales dashboard every thirty seconds to see if someone made a purchase. It didn’t happen like that at all.

Instead, everything just progressed much as expected. The book became available, and the pre-orders showed up as being delivered on the dashboard, and then two more sales showed up towards the end of the day.

It wasn’t quite an anti-climax, because this was what I’d reasonably expected. Sure, I’d hoped for miracles, but I haven’t really put in enough work for any of those to happen. Instead, everything just worked the way it was supposed to.

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This morning’s coffee. It is, unfortunately, gone now.

However, what turned out to be really nerve wracking was sending out my first ever newsletter. Through the free book giveaway I took part in during January I’d amassed a small number of subscribers, and now that my book was released I had to tell them about it.

That was scary.

I’ve never done anything like that before, and not only did I have to worry about promoting my work to strangers I’d never met, I also had to figure out how to make a newsletter.

Fortunately it wasn’t very complicated once I set my mind to it, but it took some tinkering before I got it right. Last I checked, no one had unsubscribed from the list, so I can’t have messed up that badly.

According to the mailer-report someone even clicked one of the links in the mail. :D

It’s Alive!

My Book is Done

Front Cover - OnlineTo be honest, the book’s been done-ish for a while now, and the paperback version has been available for purchase for over a week. However, it’s not until last night that I uploaded the last and final version of the book, both for the ebook and paperback versions.

I sent out print copies of my book to friends, family, and beta readers. When my friend D got hers she tore into it with a vengeance, and she discovered plenty of things I’d missed. I thought my sister had caught it all when she sent me a list of well over forty different things she wanted me to consider.

Turns out that wasn’t all of it.

D identified an issue with my comma usage that both I and my sister had missed. She also located all instances where I’d got my commas wrong throughout the entire story. That’s a whole lot of work, and I’m both impressed and grateful.

I’d have been happy releasing the book in the state it was in, but now that I got these issues pointed out I went ahead and changed most of them. In a handful of places I kept the incorrect punctuation for artistic reasons.

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This picture is just here to add some life to the page. It’s got nothing to do with my book.

There were other issues as well, but I won’t bore you with the details. The main point is that I’ve now fixed or considered all of the errors that were pointed out to me, and that I’ve uploaded the final version of the story.

Then, once that was done and the paperback version had cleared the review, I uploaded it again because of a typography error on one of the first pages.

That’s the last of it though. This time I really believe I won’t be making any more changes to the book. I may change the category keywords or the blurb, but that’s another matter.

The final (!) version of the book can be found on Amazon here (US) and here (UK)

My Book is Done

Last Chance for Free Books

The free book giveaway I’m taking part in ends today. There’s a total of 35 books taking part and you can download them for free from this page. Some of the downloads are previews, like mine, while others are complete stories. There are even a few story collections.

Go ahead, get it while it’s still there.

EDIT: Looks like the creator of the giveaway forgot to set an expiration date so it’s still going. I’m taking my book down on Sunday the 28th though.

If you’re just finding my blog for the first time, my book is called Emma’s Story and it’s the one with the trees and snow on the cover (see below). It’s not the full story though, just the first four chapters. I’m hoping it will be enough for readers (that’s You) to get a feel for my writing style and to get an idea of what the story is about.

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The style is probably a little bit out of the ordinary, and not everyone will like it. The narration switches back and forth between two different kinds of voice. There’s a close third person voice written in past tense, and there’s a distant omniscient voice written in present tense.

If that doesn’t make sense to you, download the free preview and check it out. You’ll either love it or hate it.

Obviously I want you to like it, but I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. In that way, I’m kind of happy I was able to give the book away like this. It’s an opportunity to show off the story to potential readers without them having to make a commitment to buying it.

Imagine you buy a book you think sounds interesting and then the style it’s written in just doesn’t work for you at all. One of my beta readers told me the style felt condescending to them, and they’re probably not the only one. Other beta readers really enjoyed it though, so I kept the style the way it is.

If you already checked out the preview, or if you’re curious about it after just reading about the different styles. Let me know in the comments.

If you need a little more convincing, here’s the full blurb from the book’s pre-order page on Amazon:

Emma wants what all young anfylk women want, a burrow in the village and a family to fill it with life – and she could have it. Her best friend Torkel has proposed. He’s the only one for her and he’s first in line for the only available burrow in their small hillside village.
It should be easy, but it’s not. Torkel is a dreamer and a scoundrel. A self-styled huntsman and adventurer, with no real grasp of what it means to be a father and a husband.
But time is ticking, and the longer the burrow lies empty the weaker the village’s spirit gets. When an angry bear comes down from the mountains to terrorize their forest the villagers are unable to ward it off on their own.
To seek aid, Emma must travel farther than she’s ever been on her own before. A journey in search of the help her village needs, and the answers her heart desires.
While she’s gone, Torkel has his own ideas for how to impress Emma and make her like him enough to be his wife, completely missing the point. There’s a reason she has a hard time making up her mind…

Okay, so that’s a bit of a chunky blurb, but it does sum up the essence of the story in an honest way without giving away too much.

 

 

Last Chance for Free Books

I Accidentally Published My Book

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This morning’s coffee, from where I’m writing this, except now the cup is empty.

No, I don’t have a link for where to buy it just yet, but it won’t be long – a few days at most. The reason for the delay is that before the book becomes available for purchase Amazon has to review and approve it, which can take up to 72 hours.

It’s on it’s way though. Soon…

So how did I publish my book by accident? Isn’t that something I should have put some thought into and planned carefully?

Yes, yes it is, and I have, mostly.

The eBook version of my book is currently up for pre-order and is still set to be released on the 2nd of February. I have a few promotions scheduled and they’re still going ahead as planned.

What I didn’t realise is that KDP (the publishing service) doesn’t provide any pre-order functionality for paperback versions.

Old cover gone
The old cover image. I’ll probably use it for promos still, but it’s good to finally have the real one.

Yesterday I got the final cover image for the book. I was really excited about it (I still am), and I spent the entire evening – and well into the night – setting up the book for print. This would be enough for a blog post on its own, as I made some interesting mistakes and learned a few things for the future.

The important thing is I got it done and at a little before two in the morning I had approved the preview of the print on demand version of the book. I sorted out the pricing for the various Amazon market places, and I clicked the Save & Publish button.

After that I just sat there staring at the screen.

It slowly dawned on me that I hadn’t set a date for the book to be available, and there hadn’t been anything about it being published at the same time as the eBook. A little bit of searching and a few questions to people in the know soon confirmed there really is no pre-order for paperbacks.

When I clicked that button it was the signal for Amazon to start the process of reviewing the book for publishing. Once they’ve checked that it fulfils all of their requirements the book will be available for purchase.

This wasn’t what I’d planned, but now that the ball is in motion I’ll roll with it (pun intended). Someone told me they release the paperback early and treat it as a soft-launch before their eBook goes live. They use it as a way to try and get some reviews in time for the main launch, and I think I’ll do the same.

Once the link to purchase the book is available I’ll tell my friends about it and badger them into reviewing it for me. Also, I’ll obviously share it here too.

But what about the cover image?

Yeah, it’s done. I’ve got it. It’s amazing. Even then, I’ll still wait until the paperback can be purchased to share it here. Just a little longer. A day or two. Until then, here’s a teaser image with a quote from the book using the back cover image as a background:

No wind blows. Trees stand tall and silent around her – black pillars rising out of a grey carpet of snow.A night wears no colour.Far above, in the depths of the skies, stars sing the

 

I Accidentally Published My Book

Judging My Book By It’s Cover

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I wrote in my last post about how I joined a free books giveaway. It’s a promotion where writers get together and offer readers free copies of their books, or (like in my case) previews of their books. You’ll find the giveaway here.

I’m really happy with how this has worked out for me. Readers have downloaded previews of my book, and a few of them even signed up for my newsletter – which is awesome. I don’t know if any of them actually read the book, or if they just downloaded it because it was free, but for the time being I’m just happy so many people choose to claim a copy for themselves.

Maybe they’ll read it at some point?

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What I didn’t think about, and didn’t expect, was that I would be able to see how many times the other books in the giveaway had been claimed too – not just mine. In this way, I can see how my book is doing compared to everyone else’s. Specifically, I can compare the strength of my book’s cover and blurb against those of the other books.

When I first logged in on the giveaway page and saw my book among all of the others it struck me how dazzling and impressive all of the other cover images were. I felt like I was way out of my depth with my plain and simple cover I’d made myself from a stock photo I’d bought for ten bucks.

Some of the other authors in the giveaway will have spent a lot more money on their covers.

For the most part they look exactly the way cool, sexy, action packed Fantasy and Science Fiction books are supposed to look. Now, this may sound as if I’m mocking the other covers, but I’m really not. This is what works, and what sells, and what readers expect. Don’t underestimate reader expectations. If I were to mock anything, it’d be the concept of the standard SFF book cover in itself, but that’s a blog post for a different day (and probably for a different blog too).

Basically, what I wanted to say is that I looked at my own cover next to all the others and I felt a bit insufficient, or perhaps jealous. It’s like I was a kid and my toys weren’t as cool as the other kids’ toys, or something like that.

In the end though, it didn’t seem to matter to the people claiming free books from the giveaway. I just did a check on the page and the number of books that have more claims than mine, is slightly lower than the number of books that have less claims than mine. My book is almost smack in the middle of the field, and I really can’t complain about that.

Please note, this isn’t a competition, and this isn’t a call for my friends to go claim my book just to increase the number. That’d just ruin things for me. The satisfaction comes from knowing there are people out there, who don’t know me at all, who have chosen to claim my book based on the cover alone.

Well, there’s also the blurb. It’s a nice enough blurb, but that’s also a topic for another blog post (on this blog).

Finally, I’d like to point out that I have another cover on the way. It’s being painted and designed by a good friend of mine, and I’m really excited about getting to show it off to the world – hopefully next week already.

It’s going to be awesome!

Judging My Book By It’s Cover