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Thursday, 15 December 2016

Bittersweet Pre-orders

Special price for 'Bittersweet' if the novel is pre-ordered.

Pre-order at Smashwords and Amazon for $2.99
The price rises to $3.99 on launch day.




Author, Antony Millen, kindly included me as his 50th author in his weekend name drop blog.
https://antonymillen.com/2016/12/15/weekend-name-drop-p-d-r-lindsay/

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

I've been so busy with the new house and garden and the edits of the novel and so I've been neglecting my Goodreads pals, my book reviews and my blog. 

I am about to launch the pre-orders for the new novel so trotted across to Smashwords to find out how they did it. 

Mark has a great article on the reasons why pre-orders are a good sales tool and how to do it. Go and read it if you are thinking of launching a book some time next year.

http://blog.smashwords.com/2015/06/how-to-reach-more-readers-with-ebook.html 

Monday, 26 September 2016

'The Secrets of Wishtide'

The Secrets of Wishtide (A Laetitia Rodd Mystery #1)The Secrets of Wishtide by Kate Saunders

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This novel is the first in a promised series and promises well. Author, Kate Saunders, has managed to find a new heroine and a new way of allowing her to work as an investigator. This is a Victorian hist-myst and an original.

Middle aged Laetitia Rodd, recently bereaved and now the impoverished widow of her dearly beloved Archdeacon, finds herself in a financial pickle because the Archdeacon never got round to making out an annuity for her. She is scraping along in unfashionable Hampstead but her life is enlivened by her brother. He is a highly acclaimed criminal barrister and he uses his sister to find out little details which will help him win his cases. When Sir James asks for help in proving that the woman his heir claims to love and wants to marry is totally unsuitable, brother Frederick knows just the person for the job. Laetitia sets off for Lincolnshire disguised as a 'finishing' governess and the fun begins.

Of course there is a murder and Scotland Yard enter in the form of a stolid inspector who does not approve of Mrs Rodd's meddling. But the plot twists and turns and Laetitia ends up being rescued by the inspector in Antwerp.

This is not a grim read, Mrs Rodd has a sense of humour and the story gallops along at a good pace. Anyone seeking something new in historical mysteries will be delighted with this one. Mrs Rodd is no carbon copy Miss Marples nor is the book an imitation Anne Perry. She is an original and the novel is a pleasant read.





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Review: 'Frontier Wolf' by Rosemary Sutcliff

Whoever put the book up on Goodreads certainly hadn't read it, or understand the magic of Rosemary Sutcliff's writing and her way of writing characters that reach from the past to the reader's present. She does this by giving them problems we might have. Here it is having to make again a decision which once cost Alexios a great deal of pain and disgrace.

'Frontier Wolf' deals with Roman Britain under the young Emperor Constans. Alexios has an influential uncle who is Dux of Britain and this uncle uses his influence to smooth Alexios's path through the Legions. Stationed in what we know of as Germany where the tribes are restless there is an attack on Alexios's fort and the commander is killed. Second in command Alexios, and he really is too young and inexperienced to hold the post, decides to abandon the fort, against advice. He has been tricked into believing that his gallopers - the messengers - did not reach help at the other forts. He loses half his men and is only saved from ultimate disgrace by his uncle. But his punishment is to be made commander of the Frontier Wolves who guard the wild British frontier between Hadrian's Wall and what was the Antonine Wall. The men of the Wolves are called the scum and scrapings of the Empire, sent into the Wolves because they are troublesome in their Legions or are hard core prisoners sent there to be out of the way.

Alexios's command takes place just before and during the year known for the 'Great Conspiracy' when the 'Barbarian' raiders launched a coordinated attack on Roman Britain. He has no easy task but he is no fool, and with some help from his fellow officers, who are the first to accept him, he does command the men. When the attack comes, Alexios has to decide again whether to stay or leave.

One of the joys of Rosemary Sutcliff's Roman novels is that she writes about people, not a bunch of soldiers fighting. They are not 'war' stories. That is just one aspect of her many layered plots and her complex characters delight in their learning and growing, friendships and problems, living as unwelcomed strangers in a land not their own. She presents both sides as the tribes are well represented and in this novel, Alexios becomes friends with the new Tribal leader, a young man in a position similar to his own. Her research is excellent and her writing skills such that the reader is pulled straight into Roman Britain and can almost smell, touch and taste this world not their own.

For those who love lyrical writing, excellent research and a great historical story then Rosemary Sutcliff is a must. 'Frontier Wolf' is one of the Roman Legion stories which start with 'Eagle of the Ninth' and are all unforgettable, but her many other novels are as good. Don't miss them.







Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Review of The Dead Woman of Deptford'

The Dead Woman of DeptfordThe Dead Woman of Deptford by Ann Granger

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Ann Granger is known for her detective series. The Dead Woman of Deptford is the sixth in a Victorian series. Readers of Anne Perry will probably enjoy this. It is similar in its use of the husband as detective and the wife as intelligent helper, but this time the wife is not welcomed as a helper. However the novel is not a copy of a Perry novel. This novel has more a lower middle class background with the detective work involving the working class. The style of writing is also unlike Perry's rich prose. This a a plain tale well told in simple English.

A body is found in Deptford and it takes a lot of time and patience to find out who she is and what happened. I don't want to explain more and spoil the plot, but wife, Lizzie, cannot keep out of the case as it begins to involve her relatives.

Background research is good but I did wish the dialogue was sharper. However the novel is a good read and would be enjoyed by any lover of hist-mysteries. I certainly enjoyed reading it as a book at bedtime!



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Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Review of 'Even Dogs in the Wild' by Ian Rankin

Even Dogs in the Wild (Inspector Rebus, #20)Even Dogs in the Wild by Ian Rankin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


An Ian Rankin novel is always worth reading. A new Rebus Rankin novel is a cause for celebration. 'Even Dogs in the Wild' is thought provoking and a grim reminder of the misuse of power.

Even though John Rebus is officially retired from the Edinburg police force he can't keep his nose out. When his old friend and colleague, now promoted to D.I.,Siobhan Clarke wants to pick his brains about a peculiar case he is happy to oblige. And soon they are involved with that old villain, Ger Cafferty, and a really complex puzzle. Criss-crossing their path is DI Malcolm Fox, Siobhan's pal, who is supposed to liaise with a Glasgow police force covert team but finds that he needs Rebus's wisdom too.

The plot twists are dizzying, the characters as 3D and 'real' as ever and the ending realistic yet satisfying. If you are not a fan start with earlier novels to get the fullest enjoyment, but this novel stands alone. Any reader who enjoys British police procedurals should really enjoy this one. It's a cracking good read.





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Saturday, 3 September 2016

Review 'Coffin Road'

Coffin RoadCoffin Road by Peter  May

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Peter May is a reliable good read. His books have pace, remarkably good plot twists, 3D characters and are not blood soaked and full of 4 letter words.

'Coffin Road' starts with a man scrambling half drowned out of the sea. He has no memory of who he is. It's a good start. The reader is hooked. Who is this man? We feel his frustrations as he seems to be able to do things and recognise things but has no idea of his own name and identity. Plot twists follow thick and fast. He turns the cottage upside down and seems to find who he is in a bundle of newspaper clippings in the attic. But when he checks up it is another false identity.

The plot is good, tight, with an important and contemporary theme. The writing is good plain English, intelligently written, and the story leaves readers with something worthwhile to think about.
I kook forward to reading more of Peter May's crime fiction and heartily recommend it as a good read.



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Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Review of 'The Secret Recipe for Second Chances'

The Secret Recipe for Second ChancesThe Secret Recipe for Second Chances by J.D. Barrett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


A light-hearted amusing paranormal Australian love story. Definitely a fun read with a nice Ah! ending.

Lucy Muir has finally broken free of her cheating husband and is determined to start her own restaurant where she will be free to invent her own recipes and cook without her ex claiming the credits.
She is drawn to a closed restaurant which was the best in the city in the 80s.
What she doesn't know is that the ghost of the original chef is there and he's not going to let her get on in peace until she's helped him. Of course she falls in love with him. Read the rest yourself and have a gentle chuckle.

A pleasant read and good to find an Australian author with a sense of humour.



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The Malice of WavesThe Malice of Waves by Mark Douglas-Home

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Hurray, number three in the series and another intelligent read. The author doesn't just write a murder mystery of the 'Here's a body, find the murderer' school, he looks at consequences, causes and effects. This makes for a more thoughtful read, a more complex plot and characters worth reading about.

Cal McGill is now more heavily involved with being a pure Sea Detective and finding bodies and he is employed to find the body of a teenager, Max Wheeler, who disappeared from a tiny uninhabited island 5 years earlier. This happened in the Outer Hebrides and again the islands are very much characters in the story. Mr Wheeler is obsessed with finding his son, his daughters suffer, and the island population is sick of being regarded as an evil bunch who prefer to hide a murderer rather than speak the truth. A lot of cause and effect and its consequences. The police are involved again and so Cal meets up with and works with D.S. Helen Jamieson. It's a complex plot and a good read.

Mark Douglas-Home writes well and his prose is lucid and a pleasure to read. Readers don't need to start with the first novel as each novel stands alone but it does really add to reading pleasure to see how some of the things which happen tie back to earlier stories. If you haven't tried this series and enjoy a different kind of mystery this is one not to miss.



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Saturday, 20 August 2016

Book review 'Being Magdalene' by Fleur Beale

This is the third in a series about children and teenagers in a Fundamentalist Christian sect. Sounds grim? No, it is a well written, simply written book, yet Fleur Beale manages to convey the problems her MC faces without being over-dramatic, melodramatic or sensational. She is writing about the freedom to choose, but she never hammers the theme home, she just shows us poor Magdalene struggling to be a good daughter and fit in.

The Pilgrim Family have been in the Sect for all the children's lives but the restrictions have been too much for some of them. In the earlier books we see Esther and Rebecca freeing themselves, here we have an excellent example of what happens to people who try to force themselves into a mould not of their making or choosing. Living this restricted life is actually driving Magdalene into mental distress. Thank heavens her younger sister, Zillah, needs protecting and ultimately thrusts them both into the 'Worldly' world where they can actually meet their banished sisters and brothers.

A very good book for making young readers think about individual rights, about making choices and about duty and self. Recommended for all and it would be a nice book for family read aloud sessions.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Review: The Woman Who Walked Into the Sea and NB Smashwords Sale

The Woman Who Walked Into the Sea (Cal McGill, Sea Detective, #2)SMASHWORDS JULY SALE IS ON. p.d.r. lindsay's STORIES ARE FREE AT SMASHWORDS FROM JULY 1ST UNTIL JULY 31ST. Go to: 




The Woman Who Walked Into the Sea by Mark Douglas-Home

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I very much enjoyed the first book in this series. The second is a good second novel but as the plot hinged around Cal drifting about avoiding making decisions about finding missing bodies it was a little less focussed.

Still a good read, nice tight writing, 3D characters and some neat twists. Cal is helping waifs and strays again and whilst he is avoiding finding children's bodies for parents. He can't see what comfort they get from seeing the drowned body of their child, and yet, here is Violet who is desperate to find her mother's.

A good book for making you think and well wroth a read. I have begged the library to buy the next one in the series.



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Monday, 4 July 2016

Review and Smashwords Sale.


SMASHWORDS JULY SALE IS ON. p.d.r. lindsay's STORIES ARE FREE AT SMASHWORDS FROM JULY 1ST UNTIL JULY 31ST. Go to:
https://smashwords.com/books/category/1/newest/1

Grief Is the Thing with FeathersGrief Is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Stunning! Almost a prose poem I suppose. Helps if you know about Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath, Poe's Raven, and the Cowbie ballads.

Ostensibly a brief piece about a young man and his young sons coping with the death of the wife/mother. It's moving, annoying, even wryly amusing in places and for those of us who know grief personally there's a lot of truth in the book.

Well worth a read if you have struggled with grief, or like prose poems, or like experimental writing.
And it really is an outstanding first 'novel?' It is called a novel but I think it goes beyond the bounds of the novel.
Just try it and see what you think.



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Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Review: The Obsession by Nora Roberts

The ObsessionThe Obsession by Nora Roberts

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I am staggered by Nora Roberts's ability as a writer. She can take the ingredients which make her genre, all commonplace and expected by readers, and turn them into a cracking good story and a corking good read. She doesn't write badly either.

In the Obsession we have the hurting heroine, the 'tough guy but not a jock' hero, a lovable dog, Big city girl falling in love with the Real America as in the sweet little home town in the country, good old home town folk who are kindly and caring, and the villain gets his comeuppance. These all the ingredients many Americans want to believe in and and want to read about. Nora Roberts stirs 'em up and comes up with a page turning story and an HEA ending without nauseating or infuriating this particular, very picky, 'wouldn't read Nora Roberts unless I had to' reader. Impressive.

I wish I had half her story telling skills, eye for detail and the ability to make a fairy story so realistic. Next time I'm down with 'flu or need a comfort read I shan't ignore the many Nora Roberts on the library book shelves. They are a cheering read even if they are fairy tales.



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Sunday, 26 June 2016

Review, 'An Asronaut's Guide to Life On Earth'

An Astronaut's Guide to Life on EarthAn Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Now this is a book I would like every aspiring youngster to read. Kids who want to be the tops and never mind youngsters, all adults should read this book. It's a great advert for co-operation, for planning, organising and thinking ahead, and gives excellent reasons why striving to be number one and better than everyone else, and making sure they know it, is not the way to succeed.

Chris Hadfield is a laconic Canadian, the astronaut who sent back from the space station all those lovely Youtube videos of life in space and the beautiful photographs of earth and space. He writes about his journey to become an astronaut and how all those bromides we hear are not a good idea. You should sweat the small stuff or disaster will happen. You should plan and organise and practise, practise, practise. You should co-operate and work with your colleagues/people around you because your life, and theirs, depend on each one's knowledge, and care.

Well, obviously that has to be done in space, people will say. Yes, but what about our planet which needs us to be as careful and caring as astronauts need to be. it's already in a critical state.

Yes, there are some really valuable lessons to learn from this book and it's a well written, fascinating read by a clear sighted, clear thinking, caring human being. We need to do a Gideom's Bible trick and get this book into every place and reach as many people as possible. After all isn't planet earth just a large space station floating in space?





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Saturday, 18 June 2016

The Sea Detective by Mark Douglas-Home

The Sea DetectiveThe Sea Detective by Mark Douglas-Home

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Oh full marks, Mr Douglas-Home! A crime series which is new, original even, and on the literary side of the genre. It's a satisfying read and avoids many of the clichés common to crime novels. It's another crime series from Scotland which adds considerably to the mana of the Scottish crime genre.

Cal McGill is a PhD student in his late twenties. His doctorate is oceanography, specifically making a computer programme which will track the flotsam and jetsam of the North Atlantic. This fits nicely with his environmental, mildly eco-terrorist points of view. He can track oil slicks and fishing nets full of dolphins for environmental groups. He is interested in the feet in trainers which keep washing up on the beaches around Scotland.

The local police force is supposed to be solving this problem. Inspector Ryan is in charge and his detective constable is Helen Jamieson. He is a big bully, she is a shy, overweight intellectual. And we readers cheer at the end when she outwits him. The missing feet problem rapidly becomes something very nasty and it needs Cal's skills to sort it all out.

There's a moving subplot around Cal's grandfather and past family history but the book is beautifully knitted together so the subplot helps make for a very satisfying read. It also sets readers up with an understanding of Cal, as Helen's thoughts help readers see her as a rounded personality.
Good for readers waiting for the next book in the series.

You don't need to be a crime fan to enjoy this unusual book and it is well worth a read.





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Review 'Memory' by Margaret Mahy

MemoryMemory by Margaret Mahy

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


'Memory' is a great Mahy novel. Typically she tells a good story, makes the reader laugh and cry and leaves the reader with plenty to think about. The problems she examines in 'Memory' are ones teenagers might well be dealing with, and as she helps her hero through his problem she also shows the reader how to cope and hope.

Old Sophie West has trouble with her memory now she is developing Alzheimer's. It makes her vulnerable. Jonny might be nineteen but he is having a terrible time with his memories of a particular incident and how other around him coped. He isn't coping, has dropped out, gets drunk. keeps getting into fights. Now he is having to rescue Sophia from her problems. Bonny shared that incident but she has found a way forward. Together they all find a way out of those memories and into making better ones in a lovely muddley and very human way.

It's a lovely read and not just for YA. Adults will enjoy this novel too.



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Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Review: 'The One-In-A-Million Boy'

The One-in-a-Million BoyThe One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


It takes real talent to make a memorable novel from the tale of a very old lady, a boy scout, and the Guinness Book of Records. And it takes real talent to make the reader think about life, death, coping with grief, and one's own place in the universe through this gentle tale, but Monica Wood does it brilliantly.

Ona Vickus, 104, Lithuanian immigrant from the turn of the century, is still spry but needs a little help feeding her wild birds. The local boy scout troop are lined up to do Saturday help and record the life of the person they are helping. Ona's helper is Belle and Quinn's son, the boy in a million, who counts everything in tens and hoards everything in tens and we never really get to meet him except through the effect he has on the other characters. Because of his actions his 'not much there' father finds his place at last, Ona gets to live her last years challenging life not hiding away and his mother finds her feet and lives again.

It's a book I've already reread and will want to reread again. It's a pleasure to find a novel which can take the ordinary, and tell a story about it, and make those ordinary people and their lives have relevance and meaning for everyone.

Do read it.










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Friday, 10 June 2016

Three cheers for the Author earnings team.


Find them here, Indies and rejoice.
http://authorearnings.com/report/may-2016-report/

This  time they:
...went deeper. Instead of just looking at Amazon’s bestseller lists, we had our spider follow links to also-bought recommendations and also through each authors’ full catalog. This resulted in a million-title dataset, our most comprehensive and definitive look yet at author earnings. We were able to tally up precisely how many indie authors, Big Five authors, small/medium press authors, and Amazon-imprint authors are currently making enough from Amazon.com sales to land in a number of “tax brackets”.

And do read the article and check the figures. It seems that Indie author ebook sales are still climbing, and the big five publishers sales are declining.

Could that be the crazy price they set on their ebooks?

What is most cheering is that:

Fewer than 700 Big Five authors and fewer than 500 small-or-medium publisher authors who debuted in the last 10 years are now earning $25,000 a year or more on Amazon — from all of their hardcover, paperback, audio and ebook editions combined. By contrast, over 1,600 indie authors are currently earning that much or more.
The gap becomes even more pronounced when we look at those authors who first debuted in the last five years, or during the “ebook era.” And when we look at just the most recent debuts from each publishing path, only 250 Big Five authors and 200 recent small or medium publisher authors who debuted in the last three years are earning a midlist-or-better income from their Amazon sales.
By contrast, there are over 1,000 indie authors who debuted in the last 3 years who are doing so.
We see the same dichotomy play out in the $50,000/year “tax bracket”, which tallies up authors earning what would be a living wage in most parts of the US:

It might be hard work, Indies, but we are better off as Indies.

Monday, 6 June 2016

Review of 'Down Among the Dead Men'

Down Among the Dead Men (Peter Diamond Mystery)Down Among the Dead Men by Peter Lovesey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Peter Lovesey has been writing good crime novels for many years, and they are good. He has some seriously prestigious awards for them.

'Down Among the Dead Men' is a British police procedural about one of his popular detectives, Peter Diamond. This time Diamond has to play spy in a neighbouring police force, checking on the claims of wrongful imprisonment and suppression of evidence. He does not want to do this but his commanding officer, Georgina Dallymore, has ordered him to accompany her on the job. Peter is even more reluctant when it seems that an old colleague and friend is the officer under investigation.

There's a nice brisk plot with lots of twists and turns, some interesting characters, and subplots which all tie in neatly at the end. It's a good read, not grim and gritty, but witty and clever. An excellent read for all those who like police procedurals and an excellent book for those who are new to the genre and want to see what a really good writer can do in the genre.



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Thursday, 2 June 2016

Book Review 'The Ashes of London'

The Ashes of LondonThe Ashes of London by Andrew  Taylor

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Andrew Taylor can certainly write. He knows how to research too. The end result is a novel well worth reading. Taylor also writes modern thrillers and he knows how to pare down a plot and make it full of surprises. There is a neat surprise right at the end of this novel.

'The Ashes of London' begins with London burning in the great fire of 1666. Soon we reading about the personal problems of James Marwood and Catherine Lovett and how they become entangled with King Charles II's hunt for the last of the regicides who killed his father.

There is plenty of good period detail but Taylor does err on the man's life as nasty brutish and short side of historical writers. I wish he had included a brief bibliography to help readers find out more about the Fifth Monarchists and the regicides. But there is enough in the novel to allow readers to understand what the Dissenters and regicides were up to.

My only problem was that the main characters are not likeable. Catherine is peculiar and James rather feeble and running scared of problems with his father and the Fifth Monarchists. It is understandable that James should be scared of the consequences, but he was bit of a drip at times.

Niggles apart Andrew Taylor writes a darned good historical mystery with a cracking climax and a great plot. Fans of the historical mystery genre would enjoy 'The Ashes of London'.




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The Book Blast - 5 days of PR

Seems to me that writers need a lot of PR sales help and advice. 1've posted my Promotion results in several places where other readers can access it. Now I'll tuck them in here to help with October's sles push
THE PLAN
Kindle countdown deal for 5 days, our novels reduces to 99 cents then rising to 1.99 and back to the original price of 3.99
Beginning Wednesday, May11th 2016 finished Sunday, May 15th
BOOKS ON PROMOTION
Kindle versions of ‘Tizzie’ and The Effects Of Henry’s Cage: Elean’s Story’
The reason I ran the two books was to see the difference in sales between my book, which had an Amazon rating of 4.3 and eleven reviews and my writer colleague’s just launched novel. We both expected that my sales would be far better because I could advertise at most of the book sites which sent out newsletter to their readers. Very few book sites accepted a new novel, most only take novels with at least five 5 star reviews and a star rating of 4.
2
PREPARATION FOR THE CAMPAIGN.
During April I sent out regular blog posts, tweeted about the campaign, posted on Goodreads in various groups which allowed an author to advertise, and posted a note on the home page on my author’s website.I spread the news verbally too, and wherever online I could find.
DAY 1, Wednesday May11th 2016
1
Announced the opening of the promotion via Google Plus, Linked In, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, my personal blog and website.
I used a front page promo on the ReadersintheKnow.com website where I have an author’s page. My colleague had a front page announcement on AskDavid.com.
2.
Each day I had organised promotions for our books in book sites which sent out email newsletters
BOOK PROMOTION AND NEWSLETTERS: WEDNESDAY BOOK SITES
http://www.ebooksoda.com would not accept a newly launched novel, but did accept mine and made a good job of a place on the website and in their newsletter. Nice clear website without overcrowding of the book covers.
http://www.thefussylibrarian.com is harder to get into. It did accept my novel and made a good job of the newsletter, the book on their site, and offered an author webpage.
www.readersintheknow.co.uk accepted both books and did a good book of the day advert and place in the newsletter. The site offers a good author page and useful perks.
www. http://readingdeals.com Here we went for the free promotion version and did not get a place. However as there are over 50,000 readers, the website is a good clear one and the newsletter well produced I think it might be a site worth using.
https://choosybookworm.com, again the free version of a promotion is a lucky dip and we did not succeed. It might be worth paying as the newsletter is good.
http://www.freebookshub.co.uk/authors Again a nice, clean, easy to see website, with a good promotion of the novel. I missed seeing the newsletter.
RESULTS.
Kindle Sales were 110 which was great. The promotion had worked.
DAY 2, Thursday May 12th
1.
Put a sale reminder on Google Plus, Linked In, Twitter, my personal blog and website.
My colleague had a front page promo on the ReadersintheKnow.com website where she has an author’s page. I had a front page announcement on AskDavid.com.
2
I set up the Indiesunlimited.com Thrifty Thursdays e-book sale for both books.
3.
BOOK PROMOTION AND NEWSLETTERS: THURSDAY BOOK SITES
http://www.peoplereads.com provided a good clear website coverage of both books and promoted both novels in their newsletter.
http://askdavid.com is a little different but well worth using. Their promotion is for 6 months. They have a very good website, promote the author and book very well at the site, you even have to write a special unique blurb for them, and they supply you with promotion on their Twitter book site. They also give the author fifteen special tweets to use. Their twitter site is specifically for their signed up readers.
http://www.worldliterarycafe.com I found their website too busy and with too many ads. Missed the newsletter too.
http://www.thekindlebookreview.net..This is not a bad site but a little expensive for what they give which is only the same as the other sites. Also my serious historical novel was promoted as a romance which the site seemed to favour.
http://www.freebookdude.com gave a one month sidebar but the site was a little crowded and the book covers smaller than on other sites.
RESULTS.
Kindle Sales were 129 which was great. Also by this time my novel, ‘Tizzie’, had risen in the ranks:
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,320 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
    #78 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Historical Fiction
    #133 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Historical
This meant more Amazon PR for the novel.
My colleague had sold 3 books.

DAY 3, FRIDAY May 13th
1.
Put a sale reminder on Google Plus, Goodreads, Twitter, my personal blog and website.
2.
BOOK PROMOTION AND NEWSLETTERS: FRIDAY BOOK SITES

http://www.freebookshub.com/authors Not a bad site but it did put my book up as Free which it was not. Didn’t see the newsletter.
http://ebookshabit.com We went for the free ads and missed. It would be worth the $10 fee because it is a good clear site and has a good newsletter.
http://awesomegang.com Not bad but only 7,000 readers.
http://www.blackcaviar-bookclub.com This was an interesting site which did a good webpage spread and newsletter.
RESULTS.
The Kindle Countdown promotion had now raised the price to $1.99, so sales dropped to 19 and my colleague had 2 sales. The Amazon rankings for my novel, ‘Tizzie’, went to 88 in the top selling 100 kindle historical novels. However that still meant promotion from Amazon.

DAY 4, SATURDAY May 14th
1
Chatted about the promotion and sales on Google Plus, Goodreads, Twitter, my personal blog and website
2
BOOK PROMOTION AND NEWSLETTERS: SATURDAY BOOK SITES
http://www.ebookbargainsuk.com I hoped for better UK sales from here. It is an interesting and expensive site to use, which only send out a newsletter and does not showcase books on  its website.
http://www.goodkindles.net did a good job with a nice webpage and newsletter coverage. This site had an enormous number of readers and I thought was worth paying for.
RESULTS.
The Kindle Countdown promotion had now raised the price to $1.99, so sales dropped to 11 and my colleague had 1 sale. My Saturday morning amazon rating was now:
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,429 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
    #90 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Historical Fiction
    #144 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Historical
Also, thanks to the AskDavid.com promotion, I received 24 tweets and retweets about Tizzie from people I did not follow but who were linked to the AskDavid.com site, and from a couple of Tweet book sites. Good coverage for me as an author even if the sales had dropped.

DAY 5 SUNDAY MAY 15TH
1.
Chatted about the promotion and sales on Goodreads, Twitter, my personal blog and website
2.
BOOK PROMOTION AND NEWSLETTERS: : SUNDAY BOOK SITES
http://www.booksends.com This works like a cheaper version of Bookbub and works in a similar fashion. Well worth the fee as there are many readers but again you have to be accepted.
http://ereadernewstoday.com Another very good site, expensive and works like bookbub and has a large number of readers.
RESULTS.
The Kindle Countdown promotion had now raised the price to the normal price of $3.99, so sales dropped to 11. The Amazon rankings for my novel, ‘Tizzie’, went to 98 and 99 in the top selling 100 kindle historical novels. However that still meant promotion from Amazon and I had raised my mana (prestige) at Amazon for a short while. I do not know if they store such information and that makes me a ‘noted’ author. It would be nice to think they did!
CONCLUSIONS
Was the promotion worth it? I certainly covered my costs in sales, but not by a large amount. The sales have dribbled on in ones and twos since the promo.
My followers on Twitter shot up, my profile on Amazon shot up, my books received a lot of attention, my website and blog were visited. I learned where best, for my serious historical novels, to find promotion. I found a lot of sites promote free books only or give them priority, and quite a few sites are heavy on Romance. Certainly the sites with a big readership and a good newsletter produced results. This was clearly shown as far as sales for my colleague went. She could not promote her books in at the sites with newsletters and only sold a total of 9 books. Obviously the first thing an author must do is get those reviews and the star rating then they can start promoting for sales. Overall most of our sales were in the USA, with a few in the UK and Australia.
    Would I do all the work again? Yes I would.With Amazon publishing over 3 million books a year we authors need to get out there and market our books. I shall be doing a major promotion like this at the end of the year, but it won't be a kindle Countdown. I know the Kindle Select programme allows you a few dollars if readers read your book - so much per page - but I think I should be getting more UK/EUopean sales and will just have a five day 99cents/pence sale I thnik next time.

p.d.r. lindsay


Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Now this book will get the boys reading.

Nicholas Carey (Carey Family, #10)Nicholas Carey by Ronald Welch

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


If you want boys to read and to enjoy history this series about the Carey family is one of the best around. Starting with 'Knight Crusader', which won the Carnegie medal, the series follow various male members of the Carey family right up to the Great War - WWI - in 'Tank Commander'.

The Carey family are Welsh aristocracy in the best Welsh tradition of close family relationships and that includes the servants. In 'Nicholas Cary' we meet the Cary family in the 1850s. Nicholas is an indolent young man with an officer's commission in the 1st Foot. But he is a typical buy in officer in that he leaves the soldiering to his non-commissioned officers and regular sergeants. Indolent and wealthy Nicholas is jolted into action when he has to rescue his cousin from his follies with the Italian patriots (terrorists in modern terms) which involves them in French politics. But it is the outbreak of the Crimean war which completes his transformation into a serious officer and useful member of society.



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Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Review of 'At the Water's Edge'

At the Water's EdgeAt the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Full marks for handling a difficult theme in a clear readable manner and for telling a darn good story. Who is the monster? Loch Ness nessie? Hitler -the novel is set during WWII - or two men who hide their real selves and trap a naive wealthy girl into a marriage which is all for them and nothing for her?

American Maddie is brought by her husband from the high life in Philadelphia to hunt the Loch Ness monster, an act of madness during the war. From living in a country at a distance from the war, rationing, black outs and going without, Maddie finds she is now facing the reality of war. Life unravels and Maddie has to sort out who she is and what she wants.

Well written in plain English, Sara Gruen avoids the trap of writing about Scotland and the Scottish is mock-Scottish English or in her own American vernacular. Gottens and likely thats do rather break the feeling of 1940s, rural conservative Scotland. The author avoids that trap. The research seems spot on. Most important the characters are 3D and 'real'.

This novel is a good read and well worth rereading. it's a book for anyone who enjoys an entertaining read and something to think about.





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Monday, 9 May 2016

Visitor (Foreigner, #17)Visitor by C.J. Cherryh

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


How does C.J. Cherryh do it? How can she provide such a magnificent plot twist, refresh the series, and provide more insights into how to deal with other cultures? She's brilliant and keeps the reader thinking and wondering about things worth considering. She's a great SF writer.

'Visitor' might be the 17th novel in the Foreigner series but it's no stale tag-on. As ever Cherryh writes well, her dialogue is good and it's easy to tell who is who from their speech. Her characters do not stay the same, but grow and surprise, like real people.

The story line seems - for 3/4 of the novel - to be about the problems on the space station and coping with the Kyo, alien visitors. It's when the readers discover why the Kyo have come to visit so quickly that things receive a whole shake up and turn about.

Bren has to deal with the new problem, pacify the Kyo, and help settle the Reunion humans on the atevi planet. Instead of having a successful conclusion Bren now has weighty secret to keep and the reader leaves him about to shatter Starship captain, and friend, Jase with the burden of the secret.

I am waiting, anxiously, Ms Cherryh, for the next volume, please hurry!



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Sunday, 8 May 2016

Bargain Books

'Tizzie' by p.d.r. lindsay
'The Effects of Henry's Cage: Elean's Story'

Kindle Countdown Sale

May 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th.
Price reduction from $3.99 to 99 cents or 99pence.
Kindle versions only.

Book Review: The Bones of You

The Bones of YouThe Bones of You by Debbie Howells

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


A slightly unusual murder mystery this novel, it's more a psychological look at the effects of murder on a community and the friends of the bereaved. It is also a study in childhood neglect.

Rosie, perfect oldest daughter in a perfect family, in a delightful comfortable village, disappears. Some days later her body is found and everyone begins to unravel. The story is told by Kate, friend of the bereaved family, but there are chapters by Rosie\s ghost/spirit.

Well worth a read, well written, tricky plot and excellent characters.



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Tuesday, 3 May 2016

'Tizzie' by p.d.r. lindsay
'The Effects of Henry's Cage: Elean's Story'

Kindle Countdown Sale

May 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th.
Price reduction from $3.99 to 99 cents or 99pence.
Kindle versions only.

book review Coridors of the Night by Anne Perry

Corridors of the Night (William Monk, #21)Corridors of the Night by Anne Perry

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I am always delighted to find a new Anne Perry, whether it is a Monk or a Pitt novel. This is a Monk novel and a little different from the usual plot line. Anne Perry always leaves a reader with something to think about and 'Corridors of the Night' touches closely on a topic which is just as relevant today.

That is one of the joys of a well written historical. It can tackle topics which are sensitive today and because the setting is the past, make readers see more clearly the problem, at a distance from the present hot debate.

'Corridors of the Night' deals with medical/scientific research, what is and is not acceptable in the effort to save lives. It's always a difficult topic, and certain things - animal experiments, experiments on prisoners, the rights of the individual - make it a real hot potato. In the novel we have a doctor and chemist experimenting with blood transfusion.

We simply accept this as standard procedure but in Victorian times it's accepted that people die from loss of blood, and there is no way to prevent it. It wasn't until 1901 that blood groups were discovered and so enabled doctors to make successful blood transfusions. One can imagine how desperate doctors and nurses were to see blood transfusions working in Hester Monk's day.

And so the story starts with Hester standing in for a sick friend at a hospital she has not worked in before. Dr Rand welcomes her special skills learnt nursing during the Crimea. His brother, the chemist, is delighted with her. When she discovers children locked in a secret ward, who are being used to supply blood, things start to become more than criminal, it's all about ethics. When a dying man, wealthy and obsessed with living, demands treatment for his blood disease, then Hester finds herself facing the ethical dilemma. Not so Hamilton Rand. Kidnap, mayhem and court trials follow. As readers we are made to think because Hester knows how vital it is to humanity to learn how to give a blood transfusion. She is torn between ethics and that huge step to save lives.

As usual Anne Perry gives readers a well written story. Her word choice is always delightful and her dialogue nicely Victorian without being obscure. The tone of this novel is more sombre than usual, but it is, as ever, a great read with a story that lingers and makes readers think.








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Sunday, 1 May 2016

Advanced warning, sale of Writer's Choice books.

Amazon Kindle Countdown Sale
‘Tizzie’ by p.d.r. lindsay

'The Effects of Henry's Cage: Elean's Story' by Bernadette Joyce

May 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th.
Price reduction from $3.99 to 99 cents or 99pence.
Kindle versions only.

A Review

Hot MoneyHot Money by Dick Francis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This is one of my favourite Dick Francis novels. It has all his trademark touches, the tight writing, excellent characters and dialogue, and a great plot.

Someone is trying to kill Malcolm Pembroke, has already murdered his wife. But Malcolm, the man with the golden touch and millions, five ex-wives, nine children has a stubborn wish to live. The problem is that the police are getting nowhere and Malcolm is scared, so he approaches his estranged son, Ian, the jockey and racehorse trainer for help. And it soon becomes obvious that it is one of the family trying to kill Malcolm.

One of the joys of a Dick Francis is the characters who are 3D, 'real' people and when they speak it is quite clear who is who. Ian is an interesting character as is his father. The rest of the family come alive, warts, problems and all, as Ian investigates. We see the foibles and follies of a group of people who want their father's money - well some of it - right now. And the ending is sad but it is also a reminder of what obsessions can do to people.

The book was published in 1987. It is still relevant and a cracking good read.



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Thursday, 28 April 2016

Advanced warning, sale of Writer's Choice books.

Amazon Kindle Countdown Sale
‘Tizzie’ by p.d.r. lindsay
May 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th.
Price reduction from $3.99 to 99 cents or 99pence.
Kindle versions only.

The Soldier's Curse (The Monsarrat Series #1)The Soldier's Curse by Meg Keneally

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


A delightful surprise this novel. Set in Australia, in 1825, in a penal colony and told from a convict's view, these facts did not give me much hope for a dryly humorous tale so well written I was there in the colony as I read.

Full marks to the Keneallys for their excellent and detailed research and for their ability to create a character who was appealing. Hugh Llewellyn Monsarrat was a clever clerk, son of a clerk and with the brain and desire to be a lawyer. But that took money and birth. He had no chance of making it legally so he forged documents and became a successful small town solicitor. Alas when he was eventually discovered as a forger the full penalty of the law fell on him. Saved from the noose by the King's mercy he was transported to Australia.

In Port Macquarie penal settlement he is clerk to the commander, a civilised major, and finds himself trying to find out who killed the major's wife.

The plot is tight, well told and the pace excellent. What makes the book is the tone, the dry humour of Monsarrat. Most of the story is told through his thoughts and he is a clever gentle man with a dry intelligent wit. I haven't enjoyed a book as much for quite a while. Read it and see.



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Monday, 25 April 2016

The Wolf BorderThe Wolf Border by Sarah Hall




Sarah Hall has an impressive set of credentials. Critical acclaim, big name authors writing book cover praise, writing prizes, and some rave reviews in 'the Guardian'.

Quote: Her first collection, (short stories) The Beautiful Indifference, came out in 2011 to rapturous reviews; the form proved the perfect vehicle for Hall’s particular brand of brawny artistry. Val McDermid said of the taut, brutal opening story, “Butcher’s Perfume”, that it exemplified “the power of fiction to get to the grim heart of things”

I wish I had read this before trying to read 'The Wolf Border'. Then I would have known not to bother.

Oh yes, Ms Hall can write, makes words dance. Her research is impeccable and must have taken some effort and time to pull together. She is a good writer and knows the best techniques.
BUT BUT BUT
why do almost all her characters live such degraded messy lives, this sort of untidy, post modern, black belief that the world is all as nasty as they are, and messy and uncontrollable. Yuk!

I fought through the 50s and 60s for equal rights for women. (And still do!) I fought to make the world a better place through equality and individual responsibility. (And still do) I did not expect the women following my generation to take the advantages we had struggled for and be as bad as the men. We fought so that we would be better than the men. We fought for the right not to be condemned or judged on our looks, our supposed sexuality or sexual behaviour. We fought for the right not to be regarded as a thing to be used and not to be a thing there for men's use. We fought for individual respect as human beings. Have the women following us thrown that away?

Are the women of the generations following mine all bitches on heat who drop their knickers whenever they fancy a man, have no qualms about seducing married men, or 'enjoying' one night stands every night? (All the things we feminists complained of about men's behaviour towards us!)

Rachel, the MC, is everything I despise about the so called 'post feminist' woman so the book was a waste of space for me. The 'deep and meaningful' parallel between wolves and humans was never going to work. I have more respect for wolves and none for humans who make stupid choices knowing they are stupid, or worse, just drift without making choices.

The plot is 'grim, gritty' and depressing, the same can be said for most of the characters. In my terms, 'dismal, sordid and nasty.' And what has the writer revealed to the reader? That the world can have a 'grim heart'. We know that, we see it on the news every night.

No. Books don't have to be sugar coated, but they do have to be honest. And for all the mess and muddle humanity creates each one of us has the ability to make choices and make small individual efforts to 'do things better.' It is dishonest to write only of the 'grim, gritty and depressing' and not show at least one character trying to 'get it right'.





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Friday, 22 April 2016

More triumphs for Writer's Choice Novels.

Cheers and celebrations for another Writer's Choice novel. G. J. Berger's new release 'Four Nails' has received a delightful review and boost in the online version of the Huffington Post

Read it at:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kim-michele-richardson/pack-your-suitcase-reads_b_9728746.html

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Goodreads Review

Tracker (Foreigner, #16)Tracker by C.J. Cherryh

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I don't know how C.J. Cherryh does it. How does a writer keep a series running for so long without getting stale, losing the plot, and muddling up little details? Her planning and organising skills must be superb. I picture her writer's room with the walls covered in detailed timelines, character charts, notable incidents and an Atevi dictionary!

The novels follow on closely from each other yet could be read as a stand alone. In 'Tracker' we have the visit from the children from the space station, along with captain, Jason Graham, ending happily - it nearly didn't in the previous novel - and Bren settling down to get those agreements tied and made legal.

I love the way Cherryh does not forget loose ends and does so realistically. The humans rescued from the dying space station, and brought to the atevi planet space station, are now rebelling because for over a year there has been no work and limited food and no hope. Bren has to go and sort things out on behalf of the human and atevi governments and just as this rebellion seems about to explode the kyo spaceship arrives in the system.

The characters continue to grow older and surprise. The aiji's son and heir is developing nicely into a strong character, his human friends seem to foreshadow a different future for him and are emerging as people in their own right. Bren is steadily achieving his goal of no more fighting and trade agreements instead.

It's a satisfying read for those readers who have followed the series through. We can see the ends tying up and the new openings and problems possibly arising. As this novel leaves the reader knowing that the kyo are coming into the space station it seems a little mean to have to wait months for the next novel!!! Certainly I am impatient for the next book - 'Visitor' - to land in my post box.

And Cherryh never forgets to make the reader think. The whole series is about coping with alien cultures, respecting and living with them, not crushing them, or being crushed. Worth thinking about.






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Wednesday, 20 April 2016

The Kindle CountDown Sale.

It seems to me that this PR business is nearly as bad as chasing a literary agent! It took a full week to get the Kindle Countdown Sale set up. By the time I had struggled through the first day of setting up adverts I had a headache. Still I did get all the information need for each book advertising site. At least I have it all in a file ready to go. But every site had something unique to fill in as well. AskDavid.com refused to take the blurb as the main selling point, authors had to provide something unique and not seen elsewhere! Sigh!

Anyway around five to seven book promotion sites a day will be promoting our books.

This is an experiment to see if a five day push does boost sales and will I get my expenses back? Should be fun watching what happens.

Thus May 11th, May 12th, May 13th, May 14th and May 15th will be days when my fellow authors and I will be watching the sales and seeing which book news email site provides the best results. There will be much analysising of results and either cheers or sighs!

Let's hope for cheers.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Watch out for the book sale


We are holding a Writer's Choice author celebration. Look out for it next month, May 11,12,13,14,and 15th. There will be one of those Kindle Countdown price promotions on our Kindle books. That means a reduction in price of selected novels to 99cents, then $1.99. This includes, 'Tizzie', 'The Effects of Henry's Cage: Elean's Story', and South of Burnt Rocks West of the Sun'

More news later, nearer the time.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Review of 'The Troutbeck Testimony' by Rebecca Tope

The Troutbeck Testimony (The Lake District Mysteries)The Troutbeck Testimony by Rebecca Tope




This is a pleasant cozy detective story set in the English Lake District. The 'detective' is the local florist, Simmy Brown,who with much moaning and complaining gets dragged into investigating dognapping and then murder.

Reading is so personal isn't it? The friend who recommended this novel loves the series, raves about Simmy, persuaded me to read this newest story. Alas, I found it a pleasant read but the MC, Simmy, irritated me with her whinging. So I wouldn't read another in this series but other fans of cozies might well enjoy this novel and want more.

Nothing wrong with the writing or the plot. The characters are well fleshed out and the pace is a gentle slide down the slope to the ending. Readers who enjoy cozies should certainly give the book a try.




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Thursday, 7 April 2016

Indies and PR

If any Indie author hasn't yet found her or his way to the Author Hangout then it's about time someone gave them a helping hand.

The Author Hangout is the podcasting branch of the bookmarketingtools.com team. People who are most helpful, friendly and full of great ideas about marketing for Indie writers.

The podcasts are interviews with best selling authors, marketing gurus and others successful in the PR business. I have learnt a lot from listening to what has and has not worked as far as sales go for these successful authors. If you, like me, shrink from social media because it is one vast area of confusing interaction then go and listen to those podcasts full of helpful advice about social media.

I no longer shy away from using Twitter for discreet PR purposes and find ideas like the following a great way to mix with 'nice' people on Twitter and talk to other writers.

Seems to me that any Indie not tuning in and taking advantage of the ideas really doesn't want to sell books. And any Indie without their helpful and free list of what to do leading up to and at a book launch really needs help.

'In episode 32 of The Author Hangout, Bestselling author Leeland Artra shared a great way for authors to use Twitter:
"One of the things I do is I participate in these things called Tweet Teams. What you do in the Tweet Teams is you work with some other authors and you give them interesting things to say about you and they give you interesting things to say about them. And then, you talk on your Twitter feeds about them and they talk on their Twitter feeds about you and you mix that in with all the other stuff that you normally do. So I’m always sending out quotes and little factoids and stuff like this all day every day. In addition to that, about 20-30 additional tweets per day about other authors or stuff that’s coming, interesting things like that. In exchange, I have about 10 or 20 other authors that are every day sending 3-4 tweets about me."
This is genius! We always talk about how authors need to partner together, and this is another great way for authors to do that. People have room to read other books, so it isn't a zero-sum game. By promoting other authors who are promoting you, you are able to get a boost that other authors simply do not have.
Start finding authors in your genre who you can partner with in this way, and then start helping each other out.'


Saturday, 5 March 2016

2016 starting at last.

It seems to me that a writer's year never starts until a book is published. Well, Writer's Choice is about to launch Sharon Robards's historical novel 'Playing With Fire' so our year is finally starting.

Yes, it's a historical novel and what a cracker!

Here's her blurb:

Seventeenth century Germany, France and England, are places where love takes a backseat to power — power over people and places. Beautiful ElĂ©onore is deeply in love with George William, heir of a German duchy, and he with her. But he hides a secret that makes a legal marriage impossible.

George William’s younger brother, Ernest, and his own bride are desperate to block George William’s marriage. If George William never has any male heirs by a legal marriage, then Ernest’s sons will inherit George William’s lands and holdings. There are other brothers wanting land too. The brothers’ plots against each other are only half of it. King Louis XIV of France has designs on German territory and aims to take it by force.

Courtesans, all the fashion in France, now sprout like mushrooms in a German forest. None is more ambitious than Klara, forced to return to her homeland from the Court of King Louis. Her version of love is monetary.

The layered schemes of the upper crust make life treacherous for their powerless offspring, especially young Sophia Dorothea, who must smother her heart’s yearnings and yield to the cold commands of her elders or suffer serious consequences.

Playing with Fire weaves together the threads of greed, lust, honour and brutality at the dawn of the Industrial age.


And hard on Sharon's heels comes G.J. Berger's historical 'Four Nails'. Anyone enjoying the tales of Hannibal and his elephants will enjoy seeing that history told from the elephant handler and elephant's side of the story.

Look for a marketing promotion at the end of April when all our books will b e on special offer for 3 to 5 days.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Hurray for the team at AuthorEarnings.

The February 2016 Report is out. And it is full of interesting facts about indies books at Amazon.
If you haven't signed up for their newsletter and you are an Indie author you are missing out on some valuable information. Seems to me you need this information about Amazon and sales if you want to increase your own sales.

They promise:
For 2016, a brand new methodology based on raw, unfiltered, Amazon-reported daily sales.

And brand new breakdowns of Amazon's daily print and audiobook sales, too.

How many ebooks, print books, and audiobooks is Amazon selling every day, right now?

In our February 2016 report, we find out:

http://authorearnings.com/report/february-2016-author-earnings-report/

As always, our complete data set is available for download at the end of the report.

Thanks for signing up for the newsletter. Feel free to opt out if you no longer wish to receive these updates. And as always, feel free to share this report with others who care about authors as much as we do.

-The AuthorEarnings Team

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

E-books. Should they be enhanced or not? I've just been publishing some more short stories for the Writer's Choice Shorts series. It is nice and simple, a straightforward formatting task to prepare them but should they be enhanced with links, pictures and sound effects.

I am tempted by www.booktrack.com.
They have a simple to use - their words not mine- system. In their spiel to authors they state:


Booktrack Studio is a free-to-use sound production platform that provides the ability for authors to create a synchronized-to-text soundtrack experience.

Authors and publishers can easily create their own Booktrack by choreographing their stories to Booktrack’s extensive library of over 20,000 free-to-use music and ambient audio tracks.

Booktrack synchronizes movie-style soundtracks to eBooks. Music, ambient audio, and sound effects are automatically paced to an individual's reading speed and synchronized to complement and enhance the story while a person reads.
When you self publish through Booktrack Studio, you will create a Booktrack.


Certainly when I 'played' with their system at the Book Fair last year I did find it simple to use. And yes, they do have a huge range of sounds/music to choose from. DIY is free but if you want their professional studio to do the work the costs are:

Alternately Booktrack offers Professional Sound Studio Services for the production of your Booktrack - the average production and creative cost to use our services is approximately $1000/book.

The one problem with using their services is ownership. I quote:

The cost covers production services only, this does not include our licensing and technology costs. Booktrack is able to pass along tremendous savings in the sound production process by virtue of licenses we have negotiated that only allows the produced soundtrack to be played in combination with your e-book via the Booktrack platform.

I am not quite sure what that means in real terms. But the booktrack book is yours to sell and market using the booktrack website.

It will take more time than I have to do my novels, but I could do the short stories. Seems to me that the techy folk and younger ones might prefer an enhanced e-book. Perhaps one day...?










Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Writer's Choice is up and off with two novels on their way to launching.

Into February already. Writer's Choice colleagues are steaming ahead with their books. So much preparation before the release. ‘Four Nails’ by G.J. Berger is launching first. Then Sharon Robards is launching her 'Playing With Fire'. Both are historicals but a thousand plus years apart. My own novel, 'Bittersweet' has a long way to go before May's launch. I have a whole rewrite to do. Who'd be a writer. Realistically I am looking at October but I would like to make May.

2016 has been, so far, much more peaceful and far less stressful. My rotten neighbour has had to pay me damages for his spraying my land with weed killer. The court case is over and the neighbour is moving out. Heaven help whoever he next becomes neighbour of for his foul mouth and interfering habits will not stop. Sad how some people waste their lives in spite and nastiness.

Good news for New Zealand writers, especially the Indies, is that the New Zealand Society of Authors plans a National Writers' Forum and indies are allowed. I am encouraging as many as possible to attend. It seems to me we might have a chance to get a few things sorted out. Every month I receive an SOS from some poor new writer who has written a book and wants to publish it or have it published. There is no useful information about publishing at the NZSA website, just very general stuff, not many useful links, and not much help unless you pay your fee and sign up for one of their few mentoring slots. Indies are very good about helping each other so I think we need to get the NZSA aware of what we have and do. That will take some doing.

Monday, 18 January 2016

virtual book fair

It seems to me we need more people like Abbie supporting herself and the rest of the Indie writers.
This is what's she is doing.

Virtual Bookfair. Online via Facebook from Feb 20th to March 4th.
This is being run by Abbie of the Support Indies Authors group on Goodreads.com with their support.

Yes, it is reputable. Check it out at Facebook!

DETAILS
Who am I?

My name is Abbie Chandler, and last July I finally published my first paranormal mystery, The Veiled Soul. I've been writing for what seems like all my life, but this is my first leap into the world of publication. I always have at least three writing projects open at a time, and I'm always coming up with new ideas! You can find more information about me from my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/abbiechandler13/

What was the idea behind the book fair?

I quickly discovered that while Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes&Noble.com are wonderful platforms for self-published and indie authors, it's a marketing nightmare. I work part time as a freelance writer and part time as a cocktail waitress. My funds for marketing are extremely limited. I'm bombarded every day with ways to market my book, but they always cost hundreds of dollars. The alternative was social media groups that supposedly helped connect indie authors with readers, but they were so saturated with authors posting about their books that I knew that most readers probably weren't even looking at the site anymore. So what could I, an author living from paycheck to paycheck, do to help promote my book?

Maybe it was the fact that I was ordering from the kids menu at work one night, but I had this flashback to the book fairs from elementary school. We got to spend an hour or so each day for several days browsing the books that were set up in the gym. For a bookworm like myself, it was a dream come true. I wanted to take that concept and modernize it for the adult world. And so the virtual book fair was born. I don't know if it's the first one ever (I would guess not), but it's the first once I've ever come across, and the first one I've ever done!

How will the book fair work?

It will be done strictly from Facebook. Set up as a Facebook event, it will run from February 20-March. Ever day of the event will be set aside for books from a particular genre. Guests will be able to see book covers, summaries, and purchase links. They'll be able to read information about the author and view book trailers (when available). The best part is that most of our authors are also on Facebook, so guests can connect directly to the author and ask them question about their works or their writing styles! In addition, each day will include chances for the guests to win free books!

What do I hope to achieve from this?

The idea is to connect people who want to discover new books and authors with writers who are otherwise struggling to expand their audience. In setting it up this way, I hope to avoid certain marketing faux pas. Since the event will only run for two weeks, we won't be bombarding guests with "Buy me now!" posts for the rest of their lives. Once the two weeks are up, guests can either bookmark their favorite books or buy, and then they don't have to worry about hearing from us again until the next one. If they want to connect with the authors on social media for updates on particular works, they can. I hope that the guests who do win or buy books will leave honest reviews (remember, reviews feed authors!!), and they'll discover a new author that they like!

What types of books will be included?

All kinds!!

Romance
Mystery
Horror/Thriller
Fantasy
Science Fiction
Paranormal
Humor/Satire
LGBT
Religious
YA
Chick-Lit
Literary Fiction
Non-fiction

Who can join?

Anyone with a Facebook account can join! Print giveaway from the site will be restricted to US residents only, but authors will also be promoting their own e-book and print giveaway that will span other countries.

How do I join?

Visit https://www.facebook.com/events/927569970656592/ and sign up today! Although the event hasn't started yet, book discussions have! Guests are already voting for their favorite genres and discussing their love for books! The event is completely free. Who knows- maybe you'll find your next favorite book, your next favorite author, and connect with a new friend!