Visions of Zarua – 6 months since publication day #WWWblogs #Indie

I can’t believe it’s been 6 months since I self published my first novel, Visions of Zarua. Here’s my summary of the good and bad of self publishing.

Background:

The ebook went live 16th November 2015 and the paperback went live 14th December 2015.

I had pre-orders in place for the ebook so sales were very good on the first day, and a few days after as well.

First thoughts:

I was terrified, excited and nervous, but looking back I was also completely naïve thinking life would change for me overnight. I wasn’t expecting an instant hit, but I did think things would move faster than they have.

My favourite things about publishing:

1.Sharing my book with the world. 2. Calling myself a published author. 3. Seeing the reviews from people who have taken a chance and bought my book, and also from those reviewers I’ve contacted directly. 4. I still adore my book cover and love looking at the poster I have above my desk.

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I’ve had some wonderful reviews on Amazon and Goodreads – I wish I could share each review here, but will have to satisfy myself with sharing a few of my favourite quotes instead.

‘It’s so lovely to read a book that is a stand alone completed tapestry… I definitely recommend you give this book a try as it’s a real all in-one fantastical adventure story.’

‘Wonderful fantasy meets mystery!’

‘Dark sorcery with slithering secrets… Visions of Zarua casts a shadow of excitement giving the fantasy genre a nice little jolt.’

‘Thrilling and dark fantasy novel… from the very first chapter I was hooked. Overall I just love this book… I can’t wait to read more of the author’s work’

‘Enjoyable read with a hint of classic “who dunnit”…’

‘A brilliant read… would recommend to anyone who likes murder, mystery and of course fantasy’

‘The perfect amount of epicness… one of those fantasy books that can please any reader’

‘If you want a great book that takes you away from the monotony of daily life, then this is the book for you’

‘Gripping, well written story…the intertwined stories kept me gripped until the end. I recommend, even if you’re not a fantasy fan!’

‘…putting this book down, because of the non-reader-friendly-world I live in, made me unhappy. Mrs Rogerson deserves standing ovation for her debut novel… I will applaud with pride and appreciation. Visions of Zarua was simply a story that I love.’

I’m very happy with these stats so far – 5 x 5 star and 4 x 4 star reviews on Amazon. 5 reviews and 7 ratings on Goodreads.

Least favourite part of self publishing:

Trying to get noticed when you have a non existent marketing budget and very little clue on what works best.

Methods of advertising I’ve tried:

Discounted ebook price – I tried this twice. Over Christmas the reduced price resulted in a handful of sales and the second one just before Easter resulted in a couple of sales.

Goodreads Giveaways – Good and bad. Visions of Zarua is on over 800 bookshelves because of the giveaways. The worldwide giveaway was much more successful than UK only, attracting 2062 people. However the postage costs involved are high and I haven’t sold any books because of the giveaway as far as I can tell.

Facebook Ad – I received a handful of new followers on FB, but no book sales.

Mslexia magazine Ad – No sales.

Goodreads Ad pay per click – Paid $10 which is used up as people click the ad. So far my ad has supposedly been seen by over 4K people but no clicks and no sales.

Anyone have any suggestions for other places to advertise?

Unexpected benefits of self publishing:

I started a blog to have an online presence, but I’ve found I really love blogging. I’ve met lots of interesting people through blogging and because of it I’ve also become a reviewer via Rosie’s Ambers book review team. I’ve been able to share my photos and rediscovered my love of photography. I’ve also shared recipes and places I love through the #AtoZ blog challenge and #WordlessWedneday photos.

Final thoughts:

It’s a lot of work for very little gain and the hard work doesn’t stop at publication. I haven’t had a pay cheque yet, though I still need to declare myself as self employed.

Knowing all this, I would still do it again. It’s a wonderful feeling to publish your own book and even better when a review tells you someone enjoyed it. There aren’t many better feelings to be had, although a million pound publishing deal wouldn’t go amiss.

News:

I’m running a one day book blitz via Brook Cottages on Saturday 4th June with a Rafflecopter giveaway. Please join in and share if you get the chance.

Call for help:

If you have read Visions of Zarua, would you consider leaving a review on Amazon, goodreads, smashwords or any books sites that you normally use. It really helps my credibility as an indie author and helps others decide to buy my book. I also love to read your feedback.

If you are inspired by these wonderful reviews to pick up a copy of Visions of Zarua, here are some purchase links:

Amazon UK  Amazon US  Kobo Smashwords

Goodreads

VOZ print book 3d image flat

Now if I ever hope to publish my next book, I have to finish writing the damn thing. Please leave any comments and suggestions you might have and I’ll get back to you.

Enter to #win #epicfantasy Visions of Zarua in the #Goodreads #Giveaway

Top reviewers say;

‘Thrilling and dark fantasy novel that really keeps you gripped from beginning to end!’

‘The perfect amount of epicness.’

VOZ print book 3d image standing

Two wizards, 350 years apart. Together they must save the realm of Paltria from Zarua’s dark past.

Apprentice wizard Paddren is plagued by visions of a city on the brink of annihilation. When his master Kalesh dies in mysterious circumstances, the Royal Order of Wizards refuses to investigate. Helped by his childhood friend, the skilled tracker Varnia, and her lover Leyoch, Paddren vows to find the killer. The investigation leads Paddren down a sinister path of assassins, secret sects and creatures conjured by blood magic. But he is guided by a connection with a wizard from centuries ago – a wizard whose history holds the key to the horror at the heart of the abandoned city of Zarua. Can Paddren decipher his visions in time to save the Paltrian people from the dark menace of Zarua’s past?

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I’ve decided to run another Goodreads Giveaway, though I’m limiting it to the UK. Sorry to everyone else, I just wanted to have a UK winner this time. I will run another giveaway in the future though.

The giveaway runs 10th – 24th March and 1 lucky winner from the UK will receive a signed paperback.

If you are intrigued by the blurb and fancy a bargain, I’m running a price promo on Visions of Zarua. Ebook only 99p / $1.99 available. amazon smashwords nook

Click Goodreads Giveaway to enter now.

Please share and spread the word.

Guest Post by Alison Williams – 10 things new writers should know

I first came across Alison Williams in 2015 when I was looking for a professional editor to give ‘Visions of Zarua’ a final edit before I self published. I had thought the novel was pretty much ready, but Alison suggested many areas of improvement. In all, I cut 10k off the word count!

She has been a huge help to me through the editing and self publishing stages, and here she offers her advice to all new writers. Thank you, Alison…

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Ten things new writers should know

  1. Writing a book is hard. It’s a long process. It will take up lots and lots of your time. Don’t be fooled into thinking you can write a 50,000 word novel in a month – NaNoWriMo has its uses but what you write in November is certainly not the finished article.
  2. While you might love writing, when you’re supposed to be writing other things will take on a glamour and an appeal you never knew they had. Even ironing.
  3. Social media can be the best thing ever and the worst thing ever. You will make writer friends, find support, help and empathy. You will also waste hours and hours and hours of valuable writing time.
  4. You need a fresh pair of eyes. However good your spelling and grammar, spellcheck and your own eyes aren’t enough. You WILL miss mistakes.
  5. You need an editor. For the reasons above and then some. Not only can spelling mistakes get missed, but so can plot holes, inconsistencies, issues with characterisation, flow, pace – the list could go on and on. And I’m not saying that because I’m an editor. ALL writers need editors.
  6. You need a professional book cover if you’re self-publishing. Too many good books fail to reach an audience because the cover is awful, or bland, or doesn’t relate to the content. See Rosie Amber’s wonderful Friday Five Challenge if you have any doubt about the importance of your cover.
  7. Promoting your book will take as much time, if not more, than writing it. This is the case whether you self publish or are traditionally published. You will need to promote your work, blog about it, tweet, use Google +, Facebook, engage with other writers and readers, maybe do book signings, readings, conferences. Don’t think writing is all about sitting at a laptop creating worlds. You have to interact in the real world too.
  8. Not everyone will love your book. Some people might even hate it. And if they do they may well tell you so. On Amazon. In detail. Grow a thick skin and be prepared. And be prepared to listen to criticism. Your harshest critics might have a point (or they might not, in which case ignore them – never, ever engage with them).
  9. You won’t make lots of money. At least you probably won’t. You’ll work hard, very, very hard for not much monetary reward. Don’t have expectations of paying off the mortgage, buying a new car or even giving up the day job. It might happen. But it probably won’t.
  10. Writing is hard. Did I say that already? It is though. It’s hard, it’s time consuming, it’s frustrating and thankless and sometimes it’s really, really boring. But you should do it anyway. Because when you publish something you’re proud of, and when someone, a complete stranger, writes a five star review for your book on Amazon, it’s a wonderful feeling. And it makes all that hard work worthwhile.

 

Alison Williams lives in Hampshire with her husband, two teenage children, and a variety of pets including a mad cocker spaniel, a rescue Labrador, a psychotic cat and two of the most unsociable rabbits in existence. She is an independent novelist, freelance editor and writer. As an editor, Alison works mainly with independent authors and has edited everything from erotica, memoirs and poetry to children’s books and fantasy. When she has any time left at all, she enjoys blogging, reading, going to the gym and listening to music (she has an obsession with Johnny Marr), and watching The Sopranos (again). From 2011-2012 she studied for a Masters in Creative Writing with the University of Glasgow. As part of her studies, Alison wrote her first novel ‘The Black Hours’ – available now from Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Sony and the Apple Store. ‘Blackwater’, the prequel to ‘The Black Hours’ is available free as an eBook from all the above outlets. Both can be read as standalones.

Blog: http://alisonwilliamswriting.wordpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alisonwilliamswriting

Twitter: @Alison_WiIliams

 

What does it take to write a novel?

Answer:

7 note books, reams of paper, years of hard work, thousands of hours of writing and rewriting, 4 beta readers, several online courses and professional critiques, and lets not go into the money involved…

WP_20151228_15_23_28_Pro

Now that Visions of Zarua is published, I decided to use this lazy day between Christmas and New Year to tidy my desk drawers and go through all the old paperwork. I’ve boxed up all the note books that hold the first draft, the pictures of characters and places that helped me create my world, my extensive notes on everything to do with Paltria and its characters, the various critique reports and my notes on rewriting.

Who would have thought that pile of scribbles and half formed plans would turn into this…

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Visions of Zarua started way back in 2003 with a tiny idea. I wonder what my younger self would think if she knew the long, long journey ahead.

Pre-order my ebook now for only £3.00

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Visions of Zarua MY COVER

Two wizards, 350 years apart. Together they must save the realm of Paltria from Zarua’s dark past.

Available to pre-order at amazon  kobo  itunes nook You can download the reading apps for any of these suppliers, on any device. Click on the link for details.

Or to find out more, please visit my website, twitter page, facebook or goodreads

Your pre-order will be delivered to you on the release date of 16th November 2015.

Please share and help spread the word.

Pre-order details for Visions of Zarua

Two wizards, 350 years apart. Together they must save the realm of Paltria from Zarua’s dark past.

RELEASE DATE 16th NOVEMBER 2015

Visions of Zarua MY COVER

An ancient darkness haunts the realm of Paltria.

Apprentice wizard Paddren is plagued by visions of a city on the brink of annihilation. When his master Kalesh dies in mysterious circumstances, the Royal Order of Wizards refuses to investigate.

Helped by his childhood friend, the skilled tracker Varnia, and her lover Leyoch, Paddren vows to find the killer.

The investigation leads Paddren down a sinister path of assassins, secret sects and creatures conjured by blood magic. But he is guided by a connection with a wizard from centuries ago – a wizard whose history holds the key to the horror at the heart of the abandoned city of Zarua. Can Paddren decipher his visions in time to save the Paltrian people from the dark menace of Zarua’s past?

Pre-order Visions of Zarua now from amazon  kobo  itunes nook

To find out more, pleae visit my website, twitter page, facebook or goodreads

5 Rules For Chapter One Of Your Book

It was interesting to have my novel in mind when I read through this blog. It’s great advice to focus on when editing that all important first chapter.

Dan Alatorre - AUTHOR

I... must... read... more! I… must… read… more!

1. Start the story as late as possible

2. Have a grabber opening

3. Make the reader care, usually via the MC

4. What are the stakes? What can be gained or lost?

5. End with a cliffhanger so we go to chapter 2

Need more info? Let’s read on then, shall we?

(Learn more about writing better stories HERE)

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I'm already 45 minutes overdue! I’m already 45 minutes overdue!

Start the story as late as possible

Most authors bury the really interesting stuff a few paragraphs in, or worse, in chapter two or three. What’s the first interesting thing that happens in your story? Start there.

(Learn about tightening your story HERE)

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Have a grabber opening

Holy cow, am I intrigued by this prose! Holy cow, am I intrigued by this prose!

I like a “grabber” opening to a story and especially the opening chapter. Stories that hook a reader right away and keep…

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Proof Read Top 10 Checklist

I’ve just printed out my novel for the final time. As soon as the kids go back to school next week, I shall lock myself in the summerhouse and set about my final proof read. I’ve read lots of articles on proof reading and done plenty of editing over the years to have come up with a checklist that works for me.

  1. Use a hard copy (it’s too easy to skip over errors on the computer)
  2. Read aloud (but make sure the neighbours can’t hear you)
  3. Read it slowly, word by word (at reading pace your brain skips over words it expects to see and doesn’t pick up the errors)
  4. Use a ruler or blank page to highlight the line you’re reading (this ensures you don’t get ahead of yourself)
  5. Keep focused and hydrated by drinking lots of water (this helps keep you awake, and the trips to the toilet provide plenty of short breaks)
  6. Use a colourful pen to highlight the error, mark the sentence in the margin and fold the corner of the page over (triple insurance against the error being missed when updating on the computer)
  7. Avoid all distractions (escape from the phone and the internet)
  8. Keep a notebook handy (make notes of any last minute niggles to sort out)
  9. The editing should already be done at this point so focus on grammar, spelling, punctuation, word choice and spacing errors.
  10. And finally, there’s no harm in resetting the computer spell checker and giving it one last go.

Then it’s ready for the next stage, uploading to Kindle.

Have you got any last minute proof reading tips to share?

What I love about writing… #writing

Characters have always been the most important factor in fiction for me. It’s good to read a blog post that focuses on this and expresses my views.

Historical Novels and Epic Fantasy

writingpicture from en.wikipedia.org

What do I love about writing most? Well, it’s the same things that made me such an avid reader in the first place.  Books have the ability to transport us to new worlds, or periods of time that are otherwise completely locked away from us.  The immersion can be so deep from a novel that we can imagine every step that any given character makes, and it is bringing those same characters to life that is the greatest joy for me as a writer.

A book needs to be well written and full of descriptive passages, as they play an essential part in setting a scene and giving the writer’s world depth.  But it is the characters within that world, their hopes, wishes, loves, and desires that will make the story come to life.  When constructing a character for a novel, you want to be able to…

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What Do You Have Friends For?

Lots of good advice for those of us starting out in self publishing.

Savvy Writers & e-Books online

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How friends and family can help to improve your Amazon Ranking will be a reminder today, short before the holiday season starts.  They indeed can help you so much – they even don’t need to buy the book (again). Amazon can give a great book a big boost to “be discovered”.  These little features take only a few seconds, but can make a big difference in your Amazon ranking – and subsequently in the success of your book.
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Ask all your acquaintances, friends, family to:.

  • Write a REVIEW of your book.
    Even if the book already has lots of reviews already. As more reviews as better for the author and as more potential buyers can see the popularity of the work. Amazon rules are against family members’ reviews.  So ask only the ones with a different name/address for a review. They need an Amazon account and at…

View original post 479 more words