#WWWBlogs Update and Goals for Autumn 2018 #amwriting #selfpubtips

I have been very quiet on the social media front these past few months, hoping to work hard on my draft of The Sentinel’s Alliance. That has not gone to plan but I have been doing lots of other exciting things and thought I would share them with you. Maybe you can pick up some tips for things you can be doing with your self published books.

Note – This whole situation came about because of Rebecca Howie’s post on The Backdoor to Bookstores. As you can guess it’s about getting your books into the bookshops, something I had thought impossible and didn’t bother researching. Her post has led me to;

  • Register all my books with Nielsen via a simple emailed form. This means my books can now be found on the website of most bookshops like Waterstones.
  • Ask my local Waterstones branch about stocking my books. I am waiting to hear from the relevant department.
  • Contact my local library. Again I am waiting to hear from the relevant department but the librarian was hopeful it would be accepted. If not I still have the option of donating copies for them to lend.
  • I already had a PLR account but my books weren’t on file. As I’ve now registered the books with Nielsen I can apply for my books to be added to my account. Again I am waiting for them to be processed.
  • Today I am posting a physical copy of each of my books to The British Library. Once deposited, there will always be a copy and a record of my work, though they did warn me the backlog was 3 or 4 months.

 

My next steps

  • Contact local indie books stores – I already have a list to work through.
  • Print some leaflets with LOCAL AUTHOR and hand them out around my local towns.
  • Look into book festivals for 2019 with a mind to having a book stall.
  • Look into having an audiobook produced for Visions of Zarua through ACX. I can go with the 50/50 split with a producer and pay nothing up front so there is nothing to lose. My main concern is the voice – I have 4 VP characters 3 of which are male. I think I will have to request a male narrator, though I’m not keen on men doing female voices and vs versa. Varnia is such a strong character, I would hate for her to lose that edge in an audio version.

 

Other news

I have just switched my paperback books from Createspace to KDP. It was a very simple process and took just a few minutes with the automated programme KDP have developed. Rather than try to explain it myself, I read a great post about it yesterday on Nicolas C Rossis’ blog.

 

Now onto my writing challenges for Autumn 2018

  • Finish my draft of book 3 asap, though I’m still coming to grips with the mess I made of it during Nanowrimo last year!
  • I want to try to plan the Prequel of Silent Sea Chronicles whilst writing book 3, ready to start work on it in 2019.
  • Write the draft of a new novella during Nanowrimo. I want to aim for a word count of 30-40k.
  • Enter at least 5 short story competitions. I have 5 stories edited, critiqued and ready to go and I think I have picked some good competitions to try.
  • Enter a few first chapter competitions.
  • Look for Self Pub novel competitions to enter that don’t cost loads of money
  • Work on new short story ideas for a possible anthology in 2019. I’ve already seen a couple of covers that I would love, but I can’t jump ahead that much, can I?

 

Other things I need to focus on in 2018

  • Promos for all books, including working on my AMS ads which I’ve heard is now changing anyway.
  • Contact reviewers – look for new opportunities and contact previous reviewers. It’s been a difficult summer for many reviewers so I’m hoping to reconnect with some of them during autumn/winter.
  • Write up my book reviews and post weekly. I like to do this on a Tuesday with the #tuesdaybookblog tag set up by Rosie Amber.
  • Study writing fiction for YA and decide if I want to head in that direct at some point. Some readers already class my Silent Sea Chronicles trilogy as YA so I’m interested to see why and if I should be targeting that market.
  • Finish my Goodreads reading challenge, which I am just about on target for.
  • A future goal I want to think about for 2019 is setting up an author newsletter. I know I should, but it’s one of those jobs I’ve been putting off.

 

It feels good to write down my achievements and my goals. I shall print off this list and pin it to the wall by my desk for inspiration and to keep me on track.

This list will easily take me to the end of the year. I just need to focus and stop getting distracted. I did find this post from Ari really helpful about her own September 2018 goals and working towards them each week. She shares lots of great advice and her site is well worth a visit.

Lastly, if you are looking for motivation you really should read this book – Overwhelmed Writer Rescue by Colleen Story. I reviewed it last year and it is packed with advice. I must revisit my copy.

I hope I have given you some ideas and if you have any tips to share or other routes I can follow as an indie author, please comment. I feel as though I’ve been out of the blogging loop for ages, so I’d love to reconnect with people.

 

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Belated mid-year review #amwriting #amreading

My big news is of course that The Sentinel’s Reign – Silent Sea Chronicles Book 2 is now published.

It’s available here in ebook (99p for a few more days only), paperback and free to read on kindle unlimited.

That’s the sales bit out the way.

In other news, The Lost Sentinel (Book 1) is entered into SPFBO 2018 competition and has been given to Lynn’s Books to judge, which is funny as I had planned to contact her to review the book this year. There is also a cover competition going on right now. Of course I love my cover, but there are lots of great covers in the running from my group of 30 so it will be interesting to see which ones get put through to the next stage.

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2018 has seen some major steps forward for me – landing a publishing contract with a Czech publisher for Visions of Zarua and having a full manuscript request from a UK agent for the same book. These are milestones I’ve been dreaming of, but we’ll have to see where they lead. I’m learning that everything takes time in the publishing world and you need to have a lot of patience!

 

My 2018 goals in review.

At the beginning of the year I set myself some goals (post here). Today I am revisiting them to see how I’ve done.

Writing

Publish book 2 The Sentinel’s Reign = Achieved.

Finish first draft of book 3 The Sentinel’s Alliance = Nope, but I have planned 2/3’s in a rough draft.

Look at WIP to see if I want to send to agents = Still to do. I have a draft almost finished that I would love to edit and polish and send to agents. I am also thinking on an idea I would like to try out on Wattpad. I have no idea how to go about this so I need to research it more.

Writing in general

Attend more writing events = I’ve attended 1 this year.

Contact book reviewers = I have done very well with this so far and have a new batch of reviewers to contact very soon. If you are a blogger interested in reviewing my books please use this contact form.

Learn more about marketing and get my books in front of more readers = I entered SPFBO (self published fantasy blog off) along with 299 other entrants, which will hopefully give The Lost Sentinel some much needed exposure. If you have read The Lost Sentinel, please consider leaving a review on Amazon / Goodreads, it helps with the ranking of the book though won’t have any affect on how far the book gets in the competition, that’s down to the judge of each group. I’ve run a mildly successful kindle countdown deal for The Lost Sentinel and it will go on Netgalley for a month starting 9th July.

Blogging

Tidy up blog, create banner and landing page = The blog is better but could still do with a tidy up, and I have a cool new banner. The landing page is something I still need to look into.

Blog more and focus on books about writing = I have reviewed a few writing books.

Feature more guest posts and get involved in more blog tours = I have featured Susan Leigh Noble and Ari Mehlen, but there is always room for more.

Lifestyle

Healthier diet and walk more = I lost almost 2 stone with Slimming World in 4 months, so that was a great success at the start of the year and I have been maintaining my target weight. I bought a treadmill and used that through winter but now it’s gathering dust.

Get more sleep = No chance! The hot weather and the book release don’t add up to a good night’s sleep. Maybe one day I’ll catch up on my beauty sleep.

Be more positive = I’m trying to be positive and take things as they come. For me being proactive helps, but when nothing comes of all the hard work I’ve invested it’s difficult to keep upbeat.

Reading

Read more fantasy = Yes.

Post more book reviews = Nope, I am way behind and have given up keeping my book review page up to date.

Read at least 35 books in 2018 = I’m trying but I’m behind schedule, total to date is 16.

My reading has been very slow. Editing and promotion has taken all my spare time and I’ve even struggled to find any audio books that hold my attention. My tbr pile grows almost daily and I am not making a dent in it.

I am still reading my book group choice Senlin Ascends (a previous SPFBO contestant, now traditionally published) even though I missed the group meeting last week due to a mix up with the day on my calendar! I believe it was enjoyed by all.

I did have a list of books I wanted to read and a couple of trilogies I wanted to finish, but for now I’m just going to wait and see what books take my fancy.

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What’s to come…

I hope to feature on a few blogs over the coming weeks and see some more reviews go up for The Lost Sentinel and The Sentinel’s Reign. Then I plan to throw myself into writing and make lots of progress. Fingers crossed anyway.

Because of this I will probably take the summer holidays off from blogging to focus on writing book 3 – The Sentinel’s Alliance. It worked well last year, though hopefully I can keep my hand in with a book review or two.

 

How’s your year shaping up?

 

Last plug for The Sentinel’s Reign – don’t forget to pick it up for 99p as I will be putting the price up at the end of the week. And add it to your Goodreads shelf.

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Spring Update #amwriting #amreading

With Spring here at last, I thought it would be the perfect time for another writing and reading update.

March has been an interesting month for weather in my part of the UK. I’ve tried not to let it interfere with my writing schedule and luckily the kids only had one snow day off school. I’ve been busy polishing The Sentinel’s Reign book 2 in the Silent Sea Chronicles after beta reader feedback, and have booked an April slot with my editor for a proof read / edit. The book is currently with my second wave of beta readers who hopefully won’t find too much wrong (fingers crossed).

I can’t wait to do a cover reveal for The Sentinel’s Reign and announce the pre-order date, but I’m wary of doing this until my editor has cast her professional eye over the manuscript. So for now all I can say is watch this space…

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At the beginning of March I attended a Getting Published Workshop, which was informative but didn’t quite go the way I’d hoped. I will share my thoughts about the day and what I gained from it later in the week.

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As I revealed a couple of weeks ago, I’m still in talks with a publisher regarding the Czech translation of Visions of Zarua. I’ll be sure to spread the word and break out the champagne when the contracts are signed.

I’ve decided to re-read Visions of Zarua. This seems like a mad thing to do because the publishers were obviously happy with the story and I’m bound to want to change minor details that don’t really impact on the reading experience. It’s just the editor in me screaming to be heard. The question is do I give in to the nagging voice, or try to read the book for pleasure as I would any other book. Is that even possible?

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I have been contacting book reviewers in the hopes of building some interest in The Lost Sentinel, which has suffered with lack of marketing whilst I worked on book 2. I really want to start showing the book some love and attention. If you would like to read and review The Lost Sentinel, please contact me.  As always, here’s the universal book link to see what you think on Amazon, or check the dedicated page above.

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Plans for the weeks ahead;

I’m looking forward to continuing work on The Sentinel’s Alliance (Bk 3), which I started during Nanowrimo last year. Skim reading through the draft has filled me with excitement and I can’t wait to lose myself in the story and see what happens next!

I will be submitting Visions of Zarua to agents on my short list, using the knowledge I learnt from the Getting Published day (again I’ll share my views with you in a day or so). I would love to get some more reviews for Visions as well, any takers?

Now, on to what I’ve read…

book cover 111 tips book review

See my review here

Time Travelling with a Hamster – review to follow. It was a fun read, and even though a children’s book, the time travel concept held up perfectly. This was originally recommended to me by my daughter, who devoured the story in a few days.

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(I’ve also read The Lost Sentinel and The Sentinel’s Reign though obviously won’t be reviewing my own books.)

What I am reading.

As mentioned I’m re-reading Visions of Zarua.

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I’m also reading

 

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This is the last book in the trilogy and is filled with action that’s keeping me up far too late at night.

I’ve agreed to read very soon…

The Sand Scuttler by Rosalyn Kelly (Early ARC so no cover to share as yet) and Ninja School Mum by Lizzie Chantree.

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And I have another two trilogies I am desperate to finish The Crown of Stones – Magic-borne by C.L.Schneider and Queen of Fire by Anthony Ryan.

That should keep me going for a while.

Have you any writing or reading goals for the spring?

Until next time…

Monthly writing & reading update #amwriting #amreading

It’s taking me time to get back into blogging, so I apologise for the infrequency of my posts. Plus January was a very busy, and interesting, month for me…

I’ve finished the second book in Silent Sea Chronicles – The Sentinel’s Reign and have passed it to my first wave of beta readers for their feedback. Once received, I’ll be making the changes and passing to the next stage of beta readers. Then it’s the final edit / proof read and hopefully I will be ready to publish before The Lost Sentinel’s 1st anniversary in June.person-girl-human-joy-615334

It’s been a quiet reading month with only two books completed. And so much for my decision to focus purely on fantasy, the second book I read was woman’s fiction, which totally absorbed me.

51kJyA8cmhL._AC_US218_[1]See my review here

51ZeMGa4VoL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_    ( Review to follow next week. )

I’m currently reading…

 

A Gathering of Shadows Final

And I plan to read my own books next; The Lost Sentinel and then The Sentinel’s Reign. Reading them back to back will ensure they feel like a series and hopefully fill me with inspiration to complete book three – The Sentinel’s Alliance.

THE LOST SENTINEL COMPLETE (1)  cover reveal

What are your views of adding your own books to your Goodreads bookshelf and marking them as currently reading etc?

As to my other new years resolutions, I’ve joined Slimming World and have bought a treadmill, both of which have seen me well on the way to achieving my goal of getting healthier in 2018.

I have also been toying with the idea of approaching agents, after some unexpected and amazing developments that I hope to share with you all very soon. With agents in mind, I’m hoping to attend The Getting Published Day 2018 workshop taking place in London in March. It feels like the right time in my writing journey to take this step. Depending how this goes, will determine whether I stick to my publishing schedule for The Sentinel’s Reign.

Look out for more posts from me next week; book review of The Cornish House by Liz Fenwick, a guest post and excerpt of Susan Leigh Noble’s new book – Blood Bond, and perhaps an update on my very exciting news…

Have a great Sunday!

Writing update 2018 & New Year Plans #amwriting #amediting

Last year (that sounds so weird) ended on a high for me. The Lost Sentinel was on Brizzlelass’ 10 top reads of 2017 and I also received a lovely email from a reader who said she really enjoyed the book.

That sent me smiling into 2018…

But 2017 has been a year of ups and downs on the writing and blogging front. I published my second book, The Lost Sentinel – Silent Sea Chronicles bk 1, I finished the draft of book 2, which I’m editing and preparing to send to beta readers asap, and I started the draft of book 3 during Nanowrimo. But I’m far behind on the publishing schedule I set myself and I’ve let my blogging slip to near non-existent.

So with this in mind I’ve done some thinking about what I want to achieve in 2018.

Writing

  1. Publish book 2 – The Sentinel’s Reign
  2. Finish the first draft of book 3 – The Sentinel’s Alliance
  3. Look at another WIP that has been waiting for an end for several years and decide if this is the book that I want to submit to agents.

Writing in general

  1. Attend some writing events / workshops
  2. Contact book reviewers
  3. Learn more about marketing and get my books in front of more readers

Blogging

  1. Tidy up the blog and create a new banner and a landing page.
  2. Blog more often with more focus on books and writing.
  3. Have more guest posts and get involved in more blog tours.

Lifestyle

  1. I plan to have a healthier diet and start walking more.
  2. Get more sleep
  3. Be more positive.

Reading

  1. I want to read more fantasy. See the list of books on my 2018 TBR list
  2. I want to post more book reviews
  3. I want to read at least 35 books in 2018

So I know I’m still asking a lot of myself in 2018, but with a more positive attitude and focus on what I want to achieve, I’m hopeful that I can do this.

Wish me luck…