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Thursday, 16 May 2013

The 44 Absolutely Essential Twitter Hashtags you NEED to know as an Indie Author

It has been a while since I have posted to this blog...not that I intend on having lots of followers...it's more of an "about me" site as an author rather than a "read my witty blog posts every day" type of a blog.

I have been writing way too much to come on here but wanted to say hello and also to send you a link to a great post by Caitlin Muir over on Authormedia.com.

As any Indie Author knows self promotion is part of the game and if you 'ain't doing it you 'ain't serious about your career.  A big part of that is Twitter.

Now I am going to be totally honest here; I really don't like to spend hours and hours messing around with Twitter.  Not that I think it's a bad thing, far from it. it's just every minute I spend on there I could be spending on my new story, existing story, a new screenplay or whatever...you get it right?

So when I see a very helpful post by someone who knows what they are on about and it will ACTUALLY help then I have to share.  Knowing what Hashtags do and how they can help you, can frankly be the difference in getting some kind of success on Twitter or spinning wheels.  Luckily for us Caitlin has narrowed down the ESSENTIAL 44 Twitter Hashtags you need to know as an Author.

For me this is a wonderful post, because I really don't know what to put at the end of my Twitter posts. So thank you Caitlin!

Enjoy.

Matt

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Interview with Indie House Books

Being an Indie author takes guts.  Why?  Well because you are pretty much out there on your own fighting to fight and trying to be a good author.

So I love guys like Indie House Books www.indiehousebooks.com whose mission to to help us Indie authors.  I was honored to be interviewed by them recently.  It was a fun thing to do and frankly made me think about many aspects of my writing career.  Here is the link to the interview and the text below.


A CHAT WITH MATT BELCHER

Posted on: February 18th, 2013 by David M.
Assigned categories: IHB Contributor WritesInterviews

Image of Matt Belcher

Indie House Books is please to present an interview with Matt Belcher. Matt is the author of Mr Personal Development and he graciously agreed to let us ask a few questions that we are sharing with you today. We hope you enjoy what Matt has to say.



IHB: Briefly describe your journey in writing your book.

Matt: I really fell into it rather than using any planned, intelligent process.  I had a bit of an ‘ah ha’ moment having a beer with a friend in a pub when I realized in all the professions I had worked in, writing was a part of them all.  And a part I loved.  When I had that moment deciding to write my first book was a given.

IHB: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Matt: I don’t think I ever realized I wanted to be a ‘writer’ as such. I just wanted to write a book.  I wanted to get a story out there, get my many crazy thoughts down on paper.  I was excited at the thought that someone might actually find them interesting!

IHB: Why did you decide to become a writer?

Matt: Like I said above.  I don’t think I decided.  It just felt natural and then right thing to do.

IHB: What inspired you to write your first book?

Matt: I probably used all the wrong reasons to write that first story.  It was all about righting   wrongs, exposing a terrible industry.  That’s not bad but it shouldn’t be the whole purpose of a fiction book.  I had to re write that book so many times once I knew I had to!

IHB: What do you hope readers will take from your writing?

Matt: I hope they find my writing interesting, engaging and worthwhile.  Perhaps challenging at times.  As well as writing suspense I also write Romance under a pen name.  I touch on very challenging topics in that genre and I hope my readers feel that way.

IHB: What is your writing schedule like?

Matt: Crazy!  I have so many projects going on right now.  I probably need to look at that!  The main projects are a new book, The Believing Tree and two screenplays.  I tend to work on all of them at the same time.

IHB: Do you have any writing quirks? (Favorite shirt, pen, time of day?)

Matt: I like to write in the morning.  I tend to do better in coffee shops where there is some interaction with people but I can also hide under my cap and write.  I ALWAYS have a target.  Such as one thousand words before I can have another coffee.  I find that works best for me.

IHB: Where do you get your ideas for your books?

Matt: Where don’t I?  I have so many ideas I have to write them down and then work on the ones that I think could be something.  Actually I tend to come up with things just when I am falling asleep and have my iphone close to make a note.  It’s the moment where your subconscious can come through as you stop thinking about day to day items.  I would highly suggest having a notebook next to your bed to write down ideas.

IHB: How many books have you written? Do you have a favorite?

Matt: As my real name, Matt Belcher, I have written three books.  A non fiction called “The Little Book of Big Change”, “Mr Personal Development” and a kid’s book “Monkey Dog and Friends”.  I also have a book in edit called “The Believing Tree” As my pen name I have written over twenty romance novels.

IHB: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

Matt: How to write! Seriously.  I didn’t have a clue when I started.  So that has certainly been a journey.

IHB: Are you a full-time writer or part time?

Matt: Part time….all the time!  I write as much as I can.  I still work as a Management Consultant.

IHB: What genre do you write in? Is there more than one?

Matt: Suspense/Thriller. Children’s and Romance.

IHB: Do you hear from your readers? What is their most asked question?

Matt: I do yes.  They tend not to ask questions but just let me know they like this character or that scene etc.

IHB: What do you think makes a good story?

Matt: Pace, plot, twists and all the other standards.  But I think it has to be real.  Realism is key.  It doesn’t matter if you are writing about a dragon that has telepathic powers and falls in love with a blonde who is the sister of a dragon slayer.  It still has to be believable.

IHB: What motivates you to write?

Matt: Simply to tell stories.  I love telling stories.  And frankly nothing gives me that satisfied feeling that writing does.  I sit down and write and immediately feel like I am doing the right thing.  It’s the same feeling after a hard days manual work.  Chopping wood in a forest type feeling.

IHB: Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? What do you do to overcome it?

Matt: No never.  Only writer’s distraction!  If I am feeling like I don’t know where a story is going I will write something else.  Maybe an outline for another story or a screenplay scene.

IHB: Do you use outlines?

Matt: Yes but not as much as I should.

IHB: What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?

Matt: Fear of failure.  Or more pertinent to writing, fear my stories are crap and no one will like them.  How do I get past that?  Write.

IHB: Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell us about it.

Matt: Yes.  Most of my stories are based on something in life.  Mr Personal Development for example, was born out of my experience in the Self Help industry.

IHB: Where can people find out more about you and your writing?


IHB: What is your marketing plan?

Matt: I tend to try and limit myself to a few things rather than spreading myself too thin.  Twitter has been excellent for me.  I don’t tend to use facebook but know I probably should!  The paradigm of Amazon now means that if you write something people like it will get purchased more.  That said good writing won’t get you millions!  You do have to market yourself.  Great resources such as your website are the place to be.

IHB: Is your book self-published? What are your thoughts on traditional versus self-publishing?

Matt: Yes self published.  I think the self publishing phenomenon is great.  It has allowed someone like me write a book, publish it and make money.  Do I think there are challenges?  Yes. Quality control is now different.  The publishing industry was a way to make sure only a good level of writing was published.  Now anything can be.  But the rules have changed.  If your book is crap it won’t get purchased.  I certainly have a couple that are ranked 1000000 in the Kindle store.  Do you think anyone purchased them?  No.  So in a way the ability for people to leave reviews creates a sort of quasi publishing process. Even though I am self published I am currently looking for a publisher for my children’s series of books.  Why?  Because I think that is the right thing to do for that series.  I am not against the publishing industry at all.  They still pull a lot of the strings I just think now you don’t have to go to them to get started.  In fact J A Konrath is now pretty much self published.

IHB: What are your feelings about eBooks (for Kindle or Nook)?

Matt: They are great!

IHB: What do you do when you’re not writing?

Matt: Reading, working out, working, walking my dog, riding my bike, thinking about the next story or character.

IHB: What is the most important thing you’ve learned during your journey as an author?

Matt: That writing a book isn’t just about having a good story.

IHB: Do you have any advice for new authors?

Matt: Like NIKE says….just do it.  Don’t worry about the details.  Get your words down and start then don’t stop.

IHB: What’s next for you?

Matt: I am writing my first screenplay which is a fun process.  Very different from writing a book. Actually I have two screenplays.  One is called “Backyard Buffalo” and the other is going to be the screenplay for “My Personal Development” Although I think it will be called something different.

 IHB: What kinds of books do you like to read?

Matt: I love to read so many different things.  I am a reading butterfly.  I go from book, to book to book and sometimes have six on the go at once.  I really enjoy JA Konrath, Raymond Feist, Michael Connelly, Dean Koontz, Jayne Ann Krentz, Bob Mayer.  But I also love self help type books by Deepak Chopra, Napoleon Hill, Anthony Robbins, Dale Carnegie.

IHB: Please give us a brief synopsis about your current book and when and where it is available.

Matt: The world’s largest company with a problem.
A vicious London Gangster with money to collect.
A brilliant world renowned CEO with a passion for murder and corruption.
A mysterious and secretive organization simply called ‘Signpost” out to change the world.
A beautiful but dangerous spy.
An ex SAS solider with a serious anger problem.

Book description:

Silken Tech is one of the world’s most successful businesses.  They aggressively take over companies, strip them of the ‘fat’ and roll out the assets into their huge conglomerate.

One of the hottest areas of business for them right now is Palm Oil but the Borneo government is getting cold feet about giving Silken the license to flatten more forest to make way for the largest Palm crop ever.  This is a problem Silken’s CEO Red Victor is well aware of.

He hires ‘Mr Personal Development’ – James Skye to go and sweet talk the Borneo government.  For James it’s just a well paid consulting gig.  But as soon as he accepts the job his life spirals out of control and he soon realizes things are not what they seem with Red Victor.

Victor knows things about James that could ruin his life and get people killed.

It’s a mad race against time with huge moral decisions for James.  Can he stop Silken Tech before they devastate the Borneo forest before his friends and family are killed?

IHB: If there was one thing you could tell your readers, what would it be?

Matt: Please tell me what you like about my stories!  Ha ha.  I hope you enjoy reading them.

Mr Personal Development [Kindle Edition]
Mr Personal Development

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Kindle Books you should write as an indie author

I have to admit something to you.  I can't hide it anymore.

I do have a couple of fiction books out in the thriller genre and they sell.  I make money from them but (are you reading carefully?)  not nearly as much as I make in another genre under a different name.

There I've said it.  Wish I'd done it sooner.

So the big question that I keep asking myself is - "Am I a failure in the thriller genre if my other books keep selling so well."

I will tell you my answer.  It's.....I don't know.  

That is I really haven't decided that yet.  I LOVE writing fiction thrillers. In fact I can sit down at my laptop and before I know it I have 3000 words done and more that needs to come.  Doing a book in the other genre I struggle sometimes to even start.

I'm just not that into it.  But it sells so I do it.  It's my job, what feeds me....to a degree and actually I have leant all about self publishing and being an indie author because of these books.

And this is the point of the post.  I have seen some comments and read some things from authors who say you should only write what you want to be known for.  Keep going and you will succeed and other such fist raising tag lines.

And I agree with all of them.....

Accept that sometimes you have to do what you don't want to do in order to get what you want.

Didn't Mick Jagger say "You can't always get what you want.  But if you try sometime you'll get what you need."?

And I need to know about writing, publishing and how to make money doing those things.  So before I even wrote my first book I looked at Amazon and downloaded lots of books in different genre's.  Analyzed them, looked at what sold.  What people were writing and saw that the romance genre is great for short stories.

Short stories, I can write them.

And that's where I started.  I wrote about 20 and tweaked them, changed them and now my romance books sell really well.  I make money and I feel good about my abilities as a writer.

Should you write in the romance genre?  If you want to sure.  But is there something else you might be better at?  Or maybe romance is good for you.

It doesn't matter the main thing is that you write even if you don't want to become the best known author in romance.  I don't.  But I still write in the genre to make money.

I bet if you ask all the big authors they have all written in different genres and under a different name.

So what books should you write as an indie author?  Ones that sell.

Off to start another romance book.

Matt










Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Why you should write and distribute a press release for your self published books

One reason - To promote and get more sales!

I know this seems like common sense but so many self published authors don't bother to do something as simple as this.  Come on guys!

Ok ok, I have to admit I didn't always do press releases for my books.  I frankly couldn't be bothered.  But once I did I know I always will until I make enough money to pay someone to do it!

Do they always work?  Well I guess honestly I don't know.  I don't know how many sales they make and I don't know how effective they really are but publishers do them for their authors so why shouldn't self published authors?

Here is one I have just released.  I used PRWeb.com which does cost money but you can send to lots of free ones.  Free ones are listed here. http://mashable.com/2007/10/20/press-releases/


Point Loma San Diego resident takes a tongue in check swipe at the Self Help Industry with his new self published Fiction book “Mr Personal Development'

San Diego (July 2012) – The self help and personal development industry is huge. With people looking for different ways to improve and change in a down economy it's no wonder sales of self help books, Cd and seminars are better than ever.

You have probably read a book, listened to a CD or been to one of these very conferences. But is it all smiles behind closed doors?

That's what Point Loma resident and author Matt Belcher wanted to discover.

I have always had a healthy fascination with the personal development industry that started in the UK. I have read a lot of books from the likes of Tony Robbins, Dale Carnegie and Brian Tracy to name a few. But what I always wanted to know is what goes on behind the scenes. Are these people really living what they preach? That's the basis of my fiction/thriller 'Mr Personal Development'.

Belcher created a fast paced story that features a UK based 'guru', James Skye who is on the up and from the outside is very successful. Behind the scenes he is a womanizer, alcoholic, liar and almost bankrupt.

The book is currently on sale at Amazon for only 99 cents. It's a quick read and should be a lot of fun for anyone interested in this industry.”

To get your copy search on Amazon or visit Matt's blog.
----

Matt Belcher is a San Diego based self published author originally form the UK. He's a marketing consultant that successfully turned his hand to writing because he wanted to tell stories. Matt is a proud Englishman, animal lover and Rugby supporter. He can be contacted on his blog at www.mattbelcherwrites.blogspot.com or 619 259 0387.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Why give away the first chapters of your self published kindle book for free

I am a man who eats his own dog food.  That is, I do what I talk about.  Recently I told a friend that a great way to promote your self published kindle book is to give away the first few chapters of your book free.

He asked me, "So can I download one of yours then?"  Cue me changing the subject.  

Luckily I am ugly enough to know when I am being a hypocrite so I spent this morning putting the first 6 chapters of my kindle book; Mr Personal Development into a PDF that you can get here.




Why do this?  Well clearly the idea is that you read the chapters and have to finish the story by purchasing the book.  Does it actually work?

Yes it does.  I have had varying degrees of success with.

Give it a go and see how you get on.  TIP - Put a link to the book in the freebie or they won't know where to go to purchase.

Let me know how you get on.

Matt

Monday, 30 July 2012

How should I price my Kindle book?

That my friend is a great question!



It's a tricky business knowing how to price your kindle book.  Questions you might have going around in your head right now are: -

1. Do I go high and get 70% of the revenue hoping that I sell enough to make it worth it? (Internal voice is saying, "70% of $3 is a lot.")
2. Go low and become a best seller making only 30%  ("Please let that happen")
3. Low to start then high? ("I'll get them interested.")

How on earth do you know?  Well the answer is...there isn't a define pricing structure for your books.  But you can determine roughly what it should be and then tweak as you go.  How do you do that?

Look at what others are doing in your genre.  If you work mainly in the fiction/thriller genre like me then likely you might want to price your first book low.  Are you published already?  If not then maybe 99cents is a good idea until you get reviews and people like your book.

Amanda Hocking still has her first Hollowlands book for free on Kindle.  It's the first part of a trilogy and has been a bestseller.  If you don't know her story.....where have you been!  Check out here blog here http://amandahocking.blogspot.com.

JA Konrath prices his books around the $2.99 mark but he is a well known author and has been in the game for a while.  He also happens to be one of my current favourite authors so go check him out.

The point is don't be greedy.  You don't need to be.  You are self publishing and if you book is any good people will but it and you will make money.  Pricing a first book in the fiction/thriller genre for $5.99 might work for you but I doubt it.  Actually I'll cry if it does but good for you.  Will you sell millions of books at 99cents?  Maybe, if it's any good.

I also write in the romance genre under a different name and my books sell for 99cents $3.99 and everything in the middle of that.  I think romance is a hot market by the way if you haven't already worked that one out!

But I give a lot away for free. I don't have the time nor inclination to spend my days promoting myself. You do have to do some of that but I am a writer and I should write.  Right?

See what works and be prepared to change and test and test and test and test.  A god cover helps so does a good description.  That said I have some books that have simple three line descriptions in the romance genre and they sell.  Would they make more if I put a little further effort into those descriptions?

Well maybe...

I have tried many different ways but I think ultimately it's the cover and topic of the book that makes it sell.  I am not saying here don't have a description, oh no no.  I am just saying do a good one but focus on the price changes to see if that makes a difference.

Matt




Tuesday, 24 July 2012

My big mistake publishing to Kindle and how to avoid it

I'm certainly no big time author (yet) but I have more than a handful of books published on Kindle.  Some sell really well some sell okish.

So you would think I know the Kindle publishing process pretty well by now right?  Well I should.

Should being the word here.

Here is the mistake I made.  All the other books I have on Kindle are short stories, under 10,000 words.  Mr Personal Development is a novella/novel of over 65,000 words.

It was at the time my first 'real' book and I was so excited to actually have it edited and finished.  Well in my haste I went though all the processes of having a cover professionally done, paying someone to edit it and then getting it up on Kindle as soon as possible.  I downloaded it myself, check it and smiled as I thought about all the sales I would get.

And then....

I emailed people to tell them it was live and they could buy it.....

But then......

I read it all the way through and to my astonishment I had uploaded and old non edited version.  Well not fully edited.  So people had purchased my very first fiction book with spelling, grammar and plot errors in it.

Totally unacceptable to say the least!

Grammar being incorrect on a blog post is fine in my eyes (I know the purist out there won't agree but a blog post is a conversation) but in a published book?

Very embarrassing and frankly I was really sorry to all those who had purchased it and probably wondered what the hell was I playing at.

So my tips to you as a self publisher are: -

1. Take your time - patience
2. Have as many of your friends read it for spelling and grammar. Maybe even pay someone to do that.
3. Put it away and re read it again in a month.  Page by page.
4. Once it's published in Kindle check it!  Have a friend read it.
5. Do the above.

Simple list right?  Well yes but if I'd have followed my advice I wouldn't have let thousands of people download an unedited version of my book.

Matt