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 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.


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 which does cost money but you can send to lots of free ones.  Free ones are listed here.

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 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.


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

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.


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.


Friday, 25 May 2012

What do you use to write a novel?

Since getting into the writing game I have played with and tested many different ways to create a piece.

Know the feeling?

Obviously the most accessible option for most people is to use Word on Mac or PC.  Now that Kindle and Barnes Noble accept Word files you can practically write a novel, upload it and there you have it!  Ok well it's not quite that simple but Word allows you to get going in a simply way.

But, and here's the thing Word is just a word processor. It wasn't really designed for creating a novel, short story and screenplay.

After trying many different products such as write room, Notebook for MAC and speciality tools such as Finaldraft (which is the best for Screenplays) I have started to use Scrivener.

What is Scrivener?
Well there website says -

Scrivener is a powerful content-generation tool for writers that allows you to concentrate on composing and structuring long and difficult documents. While it gives you complete control of the formatting, its focus is on helping you get to the end of that awkward first draft. 
What that means for an author is that it is one of the best tools for creating ideas, scratch plots, characters and dialogue for your novel.  I used to have several files and word docs that had all the ideas for a novel. Then I started using Notebook but it became too difficult to actually look through all the info while I was writing.


That's why Scrivener is so good.  It's like a dashboard of all your thoughts, ideas and chapters.  Yes there are other things out there that do this scrapbook like thing but Scrivener is designed for writing.

You can check it out here.

Some of the best features I like are: -

1. Distraction free writing.
2. Ability to format for eBook and Epub.
3. Output to ePub and it looks awesome.

I think it has helped my creative process wonderfully.  But not only that it has helped my organization which has let me write more.


Monday, 14 May 2012

Mr Personal Development is published for kindle!

Well I am over the MOON! to announce that my first real, as in not a short story and over 60,000 words is now published to Kindle.  You can check it out and by it for a measly $2.99 here. Mr Personal Development

So what is it all about?  Good question.

Set across the UK, Venice and Borneo Mr Personal Development is a fast paced tale with non stop action right from the start. The storyline is action packed and the characters have edgy hard grit dialogue. A thrill to read!
James Skye Has it all. Looks, charm, money and fame that is growing everyday. People love him. He is Mr Personal Development and can fill conference centers with people willing to be told how to live their life.

When James is asked to help one of the most successful CEO's on the planet with a very bad track record in humanitarian, animal and environmental issues all hell breaks loose. James is faced with a life or death decision that will affect him and others.


So sound pretty good?  I hope so.  After writing so many 'how to' books and short stories this really was a fun thing to do and I now know that I love writing fiction.

I hope you enjoy it.