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Thursday, 29 September 2011

Amazon readying October Kindle offer | The Bookseller

Amazon readying October Kindle offer

Amazon.co.uk has asked publishers for discounts of 90% on titles in order to participate in an October Kindle promotion.
The campaign, due to run from 17th to 31st October inclusively, will also be featured on Amazon.de, the retailer's German website. Amazon has told publishers this will be the "main focus for our merchandising efforts during this period", and would be supported with emails, on Facebook, and via Twitter. It has asked for new frontlist as well as key backlist titles.
The 90% discount (off the ex VAT digital list price) has caused concern among some publishers, though it is understood the level is similar to its previous Kindle promotions, including the "Spring Spectacular" and "12 Days of Kindle", which Amazon has told publishers led to an uplift in sales of some titles of more than 300%.
Read more:
Amazon readying October Kindle offer | The Bookseller

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Whatever you do begin writing your novel in the CORRECT place!

This week Jamie Magee is here to talk us about where to begin writing a novel. At the beginning? You think?

Take it away, Jamie...

Whatever you do begin writing your novel in the CORRECT place!
Jamie Magee

I always thought that there was only one way to write a novel – from the beginning to the end – but that was before I was writer.

When I began writing the Insight series I was chasing a daydream. The image I had of my main character, Willow Haywood, was painful and full of raw emotion.

I knew I couldn’t start at that point so I thought backwards and tried to figure out how this scene would come to life then I started the Insight series at the wrong place – the beginning.

Once Insight was complete my scene saw was nowhere to be seen. It was an awkward moment in my life. One thought would tell me that I’d wasted three months writing a story that would never be read, the next that this was simply the beginning and that I needed to write deeper and find that lost scene.

As beta readers began to read Insight I felt unfulfilled. Even though I’d told Willow Haywood’s story I felt empty – after organizing every closet and drawer in my house my restlessness became too much for me to handle, and before I had the verdict from the beta readers I began to write again.

This time I started with my lost scene. At first it felt like I was writing outside of the series but I began to let my characters guide me. It was a turning point.

I’d wrote what is chapter twelve in Embody all the way to end before I had any feedback on Insight, at that point it didn’t matter if anyone else was in love with Willow and Landen – I was!

More scenes came – but this was a good thing if I wanted to keep writing! What was different with the these scenes is that I didn’t try and figure out what happened before that point, instead I just wrote them down and made room for the next ‘big idea’ to come.

Image will be launched Nov 8th 2011
My third novel, Image, was written differently. In that novel I wrote countless scenes then placed them in order and connected them together. Somehow it created a fast paced novel, and looking back now I know I would not have managed to come up with the same effect had I written the novel from the beginning to end.

Jamie Magee has always believed that each of us have a defining gift that sets us apart from the rest, she has always envied those who have known from their first breath what their gift was. Not knowing hers, she began a career in the fast paced world of business. Raising a young family, and competing to rise higher in that field would drive some to the point of insanity, but she always found a moment of escape in a passing daydream. Her imagination would take her to places she'd never been, introduce her to people she's never known. Insight, her debuting novel, is a result of that powerful imagination. Today, she is grateful that not knowing what defined her led her on a path of discovery that would always be a part of her.

Not many Scorpio’s are known for their patience, and Willow Haywood is no different. Her only desire is to love Landen Chambers and redeem the lost souls of Esterious, but the path to that desire is long, dark and dangerous...

Before Willow’s life had a chance to balance the sudden revelations and grief she had to endure to get to Chara a disturbing discovery is made. A photo, one that shows Willow blissfully embracing the flawless image of Drake Blakeshire; giving her not only proof that she had lived before, but that she had loved him.

Running away from the memory of Drake’s hypnotizing touch, and the prophecy set before her seemed like the logical thing to do. That is, until a dark dream reignites her passion to save the hopeless dimension of Esterious. Willow struggles to find patience – to learn everything she needs to know before she faces Drake again, but her eagerness is dangerous and one step in the wrong direction takes everything and everyone away from her – the only way to survive this trial is for Willow to remember who she is and what she really wants out of this life.

Jamie Magee's Blog: http://ourbooksourvoice.blogspot.com/
FB page: http://www.facebook.com/Insight.Jamie.Magee
and twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/insight117

She'd love to hear from you!

Monday, 19 September 2011

Heavy promoting is BLOODY annoying!

Learnt a new word the other day – shilling

It means ceaselessly promoting your book. Put it another way, do you get lots of spam from anonymous people trying to sell you Viagra? Escorts? Shilling is no different. In the end this “promotion” isn’t read, it’s just deleted or ignored.

I joined Amazon forums for one reason and that is to promote, promote and promote some more. I thought it was an excellent tool for authors to promote their books. I mean, where else are you going to meet so many readers? But do book lovers really read these threads? I don’t, so why would I expect others to? 

I soon learnt that it was against Amazon’s regulations, and that actually it was BLOODY annoying! 

So what makes me buy a book from an unknown author? What makes you? Of course an excellent blurb and an interesting cover helps, but how do you find books by unknown writers? And what are they supposed to do to help you find them?

I’ve learnt that social media isn’t there for you to promote your book. It’s to meet, and join in discussions with other people.

So in short if you claim that social media isn’t working then it’s probably because you’re doing it wrong.

Are you sending Facebook messages or updates pleading to Like My Page – when these land in my inbox or media stream I, like many I imagine, delete or ignore them.  When I’m bombarded with messages from Twitter to “check out my website” I, again like many others, completely ignore them. Tweeters who continually push their book or yell Follow Me! at every opportunity are also ignored.

But, if by chance one of these en masse promotions provokes a visit to a blog what are we likely to find? Pictures of a stranger's latest trip up the Eiffel Tower? Photos of someone's pet cat or dog? Very likely! Similarly, if the blog focuses ONLY on self-promotion people aren’t going to be enchanted.

Promotion on Amazon, bombarding people with emails, tweeting primarily to promote yourself on Twitter and begging people to buy your book on Facebook and Linkedin aren’t going to work. You may get a trickle of sales, and if a trickle is all you want then carry on.

But if you want to sell SHIT LOADS *read on: 

*Don't expect a magic jangle. Building an author platform takes time and work. Like writing a book really.

You will need (at least) a blog, Twitter account and Facebook and join Amazon forums and Goodreads. There are others but these are my favourite, and all will work together and reinforce one another. You can’t stick to one source. You WILL need several. And you will HAVE to be consistent and professional at all times. NEVER stray from this. Most importantly it has to be more than selling books - it has to be about YOU (not to be confused with you and your boring life - believe me your life IS boring to others) as a HUMAN not a spammer.

Your author platform begins with many social sites. They aren’t something you can dip in and out at will, they are something you MUST become part of and WORK AT. This requires time, and if you’re working as well as writing it’s hard, but it CAN be done.

And do it NOW. Don’t wait until your book is published. It’s NEVER too early to begin a platform. The days of marketing your novel after it is published is long gone.

On your blog write something that others will be interested in reading. No one wants to read something unless it means something to them. Think about what makes YOU open a link or read a begging email. Can’t think of anything to write on your blog? Offer authors free space to write something.

Link share, write an article, entertain and write flash fiction, ask to interview someone, the list is endless really.

On Amazon forums be a human, not a spammer. Talk about books. Join the MOA  (Meet Our Authors) forum. DON’T PROMOTE. Write interesting discussions and you’ll find yourself looked up.

Twitter is a place to share links and information, and make sure you use hashtags well. If you don’t know the important of hashtags then find out now rather than later. Again don’t over promote yourself because people will notice and you’ll end up unfollowed. Join in on chats, write something funny or meaningful and above all TALK to people. Some people believe it’s impossible to chat on Twitter with only 140 characters but you’ll be wrong. It’s amazing what CAN be said in a sentence or two.

Facebook is more relaxed than Twitter. I use my FB account to connect with family and friends so I’m more "me" there. But here you also have the opportunity to join groups. Search for literary groups/writing groups etc

Goodreads is another tool where you can connect to groups, again treat this as an opportunity to meet and connect with people.

With all social media take time to write your profile and add your links to create a chain between you and your media sites. And ALWAYS stick with ONE name – preferably your author name. The web is a small world and you WILL be recognised. It takes time and patience, but it DOES pay off.

Only don't expect it within a month - or even six months. Sorry if that's NOT what you want to hear. There is no magic formula. If there was I'd be selling it at fifty quid a bottle!

Patience and perseverance is the golden key.

But think of it this way: you'll meet loads of writers in the same position as yourself and you'll make lots of friends.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Stephanie Dray's Song of the Nile - another book for your TBR list.

Way back in November 2010 Wise Words interviewed Stephanie Dray over her book Lily of the Nile. She is now BACK with the captivating sequel SONG OF THE NILE.

Song of the Nile

Sorceress. Seductress. Schemer. Cleopatra’s daughter has become the emperor’s most unlikely apprentice and the one woman who can destroy his empire…

Having survived her perilous childhood as a royal captive of Rome, Selene pledged her loyalty to Augustus and swore she would become his very own Cleopatra. Now the young queen faces an uncertain destiny in a foreign land.

Forced to marry a man of the emperor’s choosing, Selene will not allow her new husband to rule in her name. She quickly establishes herself as a capable leader in her own right and as a religious icon. Beginning the hard work of building a new nation, she wins the love of her new subjects and makes herself vital to Rome by bringing forth bountiful harvests.

But it’s the magic of Isis flowing through her veins that makes her indispensable to the emperor. Against a backdrop of imperial politics and religious persecution, Cleopatra’s daughter beguiles her way to the very precipice of power. She has never forgotten her birthright, but will the price of her mother’s throne be more than she’s willing to pay?


Stephanie graduated from Smith, a small women’s college in Massachusetts where–to the consternation of her devoted professors–she was unable to master Latin. However, her focus on Middle Eastern Studies gave her a deeper understanding of the consequences of Egypt’s ancient clash with Rome, both in terms of the still-extant tensions between East and West as well as the worldwide decline of female-oriented religion.
Before she wrote novels, Stephanie was a lawyer, a game designer, and a teacher. Now she uses the transformative power of magic realism to illuminate the stories of women in history and inspire the young women of today. She remains fascinated by all things Roman or Egyptian and has–to the consternation of her devoted husband–collected a house full of cats and ancient artifacts.

Read Stephanie's 2010 interview on Wise Words HERE

Monday, 12 September 2011

To self-publish or not. One author's experience...

Look at me. My Shifter Evolutions saga is on the shelf at Barnes n Noble in Tampa! Want it in your BnN? Just ask at the front desk and they can order the book for you!

What route I chose and why?

I began writing fiction novels at the start of 2009. I wrote short stories, poetry and non-fiction before that time. After completing my first novel The Gate of Lake Forest I pursued epublishing and found an epublisher www.ireadiwrite.com with Michelle. She accepted me and took my sequel novel Prisoners of Pride as well. I then wrote my first historical romance title The Day the Flowers Died and submitted it to Whiskey Press. They accepted it. But at that time, I was really looking into self-publishing and noticed a trend in that direction with many writers, good writers, successful writers. After learning a lot from Michelle, I decided to go my own route and said no to Whiskey Press. 

I discovered something all writers should know! 

epublishers, small publishers, indie publishers cannot do anything for your brand and your novel that you cannot do better. With minimal promos, they will take at least 50% of your profits. 

I don't sign with publishers now unless they offer non-exclusive rights, so that I may publish/distribute with whomever and wherever I wish. The only exception to this rule is if you are accepted by a BIG-House-Publisher who is also willing to put Money behind the Promos for your book. Which usually means you need an agent. 

If you can get an agent-great! Make sure they get you a good deal with a big publisher who has the vision you have so they see the potential and are willing to money where their mouth is.

Otherwise, do it yourself! You can learn! You will have total creative freedom, get to work intimately with an editor you chose, chose the cover design you want, distribute to where you want, and get all the profits while having the ability to distribute the book as soon as you want as well as stop distribution and make changes whenever you want. No such luck with a publisher. 

So, make sure you pay attention to how much you are giving up in exchange to how much you are getting before you sign the dotted line.

That is What and Why. Perhaps many of you are asking...HOW?


Find a good editor or two! Find an illustrator or graphic artist! 

Lulu.com (ipad)

Promote on a few sites you've researched and like and build your loyal base of fans from there.

Get a website on blogger, or wordpress or weebly (all for free)

Have a presence online on twitter, facebook, kindle and nook forums and pick a few more forums you like related to your book genres.

Build a fan base in your local area with distribution of your books to schools, universities, libraries, and book events everywhere! Ask and you'll be surprised how many say "yes" ! 

Learn more on my website: http://amiblackwelder.blogspot.com every Sunday!

Shifter Evolutions Saga
Paranormal Romance
Historical Romance

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Follow me and I'll follow you...

Thought I'd share a resource with my fellow writers: WoMen's Literary Cafe, or #sharethelove on Twitter, aim to offer support for the writer's platform by following/liking each and every one of you if you are willing to reciprocate.

Every Friday you will need to post your FB Fanpage (if you haven't a fanpage add your blog) and Twitter name.

Click on links provided and follow/link everyone there. Refer your fellow writers to the chain - the more the merrier!

Check here for full details.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Grumpy Wombat Tania McCartney...

Riley and the Grumpy Wombat Blog Tour

Children and Travel
Tania McCartney

I have a quiet obsession with travel. Of course, like most of us, I never do it often enough but I still feel grateful to have devoured some large and delicious slices of the world. One curious thing about travel is that its beauty and life-changing experiences are only heightened and intensified through sharing (a bit like slices of cake)… most especially when it comes to children.

In 2005, our young family was posted for Beijing for four years. My children were only aged two and four, and although I’d already lived and worked overseas, I must admit, I was daunted about taking my babies to live in Asia. China had always been an unknown entity to me – it had sort of slipped to the lower end of a very long Must-Visit list – and this is why it surprised no one more than me how quickly we stumbled and fell head-over-heels in love with this ancient and diverse country.

We simply adored our time in China, and it was truly some of the most enriching years of my life, not to mention that of my children. Our life in the capital inspired my very first children’s picture book – Riley and the Sleeping Dragon: A journey around Beijing. This book was originally a ‘project’ I wanted to create as a memento for our life in Beijing, but it soon grew into something more than that. After self-publishing and selling out of two print runs in bookstores across China, I was surprised and delighted when the book did so well upon our return home to Australia. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised – we are a nation of voyagers, after all.

For me, travelling with children is a priceless way to hone a vital psychological skillset in youngsters. Tolerance, understanding, openness, acceptance, courage, curiosity, self-confidence, awareness, a hunger for adventure – these are just some of the benefits of opening the world to kids.

My children, Ella and Riley (now 11 and 8) have travelled to eight different countries in their short years on earth, and never have I seen faster and deeper development in my children than both during- and post-travel. From the subconscious absorption of language and culture to the wide-eyed fascination of life so different to their own, through the mind-boggling flavours, scents and sounds experienced each time we voyage abroad… the educational and soul-stretching benefits of travel cannot be underestimated.
I have also noticed greater independence, less fear and more curiosity in my children since taking them abroad – and, most unexpectedly, a deeper love of both home and coming home. Travel most certainly instills a sense of self- and national-pride in our kids, and allows them to [so vitally] see just how good they have things here in Australia.

But travelling overseas is not the only way to broaden your children through travel. Voyaging interstate, to country towns or even to the other side of your city are ways we can embrace the concept of travel in children. Setting out on an adventure, whether it be to Paris or the local park, is not only exciting and great fun, it enhances spatial awareness and learning, invites problem-solving and planning, stretches mental and physical boundaries and – importantly – allows that priceless (and increasingly rare) one-on-one time between parent and child.

I never expected to morph Riley and the Sleeping Dragon into a series of books. It sort of happened naturally, especially when I witnessed the delight children experienced when reading the book out loud – whether it was in recognition of their home town of Beijing, revisiting the Beijing they once knew, or visiting Beijing for the very first time through the pages of a book.

The Riley series may be serious armchair travel in itself but it was important for me to embrace and encourage cultural and traditional elements in each book, to enhance the obvious visual elements. Not only can kids experience new places through black and white photos, they can also learn more about the unique idiosyncrasies of each destination in the Riley series through iconic words and images, metaphors and of course – the local faunal element each book introduces – a dragon for Beijing, a wombat for Melbourne, etc.

Not all children have the opportunity to travel far and wide but I feel passionately about offering every child the chance to travel through the pages of a book. If my Riley series can ignite the barest flicker of interest in foreign places… that will be enough for me.

As long as children love to explore, the Riley series will continue. And if I have to keep travelling to research each exciting new destination for Riley and his travelling team of critters, then I guess that’s just what I’ll have to do. Sigh. It’s a tough job. Paris, anyone?

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Fantasy writer Prue Batten - A Thousand Glass Flowers

Two people… one an extraordinary young woman, the other an embittered immortal man. Both seeking concealed spells that could annihilate Life.

In a quest through a world where Others lace their way in and out of the lives of mortals, this is a story of legend, love, and clashing ideals. A story of murder, regret and revenge… a story that journeys across a world too hauntingly like our own.

An interview with:
Prue Batten, fantasy author of A Thousand Glass Flowers

What inspired you to write your book?
Believe it or not a Murano millefiori paperweight that my son bought in Venice. Without giving too much away, the paperweight becomes a vehicle for hiding an apocalyptic charm and the novel is essentially a hunt to find that charm. When I looked at my own paperweight in detail and then researched how the millefiori are made, I realized it would be possible to slip the flimsiest, piece of paper down the center of the hollow glass rods that are blown and cut to make the flowers.

Here’s a Wiki link for those who are wondering what millefiori is. (No, I didn’t know either!): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millefiori

What is A Thousands Glass Flowers all about?
It’s a fantasy/magical realism novel. Like many novels it is a journey to self-realisation by two very different, very damaged protagonists – one is a woman, Lalita Khatoun, a gifted scribe from Ahmadabad in the Raj, an exotic province in the world of Eirie and Finnian, an Other. Others are ubiquitous in the fabric of Eirie and a bane with which all mortals must deal. Many times, such confrontations with Others can be fatal, occasionally they can benefit the hapless mortal. To see what happens in Glass Flowers, you would have to read the novel.