Posts Tagged A Writer on Writing
Last week I took part in an event for International Women’s Day organised by Birmingham Adult Education Service . I was asked to speak about something to do with women and writing. Women are flourishing in the field of self-publishing so that’s the area I chose to focus on.
An early female ‘self-publisher’ was Jane Austen. Sense and Sensibility was only taken by the London publisher Thomas Egerton on the condition that the Austen family made good any losses suffered by the book if it didn’t sell. In my mind that equates to self-publishing because the author was taking all the financial risk. This story removes much of the stigma attached to self-publishing – showing that even classic writers have done it.
Jump forward 200 years and books by indie women authors are outselling those by men. An article in the Guardian stated that in early 2015 67% of the top-ranking self-published books were by women, compare that to the Telegraph’s ‘Best Books of 2014’ list – 70% of those were by men.
This article in the Daily Mail showcases three women who’ve sold thousands of their books on Kindle. We all know that they are the exception but they provide inspiration to the rest of us and show that it is possible, with hard work and an understanding of the marketplace, to make it big.
Having (hopefully) enthused my audience with these facts, I went on to give them a whistle stop guide to self-publishing on Kindle, based on Kindle Direct Publishing for Absolute Beginners. Afterwards a couple of ladies came and told me that they’d been inspired which was very gratifying.
Just in case I’ve inspired you too, my non-fiction e-books on writing are both only 99p/99c (UK & US only) until Sunday 20th March 2016. And men are allowed to make use of them too!
Hands up if you got any of the following for Christmas:
Amazon Gift Card?
Or do you already own any of the above?
I can see you all madly waving your arms in the air and I guess you’re all itching to download a bargain book. So, from now until Sunday 3rd January 2016, A Writer on Writing and House Guests are both only 99p each (or 99c if you’re in the US).
A Writer on Writing
A writer who earns money from his work is not merely a wordsmith. A profitable writer knows how to manage his time, produce ideas from a blank mind and create a web presence, plus many more things besides.
A Writer on Writing will introduce you to these and a range of other skills useful to anyone hoping to make cash from their words.
A cornucopia of contemporary short stories about modern life. Enjoy a plethora of twist endings, some humour plus a tiny bit of romance. There’s also a special guest story by prize-winning author and writing tutor, Iain Pattison! So make yourself a coffee, grab a sweet treat, put your feet up and indulge.
Happy reading and very best wishes for a happy, healthy and successful 2016!
A couple of bits of e-book news for you:
Just in case there’s anybody out there who hasn’t yet got A Writer on Writing – Advice to Make You a Success, I thought I’d let you know that it’s currently reduced to only 99p (99c in the US) until Sunday 18th May 2014. Grab it while you can!
Pete’s Story, the third in the Museum of Fractured Lives series is now available. Pete tells how he fell in love with Sarah almost thirty years ago when he was twenty-one. At the time he was singing in a band and living in a bedsit. Sarah was eighteen and had just left school. They planned their life together. Sarah would manage the band and it would become a worldwide success. But the couple’s future goes awry…
Finally I had some good news yesterday from Liz Smith at My Weekly – two stories accepted! So if you ask me this week how my writing’s going I’ll say, ‘Very well, thank you’.
By the way – thank you to everyone who took the time to comment on my previous post ‘How’s the Writing Going?’ It was really lovely to share all your experiences and know that none of us are alone!
I do hope that this week everyone’s writing is going tremendously – and if it’s not, remember we all often hit a dark spot. So pick yourself up and carry on! (or leave a comment on this post & I’ll commiserate with you).
You may remember that a couple of weeks ago I promoted my non-fiction e-book A Writer on Writing – Advice to Make You a Success using the new KDP Select sales tool – Kindle Countdown Deals. It was reduced from £1.99 to 99p for 7 days.
I thought I’d let you know how I got on.
During the promotion period I sold 20 copies in the UK but 1 was later refunded (Kindle books can be refunded if the request is made within 7 days of the original purchase – Amazon then automatically remove the book from your device). I sold 3 copies in the US where the discount was also running and 1 copy in Australia at full price (Kindle Countdown Deals only apply to the US and the UK).
In the week after the promotion period I sold 2 copies in the UK at full price and received 1 new review. I sold none anywhere else.
So I won’t be booking that Caribbean cruise just yet but I might manage to treat myself to a Salted Caramel Latte in Costa (I’m rather partial to them when they appear on the Christmas menu!).
But, all things considered, I’m fairly happy with the result because I didn’t spend much time promoting the Deal apart from here and on a couple of forums and a lot of the people I reached in this way would probably already have the book from earlier, free, promotions. Also, thanks to those people that gave me a shout-out!
It’s definitely a tool I’d consider using again sometime in the future. Psychologically, it feels better than giving books away for free but I think the free promo still has it’s place for cheaper books and as a method of giving a new book an initial ‘lift’.
On another subject, I’ve just finished reading my advance copy of Carole Matthews new book – ‘A Place to Call Home’. The story brings together 4 injured souls who are all hurting in different ways. Over the course of a summer they bond together and help each other to heal. It’s an easy to read, ‘feel good’ novel – just the thing if you’re fed up of these long dark days of winter. It will be published on Jan 9th 2014 but is available for Amazon pre-order now in hardback and e-book format.
Kindle Countdown Deals allow a book to be sold at a discounted price for up to seven days in a ninety day period. Customers see the usual price and the offer price on the book’s detail page as well as a countdown clock indicating how long the discounted price is available.
Obviously this sales tool is much more attractive to writers than simply offering books for free but it’s not as simple as organising a free promotion. In a nutshell:
- Books must be enrolled in KDP Select and have had a minimum regular price of £1.99 or $2.99 for at least 30 days.
- When discounted, the book continues to earn royalties at its usual rate e.g. dropping the price to 99p doesn’t drop the book into the 35% royalty bucket.
- The minimum discount is £1 or $1 and this discount can be stepped e.g. a regular price of £2.99 could be reduced to 99p for the first 3 days of the 7 day period followed by an increased (but still discounted) price of £1.99 for the remainder of the promotion.
- A Countdown Deal and a free promotion can’t be run in the same 90 day period – it’s one or the other.
- Promotions only apply to the UK and the US
For full details click on ‘Manage Benefits’ in your KDP Bookshelf. Or have a look at this post on Nick Daws’ blog where he’s gone into a lot more detail than I have.
Now I here’s my very own Kindle Countdown Deal for you:
A Writer on Writing – Advice to Make You A Success is available in the UK for only 99p (half price) for the next seven days (until 11pm Saturday 14th December).
It is available in the US for 99c from 7am today until 3pm on 11th December and then at $1.99 until 11pm 14th December (times are PST).
Danita Dyess reviewed A Writer on Writing for Readers’ Favourite. She said, “I was impressed by A Writer on Writing. As a freelance writer, I have read numerous books on the do’s and don’ts of writing. But Sally Jenkins’ down-to-earth advice acknowledged the day-to-day obstacles, e.g. juggling family and work, getting distracted and overcoming intimidation when submitting letters to editors by providing realistic solutions. Her style was personable but authoritative.”
The full review is available here.
So why not bag yourself a Kindle Countdown Deal today (it’s an offer that won’t be repeated for at least another three months)!
As you may remember from Maxine’s Story, The Museum of Fractured Lives displays objects donated by people who have suffered a trauma in their lives. The objects are a symbol of that trauma.
When accepting a donation, the museum employees try to obtain the full story behind the object.
Each book in The Museum of Fractured Lives series tells the story of one donated object and the person who has given it. These books are ‘flash’ novellas of around 8,500 words.
Karen’s Story tells the tale of a single woman’s quest to find a man to father her baby. Her choice of mate has devastating consequences. Karen’s story is pure selfishness and destroys several lives.
Karen’s Story is only 77p in the UK . It is also available across all other Amazon sites by searching by the title or for ASIN: B00F3FMHSK.
To celebrate this launch, the first Museum of Fractured Lives book, Maxine’s Story, is free for today only (15th September).
Also free (until 18th September) is my collection of writing articles, A Writer on Writing – Advice to Make You a Success.
I’ve a few ‘writerly’ things to impart this week:
Amazon Tax Form
Those of you with e-books for sale on Amazon will have received a request to complete an on-line tax ‘interview’ or risk having your books removed from the website. I was a bit concerned when I saw this, in case I had to go through the palaver of getting a US tax exemption certificate. But the ‘interview’ was very easy and quick to complete and no certificates were needed. The benefit of the tax exemption certificate is that it stops Amazon withholding 30% of the royalties on US sales but the downside is it necessitates a trip to London to get ID validated – not worth it financially for me because the vast majority of my sales are in the UK.
If you want more information on this, have a look at Nick Daws’ blog.
By the way, I wonder if the UK government withholds money from US citizens? I doubt it somehow.
A Good Review
Talking of e-books. Brian David, from the CheerReader website, has sung the praises of ‘A Writer on Writing – Advice to Make You a Success!’ on his site’s homepage (scroll down this page to see the review). He describes it as:
‘a superb little tome that gives you all the hints and advice you need to make your writing as good as you want it to be’.
Win a Toothbrush
Last Monday I picked up the Metro newspaper (free on some public transport) on a train to Milton Keynes and spotted the Rush-hour Crush competition. Just write a few words about that dishy man/woman you’ve spotted on the bus/train/tube and you could win a Sonicare HealthyWhite electric toothbrush. There’s a prize each day but you’ll have to be quick, the competition ends on 13th September 2013. Entry is by an electronic form here.
Finally, I had a phone call this week to tell me that I’ve won the Friends of Morley Literature Festival Short Story competition, judged by Gervase Phinn. The story was originally written for last year’s Jeremy Mogford Prize for Food and Drink Writing competition and it came nowhere. But now it’s won me £50 so I’m chuffed to bits! (By the way, I also won this competition in 2011 so maybe I shouldn’t enter next year …)
I’m just back from walking the Cleveland Way (109 miles in 10 gloriously sunny days) and am now chasing my tail trying to catch up on everything!
Just before I left I had an acceptance from My Weekly. It was for a story I subbed in October 2011 – so never think your story has fallen into a black hole if you get no response!
Also, those lovely people at Readers’ Favourite have reviewed my non-fiction book A Writer on Writing – Advice to Make You A Success. They’ve given it a whopping 5 stars (and I promise, no money changed hands!). Read the review here.
Finally, today is Sally Quilford’s 50th birthday and there are lots of exciting things happening on her blog, including e-book giveaways and a massive prize draw. I’ve joined in the fun and one of Sally’s giveaways is my e-book, Maxine’s Story – The Museum of Fractured Lives. It’s free for today only (11th August) and you can get it directly via Amazon or why not pop over to Sally’s blog and check out all the other goodies too? Her prize draw closes on Friday 16th August but many of the e-book freebies are only valid today.
By the way, if you’re looking for an escapist easy read, take a look at Carole Matthews’ new book, Calling Mrs Christmas. I received a review copy via Carole’s newsletter and it was perfect holiday reading. It took me from the misery of a suicide attempt in a young offenders’ institution to the splendour of Lapland’s famous Ice Hotel. And it was all tied together with a little bit of love …
My non-fiction Kindle e-book ‘A Writer on Writing – Advice to Make You a Success’ is free on Amazon for the next five days (18th to 22nd June 2013).
Using my feature articles that have appeared in the UK writing press, I look at topics such as:
The self-discipline needed to write and stay focussed
A method of getting ideas
Tips on writing flash fiction
How to choose an educational course to help with your writing
Tips on writing anniversary articles
Tips on creating a backup of your work
How to decide on pseudonym
How to create a good first impression with an editor
Tips on starting a blog
The benefits of a writing buddy
How to write a novel in a month!
And remember, you don’t need a Kindle to read Kindle books. Amazon supply free software for your PC, laptop or other device here.
Enjoy! (and if you do please leave a review on Amazon!)
Ride – Short Fiction About Bicycles is looking for submissions for its next short story anthology.
RIDE 3 will be published in print, as well as digital format.
The only requirement is that a bicycle or bicycle subculture must feature prominently in the story. Any genre, any gender, any length up to about 12,000 words, any setting, any country, any time period, any kind of cycling. The more diversity—of locations, cycling cultures, story genres—the better.
Payment ranges from $20 to $75 depending on the length of the story. Deadline is 31st August 2013.
The full details are here.
With thanks to Nick Daws for bringing this market to my attention via his newsletter.
After all the wonderful advice I got on my previous post about cover design, I thought I’d got things under control in that department. But my attempt at a cover for my third book was so abysmal that I daren’t even show it to you here. Compared with similar books already on Amazon it looked very basic and most definitely amateurish.
I think this is because the book is non-fiction and therefore requires a very business-like cover to get anywhere near competing with the hundreds of other books on the same subject.
So I decided to call in the professionals. I used the website Fiverr. This site features hundreds (or maybe thousands even) of sellers offering their services for just $5. The range of services is vast from personalised greetings cards, translations and bespoke bedtime stories. But there are also lots of e-book cover designers on there too.
I picked one of the top-rated designers (like on EBay, buyers have to leave feedback on the service they received) and told her the title of the book, what it was about and a brief suggestion about the type of image that might be suitable (it is also possible to send the designer a specific photo if you have one that you want to include on the cover).
Two days later my cover design was delivered and you can see it on this post. It’s much better than I could produce. I’ve borrowed the title from a ‘column’ on the Open Writing website which runs an extract from this blog each week (the site includes lots of other writing from around the world, too).
A Writer on Writing is a compilation of 14 of my articles that have appeared in the UK writing press, such as Writing Magazine & Writers News, The New Writer, Writers’ Forum and Freelance Market News. They cover subjects as diverse as generating ideas, writing articles with an anniversary ‘hook’ and flash fiction.
As I did with my other books, I have set an introductory price of 77p – with a view to increasing it when I see how sales go. Setting the perfect price point to encourage buyers without devaluing the work involved in producing a book is very difficult. 77p is the lowest price point available to independent authors.
I’ll keep you posted on how my e-publishing empire is growing (or not as the case may be!).