Posts Tagged Nick Daws
Amazon has introduced a new feature to help authors generate book sales from their websites and social media activities. A Kindle Instant Book Preview can be embedded into a webpage using HTML or shared as a link via email, text and social media. This enables readers to preview a book (in a similar way to the ‘Look Inside’ feature found on Amazon product pages) with only one click and without leaving the webpage they are currently browsing.
Try clicking on the book cover image below left and you’ll see what I mean.
If the reader likes what he sees there is a direct link to purchase the book from Amazon. A Kindle Instant Book Preview retains traffic on an author’s website because books can be viewed without diverting your website visitor to Amazon.
To obtain the Preview link, search for the book on Amazon.com (not UK), click the ‘Embed’ link on the right next to the other sharing options, copy the URL or embed the HTML code onto your website.
N.B. It’s not possible to embed the HTML into a wordpress.com site (like this one) because wordpress.com doesn’t allow certain HTML codes such as ‘iframe’. So I’ve displayed the book cover image with the Preview link behind it.
Full details can be found at http://www.amazon.com/b?ie=UTF8&node=13489836011&tag=viglink20273-20
If you’d like to read more on Nick’s original post, you’ll find it here.
Recently there’s been discussion around the web about whether or not writers should pay to have their novel edited.
On his blog Nick Daws puts forward a very good argument against paying for an editor. Instead he advocates making sure that your written English is up to scratch and also taking advantage of free resources, such as beta readers, writing groups and writers’ forums offering feedback on work. Nick also points out that an editing service is likely to only provide copy-editing. A thorough structural edit is an iterative process requiring the manuscript to go back and forth – which can’t be done if the author is paying per 1,000 words.
Similarly there has been discussion on the Writing Magazine Talkback forum, ‘Writers On-line’. It was pointed out that any suggestions coming from an editor are subjective and are only that particular person’s point of view. Also, be prepared for a damning report – if a paid-for edit is to be worth its money, it has to be honest and therefore may not be what you want to hear. And of course editing services cost a lot of money.
So, now that I have a completed novel manuscript and a self-publishing package prize, where do I stand in the ‘paying for an editor’ debate?
The answer is – I don’t know.
Like everybody, I want my book to be something of which I can be proud. I don’t want to worry that people will buy it and then be disappointed. So ideally, I’d like a professional to give my work the once over.
But I’m also aware that it will be very difficult to sell enough copies of a self-published book to recoup the expense of a quality editing service.
Currently my book has gone off to its first beta reader – and I’m feeling very nervous about the outcome. Also I’ve taken advantage of the free sample chapter edit offered by Jefferson Franklin. I was pleased with the result – the things that their reader highlighted improve the text and I wouldn’t have spotted them myself. It would be good to have that experienced critical eye over the rest of the manuscript.
What does anyone else think? Are editing services worth the investment?
The Equestrian Short Story Competition 2014 is a good one to enter if you’re trying to get break into horse-based fiction. But be aware that the publicity and exposure will be worth more than the actual prize.
The competition is looking for, ” … stories that have an equestrian background rather than solely about just being a horse. Maybe a crime novel set in the horse world or perhaps a fantasy novel or an equestrian Harry Potter? How about an equestrian romance which is ideal for the Jilly Cooper addicts!”
The winner’s story will be published as an e-book with the profit from sales going to World Horse Welfare. The winner will also get a Haynet logo hoody.
Word limit is 6,000 words plus a 500 word synopsis. Entry is by email and the closing date is 11th August 2014.
Please check all the terms and conditions before entering.
And if you’re wondering what the photo has to do with the competition – absolutely nothing!
This is me after walking 26 miles, up and down dale (and steep hills!), in the Peak District on Sunday as part of the Leaden Boot Challenge. I look happy because I’ve finally finished (and just eaten a massive plate of pie and peas). But the pain kicked in on Monday morning and I’ve been hobbling around with sore muscles and blistered feet since then.
Any sort of physical challenge like this reminds me of writing, i.e. actually doing it is hard work and not always enjoyable. But that feeling of having completed a challenge or having written something, can’t be beaten!
Do you understand where I’m coming from?
GeoRiot is a free tool that may be useful to those of you who are marketing Amazon Kindle e-books.
I’m going to explain it simply because not everyone will be familiar with the basic concepts.
Amazon stores are country specific i.e. those of us living in Britain shop through Amazon.co.uk, those in the US buy through Amazon.com and there are also geographic specific sites for France, India, Germany and many more.
Most e-book marketing is global via the internet, using blog posts, Facebook, newsletters, paid-for adverts etc. Authors using these methods will endeavour to provide readers with a direct link to the Amazon page for the e-book being promoted.
However, unless the author provides the individual link for each geographical Amazon site, there will be users somewhere in the world who don’t reach their ‘home’ Amazon site and, if they want to buy the book, will have to navigate there by themselves. Many of them won’t bother. When the link provided doesn’t take them where they want to go, they’ll click on to something else instead.
But it looks clumsy and messy to list around a dozen Amazon links every time you mention your book on the web.
GeoRiot creates a single web address for an Amazon product. This address will always take the user directly to his ‘home’ Amazon site. If the link is clicked in the UK then it will route the user to Amazon.co.uk, if the link is clicked in the US then it will route the user to Amazon.com and so on.
Here’s an example. When advertising Kindle Direct Publishing for Absolute Beginners I could list each geographical link:
For buyers in the UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kindle-Direct-Publishing-Absolute-Beginners-ebook/dp/B00IJFG1W4/
For buyers in the US: http://www.amazon.com/Kindle-Direct-Publishing-Absolute-Beginners-ebook/dp/B00IJFG1W4/
For buyers in Australia: http://www.amazon.com.au/Kindle-Direct-Publishing-Absolute-Beginners-ebook/dp/B00IJFG1W4/
Or I can use just one global link provided by GeoRiot: http://georiot.co/40oj
I think it looks much more professional to provide a single link.
GeoRiot provide this service for free unless you are an Amazon affiliate and then they take a small percentage of your affiliate earnings. For more details on how this payment system works see the GeoRiot website and Nick Daws’ comprehensive blog post where he goes into this and the mechanics of GeoRiot in much more detail than I have.
That’s it – I hope I haven’t blinded any of you with science!
A couple of weeks ago I told you about a Guest Posting contest organised by Nick Daws.
Well, I took my own advice, entered – and won!
My guest post was about the benefits of writing a fiction e-book series and some tips on how to go about it. The post is now available to read in full on Nick’s blog.
And I’d like to congratulate Sharon Boothroyd, who is a follower of this blog, she also entered and was one of the runners-up. Her post too will appear on Nick’s high-traffic blog.
The Page is Printed Creative Writing Prize
Now here’s an unusual writing competition based around a single A4 page. The website says:
“Submissions are invited in any genre, it could be a love letter, a short story, a poem, a court summons or a shopping list … the only rule is that your entry must be contained on one side of A4.”
Closing date is 1st may 2014. There are first, second and third prizes of £200, £100 and £50. Entry fee is £4 or three for £10.
Full details can be found here.
This week I’ve been thinking about my entry for the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook Short Story Competition.
As I’m sure most of you know, the first prize is £500 and an Arvon writing course. So it’s a prize worth winning and it’s also free entry – which makes it doubly good! But the closing date is 15th February 2014 – so it’s time to start getting my entry together.
Iain judges a lot of competitions. In the book he gives the following reason for why a lot of stories fail in competitions:
The stories were obviously written for a women’s magazine and failed to find a home. Therefore they often have a domestic setting, a female protagonist, a twist ending and the plot is a variation on a theme. The stories lack an individual voice.
As a judge, Iain wants to be taken somewhere he’s never been before. He doesn’t want to read about office life and how the junior is plotting revenge on the boss who passed her over for promotion.
So, it seems there’s no point in me going through my rejected womag stories to find one that might fit a theme of ‘The Visit’.
Incidentally, Iain suggests that this may be why men might seem to do better in writing competitions. Fewer of them write for women’s magazines and therefore they compose a fresh story for a competition without the restrictions of womag writing.
What does anyone else think? Have you ever won/been shortlisted in a competition with a story originally written for a womag?
And talking of competitions, Nick Daws is running a Guest Post Competition over on his blog. First prize is $50 (or the equivalent in UK pounds). The post must be on a topic of interest to writers and be 500 – 1000 words long. Closing date is 31st January 2014 and entry is free. He ran a similar competition last year and then I was lucky enough to be the winner – this time it could be you!
Finally, the first anniversary of the publication of One Day for Me is almost upon us and next week I will be announcing a special offer …
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)!
Many thanks to my friend Nick for bringing this competition to my attention.
Earlier this year the Cremona Hotel in Bournemouth held a crime writing short story competition (I entered but never heard a thing, so I guess I didn’t win …). It must have been a success because now they are holding a romance writing short story competition.
Entry is FREE and you must write a romantic story of up to 1,200 words with a seaside background.
First prize is a weekend for two at the Cremona and there are runners up prizes of £25 and £15.
Closing date is 14th Feb 2014. Full details can be found here.
Talking of competitions – has anyone discovered where, on the Best magazine website, the weekly ‘stories’ are, one of which contains the name of a famous writer? Entrants to the Best short story competition need to include this writer’s name as part of their entry. All I’ve found are three interviews with writers – any of which could be classed as ‘famous’.
Finally, as you read this, I am up in Leeds on a ‘How to Write the Mystery Novel’ weekend, run by ‘Relax and Write’. I’ll let you know how I got on next week, along with announcing the winner of the Book Review Competition (you’ve got until midnight Sat 26th to enter).