Archive for the ‘Genre’ Tag

Createspace and print editions.

Createspace. Amazon’s resource for creating, amongst other things, printed editions of books. Even as a fan of the Kindle for publishing I do have to admit to there being a certain thrill to holding a physical book in your hands. We all started reading with print so it speaks to something deep inside to have an actual book you have written in your grip.

So, is Createspace a good idea? Yes, for those of us self-publishing it is a great resource. Sure, most copies of our books out there will be digital but there are always a few people who stick with print and print only. Even though it may only get a few sales that is still new people reading what you’ve written, whioch can only be a good thing.

However, there is one issue – the useability of Createspace. There are a lot of steps in setting up your book, and I do mean a lot of steps. Even if you have already set up your book in Kindle Direct Publishing you cannot just port it across to Createspace. You may have already done all the formatting of the text but Createspace will ask for a PDF of the interior . . . and then it will mess with it a bit so you still have to go through and fix some problems. You may already have a cover but you will still need to upload it again, picking a template that includes the spine and back cover. Why it cannot drag across the interior text and front cover automatically by use of your book’s ASIN, I do not know. Oddly it will let you port everything across to KDP at the end of the process but you cannot do it the other way around.

After much effort, and occasional bad language, I know have all my books set up as print editions as well as digital. This is great but in a couple of days I have the joy of trying to convince Amazon that the print and Kindle editions need to be linked, based on my first experience of doing it this is unlikely to be a fun time!

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Serials and collected editions.

Once a serial is finished how long should you wait before listing the collected version? Once the collected edition is up, how long should the serial episodes be up? Should they stay available forever, or be taken down?

 

Honestly, I don’t know. The collected edition of my serial, New Dawns, probably went up way too quickly, but then again it wasn’t like the serial episodes were selling in huge quantities. I’d had them all up together for a few months but decided the other day to take down the individual episodes. Is this the right decision? Who knows, I will have to wait and see.

 

The other question is what to do about The Carters? So far I have published Sovereign Nation and a shorter follow-up called Chasing The Future but I don’t see the third story coming out any time soon, that is if I ever get around to it at all. On it’s own Chasing the future is not attracting a lot of interest so do I just bundle it together with Sovereign Nation? If I do, should that be as a new collected edition or should I revise the text of Sovereign Nation and add it in? This is one I continue to ponder.

Serial Fiction

The final part of New Dawns, Season One, went up on Amazon on Friday. First time I have published a novel in serial form and the first time I have written a Christmas story to finish off a book. The collected version will be out in a couple of weeks (on 5th December) so I need to work out how best to market that and see what sort of download numbers I can get.

What have I learned from writing a serial? First and formost, if I am going to commit to a publishing schedule then I need to have everything written first or specific time set aside to write that cannot be taken over by other things. Everything but the final part was ready to go when I set it all up, the final part was tough to write as I had no time to do it and a commitment to get it out in the same schedule as the rest.

Secondly, serial fiction is a complex beast and very different from writing a novel or short story. Each individual part of a serial must be a satisfying story in itself. Not necessarily stand-alone as it is part of an ongoing narrative but a satisfying read on it’s own. Did I manage this with New Dawns? Probably not with every part. Honestly, New Dawns would probably have worked better as the first novel in a series. In any future serials I will try to think more like a TV series – the first part is the pilot and the others the individual episodes. New dawns was possibly more like a mini-series – one story split into parts – and the individual episodes should probably have been longer and thus fewer in number overall.

Will there be more New Dawns? Sure there will, there are a million more stories I can tell in that setting but I need to work out the best way to tell them. For now, I am ready to move on to the next idea and see where I end up with that. Will it be another serial? That will very much depend on the idea.

Sales and downloads.

In the past I’ve put up a lot of information about sales and downloads but recently I haven’t updated on the last few promotions – increased busyness in real life reduced time to post updates! Instead I thought I’d put up some total figures as they might be of interest.

A bit of history to start with, publication dates.
Second Time Lucky? and Sovereign Nation went up in mid-to-late September 2013.
Chasing The Future went up on Amazon in July 2014.
The various parts of New Dawns went up in October 2014, with another part going up the end of this week and the final one going up when I have finished writing it.

Second Time Lucky? total downloads: 1,153 (1,146 free, 7 sales).
Sovereign Nation total downloads: 1,243 (1,221 free, 22 sales).
Chasing The Future total downloads: 325 (320 free, 5 sales).
New Dawns (all parts) total downloads: 474 (458 free, 16 sales).

Overall total downloads: 3,195 (3,145 free, 50 sales).

Broken down by country:
2,929 in the USA.
162 in the UK.
30 in Germany.
22 in Canada.
14 in Italy.
8 each in France, India and Australia.
6 each in Spain and Japan.
2 in Brazil.

In just over a year that is 3,195 total downloads! Way above what I would have expected. Yes, it is mostly free downloads but I don’t care about that. Even assuming that the highest downloads (Sovereign Nation) are unique readers and that every other download has come from subsets of them that means over 1,200 people have read something I have written. At least I can be sure it is too many for it to just be friends and family!

New Dawns – Season One of a new Romantic-Christian-Science-Fiction serial!

New Chances is the first episode of season one of my new serial, New Dawns, and it goes live on 3rd October! New episodes will launch weekly after that, six in total so far. They will be followed by a Christmas special and, eventually, a collected edition.

Writing a serial is new for me so it will be interesting to see how it goes. Season Two will follow as soon as I’ve got all the ideas together and actually sat down and written it!

The blurb for Season One is below:

The Earth is dying. Humanity’s only hope lies in moving to a new home, the worlds orbiting a gas giant that is a two hundred year journey away. New lives await the first colonists, if they can overcome the weight of their pasts on Earth.

Carl and Martha travel with their teenage children, hoping a new world can help them rebuild their marriage. Their children will need to find new ways to live their lives away from the technological devices that run the overcrowded city they come from.

Jordan fights to escape her past, to find a new role and a new place away from the troubles she is leaving light years behind her.

Carlton and Jacqueline travel in the lap of luxury, transferring their powerbase from Earth to the new colonies. They will remain part of the ruling elite of humanity, they will preserve their wealth. At least, that is what they think.

Father Josiah, an ordinary Catholic priest, leads a pilgrimage to the new worlds. A pilgrimage that will bring him more than he knows.

Mark is an ordinary pilgrim, a man looking for a simple life. His journey will be tougher than he thinks and bring a reward he does not expect.

Together they experience good and bad times, romance and friendships, hardships and troubles as they travel toward a new dawn for mankind. Some will find their journey causes their faith to strengthen, some will find their faith shaken, some will discover faith anew in their new lives.

New Chances is the first episode of Season One of New Dawns, a series of short stories and novellettes (4,500 – 8,500 words) that tell the story of humanity’s new life on new worlds.

Facebook, New Work and Reviews – An Update On Many Things

Facebook promotions.

Ok, so I posted my advert for all three books on Facebook on Sunday morning. Posted it in 60 different Facebook groups, all of them dedicated to Kindles, books, authors and so on. The end result of all that posting? Nothing, nada, zilch, zero, not a dickie-bird. So after multiple postings to all those groups over the course of a month or so I got a total of 5 sales. 5. And I’m pretty sure one of those was to my brother. Time for a new marketing strategy!

I think I am going to actually have to pay for some advertising, I just cannot do it myself. Maybe it is just that my books are selling as many copies as they are going to or maybe it is that they just aren’t prominent enough, until I try something serious I won’t really know. Most of the “Writer’s Cafe” members on Kboards.com seem to believe Bknights promos are the best value, cheap but with a reasonable return, so I think I might try one of them.

I have had a brief look at their fiverr profile and it looks like I can get something for about $20, pretty cheap really.
Apparently they work best when your book is free, due to the way the Kindle Select system works I do not have any free days until 20th September (on Sovereign Nation and Second Time Lucky) or 14th October (on Chasing The Future). My next work is almost ready to begin publishing so maybe I will try it for that?

New work.

I’ve decided to do something different with my next work. Different in a lot of ways. First of all it is not a thriller or a mystery, much though I enjoyed writing them I wanted a change of pace. I’ve had a science-fiction idea rolling around in my head for a long while and I’ve tried writing it several times, only to give up after a few thousand words because it hasn’t really worked, now I think I have a handle on it. The end result has no gun fights, car chases, murders or ancient artefacts in booby-trap filled tombs – instead it has ended up with a fair amount of romance and musings on how faith affects people. There is still plenty of story their, it is not a lot of characters sitting around navel-gazing, but it is very different from what I have written before.

The other major difference is that I think I am going to release it as a serial. I’ve got a first part that is around 25,000 words and I’m already starting on follow up parts that will be anything from short stories to novelettes to novellas (check the wikipedia article on ‘Word Counts’ for definitions of these). The parts would probably be released monthly and maybe eventually I would put together omnibus editions. It just seems like the right format for the story as I have got a lot of POV characters so the story seems to naturally split into parts.

A Romantic-Christian-Science-Fiction serial from an almost unknown writer of thrillers, that should be an easy sell, right?

Reviews.

One piece of really good news, another positive review for Sovereign Nation! From one of Amazon’s top reviewers too, brilliant! I love to read reviews of my books that are honest and it really sounds like he’s enjoyed the book and my style of writing so I’m very glad to have the new review, go to Amazon and give it a read.

A Rant About Genre.

Genre. Something of a dirty word in some literary circles who don’t believe they write in one (sorry people, literary fiction is also a genre) and something the publishing industry believes in passionately. Writers used to be pigeon-holed into one genre pretty quickly by publishers and it took a lot to even be allowed to try publishing anything in another, to be honest this still seems to be the case with most major publishing houses. However, independent authors are now changing this.
The biggest problem I always had with genre was working out which one many of my favourite books fit into. Was The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy a work of Science-Fiction or Comedy, was there a Science-Fiction-Comedy genre? Are the works of Bernard Cornwell filed under Historical Fiction, Military Fiction or Action & Adventure or some mish-mash of all of them? What about the Dragonlance novels of that marvellous combination Weis and Hickman – are they Fantasy, RPG Based Fiction or just Damned Good Fiction? Was Cold Comfort Farm to be filed under Comedies Of Manners, Literary Fiction, Comedy or just Pure Genius?
Outside of the big publishing companies people have already started using multi-genre descriptions for their works – Zombie-Comedy, Historical-Romantic-Comedy and so on. This leads me to the question of whether anyone can be pigeon-holed to being a single genre writer anymore? I don’t think they can and I think that is a very good thing. So far I have published a Crime story and two Thrillers, although they would perhaps be better described using multi-genre titles like Modern-Noir-Crime, Archaeological-Political-Espionage-Thriller and Archaeological-Technology-Espionage-Thriller – even if all of those are needlessly confusing! So, should I now restrict myself to the ‘Mystery & Thriller’ category I see listed everywhere? Each of my works so far published would fit comfortably under that umbrella and publishers seem to be under the impression that it is a huge risk to change from one genre to another.
I think you can probably guess that, no, I won’t be restricting myself to one genre, even if it has a fairly wide remit – after all surely almost every story has some sort of mystery within it and thrills of one sort or another? The truth is that I have about a million ideas for stories (shut up, whoever groaned when I said that) and there are more crimes and thrillers in there but they are alongside Science-Fiction, Fantasy, Comedy and others whether they be single genre descriptions or multi-genre descriptions. One of the main points of self-publishing is freedom so why restrict yourself to one genre? I don’t know anyone who one reads one genre, watches one genre of movies or TV shows – so why would anyone write in just one.
If you are writing just to make money, sure, find a genre you think will make the most money and plug away at it. But only do it if you are in it purely for the money. I genuinely believe you will not be successful without at least a modicum of passion for what you do but go ahead anyway. However, if you write because you are at heart a writer, because you cannot not write, then write whatever you like and flit from genre to genre as you wish. The age of writers being restricted to one type of book by the world of publishing is over, don’t restrict your own creativity.