Thursday, September 26, 2013

New First Draft completed!!

I've been hard at work for the past couple of weeks, writing to a self-imposed regime of about 4,000 words per day in order to complete the first draft of my next novel. This is an entirely new work, based upon a high-concept idea I came up with during the summer that I really felt strongly about. Sometimes, as an author, I get really excited about a new plot and start tearing along for days as ideas and storylines rush out almost as fast as I can write them down. This burst of creativity is then followed by a few weeks of developing the plot details and adding depth to the story before actually sitting down and writing it.

With the Ethan Warner series, I used to plot almost every single possible detail before writing, but I changed that approach with EDEN in order to let the characters develop more. The new approach worked well, and with the new WIP I've done something in-between, plotting about 50% of the story using key points and scenes that I knew I wanted to see, and then letting the characters kind of build themselves as the story went along.

This approach has produced some great characters who have come alive as I've written the draft, but they have changed over the course of the story in their motives etc as their characters have developed, so now I've got to go through the first structural edit and make sure that those characters become a little more consistent in their story journey, along with all the other essential plot lines being ironed out and polished. In general I'm really very happy with my new method, as it allows new ideas to pop up throughout the story, often changing it ways I hadn't imagined before writing it.

In other news, EDEN remains high in the UK Amazon Kindle chart ( in the 300s ) and in the USA chart ( 1,100 ish ), and is selling anything between 130 and 200 copies per day. I did some minor further advertising in the USA, but all in all the book seems to be selling itself without any further input from me. Given its high star-rating, especially in the UK, I'm assuming that the good sales are based on the book's merits alone - gaining sales traction as its reputation gets better as a "good read". I'm keeping an eye on it and also plotting the sequel, EDEN: REDEMPTION, which I'll publish sometime early in 2014, as for now I'm focusing on my two current WIPs.

More news as it comes in, and I'll post cover-art for the new high-concept novel soon if it becomes a self-published work instead of traditionally published.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Increasing workload and general publishing news.

I'm finally back into my routine after a week and a half spent reading the final proofs for two of my traditionally published novels. APOCALYPSE is now ready for printing in the USA, although I have not yet seen any cover artwork, while here in the UK the next Ethan Warner novel, now titled THE ETERNITY PROJECT, is also ready for printing and I've been sent the wonderful cover art, which is below:

The completion of these two proof read-throughs means that I'm now back at my desk and writing to a strict self-imposed regime. I aim to write no less than 4,000 words per day, and am working on three different projects. The first is an epic sci-fi novel that I've been plotting and writing now for over a month, the story built around a central idea that is entirely unique and immensely compelling. The novel could be a real hit if I can get it right, so it's my priority right now ( before somebody else comes up with the idea! ). The second project is a crime novel for my agent, Luigi Bonomi, which we're hoping will go to traditional publishers later this year. The third project is the sequel to EDEN, which is doing so incredibly well right now across Amazon's various sites. I'm in the basic plotting stage at the moment, but as EDEN was always planned to be the first in a trilogy of stories the basic elements are in place. It's more an issue of how to tell the story in a satisfying way for the reader that's my focus at the moment, as I don't want the sequel to be just a repeat of the debut.

EDEN remains high in the UK chart, and seems to climb by about a hundred places each passing week. Next week marks two months since the novel was launched exclusively to Amazon, during which I've sold more than 4,000 copies. The title has slipped slightly over in the USA, but this is largely due to the big leap in sales when I bought advertising there, the tail-off in sales afterward accounting for the decrease. A new price and some more advertising is in the pipeline so hopefully I'll be able to continue the book's upward climb soon.

Between now and next Spring it's my aim to have at least three self-published titles available exclusively through Amazon at low prices. This longer-term goal, and the combined sales and brand-awareness, is part of a plan to achieve wider success within the self-published world to keep me writing for a living between traditional contracts with publishing houses. With things going ever more digital in publishing, I want to make my mark there and establish a permanent presence sooner rather than later. The more people who become aware that they can buy my books at truly excellent prices in digital form, the better off I'll be when the paperback market begins to follow the already collapsing hardback market.

I'll report in next week with EDEN's two-month figures, and hopefully some good news on USA advertising...

Monday, September 09, 2013

Self publishing and self promotion.

Those of you who are following my experiment in self-publishing here on my blog will know that in my last post I revealed that I would be buying some digital promotion over in the USA. Some research revealed that doing so had worked well for other authors writing in a similar genre to me, so I thought it was worth a shot as although Eden was already doing very well I wanted to give it a boost if I could.

For the frankly meagre sum of $99 I bought a one day Kindle Fire advert in a digital publication across the pond and crossed my fingers. The result was hugely impressive - I awoke the next morning to find that Eden had leaped in the overall chart from the 1,051 position to the 585 position, an immense leap in sales! Eden has since slipped back a little but the experiment effectively paid for itself several times over in the next few days.

Would I do it again? Yes, definitely, but only at launch day, to get the title high into the charts as quickly as possible in conjunction with other promotional efforts. The exposure definitely works well and has a bit of a "tail", in that when the promotion ends sales don't plummet back but decrease only slowly. The new exposure not only means more sales but also hopefully more reviews - if they're positive it increases the confidence of other potential readers that your book is worth a go, keeping the title's momentum going.

In the UK, things are holding steady with the book selling around 60 copies per day ( and around 130 per day in the USA ). The important thing to remember is that these sales happen seven days per week, so Eden is selling well over 1,000 copies each week, a very respectable figure at this early stage just seven weeks after publication. I'm hoping that this will gradually grow over time now as there is clearly an appetite for this kind of novel. However, all of the advice I've received tells me that there is one thing I can do that will definitely increase sales of Eden, one thing that is more effective than any amount of advertising, blogging, Tweeting etc and that's to write the sequel! Doing so is now a priority for me, to bolster the first book's sales and to build a series of full-length novels that are instantly available to readers 24/7 at reasonable prices. It's a business model that has very few flaws, and I'm eager to build upon that now that my first attempt has been so successful.

Onward and upward!

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Self publishing news and revelations!

It's been another hugely exciting week for me since my last post here, with much progress in Eden's climb of the Amazon charts on both sides of the Atlantic. Firstly, the new chart positions;

In the UK Eden is now in the 600s, moving about a bit but holding steady. In the USA it's in the 1,500s and doing much the same. These new chart positions represent a huge leap on last weeks' and show continued growth in sales that is much greater than expected: i.e, sales have actually doubled again due to the continued rise with almost 2,000 copies sold and no sign of a dip ( so far ).

I have also appeared in's brand new Top #100 Authors list, which is based on all copies of all books sold by authors, and updated hourly.

This is immensely exciting as the Amazon site in the USA is absolutely vast, with some 2,000,000 Kindle titles available. To appear in this new chart is a huge milestone for me and I can't believe that it's happened. I'm rubbing shoulders with HUGE names from both sides of the Atlantic, and really hope that this author list is taken up by Amazon UK and becomes a permanent feature as the exposure to new audiences is potentially immense.

Further news involves my decision, based on Eden's success in the USA without any publicity, to purchase some advertising. I recently realised that due to the furore over authors buying or creating fake reviews for their books ( so-called sock puppets ) I had neglected to consider buying genuine advertising space on major websites for my books. Far from being hideously expensive as I had feared, and following in the footsteps of other self-publishing authors more experienced than myself, buying advertising space in on-line publications in the USA has proved both easy and relatively affordable. The adverts have not yet been published, but I'm eagerly awaiting the effect on Eden's chart positions on to see what, if any, impact they have on sales. If things go as well as they have for other authors, I may consider purchasing more, perhaps here in the UK too. I'll update here on the blog as soon as I have anything to report.

I've been working hard on a brand new project, along with a crime novel for my agent and plotting the sequel to Eden, but have contracted a cold from nowhere despite the sunshine we've been enjoying in the UK so have been slowed down a bit ( yesterday I wrote 3,000 words, a quarter down on my usual output ). Hopefully I'll get better soon, but due to still feeling rough this is the end of my blog post for this week. Hopefully I'll have more exciting self-publishing news to add soon!