PUBLISHING A BOOK? ~ IT’S A GAME OF TWO HALVES by Author Brian Kerr

Savour the moment your book is published

So, you have just published your book: possibly your first – and it looks great.  Congratulations!  It is time to savour the moment. You have in your hand – or on your screen – the output from months, or perhaps years, of hard slog.  Sure, there have been some good moments but it mostly has been about gritted teeth and working at it. You deserve to enjoy the moment, but don’t become lost in the euphoria, and not think about how to sell it.

What next?

No matter how often you tell yourself it is not about the sales, or money, or recognition, it would be nice if someone read it, or better still bought a copy or even better lots of copies. Yes of course you have thought about a launch, and you have set aside a pile to pass on to friends and family and those who pitched in and helped along the way.  They deserve a free copy – but not absolutely free.   Perhaps a review could be encouraged.  A beer and sandwich session in a local pub with a book priced at a small mark down on Amazon, will start the process.  Worth the cost of a few beers?

…but remember, you are a new author to the block and you need to reach out to others but how?

Great Marketing Ideas for reaching out

Would your new readers and friends take a small pile of flyers to leave with other friends, or in the pub?  Are they a member of a book club and this is a good time to ask if book clubs are active in your area? Make sure the organiser of the club is aware that there is a published author on the doorstep.  Book clubs will often give an author a few moments if only to have a new voice in the room.

What’s App and other platforms such as Instagram and LinkedIn ~ the list goes on

For some people the business of networking is second nature and dropping in a reference to a new book would not seem intrusive.  For others the idea of self-publicity is cringeworthy.  Many neighbourhoods have shared WhatsApp groups and you can be sure that a reference to a new author with an invitation, ‘to look it up on Amazon’, will be more interesting than a moan about the parking of the need to find a plumber.

The list of useful initiatives worth a try is lengthy and can be exhausting.  Do you have presence on LinkedIn for example? This can be like a ripple in a pond?  Worth a try but be aware this will also attract offers of all types of publicity service, at a price. These may be tempting as you may want to move on to a new book or simply playing more golf

There are lots of ideas out there and it is worth making a list and dipping your toe in the water.  Many ideas will not appeal but you may be surprised at how the doors do open.

One final thought …

Before you finish the champagne a few sobering facts.  In 2020 UK book sales rose to exceed 200 million. The figure for new titles is more difficult to pin down:  in 2018 there were 185,000 new ISBN numbers issued. That would mean that, if my calculator copes with all the zeros, you need sell more than 1000 copies to beat the average unit sales.

Time to go and sell!

Eventispress adds: “It’s hard to begin at ground zero without a huge marketing budget from your publisher, but even those authors published by the large companies have to start at the beginning.

Best of luck!

Character, character character ~ Make them believable.

A thought struck us at Eventispress is that we warm to certain elements in stories and firstly that:

‘the characters need to be believable so that readers can identify, empathise with, warm to or be repelled by them.’

Whether the novel is loosely termed crime, historical fiction, dystopian or mystery, all of the novels we release are weighted heavily on genuine characters. You don’t always have to like them, but we promise you that you will feel their pain, their joy, their frustration ~ in fact every human emotion. You may laugh out loud or be in sobs of tears. You may pick up the book and find it hard to put it down, but we hope that some of the characters therein will live with you a while after you leave their make believe world.

What you will not see in our fiction so far:

For crime you will not see too many car chases and for murder you will not have scenes that are so graphic you can’t sleep.

For historical fiction you will not see a real person from the past brought alive in the written word, but imaginary characters set in an authentic period in history. (unless loosely based on a true murder as in MURDER Now and Then)

For mystery it is less the police involvement in the crime and although there are certainly mysteries not revealed until the end, it may not be the reason you are compelled to keep reading. (as some readers have mentioned in their wonderful reviews)

For dystopian you will not read about elves or folks from outer space in an imaginary world, but believable people with real lives entangles with a plausible (well almost) future, not of their own choosing.

Instead, this is what you will read in our books so far:

In Roderick Hart’s crime novel Interleaved Lives you will identify with the lives of people struggling to find the truth of what happened to their missing spouses, gaining some solace in each other’s company, rather than gritty police procedure.

For dystopian in Ian K Pulham’s Ticket to Eden there are monsters in the depths of the sea, but they are almost believable and their interaction with the characters in the story almost amusing at times, if it wasn’t so hauntingly disturbing. Also, the web of confusing relationships Ian weaves, as the world loses its grip on any future, is unsettling, and yet there is almost an inevitability but poignancy to it.

In Diana Jackson’s mystery inspired by history series, it is yet again the web of relationships and mixed aspirations which lead to murder in MURDER Now and Then, added to the complex parallels with the past, which compels the reader. In MISSING Past and Present readers tell us that they are desperate to find our how Dot brings herself up from rock bottom. Yes, her husband is missing, as his her step son, but it is the relationships Dot builds which make a tragic story so heart warming.

In summary

…And so, in our fiction at Eventispress expect the characters to lead you into their world ~ one you may be reluctant to leave behind when you reach the last page … and do let us know what you think and write a review.

eventispress@outlook.com

Much appreciated!

Does it Sound Good to You

Rules for Writers ~ Part 2

Author Roderick Hart continues with writing rules he adheres to, with an excellent piece of advice especially for new writers:

Read with you ears!

Read it aloud: Referring to the essay in which he expounded writing rules Elmore Leonard said: “My most important rule is one that sums up the 10: If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.” Note that he said ‘sounds’ like writing, not ‘reads’ like writing. This is important for two reasons. The first is that what we write should read well. If you have trouble reading out loud a passage you have written there is more work to be done. If you are aiming for an audio book as well this is even more important.

Punctuation: The second reason why this matters is punctuation. There is a set of conventions governing punctuation of the written word, but I have usually found it helpful to mark up scripts for reading aloud, and as often as not these punctuation points diverge from the convention. For example, my version of Word often tells me that a comma isn’t needed at a certain place. Well, strictly speaking it may not, but it but it helps the talent reading it to the mic and can save several takes.

Microsoft word prompts: Another habit your software may have is pointing out that a certain phrase might be more succinct: where you have used five words three would be enough. And this may be the case, but your slighter longer expression might carry an emphasis which the shorter version lacks. And then there is the question of rhythm. The shorter version may lack the rhythm of your original. Ultimately, these are questions of style and are, or should be, under the control of the author rather than software.

Afterwards: Since this post appears on the blog of a small press, the question arises: how relevant are rules for a writer hoping to be published? While some might cite the old adage that rules are there to be broken, this would not be safe at the outset of a writer’s career. Keeping to reasonable rules is more likely to result in a marketable product. No publisher would consider a book which shows a lack of competence in, and respect for, basic writing skills.

But, as was pointed out at the beginning of Writing Rules Part 1, rules for writers are forever telling you what you should avoid. What they never tell you is what you should actually do. The truth is, we must all work this out for ourselves.

We at Eventispress would also add the advice of converting your manuscript to a format for a device such as a Kindle and read it as you would read any novel or book ~ after a break of a couple of months from your own edit that is. Also to do this before you think of agents, publishers or self publishing.

Thanks so much Rod!

Rules for Writers ~ Compiled by Roderick Hart

Part A) The Nuts and Bolts

Thank you to author Roderick Hart for these useful posts on writing rules. Much appreciated. The original has been split into two parts;

A) The nuts and bolts of writing

B) Does it sound good to you (next week)

Avoidance tactics

Over the last few years there have been many posts on this subject. Usually, the emphasis is on what to avoid. For example, the aspiring writer should avoid adjectives, adverbs, verbs ending in ‘ing’ and the passive voice. It has also been suggested that question marks should be avoided, so presumably questions should too. Not so helpful when your detective is interrogating a suspect.

Advice from successful authors

In some cases, writers are pulling our legs with their suggestions. For example, Margaret Atwood tells us not to take a pen on a plane because it might leak. So we should take a pencil. Which she then qualifies by saying we should take two in case the first one breaks. Mildly witty, but not so helpful. Stephen King’s advice to writers is well known and easily found online, so let us consider instead what Elmore Leonard has to say on the subject.

The weather: His first rule is never to open a book with weather. This may be well advised since the weather, in daily life, is often relegated to small talk. Those with nothing else to say, comment on the wind and rain.

Prologues: His second rule is to avoid prologues. Some prologues are clearly designed as hooks to lure the reader in, but Leonard would probably say ‘just get on with it.’ There will be exceptions, but this advice is probably good.

Said or not to ‘said’: His next rule concerns the handling of dialogue. ‘Never use a verb other than said to carry dialogue.’ There is something to be said for this one too if it discourages us from using verbs at one remove. ‘I give up,’ she sighed. Maybe she did sigh but she definitely spoke.

Next, on an associated topic, he advises us never to use an adverb to modify the verb said. ‘I’m cashing in my chips,’ Victor said vehemently. Leonard would strike the ‘vehemently’. You can too if you like. One group of people who have taken this advice to heart, though in the worst possible way, is tennis players who, when interviewed, often state their intention to ‘play aggressive.’ This habit of reducing adverbs to adjectives is never recommended in indirect speech, though it might occasionally happen that one of your less-well-educated characters speaks in this way. Tennis, anyone?

Exclamation Marks: His next rules deal with excessive use of exclamation marks, avoidance of words such as ‘suddenly’, and limiting the use of regional dialects. Then we have his injunction to avoid detailed descriptions of characters, places and things. Why? Well, we don’t want so much detail that the narrative flow grinds to a halt. On the other hand, some writers are masters of descriptive writing, so if you are in this select group you might water down this advice.

And finally: Since this post appears on the blog of a small press, the question arises: how relevant are rules for a writer hoping to be published? While some might cite the old adage that rules are there to be broken, this would not be safe at the outset of a writer’s career. Keeping to reasonable rules is more likely to result in a marketable product. No publisher would consider a book which shows a lack of competence in, and respect for, basic writing skills.

But, as was pointed out at the beginning of this post, rules for writers are forever telling you what you should avoid. What they never tell you is what you should actually do. The truth is, we must all work this out for ourselves.

Great advice Rod. Continued next week with Does it sound good to you…

“Improve your life: read a book. Improve your life considerably: write a book!”

The above was author Ian K Pulham’s mantra at the end of his article: ‘Ticket to Eden ~ Three Months on from Publication’

So simple but so true, don’t you think.

We always say to authors, read, read, read, before write, write write.

Why should authors be avid readers?

  • You learn from experienced authors
  • You learn to be more critical of your own writing as you read less well hones novels too.
  • We are part of the world of books ~ libraries, bookshops, charity shops ~ feel totally part of that world to make connections
  • Chris Cribari’s blog post, with the link below, gives his own take on why he is an avid reader. We love the photo Chris!
Photo from Chris Cribari’s blog ~ Link below

Why should writers write reviews?

  • Writers are readers too.
  • To actively support your community of authors.
  • It’s good Karma ~ the more you give to an enterprise and those part of it, the more you receive.
  • How can you expect others to review your books if you don’t do reviews yourself?

Why should authors celebrate other authors’ novels on social media?

  • Easier to trumpet someone else’s work than your own.
  • It makes you a rounded person, telling your readers what you do and don’t like in the world of books, but be careful if you’re writing a negative review. Author Diana Jackson says ~ personally I don’t give less than 3 stars, otherwise I just don’t review. Occasionally I get in touch with the author to explain why ~ D Jackson.
  • Shout about the great books you read on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, blog post ~ it may provoke comments from like minded folks or even make contact with the author. Write their Twitter handle in the post if they have one.

Sometimes it is tough to promote your own books, but if it is, have a break from it. A positive attitude and promoting the works of others will in the least give you a feel good factor and at best bring good will back to you!

Don’t forget ~ Enjoy the ride!

Publishing your debut novel ~ What a new author needs to know

Out of tiny acorns!

Introduction

On reading debut author Ian K Pulham’s post ‘Three Months on’ last week, many key thoughts a new author ‘on the block’ needs to be prepared for leapt from the print.

Reviews on Amazon

Reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, Waterstones and elsewhere are vital for the success of a book, whether self published, main stream or hybrid such as ourselves at Eventispress. The advantage with Goodreads is that folks can review your book, whatever platform they bought it from, whether they borrowed it from the library, found it in a charity shop or were given it by a friend who loved the book.

‘Such an effort to’ market the book

No-one can prepare you for the highs and lows of marketing your book, however your book is published. And yes, don’t kid yourself that you won’t be self marketing if you get a deal from one of the big publishing companies. You will.

As highly successful indie author Adam Croft says,

‘If you’re in front of their eyes (that’s the reader) less than other authors, you’re going to be forgotten about, no matter how much they enjoyed your book(s).’

Celebrate each victory

Author Ian K Pulham writes:

So grateful to those people for taking time out to support me in that way. It is a real confidence boost.

Each time you are aware of a new review of a reader who makes a positive comment, or there’s been a spike in your sales, celebrate! If people you know are going to read your novel on holiday, ask them to take a photo of themselves reading it; the idea might take off on Facebook with other readers posting similar selfies! Who knows. Use good reviews in your promotional posts. Marketing is too big a subject to cover effectively here, but try to create a buzz of positivity.

Know your target audience

For Ian this was a bit of an eye opener. He has found that his main target audience is women, which was a surprise to him. (women, allegedly, account for 80% of fiction sales)

Know your genre

In Ian’s case this has been baffling for him too, since many women who have read and reviewed, or given him good feedback on his novel, have said they don’t usually read Sci-fi or Dystopian novels, even though they really enjoyed his. Why did they buy it then? The novel was recommended by someone.

A question here: Should Ian be finding ways of reaching out to more readers of Dystopian or Sci’fi novels? If yes, how?

More about this and categories in another post.

Ian writes of characterization being important. Now that is a topic close to the heart of all Eventispress fiction writers so far and will also be a future topic to explore here.

In it for the log haul

This will be a post on its own too, but a debut author needs to remember that the best audience is one they grow gradually, reader by reader, step by step, because those are the readers who will be loyal and remain with them.

Very few novels, if any, gain immediate success overnight. Fifty Shades of Grey is one which comes to mind, (within one year of being self published on Amazon it was snapped up by a main stream publisher) and we’ll leave you with that thought … or maybe not!

‘Ticket To Eden’ ~ Three months on from publication

Author Ian K Pulham writes a very honest account of publishing his debut novel through Eventispress:

“Let’s get one thing straight from the start. Having my first novel published by Eventispress is in my world, the finest ‘professional’ type achievement of my life. Nothing in my forty years in the transport industry came anywhere near the thrill of seeing my work in print. And my friends and remaining family members, as well as people I know around Dunstable and beyond, have been supportive, and I believe a little shocked by it all. It’s actually quite funny. I’ll run into someone I haven’t seen in a while, and after the greetings and ‘what have you been up to’s, I hit them with the ‘I’ve had a novel published’ line and watch their reaction. Usually a mixture of confusion and curiosity. My words make grammatical sense, but they take a while to sink in. Does make me chuckle, every time.

And now my book has been available for three months, so friends will naturally ask me how the book is going. My stock reply is ‘It’s ticking along’, which it is. I get sales, here and there. I’ve got fantastic reviews, mainly on Amazon. So grateful to those people for taking time out to support me in that way. It is a real confidence boost.

However, it begs the question, if my book is good, how come it seems to be such an effort to get people to read it?

The answer to that is, I need to work harder. Visit more book shops. Post more stuff online. Send more emails. Build up contacts. Do more talks. The list goes on. And in my defence, I am focused on all those things. But it is not easy to get people to read your stuff. People I know, mainly blokes, always say they are too busy. They’ll read it on holiday. And I know of at least two guys who are reading it on foreign beaches, or airport lounges maybe, as I write this.

It’s a frustration, but then I remember back to when I was working. I’d sometimes go a year without reading a book, and when I did, it would be on holiday. Unless it was a chap’s holiday that is. Didn’t read much of anything on those.

Ladies appear to read more, though they probably rate strong characters above monsters. Judging by my reviews, I’ve got both of those in my book. If I could go back, I’d probably gear the cover and the blurb up more to highlight my lead characters and their interactions. Even the love angle. That’s a lesson learnt. To say all blokes are drunks and all ladies spend their lives buried in romance books is obviously a massive exaggeration. Even for Dunstable. But the truth is, I didn’t really know who I was writing for when I wrote this. And you need to know your audience. Categorisation doesn’t help you either. I would say just about every lady who has read my book, has commented that they don’t usually read these kinds of books. Sci-fi, dystopian…whatever. And I’m sure it’s put guys off too. I don’t know how you get round this. I wouldn’t normally read detective novels, yet I enjoyed Rod’s book. Largely due to the portrayal of the characters within. So, I’m just as guilty.

But to wind this up on a positive note, a fair amount of people have read my book and enjoyed it too. I really couldn’t ask for any more. The truth is, my life is considerably better now having written a book, and then had it published by the wonderful Eventispress. It’s more a spiritual improvement maybe than financial, but in honesty, that was what I was searching for when I began all this around three years ago, so my prayers have been answered.

Therefore, my manta for all this would be – Improve your life: read a book. Improve your life considerably: write a book!”

Thanks so much Ian. Here’s Ian’s novel Ticket to Eden.

WATERSTONES AMAZON

ISBN: 978-1-8381526-4-2

Ian, your post raises some vital issues which we will address in the next couple of posts and we’ll finish the series with ‘What Eventispress does to support authors in the marketing of their novel.’ Not a straight forward task or certainly a panacea!

THE IMPORTANCE OF BOOK SIGNINGS

Signing books for the public in bookshops is not the reserve for just rich and famous authors. In this post we will look at the ‘how to organise’ and also ‘how to be at the event.’

Of course, the cost of petrol can make events far and wide not viable which is a shame but, nevertheless, supporting and building a positive repartee with your local bookshop is essential in the life of an author, as well as the opportunity to meet new readers.

A) How to organise a book-signing

  • Visit your local bookstore regularly.
  • Choose a quieter time to visit and discuss your book with the manager (in the case of Waterstones they usually have a designated person who arranges events. You may have to make an appointment by email first)
  • Offer them a free copy to read.
  • Negotiate a discounted price. (40 – 60 % is usual)
  • If it is an Indie Bookshop they may be willing to buy books directly from your stock, in which case it is more worthwhile to you both. Be prepared to be flexible.
  • If it is a large book company then they are likely to order from a main distributor, such as Gardners. Your discount will then be set by your publisher and negotiated by them.
  • Your enthusiasm will bring you rewards. Don’t forget it is a two way thing. Both should benefit.
  • Try if you can to organise the date to coincide with an event related to your book ~ eg the date Queen Victoria came to the throne, the opening of the London Underground etc

How to be on the day

  • Publicise the event beforehand on your website, blog on Twitter or Facebook. (You could encourage a few friends to come in to make a buzz and spark interest)
  • Don’t be pushy. Make eye contact and smile, but certainly don’t follow readers around the store.
  • Readers are only too willing to chat. Be open and friendly and enjoy the banter, even if it is about their own writing project. Be enthusiastic for them and make suggestions if appropriate.
  • Have a giveaway of a bookmark or business card to give to those buying the book, but also to other folks. They might go home and check you up on Amazon or your website first.
  • Ask if they would like a personal message and make sure to spell their name correctly.
  • Have a sheet for folks to sign up for your newsletter.
  • Practice your signature, especially if it is a pen name.
  • Be courteous to the book sales people and thank them.

Author Diana Jackson writes:

“When my Riduna Series was first published I travelled up and down the country from Alderney in the Channel Islands to Southampton, throughout Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, not to mention more unusual events at the Shuttleworth Collection bookshop, who also stocked my second book ‘Ancasta Guide me Swiftly Home,’ where I gained so much support when researching the aviation aspects of the novel.

I enjoyed the events because, not only did I sell books but I had the chance to meet and talk to readers. I had a special relationship with our local indie bookshop in Ampthill called Horatio’s, which, sadly to say, is no more, but Waterstones were extremely supportive too.

You say to encourage a few friends to come in. At Luton, Waterstones, so many folks I knew popped in from Barnfield College where I worked, that I hardly had time to talk to the public. It was quite a party atmosphere and the store loved it!”

HOW CAN SMALL PRESSES ENJOY BOOKSHOP SUCCESS?

It is important to acknowledge bookshops and give them thanks, because all of our authors now have the same treatment on bookshop websites as they do on Amazon, with author bio, descriptions of books and reviews.

It is harder for small presses like us to be visible in actual bookshops up and down the country, especially following the pandemic shut down, because we are in competition with all the huge publishing companies. This is an area we are working on both by email and by physically visiting and supporting bookshops ourselves.

Let’s look at author Brian Kerr’s books:

Please check out his pages on:

BRIAN KERR’S PAGE ON WATERSTONES

FOYLES

HIVE and WH SMITHS for Skylarks only

Hive is an on line bookshop where you can give a percentage of the sale to support a local indie bookshop of your choice. Ignore the ‘OUT OF STOCK.’ It is the cheapest site on the market to purchase the book and it will take a few days for the order to come through.

Brian’s books have always had orders from bookshops, especially locally in Bedfordshire, with whom we have a good relationship.

Author IAN K PULHAM’S debut novel

Ticket to Eden is on the WATERSTONES

website too.

Author DIANA JACKSON has several books on WATERSTONES including Riduna, Ancasta, Murder Now and Then, her latest mystery Missing Past and Present

and The Healing Paths of Fife, which is also on WH SMITHS.

Diana Jackson’s books have been stocked in bookshops in Bedfordshire, the south of England and on the Channel Islands.

However, all of our books can be ordered from any good bookshop.

We’ll let you know the progress we make in changing attitudes and acknowledging the contribution to publishing small presses like us make.

Everyone Likes Free Short Story

Continuing with marketing tips here on Eventispress, three of our authors are giving away short stories and encouraging readers to sign up for their newsletters:

Ian K Pulham’s Radical Action, is a standalone prequel to Ian’s debut novel Ticket to Eden:

Roderick Hart’s Back to the Wall, which includes some of the characters in his recent novel Interleaved Lives:

Author Diana Jackson’s short story is unrelated to her novels but has a quirky title, A Very Yellow Memory and like much of Diana’s work is fiction but has fragments of truth much in the flavour of The Healing Paths of Fife:

Quality Publishing Collective

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