Getting to Number 1!

Writers approach the endeavour of sharing their work with the world with different aims in mind, but I’m guessing that being able to say that you’re a “Number 1 Best Selling Author” is something most would cherish.

Amazon comprehensive catalogue offers you the chance to be “No 1″ in your genre, be that Horror, Mystery, Cook Books or Zombie Apocalypse Teen Romance Fantasy Steam Punk.

So, while I can tell you that cricket books aren’t big sellers for kindle, there was a week in early March this year when I made it to No 1 on amazon’s UK store with Dad’s Cricket Diary.  Here’s proof for the doubters!

dads number 1

 

Sure, it was only for a few days, and I “bought” the position with some Facebook advertising, but I am now a No 1 Best Selling Author.

But rest easy – it won’t change me.

New Release – The Joy of Commuting

Travel by train everyday? You need this book!

The Perfect Antidote to the Daily Commute

commuting cover v4You’ll laugh all the way to work while reading The Joy of Commuting. Every commuter knows they need distracting – from the late trains, the passengers with pains and the passengers who are pains.

There are infinite joys associated with train travel, but here are the Top 100, collected together for the first time by long-suffering commuter and author, Dave Cornford.

As short as it is insightful, don’t dare leave home without The Joy of Commuting. Travel humor at its best!

 

˃˃˃ BONUS : Now with a bonus short story about losing your iPod on the train, “Lost”.

Grab your copy now at amazon.

Why give books away for free?

Free book

 

There is a lot of debate about whether authors should give away books for free. “It devalues your work,” some people say.

With a plan, sharing work with readers can be a key part of how a new author builds their audience.

There are a few different ways I give books away for free, and why.

1. Campaigns

To get a book into the hands of a bunch of people at once, sometimes I run advertised specials on particular books – reduced to 99c or sometimes free. This gets the book known and more widely read. Hopefully it might pick up some more reviews (which are treasured). It will also then appear in “also boughts” for the books that have been bought by the readers – another key part of how readers discover books on amazon.

Lots of people fill their kindle with free books they never read, others devour them as fast as they can.

My Experience: I’m currently tracking what happens after 1,500 free downloads of The Queensberry Rule from a four day campaign in mid February.

I used a service at ebookbooster.com that registers free book campaigns with over 45 sites that do that kind of thing – this was just to save my time entering the details 45 times.  I tried to get a paid feature at heavy hitter bookbub.com, but without success.

Still managed to get to #1 in the book’s subcategory and hold in the top ten for a few days.tqr number1

After the initial blast, sales tailed off.  Three days rather that four might have given a good return.

TQR numbers

2. Sample

Spillage is free permanently on all platforms. It is the first episode in a six-part series (Advanced Smash Repairs) so it makes sense to let readers sample the style of writing for free – if they like it, they might buy the rest of the series.

15 Civic Square is also free on most platforms, and this is an introduction to the Live-Fiction portfolio.

My Experience: Without any campaigning or publicity, Spillage has been downloaded about 10 times per day since it went free on all platforms in early February 2015. It will be interesting to see how these translate into sign-ups over time.

3. Sign Up

One way to keep in touch with readers is through emails, but it is not easy to build up your “list”. It goes without saying that it is pointless building a list of people who don’t want to hear about your new releases or what you’ve got to say generally. A little incentive, in my case a free exclusive ebook, encourages readers to take the plunge and subscribe. A link to do that is in every book and on the website.

In the back of Spillage, there’s a special offer of a free copy of the second book in the series, IMPACT if you sign up. Only readers who’ve got through Spillage and like it will take up that offer – which is good, because I want to hear more from them!

My Experience: Growth in my lists since getting all the ducks line up in January 2015 remains slow. We’ll see how it goes!

4. Thank You

Every now and again I put together a thank you for subscribers – an exclusive offer, a hot tip on another freebie, a special story. Being generous is part of having fun with the writing and publishing venture.

 

So that’s why some stuff is free. Check it out through the links above if you would like to try out my writing.

 

 

2014 In Review – Output

With the New Year underway, I though it was time to stocktake 2014’s writing and publishing.

  • The 17th Man’s Summer of Shove (ebook and print)
  • 10 Ashes Tests in Tweets
  • The 17th Man’s Sunshine on Boerewors (ebook and print)
  • Nanna’s Driving Tips (ebook and print)
  • Nanna’s Cooking Tips
  • Warm Honey
  • Botox Apocalypse (Live-Fiction #5)
  • No Room in the Bin (LF #6)
  • Cake Knives Don’t Kill (LF #7)
  • New in Print: Advanced Smash Repairs, The Queensberry Rule
  • Home and Hardware (LF #8)
  • All Bets Are Off (LF #9)
  • Spin (LF #10)
  • The 17th Man’s The LIttle Tours
  • I Agree (LF #11)
  • Guys Can Read
  • The Dinner Party (LF #12)
  • Wrong Number (LF #13)
  • The Project (LF #14)
  • The Hacker Pack
  • New in Audio: Warm Honey, Guys Can Read.
  • Seven Deadlies
  • The 17th Man’s Big Ashes Box

On the list of possibles for 2015:

  • The 17th Man’s Too Many Mitchells – India in Australia 2014 (January 2015)
  • Dad’s Cricket Diary (April 2015)
  • Advanced Smash Repairs Series 2
  • Warm Honey 2: “The Bookshop”
  • The Queensberry Rule 2 and 3 (The Queensberry Reign, The Queensberry Revenge)
  • I Haven’t Slept Since Christmas (LF #15)
  • The 17th Man’s World Cup Diary
  • The 17th Man’s Ashes Diary 3.
  • Nanna’s Parenting Tips
  • Nanna’s Retirement Tips
  • BOSS – The Larry Shinoda Story
  • The Architect Practice Series 1

One Million Words

During early December, with a flurry of four new releases, I passed the milestone of having one million words for sale.

1000000-visitors

It’s a little bit of a cheat in a couple of ways – some of the words are co-written (about 50% in fact) while there is also some repackaging, where stories or books are available in different forms or bundles – about 35% of that 1,000,000 words is doubled up. All those words are available on amazon, while selected titles are also on ibooks and kobo.

On the other hand, the seven figure tally doesn’t count audio. While it’s freely available on itunes, between the Diary of the 17th Man podcast, the Live-Fiction podcast and Warm Honey on Podiobooks, there’s nearly 400,000 spoken words out there as well.

Still, it’s something to be proud of in just over 3 years of writing and self-publishing seriously.

Thanks to my co-authors (Steven Lewis, Steve McAlpine, Jeremy Pooley) and the various podcasters and writers who’ve helped me along the way by freely sharing great information – Johnny, Sean and Dave at The Self Publishing Podcast, Joanna Penn at The Creative Penn, Simon Whistler at The Rocking Self Publishing Podcast and Evo Terra at Podiobooks. Sonia Powell and James Stewart are regular helpers on cover designs.

What’s for 2015?

I haven’t decided on the production schedule for 2015, and it will depend on the availabliltiy of co-authors as well as the impact of other work. But here’s what’s on the dance card:

  • Dad’s Cricket Diary (my 2014 NaNoWriMo project)
  • The Queensberry Rule #2 (“The Queensberry Reign”) and #3 (“The Queensberry Something Beginning with R”)
  • Warm Honey 2 (“The Bookshop”)
  • Advanced Smash Repairs Series 2
  • The 17th Man’s World Cup Diary
  • The 17th Man’s Ashes Diary 3
  • Live-Fiction shorts and Collections (Best Served Cold, The Sports Pack)
  • Nanna’s Parenting Tips, Nanna’s Facebook Tips, Nanna’s Retirement Tips

If you want to keep up with new releases, why not join my email newsletter list? I’ll send you a free ebook as a bonus! Sign up here.

New Side Project – Dad’s Cricket Diary

I’ve started working on a new side project spinning off from The Diary of the 17th Man.  It’s “Dad’s Cricket Diary” – the occasional musings of a 50-something dad who decides to return to the cricket field after a 25 year absence.

It’s not really autobiographical, but let’s just say that after playing cricket and spending a lot of time watching my sons play, the well of funny, weird and traqic cricket stories is pretty full.

Dad’s Cricket Diary is being released entry by entry on 17thManDiary.com.  You can start reading here.

Of course, later on, there will probably be a book.

I spent $200,000 on self-publishing

No I didn’t.

digital-self-publishingBut according to a recent article in The Guardian, everyone must THINK I’ve spent that much, because each of my 30-odd titles must have cost $6,000 to self-publish. The article lists editing, cover design, buying reviews and sending out physical review copies as the major expenses. It leaves out formatting, which is just one if its flaws. You can read it via the link below.

I have self-published 30 books now. There’s:

  • two novels,
  • a whole bunch of novellas and serials,
  • various compilations of novellas and serials,
  • a cricket humour series, and
  • a series of parody life tips.

Do the maths and round up a bit. Check out the catalog here.

I guess $6,000 is nothing compared to the time real “cost” of the time you spent writing your book, be it long or short. But it’s a lot of cash, and a complete nonsense. I’ve got most (but not all) of my books to market for no financial outlay.

Here’s some money saving tips:

Use the right tools. This is a golden rule.  Write your book using Scrivener. It costs about $45. When you’ve written, edited, proofread and slaved over it, you click a button and it makes a beautiful ebook file to upload for kindle, nook, etc.  If you’re patient, it will even do a print-ready file for a paperback as well.

Work collaboratively. I work with a number of different writers, either as co-authors or as just an “extra pair of eyes” looking over a story. “Is this story worth telling?” is a question that needs to be asked – ALWAYS – don’t forget to ask it. When the answer is “No”, drop it like a hot potato.

Ask Friends. Friends who know what they’re doing, of course.  I designed the cover for The Queensberry Rule, but I knew it wasn’t right. A friend who does some design work looked at it and told me in two minutes what was wrong, and the ten minutes I spend fixing it transformed it from OK to fantastic.  My friend would never have agreed to design the cover if I’d asked her to do that.

Engage readers. I’ve got a few readers who (mostly) like my work, and they love proofreading, testing, and commenting on new stories. They feel privileged to be part of the process, and they make a huge difference in the development of projects. I have two novels in planning which wouldn’t exist without the feedback of readers. Listen to them!

Use the barter economy. I’ve got a few contacts who each other, mainly with proofreading. It takes time, but we get to read each other’s work.

Read Aloud. This takes time, but if you want to find mistakes, and get a sense of how your language sounds, you’ll find more things to fix than you wanted to by reading your last draft out aloud.

 

I did spent some money on my first book – to have it edited, and for a crowd-sourcing website to do a cover. The editing investment was worth it as far as me growing as a writer goes – but not “worth it” in terms of the financial return of that particular book. Across the whole portfolio, of course, it makes much more sense.

There’s only one way to write a best seller – and that’s to start writing the books that come BEFORE it straight away – without being put off by vested interests who keep trying to keep the gates closed by saying things like it’s going to cost an arm and a leg to self-publish, or that writing like Hemingway is what is needed to “succeed”.

You can read the Guardian article here.

More usefully, you could read/listen to:

Milestone in May!

May has been a big month! I’ve released four new titles across the literary forms I love – long-form fiction, contemporary novella and satire/humour.

That’s taken my total number of books for sale to 25, and then beyond, to 27.

Here’s the fresh crop.

Warm-Honey-The-OneNo Roomdriving  Cover FInallCooking Cover FInall

Warm Honey.  Life under the bleaching Perth sun is becoming complex for twenty-something Rob. With the encouragement of Charis, his new girlfriend, Rob leaves behind years of procrastination and finally attempts to contact his estranged father. Together, they have to deal with an unfolding family tragedy and the ghosts of the past.  My second full-length collaboration with Steve McAlpine is available in ebook here.

No Room in the Bin. Set deep in suburbia, this humorous novella asks the reader a few deep philosophical questions about their rubbish. This is the sixth book in the Live-Fiction series, and was co-written with Steve McAlpine. Available here.

Nanna’s Tips. After Nanna’s triumph with her Travel Tips, she has returned with Nanna’s Driving Tips and Nanna’s Cooking Tips. These books are short and quirky, and the tips are homespun, sometimes questionable, probably dangerous and by no means comprehensive. (Travel Tips and Driving Tips are available in paperback, Cooking Tips will be soon!)

May has also seen the release of the paperback of The Queensberry Rule. Thanks to James Stewart for some cover help and to Johnny, Sean and Dave from Self-Publishing Podcast and Simon from the Rocking Self-Publishing Podcast for their weekly dose of challenge and encouragement.

Want to come along for the ride? Sign up to my email list and receive a free ebook as my gift to you.  It will be great to have you along for the adventure.