We made it!

I wanted to say a big thank you to everyone that helped my Kickstarter project become a success.

There are currently 7 days until the deadline and we are at 126% (£743 of the £600 target).

Due to the fact there is still a week remaining I have added some stretch goals and a new reward level. If I reach £750 (only £7 to go) I will use the additional funds to hire a professional proofreader for my novel. If I reach a total of £1,000 I intend to commission an illustrator to create three key scenes.

My new reward level is a big one. It is called ‘The Education Level’ and it is £500. I realise this is a lot of money but I thought a reward aimed at schools and colleges might be a good idea. For £500 I will visit a school or college and do a half day session with a class of students covering topics such as my inspiration, how I wrote my novel, getting published, formatting and marketing techniques amongst others. I will also set a challenge with a prize of a Kindle and 3 signed paperbacks. Don’t forget, you get all the rewards from the other levels below this.

If you know anyone that might be interested please pass on this link http://kck.st/171KD09 where there is a video of me explaining what the project is for and what to do.

Thanks again for all your support!

Tirfo Thuin is on Kickstarter – hurry, 12th July deadline to get your rewards

Tirfo Thuin Kickstarter imageI just wanted to do a quick post on my new Kickstarter project. For those of you unfamiliar with Kickstarter, it is a platform where people can add their creative projects and set a target funding goal/deadline. People can choose different funding levels and receive lots of great rewards for their support. However, it is an all or nothing situation. If the goal is not reached by the deadline the project is cancelled, no money is donated and the creators are sad 😦

Check it out and watch my video here: http://kck.st/171KD09

I started my Kickstarter project to help fund a professional edit of my self-published debut fantasy fiction novel, Tirfo Thuin. Mu novel was first published in December 2011 and has achieved over 2,500 sales and plenty of 5* reviews. However, I am mindful that this book has not undergone a full professional edit/proof read that a big name publisher would have been able to supply. What I am hoping to achieve is support to help fund this professional edit whilst offering loads of nice rewards and goodies along the way.

Please feel free to take a look and see if you are interested in any of the rewards and pass it on to all your friends. The clock is ticking. Thanks.

You can read more about Kickstarter and what it is here: http://www.kickstarter.com/hello?ref=nav

Tirfo Thuin - Young Adult Fantasy Fiction Novel -- Kicktraq Mini

Hunger Games Trilogy Review

HUNGER-GAMES-jacket

I have just completed the Hunger Games Trilogy and have given it 5*.

Collins tells us of a young girl, Katniss, and her involvement in what can only be compared to the scenes from The Running Man but with children and a stronger back story.

The crazed, dystopian future sees a yearly event in which children are drawn from each district to fight to the death among a plethora of traps and obstacles. The intention is for the Capital to reinforce its stronghold over the population, remind them of the previous rebellion and what little good it did them and suppress them to prevent any kind of future uprising.

Katniss soon becomes a figurehead for all the suppressed people of Panem and the story takes some interesting turns during the second and third books.

I believe Suzanne Collins has created a great piece of young adult fantasy fiction that, as my own book Tirfo Thuin tries to do, covers some important themes on humanity and our want for self destruction and violence towards each other.

The only thing that frustrated me slightly was the ‘whiny, everyone is against me’ personality that Katniss sometimes fell into and the never ending Peeta vs Gale battle that left me thinking ‘just pick one and move on’. However, I have to remember that she is just a young girl and this is probably aimed at a slightly younger market than me.

That said, it was not enough of a distraction to cause me to drop to 4* and I will certainly be looking for more of Collins’ work and the film adaptations.

I find it interesting that this is effectively a story about children killing each other – and quite violently at times – and that this is being read by quite young readers themselves. It is an interesting, and obviously very effective, theme Collins has tackled and she has done it well.

I’d recommend it to anyone who likes young adult, coming of age, fantasy fiction with an element of sci-fi and violence.

New site coming soon – as seen in Dot Net Magazine

Tirfo Thuin New Web DesignAs many of you may have seen in this months Dot Net Magazine (Summer Edition), Tirfo Thuin has a new website that is soon to be built. Many thanks to frontend developer, digital designer and general web guru Paul Welsh (@Spacedawwwg) for creating a new one page website design for a feature called Website Build-Off.

The brief from dot net magazine:

‘Mock up the homepage for a site promoting a self-published book. Think about the niche it fills, its audience – and how you can persuade them to open their purses.’

The magazine contacted Paul as he has done some great features in the past for the magazine and, given that he knew I had a self published book and had some assets from the cover design all ready to go, he jumped at the chance.

Paul’s aim was:

“To make the book seem as if it could have been released by a top publisher. One fallback for self-publishers is the lack of availability to resources such as design. Unfortunately, bad design can easily make even the most fantastic product seem cheap and deter people from parting with their hard-earned cash (people really do judge a book by its cover).”

Once I pay Paul the almighty sum of a black americano from Starbucks as down-payment (other coffee outlets are available), the new site should be available. I’ll post and tweet when the site is live so people can let me know what they think.

Why my eBook, Tirfo Thuin, is now free

During June my debut fantasy fiction novel, Tirfo Thuin, is free as an eBook. That means all you lucky people with Kindles, iPhones, iPads, Kobo’s etc will be able to download it for free. That is free. Zero Pounds/Dollars/Euros/Spondoolies.

You might wonder at my motives. Why make something that took years of my life to complete absolutely free? Well, there are a few reasons.

The first is that I did not write Tirfo Thuin to make money. Don’t get me wrong, I am far from rich but I did not sit there as the characters and story of Tirfo Thuin unfolded thinking, ‘Cha-ching, this is going to make me money.’ I wrote it thinking only of the story and where it might lead. Getting Tirfo Thuin published was an afterthought and one that actually came long after I had finished my first draft.

When you have a love of writing, and a passion to put pen to paper, you do it because you enjoy it. Some people like football, some people like video games or chess. I like all these as well but I also get the same level of enjoyment from seeing a story unfold. Therefore, I did not write to make money so it doesn’t matter that I give my book away.

The second reason is simple. I have just uploaded a second edition that includes a few minor tweaks/refinements. Nothing major, the story is the same but feedback from readers is crucial to me and after so many sales it was inevitable that I would receive some constructive feedback. After all, what is the point in being a writer if you do not listen to your readers? As a thank you to all the people who have already bought it but are yet to read it, and to all you that are new to Tirfo Thuin I offer you the shiny new version for free. Go ahead, download it again and get rid of the old version.

The third and final reason is that I want my book to be read and to receive lots of honest reviews. If you decide to take the chance to download the book (you might as well, it’s free after all) please do leave an honest review where you bought it and, if you get the chance, on Goodreads.com too. The only way readers know whether to get a book is if good honest people like yourselves let them know it is worth clicking the Download button.

I hope you enjoy it. At present you can only download it for free at Smashwords as I am waiting for Amazon to update my price based (they match the lowest price available apparently which is, at present, free) –https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/119228

I’m back!

I have struggled to find time recently to dedicate to my blog and Twitter but that should change again soon. As a brief update a fair bit has happened since my last post.

  • My paperback cover is now complete and approved and I am awaiting my final hard copy proof before my paperback can go on general sale.
  • I have reached a mighty 600+ followers on Twitter. Might not sound like a lot but I am really pleased so many people are interested in what I have to say.
  • I am now set up on Goodreads with an author profile and have already recieved good reviews on there.
  • I have begun the basic plot of the sequel to Tirfo Thuin – yet to be named – and am very excited about it.
  • I have completed a first draft of a post containing details of self publishing a novel for my work blog. It is a kind of whistle-stop tour of what I have done over the last few years. I’ll post a link soon.
  • I have become a ‘Stealth Editor’ – more details on this to come in a following post but this is consuming a fair bit of my time at present. You authors who have been ‘Stedited’- as I am calling it – know who you are and I hope it has proved to be a useful exercise
  • Fantasy fiction novel is now on sale at more retail outlets. More details on my Tirfo Thuin specific site here: http://tirfothuin.wordpress.com/purchase/

I hope to get more time to dedicate to my followers and my blog over the coming months and get back on to author interviews. Therefore, if you are a self published author and would like to partake in an author interview just let me know.

Thanks.

Writing inspiration – a Christmas photo

Walking through town tonight after work I realised how much inspiration can be taken from everyday surroundings -particularly in the festive season.

Take this photo I took for example. A 15 foot high illuminated reindeer that conjures ideas of fantasy, magical lands and amazing beasts.

The other day I dragged myself away from my iPhone to notice a statue intricately carved with swords and flowers. I have walked past this every day for 18 months but never noticed.

I spend so much time glued to my laptop or my phone hoping to perfect my latest novel or Tweet help and support to fellow authors that I often forget that the best ideas and inspiration often go unnoticed day in day out.

Take a moment to absorb your surroundings. You’ll be surprised at what jumps out at you. Feel free to comment with links to images of what you notice today. It might help spark someone’s immigration.

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Author Interview – Patti Roberts (author of the Paradox series)

I would like to introduce Patti Roberts – self published author of the Paradox series. She has kindly agreed to answer some questions and offered to throw in a free copy of Paradox – Progeny Of Innocence to one lucky reader. See below for more details.

Patti Roberts1. How would you describe yourself and your writing?

Dedicated. I like to research particular aspects of the story line to make events as realistic as possible. And although a work of fiction, I like to feel that the reader has learnt a little something that they didn’t know before they read on of my books. Usually, an event from history.

2. Can you tell me a bit about how the Paradox series came about?

I need to do something creative and positive with myself. Writing Paradox – The Angels Are Here, was a kind of therapy for me. It helped me put a positive spin on the negativity of a failed relationship. It most certainly worked!

3. What made you self publish your novels and what has the experience been like to date?

I can’t compare it with traditional publishing, as I have never walked down that path. I never even considered it – I’m way too impatient and independent to wait around for someone else to tell me yes or no. So I went ahead with the idea of letting the reader tell me yes or no. Most have said YES, so I’m more than happy with that!

4. Who have you published with?

Self published with Smashwords, Amazon and Createspace.

5. Did you prepare your e-books yourself? Any pointers?

Yes I did. I have done everything. Formatting, cover design – I bought the artwork however, I’m not that talented. Promotion and marketing. Lots of very long hours but very rewarding. I highly recommend everyone thinking about writing to join Goodreads. They are such a supportive bunch of people over there!

Progeny cover6. Who does you cover art?

I bought the cover art from Dreamstime.com. Some really talented artist can be found there. I love your cover by the way! Then I work on the text. Oh, and people do judge a book by the cover… So make sure you pick a winner. If people don’t stop to admire the cover, chances are they won’t bother to read what the book is about. Result – Sale missed!

7. Do you do a lot of self promotion? How do you market and promote your work & what do you find are effective methods of self promotion?

Anyone can self promote and market if they are prepared to put in the hours. HOURS. I use twitter and Facebook. I provide lots of free copies of my book to bloggers that do reviews and host giveaways. Recently I held a comp and asked people to help me chose a cover for book 2. I had 3 different covers designed for voters to choose from. Then after the comp I gave two winners a copy of Paradox – Progeny Of Innocence. I thought it was a way to get people involved. And it certainly did.

8. Do you find sales peak and then drop off after your initial self promotion?

Sure, that is the way it goes. The more promotion and marketing you do the more feedback and interest you receive.

9. What advice would you give to a newbie to self publishing?

Use you first book as a marketing research. Get it out there as much as you can. Find out what people loved and hated about it. And listen to what the readers are telling you. Learn from what they are telling you… Listen to the good and the bad. You can learn more about the bad than the good… That is if you want to keep getting better!

10. What lies in store for Patti Roberts?

Lots more books in the Paradox Series. I start writing for book 3 in the New Year for a 2012 release. I would actually like to bring out 2 books in 2012, but we will just have to wait and see.

Thank you so much for the interview Andrew. I have enjoyed answering your questions. Patti

More information

The Paradox Series Book Trailers
Twitter
Facebook

e-book from Smashwords – all formats
US – e-book from Amazon
UK – e-book from Amazon
Nook – Barnes & Noble
Paperback – Createspace
Thesaurus Bookstore – Melbourne

Paradox – Progeny Of Innocence Giveaway – Free e-book alert!
Patti often gives a free e-book to a reader along with an interview or a review. Therefore, all you need to do is Tweet/Like this post and then add a comment. I will pick a winner at random on 21st December and post here who the lucky winner is. What a great prize for you to enjoy over the Christmas break. Good luck.

Sneak preview of my promotional goodies

As many of you know my first fantasy fiction novel – Tirfo Thuin – is due to be released before the end of the year. In preparation for this I have been busy finishing my cover and getting some promotional goodies together. I’ll report back on how successful they are once I am a few months into 2012.

However, as the number of sales versus cost on most printed promotions is probably extremely low I decided to look into Vistaprint (other print companies are available). I get daily emails from Vistaprint for free items such as business cards, brochures, pens etc. You simply pay the postage. I gave it a go and the results are great.

I got 250 free premium business cards (which I can pop in Christmas cards or hand out to people I see with a Kindle on the tram). Whilst they are not entirely free I think this is a bargain at just £4.53. This cost covers £0.69 to use my own image as opposed to the templates they provide and the rest is postage. Even if it doesn’t pay of it not a huge risk due to the low cost.

TirfoThuin Business Card

Let me know what you think of the design – it is difficult to get across all the information you want to in such a small area. Also, feel free to share your experiences if you have taken similar approaches and have any good tips on how to promote your books offline.

Check out some of the offers here: http://www.vistaprint.co.uk. If you sign up for newsletters or purchase something you tend to get a lot more offers for free things in email newsletters.

 

Author Interview – Nicholas A. Rose

I would like to start by thanking Nicholas for taking the time to answer my questions and to say how much I enjoyed reading his contributions. If you find his answers useful please follow him on Twitter, add your comments/questions below and Like/Tweet this post.

Bio

Nicholas A RoseNicholas A. Rose is the author of the Ilvenworld novels and novellas.  He has read fantasy fiction for longer than he can remember and writing it for only a little less time.  Love of the sea and ships; mountains and the outdoors; and the rather more sedentary pastimes of chess, real ale and reading have all influenced his writing.

Nicholas lives in and is inspired by North Wales and believes all his best ideas come when out in the hills.

For those who must know, the “A” stands for Andrew.

Questions

1. How would you describe yourself and your writing?

I tend to be a prolific writer.  It’s always been fantasy for me.  The boundaries between the sub-genres have become a little muddled over the years, but I would call my books epic and heroic fantasy.

2. How many books do you have published and tell us a bit about them?

So far three:

Markan Throne is the first book of a trilogy.  Rival claimants battle for the right to be Marka’s first emperor for three centuries.  The winner, Marcus, is implicated in a murder, so his claim is suspended.  Marcus must prove his innocence, which means breaking a man free from jail and risking losing his right to the throne forever.

Markan Empire is book two, following on from Markan Throne.  A new enemy threatens the stability of the new empire, while an old enemy lurks to one side.  Marka cannot fight two wars at once, so spies are sent to Re Taura to learn what the new enemy is up to.  But spies have a habit of being caught and killed on Re Taura.

And though Marcus has proven his innocence, Marka’s Senate is still not quite ready to grant his life’s dream and refuses to let him ascend the throne he covets.

Gifted Apprentice is a novella, separate from the trilogy, but using a central character who appears in those books.  It marks the beginning of Sallis ti Ath’s journey from farmboy to feared bounty hunter.

3. Gifted Apprentice. Can you tell me a bit about how this book came about?

Gifted Apprentice CoverA minor character in Markan Throne sparked my interest.  This is the bounty hunter Sallis ti Ath.  When I first published online, I knew one book looked very lonely all by itself, so GA was born.  It was one of those ideas that was so bright it almost burned, so the book had to be written.  I feel this novella is an excellent introduction to the ilvenworld series and, while not strictly a prequel, will help make the world of the trilogy more familiar to readers.

If I’m allowed to make a selfish plug, this novella is free on Amazon.

4. What made you self publish your novels and what has the experience been like to date?

It is now almost impossible for a new writer to break into traditional publishing, so self publishing, or “indie” was really the only way open.  Once I learned of the explosion in popularity of ebooks, then I was away.

I published MT in March 2011 and the experience since has been fantastic.  (Sorry about the pun!)  There is a wonderful and growing community of indie writers online and most of us are happy to share information.  It’s been a steep learning curve and I wouldn’t kid anybody by claiming it’s easy, but I’m glad I came this way with my books.

5. Who have you published with?

ePublished, rather than published.  My books are with Amazon and Smashwords.  Amazon is the big beast of course, but Smashwords have connections with most of the other ereaders, such as B&N’s nook, Sony and quite a few others.

6. Did you prepare your ebooks yourself?  Any pointers?

I did prepare them myself. This is the part many aspiring authors don’t like.  The proofreading, copyediting and so on is entirely up to the author.  In essence, the author is also the publisher and has to deal with the less glamorous aspects of that.

As for pointers, read the publishing guidelines that Amazon issue (and the Smashwords Formatting Guide for those going to Smashwords as the requirements are different) and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

I would recommend getting a copyeditor or, if that’s too expensive (most of us start off on a really tight budget), then get some beta readers.  If anybody reads your published work and points out an error, correct it immediately and reupload the book.  Amazon provides a useful guide how to do this in their help section.

But, if the choice is between spending on a copyeditor or really good cover artwork, go for the artwork.

7. Who does your cover art?

Joleene Naylor.  Worth her weight in gold.

8. Do you do a lot of self promotion? How do you market and promote your work & what do you find are effective methods of self promotion?

Yes.  I’m particularly active on Twitter.  The most effective method of self promotion is to be accessible, friendly, polite and helpful.  That’s to other authors as well as your readers.  As for marketing your work, books are very hard to sell directly.  People prefer to “discover” authors for themselves, or for those known to them to make recommendations.  Being active on the social networks is probably the best way of promoting yourself, but it’s a fine line to walk.  Kindleboards, for example, do not like overpushy authors plugging their work all the time.  By all means jump into discussions, but be mindful not to cross the line.

The most effective method of self promotion is to ensure your name is familiar to people, rather than selling your book all the time.

9. You seem quite proactive in IAN circles.  What are your experiences here?

IAN – the Independent Author Network – is probably where I’m most active right now.  My experiences are good and I’ve made a lot of friends there.  It’s a good place for a new author to go (the only requirement is that you have at least 100 followers on Twitter), and the guys you’ll meet on IAN are a really friendly and helpful bunch.

Another good place for a new author to cut teeth is Twitters #sampleSunday.  That’s where I started out!

10. Do you find sales peak and then drop off after your initial self promotion?

Sales peak and trough all the time.  I’ve found it impossible to directly link rises and falls to promotion.  I would say that you need to promote all the time.  There is a large element of luck when it comes to sales.  But keep on promoting.  All you need is the right person to notice, download, read and… hey presto!  You’re selling.  But that right person might be weeks or months in coming.  If you stop promoting, that reader has passed by…

11. What advice would you give to a newbie to self publishing?

Get your book as professionally finished as possible.  That means polished, edited, proofread.  Get the best possible artwork for the cover, and ensure that artwork is unique.  Get involved in social media, such as Twitter, Kindleboards, Goodreads and the like.  Keep writing and get as many books up as you can.  The more books, the greater the chance you’ll be discovered.  Be accessible, friendly, helpful and polite.  If unsure about something, ask questions.  Read the publishing guides and follow what they say.  Avoid shortcuts.

And DO NOT give up!!

12. What lies in store for Nicholas A. Rose?

2012 is promising to be as productive as 2011.  The third and final book of the trilogy, Markan Sword, should be out in the middle of the year and the sequel to Gifted Apprentice should be out at the end of January.  Beyond that, two more trilogies are planned.  Exciting times indeed!

Thank you for interviewing me.

Useful Links:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/Nicholas_A_Rose

Blog: http//ilvenworld.blogspot.com

Markan Throne: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004SBZ16A

Markan Empire: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005OYDNYC

Gifted Apprentice: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005DZ4FJE