New site for Tirfo Thuin – a fantasy fiction novel by Andrew Butterworth

Tirfo Thuin coverI’ve just realised that I created a nice shiny new site for my book before Christmas (a site and blog specific to my debut fantasy fiction novel Tirfo Thuin) and didn’t even post about it here.

It might look quite similar from a design point of view but the content is very much focussed on my debut fantasy fiction book and my general thoughts about how I came to get the book published and who I think will enjoy it etc. I wanted a site focussed on me as an author and a separate site all about the book. There is also a bonus materials section that ties in with some content at the end of my book where you can uncover further explanations of items in the novel as well as get information on how to get your free gifts.

Tirfo Thuin is already receiving great reviews with an average of 5* on Amazon. I hope you all give it a try. After all, it’s only 99p/99c. What have you got to lose? If you hate it, follow the instructions, get your free gift and what have you lost. Nothing. However, I’m sure you will like it. I hope you absolutely love it because that would make the time and hard work I put into it all worth it.

You can visit my new site here: http://tirfothuin.wordpress.com

Details on Where to Buy Tirfo Thuin can be found here: http://tirfothuin.wordpress.com/purchase

 

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Author Interview – Robert David MacNeil

I want to open by saying how glad I am Robert agreed to answer some of my questions. I’m loving Iona Portal so far and thought I’d find out a bit more about him and his work.

First of all let me introduce Robert David MacNeil, author of Science Fiction Thriller IONA PORTAL.

Robert bio pic 2011Robert is a teacher, author, wine-lover, and world-traveler. Over the past twenty years, his travels have taken him from the steppes of Mongolia to the jungles of Thailand, and from the Eskimo villages of Northwest Alaska to le fin del mundo, the “end of the world,” at the tip of South America.  He presently lives in a suburb of Dallas, Texas.

Robert has authored five non-fiction books under a different pen-name. His first novel, IONA PORTAL, is currently the top-rated Science Fiction book on Amazon, and #2 in mysteries and thrillers.

Robert is presently working on the sequel, IONA STRONGHOLD.

1. How would you describe yourself and your writing?

Thanks for inviting me to do the interview, Andy. I really appreciate the opportunity.

In my “day job” I’m a writer, speaker, and dean of a graduate school.  I also travel frequently. Several times a year I teach in schools in other countries. As my bio indicates, I’ve traveled to some remote places, including the steppes of Mongolia, the jungles of Thailand, and the remote isles of the Scottish Hebrides-which includes the Island of Iona.  (A lot of these locations turn up in Iona Portal, and the other books of the Synaxis Chronicles trilogy.)

Concerning my writing, I’ve been an avid reader all my life, and to me, that’s the first step in becoming a writer. In high school I got frustrated when I realized I’d read every science fiction book in our hometown library! I read many genres, but continue to love science fiction and suspense thrillers.

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

I’ve written five non-fiction books under a different pen-name, but my first novel is Iona Portal.  Iona Portal is a SF thriller that views the ancient battle between good and evil through the lens of Science Fiction.  I like to think of it as Lord of the Rings meets The Matrix. 

3. Can you tell me a bit about how Iona Portal came about?

I’ve always been fascinated by the supernatural, and in the course of my travels have talked with a lot of people about their experiences. Other cultures are often more open to the supernatural than ours, and I’ve met people with some incredible stories. In the process, I’ve had a few unusual experiences myself. There’s a lot more “out there” than most of us suspect.

Two years ago a friend encouraged me to write a science fiction book about some of these encounters. The result is Iona Portal.

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

I’ve published non-fiction books through traditional publishing houses and assumed I’d do that with fiction, but as I began to research agents and publishers, I found that the ebook revolution has shaken the publishing industry to the core. Sales of traditionally published books are plummeting.  Bookstores are going out of business. Agents and publishers are fearing for their existence. In the light of these new realities I decided to go the indie route and e-publish Iona Portal. It’s harder in some ways. You have to wear a lot of hats. But I’m convinced it’s the wave of the future.

5. Who have you published with?

Iona Portal is now published on Amazon Kindle, Smashwords, Apple’s iBookstore, and at Barnes & Noble for the Nook. A paperback version is coming out this month through Amazon’s CreateSpace.

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

Yes. It’s not an easy process, but there are some excellent tutorials available online. Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing also has some great step-by-step instructions. I’d advise reading several of these tutorials before you begun, then take your time and go step by step until the process is finished.

front cover of Iona portal7. Who does you cover art?

I do all my own graphics. I’m fortunate to have some skills in that area. For those who don’t have those skills, I would definitely recommend getting professional help for a cover design. People really do judge books by their covers.

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?

I’ve done most of my promotion thru Twitter.

Twitter is a great tool for marketing, but you need to understand what you’re doing. Some authors think marketing means posting a “BUY MY BOOK!” tweet several times a day. That’s not an effective way to market.

The primary goal of twitter is to engage people and build relationships. I also believe there’s a principle in the universe that says, if you want to receive, you must first be willing to give. It’s the whole “do unto others…” thing, and I’ve found it to be true.

So in addition to promoting my own book, I actively read books of other authors. When I find books I like, I try to promote their books as much as I promote my own. This has brought me into some mutually supportive relationships with other authors I respect, and it has definitely helped in marketing.

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

Sales peaked after the first week or two when my close friends had all bought their copies. But I’ve tried to be pretty consistent in promotion. Sales picked up by the end of the first month, and have been increasing ever since. This last month, sales more than tripled.

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

Go into self-publishing with the expectation that being a writer is hard work. That’s true no matter whether you publish traditionally, or self publish. If you just write a book and post it on Amazon, it won’t sell, no matter how good it is. No one will even know it’s there. You have to learn to market your book. That’s part of being a writer.

Your ultimate success, of course, will depend on the quality of your book. If your book is dull, boring, or poorly written, it won’t sell no matter how hard you promote it. But if you write a good book, and do a reasonable amount of promotion, your book WILL find its market.

11. What lies in store for Robert David MacNeil?

In one interview, Clive Cussler said he viewed himself more as an entertainer than a writer. That’s my desire also. I want to entertain my readers, whether they’re reading my tweets or my novels. I want to write books that entertain and enthrall, and that open the reader’s minds to new dimensions. If I can do that, I’ll be a happy writer.

Beyond that… I’d LOVE to see Iona Portal made into a movie!  (In 3-D of course!)

My website is http://ionaportal.com/, and my blog is http://ionaportal.com/blog/

Readers can also follow me on Twitter at @RDavidMacNeil

You can find Iona Portal on Amazon here…  http://www.amazon.com/Iona-Portal-Synaxis-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B005IA87WA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1313854512&sr=8-1

Books or eBook vouchers for Christmas?

I have read many articles over the last year or so on the success of the eBook and the potential fall of the traditional publisher and physical books. Personally, I can never imagine eBooks taking over completely – just as MP3 has not resulted in a complete demise of the CD and music shops. It is even still possible to buy cassette tapes in certain shops.

Personally, I always used to ask for books for Christmas or, at the very least, Waterstones vouchers. I knew I could always spend those vouchers well and build my ever-growing book collection. However, now I think about it I cannot remember the last time I purchased an actual book. I have downloaded thousands of eBooks from both Amazon and iBooks and have asked for iTunes vouchers for the last few years knowing I would be able to buy many eBooks at 99p each in comparison with maybe a couple of hardbacks for the same total cost.

I think we have reached that point we did with MP3’s where people now begin selling their physical copies on eBay and giving away to charity shops in favour of the digital solution as so many did with CD’s.

Whilst I could not see the complete demise of the traditional publisher and printed books I was curious to know how the statistics compared between sales of hardback/paperbacks and the sale of eBooks over the last few years. I read the Association of American Publishers Press Release for 2010 and was surprised to read that the sales of books, once eBooks were subtracted, was pretty even between 2009 and 2010.

I also discovered a few facts that may interest you:

What do people think? Do you still purchase physical books or do you find the ease and cost of buying eBooks just makes it far more enticing?

Get your book chapter reviewed with #samplesunday

As a keen follower of the Kindle Author blog I wanted to promote a weekly event they push to try and get feedback on sample chapters. This is called Sample Sunday or #samplesunday.

The blog explains the process of getting feedback, reviews, critiques on some of your sample chapters as:

1. Every Sunday, post a writing sample on your blog or website. The writing sample can be from a novel-in-progress or it may be a sample from a book that is already published. Other forms of writing—short stories, poetry, nonfiction, plays—are also acceptable, but for maximum effect make sure you promote just one sample each week.

2. Tweet with a link to your sample post. For example:

“Cold Reading,” by David Wisehart http://bit.ly/idTwNQ #SampleSunday — please RT!
3. Search for other #SampleSunday tweets.

4. Read other people’s writing samples.

5. If you like a writing sample, please retweet it. If the sample is posted to a blog that allows comments, leave the writer a comment about the sample, saying what you liked about it, or giving constructive feedback. If you’d like to stay connected with the writer, then follow their blog, link to them, etc.

6. Check to see who has retweeted your #SampleSunday, and publicly thank them on twitter. You can also thank retweeters by following them on twitter.

Sounds like a simple but effective method so I intend on putting the first chapter of my soon to be self published fantasy fiction novel on my blog here and see if I get any feedback I look forward to peoples opinions and will be reviewing any #samplesunday posts I see as well.

Find great posts and information on the Kindle Authors blog here: http://kindle-author.blogspot.com/2010/12/what-is-samplesunday.html

Charging to loan e-books

I have just read an interesting article around libraries in Nottinghamshire charging to loan e-books.  Around 18 months ago the Department for Culture, Media and Sportthat it would be perfectly legal to charge for e-books.

Whilst there is the argument that a lot of e-books can be downloaded for free or for less than the £1 loan charge, libraries could use this for the loan of more specialised or niche books that are sold for much more. For example, expensive study guides could be loaned by a student needing a publication for a particular project but not wanting to spend the money on purchasing this.

There is a question around the fact that the whole purpose of a library is to provide access to publications for free and this does seem to go against this. It may be that with the boom of the ebook libraries are finding it harder to survive as less and less people have a need to visit them. Also, with public funding being removed there may be a situation where some people are unable to access books for free and do not own a device that allows them to view e-books.

You can view the article here.