The Tower of Souls Cover Reveal

There’s something about receiving cover art that makes the whole book publishing process seem real. Even when you type that last word of a novel, the excitement quickly fades to the terror of editing. It’s hard to think of your novel as a product whilst it’s just a small word document on your hard drive.

Today I got the artwork for The Tower of Souls, and it suddenly sprang to realisation that, by the end of next month, I’ll have written and self published another book. Two in six months. I’m quite impressed with myself!

Here’s the new cover, which I think has all the lures and attractions of Inside Evil’s artwork whilst distinguishing itself in its own right. What do you think??

The Tower of Souls Update

The past week has been spent plunged into my fictional realm in a bid to complete the first draft for The Tower of Souls. Though it took me years to finish Inside Evil, it’s taken me a few mere moths to get back into writing. The last few days especially has found me hard at the grind stone, and anyone who is a regular at the Kindleboards ‘Thousand Words a Day’ thread will have seen that I’ve been managing several thousand words per day.

I can happily say that tonight I finished the first draft of The Tower of Souls! I’m so overjoyed that I’ve finished. It came to circa 70k, so after editing, where I normally end up actually adding words, it’ll probably be in the mid 70s. The race is now on for a proof read and first edit, before it goes off to a second pair of eyes for the first read through!

On track for an end of August release, WOOHOO! :)

Book Review: The Emporer’s Edge

Book: The Emperor’s edge
Author: Lindsay Buroker
Available at: Amazon – FREE

Lindsay Buroker’s plan to get readers of her wonderful writing blog to give her books a look continues to work, especially because the first of the series is completely FREE. It’s part of a marketing ploy that works because Lindsay has another four titles in this series, and once you’re sucked into her steampunk world, you’ll be hard put to not to rush onto the next book within minutes. The Emperor’s Edge was my first meander into the world of steampunk and I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I mean, what IS steampunk? Well, it’s an world without electricity and, if Lindsay’s books are anything to go by, it’s a place where emotional and physical turmoil are only moments away.

The Emperor’s Edge follows enforcer Aramanthe as she become caught up in a plot to assassinate Sespian; a young emperor who has become a mere pawn in the military’s bid to control Turgonia. Aramanthe is a strong heroine who finds herself caught in a difficult situation, her life’s wishes falling away before her eyes, and everything that she’s worked so hard to obtain being lost. She turns to assassin Sicarious for help, and pulls an unlikely team together consisting of a professor, Books, a male escort, Maldynado, and a mental sciences (magic) believer, Askyr. Thus, they take on a battle to save the emperor’s life, but as is always the case in a good read, nothing is ever quite that simple.

For my first plunge into the world of steampunk, The Emperor’s Edge was the ideal book. Lindsay does just enough world building to give readers the setting and concepts of the world without overdoing it. Her real skill is in writing conversations, and though descriptive are to be found, Lindsay relies on the people to set the pace, with all of the characters brought vividly to life as they try to become friends and comrades. This is a book that will throw up a few U-turns when you’re reading, ensuring that you’re never quite where the storyline may head. It keeps you guessing. It makes you laugh, even when the situation seems quite grave. And, it shows that even heroes and heroines are fallible and don’t always do the best thing for their cause.

Emperor’s Edge is a great read, and I’m looking forward to finding out what’s next for Aramanthe and her motley crew. Even better, if you’ve already spent your ebook budget for the month, it’s free ;)

Download at Amazon.

The importance of book reviews and word of mouth for ebook sales

It may sound obvious, but word of mouth is one of the major factors that will help you sell books. I know this, you know this, but knowing and doing are two completely different things. When I first started self publishing, I debuted Inside Evil on a bit of a down low. It was my first novel, I didn’t know how it was going to be received and I didn’t want to put family and friends in that awkward position where they have to gush about loving your book whilst they’re secretly cursing the hours they lost having to read their loved ones trash. Luckily, it seems that I didn’t write 70,000 words of trash, but putting a book out there that you’ve slaved over is scary stuff.

Once you hit that self publish button, and for those who are organised enough to get a head start, the marketing and advertising starts. Forum posting, blog commenting, Goodreads ads and LibraryThing giveaways are all part of the process of trying to get sales; along with having fingers and toes crossed that a little bit of luck comes your way. However, from personal experience, the one thing you need to do to sell some books is to swallow your pride and turn to book reviewers, friends and family to spread the word.

Book Reviews

Some people don’t have a lot of luck with book reviews, but I’ve found that it’s been one of the best way to get sales. Most reviewers have a huge backlog of books to read, but getting on as many blogs as possible will passively spread the word of your novel, build some reviews and gain some sales. Most reviewers will post their ratings on their blog, Goodreads, Amazon and even Barnes and Noble, offering you the chance to reach blog readers and grow your range of marketplace reviews. On Goodreads this can help you to reach more people’s shelves, adding to the natural word of mouth spread of your book.

One of my first book blog reviews came in yesterday with a stunning 4.5 stars. A huge thank you to Krista at Breathe in Books for this review, and I’ve already noted an increase in sales which I expect has come off this sole review.  Don’t be persuaded to only go for some of the big book reviewers – get on as many blogs as possible to reach a wider audience.

Two great lists of book reviews can be found at:

Kristy’s Stories book reviewers post
Indie Book Reviewer

Word of Mouth

There’s nothing that says ‘buy this book’ better than a personal recommendation. In the best scenario you want readers to be saying ‘Wow, I read this great book. You should give it a go.’ However, you need a little help now and then, and it’s here that friends and family can help. There’s nothing wrong with asking for a little plug here and there. My sister put out a Facebook status saying that she’d read my book and loved it. She added the Amazon book link and I had several sales from people who were interested. Likewise, an author friend of mine Tweeted about my book, and I had several more sales as a direct result from that.

It’s understandable that you don’t want to rely on friends and family to spread the word, but you have to reach new fans in the first place so that word on your book spreads. Get two friends of a family member to buy your book and recommend it to others, and you soon have new and completely unrelated fans. This in turn will push up your Amazon sales rankings so that you can enter top 100 lists and become more noticeable.

Reaching new fans and getting sales is a difficult task. People will be far more willing to try a new author if they receive a personal recommendation. If, like me, you’re not very good at blowing your own trumpet, asking for help from family and friends can be a huge help to get your ebook sales snowballing.

LibraryThing Giveaway Promotion

As some people will know, early in June I offered a LibraryThing giveaway, providing 50 copies of Inside Evil to people on LibraryThing in return for reviews. I had many hopes, not to increase sales, but to get reviews. Here are the results.

It can safely be said, that the LibraryThing giveaway was a bit of failure. At the very least, it failed to live up to expectations. Of the 50 books that I offered, 39 people downloaded the novel from Smashwords which I would think is a pretty good result. However, over the course of the past month, I’ve only had ONE review and around FOUR Goodreads adds. It’s a little disappointing, as I hoped that a ratio of at least 10% would give me a review, but alas, so far, the one sole review is all I’ve had. Still, this was a 4star one so it’s not a complete loss and I was ecstatic to see that the reader posted on LibraryThing, Amazon and Smashwords.

Of course, when you’re running a LibraryThing giveaway, it’s important to remember that the types of people bidding in these contests are the type of readers who may well have a substantial backlist of books to read. After one month, I’ve had one review. However, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be more to come in the future as individuals finally get around to giving Inside Evil a go.

Would I use LibraryThing’s giveaway again?

At the end of the day, it’s a great giveaway tool and so, yes, I would use it again. I plan to offer 50 copies of Tower of Souls to readers about a month before the release. This should give people the chance to read the book and make a few reviews so that when it goes live on Amazon and Smashwords, there is already some feedback available. Obviously, it’s a sequel, so people winning the book may even buy Inside Evil first so that they’re caught up on the story.

If you’re thinking of using a LibraryThing giveaway, then don’t expect great instant results. Be happy for the reviews that you do get in, and utilise it as a way to get your work read and find a few new fans and followers.