Catch up with a cuppa Ko-Fi (July 2022)

Here is the low down on what I posted on Ko-Fi last month, so you don’t miss out!

Sky Heart – Briefed my cover designer

Taking those next steps towards publishing book two is very exciting. It’s still a way off, but I’ve reached out to my cover designer to discuss ideas and book in.

Content Creation

An update on what I was doing in July. Originally I’d toyed with the idea of doing a project for Camp NaNo.

Instead, I was busy planning my husband’s secret party, and attending all the end of school/nursery events for my kids.

In the end, I was working on remaining present on social media by developing content. This included opportunities to feature in Felixstowe Magazine and interviews with other bloggers.

Smashwords Summer Sale (July)

I posted at the start and end of July to make people aware that Ocean Heart was in the Smashwords sale at 50% off. This needed some prompting and content to spread the word.

Coming Soon – Author Diaries

I’ve also been busy working on this collaborative project, and developing content to start promoting.

Subscribe to my YouTube channel and stay tuned for more info coming soon.

Follow me on Ko-Fi

It’s free to follow me on Ko-Fi and be sure you don’t miss out on my latest news, or any freebies. You can buy me a virtual cuppa or merchandise from my shop, including a signed copy of my book.

[Kofi]

More About Sky Heart

Book format and buying options…

Buy it!

There are tons of ways to own your very own copy of Ocean Heart. Check out my webpage About Ocean Heart for full details, but here are a few:

Some of these links are affiliate links. Please visit my about Affiliate Links page for more details.

Signed Copy

You can buy a signed copy of Ocean Heart from Ko-Fi, and there are two options:

Personalised & Hand Signed

This is limited to the UK due to postage costs. First, I order the book, sign it, and then send to you. If you’d like a personalised message for you or someone special, I can do this.

This was the method used for the first 20 copies of Ocean Heart bought during my book signing event at Stillwater Books.

Now, you can get a hand signed copy by supporting me on Ko-Fi & visiting my Ko-Fi Shop.

Personalise & Digitally Signed

This is limited to countries with an Ingram printing facility. I will design a personalised page for you, that will be added to the book when printed. Ingram then will send out directly to you (saving on international postage costs/emissions).

Currently there is only one copy of Ocean Heart like this that I gifted to a TikToker.

Now, you can get a digitally signed copy by supporting me on Ko-Fi & visiting my Ko-Fi Shop.

Paperback

Bookshop.org

I recently blogged a ton of reasons to shop with Bookshop.org but the main one is to support your local independent bookshop.

Amazon

Amazon encourages shoppers to leave product reviews, helping consumers to make more informed decisions.

If you are not UK/US, try this universal link to find Ocean Heart at your local Zon: http://getbook.at/OceanHeart

eBook

Smashwords

The great thing about Smashwords is you can buy your eBook and choose the format, enabling you to read on whatever device is your favourite. In addition your eBook is saved to your Smashwords library, so you keep it forever.

Amazon

Kindle is one of the most popular eReaders both as a tablet and app.

If Smashwords and Amazon aren’t your thing, you can get Ocean Heart from many other popular eBook stores. Click this link to discover more eBook buying options: https://books2read.com/OceanHeart

[kofi]

If you have enjoyed this, you’ll like:

About Ocean Heart

A Little Trip to the Library

Ocean Heart was free on Google Play

Happy MerMay 2021

Collaborating on a New Exciting Project

Elzevera of Willowtree Editing needed some extra help in managing her Mighty Network: Under the Willow

I joined the Mighty Network back in 2019 and Elzevera helped me with self editing, Ocean Heart.

It inspired me to want to create my own Mighty Network and I set this as a goal at the start of 2020.

I have been exploring creating a Mighty Network. It is a social site for creatives. I’m currently a member of a Mighty Network by Willow Editing. I have been Beta Testing a self-editing course by Elzevera of Willow Editing.

I am considering the network as a potential way to share extra bits with my readers. I am also exploring it as a space to share writing resources as many of my followers are fellow writers.

http://allyaldridge.com/writing-progress-january 2020/

But, I’d also decided to self publish Ocean Heart, and this was my priority and keeping me very busy. I didn’t have time to build my own Mighty Network. I ended up abandoning the goal to focus on my debut novel.

Early this year, I stepped back from my volunteer role with World Indie Warriors. I created their indie books brochure and eZine. Collecting all the info and publishing four times a year was taking over too much of my free time. When I started a new job, I didn’t have the energy to continue with both. It was hard to let go but I’m still very close with the members and support them however I can.

Now I’ve settled into my new role, I have more energy again. When I saw Elzevera call for help on Instagram, it sounded like a perfect new fresh challenge for me.

I applied to help, and we had a little chat about what she’d need me to do. From October, I shall be Elzevera’s new co-host. I’m excited to take on this new role.

Under the Willow is inline with my original Mighty Network goal. Elzevera’s created her network to empower writers to have the tools they need to self edit their work, and improve their writing craft in a supportive community.

If you want to join a supportive group of writers and improve your craft, please do come join us on Mighty Networks in Under the Willow

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this you will like:.

12 Tips for Self Editing

My Process – How to Publish a Book

Different self publishing platforms

Writing Progress – January 2020

Seven Secrets to PitMad Success

I met debuting author Roxy Eloise through Instagram. We connected during a very exciting time for her author career! Roxy has just landed a publishing deal following her first attempt at PitMad.

In the spirit of authors supporting authors, Roxy agreed to share her experience and some tips to help other hopeful writers find success with PitMad.

What is PitMad?

Well, before we get into things, I should probably cover what PitMad is. PitMad is an event held on Twitter by Pitch Wars. It enables unrepresented writers to pitch their novel in the hope of attracting interested agents/publishers. Those interested will like the tweet to signify a request for the manuscript. Read more about the event on the Pitch Wars website.

Roxy Eloise’s PitMad Success Story:

I joined Twitter in January 2021 with the hopes of connecting with fellow writers, but feeling like the new girl in school, I remained silent for the whole month! For some reason, I felt nervous to send out my very first tweet. Instead, I just watched my timeline, during which, I picked up a few key hashtags, #PitMad being one of them. I kept seeing it over and over again until one morning my curiosity got the better of me. What is this #PitMad? After a quick google search, I discovered I had been on PitchWars.org a few months prior, and I had already bookmarked the page to check out at a later date. Well, I stumbled upon it again, but this time it just so happened to be on the morning of their Twitter event called PitMad.

I only had a short while to prepare my pitch, and I was at a huge disadvantage because I hadn’t gotten myself on any retweet lists, but I decided to try my luck at it regardless and chalk it up as experience. My pitch could’ve been better and there are a few things I would have done differently but I never needed to. 

On the morning of March 4th, I started the day by reaching out to a few of my followers and asking them for help. After a few retweets, my pitch began to take off, and by the end of the day, I was on the ‘TOP’ page for the hashtag PitMad. The next day, I had a full request off Entrada Publishing, and then, after a few rounds of proving myself and my book, I got offered a traditional book contract. Thanks to PitMad, The Guidal: Discovering Puracordis will be coming April 2022!

Here is my original pitch which attracted the attention of my publishers:

Now after you read this article, you will notice its flaws, and this is what I would have done differently:

THE LAST AIRBENDER X DIVERGENT

A suspiciously paranoid man adopts children to protect him. All raised in a strict academy together, one trouble-maker discovers she is dangerously different. #PitMad #YA #D #MR #R

Roxy Eloise Revamped Pitch if she were to do it again

But with everything in life, we learn as we go. Isn’t it crazy how when we were newbie writers we believed our first drafts were outstanding? But then we grew as writers and now we cringe at our early drafts. If you still think your first draft is amazing, unfortunately you still have some growing to do. But one day you will see it, and when you are at that stage, you are ready to pitch your work.

Follow the seven secrets below, and you too could see yourself a PitMad success.

Seven Secrets to PitMad Success

7 Secrets to PitMad Success

1. Read the Rules

This point may be self-explanatory, but it’s surprising how many tweets I see before the start time or how many I see with GIFs. What’s the point of going through so much effort to create an awesome pitch only to risk your chances of success with an image? Don’t hinder your chances; read the rules carefully before participating.

One last thing to remember is to not like your friends’ pitches. The like button is reserved specially for agents and industry professionals. You can show your support by leaving comments or retweeting.

2. Create your Ultimate Pitch – CONFLICT IS KEY

So you’ve read the rules and now you’re ready to create your eye-catching tweet. Well, first off, what’s not eye-catching is a sentence with unfamiliar names which instantly make the agent feel lost. If you have a unique MC name, keep it for the full proposal. Refer to your character as a boy, a woman, a witch, a lawyer, a narcissist.

You only have 280 characters to entice your agent, so do just that… entice them. You don’t have to explain the plot of a 100K novel in 2 sentences. To entice them, focus entirely on the conflict. Any other elements can be revealed after you’ve reeled them in and they’ve asked for a full request.

Which one of these would you hit the like button for:

Saraiya walked the street at night when she was kidnapped by Kanhoa and put in an enclosure with other prisoners. She falls in love with Fenrir and they devise a plan to escape. (All names taken from actual pitches.)

VS. 

A man steps from the shadows and covers her mouth. When she wakes up naked and exposed, she immediately needs to fend for her life. She is not alone in this prison.

One focuses entirely on the conflict, whilst the other introduces stakes that I could take or leave. Escape is obviously the stakes. Life or death is another. It is not necessary to TELL the agent. You have already SHOWN it in the pitch.

One pitch also made me stumble over unfamiliar names. The agent will learn your unique names in the synopsis. This is also the time for them to learn about the added romance.

3. Use Hashtags and Comp Titles

Got a romance in your genre-blend sci-fi, adventure novel? Tell them with Hashtags. The agent may be very specific in what they are looking for. If they want sci-fi with a romance they can search #PitMad #SF #R and your tweet could suddenly appear on the ‘TOP’ page. Visibility—when you’re in amongst hundreds of thousands—is fundamental. Find which hashtags to use on their website.

Comparative titles can very quickly build a picture in an agent’s mind and it only takes a few characters. If I said to you HUNGER GAMES X HARRY POTTER, you suddenly think “okay, witches and wizards fighting it to the death in a sinister survival game.” You know there’s magic, and you also know there’s a survival of the fittest game. You got all that from just 27 characters. It’s a good use of your limited 280.

4. Have fun and Be Active

Being active can help tremendously on the day. If you support other authors, they are likely to support you back. Positivity can go a long way, so have fun and enjoy the day engaging with fellow writers.

You will also learn a thing or two by reading other pitches. You learn what to do and what not to do. If you find yourself saying “who cares?” after every stakes question, then don’t use a stakes question. “Who will win?” “Will they do it in time?” “Will they survive?” Who cares?

5. Pin your Pitch

So, you have the pitch of your life and your friends want to come and support you, but they go to your profile and are met with a list of other people’s tweets. Or worse, the agent liked your pitch but wanted to see your profile before they hit the like button, and now they are on your page and can’t find your pitch. What they do see though, are your fellow writers’tweets. Great for them but not great for you. You potentially lost an agent.

To solve this, simply pin your tweet so it stays at the top of your feed on your profile.

6. Make a Retweet List and Get on Retweet Lists

So this is not one-hundred-percent essential but it does help. Not only are you engaged, active, and having fun, you are receiving support on your own pitch.

Retweets may sway an agent to hit the like button if they think other people are interested. Sometimes they could be undecided and 200 retweets could be the one thing that persuades them.

7. The Flaw to THREE Variations

And finally, you come up with three variations of the same book, you send them out a few hours apart, and they all get 50 retweets each… Well, if you weren’t distributing your retweets between three pitches, you could’ve potentially had150 retweets on one post. Having 150 on one, looks better than 50 on three. And guaranteed they are 50 different accounts on each post.

Now, I know agents may not be biased and like pitches according to the amount of retweets they have, but I can also guarantee that if you go and look at a pitch with 500 retweets, it has at least one agent like on it. It’s all about making your pitch look popular and generating a bit of excitement about your story; after all, it is fabulous!

Why not let the retweets reflect that. Retweets also get you on the ‘TOP’ page for that hashtag, and this means even more exposure for you.

Thank you Roxy

I want to thank Roxy for taking her time to write this post for my blog, and I hope this helps another aspiring author to achieve their dream.

I also love that despite getting a deal on her first PitMad, Roxy is already reflecting on what she could do better. And, that is the key quality of successful people, to keep growing and improving. I’m sure this book deal is just the start of her author career and I can’t wait for her book to release and to see the other titles that follow on for this debuting author.

Make sure you follow Roxy Eloise to keep up with her journey and book news. Here are her links:

www.instagram.com/RoxyEloiseOfficial

www.Twitter.com/RoxyEloise_

If you enjoyed this, you will like:

PitMad September 2019 – My Experience

PitMad June 2019 – The Tweets

PitMad December 2018 – My Experience

Writers Beware – Know who you are querying

[kofi]

Behind the Book: Wilcroft Chronicles: The Waterfall Warrior by Owen B. Lewis

Thank you so much for agreeing to an interview about your debut fantasy novel.

Tell me about your beautiful book cover?

The beautiful artwork was illustrated by Yu-Hsuan Tseng who I happened to find online. I came across her wonderful art from a graphic design website and fell in love with the colours and imagery that she used. The style felt the right vibe for what I was imagining for The Waterfall Warrior. I got in touch with her and she was very happy to create my front cover. I was hugely honoured as it can be hard to find the right image for your work that captures what was originally in your mind, but not in this case. Yu-Hsuan Tseng listened to my ideas and with her talent and unique style she made the most perfect artwork I could ask for.

The Waterfall Warrior is book 1 in the Wilcroft Chronicles, how many books do you anticipate in the series?

I plan to do two more. When I came to write the first one I always had a trilogy in mind. It’s exciting because now the first book is out there, people can find out about this world and these characters I have created. I have lots of ideas for what’s to come. I know how it all ends, but there’s a lot of exciting things to happen before that. 

Can you introduce the main characters, Hannah and Callum:

Hannah Barrington is a twenty-five year old woman who works at a hotel. She roams Epping Forest whenever she is feeling depressed. It brings comfort to her as she has fond memories of staying there with her grandparents and siblings when she was little. One day she comes across a waterfall which seems out of place; she walks through and finds a portal that transports her to a different world called Therrhain. Hannah befriends a Warrior there called Fay. To get Hannah back they must go to Wilcroft University to meet a woman named Carol Wells, but first Hannah and Fay must unveil the secret of the ancient prophecy before Therrhain is destroyed.

Callum Barrington is Hannah’s youngest sibling. He’s currently a student at university in Manchester. He also deals with mental illness. There’s a young man named Elliott Heartwood that he can see through his mirror, and in the early chapters Callum isn’t quite sure if he’s real or if his mind is playing tricks on him.

Is the Epping Forest in your book based on the real Epping Forest? Why did you choose this location for your fantasy book?

Yes and no. It’s real in the sense that in the story Hannah is walking through the actual Epping Forest, but I have added things that aren’t there in real life, such as the house that her grandparents lived in. I chose this location because I needed a forest that was out in the middle of nowhere but also close enough you could travel there from London, and also because Hannah needed somewhere to go that gave off a childlike and magical atmosphere. 

The book includes your main characters facing mental health issues. Is mental health something that’s important to you?

Most definitely. Over the last few years I have been very open about myself having mental health problems. I also used to be a care worker before I became a writer, so I have worked with a lot of people who also have had mental health issues. I think it’s an important theme to put into stories, especially when it’s not the main plot device; the character just so happens to have these issues, but they also are shown to still live a life and have other qualities to them.

What advice do you have for anyone that may be struggling with similar issues to your main characters.

I’m not sure I am the right person to give advice, but I guess all I would suggest is to talk, and not be ashamed of the difficult emotions you are facing. From personal experience when I talked about it I felt better for it. 

Can you share a short snippet from The Waterfall Warrior?

Walking through the forest brought back so many memories. It seemed smaller than it had when I was a child. I remembered the time I had fallen over a branch, the one that was still sticking out menacingly between the trees. It had made me fall and cut my knee. I had cried for hours. I used to play there with Chloe, Laura and Callum. They were my only friends back then. It was a time in my life before I realised you could have friends that were not part of your family. We used to use sticks as swords and playfight with each other. We even made dens with blankets. There was a house there that looked as though it was about to collapse. It used to belong to my grandparents, Grumbles and Numbles I called them for some strange reason. Back then I used to think this forest was their garden. When I passed this area, I could almost smell the cooked dinner that my grandmother used to make. It had always tasted as good as it smelt. My mouth was watering. The memory cheered me up but not for long. I was now further into the forest. I wasn’t very familiar with this part. We were told to never cross this point when we were kids, or we would be in “very serious trouble”. It was hard to believe it now, as this part of the woods felt very innocent and peaceful compared with the rest. The ground was flatter, there were no stones to graze your knees if you fell, and no hills to climb and fall down. I came across the stump of a tree. It was right in the middle, all by itself. Lines of trees standing tall on either side of it, squashed together like sardines. I went and sat down on the stump. Without even a thought I broke down and cried for about ten minutes. I didn’t understand why I suddenly felt so upset. I was feeling low, but I didn’t think I was as bad as all that. Then something startled me. The strangest, but most beautiful sound. Someone was singing.

Where can readers connect with you and discover more about your books?

The best place to do that would be at my book launch. It’s being held at Bristol’s Waterstones on September 28th at 7pm. I will be talking about the book, and there will be readings by two actors who narrated the audiobook edition of The Waterfall Warrior, which is also out soon. I will be signing copies of the book. It’s a free event but you still need to claim a ticket by visiting Waterstones website and going to the event section.

https://www.waterstones.com/events/book-launch-with-owen-b-lewis-wilcroft-chronicles-the-waterfall-warrior/bristol-galleries

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this you will like:

Behind the Book: Chasing Sunrise by Emily Mah

Behind the Book: Garden in the Sands by Ellie Mitten

Behind the Book: Meraki by Naomi Kelly

Behind the Book: Tenebrasco by Hannah Reed

Happy Indie Bookshop Week!

From Saturday, 19 June to Saturday, 26 June, it’s Indie Bookshop Week.

This event has been running since 2006 by Books Are My Bag. They also run other bookish events to support Indie Bookshops like the BAMB Awards and Indie Bookshop Day in October.

Shoutout to my local Indie Bookshop

Stillwater Books is my local bookshop in Felixstowe.

It’s been a tough year for high street shops due to the pandemic. Many spent months closed as they weren’t deemed essential. I know, who said books aren’t essential?

Ocean Heart released on 1 Dec and the country was in lockdown. The book signing event I’d always dreamed of was looking bleak. Boris said no!

I reached out to Stillwater Books with my proposed idea, a work around solution for a book signing during lockdown. I literally happy danced when they said yes.

I promptly got to work on promoting the event. The manager was patient with me as I figured out details, how to order books, write an invoice, and all the other brand new tasks I was doing for the first time.

I signed the ordered books and brought them into the shop. I made a little video for YouTube. Customers who had preordered, then either collected from the store or arranged for local delivery.

I certainly hadn’t imagined a non-contact book signing before, but Stillwater Books worked with me to make it happen. I will always be thankful to them for helping make my dream come true.

Shop Local

It’s really important to shop at your local independent bookshop. In doing so, you are supporting your high street, local jobs, a small business, and treating yourself to a new read.

That’s why I love being an affiliate with Bookshop.org. Redfae Bookshop.org is my affiliate store giving recommendations on books you should buy. It connects you with a local independent bookshop for your purchase. In return you support them with your custom and I get a small commission.

If you enjoyed this, you will like:

My Affiliate Disclosure page

What’s a UBL & why your book needs one

Ocean Heart releases tomorrow

Now you can preorder Ocean Heart

[kofi]

We went Live for Indie Author Week UK

I love going live with fellow indie authors, and Indie Author Week UK was the perfect excuse.

Joining me live was:

💛 Romantic Suspense author Cassidy Reyne: https://www.cassidyreyne.com/

💛 Worldbuilding & World Destroying author Angeline Trevena: https://angelinetrevena.co.uk/

💛 Contemporary Fantasy author J D Groom (Jodie): https://jodiegroom.wordpress.com/

We discussed what the week is all about and those involved. We talked about how we became indie, our experience, and tips for those considering it, and to help those already with books out.

Were there any bloopers?

Going live is terrifying as there’s a fear something will go wrong. But, it builds skills in handling these. Here is what happened:

Kids: I had a few issues getting the kids to bed, so I was cutting it fine when I logged on. I used Stream Yard several times last year for my book launch without issues so I wasn’t too worried as I know it’s super simple. But…

Camera & Mic undetected: I logged on and Stream Yard couldn’t detect my camera or microphone- WTF! This is not what you want when you are about to host a live event. I switched browsers and it still wasn’t happening. It must be my laptop, because when I tried my mobile, it worked!

Unprepared: I wasn’t prepared to go live using my mobile. I had my event notes on my phone – eek! I also didn’t have a stand ready. Although my hubby snuck one over to me a few minutes in when he realised I was struggling to keep it steady. I think I did a good job of keeping the questions going without my notes.

No Link/On screen text: Next up, one of my guests hadn’t got the link to attend. It was in our group chat but for some reason was hidden from her. I accidentally added her cry for help to the screen for everyone to see. I didn’t realise until way into the stream, so you can see it for most of the live.

Lagging & Crashing: Cassidy’s iPad kept lagging making it hard for her to keep up with the chat, and we were rabbiting on. It also kept dropping her. She switched to her laptop and then it was much better.

Here are my Instagram pics introducing each of my guests:

Author Cassidy Reyne
Author Angeline Trevena
Author J.D. Groom

Indie Author Week UK

To find out more about Indie Author Week UK, please visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/IndieAuthorWeekUK/

They have a ton of incredible events going on. If you can’t make a live, look out for the replay.

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this you will like:

Behind the Book: Sorceress of Truth by J D Groom

Behind the Book: The Sentinels (series) by Cassidy Reyne

Camp NaNo April – Mid Month Check In

It’s Indie Author Week UK 2021

The Story Seller Academy by Pagan Malcolm

Last year I was the lucky winner of a place on Pagan Malcolm’s course, Story Seller Academy.

This course came at the perfect time for me. I’d recently decided I wanted to self publish my book and the course is perfect for that. This course is all about publishing and marketing your book.

Topics

The first module is on mindset and although it sounds a bit hippie, this one is vital. I had previously caught some of Pagan’s free taster sessions on Facebook. Those samples had already empowered me, so doing the full module was next level.

Launching my book was new and scary, and self doubt was already caressing me with her familiar fingers. This module helped me get my head back on track, and to catch self doubt in her tracks before she got her nails into me.

The course covers everything you need to do and consider when self publishing a book. It’s like having someone hold your hand through the process.

Not only that, but there are modules to cover what to do after you publish and other income streams to consider.

There are masterclasses with tips and walkthroughs on how to do a wide range of things. Pagan shares her own personal experiences, including mistakes she has made so you don’t have to.

Method

The course content is shared using videos of Pagan delivering presentations. These are timestamped so if you need to jump to a certain section you can.

Pagan also shares resources to support the content like ideas content ideas for your book launch on social media.

Duration

This is a self paced course which means you can study when you want and consume as much content as you like. This was ideal for me because when I gained accessed I didn’t have time. When I did have time, it was all there waiting for me to indulge.

Pagan allows forever access so I can log in and revisit content whenever I need a refresher. She also updates content and adds bonus material. It’s like the course that keeps on giving.

Review

This course has been a real benefit to me and I would recommend it. The flexibility is exactly what I needed to work around my other commitments.

Pagan is a great teacher and really approachable. She was genuinely interested in how I got on with her course as she is continuously improving what she does.

I’m confident her courses will only get better and better over time.

Discover more about Pagan Malcolm by visiting her website: https://psmalcolm.com.

Although I won a place on this course, I was not required to write a review. I was compelled to write this review to help my blog readers discover this awesome course.

Here are some affiliate links to buy her books:

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this, you will like:

My Author Breakthrough Session with Pagan Malcolm

Behind the Book: Lanterns in the Sky by P S Malcoln

Behind the Book: Stuck on Vacation with Ryan Rupert by P S Malcolm

Happily Ever Author with Pagan Malcolm

Next Month is Felixstowe Book Festival

Coming Soon: Felixstowe Book Festival

I love that Felixstowe Book Festival is on my doorstep. They offer a range of events, talks, and workshops. It’s also very affordable. For example, this year, you can attend a full day writing workshop for only £9.99!

To find out more about the various events and to buy tickets head over to the Felixstowe Book Festival website.

You may have already guessed or seen on Instagram, I’ve bought tickets for this years full day writing workshop for the bargain price of £9.99! It is being help in a stunning historic building, the sort that can inspire stories.

I haven’t attended every year, or blogged about every event I have attended. Below are links to my posts about some of the talks or workshops I did attend.

2019 FBF and My White Knight

2019 FBF and How to connect with local writers

2019 FBF and The Publishing Industry

2019 FBF and Containment

2019 FBF and Children’s Events

2018 FBF and Arts & Crafts with Arty Mouse

2018 FBF and Who Runs the World (YA author lunch)

2018 FBF and Learning Through Art

2017 FBF and Alwyn Hamilton – Rebel of the Sands

2017 FBF and All About Picture Book Publishing

[kofi]

Different self publishing platforms

Once I decided to self publish one of the first minefields I had to navigate was which platform to use.

Terms used:

  • Print on Demand – The market only buys what they need as they need it.
  • Aggregator – Distributes electronic or physical products to market on your behalf.
  • Format – eBook, paperback, hardback, etc
  • Free ISBN – There is no initial fee for the ISBN, however, but the ‘printer’ becomes your publisher and can set restrictions.
  • Own ISBN – You provide your own ISBN. In the UK you buy these from Neilsen.
  • Wide: This is when the book is made available to many sellers, for example bookshops and libraries.

Here is a little summary on the most popular choices. Research their current terms thoroughly as they may have changed or I may have misunderstood what I found out. 😅

Here are some of the more popular choices in more detail:

Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing

At first, I didn’t go with KDP as I thought it meant I would be exclusive to Amazon and I wanted to go wide. , Turns out I thinking of their other service Amazon KDP Select. The name is very similar.

KDP allows you to self publish an ebook and/or a paperback (hardback is coming soon).

You can publish KDP wide. Amazon is a giant in the book selling market place, so it makes sense you’d want your book on their site. However, many bookstores won’t stock Amazon books because they are their biggest competitor. If you want to be in bookshops and libraries it’s best to not to go wide with KDP and choose an aggregator like Ingram. You can publish with KDP & not select the wide option.

The links below are affiliate links. You can learn more about these on my affiliate disclosure page.

Amazon KDP Select

Select is when you agree your book is exclusive to Amazon. This does grant you certain benefits. Your book is on kindle unlimited, you get extra promotions, and can offer your book for free.

If you choose this route, you cannot publish your book anywhere else.

Ingram Sparks

This is who I went with. Ingram Sparks are a print on demand service and aggregator. You can do print, ebook, and hardbacks. In fact Ingram has a huge choice of print options.

You publish your book through Ingram and they distribute it to stores like Amazon, high street bookshops, B&N, Kobo, etc. This is often called publishing wide because your book can be sold nearly anywhere. A benefit of Ingram is it can be stocked in libraries like a traditionally published book.

Libraries and bookstores must order your book to stock it. Customers will either request it or you’ll need to approach them to get it stocked. It’s unlikely it will get stocked without any demand. However many online shops will list your book so customers can order it (POD).

Draft2Digital

They started out as an eBook aggregator for self publishers, but now also do physical print books.

You can use their ISBN for free and they take a cut from your royalties. You cannot use this ISBN on other sites as it belongs to D2D making them the publisher. Or, you can provide your own ISBN and keep all your royalties.

D2D will publish your book wide. A benefit of D2D is you can select or unselect which sellers you want your book to be available to.

Smashwords

They are an eBook Aggregator and store. You can upload your book to Smashwords for them to distribute, but they also enable readers to buy directly from their site too and reward you with 80% royalty. That’s an impressive royalty!

Smashwords allow exclusive deals for eBooks and hold events to promote their authors books like reading challenges.

You can use your own ISBN or they can provide one for free.

Lulu

They are an eBook & print Aggregator. They have lots of options for paperback, hardback, comics, magazines, etc.

Lulu will distribute your book wide, sell your book from their own shop, and have an app that allows you to sell from your own website. That last option makes me wish I went with Lulu!

You can use your own ISBN or they can provide one for free.

Barnes & Noble

You can publish directly with B&N. I’ve not tried it but I’ve heard authors talk very positively about the quality of their hardback books.

B&N can make your book available in their store and on Kobo. Unlike Amazon Select, they won’t restrict you from publishing your book elsewhere.

Aggregators like Ingram, D2D, and Lulu, can make books available to B&N. I think authors go direct with B&N for their hardback option.

You can use your own ISBN or they can provide one for free.

Apple Books

This is the ebook store for Apple users. Ingram, Smashwords, Lulu and D2D can publish here for you too.

If you have a Mac, you can upload your book directly using their personal book publishing site. They now have a webpage to enable PC users to upload too.

I tried to publish to Apple via Ingram. Unfortunately Apple said my eBook file was too big and rejected my novel.

To fix this, I have attempted to publish directly with them. But, I’m having issues with their webpages. There tech & developer team have been very responsible, it might be just some bugs with the new PC publishing portal – I don’t have a Mac.

A benefit of being on Apple Books is that they are a very popular choice for eBooks by iPhone/iPad readers.

You can use your own ISBN or they can provide one for free.

Google Play

This is the Android store and allows users to buy and download eBooks. Ingram, Smashwords, Lulu and D2D can publish here for you too.

A benefit of Google Play is that most people without an iPhone have an Android phone, making it another popular choice for eBook downloads.

The benefit of being on Google Play is that Google is one of the largest search engines and by having your book listed in their store (even as just a preview), can boost your discoverability.

I have recently added Ocean Heart and the only issue I’ve had is confirming my bank account. They pay a small amount into your bank to check it’s you. You confirm the amount received, except Google is saying they paid a different amount to the amount I got.

Private Printer

You could find a private printer to produce your book for you. You’d likely need to buy a bulk of books to distribute yourself.

Vanity Press

This isn’t self publishing. It often gets confused because the author has paid to publish like an indie author. The difference is the publisher bills the author for the services needed, and the services are provided by the publisher. The author cannot use services by another provider.

The positives is all the services are in one place and your publisher guides you on what service you need and when. Sometimes services are quicker or at a reduced rate as its all in-house.

The cons are that a lot of scammers have used this model to over charge authors or to take money and never deliver on their promises. As you are locked into paying for the services they dictate and the choices the want for your book, you do lose some of your creative freedom.

It’s important to check how long they have been operating and who they have worked with before. See if they are black listed on Writers Beware.

What I did…

I published my ebook & paperback through Ingram. The quality has been good and I like having everything in one place.

Amazon had long delivery dates for my book, telling preorder customers it’d take 6 weeks to deliver. It didn’t but it was off putting. I don’t know if this was to exceed expectations or what. Other authors told me to get my book on KDP, which I finally have done. I was hesitant as I didn’t want to be restricted to only Amazon or use another ISBN, but you can use the ISBN already in use for your paperback.

My books did get listed for a number of ebook sellers but not GPlay or Apple. I’ve had to go to through them direct. I’d say Google has been the easiest to use, except the verification of my bank.

For my next book I think I’ll use Ingram Sparks to publish my paperback wide, KDP to reduce Amazon deliver delays, and someone else to publish my eBook wide. I’ll also take a closer look at LuLu as that app sounds awesome!

[kofi]

If you found this post useful, you will like:

How to publish a book (collection)

What is a UBL & why your book needs one!

How to fund your creativity

About Ocean Heart