Summer slowdown

August, wow.  Where is 2020 going?

This month has been one of slowing the pace, writing-wise.  Summer holidays have kicked in, as has the need to concentrate on things like work, exams, and other such stuff – which is much less fun.

The fun stuff has been my first two reviews on Amazon for The Dark Crown.  Both are five stars and I’m really pleased.  This, along with my sales reports and feedback I’ve received, shows that people are buying and enjoying the book – which is fantastic- but without reviews it is difficult for authors with a small profile or fanbase to showcase their talents.

Reviews really are important for self-published authors, and for anyone who has released a book. It strikes me it is something I hadn’t considered before, nor (I’m ashamed to say) something I’ve done much about. I will make a conscious effort to leave reviews for all the books I’ve read and enjoyed.  

This month, I also received my first sales payments for both eBooks and paper copies.  I’m not in a position to retire just yet, but it was an important milestone.

Writing wise book 2 – Coven of Shadows – is written (all 107k words of it).  The process now is doing the second draft, and it is coming along in fits and starts. Some days it flows easily, and I feel as though I am making excellent progress.  Other days it’s like wading through treacle, pausing after every sentence, and wondering if it is good enough. 

It all comes down to the insecurities that all writers have – ‘Imposter Syndrome’ – the fear that they are a fraud and at any moment readers will twig and denounce them.  It is a voice I hear occasionally, but I am getting better at telling it to ‘go away’, on some days using less polite terms.

It’s also something I’ll cover more thoroughly in my next post offering hints and tips that have helped me get through it and make the positive messages stick.

Editing book 2, I am finding little things that I’d forgotten about; things that have made me smile, and on one occasion dance around the room as a new character made their first appearance.  It’s like meeting old friends again; something we can all appreciate given various lockdowns around the world.

I am back onto Audible and very much enjoying Garth Nix’s epic Angel Mage. It mixes fantasy with an interesting magic system and I am intrigued how it will pan out in the second half.

Enjoy the gorgeous weather, and don’t forget to leave book reviews where you can.

Take care of yourself and each other.


First review

It’s been over a month since my last post – sorry about that – and I thought it was about time to update you about what has been happening, and the answer is a lot.

Since book one of the Souls Abyss series went on sale at the end of May, it has sold fairly well.  Bearing in mind I haven’t done adverts or targeted promotion, I’ve sold copies in three countries: the UK, America, and Germany.  Sales have mainly been the eBook – which I didn’t expect – and via Kindle I’ve had thousands of page reads.  All of which I am really pleased about.

Most exciting of all, I received my first ever book review,  scoring 76.5 out of 100.  It was a thorough and very fair review by the Weatherwax Report; a respected online book reviewer and judge in the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off (SPFBO) competition. The review was very encouraging, and I’ve tweaked the book based on the feedback received; grammar and other minor things to improve it for readers. 

It is the major element of writing and releasing a book that I was most worried about.  Writing for yourself is fine – the work reflects you- but sharing it with the entire world is a little scary.

Feedback from other test readers had been really encouraging, but I was curious about what people would think.  It is all part of the ‘becoming an author’ process I’m going through at the moment.  It has helped steel me for when someone doesn’t like it.

It terms of book 2 – Coven of Shadows – progress is on schedule.  I’ve tweaked the name and set a date for pre-order on Amazon.  Friday 20th November will be the release date and I’ll update you as things progress. 

Until next time; have fun, play safe, and look after each other. 😉

A busy week.

First, I hope you are safe and well.

Second, it has been a very busy week.

There I was, happily putting the finishing touches to book one of the series The Souls’ Abyss when I saw a Facebook notification about the SFPBO.  In case you don’t know much about it – and I didn’t until Wednesday night – it is a competition that runs each year specifically for self-published fantasy novels.

Some winners in recent years – The Grey Bastards and The Sword of Kaigenare superb and I asked myself could I do the same?  Could I enter and win?   But firstly could I get The Dark Crown ready to enter in 3 days?

The brief answer is yes.  I was able to source a cover the next day and get everything sorted to enter on Saturday along with 299 other authors.  The competition is now closed, and I am in.  It takes about 5 months to judge – via a mammoth effort of various bloggers and fantasy book lovers – to whittle it down from 300 to a top 10.  Then a further 4 months to decide on a winner.

This also means my book is now available.  I’m very excited and rather scared all at the same time. After five years of writing it is now freed from my laptop, and it’s rather liberating.  I now have to concentrate on marketing book one and get book two ready for release.

It just goes to show that you can get anything done with a deadline.