A Good Week

DD Cover Final

There’s some weeks that pass without too much going on. They drift by almost unnoticed. Last week wasn’t one of them.

It started with my aortic aneurism scan. I was invited by the NHS to take part in a screening programme (because I’m old) to see if I one of these things. They sent me an appointment letter and a leaflet explaining everything. I looked at the picture on the front of the leaflet, it showed a skeleton with a red pipe down its middle. The pipe had a balloon in it half way down. I didn’t get round to reading the rest of it.

I turned up at the Health Centre in Eccleston and was sent to sit on a row of green seats in a corridor. There was a lady already there who looked about thirty. She explained she was here with her dad and that I would be next one in. Her dad emerged looking unhappy. ‘They say they’ve found something, that I have to go back.’ he said. ‘Are you sure they weren’t looking at your tumour by mistake?’ his daughter asked. The conversation did nothing to raise my spirits.

Inside, a young nurse asked if I’d read the leaflet. Naturally, I lied and said I had. Then, regretting the impulse, I said that I’d forgotten what it said and that she’d better tell me anyway to be on the safe side.

‘Do you drive?’ she asked.

‘Yes’ I answered

‘If we find an aneurism you have to tell the DVLA and they’ll take away your licence.’ She said.

‘Oh,’ was all I could manage in response. By now I was really hoping not to have one.

I was ushered into another room where another nurse smeared gloop over my abdomen and spent five minutes running an ultrasound detector up and down. I asked if it was a boy or a girl, they told me that everyone, yes, e v e r y o n e asks that.

Eventually, after much tense staring at monitors and expelling of breath the nurse announced that I was OK, nothing had been detected, I didn’t have whatever it was they were looking for. I have to tell you I was relieved. I’d managed to convince myself they were bound to find something awful wrong with me.

Not being in possession of a deadly aneurism felt really good. It was worth going just to feel the relief. A good start to the week.

On Wednesday, the print proof of Due Diligence arrived, it looked magnificent. All it needs is a couple of blank pages stripping out then its ready to go.

On Thursday, we finished Proceeds of Crime final copy edit and published it.

Also on Thursday, the jury delivered its verdict. If you remember, I’ve been involved in an eight week trial at Newcastle Crown Court. I’m happy to say that they seem to have listened to our evidence and decided that the farmer accused of operating an illegal landfill site is not guilty. It’s a great relief because in my view the poor guy should never have been charged and he and his family have been subjected to four years of anguish unnecessarily. At least they can get on with their lives now.

So, not your average run of the mill slip by without noticing sort of week.

I plan to make sure all my weeks are as interesting, I can do it simply by staying aware of what’s going on.

Two Weeks

Today is the second weekiversary(!) of the publication of Due Diligence. There should be a better word for it than that, if you know of one please let me know. I promise to use it extensively.

A red letter day, plenty of cause for celebration, should bring meaning into all our Thursdays from now on.

What did we do to celebrate?

Published another book, of course. No, it didn’t take me two weeks to write this one, about a year if you must know. Proceeds of Crime is the second Jenny Parker novel and is twice as good as the first. Reason? I’ve had a lot more practise both at writing thrillers and telling Jenny’s story.

It would be really great to be able to tell you to expect the third book in a fortnight’s time but it’ll take a bit longer for me to finish Limited Liability. After that? Well, I’ve written the first chapter of a new series but am waiting to see what my publisher thinks of it.

There may be more than three Jenny Parker novels, a lot depends on how or if she comes out of Limited Liability in a fit state to carry on.

A few blogs ago, I intimated that there was more to our marketing strategy than a few blog posts and a bit of twittering. I also revealed that 11 April is the day that Due Diligence will be officially published. After 11 April, the fun will begin in earnest, I promise.

Meanwhile, Proceeds of Crime is an essential part of the process. Promoting two books is much more efficient than a single one. Having the sequel to Due Diligence makes a lot of sense.

Another thing. I promised to tell you a bit more about reviews and how we got on with the one with the spoiler in it.

The answer, in short, is nowhere. Amazon write polite letters of sympathy but decline to do anything. All we can do is hope that we get enough other reviews to make the awkward one disappear. I also left a nice comment asking him to change the one word that causes the problem. I’m really grateful to anyone who does a review, I really believe that this guy was being genuine but lacked experience.

If you have bought Due Diligence, please do a review. I’ll be very grateful and also very happy as long as you don’t include any plot spoilers.

Review

DD Cover Final

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Due-Diligence-Jenny-Parker-ebook/dp/B00BU815XC

We’ve been through a lot of stuff this week. Eventually we calculated that selling enough books via this blog would take, on last week’s evidence, about 96 years.

So, we need a Plan B. That’s assuming what we’ve been doing up to now is Plan A, of course.

I had planned to write this post about exactly what Plan B might look like. Something has come up, though.

Due Diligence has had a review posted on Amazon.com. That’s good.

The reviewer liked the book. That’s also good.

He said:

‘All in all it was a good read made better by the racing dialogue…nice’

Unfortunately, he also revealed an important plot element that may spoil other people’s enjoyment of the book.

Hey! Don’t you dare go looking for it.

What does an author do in this situation? I expected to have to endure a bad review at some stage. I have a contingency plan for just such an event. This involves a bed, a thick duvet and several hours sobbing.

I didn’t anticipate a good review that gives away too much of the plot, though.

I’ve emailed Amazon asking for their assistance. I’ve also posted a polite request as a comment on the review.

I’ll let you know what happens.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Due-Diligence-Jenny-Parker-ebook/dp/B00BU815XC

The numbers are in

 

 

DD Cover Final

It’s been a whole week since Due Diligence went live.

 

During that week I’ve posted a new blog every day, tweeted and facebooked to spread the word and watched as the sales figures began to rise.

 

Let’s recap.

 

I worked out, and none of you disagreed, that my book needed to sell about 24,000 copies for my investment in time and money to pay off.

 

Let’s give ourselves a fighting chance, let’s allow two whole years for those sales. That’s 1000 books a month, about 250 per week. So we have our target.

 

The point of this exercise was to measure the effect of this blog, allied to Facebook and Twitter. How many could it sell in a week?

 

First I have to correct the figures for the friends and family effect. Obviously, as soon as they heard that Due Diligence was available, they couldn’t resist getting a copy.

 

These are the ones I know about:

 

Pete’s mother in law

Debbie’s dad

Louise

Daragh

Simon’s mate

Lesley

Rebecca

Debbie ( a different Debbie to the one whose dad bought it)

Dennis

Paul (Jane’s Paul, not Sarah’s Paul)

Tina

There’s probably a few more family members that haven’t bothered to admit they have it yet, so I’ll assume three more have been bought by them.

 

Now for the reveal. The total number of copies sold is….

 

19

 

Take away the 14 accounted for above and we’re left with…

 

5

 

So that’s what we’ve sold through the blog. Three in the US and two in the UK.

 

I’ve spent about six hours writing blog posts and a similar amount of time on Twitter. I’m discounting the hours gazing at the Amazon sales report watching for any movement.

So, that’s 12 hrs of work at £12 per hour = £144, i.e. £28.80 per book.

There were about 1000 pageviews recorded for the blog over the week, that means 200 visits per sale.

I’ve been tweeting to my 1,669 followers, so we can call it 340 followers per sale.

Ten tweets a day, say, 1 book every 14 tweets.

So, 24,000 copies will take about 96 years.

 

There’s the numbers. Make of them what you will. Social media promotion is effective but it needs plenty of work.

I’m glad I don’t have to do all the marketing myself, I’d have no time to write any more books.

 

 

 

 

Marketing Update

DD Cover Final

If you sign up for this blog I’ll be letting you in on the closest guarded secrets of the publishing industry.

How much money can be made from publishing?

How much can be earned from my first published novel?

 

Watch this space for a day by day financial update!

 

 

 

This is the link to Due Diligence on Amazon.

 
 

Some of you have already bought it. Others haven’t yet invested the £2 it takes to join in this exciting publishing venture. Don’t worry, there’s still time, just click on the link above and then remember to come back here when you’re done.

 

Good, you’re back safely. Buying Due Diligence will do two things. First, you’ve now got a really good thriller to read. Second, you are one of the key statistics that will determine how we can all sell books in the future.

 

While this experiment is proceeding, I’ll let you into a secret. This isn’t at all what I want to do. Writing the occasional blog post is fine. I usually wait until I have something to say that feels important. Now that Due Diligence is coming up to official publication day (11 April 2012, yes you’re getting advance copies) I’m having to devote alot of time to this and to Twitter. Quite honestly, I’d rather be writing Limited Liability (the third Jenny Parker book) but I’m doing this to see what a publisher can reasonably expect a writer to do in the cause of book promotion.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m having fun and the process is an exciting one. Due Diligence is being purchased, these numbers, allied to the blog visitors, will give us all valuable information.

 

So, keep up the good work.

 

Or at least start reading the previous posts so that you’re up to speed.

Marketing Part 2 The Oneness of Being

We are all the same.

 

Yes, I know you were expecting more rip-roaring stuff about social media and marketing books. Bear with me, this is relevant.

 

We are all connected.

 

And I don’t mean by Facebook or Twitter, I mean really, genuinely, spiritually. Everyone. We’re all human beings trying to get along as best we can. Some of us seem to be making a better job of it than others, but I’m no longer convinced I can make that judgement even of myself.

 

There is joy in helping others.

 

Like I said, fundamentally, we’re all the same.

 

So, let’s help one another.

 

That’s the basis of Open Circle publishing.

 

We’re all in this together.

 

So, let’s have some fun and at the same time see how different methods and strategies work for marketing books.

 

We’re going to begin with this blog. The pageviews are recorded down below. Remember, these are the totals for all posts for all time. Not just for this page and certainly not unique visitor numbers.

 

But you’re one of them.

 

Congratulations, you can make a big difference but only if you want to and are happy about it. Check in with yourself, are you getting an inner smile, a good feeling about all this? OK then you’re in.

 

Let’s go. Three simple steps if you want to be in on the experiment. I’ll be publishing all the data we collect together, including book sales and visitor numbers, so you’ll be able to see exactly what’s happening.

 

STEP 3

POST A REVIEW ON AMAZON BEFORE 23 MARCH

 

STEP 2

READ IT, YOU’VE GOT ABOUT A WEEK TO DO IT

 

STEP 1

BUY A COPY OF DUE DILIGENCE

 

 

 

See what I did there? The steps are carefully revealed in reverse order, so you know exactly what you have to do and didn’t click on the link first and disappear….

 

Oh, you’ve gone.

Marketing Strategy Part 1

If you sign up for this blog I’ll be letting you in on the closest guarded secrets of the publishing industry.

How much money can be made from publishing?

How much can be earned from my first published novel?

Watch this space for a day by day financial update!

 DD Cover Final

This is the link to Due Diligence on Amazon.

Due Diligence

As you should already know, you’re not supposed to click on it.

Where have you gone?

Oh, there you are, back safely from Amazon’s voracious maw. There, I told you I’m a writer. Only writers use words like ‘maw.’ If heard in conversation you’d likely reply ‘more what?’ and a long explanation would ensue. Better to use mouth or throat or even abyss. I do like maw, though. It does the job better.

Where were we? Oh, yes. Marketing. It’s probably the most important part of writing a novel. Apart from actually writing it. If nobody sees it, however good, bad or indifferent it is, it won’t sell. If it’s crap, however, and it does sell, nobody will come back for more of the same. So it’s important that it’s good or we’re all wasting our time. That might seem a bit of a ramble but you get my drift, don’t you?

Apart from being really really good, there’s something else you must have before you even start to think about marketing.

Another book. Or, even better, several more books.

Take a look at the number underneath this blog. Yes, the big black number. It’s the number of people who have looked at this blog. It includes everyone who likes it and comes back for more. Every time they come back it counts them again. There’s also the ones who arrive, realise their mistake and leave as quickly. It’s a decent sized number but it’s not going to generate that many sales. Maybe a couple a day, I doubt it would ever reach double figures. We’ll see.

Let’s do a test.

Apart from this blog, we’ll not do anything to promote Due Diligence for a week. Starting tomorrow, I’ll be asking you to buy it and letting you know how many others do.

After that, we’ll get down to the serious stuff and engage the help of professionals.

If you really do want to buy it now, I suppose that’s OK. You’ll get the updates automatically, so nothing is lost by having the first edition.

Here you are:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Due-Diligence-Jenny-Parker-ebook/dp/B00BU815XC/ref=sr_1_11?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1363342955&sr=1-11

Ah, go on then.

Bless you.

Due Diligence is live!

If you sign up for this blog I’ll be letting you in on the closest guarded secrets of the publishing industry.

How much money can be made from publishing?

How much can be earned from my novel?

Watch this space for a day by day financial update!

 DD Cover Final

This is the link to Due Diligence on Amazon.

Wait! Hold on there! Stop that, come back and read a bit more. OK if I’m too late to stop you buying it, never mind. That’s OK, but not what I had in mind just yet.

It’s been uploaded in order that we can all share in the experience of publishing. This is the first step, but only the first step.

Let’s take it slowly, not get too excited and take one thing at a time.

Uploading to Amazon is fairly easy but it’s essential to have all the information they require to hand before you try. Otherwise, like me, you’ll make a series of false starts. Or, worse, be tempted to chuck it up there and hope for the best, again as I was.

Having a beautifully polished shiny sparkling script is a good beginning. Then a good cover is essential. If you recall, last time I showed you an earlier version of the Due Diligence cover and mentioned that we decided it needed a human figure against the urban background. Emma has done a brilliant job and I’m very happy with the result. Now that we can see it on Amazon there are bound to be some changes she wishes to make. So this cover won’t be the final version.

The next thing needed is a good ‘Product Description.’ Amazon ask you for this, it’s what people who look at the book will read before they decide whether or not to buy it. This needs careful thought. The blurb (to use the technical term) for Due Diligence was drafted by Dea, our editor, and then subjected to a lot of discussion and suggestions before the final version was decided. It’s short, describes the essential  elements of the novel and doesn’t give too much of the plot away. That’s my influence, I hate it when I’m told too much in advance. Film trailers are the worst, the best films I’ve seen are the ones I’ve not had spoiled by the trailer.

Anyway, I reckon that browsers aren’t going to take the time to read lots of information. Have a look, let me know what you think. DD Blurb

Once the book and cover have been uploaded, the commercial bit starts. You have to decide how much to charge for the book. This is the interesting bit and one that needs a lot of thought. There are two levels of royalty to choose from. If you set the price at $2.99 or above, you get 70%, below $2.99 you only get 35% but can charge the minimum price of $0.99.

It might seem obvious to go for the higher royalty but, if you are a new author looking to maximise your readership the lowest price may well be the best option. Fear not, though. The price can be changed at any time, so all is not lost if the price you set doesn’t seem to be pulling in the crowds.

As you will see, I’ve set the price for Due Diligence at $2.99 and its equivalent in all territories to begin with. It won’t stay at this initial price, though. This will be changed as required by marketing and promotion.

The point I want to make today is that uploading a book to Amazon is only the start. The real work begins now. Having Due Diligence available isn’t enough, people have to be told about it.

That’s where you all can join in. Come on, it’s going to be fun!

Next time I’ll tell you how we’ll be promoting Due Diligence and how you can help.

I’ll also be explaining why one book isn’t enough.

Cover Girl

If you sign up for this blog I’ll be letting you in on the closest guarded secrets of the publishing industry.

How much money can be made from publishing?

How much can be earned from my novel?

Watch this space for a day by day financial update!

 


This isn’t the cover we decided on for Due Diligence, but I really like it myself. The picture evokes the contrast between the plush city centre offices and the gritty urban landscape that surrounds them. As soon as you get off the main streets, Manchester, like any other major city, seems derelict and threatening. A perfect setting for my crime thriller.

You can probably appreciate the artistic skill that has gone in to this design. The portentous darkening sky, the cityscape, the brighter ribbon of the River Irwell, reflections of the story and its setting. The cover artist, Emma, has actually read Due Diligence (and the sequel, Proceeds of Crime) and loved it. That helps a lot, I’m sure.

Following discussion with the experienced professionals that comprise Open Circle, it was agreed that there needed to be a figure in the landscape. A human being to help engage the reader. So Emma produced some more original artwork.

Covers are of paramount importance. Publishers know this. The big ones have large departments containing lots of artists and graphic designers, smaller ones use talented contractors. At Open Circle, we are lucky to have Emma so we get our covers designed in-house by someone who is not only a talented artist but also an avid reader.

But I digress. You’re here for the money, aren’t you? You’re interested in the financial details, not the artistic nuances.

Let’s get back to that, then.

Remember what we needed to earn from Due Diligence? I calculated it as £24,000 or 24,000 copies of the ebook. That’s after the publisher takes half the royalty from Amazon and gives me the other half.

So why not just self-publish? Earn twice as much from each copy?

I could, in fact. As Open Circle is my business I effectively am self-publishing. The reason I’m doing it this way is to see if we can help other writers who aren’t so fortunate. I’ve been able to afford the time and expense of producing a top class book. Without the professional cover art, the services of a brilliant editor and a lot of time and expense from others, Due Diligence would be a ragged piece of unevenness that didn’t quite make complete sense. I’d still love it, of course, but I’m only the author so I’m very biased.

The other reason for splitting the proceeds with a publisher is marketing. If nobody knows about Due Diligence they won’t buy it however good it might be.So Open Circle have to spend a big chunk of their half of the money on making sure the book sells and keeps on selling. In addition, Open Circle has already paid for the editing and cover design.

Open Circle, and any publisher of repute, has to invest in a book without any guarantee of return. The author risks that his time won’t be fully recompensed, the publisher risks hard cash in the hope that they will both get paid. So, publishers like Open Circle are the good guys. There’s plenty of bad guys out there who require payments from authors for upfront services and marketing. I’m hoping we can do much better if we all work together.

Next time, ebook publishing and what to expect.