Monday, 28 February 2011

A Smashwords milestone

This isn't a long post, but I think this is a milestone I'd like to acknowledge. This morning Arrival hit 2,000 downloads on Smashwords.

I'd just like to say thanks to all the people who downloaded Arrival, or read it through Smashwords, Goodreads, Feedbooks or elsewhere online - or even followed the first Twitter feed. I sincerely hope you enjoyed the book. Because of Arrival's success, and the readers who downloaded it, Fire Season will be coming to Kindle in the next couple of months.

So, thanks for making that possible.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

A recommended read...

...thanks to Waterstones.

Fire Season on Waterstones recomended shelf
The card below it hasn't come out very well, but it displays several complimentary comments about my book.

And my apologies for the delayed update: I'm still not over this illness and every time I get back towards a normal workload I end up spending more time recovering. The doctor said six weeks, which gives me three more to go before normal blogging will be resumed.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

On the shelves...

My book's in store at Waterstones. When I found out, I did as any budding author would and promptly headed down there with a camera to record it for posterity, the blog, and any long-suffering friends I could corner. The alternative was to purchase a copy just to get the receipt for my scrapbook, but that might be going a little to far. When I arrived, I wasn't disappointed.

This was good:

This was unexpected and even better:

My book is face-out on Waterstones shelves, right next to the author of one of my favourite books. For the suspicious among you, I didn't turn it that way. I found it like that.

If you want to buy Fire Season from Waterstones, here's the link to order online or check if it's curently in your local:
Even if it's not you can also order it from any Waterstones in the country, and they can get it for you in a couple of days.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Back to the Book Launch

Just because I'm under the weather doesn;t stop time to the launch ticking down. And with the difference between soft launch and national release, the horrible question of the book launch event raises its head again.

I would have been begging MurderOne if they were still open on Charing Cross Road. They were genre, I was a steady customer, and they are very much missed. They are still open online here, but it isn't the same.

It's right on the fringe of Forbidden Planet's range. Oddly my dead-genre novel is too mainstream for a company I often buy from.

Waterstones are keen - frighteningly so - but do not have a cafe, so I am not sure of the logistics for the "Party" part of launch party. I also can't afford to pay them to stay open or do a private opening.

Foyles? I did consider it, but my research went along the lines of: check it anyway, note the competition, note the price *Choke* look elsewhere.

Blackwells? My book is not academic, and in Central London there's not a lot of parking.

I did consider a pub and sandwiches, since if it gets snowed in again there are options, but fortunately my publisher had a better idea.

They are attending Salute, one of the largest wargames and militaria conventions in Europe, for their games line and book collectables. The book was going to be taken along anyway for trade connections. We're going to expand this: since Fire Season features a rather large, if grounded, bomber and fits the attending demographic, the book will be getting its national launch event there.

Oddly this works quite well. The distribution and review network should have the books on wider (possibly national) distribution at the start of April. This also means they can keep building publicity up towards the 16th April.

On the other hand, if you'd told me the book-launch would be in London Excel last year when I started this project, I'd have been stunned. Actually, I still am.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Books on shelves

My apologies for the delayed update. After, rather optimistically, trying to work through flu, I managed to give myself pnuemonia. Fortunately I am recovering (while considering myself to be a right idiot), but updates will be erratic for a while.

Well, the books are currently working their way through Waterstone's stock systems. Meanwhile there are now a few independants where the book can be obtained.

Farthing Books, Coulsdon (details) is selling the book following up from its good review in the local magazine. If you want to support a local independent, here's a place to start.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Local Author Adventures - Part Three (Interviews)

The interesting chat with the bookshop was followed up by an interview where the first two questions were:

"How much did you pay to be published?" (Err...nothing, they pay me.)

"Which bookshop can we get your book from?" (All of them? It's on Nielsen.)

I was rather taken aback, but it does bring home how flexible the definition of published is. Unfortunately the reaction of local press to local author can be understandable sceptism - after all is it more likely someone in their area sold a manuscript or that they vanity-published?

It also indicates the number of enquiries the press get from "local authors" who either live a few hundred miles away or have a book that for various reasons the press may not want to cover (quality, subject, editing etc.). Unfortunately this adds an extra hurdle for authors, since they have to make sure that you and they have the same definition of published and distribution at the start of the discussion - and then that you actually have something they might be interested in.

Once we got over that, we had a nice chat and luckily they loved the book. I still don't think the journalist believes me about the book being in Waterstones though.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Local Author Adventures - Part Two (booksellers)

While "self-published" might strike fear into reviewers' hearts, it seems the phrase "Local author" does the same to booksellers.

I just had a very depressing discussion with a local independent bookshop. I went in at the arranged time and went up to the lady behind the counter.

"Hi, I'm X, I made an appointment to discuss my book." I was surprised when her face fell, and then set into an apologetic expression.

"We don't stock POD books." I blinked slightly.

"That's fine. It's sale or return. Usual trade discount." She looked rather sceptical.

"Well, that's good but you'll need to arrange a distributor."

"It's with Central Books. You can order through Nielsen." I was absolutely stunned by the smile I got, as she headed behind the counter and asked for the ISBN. I handed my book across (having brought the copy all that way I wasn't wasting it) received a sunny grin in return and was shortly afterwards standing outstide bewildered with my media kit untouched and several books ordered. It was surprisingly painless.

The depressing converstaion followed that one, when I asked, during a quiet spot why booksellers react like that to local authors, and got the bookseller's side of it. Not just books without ISBNs, but stories of ring-bound home-printed manuscripts complete with coffee stains, the proud mother who wanted the bookshop to let her daughter personally sign her name in crayon in each of their books ("because she'll be famous one day!"), or the person who thought that 1% (one percent) was enough of a margin for a bookshop to buy his book outright with no returns. Then there was the person who wanted the bookshop to take part in their latest money making scheme - printing out e-books they had downloaded which they wanted the shop to sell for them. Unfortunately they hadn't written the books in question...I didn't have the nerve to ask what she'd said to that individual - her expression said quite enough.

Apparently "author" has a very flexible definition. It's certainly given booksellers a range of horror stories.

Please, be kind to your local bookshop. There aren't enough of them left.