Tag Archives: science fiction

My book ‘Paradise’ is free on Amazon right now!

PARADISE Jason K. Lewis

PARADISE Jason K. Lewis

To celebrate the upcoming release of the third book in the ‘Adarna chronicles’ I am currently offering ‘Paradise’, my science fiction novelette for FREE! Please do feel free (pardon the pun) to pop over to Amazon and pick up your copy as the offer ends on the 31st October…

The Great Bear Book three in the ‘Adarna Chronicles’, ‘The Great Bear’ has been a real trial for me (surprise, surprise, each book is harder than the last!). It differs from ‘Empire Under SIege’ and ‘Phoenix Rising’ in many respects, the biggest difference is its length (it’s as long as the other two put together). I am pleased to announce though, that it will be out on the 1st of November at the latest ūüôā

 

Thanks to everyone for all of your help, support and advice over the last three months, I couldn’t have done it without you. I hope that you enjoy ‘The Great Bear’ when it is released. In the meantime, why not grab a copy of ‘Paradise’ while you wait?

It’s almost time for a little NanoWriMo action…

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Its been a long time since I last posted and I have had a few adventures (crikey, many posts worth of stories to come…). I thought this was an opportune time to update you on my plans for November. You see I am planning to take part in a thing call NanoWriMo. Not heard of it? Well you should think about checking out their website (www.nanowrimo.org).

NanoWriMo¬†(National Novel Writing Month)¬†is essentially a competition or a ‘call to arms’ for writers. It challenges you to write 50,000 words in the month of November. It doesn’t have to be anything special (although we all hope our own contribution will be), just a first draft really.

I first heard about NanoWriMo after I’d started writing and I was actually too late to take part in it in 2012 as I didn’t get the writing bug until early 2013. Because I thought it was a cool undertaking I did my own 50,000 words in a month writing challenge and managed to punch out the first (albeit very rough) draft of the first three episodes of the Adarna Chronicles. It felt like an amazing achievement even though it took many more months to get ‘Empire Under Siege’ and ‘Phoenix Rising’ into publishable format and ‘The Great Bear’ isn’t out until the end of the month (over a year after the first draft!).

In November 2013 I had a young baby to look after and so it just happen that November (so no ‘official’ NanoWriMo).

This year i’ve decided to go for it, my project is entitled ‘Bird of Paradise’, it’s a full length novel and the follow up to my novelette ‘Paradise’ (which was actually the first thing I published). Will I make it to 50,000 words? Who knows (I have an hour a night in which to do it!) but it will be an adventure along the way.

If you ever thought about writing or if you are seeking some motivation, why not jump in and¬†register on the NanoWriMo website? You never know, you just might discover that best seller that you always knew you had in you…

Good luck!

Do Amazon ‘giveaways’ increase book sales?

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As a budding indie author I have spent the best part of the last two years researching how to go about self publishing my work. Purely and simply this is because I do not have the confidence (as yet, and frankly I don’t know if I ever will), to submit to a traditional publishing house. There are a plethora of posts on the internet from interesting and informative authors, who provide a wealth of information to a horde of avid readers that desperately want to get their work published and recognised.

One of the most discussed themes for getting more sales is giving your book away. To me this seemed like the silliest concept in the world.

Give my book away!¬†I thought.¬†You must be bloomin’ joking! I worked my ass off on it! Not to mention the fact that it cost a fortune to get a professional cover design and editing. That’s just an insane idea!

I maintained my initial view for a few weeks. That is until the sorry reality of the Amazon marketplace struck home. The truth is that it is really difficult to sell books, particularly in a genre like science fiction or fantasy (which I tend to gravitate toward). Believe it or not, far more romances are sold (not to mention the gazillion iterations of teenage angsty vampire books that are out there) than any other fiction. Fantasy and science fiction are by no means small genres, but there is another problem. It seems that a disproportionately large number of people (myself included) think that they should have a go at writing the next ‘Lord or the Rings’ or ‘Dune’. That has lead to a marketplace that is absolutely saturated. It is also a marketplace where it is very difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. Not to mention the fact that if the Amazon algorithms don’t pick you up, your book, no matter how good, can sink to the bottom of the huge mountain of other wannabe Tolkiens.

Anyway. It’s difficult. Nuff said. To cut a long story short, I released three pieces of work (‘Paradise’, ‘Empire Under Siege’ and ‘The Bloody King’) and none of them were selling particularly well. Suddenly an Amazon giveaway seemed like a good way to go.

So, a few weeks ago, I posted a giveaway for my novelette ‘Paradise’. It is a piece of work that I am immensely proud of and it currently has ten reviews on Amazon with an average of 4.7 stars. These are real reviews from real people with no vested interest in giving me a good review at all (i.e. they are not bought on the internet or from friends and relatives etc).

There are two routes you can use to give books away on Amazon. You can reduce the price of your book to nothing on the other sales channels and then get people to write to Amazon, who should (eventually) price match the book. I used the second option, which is to enrol in the KDP select programme which gives you five days in any ninety day period when you can give your books away.

The problem I had was that I waited so long, that when I wanted to post my giveaway, my ninety days were almost up. I promptly panicked and visited a great website called authormarketingclub.com¬†that lists a load of websites that will post your free book up to their readers (and include your free book in their newsletters). I listed ‘Paradise’, on all of the websites I could, as free from the next day. In retrospect this was a big mistake as many of the sites have submission deadlines and so did not feature ‘Paradise’ on their sites.

Over the next four days I tweeted like crazy about my free book and (probably mostly through this) managed to get about 400 downloads (although I must have driven my followers mad…). This does not compare well to the thousands that other authors claim to get, but it was better than nothing (I thought).

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The result of my massive giveaway? Was there an enormous boost in sales? Did I recoup all of the expenses generated in publishing my works? Do I now have a huge following of fans who are desperate to read my next book?

I saw a fifty percent increase in sales. Did they all result from the giveaway? Probably not (my sales were growing slowly anyway and I released the second book in the ‘Adarna chronicles’, ‘Phoenix Rising’¬†recently). Essentially, it was a small increase on a small number.

Finally. In answer to the question ‘Do Amazon giveaways work?’ I would have to say that, for me, the jury is still out. For this reason I am going to run another giveaway for ‘Paradise’, but this time I have done everything right. The postings have been submitted in advance. The giveaway starts on the 25th August and finishes on the 27th. Why not pick up a copy and see what you think?

I will report back on the results of the second giveaway in a few weeks. Until then, would I recommend that you try it yourself? Hmmm…

If you like this post why not ‘like’ it below or share it on twitter or something like that. You could even follow my blog (button on the top right).

Paradise is free! Pick up my ebook now…

PARADISE 22042014

Hi All,

Just a note to let you know that my novelette ‘Paradise’ is free from the 2nd July to the 5th of July on Amazon. If you haven’t bought it yet why not give it a try? Hope you enjoy it!

This is my first attempt at a free promotion and I will report the results over the next couple of weeks…

Best wishes

Jason

The thing about book covers

PARADISE  Jason K. Lewis

So, I have learned a lot in the last year. When I look back and think how little I knew about self publishing when I started down the road in March 2013, it is astonishing how much has changed. I have to admit that I am still a relative newbie though and as such can make mistakes (No! I hear you cry, surely not?).

I published my first novelette ‘Paradise’ just over two weeks ago now, having spent what felt like an age getting everything right (I think). I edited, re-edited and then sent it off to a professional editor and then edited it again myself before deciding it was ready for release. I then did something very, very dumb. I decided that a book cover¬†concept that I had been working on, which was really rather quirky (check it out for yourself here) was suitable for use when the book was released.

I pressed the publish button and congratulated myself on a job well done. I got really lucky on the first day when a reviewer purchased it and gave it a great review (check it out here). I was stupidly happy. Someone else bought the book the same day. Then…. nothing. I decided to take action and forwarded the book to a couple of reviewers. One agreed to review it and posted another great review (check it out here), again I was delighted and then…. nothing.

I know that it’s hard work to sell books as a self published author, so I took a few days off my ‘Paradise’ project and returned to the other, much larger work, I am writing called ‘Hope’ (working title).

I revisited the Amazon web page for ‘Paradise’ at the weekend and realised something for the first time. The cover I designed looks amateur in the extreme (in fact it could be described as more than a little bit naff). Could this be what is putting people off buying the book? I thought. Whilst it is only one factor amongst many (discoverability being another very important one), I decided as a point of pride (deeply embarrassed that I had been unable to make an objective assessment of the cover) that I would have to do something about it.

There followed a mad search of the internet as I looked for a design solution. There are many companies offering off the shelf book covers that you just add your own title to, but I wanted something unique and special.

I had seen the new book by author Lindsay Buroker, ‘Balanced on a blade’s edge‘¬†and absolutely loved the cover. I searched using the ‘look inside’ feature and couldn’t find details of the cover designer. On a whim, I Googled it and stumbled upon a discussion board that mentioned a company known as Deranged doctor design¬†(DDD). In retrospect this was like striking oil on the first drill. I had no idea if they could be trusted, but I did love the cover for Lindsay Buroker’s book so I thought I would take a risk.

DDD have a system where, if they accept a commission (and they don’t accept them all), they send design concepts without charging you up front. They only charge you when you have approved a design. In my case it took them a couple of days to give me a concept that I was absolutely delighted with (see the cover above, what do you think?). I would highly recommend them for their professionalism and patience (not to mention their artistic skills). I have to state here that I have no financial interest in their company, I’ve never even met them.

I have now uploaded the new cover to Amazon, but sadly (and I hadn’t realised this) it takes them a¬†few days to change the book cover in the Amazon store.

So for the next few days my old, crappy, cover will remain. I cannot wait, however, to see the new cover go up, for (I think) my pride will be restored.

What I hadn’t realised initially is that people really do judge a book by its cover. Whether it makes a difference to sales or not is another matter, but really, honestly, I don’t care. I have something I think I can be proud of (you may have noticed I have festooned my blog with banners and images of the new cover!)

The moral of this story? Get a good cover! (and don’t, ever, ever, think you’re a designer, because the odds are you aren’t!).

If you liked this post why not follow my blog? Or like me on Facebook? Or maybe even follow on Twitter or Goodreads? (Blimey, that’s a lot of social media choices!) There’s a link to all of them on the right….

My first two weeks as a published author

Paradise tweetSo it’s been two weeks since I published my Novelette ‘Paradise’. This is pretty much how it went down:-

1) Spent the best part of a month polishing the text, rewriting until I was sick of it (not really, but you know what I mean. If you’re a writer you probably¬†do know what I mean).

2) Sent text to editor. Got back many helpful comments, most of which I agreed with (yes, I know I am sentimental and verbose, Mr Ed, thanks for reminding me…).

3) Got corrected text back from the editor, went through text and accepted most of the changes.

4) Realised whilst going through the editors comments that there were still areas of the book that needed work. Spent the next week completing the work (something strange happened when I got it back from the editor, I was somehow more detached, more objective, more able to criticise it).

5) Set a date for release on Amazon.

6) Procrastinated for two days.

7) Published on Amazon (really rather easy, particularly if you use Scrivener).

8) Broadcast the release on this blog and through twitter.

9) Got two (count them, that’s two) sales on the first day.

10) Felt very happy for the first day (woo hoo, two sales!).

11) Got first review of the book (she loved it!), felt even happier check it out .

12) Checked Amazon sales figures every day, at least once, praying every time that more sales would appear.

13) Repeated number 12.

Do you see a pattern? Checking for sales has become an obsession, but the thing is that if no one knows the book is out there then no one will buy it. So the next major task is to market the darned thing! Hey ho, back to work then…..

Eat, sleep, write, edit, social media, market, repeat (is that a song lyric?).

Top 10 book writing distractions….

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Top 10 book writing distractions….

There are a lot of things that can cause distraction when writing. Whether you’re a good writer or a bad writer (I am hardly in a position to judge anyone at the moment. I am wrestling with the difficulties of editing a book that I wrote without enough planning, mostly whilst on the train, but that’s a different story….), you may find that writing becomes an addiction, as an example here, I should state that I am writing this post whilst sat in the drivers seat of a car (clearly I am not driving- don’t worry…). You see I have a six month old son who likes to go to sleep in his car seat, so the daily routine includes going out in the car until he falls asleep, once he is asleep, it is safe to stop somewhere.

As I sit in the car park at Sainsbury’s (for the foreign readers that is a supermarket), I write feverishly, my tablet held at an impossible angle between steering wheel and belly- punching out words with two fingers where normally I would touch type- already my shoulders and hands ache. A man just got into his car next to me and gave me a very strange look,¬† but the thing about fatherhood is that I just don’t care what people think- my son is the number one priority……The other thing about fatherhood is ‘baby-brain’ (in this case getting distracted whilst writing a post about getting distracted whilst writing….), whilst this affects my wife to a greater degree than me – I fear I am still a victim ūüôā

So back to my top ten distractions when writing a novel:-

1) Babies- although in the case of my wonderful son I don’t really mind- kids take up a lot of time! Crikey, it’s hard (but highly enjoyable) work….

2) Work- a career that makes you work 70 hours a week can be a real drag when you are trying to write a book.

3) Having to eat- I reckon that takes about an hour a day, an hour that could be dedicated to writing.

4) Working on book cover design concepts when you haven’t even finished your book-¬†hours and hours of lost time– mostly trying to figure out how to get GIMP (I will write about it in the ‘serious’ section of the blog when I get time and if I am not distracted..), to work and do what I need it to do. All this, ladies and gentlemen, when I have already decided that I will hire a graphic designer to do it for me in the end!

5)¬† Working on a novelette that sprang into my mind the other week. It’s now finished and it’s called ‘Paradise’. It has absolutely nothing to do with my novel and now I have two pieces of work that need editing (oh the pain!).

6) Working on a short story that popped into my head the other week! (see 5- I have compounded my editing misery…..).

7) TWITTER (sorry to shout, but it takes up a hell of a lot of time!), so twitter is great, but if you’re going to be active you need to put in the hard graft, even if that’s just thanking all the kind tweeps out there who have been so supportive. Blimey, is it just me or is¬†everyone in the world¬†an aspiring author? Apparently we all have a book in us- all I can say is that it must be wedged in so painfully that everyone wants to push it out onto the page…..

8) Goodreads- OK I am a real novice here but it does look like the best thing since sliced bread for getting recommendations for books etc- if you haven’t done so already, check it out….(oh dear, I think I just distracted you from writing your book….).

9) Looking out the window of the car and spotting all the people that give you weird looks. Imagining what those people think you are doing…..¬†wow, perhaps they think I’m some kind of spook on a surveillance operation?¬†Sadly, in truth, I think they believe I am a strange looking bloke who appears to be staring at his¬† lap whilst moving his hands around in the same area (Oh dear god, no! What must that look like? Gotta finish this blog quick or I’ll get arrested….).

10) There are many more that could be added, but see point 9 (looks around warily for signs of police car….) I have to get this finished! Blogging- I may not blog often but it is a bit of a distraction (and it may just get me arrested…..).

So there you go. Big moan over. Truth is I love the writing- don’t know if I’m any good or not but hey, who cares as long as you enjoy it, right? My son is still asleep in the back of the car (45 minutes sleep and counting- Wifey will be so proud of me!). Off to brave the chaos of the modern supermarket, and then, who knows? If he’s still asleep I may have a go at that chapter I realised needs adding to the first act of ‘Hope’- stranger things have happened…..