Showing posts with label Amazon Kindle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Amazon Kindle. Show all posts

Friday, 18 April 2014

How to Make it to the Top 5% of Indies

I met Fran Pickering a few years ago, when I had just published my first book, and she was debating whether to publish hers. Then she plunged in. Today Fran's novel, the Cherry Blossom Murder has made it to the quarterfinals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2014. That’s 5% of the total 10,000 books entered. As a fellow author I was thrilled and as an Indie I felt vindicated by her success. So I asked Fran a little more about how it all unfolded. Here’s what she said:

What made you decide to go Indie?
I have been writing for a long time almost eight to nine years. So, when I finally had a book, which was good to be published, I wanted to put it out there and see what happens.

For me the decision was made, when I realized I had written something I could publish without embarrassing myself. I got people to read it and rewrote it, so it didn’t go out there completely cold. I wrote nine drafts before it reached a place where I knew it could be published. This took me a couple of years, because I was writing more as a hobby.

What’s changed now that you have your first book out?
Now that I have got a book out there, I am writing much more quickly: am more focused. Following the 1000 words a day principle has been key. When I am writing the first draft I just write it, you just need to go for it. I don’t rewrite on the first draft it’s on the second and third draft that I edit it.

What’s the one thing you have learnt from going Indie?
I learnt, you need to stop trying to make the first book into something absolutely perfect. You need to put it out there and take the lessons from the first. Then start a new one and do it the way you should have done it in the first one. It’s liberating and useful to move on.

Once you see it as the first and not the only one it’s easier. Thinking of yourself as a professional writer, makes you invest less of yourself in it, so it gives you distance. Every time you publish it’s a huge effort and big achievement. Once I got the first one out, the readers asked me when the next one was coming out. I knew waiting a year for a second book in the series was too long, so wanted to catch the momentum. I also have learnt to write much more naturally.

What’s different about your writing process now?
I have a strong investment of my time in my books now. I felt this is what I am going to be doing; it was like starting a small business. I am very interested in the marketing, social media side. I made a conscious decision to move into social media very strongly and self publish.

This has given me confidence that I know what I am doing. Like anything before you do it, it’s quite intimidating, but once you do it and you are back, you can do it much more quickly next time. Gives you confidence.

Initially of course you obsess about the figures and how it’s going and getting your first bad review is not great. But I felt, at least there was someone out there, who read the book and expressed an opinion about it, and if they didn’t like it, well you know, not every one is going to like it. It’s been great how everyone I know has taken interest. It widens your horizon.

Why Japan?
I started out writing non-fiction, about my experiences in Japan. But realized this wasn’t interesting enough for readers. I always liked mysteries and whodunits and so I wanted to write mysteries set against the backdrop of Japan. It wasn’t a big sudden decision but grew from my interests in Japan as well as being able to write and enjoying mysteries.

Any other advice for other Indies?
ALLI has also been very helpful. You get a lot of advice but you don’t always have to take it all. Yet, fact that it is all out there and there is a group of people you can turn to is very encouraging.

What’s next?
I am going right back to the next one and the one after.

Fran Pickering
Fran Pickering is a Londoner, born at the foot of Alexandra Palace in North London. She grew up in South London, spent her student years near the Portobello Road and now lives near Alexandra Palace once again.

She speaks and reads Japanese, which led her to work in Tokyo and travel around Japan, making many friends along the way. Her Japanese experience provided the inspiration for the Josie Clark in Japan mystery series. The Cherry Blossom Murder, published in February 2014, is her first book.

Fran also writes about art and events in London with a Japanese connection on her blog, Sequins and Cherry Blossom. 

The Cherry Blossom Murder is available on Amazon 

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Tuesday, 22 May 2012

My kindle chronicles : A dangerous method

Author: meet thyself

A chance meeting with a stranger in Hong Kong sparked off The Destiny of Shaitan. At that point, Harry Potter had released, and the blackberry had just squeaked to life. By the time I completed it, fantasy was a mainstream genre, and the tube was alive with the silent swoosh of kindles.
 On the advice of a writing programme, I decided to move on to my next novel. Six months into plotting chapter and scenes for my second, my first born clamoured for anymore.  If I was not sure of my content I had no business putting it out there and asking readers to put time into reading it.
I commissioned a second editor - and rewrote the entire second half of the book; a full 150 pages in three weeks, at the end of which I felt like Michael Fassbender’s character in A Dangerous Method.  I had a swollen right hand.
The second edition of The Destiny of Shaitan, was uploaded in time for the  next round of KDP promotion. Oh! Did I mention that I had also wiped out my annual savings in a matter of weeks. It had taken me nine years to birth it, but within three weeks, I had edited it, crafted the cover and released it to the swells of Amazon.
Closure?  It was just the beginning. Within minutes of declaring it a life-event on my Facebook timeline a friend told me she had downloaded it for her son. I panicked wondering if her twelve year old should be reading the love scenes. A guest blog post on how western science fiction draws from Indian mythology drew emails from kindred souls. I was not alone. I opened up my purse strings to promote Shaitan on various websites. Within two weeks Shaitan was #2 on the kindle epic fantasy bestseller list.

How I felt on making the bestseller list

Self-e-publishing is an oxymoron. It’s great to be published, but terrifying to be actually read.  Once the book is out there, you scramble to promote it and soon there is no mind-space to write, which is why you got into it in the first place. I love the contradiction that comes with the freedom,wouldn't have it any other way! What do you think? I would love to hear your experiences in e-publishing. 

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