Sunday, 31 July 2011

Marketing Bears and Groblins

It's the end of another busy week and I've had a lot to think about. With the release of the second book in the Burly and Grum series I decided to experiment and offered both books free on Smashwords.  The result has been that more copies have been downloaded in one week than have been downloaded in the previous three months.  Although this is good because the books are being read by a wider audience I keep coming back to the same problem, i.e. how do I effectively market them? The children's ebook market is notoriously difficult to break into with the majority of parents still prefering to have hard copy of books to read to their children (and I have to say I do empathise with this!). So how do I find those parents who are willing to take the next step and encourage their children to use a Kindle, an ipad, etc.to read?  There's lots of advice regarding the marketing of ebooks but the children's market does have particular problems. I do have a few ideas of my own about marketing which I'm going try over the next few weeks. The phrase that keeps going through my mind is that problems only delay you. I will keep trying to find the right strategies - might take some time but that's not a problem. 
    Meanwhile, the Burly and Grum trailer is now up on YouTube and thank you so much Stu for helping me with this (I really couldn't have done without you!). I should say, however, that I'm not a 100% sure about the music so if anyone has any ideas about something more suitable and bear-like do let me know!

Sunday, 24 July 2011

In praise of indie writers!

It's a sunny afternoon here in Essex and I'm in a yip yipee kind of mood - my second ebook, Burly and Grum and the Secret City, has now been published! Yes, finally, everything came together and it's now available on Smashwords FREE - what a bargain eh?
I know I keep saying this but self publishing has been both surprising and amazing, and the further along the road I travel, the more I learn (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Goodreads, how to create a website, I could go on and on...).
The indie writers I've come across have been incredibly generous - they're keen to share their knowledge, ideas and to offer support and practical help when it's needed. There's never been a better time for writers to finish that final chapter, get their books published, join a vast community of other indie authors (and my goodness we're an interesting and diverse bunch of people!) and have their work read across the globe. I would advise anyone who is hesitating about self-publishing – don't! Just do it – it's hard work but the rewards are well worth it.
And, as I've already mentioned, there's always something else to learn... my task this evening is to find out how to put music onto the book trailer I've put together and to read up about print on demand – wish me luck! :)

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Sanity Narrowly Won...

Of all the things I've done so far on this rather odd road to being an independent writer, setting up a Burly & Grum website via my little netbook has been the most difficult. I spent four hours last Sunday trying to get a Facebook 'like' thumb on the site but in the end had to compromise - it was either my sanity or the 'like' thumb and sanity narrowly won - the site is thumb-free!  (I'll try to figure it out another day...)
I've still got quite a bit to do to improve the site, but I'm proud of what I've achieved considering that last week I didn't even know what a domain was; when I first started, I definitely felt like Burly and Grum in the picture - completely baffled! If you'd like to take a look, the site is http://www.burlyandgrum.com/ and if you can suggest anything (easy) that I can do to improve it, please let me know!
This week I also managed to finish the Born Free Cat Nap challenge that I set myself last week, i.e. I've finished the second book, Burly and Grum and the Secret City and have started the third book. I hope to have the Secret City up on Amazon and Smashwords within the next week or two. But my learning curve is not yet over - I'd like to create booktrailers to put on Youtube and a talented actor, Paul Burnham, has agreed to help me create Burly & Grum audio books - I need more hours in my day but I'm enjoying the journey! 

Saturday, 2 July 2011

The Big Cat Nap

Well, this past week has been very hectic - a member of my family came down with a virus that had him in A&E, I took an afternoon off work to take another member of my family to hospital and then my car broke down on a busy road and I had to be towed home. Oh, and I can't forget that a large event I've been working on for weeks on took place. I've been cool, I've been calm but trust me I was core tired on Friday night (I think I may have snored and even drooled a little on the train journey home....)
     With brilliant timing, right on queue, comes a fundraising event called the Big Cat Nap http://www.bornfree.org.uk/the-big-cat-nap/   In order to take part all you have to do is relax - yes, relax! Ever heard anything so wonderful? Whoever came up with that at Born Free will get a Christmas card from me. The idea is you take time out of your busy schedule for yourself - have a cup of tea, watch a film, sit and read a book - whatever it takes to put a relaxed smile on your face. At this point I have to put my hand up and say I've known about this for a few weeks now and have been running around waving my sponsorship form in front of my friends' faces, but they've been less than impressed at the thought of giving me money for doing nothing! Yes, I'm going to have to change my friends (only joking, love you really). However, as you can see from the above photo, my cats are very supportive - Bud threaded himself through the vacuum hose because he knew I wouldn't have the heart to disturb him. What a trooper!
      I've come up with a compromise - one of the things that makes me happy and relaxed is writing, so this coming week I'm going to set myself two targets - I'm going to edit book 2 in the Burly & Grum series and start book 3. Wish me luck! Oh, and please also wish me a quiet, relaxing week because, frankly, I need one!