My First Month of Book Promotion: What I’ve Learned (Re-blogged from Niels Saunders).

A really informative post from Niels Saunders, for anyone who is about to start, or who has already started to try and promote their book. A host of different options!

Niels Saunders

First Month of Self Promotion I’ve been a busy bee

Just over a month ago, I self-published my novel Mervyn vs. Dennis on Amazon. A lot’s happened since then and I’ve been much busier than I expected. Here’s a fairly self-congratulatory list of the things I’ve managed to do in 5 weeks:

  • Design my cover
  • Buy a pineapple
  • Buy a larger pineapple from a different supermarket because the first one looked a bit pathetic and not bristly enough
  • Take a load of profile pictures
  • Eat both pineapples
  • Format my manuscript for Kindle and other devices
  • Write a new blurb (this actually took hours)
  • Completely redo my cover because I’d done the whole thing in the wrong size
  • Write a bio
  • Create an author site for Amazon
  • Buy a domain name and create my own website
  • Revamp my personal Twitter account into a more authory one
  • Write my first 4 blogs
  • Feed the cat

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The Stowaways – Live!

My Stowaways proof has arrived from CreateSpace! The second book I can be thrilled to put on my bookshelf with a sense of pride. There was one error in the book – a new chapter that I had somehow not started on a new page, and a picture that needed to be lightened. The edit took a few minutes to update and I re-submitted the file. Twenty-four hours later it was done and approved. I’m now happy to say The Stowaways is live on Amazon.

It’s been a long, and fun journey with the two books about Mouse Formidable, which started out as a blog where I posted a chapter a week. It was a great way to write because it started as pure fun and there was no pressure. After I published both books as e-Books on Amazon Kindle I discovered early this year that I could publish in paperback with CreateSpace with no up-front costs to myself. It seemed like a great idea and so I set off on another journey with rather a large learning curve attached. It’s certainly been worth it.

If anyone is thinking of publishing with CreateSpace and has any questions I’d be glad to help if I can.

Going Live!

I can’t quite believe it’s happened. But it has. On Friday I received my proof copy of The Mouse and the Microlight from CreateSpace. It arrived earlier than expected, my hubby brought it up from the post box and put it on the kitchen table. My heart gave a little start when I saw it and realised what it was. ‘Aren’t you going to open it?’ says he. ‘Yes,’ says me staring at the package nervously, ‘But I have to make a cup of tea first.’ Of course it was a delaying tactic. I was so nervous at what the book would look like. Would I like it? Would it be good enough? I almost dreaded opening it. Anyway, I did make the tea and then forced myself to do it. I opened the package.

It felt so strange holding my book, all my hours of work and this was it at last in paper form. The cover looked great, excellent colours. I carefully turned pages. The paper felt good, good quality and the pictures stood out well. My only criticism was that one or two of the pictures set in dark situations were a little too dark, but my hubby didn’t think so. I started to feel quite thrilled and very pleased with the result, and so I completed the final part of the process with CreateSpace and pressed the Approve button.

It takes three to five working days to appear on Amazon, but now today I see it’s already there!

I took a few pictures …

On Amazon here

It’s hard to believe it’s actually happened, and I’m so pleased with the result.  I’m waiting for the proof of The Stowaways now, due to arrive mid May. Onward and upward!

Ferns made me think of ideas!

Have you ever walked in the woods in spring and noticed the ferns? They’re coiled, so tight that their new offspring leaves look like tiny fists.

Little hands gripping secrets.

And then, slowly, warmed by the sun they gradually, oh so gradually, unfurl.

The tight little fists of the ferns unfurl into leaves.

Until the creation is complete.

Just as our minds unfurl their ideas into creations and some of us create books!

Happy Easter Eggs!

For me it’s just as much fun illustrating as writing. I think I created around eighty pictures (forty each) for The Mouse and the Microlight and The Stowaways books. All were created from photos I had taken, using computer graphics.

But sometimes it’s nice to use the graphics tablet and play, and some time back I discovered how to make little moving images – gifs. This was one of my first attempts – hopefully it’ll raise a chuckle or two!

One Down Three to Go!

I’m excited. After many weeks of labouring and puzzling over document set-up for printing in book form – all new word-processing stuff for me – I was ready to send (electronically) my manuscript and book cover for The Mouse and the Microlight to Createspace. They check it and make sure all requirements are correct and let you know within twenty-four hours. I heaved a huge sigh when mine was accepted.

I had a choice as to whether to proof read it online, or order a proof copy, or both. I did both. Proof reading online with Createspace’s reader really only showed me what it will look like as a book, you turn the pages as with a book, and because there were at least three illustrations per chapter I was keen to see how the layout looked. But I also wanted a hard-copy proof to see what the book actually feels like. And of course to put on my bookshelf!

The downside is that the proof comes from the U.S and takes a month to get here! It would seem everything gets faster in life except the mail service! An image immediately formed in my mind of an overworked, corpulent carrier pigeon with no GPS.

When the proof arrives, and if I’m happy with it, then I press the big red button and tell Createspace it can go live. This should happen about May 2nd. It will then be available on Amazon. In the meantime I’ve started the same process for The Stowaways, the sequel to The Mouse and the Microlight. I must say it’s a darned sight easier the second time around – although I still had a problem with page-numbering in LibreOffice! Next in line will be A Red Waterproof Jacket, my own story about following a dream, and lastly The Sleighriders.

If you have the time and the patience self-publishing your own book is a hugely rewarding journey!

Two Days Page Numbering – Arrgh!

For the last week to ten days I’ve been focused on getting The Mouse and the Microlight set up for self-publishing in paperback with Createspace. I thought I was doing really well, and had got as far as the cover design which actually wasn’t that difficult. I decided to use the same design as I used for the e-book. The main difference with a paperback is that you also have to create the back cover and the spine – and do it all in one go on a template. I was really pleased at how well it worked and sat back in my chair feeling a sense of relief that I was now nearly at the end of the journey.

There was just one more thing to do, put the page numbers in the manuscript. Surely this wouldn’t take a minute? It took two days and my hubby nearly divorced me! To start with I needed to number the pages as in a book, so they need to be alternating for left and right pages. That took a day to figure out! I’ve only ever made minimal use of a word processor so new things take far longer than expected, and sometimes I don’t even understand the terminology. It really was a hair tearing out process. But I did it! Great! Ah … but hang on, I’ve suddenly realised that I don’t want page numbers on the introductory pages, I want numbers to start at chapter one. Back to the drawing board. It took another whole day and most of the evening going around in ever decreasing circles before, having lost even more hair, I managed  it. Talk about a sigh of relief.

I have learned something through all this – patience! I like things to work, and work now, and getting annoyed and and frustrated doesn’t help at all. It was a case of trying things over and over again between constant searches on LibreOffice sites on Google. Around and around and around I went like someone lost in a maze, often ending up right back where I started, utterly brain-fogged and despondent. But I did get there, and the book is finally prepared and ready to upload to Createspace.  I may do it today!

In the meantime I decided I’d like my own logo to go on all my books, and after much doodling I ended up with this …

I’ve always doodled mice, and two of my books are about Mouse Formidable, plus there’s a mouse who plays an important part in The Sleighriders. So a mouse it had to be.

author of fantasy, fiction and memoir