Total Book Indulgence

Now and again I think that  it is crucial for any writer to take the time away from their day life and wallow in a complete and total immersion BOOKFEST.

I am lucky enough to live an hour away by train from one of the largest book trade shows in the world - the London Book Fair.

This is where literary agents come together to make deals for their clients, and publishers show their fabulous catalogues to booksellers from around the world. But it also has developed a terrific program for authors.

The last time I was there it was struck down by the Icelandic Ash cloud, but this time Earls Court was totally buzzing!


London Book Fair 2014

Why was it such a terrific day? This was my chance to:

* Meet my tribe and talk to real people, face to face, and not just over the web. [ Great fun!]

* Visit publishers. [ Waves to the lovely team at Harlequin who were doing a fabulous job]

* Catch up with members of the Romantic Novelists Association who were visiting or manning publisher stands.

* Attend top class presentations by internationally recognised stars in their field.

For example; the lovely Katie Fforde on genre fiction, with Manda Scott for contemporary and historical, and Jo Fletcher for speculative fiction.

London Book Fair 2104 b

And a stunning and animated presentation by Bella Andre on Self-Publishing who is working with Kobo on the foreign translations of her work.

London Book Fair c

* Come away with notebooks full of furiously written notes which I am slowly going to break down and use.

* Walk through aisle after aisle of fabulous new technology, publishing services and BOOKS!

There truly is nothing like spending a whole day with people who share your passion and want to make a difference with books of all shapes, sizes and format.

I had a great time.  Sigh. Lots to do.


Posted in the prolific author

My Latest Release from Harlequin KISS – The Secret Ingredient!

My Latest Release from Harlequin KISS – The Secret Ingredient!

The Secret Ingredient KISS April 2014

The Secret Ingredient australia

Lottie Rosemount’s top tips for dating—

1. Ignore all advances from inappropriate men. Celebrity chef and notorious heartbreaker Rob Beresford can certainly flirt, but that doesn’t mean his intentions are honorable!
2. Keep your cool. Rob is not a safe bet, so don’t let him see that he gets you hot under your apron!
3. If 1) and 2) fail, indulge in a wild fling with said inappropriate man. Because remember, wild nights with no strings attached are this man’s specialty!

But Lottie is about to discover that Rob has a few secret ingredients to add to the mix, which could make her throw her tips out the window forever!

Introducing Lottie’s Cake Shop and Tea Rooms.

‘Trouble on her Doorstep’ was the first book in a duo about two friends who met at catering college – Dervyla Flynn [Dee] and Charlotte Rosemount [ Lottie ] – who now run Lottie’s Cake Shop and Tea Rooms in west London.

‘Trouble on her Doorstep’ is Dee’s story.
Dee is a Tea fanatic! It is her passion and delight and she cannot wait to run her own tea import business.

But what about Lottie?

Lottie’s story is now released as a Harlequin KISS and Modern Tempted title – ‘The Secret Ingredient.’

I had such fun writing these books and cannot wait to share both of these foodie romance stories with you.

For a FREE peek at the opening of The Secret Ingredient, pop along to Mills and Boon and indulge!  HERE.

Posted in Romance Fiction

Why Price is not the only reason a reader will buy your book

best buy

Cost versus Perceived Value. 

Think about the last eBook you bought for your personal enjoyment.

What factors made you decide to hand over your credit card details for that eBook in preference to the hundreds of others on offer online?

Was price the only reason that made you decide to buy that book? Or was there more to it than that?

best buy

Photo credit: Flickr/JeepersMedia

Here are my personal decision making combination of triage factors when it comes to buying any eBook:

1. The Genre and Subgenre. I love reading crime and romance books and my favourite subgenres are women sleuths and fun reads as well as contemporary romance. When I am looking for a new book I will go to those online shelves first.

2. The Book Description and any Subtitle.  I want to be enticed into reading this book by the anticipation of an exciting and or romantic emotional journey. The only place I will find that is from the Book Description and the Additional material the author has added about the book.

Take away for authors. Use the Book description and any subtitles to make the compelling short pitch. If you are on Kindle eBooks you can then use the Author Central feature to add lots more information and editorial reviews. Make me a promise. Show me that this book will be worth my time.

3. Familiarity with the work of that author or a personal connection to the author.

I would pay extra for the latest release from an author whose work I had enjoyed in the past. Why? I trust that author not to let me down. My hard earned money will not be wasted. They know how to take me on a journey and bring me home again.

Most readers have an auto-buy list where they will snap up anything that author releases/go to read their social media posts/sign up for their newsletter. Those readers will pay the asking price for a new book from their favourite author, even if it is overpriced, the moment it is released.

Or perhaps I know the author personally and have met them at writing conferences and meetings and recognise their talent and passion for the work they do.  They have developed a social media platform which reflects their genuine personality and love of the genre and generosity to other writers. That is special.

Flip side. I have only ever given a one star rating for a book on an online retailer. And that was because the author abused my trust. I loved their previous crime books so much, that I ran out and bought the HARDBACK copy in a shop! And the book was horrible in every way and should never have got past their editor at their big publishing house. I will never buy another book from that author.

Take away for authors. It did teach me one thing. As an author you have to work hard to make each book even better than the last because it only takes one lazy poor book to destroy that pact with the reader. This is a reader’s world now and they will go somewhere else. Fact.

4. The Cover Art.

Sorry but if the cover looks cheap and unprofessional then I am not going to waste my precious cash and time on this book.  The author does not respect the readers enough to invest in a professionally designed cover. Huge mistake.


fangs of doom

Photo Credit: Flickr/Will Hart

The “fangs of doom” will certainly strike if the cover art is tacky and appalling.

On the flip side of that, I had bought gorgeous looking books which I put aside after 3 chapters because they were so poorly written.

Take away for authors.  Show the readers that you take pride in your work and that you are a professional author and pay for a professionally designed cover. This is your business. Invest in it.

5. The equivalent number of pages or word count.

For example. Would you expect to pay the same amount for:

* a 20,000 word novella or perhaps 50 equivalent pages?

* a 50,000 word, 200 equivalent page category romance? And

* the latest full length, 450 equivalent page blockbuster crime book from a well known author.

I wouldn’t. And yet if you look at any online bookseller you will see authors who have set a list price for their novella or short story collection which is the same as a new release of the eBook version of a bestselling novel in the charts. Novellas can be a great way for readers to find new authors, but $3.99 for 50 (digital) pages?

Take away for authors.  Price your work within a price band which is realistic for the type of eBook you are selling. Think about how much you would pay as a reader, and the list price for other books of the same length and genre. Research the  bestseller lists and check that the price you are thinking about is not totally outrageously different.

6. Samples. Have a peek at the ‘Look Inside’ and/or download a Sample

Did I like what I read in the opening chapter or chapters? Was this the very best work that the author could produce? What promise did that opening make? Just how compelling was it?

7. Any Reviews and Star Ratings for the book

Reviews are always incredibly subjective and I know as an author that a one star review where the reader hated the book is only one person’s opinion, but it is human nature to look for reassurance that we are not making a mistake in buying this book.

There is also a growing sense of disquiet about whether some reviews are genuine or not, especially if this is the author’s debut book and they do not have an existing social media platform.  It is possible to hire strangers on sites like Fiverr, to post reviews of your book based on the synopsis you give them, and services like this one are popping up:

8. The Perceived Value of the book

This is especially true for non-fiction books where readers are prepared to pay more than for a fiction book because they feel that the book will add value to their lives in some way. For example: A recipe book from a TV chef who specialises in vegetarian and gluten free meals.

High perceived value= high list price which readers will pay.

Jane Litte of Dear Author believes that part of the reason that romance readers expect to have relatively lower priced books is that the eBooks are seen as having a lower inherent value. “There’s no resale (used bookstore); there’s no trade (paperbackswap); there’s no lend (friend to friend).  The reduced utility of the ebook decreased the value.”

9. How likely are you to read this book after you have downloaded it?

Take a look at your eBook reader. How many books do you have on it which you know that you are never going to read, or read again?  Why do you want to add more? Any new eBook has to earn its place.

I think the tide has turned and many readers are now slowly turning away from free or very low price books which they know that they will probably never read.

But it is more than that. We all lead such hectic lives with very little leisure time.

If a reader is going to invest several hours of their life reading your eBook then they want to make sure that the time will not be wasted, irrespective of how little it costs.

The pressure is on authors to price our books in a way that helps readers to discover our work – and then delight them by over delivering with a compelling, well written story which is free from errors and the best work that we can create. That is the way to create a good reader experience and have them coming back for more from you.


This Blog Post and all the posts in this series on Self-Publishing came around through the slow process of trying not to make huge mistakes when I self-published my romantic suspense ‘Deadly Secrets this month.

Most of the time it felt as though I was chipping away at a rock face with a small but bent teaspoon.

I hope that you find them useful – oh, and ‘Deadly Secrets‘ is out now. Thanks for your time. x

Posted in the prolific author

How much are readers prepared to pay for your eBook?

nina looking for directions

Deciding on the optimal list price for your eBook is probably the most important marketing decision that you can make.

That list price is critically important to:

*how readers both discover your work and then chose to buy the eBook, and

*how much you can earn in royalty payments for each eBook.

Let’s start with the big one. Readers. Those lovely people who cannot wait to read your work and rush to their favourite online book store the moment your eBook is launched.

Ah. Yes. About that…

When I came to setting a list price for my first self-published romantic suspense book, I popped my geeky hat on and resolved to answer a few tough questions.

*What do readers look for when they rate price vs value? 

*Are there definite patterns for specific prices emerging?

*Do we have any statistics to back up these very subjective decision making criteria?

*And how have readers shifted their buying choices over the past few years?

* How can I make the most money from my book in a competitive market? What are the best price points for a single title length mystery novel?

There are literally hundreds of categories for eBooks in both fiction but I want to focus in on commercial fiction.

The good news is that the Market for Fiction eBooks has never been greater.

Publishing houses have rushed to create Digital first publishing divisions which offer romance, crime, science fiction and other genre fiction as eBooks.

The bad news is that the Market for Fiction eBooks has never been greater.

The virtual tsunami of fiction eBooks in every possible genre and sub-genre has flooded the publishing world until we feel that we are waist deep in choice and struggling to make any headway.

No matter genre best describes of your novel.

So where does that leave the self-published fiction writer? Up a mountain looking for a track to follow!

Nina and Signposts

Consider your Target Demographics for your eBook.

Who are your target readers? Where do they live? How many books do they buy every month and how much are they prepared to pay for them? What are they looking for? Does your book meet their needs?

You have to accept that there is a huge diversity of eBook buyers who respond totally differently to price points for eBooks.

Low Price or Free

There are some readers who will not download an eBook from an author who they are not familiar with, unless it is free or offered at a very low price.

They do not know your work and your author brand and this is a low risk option for them.

If they love your work there is a very good chance that they will respond with a good review on the online bookstore and they will buy any other books that you have on that store.

You can think of this low price as a loss leader which will introduce readers to your work.

This is also a great selling tool if you are writing a series of linked eBooks and you have a new release. Offering the first book as a free download, or very low price, can be a great incentive. But the book had better be superlative!

Competitive and Top level Pricing

On the other hand, some readers refuse to buy books below a certain price point because they are assuming that if your book is priced too low, then it is not a quality product, and they will be wasting their precious and limited leisure time on something which is poorly written and produced.

Unfortunately over the past few years, online book stores have been flooded with very poor quality eBooks priced at 99cents, which have devalued promotional pricing in the fiction market. What worked to increase book sales three years ago is no longer effective today.

What is in it for the reader? You have to know your readers and what they are looking for from an eBook.

For example. Romance fiction has traditionally been sold in mass market format and romance readers still have a voracious appetite for low to medium prices romance fiction in any format. Anything above $4.99 might be a tough sell to this market, unless you are a big name author with a dedicated readership.

And where do we go to try and find some facts, even if they are historical and therefore out of date in this fast changing publishing world?

The Online Booksellers.

Two reports came out last year which provide very interesting reading and helped answer many of my top questions.

A. The first was from Mark Coker of Smashwords, who reported the results of a survey and the full presentation is well worth reading–  New Smashwords Survey Helps Authors Sell More eBooks). Here is a snippet:

“For the study this year, we analysed over $12 million in sales for a collection of 120,000 Smashwords ebooks from May 1, 2012 through March 31, 2013.  We aggregated our sales data from across our retail distribution network, which includes the Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo and Amazon (only about 200 of our 200,000 titles are at Amazon).  As the world’s largest indie ebook distributor, I think our study represents the most comprehensive analysis ever of how ebooks from self-published authors and small independent presses are behaving in the marketplace.”

Here are a few key points from the survey which I found relevant to my questions:

number of SW titles each price band

Image credit: Mark Coker/Smashwords

1. $2.99 is the Most Common Price Point chosen by independent [indie] authors who self-publish through Smashwords but there is a definite bias towards the lower end of the price range overall.

2.  What price ranges sell the most number of copies?

“As you might expect, we found there’s a definite relation between price and unit sales volume.  Lower prices generally sell more copies than higher prices.  But not always.
We normalized the data so we could understand how the average book priced at a given price would perform compared to a book priced over $10.00+.  We set $10.00+ as equal to “x.”

how does price impact ebook sales volume

Image credit: Mark Coker/Smashwords

So, for example you’ll see in the chart that $.99 is 3.9x.  This means that a $.99 book will on average sell 3.9 times as many books as a book priced over $10.00.  A $2.99 book sells about 4 times as many units.

Note how books priced between $1.00 and $1.99 significantly underperform books priced at $2.99 and $3.99.   $1.99 appears to be a black hole.
What price moves the most units?  The answer is FREE.  Although not shown in the chart, my presentation includes an analysis I performed of our sales at the Apple iBookstore over the last 12 months. 

FREE books, on average, earned 92 times more downloads than books at any price.

If you’ve written several books, consider pricing at least one of the books at free.  If you write series, consider pricing the series starter at FREE.  Nothing attracts reader interest like FREE.  But remember, it’s one thing to get the reader to download your book.  It’s an entirely different challenge to get them to read it, finish it and love it.”

3.  How does List Price and Sales Volume translate into Royalty payments? 

It goes without saying that a $.99 book will usually sell more units than a $10+ book.  But will the $.99 book make up in volume what the $10+ book earns in margin? 

That’s the question answered by the Yield Graph.  We computed book earnings for all the books in each price band, and then divided the results by the number of books in that band to determine the average yield of for a book priced in each band.”


Mark coker 1

Image credit: Mark Coker/Smashwords

We labeled each bar with a percentage so you know how the yields of each book in that band, on average, compare against against the overall average of all the bands.

So, for example, books priced at $3.99 will earn about 55% more than the average book at any price.  Books priced at $1.99 are likely to earn 67% less than the average.

One surprising finding is that, on average, $3.99 books sold more units than $2.99 books, and more units than any other price except FREE.

 According to our Yield Graph, $3.99 earned authors total income that was 55% above the average compared to all price points…

Other highlights from the Yield Graph:  Books priced between $.99 and $1.99 continue to underperform when we look at the book’s total earnings.  $1.99 performs especially poorly.  It’s a black hole.  I’d avoid that price point if you can.  Price the book instead at $2.99 and you’ll probably earn more, AND sell more units if your book performs near the average.”


Personally I also found it interesting that there was also a second peak at the $6.00 to $6.99 price range which is what I would expect to pay for a mass market mainstream paperback. [$6.50 is approx. £3.99 at 2014 exchange rates before VAT is deducted, while $3.99 is approx. £2.49]

The full presentation is well worth reading for a full discussion of this data – (New Smashwords Survey Helps Authors Sell More eBooks)



Posted in the prolific author

How to Evaluate an Independent Digital Publisher


How to Evaluate an Independent Digital Publisher

There is now a bewildering choice of independent digital publishers looking for authors in most commercial fiction genres.

I am deliberately focusing on those publishers who pay a Royalty fee for every book sold. Some may also pay a small advance on signing the contract, but the income for the author will usually come from the eBook sales.

Subsidy publishers are publishers who offer authors a full service publishing and distribution process in exchange for, what can be up to several thousand dollars per book. I am sure that most offer an efficient service, but as a full time author, this business model does not work for my kind of genre fiction book.

WritersMarket has links to over 60 companies of all types which offer self-publishing services for the independent author.

You can find up to date lists of Digital Royalty Paying Publishers through an Internet search, and from online resources such as The Independent Publishing Magazine and Digital Book World.

These digital publishers range from the very large, such as RosettaBooks, and OpenRoadMedia to the huge number of boutique niche e-publishers such as Fountain Blue Publishing and Loose-ID.


dreamstimefree_30442 (2).  Dana Rothstein . Dreamstime Stock Photos

Image Credit: © Dana Rothstein | Dreamstime Stock Photos

It is worth taking the time to carry out extensive research, and draw up a shortlist of those digital publishers, or e-publishers as they are sometimes known, who could be a good fit for your kind of novel, based on the same criteria that you would use to select anyone you want to do business with.

Perhaps you have read an eBook from that publisher in your genre and liked it?

Or have friends who have published with them in the past and can offer positive feedback that the management team are professionals who treat their authors well.

If in doubt ask your network and writing loops/Facebook groups for feedback in confidence, and scour the internet for any complaints or problems.

After all, you are going to have to rely on them to produce and publish YOUR book.

Here are a few of my personal first pass checks:

*Do they specialize in your kind of books, which can help readers find your book, or are they more general publishers?

For example. Many of the early adapters, such as Entangled PublishingSamhain PublishingEllora’s Cave Publishing Inc  Total-E-Bound Publishing specialise in all types of romance fiction from erotic short stories to mainstream novellas and commercial women’s fiction.

*What is their online presence like?

Do you love their website? And what kind of social media platform do they have? It must be professional and credible. This is where YOUR book will be promoted. Are they honest and open with who they are and how they operate? Check the contact details.

*Book covers.

This is crucial. If the publisher is not prepared to invest in professional cover design then they are not for you. Same with the book descriptions and layout. Have they taken the effort to make all of the books they publish look appealing and interesting to a casual browser on their website?

*It should be crystal clear what kind of business arrangement they are offering authors.

How often are royalties paid, and what is the rate? Is it based on the cover price or net receipts after the discount to the online retailer has been deducted?


What does this publisher want to licence from you? Many expect worldwide rights and all media, including print and audio. Do you want this publisher to have those rights? And at what point does the rights for the digital book revert back to you. Technically, there is no reason for an electronic book to be ever out of print, so it should be clear when you get the rights back for your book. This is usually when the sales per year or quarter, fall below a fixed number.

*Editing Services.

Look through their catalogue and buy a book from every digital publisher on your shortlist if you have not already done so. Be ruthless in checking layout and formatting. Spelling and grammar.

*Speed to Publish.

Narrow down your shortlist to three choices and check the submission guidelines. How long will you have to wait to hear back from them? If it is longer than 8 weeks, think hard about how long you will have to wait to see your book available for sale. It could be another 4 to 6 months depending on the publishing schedule.

If you are going to wait 6 months to see your book released and then have to work on the launch plan alone  – then I would walk away and either chose another digital publisher or decide to self-publish.

*Do they give any clue about who is responsible for marketing and promotion, or is it all up to you?

Remember. This is your self-employed business. Unless your work is available for readers to enjoy, then you are not making any income.


Now for the shameless plug for my new release - Deadly Secrets. Out now. Read More>>>>


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Posted in the prolific author

Digital Publishing: Do you have to go it alone?

Good news – you don’t need to be a lone pioneer to have your book published electronically. There are now a wide range of digital first publishers looking for submission.


Photo Credit: Courtesy of iStockPhoto.

 Digital Publishing Lines within large Print Publishers

Romance readers were really the early risers on the digital adoption curve. They were the first to get excited about digital reading and publishers have responded to that huge surge in demand.

The five major trade book publishing houses, HachetteHarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, and Simon and Shuster have recognised the huge demand for digital versions of their books and have created digital publishing brands as part of their publishing operations.

Here are a few examples:

Random House Publishing in the U.S. now has a digital only publishing imprint focused on romance and women’s fiction titles called Loveswept and a sister imprint focused on the New Adult romance audiences called Flirt.

The Random House Group launched a straight-to-digital romance list called Rouge in 2011 in the UK.

HarperCollins in the U.S. now has a digital publishing unit called Avon which specialises in Romance Fiction

While Harper Collins in the U.K. has recently launched Harper Impulse – a  Digital First romance publisher.

Little Brown UK, which is part of Hachette, have their own digital romance publishing unit called Entice which is part of the Piatkus imprint.

Outside the big five, publishers such as Harlequin have been at the forefront of e-publishing for many years and now have a number of digital only imprints which operate as separate business units.

The most well known of these are Carina Press in the U.S. and Carina U.K.

More recently there is now a new series called Harlequin Digital First which is actively seeking new submissions. You might be surprised to know that although all three of these imprints are part of the Harlequin family, they are looking for a wide range of genre fiction which does not have to contain romantic elements. Be sure to check the writing and submission guidelines.

And there are many more examples in an expanding market.

*The best news for authors is that these publishers are constantly looking for new material to publish and are welcoming to debut authors as well as authors who are already published.

Without new titles they don’t have a business!

*And you don’t need a literary agent to submit your manuscript.

The bad news for authors is that you have to do your research very carefully before you agree to sign a publishing contract with these publishers.

Some, like Random House Loveswept will offer you the choice between an advance on royalties and a standard 25% royalty on all digital sales, OR a higher royalty rate but without an advance payment.

Most have standard contracts which do not offer any advance payment, but pay you between 30 and 50% of the net price of your eBook or the cover price of your eBook depending on whether your book is sold from the publisher’s website or from an online bookseller which the company has to share revenue.

These rates change constantly so you must always check the website for every publisher for the latest information for authors.

But there is no doubt that the growing number of digital imprints within the big publishing houses reflect the market awareness that the popularity of digital books for genre fiction, and especially romance fiction, is a game changer.

If these companies did not have these imprints then they would lose out to the new generation of readers who are seeking to read books in a new way.


And now for my shameless plug for DEADLY SECRETS - My New Romantic Suspense – Out Now. Read More>>>

Deadly Secrets

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Posted in the prolific author

Is Self-Publishing the Best Business Model for Your Book?

Be very clear about why you are self-publishing. What are your objectives?

 The time and energy needed to create publish and market a book as an independent publisher is a serious undertaking with no guarantee of a financial return.

So you must be crystal clear about your goals before you create a distribution strategy for your work and investigate the best publishing and marketing options.

 ebooks and print books

Photo Credit: Flickr/katerha

When I started writing contemporary romance I knew that the romance fiction I enjoyed reading and writing the most were fairly short. Probably 50,000 to 70,000 words. Long sagas were not for me, although my friends loved them.

The ideal home for my 50,000 word contemporary romance was the Harlequin series romance lines. Harlequin Mills and Boon are experts in distribution around the world, and they released my books in print and as digital editions.

That was an ideal outlet for that kind of mass market short paperback romance and the perfect business model for series of linked books with the same style and tone and packaging.

But completely the wrong fit for a stand-alone 80,000 crime book!

What worked for a category romance will not work for a non-branded crime book. Bookstores will not stock it and I don’t want a contract with a publisher to write several more crime books so I can build a new brand in that genre.

For my single title crime book, self-publishing is the ideal publishing model.

For me there are two starting positions for any author.

Option One. I want my book to be read more than I want the Income from any sales of the book.

Is your goal to distribute your stories to as many readers as you possibly can, and you are not interested about making any money from that process?

Then self-publishing would be an ideal option for you.

You should offer your book for free, as an eBook on all of the online bookseller platforms.

My recommendation would be to load your book onto the Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing website and then use a distributor like Smashwords, and similar aggregators, who will manage your eBook for you on all of the other online booksellers besides the Kindle Book Store.

From the survey data Mark Coker from Smashwords presented in 2013, free books were downloaded 92 times more than the paid books. That’s a lot of potential readers who are out there ready to discover and love your work.

You still have to learn the business of creating your eBook and distributing it but pricing is no longer an issue.

Option Two. I want my book to be read AND I want the maximum Income from any sales of the book.

You are running your writing career as a business, no matter how small and you want to earn some well-deserved money from all of the hard work and sacrifice that you have invested in creating your book.

You are looking for ways to reach the largest possible number of readers and intend to price your book competitively so as to maximise any income from the sales of that book.

Option tree

Once you are clear about WHY you want to self-publish, then you can work on HOW you want to share that story with the world.

Is digital self-publishing the best business model for your particular novel?

You have probably spent a lot of time writing your novel. The average length of genre fiction single title novel will be 75,000 to 120,000 words, with some genre differences. That represents a huge investment in your time and emotional energy as well as the financial costs.

It is worth the time to think through all of the possible markets for your work.

Once you have made the commitment and self-published your novel, it would be very difficult to offer that same book to another publisher.

Time to ask yourself some tough questions;

*What kind of book have you written?

*How long is it? What is the word-count and how many pages does it have?

*What genre would best describe it? Or does it cross-over into more than one genre?

*Is this a mass market commercial genre novel such as a romance, crime or science fiction novel or…

*Would your work appeal to a small niche audience that you understand well?

*Who are the best readers for this Novel? What are they looking for, and where do they buy those books? Will your Novel deliver the expectations of your ideal audience as a self-published book?

*Do your readers like to borrow printed books from their public library?

Your book needs to be accessible so that readers can find it easily. Where are you going to find your ideal readers and how are you going to make it easy for them to discover that your book exists in the first place?

Example One. There are many romance writers who specialise in historical regional romance novels which are published in small numbers in a hardback form.

These authors know that their readers prefer to read a printed book and would be very unlikely to read a digital copy of the novel.  They may not even own a computer or want to order online.

For these authors, digital publishing would not serve their readers and therefore would not be the best model for their novels.

But perhaps these authors might consider self-publishing a printed book? How would that book be ordered if your readers are not comfortable with online book buying?

Example Two. Many of the free eBook websites only make your eBook available through their own website. Would your readers go to those sites?

OR would they look for reading material through online booksellers which they are familiar with, based on their eBook reader.

If they have Kindles they might shop first at Amazon sites, if they have a Nook it would be Barnes and Noble, Kobo for a Kobo reader and Apple iTunes if your readers use Mac pcs and iPads and iPhones.

The answers to these questions should help you decide the best way to distribute your book to potential readers.


DEADLY SECRETS - My New Romantic Suspense – Out Now. Read More>>>

Deadly Secrets - from 14th March

Deadly Secrets – from 14th March

Posted in the prolific author

The Challenges that Come with Self-Publishing your Novel

Be Aware of the Challenges that come with Self-Publishing your Novel.

Writing any work of fiction is a solitary occupation.

Publishing your own novel, on the other hand, is a collaborative and very public experience which can feel both exciting and terrifyingly daunting in equal measure.

Some authors relish the opportunity to write what they want, how they want and in the style they want. Others are more than a little terrified of walking across a rickety bridge without a safety net to catch them if everything goes wrong.

Publishing that manuscript means that you have to step back, be objective and act as the midwife who will deliver that story to the readers.

Many authors struggle with the concept and feel isolated and out of their depth. They want to write books, not spend hours trying to learn the layers of technical and word processing techniques needed to transform your Word Document into a file which will be accepted by an eBook author platform.

You book has to become a product. A data file. Not precious words that you laboured long and hard to create, but a Kindle 8 mobi or ePub format file which has to be manipulated to meet the demands of online book retailers.

Why is this important?

Self-publishing is intensely personal.

This means that each of us has to find our own way through this bewildering minefield of information in the strange new world of self-publishing.

*Without getting lost,

*Without losing sight of our end destination and

*Without giving up and turning around and heading back home again, because it is all too hard to deal with.

Message Stones


Image Credit: MorgueFile. Message Stones

I am a scientist by training, so when I decided to self publish my first full length crime book, Deadly Secrets, I set about learning as much as I could as fast as I could about the best practices on self-publishing a genre fiction novel.

What I discovered is that, over the past few years, a whole industry has been created exclusively to serve the growing number of independent publishers.

I ran a simple Internet search this morning, March 2014, for the words ‘Publish an eBook,’ and there were 25,400,000 results.

There are literally thousands of books on the topic, hundreds of websites and blogging sites specialising in self-publishing, while self-styled gurus pontificate and throw selected statistics around to confuse and grow their own platforms.

Online training courses charge hundreds of dollars to let you into ‘the secrets’ of digital publishing, and countless specialists and cover artists offer services for the independent publisher.

All looking to make money from authors who need help and support to publish their work.

All looking to take advantage of the emotional investment we authors make in our work. They know that we are not simply publishing a data file but we are sharing our hopes and dreams and aspirations the moment we press Upload.

Over the past twelve months I have spent weeks of time trying to educate myself on the best practices in self-publishing a genre fiction novel. This is an enormous time commitment, without a clear understanding that the investment will be repaid.

I have read hundreds of articles and books and I am still finding my way, but it is clear that the business savvy author has to acknowledge that there are many challenges that come with deciding to publish your own work.


The Disadvantages of Self Publishing

  • The costs of Self-Publishing can be greater than you think

You have already invested a huge amount of physical and emotional energy in the creation of your manuscript. This is your work and you are passionate about making sure that it is the best that you make it and that it is ready to be shared with readers.

The bad news is that you are about to invest a lot more time, emotional energy and money in learning the new skills and techniques necessary to successfully publish this book on your own.

For example:

  • Traditionally published authors will receive an advance payment against future potential royalty payments.

When you self-publish you don’t have the nine to eighteen month delay between your manuscript being accepted and going into print. So you have to carry all of the costs of producing your work and publishing it until you receive the income from sales of your book.  There are a huge number of decisions to be made which have nothing to do with writing the next book.

  • Traditionally published authors will be edited and copy-edited in-house by the publisher who pays for the cover design, promotion into book stores and all of the admin associated with loading that book onto online retailer catalogues.

The quality of the finished book is all down to you now.

  • The combined costs of the marketing, promotion and distribution of your published book will be at least twice what you will expect.

Many launch campaigns can last for a month, full time. This is hard work and you have to plan meticulously to carry out all of the steps in a logical sequence.

As Jack Canfield, co-author of “Chicken Soup for the Soul”, said, ‘Writing the book is only 10% of the work, now you must figure out how to sell it’.

  • Higher Royalty Payments weighted against Smaller Sales Volume

Traditional publishers may be able to place your printed into bookstores and large supermarkets and attract premium prices for your novel. They have marketing and promotional budgets and place advertisements in trade magazines and social media.

Bookstores and large supermarkets have so little display space that the hard fact is that it is very unlikely that any bookstore would be willing to stock a print on demand [POD] printed version of your eBook. They cannot return them for credit and unless you have a dedicated following of readers, your book will be lost. They certainly would not be interested in hosting an author event for a POD book unless your work has unique local interest.

As a result you should expect to have the majority of your sales of both print and eBooks through online bookstores.

This is where ‘Discoverability’ becomes crucial. Especially for authors who do not have an existing fan base.

  • You hold onto all of your Publishing Rights so you may need to hire a specialist lawyer or literary agent to handle translation or other rights.

Most literary agents will not represent clients who only self-publish. They cannot earn their 15% from the online sales since they did not negotiate the publication rights.

You are the publisher so you need to subcontract licencing your rights to that work to a specialist. So you need to weigh up the costs of the contract work against the potential financial gain from these additional sales. This takes a lot of time and money.

  • The challenges of working from home

Your family members may not understand the difference between being at home and accessible to them, and working from home.

Distractions can come in all shapes and sizes and without a clear plan of your objectives it can be very difficult to achieve what you need to do in the time you have available.

Time management and self-discipline are essential in running any home business, but are especially important when you have to create new fiction and run a solo publishing business at the same time.

flickr. chris connelly

Photo Credit: Chris Connelly/

The cost versus the benefits is something only you can decide on.

Posted in the prolific author

Make your dream of being a Published Author come true through Self-Publishing

Make your dream of being a Published Author come true through Self-Publishing

This is it!

This is the chance that you have probably been waiting for most of your life.

You have created a piece of fiction which you want to share with the world. You have revised and edited and polished your manuscript until it is the shiniest thing in shiny land.

You know that this story is the best that you can make it and you want to publish it and generate some income.

This is your business. Not a hobby. Your business hat is firmly on your head, albeit at a jaunty angle, and now you have to investigate the best ways to help readers find your work and enjoy reading your story.

You recognise that self-publishing is the business model for your book and cannot wait to get started!

When you self-publish your novel you will be working on your own, without a contract or deadlines. You will be in full control of your career as a solo writer-entrepreneur with all of the advantages and challenges that comes with being self-employed.

But all of that is worth it  – because you have a fire in your belly to achieve your goal and see your story, your novel, published and available for readers to enjoy.


  Dreamcatcher By Dyaa Eldin

So what can you hope to achieve by Self-Publishing Your Novel?

Creative Freedom to express your Unique Vision

Self-publishing means that you never have to put your name or pen name to a watered down version of your creative vision for your book. That’s special.

Example: When I wrote my first self-published crime book Deadly Secrets, I was concerned that my readers would be confused. Up until then the Nina Harrington brand was associated with warm and witty contemporary romances. How would they react to a mystery which still had my voice, but the romance was only a subplot in an action adventure police investigation?

I even thought about changing my pen name! But in the end I put my faith in the readers who are intelligent enough to know that many authors write in more than one genre under the same name.

So when it came to selecting a cover design, I wanted to communicate a clear message that readers should not expect even a hint of sweet contemporary romance from this book and went with a dramatic black and red cover with a girl holding a hand gun. Same author, same voice, but a different genre.

  • The courage to take a risk

It is human nature to want to be liked. Putting your work on display for the world to see does expose your work – and indirectly your talent – to criticism which can be good or bad. There is not an author alive who has not had terrible reviews, even though the book may sell well.

The book of your heart may not be a book that other people respond to.

You have to be brave enough to face up to that risk and go with it. 

  • You set your own schedule and deadlines

There is no pressure from anyone else to force you to write to meet a set date. You are completely in control of your writing process and your writing schedule.

  • Higher Royalty Payments

The usual royalty rate for a novel offered by a print publisher is 20 to 25% of the cover price, which is the list price, or the net received, which is the income received by the publisher after the discounts paid to the bookseller.

Royalties are only paid when you have ‘earned out’ the advance on these royalties that the publisher paid you when you signed the contract.

If you place your book with a Digital Publisher you might expect to be offered a royalty rate of 30 to 40% of the net receipts when the eBook is sold through an online book seller such as, or up to 50% if the eBook is sold through the publisher’s own website.

It is therefore very rewarding to know that the online retailers typically offer you up to 70% of the list price for your eBook. And you are paid monthly.


 Images_of_Money on flikr

Photo Credit. Flickr/ Images_of_Money

  • You hold onto all of your Publishing Rights 
  • You are in control of the Pricing Strategy for your book and can decide when to have offers and promotions 
  • You can follow the sales data for your book on each retailer 
  • You decide on the Cover Image. Which can be a HUGE factor for some authors. 
  • You can release your novel and have it on sale in days. Not months or even years with traditional publishers.
  • Self Education. From effective social networking to cover design, copywriting and creating a compelling author profile on the online retailer site, the skills you learn as a new independent author will support all aspects of your writing career.

These are all compelling reason why independent publishing might be the best business model for this novel, at this time, in this stage of your career.

What do you think?

Posted in the prolific author

Head or Heart? The Digital Revolution.

Part One: The Digital Publishing Revolution

Fifteen years ago my very first submission to a literary agent was not a romance, but a young adult science fiction space opera novel. It has more characters than the bible and was over 100,000 words long. And I had already written an even longer sequel and was planning volume three… ah, foolish youth.

I recall how crushed I was when the agent simply sent a rejection card inside the envelope containing my proposal package. But undaunted I sent a freshly printed new copy out to another agent and one of the few science fiction publishers who were taking unsolicited submissions at the time.

I did receive a kind reply several months later from the second agent telling me that she liked the story but did not know any publishers would were interested in buying that kind of work.

I was so thrown and crushed by the rejection that I put all of that science fiction work to one side and started developing ideas for crime and romance stories which I also loved to read. As far as I was concerned there was no future in writing science fiction for teenagers. I had to write stories that literary agents could sell to a publisher who would invest in producing my printed book some 18 months down the line. I could not afford to write a book and simply hope that someone will buy it.

Every single one of those facts has been swept away by the Digital Publishing Revolution.

Old desk - Photogen

Photo credit: ‘Old fashioned desk’

What is driving the move to Digital Publishing?

a. The English speaking world has developed an insatiable hunger for the written word and demands to read those words on every kind of reading device created.

Dedicated e-book readers, desktop and lap top computers, tablets and smart phones are everywhere. Technology has made it possible for my books to be read in chapters downloaded onto smart phones, translated into manga graphics and audio books and increasingly shared on multiple devices at the same time from a digital library held in “the cloud”.

b. Online booksellers offer millions of electronic books and print titles, at big discounts and free delivery to your door. And with digital e-books you can be anywhere in the world and as long as you have an internet connection you can download the book you want in minutes and read it on the device you want.

c. Self- publishing has been made respectable by the large online booksellers who sell e-book readers.

Amazon with their Kindle devices, Kobo’s dedicated KOBO readers, Barnes and Noble and the Nook and Apple iPad, iPhones and tablets all need authors to sell books through their devices.

It is in their interest to offer authors a publishing platform and high royalties to publish material directly through them – especially in digital format, where they get the cut the publishers used to receive and readers love them because they drive prices down and offer an efficient service.

d. Self-publishing has given new life to stories which a traditional publisher would never be interested in.

There are now more markets for our short stories, novellas, novels and multi-volume series in niche markets and cross-genres which do not fit easily onto a bookseller’s shelf. Technology allows an author writing for a niche market to create interactive reading experiences with video, graphics and animation into the fabric of their book.

e. Traditional publishers have woken up to the new publishing paradigm and created digital only publishing lines.

These lines offer authors the editorial and production advantages of a large publisher with the royalty rates which are usually double the rate the author could receive from a print version of the same book.

f. Authors are no longer locked into one publisher and one genre under the same pen name.

Many authors are now producing work for several publishers, in several genres and pen names at the same time, and have built careers in both traditional publishing and self-publishing working in parallel to find new readers for their work.

g. Sales of Electronic Books are slowly overtaking sales of print books in many markets.

We have seen almost a 48x increase to 3 billion U.S. dollars in e-book sales in the 4 years from 2008 to 2012 with hardcover and paperback sales remaining relatively level. While hardcover sales declined slightly between 2008 and 2012 (from $5.2 billion to $5 billion), eBook sales grew at an astonishing clip during that period, rising from $64 million to $3 billion.

h. Writers are discovering the creative freedom that comes with being able to share innovative work.

Authors now have the freedom to innovate and experiment with content, format and methods of delivering their message. Multi-media and graphic novels? No problem.
And the best news? Their books will never be out of print!

The next result of these seismic shifts in technology has been an explosion of digital products and especially eBooks and self-published print books, created by Independent [ Indie] authors.

marking the rise of indie authorship

Image Credit: Mark Coker. Smashwords.

Market and business savvy authors see their future in digital publishing.

It is astonishing and brilliant!

But all of that material creates a very serious problem.

The proliferation of reading devices and content has created such a deluge of material, that book sellers of all sorts around the world are involved in a daily price war. There is a glut of eBooks and readers expect to pay either very little for those books or even get them for free. This is especially true for genre fiction.

And we are now in a global recession where books are a luxury item.

Authors need to become more prolific. More in control of their careers. And more willing to market and promote their work than ever before.

And as for those young adult science fiction stories? I kept them locked away, waiting their turn to be revisited and reworked.

How about you? Do you have stories burning inside of you that you cannot wait to share with readers?

Then there has never been a better time to be a writer.


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Posted in the prolific author

Hello! I am a writer, foodie and avid shoe collector who is completely addicted to genre fiction and the craft of creating compelling stories.

I am lucky enough to write Warm, Witty and Wildly Romantic love stories for Harlequin Mills and Boon Romance and Harlequin KISS and Modern Tempted, Romantic Mysteries for Carina UK and NEW - Crime.

Find out more here -

I love to hear from readers so if you feel like dropping me a line, do get in touch through my Website at :


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