Book Funnel: Easily get your books to readers


Book Funnel: Get Sharing

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Book Funnel is something I’ve been using for a while now, and whenever I discover a new tool that I feel offers value for money or some indispensable service, I feel compelled to share it with people. I’m not making any money for promoting the service, and am doing so purely as a recommendation. So what is Book Funnel?

Book Funnel is an online platform that costs a small subscription fee, but allows you to upload your ebooks and easily share with them with your readers via a web link. The beauty of the service is that the link will take the user to a page with multiple options for how they would like to download the books – mobi, epub, pdf. It automates the process of getting the book onto the reader’s devices and also deals with any technical support that might arise. Basically, it allows you to offer freebies and advanced reader copies easily and in a manner that allows you to just post the link and forget about it. Want to offer one of your books free to all platforms for 24 hours? Then stick it on Book Funnel and share the link all over Social Media (Amazon KDP Select is generally fine with marketing efforts so don’t worry about exclusivity, although don’t quote me on it).

Here is what a reader encounters when they follow your link (you can test it yourself on the website via a sample).

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And from there, the user picks the option most suited to them and follows the simple wizard that will get the book onto their devices. I’ve said before that giving away free books is a must for new authors as the number one priority in the early stages is discoverability. The beauty of Book Funnel is that its built on a pay scale. If you only have a few dozen downloads each month then the cost is nominal. I would also recommend it to established authors too, as it is indispensable in conjunction with a newsletter. Give subscribers free books for signing up, and use Book Funnel to offer them a flawless and professional service.

Anyway, you can check out the service in full, here: http://bookfunnel.com/


Tools to write with…


Tools to write with…

grammar_o_892749I am not a classically trained writer, and I never finished University. If you want a teacher to tell you about the finer intricacies of grammar and style, I am not your man. Without sounding arrogant, however, I will state that I am a successful ‘popular’ author and that I make a good living selling books. Many of my ‘classically’ trained contemporaries do not.

My training came through the experience of jumping right in the deep end. My first novel, The Final Winter, succeeded because of its story. As an avid horror fan, I was able to create a plot that other horror fans enjoyed. Technically, though, it was a bit shoddy. I’ve since rewritten The Final Winter, and it is a better book today than it was then. The reason being that I am a better writer. I’ve learned from experience, feedback, and reviews. I’ve fixed some of my flaws and gotten better at putting forward my strengths. That doesn’t mean there are not things I still struggle with though.

Below are a few examples of the intricacies of writing that took me a long time to find peace with. These are all now a part of my established style, and not necessarily the most correct ways of doing things, but I have learned that a writer only needs to be consistent. Find your way of doing things and then stick to it. Readers won’t care as long as you do it your way.

So without further ado, here are a few tools to write with…

Continue Reading →

Scrivener: 10 reasons it’s better than Word


Scrivener – a comparison to Word, and why it’s better.

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Hi everyone. Throughout 2016 I plan on doing semi-regular blog posts about self-publishing. I will post about the tools I use and the methods I employ. The first topic I wanted to cover is Scrivener, because if you are or want to be a writer, you really should be using Scrivener.

Word is what most people are used to–it’s been around a long time–but aside from it being very set in its ways and not updated all that often, it is expensive and more feature rich than many of us need it to be. Scrivener however is regularly updated, cheap to buy, and most importantly — IT IS DESIGNED SPECIFICALLY FOR WRITERS.

That’s right, there is a word processor out there that is specifically designed for people who want to write books. Whereas Word is a one-size-fits all application that has become bloated over time, Scrivener is streamlined to provide the exact features that writers need. Whilst I still use Word for the odd task, I use Scrivener exclusively for my novel writing, and have done for some time now. Below are some of the reasons you should consider grabbing a copy of Scrivener for yourself. Links to purchase at the bottom of the page.

  1. Backups – I wrote a short story in Word last week and lost the entire thing by overwriting another document by accident. I have no idea what happened, or even how it happened, but I do know that Word offered absolutely no way to get it back. It was an entire day wasted. This would not have happened with Scrivener because Scrivener backs your shit up to the eyeballs. Every project I have started in Scrivener has its own automatically-generated folder which is teeming with previous file histories. With Scrivener, not only can I retrieve lost work, I can also access old versions of the same file. Handy for rolling back changes that didn’t work out.
  2. Make notes as you write – What I find VERY useful is that I can make notes that are attached to each separate chapter as I write. Ever been writing a scene and had a thought, or realised that something in the earlier chapters doesn’t make sense? With Scrivener you can jot down notes in the sidebar that you can go over later. This is so useful when writing draft 2 as you will have a bunch notes to remind you of what needs fixing as you go through the chapters again.Untitled
  3. Chapter Descriptions – Also note, in the above screenshot, there is a description of the chapter I am working on. Before I start writing my novels, I write a short summary for each chapter so I know where the plot is going. These descriptions appear as I write each chapter, and make sure I know what I’m working towards in each scene. Furthermore, when I have finished draft 1, I can then look at each chapter and see a description for each one — great when I’m trying to find a certain part of the story to go back to and make changes.
  4. Chapters are separate documents – In Scrivener, every act, chapter, and even individual scene can be it’s own separate document. The benefit of this is that it is very easy to visualise your overall story and check the flow and beats of the narrative. You can colour code different character scenes if you want, or separate chapters into ACT 1, 2, and 3. It is fabulous for plotting in whatever way you prefer. You can also drag and drop scenes to reorder them into any sequence you want–again, something that would be a nightmare in Word (copy and paste bitches).win-write_structure_revise-lg
  5. Corkboard and Research – Again Scrivener aims to help writers specifically through the use of features like the corkboard and research section. The corkboard allows you to display notes, chapters, images, and anything else in your story to make it easy to plan and sift through your thoughts. There is also a research section that allows you to pin webpages or supporting documents that you wish to refer to as you write. With Word this would entail the use of separate files and a web browser (not ideal if you are offline).
    Keep your research handy

    Keep your research handy

    Arrange your chapters and scenes to figure out the best flow.

    Arrange your chapters and scenes to figure out the best flow.


  6. Split-Screen – Want to have a photograph in front of you why you describe how one of your characters look? Well, you can use split screen to load up an image on one half of the screen while you write in the other. Or you can load a Wikipedia page up while you make notes about a very technical scene. Whatever you need to hand can be pinned to one side of the screen.
  7. Character and location sheets – Scrivener allows you to add Character sheets and Location sheets to you manuscript portfolio. You load one up, fill out the details, and can even add a photograph of someone you envisage (Brad Pitt?), then whenever you need to remind yourself of certain character details, you can click once and get it all in front of you. Then, one more click will get you back to your scene. Everything is all right there for you, organised along to the left hand side.
  8. Word Counts! – I love this. Scrivener allows you to set a ‘manuscript target length’ that will fill up a little progress bar as you write words. There is no better way to motivate yourself than by watching that little bar fill up. You can set daily writing targets that will pop up excitedly when you hit them, or even set individual targets for every separate chapter (great for working on pacing and balance). Scrivener will also record your word count for the whole day, so you know where you are at. I do 3000 words a day minimum when I am writing a novel, and Scrivener is great at pushing me towards meeting that goal.
  9. Templates – eBook, paperback, screenplay? Scrivener has templates for them all. Load one up and it will automatically generate copyright pages, TOC pages, etc. Nice little time saver!
  10. Compile straight to ebook – When your manuscript is finished, you can hit ‘compile’, but that’s not where it ends. You have the option to create a Kindle file, a print pdf, an epub, or other formats. Want to create your own ebook files to give to your readers, Scrivener will do it automatically for you. It will also allow you more control over what you upload to Amazon. Want to add little images to every chapter heading? Well Scrivener will let you automatically insert jpegs or gifs into the document that will appear alongside every heading — no need to add them individually for every single chapter like you would have to in Word. Table of Contents? Done. Subheadings? Done. I could go on.
  11. Bonus reason – Scrivener will automatically compile a Table of Contents from your chapters and back matter to form a complete book for you. It will also paginate for you properly for print (a massive headache in Word). Having every separate by nature means you don’t have to bother with page breaks and section breaks like you do in Word. It’s so much easier, like most things in Scrivener.



One extra reason:

It’s only $40! Compare that to Word, which is a lot more, and you’d be mad to use anything else to write your books.

To grab a copy, just click the banner. I will get a small affiliate commission for your purchase, but the truth is that I have been recommending Scrivener for a long time, but have only recently become an affiliate. I promise you that I use the program myself every single day and that it is every bit as good as people say it is. It is worth the money, you have my word. IRW.

Buy Scrivener 2 for Mac OS X (Regular Licence)

Grab your copy now!

 

Diary of a 1st time father: 18 months of Heavenly Hell

Day 1

Thursday 26th June 2014, 78 hours into that great biological magic trick, natural labour. That’s right: 78 hours and counting.

For my wife and I, the process of getting our son into the world began at 34 weeks. The pregnancy had been textbook up until that point. Strong heartbeat, steady growth, and a — relatively — happy and healthy mother. But that all changed one night when Sal, in bed beside me, complained of itchy hands and feet. Being a ‘high-maintenance’ sort of wife with a talent for things ‘hurting’, I assumed it was nothing but, to her credit, she knew something was wrong. The next morning we went to the hospital for some checks. The midwife chastised us for not coming right away, but assured us that it would likely be nothing. Sal was a healthy mother and the baby’s vitals were all fine. No problem, just a quick bloodtest and we’ll give you a call later, Mrs Wright.

We went home. Continue Reading →

How to build a Mailing List




How to build a mailing list – a guide.

Hi everybody. I’ve been a full-time writer for over four years now (and heck don’t I pinch myself every day for that), but recently something has gotten me more excited than ever before–my mailing list. I’ve been working on it since September after taking part in the Self Publishing Formula, which is an online course run by Mark J Dawson. The course taught me many effective ways to build a mailing list and also pointed out some fairly obvious realities that had thus far eluded me. Such as: why do we put our entire careers in the hands of Amazon/Publishers and why do we, as authors, see the massive power that marketing sites such as Bookbub have but do nothing to gain some of that power for ourselves? My mailing list currently has 5k members and about half of those are what I would call ‘warm’ subscribers or fans. That means, if I released a new book today, I can be fairly confident that around 1500 people would buy a copy in the first few days. That’s pretty much guaranteed to shove my new release right up the charts where it will then find its own feet and sell on its own via the chart exposure. The part that has me excited really excited, though, is that 3k members is just my total today. In a year’s time I fully expect to be nearing 10k. Even if only 30% of that list is ‘warm’ (i.e. a fan who is actively seeking my work as soon as it is available) then that would be 3k sales every time I have a new release. In ten years time I could have 100k subscribers (very doable at my current sign up rate), and by that point who needs Bookbub? The best part about it all is that I am not using my readers or taking advantage of them in any way–my mailing list is a great way to keep in touch, and reward, the readers who actively support me. I can offer prizes, exclusive discounts, and freebies. In fact, the whole process of building a mailing list hinges on giving people a reason to join. FREE BOOKS. This has to work both ways or it won’t gather momentum.

e0e2846f1431c5fbfd03cebdd020f82eb7ce5242226500e918e063b004c25724I started my career by quickly becoming known as an ‘author who helps’. I aspired to follow the likes of J.A. Konrath and Hugh Howey by offering advice on what I had found successful and trying to nurture authors struggling lower down the ladder of success. It feels like a while since I really did that, so this post is intended to share with you what I have come to believe is the number 1 most important tool an author can possess. A healthy mailing list. Here’s why you need one: Continue Reading →

Wayne Simmons – Voodoo Child

Wayne Simmons – Voodoo Child is here

Hope you had a great Halloween!

I’d just like to begin November by thanking all of the people who bought a copy of Wings of Sorrow and The Gates over the last few months. They both launched very successfully and that’s down to your support!

I don’t have any new books coming out this month, other than some new entries in the A-Z of Horror (P is for Peeling is coming soon), but I can tell you that paperbacks for both Wings of Sorrow and The Gates have just gone on sale. The links to buy are posted at the bottom of this email.

The main intent of today’s newsletter is to let you know about a horror author called Wayne Simmons. Many of you will already know him (he wrote a great zombie novel called FLU), but for those who don’t he has given me some info about his latest release to pass on to you. I have a copy of my own and read the first several chapters yesterday. It’s good!

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Assuming my readers don’t know you, Wayne (although I’m sure they do), how would you like to introduce yourself?
I’m Wayne Simmons, a genre fiction writer and journo, probably best known for my 2010 zombie horror novel, FLU.

And your latest book is Voodoo Child, an homage to Seventies horror. Could you give us a taster of what the book is about?
Like a lot of folks reading this newsletter, I’m a child if the 80s. Back then, I used to go into the local video store with a mate and head straight for the horror section. There, we’d scan the shelves for the goriest looking cover we could find, usually a 70s or 80s slasher film, and take it up to the counter. They didn’t care that we were a couple of twelve year olds with a Certificate 18 film in our hands: as long as you had your dad’s card, everything was fine and dandy. Voodoo Child is really a homage to all those films we watched back then; the Fridays and the Nightmares and the Halloweens; and the colourful characters that populated them.

Anything else you would like to add?
Just a big shout-out to me co-author on this one, Andre Duza (Dead Bitch Army, Son of a Bitch) as well as Steve Johnson (SFX legend – An American Werewolf in London) and Harry Manfredini (Film Composer – Friday the 13th films) for the very humbling cover endorsements. Those guys are literally responsible for both Andre and I being into this stuff.

Finally, big thanks to your good self, Iain, for your kind support!

Continue Reading →