Congratulations to the SPFBO Finalists

Final Ten has been announced, huge congrats to the finalists!

Announcement on Mark Lawrence’s Blog is here.

Here is the list of the finalists, along with the bloggers and Amazon links to the books:

Bookworm Blues – Fionn: Defence of Rath Bladhma‘ (Brian O’Sullivan)
Elitist Book Reviews – Larcout (K.A. Krantz)
Fantasy-Faction – Paternus (Dyrk Ashton)
Fantasy Book Critic – The Moonlight War (S.K.S. Perry)
Lynn’s Books – Outpost (F.T. McKinstry)
The Qwillery – The Music Box Girl (K.A. Stewart)
Pornokitsch – The Path of Flames (Phil Tucker)
Bibliotropic – The Grey Bastards (Jonathan French)
The Bibliosanctum – Assassin’s Charge (Claire Frank)
Fantasy Literature – The Shadow Soul (Kaitlyn Davis)

Utilizing Google Plus To Promote Your Books and Blogs

Today I am going to share one of my book promo tricks: The Google Plus communities allowing blatant self promotion. I have compiled the following list a few months ago. Those allow promoting your own books and blog links. For authors, it works best if you have a discount deal going on. I have seen significant rank boosts on self pub titles after promoting in those groups. This will not only benefit the indies but tradpub authors, bloggers and reviewers too.

My advice is don’t just copy paste the link and blurb, but write up a short summary info to draw the interest of potential readers, make it sincere and add the link in the end. They will read the official blurb in the preview and when they click the link.

Some of the groups have specific sections for the type of posts (book links, blogs, author infos etc) on the left menu list, make sure to read & respect their rules and post in the appropriate section.

I hope this will help some struggling authors and bloggers out there.

Writers, Authors, Bloggers 35,089 members

Google Plus Book Club 37,003 members

Kindle & eBook Writers And Reviewers 6,895 members

Authors – Blatant Promo 4 Writers, Blogs! 6,829 members

Support-a-Writer 6,085 members

Readers Meet Authors And Bloggers 6,740 members

Promote Your Book! 9,999 members

Love 2 Read 1,542 members

Kindle Ebook Promoter 2,568 members

Indie Authors & Readers 7,233 members

Indie Readers & Writers 10,335 members

Self promotion for Authors 4,457 members

Book Bloggers, Book Worms and Book Reviewers 3,623 members

Books, Blogs & Give-Aways 4,495 members

Writers’ Corner 32,226 members

Books – The Passion for Reading 6,010 members

Book Reviews 10,500 members

Book Club 19,951 members

Book Publicity 3,329 members

Writers of Google+ 7,348 members

Book Reviewers 13,274 members

NOTE: Removed one of the groups since I am informed it no longer allows book promotions and intended for discussions only.

How To Become a Goodreads Power User

I just stumbled upon this awesome article and wanted to share it with you guys. The strategy is great and bound to be successful if you take the time to do the things listed there. Half an hour everyday should do the trick. Goodreads is a great platform for promoting books and I think this article provides an excellent game plan for getting your books noticed.

Link to the article

A Challenge For Book Bloggers

UPDATE: Volunteer bloggers have been found!

International best selling fantasy author Mark Lawrence came up with a brilliant idea and posted it in his blog. Quoting form his original post:
“Who knows how many Name of the Winds or [fill in your favourite] are lost to us because they just couldn’t be seen? None? A hundred?

So here’s my idea. It relies on the labour of others and so it could fizzle and die right now. But let’s see.

I know that many bloggers are very fast readers. Some read over 200 books in a year.

My proposal is to get X of these bloggers to volunteer to become ‘agents’. (X will be 10 or fewer).

Each blogger is assigned 25 self-published books, randomly selected from a list of volunteer authors.

These bloggers are NOT expected to read all of these books. Their task as ‘literary agents’ is to select the single book they want to put their reputation behind and “publish” into the next round of the exercise.”

Here is the link to the original post where you can find the details to sign up: http://mark—

Naturally I signed up, let’s see if I can put myself in the shoes of the literary agents and read the slush pile. This will sure be an interesting challenge!

Are you in?

Indie Authors Beware: They Are Pirating Paper Copies of Your Books

Author Jo Robins warns us about a new form of book piracy in her eye opening blog post. I was seriously disturbed to read this , apparently the intellectual property thieves don’t just pirate the ebooks but paper books too. They print the hard copies at cheap small cafe presses and sell them cheaper than the Amazon price by marking up the shipping cost. Some of them offer free shipping, perhaps they use small presses in poor countries to cut down the costs or use very low quality recycled paper, I really have no idea.

What’s certain is they are pirating indie books left, and and center and this dirty theft is done by some top rated power sellers on ebay who sell MILLIONS of books. Jo reports that she has seen indie books in their listings. You need to stay vigilant and report the copyright infringements to Ebay immediately. Ebay recommends you’ll need to participate in their Verified Rights Owner (VeRO) Program. To join the VeRO Program, you will need to fill out a Notice of Claimed Infringement (NOCI) form for the listings of your books you find and report for copyright violation. Ebay will remove those listings and the sellers will hopefully take a hit and learn better.

Author and blogger friends please help me inform the community by spreading this post far and wide. Indie authors are not rich people, many of us are struggling to make ends meet and it’s extremely disturbing that the pirates are selling more of our books than we do, imagine you sell 10 copies on Amazon but the pirates sell hundreds of your books and pocketing the money while you are struggling out there. It’s hurting both your revenues and your Amazon ranking. Let’s spread the word and inform all indie authors we know.

Jo Robinson

Something’s got me seriously confused. I saw a post about getting your books taken down from some pirate sites, so as a matter of interest I googled mine again, and found that not only has African Me been loaded on to heaps more torrent sites for free or paid download, but that now Shadow People has joined the pirate party as well. The thing that’s got me wondering is that they’re both being offered on ebay too as paper books. I stopped looking after four different sellers there. (Click on pics to see them bigger)

African Me Satellite TV Robinson Jo 1492719102   eBay.png1

At first I thought it could be a reader selling them second hand, but when I had a proper squiz I saw that they’re being offered as brand new/unopened. The sellers have multiple copies too – ten each mostly in stock, and they’re selling them for less than what Amazon’s charging for them.

Shadow People The Finding Robinson Jo   eBay

I looked…

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The Power of Wattpad: Jaw Dropping Info & Crash Course

Wattpad is a game changer for authors, espeically YA authors if used right. It has 35 million active users, most of which are young adults. Non-YA authors can benefit a great deal, too, there are millions of speculative fiction readers on Wattpad.

Here is one success case featured in The Guardian article: “Brittany “The Book Slayer” Geragotelis is a Wattpad superstar. Her first serial on the platform, Life’s A Witch, gained more than 19m reads and lead to a six-figure, three-book deal with Simon & Schuster.”

Excerpt from the author’s bio:
“After 10 years of rejection from the publishing industry, she began to post her original novel, Life’s a Witch, on the online writing site, Wattpad, hoping that others would enjoy reading her book. A year after the first upload, the book had received 19 million reads, which caught the attention of Publisher’s Weekly, The Huffington Post and The Wall Street Journal.”

Not kidding you. There are a few other cases mentioned in the article.

Well, how does it work?

I am no expert by any means but I am aiming to establish my presence on Wattpad, therefore I’ve spent some time analyzing how things work there. First of all, you don’t want to post long pieces. Wattpad users love serials and they get a buzz alert on their phones when an author they are following uploads a new piece. Majority of them read on their phones, so keeping it short keeps the audience engaged. I have deconstructed the pattern from the most followed and read authors on Wattpad and here is what they do:

* They upload a few pages at a time, usually once or twice a week as a running serial.
* They don’t upload whole chapters.
* They cut the text at an exciting scene, making the readers ache for the next update.
* They don’t upload new parts daily, but more like twice a week.
* At the end of each part, they remind the reader to vote and comment in bold letters. Adding the little reminder at the end of each new part makes a huge difference. I forgot in the beginning but I noticed how other popular authors were doing it so after I started adding the reminders, I started getting more votes and comments, which has resulted in more new readers.

If the story is compelling to the Wattpad crowd, they vote and then recommend it to their friends using the social media sharing widget. As I mentioned, most users read the stories on their mobile phones with the Wattpad app (yours truly included.)

If the story receives a lot of votes and comments, it climbs up on Wattpad top charts and more people see and add it. This is how I discovered a few great stories, by checking Wattpad’s top charts and daily recommendations. Social media sharing widget makes it very easy for people to spread the stories they like. Wattpad’s share button automatically tags them with #wattpad hashtag so the other Wattpad lovers see it on Twitter too, not just your readers’ Twitter followers.

When people add a story to their reading list, vote on it, comment on it, follow someone, it all shows up in their friends’ Wattpad feed much like the Facebook updates. So if someone adds your story and their friends happen to see, they might add it too or ask their friend if it’s good. This is how those authors got so many readers. Wattpad’s interface allows the stories to go viral, both by word of mouth between friends and the social media sharing tool.

To build up your initial audience, here are the steps to follow:

* First of all, link your blog, web site, social media profiles and Amazon page/book links on your Wattpad profile. Then add your Wattpad profile link to your blog, web site, social media profiles and announce it on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and what have you. Let your friends and family know about it.

* Pick the most popular stories from Wattpad’s top charts that are in your genre and add them to your reading list. “Discover -> What’s hot” shows you the popular stuff. There are also genre links in the Discover menu which show you the most popupar stories in your selected genre.

* If you add a story to your public reading list, your Wattpad friends/followers will see it in the update feed.

* Click on the authors’ profiles and follow their followers. This is much faster to do on your phone/tablet than the computer. Trust me on this one!

* Follow Wattpad’s own tips about following and engaging the people:

* If you have a lot of Twitter followers, I recommend manually tweeting your story with a compelling text and tagging it with #wattpad and #wattpadlife hashtags. These hashtags have a lot of followers and if you choose an interesting tagline, it will get retweeted and reach even more readers.

* If you have a blog or web site, make sure to add the Wattpad widget to it. Wattpad help section has instructions on how to do that:

*Wattpad has a cap for maximum 1,000 users you can follow. If you reach this limit, unfollow some people to add more. From my experience, approximately 40% of the users follow back. But then again I have not been adding much content, I only uploaded a very short prologue piece, perhaps I would have gotten more followers if I ran a serial.

* Add new parts twice a week. Don’t make them too long and end the part at an intriguing or cliffhanger kind of scene. Just like the old school magazine serials.

* Remember, as long as you are engaged with your readers, answering comments, thanking them for following and voting, also reading and voting on other people’s stories, you will get more followers every day. Besides, you will get to read some great stories form very talented folks.

Once you follow these basic steps and get a few hundred followers, then start running your serial. One thing I really need to mention here: Covers are important. Make sure to make an eye-catching cover. There are some amazing folks in the Wattpad community who make covers for free. You can message the writers who have great covers and ask them who made it. Wattpad people help each other out, friends promote each other’s stories. It’s an amazing community and you can benefit a great deal by being a contributing member.

Now, some of the people with stories read by tens of thousands of people do not have a huge number of followers. I am guessing the stories go viral and reach a huge audience over time. I have no idea how long it took to get the number of reads for each one. The follower building strategy I wrote above should give you a good head start nevertheless and make things quicker. Remember, you don’t get a huge number of reads overnight, it takes time as the word spreads. The important thing is to run it as a serial and supply it in small pieces.

If you are trying to promote a published book, then I recommend uploading 2-3 chapters as serials in a few weeks’ time and directing the readers to buy it on Amazon with a note in the end of it, such as: “If you want to read the rest, my book is available on Amazon/Nook/Kobo and here is the link”

Some authors presell books before release by uploading teaser chapters, using Wattpad as a launchpad. Some authors build an audience by posting standalone short stories featuring the characters of their novels. There are many different strategies you can try.

Here is The Guardian article about Wattpad for additional details:

My own Wattpad profile has 382 followers to date and I haven’t invested much time on it. But I have friends there with whom I talk via Wattpad private messaging facility, I read/vote on their stories if I can find some spare time. Between the full time job, reading books to blog about, my own writing and chronic illness flaring up at the most unexpected times, I haven’t been too active on Wattpad myself, but once I finish my novel I am planning to invest more time and upload some short stories and sample chapters before my book launch. My Wattpad profile is here: You can add me and read my stories there.

If you know any other tactics and strategies for success on Wattpad, please feel free to share in the comments section so everyone can benefit. I hope this article has been useful.

A great article for authors on critiques and reviews

I would like to share this great article by author Massimo Marino for the authors who are new to the beta reading/critique business. It’s full of sound advice and features a really nice template tool for handing out to the beta readers. I am definitely going to use this when my WIP is completed and ready for beta reading/critique phase.

You can read the article and see the critique template here:

Conclusions from Author Earnings, January 2015

Rather interesting numbers, thanks to Nicholas for sharing!

* 33% of all paid ebook unit sales on are indie self-published ebooks.

* 20% of all consumer dollars spent on ebooks on are being spent on indie self-published ebooks.

* 40% of all dollars earned by authors from ebooks on are earned by indie self-published ebooks.

Nicholas C. Rossis

You may remember that I study Hugh Howey’s and Data Guy’s quarterly Author Earning Reports religiously, so that I can offer you the highlights. The Passive Guy alerted me to the January 2015 report (if you don’t already subscribe to his free newsletter, The Passive Voice, I urge you to do so – he’s one of the greatest resources for publishing-related information I have found so far).

Now that everyone’s been properly credited for their hard work, what nice things can we gleam from the latest report?

Gimme the Highlights

  • AuthorEarnings reports analyze detailed title-level data on 33% of all daily ebook sales in the U.S.
  • 30% of the ebooks being purchased in the U.S. do not use ISBN numbers and are invisible to the industry’s official market surveys and reports; all the ISBN-based estimates of market share reported by Bowker, AAP, BISG, and Nielsen are wildly wrong.
  • 33%

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Make a Difference in the Writing Community

Here is some golden advice from Tricia. I think every author new to the blogosphere would benefit from reading this great article.

All I Have to Say

Most authors at one time or another have dreamed of taking the writing world by storm with a breakout bestselling novel. I’m sure most of us still harbor hope this will happen. Regardless of sales or monetary success, we can still make a difference in the writing community. Whether you’re published or still writing your first novel, you can make a huge impact. Here’s how:

  1. Make connections. I recently read an excellent blog post by Susan Toy that discusses online connections and engagement. When it comes to Twitter and blog followers, some people mistake quantity for quality. Would you rather have 100 followers who regularly visit and comment on your blog, or 1000 followers you never hear from again? A huge number of Twitter followers or Facebook Page likes might look good on paper, but what does it really mean if you aren’t making connections with people? Visit blogs and leave…

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Making your own Ebooks, Part Five – What can you do with your word processor to make your Ebooks better

Great tips for anyone who is going the self publishing route.