To go wide or exclusive – that is the question

As I get ever nearer to publishing my first book, I keep encountering important decisions which must be made! A particularly vital one which I need to make soon is whether to go wide or exclusive in the distribution of my historical fiction novel, A Class Apart.

Going wide means making sure that my book is available on every platform I can think of. I can upload my book to Amazon as well as a variety of other retailers such as iBooks, Barnes & Noble and Kobo (or I can use websites such as Smashwords or Draft2Digital to distribute to those retailers for me).

Going exclusive means uploading my book to Amazon and nowhere else.

At first glance, it seems like Continue reading

Get an exclusive first look at my book cover design

Getting the cover designed for my book, A Class Apart, is an exciting stage in the self-publishing process. At last I’ll be able to visualise it in images rather than words and picture it sitting on a bookshelf like a real book!

A Class Apart is the first instalment in my historical fiction series, A Matter of Class, so it’s important that the genre is very clear from the cover. I began the design process for it with my cover designer a few weeks ago and am due to get a first look at it sometime next week. I’m so eager to see it and I want you to share in the excitement! If you’d like to join me in Continue reading

The many ways to read digital books (plus a poll on reading habits)

I am prefacing this post with a bit of commentary on terminology. I used the term ‘digital book’ in the title because I’m not 100% certain what the most accepted convention is when replacing ‘digital’ with ‘e’. Is it e-book, or ebook, or eBook? No one seems to be able to agree:

  • This article favours ‘eBook’
  • This article observes that British publications tend to use ‘ebook’ and American publications tend to use ‘e-book’
  • This article says that the expert style guides endorse the hyphenated version but expects that the hyphen will eventually disappear

What’s a writer to pick?? For the sake of consistency, I’m going to settle on Continue reading

Book blurb – take two!

First of all, I want to say a very sincere thank you to each and every person who responded to my request for feedback on my book blurb. It was very generous of you to take the time to get in touch and offer well-thought-out advice. I really appreciate it!

I considered all opinions very carefully in my rewrite. There was a variety of reactions but the majority of you felt that the blurb was Continue reading

I would love your feedback on my book blurb!

I need your help, folks. I’ve been poring over this task for so long that I can’t see straight anymore. Time for fresh eyes!

The task I’ve been working on is my book blurb, which is the description on the back of the book that tells you what it’s about. Essentially, it has to hook a potential reader in and make them want to know what will happen so badly that they have to buy it. It’s possibly the most important Continue reading

Outlander: a series that has impacted on me like no other

Quite the bold statement to make but I mean it. The books I am about to discuss have significantly changed me, both in how I read and how I write.

I first discovered Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series in September 2015 after I went onto a Facebook group and asked for recommendations for a good historical romance on audiobook. I wanted a decent series to while away the hours on my daily commute to work. My everlasting gratitude goes out to the person who suggested Outlander! I started into the first audiobook that September and now, in March 2018, have just completed the eighth book in the series. My verdict? It’s one of Continue reading

Maintaining a consistent brand across all platforms (and ironing out some techy problems)

In this post I’m going to talk about having a consistent author brand and I’ll also outline how to carry out certain techy tasks in relation to that, which I hope will help others!

After making the decision to self-publish my first novel this year, I realised this would also be a good opportunity to spruce up my online presence. I’ve talked about this before in 2015 and at the time carried out a revamp across all my social media platforms, but the passage of three years left me no longer satisfied with the changes I had made. Time for Continue reading

Interview with author Julia Brannan

I’m delighted today to welcome historical fiction author Julia Brannan to my blog. Julia is the author of the Jacobite Chronicles, a six-part series set around the Jacobite Rebellion in Scotland in 1745. The sixth and final instalment, Tides of Fortune, is due to be released next Tuesday 6th March and is available for pre-order from today. Having read and thoroughly enjoyed the first five books, I’m really looking forward to seeing how the series ends. I got the chance to ask Julia some questions about Continue reading

The importance of setting in a novel – and an insight into mine

Having an identifiable setting in a novel is key for helping the reader feel grounded in the space and time of the story. For that to happen, the writer must establish the novel’s time period, cultural climate, geography, and interior and exterior locations. This kind of world building is especially essential in genres like science fiction and fantasy, where the setting could be vastly different to what we’re familiar with, but I think it is also vital for historical fiction, because stepping two hundred (or two thousand!) years into the past is still stepping into a world unlike our own.

My historical fiction series, A Matter of Class, takes place during the first half of the 19th century and the first instalment, A Class Apart, is set in rural Ireland in 1828. I have placed a lot of emphasis on constructing the setting in the book so that the reader will feel comfortable within the environs of Continue reading