Wednesday, 25 February 2015

5 Things I've Gained From Publishing On Amazon

1. More Confidence

Without doubt the best thing I've gained from publishing on Amazon has been a rise in my confidence as a writer. When I wrote my first book Jack Strong and the Red Giant I thought it was good, really good, and worthy of many an agent and publisher. How could they possibly reject it? Well they did - almost a hundred of them to be exact - and so my book remained unrepresented, unpublished, unloved, and ultimately unread.  Was I wrong about the quality of my book? Were they right? What if it was all just a fantastical delusion? What if it was really rubbish? Like the titanic my confidence sank, straight down to the bottom of the ocean.
Publishing via Amazon helped rectify all that once the positive reviews started to pour in, giving my flagging confidence a bit of a boost. My book and its characters were striking a chord with nearly every reader - both friend and stranger alike - and I began to believe that it all wasn't a fantasy, that I was quite good at this, that I had a future in this business, that I should continue writing.

2. Contact With Other Authors

Another benefit of publishing via Amazon has been the other independent authors that I've come into contact with, authors who like myself have been rejected and turned away from the traditional publishing route. This has given me the opportunity to discuss my ideas on writing and theirs, as well as read their books. Whenever I participate in a review swap I almost always end up reading a book that I wouldn't necessarily have picked if left to my own devices, so it provides me with an opportunity to access many different kinds of book, whether they be fiction or non-fiction. Ultimately, this kind of exposure helps me to improve my own writing as I learn and grow both from what they do well and what they don't.

3. It's Made Me A Better Editor

Because my book is accessible to the general reading public it has made me aware of how a good author is also a good editor. I want the reader to enjoy my book for its plot, its characters, and its various alien worlds. I don't want them to be put off and negatively influenced by spelling mistakes, incorrect punctuation, or poor grammar. So instead of declaring my published book finished I'm always prepared to go back and re-read the manuscript (I'm giving it another edit as we speak) in order to clear up any mistakes that I might have previously missed. The added benefit of this approach is a better first draft, since I am more aware of correct punctuation and spelling etc.

4. It's Made Me Appreciate Marketing More

Books don't sell themselves - especially Amazon books - so it is vital that a successful author is also good at marketing and advertising their product. With today's social networks being so various and diverse there are many outlets for wannabe (and even not-so wannabe) authors to spread the word about their books to both friends and strangers alike. One vital thing I learned when launching Jack Strong and the Red Giant was just how helpful Facebook and Twitter were when it came to advertising my book. Since I'd gotten an eye-catching book cover designed by a seller on I found it relatively easy to spread the word and get people's attention via these and other social networking sites. After the launch I've found that maintaining a blog such as this one can be a great way to connect with other writers and readers and to keep the sales coming.

5. It's Made Me More Ambitious

Though it's been a great experience publishing Jack Strong and the Red Giant on Amazon I don't want it to stay there. Ultimately, like any writer, I want to find a better publisher with more of an outreach, so that Jack and his friends can be read by more and more people. With all the positive reviews my book has received (and they're still coming!) I've begun to realise that my book is not just quite good, it's also publishable and readable. And with luck, the agents and publishers that I send it to will see this too.

If you want to read more of my writing check out my book Jack Strong and the Red Giant via the link below:

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

4 New Year's Resolutions Every Writer Should Make

1. Write More

This might sound obvious, but you'll be surprised at how many writers - and I know a couple - class themselves as such and yet barely write more than once a month, if that. Writing is not posing, or socialising, or even reading for that matter - it's the daily grind - the act of sitting down in front of a notebook or a computer and hacking away at that idea that keeps swirling around your head. Just be honest with yourself and look into your writer's mirror: Do you write enough? Could you write more? If the answer is yes to this last question then you need to have a look at how you manage your spare time and carve out a few more hours a week for writing. The reason J.K Rowling and Stephen King are famous is because as well as having good, original ideas they are also willing to sit down every day and write them down.

2. Set Clear Goals

Don't just write for writing's sake. You need to set yourself some clear goals for the future. This can be the immediate future such as finishing that chapter that you've been working on or it can be something more long term such as finishing a short story, a novel, or even trying your level best to get your work published and/or accepted by an agent. This year, for example, I aim to finish editing my current novel - Jack Strong and the Prisoner of Haa'drath - as well as write its sequel; and since I'm constantly flinging my last novel - Dragon Rider - around I also hope to find an agent for that too. The important thing is to never give up, to keep trying, and to keep that great idea of yours progressing towards completion.

3. Read More

Behind every good writer is a good reader who is willing to sit down for 1-2 hours every day and read around his or her own genre. The benefits to this are obvious:
1. You get to see what kind of novels that are getting published and more importantly read today.
2. When you're reading you are literally hoovering up language, grammar, and correct punctuation - three things that are of vital importance to your own work; and
3. You get to see how the author tells his or her own story - What kind of characters do they use? How much dialogue do they employ? Do they 'show' too much? Do they 'show' too little?

4. Don't Give Up

Writing is hard sometimes, as every writer knows. You may write yourself into a narrative             cul-de-sac, find yourself cursed with writer's block, or even see your brand new super-duper novel rejected by every agent and publisher that you send it to. At this point you can do anything but whatever you do don't give up. If you're struggling with your story don't be afraid to leave it for a few weeks before going back to it - sometimes a mental break can give you fresh insights. You can also give it to a trusted friend to look at and get their feedback. It was one of George R.R Martin's friends, for example, who suggested that he put the dragons in at the end of his novel Game of Thrones, thus giving it more of a dramatic climax. Also, if your novel is rejected then the worst thing that you can do is to think that you're rubbish and to give up trying to get it published. Stephen King's first two books - The Running Man and The Long Walk - two of the finest dystopian thrillers ever written in my opinion were both rejected by the publishers whom he sent them to. King didn't give up then and neither should you - who knows perhaps your Carrie (King's first published novel) is just around the corner?

Final Word

What are your writing and publishing experiences? If you have any comments on the subject of this blog then please do not hesitate to do so in the space below.

Also, if you would like to read my Young Adult's novel about a bullied, 12 year old boy's adventures on a strange spaceship in outer space then you can click on the link below: