Guest Post By Mark Williams: Urban Writing Myths and the New Renaissance

Mark Williams has been all over the bestseller lists, but you may not recognize his name. That’s because he is one half of a writing duo called Saffina Desforges. Their debut novel Sugar & Spice was a smash hit in the UK, with the controversial crime thriller racking up 100,000 sales. They haven’t broken out yet in the US to the same extent, but the release of their second novel Snow White – the first in the Rose Red series – could change all that. Here’s what Mark had to say about urban writing myths, working in a partnership, and his ambitious plans for the future.

I'm Leaving You

There is no other way to tell you this, and I wish it could be otherwise, but, I’m leaving you. It’s not you, it’s me. I need a break. Fear not! I’m only going on holidays, and in two short weeks, I will be back – tanned, rejuvenated, and with only minor, repairable damage done to my liver. While I am in Portugal, I will be handing my blog over to a series of superb guest posters. I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but I will say that you are in for a treat. Until then, you can read my regular column over at IndieReader.com which has just been posted. It’s called The Only Gatekeepers Readers Need. As the Read More…

I’m Leaving You

There is no other way to tell you this, and I wish it could be otherwise, but, I’m leaving you. It’s not you, it’s me. I need a break. Fear not! I’m only going on holidays, and in two short weeks, I will be back – tanned, rejuvenated, and with only minor, repairable damage done to my liver. While I am in Portugal, I will be handing my blog over to a series of superb guest posters. I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but I will say that you are in for a treat. Until then, you can read my regular column over at IndieReader.com which has just been posted. It’s called The Only Gatekeepers Readers Need. As the Read More…

Sneak Preview: Chapter 2 of A Storm Hits Valparaíso

Last week, I gave you a preview of Chapter 1 of my forthcoming South American historical adventure A Storm Hits Valparaíso where you met Catalina, a feisty tavern-keeper’s daughter in the Chilean port-town of Valparaíso. In Chapter 2, the action switches to the other side of the world to introduce another of the seven main characters. While Catalina was my invention, Thomas Cochrane was very real and has been the basis for several famous fictional characters, such as Patrick O’Brien’s Jack Aubrey and C.S. Forester’s Horatio Hornblower. In fact, his life was so fantastic I had to be selective in which parts of his history to present so as not to stretch the credulity of the reader completely. As I Read More…

Bob Mayer On Traditional Publishing, The Future, And Selling Direct To Readers

Bob Mayer has been on the New York Times Bestseller list twice. His Atlantis series alone sold over a million copies for his publisher. But now he has the rights back and is self-publishing everything, making more than he ever did before. When we talk about indie success stories, the same three names are always mentioned: Hocking, Konrath, and Locke. While they all deserve that billing, there are others who deserve to be mentioned in the same breath. One of those is Bob Mayer. A lot of self-publishers were complaining last month that things were slow. With the combination of good weather, kids off from school, people being online less, and various large publisher sales on Amazon, many indies saw a dip. Bob Read More…

Marketing Children’s Books – Advice Needed

A friend of mine – Silvina De Vita – has self-published her first book Emilio – A Picture Book For Children. She both wrote and illustrated it, and it just went live yesterday. Silvina is very new to the world of self-publishing, and I was giving her some advice on how to go about it. Sometimes images don’t look great in e-books, and the placement of the text in relation to the image can be tricky. Silvina took an interesting approach where the text is actually incorporated into the images itself, so that each “page” is just an image, which gave her a lot more freedom in terms of fonts and placement of the text. The result is beautiful – Read More…

Marketing Children's Books – Advice Needed

A friend of mine – Silvina De Vita – has self-published her first book Emilio – A Picture Book For Children. She both wrote and illustrated it, and it just went live yesterday. Silvina is very new to the world of self-publishing, and I was giving her some advice on how to go about it. Sometimes images don’t look great in e-books, and the placement of the text in relation to the image can be tricky. Silvina took an interesting approach where the text is actually incorporated into the images itself, so that each “page” is just an image, which gave her a lot more freedom in terms of fonts and placement of the text. The result is beautiful – Read More…

John Locke Signs Print Distribution Deal With Simon & Schuster

John Locke – the first self-publisher to join the Kindle Million Club – has signed a print distribution deal with Simon & Schuster. Naturally, there has been some hysterical reaction either painting John Locke a “sell out”, or declaring that this deal is proof that self-publishing is a flash in the pan and that traditional publishing is where it’s at. Neither is close to being true. First of all, and most importantly, John Locke is not giving up any rights. He has not signed a “publishing” deal, but a distribution deal. He will remain the publisher of the print editions. Simon & Schuster will distribute them. And he retains complete control of the digital editions – no deal has been struck there. Read More…

John Locke Signs Print Distribution Deal With Simon & Schuster

John Locke – the first self-publisher to join the Kindle Million Club – has signed a print distribution deal with Simon & Schuster. Naturally, there has been some hysterical reaction either painting John Locke a “sell out”, or declaring that this deal is proof that self-publishing is a flash in the pan and that traditional publishing is where it’s at. Neither is close to being true. First of all, and most importantly, John Locke is not giving up any rights. He has not signed a “publishing” deal, but a distribution deal. He will remain the publisher of the print editions. Simon & Schuster will distribute them. And he retains complete control of the digital editions – no deal has been struck there. Read More…

A Sneak Preview: Chapter 1 of A Storm Hits Valparaíso

I want to give you a sneak preview of my upcoming novel, which has the working title of A Storm Hits Valparaíso. I’m currently on the final pass, but it’s quite convoluted and could take a month or two before it is ready for the editor. I started writing this in 2006. It was a classic case of an inexperienced writer biting off far more than he can chew. It has seven main characters who all start in different locations and their narrative strands gradually interweave. In technical terms, it’s by far the most difficult thing I have ever attempted to write, and I have no shame in saying that at several points I felt it was beyond me, and walked Read More…

Why The Digital Revolution Threatens Large Publishers

I think I’ve made a robust case for a digital future, but I’m less sure I’ve convincingly explained why the digital revolution threatens large publishers. In Thursday’s post, we looked at the recent BookStats survey of the American publishing industry. Some are touting its results as evidence that publishing is in rude health. I argued that the report only covers the very beginning of the e-book explosion that began late last year which has radically changed the marketplace, and which will adversely affect the fortunes of the larger publishers. That sparked a vigorous discussion in the comments, and one person (correctly) pointed out that lots of those big-selling e-books are being sold by the large publishers, that they have huge Read More…

Publishing: Not In Such Bad Shape After All?

The long-awaited BookStats report has been released, leading some to immediately conclude that publishing is actually in pretty good shape – despite the doom-mongering from certain quarters (such as, I suppose, from me). In case you don’t know, BookStats is the most comprehensive survey of the US publishing industry to date, produced jointly by the Book Industry Study Group and the American Association of Publishers (AAP) – collating data from nearly 2,000 publishers, large and small. I’m not going to go into too much detail on its findings, as I haven’t actually read the report (it costs $600) and I am only working from the public summaries. (And if anyone spots any detailed analysis out there by someone who has Read More…

Word-of-Mouth In Action

Word-of-mouth is the only thing that ever really sells books. While a glowing review in the New York Times will undoubtedly shift some copies, if the limited amount of people that actually read the reviews (and then purchase the book), don’t then spread the word, the sales bump will be temporary. The 21st century world-weary reader is a hard person to reach. Our environment has become so saturated with advertisements that we tend to tune them out. Broadcasters need to resort to tricks like raising the volume levels of the ads to force us to pay attention. We ignore ads because we don’t trust them. Exaggerated claims of the merits of one brand over another have been with us for Read More…

The Importance of Being Edited

One of the major arguments put forward in favor of going the traditional route – and one of the most appealing to writers – is the advance. I have a guest post on the blog of bestselling UK author Mark Williams which examines what the advance really costs you and how you can beat it long-term even with modest self-publishing sales. An accompanying – and in my opinion more valid – argument centers on the professional experience and support a writer will get from a publishing house, especially in the areas of editing and cover design.

Apple’s Lawyers Get Busy

Apple became the world’s most valuable company for a brief period yesterday, overtaking Exxon whose value had dipped on the back of the depressed oil prices. Those two should continue to duke it out as Apple posts record results, and oil prices inevitably rise. However, Apple’s celebrations may have been short-lived as Amazon came up with a clever way to circumvent their rules on in-app purchases. Today, Amazon released the Kindle Cloud Reader. Essentially, this is a snazzy version of the Kindle reading app, but the key difference is that it’s browser-based. This means that iPad owners will be able to read books, and browse for new purchases, all in the same web-based program.