- Books for writers
- FAQ: I’m a new writer: which book should I read first?
- FREE Nail Your Novel Instant Fix: 100 Tips For Fascinating Characters
- My writing process: the picture tour
- Nail Your Novel: A Companion Workbook
- Nail Your Novel: Why Writers Abandon Books and how you can Draft, Fix and Finish With Confidence
- Reviews of Nail Your Novel
- Who’s tweeting about Nail Your Novel …
- Writing Characters Who’ll Keep Readers Captivated: Nail Your Novel
- Writing Plots With Drama, Depth & Heart: Nail Your Novel
- Email me
Posts Tagged Authors Electric
Once upon a time, authors could get a great start if they made their book available free. Back in 2008 and 2009, I got huge traction for the original Nail Your Novel when I offered it free as a pdf. There wasn’t much free material out there, so it got attention. Indeed, as far back as the early 2000s, science fiction writer Cory Doctorow had been giving away digital copies of his novels on a Creative Commons basis, famously saying that his chief problem was to battle obscurity.
But times change. ‘Free’ soon became a deluge. If readers grabbed them in the digital equivalent of a supermarket sweep, they probably didn’t even remember they had them. In all likelihood, those books sat unnoticed in the bottomless vaults of their Kindles.
I flirted briefly with free when KDP Select started. Indeed, I organised a free event to coincide with World Book Night for Authors Electric, a group blog of published authors I used to belong to. We each gave away a book for five days, campaigned our socks off, tweeted until we grew beaks, watched the tallies mount in our KDP dashboards… and virtually nothing came of it afterwards.
Now, is a giveaway the way for authors to get noticed? I contend it is not for everyone.
Where free works
I’ll admit that I worry we give away our work too easily. If we create a culture where a book costs less than a sheet of gift-wrap and a greetings card, there’s something badly wrong. An ebook may not have material form, but it does give you more time and experience than something you glance at and throw away. And tellingly, the people who get cross with me for speaking out are the ones who say they refuse to spend more than a couple of dollars on a book, or berate me for not putting my books into Kindle Unlimited.
So that’s my rant done. However, free does work in some cases – where it adds value, rather than dilutes it.
Lest you think I’m waxing hypocritical, with my WordPress blog and Hootsuite account, let me state that I think free works very well with certain kind of services.
And certain kinds of book. In the kind of genre markets where the series rules, making the first book free can work very well. The authors who do this have plenty more titles to offer once readers are hooked. (Joanna Penn has had great results giving the first book of her series away free, and offering free books as incentives to sign up to newsletters – her post about it is here.) These authors are using free books in the way that WordPress and Hootsuite give starter packages free – to build long-term trust and familiarity. (When I want to upgrade my web services, WordPress and Hootsuite will be my first ports of call.)
Where ‘free’ may not work
But outside those genres, how do readers decide to try an unfamiliar author? Especially those who write the more individual kind of book, perhaps not easily pigeonholed? Usually, it’s by deciding if they like to spend time in that author’s company.
How do they do that? By reading something that sparks their interest. That could be anything. It doesn’t have to be a book. If you’re one of those authors, every post you write, every meaningful conversation you have on social media is already giving a sample of your voice, your personality, your tastes, your passions, the workings of your unique mind. The books you write will be made from that same material. If that doesn’t persuade readers you are fascinating and intriguing, giveaways and free books won’t make much difference.
Giveaways as prizes
Indeed, I have evidence that free giveaways with delayed prizes aren’t working any more. Every week I offer a guest spot on The Undercover Soundtrack. In past years, book giveaways got good uptake. Now, they hardly get any. The blog’s readership has grown enormously, but no one’s bothering to contend for prizes.
Perhaps it’s partly impatience. If a reader likes the look of a book from its Undercover Soundtrack, they don’t want to wait a week for the giveaway result. They buy it immediately. So who’s left to take part in the giveaway? The people who don’t much mind whether they read it or not.
Even giveaway campaigns to well-targeted readers don’t seem to produce much return these days. I recently donated copies of Nail Your Novel for a fellow writer’s launch campaign, which should in theory have resulted in more exposure for the series. I saw no increase in sales afterwards.
I have, however, had great results when I’ve done a giveaway of something special – like the NYN notebook or the My Memories of a Future Life antimatter edition. But those were specially made prizes, limited editions. Readers will pitch up for a unique prize, but they seem pretty indifferent to an ebook they might or might not get.
Spend your free books wisely
I know this is contentious. But I see a lot of writers who think they’re not trying hard enough if they don’t give books away and don’t examine whether the tactic is working for them. I think we have to look hard at every free ebook we spend. If we get a worthwhile return, that was an ebook well spent, no doubt about it. If not, we should stop.
So let’s discuss. Where do you think free works and where doesn’t it work? How has this changed over the years? Do you think authors are being pressured to do giveaways all the time?
Authors Electric, Cory Doctorow, Fix and Finish With Confidence, free books, free works, genre fiction, Hootsuite, how to market a book, KDP Select, Kindle Unlimited, literary fiction, My Memories of a Future Life, Nail Your Novel: Why Writers Abandon Books and How You Can Draft, politics of 'free', publishing, Roz Morris, series fiction, undercover soundtrack, Wordpress, Writing Characters Who'll Keep Readers Captivated: Nail Your Novel
Characters and personality. Not the ones in your books: I’m talking about you, the brain that’s parked snugly behind your eyes and the temperament that feels the urge to write. Sometimes our human wiring is not ideal for creating the kind of havoc we need for stories – which is quite amusing in its own way.
Anyway, I’m enjoying this conundrum today at Authors Electric – do jump the gap and see.
authors, Authors Electric, brain, character types, characters, characters in novels, conundrum, creative personality, creative temperament, Do Authors Dream of Electric Books?, fiction, gap, guest post, guest posts, having ideas, havoc, how do you write, how do you write a novel, how to write a book, how to write a novel, ideal, My Memories of a Future Life, Nail Your Novel: Bring Characters to Life, novels, personality, personality test, personality type, publishing, Roz Morris, temperament, urge, writer personality, writer temperament, writer types, writing, writing a novel - Nail Your Novel, Writing Characters Who'll Keep Readers Captivated: Nail Your Novel, writing life, Writing Plots With Drama, Depth & Heart
The files that make up this blog post are a twinkle in a data farm somewhere in the US. My books are too, blades of virtual grass in the electronic territories of KDP, Smashwords, Kobo and On-Demand Publishing. (If that’s already fried your brain, Daniel Marvello will no doubt save us with a comment that makes sense of it all, and straighten out my assumptions.)
We publish everywhere our language can be read. I’m sure most of the commenters here aren’t from the UK. So I’m quite amused to be invited to A Very British Blog Tour, which aims to celebrate authors from our small isles and pin down whether our national characteristics influence our work. I never even thought about what those were; I simply wrote. Anyway, do drop in for a cup of Earl Grey.(You don’t have to drink it.)
And out of curiosity, tell me: where are you reading this blog?
A Very British Blog Tour 2013, authors, Authors Electric, blogging, British authors, British writers, Do Authors Dream of Electric Books?, English authors, English writers, fiction, how to write a book, how to write a novel, Kindle, literature, My Memories of a Future Life, novels, publishing, Roz Morris, self-publishing, technology, writing, writing a novel - Nail Your Novel, Writing Characters Who'll Keep Readers Captivated: Nail Your Novel, writing life, Writing Plots With Drama, Depth & Heart
‘Music and creativity is for everyone – and life can be a musical’ – The Undercover Soundtrack, Cally Phillips
My guest this week has always made up lyrics, whether alternate versions of existing songs or not-terribly-serious inventions of her own. She says she wishes life was more like a musical, where people might burst out singing if the fancy takes them. Her deep-held belief that life should be lived with lusty vocals led to a collaboration with a theatre group for adults with learning disabilities, and, by circular means, a novel that commemorates the experience – A Week With No Labels. She is screenwriter, playwright and novelist Cally Phillips and she’s on the Red Blog with her very individual Undercover Soundtrack.
A Week With No Labels, adults with learning disabilities, alternate versions, authors, Authors Electric, belief that, Cally Phillips, comedy, Do Authors Dream of Electric Books?, fiction, how to write a novel, inspiration, inventions, learning disabilities theatre group, music for writing, musical theatre, My Memories of a Future Life, novelist, phillips, playwright, publishing, Roz Morris, screenwriter, self-publishing, The Undercover Soundtrack, theatre group, undercover soundtrack, unexpected paths, writing, writing a novel - Nail Your Novel, Writing Characters Who'll Keep Readers Captivated: Nail Your Novel, writing life, Writing Plots With Drama, Depth & Heart, writing to music
Sorry, you got two trailer posts from me today. It’s my turn at Authors Electric, where I’m wondering how relevant SEO is for fiction writers and readers.
It all started when I saw a link to a post on Problogger which advised bloggers to stop running guest posts with a lot of links because of new Google algorithms. Undercover Soundtrack host, please note. This led to a fun, fulminating conversation with Facebook friends Cyd Madsen, Vivienne Tuffnell and Beth Rudetsky about tails wagging dogs. But getting our work discovered is a real issue for writers, and at Authors Electric I’m wondering how that’s done. Come over and join the debate.
(Thanks for the pic Daveynin)
author-bloggers, authors, Authors Electric, Beth Rudetsky, bloggers, blogging, books, Cyd Madsen, discoverability, Do Authors Dream of Electric Books?, fiction, fiction authors, google, Google algorithms, guest bloggers, guest blogging, guest post, guest posts, how to find readers, how to write a book, how to write a novel, literature, marketing, My Memories of a Future Life, Problogger, publishing, Roz Morris, search algorithms, search engine optimisation, self-publishing, SEO, technology, The Undercover Soundtrack, undercover soundtrack, Vivienne Tuffnell, writing, writing a novel - Nail Your Novel, writing business, Writing Characters Who'll Keep Readers Captivated: Nail Your Novel, writing life, Writing Plots With Drama, Depth & Heart
Apologies to those on New Year diets. Early commenters at my Authors Electric post have already let me know they are distressed at my excessive use of pictures of pies. But they are artistically necessary.
I’m venting about publishers’ porkies. (In case that doesn’t translate outside the UK; it’s rhyming slang. Porky pies. Now you see.) As more authors choose to self-publish for career and artistic reasons, the publishing industry is maintaining the fiction that all those with talent shall be welcomed with open arms, and that writers can’t do without their nurturing support. If self-publishers are ever to be considered as equals by the literary community, this has got to stop.
More pie (much more) at Authors Electric. Do come over and say your piece.
agents, artistic reasons, authors, Authors Electric, awards, books, fiction, how to write a book, how to write a novel, literary establishment, literary fiction, literature, My Memories of a Future Life, novels, pictures of pies, publishing, publishing industry, reviewers, reviews, rhyming slang, Roz Morris, self publishers, self-publishing, writing a novel - Nail Your Novel, writing business, Writing Characters Who'll Keep Readers Captivated: Nail Your Novel, writing life, Writing Plots With Drama, Depth & Heart
authors, Authors Electric, boasting Christmas newsletters, books, bragging Christmas newsletters, Christmas, Christmas letters, Christmas newsletters, Do Authors Dream of Electric Books?, dreadful Christmas newsletters, family newsletters, guest post, how to write a Christmas letter, how to write a Christmas newsletter, literature, My Memories of a Future Life, Roz Morris, self-publishing, Writing Characters Who'll Keep Readers Captivated: Nail Your Novel, writing life, Writing Plots With Drama, Depth & Heart, xmas, yuletide
I’m at Authors Electric today, discussing how indie writers are getting their work to readers by curating collections based on a solid respect for craft and originality. While publishers play safe with marketing pigeonholes, some of these indie groups will be the brands of the future. Come and see…
authors, Authors Electric, Do Authors Dream of Electric Books?, how to write a novel, imprints, independent authors, independent publishers, independent publishing, indie authors, indie groups, indie writers, literature, My Memories of a Future Life, publishing brands, Roz Morris, self-publishing, writing, writing a novel - Nail Your Novel, writing business, Writing Characters Who'll Keep Readers Captivated: Nail Your Novel, Writing Plots With Drama, Depth & Heart
More than 50 writers have now contributed to The Undercover Soundtrack and plenty more are on the way. Today it’s my turn at Authors Electric, more properly known as Do Authors Dream of Electric Books – and I’m celebrating the way we use music to dream of other worlds, people and their lives… Come on over
authors, Authors Electric, books, deepen your story, Do Authors Dream of Electric Books?, fiction, having ideas, how to write a book, how to write a novel, inspiration, Kindle Authors UK, literature, music, music for inspiration, music for writers, music for writing, My Memories of a Future Life, publishing, Rewriting, Roz Morris, self-publishing, The Undercover Soundtrack, undercover soundtrack, writing, writing a novel - Nail Your Novel, Writing Characters Who'll Keep Readers Captivated: Nail Your Novel, Writing Plots With Drama, Depth & Heart, writing to music
(If you’re not a Shamen fan, that headline will make no sense. Try saying it out loud. And admire your instant cockney accent.) Making the special print edition of my novel made me think how we still like a book we can get our hands around. Come over to Authors Electric where I’m trying to pinpoint what we love about dead tree books…
authors, Authors Electric, cockney accent, dead tree books, Ebeneezer Goode, ebooks, how to write a novel, I love print books, Kindle, literary fiction, literature, My Memories of a Future Life, novels, print books, publishing, Roz Morris, self-publishing, Shamen. The Shamen, special edition, tree books, writing, writing a novel - Nail Your Novel, Writing Characters Who'll Keep Readers Captivated: Nail Your Novel, writing life, Writing Plots With Drama, Depth & Heart
- Writers, can’t kill your darlings? Read this May 8, 2021
- Ghostwriting, writer’s block, researching a novel … and training a horse. Interview at @officialSNWfest April 17, 2021
- Learn advanced self-editing techniques in a 3-part masterclass April 13, 2021
- A world in a word – 3 ways your vocabulary can increase reader belief April 11, 2021
- How I made my writing career – writing coach, novelist and memoirist Gina Troisi @Troisi_Gina April 4, 2021
- “Ever Rest” by Roz Morris March 27, 2021
- I wrote a trauma recovery memoir in lockdown – what now? March 21, 2021