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Friday, January 15, 2016

Pacing makes or breaks a story.

This is essential for every story whether it be a full length novel or a short story. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing romance, thriller, horror, fantasy, sci fi, or YA. You must ensure your readers will turn the page to see what happens next. Your TASK is to make the readers want to keep reading no matter what is happing around them.

  • a.     Something must happen in every scene.
  • b.     A question must remain unanswered at the end of ever chapter except the very last one.
  • c.      Ensure your Main Character propels that action. The reader wants to emphasize with the MC and intimately share experiences and the MC’s journey. Don’t give the reader a reason to stop turning the pages.
  • d.     DON’T tell the reader everything that’s going to happen before it happens as that can destroy the suspense and deprive the reader the enjoyment of surprise.
  • e.     Give your MC bigger challenges to overcome as your story progresses. These should be compelling and the MC must overcome these to move on. The MC’s character should be revealed and grow as the MC moves through these challenges.
  • f.       Throw your MC into a pressure cooker so they must do such and such by a certain time otherwise e.g. the world will end, the MC’s mother will make the biggest mistake of her life, the MC’s father will miss his flight, etc.
  • g.     Lee Child, says: “Write the slow parts fast and the fast parts slow.”
  • h.     DON’T load the first chapter with back story and descriptions as this will slow the pacing from the get go. See how much you can cut that isn’t missed. No need to tell the reader that the MC’s parents were church goers, loved a good steak, had to shop on Thursdays or the world would end, did not do the washing on a Sunday, etc. Let the reader find this out as they progress through the story and only if it moves the story forward.
  • i.        Dialogue is great but shouldn’t replace action. If you have no dialogue on any page in your story then it better be compelling otherwise the reader will stop reading.
  • j.       Aim for clarity. Less is more.
  • k.     DON’T use a longer word when a short word will do the task.
  • l.        Ensure that all unanswered questions are answered by the end of the story. If you don’t do this, then the reader will be frustrated that you left them hanging. Nothing spoils a good tale than one with an incomplete ending.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

My journey to publication and sales of Sleep then my Princess


My journey with my first thriller, being a complete novice at marketing and kindle: I uploaded The Deadly Caress and it didn't sell a single copy for about five weeks and then sold about  6 copies each time I had used the Amazon facility to reduce the book from $2.99 to 99c. I no longer use the Kindle Countdown Deal as I've found it to restricting as you have to have the book listed at or above $2.99 for 3 months prior to your sale date. And I've opted out of Kindle Select but still have the book listed for borrows but I never get any borrows anymore. Update: Just found out that Kindle changed their policy and don't allow borrows now if you're not in Kindle Select.

With my second thriller Sleep then my Princess, I was prepared.

I took advantage of the pre-order facility on Kindle and uploaded my thriller about 6 weeks before launch. Changed the cover a few times till I was happy with it. I had a guy on Fiverr do a cover but no one that I asked in my FB buddy groups really liked it. So I got another cover made with a different cover designer. Put that cover up for comment on my FB buddy groups and played with the font till it seemed okay and asked my FB groups again. The font I would have gone with was voted second best so I opted with the font which everyone thought was best. I figured, who am I to know what will draw the public eye to buy the book. I got six beta readers to read through the manuscript and they offered their suggestions which I diligently worked through. I had two editors go through the manuscript as I'm not good at picking up all the typos and over used words. 

A month prior to launch I started marketing it via FB groups (free) and my twitter page listed at 99c for pre-launch. I have to say that I'm in so many FB groups now where you can post your promo that I've lost count (maybe about 50-60).  However, FB won't let you post more than 10 promos in a certain time frame any more. They freeze your account for 14 days if you do. They want you to take up their paid promos instead.

I lined up two paid promotions for the launch date (total cost was $80). Pre-sales were at 19 units (due to FB groups) on launch day Oct 30th, Nov 2nd 19 units,  Nov 14th 90 units, Nov 23rd 89 units, and then it started dropping a little with some highs on Nov 30th 56 units, Dec 12th 50 units, Jan 4th 47, and now Jan 9th 23 units. Update: March 2016 it's at around 40 units most days.

I also did a Fiverr promo for $5.50 two weeks ago and a blog listing via Fiverr a week ago again $5.50. I might do a FB promo shortly to raise the momentum in sales. I initially intended to raise the price from 99c a week after launch but since Sleep then my Princess was selling so well, I was too scared to do this. So it's still at 99c for now.

I didn't get into the top #100 sold in the Kindle store but was in the top #12 in my category for about 7 weeks in the USA. I have now slipped to #23 in Books > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers & Suspense > Medical, USA. I even got into the top #35 in my category in the UK store and Au as well at one point.

I have to point out that I have got 3 awful one star reviews which haven't seemed to have stopped my sales, thank goodness. One of the reviewers couldn't even construct a sentence nor spell.