Archive for July, 2011

July 28, 2011

Guilty

I’m horribly aware that my good intentions to post regularly here have fallen by the wayside somewhat. To put it simply, life got in the way. On top of that, I had run out of new insights into the self-publishing world.

So, time for a little catch up.

All the books continue to sell, slowly, on Kindle. There has also been a very small number of sales on Smashwords, and I’ve sold all of the first batch of paperbacks.

But we’re still talking small numbers here. Searching for the magic formula that turns the trickle into a flood is proving as difficult as expected. I’ve been seeking reviews from independent sites, but I’m just one of many and the few that have responded have told me there is likely to be a long wait. I don’t mind waiting.

No more Amazon reviews have appeared, which is disappointing as I continue to get excellent direct feedback from people who have read it. While I try not to put too much emphasis on reviews from friends and colleagues, I’m heartened that these are often from people who I had no idea were reading the book, and they then take time to find me and tell me how much they are enjoying it (and, as I had no prior knowledge, then they could have read it, hated it and not told me!)

Hopefully things will begin to settle down and I can return to writing. The third in the trilogy is begging for attention (and I’m already being badgered for it).

In the meantime there’s the small distraction of changing my car (much to my wife’s annoyance!)…

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July 15, 2011

Part Three

I have said for some time that I wouldn’t write the final part of the trilogy until I’d sold the first two books. Obviously, now that I’ve made them available on Kindle (etc.) that’s effectively come to pass.

And now I’m already getting requests from readers anxious to read the conclusion.

Which is nice, but also difficult as I’m supposed to be writing something else!

However, I dusted off the first four chapters of Part Three (as yet untitled) last night, completely unsure of what I’d find. It’s been about 16 months since I last looked at any of it.

I was pleasantly surprised. It was like meeting up with an old friend.

So I’m now full of enthusiasm for it again, and plan to get cracking in the next day or so. How long will it take to finish? That’s impossible to answer. THE LONG SECOND was written in 8 weeks, BROKEN took six months (and Broken is a shorter book…)

I’ll keep you informed.

In the meanwhile, there are 3 Marshall Buckley books already available for you to read over at Amazon.

July 12, 2011

Cover to Cover

The more observant amongst you may have noticed a certain pattern emerging in the cover design of the first three books.

It didn’t start out that way.

The basic cover idea for The Long Second was settled in my mind a long time ago. For those unclear what it depicts, it’s a disused brickworks – Tony works in a brickworks in the story and, while little of any significance happens there, it is a recurring theme. The fact the the brickworks in question was just a small diversion from my daily route to work was most convenient, and I spent only about 20 minutes snapping a few pictures. The once chosen was, as is often the case, the first one I took…

The decision to have it in black and white was simply a case of what looked better. It just seemed to work that way. The simple lettering, in a bright colour provides a strong contrast, and it’s oriented vertically to mimic the chimneys (and for that I thank my designer friend who provided many such subtle tips).

When considering the design for Broken, I originally wanted a white cover with some very subtle detail, perhaps of a hospital ward but, once again, my designer friend advised sticking to a theme, and so a b/w picture of a hospital corridor was chosen (I didn’t take this photo – it’s from Shutterstock.com – reasonable prices if you only need a handful of images).

The lettering: same font, different colour. Vertical alignment didn’t work here and so, instead, designer friend broke the letters (far more effectively than my poor efforts).

Finally, Adam’s Game: this cover caused the most pain. Not least because the book received a change of name (also painful) at the last minute. With the previous two already being b/w images with bold lettering, that part was already set, but it took days to settle on a good picture (again from Shutterstock). I hope I got this one right…

Finally, all the covers feature the Marshall Buckley name with a vertical line in the centre, in the same colour as the title. It’s a nice touch, I think

All the covers can be viewed on Amazon where, by chance, you can also purchase the books…

July 11, 2011

And Adam Makes Three

Finally, after what seems like an eternity of delays over the new title and cover image, the third book is available on Amazon Kindle.

This is unrelated to the previous two (I still have to finish the third of that trilogy), and will not be part of another series.

It’s called ADAM’s GAME and, like the other two, is available for the bargain price of 99p/99c

I’ll update the Books page shortly with cover images and info, but you can get all that (and, you know, buy them) from the Amazon page.

July 7, 2011

Silence Is Golden

…I’ve been informed that the planned Audiobook version of The Long Second will not be available.

It’s a disappointment, but I completely understand the reasons given.

But it’s not the end of the world. There was never a plan for an Audiobook, so when the offer was made it was a bonus which was taken with both hands. It’s unlikely many would have been sold, but it was another avenue which would have raised (a little) the book’s profile.

My thanks to the kind person who made the offer in the first place.

I’m still struggling with the cover design for book 3. I’ve tried a couple of things but they just don’t work. Or, at least, not well enough. I think, though, that I’ve finally settled on a title – though even that might still change…

More soon.

July 6, 2011

The Wheels Keep On Turning

Despite backing off from my “selling my soul to the Devil” approach, the books continue to sell at a steady pace. Not blistering, by any means, but steady.

The most positive aspect is that they are now almost certainly selling to complete strangers. Early sales were made up, in the majority, of friends/family/colleagues/Twitter contacts, but I’m reasonably certain that this is no longer the case.

At present, sales are on target for this month to exceed last month’s. Given that The Long Second was published a few days into June, and Broken only in the very last days, that ought to be the case anyway, but it will be interesting to see how a full month of sales stack up. Just need to build up a little more momentum, to get those wheels rolling under their own steam…

I’m now actively seeking independent reviews. The couple on Amazon are great, but more are needed, particularly from review sites. I’ve approached a couple directly, but if you run a review site and would be interested in reviewing either or both of the books, please get in touch via the Contact Me page. I can let you have both books in the electronic format of your choice, and I have a limited number of paperbacks of The Long Second which I would be happy to send out.

In other news: I’m currently preparing a third novel for publication on Kindle, hopefully before the end of the week. It’s not related to the first two, but a stand-alone. The only things holding me back are (1) It needs a new title (2) Subject to the new title, I need a cover image. These are proving more difficult than you might think. It’s current title is “Last Man Standing”; while I’m not averse to using a title that’s already in print (BROKEN, for example), the sheer number of LMS titles is almost overwhelming and, to be honest, I just don’t think the title is quite right.

I’m sure something will come to me soon.

In the meanwhile, don’t forget, both The Long Second and Broken are now available from Amazon for less than £1 each.

July 1, 2011

That’s What Friends Are For?

Back to the whole Selling Your Soul thing (you’ll tell me if I’m getting boring, right?)

One of the selling tactics recommended by John is to reach out to your Twitter followers, get them to buy your book.

Now, I know some of my followers have been kind enough to do so – after all I’ve tweeted about it enough – but I always knew it would only be a very small percentage. John seems to indicate that you should actually reach out personally to them, use your friendship as a lever, expect them to buy.

That probably works if you have enough followers. And if the bulk of those followers are just casual friends, with little holding them together, no common ground except (perhaps) that they’ve enjoyed your previous books (one obvious flaw here: no previous books = no fan base).

The bulk of my Twitter friends are, in one way or another, in publishing. They are authors (published, self-published, aspiring), agents, publishers, PR people etc. And I follow them precisely for this reason. I’ve gained enormous amounts of information and knowledge from these people over the past couple of years, I wouldn’t dream of asking them directly to buy  my book. I’d be far too embarrassed.

Some of them, I know for certain, won’t buy it because it’s self-published. That’s not them being all high-and-mighty or holier-than-thou but (I believe) more a case of not wishing to tarnish our friendship.

Not long after I started this whole writing adventure, a good friend made a comment to the effect of “Surely, you write in the expectation that your friends will buy and read your book”. I don’t think I ever had that expectation. Sure, there are a very small number that I assumed would do so, and I’ve not been shy about telling everybody on Facebook and Twitter, but to expect? Never.

I’m still hopeful that I’ll convince some of the more cynical, that they’ll give my books a chance and realise that self-published doesn’t automatically mean bad. But I’m not going to force the point.

Because it has to be their choice.