Friday, 21 August 2015

New Release : Barbara's War Box set.

£3.99 Amazon
I'm delighted to have put out the box set version of Barbara's War which contains all three books.
it seems a long time ago that I wrote the first book in this series – in fact it was in 2008 – and originally the book was called "Stormy Weather". I had an agent then but she was unable to place the book, or maybe it didn't even get as far as that before I parted company with her.
However, the second two parts were only written last year and I was quite sad to say goodbye to the cast of characters.
If you haven't already read these books then they are also available to borrow for free if you're a member of KOL. (UK)  (com)

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Is it too soon to panic?

Last year when KOL was introduced by Amazon dozens of writers that I know said their sales had collapsed almost overnight. Nobody seemed to be able to give a sensible explanation for this sudden and catastrophic loss of revenue.
Some suggested that having part of your titles in the system and the rest out was the problem and there was a lot of moving backwards and forwards of titles in to Kindle Select and out again. Of course I was sympathetic, but as I wasn't effected by these changes, in fact my revenue doubled rather than halved, I thought I was immune.
Original Style
However, when they introduced the new 'pay per page' my sales which, up to this point had been no worse than they were last year, took a nosedive. In fact so poor are they now that I'm no longer bothering to check at the end of each week. I'm just looking at my sales dashboard and sighing sadly.
I don't know if this plummet is coincidental or a has been caused by this new loans system.
New Style
Any reduction in sales is always worrying. Actually I believe that there are now so many good books being published in my particular genre - Regency - that the competition has become even fiercer. The vast majority of  author-published books are now as good, if not better, than traditionally published books. They have professionally designed covers, had been properly edited and formatted and are sold at a fraction of the price of traditionally published books.
I no longer think that just being able to publish a new title every couple of months is enough to maintain my market share. Not only do I need to keep my existing readers, but I also need to attract new ones. I've tried advertising in a variety of places but this made absolutely no difference. I tinkered with my cover style, but this also made no difference.  I intend to stick with the original as at least this way my brand is easily identified. I love the new cover, but as it costs a lot more to have something as elaborate as this, and it made no difference to my sales, it doesn't seem sensible  to change.
I'm in the process of setting up an email list which I hope you will all sign up for when it's live. I'm also in the process of getting a permanently free book ready – one that hasn't been for sale for over a year - and I'm going to try Nick Stephenson's (First10Kreaders) suggestions and see if that works. I can have something free all time as long as I can manage to do the technical staff involved. All this is taking time away from my writing which is how I want to spend my time.
Is it too soon to panic that my career has taken a permanent dip? Has anyone else noticed their sales are continuing to go down instead of beginning to recover as they usually do  by the middle of August? I should be grateful for any suggestions.
Obviously I love having the royalties drop into my bank account every month, but it's not the loss of income that is causing me to panic, it's the thought that I'm losing readers that really worries me.
Hopefully there will be better news next time I talk to you.
Fenella J Miller.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

How many books a year?

I don't know about you, but I like to plan ahead. I've already got my schedule for 2016 mapped out and this is what I plan to publish;
Two more of the six book series called, "The Duke's Alliance".(I'm writing the first one now and it will be released in January.'
Two shorter Regency titles.
A Christmas Regency
Two back list Regencies.
Also if the agent, who has the first book in my three book Victorian saga, fails to sell it to a major publisher then I shall publish that myself. I shall also write the second book sometime next year, but this won't be published until 2017.
There will also be three new Regency Quintet editions as well as three new box sets with my titles.
I know a lot of people throw up their hands in horror when I say how many books I write the year but three 50K books and three long books is not as much as it sounds.
I write a minimum of a thousand words every day – sometimes a lot more – which gives me plenty of spare days to go out and spend with family and friends. It only takes a couple of hours – sometimes a lot less – to write that much so it's hardly an arduous schedule.
I also spend a couple of hours on social media because I enjoy it rather than because it raises my write a profile or sells any more of my books.
I have a friend, Wendy Soliman, who also writes Regency as well as in three other genres, and she writes ten books a year. I know that Nora Roberts writes ten books a year and when I first heard that I thought she must have other people writing her books, but it's perfectly possible to write even more than that without too much trouble.
How many books do you write?
I also read about fifty books a year – mostly historical fiction and thrillers, but also some contemporary romance, some fantasy and a dozen or so reference books. I'm a very fast reader and if a book grabs my attention I read it in two evenings. I probably start, but abandon, another thirty books during the year. I don't spend time on books that I don't enjoy however popular they might be with other people. I didn't get more than a quarter of the way into Wolf Hall, and abandoned the latest CJ Samson – although when I get it back from my neighbour I might give it another go. It started with burning three people alive and that was just too much for me to stomach.
My favourite authors are Christian Cameron, Bernard Cornwall, P J Chisholm, Lee Child and Michael Connelly. I also love Jane Fullerton's books and Alison Morton's – especially her latest, which I think is the best, Aurelia.

 How many books do you read a year?

Fenella J Miller