Sunday, 24 July 2016

Thunderclap - is this a good tool for authors?

The final book in the Nightingale Chronicles series.
Out July 28th .
 A writer friend of mine, Jane Holland, asked me to participate in her Thunderclap campaign. I've never heard of this but was happy to help. It's usually a tool for good causes but is occasionally used for books as well.
I thought I'd try for my next book – the second and final part of The Nightingale Chronicles – One Good Turn.
So far I've only managed to gather just over 50% of the required one hundred supporters. I'm sure I've got more friends than that so I don't know why they are so reluctant to sign up.
I then discovered from two of them that they didn't want to allow Thunderclap access to their Facebook account. I tried to explain that this was no different to allowing a friend of a friend to post on their timeline – that it was a once only permission – but I don't appear to have convinced enough people that this is the case.
I'm not sure what else to do to encourage some of my thousand friends on Facebook/ thousand twitter followers and six hundred and eighty subscribers to my e-list to take the plunge.
The first book in the Nightingale Chronicles series
On the plus side I do seem to have gained more pre-orders than I expected so perhaps people who didn't want to sign for the Thunderclap have done this instead.
I had significant success putting the first book in my "At Pemberley" series free, with sales of the other two books going from almost non-existent to pleasing.
I put "For Want of a Penny" free last week so don't know if the extra pre-orders were the result of that or because of the Thunderclap campaign.
I believe that Sir John Betjeman once said, "I'll try anything once apart from incest and horseriding."
I'm with him on the first but not the second.
I feel a bit like that about all the new promotional innovations that are now available to writers. I believe there is something called tumblr and instagram but I've no intention of trying those.
Here is the link to my Thunderclap campaign:
Click here
 Fenella J Miller

Friday, 1 July 2016

A Spy at Pemberley – and other random thoughts about writing a series.

£1.99 & $2.99
A Spy at Pemberley is now live and selling quite well– thank you if you have already downloaded it. This is the final book in this series and I'm quite happy to leave Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice characters to get on with their lives without any further interference from me.
I've enjoyed writing these three books, but I think that the first Jane Austen variation that I did – Miss Bennet & Mr Bingley – is the closest to her style. I'm just re-proofing this and I seem to have the rhythm and language much closer to the original than in A Spy at Pemberley.
I'm not sure which I prefer. Today's readers love the characters but I'm not sure they enjoy the old-fashioned syntax as much. Certainly most of the books I've read in this genre are more modern in their language.
I have now written four series. Barbara's War – the most successful so far – has three books in it and I suppose could be called a historical family saga. As the title indicates Barbara is the main character throughout the series.
Then there are two, two book series. Victoria's War – again a historical family saga – and The Nightingale Chronicles. This is also a family saga, but a Victorian one, and follows a brother and sister, Alfie and Sarah.
The fourth series is still being written. This, The Duke's Alliance, will be six books. In each one of the six siblings of the Duke of Silchester is featured. The first two were published this year and I hope to get a third one out in December. The only character that features in each book is the duke himself and his story will be the final one.
I've also just started writing the first book in the fifth series – Ellen's War – which will follow her life as a female ferry pilot in World War II. These brave women (and men) delivered aircraft all over the British Isles for the RAF. They flew with no instrument training and had to rely on a compass and map to find their way about the country. They could only fly in reasonable weather and were not allowed to go above the clouds. This will also be a three book series.
The only individual title that I've written this year is my Christmas book – it will go into the Regency Romantic's boxset – and I'm rather missing the freedom of writing a single title book. I'm really enjoying writing the duke series as I'm not restricted to the same characters or settings.
I found the Barbara's War trilogy much more tricky as I had to keep referring back to make sure I hadn't changed my colours/names/ages.
Both traditional publishers and indie publishers seem to be producing as many series as individual books. This must be because readers prefer them. I certainly love the Lee Child books and all Bernard Cornwall's historical series. Christian Cameron, another favourite of mine, seems to be writing four or five different series simultaneously – I'm not sure I could juggle so many sets of characters at one time.
Do you prefer to read a series or a single title? If you write – do you write more individual titles than series?
Fenella J Miller