They say hindsight is a wonderful thing.
Who needs hindsight when you have the internet?
These days, I am very careful about what I write. Always. I know several authors/bloggers that have quickly come to regret comments on facebook or twitter or had to backtrack on statements made six months ago on the barely-still industry we have the pleasure of being involved in.
Abraham Lincoln was a wise man indeed when he warned us:
Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.
No, nowadays, it really is best to listen and learn. What was true yesterday might be ridiculed a week on Friday. Publishing changes quicker than Ussain Bolt running a bend and what you really need is a crystal ball.
That, or cahones as big as shot puts and the nerve to write and publish whatever it is you like – and to hell with the rapidly becoming redundant gatekeepers! 😉
Speaking of balls of steel, what a summer it’s been eh? For Great Britain especially. We have had a wondrous summer of sport and music; Diamond Jubilee, the Euro’s and the unforgettable Olympic games.
The Paralympics has recently started and in a few days the closing ceremony will lower the curtain on a season that will be remembered by a generation for many, many years to come. I for one am dreading the imminent post-summer hangover that will start as the nights pull in and you watch the last swallow take to the skies for another year…
But panic not! After Summer comes Autumn, which means Halloween.
Halloween gives way to Bonfire/Guy Fawkes night and no sooner have the sparklers fizzled out and the embers died on the bonfires, then the countdown to Christmas begins…
And so we do it all again.
We find ourselves another year older (you have no idea how much dread the thought of my next birthday celebration fills me with! I cannot be forty, I CANNOT be forty) and hopefully, wiser and the seasons continue to change.
It’s been that way always.
What you do with it is another matter.
Since I last posted on this official blog (for a weekly dose of my hugely popular Banning the Bullsh*t blog, go here) quite a few things have happened, not least, in the publishing industry.
The already-mighty ‘zon joined forces with the weedy-by-comparison (in the digital publishing stakes) Waterstones in a huge one-eighty that left lots of people frantically stuffing their ill-thought words back in their mouths and going back on previously professed declarations of abhorrence for the Kindle (see earlier statement about thinking before you speak/type/tweet) and with more than a smidge of egg on their faces. Still, it will no doubt have a huge impact on digital publishing in the year to come.
Enter the only other (but slightly battle-worn) worthy opponent into the digi-arena to have one last crack at the ‘zon with its patched-up sling-shot.
Barnes & Noble have just announced that the Nook will be gracing our shores come October and not only has it got software giant Microsoft in its corner, but it’s had a make-over too and the new-look-Nook has a trick up its sleeve. A secret move that may just catch Amazon square on the jaw and leave the ref pounding the canvas in a ten-count.
Yes. Not only does it have up-to-date eInk technology, but it allows you to do the one thing that the Kindle can’t without performance enhancing asssitance. You can read it in the dark.
B&N aren’t stupid. Rumour has it that they have hand-picked three MONSTER retailers in the UK to help them in the war against Amazon, John Lewis and Argos being their best-equipped allies.
You can read all about it here.
So what does that mean for us mere minions? Well, as writers, it can only be good news, right? What with Kobo allowing us to directly upload to their sites and these two beasts fighting it out for supremecy it only provides more ways for us to get our books in front of readers, wherever they decide to download them from and whatever device they select to read them on.
So everything’s groovy and being a writer now is the best time ever to earn your millions?
No. Not unless you wrote ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ and didn’t tell anybody.
Why? Precisely because of the above.
There are more books than ever before digitally available and more places to get them from, so unless you are already very well-known and have the rights to a massive backlist and want to stick them out there for twenty pence a pop or have a huge publisher with an even bigger marketing budget behind you, you’re gonna have to work harder than ever to get your books noticed. And then some.
So how do we do it?
Sorry, I don’t have a draft ready to stick on (insert your preferred digital platform here but discount others at your peril) entitled ‘A guaranteed best-seller in forty eight hours without paying for reviews or writing mummy-porn or your money back’…all I can tell you is what Saffina Desforges is doing next. The rest, you’ll need the aforementioned crystal ball for… and a big dose of luck!
A few days ago we clinched our very first Amazon.COM category #1 with a book that is totally out of our comfort zone. Soooo un-Saffi’fied that unless you looked closely, you wouldn’t even know it was one of ours.
Anca’s Story is no-holds-barred, Young Adult, Historical, literary fiction. If you’re gonna stick a label on it.
Some time back, we were told by an uber-respected agent (not our current agent, I might add) that we couldn’t release anything that ‘wasn’t a crime thriller’ and we were ‘risking literary suicide’ if we did so.
Anca’s Story has only been out a couple of months and is selling very well thank you, on both sides of the pond and will soon be available on all digital platforms and in paperback on Amazon.
For the next five days in the UK/Europe, you can get Anca’s Story FREE here (UK).
And here for France
And for Germany here.
Just a little thank you to our loyal Brit’/European readers and a final hoorah before we take it out of KDP Select. That is one for another day…
Within the next fortnight, the second book in our Rose Red crime thriller series, ‘Rapunzel’ will be available on Amazon and within the next month, Kobo, Waterstones and iTunes, plus a handful of other retailers. Book One, ‘Snow White’, plus ‘Sugar & Spice’ will also be available in paperback from Amazon in time for Christmas.
Look out on Amazon for the first in our new short story series, Rose Red Rhymes too.
‘Ring-a-ring o’roses’ will be out in October!
See? There is no magic formula. We just keep writing and writing what we think readers want to read.
And we make sure they are in as many places at possible.
Oh, and a couple of other things we have learned along the way and we might have mentioned before:
- Get a great cover
- Write an exciting blurb
- Get your book proof-read. Upload a clean version of your book and if readers find mistakes, correct them and upload a new version until it’s as perfect as can be
- Keep the price affordable
Other than that, just keep writing!
Write blogs, tweet, write posts on facebook, comment on other blogs.
Write short stories, write under a pseudonym, write local newspaper articles, write guest blogs, write goddam erotica if you’re good at it and you think your readers will like it (your current readers might not, but new readers might, then they might read your other stuff!) hell, write chic-lit or fantasy if the mood takes you, as long as you’re writing!
Phew! Did I mention that you should be writing?
As we speak, one of our two preferred cover designers is beavering away on some new stuff for our late 2012/2013 releases (you can find links to Athanasios and Jeroen on this blog) and Jeroen has just shown us the fabulous new cover for Book three in the Rose Red Series, ‘Beauty & the beast’.
What do you think to this?
2013 is hopefully going to be another great year for Saffina Desforges and a very exciting one too!
We can’t reveal too much other than what we have already given away, but we’re going to be putting some new stuff out there that will not be what you’re expecting!
More to follow on The China Town Mysteries, The Dark Halo trilogy and a few other surprises along the way.
So what does all of this mean for the shape of publishing over the coming 12 months? Truth? We don’t know. We don’t have said crystal ball.
There will be a next-big-thing. Shades of Grey will topple at some point, the erotica market will reach saturation point and readers will be looking for something new. No-one can say what that will be. The agents and publishers don’t even know!
But I’ll tell you this for free: If you haven’t got a book out there, it won’t be you.
AND, whatever it is, you can bet your bottom dollar/pound/yen/euro that it’ll have been an ebook first.
So what are you waiting for?