Here We Go Again

Book No2 Vodka and Jellied Eels

Just launched my second book, I have to say the second time around I found the whole experience far more enjoyable than the first. After the success of my debut novel Execution of Faith the nerves, self doubt and insecurities, involved in putting your creation out there for all the world to see diminish considerably. There’s still some excited butterflies in the stomach, followed by the great feeling when the first sales come in and the first 5* reviews appear.

This is not a boastful or look at how great I am blog, I am gaining followers and selling books, but I’m still a long way off making any money or god forbid making a living for my efforts. This is a message of positivity for all the self-published authors out there. The first book is the hardest, going from nowhere to getting noticed is the hardest and getting people to leave reviews is the hardest.

From personal experience apart from writing something of good quality and of a subject matter people want to read, you need to learn to be all things to promote your work. I have spent as much time building a website, writing blog posts and running social media posts as I did writing the book in the first place.

If that all sound a bit daunting, sorry no hiding it, it is. There’s no avoiding it, if you publish a book and don’t promote it, nobodies going to see it. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes; I’ve made plenty. You probably will pay for adverts and promotions that don’t work, just try them with small budgets and learn what works and what doesn’t.

I have a theory, which could be wrong but I’m going with it anyway. To make any money from my novels, I need to have at least 5 books on amazon and keep up the promotions constantly. The fans and cross selling of different titles in the series will multiply themselves with every new title released. So my advice to you is keep writing, keep promoting and most of all keep loving what you do.

Thanks for reading

Stephen Taylor

Is Google My Friend ?

No this isn’t an attack on the worlds largest search engine, no lawsuits please.

I doubt any author, either self published or traditionally published, hasn’t typed the words “how do I get my book published and sell it.” Into a google search.

If you’re just about to, prepare to have your head scrambled. When I finished writing Execution of Faith in 2018, that’s exactly what I did. The pages of results are mind blowing but I’ll try and break them down and simplify them.

1/ Ego boosting results with dubious success stories. How I made a bazillion dollars as the greatest author on the planet. This is usually followed by a great offer. Buy Now!!! How to write and get published the greatest book on earth and earn a bazillion dollars by A Smug Bastard. Really!!

2/ Depressing results, there are apparently 3.4million E-Books on Amazons Kindle store. If you self publish it, the average self published authors only sells around 100 copies ever. If you try to get a literary agent, most won’t look at you without a sales history. If they will, each agent is estimated to get around 2000 submissions a year and might, I mean might pick one of those if they aren’t too committed with their existing clients. Throw me a rope I’m going to hang myself.

3/ Rip off and scam results, so you’ve managed to self publish you masterpiece. Brilliant I’m pleased for you. Now you google selling it and promoting it, Oh my god the results are even worse than publishing it. There are thousands of promotional sites, some free, most claiming to be free but aren’t. Paid for sites that will sell you thousands of copies, Mmm, thats not going to happen. And sites that seem reasonably priced for social media promotions but they quickly add up and you don’t get any sales. Anyone still reading?

4/ The nice stuff, Somewhere in amongst that lot are the genuinely helpful articles and blogs from authors, writers and literary agents. Some are successful, sadly most are not, but at least they have tried and taken the road before you. Never leave sight of what you’ve achieved, you have fulfilled your ambition to write a book. 97% of writers never finish their novels. Fact, well, thats what google says anyway. If you’ve self published it even better, it’s up there for all to see and buy forever.

If you were expecting me to have all the answers, sorry I’m just muddling along with everyone else. I haven’t sold a trillion books and I’m not trying to sell you the secret of my success. I’m just wishing you all the best and sincerely hope you achieve you dreams.

Thanks for reading

Stephen Taylor

Available At Amazon Stores

Release The Beast

Letting your creative monster out can be a liberating and life changing experience. The problem is once the monsters had a taste of freedom, he’s not going to want to go back in his cage again. How good or bad your creation is, to some extent is irrelevant. How much of a void, a hole or need it fills most certainly isn’t.

This brings me to the down side of releasing the beast. He’s out, you’ve written your book and self published it for all to see. The problem is several million other people did the same thing and your book is lost in amongst them, like the winning lottery ticket waiting for the right person to buy it. You get a few sales which is nice, they may pay for a few take outs a month but your not giving up the day job just yet.

But the creative monster is out, he’s inside your head. The love of writing has taken over, and the day job is just the pain in the arse thing you have to do to pay the bills. Now the second book is nearly complete, and the third and fourth ones are swirling around in your head. On top of that comes the waves of emotions, high and lows. Good sales weeks and a great review surge you on, while quiet weeks no reviews and a crap week at work pull you down.

Is it worth it? For me hell yeah. I can’t stop and won’t stop.

I love writing and am determined to eventually get a book deal and have my books in book stores for all to see.

And if your creative monster is on the loose, I hope you do the same.

Thanks for reading.

Stephen Taylor

Past 1000 Downloads

It may not seem a lot to some, but to me 1000 copies of Execution of Faith sold since November is huge. Perseverance is defiantly what you need and KDP Select free promotion really does help sales, 250 of the 1000 downloads happen last weekend in a 2 day free book promotion. Every time I’ve done one of these, its out preformed the last, if you combine the promotion with facebook ADs it boosts the result. OK it’s still small potatoes in the great scheme of things, but after the free promotion I still get book sales and more importantly I’m gaining good reviews on Amazon and goodreads

On the money side of things I’m still spending more on promotion than the book makes, but I expected that. The main thing for me is that people are genuinely enjoying the book, it boosts your confidence and has enabled me to write the second book in the series with enthusiasm. I have an idea that it will take about five years, and five or six books before any sort of noticeable income can be made.

On a more cheerful note, I could be wrong. Maybe I’ll manage to find one of the elusive book deals with a literary agent, and get my books into books store with the backing of professional promotion. Who Knows.

Until that happens I suppose I’d better do some work to pay the bills.

Thanks for reading

Stephen Taylor

Book Number Two

While I’ve been waiting for the message in my fortune cookie, from the last blog to come true. I’ve almost finished the second book in the Danny Pearson series, Vodka and Jellied Eels. And yes the second book was considerably easier to write than the first, I’m defiantly getting into a style and flow as I write now. It also helped my confidence enormously to have received good reviews on Amazon and on Goodreads for Execution of faith, thank you all.

Back to book two, it’s still the dream to get a book deal through a reputable literary agent. So after I finish my final edit, I will be going through the motions once again with submissions. I guess the trick is to keep positive and keep trying, I read somewhere that each agent receives around 2000 submissions a year, and depending on their workload with already signed authors, may or may not take one of the new submissions on. With the demand so high a previously high sales record and large 5* review list will give an advantage over someone without one.

That being said you’ve gotta be in it to win it, so if I don’t get a book contract on Vodka and Jellied Eels. I’ll carry on and have it edited and self publish it towards the end of this summer, in the mean time I have a title and storyline for book 3 in the series Beware the Chinaman. working on the same time frame as the current book that should be finished, edited and ready for self publish or hopefully a book deal this time next year.

Thanks for reading

Stephen Taylor

Good Fortune

Danny Pearson Thriller

The weekend after I publishing Execution of Faith I had a Chinese takeaway. In the bag were a number of fortune cookies, bizarrely enough my fortune cookie had the following message in “A CURRENT PROJECT WILL SOON BRING YOU GREAT RECOGNITION”. Weird yeah.

A couple of months on and the fortune cookie prophecy has come true…. Is what I’d like to say happened, but sadly I’m still waiting.

Nevertheless, undeterred, I’ve been experimenting with a multitude of different advertising. Firstly I’ve tried nearly twenty different adverts through Kindle Direct Publishing, key words, direct product placement, categories, all of which either didn’t get any impressions or clicks. Got impression no click or loads of clicks and no sales. In short not a great result.

I’ve tried advertising through BookBub.com which turned out to be a total waste of time and money.

In short the only thing I’ve found to work is Facebook advertising with a business page for the book. Great you say, well yes and no. Even when you get the hang of targeting audiences, it still costs more to advertise than I’m making off the book.

Why bother I hear you say, well the sales are high enough to get me into the top twenty in two amazon categories and top fifty in a third, the hope is that if I can keep it high in the categories, organic searchers through amazon books will find it and those purchases will take over. I’ll let you know how that works out in a future blog.

So that’s it for now, good luck all you self published authors and if you find the magic way to make a book a bestseller let me know.

One Month Gone

Execution of faith

Ok, its one month since I published my book with Amazon KDP.

It’s been a  mixed bag of emotions, You’re glad it’s out there, but you worry no one will like it. That quite quickly gets overtaken by how the hell am I going to get anyone to see it on Amazon.

Anyway with a free promo and social media I managed to sell and give away over two hundred copies. One thing I wasn’t expecting is the number of books people that have downloaded it on Kindle Unlimited.

If you subscribe you can download the book for free. When people read it I get a report on pages read each day, at the end of the month you get paid per page. The amount depending on the size of the KDP Select Global Fund that month and global pages read.

All in all, I’m very please and extremely grateful for the support and feedback received. Obviously I don’t expect everyone to like the book but would always welcome your comments and feedback. If you’ve read it on Kindle Unlimited please let me know what you thought.

If you haven’t read it I’ve put the first three chapters in PDF below as a taster. Please feel free to download and have a look.

Thanks

Stephen Taylor

Amazon Books

Now What?

Danny Pearson Thriller

So you’ve written it…

You’ve had it edited…

You’ve self published it on Amazon…

You make you millions, skip off into the sunset and live happily ever after. Nice idea but that ain’t going to happen. There are over 3.5 million E-books on amazon and double that in printed books, so the odds of a number one best seller are not great. But hey I still play the lottery and those odds are way worse.

So while you’re sitting at home refreshing your KDP sales report screen thinking its broken. You start googling how to get more book sales and how to promote my book. This then opens up a mountain of useful and even more useless information on how to do it.

The problem you will find is a lot of blogs with smiley faces and wonderful success stories somehow seem to lead an advertising or promotion angle. What a surprise, didn’t see that coming!

Then there’s the promote your book for free sites which either don’t or give you a restricted listing unless you pay and go pro. You may be sensing a theme here.

I’m not an expert and I’m still trying to work my way through what’s good and what’s bad. My advice to you is be careful. look at the sites and what they offer. Then google the hell out of them reviews, complaint or negative feedback. If they suck plenty of people will have posted about them.

As for the rest of it, unfortunately it’s a process of social media, websites, links and word of mouth. Try advertising with facebook, KDP select or Goodreads.com.  I Found Whizbuzzbooks.com promote your book for a year for $49 which seems pretty good. I would suggest using a small advertising budget first to see if sales improve, then increase it or move on depending on the outcome.

I definitely don’t want to appear negative. If like me you spent a year or so writing your book, you’ve probably got the patience to work out the minefield of promoting it and selling it.

Good Luck

Stephen Taylor

Amazon Books

Here We Go

Execution of Faith

Here it is. Over 18 months ago I decided to write a book.

I’m glad to say the ideas for the story weren’t in short supply. The ability to get it down onto paper definitely took a lot more work.

I tried in vain to get a literary agent to take it on board. After sending it off over forty times I decided to publish it myself.

I would like to say a big thank you to Louise Harnby for her help in proofreading and copy editing as well as her good advice.

The book is inspired by a mixture of book and film characters I love. I put Jack Reacher and Mitch Rapp in a blender with Die hard and Snatch and came out with Execution Of Faith.

Thank you to those who have supported me and thank you for those who downloaded the book and have given me such wonderful feedback.

The next book in the Danny Pearson series, Vodka and Jellied Eels is well under way and will be published summer 2019

Stephen Taylor

Amazon Books