Category Archives: self-publishing

One Year On…

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A year ago, I posted here about having lost my beautiful mare, Cracker, how hard I was finding adjusting to life without her – and how difficult it was to focus on anything, even writing.

Since then, a lot has happened (including a house move), and while I’ve been horse-less, I’ve definitely had more time for writing-related activities. On the non-fiction front, I’ve had my first full-length article published in a national magazine (equine-related, of course).  And on the fiction front, most excitingly, I achieved my aim to release an eBook short story collection on Amazon. (Two, in fact!)

I’m quietly proud of “Beyond Words” (the second of the two collections) as it brings together some of my favourite short stories, all of which have achieved competition success.  There’s so much to be gained from entering competitions – the discipline of meeting deadlines, word counts and themes can only help improve your writing, especially when it takes you away from your comfort-zone, and being short-listed, placed or commended can only increase your writing confidence. If you’ve never entered a writing competition before but would be interested in having a go, there’s a reference list at the back of “Beyond Words” which gives each of the competitions in which the stories were entered.

And a year on…  Well, I finally decided it was time to take on a new equine partner. This is Deemon Whirlwind, my new part-Arab gelding:

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After 15 educational years with Cracker, I’m looking forward to an equally long and inspirational partnership with this handsome chap. And of course, I’ll keep you posted!

Free and half-price stories for National Short Story Week

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This year, National Short Story Week runs from 14th to 20th November celebrating all things short story-related. The aim is to raise awareness of short stories themselves and those who write and publish them.

As someone who loves the medium of the short story, as both a reader and writer, I’m looking forward to seeing what the week brings. Patron Katie Fforde says, “Let’s get everyone reading, writing and listening to short stories in this designated week.” My tiny contribution to this aim is two special offers I’m running on my own short story collections.

The Camel in the Garden, a collection of three short about loss, love and family, is free from 14th to 18th November. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Camel-Garden-Three-stories-family-ebook/dp/B01EPBTO92/ref=pd_sim_351_1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=5A7PRP33X1R38X5PQXR9

Beyond Words, 12 short stories about love, death, and deception, is half-price from 14th to 20th November.  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Beyond-Words-short-stories-deception-ebook/dp/B01JWLPKW0/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

If you don’t usually read short stories, this week is a great opportunity to try some. If you’re interested in writing short stories, and perhaps having a go at entering a few competitions, you may find Beyond Words useful to read, as each of the stories has either been short-listed, long-listed, placed or highly commended in a variety of competitions.

I hope as many people as possible take this opportunity to get involved with short fiction – reading it, writing it, and reviewing it. And if you pick up, or download, a short story this week, I hope you love it and want to talk about it.

For more information on National Short Story Week, visit the website:  http://www.nationalshortstoryweek.org.uk/

Dear Reader of eBooks

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Thank you, o’ dear reader

For clicking on my book

For scrolling through the others

And giving mine a second look

 

I hope you like the cover

(It was professionally designed!)

And the blurb sparks interest –

Makes you want to “Look inside”

 

When you read the first few pages

I hope you find you’re hooked

And that you click to download

To read the whole eBook

 

I hope the writing grabs you

And the stories entertain

The dialogue rings true

The plotline doesn’t wane

 

And if you find you loved it?

Tell all your friends – please do!

And then tell all the reading world –

Please, please, leave a review!

 ~ Jenny Roman

 

To download “Beyond Words”, or to leave a review, please visit:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Beyond-Words-short-stories-deception-ebook/dp/B01JWLPKW0/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Official! – “Beyond Words” Launch Day

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We might not be entering the glorious heat wave we were promised, but nil desperandum (as my mother used to say) – thanks to the wonders of modern technology, the official launch of my new short story collection Beyond Words is taking place in the always gloriously sunny virtual world of the internet. I’ll be hosting at the dual venues of this blog and my Facebook author page, so please pop along, find out all about the book, and help yourself to a virtual coffee and cake, or Bucks Fizz and a vol-au-vent, as takes your fancy!

As followers of this blog will know, over the last few years I’ve switched focus from submitting stories to magazines (though I still do some of that too) to entering story competitions. Competitions tend to encourage a wider range of themes and genres than some of the magazines currently accepting story submissions (most of which are aimed solely at women’s fiction), so I’ve enjoyed exploring some areas which I wouldn’t have been able to touch on for the magazine market.

Beyond Words is a collection of 12 stories, all of which have had some success in story competitions. Of course, I hope readers will think they are a jolly good read in their own right, but I also thought the collection might be of use to anyone new to the competition scene who might like to see the kinds of stories which have worked for me. At the back of the collection, I’ve provided a list of each story and the competition (or in some cases, competitions) in which it was short-listed, placed etc.  It’s available from the Amazon Kindle Store at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Beyond-Words-short-stories-deception-ebook/dp/B01JWLPKW0/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

The stories I chose to make up the collection are loosely grouped around the themes of love, death, and deception – but it would be wrong to think there was a downbeat tone to the book. There’s lots of humour too – even if it’s sometimes rather dark. There’s also an emphasis on different narrative voices and styles.

I’m here all morning to talk about the collection, and I’d love to hear from you (please add comments at the bottom of this post, or pop along to my Facebook page to comment there), whether it’s to ask a question about the collection, or to talk about story competitions more generally.

Lastly, if you’d like to read some of my work before you decide whether Beyond Words is for you, I’ve made my previous collection of three stories, The Camel in the Garden, FREE to download for the next four days https://www.amazon.co.uk/Camel-Garden-Three-stories-family-ebook/dp/B01EPBTO92/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8 .

I hope you enjoy both collections – and please get in touch if you have any comments on either. I’d really love your feedback.

Songs, Flags & Nag Rags!

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Friends and regular readers of this blog will know that it’s not uncommon for my online presence to turn into…well, an online absence…as I devote my time to all things equine rather than writing-related. Which makes it all the better when I can combine my two passions in life, and write about horses.

This morning, I picked up a copy of Horse & Rider magazine (which my husband affectionately referred to as the “nag rag”), which features the first article I’ve written for a long time – and it’s really exciting to see it in print (after having the original idea sometime over the Christmas holidays!).

It was a good discipline, trying my hand at non-fiction for a change – and certainly something I’d like to do more of in the future.

Also delighted to discover I’ve now had 11 reviews on my eBook The Camel in the Garden a big thank you to everyone who has taken the trouble to share their thoughts on the stories.  It’s really appreciated.

Having also finished edits on, and subbed, a new story this morning, I think I’ve had a productive writing-related day, and can feel justified this evening in watching a bit of telly – so Eurovision it is!

 

5 Things I Learned from Running an eBook Promotion

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With the weather wet and miserable for the last Bank Holiday weekend, I decided it was a perfect time to run a free download promotion for my new eBook.  Here’s some things I learned from the experience:

  1. The free promotion itself is easy to set up through KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). Simply go to your Bookshelf, and in “Your Books” next to the book you wish to promote, you’ll see “Book Actions” and, underneath, a button to “Promote and advertise”.  This takes you to “Promote your book on Amazon” where you can find the section “Run a price promotion”.  I chose “Free Book Promotion”, and you then click on the dates you want the promotion to run (you have a maximum of five days for your current enrolment term on the Select programme).
  2. Although I set my promotion to run from Saturday to Monday, my eBook didn’t show as free until about 9am on Saturday and was therefore also free for the first few hours of Tuesday morning. Bear in mind when setting your promotion dates that time zones or volume of deals to process may affect timings (embarrassing if you’ve been telling everyone it will be free!)
  3. Remember that your free promo is only as good as your…er…ability to promote!  You need to get active on social media, and tell all your friends and family.  The best promotion is the kind which gives your potential readership something in addition to just the specifics of the book you’re plugging, something which engages their interest.  For example you might want to tell people a bit about the inspiration for your stories, or (if it’s non-fiction) some interesting facts from your background which demonstrates why you’re the best person to be writing this particular book.
  4. You need to know why you’re running the promotion in the first place.  What are you hoping to achieve?  Giving away your work for free certainly isn’t sensible in every situation.  I chose to do it because: a) this is my first Kindle upload, so in that respect it’s a learning experience for me, and I want to try out all the features; b) my current eBook is (I hope) the first of many, so my main aim with this one is to get my name out there, and have something to show an audience on the Kindle platform; c) promo downloads can push your book up the bestseller rankings quickly because the rankings are skewed towards the most recent downloads, so it’s good for exposure, and d) feedback is really important – the free promo allowed me to pick up some star ratings and reviews that I probably wouldn’t have got otherwise.  (A huge thank you, by the way, to everyone who has left a review – it really does make so much difference – and I really appreciate it.)
  5. Beware! Running a promotion turns you into a stats obsessive!  You will find yourself constantly refreshing your Amazon Sales Dashboard, checking your Twitter-feed, gazing at your star-rating and sales ranking. There is a grave danger that you will get a bit tedious to your nearest and dearest too – they’ll probably be too polite to mention it, but you just have to acknowledge they probably aren’t quite so excited about your book as you are!  ;0)

NB: The free promo is now over, but ‘The Camel in the Garden’ is still available for 99p (UK), and remains free for subscribers to Kindle Unlimited.

 

5 Things I Learned From My First Kindle eBook

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After much planning (and not a little prevarication), this week saw my first eBook upload via Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing).  For my first foray into the world of e-publishing, I decided to start small.  The Camel in the Garden is a collection of three short stories which have all previously appeared in Woman’s Weekly Fiction Specials, and which are all centred around women facing challenging family situations.  So here are five things I’ve discovered during the publishing process:

  1. Get a professional to design the cover.  Unless you’re extremely artistic or an ace at electronic image manipulation (I’m neither), you really need to get someone to help you with the cover design.  I found my designer through the popular website Fiverr and was able to get a cover designed to my specifications at a very reasonable price. Shar incorporated all my initial ideas, and then suggested some improvements to create a cover I love, which specifically reflects the colour palate of this blog. The only thing I would change for the future is to make the font of the title and author name one solid colour so that it stands out more strongly as a thumb-nail picture.AMAZONCamelintheGarden - front cover
  2. The upload process itself is reasonably straightforward, but you need to do your homework first when it comes to the formatting. I found Sally Jenkins’ eBook Kindle Direct Publishing for Absolute Beginners invaluable. I had the book open on my Kindle the whole time I was working through the typesetting and uploading, and Sally answered a lot of niggling questions I would have been puzzling over for ages on my own.
  3. I can’t make my eBook permanently free to everyone at the moment. I had intended this little collection to be free but the lowest price you can choose through KDP is 99p.  If your book appears free on Smashwords or another platform, apparently Amazon will eventually match it, but going down the KDP Select route as I’ve done means you can’t offer your book digital format on another platform.  Enrolling on KDP Select does mean your book is free for Amazon Prime members – and it does allow you to run Free Book Promotions. The Camel in the Garden will therefore be available FREE over this bank holiday weekend Saturday 30th April to Monday 2nd May. If you’re looking for something to read while the British weather is doing its worst, I’d be delighted if you’d download my stories and leave a brief Amazon review to let me (and other potential readers) know what you thought.
  4. Writing the stories and uploading to KDP is only the start.  I’ve built an Amazon Author Page, and a Facebook Author Page, and I now need to learn all about marketing!
  5. Seeing your book on a virtual shelf does feel great. But now it’s time to crack on with the next collection….