Tag Archives: Kindle

Cover Reveal – Short Story Competitions: A Writer’s Guide to Success


I’m always over-optimistic about the amount of writing I’ll get done over the Christmas holidays. It seems glorious at the outset – a luxurious festive week stretching out before you. Granted, there’ll be visits to family and friends, and you know there’ll be a bit of over-indulgence, some time devoted to lounging in front of the telly, but surely there’ll be loads of time left over for writing, right?

So often, the answer is no, but this year, I’ve been making a concerted effort to use the time effectively getting my latest project finished – my first non-fiction eBook, Short Story Competitions: A Writer’s Guide to Success.

And of course, you guys have helped me by voting on your favourite cover design. Each of the three sample covers got plenty of votes (so a big thank you to Shar at Landofawes for creating all three). In the end though, one was ahead by a sizeable margin. I decided to make a few tweaks to this design, but you’ll recognise it as being not too dissimilar to the original. So this is the final cover design:

SScompetitionsKindle - Cover

The book has been released in time for New Year – so if perhaps you’ve been frustrated with your recent writing progress, or you’re just starting out and want 2018 to be the year you see success as a short story competition entrant, you might find the book a good place to start.

The book is available at Amazon here – and I’ll be posting about the book, and about New Year’s Resolutions, here on the blog, and also on my Facebook page over the remainder of the festive season. I hope you can join me for a celebratory glass of virtual bubbly over the next few days, to find out more about the book and get inspired for 2018! 😉



Special Offer for Storytelling Week


Who doesn’t love hearing a story told to them? Whether you’re a child listening with rapt attention to a bedtime story made up for you by your parents, or you’re an adult listening to an audio book in the car on the daily commute, there’s something magical about being told a story. As someone who reads quite quickly, and not always very carefully (in fact, sometimes I skim read – a terrible admission for a writer!), listening to a story sometimes helps me pick up nuances and details I’d otherwise have missed.

Well, this great oral tradition is celebrated during National Storytelling Week which this year runs from 28th January to 4th February. You can find out all about it here:


I’m afraid I don’t yet have any audio versions of my stories, though there are lots of other out there, such as Patsy Collins’ story “Uncle Mick” available to listen to here:

Not to be outdone though, in honour of all things short-story related, my collection The Camel in the Garden is free to download from Amazon Kindle this weekend.

If you take the opportunity to download it, you could always read it to someone else! And if you like the stories, and had time to leave a brief Amazon review, I’d be ever so grateful.

Thank you – and happy reading!


Free and half-price stories for National Short Story Week


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/

5 Things I Learned from Running an eBook Promotion


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.


Guest Blog: Andy Rigley talks about his debut novel ‘The Lost Dark’


You’ve had some short stories published, and a few placings in competitions, but you’ve been working on a longer piece of fiction, and now you’re really interested in moving on to a full length novel.

Sound familiar?  If so, you’ll enjoy this interview with Andy Rigley, author of The Lost Dark.  Whilst Andy’s previous writing credits are certainly not to be sniffed at, in this guest blog, he talks us through the process of getting his first novel into print.

Q: First things first – to clear up any misunderstanding, you’re not that one from Wham! are you?

A: Correct. The last I heard, he was running a chip shop. But that’s just internet rumour. I do check up on him from time to time.

Q: So, without giving too much away, tell us a little bit about the book.

A: The Lost Dark is a paranormal horror novel. Jake is excited to find that he has a second shadow, that of a little girl. But he soon finds that he’s not the only one with a second shadow. Although the story predominantly follows Jake and his little girl, there are other weird and wonderful characters, each with very strong ideas about what they want, or don’t want, from second shadows. As the story unfolds, and the characters collide we see just what people will do to get what they want.

Q: You’ve had quite a bit of success with your short stories.  What was it like making the transition to a full length piece of work?

A: As I’m sure is the case with most people, I grew up reading novels, and I still read novels. That love for the novel length story never went away. I only started to read and study short stories relatively recently. While I was writing and publishing shorts, I was also writing The Lost Dark, so strictly speaking there was no ‘transition’ as such. The two went hand in hand. I think it’s important to have multiple projects on the go at once, as they provide breathing space and quite often support for each other.

Q: Did the original idea for the book come to you in a blinding flash of inspiration, or was it more of a slow burn?

A: It came to me in a blinding flash after a slow burn.

Whilst studying for a Certificate in Creative Writing at Nottingham University, we were set a piece of homework: to write a piece of dialogue between a character and an ‘inanimate’ object. All the way home that evening, ideas circled through my head, nothing really made sense. An old shoe? A box of half eaten chocolates?. The blinding flash moment happened exactly how it happens in the opening chapter of the novel. As I was walking home, I noticed I had a second shadow, cast by the street lights. From there the possibilities seemed endless and the story grew.

Q: How long has this book been in development – can you break it down for us in terms of first draft, edits, more edits, and then the publication stage?

A: The first draft took around two years, written part-time in the evenings. And I mean first draft, I didn’t even spell check it until it was finished. I then started my MA in Creative Writing which for the next two years took up a lot of time. I continued to work on The Lost Dark as and when I could – mostly tightening the plot or prose – so you could say the next two years were editing.

With my MA finished, I made a final push to finish the novel. By this point it was self-edited and I was happy with it. I ran the novel through a beta-reader stage, hired a professional editor, and whilst all that was going on, I looked  into publication options, marketing, and cover design. That final push took around five months, but it was a very intense five months, concentrating almost entirely on the project.

Q: You’ve worked with a professional editor on the production of the book – what was that like?

A: It was without doubt one of the best things I did. I think people are sometimes scared of editing, seeing it as some kind of gatekeeper, something that might dig up things you didn’t want to face. As writers, we spend a lot of time, money and energy writing, learning, being critiqued. For me hiring an editor was a very important part of the learning curve. It’s important to remember that an editor doesn’t ‘only’ point out grammatical errors. My editor, Kathryn Koller, was superb. Over a number of passes, she looked at plot, pace, and character, pointing out any weak areas. She was also very understanding of my ideas when I ‘pushed back’ on suggestions. It was very much a two-way thing.

Q: What was the most exhilarating part of the writing process?  And conversely, was there any part which you found more of a chore than a pleasure?

A: The most exhilarating part was when things came together in the plot or characters without me having to work at them. Those moments where you just think, wow this world is alive. When a twist in the plot just happens and leads onto something new and refreshing.

As for chores, There really weren’t that many. Right at the end I guess, things like reading and rereading chapters looking for the tiniest plot-hole, clunky dialogue, or abnormal weather change. That got a bit ‘grating’. And formatting could be a pain. Getting it ‘just so’, then changing it oh so sightly breaking everything you just did in the last format. I’ve lost track of the amount of ‘Backup just before first line indent change’ type files I have.

Q: The cover looks great!  Did you design it yourself, or seek professional help?

A: I designed and built the cover myself. I’ve had a misspent childhood playing with image editing software so I thought I could do it. I figured, hey –  if it all goes wrong, I’ll hire a professional.

I already had a very clear image in my head that I wanted to achieve, helped by the fact that the girl on the cover is actually a photo of my daughter. The final image was actually inspired by a video game cover. I spent a lot of time researching book covers online and in book stores. I’m really happy with the result, but the process was very time consuming and mentally challenging. Getting everything pixel perfect and balanced took a lot of patience. I did get feedback from friends, family at various stages which helped a lot.

Q: I get the impression you’ve been quite creative about marketing your book – I’ve seen some of your postcards for instance.  Tell us the thoughts behind your promotion strategy.

A: The marketing is a lot of  fun, and I don’t think there are any limits to it. Anything that gets word out is great, and the more formats I use for that, the better. The physical things, like postcards, also give people something to ‘hold onto’. I think it makes the world of The Lost Dark much more three-dimensional. I remember what it was like as a kid to collect things and be involved in something.

Q: The book is available for Kindle and in paperback format. Can you talk us through how you chose a printer/publisher for the paperback version?

A: I went with Createspace after researching other print on demand publishers such as Lulu and Lightningsource. For me, at this stage, it offered everything I wanted. The process of reviewing and releasing your book is fairly straightforward. The sales channels provided ensure that your readers can easily get hold of the paperback (it sits alongside your Kindle version online).

I think you have to look at how you want to distribute your novel, how much money you want to invest, how much ‘help’ you might need, then make a personal decision based on what the publisher has to offer you and your reader.

Q: So, with the first book under your belt, what’s the next project?

A: I still have plans for supporting The Lost Dark. Including information blurbs and  giveaways I love the idea of cross-media projects revolving around the world I’ve created, and I want people to be involved in that.

As for upcoming work, I’ve a  written a children’s steam-punk novel.

I’ve also put together a collection of my previously published work called About the Size of It. I’m looking into the possibility of making that available through a small independent publisher.

I’m also working on my next novel The Pattern of Birds. It’s an uncanny tale of a girl who lives in Ravenscar – The Town That Never Was.

Q: And lastly, where should we look to find out more about your writing?

A: For The Lost Dark check out www.thelostdark.co.uk

For more about me, my projects, and previously published work, check out www.andyrigley.co.uk

The Lost Dark cover Postcards for The Lost Dark promotion