Thursday, 14 August 2014

FREE eBOOK Bonanza for horse lovers!

I'm going a bit crazy over the next few days.  I don't often give my books away for free, but I'm trying something new.  Between Thursday and Sunday, a selection of my e-books for children, teens and adults will be free to download.  

There will be different books free on different days and they will change.  Some are free for 3 days, some for 2.  You'll need to keep checking on Amazon.  A bit like a lucky dip!

Titles may include Beware of the Horse, Valentine Horse, Gemma and the Pony Club Dance and Joyrider.......

So, have fun, download some freebies and enjoy!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Book promotion: is it working for you?

So how was it for you?  Promoting your last book? Marketing can be a bit of a mystery sometimes.  Especially when it comes to books.  As I may have mentioned before, one of my early titles outsells all the others several times over.  I've never promoted this book. If I knew why it sells more I could bottle the formula and use it again.  Unfortunately I've never figured it out, so I can't.

What works and what doesn't? Let's look at social media first.  Namely, Facebook. 

Likes and shares do not equal sales! 

Social Media is often hailed as a book selling tool, but it has its limitations.  One of my charity e-books, Coming Home, has lovely reviews, and every now and then, the Cats Protection, who I donate all my royalties to, give the book a shout on their Facebook page.  Each time they do, it always boosts sales and reviews, which is great, because that's more income for cats in need.  This month, their Facebook post about my book has so far garnered 1132 likes and 145 shares.  Fantastic!  Now, for anyone out there who thinks they can solely rely on Facebook to sell books, think again!  I've sold an extra 25 copies of Coming Home from this exposure.  Likes and shares do not equal sales!  Based on this example, there is roughly one sale per 6 shares, and around 2 sales per 100 likes.  It's worth doing the sums. 

"Old skool" techniques

In order to promote my other darlings, I've tried "old skool" (as I believe it may be called now - god, I'm getting old!) techniques, such as paid advertising space in an actual printed magazine.  Since I write books that are aimed at children and teens who love ponies, I chose the best selling UK magazine aimed at this market - PONY magazine.  It's perfect in so many ways, and in my excitement at trialling some promotion, I pre-booked not one, but 4 advertorials spanning from Easter 2014 to February 2015.  With such a targeted readership so closely aligned to my own target market, how could it fail?  

I've had 2 of my books featured so far.   I knew how many EXTRA books I would have to sell to cover the costs of the ad (a lot!)  So, how did it impact on sales? Disappointingly little.  Of course, the only way to be certain of the impact would be to know how many books would have sold without the ad and there's no way of doing this.  I can just go on what average sales were prior to the ad - although these can vary -  since at least with Amazon, you can track how effective any promo is on a daily basis, which is a really valuable tool.  I'm hoping the ads will be a long term investment to build my visibility with my target audience.  And that anyone who did buy the featured book as a result of the ad will then go on to buy my other titles.  But who knows.....?

Any one else out there using "old skool" methods?  And if so, how was it for you?
Oh, and if anyone has the magic formula for why some books sell better than others (or some foolproof marketing technique for authors), please share it with everyone!  Thanks. 

Related post:

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Monday, 11 August 2014

The Writing Process Blog Tour

Thanks to the lovely Deborah Jay for inviting me to take part in the writing process blog tour, a blog relay in which each author discusses their individual writing process, and then passes the baton on. 

I first met Debby online via my blog, and recently, I had the pleasure of meeting Debby in person when she came to an entertainment evening I organised to raise funds for pancreatic cancer.  Busy Deborah is not only a successful author of fast-paced fantasy adventures featuring quirky characters and multi-layered plots but also a professional dressage rider/trainer/judge, so she is a mistress of time management! She also has non-fiction equestrian titles published under the name Debby Lush.

Her award winning novel The Prince’s Man, the first of a trilogy has been described as 'James Bond meets Lord of the Rings' - a sweeping tale of spies and deadly politics, inter-species mistrust and magic phobia, with an underlying thread of romance.

Find out more about Deborah at or follow Deborah on twitter @DeborahJay2 .

Read Debby's stop on the Writing Process Blog Tour here

So here are my answers to the 4 questions:

1. What am I currently working on?
I’ve just published my latest title,  The Perfect Horse, a dramatic novel with a dark twist, and midway through the next new pony novel, which explores equestrian vaulting. I’ve finally started the sequel to Beware of the Horse, which is the most popular of all my horse books, and the sequel is called (wait for it!) Beware of the Horse 2: Angie’s Revenge.  It’s aimed at older teens and young adults, and explores the murkier depths of relationships, and the consequences of our actions. I’ve just finished a Christmas short story for Pony magazine and hope to work on a few more short stories.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
This is difficult to answer as every writer has their own unique approach.  Although most of my novels and novellas currently involve horses, I do also like to explore some darker themes, which sometimes include supernatural elements (The Perfect Horse even strays into science fiction territory), and I don’t shy away from death. I hope my characters and situations are realistic and authentic, and a lovely review of one of my books says that I write from the heart.  I try to.  My stories generally have a strong emotional component. 

3. Why do I write what I write?
I enjoy writing about horses and people and their relationships, and hope my readers like what I do.  I also donate all my author royalties from my Matty Horse and Pony Adventures to the charity Redwings Horse Sanctuary.  My only non-horse novel (although I did sneak a horse in!) is called Coming Home and is about two Norwegian Forest cats, and my royalties go to charity Cats Protection. If my writing can help support these animal charities, that is an added bonus.  

4. How does my individual writing process work?
Generally, I write a one page synopsis after drafting some ideas and basic structure.  Then I map out the chapters and what they are likely to include and finally I start the writing process, often in time blocks.  This is the hardest part for me, and I still struggle to get started.  Getting the ideas and playing with them is the fun part.  I do several (often many) meticulous edits before allowing the story to be published. I am definitely a planner and the idea of simply writing without knowing where it will go freaks me out!

I'm passing the baton on to short story writer Linda King, who has been published by Woman's Weekly (kudos to you, Linda.  I've been trying to get a story accepted by WW for over 20 years!) and also writes stories under another pen name which are published by Xcite Books. She is currently writing a novel.

Her blog is the wonderfully titled  and she is taking part in the blog tour on 18th August. 

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

The Perfect Horse - a pony book with a twist!

My latest title, The Perfect Horse, is now LIVE on Amazon. Yee-ha!! Loving the fantastic cover by the amazing Klaus Hartleben. It's been 6 months since I published so I'm hoping readers will enjoy this latest story.

It's a dramatic, emotional adventure for horse lovers – with a twist! 

When teenage Krista encounters the magnificent grey stallion, Seahawk, while spending summer by the coast, she thinks she’s found the perfect horse. She’s right – Seahawk is exceptional – so special, in fact, that some folk will do anything to get their hands on him, putting Krista in terrible danger. 

But where does this perfect horse come from? And why is his past – and future – so shrouded in mystery? Reclusive artist, Mel, who lives on the isolated Mount, has some of the answers – but can she be trusted? Does Krista’s cousin, Shannon, know more than she lets on? The truth is more incredible, shocking - and sinister - than Krista could ever imagine. 

This is a fast-paced horse story with an unexpected kick. 

Suitable for older children, teens, young adults and adults.