The Butterfly Storm is Half Price!

ButtStorm700x700CenteredSet in sunny Greece and on the beautiful North Norfolk coast in the UK, The Butterfly Storm has frequently been described as ‘perfect for holiday reading’, so I thought it was a good time to do a summer promotion. Until the end of this week – Friday 8th August – The Butterfly Storm is reduced to just 99c/99p and can be downloaded here:

What Readers Are Saying About The Butterfly Storm

“I Loved this read with a capital L.” ElaineG, Amazon Top 50 Reviewer

“Beautifully written, carefully researched and expertly plotted – what more could you want from a book?” Joanne Phillips, author of Can’t Live Without 

“Beautifully precise in its descriptions, yet never dull, this is one book you will not be able to put down and will remember long after you’ve read the last words.” Elaine Jeremiah, author of The Inheritance

The Butterfly Storm CoverFinal300X450

 

 

Maisie, What Have You Done? – WIPpet Wednesday

ButtStorm700x700CenteredI don’t think I’ll ever manage to post an extract from A Long Way From Home which doesn’t find Maisie and co. in some kind of trouble. Today’s WIPpet is no exception and a bit of a tease because it’s rather short. Maisie is with Edward, a new friend, and they’re in a villa in Roman Britain trying to find Lizzie. I’ve been creative with my WIPpet maths and I give you one paragraph from chapter 12. The one paragraph for it being the first month of the year, and chapter 12 because 1+5+1+1+4=12 for the 15/01/14.

 

Edward practically rugby tackled me to the ground. “Now you’ve done it.” He grabbed my hand, pulled me to my feet and started running along the hallway back the way we’d come.

 

My main focus this week is actually on The Butterfly Storm because I thought I’d give a KDP free promotion another go. I was blown away by the results I had last August and I’m hoping for the same again this time – although I’m not holding my breath. My promotion runs for 5 days from today until Sunday 19th. So, if you’ve not got a copy and fancy a free read then please download it (or tell your friends about it if you think they’ll like it). Any tweets or shares on Facebook will be much appreciated. Thank you!

Back to WIPpet Wednesday… Along with some tetchy flying monkeys, the very welcoming K L Schwengel hosts WIPpet Wednesday over on her blog, My Random Muse. Get creative with your maths and choose an extract of your work in progress that has a link in some way to the date and post it here if you’d like to join in. Happy writing and reading.

 

The Rather Fabulous TaDa Award!

ta-daIt’s the beginning of award season with the Bafta nominations recently being announced and the Oscars just around the corner. In the blogging world the talented ReGi McClain decided to kick off 2014 with the TaDa Award and I was one of the lucky recipients.

ReGi is a writer of fantasy and has recently been posting chronological snippets of her latest work in progress Queen of Bears on Wednesdays over on her fabulous blog, ReGi McClain’s Fortnight Stories. It’s well worth checking out. ReGi has also posted her own answers to the TaDa Award which you can read here.

So without further ado here are my answers to ReGi’s questions:

1. What was the best experience you had on purpose last year?

Finding out at our 12-week scan that I had a wriggly little baby on board with a good strong heart-beat.

2. What was the best experience you stumbled into last year?

Teaching at Bath Spa University (where I did my Creative Writing MA). I’d never taught before and it was completely unexpected. Emma Hooper, who I knew from the MA, had been teaching the course but ended up moving to the music department and so they needed someone to replace her in the middle of the year and she suggested me. I happened to know and had worked with the course leader previously and so thought I’d be in with a chance of getting an interview but was simply offered the job over the phone. Cue a huge amount of nerves – I can’t tell you how ridiculously nervous I was before the first class – but it was too good an experience to turn down (see question eight).

3. What was your greatest intentional accomplishment last year?

Finally publishing my novel, The Butterfly Storm. It had taken nine-years from first starting to write it to launching the book on the 12th June and I couldn’t be happier with how things have gone and how the book on the whole has been received over the past seven months.

4. What was your greatest unplanned accomplishment last year?

My greatest unplanned accomplishment was finding out I was pregnant. Although this was something we’d most definitely planned, these things don’t always happen when you want them to, and so became hope rather than a plan. For us it’s been a very long and difficult journey to reach this point. We decided in 2008 that we wanted a family and so started trying in 2009 only to be referred for fertility treatment two years later when we’d had no success. By May last year we had three failed cycles and one early miscarriage behind us and to be perfectly honest I knew the chances of cycle number four being a success were slim. But against all odds the pregnancy test on the 18th June was positive and that wriggly little thing that we saw at the 12-week scan is now a kicky and ever-growing baby who’s due in less than six-weeks time.

5. Did you spend time with someone you adore last year?

Yes, my lovely husband Nik.

6. Were you nice to someone you don’t like last year?

To be honest I can’t think of anyone I know that I don’t like.

7. What was the most amazing thing you learned last year?

That self-publishing is a viable and very satisfying option to being published traditionally. That first 5-star review for The Butterfly Storm from someone I didn’t know was truly amazing.

8. Who did you teach last year and what (G-rated thing) did you teach them?

Between January and May I taught the Lifewriting course at Bath Spa University to Creative Writing undergraduates. It was my first experience of teaching and it was both terrifying and exciting. There was a group of 20 or so students ranging from the age of 19 up to someone in their 50s and apart from a varied reading list the classes focused on teaching interview techniques, doing creative writing and work shopping each other’s work. Oh, and marking 40+ creative writing papers.

9. What events did you attend last year?

In March I went with my Mum to see author Hilary Mantel give a talk during the Bath Literature Festival and I also attended a fantastic day-long workshop called New to Teaching Creative Writing. In June I went to local author Lucienne Boyce’s book launch and then later in the summer, along with Elaine Jeremiah we headed to Bath for a talk about self-publishing. At the beginning of August there was a surprise 80th birthday party for my Great Aunt and finally in December a Christmas meal with work colleagues.

10. Did you travel anywhere? Even just downtown?  

There was no travel abroad this year but Nik and I did eventually get away to Norfolk for a few days (after the nightmare of our car breaking down), and we also visited my brother, his girlfriend and our little nephew at their beautiful home in Wales, once in the summer and the second time at the beginning of December.

*       *      *

I won’t nominate anyone in particular but I will instead pass on the TaDa Award to anyone who follows my blog and fancies writing about their year in review – or simply let me know what you got up to in 2013 in the comments below.

An Almost Non-WIPpet WIPpet Wednesday

Time Shifters front pageI’m cheating today. I missed WIPpet Wednesday last week and haven’t written anymore of Time Shifters – A Long Way From Home, so technically didn’t have anything to post today. But because I’m going to take part in NaNoWriMo (in an attempt to get a decent amount of A Long Way From Home written) I’m probably not going to join in with WIPpet Wednesday again until December. So, if you don’t hear from me for a while after today that’s what I’ll be up to.

I may not have written anything novel-wise over the last week but I’ve not been idle. I’ve been continuing to edit Time Shifters using my beta readers’ invaluable comments ready to send off to my proofreader by mid November. Talking of proofreading, my proofreader, Kate Haigh recently asked me if I could answer some questions about my experience of using a proofreader, which you can read here. Using beta readers and a proofreader before launching The Butterfly Storm and the hopefully-soon-to-be-published Time Shifters makes me confident that the books will be as good as they possibly can be.

The last few days has also seen a drop in price of The Butterfly Storm – a trial really to see if I can boost it back up the amazon rankings. There was a spike in sales on the first day and then it ticked over nicely during the weekend staying in the top 10,000, and then yesterday, nothing, no sales at all, which has been the first day that’s happened since before my free promotion in August despite me actually promoting the book yesterday via twitter, Goodreads and Kuforum. *confused face* The good news is that it’s sold two copies today so all is not lost. *happy face*

This week has also seen Alana Terry launch her blog tour for the audiobook of The Beloved Daughter. She visited my blog yesterday and there’s still time to enter the competition to win hundreds of $$$ worth of prizes, plus there are exciting things going on over on Alana’s facebook page.

So finally, to the WIPpet. My offering is just eight words from Time Shifters that Elaine Jeremiah helpfully pointed out while beta reading, could be the tagline for the book, if not the whole trilogy. Eight words you say for the 23/10/13? How does that work out? Well, by using ingenious WIPpet maths it goes like this: 2+3+1+1+3=10 10-2(as it’s approximately 2 months until Christmas – I told you it was ingenious) = 8. Ta da!

Nothing is set in stone, not even history.

 

There you have it. To join in with WIPpet Wednesday simply post an extract of whatever you’re currently working on that relates, however loosely, to the date. Add your link to the linky over on My Random Muse. Thanks as always to K L Schwengel for hosting.

It may be a while until I join in again but hopefully by the time December comes round I’ll have plenty of new writing to post. In the meantime happy writing everyone and I’m looking forward to meeting Emily when she stops by Bath on her European travels in late November!

Succeeding at Self Publishing – A Case of Trial and Error

ButtStorm700x700CenteredLast week I met up with local writing friends Elaine Jeremiah and Jade Reyner. All three of us have published our debut novels this year: Jade published Twelve Days – The Beginning in April, I launched The Butterfly Storm in June, and Elaine’s novel The Inheritance was published just last month. One of the things that dominated our conversation was how to get our books noticed on amazon. Visibility is the key but it’s a constant battle to one, get your book noticed in the first place, and two, to maintain a presence on amazon.

Eight weeks after I published The Butterfly Storm I did my first free promotion. As I wrote in a post not long after the promotion ended, putting my book for free more than exceeded my expectations and resulted in nearly 20,000 downloads in just three days. The post promo results and benefits that followed were incredible with The Butterfly Storm averaging 100 sales a day for around three weeks, making it into the ‘Movers & Shakers’ chart, and becoming a bestseller in the contemporary romance, literary fiction and women’s literary fiction categories. Of course I expected that post promo boost to die down after a while and although it’s been selling at least one copy a day since it dropped lower in the rankings, I’ve been thinking of ways that I can increase my visibility again.

On Friday I reduced the price by half to see if it would make any difference. Friday morning The Butterfly Storm was at about 30,000 in the amazon rankings and by that evening it had jumped to around 6,000. Although there’s not been a massive increase in sales since, there is most definitely an increase both on amazon.co.uk and amazon.com (where it had pretty much being doing nothing). I have got a paid promotion running on kuforum all week but until today I’d done nothing to promote the fact that the book is reduced until the 31st October. My aim is to make it into the top 5000 over the next week or two. I will let you know how it goes.

What strategies have you used to help promote your book or books and how successful have they been?

Exciting Non-Writing Related News to Announce!

SleepsuitsMany of you who follow my blog already know my happy news but I thought I would officially announce that Nik and I are expecting a baby in February! It’s taken just over four years to get to this point and there’s been a lot of disappointment and heartache along the way but at last we can look forward to the future and the arrival of a little son or daughter in four months time! We had the 20 week anomaly scan yesterday which showed one very lively baby who just wouldn’t stay still for the lady doing the scan. Everything looked normal – heart, lungs, brain and spine plus all arms, legs, fingers and toes were accounted for. To say we were relieved is an understatement. Now all we need to do is get cracking finishing decorating our bedroom, turning our spare room into a nursery and generally sorting the house out. Oh, and buying stuff of course. We’d resisted buying anything as we wanted to make sure everything was okay first but yesterday I bought three very cute sleepsuits (see the photo).

I say the news is not writing related but in many ways it is. I now have a very real deadline to get things done, not least of which is to finish Time Shifters in preparation for publishing it in January (there will be no hope if I leave it until after the baby’s born). To launch Time Shifters will be a massive achievement, particularly as that will mean I’ll have published two novels in less than a year. Not bad going (and about time) considering I started writing The Butterfly Storm in 2004 and Time Shifters in 2008.

On top of that I have grand plans to start not one but two new novels. I’ve already made a start on Time Shifters – A Long Way From Home and plan to take part in NaNoWriMo next month to see just how much I can get written. I also want to get stuck into a new contemporary women’s fiction novel, The House of Stone. I’ve got a rough synopsis and just need to start putting words down. As for what happens writing-wise once our little one makes an appearance, who knows, (but I imagine not a lot for a fair few months!) so I want to get as much done as possible before then.

For a year that didn’t start off well 2013 has turned out to be incredible in more ways than one, and as for 2014, well that promises to be even more exciting.

All Is Not What It Seems – WIPpet Wednesday

Frodo on blanketI’m back! I missed writing my WIPpet post last week although I did manage to read some of the other WIPpeteers’ work. I really need to start writing The House of Stone as I’m on the verge of giving too much of the plot away with my Time Shifters snippets. Last week was all about The Butterfly Storm and this week my focus is going to be firmly on finishing editing Time Shifters. The Butterfly Storm is still doing really well post-promo and is hanging in the top 300 on the UK amazon kindle chart and is still in the top 10 of the literary fiction and women’s literary fiction categories.

But back to Time Shifters and today’s WIPpet which is 8 paragraphs from chapter 21 for the 21/08/13. You might remember from a few weeks back the scene when Maisie, Danny and Lizzie get a lift into London on the back of a cart. It’s 1666 and the Great Fire of London is raging. Despite their best laid plans to get out of London and across the Thames as soon as they can, they end up helping to save a wealthy woman’s belongings from her house, which just so happens to be in the path of the fire. In this extract the woman has asked Maisie to save her beloved dog, Charlie.

I followed Lizzie and Danny into the house. After the brightness of the day, it was gloomy and stuffy inside. Danny headed straight for the large chest against the entrance hall wall.

“Grab the other end, Maisie,” he said.

“I have to find her dog. Lizzie, help Danny.” I clattered up the stairs and didn’t give them a chance to argue.

The first floor landing was a little brighter with smoky daylight streaming through a window over looking the street. Apart from one door that opened on to a large panelled room with a writing desk in front of the window, all the other doors off the landing were closed. I began to climb the stairs to the top floor when I heard a bark.

“Charlie?” I ran to the top landing and pushed open the doors of each bedroom until I saw the most gorgeous King Charles spaniel, barking his head off in the middle of a four poster bed hung with gold drapes. He saw me and abruptly stopped barking and let out a whine.

“Hey Charlie, what are you doing up here on your own?” His tail wagged and he waddled over to the edge of the bed. He was a white and tan colour and so soft with huge floppy ears and big brown eyes. I scooped him into my arms and his wagging tail flicked back and forwards into my face. “Come on, let’s get out of here before the whole place burns down.”

I was about to walk out of the door when a thud on the floorboards behind me made me stop.

“Maisie, wait!”

That’s your lot for today and that might have to be it for Time Shifters too unless I can find something suitable to post next week. Otherwise I might just have to write something new….

If you fancy joining in simply post an extract of your work in progress that relates in some way to the day or if you’re feeling brave post a new beginning of a whole new WIP. WIPpet Wednesday is hosted by the lovely K L Schwengel over on My Random Muse. To read the other WIPpets or add your own just click on the little blue linky.

So, After the Free Weekend This Happened:

ButtStorm700x700CenteredIt’s been an amazing week for lots of reasons and after taking nine years from starting to write The Butterfly Storm to actually deciding to publish it, it’s been very exciting to see its journey over the past two months since I launched it. The same way as I wasn’t sure what to expect when The Butterfly Storm became free last Friday, I entered unknown territory when it went back to paid on Monday. To briefly recap Monday’s post, The Butterfly Storm was downloaded 19,823 times over three days and ended up at #1 in the UK free kindle chart, which was so much more than I could have hoped for. Prior to the free weekend it had sold a grand total of 86 eBooks.

Monday

I knew it was going to happen but it was still nerve-wracking to see The Butterfly Storm lose its top 50 ranking in the US and #1 spot on the UK free kindle store on Monday morning and drop all the way to #292,711 in the US paid kindle store and #79,936 in the Screen Shot 2013-08-12 at 09.34.56UK (lower than it had been pre-promotion). Needless to say I stat checked at regular intervals throughout the day and was incredibly relieved when it began to climb back up the charts. By 11pm it had sold 20 copies in the US and ranked at #13,062, and had sold 33 copies, plus had seven borrows in the UK and ranked at #987. There had been actual sales and my nerves began to calm.

The Importance of Categories

Sales continued slowly in the US and steadily in the UK throughout Tuesday but by the evening and into Wednesday morning sales had all but stopped in the US and The Butterfly Storm, although selling in the UK, was heading the wrong way down the rankings. I began to get a little worried as despite having had a massive jump from #79,930 on Monday morning to #926 on Tuesday morning it hadn’t appeared in the popularity chart.

What did happen though on Wednesday was The Butterfly Storm made it into the top 30 of literary fiction and women’s literary fiction in books and the UK kindle store. It’s actually thanks to Joanne Phillips that I changed the category the book was in from family life to literary fiction on Monday after she mentioned in a comment on my post that The Butterfly Storm had only been ranked in one category (romance) whilst it was free rather than two. This is when I discovered that family life is only a category in the US. If I hadn’t have changed the category to literary fiction The Butterfly Storm would have been far less visible and what happened next I doubt would have happened.

Women's Lit No. 31 20 Tues 13th at 12.07.55

Moving On Up

By Wednesday evening with The Butterfly Storm making it into the top 20 of literary fiction and women’s literary fiction (in books and the kindle store) the sales took off in the UK (it had pretty much stopped by this time in the US). The Butterfly Storm started climbing up the rankings again and by Thursday morning it had reached #225 in the kindle store and was in the top 10 of literary fiction and women’s literary fiction, plus it made it to #58 in romance and #7 in the movers and shakers chart.

So, by 9.30 this morning The Butterfly Storm ranked at #124 in the kindle store, #4 in literary fiction and women’s literary fiction (books), #5 in kindle literary fiction, #36 in romance and #43 in movers and shakers. And as for how many I’ve sold since Monday?

  • US: 37 sold and 1 borrow
  • UK: 480 sold and 57 borrows
  • Italy: 1 sold
  • Canada: 2 sold

This all means that I’ve broken even and have covered my proofreading, cover and promotional costs and The Butterfly Storm is now making money. It’ll be very interesting to see how things go over the next few days. Sales are definitely better in the evening, presumably because the majority of people are at work or have other things to do during the day than download books, so I’ll see what happens. Plus I’m not allowing myself to look at the stats until much later today. Well, I’ll try not to look at least.

Well I Wasn’t Expecting That – Results of the Free Weekend

Screen Shot 2013-08-12 at 09.34.56Around 9am on Friday 9th I watched as The Butterfly Storm lost its £1.98/$2.99 price tag and disappeared from the amazon rankings altogether. *Gulp* what had I done? But literally within minutes the downloads started and I breathed a little easier. I have to say though, if I thought I was bad at checking the sales stats before, I’ve been addicted to clicking on my ‘month-to-date-unit-sales’ over the last three days.

The very generous Joanne Phillips, author of Can’t Live Without and the soon to be published cozy mystery, Murder at the Maples, did a very helpful post after her first KDP Select promotion last year with a breakdown of how it had gone, so I thought I’d do the same. This weekend has surprised me in a very good way. I was hoping to achieve at least 1000 downloads over the three days; the final total has actually been a staggering 19,823:

  • US: 12,336
  • UK: 7,264

I’ve also had 79 downloads in Canada, 90 in Germany, 19 in India and a handful in France, Italy, Spain, Japan and one in Brazil. The really interesting bit will be to see what happens to the sales in the next few days now The Butterfly Storm has gone back to paid.

Screen Shot 2013-08-11 at 16.04.53So, over the past three days I’ve gained nearly 20,000 new readers, whereas there had been a grand total of 86 sales pre-promotion. There have already been a couple more reviews posted on amazon, including a 5* review from a ‘top 100 amazon reviewer’ who wrote ‘I Loved this read with a capital L.’ I made it into the top 20 of the US free kindle store, the top 10 of contemporary romance and was #1 in the family life genre on amazon.com. But the most exciting thing by far was from Sunday afternoon, right through to this morning, The Butterfly Storm topped the UK free kindle chart at #1.

Amazon.co.uk contemp romance Sun 11th at 16.06.48

A special mention has to go to my friends on facebook (Sam, Soula, Helen, Jason, Donna) who did an incredible job of getting the word out and promoting The Butterfly Storm to their friends, particularly the very lovely Paula who has been a woman on a mission helping to get as many downloads as possible over the past three days. Thank you!

The Butterfly Storm – Free for the Next Three Days!

ButtStorm700x700CenteredToday is the start of my first KDP Select promotion. As this is my first one it’s new territory and I’ve no idea how it will pan out. How many downloads do I hope I get? Well, loads please. I’m hoping to reach four figures, so if I can top 1000 downloads I’ll be happy. Since last week I’ve been submitting The Butterfly Storm to various promotional sites in the US and the UK but there’s no guarantee that any of them will actually feature my book over the next few days. Fingers crossed a handful of them do. I did opt to pay a couple of sites for guaranteed promotion, so we’ll see how it goes.

The Butterfly Storm went free at approximately 9am and so far there have been 9 downloads in the US, 27 in the UK and 1 in India! I’m just starting to tweet about it, add it to my facebook page and I’m now going to post about it on various forums and free book facebook pages.

I know many of you have already bought and read The Butterfly Storm – thank you so much! – but if you haven’t and would like a FREE read then you can download it on amazon.com and amazon.co.uk between now and Sunday 11th. I’ll leave you with a couple of quotes from some of the very lovely reviews I’ve received over the past few weeks.

‘This was one of those rare books that when you get to the last page, you feel a loss – a loss of friendship and kinship with the characters that were written in such a rounded manner and in such detail that you lived the story with them.’ 5* review

‘I would recommend this book to anyone who has been in love, been or dreamt of going to Greece and anyone who has ever thought about changing their life. The descriptions throughout mean that you feel that you are with the characters, I could not put this book down and right till the last page I could not predict the ending, it was excellent.’ 5* review

‘The characterisation and scenes are brilliantly portrayed and you can easily find yourself drawn into the story, I found it to be very addictive, I couldn’t put the book down and needed to keep reading to find out what would happen next, it kept me guessing right up to the end as to what Sophie’s final decision would be.’ 5* review