How Amazon can help and frustrate when you’re promoting your novels

Hi there guys,

Thank you to those of you who read and enjoyed my debut blog last week.

I published it after putting my second crime novel ‘Long & Winding Road’ onto Kindle. My first book ‘No More Lonely Nights’ is already on Kindle, and both are also available in paperback on Amazon.

Both feature the adventures – and personal complications – of Detective Constable Dominic Strider of Chester CID, who has to single-handedly tackle serial killers and assorted criminals (including corrupt cops!) in the beautiful medieval city in the North West of England.

Importantly, I want to thank Amazon for the services they provide for authors. Yes, I know you don’t get the royalties you might from a ‘traditional’ publisher but you have to accept that the exposure it gives you is phenomenal.

So, since last week, I have been working hard to promote both these older books, and hope to use them to build up a brand recognition for myself and for Strider, in order to publicise and generate interest in my new Strider novels (book 3 is already written but unpublished, and I’m starting book 4 right now). Books 3, 4 and about half a dozen others I have planned are all new, fresh stories. I’m currently seeking literary agents/publishers to take them on.

This publicity work has proved both gratifying and frustrating. For example, Facebook adverts have a great reach but cost ££. Writing a blog on WordPress is fantastic but you need to work hard and spend ££ to ensure a wide readership. Updating my personal website – lonelynightsproductions.co.uk – has taken me hours today, as I had to go into the coding, and the content management system is a little unwieldy and doesn’t always give you the results you want.

But one of the biggest surprises was with Amazon. Now, I’m certainly not biting the hand that feeds me, as it were. But I can vent my frustration here because I’ve already spoken to Amazon about it (and they’ve responded).

When I uploaded L&WR to Kindle, I updated my Author’s Page and thought that would be it. But then I remembered that I’d had some good reviews – all 5/5 from Kindle readers for NMLN. Naturally I wanted those to be linked to my Author’s Page but could not find them anywhere. I took me a while to twig that Kindle and the Author’s Page it takes you to are all on Amazon.COM and not, as I’d naturally expected, Amazon.CO.UK as I am a British author based in London.

I spoke to Amazon and, while they thanked me for pointing it out and said they’d take on board my suggestion that an Author’s Page should be synced across all territories, they told me that – bizarrely – at present each different territory operates separately.

Which meant that, today, I had to go to CO.UK and duplicate my Author’s Page already on COM. Not too difficult, except….. what they offer is a little different. COM allows you to upload up to 8 photos, a biog, events listings, videos, and a dedicated Author’s Page URL. So my COM Author’s Page is packed with all that stuff. It’s fantastic, and I actually prefer it to what the CO.UK site offers.

However, my CO.UK Author’s Page just has the biog, videos, events and 8 photos. It looks OK but a little anemic compared to the COM page. Most disappointing is that it doesn’t include any link to my WordPress blog… ironic as it’s the UK site and I’m a UK writer!!

Also, bizarrely, my Amazon pages on both COM and CO.UK both had my info wrong – they had a line saying I’m interested in Arab culture (I’m not), have been to Palestine (I haven’t) and am a talented musician (well, I used to play the violin in an orchestra when I was a kid, but that’s about it…). I couldn’t find a way to remove this line either, so had to complain to Amazon directly for them to remove it.

Anyway, it’s all done and dusted now so this could be a little academic, I guess. But it could serve as a valuable heads up for any other writer. 🙂

I feel knackered now as I’ve been working hard on just the publicity for my books for the past three days now. There’s still more that I could do – I haven’t even started compiling a list of readers yet (though I have researched it). I’ve also made contact with a publicist for authors and provided him with links to all my online sites. He hasn’t got back to me yet but I hope to hear from him shortly and maybe, just maybe, I’ll get the chance to pick his brains and get some great ideas which I haven’t thought of yet.

I’ve also got to write a script for some 30-second videos of Strider I’m thinking of filming and publishing on my YouTube page.

So… what now? After publishing this blog and publicising it across my social media, I’ll give it a rest today. After all, it’s been more than 5 hours since I started and it’s been a bit relentless.

From tomorrow I’m going to a local cafe with my laptop and will start writing book 4 – which starts with an action scene at Chester Races, and sees Strider clash with the most evil woman he’s ever met!! Wish me luck…  🙂

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My website

My Author’s Page on Amazon.com

Welcome to my new blog! Launching my second novel on Kindle.

Well folks, it’s taken me 48 hours of solid proofreading and editing, but my second crime novel The Long and Winding Road (L&WR) has now been successfully uploaded to Amazon Kindle. It goes live in a day or two, so I’ll share the link once it’s live.
Here’s a pic of me launching the print edition a few years ago.

Launching L&WR pic

It was fascinating to read it again after so long. It’s the continuing adventures of Detective Constable Dominic Strider of Chester CID, who we first met in my debut novel No More Lonely Nights (NMLN).

Admittedly, it did need some tweaks to tighten up the dialogue and update some of the factual elements, including stuff that was happening in Chester at the time! But it has been well worth it… Even if I was still up at 3am this morning finishing the edit.

So why did it take so long to upload The Long and Winding Road to Kindle? Fair question, guys. A simple but boring answer would be ‘cos the day job takes up so much time and effort’.

A more elaborate answer is: until last year, I had been submitting both NMLN and L&WR to literary agents and publishers, to no avail. Both were released in print form a few years ago, and had a limited run. I’d held book signings in the Chester and Ellesmere Port areas, where I lived at the time. It was also available online on Amazon, Tesco, Borders Books (remember them?), even Barnes & Noble booksellers in the USA.

Thing is, why would publishers want to reprint something that’s already been published? So I joined a fantastic group in London, my new home, called Byte the Book. It holds regular events for authors to meet agents and publishers and have a Q&A with them. I told a publisher about my circumstances and he advised “Forget about getting NMLN and L&WR reprinted. Give publishers and literary agents fresh material instead!”

He was absolutely right! I was so enthused that I went home and started planning the THIRD Strider novel, writing it late last year. I’m ready to start the FOURTH book next week, with plans in place for books 5 to 8!!!

But while this fresh material has taken up a lot of my spare time, does that mean I forget completely about NMLN or L&WR?? Of course not!!

The first two books are still a very important part of my life and represent a heck of a lot of blood, sweat and tears in producing them. I’m so proud to have got them into print in the first place (they’re still available on Amazon!).

So why not get them both on Kindle, I thought, and use them as the perfect marketing tool to promote my new work? After all, if I can prove I have an in-built audience (I do), who love those first two books (they do, judging by the many positive reviews online), and who are clamouring for more tales of Dominic Strider (they tell me they are), then how could any sensible agent/publisher turn that down?

Well, so far they have because the publishing industry these days seems so much more geared towards celebrities (the more Z-list the better, apparently!). But that’s a rant for another blog!! To date, I am continuing to submit my fresh work to literary agents and one day one of them will ‘get’ me and ‘get’ my work, just like my thousands of satisfied, happy readers already do.

Till that day happens, I’ll keep blogging! So thanks for reading this. Please feel free to share, comment and/or follow me. Speak soon guys!

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My Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0034PY70W