Saturday 26 July 2014

Great Competition

Win! Win! Win!

 Blue Hour Publishing are pleased to announce a great competition where
the winner will receive not, one, not TWO but THREE
great paperbacks from Stephen R Hulse and Kristen Stone

And to be in for a chance to win you don't even
have to know about Blue Hour Publishing,
their books or their authors.

What is the prize?
Paperback editions of
Silent Love
The Blue Hour &
each book signed by the author
go to one lucky winner.

Five runners up will receive 3 ebooks
of their own choice from the BHP catalogue.

The question...

The author Charles Dickens did not complete his final book. 
Name this book.

Use the contact form on the right to send the answer to us.
Competition runs from 26th July to 2nd August 2014
Winners will be drawn at random
and announced on Monday 4th August.

Please note: family members of Blue Hour Publishing directors excluded! 

Saturday 19 July 2014

New Amazon Deal - or No Deal

Amazon has just launched a new scheme with Netflix whereby subscribers pay $9.99 a month to access as many ebooks and audio books as they like. Authors who are signed up with the Select scheme on KDP automatically have their books enrolled in this programme. Authors get paid when a reader reads more than 10% of the book. Payments come from the Global Fund set aside for the lending library. I can't find any details of how much this will be.

   Pros and cons of this -

   Pros - For the reader - Brilliant for a fast reader who can read a book a week or more. IF traditional publishers join this scheme it will mean that readers can have access to more expensive books than they might currently read.

   Cons - For the reader - Unless you read really quickly, or have plenty of time to listen to audio books, you might as well buy a couple of paperbacks a month - visit The Works or browse the charity shops and you will find lots of books for less. Or actually buy your ebooks.

   Pros - For the author - I can't see a single one at the moment, especially for small publishers and self-published authors.
Cons -

  • You have to be in Select to benefit which means you cannot offer your book on any other platform.
  • Your books will show up on the new sales chart, but you won't get paid until the reader has read at least 10% of the book, which might well mean you never get paid. I have about 50 books on my Kindle I have not started yet, but I know the authors will have been paid. Some have been there since the day I bought the Kindle which is probably three years ago.  
    The best we can hope for is that not enough people sign up for this scheme to make it worth Amazon/Netflix's while. It is easy money for them. They share your subscription and then pay out peanuts to the authors.

    To me this is reminiscent of all those mail order book clubs you saw advertised in magazines way back when. Do they still exist? I know I signed up for a few in my time. Still have some of the books I've never read. The thing with those clubs, though, was that they sent you real physical books you could keep once you left the club. I'm not sure what happens to the books you have downloaded for your $9.99 once you decide you don't want to play any more. Are they all wiped from your cloud, or do they remain there? The explanation on the KDP site doesn't go into this.

    If this does become successful and enough people join, it will surely put an end to cheap self-published books, or at least make it more difficult for them to chart; assuming that downloads will be recorded in sales charts. And how will that work, when the book is ordered or when it reaches its 10% read target? Unless you can get through 10 books in a month, and I know some people can, readers will want those more expensive traditional published books so that they feel they are getting their monies worth. And I don't blame them. 

    So where will authors wanting to do promotional freebies or price-reduced countdown campaigns stand? Hopefully there will still be more people buying their books than signing up for the Kindle Unlimited scheme. We have to assume that the market for free books is totally different to that of paid books, which it probably is; but then puts a question mark against why people give their books away in the hope that readers will then go on to buy books. 

    Whether this works or not only time will tell. I hope it is successful if it means more sales for everyone but somehow I'm not totally convinced. Amazon are offering 600,000 books. If they get 600,000 people sign up that's a lot of dollars for them, but the possibility of only one sale per month for each book. I know it doesn't work like that, but it does mean there will be an awful lot of books that are not touched and even more work for the authors trying to get noticed.

    What do you think of this scheme? Will it help or hinder self-published authors? Feel free to leave a comment or rate this post below.

Wednesday 16 July 2014

Analyzing Success

It is always difficult to know which advice to follow. Lots of people have told us to do lots of different things to promote our books - most of which involve either money we can't afford or reviews we haven't got.

The questions ALL authors have is 'how to get reviews' and 'do reviews really matter'. We wish knew the answers to those questions. If we did we could write a book about them and sell it on Amazon.

So far out of our books, the ones with the most reviews are selling less than the ones with fewer. We would love to get these popular books promoted but they haven't got enough reviews - even paid advertising companies like BookBub won't look at them.

This month we are trying to analyse the ratio of retweets:sales. Probably a pointless exercise because books are still being tweeted even if they aren't retweeted and it is impossible to tell from where the sale came. But at least each retweet extends the reach of each book.

Having collected the data and compared the platform of sales, what we will then do with it is debateable. Not sure we will achieve anything, but if it looks interesting we will let you know.

Has anyone else any proven facts on promotion?

Tuesday 15 July 2014

SHADOWCHASER now in paperback

SHADOWCHASER is now available in paperback at Amazon and Lulu.

This fast moving occult thriller from Stephen R Hulse barely gives the reader a chance to catch their breath. Martin Thorn is left fighting for his life with nothing less than the salvation of the human race at stake.

Get it now and take it on holiday.

Also available as an ebook on many platforms. Check yours out today!

Sunday 13 July 2014

And Now...

And now Google Play can be added to the list of where all our books are available.
Just go to your Play Store on your mobile phone and search for the book you want. If you haven't already got the reading app it can be downloaded for free and takes a mere second or two.