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How NOT to promote your books on Goodreads – Guest Post by, Jemima Pett…

I thought I knew quite a bit about the Goodreads site and their system. Reading this article brought back some of the things I know but most importantly, introduced me to a few things I either didn’t know or had forgotten. Therefore, a very worthwhile read full of relevant information for authors especially.

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

According to Goodreads, the site has over 55 million members worldwide. That’s a lot of readers. It doesn’t take much to understand why nearly every self-published person comes to the conclusion that they should be promoting their books on the site.

It’s a sensitive issue, and one that has changed a little since the original Goodreads was sold to Amazon. I notice more ways that Amazon and Goodreads use each others’ opportunities. Amazon now enables you to do giveaways… Goodreads has been doing that since it started. Goodreads now has an extensive list of marketing opportunities that it promotes to authors, which look like things in the Amazon school of marketing to me, but are nevertheless valid and valuable opportunities – so take them.

In researching this post, I was surprised by things I knew about but didn’t know about. I knew about giveaways, I’d seen themed months, and I…

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What Inspires You?

If inspiration is the engine, motivation is the fuel that powers it. Yes, of course there are potential arguments in that opening sentence. Every reader might interpret it in a slightly different way. But, if something inspires me, it also motivates me to do something about it.

Personally, I don’t support any religeous dogma because I believe for one that dogmatism denies development and two, we are children of the universe and we are born to follow the path of the soul and share the love we came with.

Hang on, I hear the blank slate argument raising its head. On that, I only agree that we are born as blank slates in the ways of the world and then, unfortunately, race disconnects us, religeon separates, politics divides and wealth classifies.

In response to the question; what surprises you most? HH the Dalai Lama said, “Man because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices his wealth to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

Lots of philosophical debate starting to generate here but rather that, allow yourself to relax and take a look at the pictures in my Facebook ‘Motivate’ album. In my life, in one way or another, they are all relevant. What do you think? I would love to know and I welcome additions to the family. Post links in the comments and I will tag you in when I add them.

We all come across challenges that threaten our motivation so re-motivate with some great motivational photos

Indie Sales Dominate

I must admit that data analysis is not one of my favourite pastimes. It is however a useful skill and I remain thankful to my BSc Psychology degree which often forced me into the world of data analysis. Data really doesn’t float my boat but occasionally something crosses my radar and I sit up and take note.

Take a look at the table below. In May 2016, Indie authors had captured almost 50% of the Amazon eBook market. We live in exciting times according to the report; today it’s possible to be a full-time professional author, earning $50,000+ a year without ever sending a query letter. On Amazon alone, the data shows (in the USA) over a thousand indie authors earning a full-time living right now with their self-published titles.

Indie Published 42%
Small or Medium Publisher 17%
Amazon Published 10%
Big Five 23%
Uncategorized Single Author Publisher 8%

Those stats speak volumes about how the various sub-sections of the industry are performing because after all, it is not only about the quality of the writing. Some weight has to be applied to the other sections of the publishing process. Ultimately, the readers are the “gatekeepers” but somebody has to get the words out there.

Here’s a 2016 breakdown of authors . . .

75,943 Indie Authors
123,371 Small/Medium Publisher Authors
    1,822 Amazon Imprint Authors
35,457  Big Five Authors
57,498 Uncategorized

In October 2016 things changed . . .

During the five short months since May, it seems that Indies lost their market share gains of the preceding 18 months. This was counterbalanced to a limited extent by a slight uptick in traditionally published unit sales: both Big Five and Small/Medium Traditional Publishers each gained roughly 1% in market share. But most of the lost indie market share seems to have gone to Amazon Imprints, who gained a whopping 4% in market share.

But I wonder? Is this decrease in Indie sales due to authors being hard at work on their next novel? It’s a tough balancing act between doing what we do best, getting our work out to the world and staying at the top of the listings.

What do you think?

If you want to see the full report, go to the Source: http://authorearnings.com/report/may-2016-report/

Powerful Female Characters

After receiving a wonderful review from (Elionor Jones), I was particularly encouraged by her remarks about some of the female characters in Beyond The Pyre.

More on that later because according to the Readers Digest and I guess a sizable list of readers, the following female fictional characters are said to be among the best of all time. That’s quite a claim to make when I think of many others I have loved as I read their stories. Not to mention (well I will at the end of this article) a few of my own.

Elizabeth (aka Lizzie or Eliza) Bennett

Elizabeth Bennett is the witty protagonist from Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice. The second oldest of five daughters and, like the rest of her sisters, she’s not expected to marry for love, rather status and money. True to herself, she would rather stay single; a concept that was not generally acceptable at the time.

Nancy Drew

Her debut was in the 1930s but she remains one of the most iconic female characters. Conceived by Edward Stratemeyer, Nancy Drew’s character was ground-breaking because she wasn’t simply a pretty sidekick to a leading male counterpart. Instead, the bold, physically strong, and fiercely intelligent Nancy used her superior intellect to solve mysteries.

Josephine (Jo) March

Jo is a second eldest daughter and a central focus in the novel Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott.  At 15, she is strong-willed, confident, and literary. Unlike her sisters, she is outspoken and uninterested in marriage. Jo struggles with and defies society’s expectations of how women in the 19th century should carry themselves, making her one of literature’s most daring female characters.

Lisbeth Salander

My favourite on this particular list! She’s provocative, intense, and probably bi-polar but, most people she meets simply label her crazy. Lisbeth has become one of the most intriguing female characters in literature. As a lead character in Stieg Larrson’s novel The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, she is a world-leading computer hacker with a photographic memory who fights to overcome a traumatic childhood and helps solve a complicated series of mysteries. Her uncompromising moral code can be shocking but, devastating to those who find themselves on her radar.

Hermione Granger

Frequently collects ten points for Gryffindor, but Hermione is much more than a very intelligent young woman. As the lead female character in the Harry Potter stories and in my humble opinion was superbly cast in the films.  Her keen intellect and powerful memory are consistently evident, sometimes to the dismay of her friends, who often think she’s bossy and annoying. The Muggle-born Hermione transforms from an eager, know-it-all 11-year-old to a confident, loyal, and brave heroine.

Celie

Celie is both the narrator and protagonist of the outstanding novel, The Color Purple, by Alice Walker. At the hands of her father and then, later, by her husband, Celie is a lonely, dejected, emotionally and physically mistreated victim. Through the power of love and forgiveness, Celie finds her own strength and transforms into a confident, independent, and compassionate woman.

Katniss Everdeen

Katniss Everdeen is a contemporary icon. Strong, determined, and fiercely loyal, she is a highly skilled archer and hunter who becomes a leader in the rebellion against the tyranny of the Capitol. By the end of The Hunger Games 3, Katniss becomes a reluctant hero. A girl who was never ordinary who found courage and compassion under constant life-threatening circumstances.

Arya Stark

One of the lead females in George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones, Arya is a small, fiery force to be reckoned with. Tough with a capital T, the fiercely independent Arya outwardly scorns “noble” female hobbies like sewing and dancing in favour of sword fighting and horseback riding.

I think Martin must have met my youngest daughter. However, adding more of Arya’s stories might result in spoilers for some so I will be kind and stop here.

Now on to a few of my own superwomen in Beyond The Pyre. . .

“I also loved the female characters in the book! I love strong female characters, and this book was full of them. The main female characters were Catharine, from modern-day Britain, Sophie, a French Catholic supporter, and Elionor, a Catholic who supported peace between the faiths. Personally, my favourite of these characters was Elionor, and I loved the banter that went on between Elionor and her husband with regards to women’s position.

Catharine was also a strong female lead, and I liked again how Ben saw her as his equal, and the links between the two couples throughout were interesting and, often, adorable. I thought the fact that the 13th and 21st century couples mirrored each other was also a great element.

‘He knew that ventures into the spirit world could be draining, and Catharine never did things by halves.’”

Ask any writer about the value of reviews and they will tell you something on the lines of, ‘they are like gold.’ Of course they give the ego a pat on the back but they also inform us and help us to improve. Especially if the reviewers are honest about our work, which is exactly what Eleanor Jones gave me when she reviewed Beyond The Pyre; plenty to think about.

What she also gave me was a wonderful reminder relating to the personal side of me.

I was a child of the sixties brought up in a loving family with traditional values. Not much changed until I went to work at British Aerospace where I saw and worked with many women in positions of authority. Some were exceptionally independent; others accepted and bowed to the male dominated higher management. I began to challenge the status quo and found myself in frequent deep-water for doing so.

Moving on to university in the early 80’s and possibly influenced by Thatcher there was a huge increase in ‘feminism’ and sadly some of it was so extreme it turned away some men who were potential supporters. The debate on my course alone was often fiery and led to feelings of us and them.

Looking back, a little change has occurred and realistically, the 80’s explosion has settled and it at least started better recognition of women. There is still a very long way to go before real equality is achieved and I believe it needs to be approached from all aspects of life. Here’s one reason why I like to have strong female characters in my novels.

From a spiritual point of view I believe we are all equal and none are more equal than others (Sorry Mr Orwell), hence the balance between Elionor and Louis who spent much time in a Cathar community where the prevailing belief was equality. Catharine and Ben in the 21st Century practiced their own equality, or, did they carry it with them through the ages?

I’ve only mentioned two female characters but there are others for another day and some in my children’s novel Horando.

What do you think? Who is your number one female character?

I will leave you to consider the featured image that could well be Serdica from Beyond The Pyre.

 

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