Carla Acheson


Category: Publishing

Print book or e-book, which way ahead?

Just four years after the Kindle reading device arrived to launch its perverse attack on printed books worldwide, I wonder what effect this has had on the industry as a whole.

If you think about it, it takes less than three seconds to download a book to your e-reader, so in the time it takes to receive a single paperback you could already have thousands of books at your disposal. Perhaps this is the crux of the matter after all. E-books are becoming more popular by the day. Yet, people still love real books, and a small percentage have even admitted to buying a paperback and the Kindle version.

Surely the knock on effect of paperback sales is still affecting publishers worldwide. An e-book sale prediction released today by Matt Blind shows a staggering prediction of an increase by 250 million dollars  by just 2015. Speculative this figure might be, but we know that e-books are being downloaded daily, and at an astonishing rate. And it’s not just the gadgets that are hot on the increase, but the content! Get this.. mini digital books – also known as “e-singles” and somewhere between magazines and traditional books in length are a growing market.

We can only sit back and wait to see what effect this will all have on traditional publishers in the future, whether they will somehow benefit more if they fully embraced this fast moving technology, or will tradition prevail? It will be very interesting to see what happens in the years to come.

More :

The Guardian – amazon-kindle-ebook-sales-overtake-print

The Examiner – The Christmas rush for library e-books 

The Telegraph – E-book the preferred method for children







Shove it Deep and Hard…

A catchy title? Good. But move on there is no sex here. This blog is on the serious subject of book promotion, one of the things every author/publisher needs to do in order to… yes, gain interest, gain sales!

Having recently published my own novel and climbed into the stratosphere of relentless self promotion I have become enlightened by some of the difficulties faced. Marketing your book is one of those foggy areas which can bring about wonderful results, as well as a few rotten tomatoes. After all, we fledgling authors are only learning the ropes and in an ever changing method of play, the internet has undoubtedly given us a huge and exciting playing field in which to kick our product about shamelessly.

But not everyone plays nicely.

Here I will identify the green-eyed monsters which you (newly published writers) ought to be aware of once you throw your polished up baby into the wind.

So your book is on sale and you’ve created a spanking new book page, added every friend and his dog to it, and – as most fool-proof marketing guides have taught you – uploaded images, sales links, each and every book review you receive, and every single morsel of news your book attracts.

But be wary. Monsters lurk silently behind the screen, for according to eastern beliefs (which are always damn right) there will always be a yang lurking somewhere near to a ying! And it doesn’t always have your best interests in mind!

The green-eyed envy monster.

Generally harmful, but exceedingly annoying! This invisible incessant Facebook lurker is the one who will stare enviously at your page posts whilst sucking sour grapes from beneath the lazy-ass Facebook tree. This monster spends his/her days and nights locked within an internal battle of inner desire and self-hatred. They want, what you HAVE. But they doubt their ability so much it kills them to watch you swiftly and confidently collect your tokens of success. These monsters cannot always be identified, but you will generally find they have written very little themselves, but respond to your own success with disassociated and silent envy, producing only the occasional snarky comment when it’s bile has reached too high in its throat.

Best of course of action: Continue to succeed!

The brainless animated monster.

Not to be fed after dark. This monster is always high on adrenalin and will gush animatedly about your ‘faaaabulous book darling.’ But only to you! Because in reality, right after they’ve commented on your post, he/she can’t remember who you are. Two seconds later they can’t remember your name. Nor do they have a  clue what you have written… nor do they care.. Enough said! This monster is insecure but harmless, possesses meaningful intentions, but also the intelligence of a toad on crack . Not a monster to be generally afraid of really.

Best course of action: Be forgiving.

The groupie monster

This one is sly and dangerous. He/she is already copy/pasting parts of your works as soon as it is published and trying to assemble your ideas into a completely different story. This monster has a fast moving mind, trickery at heart, but will never admit to its own failings. He/she idolises and hates you in equal measure. It will suck up everything you do like a bottom-feeding pond insect, whilst maintaining a superficial air of discovery followed by gushing well wishes. In reality, he/she wants to be you.. and the quickest path there is to emulate you in darkest corners of its twisted mind.

Best Course of Action: Once identified, BLOCK from all news streams and updates.

The cynical monster.

He feeds himself on cynical doubt. Your shining new book review could only have been  written by your own mother/friend. There is no room for belief when the cynical monster is at play. You cannot win with this one. He/she will turn a cold shoulder to your success, because facing up to the truth that you have ‘earned’ it is harder to stomach than his or her own inadequacy. Harmless but irritating, all the same.

Best course of action: Ignore.

If you do not encounter any of these monsters on the back of your own writing success you simply haven’t marketed your book ENOUGH. So go back, post your news, and continue to stuff it down every monsters throat day in.. and day out. Shove your book deep and hard. And NEVER apologise for singing your own praises on your own writing blog/book website/page or forum, because very very few will do it for you.

Which monsters lurk on the other side of your screen?





The Authonomy Experience

In January 2010 my book,’ The Last Gift’ was featured on Authonomy, (a popular site designed by the major publishing house Harper Collins to flush out new and talented authors.) The strategy behind this site was to allow authors to feature chapters of their books on the site to be ‘read’ by members of the public and of course, other authors.

No sooner had my book been submitted, I received a barrage of positive comments, shelvings and backings, and the book suddenly catapulted, to what appeared to me, instantaneous stardom. I was quite overwhelmed at first with the great critiques my story seemed to garner, when all I had initially intended, or even hoped for, was perhaps a trickle of feedback on my efforts.

I have to say that receiving over 100 favourable reviews on this website, not only boosted my confidence in my own writing abilities, but also gave me a very helpful view into the world of publishing as a whole. In my experience, there was much to be excited about, but also just as much to be very wary of.

Without going into excessive detail of the writer’s ‘commonly known’ stumbling blocks in the publishing world, I’ll just say that I took a great deal from what Authonomy offered me, and used it to my progressive advantage.

Within a few weeks of being made available online, ‘The Last Gift,’ reached no 5 in the Historical Fiction Charts, and then it pushed the barrier into the Top 200 in All Genres, then the struggle to keep it there began. I very much disliked the idea of having to beg and tap and push people to keep it ranked highly, or indulge in petty and ‘unfavourable games’ in order to gain even higher ranks. With over 7,000 books on Authonomy one can only imagine the struggle for the very top! It is a tireless journey of never-ending swings and roundabouts, and all without a clear cut notion of what exactly was going to happen to your book in the first place.

Ultimately, I like to write for pleasure, and also in the hope that some people who read my work, might in turn receive some pleasure from my words. I don’t play mind games, I don’t beg, and I don’t steal commentary ‘favours’ to ride high into charts. I am simply a lover of words, and I truly believe my book went up quickly on its own merit, for since the moment my book was made available, and until I removed it, I never asked one single person to read it.

So ultimately,  after three months I pulled my work away from HC and decided to let it rest here for the time being. After getting so much lovely feedback from some very genuine people after its stint there, I am satisifed that I have written a story which ought to appeal considerably to many lovers of historical fiction.

My next book project will be revealed at a later date this year, and of course I want to thank every person who helped me on journey. One such very helpful person that springs to mind is Bradley Wind, who has designed literally thousands of wonderful book covers, and also wrote a marvellous book himself entitled A Calculated Embellishment which recently reached number one in the overall book charts!

Also thanks to those who read my book and commented favourably or unfavourably.

Kindle or Traditional Book?

I really cannot imagine a life without paperbook or hardback books. I mean the type that have a freshly printed smell, differing thicknesses and textures, inner pages you can bend inside out, dog ear, or throw the whole thing behind the bed (without an error message). You can use books to balance your coffee mug, write a quick phone number on the inner cover, or help support that rickety leg of your coffee table.

Good God, I think my next post should be ‘101 Practical uses for a book despite reading it!’

But let’s face it! Books are versatile little buggers, especially as they come in all shapes and sizes and you can use them in many different ways, just like men really 🙂 Ahem.. for this reason I just cannot get my head around the Kindle ever totally replacing the traditional book.

It might be agreeable to assume that the Kindle serves one function and a book serves another, in that many people prefer to carry less books on flights or holidays, or they might just find books take up too much space at home (yes I get that problem too!) Though I love seeing the lovely colourful spines along my bookshelf just screaming out ‘read me, open me, feel me and savour my words, I’m here whenever you want me.’

So far, I have Adobe Reader on my laptop, to which I downloaded one copy of Phillipa Gregory’s novel ‘The Other Boleyn Girl,’

Have I opened the reader?  Yes!

Have I read that book in the reader?  No! 

I think this just proves that my nostalgic reactions are not helping me become fond of reading my novel’s on a screen. I’m pretty sure that the Kindle is far easier than the laptop to handle but it just hasn’t made the cut for me thus far. 

My conclusion: I’m not falling over myself to purchase one. I’d be interested in your thoughts as to which is your preference and/or how you predict the future of publishing to develop.

Also, take a peek at this great article on the Kindle 2, and the subsequent comments:

Is self-publishing self-indulgent?

Normally when somebody asks me if they should self-publish their book, I find it difficult to respond. There are so many different levels of ‘self-publishing,’ it really can be a personal take.

For egotists or highly ambitious  individuals it is probably a terrible idea, for they would have to do 90% of the marketing of their own book, and lets face it there is nothing more draining than self-promotion. My own views and opinions on this vary, I used to have a really biased negative opinion on self-publishing, though I’ve opened up to it slightly through some of the more successful self-published authors accounts.

Ultimately, I think it’s always a great idea to talk to a few self-published authors, where you are likely to get the real ‘stats’ and not just those presented by customer-hungry self- publishing houses.

Lastly, here is some good feedback from Jurgen on the matter of self-publishing.

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