So, apparently I’m a plankton!

As a self-published author I have come to learn a great deal. I’ve learnt that you can’t just be a writer, that you need to be a marketer, your own publicist, cover designer, blurb writer, formatter and promoter. You can’t sit back and tap away at your keyboard writing the next bestseller without putting in a lot of hard graft and time, often on things you don’t really know anything about (marketing / promoting for me… actually pretty much all of it).

Gone is the view that I’d release a book and become an overnight success. That just ain’t going to happen! These past few months, since The Soul Guide has been released, my rose-coloured glasses have well and truly come off.

THIS SELF-PUBLISHING LARK IS BLOODY HARD WORK!  It takes commitment, determination, a thick skin, pig-headedness and a little bit of crazy!

But, I’ve found that there are also loads of wonderful, supportive people out there (namely other self-published authors) who will do their best to help guide newbies like me through the brain-frazzling ride of becoming a ‘self-pubber’. These people will pick you up when you’re feeling down, throw you a lifeline when you think your book has finally slipped of the thirty-day cliff and generally give you lots of advice to help you keep on the right track. They will persuade you to keep going when all you want to do is jack it all in. Without these brilliant people I don’t think I’d still be here. I certainly didn’t think I could actually make any money out of it…. but after all the success stories I’ve seen and the discussions I’ve had with other authors, that doesn’t seem such a pipe dream now. I’m not expecting to make 100’s of thousands of pounds from my books, but being able to write for a living doesn’t seem a goal too far out of reach given the journeys of other authors who started out just like me.

To back this up, a group I am part of have a fun way to gauge their success.  It’s a pretty fishy list (no pun intended) It’s simple really, as you sell more books (and make more money) you move up a level or evolve into… yes, you guessed it… a bigger fish. I’m a newbie, and therefore right at the bottom of the scale. In actual fact, I am a ‘plankton’.

Essentially the list goes like this: The goal being that you get the next level.

2 figures a month: plankton
3 figures a month: prawn (500+= lobster)
4 figures a month: trout (5000+= rainbow trout)
5 figures a month: salmon
5 figures over 50k: dolphin
6 figures a month: whale
6 figures over 250K: Kelpie
7 figures a month: Kraken

Believe it or not, there are a few Kraken’s out there in the self-published market. These guys know exactly what they are doing, and are doing it very successfully every month, over and over again. A few of them hang around some Facebook groups sharing their wisdom for free. On these occasions I try not to act like a groupie, and just sit quietly stalking them! Joke! Of course I don’t stalk, I just hang around in the background paying attentionm, scribbling furious notes in the hope that at some point I can put some of their wisdom into action.

All kidding aside, it’s quite useful to have such a list to aspire too. I’ve never wanted to become a prawn as much as I do right now!

Whilst getting to Kraken level would be the ultimate, frankly I’d be happy with a steady Trout! Getting to that point would mean I could do writing full-time.

Still, for now it’s baby steps or fishy swims…. Besides, I’ve always loved prawns.

 

 

⭐️🌟⭐️🌟 Secrets and Souls cover reveal ⭐️🌟⭐️🌟


So, here it is. My Secrets and Souls cover! It’s beautiful don’t you think? I love the pop of yellow in the title to match the flair between the outstretched hands. I debated whether I should maintain the grey colour in the title of Secrets and Souls, but in the end went for the yellow! I’m hoping the colour will draw the eye! 

Below is The Soul Guide cover. I hope the branding is obvious… same font, layout, similar image. I’m hoping this will not only draw readers in, but will be easily recognisable as part of the same series. What do you think?


Secrets and Souls is a 36k novella set forty years before The Soul Guide. It delves a bit deeper into Mellissa’s mindset, Bertram and Mellissa’s relationship and the start of their journey together. There is a twist… I think this is becoming a signature of mine, but there are also some spoilers. If you haven’t already read The Soul Guide you might want to before you read Secrets and Souls. 

I will let you know as soon as it’s up for pre-order, but for now here’s the blurb: 

“You think I don’t know that you’re keeping secrets from me? I am not the only liar here…”

The last thing Bertram expected after his grandfather’s death was to find himself the owner of Clayhill Manor, a decrepit mansion with little going for it other than musty rooms filled with moth-eaten furniture and mice. But at least he gets to maintain the solitary life he’s used to. That is, until red-headed beauty, Mellissa, walks into his home and changes his life forever.  

With one touch of her hand, Bertram finds himself part of world he never knew existed. Where he is the Caretaker, and Mellissa the Soul Guide. Where doors appear out of nowhere and he’s the only one who can see them.  

Together they must face a strange new world hidden just beneath the surface. A world which contains the pure of soul and malevolent creatures that lurk in the dark.  

But Mellissa holds secrets within her, secrets that hurt her heart. With a past that she’s unwilling to share with a man who is falling in love with her, can they put their feelings aside and fulfil their roles or will her secrets tear them apart?  

Apart they are weak, together they are stronger, and the Mephisto are always watching.

COMING SOON! Secrets and Souls – The Soul Guide prequel.

On the 12th May I finished my first draft of Secrets and Souls – The Soul Guide prequel (yay, go me!). A couple days ago I finished the first round of edits and now its gone off for proof reading and plot hole spotting! This is the first time I’ve sent something of mine off to people who aren’t close friends and I am a little nervous to say the least. When I wrote The Soul Guide I had fun just letting go and doing what I wanted with the story, with no expectations other than to get it out there. I didn’t have anyone who’d already purchased my book, invested their time and spent a couple quid on it. Now, I have people who are (hopefully) looking forward to reading this prequel and, if I’m honest, I’m terrified they’re going to hate it or think that it’s just not as good as The Soul Guide!

It’s a bit of a risk popping a prequel out now when the series isn’t finished. But, there is method to my madness…. one, I’ve had a few requests for a Bertram and Mellissa story and two, it gave me the opportunity to introduce a group of people who will be resurrected in book two, which I am working on now.

As I anxiously bite my nails waiting on initial responses / thoughts I have kept myself busy with getting the cover done.  If I’m totally honest, I’m not sure The Soul Guide cover quite fits with the genre. That is, most urban/paranormal fantasy has a person on the front cover, normally dressed in leathers and wielding some weapon or other lol! Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE these covers and they clearly work in attracting the right kind of readers, but that style didn’t seem to work for The Soul Guide. To be fair, I do have part of the human anatomy, even if it is just hands (lol). To keep in with the ‘branding’ of The Soul Guide, Secrets and Souls cover (I hope) will be distinguishable as a book belonging to the series. I’m just waiting on the final design to be finished and then I will be revealing all soon!!! SO WATCH THIS SPACE.

One thing that has, slightly, put a spanner in the works is how the prequel is labelled on Amazon. Currently, The Soul Guide is labelled this way: The Soul Guide (The Soul Guide Series Book 1) . Now the prequel, chronologically is pre The Soul Guide (book 0, if we’re talking numbers), but Amazon don’t allow this.  I can keep it as part of the Series, but it will appear as ‘book 2’ that is, when someone views Secrets and Souls it will appear under the series section and it will look very nice sitting next to The Soul Guide. However, this can, and most likely, will be confusing for potential readers who may completely miss the PREQUEL part of the tile – Secrets and Souls: The Soul Guide Prequel (The Soul Guide Series Book 2) and will be thoroughly confused when they read it. So, after much too-ing and fro-ing, I have decided to exclude it from the ‘official’ series, instead marking it up as Secrets and Souls: The Soul Guide Prequel. It will still be on my author page, and will be a part of the series, but won’t be recorded on Amazon as such. I’m hoping this will be received ok? There’ll be only one way to find out and that is publish, and  see what happens! That’ll teach me for bringing a prequel out before the series is finished!

Anyhow, what’s next?

  1. Cracking on with book two of The Soul Guide series (title tbc). Now I can really get stuck in to completing book two. I’m excited about this book, it has A LOT more action in it. More characters and more twists and turns….I cannot wait to share this with you all! I am hoping, all fingers crossed, it will be available later this year. BUT, I am not the fastest writer in the world, so I can’t promise you! Plus (eek, I’m not sure why I do it too myself) I’ve got some other writing projects coming up this year…. **face palm**

2. Yep I’ve signed up to two new projects in conjunction with some other wonderful self-published authors. The first is a project titled ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’. This is a box set (my first!). Twelve authors are partaking and each of us have taken a day, and will write a short story / novelette / novella based on the day we have. Mine is ‘five gold rings’ and I already have something in mind! The great thing about this is that each author has total control of their story and its content, AND can even relate it to a novel they’ve already written! Without going into too much detail the character my story will revolve around is Victor! So, watch this space!

The next project is called ‘Hidden’ where another group of authors (some from the Twelve Days of Christmas box set) will all write a 5k-20k story that will be called, yes you guessed it, Hidden! Each story will be completely standalone and likely to have varying genres. This isn’t a box set, we will all self-publish our own stories and have full creative control, but we will all be helping to promote each other’s story! I have a ‘dystopian’ story that has been percolating in the background whilst I’ve been writing The Soul Guide, and one which I may well turn into another series. But, for now, I will concentrate on getting Hidden written and try not to get ahead of myself!

As you can see, I have quite a bit of work ahead of me, and not a lot of time to do it in! If I’m totally honest, I’m petrified that I’m not going to make the deadlines, and although they are all the latter part of this year, I know how quickly time runs away.  So, I better sign off and get typing! See you soon at the Secrets and Souls cover reveal!

Kelly x

 

 

Goodreads Giveaway – we have a winner…

Today I received an email from the Goodreads team with the details of my giveaway winner. For obvious reasons, I can’t give full details of the winner but I can tell you that the The Soul Guide will be winging its way to a gentleman in Atlanta, US!

So, dear winner (you know who you are) if you ever get to read this, congratulations. I truly hope you enjoy reading my book!

I said in a previous post that I would report back about my observations on a Goodreads Giveaway. The competition ran from the 5th April to the 6th May and I received 815 entries. Which, although peanuts in comparison to other authors, I was pretty blinking chuffed with. To me, that’s 815 people who were interested enough in my book to want to win it and that, in my opinion, is only a good thing.

So here’s what I learnt:

  1. Do not restrict the countries you open the competition too. Open it out to everyone! I just opened to US and UK residents. I don’t know why I didn’t open to all. I think, in retrospect, it was because it was my first competition and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Which actually doesn’t make any logical sense, when I think about it now. Given I am paying for the postal cost and of course, the print copy of the book why did it matter where in the world the winner was?! Next time – open out to all countries.
  2. I put the competition up for a month. Which, seemed like a great idea at the time. My logic was the longer its up there the more time people will have to enter and therefore more entries. However, from what I can gather from the stats most of my entries were within the first few days of the competition going up and the last few days before it ended. This makes sense given the four categories are Ending Soon, Most Requested, Popular Authors and Recently Listed. Given my book wouldn’t fall into the middle two categories it would only be seen in the Ending Soon and Recently Listed. Therefore listing the book for a shorter period of time would probably have generated more entries as it would be visible in both sections. I can only know for sure by doing another Goodreads Giveaway, so I will feedback once I do. Next time: shorter competition period – two weeks max.
  3. Advertising the Giveaway. I didn’t do much by way of advertising the Giveaway. I posted a widget here on my website, posted on my Facebook and Twitter page periodically and mentioned in my Newsletter. I think because it was going on for a month I didn’t have the impetus to keep on posting, tweeting etc about it. Plus it felt like I was blowing my own trumpet and I’m not so great at that. Next time: shorter competition length, more regular (timed) tweets / posts to engage interest. 
  4. Out of the 815 people who entered 350 ‘added’ my book to their list of books, and 335 to their ‘to read’ list. That’s approx 40 % of people who entered who will, hopefully, at some point read my book. I can’t be disappointed with that. However, this is assuming of course they decide to do that. Some may lose interest and not bother. But I’ve got to hope at least a handful with go on to buy and review The Soul Guide. We’ll see. I will certainly feedback with any figures.

All in all, I found that the Goodreads Giveaway was quite successful. I’ve learnt what to do differently next time and it’s proved to be just another step in getting The Soul Guide out into the consciousness of the reading population. I do hope the winner enjoys reading The Soul Guide at least!

Oh, and whilst I’m talking about competitions. There is still a competition happening on my Facebook page to win a signed copy of The Soul Guide and help me find a title to my prequel novella. Head on over here for your chance to enter.  The competition is the pinned post on my page. GOOD LUCK!