Two years ago, I quit my job and became a full-time author. With no other income than my books, I’ve been working crazy hours ever since to realise my dreams. I make a good living and have built enough savings to get me through emergencies or bad months, but there’s always the worry that it’s not enough. And so I work. A lot. Every day, all day. Even when I still had my job, I’d use every lunch break, evening and of course the weekend to write and work on my author career.
Free time? What’s that?
Holidays? Only with my laptop by my side.
Then, last winter, I came close to burnout. I could barely write. Getting out of bed felt as exhausting as running a marathon (not that I’ve ever done one of those). My emotions were all over the place. I found it hard to gather the creativity I need to write my books.
That was a wake-up call. I decided I needed to calm down, reduce my output, focus more on my backlist and repurpose my existing books through audiobooks and translations.
Then came the coronavirus and erased all my plans. The pandemic plus some events in my personal life meant I didn’t write much. This wasn’t the time to change my way of working; my routine was all that kept it together.
Now though, I finally decided to make a change. After reading an excellent report by Skye Warren (subscribe to her author newsletter, she's full of amazing advice) about how working only four hours a day can be just as effective as working long hours, I set myself that very challenge: a week of four hours a day or less. Not a minute more.
I split my four hours in half: two hours for writing, two hours for admin, marketing and whatever else needed doing. I printed off a time sheet to keep track of what I was doing in that limited time to hopefully learn if I did things that were unnecessary or repetitive.
I used a stopwatch to track the total time I spent working, pausing the timer whenever I got distracted or took a break.
Authors are always on the hunt to find more readers, but to do so, we sometimes have to look beyond the end of our own nose and expand our horizon. While there are many ways to discover those elusive readers who've just been waiting to read your book, one of the most important aspects of being an indie author is to think global. Ebooks enable us to reach people from all over the world, so we need to make sure that we're ready for those international readers.
First of all, “international” is relative. For me as a Scottish author, it means every country besides the UK. For an author in Australia, it will be every country and continent except for Australia.
Your aim as an author should be to target all readers, no matter where they are. It may seem harder to reach audiences who aren’t in your own country, but with a few simple methods, you’ll be able to increase your international readership.
1. Use universal links
Universal links, you say, aren’t they just for people who’re wide? I only sell on Amazon, I don’t need them.
As someone living in the UK, this attitude is a particular pet peeve of mine. Many authors only post Amazon.com links when they recommend their books. When I follow that link, I can’t just click the ‘buy’ button to get the book. When I’m at my laptop, it’s fairly easy, there’s a redirect option and the the Amazon UK page is just one more click away. If I’m using my phone, however, it’s an entirely different matter. The only way I can then get your book is change the URL from amazon.com/yourbook to amazon.co.uk/yourbook or open the Amazon app (or open Amazon.co.uk in a new tab) to search for your book. Both of that uses time. If I wasn’t quite sure whether I’d like your book or not, I might not go through all that effort and forget about it.
Step into the besieged world of the dragon shifters, where nothing is at it seems and everything is at stake. A reverse harem that's set in the Winter Princess world but which can be read as a standalone.
Alastair never wanted to kill the Winter Princess, but he had no choice. Now he is getting ready to spend the rest of his life in a prison cell...
Ada and her three husbands have just been promoted to the Queen's Guard, but there is no time to celebrate. The Realm is in uproar and she needs to interrogate the dragon shifter assassin. But he's deranged and no matter what she does, all he keeps saying is that Ada is his mate - just the mutterings of a madman or could he be right?
When a new threat appears on the horizon, Guardians and dragons have to come together to fight - and Alastair, Ada and her husbands might just be the key to that new union.
There are popular fairy tales we all know and love, those by Hans Christian Andersen, or the Grimm brothers. Beautiful tales of love, romance, and fighting adversity. There are also traditional fairy tales with more than a smattering of blood, death, and heartbreak, but still, they grab our attention and seep into our hearts.
And then there are the others…
Fairy tales that are rarely told outside of the countries or cultures they were written in. Tales hidden deep in collections compiled long ago. Or tales that for one reason or another, just don’t receive the attention they deserve. Unusual fairy tales.
So, nine authors came together to uncover those tales. To pull them from the back of the bookshelves, open the pages of the dusty old tomes they were written in long ago, and retell them with a modern twist all our own: Once Upon a Twist: An Anthology of Unusual Fairy Tale Retellings.
Nine tales spanning fantasy, love, intrigue, and magic…
So are you ready to read?
Once Upon a Twist: An Anthology of Unusual Fairy Tale Retellings is available now in e-book and paperback from Amazon. It will be free in Kindle Unlimited for 3 months only.
There only remains one thing to say: “Once upon a time…”
Today, I took part in a 'live write' on Facebook with British author Hanleigh Bradley. The concept is simpler than the actual writing part: We were given a picture as a prompt, and then had an hour to write a story together. Here's what we came up with (completely unedited): the first mermaid story either of us have ever written.
Like every day, he was sitting on the pier, his legs crossed, his eyes closed. The waves were crushing against the wooden poles below, and with every wave he could feel the vibrations of the sea. This was the closest he could get to being on a boat. Pathetic, he knew that. The sea called to him, but he couldn't answer the call. Not really. He would sit on the pier, every day, breathing in the moist salty air, imagining that he was sailing across the ocean.
He watched as the wavescrashed against the rocks. The sea held a million mysteries, like the way it could be so rough against the stone steps up to the lighthouse and yet so still not two meters away. He could only imagine what mysteries were held beneath its cloudy surface. A thousand years sailing those oceans and he'd never understand it's secrets and yet here he was completely incapable of exploring even what was in his eyes' sight.
It had all supposed to be so different. The sea was in his blood. He was born on a ship, if you could believe that. His mother gave birth to him in a tiny cabin on a smelly, noisy container ship. It wasn't planned that way, of course, but it happened, and she named him Triton, the messenger of the seas. At first, he'd managed to live up to his name. As a young boy, he learned to sail, and spent most afternoons on the water. When he was older, he joined the navy. But then it all changed. How one second could change an entire life...
Storyteller. Tea drinker. Bunny cuddler. Highland walker. Scottish by choice.