FREE ANTHOLOGY OF SHORT STORIES

I haven’t done a lot of blogging lately, been burying my head in a book promotion course in an attempt to prepare to self-publish my YA series, now that my publishers have gone out of business. So I decided to experiment with Glimmer and other stories. I re-edited my collection of short stories and changed the cover. Then I targeted Amazon’s key word section, looked at a few successful short story anthologies, and got some ideas to describe my work. After changing the sub categories in Kindle, I sold some books and gained an excellent ranking in two new sub categories. All part of my drive to become better at marketing my books. I hope it works.

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To celebrate the slightly altered Glimmer and other stories, it will be FREE to download on Amazon Kindle from 16th-20th April 2015. If you do decide to take advantage of this offer, there is another FREE story for you to download as my way of saying thank you.

A brief description and 5* review snippets to help you make up your mind:

From metaphysical speculation to sophisticated eroticism, these beautifully crafted tales explore human nature in all its diversity. Sometimes disturbing, sometimes inspirational, they all have a metaphorical richness that will take you into an uncanny world that straggles the line between the real and the imagined.

“Glimmer and other stories is a miniature treasure chest of jewels. I absolutely loved these short stories….they were mesmerising, masterful, original, eloquent, lyrical, clever.” Review by Lesley Hayes

“Ms. McDonagh has created a world that is like an out-of-body experience almost. The stories took me out of my confined world and took me into science fiction, a little horror, drama, and wonder.” Review by Oscar William Case

Don’t forget that Glimmer will go back to it’s normal price after 20th April, so please do take advantage of this limited offer.

Amazon links where you can download my FREE book:

 http://www.amazon.co.uk/Glimmer-Nicola-McDonagh-ebook/dp/B00H89AN1M/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?

 http://www.amazon.com/Glimmer-other-stories-metaphysical-supernatural-ebook/dp/B00H89AN1M

 

 You can follow me on :

Twitter:                      @McDonaghNikki

Facebook:                   https://www.facebook.com/nicolamcdonaghauthor?ref=hl

Website:                     http://www.nicolamcdonagh.com/

Ventures into self-publishing

I decided to self-publish a collection of my short stories recently. Although I am already published with an independent publisher, I wanted to try my hand at being in control of my work regarding publicity and marketing. I spend a lot of time promoting my novel Echoes from the Lost Ones, so didn’t think it would be too much of a disruption to add another book to that time spent online. Wrong!

I spent days finding out about copyright laws on works of art because I wanted to use an image by the artist Henri Rousseau for the front cover. I was going to call my collection Rousseau’s Suburban Garden, after a story in the anthology. Thanks to the help and advice from fellow writers I discovered that it was highly likely that I would have to pay to use the image. I decided to call the collection something else and use one of my own photographs instead. A graphic designer friend, Simon, took the image and designed the cover. Thank you Simon!

Martin, my husband, very kindly formatted the text for me and I am now at the stage where I will be ready to publish with CreateSpace on Amazon. I’ve never done this before, so I’m a little nervous and excited.

The anthology is now called Glimmer, named after the first story in the collection. I chose it because I like the ambiguity of the title and because it is an award winning short. Anyway, here is the almost final cover design. Hope you like it.

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Here’s to my first venture into self-publishing!

If anyone out there has any tips on how to market short story collections, I would love to hear from you.

Thanks.

Self-publishing – Help!

I have decided to self-publish some of my short stories. I’ve never self-published before, so am somewhat apprehensive about doing it. I made the decision after being published by a small independent company. I realised that I am doing the bulk of all the marketing and publicity, so I thought I’d try to publish on my own.  My book is selling very slowly, but I’m a debut author so it’s to be expected.

Any advice from self-published authors out there, would be very welcome. I plan to release an ebook first, and see how it goes before stepping into the paperback minefield!!

Any way, I have posted an excerpt from a new short story that I might include in the anthology. If anyone would be kind enough to give feedback, I would be very grateful. If you would like to read the entire story, go to Wattpad: http://www.wattpad.com/29186761-the-grooves-that-her-feet-made

The Grooves That Her Feet made

They were her mother’s shoes. Black stilettos with a tapering toe that ended in a sharp point. To Maggie, they looked more like a weapon than footwear. She recalled the day her father brought them home. He smelled of lager and cigarettes and she’d moved her head away from his damp kiss. Mr Harris laughed, ruffled his daughter’s hair, turned to his wife and grabbed her by the arm. ‘Put on your best dress Suzie. You’re going to go out to dinner with the new, “Overseas Manager of Distribution”. And don’t worry about what shoes to wear, I got you these,’ he said and handed over the shoes. ‘I’ve asked Carol Pickton from next door to look after Maggie.’

Maggie was nine years old and couldn’t understand why she had to stay at home. She clenched her fists and howled. Her mother wiped away her daughter’s tantrum tears and promised a family trip to the zoo.

It didn’t happen.

Mr Harris went to work in America for a six-month trial period, and never came back. The shoes were wrapped in tissue paper, put in a box and pushed to the back of the storage closet under the stairs. ‘Don’t touch them, do you hear me? They stay in there forever.’ Maggie gulped at her mother’s words, nodded her head and thought of nothing else. Every time she walked past the cupboard, she felt the urge to put them on.

When she was thirteen, Maggie crept downstairs, opened the closet, took out the shoes and pushed her feet into them. A hand gripped her shoulder and a voice full of hate raged into her ear. ‘Take them off. Right now. As long as I’m alive, those things are out of bounds.’

And so they were. Maggie grew up, got married, left home, got divorced, moved back, tended her dying mother, and never once touched ‘Those things.’ She didn’t even wear them to the funeral, out of respect to her dead mother’s wishes. But as soon as the service was over, and the stragglers gone, Maggie went to the cupboard and took out the forbidden footwear.

She opened the box, peeled away the tissue paper and dusted off the stilettos. She held them up against the hallway window and watched as the light caught the polished leather. The shoes gleamed like a black panther basking in the African sun and Maggie let out a sigh. She placed the stilettos before her twitching feet and raised her right foot, ready to slip them on. But she couldn’t. Her mother’s words repeated inside her head and Maggie jumped back as though the things were about to strike.

Maggie stared at the shoes for a moment, waiting for them to move. When they didn’t, she wrapped them up again, put them in the box and shoved them to the back of the hall cupboard.

Time went slowly for Maggie and each day alone left her tired and irritable. A hole inside her chest grew and she yearned for male companionship.

Months were dedicated to on-line dating agencies all promising to find the right man and all failing to do so. At one of her lowest moments she even went out with Mathew Pickton. It lasted a couple of months before fizzling out. They’d grown up together and she considered him, ‘More of a brother than a potential mate. You understand, don’t you Mathew?’

Mathew didn’t answer. He glugged back the glass of wine, threw forty pounds onto the table and walked out of the restaurant. The next day, Maggie posted a note through his door that said, ‘No hard feelings? Still friends?’ She received a bunch of white roses in way of a response.

Maggie came across Daniel, quite by chance, on a chat room for fans of all things leather. They exchanged emails for three months before she plucked up the courage to suggest they meet. The day arrived and Maggie knew that it was time for the stilettos to be brought out of hibernation.

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The Kindness of Strangers

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Since I’ve been actively looking for reviews of my book Echoes from the Lost Ones, I have been taken aback at just how nice my fellow authors are. I have met some truly generous people over the Internet and hopefully, found some genuine friends amongst the jumble of Facebook Likes and Twitter followers. I am not a natural blogger or Twitterer, and I find posting things about myself, and even my book, painful on occasions. So when I took the leap to actively participate in getting an online presence, I was scared and not at all keen.

Now, I ‘ve almost changed my mind, or rather, had my mind changed by the warmth and support of other writers. So, all I want to say is a big thanks to all the authors, bloggers and writers that I have met through the ether.

I hope I continue to find new friends and comrades.

I’m going to try and do some author spotlights/interviews too. If you would like to sign up for that, I would love it!

If anyone wants to exchange books for an honest review, then I’d be happy to do so. Please feel free to get in touch:

Facebook:       https://www.facebook.com/thesongofforgetfulness?ref=hl

Email:               nikki@thesongofforgetfulness.com

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When do you publish the next book in a series?

I think what I’m about to say will be familiar to a lot of authors.

My debut novel ‘Echoes from the Lost Ones’ was published in June of this year.

http://www.amazon.com/Echoes-Lost-Ones-Forgetfulness-Volume/dp/1939897041/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

Sales are slow. But that is to be expected I guess. I’m not really concerned about that. I’m more worried that I have botched my attempts at getting that all-important author profile going, despite working really hard to put myself on the on-line media world stage, and doing readings and workshops.

Previously to being published, I wasn’t on Facebook or Twitter, or any sites that promote authors. I have come to realise that I should have been much more active on the social media platform and may have left it too late.

My publishers are leaving all of the marketing to me. AHH! I am useless at self-promotion. I’ve tried ‘giveaways’, paid promotion on relevant sites, guest hosting on Facebook events and getting author spotlights. I have noticed that sales went up a tiny bit after I spent a small amount to advertise Echoes on Kindle boards, but sales slumped soon after.  So, the question remains, how do I get folk to notice me and buy the book? I have received some excellent reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, but to what end? Now, I’m all a bit ‘harrumph’ and out of ideas.

So, I was wondering if having the next book in the series come out sooner rather than later, would be a good thing? Would readers be more willing to buy a book when they know that they wouldn’t have to wait to read the next instalment?

Does anyone have any advice? I would appreciate it.

On a different note: is it just me, or do grasshoppers look exactly like Alien?

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