Authors – Free Promotion and Twitter Marketing Guide

Greetings fellow authors.

This is a quick post to share some interesting FREE Book promotion and tips for marketing on Twitter.

Now, I’m not at all savvy when it comes to Twitter. In fact, I don’t have a clue how to use it properly. So, I was quite delighted when I received this email from HubSpot in association with SocialBro, earlier today, offering a FREE guide on how to use Twitter to your advantage.

HubSpot –  “Is an inbound marketing software platform that helps companies attract visitors, converts leads, and close customers.”

SocialBro – “Everything you need to optimise your Twitter strategy.” http://www.socialbro.com/

The Email from HubSpot:

“How do you construct your Tweets? Do you know if you should put the URL at the beginning, middle or end? How many characters does your #hashtag need to get engagement? Is it true what they say about images in Tweets?

HubSpot and SocialBro analysed data from over 200,000 business Tweets to uncover the science behind what makes a successful Tweet for brand building, lead generation, engagement and retention. Download our guide to find out how you can get the most out of every Tweet you send!


<< Get your copy here >> ”

I’ve just downloaded it and will be perusing it avidly as I just happen to have a FREE promotion coming up of my Dystopian/Sci-fi novelette. Part of The Song of Forgetfulness Series:

Changeling Fog will be FREE to download from Amazon on 28th-29th January!!

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US:  http://amzn.to/1ZJAVL5

UK:  http://amzn.to/1PnNPn1

The next exciting FREE thing is for the chance to get some premium newsletter features to promote your books for FREE on BookHearts.com

All you have to do is click below and enter for your chance to win.

http://bookhearts.com/giveaways/win-free-promo-spots-on-bookhearts-com/?lucky=128

I hope this information has been helpful.

Take care.

Oh, and please, could you download my book? It’s FREE.

UK:  http://amzn.to/1PnNPn1

US:   http://amzn.to/1ZJAVL5

 

Tips and sites to promote your FREE book to gain marketing success.

Like many authors, I am always on the look out for great ways to promote and sell my books. I’m still trying out some marketing ideas I have learned via the expertise of Nick Stephenson, who has a Free video on how to capture and keep potential readershttp://www.yourfirst10kreaders.com 

The inspirational Joanna Penn, has some very practical advice for the struggling self-published author. http://TheCreativePenn.com

Both authors are brilliant at promotion and passing their knowledge on to fellow writers. Being somewhat rubbish at self-promotion I am happy to attempt to implement their proven strategies for success.

Therefore, I am utilising one of their action plans to gain subscribers and a readers list, by making Whisper Gatherers – book 1 in The Song of Forgetfulness series, FREE to download from Amazon for two days – 8th and 9th October:

 http://http://bookShow.me/B00YMSP1UA

whisperers_bigtype_front

The struggle to survive just got harder.

 In a land disfigured by famine and disease, fear spreads throughout the scattered population of NotSoGreatBritAlbian when the Agro Empire cuts food supplies and kidnaps special children – The Meeks.

But there is hope.

Adara, with her secret power.

 I’m Adara. I’ve got six fingers on each hand, and a secret I cannot share.

There is a rustling in the wind. Lights beyond the boundary fence.

A sign of Agro threat.

A murmur haunts Cityplace.

Something is coming.

whisperers_bigtype_front

Both Nick and Joanna suggest making one of your books, if you have a series, or just more than one book for sale, perma-free to attract readers so that they will buy into the rest of your books.

Seems logical to me, and yet…

Free! Permanently?

This scares me.

So I have decided to ease myself into the concept of having one of my books forever free by doing a KDP promotion for a couple of days to see if I get people to subscribe to my reader list and eventually pay for the other books in the series.

To advertise my promotion, I have used some paid and free sites.

Paid:

Fiverr  https://uk.fiverr.com/ and a particular promoter – bknights. A lot of fellow authors recommended this particular promoter as they have had excellent results from him. Thousands of downloads in fact. We’ll see how it goes.

eBookSoda http://www.ebooksoda.com/authors/  “eBookSoda is a great way to promote your ebook. Our readers tell us what they like, which allows us to match books to readers, sending details of your ebook straight to their inbox.

kboards http://www.kboards.com/ads/ another great place for authors to promote and readers to find bargain and free books. I have done well promoting on this site

Free:

There are dozens and dozens of sites where you can promote your free book without paying. I have listed a few. Some I have used, some I’m trying out.

World Literary Cafe is a site dedicated to the promotion of Indie authors, and boasts a huge following of avid readers. It has a variety of promotional packages, both paid and free. You can list your free books without charge and reach thousands of potential readers.  http://worldliterarycafe.com/

Reading Deals http://ReadingDeals.com

eBookLister:  http://www.eBookLister.net

IDP Promos:  http://indiebookoftheday.com/authors/free-on-kindle-listing/

Blog posts. A chance to get the attention of another similar genre author’s readership. Always remember to reciprocate.

I am being featured on the wonderful Fantasy Author Autumn M. Birt’s blog: http://www.nomapnomad.com/ww/blog/

Her novel Born of Water: Elemental Magic & Epic Fantasy Adventure (The Rise of the Fifth Order Book 1) is perma-free. You can download it here: http://bookShow.me/B00XGC7ZP2

This time around I have utilised a device called KDRoi, an easy to use Chrome extension that automatically adds your Free book promotion to a dozen or so sites that promote Free books. A very useful tool that takes away hours of filling in forms. You have to pay for it, but if you plan on doing Free offers on  a regular basis, then it is well worth it

You can see how it works here: http://www.kdroi.com/v1/

So don’t forget – Whisper Gatherers is FREE to download 8th and 9th October:

http://http://bookShow.me/B00YMSP1UA

Still not sure?

Then maybe some reviews will help to make up your mind:

“If you like action, and science fiction then you’ll appreciate one of the first books EVER that gives you high powered adrenalin with chilling revelations of utter suspense ! This book is amazing to read and you will not want to put it down!”

“The author does a great job of drawing you in with her futuristic descriptions, at times it felt like I was watching a movie, that’s how enthralled I was with the book.”

“The central character has a convincing mixture of wilfulness and self-deprecation, and the imagined world is sufficiently complex to provoke thought and wonder. Nice to know that there are further episodes to pursue. A good read.”

“There’s danger, humour, pathos, and lots of fast-paced action that makes this book a very exciting read.”

You can purchase all three books in The Song of Forgetfulness series here:

http://amzn.to/1TlwaBP

author banner for FB event

Sign up for my readers list and you can get an exclusive Song of Forgetfulness short story FREE!

To receive your FREE short story ‘Changeling Fog’ just click on this link: http://eepurl.com/buH8qH

I’ll let you all know how I get on with this particular promotion.

Thanks for reading.

You can find out more about The Song of Forgetfulness Here:

http://www.thesongofforgetfulness.com/

Five FREE Tools To Help Self-Published Authors Succeed.

It is hard being an author, whether self-published or traditionally, getting your manuscript/book looking good, free of grammatical/typo errors and noticed when it is published, is very difficult. So the more tools at your disposal that can help you do that is surely a good thing.

I have recently discovered a few neat little devices that can help to make those jobs easier.

1: Scrivener – The first and truly brilliant, especially if you are considering self-publishing, is this word processing and book formatting tool – You can download it for a Free trial to see if it is for you.

Don’t take my word for it, though – the self-publishing legend that is Joanna Penn (you can learn more about Joanna and her books to help self-published authors here:http://www.thecreativepenn.com/) has a blog about the value of using Scrivener. http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2012/02/04/scrivener/

scrivener

I’m sure most of you have heard about it, but until I actually used it, I didn’t realise how fabulous it actually is. Not just for formatting – which it is brilliant for – but for lots of other useful writing implements that help to make your manuscript the best it can be. You can store valuable research, photographs and lots more that can aid you with the planning and plotting of your writing project. Don’t forget that Scrivener allows you to format not only fiction manuscripts but non-fiction, screenplays and well, you’ll have to see for yourself just how useful it is.

http://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.php

2: Grammarly – On a similar note, Grammarly, is a free spelling and grammar checker that goes beyond the capabilities of your word processor. It also helps you to choose the right word by showing ‘context-optimised synonym suggestions’ and asking you if it is the correct word to use in context with the sentence. It also claims to, ‘Grammarly corrects over 250 grammatical mistakes while also catching contextual spelling errors and poor vocabulary usage. Works wherever you write online. Grammarly helps you write mistake-free in Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and nearly anywhere else you write on the Web.’

grammarly

Great stuff really. I use it regularly and find it very useful. It is totally Free. Of course you can subscribe to a paid version, but for me, the free version is all I need.

https://app.grammarly.com/

3: Canva – Creating your ebook cover can be a nightmare. You can pay for someone to do it for you, or you can try to design it yourself. This is what I chose to do with the help of my husband who understands how to use Photoshop. Photoshop is expensive and difficult to use if you are not familiar with the programme. I recently discovered a website – Canva – that offers Free design templates and many free stock images for you to choose from to design and format your ebook cover. I have a very poor quality screen shot of a couple of ideas I had for my middle-grade action adventure book, currently titled: Vengeance of the Mummy Thief. The cover in the middle is one of their stock templates.

Canva

Some of the better images you will have to pay for, but at $1 a time, it is very affordable. You can also download your own images and use their photo editor to create great-looking designs. Even if you only use it as an example, or to try out ideas, it can be done quickly and easily. It is very simple to use and has many other useful features, such as basic photo editing, Twitter, blog page, Facebook heading designs and much more. Well worth a go in my opinion.

https://www.canva.com/

4: Bookshow.me – One little tool that I find  really useful is the URL shortening device that sends customers to your selling page for any country. So that if for example, I live in France and click on the link, It will go to the Amazon page for France and not America or the UK so that I can buy a book directly from my own country.  All you have to do is go to http://bookshow.me/ type in the URL for your book, click the button and you get a shortened URL that will direct any buyer to the right page for their particular country.

bookshow.me

http://bookshow.me/

5: Yasiv – Lastly, something that I found very useful when deciding on Keywords to use for my books when uploading them onto Amazon.  Apologies for another poor quality screen shot here.

Yasiv

This neat little free device helps authors discover categories that do well in their niche. Also works with anything that is for sale on Amazon. You can find out the keywords successful authors use. It doesn’t tell you what the keywords are as such, you have to type in words as I did for my book Whisper Gatherers: YA Dystopian Action Adventure, and up came one hundred and twenty-nine books in that category. Meaning, it is fairly popular, but not so popular that my book will get lost. Then I typed in: Sci-Fi Action Adventure Series. Only seven came up. Clearly that is not a popular category, therefore, I won’t use it in my keywords. Therefore, it is quite useful in helping to decide what keywords to use when listing them on Amazon.

http://www.yasiv.com/

There is a more in-depth keyword tool that isn’t free called Kindlespyhttp://www.kdspy.com/

This shows you lots of stats for the books in your chosen category in one click, thus saving you a lot of time and energy. You can then go to these books and look at word bubbles that show the keywords that are used to sell them, oh, and it does more, a lot more, go take a look.

I hope some of these suggestions will be of use to you in your writing ventures. If you know of any others, I would be glad to hear from you and so would many other authors too.

You can learn more about my YA Sci-Fi Action Adventure Dystopian series – The Song of Forgetfulness – here: http://thesongofforgetfulness.com

Free Short Story Anyone?

It is nearly the weekend and I thought that I would see if anyone out there would like to have a short story from my Sci-Fi/Dystopian/Action Adventure series – The Song of Forgetfulness – to read for FREE!!!!

It is called Changeling Fog

Fogforblog

I’m going to put it up on Amazon and other sales platforms in the next couple of days for $0.99 and £0.99. So this is a chance to get it for FREE!!! 

All you have to do is either go to my website: http://www.thesongofforgetfulness.com/ and click on the ‘here’ button under the headline ‘FREE DOWNLOAD’.

Or you can buy a copy of Whisper Gatherers: http://bookShow.me/B00YMSP1UA and click on the link on the Free Download page. I know, cheeky of me eh? It is a good book, but don’t take my word for it. Here is part of a recent Amazon review:

“If you like action, and science fiction then you’ll appreciate one of the first books EVER that gives you high powered adrenalin with chilling revelations of utter suspense! This book is amazing to read and you will not want to put it down!”

WhisperS8front cover only

Still not sure?

Well, why not read this extract from Changeling Fog and decide for yourself.

Changeling Fog

The air became more natural the further away I sneaked from Puritytowers. My nostrils twitched as smells of rot replaced the artificial floral scents that were perpetually pumped around Cityplace. Despite my tum flip-flopping with nerves, I continued on towards the outskirts of my home. A part of me wanted to venture further, out beyond the perimeter fence and into the Wilderness where Carnies and Praisebees wandered. Where Woodsfolk dwelt deep inside the forest, and the elusive Ladies had their hidden dwellings. But, I would not dare go to a place so wild and fraught with danger. Wolfies also abided there. Nope, my trip to this forbidden outer-city location was adventure enough.

The light changed too. From a glaring radiance to a sinister, gloomy glow. Now, I was used to brightness everywhere, both inside, from the many round lanterns recessed in the walls and ceilings of our abodes, to the always switched on street lamps and towering info boards that lit up the sky so much, that we never really saw the moon and stars, unless we dared to wander away from the security of Cityplace Central. Like I was doing now. I peered ahead and saw the dark enclosure I needed to get to.

As I walked towards it, the gas tubes that were stuck in the ground to illuminate the path to the perimeter fence, dwindled until there were no more. I was left with nowt but the setting sun to guide me on. The ground changed from a smooth and even stone walkway to a cracked and gravelly trail devoid of any familiar landmark buildings. All became a bleak and empty area I did not want to be in.

To rid myself of the feel of lonely, I turned my head and gazed at the dazzling concrete structures of Centralplaza in the distance. How small it appeared to be. It looked like a vid I’d seen in history class. Teach had shown us a reconstruction drama of when NotSoGreatBritAlbion was not mostly under water, and was populated with many more folk than it is now. When trees grew in cities and animals still lived in the wild, and in people’s homes as playthings and companions. When birdies landed on the ground and let folk feed them without the fear that they would be snatched and gobbled up; since they are now the only animal-type thing left in this sorry land. Except for Wolfies, but they don’t count, they are too ferocious and mean to be caught. Poor birdybirds, doomed to live in the tops of trees and in constant fear of being ate. Just as well no one knows about my gift. Although I am not so good at calling the birdies down as yet, I am getting better, and one day soon, I will be able to sing and make the birdies come to me.

There were lots of birdybirds in the classroom vid. Pigons I think they were called. They were everywhere, plopping and flapping and making a “Hoohoo-hoohoo,” sound. But that was not the main thrust of this playacting vid. This drama was about some kind of ceremony thingy, a coronation, or something. It showed a fem sitting inside a strange wooden box that was perched on big wheels being pulled by massive horsles all dressed up with ribbons and feather plumes. She wore twinkly clothes and a tiara, and was sitting next to a manlyman, her hub, and both were waving to more folk than I could ever imagine even existing in all of this puny land, never mind just in the place called Lundon.

Teach said she was the Queen of Hingland and ruled the land until she was one hundred and twelve years old. Then her grandbub took over, and apparently, things started getting worse. Now, I’m not saying that this new and last king was to blame for the plagues, famine and diseases that began to sweep the nation and beyond, but like I said, it began when he took over.

Still all that was so long ago, who can say what is fact or fiction.

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Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Have a lovely weekend!

The problems with Prequels and short story writing

I have taken a break from novel writing. I wrote a prequel to my YA Dystopian/Sci-fi/Action Adventure series – The Song of Forgetfulness – a few months ago, and to be honest, it was more difficult than writing the first two.

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Why?

Well, because I needed to explain some of the backstory whilst avoiding having my heroine, Adara, know more than she does in the prequel than in the following books. It was quite gruelling. I changed it so many times that I became confused as to what version was the correct one.

Then I did a silly thing.

I uploaded the un-edited version onto Createspace and KDP. It wasn’t until I got the Proof paperback copy that I realised my mistake. Thankfully, I hadn’t started promoting it and only sold a few copies.

Note to self – don’t do this again!

Anyway, as I said, I decided to go back to short story writing and began working on Crow Bones, the title story in my next anthology. To my surprise, it was even more difficult to write than the prequel Whisper Gatherers, which is over 60,000 words. This story is a mere 9,000.

WhisperS8front cover only

Sylvia Plath once said that a writer needs to be, ‘An expert packer of suitcases.’ She was right. Choosing the right words to tell a story, especially a short one, is crucial and difficult. I’d been allowing myself the luxury of going with the story and letting it wander this way and that. A bit like I tend to do when writing a novel where I allow myself to be generous with words in the first few drafts.

I admit I was struggling with Crow Bones because I didn’t really know what it was about. I was putting words down and making interesting descriptions, blah, blah, blah, but saying nothing. So I looked at my story and asked myself, ‘What is it about?’ When I answered the question, the words changed. The story changed. The genre changed. It is now Sci-fi. I got rid of unnecessary characters, over complicated plot twists, and concentrated on my theme – guilt and grief – and the new story came alive, as did the dialogue and characterisation. Finally, after months of struggling with it (It took only six weeks to write the novel) I have arrived at a version I am happy with. I think.

Here is the beginning of Crow Bones:

crowboneskitesml

The window is dirty. Blotches of grey obscure the decaying houses and unmended pathways before me. I’ll not clean it. I prefer not to watch as bit-by-bit my community perishes. I turn my eyes upwards, away from the sad scene outside.

Squinting, I observe the pale yellow sun hanging alone in the cloudless sky. Poor thing, its fire has weakened so. Causing our once lush land to succumb to frost and stone-hard earth. Now we drape thick coats around ourselves, even in summer.

The spots of grime on the pane look like tiny birds halted in mid air, by what? The knowledge that their existence is almost up, like the rest of us. Not yet, though. Stargazers say we have many more years before that fading star expires. So why do I feel as if that time has already come?

Because we are dwindling and can no longer repair our lodgings or roads. We have lost the spark to continue and thrive. The barley blight was tough on our community. My mumum and dadad, and many other of the older generation succumbed to the lung clogging disease. We became weakened by it, dying out like most of the other creatures in this shrivelling planet. Yet we adhere to the one-child rule. That was our shame, our guilt, and our crime, to allow two to germinate inside my womb.

I listen to my babe softly breathing and watch a piece of wall from my parent’s house opposite, crumble and fall, leaving a small hole like a puncture wound.

I hope you enjoyed reading the extract.

If you would like to know more about The Song of Forgetfulness, or my short stories, here are some links:

Book series site: http://www.thesongofforgetfulness.com/

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

National Short Story Week on Kindle – Amazon

It is National Short Story Week on Amazon Kindle. So, to celebrate this wonderful event, I have reduced my anthology of short stories to $0.99 and £0.77 (or the equivalent in other Amazon territories)

 Glimmer_Cover_for_Kindle

Glimmer and other stories is a collection of seven compelling and darkly humorous stories that deal with obsession, loss, redemption and hope.

In these tales of mysterious liaisons, supernatural intrigue, deathly hauntings and disturbing fixations, characters reveal hidden secrets, forbidden urges, untold yearnings and skills in necromancy.

Also, I thought you might like to read the beginning of one of my  unpublished stories that will be included in a second anthology – all based on paintings from Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso and Edvard Munch.

The Shivering Oak was inspired by Chagall’s painting called Autumn in the Village

 marc-chagall-autumn-in-the-village

 

Coward.

To hide up a tree like a rat.

I am not concealed.

I am here for all to see. Lounging larger than the roof I recline upon. Or so it seems to me from my high vantage point.

Weakling.

You are not invisible. I know where you are, and I can wait.

I shall not grow tired or hungry. I am nourished by the warm May winds that tickle my flesh and brush against my lips, which are red. I painted them the colour of blood. But, now that I glance at my reflection in the darkened window of the house opposite, I think they resemble the hue of the roses on my dress. Or perhaps they are nearer the shade of the berries on the holly bush that grows below your dangling feet.

Perhaps I should let Genghis off his leash?

No, I will wait and watch you struggle to maintain your position whilst gripping onto your fiddle. The same violin you used to seduce me at last years Christmas concert, even before we officially met.

The village hall was crammed. I was forced to stand at the back and peer over the shoulders of the tall men. I didn’t mind though. It was good to be in the hub of things after so many years cooped up with Dad. The lights came up and I saw you standing stage right next to the accordion player. You were staring at the ceiling, instrument tucked under your arm. When it was your turn to play, you seemed to be switched on by an invisible flick. How you came to life. I may have drooled when your fingers slid right to the top of the neck of the violin. The shrill, and lilting notes you played made my backbone dance involuntarily and I almost fell.

I wonder when you will fall. Because, fall you will.

The tree is shaking. You are loosing your footing. I hear the crack of branches snapping. This young oak cannot hold your weight. Not that you are heavy. You are not. I should know, I picked you up as though you where a cloud that time Genghis ran into your backside. The crunch your bone nose made when it met the pavement outside the village bakery resounded all the way to the church. Father Laurence made a rare visit to the outside world to see what the commotion was all about. Laura, your sister, Howard, the police constable, and several other members of the village parish council, made a ring around your fallen self and all, except for me, tutted and shook their heads. Father Laurence mumbled, “Ah, Peter, Peter, drunk again and so early in the morning?”

You gargled a bit then tried to stand, but fell again emitting another squelching sound, this time of gristle. I, all heroine-like, fluttered down to your level and offered my clean handkerchief. You took it in your left hand and held out your right for me to take. I did and felt the softness of your palm, a stark contrast to the thick-skinned roughness of your fingertips. I pulled you up as though you had no weight. You blinked and stared into my eyes and gave a little smile. I flushed at such an intense stare, then you snotted out some blood and my mood changed somewhat.

“Yeah, thanks. I don’t know what happened. I felt a thud and there I was flat out sniffing up dirt,” you said and tried to push the soiled kerchief back into my hand.

“No, no, you keep it.”

 “Sure?”

“Positively.”

“Well, thanks again.”

“Come on Peter, you are making a fool of yourself,” Laura said.

“How? I fell over, so what?” you said, your voice becoming shrill.

The gathered people began to murmur and look at each other as if to say, “He is always getting into trouble. Typical musician, they’re all bad.” I gave them a nasty look, and when Genghis tugged on his lead they shuffled away; remembering the devastation he caused the last time he broke free.

To get your copy of Glimmer and other stories, please go to these Links:

http://www.amazon.com/Glimmer-Nicola-McDonagh-ebook/dp/B00H89AN1M/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1408436081&sr=1-2&keywords=glimmer+and+other+stories

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

Glimmer – Published

Image

I see a macrocosm made up of swirling silhouettes and geometric shapes that aren’t strange to me at all. This is where I live now, in x-ray blackness.

So, my self-published short story collection entitled Glimmer, has just been published on Amazon in Kinlde format.

The paperback will be appearing shortly!

It’s all a bit scary.

http://www.amazon.com/Glimmer-Nicola-McDonagh-ebook/dp/B00H89AN1M/ref=sr_1_5?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1386764781&sr=1-5&keywords=glimmer