Club Aegis – A Progress Report

With the recent publication of Winter’s Fire, I thought I’d take this opportunity to let everyone know how the next book in the series, No Going Back, is… er, going!

Word count is currently almost 53k. At this stage, I can’t be sure what the finished count will be, but my current estimate is between 80k and 90k, so much in keeping with the main body of Club Aegis stories. The epilogue is already written, due to the nature of how I write, which tends to be in chunks that may or may not be consecutive. The epilogue ends with a hook into another story in the series.

And therein lies my dilemma—another series book is calling to me to write it after No Going Back. I’ve already introduced the main male character in Winter’s Fire, with the main female character earning a mention in No Going Back—depending on how the story unfolds, she may or may not put in an appearance.

So my question is, do I start the book that’s talking to me next, or the one the epilogue of No Going Back will be pointing to? I want to give you the best reading experience I can, and I don’t want to short-change you by writing a book I’m not yet ready to write, when there’s another in the same series that’s desperate to make itself known to me.

Perhaps this will change by the time No Going Back is done, but it’s very much up in the air at present. However it turns out, please bear with me, because the stories will be written—just not necessarily in the most obvious order!

Paperbacks, Book Covers and Next In Series

2018 is fast approaching, so I thought I’d just post a little note to wish you all a very Happy New Year, and to let you know about my plans for the Club Aegis series during the coming year.

The first thing is, I’ve recently retired the paperback versions of the series. This is because my cover artist, the amazingly talented Syneca Featherstone, will be redesigning all the series covers to date to match the style of Winter’s Fire. The changes have come about due to various advertising policies, which frown on nudity, even of the male variety. So it’s goodbye to all those impressive naked male chests, and hello to a new look.

The new paperback covers will also be reflected on the ebooks, and once the new covers are up, I shall be asking Amazon to push the new versions out to existing readers. Hopefully, Amazon will cooperate.

Which leads me to the final item – the next in series. Club Aegis #6 is called No Going Back, and it’s Sir Guy’s story. Sir Guy Somerton was never meant to be a prominent figure in the series. When I first dreamed him up as a minor supporting character, he was going to be Ros’ uncle, and that was it. However, as stories developed, so did Sir Guy, evolving into a former Army officer in charge of the elite unit for which Ros worked, and still a man of action in his fifties.

When I wrote the first book in the series, The Velvet Ribbon, I had no idea it would even lead to a series. And I never imagined one of my heroes would be a bearded silver fox!

So, plans for 2018. I don’t write full-time, much though I would like to, so my writing schedule is subject to the vagaries of the day job. Unless something happens to affect my plans, I’m hoping to get No Going Back published during 2018, and if that goes well, I’d also like to get book #7 out as well. I don’t have a title for that one yet, so I’m hoping inspiration will strike soon.

That’s about it for now. Big Ben is striking midnight, so Happy New Year, and I hope it’s a good one for you.

Merry Christmas

It’s the early hours of Christmas Day, but before I head for bed after a late night, I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and a happy and healthy 2018.

Have a wonderful festive season with your families and friends!

I used to be indecisive…

…Now I’m not so sure.

I know, it’s an old joke, but it’s about the right standard for my sense of humour.

So, if dithering were an Olympic event, I’d win gold every time.

You may be aware I’ve just published my first (and last) book for the year, and I’ve been trying to work out what to do for the best regarding where I sell it. Since January, all my other books have been exclusive to Amazon.

While sales and page reads haven’t been amazing (I’m not well-known, and my relationship with marketing/promo is a whole other issue), what I have seen with the latter is what I assume to be someone discovering the first book in the Club Aegis series, then going on to binge-read the rest of the series. It’s either that, or multiple readers have timed reading the series in order with awe-inspiring precision.

Page reads are how authors in Kindle Unlimited (KU) are paid, and the funds come from subscribers, who can access books at no additional cost as part of their Amazon Prime subscription. It may be that that’s the only way they can afford to read, and the thing is, there may be readers out there who’ve read the series so far, but who won’t be able to access Winter’s Fire because it’s not part of KU, and to my mind, that’s not fair.

So, I’ve made the decision to delist Winter’s Fire from Apple, so that on Christmas Day, when the enrolment of my other books in KU ends, I can re-enrol all five books in the series simultaneously. Until then, the price of Winter’s Fire will remain at 99c/99p, but it will be going up to $3.99/£2.99 when it goes into KU, in line with the other books of similar length in the series.

So, I apologise to any readers who haven’t been able to purchase the book through Apple. For now, though, if you install the Kindle app on your iPad/iPhone, you can still read my books, and if you also happen to be an Amazon Prime subscriber, you can read them at no further cost.

At present, being exclusive to Amazon appears to be the best option for where I am in my writing career, but if all goes well, that may well change in the future. Thank you for understanding.

Thinking out loud…

Or in the public view should, I guess, be a more accurate way of describing this post.

Back in November, I wrote a post about the decision I was trying to make about going wide with my next book, or making it exclusive to Amazon. My conclusion at that point was that I was going to go wide with Winter’s Fire (Club Aegis #5).

Winter’s Fire goes live on Tuesday 19 December 2017, and it will be on two sites only – Amazon and Apple. You can pre-order it there for 99c / 99p until release day. I guess I’ve fallen somewhere between Amazon exclusive and wide.

Time’s gone by, and I’ve read posts and articles here and there, written by authors far more successful than me, and once again, I’m on the fence. Another consideration I have is that I’m getting the series book covers updated – Winter’s Fire is the first to have the new format. That being the case, it’s almost like a complete new start for the series, and adding that into the mix has got me considering the question of distribution again.

I need to get my author name and brand out there. If people can access the books of an author who’s new to them for free via the Kindle Unlimited (KU) programme, that surely has to be a good option.

So, while my new book will be available on Apple on release day, it won’t be there for long. My current books are in KU until Christmas Day, when I’ll renew them for another 90 days. At that point, depending on how sales through Apple have gone, I’ll make the decision about removing it from Apple and putting it in KU. At the moment, I’m leaning towards doing that.

Winter’s Fire (Club Aegis #5) – now available for pre-order

FINALLY – I’m happy to announce that Winter’s Fire, the fifth book in the Club Aegis series, is now available for pre-order.

At present, it’s on Amazon and Apple iBooks, and during the pre-order period, until the publication date of 19 December 2017, you can get it for 99c/99p.

Unlike the other books in the series, Winter’s Fire isn’t initially available on Kindle Unlimited. However, I will be reviewing the situation with regard to sales through the Apple website, so this may change in due course.  The publishing world has been going through a lot of changes in recent years, and as an independent publisher, I have to look at all the options for optimising sales, because it’s those sales that’ll pay for the cover art for the next book, and pay for it to be edited.

Thank you for understanding, and for your support, and watch this space for further updates.

Amazon only or wide – that is the question…

My blog posts are like buses – you wait ages for one, then a bunch come along at once, although I’m not certain two constitutes a bunch. Then again, who knows what tomorrow might bring?

This post concerns the vexing question in its title.  At least, it’s a vexing question for indie authors like me, who have control of all aspects of the writing and publication processes. I started off wide – that means I listed my books on all the websites I felt comfortable with: Amazon, Kobo, others via a service provided by Draft2Digital (D2D), mainly so I could list on iBooks. For those of you who aren’t aware, you need Apple kit to list on iBooks, unless you use D2D or other similar services.

However, the vast majority of my sales were on Amazon, so I found myself facing a decision over a year ago – do I stay wide, or limit the availability of my books to Amazon? The question arises, because if you restrict your availability to Amazon, your books are then available in the Kindle Unlimited (KU) program, where subscribers can read your books for “free”, as part of their subscription fee. For a relative unknown like me, it represents an opportunity to present your books to new readers in a way that is financially risk-free for them.

The author/publisher is paid per page read; however, this is not at a standard rate, because it fluctuates from month to month, according to how much Amazon decides to put in the KU fund, and the number of pages read in total. It’s also a whole can of worms in its own right, and one I’m not going into now.

I put all my books in KU in January 2017. They go in for 90 days at a time, and you can renew indefinitely. The current 90 days for my books ends on Christmas Day. I am now in the process of deciding whether or not to continue beyond 25 December 2017, because in early December, after too long a gap, I’m hoping to make available the next book in my Club Aegis series.

Do I put it in KU, or do I go wide with it? That’s what I’m trying to decide at the moment, because I know I have some readers who use iBooks, who will only be able to access the new book if they use the Kindle app, and I completely understand that they may not wish to clutter up their devices with yet another app.

As I write this, I’m erring on the side of going wide. At the back of my mind is the saying about putting all of your eggs in one basket. At the same time, though, that basket offers an avenue not available if you spread your eggs among a number of baskets.

I probably will go wide. If you have access to KU and you would like to check out my books, you have until Christmas Day to download them. If you have them in your account at that point, as far as I’m aware, you’ll still be able to read them, even though they’ll no longer be available for download through KU.

Like many indie authors, I’m trying different strategies to get my books out there, and although I’m coming out of KU in December, it doesn’t mean I won’t go back in future. As in much of life, it all depends on what happens next.

However you access my books, I hope you continue to enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them, and a huge thank you for taking a chance on an unknown author.