Thursday, 29 August 2019

Do you check your stats?

Someone asked me if Banners of Alba was my most popular book and I replied that I didn't know but I would check.
Well, I've spent most of the day checking stats on KDP and decided there is not a simple answer though there are strong indications.
If I go by number sold, then Far After Gold is my bestseller, followed by Fair Border Bride.
If I go by greatest KENP Read then it is The Craigsmuir Affair followed by The Gavington Affair and then Far After Gold.
If I check which title I gave away free most then it is Fair Border Bride followed by Shadows.
An interesting exercise. My records for some titles go back to 2011 and so there have been many difference in the way Amazon does its counting and payment in the years between then and now. FAG and FBB go back to 2011 and 2012 respectively.
Judging by the smell in the air these last two days the local farmers may be muck spreading, so the pristine beauty of the fields may be gone by the time I walk there. These things don't last long - you have to be quick to catch them - thinking of the picture rather than the muck spreading!

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Really, Amazon?


It is claimed that 25.5 million US households bought books in the past month, and fully a quarter of those used Amazon’s Prime Reading, which allows subscribers to borrow 10 items at a time from a vast 1,000 item catalogue.

Kindle Unlimited, a similar program, costs an extra $9.99 and offers a wider selection of millions of titles. Amazon First Reads allows members to download a book a month earlier than the unsubscribed public for no extra cost. Often, First Reads are Amazon Publishing titles, and they rocket up the Amazon best-seller charts as soon as they’re made available. Titles topped the charts in early July despite being due out August 1. (I did not know that First Reads exsted!)

And then there’s Amazon’s 19 brick-and-mortar stores around the country, ( he journalist is talking about America) which sell print copies of Amazon Publishing titles, produced via a sophisticated print-on-demand operation. All told, these services overlap to create an ecosystem with the same aim and model as Prime: to lock customers into a regular subscription that binds them to Amazon. The company’s then pushes its own titles to subscribers to keep them happy with their membership.

Amazon Publishing puts out 1,100 titles a year, compared with the 1,500 to 2,000 a large publishing house such as Simon & Schuster might publish. Estimating sales for those 1,100 titles is difficult because Amazon  keeps the info to itself.

Grace Doyle, an Amazon editor, says the subsidiary looks at three things when measuring the success of a title: the book’s sales, the number of people who read it, and whether the company can expect more books from that author. Her goal was to maintain partnerships with authors for as long as possible, which often results in publishing series, especially for the thrillers and mysteries that do so well with ebook readers.
“Amazon readers are voracious readers of genre fiction.” Fans of romances and thrillers race through books quickly.
So it’s perhaps unsurprising that Amazon is taking an interest in courting household names. The chart-topping thriller writer Dean Koontz unveiled a five-book deal with Thomas & Mercer in late July.


If you would like to read the lengthy article for the full picture, go to BLAKE MONTGOMERY  He is a journalist and fiction writer living in San Francisco. He reports on technology and Silicon Valley for The Daily Beast.

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Time to get out the red pen

I once read an article on editing by Robert Doran and thought it useful, so I kept it. Right now, it should be  a very good reminder for me as I near the last chapters of my wip, so here are his tips:


· Plot: First of all and most important - Does the plot make sense? Is it believable and satisfying?

· Themes: Are there so many that the book lacks focus? Do they interfere with the plot ?

· Characterisation: Are your characters well developed and entertaining?

· Point of view/voice: Am I using too many POVs? Count them! (You may be surprised!)

· Pace: Is the pace pleasing? Does it need jazzing up or slowing down?

· Dialogue: Do your characters sound real when they speak? Do they a- horrors of horrors - all sound the same?

· Flow: Does back story dwarfe the main plot? Is there enough back story for reader understanding? Have I missed any great plot points?  

Friday, 9 August 2019

Viking Notes


Yesterday I discovered some notes I’d made on Vikings in Scotland, written in 1998 by Donchadh Ó Corráin. I think the Irish scholar is dead now, but I did once get in touch with him via email with a question about Sitric of Dublin and he was kind enough to answer. If nothing else, it shows how long I have been interested in Vikings in the Outer Hebrides and Ireland!

Vikings conquered the northern and western isles plus the coastal mainland of Scotland from Caithness via Sutherland to Argyll between c795-c825. By the middle of the period they had set up a kingdom and the name they gave the country was Laithlinn

At that time Norway had no kings and power did not emerge there until the 11th century. Most early raids were based on aristocratic free enterprise with named leaders. Attacks on Ireland were co-ordinated from the middle of the 9th century and orchestrated from Laithlinn.

There are various spelllings of the name – Lothlend, Laithlind, Laithlinn and Lochlainn.
The Dublin settlement was established in the year 841-42 and the invaders were described as “an assembled host of uncouth, barbarous, berserk, stubborn, treacherous foreigners from Orkney, Shetland, Man, Skye, Lewis, Kintyre and Argyle.” 

There was rivalry between the King of Skye, who controlled the Inner Hebrides, and the King of Inis Gall, the Outer Hebrides. The Viking name for the Hebrides was Suðrǿyjar.

Longphoirt – the Viking name for a protective fortress for both men and ships.

Monday, 5 August 2019

The best Compliment ever!



"This is, without doubt, the best Regency romance I have ever read, short of ‘Persuasion’. A wonderful story with that delightful Austen feel yet completely Ms Black."

This is the best compliment I have received on one of my books, certainly for The Matfen Affair, which is the one Little Angelic Rose is talking about. Can't tell you how much it pleased me! I went to bed last night and thought about what I'd written, how the storyline developed, and drifted off into dream land no doubt with a satisfied smile on my face.

It also encourages me to get on and finish Viking Wedding! There isn't far to go now, definitely into the last quarter of the book, and if I make a relly good effort, I can finish it very soon. I've been checking and re-checking as I go along, so there won't be too much editing to do.