Tag Archives: Heather Hill

The Rollercoaster – 29,000 Downloads Later

Remember this scene from the 1980’s comedy film, Parenthood?

If you follow my progress you will know two significant things have happened to me lately:

1) I left my agent and found my novel, ‘The New Mrs Dunpublished with a loss of my sales rankings and
2) I held a three day free promotion last week in an attempt to push the book back in to the charts.

It worked.

Last week, 29,000 people downloaded ‘The New Mrs D‘ for free, giving me what I hope will turn out to be a substantial new readership. Hooray!

And many authors are asking me how it happened. So as always, I am only too happy to share as much as I know here.

Firstly, I went to www.fiverr.com and paid for three services at $5 a time. A promo video, an SEO expert to share my video link as many times as possible and a marketer to send details of my book promotion to forty websites.

I also successfully managed to secure a small advertisement with www.bookbub.com. Bookbub only accept something like 10-20% of submissions I believe and require that you have a certain amount of five star reviews. But I do credit this with the huge spike of downloads I achieved on the very first day.

I paid what was at the time, just over $30 to have The New Mrs D promo mailed out to a 210,000 strong mailing list of fans of chick lit. The prices have risen a little lately, but you can find them here.

What’s great is that although I didn’t have the funds to reach the 1,030,000+ subscribers of their women’s fiction list ($245) The New Mrs D reached the no1 best selling humour spot on both the Amazon UK and US free stores list for the entire length of the promotion. It’s highest ranking over ALL of the free store books was no4 in the UK and no7 in the US – beating many of the other BookBub promoted novels for those days who would have accessed the one million plus mailing lists. Not at all bad!

What I didn’t do was tweet my book link constantly or flash post to hundreds of Facebook pages. Some people may have done that for me through the Fiverr.com gigs, but not I. I simply do not believe it works. I did write a blog post and share it across my social channels and I did share the promotions progress over the three days. I also manually entered the book to around twenty free ebook promoting websites. And that is it, the sum total of my efforts.

As I type, The New Mrs D is no 20 in the best selling literary humour chart, just ten places behind Helen Fielding’s ‘Mad About The Boy’. Maybe it will stay, maybe not. Maybe it’s a post promotional lucky spike in sales that will tail off. Only time will tell.

But what a roller coaster! It’s thrilling and hard and scary and up, down, up, down and round and round. What a ride, this writerly life.

I like the roller coaster.

Back to book two!

Those lovely folks at Novelicious.com made me this.
Those lovely folks at Novelicious.com made me this.

Those lovely folks at Novelicious.com made me the quote opposite. Read my full interview on the site HERE

If you wish to know the specific details of services I used on Fiverr, please email me at hell4heather@gmail.com

I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have in the comments here also!

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Update From a Slightly Less Terrified Author

For those that have been following my progress, I have news. About a month ago I left my agent – a most amicable parting – and decided to go it alone again. I won’t go into my reasons here, but will just say that there were other avenues for me to explore and as she was in the progress of moving to another company, I decided not to go too. My agent was – and still is – a very lovely, hard-working lady who was very much on my side. I have much to thank her for.

However, many and varied things have happened since which I’d like to share with you.

There was a tiny mention on BBC Radio4’s Women’s Hour Listener Week program this week, when Jane Garvey and Dr Paula Hall were discussing porn addiction in relationships.

A TV producer, having read and enjoyed the book, is now pitching it to TV and film companies. This could be phenomenal, but feet firmly on the ground with this one… I’ll keep you updated.

The wonderful folk at Novelicious  interviewed me on their website HERE.

I met with a small press publisher in Edinburgh, with a view to taking my current work in progress. This was a very positive meeting, with a lovely lady in a fabulous cake shop. (Priorities firmly intact as always). Now I just need to finish the book. Again, I will keep you posted!

And another, less pleasing thing – the loss of my sales rankings and Amazon Best Sellers chart position.

Publication of The New Mrs D was agent-assisted under Amazon KDP’s White Glove Program. For those who don’t know what this is, it is a self publication platform only available to agented authors. Your book is promoted on three Amazon pages in rotation with other White Glove Program books for a period of thirty days. In return, Amazon KDP requires a 6-month or a 12-month period of exclusivity. Some authors see a spike in sales during that 30-day period, while others see little, if any, difference.  In order to benefit from this 30 days of promotion, you must sign 15% of your royalties away to your agent. I decided to give it a go.

The New Mrs D hit the UK humour best-sellers list within a day of becoming available for pre-sale. And not long afterwards, it was chosen for a Kindle Daily Deal promotion on the Australian Amazon site. For one day only it appeared on the Kindle Daily Deal home page and subsequently sold 857 copies in that day, rocketing it to no1 bestseller over all.No 1 in OZ

Following this one day deal, it remained in the 100 best selling humour list, outselling greats like Helen Fielding, Graeme Stimsion and Sophie Kinsella, for three months.  This afforded me a steady income, good enough to fund more advertising, giveaways and keep me writing. So when my agent and I parted ways, I asked what would happen to my eBook rights, currently held by her previous agency, if I took them back. The answer was ‘nothing, it’s fine. They have agreed to transfer the rights to you and you won’t lose any of your reviews or sales rankings.’ ‘Happy days,’ said I. ‘Let’s do it.’
For two whole weeks I continued to plug my book, putting links in everything I wrote and even began planning a few free days on KDP. I contacted over 40 free ebook websites telling them of the dates of my promotion. Then, I tried to see my sales reports, which were originally held by the agency so I could only see them if I asked for them. Assuming they were now moved to me, I had a peek and found: NOTHING. Not one sale. Despite my novel appearing to still sitting comfortably in the Amazon Australia Humour Top 100.

I contacted Amazon, who then pointed out that I now in fact had TWO ebooks on there. The original one, still with my old agency, and a newly published one which was the one I was looking at that had no sales. I wasn’t seeing sales reports because the original sales were still going to the agency. The one I had was only visible to me. I hadn’t noticed the new ASIN number.

I contacted my ex-agent agent, who came back to me the very next day to say it was all sorted out now and very sorry for the confusion. The rights were now mine. I still had my reviews and sales rankings. Brilliant! Except… I didn’t.

The agency unpublished the original eBook (without telling me or my agent) and it crashed out of the charts, leaving me with a newly published copy that couldn’t be seen or found by anyone. I’d gone from making a modest income, which in truth was like oxygen to us, to none – at the click of a button. I telephoned the agency, naturally, to be told, ‘we’re very sorry. It can’t be undone.’

At this point I should point out that when entering the White Glove agreement, I was well informed that taking my eBook rights back could result in the loss of my sales rankings. But, I had said that if it meant losing rankings I was happy to leave the eBook with them if they were fine with that. I was advised that I could move it and nothing would be lost.

It was.

And so, here I am again, trying to hit the ground running and finding all the links to my book on the world wide web in order to have them changed. This was a learning curve; and one I’m happy to share with you so you don’t fall down a similar pit on your publication journey.

Anyway, as I always say: ONWARDS!

And so I am asking for your help. In order to try and get The New Mrs D back into some form of visibility, I am having TWO KDP FREE DAYS next week. You can download the eBook from 3rd – 5th December absolutely FREE. Please, please do.

Check out my video below, which was made for just $5 by a design artist I found on www.fiverr.com. Another great, promotional tip for you 😉

Thanks to everyone for your messages of support, for downloading and for the reviews I am so grateful for have been able to keep. Nothing ever comes easily, otherwise it wouldn’t be worth having.

Standing On My Tiptoes

Today is another day on the emotional roller-coaster known as ‘trying to succeed as a writer,’ because this arrived:

In truth, I had a little cry, thought of my long passed father and looked up to the heavens to say, ‘I did it dad.’

I didn’t sell a million copies, win a book deal or become a famous author; I just made a book I could hold in my hand at last, after a long time of thinking I might never see it in print. And the first thing I wanted to do was tell my dad. The message might well have missed him, because I’m not sure he is flying about up in the sky to be honest, but he’ll understand the sentiment.

So here it is and I’m sad I had to do it myself, but I wrote a book and I got it printed. Now I don’t have to go through life wondering, ‘what if I’d tried?’

At five foot nothing, I have spent many hours standing in crowds on my tiptoes to be able to see and have people see me. To me, self publication feels like that. So, in some ways, I’m experienced.

The New Mrs D is available as an eBook on Amazon and will be available on paperback this week. I hope you will look up to see little me.

Many, many times I have said this but I shall take this opportunity to say it again:

If to see your own work in print feels like something that’s only in your dreams, all you have to do is open your eyes and get to work. You may only sell one copy (to your sister) or a hundred copies (to yourself) and then have to store them in the garage. But you will never again have to wonder, ‘what if I’d tried?’

Do it X

From the brilliant, indie published poet Erin Hansen
From the brilliant, indie published poet Erin Hansen

Blog Tours – What To Wear

I was recently invited on a blog tour and my first honest-to-God thought was, ‘ooh, I don’t know if I can afford to travel.’

More seasoned writers will be smirking at this, but for anyone not familiar with the world of blogging, (hi there!) a blog tour is purely virtual. You don’t need a suitcase, new frock or train tickets.  All you need is the ability to write a blog post and share the link building, book marketing love online. I am lucky to have been invited to two for this month now; one with writer and marketing consultant for the arts, Anna Mansell and the other with ‘This Family Life’ author Jon Rance.

Blog tours are one of the things I’ve got to learn as I go along in the world of being a newly published author, along with:

‘Amazon sales rankings’

Me: ‘#11,000! Woop woop! I’ve sold eleven THOUSAND books!’
Learned person: ‘Erm, nope. That means there are 10,999 books selling better than yours…’

Using Twitter To Sell My Book

What? I never use Twitter to sell my book!

buy the book

Being Braced For Book Reviews

IMG_0224
Me drowning, with whisky, water, paracetamol and a machete. Pretty sure this is the title of a Morrisey song…

I’m fine, really I am!

No pacing. No rocking back and forth hugging mysel&%4$$$

Oops, knocked the laptop off my knee there… whilst rocking and hugging myself.

Having Realistic Expectations

Untitled

Basically, I’ve got it all figured out absolutely one hundred percent not at all…

Next week, I’m off to Sutherland for a week. Please let it be sunny and warm! And while I am away, please buy my book TheNewMrsD

Also.. I’m very grateful to have also had my first two author interviews this week. You will find them on the links below:

CHICKLIT UNCOVERED

JACQUELINE WARD’S BLOG

Matt

Things Every Woman in Her Forties Should Swear At

I am braced for a mixed set of reactions to The New Mrs D to be fair. She’s a little unique. In her forties, attracting chaos, being a bit rude from time to time; tackling stuff we never talk about. Full of acerbic wit. What do you mean, she sounds like me?

There are countless articles telling women specifically how to behave in their forties and beyond. Look out for them; they can be heavily disguised with cunning titles like, ‘Things Every Women in her Forties Should Do’. Like a baby’s developmental chart they tell you what age-appropriate stuff you should be getting into, although I always end up saying, ‘pah’ and arguing with them a lot to be honest. Dear ‘ladies in your forties’, it really is best that you:

1)      Get in touch with your cycle.
          There’s no way I’m ever speaking to that thing again.

2)      Do a little light lifting every day.
          Large brandy? Don’t mind if I do.

3)      Learn how to say ‘no’.
          ‘No, no, no, no, and no.’  #nailedit

4)      Followed ‘this’ diet and ‘that’ exercise regime to look hot in your bikini.
me in a bikini

 #nailedit …Pass me the cake.

5)     Live every day like it’s your last.

Write ‘feck off I’m dying’ letters to creditors… check.

And don’t get me started on the ‘how to find love later in life’ ones. Do they really believe all women over forty think about is how to attract offers from fellas? I’ve matured; I’ve got more pressing issues these days. I’m only trying to attract offers of wine.

I do read this stuff, but really, I just want them to stop telling me what to do, how to feel, how to behave and how I should look in my forties.

I’ve raised four teenagers so far. I do have moments of sweariness from time to time, just like my protagonist. Teenagers, I want to teach you two, brand new words. They are, ‘TOWEL’ and ‘RAIL’. 

So, excuse me while I enter my forties writing a book about funny, feisty, teeny-bit sweary women in their forties, fifties, sixties and seventies – even in the face of being advised to make my lead character younger so as ‘not to risk losing a large part of the reader market’. Eh? I think plenty of us women over forty do read, although I would hope The New Mrs D will be read by women and men of pretty much any age.

And so, without further ado, can I just seamlessly lead in with an invite for you to join me for an online book launch party? I just need you to bring yourself and a photo of that bad perm you had in your teens. Sound okay?

It’s this Friday, 4th July and you can find out more about it, and the bad perm reference, HERE

PS I just found my spiritual home online! Please be sure to look up a new and lovely community of over 40 bloggers on Twitter. https://twitter.com/Post40Bloggers – I’m finding some amazing, funny new people and blogs there.

The ‘Let’s Have a Break From The World Cup and Talk About Death’ Blog

First – NEWS! The New Mrs D is now available
to PRE-ORDER on Amazon! Hooray!(Follow the link)
Here it is again in case you missed it – LINK

And second…

skul 1

I have a confession. I’m drawn to graveyards. Which is just as well because there are no less than
two in the lane where I live and sometimes – just sometimes – I take a detour walk around one of them with the dogs.

I don’t know why, but they hold a certain morbid fascination for me. In particular, the very old gravestones. The inscriptions can tell so much about someone’s death, but also, they make me ponder how they lived.

The nearest one to me is where they bury people that have more recently passed. And by that I don’t mean just strolling by as Sally the lab cross and I do now and again, thankfully.

The other is Stonehouse Old Kirkyard, which is a fabbie – if spooky – place full of real historical significance. Here is where I really like to hang out, trying to decipher some seriously old headstones. My family will tell you I don’t often go out and visit the living, so they’d be amazed if they knew how much time I spend visiting the dead.

Stonehouse is in the heart of old Covenanter country, so the old Kirkyard is full of people that died in the name of religious freedom. (Covenanters were a Scottish Presbyterian movement that played an important part in the history of Scotland). But even more interestingly, it has a witch’s stone. Yep, at the end of my road.

Witchcraft was (allegedly) rife here in Stonehouse between the 16th and 18th  centuries. Kirk 1In fact, at one  time people would only  dare travel through the village whilst carrying a  branch of Rowan, said to keep bad spirits away –  and a handy thing for swatting all the midges. The  Rowan  tree  remains ever present in some  of our  gardens to this day, swaying quietly in the breeze while keeping us safe. That  is, if  you  believe in all that mumbo jumbo, which I,  being of  sane mind and character of course, do not.
The witch’s stone, or ‘bloodstone’ is, to put it in my own words, ‘a stone that bites you when you prod it.’  It’s a table stone with a skull carved on, that has a hole below the mouth. It belongs to one James Thomson,  who died at the battle of Drumclog in 1679. And one day, a wise person, let us call him, ‘Thomas McThumb’, came  along, poked their finger in the hole and pulled it out to find blood on it. Gasp!

Now, thanks to Thomas running home to tell everyone about it, this eerie phenomenon brings visitors to the village, queuing to have a go at getting their own fingers bitten too. NB: This has nothing to do with the red ocre running through the stone – nothing I tell you! The witch’s stone is spooky and it maims you. Keep coming here, the local Coop needs your sticky plaster buying business.

What is the Covenanters’ grave to do with witches? Legend skul 2would have us believe that Stonehouse, being almost encircled by the river Avon, has its ancient witches trapped, due to their inability to cross running water; hence why they are still here biting folk in the Kirkyard.

Where am I leading you with my historical tales of witchcraft and bleeding fingers?

Well, the last time I was there, leaning in for a little look and wondering if the witch would bite me if I just, poked one little digit into…..

Garghhhhhhh! (That was me by the way).

There was a snuffling, scratching sound that made my heart stop.  Then a clod of earth hit my back. This was it; the Stonehouse witch had got me and I was going to die here, with my finger stuck under the mouth of this skull like a sort of gone wrong game of Operation.

BBBBBBBBUZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!

‘You touched the sides! You touched the sides! Your cardboard patient with the boozer’s nose is DEAD.’

2014-06-19 18.13.37
Sally – with witch grave on her nose.

Without removing my finger, because you never know, it could have been plugging the way for a few more escaping ghosties, I turned round to see Sally enthusiastically kicking back earth, attempting to dig up the body of James Thomson.
I. Kid. You. Not. So, let me tell you, he may be mysterious and have a spooky witch sleeping on his head, but his bones smell delicious.

I snapped Sally back on her lead and we  ran home to hide… behind our Rowan tree.

20140619_123245
Our very own amulet against witchcraft.

Twenty Eight Days to Mrs D

COver design smallerANNOUNCEMENT: Four weeks today my debut comedy novel, The New Mrs D, will be published. On Independence Day, which is sort of fitting, as that is what it has turned out to be for me –  a twelve times rejected author.

You can read pre-order the book now on Amazon HERE

So, without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to my protagonist, Bernice Dando –  a lady who, unbelievably, marries a man knowing full well he has a history of porn addiction and who is the most accident prone and socially awkward/borderline embarrassing person you’ll ever meet.

Or, is she?
Continue reading Twenty Eight Days to Mrs D

Nested Clauses – And And And And

I took advantage of a great free critique offer on the first 700 words of my novel from Flourish Editing. I’d like to thank them for some great tips to help me with rewrites, especially learning that I ‘have a tendency to use long sentences peppered with nested clauses’ – I don’t know what they mean 😉 They were absolutely right of course. I do recommend you look them up if you are working on a first novel too.

And so another writing day is begun. And what have I done? That’s right; two sentences starting with ‘and.’ If John Lennon can do it and sell squillions of Christmas singles then so can I. Except the selling Christmas singles bit…

Image
Sure, I write funny. See. ‘Funny.’ That was easy.

I thought it was time I wrote a blog post of my own. Don’t be alarmed. (Unless you’re one of those Nissan GTR’s my husband has been lusting over. If so, as you were). I’ll try to be brief.

Work on the Mrs David Dando rewrites are still going strong, particularly between midnight and 3am! But I’m mindful of the need to give my brain a change of scenery and work on other things. Because watching Professor Brian Cox isolating his DNA in The Wonders of Life this week with my tongue hanging out just wasn’t cutting it. So, I’ve been looking with interest at this year’s Sitcom Trials. Can I invent a laugh out loud outline and four shiny new characters in just twenty days? Meh, why not? The result may not be as tidy as it could be, but I can’t let an opportunity to get creative in a new direction for a time slide. It’s just ten minutes of script, right? And some important people will read my stuff. And maybe one of them will laugh. And maybe I should remember that I’m not John Lennon before writing another of these ‘and’ sentences…

If you are a follower of my blog, or even having a nosy five minutes and are still here to read this bit, (you are still here aren’t you? You are? Good!) then you’re possibly an aspiring comedy writer yourself. So, leave your sitcom ideas in the comments box below, I’ll steal the one I like best and get the job done in ten days instead of twenty. But, more seriously, let’s all have a shot at the Sitcom Trials. Then the winner can come up here to Scotland to meet me, most likely sat in the audience crying into my Irn Bru. And good luck to each and every one of you that does as you’re told.

Here’s a snippet from a sitcom script I wrote last year, that won’t be in the running but might make you get scribbling one yourself:

FORTY YEAR OLD SINGLE MUM CILLA IS AT THE FRONT OF THE QUEUE FOR THE CHANGING ROOMS IN A LADIES CLOTHES SHOP, WAITING TO TRY ON A DRESS.  HER TEENAGE SON ROBBIE IS NEARBY, LEANING ON A RACK FULL OF LACEY WOMEN’S LINGERIE.

Cilla: (TO THE SHOP ASSISTANT): Excuse me, has anyone about my age and size ever gone in there to try this on and come out crying?

THE SHOP ASSISTANT SHRUGS.  CILLA’S MOBILE RINGS AND SHE STEPS BACK OUT OF THE QUEUE TO ANSWER IT, SWIPING ROBBIE OVER THE HEAD WITH THE DRESS AS SHE SPIES HIM FIDDLING WITH A PAIR OF KNICKERS ON THE RACK.

Robbie:  Wha….?

Cilla: (INTO THE PHONE) Hello, I’m trying on various fashions for Vogue at the moment and my time is limited.  Is that Milan?

(THE CALLER IS HER SISTER, JEAN. SHES DISCUSSING THEIR MOTHER). 

Jean: She won’t go.  I’ve done my best; arranged everything.  I even gave her sugar to coax her.

Cilla: Really?  Maybe Dr McLaren will subscribe mild laxatives or something?

Jean: I’m not talking about her bowels, you pillock! Oh God, tell me I don’t have to start talking about her bowels.  Are they next to go?  What if I have to remind her to go to the toilet?  Or worse – take her!

Cilla: Yes, you will totally have to take her to the toilet.  How are your wiping skills?

Robbie: Eww, that’s gross!

Cilla: Robbie, you mustn’t think of your Gran that way.

Robbie: I wasn’t!  Aww, I am now!  (SEE’S A PRETTY GIRL LOOKING AT HIM): I’m not, I’m not.

The end.  No, I mean of the snippet – not the episode. And there I went and nested a clause again 😉

Happy writing!