Tag Archives: ebook publishing


The Back Road hits the top spot on the Waterstones’ chart

The Back Road was originally published as an Amazon exclusive – an arrangement that lasted for six months. I’ll be talking more about that experience in a subsequent post, but now it is available in all formats and on most ebook websites. 

Waterstones has proved to be a particular great company to work with, and they have kindly featured The Back Road on their e-books home page and asked me to write a blog post about my experiences as a self-published author. I’ve copied it here to share.

Since writing the post I am happy to report that The Back Road has already hit the top spot on the Waterstones’ ebook chart. Only the Innocent has also crept back into the top 10 at number 5.

Update: Waterstones confirmed that despite The Back Road only being launched in September, it is the 4th highest selling ebook for the whole of 2013. Only the Innocent is the 3rd highest – having been 2nd highest in 2012!

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Waterstones Blog Post

If somebody had told me five years ago that by 2013 I would have had two best selling novels and have just completed the final draft of my third, I would have thought they were joking. Continue reading

Defining a winning strategy – update

straegyimageA few weeks ago I wrote a blog post about defining a winning strategy. I laid out my ideas, and explained my thinking about pricing. I decided that today it was time for an update. (You can find the original post HERE if you haven’t read it.)

Some of you eagle eyed readers may have noticed that – contrary to my last post – from 1st May the price of Only the Innocent and The Back Road both dropped to £0.99. You can check them both out by clicking the title links, but I thought I should explain what has happened.

This is an intrinsic part of my strategy, and not a change of heart!

I have to admit that after my last post, the temptation to drop the price of The Back Road to 99p did prove quite hard to resist, once I’d realised that only books that were either extremely well known or under £1 had much of a chance in the Amazon chart. But I did my sums, and I decided that 70% of £1.99 would overall bring me a better financial return than 35% of 99p – despite the much higher sales figure of books in the top 5. Quite how long I would have hung on to that stubborn resistance if my book had fallen out of the top 100, I don’t know – but fortunately for me, it didn’t. For any of you who aren’t aware, Amazon has two different royalty rates depending on the price of your book. The lower prices attract a 35% royalty, whilst anything over £1.49 is paid a 70% royalty (less a few pence for distribution costs).

So why are both books 99p now?

One result of maintaining the higher price has been that I have been selected for an Amazon promotion. There is a “100 books for under £2.99” promotion each month, and to be selected, a book has to have a price that Amazon can effectively reduce. They select the price point, so I waited with bated breath to find that they have reduced both The Back Road and Only the Innocent to £0.99.

The advantage of this promotion is that even though the price is reduced and my royalty is based on 99p, I still get 70% of that price. I was delighted that they agreed to do this for Only the Innocent as well as The Back Road, because to be honest I had decided that Only the Innocent was now an ‘old’ book, and had more or less stopped promoting it. The major discovery in all of this has been that the books really do sell each other – when The Back Road hit the number 2 spot, Only the Innocent raced up the charts to number 30.

The timing for the price reduction is good. The Back Road has been out for six weeks now, and has started to be mentioned in a few forums. It has been selected as one of the four “Books for May” in the Goodreads UK forum, and been awarded “A MUST READ” status by the reviewers. It’s had a few reviews on blogs – and great reviews on Amazon. However, I have to say that it’s been more difficult to generate buzz about the book than I would have expected. Much of this is down to the changing face of the forums.

When Only the Innocent was launched, I know that some of its success was down to lots of chatter on key forums – but it all feels a little different now. People used to chat a lot, get to know each other, buy each other’s books. Now it seems that most people just post their promo and move onto the next thread where they can post exactly the same thing. I was suckered in to doing something similar – it seemed the way to go. But it’s not particularly effective, because few people are reading what other people post.

As a result, yesterday I set up my own discussion group on Goodreads, and there are already 41 members. We can chat about books, and other authors can join in too. You can check it out here if you’re a member of Goodreads. I’m going to generally stick to places where I can chat and share information and thoughts with others now.

I have to admit that in spite of not achieving the buzz that I had hoped for in the forums, the result of dropping the price has been pretty impressive. The Back Road has gone from around position 70 in the charts to number 11 today. Only the Innocent has risen from 277 to 24 since the 1st May – just 4 days ago.

It would, however, be a mistake to suggest that this is purely down to an Amazon promotion. The third highest rated title (after my two) in the Crime, Thrillers and Mystery category of the promotion is at number 157 in the charts, so currently quite a way behind.

The stark reality is that to gain visibility for a book, the vast majority of the work is still down to the author. Once it gets into the top 10, I think an author can have little impact, because the sales numbers are high, and it’s unlikely that a Twitter or Facebook campaign would significantly impact upon those numbers. But to get there in the first place, there are no short-cuts. Amazon promotions will undoubtedly help – particularly if they are tied into email campaigns – but any hopes I had of forgetting all about marketing and getting on with the next book have actually proved to be little more than a pipe-dream.

So – that’s my update. The key findings are:

  • financially I’m very happy that I stuck to the £1.99 price
  • it’s very clear that a sub £1 price is very attractive to readers, who are more likely to take a risk on an unknown author
  • the forums are not as useful as they used to be
  • it’s harder to create a buzz about a book
  • there is no shortcut to marketing
  • books by the same author sell each other

The conundrum comes in the last two, of course, because whilst marketing – I’m not writing the next book!

As always – comments, please!

And if you would like to benefit from the current 99p price point, click on the book covers below to go to Amazon.

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Bestseller on Amazon

Two Sides of the Publishing Coin – a guest post by David Treanor

As the debate about traditional vs indie publishing goes on – and probably will do for some considerable time – it was great to hear from one author who has experienced both. Author David Treanor has kindly given us his perspective on the two sides of the publishing coin.

Imugshotn my old life as a BBC journalist I would occasionally have to interview people for jobs. I’d take home a stack of application forms — maybe a-hundred or more — and try to draw up a shortlist of twelve. I used to like it when people made spelling mistakes. It meant I could rule them out right away. But I know I didn’t always get it right. Then would come a couple of days of interviews. Sometimes I felt that half the people I’d seen would be great at the job. But there was only one vacancy. So I did my best. But I will have made mistakes again.

I feel traditional publishing is like that. Far too many submissions, far too few opportunities to get into print. And those taking the decisions will have made mistakes. We all know the stories of the best sellers rejected a dozen times.

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Five-Star Book Corner – a guest post from Victoria Twead

I was fortunate enough to come across Victoria as recently as a couple of weeks ago. She runs a great site, which is dedicated to books with more than 25 Five Star reviews – a great place for readers to visit, and a brilliant opportunity for authors. I invited Victoria along to tell us all about it. 


Thank you for inviting me to talk about this new free promotion opportunity for authors, Rachel. My Five-Star Book Corner is growing fast, and that’s thanks to fellow authors like you who are being featured and telling others.

Just to introduce myself, I’m a British author living up a mountain in Spain. I’m supposed to be writing the fourth book in my Two Old Fools series but have got a little sidetracked with this Book Corner project. But I’ll begin at the beginning, and explain how it all began…

I was shocked when I was browsing an Author Forum a couple of months ago. I read the comments in disbelief. Amazon now has five million books for sale? And they are publishing another 10,000 every month? My heart sank. I couldn’t even imagine that many books… How does an author get noticed amongst that lot, and how will anybody ever find my books?

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Killer tips for self-publishing by Mel Sherratt

I am sure many of you will have heard of Mel Sherratt, whose book Taunting the Dead was a bestseller in 2012. She’s a great supporter of other indie authors, so I have asked her to share some of her knowledge and experience with us all. 

smallerSince my novel, TAUNTING THE DEAD, became one of the top ten self-published Kindle bestsellers of 2012, I’m often asked how did I do it. The answer could be one of a few things: did I get lucky? Did I get noticed in some way? Did I have a marketing strategy? Did word of mouth take over once people started to read it? The answer is obviously the latter one – joking! In truth, it’s probably a bit of all of them. So I thought I’d share a few tips with you:

1. IMAGE IS EVERYTHING: Cover, cover, cover. Personally, I think covers are everything for e-books. I know they’re not seen as often as on a printed version but online they are crucial to catch someone’s eye, just as much as walking into a book shop and spotting one on the shelf that sticks out from the many.

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Book Launch: the new novel from Rachel Abbott – THE BACK ROAD

V6 smallI am delighted to announce that my new novel – The Back Road – has been launched in the UK!

For those who loved Only the Innocent, you will no doubt be pleased to hear that Tom Douglas is making a reappearance. In The Back Road, he is taking a sabbatical, but it doesn’t stop him from getting involved when he knows that there is a mystery to solve – and in the next book, he’s back in the police and ready for action.

Here’s what it’s all about:

One girl is fighting for her life in hospital. One village is struggling to hold tight to its secrets. Continue reading

Only the Innocent enters US Kindle top 10!

I am absolutely delighted and proud to announce that Only the Innocent has today hit the number 9 position in the Kindle Store on the Amazon US site.

Following its success in the UK last year, I had never expected to have a similar success in the US, but the book was relaunched just last week – 5th February – in Kindle, paperback and audio versions, and has risen steadily through the last six days to break into the top ten today.

It is also #1 in British Detectives, #2 in Suspense and #2 in Thrillers. And for now, it’s still available at just $2.99!


And for those who like a freebie, the Goodreads Giveaway is still active for another seven days!

Thanks to all the followers of this blog who have been so supportive over the last twelve months.

Only the Innocent is still available on Amazon UK and in other countries, and for other e-readers. Direct links can be found on the Rachel Abbott website at http://www.rachel-abbott.com

What next? A year in the life of a self-published author – Part VII

This is the final post in my series this week about all that has happened in the last year. I really hope that it has encouraged those of you who are just starting on the journey. It has been an astonishing year, if something of a roller-coaster ride for me. And as this is the last of my birthday posts, I can’t resist this loudest graphic of them all (should just be one candle, but still…).

I started the year with neither hope nor expectation of everything that has happened subsequently. From thinking that I would be spending my time writing a cookery book for fun (which was to be my next project), I have ended up spending the year glued to my computer screen, marketing for the first five or six months, and then editing Only the Innocent and starting (and almost finishing) book 2 – name to be confirmed. Continue reading

A change of lifestyle: A year in the life of a self-published author – Part VI

You will notice that I am trying to find the loudest birthday graphics possible! This one is perhaps slightly more tasteful than most – but I can’t resist the glitter!

In one of my earlier birthday posts this week, I talked about the whole work ethic, and how it was necessary for me to work twelve hours a day for months after month.

None of this would have been possible without a decent support system in place. After all, we still had to eat! Continue reading

What a difference an agent makes! A year in the life of a self-published author – Part V

Just a reminder to those coming to this series of posts for the first time, I am celebrating the fact that Only the Innocent was launched just one year ago, and I thought I would use the opportunity to describe the highs and lows of the last year. (And yes – the graphics are getting sillier!)

In my last post, I talked about the amazing amount of hard work that it took to market Only the Innocent to the number 1 spot on Amazon UK. It was relentless, but I was like a dog with a bone. Once I had decided that I wasn’t going to settle for just a few sales a day, I had to go for it.

The benefits of that success were far greater than just the financial ones and the amazing sense of achievement on the day that I got to number one. Mind you, that moment was something of an anti-climax. My husband is one of those people who has to get up at 5.30 am every morning. I can’t convince him otherwise, and he’s out walking the dogs in the dark come rain or shine. As a consequence, he’s usually asleep on the sofa by 9 pm. Understandable, but it can be frustrating.

Only the Innocent hit the number one spot at about 10 pm on 18th February… and he was asleep. Nothing I could do would wake him up in order to speak coherently, drink champagne, or generally get excited. I was not best pleased – but we made up for it the next day. Continue reading