Showing posts with label self publishing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label self publishing. Show all posts

Thursday, 26 July 2012

How self published author Nick Spalding became an Amazon bestseller

“Kindles and eBooks are changing the landscape of publishing. You can reach an audience and create a buzz online. I think publishers are still important in terms of editing, marketing and getting into bookshops, but self publishing can be another route to that.”

Those were the astute words of crime writer Stephanie Merritt (aka SJ Parris, author of detective novels like Heresy and Prophecy) at a recent Red magazine event on how to write a crime novel.

And she’s clearly right. Her views are borne out by the news from this week that a self published novel by UK author Nick Spalding has become one of its ten bestselling items over the last three months.

Southampton-based Spalding has published a string of “comedies with adult humour” through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). So far he’s sold 245,000 copies of his books and earned up to 70 per cent in royalties from his sales.

Spalding’s Love… From Both Sides is currently riding high in the top 25 Kindle bestsellers list while two of his other books, Love… And Sleepless Nights and Life… With No Breaks, are in the top 100.

As Spalding says: “KDP is a fantastic opportunity for writers to get their work into the hands of the people that actually count – the readers. It's never been easier to publish an ebook thanks to Amazon's progressive and forward thinking attitude. They've given many more writers a voice - writers who would otherwise have remained silent. I can't thank them enough for providing me with the means to become as popular as I am.”

Not surprisingly, Gordon Willoughby, director of Kindle EU, is delighted.

“Nick Spalding joins international bestsellers such as EL James and Suzanne Collins in our top ten bestsellers of the last quarter at,” he says. “That’s a fantastic achievement for a KDP author. KDP enables independent authors to compete on a level playing field with the giants of the literary world and we’re excited to see it succeeding for both readers and authors.”

Nick Spalding follows in the footsteps of Kerry Wilkinson, a debut novelist from Lancashire who was the number one selling author in’s Kindle store during the last quarter of 2011. Wilkinson didn't have an agent or publicist - just the determination to write the very best book he could. And it worked a treat.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Amanda Hocking and Kerry Wilkinson - self publishers extraordinaire

Self publishing used to be the Cinderella of the book industry. Critics looked down their noses at self-published books and assumed self publishing (or “vanity publishing,” as it was snootily called) was the desperate last resort of writers who’d failed to find a mainstream publisher for their work.

But how things have changed. It recently emerged that US author Amanda Hocking makes more than £1 million a year from her self-published books. Readers, it seems, can’t get enough of her paranormal fiction and she’s selling more than 100,000 e-books a month.

On this side of the Atlantic, the latest success story is Kerry Wilkinson, a Lancashire sports journalist who’s sold more than 250,000 copies of his crime thrillers. Instead of hawking his first novel, Locked In, round the nation’s publishing houses, he decided to self publish it as an e-book - at 98p a copy. Even though he didn’t have an agent or publicist to help him, he soon realised he was on to a winner. Locked In and its two follow-ups, Vigilante and The Woman in Black, sold so well that he was declared the bestselling e-book author at Amazon’s UK Kindle store for the last quarter of 2011.

But despite sales that many better-known writers would give their eye teeth for, Kerry still sounds delightfully down-to-earth. “I’ve only ever tried to do my own thing,” he told the Daily Telegraph last week. “I wrote a book I thought I would like and enjoyed doing it enough to write follow-ups. I had no expectations for it and so this has all been terrific.”

Now other writers are fast getting in on the act. Not only that, I’ve met several authors recently who are self publishing out of print titles. Actually, I reckon I’m missing a trick. I’m definitely going to look at self publishing my first two novels, Hard Copy and Moving On (above), very soon. Watch this space.

PS. When I switched on Radio 4 soon after 7am this morning I expected the news to be full of the NHS reforms, Syria and Greece. But instead, Whitney Houston's gorgeous I Will Always Love You was playing. It seemed slightly odd - and then I realised it could only mean one thing. Such sad, sad news.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

The trials and tribulations of self publishing

Self publishing gets a terrible press. SoI’m always pleased to hear of a writer who’s self-published a book and sold heaps of copies. The latest success story is Dan Holloway, whose thriller, The Company of Fellows, sold a magnificent 1,766 copies last month in the UK alone. Not only that, it’s just topped a Blackwell’s Bookshop online poll to find readers’ favourite Oxford novel – no mean feat when it was up against the likes of Evelyn Waugh, Philip Pullman and Colin Dexter.

But there’s no doubt that self publishing is a risky business. I speak with authority because I self-published a children’s book five years ago. A fast-moving, fun read for nine to 12 year old fans of The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent!, The Rise and Shine Saturday Show follows the fortunes of five children from very different backgrounds who are all desperate to be stars. The competition takes place in a rambling mansion in the wilds of the Lake District, where the five finalists embark on intensive tuition in singing and dancing.

My self-publishing venture began when having devoured everything by Meg Cabot, Celia Rees and Jacqueline Wilson, my daughter complained she couldn’t find anything she wanted to read. “Why don’t you write a book for me?” she asked. So that’s what I did.

Once I’d finished the book, I (madly) hit on the idea of taking charge of the publishing process myself – from choosing the typeface to commissioning a jacket design. So despite knowing next to nothing about how to get an ISBN number or the importance of printing a barcode on the back I plunged in.

Finding an artist to design the cover was the biggest challenge but I eventually found Meng-Chia Lai, a fabulously talented artist who was a student prize-winner at the V & A Illustration Awards. Our meeting was a bit like something out of Brief Encounter. Meng-Chia was about to fly home to Taiwan so we met for a cup of tea at Marylebone Station. There, surrounded by harassed commuters, Meng-Chia showed me the ideas she’d sketched out for my book. Painted in soft hues of purple and pink, her designs were gorgeous. She did my book proud.

Next I had to find a printer prepared to do a short print-run. Cox & Wyman agreed to print 2,000 books, a scary number, but the minimum they’d do. Even so, it was a shock when the consignment was delivered to my house. As the middle-aged courier staggered down our wonky basement steps and stacked them in a daunting pile by the back door, he said witheringly: “I usually deliver to publishers' warehouses. Then every so often I get one of these.”

The mountain of books was so huge that it certainly got me cracking. I was immediately on the phone to wholesalers, booksellers and journalists, offering my sales pitch at break-neck speed. My daughter designed me an ultra-professional despatch note and my son trotted endlessly back and forth to the post office with parcels of books to send to the wholesalers.

I got a fair bit of publicity (the book even made it on to Radio 4) but the hardest part of all was actually getting a self-published book into bookshops. Local shops were keen to help and I sold quite a few on Amazon but I didn’t have any luck further afield. In the end I sold around half of my books and broke even. My foray into self publishing was fun, creative and very hard work. But no, I wouldn’t do it again.

If you’d like to buy a copy of The Rise and Shine Saturday Show, go to Amazon or
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