You’re due an extra newsletter this month, on May 21st, which I believe is next Sunday, with an extra promotional offer where you can take advantage of space adventure and swords and sorcery books.
Author: Alex James
May 13th 2023 Newsletter
Just a gentle reminder that your next newsletter is coming into your inboxes on this Saturday, May 13th. It will cover some of the interesting reads I was introduced to at last year’s Bradford Literature Festival that since stayed with me, and it will include an epic sci-fi and fantasy promo.
Updates to my Blurbs
Good morning. I hope you’re enjoying April.
There have been some updates to my blurbs. Getting them the right length is important, so that they’re not too long with boring, inessential information and yet not so short that they’re missing logic that ties all the lines together. I’ve tried to add doubt into my blurb ingredients in the hope it generates interest.
Please do let me know if any further tweaks are needed or if better words can be used.
On a world of fortresses, gone is the age of barbarians when Aerol, their warlord, built his fighting force into warriors powerful enough to defeat any enemy standing before them.
Long-dead enemies haunt Aerol’s mind – enemies that should have been vanquished. He must show them no fear, even if it means sacrificing himself. But when the kind and beautiful Hermena needs Aerol to save an order of scholars from death he’s soon conflicted about his plan.
~ A Tale of Sword & Sorcery, Mana-wielding Heroes and Demons ~
Book page for this blurb
2. On a world of fortresses, gone is the age of barbarians when Aerol, their warlord, built his fighting force into warriors powerful enough to defeat any enemy standing before them.
Now, with Aerol’s old friend bewitched, rumours of a dread sorcerer abound with the fantastical. Aerol refuses to believe the rumours – he cannot allow himself to, for the integrity of the fortress, but when assassination rears its ugly head he needs a plan.
The Fortress holds the key to Aerol’s salvation, if only he can find a way in.
~ A Tale of Sword & Sorcery, Mana-wielding Heroes and Demons ~
Book page for this blurb
Astrological Influences on the Occurrence of Mental Disorders: Astrology of Childhood and Karmic Programs by Sanja Milic – 4/5 Stars
This book was a fascinating insight into past and present astrology through the symbolism of the planets and how they relate to such things as karma, forgiveness, and valuing what we have instead of seeking it elsewhere. Not everything may relate to you, but it gives you a framework through which you can take your own journey towards healing, and I liked this.
My only criticism was that some of the terms were unfamiliar to me, not being acquainted with Indian astrology, or modern psychology, and so it felt like the author took some knowledge for granted from the reader. In a sense, although this book was useful for the beginner, more experienced readers with a cross-discipline interest may also benefit.
Nevertheless, I did feel I got what I wanted from the book, and more, and I’d be interested in reading more from this author.
The book on Goodreads
(Links to retailers are on Goodreads)
I Released a Prelude for my Warlord of the Lonely Fortress Series
I’m reminding myself as much as you folks that I released a prelude for my Warlord of the Lonely Fortress series, and you can either get it for free by signing up to my newsletter, joining select book promotions, or purchasing it at your favourite retailer.
Excerpt of the first sentence: ‘Warlord Aerol was seeing obscure visual memories: formless limbs and faces. His eyes were closed, but he wasn’t sleeping.’
Goddess by David Wind – 4/5 Stars
Goddess by David Wind is a sci-fi mystery/thriller – not necessarily your usual first contact or military sci-fi fare. There is the Guild tasked with finding planets suitable for exploration, and when First-In Scout Roke finds one suitable, Anadi, in a vein that looks at first similar to the Alien film franchise, he thinks he’s onto a winner.
Yet, you’re not reading an Alien film adaptation and it soon becomes clear there is plenty of interesting stuff happening anyway: strange rocks that Roke touches that he relates to dreams, fantasies, he has about this creature that is sometimes in the guise of a beautiful woman, and imaginative creatures that can give you the chills. Both have Roke’s senses on alert.
If you’re familiar with some of the themes author David Wind writes about you’ll notice he’s included good powers enriched by ancient earth tradition, and bad powers in new and unsuspecting guises. He’s delivering a future Earth in a galaxy where the dangers are far away and yet curiously close to home.
The enemy was introduced to early on, and what helps keep it interesting is that it still feels like we don’t really know who she is and what she’s capable of, and how Roke is going to use his psi abilities and ancient teachings to block the powers that have rendered his DNA compatible with hers, thus forcing them both to engage in enjoyable, yet compulsive sex, for the purpose of procreation. It’s addictive to Roke who must discover how to break free, and how he’s going to protect the human race from the same when the Guild decides to investigate.
I must say Goddess was fast-paced with much to keep reader interest. There weren’t too many sex scenes; they showed Roke’s struggle for his own mind and his motivations. I was intrigued where the story was going and how the new race would unlock the secrets of the universe.
Purchase Goddess by David Wind
How to Find Readers
Some authors know where readers are, or rather, where their readers are. Some do not, especially those just starting out or those who’ve been unsuccessful at building their audiences. Nevertheless, if you don’t know for sure where they are you need ideas to find them.
Some of those ideas will come from yourself and include blog posts, social media posts, social group creation, and friend/author collaboration. Some ideas will involve hiring professionals for videos or booking stalls with event organisers. Some ideas will have to come from other people, likely authors in your genre who you read or follow or even a virtual assistant who may know the publishing landscape.
Although, it’s recommended you do your research and find inspirational people, I’d only recommend digesting as much as you can on a daily basis or a weekly basis and then following or engaging with those authors or writers whose goals match yours or who make you feel inspired. Otherwise, you’ll end up following authors and emulating what they do only to find out it wasn’t what you wanted in the first place. For example, are you a business-minded or entrepreneurial author? What would you do to make your book a success? What will you be able to manage – time and energy – to make your book a success? Are you prepared to spend a lot speculatively? Are you prepared to change your cover and blurb repeatedly to make the bulk of your fans happy, knowing it may cost money and time to do so?
The above are some of the considerations to think about; they’re some of the questions you need to ask yourself or even just be aware of as you continue on your writing and publishing path.
What will get your book out there? Reader magnets and newsletter subscribers? Social media research and advertising? Real events for genre readers? Literary events, reading, and book signings? Website blog posts and SEO? Referral from some friends or readers? You may no be certain you know at this stage and if this is the case I recommend limiting spending and trying a few strategies to see where they take you, monitor progress, and see how you felt about using the strategies.
How to Get a Book Published
Instinct can come into this question, alongside your writing and publishing goals i.e. the instinct to take advantage of an existing market or to otherwise act on the availability of certain outlets.
For example, when I learnt that there were ways I could DIY publish my own books without going through the rigmarole of sending submissions, following all these guidelines, and waiting for the right answer, I knew I was onto something that made more sense to me and which I felt was empowering and fair. There were real-life outlets for making my book available and accessible to readers both on Amazon and Leeds Steampunk Market who were kind enough to let me book a stall.
Your personal values may come into how you decide to publish. Are you a person who likes to do things yourself, with freedom and control? Consider self-publishing. Are you someone who is looking for someone else to take the reins: consider traditional publishing – open-submission periods and literary agent submission. If you’re looking for a publisher to bounce ideas with and promote your book among other authors who publish similar books then consider small press.
But if you’re happy with your end product/final draft, barring some writing or editorial improvements you’d like to see, consider hiring a professional editor who’s suitable for your book. How you publish after hiring someone is up to you. Editorial professionals can help with both self-publishing and submission requirements. If you know what you’re looking for beforehand.
Where is my Target Audience?
It’s difficult to know what promotion is working when you’re an author, or an editor. Sometimes you feel as if you’re posting too much about one thing. With the tone, you can be too ‘salesy’, or too informal, or post about topics your fans are not expecting, or are uncomfortable with.
You can spend too much money, and get little in return, leading to loss, and utter disappointment! You can spend nothing and realise you don’t have the help to spread the word about your products or services.
Getting led astray is a problem, in my case, seeing what others are doing, apparently successfully, and attempting to emulate it using their formula, and then realising that the strategy was either better suited to them rather than you or that they may have just been boasting.
There is an element of follow the sheep that makes it up the hill, and this works for some people, but strangely, not everyone. It turns out that not everyone wants the same thing in business, exactly, even if people can get distracted into thinking that they do want something close to what others want.
These days, there is a technological element to nearly everything we do. Your audience is in one place for a few years, and then, after the market is saturated, your audience or the potential for finding it and growing, moves to another app, platform, website, etc. It’s hard to stay on top of the incessant movement of trends. You can learn some new skills and be satisfied that you’ve figured out how to do something, and then they can become obsolete, or you decide some strategy isn’t working anymore.
In other words, trying to find or grow an audience can feel like a pick-up and go affair and knowing how to spend your time and focus your attention can be difficult to judge. Personal experience and analysis can help you gauge how much time you spent and how much fulfilment or return you got from a strategy.
But to know where the next avenue for audience growth is, or which skills need to be learned next, to make the best use of your time may require more than hindsight.
Your Next Newsletter
Your next newsletter is due on April 22nd. It will contain details of recent launches you may have missed.
The newsletter after that will be arriving in your inboxes on May 13th, and it will include details about my day out at Bradford Literature Festival last year and the books that came to my attention at that time.
There may be an occasional book promo in your newsletters from now on. It’s not official advertising space for other writers but it does help readers find more books and authors that may take their interest. Hopefully, this will mean more readers can find me also.