Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Big Apple Promotion for The Queen’s Blade

Fantastic news! Apple’s Australia/New Zealand merchandising team has done it again! It has included The Queen’s Blade in a front page – at the top of the page – promotion featuring emerging fantasy authors.  I'm one of only ten authors to be featured and four of the others are Smashwords authors! The other featured Smashwords authors are James Maxwell, Dionne Lister and Joseph Lallo. Congrats to all of them!

The promotion started earlier today in Apple’s Australia and New Zealand stores and runs two weeks.  Check out the promo (the feature opens in iTunes) http://bit.ly/1e62TFa

A little while ago Mark Coker (founder of Smashwords) blogged about the promotion at

This is so amazing. I’m overjoyed to receive this kind of promotion from a huge online vendor like Apple iBookstore. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: I love Apple! It is without a doubt the most progressive of all the major online retailers, taking the initiative when it comes to promoting indie authors and thereby broadening the range of e-books for readers the world over. Thank you Apple!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Emails Lost!

I’m sorry to say that some of the people who emailed me asking for updates on new book releases will not receive a notice about When Angels Fall because I’ve just discovered, whilst sending emails announcing it, that Hotmail has been deleting my flagged emails. I really thought emails that were flagged as important wouldn’t be deleted, but, alas, I was wrong.

In future, I’ll move requests for updates into a separate folder so they’re not deleted – as I’ve done with those I still have – but for those who asked for updates but didn’t get an email about When Angels Fall, I’m so sorry I wasn’t able to let you know. Please email me again at demonlord07@hotmail.com so I can save your email for the future. Adding addresses to my contact list doesn’t really help, because I need to know whether you wanted to be informed of any new releases, or only in a specific series.

Alternatively, all updates are announced on my site: http://www.tcsouthwellbooks.com/, in Facebook https://www.facebook.com/tcsouthwell and in Twitter by @TCSouthwell.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

When Angels Fall at Amazon

Due to the fact that Amazon doesn’t do pre-orders, When Angels Fall will only be available there on the release date – November 26th. It will, however, also be available on that date at Smashwords.com in Kindle format, so there is that alternative for Kindle users. I do prefer to sell via Smashwords.com, and it might be a choice you would want to consider because, although I’ve done my best to keep Amazon in line, they keep jacking up the book prices, so you may very well find them cheaper at Smashwords.com.

I object fiercely to Amazon's price gouging, and they keep the extra profit as well as paying a much smaller percentage to the author. I have to keep going there and doing a price check – where people can show that the books are available cheaper elsewhere – so they reduce the prices, but if they jack up the price of When Angels Fall as soon as I publish it, I won’t have had time to force them to reduce it. So, if you’re a Kindle user, there is a choice, and I highly recommend Smashwords.com. Books are available there in every known format, as far as I’m aware, and it’s the place to discover new talent.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

5 Quotes for all Writers to Live By

1. “You fail only if you stop writing.” ~ Ray Bradbury

2. “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” ~ William Wordsworth

3. “Our words must seem to be inevitable.” ~ William Butler Yeats

4. “The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.” ~ Ana├»s Nin

5. “Substitute ‘damn’ every time you're inclined to write ‘very’; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” ~ Mark Twain

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Demon Lord 8, When Angels Fall, now available from Barnes & Noble and Kobo

Demon Lord 8, When Angels Fall, is now available for pre-order from Barnes & Noble and Kobo.

Readers can read a sample of the first few chapters on Smashwords, and today I share another sneak peek into the book’s pages.

The archangel Majelin has been imprisoned and tortured in the underworld of Sherinias’ domain for five centuries. Eventually, his light will die and he will fall to the darkness. Whispers of a tar’merin travelling with Kayos have reached Airedene, the Sacred City of Angels, giving Sarmalin hope that her husband might be saved, and she goes to plead with the Demon Lord.

The archangel is in a chamber warded against dark gods, however, so Bane must enter it powerless, or Majelin will die. Bane is forced to use the shadows when demon guardians attack, triggering the trap. He follows the archangel into the underworld’s depths to protect him, and they fall into a hidden world inhabited by legendary beings from the Times of Reckoning.

Many of Bane’s powers do not work there, and his attempts to escape fail, but if he does not return to Sherinias’ domain in time, the dark gods he cast down will rise again and enslave the child goddess. He must find a way out, but the further he travels and the more he learns about the hidden realm, the more he fears that he is in a prison created by a Grey God, and there is no way out…

Extract from Demon Lord 8, When Angels Fall

Something brushed Bane’s neck, and he spun, his hands raised, to face empty air. A soft snigger from behind him made him whip around again. He rubbed his stinging neck, his hand coming away bloody. The invisible entity was not an air demon, for there was no smell. Another skirl of laughter made him turn. An invisible foe was hard to fight, but two could play at that game. He cloaked himself and listened for sniggers. He turned twice more before it came again, beside him, just as something stabbed him in the flank.

Bane clasped the wound, cursing. The frisson of dark power he could sense when dark gods became invisible evidently gave away his position to a certain degree, and his enemy had only to keep stabbing at the area to eventually skewer him. He unleashed an unfocussed swathe of dark fire, and then waited. A blade pierced his flank from behind, sliced across his ribs and emerged from his chest. Bane spun, ripping the weapon from its wielder’s grip, and more sniggers came from behind him. He groped for the sword’s hilt and tried to tug it out, but the angle was awkward and the pain searing. With a grunt, he Moved to Retribution’s mess hall.

Bane sank down on the nearest vacant couch, his breath catching. Mirra cried his name and hurried to his side. Drevarin jumped up and hastened over to examine the injury.

“It is not too serious,” he said. “It is just under the skin.”

“Just pull it out,” Bane gritted.

“I will do it.” Kayos appeared and strode towards them, Sherinias trotting at his heels.

Mirra and Drevarin moved aside, and the Grey God placed a hand on Bane’s side, dulling the pain as he drew the weapon out. Bane leashed his power while Kayos healed the wound.

He straightened to frown at Bane. “There is only one thing that could attack you like that.”

Monday, October 21, 2013

Demon Lord 8 – When Angels Fall – extracts, author interview and more

Today the latest book in my Demon Lord series, When Angels Fall, is showcased on Fireblade Publishers’ blog. The showcase includes an interview with me on the book, a pre-publication review, an extract that’s never been shared before, and more.

For more information, visit the Fireblade blog. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Interview with author Tracy Falbe

1. What or who inspired you to write?

I credit my mother as my initial role model for writing. She has a passion for literature and I remember her getting a short story published when I was a kid. She was always drawing, painting, or writing. I easily absorbed her love of the arts. I started writing stories as soon as I was taught to write in grade school.

2. Do you have a day job?

Writing novels and running my publishing company are my day and night jobs. I have not had outside employment since 2006 when my second son was born.

3. What attracted you to write in your particular genre?

I started reading fantasy novels at about age 12 and fell in love with the genre. Although I read all kinds of things, fantasy is my first love. I also like historical settings, especially American Westerns. The most attractive elements in fantasy writing are magic and sword fights. Plus I can always have horses too. Love horses. I don’t feel the need to write a story in our so-called reality. I want to go beyond it. When my life problems weigh me down, which happens often, writing is my refuge.

4. What is your least favorite part of the creative process?

What a surprising question. I never even thought of the concept of having a least favorite part. The toughest thing must be the unbearable compulsion to be creative. Sometimes I wish I was boring and unimaginative and able to sit at some pointless mind-numbing job and collect a check. Maybe life would be easier that way.

5. What do you do when you are not writing?

I have young children and they take up most of my time. My other main interest is growing food. I’ve spent a lot of time studying permaculture techniques and applying them to my yard. My goal is to create an edible landscape. Another hobby is baking, and I like bicycling and boating too.

6. Where is your favorite place to write/work?

I use a portable word processor called a Neo so I’m not tied to any particular spot for writing. When the weather is good, I like to write in my three seasons room. I also write on my couch or in bed. Sometimes I go to the library and write there. I don’t have a favorite spot. As long as no one is bugging me, I can write anywhere.

7. How did you choose the title for your book/s?

I’ve written 8 novels so far. Picking titles used to be hard work. I would keep a running list of ideas for a title and eventually pick one after weeks of consideration. The process is getting easier for me. The titles pop into my head pretty much the way I want them now.

8. If you could go back and do anything differently, would you?

I assume you are referring to changing something in one of my published novels. I don’t dwell on the content of a novel once it’s published. I do look over my work and see where I can improve for future works, but I have no lingering regrets. When I publish a novel, I am personally satisfied. Publishing is my way of letting go. If I did not do it, I could never move on to new stories.

9. How do you market your books?

I’ve tried all kinds of things over the years. For a long time I used advertising through Google and Project Wonderful, but unfortunately this method has been losing effectiveness. I’m not sure why. I’ve also done blog tours and guest blogging. Online press releases are also part of my outreach. I’m beginning to add face-to-face marketing by being a vendor at conventions and fairs. This does not mean that I am abandoning internet marketing. It remains important because I have always relied on my worldwide distribution. I get readers from all kinds of countries and the internet is my way of reaching them. I will continue to seek guest blogging opportunities. I also have written my own blog for a long time. I do this because I enjoy it. I dabble in social media, but really have no idea how to market myself on that platform.

10. Where do you publish your books, and which distributor do you see the most sales from?

I publish my books first at my Brave Luck Books web store. I then put them into the Amazon Kindle publishing system and Smashwords. Through Smashwords my titles go to Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, Sony, and several other places. Additionally my novels are at Allromanceebooks.com and Drive Thru Fiction. I get the most sales in the Amazon Kindle stores, but my sales at Barnes & Noble are a close second. I’ve never really broken out at Amazon, and I wish I could do better there.

11. What is the most interesting lesson you’ve learnt about yourself through your writing?

I’ve learned that I am ridiculously obsessive and able to endure years upon years of hard work for very little reward.

12. What is the harshest criticism you’ve received about your book/s?

Someone wrote me to say that his conscience demanded that he beg me to stop writing. He wanted to spare hapless readers the chance of encountering my work. I deleted the email without replying. I assume my writing was so powerful that I triggered feelings in him that he could not cope with.

Another bad review at Amazon goes on and on about how stupid my characters are. Apparently that reader missed the clues about how magic sometimes influenced the actions of some characters. Also, my characters do stupid things sometimes because that’s how people are. People do stupid things all the time, myself included. I’ve had many reviews state that my characters feel very real.

13. How do you handle criticism about your book/s?

Poorly. It hurts too much for me to be gracious about it. However, I do consider everything that readers say about my novels, even the bad things. When someone does not like my work, I acknowledge that I failed to communicate with that person. I sincerely want to improve and I work very hard at my craft. I know I will never please everybody. I’ve been doing this long enough to know that for every person who hates my writing another person will think it’s great. I can’t focus on the haters.

14. Is there a message or a lesson that you’d like to convey to your readers?

I’m always grateful to the people who have read my books. I appreciate that they gave me a chance. Some readers won’t because I am self published. People have looked down on me and dismissed like I was stupid my whole life. Nobody in the world wakes up and decides to make my dreams come true. I have to do it myself. If there’s something you want to do, then I say do it. Not doing it is the failure.

15. Please share your purchase links with us.

Currently I have 8 fantasy novels published:

Union of Renegades, The Goddess Queen, Judgment Rising, The Borderlands of Power, Rys Rising, Savage Storm, New Religion, and Love Lost.

Please visit my web store Brave Luck Books to download free ebooks or buy ebooks. http://www.falbepublishing.com/braveluck/index.html International readers welcome!

Union of Renegades: The Rys Chronicles Book I is a free ebook here: http://www.falbepublishing.com/braveluck/Union_of_Renegades.html

Also see my author pages at:

A young warrior ruined and near death is saved by Onja a mysterious rys female. Forsaking all that he was, he will take the name Amar and serve his new magical mistress. A lord among outlaws he will become, feared by kings and called the dro-shalum or curse demon by the common folk.

Onja nurtures his growing power among the tribal kingdoms so she can strike against the tabre of Nufal. They are the ancient race of magic users that created the rys with their experimental spells, but they revile their creations. The tabre keep the rys hidden away while they rule over their beautiful realm. The key to Onja’s victory will be if she can win over the rys prodigy Dacian who is loyal to the ruling tabre order. Will he endure more dark abuses for the sake of peace or reach out to Onja and her growing army of allies?

Packed with primitive energy, the intertwining stories of this fantasy world will indulge your cravings for intrigue, bravery, desire, and freedom.

I was born in Michigan in 1972 and grew up in Mount Pleasant. It's called the "Mountain Town" but there is no mountain and it's debatable about whether it's pleasant. They say it's a party town and based on extensive research as a young adult I can concur.

Because I always had the childhood fantasy of running away and joining the circus, I moved to Las Vegas, Nevada in 1995 and lived there until 1997. Those who only stay a week are wimps, but I will say that it's the second year in Vegas that wears you down. Then I realized the pioneers were trying to get to California, so I moved to Chico, in Northern California and lived there until 2009.

In 2000, I earned a journalism degree from California State University, Chico with the conscious ambition of becoming a fiction writer. With the rapid demise of the newspaper industry and journalism in general, novelist is not such a daft pursuit after all. It's not like I'm actually going to get a job that values my education. Luckily I'm cursed with the impulse to write in a popular yet competitive genre.

My wandering has circled back and I'm currently residing in Battle Creek, Michigan, and for now my existence within the post-apocalyptic Rust Belt is suitably fascinating.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Horror Dad Writes

Today I bring you a guest post from horror writer Alex Laybourne. Enjoy!

Being a writer isn’t easy, holding down a full time job in today’s economy is not easy, and being a parent is certainly not an easy job at times. Doing all three can, at certain moments, be a recipe for madness. Yet all of us in this position push on.

As a result, I have learned to compartmentalize. I divide my time. Everything has its place. I write when I am supposed to write. I work when I need to write, and when my kids are around, we play, sing, dance and have a riot.

Sure, sometimes things overlap, but only because I want them to. Normally I have my structured approach and it works.

Being a parent and a horror writer, I am often faced with difficult questions from my children. Like when they ask me about the monsters. Should I tell them that old lie, that monsters don’t exist? Do I tell them that monsters aren’t real? That would be a lie. The world is filled with monsters. Or do I sit down, tell them about monsters, that the things they think are monsters is really their imagination? That the monsters are real because they exist inside them, and that likewise, they can control them. Turn them into anything.

Maybe it is unconventional, maybe other people reading this will take me for a fool, but I know that when it comes to the monsters under the bed and the things that go bump in the night, my kids will know the truth, and will allow themselves to believe anyway, because they are the writers of their own dreams.

That being said, it has gotten me into trouble on occasion. One such incident came in the swimming pool with my son as he prepared for his weekly lesson.

We walked into the large communal changing room, and the kids were there with the usual plethora of questions. Can I have an ice cream after swimming? Can we eat chips tonight? Can we go to the playground? I want to go home! I don’t like swimming.

In walks my son, who had been a few feet. “So Dad, let me get this right. Vampires drink your blood, zombies eat your brains, and werewolves just kind of eat everything.”

You can imagine the impression that made. Everybody just fell silent in the whole changing room. All eyes were on us. What did I do as a parent? I did what Horror Dad should do. I clapped my boy proudly on the shoulder and said, “Yep, got it in one, now let’s get ready for swimming.”

Oddly enough nobody sat near me that afternoon beside the pool. 

Born and raised in the coastal English town Lowestoft, it should come as no surprise (to those who have the misfortune of knowing this place) that I became a horror writer.

From an early age I was sent to schools which were at least 30 minutes' drive away and so spent most of my free time alone, as the friends I did have lived too far away for me to be able to hang out with them in the weekends or holidays.

I have been a writer as long as I can remember and have always had a vivid imagination. To this very day I find it all too easy to just drift away into my own mind and explore the world I create; where the conditions always seem to be just perfect for the cultivation of ideas, plots, scenes, characters and lines of dialogue.

I am married and have four wonderful children; James, Logan, Ashleigh and Damon. My biggest dream for them is that they grow up, and spend their lives doing what makes them happy, whatever that is.

For people who buy my work, I hope that they enjoy what they read and that I can create something that takes them away from reality for a short time. For me, the greatest compliment I can receive is not based on rankings, but by knowing that people enjoy what I produce, that they buy my work with pleasure and never once feel as though their money would have been better spent elsewhere.


-                      Trials and Tribulations: http://www.amazon.com/Trials-Tribulations-Highway-Hell-ebook/dp/B00EKJI8TM/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1
-                      Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Alex-Laybourne/e/B00580RB18/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Demon Lord VIII - When Angels Fall

Good news! Demon Lord VIII - When Angels Fall is now finished and will be available for pre-orders at Apple iBookstore very soon, perhaps tomorrow! It should also be available for pre-orders on Barnes & Noble and Kobo by next week. Follow Bane’s continuing trials and tribulations has he fights the darkness in all its forms. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Demon Lord VIII - When Angels Fall

The archangel Majelin has been imprisoned and tortured in the underworld of Sherinias’ domain for five centuries. Eventually, his light will die and he will fall to the darkness. Whispers of a tar’merin travelling with Kayos have reached Airedene, the Sacred City of Angels, giving Sarmalin hope that her husband might be saved, and she goes to plead with the Demon Lord.

The archangel is in a chamber warded against dark gods, however, so Bane must enter it powerless, or Majelin will die. Bane is forced to use the shadows when demon guardians attack, triggering the trap. He follows the archangel into the underworld’s depths to protect him, and they fall into a hidden world inhabited by legendary beings from the Times of Reckoning.

Many of Bane’s powers do not work there, and his attempts to escape fail, but if he does not return to Sherinias’ domain in time, the dark gods he cast down will rise again and enslave the child goddess. He must find a way out, but the further he travels and the more he learns about the hidden realm, the more he fears that he is in a prison created by a Grey God, and there is no way out…

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Today I bring you an interview with fellow fantasy author, Michelle Louring. Thank you for taking the time to talk to us today, Michelle.

1. Can you define the moment that you first knew you wanted to write a book?

I think it was about 8 chapters into my first book I actually realized that I intended to finish it… I had written a lot of short stories before and started on several books, but I had never imagined that I would finish one. But after I got so far in Resounding Echo, I thought ‘What the heck, I’m doing this!’.

2. Whose opinions do you value most when it comes to your writing?

People I know have read all their life, simply because they enjoy it. And if they’re friends, I have become good at knowing the difference between those afraid to hurt my feelings and the real ones who won’t hesitate to say ‘This sucks, change it’.

3. Where do most of your ideas originate?

Mental inactivity. When I try really hard at coming up with ideas, they’re stubbornly staying away. But when I’m sitting in a meeting, listening to someone so dull I’m afraid my brain will melt, the inspiration always come flying to my rescue. That, or when I’m desperately trying to sleep and it just won’t let me…

4. How many characters have you killed, and have you ever regretted killing a character?

Of my main characters (the ones that haven’t been villains), I have only killed one. Minor characters die like flies in my writing, especially the ones that make the mistake of annoying me.

…Yes, I know they’re my characters, but that doesn’t mean they don’t annoy me.

I have never regretted killing a character, but I do admit I have started to miss the main character I killed off. He was a lot of fun!

5. What has been the hardest book for you to write?  Why?

My second book, Silent Sound, was delayed greatly, because I kept falling into writer’s blocks caused by self-doubt. I didn’t take the first book that seriously as I had never intended for anyone to read it at first, but by the time I was halfway through the second, I started doubting if my writing really was worth anything. It still happens, but I have learned to ignore that annoying little voice in the back of my head and just power through.

6. Do you do any research before you begin to write a new book?

Never! I do research DURING a book, but never before. Actually, I never think before starting a new book. My first book was written after I asked a friend for an idea for something to write. All he said was ‘What about something that starts in a monastery?’. That was all I needed to get started. Figuring out such trivial things as plot lines can wait for later, can’t they?

7. How do you market your books?

To be honest, I don’t really anymore. In the beginning, I did the usual things: Facebook, Twitter, blogging and everything else they said you needed to do to market your books on the internet.
I also realized that it made life miserable and that I didn’t really enjoy writing while I did it. So I stopped. I still keep my website updated and make sure to announce new releases on the social networks, but other than that I keep pretty quiet.

I do, however, go to conventions and sell paperbacks. It doesn’t really do much for marketing, but I have a blast! It’s much more fun to meet people in person and have a chat than to see some number in a sales report.

Also, just at the beginning of this month, I went to a convention and someone who bought my first book at another convention two years ago came and asked me to write in the second after she bought it. That’s the kind of thing that warms an author’s heart!

8. Where do you publish your books, and which distributor do you see the most sales from?

I publish paperbacks via the POD publisher Createspace and ebooks via all major retailers. I publish directly through Amazon and to other retailers via Smashwords.

In the past, I had almost all of my sales at Amazon (like most other self-published authors), but lately, Amazon has gone back, while others, especially Apple’s iBookstore, are winning ground. I would say that Amazon and the Smashwords’ retailers are pretty much even right now.

9. How do you cope with writing and juggling the demands of all your other commitments?

I take the train instead of driving to work. I read on the trip out and get most of my writing done on the trip home. I never let writing get in the way of the rest of my life, as it was never meant to be a job, but I fit it in around all my other activities. I always carry a notebook around (and a tablet with a keyboard if I know I will get time to write) and I write whenever I have the time.

I find that I can’t even write probably when I have nothing else I need to do!

10. Do you have any other creative outlets aside from writing?

Lately a friend of mine has gotten me into costume making. I spend my weekends covered in super glue and trying to make horns out of PU foam. It can’t possibly end well…

11. Do you reward yourself after completing a book and, if so, how?

All the reward I really need is the first paperback copy arriving in the mail. Other than that, I just allow myself some time to relax before my mind goes into overdrive over the next book!

12. If you had a super power, what would it be and why?

I always wanted to be able to walk through walls like Shadowcat, but now I’m thinking I would like the ability to shut people up. How hard can it be to be quiet in the Quiet Zone of the train?!

13. What has been the best moment in your life so far?

That’s a tough one… Can I get back to you?

14. Is there a message or a lesson that you’d like to convey to your readers?

Don’t super glue yourself to a table. Really, it’s stupid, don’t do it.

15. Please share your purchase links with us.

My books at:

Also, feel free to visit my website.

The battlefield of angels and demons is no place for a human...
For nearly 6 years, Selissa has lived an almost peaceful life at the temple, but she has no memories from the time before the priests took mercy on her. All she has from her past life are a strange symbol on her back and fearful dreams. 

It's only when the mysterious traveler Alassane arrives at the temple that her lost memories come back to haunt her. Soon, Selissa finds herself fighting for her life and comes to know that no one are what they pretend to be...

Michelle Louring was born and raised in Denmark, where she still lives, surrounded by her two big dogs, her cat and her owl. Yes, you read that right, her owl.

From a very young age, she loved reading and writing in Danish, but quickly fell in love with the more expressive English language when she was taught it in school. Now nearly all her books are in English and not even her to do-lists get written in Danish.

Besides writing, she has a great passion for falconry (hence the owl), archery and occasionally martial arts. She is also quite a geek as she enjoys comics, superhero movies and has been a gamer of World of Warcraft for 8 years.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Why do book giveaways and discounts work for some authors and not others?

Guest post by Vanessa Finaughty of Fireblade Publishers

Free books give readers an opportunity to try a new author without spending money. Let’s face it, in today’s world of indie publishing, far too many authors publish books that haven’t been edited properly (or at all), and, like everyone else on the planet, readers dislike paying good money for sub-quality products. If readers enjoy the book and find it of high enough quality, they’re likely to purchase other books by that author. If you’re lucky, free books will also earn you more reviews, thereby making your book more attractive to other potential readers.

Every author, particularly the independent author, wants the answer to the obvious question: how do I sell more books? While some authors swear by giving away free copies of their books, reporting that doing so increased their sales volumes drastically, other authors find that giveaways and discounts do little, sometimes nothing, to increase their overall sales.

What’s the difference between these authors and how do you know if it will work for you? There’s no easy answer to these questions. Myriad factors are involved, including how often you publish a new book, the total number of books you have available for purchase, how entertaining and original your books are, how well edited your books are, how well designed and eye catching your book covers are, the length of your books, whether or not your books are part of a series, what genre you write in, and how well you promote your giveaways and discounts, amongst others.

Let’s take a quick look at each of the above factors:

How many books do you have available for purchase and how often do you publish a new book?

Being prolific keeps readers coming back for more, and it’s a known fact that most authors experience greater readership (and sales) if they have more books out there. If you take too long to write your next book, readers will move on and many will forget about you and your books. With each new book you publish, you also have a new opportunity to market another book, which will draw more potential readers to try your products.

How entertaining and original is your book?

Your books have to entertain readers and make them want to read your other work. No one will buy another of your books if the first book they read is boring and unoriginal.

How well edited is your book?

Your books are products and, as such, you need to provide high-quality products. No one will pay for another of your books if they feel cheated out of the money they spent on the first book they read. In fact, this could earn you flame reviews that can irreparably damage your sales. Make sure your book is well edited, because most readers are educated enough to notice blatant spelling errors or typos, and many will find it offensive that you thought them so illiterate that they wouldn't notice the errors.

Is your cover well designed and eye catching?

They say ‘never judge a book by its cover’, but, when it comes to a literal book, this is exactly what readers do. If the cover is dull and inconspicuous, readers’ eyes will rove right over it and move to the next cover, the one that catches the eye with its boldness and interesting design. Your cover should also clearly depict what your book is about – readers should be able to tell the genre from the cover, at the very least. Your title should also be clearly visible and able to catch the eye from a distance (or from thumbnail view, if it’s an e-book).

How long are your books?

Studies have shown that most readers prefer longer books, probably because they feel that longer books are greater value for money. If your book needs to be short to avoid being overly wordy and padding it with boring nonsense, that’s okay – but be sure to charge a little less for shorter books, so readers still feel as if they’re getting a deal.

Are your books standalone books or part of a series?

Series sell better than standalone books. If readers enjoy the first book, they’re likely to want to read the rest of that story and, as such, will purchase every book in that series even if they don’t purchase any of your other books. However, after enjoying an entire series written by one author, the chances are readers will sample your other work too.

What’s your genre?

Some genres sell better than others. For example, you’re likely to earn twice as much selling romance or erotica books than you are any other genre.

How well do you promote your freebies and special discount offers?

This might sound obvious, but many authors discount their books or make them either permanently free or free for a limited time, then expect the downloads to start, yet they don’t advertise the fact that the books are free or discounted. You need to make use of all social media at your disposal, and announce the giveaway or discount on your blog and anywhere else you can.

So we’ve covered how to increase the chances of your freebies and discounts resulting in more overall sales. So, again, why do some authors follow all these ‘rules’ and see fantastic results when they offer free or discounted books, while others do the same and see little or no results, and how do you know which category you will fall into?

There is no ultimate answer to the first question. What I have noticed, however, is that free books work best when the free book in question is the first book in a series. Once readers have sampled and enjoyed a series, they’re much more likely to purchase the rest of the series, because they want to know how the overall story ends, and they want to read more about the same characters they’ve come to know and love. For standalone free books, there’s always the chance that readers will enjoy the book so much that they want to sample your other books, but keep in mind that it could be that none of your other books’ plots interest them. However, I find that discounting standalone books works better than discounting books in a series – many readers purchase the entire series in one go or as soon as they’ve finished reading the previous book if they enjoyed the first book, so they wouldn’t benefit from discounts unless the books were discounted at exactly the time they were planning to purchase. When standalone books are discounted, a reader who enjoyed another of your books is more likely to purchase the discounted book to see if it’s as good as your previous book.

As for knowing which category you will fall into – the only sure-fire way to know that is to test the waters. Discount some of your books or offer some for free, then advertise the offers, and wait and see.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Top Gear road challenge driving from Merseyside to Gibraltar

Cyber Chronicles fan Paul Price, a UK truck driver, took part in a Top Gear charity road challenge drive last week, Friday 13th, in which he drove from Merseyside to Gibraltar and back.

Paul is a self-proclaimed avid reader of my books, and took his Kindle with on the drive so he could continue reading The Cyber Chronicles during any free time he had. Thanks for your support, Paul, and I hope the charity drive went well!

When Queen Tassin is forced to flee her kingdom on the backwater planet of Omega V, she has no idea that the strange warrior who helps her is a cyborg; the deadliest hi-tech killing machine ever created. Her world has forgotten the technology that almost destroyed it, but then a freak accident damages the micro-supercomputer that controls Sabre, and he is free to take charge of his destiny…

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Guest Post Request

As many of you know, I’m currently in the process of writing Demon Lord, Book 8. I’m pleased to report that the book is going well and almost complete, but then I still have to edit it until I’m 100% happy with it, so it could be a while still, particularly if I spend too much time blogging. Therefore, I’ve decided to request guest posts so I can keep my blog busy and still focus on writing as much as possible.

If you have anything interesting to say about science fiction or fantasy in general, I’d love to share it on my blog. Reviews, interviews, or guest posts on writing, publishing and marketing are also welcome, or any other relevant topic you can think of.
Please send all post submissions to my publicist at vanessa@wildorchidbooks.com and she’ll run them by me. Please note that all posts might be edited for typos and other errors. If you haven’t already written the post, it’s best to check with Vanessa first to make sure your desired topic is suitable for my blog, as not all submissions will be accepted. Please also keep in mind that my blog is for all ages, so nothing naughty and no swearing in the guest posts, please.

Thank you, and I look forward to hosting your post!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Free Book Binge Week – FREE BOOKS!

Today, I’m pleased to bring you 10 permanently free science fiction and fantasy books. Don’t forget to leave the author a review on his/her download page if you enjoy the read!
In his search for the origin of the human race, Liam MacAskill travels to another planet and comes face to face with the Devil himself. He’s driven to claim sanctuary from the monks and nuns at Tridor Monastery, where another stranger to the land lies in a coma.

A man scarred by bad deeds answers the call of a heroic cause. An unconventional heroine will tug at your sympathies as she bravely faces adversity with all the strengths and vulnerabilities of her womanhood. And overarching it all are the rys. Their magic makes them superior to humans, but they are not above employing humans in their deadly schemes. Union of Renegades begins the love story between Dreibrand, an ambitious military officer, and Miranda, an escaped slave. They'll become a power couple that rules a vast kingdom, but only after grim struggle and terrible sacrifice.

Download this fantasy novel from the author’s website.

Clinging to the bar running along the front of the platform, Sergeant Osric has a lot of time to think about how he got there. About how he’s shooting through a forest on a rocket powered train platform. About how a grinning thief is clinging to the same bar beside him. Most of all, though, about how he’s heading for Bytarend; a town no-one has heard from in almost a hundred years. There has to be a reasonable explanation for their silence, after all. Osric tries to think of a reason that doesn’t end in his horrible death…

…he can’t come up with one.

Dark twist on faeries. For Shade, a chance meeting with a powerful Teleen Faery warrior who wields electrical currents and blue fires along his skin, has her joining him on a treacherous mission for the good Seelie Faerie Court across the land of Faerie. Magic and malice abound and nothing is what it really seems to be.

Download this free fantasy novel from Amazon.

Michael is just an ordinary, average, normal, everyday middle schooler in the perfect town of Lincolnshire, a town that happens to have more superheroes per square mile than anywhere else on the planet. What could possibly go wrong, surrounded by so many people who could destroy the town with a snap of their fingers?

With so many humans focussed on snakes on July 16 each year, World Snake Day, the snake god Calebius gains more power. Power that builds over the years until one day, 16 July 2013, he’s finally powerful enough to free himself of the curse that, millennia ago, rendered him incapable of achieving physical form. Now, he seeks revenge on those who trapped him, but they are long dead, so their descendents will have to do… Only one person can quell his thirst for blood, but can Lily learn to trust her heart in time to save the human race?

...Love and other man-made disasters... A woman looking for a new life gets trapped in a commuter tube, and manages to find love and herself in the aftermath of the disaster.

Victor Mansfield, king of Dalmar, has infiltrated the occupied castle of Argonna in order to free the Queen of Argonna, Fiora Durassil, from imprisonment by the D'rolock Empire. At first everything goes according to plan, but soon his plan begins to unravel in this thrilling story by Timothy Wilson.

This is the epic tale of Kirin of House Dar’Shiel, the elfish daughter of an exiled priestess who must travel to the elfish high city to serve the goddess Alorana. Upon her journey she must learn what it is to be a Namari. This goddess-given gift of foresight makes her an invaluable commodity in a war between two elfin goddesses, one of whom will have her death, or her service. Her path crosses that of an injured harpy, a creature thought to exist only in myth, who is upon a quest save her tribe from extinction. Together, they must find a way to thwart a dark goddess and save their homeland from destruction.

The Clements Academy was established, somewhere around the year 2045, to train the best and brightest orphans from around the world into the perfect agents. Weapons training, martial arts training, and small unit tactics are just a taste of the curriculum for Clements students. Mark Eblin is one graduate who's never been amazing...and now he's been had.

If these free books whet your appetite for more, visit the other participating blogs below:

Lauren Scharhag’s blog

Aneza Lee’s blog

Thursday, August 15, 2013

End of the Virtual Book Tour

I’m happy to report that this has been a most successful tour, and I’d like to thank all the bloggers who took part and were such great hosts, as well as all those who left cool comments on the blog posts. I hope everyone enjoyed reading the articles, extracts and interviews, and all who took advantage of the special offers and freebies enjoy the books.
Please remember to email Vanessa@wildorchidbooks.com your proof of payments for the ‘most books purchased during the tour’ giveaway, to receive your free copies of The Crystal Ship and The Shrike. The cut-off date for proof of payment emails is one week from today, so please send your emails before the 23rd of August.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Virtual Book Tour – Day 14: Extract & Guest Post

The final day of my virtual book tour has finally arrived. I’m honoured by the number of people who have participated, and thank you all for following the tour.
Today’s tour hosts are The Indie Author Network for the second time during the tour, and fantasy romance author Marsha A. Moore. The Indie Author Network will be sharing an extract from my fantasy series, The Broken World, and Marsha will be sharing a guest post from me about the magic systems in my books.

Please visit their blogs and don’t forget to comment if you enjoy the posts!
Today is the final day you can take advantage of the 15% discount on Demon Lord II, Dark God, so grab your copy if you think you’ll enjoy it.

Promotional price: $2.54
Coupon Code: JX99Z
If you’ve been purchasing my books throughout the tour, remember that the person who purchases the most of my books for the duration of the tour receives the gift of Books 2 and 3 in The Slave Empire series. To see if you qualify, you should, from tomorrow, email all your PoPs to vanessa@wildorchidbooks.com. Vanessa will be counting purchases until 21 August, and the winner will be announced on my blog on 22 August. Anyone who sends PoPs after the 21 August won’t qualify, so be sure to send yours in on time.

To make sure you haven’t missed a tour post, download the TC Southwell Virtual Book Tour Itinerary.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Virtual Book Tour – Day 13: Guest Post on Tips for New Writers

Today’s tour host is book blogger The Independent Bookworm, which will be sharing a guest post from me with tips for new writers.
First and foremost, follow your inspiration, and secondly, don’t give up. Find your genre, which should be the one you most enjoy reading, and be inspired to write original stories that utterly captivate you. If you find them engrossing, so will your readers, and your passion for your story will translate into your writing. Write for your personal pleasure, and never for what other people might find interesting.

To read the rest of this post, please visit The Independent Bookworm’s blog.
To celebrate the last two days of my blog tour, I’m offering readers a 15% discount on Demon Lord II, Dark God for today and tomorrow, 13 and 14 August.

Promotional price: $2.54
Coupon Code: JX99Z
If you’ve been purchasing my books throughout the tour, remember that the person who purchases the most of my books for the duration of the tour receives the gift of Books 2 and 3 in The Slave Empire series (to see if you qualify, you should, on the first day after the tour, email all your PoPs to vanessa@wildorchidbooks.com).

To make sure you don’t miss a tour post, download the TC Southwell Virtual Book Tour Itinerary.