Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Pre-Order Down London Road!

DOWN LONDON ROAD (an On Dublin Street novel)





Johanna Walker is used to taking charge. But she’s about to meet someone who will make her lose control....


It has always been up to Johanna to care for her family, particularly her younger brother, Cole. With an absent father and a useless mother,  she’s been making decisions based on what’s best for Cole for as long as she can remember. She even determines what men to date by how much they can provide for her brother and her, not on whatever sparks may—or may
not—fly.
   

But with Cameron MacCabe, the attraction is undeniable. The sexy new bartender at work gives her butterflies every time she looks at him. And for once, Jo is tempted to put her needs first. Cam is just as obsessed with getting to know Jo, but her walls are too solid to let him get close enough to even try. Then Cam moves into the flat below Jo’s, and their blistering connection becomes impossible to ignore. Especially since Cam is determined to
uncover all of Jo’s secrets…even if it means taking apart her defenses piece by piece.

Release Date: May 7th 2013 



PRE-ORDER LINKS



Paperback: Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Amazon.co.uk, Waterstones


Ebook: Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Amazon.co.uk

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Quick Guide to Self-Publishing



Back in August 2011 I wrote a post on my self-publishing journey so far and what it took to be successful in self-publishing. Since the release of On Dublin Street, and because of some of the media I’ve done here in Scotland, I’ve had quite a number of emails from aspiring writers enquiring about the ins and outs of self-publishing. Unfortunately, life is manic right now and I’m unable to answer everyone, so I thought I’d do an updated post on self-publishing.

I’m not an expert, and with the changing face of the publishing industry, I’m like every author—learning something new every day. It seems to be clear from my own experience and from others that, currently, the ebook Top 100 lists are the new slush pile. Writers can spend months, years, sending out their manuscript and receiving rejection after rejection (that’s if it even makes it off the slush pile) or they can self-publish, hone their craft, gain experience, build a readership and hopefully one day make it into a top 100 list and catch the eye of an agent or a publisher. It’s really down to the individual and what they want out of writing.

For those writers serious about making self-publishing a full-time career, I can only tell you about my own experiences and how that’s colored my opinion on what I believe it takes to be successful as an independent writer.

Quality

When I began self-publishing in February 2011, self-pubbing was really beginning to take off among aspiring writers, particularly in the U.S. Now the marketplace is filled with indie writers. This is great for readers, but it also makes it harder for indies to stand out in the crowd. One of the very basic ways to do this is by paying attention to one word: quality. Just as there are a lot of indie books out there that are polished and professional, there are those that are not. It’s clear not even a copyeditor has taken a look over some of them, never mind an editor. Get an editor. A good one. Sometimes it can take a while to find a good one, but it’s worth it. Moreover, find beta readers you trust to read your work as you’re writing it. Their input can be invaluable.
As well as a good editor invest in a good cover artist. When your cover art is professional it tells the reader on a subconscious level that the author means business. Cover art is also a great piece of marketing. A great image can draw readers in even more than a blurb. It’s not just about cover art though. Typography is really important too. I do all my own typography using Photoshop and it took me a number of months to finally get it right—sometimes the simplest font has the greatest impact.

Quantity

Quantity and quality go hand in hand.  When I first researched self-publishing I realized it was the authors with a healthy catalogue of books who were making enough money to write full-time. Even if their books weren’t doing overwhelmingly good individually, collectively they were doing well enough to generate a healthy income. This point doesn’t always stand up to the evidence. There are independent writers out there who have been incredibly successful with their debut novel and are living quite nicely off the royalties from that one book, but for the vast majority of authors a catalogue of books is where part of the success of being a full-time writer lies.
And momentum is everything.
When I first started out I already had a trilogy written and I published it over the first three months while I wrote a fourth novel. After I published the fourth novel I worked my ass off writing a fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth novel. Fifteen months later I’d published ten young adult novels and a novella. This momentum (and constant promo and marketing) kept me on reader’s radars. I really believe this plays a huge part in being successful as an indie. For example, since the success of On Dublin Street and being picked up by Penguin, my life has been chaotically busy because of this series, and that means my self-pubbed titles haven’t received near as much attention as I usually give them. I haven’t self-published a young adult book since last July. The collective monthly sales of my self-pubbed books have more than halved since July 2012 because I’ve dropped momentum. So that’s something to be aware of when you take the plunge.

Promoting and Marketing

Promoting and Marketing is so important. I always tell people when they ask me about self-publishing that you can’t go into it with hopes of becoming a full-time writer unless you’re willing to work your ass off. At first I sacrificed a lot of my social life for self-pubbing because between writing, formatting and promoting my books it really is a 24/7 gig.
Promo and marketing doesn’t need to cost money, however. As an avid reader I already stalked quite a few book bloggers so when I started out I contacted them individually, letting them know how much I enjoyed their blog (I never mass email bloggers), that I knew who they were and I was specifically interested in them either reviewing my book, hosting a guest post, interview or giveaway. Bloggers take time out of their very busy lives to review books and their word of mouth about a book can do wonders to its sales. They deserve respect and politeness. The vast majority of them don’t like being treated like a random number you’ve emailed, so I advise against it.
Another free way to promo is through social media sites—Blogger, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Wattpad, Movellas. Not only are these a great way to connect with your readers but a wonderful way to promote your work. Information on these sites can travel fast, especially if you network with other indie authors. The community is amazing and most of us are surprisingly helpful, so connect with us. It’s a great way to ask advice, give advice and share experiences and readerships.
Giveaways. Hold giveaways on your blog, social media sites or enlist bloggers to host the giveaways for you. Giving away ebooks costs you nothing.

Platforms

There are a number of platforms for self-publishing. The platforms for ebooks that I’ve used are KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) by Amazon and Smashwords. KDP is very user-friendly and Amazon provide an easy formatting guide for authors to follow before publishing to the program. For authors looking to publish on other ebook retail sites such as Apple, Sony, B&N and Kobo, Smashwords is the platform to use. You can upload your ebook to Smashwords using their formatting guidelines and then Smashwords will distribute your ebook to the different retailers. The percentage they take on top of the royalty rate is very reasonable.
Barnes& Noble also has a self-pubbing platform called Pubit. It only allowed U.S. authors to self-publish with them but has now expanded Pubit into the UK market.
To self-publish a paperback, I use Amazon’s CreateSpace. Now you can either pay someone to do the formatting for you (and that will save you a lot of hair-pulling) or do it yourself. I had no money when I started out so I format my paperbacks myself. I find Photoshop very helpful in that endeavor :)

Anyhoo, I hope this helps somewhat for newbies. Good luck and Happy Writing.

Sam x

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

UK Book Launch Event



Tomorrow the paperback edition of On Dublin Street hits UK bookstores! I'm thinking seeing the book on shelves here will finally bring a little reality to the situation :p

If you're going to be near Edinburgh tomorrow, why not drop by for the UK book launch. I'll be at Waterstones, 83 George Street from 6pm-8pm celebrating the release and answering your questions! There will be wine!


Sam x

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Down London Road (an On Dublin Street novel)

Down London Road Blurb

Johanna Walker is used to taking charge. But she’s about to meet someone who will make her lose control....


It has always been up to Johanna to care for her family, particularly
her younger brother, Cole. With an absent father and a useless mother,
she’s been making decisions based on what’s best for Cole for as long as
she can remember. She even determines what men to date by how much they
can provide for her brother and her, not on whatever sparks may—or may
not—fly.

But with Cameron MacCabe, the attraction is
undeniable. The sexy new bartender at work gives her butterflies every
time she looks at him. And for once, Jo is tempted to put her needs
first. Cam is just as obsessed with getting to know Jo, but her walls
are too solid to let him get close enough to even try.

Then
Cam moves into the flat below Jo’s, and their blistering connection
becomes impossible to ignore. Especially since Cam is determined to
uncover all of Jo’s secrets…even if it means taking apart her defenses
piece by piece.


***



Many of you managed to drop by last night for the Twitter chat which was excellent. I had so much fun attempting to answer all your questions. I’m so sorry if I missed any! We had a lot of participants and the chat was moving at such a rapid pace. 

Here is a link to the chat for those that missed it—http://storify.com/colleenlindsay/samantha-young-on-dublin-street-twitter-chat

Many questions were about whether Joss and Braden would be making an appearance in Down London Road (ODS#2) and why I decided to write about Jo’s character for book two. As you can see from my answers, yes, Joss and Braden are in book two, as are Ellie and Adam and the rest of the Nichols family. I hope their presence make readers happy and should give you all a glimpse into their relationship beyond On Dublin Street.

So readers asked ‘why Jo?’ And why not continue with Joss and Braden?

Well, I am so amazed and blown away by readers’ response to these two characters. I love that you love them and I know some of you were hoping that the sequel would be a continuation of their romance. For me, and for some of you as well, their story has been told— the important part of the story, the interesting part, the story that was really Joss’ story has been told. It was her journey to finding a sense of peace, and how Braden and Ellie gave her that peace. Continuing their story would mean throwing drama at them for the sake of plot, and really that doesn’t fit their characters or how far they’ve come as a couple.

Instead, I looked beyond Joss and Braden and discovered Jo. For those of you trying to remember, Jo is Joss’ friend and colleague at Club 39, the bar she works in. In ODS Jo is described as a nice girl, devoted to her brother, but a bit of a gold digger. Jo definitely has a story to tell. A rich story about family, friendship, self-confidence, self-respect and most of all about falling in love when we least expect it. The hero of Down London Road is Cameron MacCabe, a tattooed bartender/graphic designer who completely derails Jo’s plans and determination. Although very different characters from Joss and Braden, in very different situations, Jo and Cam’s relationship is a particularly tense, fiery and passionate one and I hope you fall in love with the two of them just as much as you have with Joss and Braden.

Down London Road is out May 7th 2013 in the US and is available to preorder in paperback from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

It will be available to preorder in Kindle and Nook edition soon and I’ll update the blog with those links as soon as they are live.

The UK release date is yet to be announced but I will update you all as soon as I know more.







Sam x





Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Preorder the UK edition of On Dublin Street



The UK edition of On Dublin Street will be out in paperback Jan 17th! Published by Michael Joseph (Penguin UK) On Dublin Street is available to preorder!




Sam x

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Looking Forward - 2013



Happy 2013 guys!

I hope you all had a great time bringing in the new year. I… well… I’m not huge on new year celebrations. I don’t know why but it’s the one celebration I can take or leave. Technically, I can’t leave it, otherwise I’d be trapped in the previous year. But you get what I mean. This year I watched Avatar and The Amazing Spiderman on my new Blu-Ray player. Now you really know how much of a geek I am.

Do you all write down new year resolutions and aspirations? I quit writing resolutions a long time ago because, well, I don’t like setting myself up to fail, and when your resolutions are predominately centered around cutting out chocolate and diet Coke, you’re just asking for it.

However, this year I thought I’d write down some of my hopes and plans for 2013. So here they are in no particular order…



1) See my friends and family have a happy 2013 - cue the awws if you must, but it’s true. My family and friends rock. - Hope










2) Become proficient at Wii tennis and Zumba Core. - Plan









3) Visit the U.S. and meet some of my awesome readers over there. - Plan










4) See the day when Milo (my parents’ one year old puppy) masters the art of peeing. At the moment he’s cocking his leg so high (we're convinced he thinks he's a ninja) he keeps losing balance and peeing on himself (not a very good ninja, mind you). We’ll get him through it. 2013 is his year to prevail! - Hope








5) Visit Lake Como and avoid the internet for at least a week. - Plan










6) See On Dublin Street do well in its paperback release - Hope 













7) Wear each pair of shoes I own at least once this year - Hope












8) Release at least three new books - Plan















9) Figure out how the hell my coffee maker works - Hope












10) See the number of people’s toes I drive over reduced by one this year - Plan












11) Discover lots of new readers - Hope











12) Put one of my cookbooks to use for once and not just as a something to lean on - Plan














So that's me for 2013... have you written yours? Well, whatever they are, I'm wishing you all an amazing year to come.

Sam x