Prime spot!

Some very exciting news to share. Back in 2020 when I first wrote the Key of Ornoss a little dream popped into my head. Wouldn’t it be nice to walk into a book shop one day and see my book on a book shelf? Now, as dreams go it might not seem the biggest or grandest but for a self-published author, it still felt out of reach.

Well, dreams come true! (Caveat: the dreams we’re prepared to work at.) A brand new book shop has opened in North East England, Stockton-on-Tees, called The Book Dragon. What makes this shop so special is that it only stocks indie and self-published books. Needless to say, as soon as I heard about it I dropped everything and went to have a look.

The owner, Kirsty, couldn’t have been nicer and as a self-published author herself, we had plenty to talk about. When I got back home we exchanged emails, I did the paperwork (there’s always paperwork) and low and behold, I’m in a book shop! At this point I would normally insert lots of happy, smiley emojis, but it’s wordpress so you’ll just have to imagine those.

In follow-up news, The Book Dragon took a stall at the book and craft fair at Saltburn-by-the-Sea last weekend and I went along to support. What a great team and what an amazing chance to catch up with some fellow indie authors. I learned a lot from chatting to them and it just gives you so much encouragement to know there are people out there, just like you, typing away, trying to get their stories out while paying the bills and keeping a million plates spinning.

So if you’re reading this, and you write your own stories the message today is, keep going because you never know where it might lead. You will get there and your journey will be amazing.

So many new readers

If this is the first blog post you’ve read of mine, hello! Now I think about it (and see below for my frank confessions on this) I should have done a lot more to point people to this site but hey, ho, you found me anyway so we’re all good.

If you were one of the 800+ people who took the time to download a free copy of The Key of Ornoss this week, thank you, I really hope you enjoy it. If you’ve ordered a paid for copy or bought the sequel, The Rod of Xerus, then I’m thrilled about that, your support means a lot to me.

So let’s get down to it, what did you think? If you have thoughts you’d like to share, do let me know. Better yet head on over to Amazon and share your thoughts there, I’d really appreciate that and it helps my books get noticed.

You might not want to know this but maybe you do. I wrote this book for my seventeen year old self. It would have meant a lot to me back then to read about the exploits of a hero with gender dysphoria. I mean, yeah, Cal gets up to some crazy stuff, especially in the second book but through all of her adventures, she’s trying to find out who she is. Aren’t we all doing that? I know I am.

Anyway, it’s a bit of fun and if nothing else I hope it helped you pass your journey or enjoy your leisure time a bit more. And don’t underestimate what you mean to me. Writing is all about the readers, you are important and I do care what you think. Just sayin’.

We’re #1!

Some weeks are good weeks and some weeks are great weeks. This is a great week and I’m just going to take a moment to enjoy that. I didn’t get into writing with the idea I was going to make money from it. Sure, I’ve had my little fantasies from time to time, I guess all authors have but realistically my goals were more grounded. First and foremost it was about getting my story in the hands of people who would get something out of reading it. Second to that, I had this vain little desire that one day I might walk into a book shop and see my book on a shelf. Who knew that in one week both dreams would come true.

As I’ve said before, I know very little about book promotion, my approach could at best be called scatter gun. I’m not against trying new things however, and when I read a fellow author had great success with a free promotion using Freebooksy, I thought why not give it a go. Well, I only went and reached #1 in the Amazon Kindle free e-book chart for Teen and YA LGBTQ+ didn’t I! Over 700 downloads in a single day and counting. I am, in equal parts, stunned and grateful.

But it doesn’t end there. I was scrolling my FB, as you do and what should I find? A brand new book shop dedicated to indie authors. Wow! I clicked on the link and guess what, it was just down the road from me a few miles away. I hopped in the car and headed on over to chat with the owner, the lovely Kirsty McKay, and she’s agreed to stock both of my books. I’m going to be in a book shop!

So yes, this has been a very good week. If you want your free e-book copy of the Key of Ornoss, head over to Amazon but be quick the sale ends Friday 8th July. And if you want to check out the book shop I mentioned it’s called The Book Dragon, it’s in Stockton-on-Tees in the UK and it’s fab!

FREE!

From a hobby, writing has become a passion for me. There are stories waiting to be told, adventures hiding beneath the blank pages of the author’s notebook. I love nothing more than bringing them to life and watching my characters as they struggle with situations and encounters in magical realms and far off lands.

Stories offer us an escape from the everyday, a chance to leave the mundane behind and embark on an epic quest while sitting on our sofa or the tube on the way to work. But books need readers and that brings me to a battle I’m ill equipped to fight. Yes, I think I can write and you know, I believe I’m not half bad at art but when it comes to book promotion my report card says D- in large red letters.

So I’ve hit upon a plan. First and foremost this has always been about getting the story out there, not the money. I get it, books aren’t cheap, nothing is cheap these days and I’m a bit of an unknown quantity to prospective new readers. True, I have a few nice reviews but it’s still a risk spending your hard-earned on someone you’ve never heard of. That’s why, from 4th to 8th July The Key of Ornoss will be free to download from the Kindle store. Hopefully that will encourage a few more people to take a punt and try out a new author. Will it work? Who knows but it’s got to be worth a try, right?

Please keep your fingers crossed for me! Much love, AJx

Now for the tricky part

So, my new book, The Rod of Xerus is out and I’m very happy with it. I have a few readers who are eagerly awaiting it and that’s always great to know. But to get it out to a wider audience requires a set of skills that I confess, I don’t have.

Marketing and promoting are my Achille’s heel. I love the writing, I even enjoy the editing and publishing and it’s great fun coming up with cover designs and ideas. But contacting people and asking them if they’ll review it is another matter. Sure, if I had a budget I could pay for a lot of promotional activity but I don’t. As they say in Yorkshire, it’s owt for nowt as far as I’m concerned.

Now, I do have a close family member who is a skilled animator working for the wonderful Silver Lining Animation and he came up with a GIF based on the image you see here. I really hope this attracts some attention and I’ll be shamelessly posting it repeatedly on by Facebook and Insta accounts. If you have any thoughts on it you’d like to share, let me know.