Aug 292014
 

interviewIn my previous post, I announced among other things that I’m going to publish my new cosy mystery series under the penname Annie Appleton. Time now to introduce her.
First though, I would like to quickly give my reasons for wanting to have a penname in the first place.

One:
It’s not uncommon for an Indie writer to publish different series, in different genres, under different pennames. This is mostly done to avoid confusing the reader, specially when the genres are miles apart, like ‘romance’ and ‘epic fantasy’. Not that epic fantasies can’t have a bit of romance thrown in (they often do), but in their purest forms these are wildly different genres.
I don’t know if the same goes for non-fiction and fiction, perhaps not, but I did like the idea, to separate my fiction and non-fiction books by using a penname.

Two:
I don’t have a lovely English sounding name. I do have a lovely name, but it is not remotely English and in my opinion, cosy mysteries should be written by people with lovely English names.
Although Americans and Australians might be used to the ‘foreign-sounding’ names of their countrymen, the British, in my own personal experience, have more problems with it. They specifically seem to have problems with the ‘double A’, which seems to be completely alien to them. In the four years that I spent living in the British Isles, I never met a native person who could write down my surname correctly without me having to spell it out for them, and even then, they would often still misspell it.
As my cosy mystery series is placed in England, it is possible that I will have more ‘English’ readers, so to accommodate them, Annie was born.

Three:
My third reason is that writing fiction instead of non-fiction, is a new beginning for me. Something totally different and I’m learning a new trade as I go along.
Writing under a penname requires starting from scratch with the marketing and everything else as well. So it seemed logical to start afresh with a new penname.

So there you have it. My reasons for creating Annie Appleton. Now to the introducing part.

WebThe fact is though that Annie is me, and I am Annie. It’s not supposed to be a secret that Annie Appleton is the same person who wrote those intriguing books about architecture and containership travel.
First impressions do count however (see the second point above), so when readers are less spooked by a ‘weird’ name, all the better. If they then later discover that the cosy mystery they fell in love with was written by a woman with a ‘double A’ in her surname, they should be fine with it. At least, that’s the theory…

How will I put all this into practice? Let me tell you a funny thing about the internet. Everyone wants their website to be first in the Google search results. One way of achieving this is to add regular new content to your site. The handiest way to do this is by writing a blog post.
I have this website on which I jabber on about fiction writing and the more technical stuff that is involved with it. So what can Annie write about? After some thought I have decided that I will let her write the occasional review of the mystery books she reads. Both myself and Annie are avid readers of the mystery genre (including cosies), so it’s going to be Annie’s task to tell the world about what she thinks about what she reads.
In addition, Annie will keep her readers updated on everything that has to do with the content of the cosy mysteries she is writing herself.

The Annie Appleton website is almost ready for its launch, so keep your eyes peeled for Annie’s first blog post!

Related post: Starting from Scratch

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Aug 302013
 

newsletterThis is already my final post for the Indie Block Party. Can’t believe it has gone this fast.

One of the most important things an Indie writer must do is building a name for themselves. Creating a brand for yourself is hard, but a must, as readers need to start recognising your name (whether your own name or a penname) and know what books they can expect.

Yesterday I mentioned that sometimes I write articles voluntarily. I am not paid for this, but it helps building my brand, as my name is mentioned on websites and in local newspapers.

One thing I whish I had known before I started self-publishing was the importance of having a brand and thereby the opportunity to start marketing a new book even before one word is written.
Building a new-release-mailing-list is the first thing a new author should start doing. Get a website (they can be set up for free in five minutes via site like WordPress.com) and give visitors the opportunity to register for the mailing list. Mailchimp.com offers free mailing lists.
Also, set up an author page on Facebook and start building ‘likes’. It is best for a mailing list and likes on Facebook to grow organically, which takes a lot of time.

Indie writers are a helpful bunch, who congregate on forums and Facebook groups to help each other out. Instead of seeing other writers as competition, Indie writers have found that sticking together they sell more books.
Some groups and forums that writers should join or visit regularly are Indie Writers Unite on Facebook, the KDP forums and Kboards, which have a special section for writers.

Keep in mind that most people don’t like seeing loads of ‘Buy My Books’ post in their newsfeed on Facebook or Twitter. Of course, it is important to let people know your books are for sale, but it is more important to socialise and connect. If people see that you are interested in them, it will reflect favourably on the brand that you are so carefully building up.

Above all keep writing! There is no better way to get more sales than publishing a new book.

I have had loads of fun these past two weeks meeting new writers! Good luck to everyone!

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Interested in reading about the other writers in the Indie Block Party? Then follow this link! (Scroll down the post a bit until you see the picts of the participants.)

Jul 182013
 

Celebrate2A few weeks ago, Bol.com, one of the largest web shops in the Netherlands, announced the new feature that enables self-publishers to upload their paperbacks and ebooks directly to the website, not unlike KDP and CreateSpace do for Amazon.

For years I have been waiting for this possibility, as Amazon doesn’t allow Dutch language books and Smashwords is difficult to use for Dutch buyers. Most of my books are written in English, but I do have one Dutch translation that I am keen to sell to the Dutch public. For the above reasons, it hasn’t taken off yet, so you can understand that, although the ebook market is still small in the Netherlands, I jumped at the opportunity to get my ebook on to Bol.com.

Today it has all gone through and Tussen containers en tijdzones, is now for sale as ebook on Bol.com!
To celebrate this fact the paperback copy of the book is now on special offer for limited time only. Please visit my Dutch Website for the details.
Anyone interested in buying the ebook on Bol.com can do so via the following link: Tussen containers en tijdzones.
The English version of the ebook is now on sale at Bol.com as well. For that please check Time Zones, Containers and Three Square Meals a Day.

Another reason to celebrate is that the editing of my new book is nearing its completion. After a weekend of pulling out my hair in despair that it was going nowhere, I yesterday saw the light and now feel that the book is ‘coming together’.
My beta readers better get ready!

Jun 292013
 

woman happySorry for my silence the past few weeks, but I was in a writing mode and couldn’t concentrate on very much else.

My holiday is now over and I managed to write all but the last chapter of the new book! I am very happy with what I have done so far. I still need to add a lot of stuff, but I will step back for a few weeks and focus on other things.

Yesterday I received an email from a Dutch Amazon-like website, which is now letting people publish their own books on their site, in ebook form, as well as Print on Demand paperbacks. This is really big news, as for a while now I have been pulling my hair in frustration that I couldn’t publish the Dutch translation of Time Zones as ebook on a Dutch site. I could (and have) published it via Smashwords, but for Dutchies it is not easy to buy ebooks from Smashwords.

So finally, in the coming week I am publishing the Dutch Time Zones ebook on a Dutch website! Not only that, for they allow English language ebooks as well, so I am publishing Time Zones and More Stories on the site at the same time. I just have to wait for the arrival of three ISBN numbers and then sales can begin!

It’s high time I earn a bit of dough again, as I got a disappointing letter from the tax office the other day informing me that I hadn’t paid enough tax last year. Better not to dwell on that too much and just look forward to a busy few weeks in which editing my new book has the highest priority.

On a side note, this coming week I have a meeting with an illustrator about the cover for the new book. She makes the most amazing cartoons, which I feel are perfect for my story, so fingers crossed that we can work something out.

Now that everything is starting to take shape I can’t wait to see the result.

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