18 March 2011

Space school is brilliant. Writing science fiction for younger children is challenging, I should know, I’ve been trying to do it for years, but in Space School, Tom and Tony Bradman achieve it in entertaining style. The setting is small enough for a young child to relate to: school life aboard a small space ship. The reason for being on the space ship is simple and plausible to young minds: the remnants of humanity have had to flee earth because of pollution. The stakes are high: the families aboard the Buzz Aldrin may be the only ones left as they have lost contact with the rest of the ships.

The story focuses on the relationships between Luke and his Mother (Captain of the Buzz Aldrin), and his two best friends, Yasmin, and Yori who just happens to be a computer genius. The characters are likable and engaging, and you care about them really easily.

The story is simple, straight forward, and not too complicated for a young child to grasp. It focuses on something a child could make happen with a solution in which a child could play a central part without being fantastical.

The writing is straight forward and easily readable, but at the same time, beautifully crafted, and easily assessable by the younger age group. Illustrations, descriptions, and explanations are contemporary and child focused.

I hope Tom and Tony Bradman can keep churning out these stories to fill that gap in the reading market for young boys that only Beast Quest seems to be tackling. Compared to Beast Quest, I think Space School is much better.

I’m impressed (ok, I admit it, I’m green with envy, this is the sort of story writing I would love to produce for my Jumpers series). I wish Tom and Tony all the best with this series, and will certainly be recommending it to friend’s children.


07 March 2011

Missed Opportunities in Writing

Never turn down a good opportunity. Unfortunately, I did turn down a potential opportunity and have regretted it ever since.

Someone emailed inviting me to join their UK epublishing site. I took a brief glance, clocked that there were less than 650 members and ditched the email. Now I wish I had kept it.

One distinguishing feature of this site was that you could sell individual chapters of your book as you wrote it. Not something I was interested at the time, but having investigated 17k.com I can now see the potential for developing this site to charge 10per thousand words for text novels. I could have offered Wattpad readers the opportunity to read the next chapter before I published it.

The site was in the UK and still in Beta format, I think, and the only think I have come across which could possibly work in a 17k.com way.

I have searched and searched for this site (I can’t remember the name), but without success. If you know of this site, have received a similar email, or are on it, I would love to re-contact them and explore the development potential of the site.

The moral of this tale, is that you should never pass up an opportunity, even if you are not currently interested in it.


03 March 2011

The Book Marketing Plan 2011

Someone once said, ‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail’ – I agree, any plan is better than no plan, because it gives you a direction. Even if you strike out in the wrong direction, sooner or later results are going to suggest there might be a better direction and you can always alter you plan, nothing has to be set in stone.

So here is the marketing plan for 2011.

Direction - this is two-fold:
Write a damn good stories - finishing ‘Nina Swift: Gaia’s Brood’ and work on story plans for the ‘Jumper,’ series.
Build a fan base who might buy these stories.

Concentrate on building a fan base in Wattpad.com. Wattpad as nearly a million users, most of whom are within my target audience – the majority of Wattpad users are aged between 11 – 20, female (87%), and the majority (38%) speak English. That’s about 400,000 potential readers in my target group – read the metrics report. Wattpad has the added advantage in that it allows you to broadcast a message direct to all your fans at once.

Write Nina Swift: Gaia’s Brood in 500 word cycles and publish each new section on Wattpad.com. Wattpad members spend between 11.6 and 33 minutes on the site, depending on country, and two-thirds are reading on mobile phones. So short and intense chapters would seem to be required.

Publish additional short stories on Wattpad.com to draw in the readers/fans.

Continue to offer Helium3.0 as a loss leader to give readers a taste of my writing style.

Use Wattpad and Facebook to funnel readers/fans towards NickTravers.com and sales via Smashwords.com.

Continue to use Smashwords.com as the publishing/distribution platform of choice and hope they get it together with Amazon soon. Lulu.com continue to disappoint.

Maintain the price of Helium3.1 and Helium 3.2, but offer 50% off vouchers as sales incentives.

Design new covers for Helium3.0, 3.1 & 3.2, which will appeal to the Wattpad target audience.

Aim to earn £7,000 per year from ebook sales within 5 years. This may be completely unrealistic and/or wildly inaccurate, but at least it is a target to aim at and monitor progress against.

Get published? You bet. I’m not someone who identifies with being an Indie Author – I always aim for my work to be published by mainstream publishers. Whilst I am happy to take any income produced by e-publishing, my main aim in building a fan base and producing a back catalogue is to attract a publisher.

Lots of SOBAW – Sit On Bum And Write

That’s it, the marketing plan for 2011. What do you think? Do you have a plan? I would be interested hear your plans.