Novelist, copywriter and Byte the Book member, Chris Chalmers gives us the low down on his publishing journey, showing just how useful the Byte the Book network can be.
Last week I had my third novel published. Or to be exact, re-published. Five To One, the story of a helicopter crash on Clapham Common and how it affects the lives of those who witness it, came out in 2012. Back then it was an e-book only, the result of winning a debut novel competition run by a digi-publisher.
Once the rights reverted to me, I wanted to get Five To One back on sale, this time as a paperback and e-book. Meanwhile, my modest literary career had moved on, thanks in part to Byte the Book. When speaking on a panel at the Groucho, I was approached by an agent; Valeria at Raimondi & Campbell has been seeking homes for my novels ever since — and that led to another opportunity. Amazon was offering favourable terms to agents who published their clients’ books through their KDP/CreateSpace platforms. The thinking was, by using agents as a filter Amazon would boost the quality of books being self-published on its site by anyone and a dog. In return, we would qualify for inclusion in their sexy Kindle price promotions.
So far we’ve put out two books through Amazon and our J.Mendel Books imprint — and it’s worked well. You soon notice the spike in sales when your novel is part of a month-long 99p promotion. And now with Five To One I’ve taken re-publication as the chance for a revamp: one last spit-and-polish of the text, plus an exquisite new cover design from Mark Ecob at www.mecob.co.uk. He’s another contact I made through BTB. As were Caroline Goldsmith and Karen Ings from Red Button / www.goldsmithpublishingconsultancy.com, who helped with essential editorial and digi-troubleshooting services.
On that subject, I’d be lying if I said the Amazon publishing process is always seamless. Separate creation platforms for your e-book and paperback feels clunky, as does the fact that your paperback proof comes from America. (My first one disappeared en route which didn’t help.) But we’ve made it; Five To One has risen again and I’m thrilled with the end product. So much so, I’m straining at the leash to do it all again with a brand new book.
But first — marketing! I’ve just shot seven 60-second films for a series called Five To ONE-MINUTE MOVIES, which will be up on Facebook, Twitter and my YouTube channel this week. No doubt someone at BTB could have shot them better than I did. They’ll do for now — but if I sell enough copies, I might just feel like splashing out next time…