The Big Self Publishing Experiment

It’s time to don the lab coat and the protective goggles and fire up the bunsen burner. This book marketing won’t do itself.
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I’ve published two books and am very close to finish the editing process on book number three in the Degrees of Separation series. I promised myself that I didn’t need to think about all that time-consuming social media marketing shenanigans until I had three books on sale. So, really… I suppose I can’t put it off any longer.

I have tried a few things over the last sixteen or so months (The Loyal Servant was published in December 2011) – free sales on Amazon, maintaining this blog, joining Goodreads, setting up a Facebook page, pinning a few photos to Pinterest boards… but mostly I’ve been flitting from blog to blog, listening to podcasts, watching videos and generally getting a little overwhelmed by all the best practice marketing advice that’s out there. Oh and best practice seems to change from week to week.

Now it’s time for me to actually DO something. I’ll be recording my progress, my successes (and failures) over at my new blog: The Big Self Publishing Experiment. In the interest of scientific discovery, I will be transparent about both my methods and my numbers (excruciatingly embarrassing as that might prove to be).

So join me, if you will, and let the experiment begin!

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Is gran-lit the new erotica?

Google the term “gran-lit” and chances are right at the top of page you’ll see a link to one author and a single book. It’s the new ebook sensation.

Kindle phenomenon

In the wake of the last e-publishing sensation, Fifty Shades of Grey, Hilary Boyd’s debut novel Thursdays in the Park has become the hot new thing. It’s been steadily rising up the Kindle chart for the past few weeks, eventually making it all the way to number 1, outselling the new Ken Follett and the aforementioned EL James trilogy.

Although Thursdays in the Park isn’t that new. It was actually first published in 2011, the publisher, Quercus, re-released the book in mass market paperback format and e-book in August this year, with no new marketing strategy, roughly the same cover design and not much in the way of a fanfare. Presumably not expecting to make much of an impact.

However, Quercus’ real stroke of genius was to set a sale price of 20p for the Amazon Kindle edition, encouraging bargain-loving Kindle owners to not only take a punt on a debut novelist, but also the brand spanking new genre of gran-lit. The low price has resulted in a top chart position for the e-book and a top ten slot for the paperback, which sells for considerably more than 20p.

Gran-lit – a genre for the more mature woman

Of course stories featuring older woman protagonists are nothing new – These Foolish Things by Deborah Moggach is the novel that springs immediately to mind and was adapted for the movies only last year. And readers who bought Thursdays in the Park also bought: Women of a Dangerous Age by Fanny Blake – a fifty-something female buddy story.

As far as I’m aware (love to be corrected on this if I’m just plain out of the loop) this is the first novel to be labelled “gran-lit”. Given most Kindle owners are likely to be 50+ women, it makes perfect sense for publishers to cater for that market (but they haven’t apparently been keen to do so before).

But given the bad rep “chick-lit” has earned itself, I think a better label is called for. Suggestions for alternatives in the comments section are more than welcome.

Move over gran-lit, what about gran-larceny?

By bizarre coincidence, my next book features a 65-year-old grandmother. However, rather than a romance, I’ve plumped for a crime story to demonstrate my leading lady’s enormous pluck and sense of adventure.

It’ll be available on Kindle before the end of the year, and will be free for a limited period. Sign up to the mailing list if you want to find out when you can download it for free.

In the meantime, sixty-something Jean Henderson’s first fictional outing can be found in The Loyal Servant on Amazon as e-book or paperback.