Hello my lovelies,
hope you’re well and staying safe. In the lead up to publication of The Last Charm under my Ella Allbright pen name, I’ve done some things that are within my comfort zone… and some that are definitely outside of it! I thought I’d share those experiences with you here. Readers may be interested in taking a peek ‘behind the curtain’ and aspiring authors may want to think about what could be expected of them if they get that sought after publishing deal…
It’s been a while since I had a book published (2018, and that was in Italy) and a lot has changed since then, but the main things I considered when musing over (worrying about) publication plans at the beginning of 2020 included: the rise and increased power of Netgalley, Goodreads and Amazon; reader expectations in terms of engagement with the author; and changed publishing models (increased popularity of digital-first publishing and audio books).
I worked hard on The Last Charm over a period of three years through job changes, house moves, bereavements and raising teenagers. It’s a book that’s very close to my heart and I want to do everything I can to make it a success, so I decided to really go for it with promotion and building my author brand as Ella, while hanging on to the one I’d already created as Nikki Moore.
I decided to work on the premise of two ideas: –
(1) Knock on as many promo doors as possible – ask people for help, even if it makes you squirm. (If you don’t ask, you don’t get. The worst that can happen is someone says no, or fails to reply).
(2) Say YES to anything you’re asked to do, however scary it is
I consider myself a confident person, but actually doing these two things in practice has been hard! Over the past 6 months they’ve led to exciting yet often nerve-wracking experiences, but with some amazing results 🙂
I have: –
- Approached authors to read early copies of The Last Charm, many of them big names and/or best sellers, to provide author quotes – so far 10 have provided them, including Alex Brown, Sue Moorcroft, Carmel Harrington and Catherine Miller
- Appeared on a Facebook Live with the lovely Kiren of Tamworth Book Club (I HATE seeing myself on screen so this was particularly hard for me) – to date this has had c. 700 views (Watch via Tamworth Book Club with Ella Allbright)
- Been on the BBC Radio Solent Dorset’s Breakfast Show for a 5 minute prime-time slot about writing during lockdown – this gave me great exposure and there was a spike in ebook sales that weekend (listen at 1hr 25 mins via BBC Radio Solent Dorset’s Breakfast Show)
- Gritted my teeth, read every review on Netgalley & where it’s a 4 or 5 star (thankfully, the majority of them) I’ve tweeted, shared on Insta, or posted them on Facebook – this has created a real buzz and people now message me to tell me when they’ve pre-ordered, have finished reading the book or have left a review 🙂
- Appeared in a local magazine, Dorset Living, talking about why I love Dorset and have decided to set The Last Charm here (with a giant photo of my face in it!) – this has been great for raising brand awareness and I’ve had a lovely response on Fb and Twitter (read digital version via Dorset Living – August Edition)
- Invested in Facebook ads before my publisher One More Chapter took over paid adverts – raised awareness, garnered some lovely comments plus some pre-order sales
- Started vlogging on YouTube about writing and publishing (on a hiatus during most of lockdown because I’ve been editing a book, but returning soon) – which got some lovely feedback, with people suggesting topics for future vlogs (watch via Author By The Sea YouTube Videos)
- Put myself forward to lead a workshop on writing at the Romantic Novelists’ Association annual conference. This is now postponed to July 2021, and people who know me know I love talking about books and writing in person, but speaking about those things in front of a roomful of my peers (some of whom I’ll be fan-girling over) is going to be challenging!
- Pitched national magazines about featuring in reviews, author slots or writing in lockdown articles for them – I’ve had a few no’s, one maybe and am waiting to hear back from the others, so watch this space!
I’ve also enjoyed lots of engagement with (early) readers and reviewers on social media, been asked to read and provide author quotes for other people (a privilege), and have agreed to several other live social media events. All of the above, along with OMC really publicising the book, has led to a healthy amount of pre-orders with 3 weeks still to go before ebook publication as well as The Last Charm twice appearing in two Top 100 Fiction Charts on Amazon (Coming of Age, and College & New Adult).
Every experience has taught me – or will teach me – something new, and these are the most important learnings so far:-
- Be authentic & be yourself
- Be brave
- Be honest
- Be passionate about your book
- Be generous in your support of others
- Be grateful for the support – say thank you 🙂
Only 3 weeks to go until ebook publication – wish me luck! If you want to pre-order the ebook, audio or paperback you can do so via Amazon, Google Play or Kobo – at the moment, the ebook is a bargain at just 99p in the UK.
Please do track me down on social media to say hello, ask me questions or ask for help with something 🙂
Until next time, happy reading & writing,
Love, Nikki/Ella xx