Category Archives: Marketing and promotion

Three Stones trailer

My graphic artist Michael Lenehan has been busy the last month working on a trailer for my second book Three Stones of Destiny.  It has been his first venture into creating a animated trailer, which he has created in a cartoon style rather than a more painstaking method.  Overall, I am quite pleased with it, as it captures the drama of a key point in the book when my erfin character Mirrortac faces his antagonist Yidu  for the first time.  My YouTube link for the trailer is

The links for Michael and the book are:


Self Publishing Tips – A guest post by Dee Doanes

Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...

Cover via Amazon

 Book Editing. Book Covers, and Research

So many writers keep asking me how to self-publish books that I wanted to share Four Steps that will helping new writers out there. I had interest in my book from a great literary agent. I decided to self-publish when I thought about the things I could on my own since I had a background in marketing.

These are the Four Detailed Steps I did, including the costs, to self-publish my book:


Step 1 Hire a Book Editor

After writing my book  the first thing I spent money on was hiring a professional book editor. Ann Kempner Fisher was my editor. She is absolutely the best!  She’s located in the U.S. It cost $1,300 and was well worth the money. Most good and experienced editors charge $4.00- $6.00 per page. If you’re located in the U.K. join a well-known writers group and get referrals from writers in the group. Spending  money on editing is a necessity and  not an option. Some self-published writers havn’t done this and say publicly that paying for a book editor is too expensive. They post on blogs that they wanted to publish books quickly on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).  Then I read complaints on Amazon reader forums and Good Reads forums, readers having to struggle to read books with bad grammar, misspellings, etc.  You only have one time to impress readers and won’t get another chance. Stephen King, James Patterson, and other professional writers always use editors. Self-published writers have to do the same thing to compete.


Step 2 Format Book for Publication

I formatted my book for Kindle. This was difficult to do myself so I went on to find someone to format my book per KDP requirements: set up the margins, table of contents, etc. This cost around $25. The people that do book formatting charge by the number of pages. Fiverr is a wonderful marketplace to find all sorts of inexpensive services for your book project including: website updates, social media marketing, book promotions, logo/ad design, graphics, etc. Just look for the highest rated vendor in the appropriate category and place your order via Paypal.


Step 3 Design Book Cover

I used 99 Designs to get a distinctive and low cost book cover illustration and design (for $299). This was a very good price since good illustration can  cost around $500-$1,000.  I heard about 99 designs from fellow writer Tim Ferriss. He’s written several best sellers: The Four Hour Work Week, The Four Hour Body, The Four Hour Chef. He really knows how to market books!  99 Designs is a crowd sourced marketplace where several designers and illustrators submit work based on your specifications. You set the price and choose the winner.

A book cover is an important tool in attracting and selling your book to readers, especially for my genre which is paranormal mystery. I have seen some outstanding book cover artwork for established paranormal writers. Then I have seen some poorly designed book covers in the market place from self-published authors. If you want to compete with mainstream published authors you can’t look like an amateur!

Please note:  Illustration is different than design. (My cover is an illustration).I have many artists friends and know a lot about different mediums of art. Without getting too technical, an illustrator typically does art by hand.  A designer typically assembles pre-existing graphics, photos, vectors, etc. An illustrator can design,  but not all designers can illustrate. For new writers, you probably should illustrate your book if it is: children’s, horror, paranormal, fantasy, or sci-fi.


Step 4 Research the Book Marketplace

I researched my genre to see what types of books were in the market place. I checked Amazon bestsellers lists, Wall Street Journal bestsellers lists, and went to Barnes and Noble bookstore. This helped me prepare my market campaign for when I started promoting my book. I will discuss this in another post about book marketing. Questions to ask yourself are: How many books out there are like your book? Are you writing a niche topic?

Any writers interested in learn any more self-publishing tips  please check out my blog: and join my Facebook page:

Limited free offer for ebook

I am offering my colleagues in fantasy and blog followers THE WIZARD’S SWORD for free for a limited time only, until January 1, 2013. Just go to my Smashwords book page at and enter the coupon code RJ34F when purchasing. This is in anticipation of Book 2 THREE STONES OF DESTINY which is now available as a preorder for print or Amazon Kindle ebook at this link

Book 2 cover art

This is the cover art for the upcoming book.

This is the cover art for the upcoming book.

I have worked with Irish artist Michael Lenehan in creating this cover art for THREE STONES OF DESTINY. The figure of the man standing over a pedestal represents the antagonist in this story, the master alien Yidu, who is standing over the Werdstone, which is a crystal stone of great power. The object above his head is actually a composite of the Three Stones of Destiny. I won’t explain any more here as you will need to read the story. Michael produced this web version, but the final art had to be tweaked by my publisher Equilibrium Books who will be releasing the print book and Kindle Amazon ebook about February/March 2013. Actually, the main difference is in the title positioning, font and the separation of the last part of my surname, plus widening the art to fit the book size.

EQUILIBRIUM BOOKS is a POD publisher based in Western Australia, and better suits my needs and budget. If you want to check them out, visit their website at where they outline what they can do for authors and their requirements. I have dealt with them before when publishing my first book, but foolishly went on to seek a US POD publisher that cost a lot more and now is part of the infamous Author Solutions stable. My thinking at the time was to seek a larger audience, and the American publisher was recommended through a friend who had used them successfully. Lesson learnt. I must admit they did a great job on the printing and presentation, but their costs and follow-ups for marketing and promotion deals were horrendous (See previous post about Simon and Schuster now joining the same crew).

I found my cover artist MICHAEL LENEHAN through LinkedIn and am impressed with his work. Anyone who would like to check out his art can see it at DeviantArt at and can be contacted by email on .

It is probably a good idea to read the first book THE WIZARD’S SWORD to prepare you for book 2. You will find all the links on this site, but the main ones for print and ebook are and at . The ebook is available in all formats, including Kindle.

Stones is assembling …

The three stones as they are when joined together.

SOUNDS like a grammar mistake, doesn’t it. But it isn’t. I’m talking about my second novel in the Nine Worlds series entitled Three Stones of Destiny. Maybe, I should have put some quote marks around ‘Stones’ but I left it to tease you, or perhaps irk. Anyway, enough of that. I have engaged  talented UK graphic cover designer Michael Lenehan to work on the cover for ‘Stones’.  And I may even let him have at redesigning the cover of book 1, which was the work of a local and also talented graphic designer, Heidi Counsel. Heidi’s work is excellent but I am now looking for a different ‘look’ that I hope will appeal to fantasy readers.

If I had to sum up this second book (which I will for promotions), it continues the journey of main character Mirrortac who is sent on a second mission of equal importance to his first. This time his own people are being misled by a demi-god man who poses as their god and wants to use three stones of power to enslave the peoples of three planets. It is such a difficult task that Mirrortac’s own children, the triplets Ezof, Treetam and Mitac, are engaged to help him after he loses all his memory after being sent to through a portal to another planet governed by vicious warriors and rent by volcanoes and earthquakes.

Once the cover art is ready, and I’m satisfied with the draft, it will be published with Create Space as an ebook and print book. If you haven’t already read book one, The Wizard’s Sword, grab it now at . I hope Three Stones of Destiny will be out before Christmas.

Juggling act …

Being an emerging author, and one still learning the intricacies of using social networking as a marketing, promotional tool, it is a fine juggling act … (and I never was good at juggling!). I want to sell my books, but I don’t want to sound like a trader in a market, where people are trying to avoid you because you are leaping out and trying to gain their interest in your product. Of course, on the other hand, if you just sit there, then most will just pass you by.

Twitter is a bit like a marketplace … but it is a social sphere, so people are not there to get products thrown in front of their face. However, you can spruik on the microphone, say some interesting things about your writing, and about the craft of writing, and people will appreciate it. Other traders will also appreciate it if you help them … you help them and they help you. That’s where my list #TeamCatapult comes in.

The idea of the list is to find followers in Twitter that are willing to throw a good word your way, retweet your meagre voice in the massive noise of tweets everywhere, so that someone, somewhere will perhaps buy a copy of my fantasy work. If I help these kind souls more, they will help me more and we will all benefit. Most of this team I am still building, are authors of fantasy … or people with an interest in the genre, including publishers, groups and so on. We all help each other build a bigger following, and more potential readers of our books and stories.

I can see many such mutual-help groups on Twitter, so my list is not something new. It is a slow evolution and a learning process. If you are an author on Twitter, and want to be in my TeamCatapult, let me know. Remember, I RT you so you will RT me. I promote you so you will promote me.

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