You can now read foreign translations of novels by the Welsh writer Owen Jones in thirty-seven languages. Full details are on this blog
There are now several companies offering to facilitate the creation of foreign translations. This could be paper documents, website even novels. In fact, it has never been easier easier to read novels by authors from different countries and cultures. For example, the Welsh writer Owen Jones has books in thirty-seven languages. So, it is easy to imagine that most people in the world have access this Welsh writer’s work.
The Foreign Translations of Books by Owen Jones.
Owen Jones has been the main instigator of the translation of his books, because he is a self-published, or indie-published author. This obviously means that he has no agent or traditional publishing house to organise this sort of work for him.
“It takes a lot of time to find apposite narrators and translators”, he say, “and then to work with them suggesting translations and explaining difficult sentences. Naturally, that detracts from the time spent writing. It is the balance that each indie-author has to work out for him- or herself. The choice is between more books, or a wider readership? It’s a toss-up. However, it was an easy decision for me because I have always travelled, and speak seven or eight languages. I wanted my International friends to be able to read my books, if they want to…” he adds with a smile.
Which books by Owen Jones have been translated.
Owen Jones published his first novel Behind The Smile – The Story of Lek, A Bar Girl in Pattaya, in 2012. It was an immediate hit with the visitors to, and expats in Pattaya, Thailand. It is 112,000 words long, which has an effect on the willingness of translators’ to take it on. Jones works with narrator and translator colleagues who will accept a share of the sales revenues as payment. It is known as royalty share. Typically, the author receives 15-30% of the revenue, and the translator 60-70% with the intermediary taking 10%. It means that colleagues are less likely to take a risk on a large book, in case they have chosen unwisely.
Who translated the books?
The native-speaker narrators and translators of each language in the agency carry out the work on the books. Then the author and the collaborator work together to preserve as much of the meaning of the original text as possible.
Where can I find out more about these books in non-English languages?
If you would like to learn more about these books in other languages, you can start on this blog, Megan Publishing Services. The title bar (at the top of the blog page) contains many links to the various books, foreign translations and in English… even non-English audiobooks!
Are the foreign translations more expensive?
No, at least not necessarily. The author and the agency then choose a single, global price, which means that a book could cost, say $4.99 (+ taxes) in every country. However, $4.99 could be cheap in, say, Norway, but expensive in Somalia. So, it can work out more expensive, but then the people who want to read literature in foreign translations tend to have better jobs, so maybe that isn’t that important.
Daddy’s Hobby by Owen Jones is the first novel from this Welsh writer. It explores why so many girls work in Pattaya and how they fare. It is his best-selling book.
Daddy’s Hobby by Owen Jones is an insightful look at why tens of thousands of young women choose to enter the Pattaya sex tourism industry, and how many of them get on. They and other attractions bring more than a million tourists to Pattaya every year. Most of them are men with money looking for a good time.
Daddy’s Hobby by Owen Jones – Origins.
In the mid-to late Seventies, Owen Jones was working in the south Netherland’s city of s’Hertogenbosch (Den Bosch) in Noord Brabant. One day, a popular new bar opened up at the bottom of the street he lived in. It was a ‘Relax Bar’, a concept he didn’t understand, but he liked the sound of the music. One afternoon, he ventured inside. The bar was practically empty despite the fact that the landlord was very friendly and played lots of Heavy Metal, which was very popular at the time.
After a while he noticed a few scantily-clad young ladies looking at him from the darker recesses at the back of the room. When he went to the toilet, he was left in no doubt what a relax bar was. The owner/barman, whose name was Rick, I think, played the Meatloaf album ‘Like A Bat Out of Hell’ from cover to cover three or four times a day and sold marijuana, which had been decriminalised. This record more than any other brought the ‘house dancing girls’ out onto the floor.
The bar was called ‘Daddy’s Hobby’. I liked everything about it including the name, which I thought was very clever. Within a month or two, it was the busiest bar in the city. However, sadly, within a year, Rick had been murdered and his bar burned down. We all thought that it had to do with drugs.
Daddy’s Hobby by Owen Jones – Development.
In the early 2,000’s Owen Jones moved to Pattaya, and started going out with the cashier of the first bar he had a drink in. It put him in a ‘trusted position’ with ‘the girls’. Soon most of the thirty-odd girls who worked there were seeking his advice. Their favourite topic was how best to write saucy texts and emails to their ‘boyfriends’. Most of these had already returned home to their wives or girlfriends in Europe and elsewhere, but mostly the UK. That bar was a more flagrant example of Rick’s Daddy’s Hobby, but without the drugs.
After a few weeks, he had inadvertently collected many scraps of paper with translated messages on them. So, he sought the girls’ permission to write them into a book. No-one disapproved when he promised to use false names. It was funny, he said, because all the girls and most of the clients were already doing that anyway. Everybody was lying, especially the men. He recalls that he had never met so many navy SEALS, SAS, commandos, MI5 and CIA operatives in his life before. Not a one of them was a carpenter or civil servant, and they were all single, looking for a wife!!
There was no other name for the book than Daddy’s Hobby, subtitled Behind The Smile but for various reasons, it took him eight years to self-publish it.
Daddy’s Hobby by Owen Jones – Sequels.
Owen Jones used the name of Lek for his lead female character. She was also the life and soul of the bar, and didn’t mind the author using her real name. She too is sadly long dead. He used the Welsh name Craig for the main male, although there are many other dramatis personae in the novel. When he was writing the book, it was the Lek character that dictated to him in his head what he must write. He had already determined that the book should be 100,000 words long, but when he reached that level, it was clear that Lek hadn’t finished her story. So, Owen closed book one, published it, and started a sequel.
You may be wondering why it took eight years to bring Daddy’s Hobby to market, if it was being dictated.
“Well, when I looked at Craig’s character I could see too much of myself… I just was not prepared to share it at that point”, he says. “I nearly gave up several times, but Lek and I stuck with it and produced a result”.
He did not like the idea of calling the second volume Daddy’s Hobby 2, so he gave it the name of a significant chapter in volume one, An Exciting Future. It now needed a series title to bind them together and that became Behind The Smile. The books are frequently referred to as Behind The Smile.
Lek kept up the pressure for several more years until Behind The Smile consisted of seven volumes, of 720,000 words.
Daddy’s Hobby – the Future.
“Although the Lek in my head was the inspiration of the actual stories, encouragement came from elsewhere. It was also more important”, he says.
“My stepmother hated the book, and two of my three brothers have never mentioned any of my fifty-odd novels. However, one thought it was fantastic though, and asked me to write a sequel. I had also run a competition for a free copy. Coincidentally, the woman who won it was a student journalist, who wrote an encouraging review. I opened the door to Lek again, and started volume two.
“Suddenly, I started to receive encouragement from complete strangers all around the world. Unfortunately, I have still heard nothing from friends and family from my home town. It used to upset me a lot, until I learned that that was quite common in the UK. People seem to resent someone improving themselves”.
He claims to know three readers, who hadn’t read a book since leaving school – one of them being eighty-four! Two others have since written novels, and one has moved to Thailand to see it ‘for himself’! Many readers have sought him out for a drink when they are visiting Thailand, and others went to Spain and Wales to meet him.
Owen says that he hasn’t been back to Pattaya for several years. However, when he was last there tourists and expats knew of his books, and some had read them all. Its particularly affected him when a young Thai woman ran up to him, kissed him on the cheek, and said: “You’re the lovely man who writes nice things about Pattaya bar girls, aren’t you. Thank you very much”.
Every month, he sells several box sets of seven, who can only be going off reviews or recommendation.
Behind The Smile by Owen Jones – Narrations and Translations.
In these days of Covid, it has been difficult to find further inspiration for what he calls the Lek Series. Between 2016 and 2018, he and his Thai wife (that first girl, the cashier, that he met in Pattaya) lived in Andalucía, Spain. From 2018 to 2020, the tried living in Wales. However, Pritti Patel and the Tories made it too difficult for his wife to obtain a residency permit. He says that he will never forgive them for that.
However, while in Spain, Owen started to have his books translated and narrated. Principally in Spanish so that he could sell them to the local Spanish as well as the expats. He soon started to receive offers of collaboration from all over the world in fifteen languages. Since living back in Thailand, and he has been in lockdown in the village because of Covid-related travel restrictions. So, he has been concentrating on these narrations and translations. He now has more than one thousand books in thirty-eight languages registered in his name in the British Library.
“I still would prefer to be writing fresh material though”, he adds with a hint of sadness.
The PLR Ebook Listings – PLR stands for Private Label Rights – on our blog were all written by the professional novelist Owen Jones. PLR means that you can sell someone else’s product as if it were yours. In other words, you can create an ebook or course and sell it under your own name.
Our PLR ebooks contain between eleven and twenty 500-word targetted articles on one particular niche subject. Take a look, there are 126 of them so far on a wide range of topics. Look in the title bar to visit the PLR ebook listings. Many of these 126 ebooks have also been translated (and some narrated). Using these ebooks is a great way to make money online! It will save you scores of hours in research or hundreds of dollars having new articles written from scratch.
Making New Products and Money Online
You can use the niche articles to build your list, promote your business, generate leads or give yourself a holiday from writing content. You could also use them to create a new website or course. If you’re looking for ways to make money online, then you should consider using PLR ebooks. There are plenty of people who would love to use or even buy the products you can make with them! So, why not peruse the PLR ebook listings now, and let them do the heavy lifting for you?
Creating a Blog from PLR Ebooks
These days, creating niche websites or blogs in order to sell products and information is one of the most popular ways of making money online. One of the easiest ways to do this is by choosing your niche, say Skin Care or Remote-Controlled Vehicles, buying an ebook of targeted niche articles and creating your own blog. Then you look for affiliate programmes and integrate the into your blog to make commission on sales. The whole process can be completed in hours! Furthermore, these website or blogs are online publications that you that you have created yourself using PLR and operate under your own name. It’s up to you, they can be on any subject from how-to guides to lists of tips and tricks to physical products like make-up.
Choose a topic that interests you.
If you’re interested in writing about something you love, then you’ll likely enjoy writing about it more than writing about something you hate. You might even find that you learn new things along the way. In fact, I can guarantee it! The material fro the PLR ebook listings will teach you things you didn’t already know, but it will also spur you on to find out more.
Find a good author who has a good track record
This is one of the keys to success. You have to be able to trust the author to have done his or her research thoroughly, and not to have oversold the niche ebook. Owen Jones has written over fifty novels. He enjoys researching and he enjoys writing about topics related to what you want to write about. Part of his research is to seek out popular topics. Not only that though, his philosophy is not to oversell the ebooks. So, just take a look at his work, read some of his stuff, and tell me if I’m wrong.
If you find that he has made a good job of the books in the PLR ebook listings, you should be able to use some of them. That saves you from having to struggle to reinvent the wheel! 🙂
Learning how to sell books as an author is one of the most difficult things you’ll ever do. It is far more difficult that actually writing a book. However, if you follow these tips, you’ll be on your way to success!
Authoring a book is a great way to share your knowledge and experience with others. It’s also a good way to earn extra money while doing something you love, but actually selling a self-published book can be frustrating and disappointing. Selling books is not like selling other items like, say, coffee pots. Books are cheap items, often costing less than a cup of coffee, although it takes fifteen to twenty minutes to drink a coffee, yet about a week to read a book! Nevertheless, readers demand excellence, and satisfaction on a higher level than they do from the coffee vendor!
Not only that, but readers think that they are taking a big risk with their $5 if they spend it on an unknown writer, so this is where you as an unknown indie-author have to come from.
Create A Good Cover Page.
You need to make sure that your cover page has a professional appearance. This means that the font should be large enough so that people can read it easily. Also, the background colour should match the theme of your book. If you’re writing a children’s book, then use bright colours. If you’re writing about politics, then choose a dark background. So, perhaps, if you are new to this, you could employ a skilled agency. The one that produced the cover above charged $38 for the design in four formats, which is a fantastic deal. (See below).
Write A Great Title.
Make sure that your title is catchy and interesting. It should also be short and concise for a novel, longer perhaps for non-fiction. Don’t write something like “How to sell books as an author.” Instead, try something like “The Ultimate Guide to Selling Your Book as an Author” or “Selling Your Book as an Author – Step by Step”. Novels will require a similar, but slightly different, approach. Look at other titles in your genre on a best selling list.
Find The Right Platform To Sell Books As An Author.
There are so many different platforms out there that it’s hard to choose just one. If you’re looking to make money online, Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) might be right for you. KDP allows authors to upload ebooks directly to Amazon’s website. Once uploaded, readers can purchase books through Amazon’s site. Some authors prefer to go for the scattergun approach and publish on all platforms. There is at least one publisher that will spread your book around all the famous companies and hundreds of unknown ones. (See below).
Build Relationships With Other Authors.
You should also consider building relationships with other authors who write similar books. This will help you find common ground and build trust between you and your potential customers. It’s also a good idea to join groups where people share ideas and experiences related to writing and publishing. Such groups are available on private websites, writers’ organisations, writers’ influence groups, and The British Library etc. Facebook, Reddit and Tik-Tok also host authors’ discussion pages.
Promote Yourself And Your Work.
If you’re looking to sell books as an author, you need to promote yourself and your work. Start by creating an author website that includes a biography, links to your books, your social media accounts, and contact information. Then, start sharing your story online through not only traditional social media like blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest, but also Tik-Tok, Inkitt and Wattpad.
You will need to know something about marketing, promoting or advertising. It’s all the same really. If that is an alien concept to you, then you will need to realise soon that that is part and parcel of being an indie-writer. No-one is going to sell your books for you. Publishers and aggregators will put them on their virtual bookshelves, but no-one will know that they are there unless you – yes, you! – tell them. You can employ people to help you, but it is hard to know who is a honest and who is not; who knows the job, and who doesn’t.
I think that the correct ratio of writing to promoting is 3:4, but I have a lot of books to promote and have been doing it for more than a decade. If you have only one, or two books, perhaps you will get away with 2:5. Although, that depends on how much you know about marketing. Perhaps, 3:4 is still right, until you you know more about how to sell your book(s).
Sell Books as an Author!
Learning how to sell books as an author is a very difficult journey. It can seem soul-destroying, but you have to take comfort from every little success. If you are lucky, you will meet some fantastically interesting people, and you will receive the snippets of praise from readers that keep an author going.
I feel that I have already written too much of late about my new book covers, but it is a very important strategy in my plans for the future
I have quite a few books, but most of them were written years ago and the covers are stale. So, they need replacing. There is no argument about that. However, at what pace?
Obviously, cost is a constraint. People say that the benefits that the new covers will bring in… increased revenue… will pay for future investment. However, it doesn’t always work like that. Returns can be slower than hoped for.
Unexpected Results of Cover Changes
This can be because old customers don’t recognise the new covers or series formats. The benefits of change can be slow to accrue. Slower than hoped for, or expected anyway.
One thing that keeps me hopeful though is that I receive compliments on my new book covers several times a week, and mostly from people I don’t know.
That is encouraging, because even using the best cover design company in the world, it is a big step to rebrand… expensive too.
The company that I use allows an infinite number of remakes, but, which is perfect for the novice, even if a little embarrassing. It is far better to have thought about what information you want your new book cover to display beforehand. My tip is get a book off your shelf that is ‘similar’ to yours, ie if yours is in a series use one from a series as an example to copy.
My New Book Covers Checklist
So, my checklist for book cover design is: you will need the book title and your name for a start. Other options include: a subtitle, a series name, the number of the book in the series, and collaborators. Then on the back cover: a description or blurb, an author bio (and photo?), the title(s) (again?), and the cover designer. All the while remembering that you will need to leave enough room for the barcode.
Check out where I buy my new book covers on this link:
I’m sorry if I’m boring you, my regular readers, but I currently have a Book Cover Obsession.
As you probably know, I wasn’t like this even a couple of months ago, but that is a sign of how rapidly these things can get a hold of you. Or, me at any rate.
In my defence, book covers are extremely important to a writer, but I just hadn’t realised how much before.
My Book Covers
As people, we are admonished not to judge a book by its cover, but the plain fact is that we all do that several times a day. So, I am getting to grips with this now, and am commissioning 2-3 covers a month. Today, I was trying to decide which the next two should be, and I noticed that my two worst selling books have black covers! Well, have black as the predominant colour (or shade, for the pedants).
I hadn’t realised that before, but why hadn’t I? Probably, because I made them, and think that they fit the story perfectly. However, when you analyse it, I know the story, but a potential reader does not! It could be off-putting, I suppose. It was amateurish, but now I a using professional book cover designers.
Someone said that black on the cover is acceptable, if there is a death in the story. Well, there is, but the book browser doesn’t know that. I think that people can get too bogged down in symbolism. Another person Tweeted that two bullet holes on the cover of a murder mystery might signify that it is the second volume… Really? My guess would have been that the shooter was a poor shot.
Not only that, but not everyone takes the same thing home from reading the same book. I have talked to many readers over the last ten years who loved a book of mine, but had a totally different take on what it was about… and their interpretation was just as valid as mine.
There is one fantastic reviewer who actually taught me what two of y books were really about! How about that?
It’s why I love reviews. I often learn things about my books that I didn’t know, and I mean that quite literally. However, when will this book cover obsession pass? I don’t know… when all my novels have better cloths, I suppose.
I have always thought that my book cover sense was pretty good. Why would I think that? Well, I have been reading all sorts of books for all sorts of reasons for about sixty-five years, and I have published more than eight hundred books over the last twelve years.
It amounts to a lot of experience, I think you’ll agree.
However, book sales have been dropping off this year, and most pro’s will advise an author to look to his or her book covers in such a situation, since people do judge a book by its cover despite the sages’ clear advice.
I checked my top sellers and found nothing wanting. Still, it is difficult to be objective about one’s own work, so I took them to websites where people will evaluate them.
Book Cover Evaluation Sites
There is a Facebook Group called: ‘Does My Book Cover Suck’.
Nobody liked any of my top three covers! It was like a punch in the face 🙁 My pride and joy was being rubbished, and what was almost as bad, I could see what my critics were talking about, once the problems had been pointed out to me.
Now, I have eight hundred book covers, as I said above, so I realised that I had a very big, and potentially, very expensive problem.
Book Cover Sense
After a few beers of commiseration with my book cover sense, or during them, actually, I set to work on a fix. Eight hundred times any figure is a lot of money, so I first went to Fiverr and the like. However, you won’t find anything book-related there for $5 any more. Book covers were averaging $35-$60, so I gave that up.
To cut a long story short, I found a firm that surpassed my expectations and came in at a very reasonable price. Furthermore, people, even total strangers, have started complimenting my covers again.
The book cover above is one that came from there.
Here is my link to their site (the QR code leads there too).
Go check your book cover sense, and take a look at some of their off-the-peg designs! Prices start at $10! Or have one totally unique, tailor-made for your book
People say that one should never judge a book by its cover, how many times have you been given that advice? However, it is widely acknowledged that having a great book cover is the best way of selling books. It seems that people do not heed the ancient advice; and why should they? We judge each other by appearances, even first appearances, every day, so why wouldn’t this apply to every item we are considering, including books.
Only recently, Elon Musk admitted to doing exactly the same, and he is far from being the only one… very far! Not only that, but he is an intelligent person, who has demonstrated his ability in many business ventures such as PayPal, Tesla and Space X – household names!.
I also recently saw a writer asking the question whether it was more important to have a good book cover or to have the book well edited. The overwhelming response on the forum was that if the cover is unappealing then no-one will ever know about the poor editing!
It is simply just true… most people judge by appearances.
Once you realise that, it is obvious what you have to do to have a chance of selling books. To this end, I have started to revamp some of my father’s books… with his permission, of course. I have learned how to make fantastic-looking 3D covers, and even better posters incorporating them!
We are both very proud of these book selling magnets, and are confident that they will increase sales.
Here’s hoping for a bigger share in the book selling market 🙂
PS: If you would like to see whether I can help you too, please get in touch either via the form in the title bar or by searching for my profile on this blog.
My recent foray into creating 3D book covers has been an outstanding success, so this is just a quick update, and a pat on my back 🙂
My colleague and father, Owen Jones, has been so astounded by his new artwork that he has said, to quote: ” I have admitted elsewhere on this blog to having been distracted by short-term gains and destroying the foundations of my business. “One of the casualties, perhaps the most serious, has been my failure to keep up with modern trends in book covers, because people do judge a book by its cover! Just as the owner of a clothes shop would not dress the mannequins in the window only once in ten years, neither should an author set and forget his or her book covers.
“Chalita has opened my eyes to this, and it is now all too obvious. She has dragged my book covers from the Stone Age to the 22nd Century in just two days, and me along with them!”
OK, he is my Dad, but I agree with him 🙂
3D Book Covers
He used to promote using his 2D book covers, well-designed though they were, and leave it at that.
The problem is, that that was good enough a couple of years ago, but it definitely is not now.
Nowadays, an author needs a 3D cover as an absolute minimum. Even better is a composite of the cover in several formats, and best of all…. that composite should be part of a collage, which we are calling a Sales Magnet Card (after the Twitter cards), or a Sales Magnet Flier.
If you don’t know what I am taking about, then you are out of touch too, but look at the image at the top of this post for an example.
However, if you would like me to help you display your book covers to their full potential in a Sales Magnet Card, please get in touch via the form in the top menu bar (CONTACT US) or leave a comment below.
My Dad, Owen Jones, is a writer, as regular readers of my blog will already know, and has been a author of books for ten years on February 21st 2022. I was a teenager then, but I remember the excitement of the occasion very well.
It had taken him about fifteen years to produce a book from his father’s automatic writings as a Spiritual Healer, and the last thing that he had to do was produce a cover for the book.
Looking back on it, it probably shouldn’t have, but it did come as a shock that he would have to do that as well. Now, my Dad knows his way around the Internet, but this was a totally new experience, and it was for me too.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, he did that and uploaded everything to the leading online bookshops of the day.
The cover was basically a flat image of the front cover of the book, but that was what all authors were providing at the time.
However, over the years, some more design-savvy authors began to provide more eye-catching cover images.
As far as I recall, it began with spread-eagled shots of the front and back covers plus the spine. They were definitely a big improvement.
Modern Digital Designs
After that, book covers went 3-D, and that is even better in my opinion, as a general item, but there are specialised uses for all three styles.
Finally, so far, that is, some authors are putting modern digital designs and the 3-D covers with the blurb on a relevant background image, and that is the bee’s knees in book advertising covers for me.
Look at the postcard I made for my father at the top of this page.
I am thinking of learning how to do this, so if you are interested, please encourage me to get into modern digital designs with an email.
I have done a small poll about indie book sales in 2021 around my author friends, and I would like to share the results with you.
Not all of the authors surveyed had books in all of the categories below, and I am not taking genres into account. Still, I think that the results are interesting. Let me know your opinion, please.
eBooks: ebook sales seemed to be at best flat, but several authors reported a definite dip in sales. Some said that this was probably due to the profligacy of ‘lenders’ like Scribt, Overdrive and the dozens of others, including local public libraries. Some reported a drop of as much as 66% on the previous year.
Indie book sales in 2021
Paperbacks: This has been a surprising, but very welcome sector for those who have made the effort to provide paperback copies for their readers. One author reported a 300% increase in paperback sales over 2021, which is quite a leap considering the extra cost. Perhaps, people are coming around to, or just remembering, the fact that paperbacks make better ornaments than ebooks.
Hardbacks: hardbacks are in the same class as paperbacks, but are hideously expensive, and no-one reported a significant swing in that direction.
Audiobooks: the audiobook sector has been the winner of the year by far! Many authors have brushed them aside as a fad, but how wrong they were. At least in as much as sales are still booming.
Never say never, though, eh? Perhaps, they will go the way of ebooks one day, but somehow, I don’t think so.
An audiobook is like listening to a play on the radio, isn’t it? So, you can listen while doing the ironing, driving the car or even falling asleep.
Several authors reported that audiobook ( will we ever call them abooks?) sales outstripped their sales of all other formats combined by ten to one!
Translations: some people are getting into having their books translated, but sales are sluggish. The problem seems to be that foreign translators are not used to having to promote their work. They are used to getting paid for the job and moving on to the next one. However, what would the average writer do with a book in, say, French? Does he/she have any French friends, or even speak French well enough to write promotional material?
Mostly not. Therefore, the translator is vital for successful sales revenue. Few of them seem to grasp this concept though, and seem to be waiting for the end of Covid so that everything can return to normal.
It’s a shame, and a missed opportunity
Having said that, at least one author is seeing a slow but steady gentle rise in foreign sales.
Did Covid increase book sales? I think that most writers would say that it didn’t much. People had a lot more free time, but then the children were home too. Perhaps, the TV and Netflix benefitted the most, although it seems that some people were listening to audiobooks too.
I want to share a story about hiring a virtual assistant with you.
It is a true and very sad story concerning a friend of mine that happened yesterday.
He is a writer, a successful writer, I would say, since he earns enough to support himself and his family, although he is not ‘well-known’ and you won’t find his books in the local supermarket.
Anyway, several years ago, he started having his books narrated through ACX, which is Audible, which is Amazon. They give authors two hundred coupon codes per book so that they can give reviewers a free book.
My friend had 10,000 of them in August of 2020 and had no idea what to do with them. He had used only 213 over two years by then.
I will allow him to continue the story.
“One day, it dawned on me that Audible would pay me the price of the book for giving it away, so I thought about how to capitalise on that, while promoting myself at the same time.
“I started to promote my codes to Facebook groups dedicated to books, and found that there were dozens of groups for authors to promote their audiobooks to avid listeners.
“Within a short time, I was giving away 300-400 codes a month and making a decent extra income.
“I was very pleased with myself, as you can imagine.
“However, this extended marketing brought with it the attention of so-called virtual assistants. God knows why they have that title, because they are real people, not machines or algorithms.
“I resisted their offers of help for months, but then accepted one. My idea was that I would load my codes into a site built for that purpose, and then promote the URL of that site, so that those interested could retrieve codes as they wanted them. ACX is happy with this system, and even recommends a site to use. I used it”.
“The deal with the virtual assistant, VA, was that I would continue to promote the codes to Facebook Groups, while he sought blogs and the like to promote to. It worked, and my income tripled in a month!
“That happy state of affairs continued for three or four months and my income even rose every month until it reached $4,988 last June. I was as happy as a sandboy.
“Until yesterday, that is, when emails from narrators began to pour in asking why ACX had sent them an email notifying them that all their free codes for my books were henceforth invalid.
“I didn’t get the $4,988 from ACX. I received $198.10. ACX has not contacted me, but they have told my narrators that they have detected ‘fraudulent activity’ on my account. All payments and all codes have been blocked.
“I don’t know why, and maybe never will, since ACX is not talking to me. It is very sad, and I feel somewhat ashamed at losing $500 a week. However, what is worse is not knowing what I am being accused of, or what I did wrong.
VA – Virtual Assistant – “Very ‘Andy”
“I can only assume that the VA was bending the rules.
“So, my fellow authors, beware of some sweet-talking virtual assistants because they can ruin your business and leave you with nothing, while they can always find another mug to milk”.
I think that you will agree that it is a very sad story, but I put it here to give authors something to think about, when they feel inclined to form an association with a Virtual Assistant they don’t know at all.
Are Indie Authors Their Own Worst Enemies? It is quite possible! Years ago, only five or six, many indie authors were doing ‘fairly well’ and were confident about their future – that their sales would continue to rise and that they would continue to write enthusiastically.
I started writing and self-publishing in 2012 and was selling ninety books a month by the end of the following year, and I was flying by the seat of my pants – I was learning how to market and distribute my three books as I went along, but was earning enough to live in Thailand, which admittedly was a cheap country to stay in those days.
There probably weren’t as many would-be writers back then either and there certainly weren’t as many books on the virtual shelves in online bookshops, but I think that there may be another factor at play for why Indie Authors might be Their Own Worst Enemies.
We all know that businesses exist to make money, and none are more brutal than the American Internet giants, and most of them make their money as a percentage of what they sell.
And this is my point.
In their struggle to become rich or and famous, too many novice writers pitch their books at 99c or even less. I regularly see “twenty ebooks for 99c”.
Now, I can understand why a misguided author may try to get his or her foot in the door using this tactic, but what about the Big Boys like Amazon? Are they going to be happy storing, serving and even promoting a 99c book or box-set for a 30% cut of 99c?
I wouldn’t be! Not when I can promote traditional publishers selling ebooks for $9.99 and paperbacks for $15.99 (or more)!
Think about it.
Amazon would earn 29c for selling an Indie author’s box set of three – a month’s supply of reading material – as opposed to $3 for one book!
Or, a concrete example: if both parties sell about one package a week, Amazon earns from:
The Cheap Indie Author: 50 x 27c = $13.50
Traditional Publisher: 50 x $3 = $150
It’s a no brainer!
The cheapos are paying only 9%!
So, are Indie Authors Their Own Worst Enemies?
They are NOT paying their way, and those who can’t see that are ruining it for everyone else.
I am convinced that Amazon has changed its algorithms to disadvantage indie authors because they sell their books too cheaply?
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All the best,
Podcast: Are Indie Authors Their Own Worst Enemies?
The man, the entity, as I have learned to describe him, whom I have known as my father for all of my life, is Colin Jones. He gave me a few carrier bags in 1999 and asked me to read the contents and to write a book on it, if I could. Well, this is it: The Eternal Plan – Revealed.
At that time, I could not and time did not seem pressing so I put the bags in my safe at home. He passed away a few years later on his 72 birthday, the 21st February.
I, and all of our family were devastated, but I did nothing about ‘his papers’. I had no idea what to do.
A few years later, I moved abroad and wrote a novel. That took five years, although it is still unpublished. In 2011, I started a new venture publishing ebooks that I had written myself.
The courage to write these ebooks had come from writing the first book. I looked for ways to circumvent traditional publishing and came across Amazon’s Kindle.
I learned how to publish my ebooks through them and realised how to publish Dad’s book.
It took me a long time, but I think that I was guided by Spirit. I was a slow learner.
My Dad, Colin Jones, would never have said that these writings are his own. Rather he would say that he was inspired, in the true sense of the word. People told him what to write.
All of our family witnessed this over five or six decades. Sometimes, Dad would be sitting with us watching TV, but Dad’s eyes would be shut and he would be writing the pieces that you see in this ebook. He did automatic drawings too.
My brothers and I are very privileged to have been born with such a person, but as with most instances with parents, we realised it too late.
I hope that you enjoy the tranquil, yet so powerful words and ideas rxpressed in the The Eternal Plan – Revealed. I will expand it in later editions and eventually compile a sequel.
One last point, my father’s mother, Lavinia Jones, founded a spiritualist church in Barry, South Wales, where we lived and that church on Butrill’s Road is still running to this day.
Links to the Various The Eternal Plan – Revealed Websites
The audiobook is narrated by Steve Olsen, whose melodic, soft American accent expresses both the tranquility and the power of the words. Listen to the sample below or follow the link to the free audiobook.
The Eternal Plan – Revealed is in audiobook, ebook and paperback formats on Amazon and also available in other languages! See Foreign Translations above.
Marketing, advertising, promoting, publicising… it’s all basically the same thing, ie getting the word out there that you have something fantastic to sell. So, where do you begin?
This may sound odd, but you should begin before you have anything to sell.
Let’s say you’re a writer, like I am. You could set up a website in the name of your book, with an eye to it becoming a series, and talk about books you like; review books and post articles on events going on in the literary world – the Pulitzer Prize, that sort of thing. Then, when your book is ready, you already have an audience to present it to. So, it is never too early to start building what is called your author’s platform.
If you are that kind of person, you could make weekly or even daily posts about the progress of your novel. Some authors like this approach to marketing; others feel that it detracts from the suspense of the launch. I personally would not give away any spoilers, but I would talk about how I feel the writing is going and about cover designs. It’s up to you through, isn’t it?
About six weeks before you’re ready to publish, you could offer your potential readership the chance to pre-order at a discount. The effect of this is that you have six weeks to sell something that isn’t yet sellable (as it is unfinished) and all the pre-orders that you do make will go through on the one day, causing your book to jump in popularity. This is great because many people buy, and many firms recommend books on the strength of where they are in book lists.
However, as an unknown, you will find it very difficult to sell pre-orders.
Once you get to that stage, you could join a few of the online joint promotion schemes which combine the strengths of Twitter and Facebook. Try Bridgette’s T4US on Facebook. She and her group are innovative and hard-working.
Have you ever bought any Pirated Books, readers? If you read books in paperback, you probably haven’t instigated any unauthorised transactions, because the investment necessary and the low return make book piracy unprofitable, but now that so many people are buying ebooks, or digital books, there is a new opportunity for the pirates.
Music and film have long had to deal with the problem of digital piracy, because it is so easy to copy good-quality music albums and videos from the Internet and burn them to CD. Now, it is the turn of authors to get ripped off by illegal digital downloads.
If you don’t buy your ebooks for your digital device like a Kindle tablet from a reputable source such as Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords, GooglePlay, Xinxii, Lulu and the like (there are several more of them), you could be buying pirated books and unwittingly helping to rip off your favourite authors.
A tip is that if you are looking for a specific ebook on a search engine and you see it listed on Amazon for a price, but also see it elsewhere for free, the free one is almost certainly a pirated book.
Please, help the people who write the stories you love by not getting them free by downloading books from book pirates onto your ebook reader.
The other day, I was researching a book of mine that I thought should have sold much better, and found twenty-four firms offering it free. One, just one of those twenty-four, gave the statistics that it had been downloaded from their site 995 times, and read on line on it 760 times. That represents 1,755 lost sales to me, and I have sold less than a hundred copies.
How much more prepared to write would we authors be, if we were paid for every book that was read?
And writers and the publishing industry are suffering at the moment from the illegal download of pirated content. ‘So, what?’ you might say, ‘It is not easy for any of us’ and that is true, but at least you are not getting mugged every day on your way home after you finish work.
If you are an avid reader, where would you be without your favourite authors to lift you up when you needed it?
On the other hand, why should I spend months preparing a book, so that a thieving pirate can give it away as an unauthorised sweetener for some other deal (eg: in order to obtain your email address, so he can sell it to a spammer)?
You may think that this article is only about ethical issues, but it isn’t. Not only do you run the serious risk of having your email address sold, but the pirated ebook could contain viruses or a Trojan horse which will spy on your every key-press and send it back to its master, who may then be able to steal your identity and bank balance.
Nothing is for free. Digital content pirates are not good Samaritans or Robin Hoods. They steal from me to give to you, so that they can steal from you too! A sprat to catch a mackerel. They are not on my side, and definitely not on yours either!
In fact, those who download pirated software are potentially the biggest losers in the whole sorry charade.
So, my plea to you, dear reader, on behalf of all writers is, if you care about your books, please care a little about their authors too, and do your bit to help them get what they deserve by shunning pirated ebooks, so that writers are encouraged to write the books that you like reading.
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Here are my editing tips for Indie writers, because editing is a most important and time-consuming task for writers, especially those who do everything themselves, which is the vast majority of Indie authors, since most authors derive more pleasure than money from their efforts. It requires the editor/writer’s close attention to the document’s every detail, its format, and all of its elements; a thorough knowledge of spelling, grammar, punctuation, terminology, sentence structure, clarity, conciseness, tone and voice, inconsistencies, and typographical errors.
A good editor has a wide knowledge of writing skills and general knowledge or and an attention to factual details, which might mean validating an author’s claims in a story through research.
It is difficult for most writers to edit/proofread their own work and mostly for two reasons. Firstly, they are close to their work, and secondly, they are biased in their own favour. There are also two distinct processes involved in the editing process: mechanical editing and substantive editing.
Mechanical editing involves a close reading, with an eye on consistency of capitalisation, spelling, and hyphenation and other end-of-line word breaks; agreement between verbs and subjects; scores of other matters of syntax; punctuation; beginning and ending quotation marks and parentheses; number of ellipsis points; numbers given either as figures or as words; and hundreds of other, similar details of grammatical, editorial, and typographic style.
In addition to regularising those details of style, the copy editor is expected to catch infelicities of expression that mar an author’s prose and impede communication. Such matters include, but are by no means limited to, dangling participles, misplaced modifiers, mixed metaphors, unclear antecedents, unintentional redundancies, faulty attempts at parallel construction, mistaken junction, overuse of an author’s pet word or phrase, unintentional repetition of words, race or gender or geographic bias, and hyphenating in the predicate, unless, of course, the hyphenated term is an entry in the dictionary and therefore permanently hyphenated in every grammatical case.
The second, non-mechanical, process—called substantive editing—involves rewriting, reorganising, or suggesting more-effective ways to present material. All this while not over-tampering with unusual figures of speech or idiomatic usage that is pertinent to a piece of work. All authors have their own voice, and this needs to be preserved and encouraged.
Two editing tips that will help the Indie author/self-editor are:
1] Leave the work for at least two weeks and do something else. Write short stories, plan your next book, or write articles for your blog. This will distance you from your work and give you a better chance of making a good job of editing it.
2] Upload your book onto an e-reader and have that read your book back to you, while you follow the text on your computer correcting errors as you go. Hearing misspelled words and typos will make them more noticeable than reading them to yourself.
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As you may have heard, I put this, my latest novel, The Ghouls of Calle Goya, in for a ‘competition’ at KindleScout. It did not ‘win’, or to be strictly correct, it was not selected for publication and special promotion.
Still, not to worry, I have another novel Daisy’s Chain, waiting in the wings – it just needs editing. So, look out for that in a few weeks’ time 🙂
In the meantime, if you would like to read The Ghouls of Calle Goya, it is available on Amazon (all sites), but here are the most common details:
Despite not being selected, I am glad that I entered The Ghouls of Calle Goya into the KindleScout process, and I urge other as yet unpublished authors to give it a go. I will be putting all my future novels through the competition, despite the fact that they lose a month in sales’ time.
I found that the things I learned from the process more than made up for a month’s sales. For example, I talked to most of my 700-odd Facebook friends over that month. I had never spoken to some of them, and others I had not contacted for years. it was a very enjoyable experience.
I also had generous offers of help from quite a few people, and others assured me that they would buy my book on its day of publication in order to give it a boost into Amazon’s popularity charts, which also gives the novel extra momentum of its own, since many readers choose from the top fifty novels, if they are stuck for something to read.
Success breeds success, as the saying goes.
Anyway, thanks to all those who nominated The Ghouls of Calle Goya for selection, especially for you, I have reduced the price of the novel from $4.99 to $2.99 for the next seven days. Others may also take advantage of this price reduction.
The novel opens on the shores of Lake Mjørsa, Norway; moves to London, and then Fuengirola, Spain. From there it travels to Bangkok and Phitsanulok in Thailand, before returning to London, Norway and England again. Cardiff gets a mention too 🙂
A special ‘Thank You’ to Aliya for the cover artwork too. If you would like her to draw something for you, just let me know.
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