Monday 16 November 2015

Why I work with other writers.

Elizabeth Bailey & Melinda Hammond

Melinda Hammond & Amanda Grange

About a year ago I downloaded a multi-author box set of crime novels and thought what a good idea this was if a group of writers wanted to promote their work to new readers.
I immediately contacted writers that I knew who wrote Regency and asked if they would be interested in putting out a Regency box set.
The original five included Wendy Soliman – she was forced to drop out of the next two box sets but will be rejoining us next year.
Initially we thought of this exercise as purely to introduce our own fans to books to other people. However this venture has proved to be successful as a business as well as a promotional tool.
Fenella J Miller, Monica Fairview,
Elizabeth Bailey and Melinda Hammond
We got together last week at the very grand St Pancras Hotel (£5 pound for a cup of tea!!) and held our first business meeting. Working with a group of excellent, well established writers in a similar genre as myself not only makes financial sense, but it's also beneficial in several other ways.
If any of us have writing related problems then we can contact each other for a solution – even non-writing problems can be shared and solved.
Writing is a solitary business and working with people in a similar position as I am makes the business less lonely. Of course I have Facebook and Twitter friends, but I'm unlikely to meet up face to face with many of them.
After our meeting we've now come up with a new business model. This will be more flexible and allow the six of us to participate in a box set or not depending on our current circumstances. I've also handed over the running to Amanda for 2016 and I can't tell you how delighted I am that she's agreed to take it over.
The other members of the group will take a turn in being the host for a year's box sets – my turn won't come round again until 2021! I shall enjoy the experience fare more when I'm not responsible for the financial side of things.
We think this is such a good idea that we're intending to put out a Regency crime box set in the future as well as our romances.
I can highly recommend the experience and would suggest that if you write in a similar genre to anyone you know, think about joining up with them in producing a multi-author box set.

Fenella J Miller

Monday 2 November 2015

Are things different now for indie writers?

When Amazon introduced KOL in July 2 014 – the subscription service for readers – everything changed for me. From September 2014 when the first payment of the July  KOL royalties arrived in my bank, my income doubled. Then last year's Christmas novella, Christmas at Hartfield Hall, took off and became a bestseller and gained me three lots of author bonus payments.
This amazing increase in royalties continued until April (which was February's royalties)and then began to tail off and for a while I was worried that my writing career was on a downward slope.
Then I realised this surge of borrowing was because the scheme was newly introduced and once everyone who'd joined had read my books, things had returned to normal.
There are over 1 million people in the scheme and the majority signed up when it started. I doubt that there will ever be that sort of explosion again – which is a shame as it gave me a fantastic boost in income.
That said, my income hasn't fallen below what it was before the scheme began – in fact it is slightly higher.
There are still indie writers who sell a substantial amount of books without being in the KOL system,but I think they are in the minority. For me everything is now different. I have literally hundreds of thousands of pages read every month, but am lucky to get three or four hundred sales when I used to have three or four thousand. I think that my readers have all moved to the library scheme.
My mainstream historical titles still sell a pleasing amount every month so I must assume that these readers are not in KOL and  prefer to buy books.
There are a finite number of readers and a growing number of writers – someone told me that there are 3000 titles published in the UK every week. That's a staggering number and we are all competing for sales in the the same pool of readers. Indie writers can actually be maintaining their author and sales rankings whilst their slice of the sales-pie is now smaller than it was.
I shall continue to write to the best of my ability and publish seven or eight new titles every year in the hope that this keeps my market share stable even if it is no longer rising.

Fenella J Miller