Monday 2 December 2019

End of Year Plans

Are you ready for the festive season/holidays/Christmas? I'm one of those irritating people that always gets things done by the beginning of December. My cards are written and will be posted today, gifts are wrapped and under the tree, and Christmas food orders are placed.
I eventually started the first book in the next series for Aria – Head of Zeus which will follow the stories of three friends in the WAAF. The deadline for this book is April next year and the second book must be finished and handed in by November. I intend to finish the first one by the end of January.
I will then write the last book in my Regency Duke series and a Christmas themed Regency, and hopefully one other stand-alone Regency as well.
I've decided my next big project will be another four book Victorian series, a follow-up to the Nightingale Chronicles. These four books will chart the lives of Sarah and Alfie's children. This will allow me to write in the later part of Queen Victoria's reign.
I find that I'm not writing as eagerly or as fast as I did previously but I continue to enjoy the process and as long as I do, I'll continue. The sales of my Regency books have dipped disastrously this year – I'm not sure why. I think that there are many many more excellent Regency writers than there were when I started and competition is really fierce.
What are your plans for 2020?
I don't make resolutions as I never stick to them. I make plans and these can be flexible. I just list what I hope – intend - to do on the work front. On the personal front I'm going to join Slimming World and make a serious attempt to get back to the weight I used to be a few years ago. I'm also letting my hair go grey – if I don't like it I can always have it coloured again.
I have no plans to go abroad – I didn't enjoy my last venture – but I'm going to the sixtieth RNA celebrations at their annual conference in July. I'm driving to Bedford, staying overnight with a friend, and then she will drive the second half of the journey. We will then repeat the process in reverse. This means being away for five nights and six days. I need to find someone to come in and feed the cat and arrange visitors for my husband.
I also hope that my old house will sell as it's been on the market since April. I've had three offers but none of them finalised.
I'm also making a serious effort to cut down on my carbon footprint, reuse rather than recycle and take more care of my immediate environment.
Wishing you all a happy holidays and a peaceful and prosperous New Year.
Best wishes
Fenella J Miller

Friday 1 November 2019

New Box Set - Victoria's War

$0.99 /£0.99
I am delighted to tell you that this month I've republished Victoria's War as a box set. I've written almost 70 books in the past fifteen years and I think these two are my favourites.
The first part of the book is set in India in nineteen thirty-nine and I used my mother's memoir for authenticity. She, like the heroine Victoria, was an Anglo-Indian daughter of a Raja and was living with her Indian family when war broke out in nineteen thirty-nine.
There is a new genre of sagas which is gaining ground with publishing and this niche is called an "exotic saga". These books fall into that category.
My current publisher, although they loved the books, thought the voice was too different from the one I am using now in my Spitfire Girl series.
These books were published several years ago and never took off – they were unpublished  two years ago so there will be a lot of new readers who haven't seen them before.
I do hope that this time Victoria's War binds a larger audience.
The second book in The Reluctant Duke series, The Duke's Decision, will be on preorder next month for release in February 2020.

I know there are many writers who thoroughly disapprove of discounting books as I have done in this case. I'm still of the opinion that if your books have already sold enough to make you the profit that you wanted, then using them to attract new readers at a bargain price is a good marketing move.
A very good friend discounted her enormous backlist and has become a bestseller in America for the first time and is now making almost a six-figure return.
Until next time
Fenella J Miller

Wednesday 2 October 2019

New Home - New Box Set

Pre Order Now
I am sad to tell you that that this is the last Regency Romantics box set. We have been doing it for five years and all find ourselves no longer able to write two or three books a year as well as the books that we've been contracted to write by traditional publishers. I think there have been around sixteen editions over the years which have all been well received.
JD Smith has supplied wonderful covers for us for which we thank her. Monica Fairview, Amanda Grange, Melinda Hammond, Elizabeth Bailey, Wendy Soliman and myself have enjoyed working together. We will stay in touch.
Maybe in a year or two we might reconvene and perhaps produce another box set but at the moment that seems unlikely.
I am now contracted to write three further books for Aria – Head of Zeus which takes me to April 2021. I'm also doing a novella to add to  others written by a group of World War II writers. This will be published next May some time to coincide with the 75th celebration of VE day. I'm also trying to write at least three new Regency books a year as well but I don't have as much time as I used to.
One would think that having my husband in care would give me more time to write, but as I go to visit most days I actually find I have less.
I moved two weeks ago to a brand-new bungalow in a delightful development in a small village close to Clacton where his care home is situated. It's now only twelve minutes instead of thirtyfive to visit him.
I think my son, niece and myself have unpacked over a hundred boxes and there are still twenty more to do once they come from the garage across the square. They had to be stored there because the shed I ordered has failed to arrive. It will be installed tomorrow if it's not raining.My brother has come to put up pictures/make shelves/put together bookcases etc etc. Thank goodness for family!!
This means that by the end of next week, with luck, I'll be properly settled.
Best wishes
Fenella J Miller

Sunday 1 September 2019

Is it too soon for a Christmas book?

For me it's never too soon to start thinking about Christmas. Last year was an absolute write off as far as I was concerned because my beloved husband was in hospital, desperately ill, with a broken hip and not expected to recover. He did – as you know – get over this but then broke his other hip and had a further six weeks in hospital. He is now in an excellent care home but has just had a second stroke and I don't think the prognosis is good.
However, I'm ever the optimist and refuse to consider anything but having a good Christmas this year. I shall be in my new home – a delightful brand-new bungalow only ten minutes away from where my husband is now living – and have had an extra outside electrical socket put in so I can plug in my array of ridiculous Christmas lights.

Click Here

This brings me to the question I posed as my title to this blog: is the start of September too early to be thinking about Christmas titles?
A Christmas Betrothal is my offering for this year – don't you just love the cover? It has been released whilst we are still having temperatures in the 20s. There is a definite autumnal nip to the air – but summer is still going strong in Clacton (where my husband is now living).
I've already got my Christmas cards – admittedly quite a lot from last year as I didn't send many – and have started buying little gifts to give the wonderful staff at the care home my husband is in.
I've seen on Facebook that several people have already noticed tins of Christmas sweets are on sale in many supermarkets and also Christmas cards.
It always seems strange to me that shops bring out the Christmas things before Halloween – which is now much more of a thing in the UK, but not as big as it is in the US.
There is then a clash of orange and black alongside the red and gold of the Christmas decorations. If you don't buy what you want by the end of October there will be nothing of interest left on the shelf. 
I think Christmas is a time of hope over expectation – it is a time for family, friends and spiritual contemplation but over the past decades it has been reduced to a commercial event in which so many families overspend because they don't want to disappoint their children.
My little grandson has something new every week – not expensive – but a new toy of some sort. His parents aren't entirely comfortable with this but it's the normal now amongst his peers and if they didn't follow suit they fear he would feel left out. I give him a pound a week pocket money and so do his parents and he also saves this until he has enough to buy something bigger.
Next time I talk to you I will be living somewhere else.
Until October,
best wishes
Fenella J Miller

Wednesday 31 July 2019

Why are box sets doing better than this single titles?

Years ago when I started out on the author-publishing route I was one of the first to put out a box set. I sold literally thousands, but once other writers saw the benefits of this, sales slowed down. I still put my single titles into genre related boxes and usually take down the individual books once this happens.
This year individual title sales on Amazon are 60% of what they were last year, but for some reason the box sets I've put out are doing really well.
The Barbara's War box set was the first to take off so I packaged the Nightingale Chronicles series and this too is now selling really well. The individual books in these box sets have been removed from sale.
Later this month I'm going to publish The Duke's Alliance series, this will have all six books in, and it's got one of the new 3D covers. However, as the single titles are still selling quite well I'm not taking them down. I'm hoping that readers who haven't tried the series will think that £3.99 for six books is a bargain as each one costs £1.99.
Strangely I never buy a box set myself – what about you? Do you prefer bargain box or to download your choices one at a time?
 Until next time

Fenella J Miller

Tuesday 2 July 2019

Hybrid Author - good or bad?

Aria -Head of Zeus
I don't know about anyone else, but sales and page views of my published books – mainly Regencies now – have fallen this year. Last year I had a runaway success with The Reclusive Duke which made a huge impact on the last months of the year but up until that point both sales and page views have not been great.
I was keeping my fingers crossed that something similar would happen this year but unfortunately it hasn't. The amount of well produced and well written author published books is growing at twice the speed that the reader pool is increasing.
Obviously, this means that although a writer's sales rank remains constant their royalties are falling as their slice of the "reader pie" is now much smaller.
Those that are still doing really well were already massively ahead of me in the marketplace or are spending a small fortune, and hours and hours of work on Amazon ads and Facebook ads and other promotions. I don't have the time or inclination to do any of those things.
When I was picked up by Aria – Head of Zeus last year I was ambivalent about signing the contract. The company restructured and my editor was made redundant which exacerbated my frustration and I was regretting my decision. However, the new team is even better than the last and everything is now very good. The CEO actually offered me back my rights with no strings attached and this made me decide to stay with them and I've not regretted it since.
This leads me to the question: Is hybrid the way forward for writers in the mid-list?
After receiving five times the royalties this month than I expected my answer is a resounding yes. My editor told me the that as more books in my series are published then readership grows and so do sales. She is absolutely right.
I'm also enjoying having a team behind me, knowing that my books are being well edited and will be better than they would have been without them, and love not having to do promotion myself. Another reason for indie-publishing is that I write between five and seven books a year and no publisher wants that many from one author.
I will never give up writing my Regencies and publishing them myself as I have a loyal reader base and look forward to my next book and I'll never disappoint them.
What I'm wondering is should I go, as a friend of mine has, entirely with my publisher for all my books or is it better to remain half and half?
Hybrid or totally traditional? What do you think?

Fenella J Miller

Tuesday 4 June 2019

New Book - The Duke's Ward - first in series The Reluctant Duke.

I'm delighted to be able to tell you that I've started a new Regency series. I hope you were as sad as I was to leave the characters in my last series to get on with their lives.
This one – The Reluctant Duke – will be rather different to the previous series which dealt with the romance of each of the siblings in turn. The first book, The Duke's Ward, is indeed the romance between Richard and Amanda, but it doesn't end with their wedding. We will have to wait until the last book for that to happen – or maybe they will decide to marry sooner than I want.
The second book will either be Lady Sarah's romance or that of the governess. There will be either four or five books – it depends on who wanders into their lives.
I hope you enjoy it. The link it under the cover image.

JD Smith designs do all my covers and aren't they fantastic?
If you do read it can you please find time to put a short review on Amazon for me is this really helps the peculiar algorithms they use to promote  authors.

Here's the blurb:
The Duke's Ward is the first book in a new Regency romance series, The Reluctant Duke, by bestselling author Fenella J Miller.
Major Richard Sinclair finds himself elevated to a dukedom. Now he is The Duke of Enchester and responsible not only for vast estates and huge funds but also for The Dowager Duchess and the three under age daughters. 
He is a career soldier and has no intention of permanently burdening himself with this new inheritance. He will visit, set things in order and then return to his duties with his friend and comrade, Sgt Major RIley.
Lady Amanda Sinclair has been managing the household since her father's untimely demise and removes the family to the Dower House where their reduced income can cover their expenses more easily. She is eagerly awaiting the arrival of the new duke and being able to pay the bills once more.
However, both Richard and Amanda are in for a shock when they meet. Can a true aristocat like her ever teach a rough soldier how to be a successful duke?
Best wishes
Fenella J Miller

Tuesday 30 April 2019

Are Free Books the way forward or the beginning of the end?

FREE until Sunday
This month I'm introducing a contentious subject – that of giving away books for nothing in order to boost interest in books that are normally priced.
On another loop there has been vigorous discussion on the subject with several quite vehement that no one should ever give away their books for free.
The argument being that firstly a book has taken several months of a writer's life to produce and is therefore valuable. And secondly the more free books that are available the more readers will expect to get something for nothing. This will eventually lead to writers losing the majority of their income. This camp also think that Kindle Select is the same thing – that readers are getting books for nothing. Obviously this is untrue as it's just a subscription service like itunes or audible.
I disagree with that premise and will be interested to know into which camp you fall.
I only make books free that have already sold well but are no longer making any impact on readers. I have been putting up a free book every week this past month and have noticed a huge increase in page views and sales of other titles because of this.
Admittedly I've had a couple of emails from readers who couldn't get the link to work saying that they only download free books as they can't afford to buy. On balance I'd much prefer my free books to go to readers who then buy other titles, but as long as a reader enjoys what they read I'm happy with the exchange.
Whilst on the subject of pricing – how do you feel about books being sold permanently at less than what might be considered a reasonable amount?
Again I sell books at £0.99 that have already been sold in a box set or are several years old. My new books are always priced at what I consider the right amount – £1.99. I believe that it's better to sell thousands of books at a cheaper price than a handful at what might be considered the right price.
Sales are falling for many indie-writers as there are thousands of good books being published every month and  our share of the market is therefore smaller. More books but static pool of readers.
Am I and others like me ruining things for all writers by giving away our books and pricing them under a pound?
Let me know your views.
Fenella J Miller

Tuesday 2 April 2019

Out now. £2.43
I am pleased to tell you that I have two books out today. One, the second in my WW2 series, The Spitfire Girl, and the other a standalone Regency, A Duke in Danger.

The WW2 book continues the story of Ellie Simpson, now an ATA pilot, and of Greg Dunlop and Jack Reynolds. It takes you up to to 1941.
The third book, which doesn't have a title, is finished and about to go to my editor. It will be out in October this year. There will now be a fourth book as I'd only got to Christmas 1942 and wanted to take my characters to the end of the war.

A Duke in Danger is  a traditional Regency romance but packed with excitement and adventure.

Bargain price of £0.99 & $0.99

A Duke in Danger is a traditional Regency.
Lord Christopher Drake is in need of a rich wife if he is to keep his mother and siblings from penury.
Lady Helena Faulkner has no wish to marry, but at two and twenty is in a fair way to being considered a spinster. She is content studying botany and raking around the place in men's attire. She refuses point blank to have a Season in Town. Her indulgent parents persuade her to agree to marry if they can find a gentleman that fits her exacting list of requirements.
She has known Kit, Lord Drake, since she was a child as he is her older brother's closest friend. Therefore, it is hardly surprising Kit and Helena decide they are a perfect match. She wants a friend and companion, a gentleman who will allow her to live as she pleases, not a lover, and he wants an heiress, not a simpering clinging young bride.
However, things do not go as planned and malign forces are doing their best to separate them. Can Helena and Kit overcome the disasters and misunderstandings and find true happiness?

Fenella J Miller

Thursday 3 January 2019

Happy New Year

A Lord in DisguiseBargain everywhere -£0.99 $0.99 e0.99

I'm not sure that anyone actually reads my posts but in case you are one of the few I will update you with my news.
My beloved husband broke his hip a month ago and was admitted to hospital with uncontrolled diabetes and sepsis. We were told he would not survive but somehow he pulled through.
However, this dementia has got worse and he is no longer mobile. Therefore, he made the heartbreaking decision that he had to go into care that I could no longer look after him safely at home. I always found never go in to care but I have no choice.
He moves today to an excellent home in Clacton on Sea and I'm sure once he settled he will be happier.
The start of a new life for both of us not one I'm looking forward to.

Today I have released my first title for this year – A Lord in Disguise.
It was previously in a Regency romantics box set a year ago.
JD Smith has designed another brilliant new look cover for me.
Best wishes
Fenella J Miller