This blog introduces my new mailing list, and if you sign up you get a free Lawns story as a thank you, and notifications of pre-publication special prices, and other general sweeteners to encourage you to stay subscribed. After this blog, the offers will likely only be on the emails. Go sign up now, I’ll wait, it’s the button at the top of the sidebar. Oh, and there’s a free book offer in the blog too.
This is also happy birthday to Edge, Vivian, Donald and William, who were officially born on the 1st of January 2013, when I got a New Year resolution sorted in record time and published my first novella on Kindle. The book – which very nearly went out with this cover, don’t laugh – was very nearly a textbook for newbie ineptitude.
I doubt I’ll stop making errors any time soon, but I’m not quite the naïve writer who with much muttering and cursing and referring to help topics, published One Two on Kindle and shyly sat back, thinking the job was done. Such an innocent. But if I had known then what I know now, a year down the line, I probably wouldn’t have done it. Far from job done, it was job barely begun.
The joy of novellas is that they’re a pleasure to write; forty to fifty thousand words is a piece of cake. Writing a thousand words an hour is the easy part. Editing, pruning, tidying and rewriting, updating feedback from beta readers, waking at three in the morning to suddenly realize I hadn’t actually explained a key timing issue (the moon phases in Five Six) is a job. A very badly paid one, and the hours are brutal.
The Lawns books are also now in paperback, and an omnibus Kindle edition of One to Six is coming out tomorrow, January 1st, to mark the anniversary. It’ll be $5, so, since the books are $2.99 each, there’s a saving of up to $3.97. I should probably have said that earlier. I’m still rubbish at marketing.
2014 is all about getting serious. I want reviews, and the experts (independent publishing may still be in its rebellious spotty teens, but there are experts, and when they are best-selling experts, you listen) say each book needs at least a hundred reviews to make a ripple in the general reading public. A hundred! One Two has around a dozen scattered over the Amazon websites around the world, and the others are trailing behind even that. Readers say they like the books, they tell me on Twitter and Facebook and even on LinkedIn, and they must be telling each other for the sales to carry on trickling in (Five Six sold better in its first week than the first two combined, in their first weeks, and all of them are selling slowly but steadily) but they don’t tell Amazon. I gave away 500 copies of One Two and got a big jump in sales on the other two, but only three reviews out of it. So that didn’t work, I’m not sure I will do it again.
Instead, anyone who emails Elizabeth.Lamprey@yahoo.co.uk with the link to a review they’ve published on one of my books gets their choice of the books listed at the end of this giant blog, or, if you already have every book written to date (thank you!) goes on the list for the next. I’d much rather give away a free book to a reviewer who has already taken the trouble once, and if they enjoy it, might do so again, than in random promotion. I don’t know whether I mentioned it yet but reviews are really, really important. I did? Worth saying again.
I’m having silhouettes drawn of the characters (rough draft at the end of the blog), and eventually there’ll be sketches (why, why did I not spend ten thousand hours drawing as well as writing?) but until then here’s your very rough visual shortcut to the birthday kiddies.
The list of Grasshopper Lawns books by EJ Lamprey (with clickable links where the book is already on sale) which can also be claimed in Kindle format by existing reviewers
One Two Buckle My Shoe unpopular resident Betsy Campbell called the police to report a murder, but was dead when they arrived. The police could do with some inside information, and luckily Sergeant Kirsty Cameron’s aunt is right on the spot.
In Three Four Knock On My Door it’s handsome devoted nephew Simon, and the enigmatic Dallas from Louisiana, who come knocking. And Death, complete with scythe. The amateur sleuths solve murder in between unexpected family, winter picnics, mad dogs and Englishmen.
Five Six Pick Up Sticks Website dating for the over-fifties is definitely a boom industry, but for some it has been a dead end, and the Scottish police want to know why. Sergeant Kirsty Cameron’s aunt Edge is the right age to be the bait in their investigation, and she’ll be monitored at all times, so nothing can go wrong . . .
Seven Eight Play It Straight is due out early in 2014 Edge’s stepdaughter is appearing in a Fringe production during the Edinburgh Festival; but as always when the four friends are around, murder is never far away. Sergeant Kirsty Cameron can’t help much this time, she’s been suspended during the investigation, as her aunt is a suspect . . .
There’s a ghost story called The Passing Of Mrs Parker Woodburn , by EJ Lamprey (the link is to the lovely short story site Alfiedog.com, which at 39p is a better price than Amazon.) Mrs PW was quite put out about being murdered. . .
Science Fiction novelette Time after Time, published under the name Joanna Lamprey. Being different can be hard to live with. Finding out that what makes you different is going to change your life, in ways closed to nearly everyone else on Earth, is pretty heady stuff. You can’t blame a girl for getting a little carried away. This is a story about travelling back through time. And the importance of not acting without thinking, when twenty or thirty thousand years hang in the balance. Oops.
(Be warned, one of my usual beta readers did not like this book, and one, who doesn’t like SF, couldn’t carry on reading. Two refused to even try as they don’t like the genre. The other beta readers for the book don’t read my Lawns books, they are SF only. So, only one beta reader who likes both this and the Lawns books.)
There’s also a handbook, Beta Reader (and how to prepare your book for beta reading) which is on Kindle at 99c and also available in paperback. Most reference books are more convenient in print but frankly, because of the way this one is set up, Kindle works well. If you are using it as an edit guide, you’re working through one task at a time, and that fits with a Kindle screen just fine. If you’re reading it to learn more about beta reading, why pay extra for a paperback? And if you’re beta reading for me, or generally claiming it as a free book, but don’t for whatever reason want the Kindle version, it’s not too big for PDF, I think about 75 pages.