It's been an awful long time since I've updated my online journal. I've missed you guys - how are you?
I'm hoping those of you already subscribed to my fan club have been safely receiving your monthly newsletters and finding the contents interesting - perhaps what's about to follow will sound familiar (sorry!). But if you're reading this and haven't yet joined, I'm offering the first few chapters of my adult visionary novella free and up to 3 emails p/month (no spam, unsubscribe at any time) in exchange for an email address.
Go ahead and do that now if you like... I'll wait.
Curious Cat Books
I've wanted to write something here for a long time now; truth is I haven't had the time. Back in February, as some of you may know, I re-released my existing paperback books (Finding Pandora: The Complete Collection, Noah Finn & the Art of Suicide, Aeon Infinitum: Run For Your Life) under my brand new publishing imprint, Curious Cat Books. I decided to design some snazzy new covers, and with the help of the talented Year 6 children at Low Ash Primary School, I perfected my Pandora cover to suit its target audience (thanks everyone - more on your success further down!).
Despite still being in love with the blue 2017 edition - and I know you were too from your feedback over the past 18 months - the new printer/ distributor required different specifications and the Noah Finn cover in particular was causing some problems (poor Noah was being chopped off the right-hand side). So I decided to change Noah and Aeon entirely, but keep my blue Pandora covers for the e-book editions, changing only the paperback in the end.
If you're new to my work, my YA high fantasy series Finding Pandora begins with 'World' and is on Amazon Kindle and Kindle Unlimited now, with another three installments already available to follow.
So one thing I've learned since becoming an independent author/ self-publisher or whatever you want to call me (hey, be nice!), and I mean seriously from 2016 - is that you're not going to get everything right the first time round, despite your best efforts.
The 2018 Rachael is wiser and (hopefully) more skilled than the 2016 Rachael; I've been implementing various changes, trying new things, testing free services and offering my own, all in an attempt to figure out what does and doesn't work, where/ how to spend money and how to save it, but above all... how to please my readers. Luckily the new covers did just that (or so you're telling me).
I think even the most experienced publisher can always find something new to learn or something else to try. So this is a quick note to say thanks to those who are embracing the changes to my platform; as always I appreciate your support.
Getting Back To Writing
Something else I've learned since January this year is how to prioritize. I already knew how to do this in theory, but needed to find a way to spend more time writing than promoting, interviewing, updating social media (I spend way too long on there) and the million and one other things now on my list of responsibilities.
Naturally something had to give before I ran out of steam. Writing is my passion and I needed to dedicate more time to it (I am an author after all!). I've temporarily put The White Room - my indie writer's podcast - on hold until further notice for this reason. That doesn't mean I've put helping other authors on hold, however, as I'm still offering written interviews for those interested. It's an application process, so I can't guarantee to publish them all to this blog - erotica, for example, isn't suitable for my platform, but for other genres, I'm open to requests.
Fingers crossed the podcast can return for season 3 later this year. I'll keep you updated.
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I'm super excited, though, to also be planning some upcoming events, celebrating the release of my 2018 Curious Cat Books editions including Noah Finn. Updates and events will be added to the website as/ when my attendance is confirmed for anything further, but for now my main 2018 events are as follows:
30/06/2018 - Shipley Arts Festival
07/07/2018 - Wrose Carnival (Wrose Library)
29/09/2018 - Morley Book Fair
I'm considering re-filming my merchandise/ unboxings this year - many of you found them helpful when planning your own event/s and since posting those I've switched from Createspace to Ingramspark (chaos, but worth discussing I think), so I'll be sure to cover some of their features in the weeks to come. In preparation, I've already ordered my new bookmarks and posters, started scouting for some table decorations and booking my team (my happy helpers, friends and family - you guys are life savers and I love you!).
I'm looking forward to all my events this year, two of which are repeats of last year, and signing some books. Be sure to come say hello!
Some people scowl when I use the term 'bestseller' for anything other than traditionally published books. I've said it before and I'll say it again (which I doubt will be for the last time) - in my mind, 'bestseller' is about the demand for the book (paid or free, e-books or paperbacks, indie or traditional) and NOT how much the author makes from their readers.
In 2016 I was blessed to reach #1 in my genre on Amazon US for Finding Pandora: Book One (World), making me a bestseller in their high fantasy (epic fantasy) free category - it was such an amazing, exciting day and the support of my readers was incredible. This month (May Bank Holiday 2018 - UK) I hit #1 again in the free metaphysical category for Noah Finn & the Art of Suicide, meaning I'm now an international bestseller on this platform.
Sharing books in any format is so important to me. Being able to offer Noah Finn free of charge was a brilliant opportunity as an author to get my voice and my name out there. I've had downloads all over the world, messages of support and encouragement and kind reviews. This bestseller status may not yet be for the New York Times (never say never), but for now, I'll take it. I'd like to thank everyone who has downloaded, read, reviewed, shared, subscribed and generally supported me.
The giveaway was a huge success, and I'm so grateful to you all.
If you missed it and would still love to read Noah Finn's story, the novella is available on Amazon now for purchase. All my e-books have now been re-instated into Kindle Unlimited, making them Amazon exclusive and free to borrow, or free to download to those not in their KU programme for 5/90 days.
Please do take advantage of any/ all my free offers and discounts! To stay up to date, follow me on social media where I announce them:
I'd like to extend a huge congratulations to the Year 6 students of Low Ash Primary School. Their creativity and hard work produced another two unique short story books this year (exclusively available to the school and its children). Ghosts of Valhalla was such a fun project for us all, and I look forward to congratulating you all in person soon!
So that's it for my May update. Thank you again to anyone and everyone who has supported me in any way so far this year. I'm excited to hopefully meet you all at an upcoming 2018 event.
Until then, keep reading, keep smiling and write on!
E. Rachael Hardcastle