We've then been looking into publicity options. We've had a guest post on the Dark Phantom blog, and posted links on as many blogs, forums and websites who are happy to take authors posting publicity material - many places don't like this as they fear their forums will become overloaded with people trying to plug their own work, which I guess is fair enough. This means you've got to tread carefully, and not just post things willy-nilly, as the last thing you want to do is annoy your potential customers.
Many of the free publicity options available seem to only allow you to publicise a book when it's in a free offer period. We've been wrestling with whether this is a good plan or not. The main argument for running a free promotional period seems to be that if people like your free work, they might go and buy some of your other work. This is especially valuable if you have a series, where it makes sense that if you can grab reader's attention with the first book, they're likely to look for the next instalment and be prepared to pay. However, if you only have one book out, is this a worthwhile plan? Having read blogs of people who have gone down this road, it does seem to translate into several hundred downloads, which does get you visibility, and may pull in some more Amazon reviews. Whether that will translate into sales after the end of the promotional period remains to be determined. So, the question is, do we go for a free promotion now, or wait for the full novel to be completed (hopefully sometime early in 2015) to have something to feed off the promotion. We've also been trying to support other Indie authors who are in similar positions, by downloading or buying their novellas and doing what we can to help publicise their work if we like it. This is also a good way to connect with other authors and try to learn what has worked for them publicity-wise, and hopefully we'll start to integrate into the Indie author network that's out there.
The other thing we've been up to is working on getting our ratio up on www.critters.org. This is a great place to get feedback on your work from fellow authors, and we've put the first chapter up for review on there, which should be going live next week. Part of the deal with Critters is that you don't get your work sent out until you've critiqued a certain number of other folk's stories yourself. So my bus commute has been invaluable in allowing me reading time for the critters stories. I've found that the reading is the easy bit, but putting together a useful critique of a story takes quite some time, especially as you need to be diplomatic with your wording. Writes tend to be quite insecure about their work, and you want to help people make their work better, but not to make them despair and give up! Now we're looking forward to seeing what other authors think of the first chapter of the new novel, with the working title "Miss Silk and the Tomb of Menkare".