Recommendations and Reviews

Responding to today’s daily prompt: Conversant

On this crazy journey of self-publishing I’ve found myself opening up a dialogue to my readers. So far, I have to admit that I love it. Probably because all of the feedback has been really positive and sent me running around the house going Sqeeeeeeeee.

After all, what is a story without reviews? I’ve been left totally humbled by the feedback I’ve received so far and am delighted to share these with you. 😊 *happy dancing* Besides, the ebook is currently available at 99c, or free on Amazon’s kindle unlimited. If I can tempt you into a copy I would love to have your feedback.

5starsOne of the best books I’ve read this year! I loved this fantasy tale of magic, romance and a girl trying to figure out the truth about her past and herself. The writing is fluid with vivid descriptions that bring the world to life. -Alison Dec 2017

starsOMG THAT ENDING. I don’t know how I’m going to wait for the next book. I found it highly engaging and almost impossible to put down. I enjoyed the originality of the story line, and I found Feia very relatable.  – Kelsay Nov 2017

5starsSo all I can say is WOW! This book had me from the start. From the beginning it pulls you in and keeps you there. Even during some “slow” parts, I found myself wanted to read more just to find out what happens next. From open to close, I wanted to keep reading.- Kira Feb 2018

starsThis was a really good book!! It was hard to put down! There is magic and a little romance and friendship all mixed in! – Denise Dec 2017

5starsThis book honestly captured my imagination and I was up until the early hours as I just couldn’t put it down! Can’t wait for the next instalment and hope I don’t have to wait too long! I really recommend this book for all those fantasy lovers out there 🙂 – Lydia Dec 2017

starsI really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to other readers of Fantasy – Miss A. Jan 2018

If you’ve read Burning Embers, don’t forget to leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads (or both!) because they make such a huge difference to new readers being able to find the story.

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Burning Embers is available in Paperback and Ebook in the following places:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

You can also download a short story that ties in for free: The Last Charter is in another bundle of other short stories! Short Month: Short Stories

Happy Reading! I would love to hear your feedback on Burning Embers!

Fibi xx

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The uneducated rumbled Rube.

I’ll be honest – I had to look this daily prompt up and work out what it meant: Rube! It’s a word that I’ve never come across before. However, I have recently been writing a chapter where I think this is demonstrated…

The tower appeared on the road. Made from large grey stones, hewn from the local mountain side it was quickly lost in the canopy as they drew closer. It was a large square building with stables and cleared paddock beside it. A pair of bay horses looked up as they approached, tails shaking off the pestilence of summer flies. A large archway extended across from the side of the tower, over the road. Where the pillars of the arch ended, and on the far side of the tower, a stone wall extended. This was the border between Ipito and Staven.

They were forced to slow their horses, or charge through the guards who stood in the centre of the arch. Their helmets were rounded at the top and shone with polish. They were both tall, broad men wearing chain main beneath a tunic with the King’s crest emblazoned on the front. As Kit and Lyris approached, they levelled spears at the charging horses, the wooden butts pressed into the hard dirt and steadying the points. Kit’s pony was first to stop, skidding to a halt and twisting away. Kit turned her quickly and waved a greeting at the men.

Storm, always reluctant to obey anyone other than his own desires had run further and was forced to rear, kicking out at the spears. Lyris clung to his neck, praying that she wouldn’t fall off and break her neck, before they could rescue Arn. When the horse landed on his four feet again, huffing with fury, he danced on light feet and she remained, clinging to his main. Her legs and arms felt like water, flowing and trembling with every small movement. This was not the time to be afraid. The young woman forced herself to sit up. Sparrows were hopping between the pine trees and a hawk circled overhead, casting a shadow on the mottled ground.

‘Speak,’ the first guard demanded, ‘what is your business in Staven?’

‘Did a cart pass this way?’ The words tumbled free, breathless. Lyris had intended to introduce herself, thoughts of formal requests for help spinning through her mind. The young woman knew that she needed their assistance, and quick passage through the pass but despite the churning concern, the words came again before the guard could answer. Lyris steadied Storm with a hand against the tall horses’ neck.

‘Did a cart pass this way?’ She demanded, urgent.

The guard, affronted, glanced at his companion before, features stern. ‘Our question first, mistress.’

As Lyris opened her mouth to protest, he lifted a gloved hand from the spear and set the weapon on it’s end resting against his shoulder. The guard beside him copied his action and Lyris felt Storm release a breath of tension. Long legs quivering beneath her.

‘It’s our duty to stop and question all those who pass,’ confident that he had regained control the first man had settled into a slower speech and northern drawl. His a’s and r’s extending.

Kit had circled his pony again and drew level with his companion.

‘Sir,’ he bowed low across the front of the saddle, hand swept with dramatic gallantry to one side. The trader looked to Lyris, begging a moment of her patience before he continued. ‘We’re tracking a wagon that passed through these gates,’

The guards looked uninspired.

‘Has a wagon passed through?’

The young woman lifted her eyes to the heavens, the pale blue sky was starting to darken again. A natural rain was gathering at the peak of the mountain.  If they could move on with their journey, she could track Arn without draining her powers.

‘A lot of wagons’ pass through here, lad,’ the first guard lent on his spear, ‘but that doesn’t explain your business beyond the border.’

So this is more of an extract from the Poisoned Well and it’s the chapter responsible for slowing me down! The paragraphs from this section must have been written months apart but hopefully you can’t notice…

Take it from the top

I’m going to try and catch you up with my year behind the scenes. Something that has gone in the space of a Blink. However realising how enormous this subject is, I’m going to split it into a few sections and post over a few days.

This is my long promised post of the decisions I’ve made with self-publishing and how it’s all going so far…

The journey so far –

Last January I made the decision that Burning Embers was finally ready. It was a polished as a shiny squeaky thing and in the best shape that I could make it. With my dream of following a traditional publishing route I started to send BE out to agents.

I think it went well. I had a spreadsheet to monitor who I had e-mailed my book baby too, their contact details and what they required in their submission package. I even had a column with an approximate date of response. Generally I had positive feedback from agents and publishing houses that would accept direct submissions. I even accidentally sent it to a few self-publishing companies and received some encouraging results.

In the end however, the answer was no. I was told that Burning Embers was well-written, engaging, had excellent descriptions…but just wasn’t quite right for anyone’s list or didn’t suit their personal tastes. It was discouraging, but important to remember that this is a subjective business. I know that the opening of Burning Embers is tailored more towards literary fiction than a straight YA Fantasy-Romp. I also know that the book really hits its stride after the first six chapters (maybe I shouldn’t be so honest!) However, I also had faith that in the hands of readers who love fantasy, strong-female protagonists and want to be pulled into another world –it could really work.

One of the self-publishing companies did have this to say after requesting opening chapters:

‘Blimey exciting start, its made me think of Game of Thrones, Divergent and a female Uhtred of Bebbanberg all at once, which is a good thing – great imagery and sense of place. I think this would be very popular right now, with the right cover and mega saturation on social media, you will get noticed. I’m sure of that. Keep me posted as to how you get on with other publishers, I would love to work with you on this’ – In the end, this enthusiasm translated into an offer of publication with them for a much discounted fee.

In monetary terms they were willing to remove £500 from their usual price.  I really liked this company and probably would have published with them, however it was at the start of the year and I was determined to exhaust more ‘traditional’ enquiries first.

I also received an evaluation of Burning Embers:

‘The book is very well written and the story is original, exciting and engaging.  

The author creates a rich fantasy world with its own history and mythology. Feia is a sympathetic character and I enjoyed following her story.

I think fans of the fantasy genre will really enjoy this. It combines all the best traits of the fantasy genre but with an original twist. 

 An exciting story set in a rich fantasy world that will really appeal to readers. I can imagine this making an excellent series and, once hooked, I think readers will keep coming back for more.’ 

So what to do next?

I carried on writing.

I started with pieces of flash-fiction for competitions, and I even won a few. As a result of flash-fiction I was published in two additional books last year.

Amongst all the sting of rejection, I started the Poisoned Well a simpler, more linear YA Fantasy which was always going to be shorter than the 120,000 word beast that was Burning Embers.

The plan was to finish Poisoned Well and publish it on Wattpad.

Now Wattpad is amazing. It allows you to post you story in serial. You’re encouraged to post on a regular slot at least once a week and to interact with the community. This in turns generates ‘reads’ for your story and you gain followers. Followers who get excited about your work and are eager for the next instalment. Theoretically this can translate into sales of a book. One ‘success’ story of Wattpad recommends you have  the full text published on Amazon and provide that link to Wattpad, so your impatient readers can skip along and buy your book instead of waiting 30-odd weeks for the next part.

However, as I was sending BE out to agents at the time, I was aware I shouldn’t be publishing it anywhere online! This is where Poisoned Well was dreamt up – something that was specifically geared towards a Wattpad posting schedule. Another hint is to keep chapters at approximately 2000 words each, just enough to keep the story moving, but short enough to keep the reader engaged and hungry for more.

Then summer came around – and life changed. I’ve mentioned it in the occasional post, but over the summer I realised I was expecting a baby. Now among all the preparation for new life and feeling like I had the flu for a few months, I realised that I wanted my book baby project to be done. Signed off, sealed, delivered – fin. Burning Embers had been such a huge part of my life and in order to move on completely I would need to let it go. But it deserved more than staying in my desk drawer and on the computer. Because I’d been feeling so poorly, I’d also stopped writing Poisoned Well – a mere two chapters from the end! SO CLOSE!

So I decided to self-publish. All of the queries that were going to have a response had received one, and I’d exhausted the pool of agents I could harass. I had twittered, blogged, researched and finally it was decision time.

So what to do first?

Well, initially panic. I’d spent years reading articles about self-publishing, marketing, social media…and I immediately lost all confidence that I knew what I was doing and had to go back and re-read everything again!

Self-publishing – there are some big decisions to make. – this is where the next part of the story will continue…

Let me know what you think so far!

Happy Reading Fibi

xxx

Short Story Release! The Last Charter

Happy Friday Everyone!

Just a sneaky little update for today – woohoo!

Burning Embers is set in Arenith, an empire that has been crumbling for three hundred years. Now, with all of the edits to bring my novel to print and publication; chapters and additional story arcs have been brutally hacked away; until now.

I’m delighted to release: The Last Charter. It’s a short story set in the world of Arenith and might just tie in with the events of Burning Embers… but I’m not giving too much away about that!

The Last Charter is available for free download: here!

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I hope that you enjoy it! I love hearing from you all, so please feel free to leave comments about the cover or the story itself!

There will be more short stories from Arenith to follow, along with some from the other worlds that are floating around in my imagination.

In the meantime – two weeks before Burning Embers is released! Argh! You can still pre-order on Amazon, or for a signed copy with limited artwork print directly from yours truly: Shop.

Happy Reading!

Fibi xx

Autumn leaves in golden light

Autumn leaves flicker in golden light. A bright sun breaks through grey puffs of cloud. It’s warm, suspiciously so. A chill wind pulls at unfastened coats and untamed hair. The green is fading from the grass and bare earth appears in patches. Still, the leaves fall in turbulent circles;  gold and Orange they flicker.

It’s here!

LOOK! In all of it’s autumn, orangey goodness!

Book!

Well you could say that I have been busy.

I have, at this very moment, a printed copy of Burning Embers! I love it! I have to say, that the quality of printing is incredible, and my book baby looks like a book! An actual book. I’m going to be excited about this for a while…

Over the next few the days the printed proof will be examined with a magnifying glass, tweaks will be made and then – THEN it will be available for Pre-order. *Cue Fainting*

Review copies have been sent out, and I’m watching Amazon like a hawk. Hopefully when the next boost of sales come in, then the reviews will keep the book ‘sticky’. (From what I can tell, sticky means that it stays in the higher rankings and ‘sticks’ around the bestseller mark – whoohooo!)

But that doesn’t sound very busy does it? What else have I been up to…

Well, I’ve been writing horror tips for Black Star Publishing; just in time for Halloween. They’re starting a new blog and invited me to be their first guest blogger. (I may be getting a little too big for my britches at this point.) I also intent to submit a short story to their competition. Luckily we all have until December to come up with a suitably spooky idea. Once the post is up, you can be sure that I will share it with you.

Wattpad is up to date (incredible by itself) Six free chapters of Burning Embers are available to read – and they’re being read. I’ve joined a few review groups, so I’ll be anxiously biting my nails waiting for those to come in from my fellow wattpadders.

I’ve planned out a very very long blog post about self-publishing and the decisions that I’ve made and why. Over the coming weeks I’ll also be divulging my marketing strategy – I tell you, the more you delve into this with self-publishing, the more there is to know! At times it feels like an endless ball of wool that I’ll never fully untangle, but it is fun.

In the meantime, the e-book is still available to pre-order and currently at a discounted price of £1.89 (correct 27.10.17)

I’d love to know your thoughts – don’t forget to leave comment and let me know what you’re up to. I’m also still happy to send out review copies if anyone is interested!

Happy Autumn everyone!

Fibi xxx

My shout will resound!

This week, it’s a shout of triumph. I am so excited. I know that it something I say on a regular basis – but this is sheer adrenaline filled excitement. In response to Today’s Daily Prompt – A Cacophony of fizzing, buzzing, joyous noise is just a gorgeous way to describe the weekend.

The pre-release e-book for Burning Embers sidled onto Amazon and other outlets last week. I was thrilled, and posted here and on the facebook page and was content to watch the rankings. On Thursday, Burning Embers was ranked 38,885 on Amazon.co.uk. It had been loitering there all week.

Out of 750,000 books, to be ranked in the 38,000’s – I was pretty happy!

Then I don’t know what happened.

My mind is still resounding with the cacophonous resound of WHAT?!

On Amazon your book is put into three ranking categories, as far as my newb self-publishing-self can tell. I had been steadily sitting in the top 200 for Young Adult, Fantasy and Kindle Store> Books> Young Adult> Romance> Science Fiction and Fantasy – and that felt amazing.

And then the numbers started to drop. I went from being in the top 200 of the category rankings, to the top 100. THEN BELOW! – WHAT?!

The highest I saw my amazon overall ranking was #8887. In terms of the categories, I was in the top 50 for each one! I had to take photos so that I can continue believing it! LOOK! Omg!

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What happened then was brilliant – because of the sales, Burning Embers was pulled into a list of the top ten ‘hottest new releases’ for Young Adult, Science Fiction and Fantasy. Here it is, my little book baby – in a list. That’s right folks. In a list.

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I may be ridiculously over excited, but I was so proud to see Burning Embers included in such good company. I don’t know how many copies have sold, and I won’t until after the pre-order period is over on the 1st December.

What I can tell you, is that the paperback copy of Burning Embers should be available for pre-order before Friday – this Friday! So I’m sure you’ll be hearing more from me about it. Sqeeeeeeeeeeeee.

Later in the week, I’ll be posting about all of the work I’ve been doing in the background to publishing Burning Embers, and how that is hopefully making a difference.

Please let me know your feedback and comments, I love to hear from you!

In the meantime, the first five chapters are available for free on Wattpad.

Happy Reading,

Fibi

Self-Exceptional

I was thinking on the way back home from another dreary commute about self-belief. This is something I consider a lot, considering Burning Embers is all about the importance of accepting and loving who you are. You’ve got to be yourself because you can’t be anyone else – and no one else could do it as well!

Having made this decision to self-publish, I’ve been coming up with a few goals and targets for myself. A way to test if what I’ve written is exceptional. What is going to constitute success for all of the time and investment that’s gone into Feia’s story?

I want to have targets that I can reach – but that are also challenging. After all, if I set myself a target of one person to buy the novel and then that person is me, we’ll I can pat myself on the back for meeting my goal, but is it worth?

I set myself a few targets this year with my blog. I wanted to reach 1000 views this year, have 500 visitors and 200 followers. It won’t make this the most successful year for Fibijeeves, but it is a considerable improvement on the last two years where my blogging has been sporadic at best. Those two goals are in touching distance and I get a little thrill after each post and I can see them growing closer.

Now, Burning Embers…what do I want to achieve? What will be success and what would be Exceptional?

How will I achieve my goals?

A cunning marketing strategy I hear you cry!

Well…I’m going to give it ago. Is it a strategy? I’m planning to increase my blog posts (hello!) and twitter feed, and update my facebook page more regularly. I’m reaching out to bloggers who review YA fantasy – if that’s you or you’d be interested in reviewing Burning Embers then drop me a message or e-mail me at fibijeeves@gmail.com.

So, I’m doing all of those things, and I’m reaching out to friends and family to say that this is -finally- happening, after the many many years of people asking me how the book is going. I will now be able to say IT IS DONE! Not only is it done, but I’m working on something new…

I’m also posting chapters on Wattpad, which is something I’m really excited about. It just seems the right platform to try and find my readers. Readers of YA and NA fiction, readers who will (hopefully) fall in love with the world and want to know more about the characters, the places. I want fans that want to live in Arenith, the way that I never wanted to leave Narnia behind. Wattpad seems the place to find these passionate and creative people. Second Chapter is going up as soon as this blog post is done published.

What are my goals? I’m going to be honest with them, and I’ll let you know if I meet them or not. I’d love to sell 100 copies before release. That’s 100 pre-orders on ebook and print.

I’d love 600 people to buy the book in the next six months. Is that even achievable – I just don’t know!

In utter fantasy land, 1000 copies within a year would be a dream. This would be the exceptional, incredible ending (or beginning) to my adventures in Arenith with Feia.

Wish me luck!

Let me know what your goals are and how you’re working towards them.

Also, don’t forget to get in touch if you would like to review Burning Embers. I’ll accept totally honest reviews!

Happy Reading

Fibi xxx