The Top 5 Self Publishing Platforms of 2017

This annual look at the most effective self-publishing platforms for indie authors is a little later than normal, and a little shorter too.

2017 has seen a big contraction in the number of different publishing options for indie authors. In fact, I'm down to two.

CREATE SPACE has lost it for me. Once Amazon made it possible to sell paperbacks via their platform so long as you weren't on CreateSpace, it was so long CreateSpace.

DRAFT2 DIGITAL never delivered anything other than sluggish sales, so had to go.

KOBO annoyed with its exclusivity smallprint rip off that required me to contact them direct to release my books from their grip.

So just two nominees left:

2nd: SMASHWORDS - my worst year on the platform. Maybe it was down to not having released a new book for so long. But the platform is suffering from having just too many books on there and not enough eyes prepared to read the billions of words it generates each year.

WINNER: AMAZON - my books have spent much of the year of KDP Select with mixed results, but certainly more success and bigger earnings than Smashwords generated. With 2018 seeing the release of my 5th novel A Big Bluff And Some Green Stuff, I'm hoping the new year will rekindle my enthusiasm for indie authorship... Amazon wins in 2017, for the third year in a row, but there's no glory here.

PREVIOUS WINNERS:
2014 Smashwords
2015 Amazon
2016 Amazon

A new excerpt from A Big Bluff And Some Green Stuff

The temperature outside had dropped several degrees, but Friedrich’s rose when he realised the exterior display he had crafted at Specifics had fallen victim to the invaders. Three fishing nets were missing, four beach balls had gone and there was a surfboard-size hole in the display.
About to fish out his keys from his jacket, Friedrich saw the shop door was ajar. He looked back toward the village hall. He ought to go back. Get someone else to come with him. But who in there would be able to or want to help? He took a deep breath, picked up one of the remaining nets, poked it through the gap and pushed open the door. He was greeted by the usual reassuring chime. Quaint.
Friedrich tried the light. It didn’t work. Not quaint. Worse still, the delicately balanced shelving and end of aisle displays had all been toppled, colouring pads and books and postcards carpeting the floor.
“Bloody…”
Something moved at the far end of the store by the fancy dress section.
“Who is that?” Friedrich called out, unable to see much in the dark.
A clatter of iron.
“This shop is shut. Show yourselves.”
Friedrich dropped the useless net and reached for a slightly less useless plastic scimitar that he’d been unsuccessfully trying to sell for two years.
“If that’s you Potts brothers…” He heard a soft snarl that didn’t sound like the brothers, more like a warning from a cornered fox.
“Whoever, whatever you are, you need to leave. This is my shop. We are closed for the Christmas season.”
Something moved by the vertical display of multi-coloured feather boas. Friedrich gasped and stepped back. That wasn’t… it can’t have been… a skull?
Friedrich stepped forward. “Put that mask back, or pay for it,” he yelled.
A second skull appeared behind the first, this one sporting a tricorn.
“That hat will cost you an extra six pounds and ninety-nine pence.”
Friedrich took another step forward, his plastic weapon drawn, but giving him little confidence.
Two figures with skeletal faces and black capes draped over their bony shoulders stepped out into the aisle and threw off their capes.
Friedrich didn’t like being able to see the one standing at the back through the hollow ribcage of the one in front. That wasn’t right. An anomaly, Murphy might say. If only he were here now. Maybe it wasn’t an anomaly, but a clever trick. Yes, of course. It was scientifically possible, Friedrich knew, through the manipulation of certain light wavelengths to become invisible. But that didn’t explain how their skeletal masks were far more detailed than anything he stocked.
Both figures held full-size cutlasses that dwarfed Friedrich’s toy weapon.
They rasped with disdain and shuffled toward the shop owner, their bony feet clattering against the shop’s cold linoleum floor.
“Who are you?” Friedrich garbled, backing away, still trying to process what he was seeing.
He reached down and tipped over a tub of bouncy balls, the multi-coloured contents hopping down the aisle between him and them. The intruders were both fascinated and frightened by the living balls of plastic. They backed off. The first jabbed at them with his sword, impaling a red one on the ultra-sharp tip of his blade. As the figure drew it up to his face to take a closer look, Friedrich saw its arm was formed of exposed bone, the hand devoid of skin too with a silver, skull-shaped ring adorning the index finger. In the half light, Friedrich saw the face wasn’t totally skeletal. There were patches of loose grey skin flapping about its cheeks. Its eyes were deep set, pupils an unhealthy yellow and rimmed red. Its lips had gone, exposing teeth yellowed and blackened to their roots.

The figure popped the ball in his mouth and Friedrich watched in terrified fascination as the ball fell through the skull and ribcage, bouncing off the thigh bone on its way down to the floor.

A Big Bluff And Some Green Stuff Excerpt

It's been nearly 3 years since the 4th Lymon novel. High time for the 5th, and it's a sequel to the last. - A Dead Chick And Some Dirty Tricks. And here's an excerpt from the newbie, called A Big Bluff And Some Green Stuff. Enjoy.

The temperature outside had dropped several degrees, but Friedrich’s rose when he realised the exterior display he had crafted at Specifics had fallen victim to the invaders. Three fishing nets were missing, four beach balls had gone and there was a surfboard-size hole in the display.
About to fish out his keys from his jacket, Friedrich saw the shop door was ajar. He looked back toward the village hall. He ought to go back. Get someone else to come with him. But who in there would be able to or want to help? He took a deep breath, picked up one of the remaining nets, poked it through the gap and pushed open the door. He was greeted by the usual reassuring chime. Quaint.
Friedrich tried the light. It didn’t work. Not quaint. Worse still, the delicately balanced shelving and end of aisle displays had all been toppled, colouring pads and books and postcards carpeting the floor.
“Bloody…”
Something moved at the far end of the store by the fancy dress section.
“Who is that?” Friedrich called out, unable to see much in the dark.
A clatter of iron.
“This shop is shut. Show yourselves.”
Friedrich dropped the useless net and reached for a slightly less useless plastic scimitar that he’d been unsuccessfully trying to sell for two years.
“If that’s you Potts brothers…” He heard a soft snarl that didn’t sound like the brothers, more like a warning from a cornered fox.
“Whoever, whatever you are, you need to leave. This is my shop. We are closed for Christmas.”
Something moved by the vertical display of multi-coloured feather boas. Friedrich gasped and stepped back. That wasn’t… it can’t have been… a skull?
Friedrich stepped forward. “Put that mask back, or pay for it,” he yelled.
A second skull appeared behind the first, this one sporting a tricorn.
“That hat will cost you an extra six pounds and ninety-nine pence.”
Friedrich took another step forward, his plastic weapon drawn, but giving him little confidence.
Two figures with skeletal faces and black capes draped over their bony shoulders stepped out into the aisle and threw off their capes.
Friedrich didn’t like being able to see the one standing at the back through the hollow ribcage of the one in front. That wasn’t right. An anomaly, Murphy might say. If only he were here now. Maybe it wasn’t an anomaly, but a clever trick. Yes, of course. It was scientifically possible, Friedrich knew, through the manipulation of certain light wavelengths to become invisible. But that didn’t explain how their skeletal masks were far more detailed than anything he stocked in his shop.
Both figures held full-size cutlasses that dwarfed Friedrich’s toy weapon.
They rasped with disdain and shuffled toward the shop owner, their bony feet clattering against the shop’s cold linoleum floor.
“Who are you?” Friedrich garbled, backing away, still trying to process what he was seeing.
He reached down and tipped over a tub of bouncy balls, the multi-coloured contents hopping down the aisle between him and them. The intruders were both fascinated and frightened by the living balls of plastic. They backed off. The first jabbed at them with his sword, impaling a red one on the ultra-sharp tip of his blade. As the figure drew it up to his face to take a closer look, Friedrich saw its arm was formed of exposed bone, the hand devoid of skin too with a silver, skull-shaped ring adorning the index finger. In the half light, Friedrich saw the face wasn’t totally skeletal. There were patches of loose grey skin flapping about its cheeks. Its eyes were deep set, pupils an unhealthy yellow and rimmed red. Its lips had gone, exposing teeth yellowed and blackened to their roots.

The figure popped the ball in his mouth and Friedrich watched in terrified fascination as the ball fell through the skull and ribcage, bouncing off the thigh bone on its way down to the floor.

Beware Kobo Plus

Life's too short, and they're too long.

I speak, of course, of Ts and Cs. Terms and Conditions. That great swathe of uniquely dreary legal text, usually in a font too small to comfortably read that we all scroll through as quickly as we can and click Agree.

No one reads this dire, lifeless, technical text and everyone knows this. Everyone. Including Kobo.

I recently signed up a few of my books to Kobo Plus to see if it could breathe life into the frankly appalling sales on that platform.

It didn't.

But when I wanted to delist my ebooks and return them to exclusivity on Amazon, the delist button was pale. Unclickable. Unresponsive. Might as well have not been there. Aaaagh!

I had no option other than to write to Kobo, asking why I couldn't withdraw my books.

Here's the response:











You what!? 6 months! Where did it say that?

In the Ts and Cs of course, which I didn't read, because no one reads Ts and Cs. Everyone knows that. Everyone.

I'm currently in the process of trying to withdraw the books inside the 6 month period.


In the meantime, don't fall into the same trap.

Right. I'm off to read some Ts and Cs.

Obrigado! Who's The Daddy No.12 in Brazil...

The book's a work of non-fiction, and so is this news:

Who's The Daddy, my (semi) humorous look at the roles males are expected to play when being father to their children is No 12 in Brazil. Look...





It's the yellow one, in case you missed it.
Is this the result of my recent rewrite of some of my book blurbs to be more SEO?
Perhaps it's too early to say, but thanks Brazil for buying some lemon yellow Lymon.

Here's some of the blurb...

Reasons to buy Who's The Daddy? Well, it's
* LIGHT-HEARTED - being a dad is good fun and this book reflects that
* A LIGHT READ - well, you haven't got time for novels anymore
* LIGHT YELLOW - not enough books out there are light yellow. Who's The Daddy attempts to address this ridiculous state of affairs.
* LIGHT ON YOUR POCKET - your level of disposable income is about to come down as you pay for disposable nappies/diapers and the like. The price of this book reflects that.

Buy Who's The Daddy? for yourself if you're a dad, for your partner if they're a dad, for your brother, son, uncle, cousin if they're a dad and for your dad if he's a dad. It's guaranteed to have new born babies drooling all over it.


And clicking here will take the few people left in Brazil who have yet to buy Who's The Daddy, straight to the page.

Obrigado








Is It Spring Yet Enters Top 30 Children's Books about Foxes

Is It Spring Yet? my children's picture book about a dozy hedgehog and a hungry fox has sneaked its way into the US Top 30...