My first year as a self-published author: Website #amwriting #website #problems #lessonslearned #authorwebsite

website download

This is the 3rd in a series of posts about my first year as an indie author publishing and marketing my books… I’ll be analysing different parts of the journey and will let you know the things that worked and the things that proved a waste of time.

This post is all about MY WEBSITE.

Aargh! This is one of the hard bits. I know that it’s vital for authors to have a good website. The list of ‘must haves’ probably goes something like:

  1. write good books (including using good editors, cover designers and developing a great blurb)
  2. have a decent author website!
  3. find and engage with readers (a mailing list is the most important way to do this, also judicious social media)
  4. distribute your books in the right stores, formats, etc…

Why is a website so important? I hear you ask… Essentially, it’s a one-stop-shop of information about you, the author, and your books. If people such as readers, publishers and reviewers want to find out about you, that is the place they will probably look. It groundtruths your work, and the best bit is, you can control everything that’s on it.

So how did I go developing my website in 2015? Not all that well…

On the plus side, I have moderate technical skills, so I was able to set up my own basic website in weebly while I looked around for the right designer and design to take my site to the next level. When I said on facebook and twitter that I was looking for a website designer, I got approached by a few people, but none of them showed me examples of author websites, so I wasn’t convinced.

Then I bought a website review from fiverr, and I was so impressed with the analysis and insight provided by the reviewer that I decided to ask them for a proposal to build my new website. I liked their proposal a lot, and so I commissioned them to build the website. All went well at first and there were lots of promises, but the website was never finished and delivered. I waited for months, and now they – Quanta Webdesign (don’t use them!) – have neither refunded my deposit nor finished the job. Needless to say I’m very disappointed – not only have I been scammed, but I’ve lost a lot of time. Six months! I will chase up the scam, but in the meantime, I still need a website.

Another problem I’ve encountered is with my domain name. I bought ‘’ a few years ago from CrazyDomains, and I also paid for DNS forwarding, which means it is supposed to forward to my weebly site or wherever I tell it to go. (Emails to are supposed to forward too). Unfortunately this often hasn’t been working properly and it usually just goes to a dead page. When I have rung CrazyDomains to get them to help sort it out, they make it sound as though it is fine at their end and must be my problem. But I know it doesn’t work from lots of different computers. So that’s another battle I need to sort out.

What have I learnt in 2015?

  • Be careful with web designers. Don’t pay up front unless you are SURE they can be trusted.
  • Be careful where you get your domain from – some don’t work very well. Probably best to buy a domain from your website buider/host rather than a random provider.
  • Weebly is a good free site for a basic Webdesign, although some aspects of design are a little clunky.
  • Find websites you like and that work well, and use that to inform what you want.
  • My new website will have great information about my books, links and feeds to my social media, latest news and deals, photos of some of the locations for my stories, and ‘call to action’ buttons for buying my books and joining my mailing list. (I may even set up a shopping cart – not sure about that yet)
  • Having a blog linked in to a website looks good and keeps current info flowing through the site. I will explore setting up my new website in wordpress so it can link seamlessly to my blog.

What am I looking forward to in 2016

  • 2016 will be the year that Emily Arden’s great new website will be published! Stay tuned…

My first year as an indie author #amwriting #indie #published #book

moonlight cover 6 sm

It’s been just over a year since I published my first book (‘Lover by Moonlight’). A year in which I’ve learnt an incredible amount. I’ve tried lots of new things – some have been moderately successful, some have been a waste of time, and some have been an abject failure. But overall, I consider that I have grown immeasurably, and am definitely getting closer to my goal of being a widely-read author.

There have been so many lessons learned in so many different parts of the self-publishing life, that I’m planning to explore each one in a separate blogpost. And don’t worry, I will be letting you know about the good, the bad and the ugly. All of it. Some of the topics I’m planning to cover include:

  • Writing
  • Blogging
  • My website
  • Distributing and publishing
  • Facebook and other social media
  • Twitter!!
  • Finding readers, reviewers and a ‘street team’

Latest figures on Traditional vs Self-Publishing #writing #self-publish #publishing #books #indie #traditional


Some really interesting figures in this latest report on Author earnings

Are you a new author dreaming of a trad publishing deal? #tradpublishing #indie #newauthor #writing #support #books


What would you say if you were offered a trad publishing deal? Would you break out the champagne? Is that your idea of nirvana? If it is, then it’s worth being aware of some of the possible pitfalls.

I found this article really useful, especially as it is from someone with such a long experience of publishing in many different ways. I’d love to know what you think of it.

There are some important messages in there – in particular, if you do get offered a trad. publishing deal, be very careful about the small print. For example: “If we sell life-of-copyright to a novel to a major traditional publisher, we may NOT BE ABLE TO GET IT BACK.” Probably until 70 years after our death (even after the publishing company have lost interest)

From my perspective, I’m an Indie at heart. I feel I’ve found the place I want to be. Still a long way to go, but at least I know where myself and my books are going. And I will be keeping my copyright and taking responsibility for whatever I have to, and getting professionals to help add value in areas where I am not so proficient. At least I know that most of what I deliver will be down to me. Wish me luck!

Want to earn your income from writing? Top tips from Joanna Penn #writers #writing #Indie #business #money #books #success #income

Sign dollar and the books on scales. 3D image.

How can you make money from your books?

Just watched a fantastic video from Joanna Penn – this is well worth the time it takes to watch it. As ever, Joanna is very generous with her tips and provides some great insights and ideas. Check it out at

Here is my summary of the 11 top tips to make money from your writing:

  1. Choose a popular genre
  2. Choose something that will be searched for
  3. Write a series – hook people in
  4. Write different length books – novels, novellas
  5. Sell from multiple stores
  6. Consider the global market – Mobile, digital, global. We are heading for a huge global population (8 Billion) of mobile-connected people
  7. Different book formats – consider audiobooks! (Joanna sells eBooks 88%, print books 7%, audiobooks 5% in one year)
  8. Write across multiple genres – non-fiction, tap into spikes, write some short books
  9. 9 Write more books
  10. earn affiliate income – amazonassociates OR OR “bluehostaffiliate” recommend authors and sites that you approve (25% of Joanna’s income!)
  11. develop a ‘funnel’ – book leading to other products. ie. free book leading to series, leading to course, etc.

+ Use effective marketing:  Attention, Interest, Desire, Action

One of main messages throughout – Mix and match income streams – don’t rely on one source for income.

So what do you think? Worth a quick look?

Tips for achieving your writing dreams #writing #inspiring #Joannapenn #writers #career #indie


Just read a great interview with Joanna Penn. Her work and career are inspirational. She is on the seventh year of her writing journey, and has been building her indie writing business to the extent that she is now achieving many of her goals. She took the plunge to leave her day job a few years ago and is now earning a comparable income, plus she has just managed to hire her husband out of his job. She is focused and hard-working and loves being writer…

Unlike Joanna, I am not in a job that makes me miserable. I consider myself fortunate that I enjoy most aspects of my day job – the technical challenges, being able to use my professional expertise, and the people I work with. But I also have a strong compulsion to be creative. There is not much opportunity for creativity in the public service, and writing is one of my top favourite things – especially making up stories. Nice to get away from the need to always tell the truth 🙂

So much of Joanna’s story resonates with me – it took years before I could admit out loud that I am a writer, and more years before I started telling my friends and family. I knew that many of them would not understand or be all that interested, and that was a block for a while. But I am ‘out’ now, and that has been a big step.

Now I am on the incremental pathway of trying to do a bit each day, to write as much as I can and keep learning about the ways I can improve all that I am doing – from marketing to writing.

I understand the whole ‘incremental growth’ thing. I built up a youtube site for my choir, which went from one clip and a few hits a day in the first year, to over 700 subscribers and 500 hits a day five years later. It just builds slowly, brick by brick, with new content being added whenever I can.

Now it is writing which consumes me, and I am very grateful for all the help and inspiration I have been getting from posts like this and Joanna’s wonderful website and books. I hope you enjoy it too.

To go Indie or not to go Indie? #writing #indie #publishing #books #writers

Great post from Joanna Penn on the pros and cons of being an Indie author. If you haven’t come across her work before and you are interested in the journey to becoming a published author,I strongly recommend you sign up for her blog. She provides heaps of insight and useful advice based on experience.

I am convinced that Indie is the way to go for me. Now for the hard part, I have written some books (that’s the fun part for me), have worked with a professional editor, beta readers, developing some avenues of promotion. Now I need to find more people to enjoy reading them as much as I have enjoyed writing them.

If steamy romance is your thing, then give my first few novels a go.—a-christmas-novella#