Homegrown sales from foreign soil

Author Elliott Katz details how he went about selling the foreign language rights to his book and then leveraged those agreements to produce promotional fuel like this back home: “Translated into 24 languages by publishers in Europe, Asia and Latin America.”

The series of dreadpunk novellas I’m currently working on is set in nineteenth century Montreal, so it would make perfect sense for me to sell the rights for a French translation (at minimum) when the time comes. I’ll definitely refer back to Elliott’s success story.

Any followers of this blog had experience with foreign-language rights sales? Let me know down below!

A great way to start a trilogy

From now until the end of November, book 1 of the Embodied trilogy of Young Adult fantasy-sci-fi novels, Silent Symmetry, is priced at only 99 cents or 99 pence for the Kindle ebook. (Due to international currency shenanigans, the book is $1.32 in Canada.)

But there’s more! This weekend, subscribers to my eNewsletter will be receiving a special coupon code for 33% off the second ebook in the series, Starley’s Rust. So sign up by clicking here – it takes about 15 seconds – and you’ll receive hot-off-the-press news about my upcoming work in your inbox every couple of months, plus exclusive offers like this.

Silent Symmetry has received some great independent reviews, with people saying things like, “I’ve never read about such mysterious creatures before and this book had that and more,” “I loved the natural way the author wove the tale, interlaced with questions resolving and mysteries uncovered. Even the ending left questions begging for a sequel,” and “I would recommend it, not only to my young adult friends, but my adult friends as well.”

Silent Symmetry photo

The paperback version of Silent Symmetry. Click on the image to go to the ebook’s Amazon.com page.

Starley’s Rust has received acclaim from Broken Pencil Magazine:  “Dutton is in his element crafting together a sci-fi adventure with a good blend of sincerity and humour that, without such a fine balance, can be the downfall of any YA fiction,” and CM Magazine: “Imaginative concepts, and well-written … this trilogy should appeal to readers looking for an unusual thriller. Four stars out of four.”

The mysteriously untitled final novel in the trilogy is with my editor right now and will be out in early 2016.

Do libraries and chain bookstores carry self-published books?

I think in most authors’ minds, the answer is no. But there are ways to break into these seemingly impregnable fortresses of traditional book distribution for indie writers, and most of them involve a lot of leg-work. Plus driving (unless you live next door to a library).


As one commenter says below this informative article from Publisher’s Weekly, “Don’t just dream the dream — crunch the numbers and decide what options are best for you.”

Leeds Library photo by michael_d_beckwith / Foter.com / CC BY

BookTubers… nope, they aren’t literary potatoes!

I listen to several podcasts when I’m not writing, such as Reply All, Mystery Show, Planet Money, and the gold standard of smart, entertaining North American spoken journalism, This American Life. But a couple of months ago I also discovered Rocking Self-Publishing, a highly listenable and professional podcast produced and hosted out of Prague by an Englishman named Simon Whistler. In every episode of RSP Simon shares snippets of info on the indie publishing world, followed by an in-depth interview with an industry player, usually a successful author.

One such author, P.T. Hylton, has had success finding an audience through BookTube, and you can listen to his RSP interview by clicking on the image here:

Interview with PT Hylton on RSP


Not a website in itself, BookTube is simply a community of people who talk about books on their YouTube channels. Typically a BookTuber will be a young person who speaks on camera about the books they’ve recently read and their TBR (To Be Read) pile. They skew towards Young Adult books, often receive ARCs (Advance Review Copies) from major publishers, and rarely seem to talk about independently published books.

I discovered book review channels on YouTube earlier this year and even requested reviews (to no avail, although one BookTuber sent me a rate card of how much she charges per mention, tweet, review, etc.). Needless to say, charging for reviews is a poor business practice, because it means that viewers can’t trust the opinions being expressed by the reviewer-for-hire. Talking peppily about newly released books in front of a bedroom bookshelf must seem like a wonderful way to make a few extra bucks for a young person, but any BookTuber worth his or her salt should take the long view and build an audience through genuine reviews, then monetize the channel in whatever way they can, such as advertising.

I’m sure that the vast majority of BookTubers started out simply because they love to talk about books, so it would be a shame if a minority of profiteers spoil the fun for everyone else by diminishing their trustworthiness as a source of honest, independent reviews. It would also be a shame if the indie publishing community is unable to access this new and potentially powerful route to discoverability, the main obstacle to competing on a level playing field with traditionally published books.

PT Hylton ultimately decided to start his own YouTube channel and he does a great job of chatting about his own work and books in general. Maybe that’s another way to go. I’ll start taking guitar lessons!



The Rime of the Ancient Marketer

Websites, websites every where, Nor any way to link…

The ancient mariner in Coleridge’s wonderful poem that I’ve so horribly pastiched here was undone by an albatross he killed. For indie authors, that albatross is the multitude of social media options and reading-oriented websites that your books can appear on. Half of the latter variety apparently consist of writers promoting their books to other writers, which hardly seems very efficient (unless your book is actually about the writing process).

The statue of the Ancient Mariner, in Watchet, Somerset, about 10 miles from where Coleridge lived and the same county I grew up in.

The statue of the Ancient Mariner, in Watchet, Somerset, about 10 miles from where Coleridge lived and the same county I grew up in. Oddly, he appears to be holding a skateboard. Maybe he got into that after quitting the sea life.

The reality is that there are so many online outlets to publicize and market books for both indie and traditional authors alike that it’s impossible to cover them all. Beyond the obvious ones like Facebook, Twitter and WordPress, there are secondary-but-still-significant ones like Instagram, Wattpad, Bloglovin, and StumbledUpon. In fact, there are so many that it’s not even realistic to list them all on your own blog. I use the right-hand side of this page to lead readers directly to the Amazon pages of my books because that’s the best way to serve someone who might be interested in buying them, but my media kits include well over a dozen other links to different online stores like Apple’s iBookstore, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords.

There are other incredibly important links that I’ve not even mentioned above that can fall by the wayside in the tsunami of marketing activities (hmmm… I smell an ocean theme today!) My YouTube channel, for example. And the ones I’m now going to plug right here: my author pages on Goodreads and Amazon. So to rectify the situation, here are the links to both pages:

My Amazon author page

My Goodreads author page

There. Done. It’s always a bit weird to write about yourself in the third person, but readers visit these pages because they are genuinely interested in the living, breathing writer behind the books. And besides, I don’t have time to invite them all over for tea. Maybe one day I’ll rent a boat and we’ll all sail off from the north Somerset coast for a bit of fishing…