Friday, 18 July 2014

Dear Me: I Am Enough

This is an open letter and a call to arms - and legs and boobs and tummies and noses - to stand up to our inner critic. Together let's tell that mean little bully to sit down and shut up...

Dear Me,

I’ve been meaning to talk to you for a while now. I’ve heard everything you’ve been saying about me and I think it’s about time it stopped. 

You whisper your bullying judgments to me in the mirror, pointing out my flaws and calling them disgusting. But there's nothing disgusting about me – not my cellulite or my chicken neck or wrinkly skin or wobbly arms or crooked nose or thick ankles, knobbly knees, varicose veins, stretch marks or saddlebags. I'm normal, just like everybody else. When you tell me that I’m not toned enough or thin enough or boobalicious enough, you’re saying that I’m not enough.
 
Well I’ve got news for you. I am enough. We all are. Every single one of us. In fact, we’re phenomenal. We are women. We run companies and raise children and create art and music and still find the time to boost up our friends, to volunteer and learn. We win Nobel Prizes, we cure disease and scale Everest. We can dance in stilettos, multi-task and multi-orgasm. Our self-worth has nothing to do with the regularity of our features or the circumference of our waistbands.

Would we treat our best friend the way we treat ourselves? Of course not. We don’t think her body or her face is the most important thing about her. We’re not her friend because she looks good in a dress. We love her for a million other reasons, because she’s kind, funny, supportive and smart, would never steal our boyfriend and always asks how our day was. So if we wouldn’t measure her worth using scales or mirrors, isn’t it crazy to measure our own that way?

So listen up, Me. It’s not about being tall or short, toned, bumpy or lopsided. It’s not about being a “real woman” (unless they're holograms, all women are real women), or curvy or skinny or anywhere inbetweeny. It’s about realising that, actually, I’m pretty great at being the best person I can be. I’m a work-in-progress and I’m going to treat myself as kindly as I’d treat my friend or my sister, mother or daughter as she tries to make her way in the world.

When we look back on our lives, at the times we stood up for what we believed, supported those we loved, did things that frightened us, raised children, got diplomas, awards and promotions, will the most important thing about us be the size of our jeans?

I, for one, will be thinking about the size of the life I lived, not the dress I wore.


So once and for all, Me, get it through your head: I Am Enough. 


With much love and support, 
Me xoxo


What about you? Will you stand up to that mean little bully in your head? If so, sign this open letter to yourself (add your comment below), then share the link on Facebook and twitter (#IAmEnough) and let's see if we can remind everyone that they're enough too.



And do also join us at the Curvy Girls Club* on Facebook and Twitter for a daily dose of loveliness straight to your timeline – feisty feel-good reminders that you’re pretty great just the way you are. 





*The Curvy Girls Club isn't just for curvy girls, but for everyone who wants to feel great about themselves!

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Newsletter Sign-up for Free Goodies

Fans outside the US and Canada - The Curvy Girls Club will be available in your countries on 15th January 2015 when it will be published by Avon/HarperCollins.

So if you'd like me to email you as soon as it's available, or get the chance to read free Advance Review copies of my books before they're published, or get free paperback and eBook inscriptions, please sign up for my newsletter. That way you're guaranteed not to miss any of the fun :-))


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xoxo 
Michele

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Off to a Cabin in the Woods!

What a busy year it's been, and it's only May! The Curvy Girls Club was sold to Avon in the UK for a January 2015 publication, and it's launching next month in the US and Canada through Notting Hill Press. Meanwhile I'm just finishing my next manuscript, Perfect Girl, which will be published globally in October.
Not the actual cabin!

So HB and I are taking ourselves off to a cabin in the Welsh hills for a week to relax, eat good food and potter along the northern coastline on our trusty bicycles. It's sort of a honeymoon-in-the-woods, to complement our planned honeymoon-on-the-beach later this year... we have had four wedding parties, so why not four honeymoons?

As I write this it's chucking it down outside but I'm sure Mother Nature wouldn't let it rain on us while we're on holiday. Right? RIGHT??

Enjoy your week, everyone, and see you on the other side :-) 
xo

Thursday, 8 May 2014

eBook Reading Habits: Are all those 99c/99p books being read?

If you're pressed for time, here are the highlights. Details with graphics, data, analysis and conclusions follow:
  • Cheap books are not likely to be read soon after downloading: 32% of the people who download 99p/99c books usually read them right away, but 68% don’t.
  • More than half of us will never get around to reading all the books on our eReaders: 53% of readers admit that there are books on their eReaders that they’ll probably never get around to reading. 
  • We're eBook hoarders: Nearly a third of us have more than 50 eBooks waiting to be read.
  • More than 40% of book buyers read mostly on-sale books: 99c/99p or less books account for nearly all the books in 20% of readers’ eLibraries. Another 22% read mostly on-sale books.
  • Two thirds of people read a full-price book soon after they’ve bought it: In contrast to 99c/99p books, which are read promptly by 28% of people, 67% of those who buy full-priced books read them soon after they’ve bought them.   

The full story

When I recently did a US BookBub promotion for one of my books, the results made me wonder about something: Are all those 99c/99p books on people’s eReaders actually being read?

As a full-time author, I earn my crust from writing, so selling a lot of books is a good thing. But what I really want to do is build a loyal fan base of readers who’ll remember me the next time they’re looking for a book, and who'll look out for my next book because they enjoy the stories I write. Selling loads of eBooks boosts my bank account, but does it actually increase my fan base and exposure? That depends on whether the books that are being bought are also being read or whether they get forgotten on readers’ Kindles. 

The US BookBub promotion was a success by any measure, with 3,400 eBooks sold in 4 days. Once I got over the euphoria of seeing my book amongst Amazon.com's top 20 bestsellers, I then developed repetitive strain injury refreshing the book’s Amazon page, waiting for reviews to come in. And the reviews did come in… 12 of them in the next three weeks. So that got me thinking: Did the other 3,388 people who bought the book have nothing to say about it? Or was it that the vast majority of them haven’t read it?

To try to get an idea about the answer I created a short survey for eBook readers to take. It’s not perfect* but it might give us a clue about what readers do once they buy an eBook. 

I could have asked just one question: If you bought two books, one at 99p/99c and one at full price, which would you be most likely to read?

But the answer would probably have been: both, eventually. And that wouldn’t tell us what we really want to know.

99c/99c books are not likely to be read soon after downloading

32% of the people who download 99p/99c books usually read them right away, but 68% don’t. Taking my BookBub example, that means that 1,088 of my 3,400 BookBub-promoted books were likely to be read soon after downloading. Not bad! 


Now, I know (because I’m a geek who keeps track of such things) that a little over 1% of people who read my books leave reviews, so I should have seen 10 to 15 reviews for my book. And there have been 12, which tells me that the survey results are probably reasonably representative of eBook readers.

More than half of us will never get around to reading all the books on our eReaders

Even if 68% of people who download on-sale books aren’t reading them right away, they’ll probably get to them eventually, right? Well, maybe not. 53% of readers admit that there are books on their eReaders that they’ll probably never get around to reading. 


As authors, of course we hope that ours won’t be one of them! But a lot of eReaders are pretty crowded with unread books.

Nearly a third of us have more than 50 books waiting to be read on our eReaders

It seems that a quarter of us keep tight control over our to-be-read pile: 24% of readers have less than 5 unread books on their eReaders. But almost half of us have more than 20 unread books on our eReaders. So now that we don’t need to have the shelf space, are we becoming book hoarders? And more importantly for authors, what does this mean for the chances that our books are being read?


But surely higher book sales compensate for the lower reading rate?

“Ah!” I hear you say, “but more people download cheaper books, so even if most don’t read them, the actual number who do will still be at least as high as those buying the book at full price.” That’s true, if people do buy at enough 99c/99p books to compensate for the proportion that they don’t read. But do they?

Smashwords looked at this question in its 2013 study: http://blog.smashwords.com/2013/05/new-smashwords-survey-helps-authors.html. It analyzed a sample of over $12 million in sales for a collection of 120,000 Smashwords ebooks from May 1, 2012 through March 31, 2013.  Smashwords aggregated its sales data from across its retail distribution network, which included the Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo and Amazon (only about 200 of its 200,000 titles were at Amazon, so Amazon purchasing habits were under-represented). Data and statistics are rarely perfect!

The Smashwords data showed that people don’t buy more books at 99c than they do at $2.99 or $3.99; in fact they buy slightly fewer (but remember, Amazon is under-represented). The "cheaper books = more sales" dynamic starts to show when compared to the higher price points – 3.9x as many 99c books are bought as $10+ books.



We don’t have data to know how price affects sales volume exclusively at Amazon, but I do have my data for my own books. Over the past few years I’ve had most of my books in the Kindle Monthly Deals promotions that Amazon runs in the UK, and on average I sell 6.8x as many books in those promotions as when they're not in the promotions. However, these books are heavily marketed by Amazon during the promotion period. They appear along with just 99 other books on the website’s dedicated sales page and emails go out directly to women’s fiction fans with links to the book’s Amazon page. So it’s hard to know how much of the additional sales volume is because of the price and how much is because Amazon pushes the book in front of its millions of customers. What is true is that most books whose prices are reduced to 99c/99p don’t get the benefit of the Amazon marketing machine.

More than 40% of book buyers read mostly 99c/99p books

99c/99p or less books account for nearly all the books in 20% of readers’ eLibraries. Another 22% read mostly on-sale books.


Two thirds of people read a full-price book soon after they’ve bought it

In contrast to 99c/99p books, which are read promptly by 28% of people, 67% of those who buy full-priced books read them soon after they’ve bought them. This might be because they searched for the book they wanted to read next and bought it, or maybe because they want to read the book they’ve just paid full price for. We don’t know.


I guess the main conclusion that I drew from these results is that because two-thirds of 99c/99p books aren’t read when they’re first downloaded, I need to make sure that enough additional books will sell to compensate for the lower reading rate. How to do that? Well, that’s another question altogether! 

I hope you found this interesting. Please don’t email/tweet/FB me to take issue with the survey design or results. I put it together to help me answer a question I had, and am sharing the results because several people have asked for them. Do feel free to share the information if you’d like to.

*This is a small-scale survey, meant to be a snapshot rather than a statistically robust study: 391 people, who are men and women of different ages from different countries, responded in a 24 hour period. They self-selected to answer the survey when it was posted on Facebook and Twitter.  According to statistics bods, a sample of 384 makes for a statistically survey size that is representative of the US and UK eReading population.

eBook Reading Habits: Are all those 99c/99p books being read?

If you're pressed for time, here are the highlights. Details with graphics, data, analysis and conclusions follow:
  • Cheap books are not likely to be read soon after downloading: 32% of the people who download 99p/99c books usually read them right away, but 68% don’t.
  • More than half of us will never get around to reading all the books on our eReaders: 53% of readers admit that there are books on their eReaders that they’ll probably never get around to reading. 
  • We're eBook hoarders: Nearly a third of us have more than 50 eBooks waiting to be read.
  • More than 40% of book buyers read mostly on-sale books: 99c/99p or less books account for nearly all the books in 20% of readers’ eLibraries. Another 22% read mostly on-sale books.
  • Two thirds of people read a full-price book soon after they’ve bought it: In contrast to 99c/99p books, which are read promptly by 28% of people, 67% of those who buy full-priced books read them soon after they’ve bought them.   

The full story

When I recently did a US BookBub promotion for one of my books, the results made me wonder about something: Are all those 99c/99p books on people’s eReaders actually being read?

As a full-time author, I earn my crust from writing, so selling a lot of books is a good thing. But what I really want to do is build a loyal fan base of readers who’ll remember me the next time they’re looking for a book, and who'll look out for my next book because they enjoy the stories I write. Selling loads of eBooks boosts my bank account, but does it actually increase my fan base and exposure? That depends on whether the books that are being bought are also being read or whether they get forgotten on readers’ Kindles. 

The US BookBub promotion was a success by any measure, with 3,400 eBooks sold in 4 days. Once I got over the euphoria of seeing my book amongst Amazon.com's top 20 bestsellers, I then developed repetitive strain injury refreshing the book’s Amazon page, waiting for reviews to come in. And the reviews did come in… 12 of them in the next three weeks. So that got me thinking: Did the other 3,388 people who bought the book have nothing to say about it? Or was it that the vast majority of them haven’t read it?

To try to get an idea about the answer I created a short survey for eBook readers to take. It’s not perfect* but it might give us a clue about what readers do once they buy an eBook. 

I could have asked just one question: If you bought two books, one at 99p/99c and one at full price, which would you be most likely to read?

But the answer would probably have been: both, eventually. And that wouldn’t tell us what we really want to know.

99c/99c books are not likely to be read soon after downloading

32% of the people who download 99p/99c books usually read them right away, but 68% don’t. Taking my BookBub example, that means that 1,088 of my 3,400 BookBub-promoted books were likely to be read soon after downloading. Not bad! 


Now, I know (because I’m a geek who keeps track of such things) that a little over 1% of people who read my books leave reviews, so I should have seen 10 to 15 reviews for my book. And there have been 12, which tells me that the survey results are probably reasonably representative of eBook readers.

More than half of us will never get around to reading all the books on our eReaders

Even if 68% of people who download on-sale books aren’t reading them right away, they’ll probably get to them eventually, right? Well, maybe not. 53% of readers admit that there are books on their eReaders that they’ll probably never get around to reading. 


As authors, of course we hope that ours won’t be one of them! But a lot of eReaders are pretty crowded with unread books.

Nearly a third of us have more than 50 books waiting to be read on our eReaders

It seems that a quarter of us keep tight control over our to-be-read pile: 24% of readers have less than 5 unread books on their eReaders. But almost half of us have more than 20 unread books on our eReaders. So now that we don’t need to have the shelf space, are we becoming book hoarders? And more importantly for authors, what does this mean for the chances that our books are being read?


But surely higher book sales compensate for the lower reading rate?

“Ah!” I hear you say, “but more people download cheaper books, so even if most don’t read them, the actual number who do will still be at least as high as those buying the book at full price.” That’s true, if people do buy at enough 99c/99p books to compensate for the proportion that they don’t read. But do they?

Smashwords looked at this question in its 2013 study: http://blog.smashwords.com/2013/05/new-smashwords-survey-helps-authors.html. It analyzed a sample of over $12 million in sales for a collection of 120,000 Smashwords ebooks from May 1, 2012 through March 31, 2013.  Smashwords aggregated its sales data from across its retail distribution network, which included the Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo and Amazon (only about 200 of its 200,000 titles were at Amazon, so Amazon purchasing habits were under-represented). Data and statistics are rarely perfect!

The Smashwords data showed that people don’t buy more books at 99c than they do at $2.99 or $3.99; in fact they buy slightly fewer (but remember, Amazon is under-represented). The "cheaper books = more sales" dynamic starts to show when compared to the higher price points – 3.9x as many 99c books are bought as $10+ books.



We don’t have data to know how price affects sales volume exclusively at Amazon, but I do have my data for my own books. Over the past few years I’ve had most of my books in the Kindle Monthly Deals promotions that Amazon runs in the UK, and on average I sell 6.8x as many books in those promotions as when they're not in the promotions. However, these books are heavily marketed by Amazon during the promotion period. They appear along with just 99 other books on the website’s dedicated sales page and emails go out directly to women’s fiction fans with links to the book’s Amazon page. So it’s hard to know how much of the additional sales volume is because of the price and how much is because Amazon pushes the book in front of its millions of customers. What is true is that most books whose prices are reduced to 99c/99p don’t get the benefit of the Amazon marketing machine.

More than 40% of book buyers read mostly 99c/99p books

99c/99p or less books account for nearly all the books in 20% of readers’ eLibraries. Another 22% read mostly on-sale books.


Two thirds of people read a full-price book soon after they’ve bought it

In contrast to 99c/99p books, which are read promptly by 28% of people, 67% of those who buy full-priced books read them soon after they’ve bought them. This might be because they searched for the book they wanted to read next and bought it, or maybe because they want to read the book they’ve just paid full price for. We don’t know.


I guess the main conclusion that I drew from these results is that because two-thirds of 99c/99p books aren’t read when they’re first downloaded, I need to make sure that enough additional books will sell to compensate for the lower reading rate. How to do that? Well, that’s another question altogether! 

I hope you found this interesting. Please don’t email/tweet/FB me to take issue with the survey design or results. I put it together to help me answer a question I had, and am sharing the results because several people have asked for them. Do feel free to share the information if you’d like to.

*This is a small-scale survey, meant to be a snapshot rather than a statistically robust study: 391 people, who are men and women of different ages from different countries, responded in a 24 hour period. They self-selected to answer the survey when it was posted on Facebook and Twitter.  According to statistics bods, a sample of 384 makes for a statistically survey size that is representative of the US and UK eReading population.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Read My Books for Free Before They're Published

I always give fans the chance to read an advance review copy of my books for free before they are published, so if you'd like to be the first to get my new releases in your hot little hands, sign up for my Newsletter (over there on the left-hand side) and you'll get a note straight to your inbox with the free book offer.

Friday, 25 April 2014

The Curvy Girls Club is out in paperback in the US!

Yesterday was my birthday and, in addition to being thrilled to turn 29 again *grabs giant slice of cake for breakfast*, I received the paperback for THE CURVY GIRLS CLUB. And I love it!

Best of all, it's now available on Amazon.com, a full 53 days before it's official launch (when the eBook will be available).

So, US people who like old fashioned paperbacks, if you'd like to get your hands on the book early, it's here on Amazon!

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I loved writing it!

xo

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Happy US Publication Day Single in the City!



THE EXPAT DIARIES: SINGLE IN THE CITY relaunches today in the US!

"An American Bridget Jones in London", twenty-six year old Hannah moves across the pond only to find she's completely ill-equipped to be there.

US fans, I hope you'll enjoy reading about Hannah's adventures as much as I enjoyed writing about them!

xoxo
Michele

Amazon link:



Saturday, 1 March 2014

The Expat Diaries series gets a makeover

Nearly four years after publishing my debut with Penguin in the UK, and independently publishing it in the US, The Expat Diaries series is getting a makeover!

I wonder if any author is truly happy with her book when she goes back to read it after it's published. For me there've always been things that niggled, so I spent a good part of January re-editing the series, and on March 25th it relaunches in the US.

I'm definitely a little bit in love with the new covers for the series!




Monday, 3 February 2014

Rather Exciting Publishing News!

(Apologies in advance for the overuse of exclamation marks)

I'm thrilled to announce that Harper Collins (Avon) will be publishing my next two novels in the UK and Commonwealth territories! Huge thanks to my tireless agent, Caroline, and to my new editor, Lydia.

Actually Lydia is also my old editor, since she launched Single in the City with Penguin all the way back in 2010 (my, how time flies). I'm so excited to work with her again!


My first Avon-published book will be called ... drum roll please...  

The Curvy Girls Club

The Curvy Girls Club will be published in the UK in June 2015, but you won't get me to keep quiet for that long. I'll do a Christmas novella this year through Notting Hill Press, and Weightless, my Valentine's week short story, is available now on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Plus, The Curvy Girls Club will be published by Notting Hill Press this summer in the US and Canada! So stay tuned for a sneak peek at the North American cover!

(The overuse of exclamation marks has now been concluded. We are sorry for any discomfort this may have caused)