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#AtoZChallenge U is For …

  • Post category:Writing

Thank Crunchie it’s Friday! Do you remember those adverts? I should point out that other chocolate bars are available though, it has to be said, Crunchies are absolutely delicious. Oh heck, I’m hungry now. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, welcome to another exciting episode of the A to Z Challenge.

Today’s letter is U, and as you can imagine I’ve had a terrible time trying to think of U words that were appropriate for this theme. So, you’ll have to forgive me if this isn’t the usual gripping instalment of the AtoZChallenge.  Hmm, why did the image of readers rolling their eyes in disbelief just pop into my mind? Oh well, here we go with today’s post!


This is such a depressing feeling. You’ve worked hard on your book for goodness knows how long and it’s finally out there in the world. Yay! But the trouble is, as important as that might be to us and, if we’re lucky, to a few friends and/or family members, by and large most people won’t have their world rocked by this information. It’s also worth being prepared for the fact that the people you expected would be excited and enthusiastic about your book might not show much interest at all. That can be hard to understand for some writers.

The way I look at it is, writing’s my job. My brother has a job. My sister has a job. My cousin has a job. Do I get all excited when something happens to them at work? Do I engage them in conversation about what’s going on in their professional lives? Did they ever show much of an interest in my work at the day job? If all those answers are no, and they usually are, then why would you expect there to be much difference? Especially if your family members aren’t particularly interested in books and reading. Don’t take it personally is my advice. There really are more important things to worry about.

So, your book’s out there and then what? The thing you have to bear in mind is, this is a marathon not a sprint. Party poppers and champagne corks may not be popping all over the country at the news, but it’s your first book, and what did you expect, really? It’s about managing expectations. Now, if you have an enthusiastic and seasoned publisher behind you, you may get more of a fanfare. As an indie author it’s all up to you, so if you want to make a real splash you have to organise it yourself, and that means a lot of careful planning and preparation and marketing for weeks or even months in advance. If you haven’t done much then you can’t be surprised when nothing really happens.

AtoZChallenge U is For Underwhelmed
Yep, there’s that dark cloud again

With my first two books I organised online launch parties via Facebook. I was terrified but, do you know, they were loads of fun! I gave away lots of prizes (and my Write Romantics’ chums donated books for me to give away, too, which was lovely of them) and lots of my family and friends and work colleagues joined in. We all shared pictures of our “party dresses” and of our “guests”, and we played games and played music and had a really fun day. It’s not something I’ve done since, as the trend for online launches seemed to trail off, though they may be making a reappearance, given the lockdown and the forced cancellation of many real-life launch parties.

Although they were quite hard work, I’m glad I did them because they were really the only thing that marked out publication day from any other. Publishers often send their authors flowers or cakes or biscuits or something as a publication day gift, but when you’re an indie author it’s not going to happen. I was lucky, because with Angel, my Write Romantics’ friends sent me flowers and a card. After that, though, if I wanted a treat for the day I had to buy it myself!

AtoZChallenge U is for underwhelmed
Crikey, how many people have you invited to this launch party? What do you mean, it’s just you and the cat?

Most launch days pass without comment in my house. DH and DS3 don’t read and have little interest in books. They’re very supportive, but they don’t really follow what’s going on in my career, which is fine. It tends to be work as usual for me but that’s okay. If I wanted a fuss I’m sure I could kick a few backsides and get some fuss made, but I’m genuinely not that bothered.

However, if you’re the sort of person who really needs to have a fuss made, then you’re being warned here and now that you need to put something in place well before launch day. Organise an online party, or book a celebratory meal somewhere (once we’re allowed out of the house, obviously!) or buy yourself a bottle of champagne and get quietly drunk. Even send yourself some flowers! Either that, or drop hints the size of bricks on people for weeks in advance, along with dark mutterings of revenge if somebody doesn’t do something. You never know. They might surprise you …

The feeling of being Underwhelmed usually comes about because you have Unrealistic Expectations. But don’t be Unnerved. Stay Upbeat because things may take an Upturn very soon. There you go, that’s a whole bunch of U words for you!

Universal Links

When you publish a book, for instance on Amazon, you’re going to want to share the link to it all over the place. Unfortunately, some Amazon links are incredibly long so it’s much easier to create a shorter one that you can remember. The easiest way is to create a universal book link. This has the wonderful benefit that when the prospective purchaser clicks on the link, it takes them to their own country’s Amazon shop! This is very useful because otherwise you’d have to paste links to Amazon sites in UK, US, France, Germany, Italy etc. With one simple link they will find themselves in the appropriate place to buy your lovely book. It’s also extremely useful to have one link for a book that’s available on many different platforms – for example, on Amazon, Apple and Kobo.

I use smartURL for my links, but you can use bitly or various other sites to create a link. Draft to Digital have their own universal book link service. You can learn more about creating links here.

What about those other links, though? Have you ever been asked to write a blog post and told to add links? Have you proceeded to type out links to your website, your book page, your social media sites, your newsletter etc etc? Wouldn’t it be great if you could just have one link that would enable your readers to find all your sites with one click? Well, you can! I use for this. It’s really straightforward and easy to use. If I can do it, anyone can! You can find my own page here and below is a screenshot, showing exactly what the page will look like when you create it (with your own chosen links and profile picture, obviously).

AtoZChallenge U is for Universal link
You can choose your own colour scheme, too!


As an extra to this post, I thought you might like to know about a new book that’s just been published by author Nina Harrington. It’s called How to Publish a Book on Amazon: The Ultimate Guide to Kindle Direct Publishing. Since it’s an ultimate guide, I thought I could just about get away with squeezing it into this post. đŸ™‚ The author has written several books on writing and publishing, as well as works of fiction.

I have just purchased the book myself because there are a few things listed in the contents that I think I need to know more about, but I can’t give you a wholehearted recommendation because I haven’t read it yet. However, it does seem fairly comprehensive and may be a good starting point for those of you who need far more guidance and information than my lighthearted blog posts can provide. It covers topics such as formatting, removing unwanted formatting, keywords and categories, Amazon Author Central and publishing a print book. You can find it here. Please note that I’m not connected with the author in any way. This is just me saying, this is what I’ve spotted on Amazon and it may well be useful to you, okay? Great!

I haven’t read it yet but I intend to!

So, that’s my post for today. Tomorrow, I’ll be back with the letter V, lord help us. Have a lovely day and stay safe.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. katyjohnson1

    Thanks Sharon – I’m loving these posts and excited to hear about which will save me so much time!

    1. sharon

      Really glad you found something of use, Katy! That’s all I hoped for. Thanks for dropping by xx

  2. Hywela Lyn

    Thanks from me too for – must look it up, looks like a real space/timesaver!

    1. sharon

      Oh that’s brilliant, Hywela. Really happy that my post is useful! xx

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