Monday, 14 April 2014

#OperationMallory Update #1

Hi all,
The response to our plea for help on behalf of Stephen C Spencer has been staggering. We've already seen 20+ blog posts go live, and hundreds of you have been tweeting us on #OperationMallory. There's a huge list in the original post acknowledging your contributions. If I've missed you, please let me know so I can add your name to the list.
Before the public phase of Operation Mallory, we did a lot of groundwork - the new website, the new covers and preparing for this public phase. Now, we've got even more to do.
In the last 24 hours....
  • It's Always Darkest (Book one in the Paul Mallory series) has gone live on Smashwords. It's free, and you can pick any format you like. Grab that here.
  • A series facebook page has been set up.  Many thanks to those that have already liked it, and a big thank you to Clarissa Yeo for designing the header graphic.
  • All the covers have been swapped over on Amazon
  • We've added to the #OperationMallory google drive folder. It now contains a couple of banners (including one specifically for the free book) and an author headshot.
We're still waiting on some retailers to go live. Once they do, we'll update the Links pdf with the new information. We're also still waiting on Amazon to go free on It's Always Darkest. If you fancy popping over to your local Amazon store and telling them it's free elsewhere then feel free. They don't typically price match Smashwords, but it's not impossible. To do that, click "Tell us about a lower price" which is roughly half way down the product page.
The other big ask is reviews. If you're a reader then please consider trying the free book, and leaving a review when you're done - good or bad. We'll be submitting to a number of thriller book blogs this week now we've got the new files with the updated art, but every single review is helpful.
Here's what we're doing in the immediate future to help Steve:
  • Preparing a media kit - Q&A (from older interviews), series info, review extracts, 3rd person bio. That'll go in the folder.
  • HTML ready blog posts - optimised for Blogger & Wordpress. We'll try to put up a few options with different content. Again, those will go in the folder.
  • Optimising the product page. That means using all the spaces available in Author Central on Amazon, working with Shelfari to expand the Book Extras and updating series information. One easy change that'll pay big dividends is putting the series info on every page.
  • Updating the website with more and new content
  • Making sure the reader experience is perfect. This means minimising front matter and making sure the format conversions haven't introduced new errors. Amazon use .mobi but other stores use .ePub, .PDF, .rtf, .lrf, .pdb and .txt files. We need all of them to be perfect.
  • New print versions, using the shiny new cover.
  • Ensuring professional price points in all regions. Using a $ pegged price means some regions end up with odd looking prices like £0.77. We're aiming to get to .99 in all the regions that is possible in.  Pricing controls aren't quite granular enough to do it everywhere (as the prices are broken by Amazon store rather than country) so if yours still look odd, please accept my apologies. If we ever get that level of fine control, I'm sure Steve will use it.
  • ...And generally, more promo. More tweets, more facebooking, more google plus, more pinterest, more blog posts.
We're replying to emails as fast as we can. As you can imagine, there's a lot of work going on behind the scenes.
There may be some split testing going on this week as well. We want to make sure that things like blurbs are the absolute best they can be. Feedback here, as with everything else, is much appreciated. Don't feel the need to pull any punches either - no one is going to be offended if you say "this line doesn't work for me". It's much better to identify weaknesses now and fix them, than it is to have a paying customer find out later.
I'm sure there are a few other tasks on the list, and I'll update this post if any occur to me (or, more likely, someone emails to tell me I'm missing something obvious!).
Thanks again to everyone who has helped so far. You guys rock.

Sean, on behalf the #OperationMallory team.


  1. The first HTML copy-pasteable blog post is now in the folder. The media kit will follow shortly. I'll update Steve's website tomorrow if I have a chance.

    The rest is mostly with Steve to amend when he's up to it - prices, file perfection, etc.

    Tomorrow, I'll begin to post up one Paul Mallory blurb per day for critique. I hope you'll join us in helping perfect it.

  2. A media kit has been added to the folder thanks to Julia.

  3. Steve and I often comment on how tremendously awesome every one of you are.

    1. It's no big deal. Steve would do the same for us. Fingers crossed it all works!