Saffina Desforges

Website URL: http://www.saffinadesforges.com

05
Nov 2012
Well, what a ride! Two years ago today, we clicked  'publish' on our Amazon KDP account. 200,000 downloads and 175,000 + sales later and here we are! And those totals are just for Sugar & Spice. I haven't tallied up the sales for the other books, but it's fair to say we are within kissing distance of a QUARTER OF A MILLION SALES. Let me repeat that: 250,000 people have downloaded our books. That would fill Old Trafford 3.3 times over. They call OT The Theatre of Dreams. It is certainly a place where you can live out your fantasies and leave life behind for an hour and a half. I know. I've done it many times. What I didn't ever dare dream about, was that, one day, people would want to read what I had written. That the inner-bowels of my imagination, spilled out onto the page like a gutted pumpkin, would interest anyone. Twenty four months ago (that is 730 days, 17531.6 hours) Mark Williams and I had a dream. We dreamt that if the agents daren't take on our book, that the public might give it a chance. They might read it. Hell, they might even enjoy it! I just came across some old emails. One of them, was a rejection from our now hard-working agent. She loved the book, but daren't take it on. Then the ebook revolution started and publishing changed forever. The gatekeepers realised (well, some of them) that they didn't hold the only key anymore. Hey, newsflash! The readers will decide! Look at Twilight and Fifty Shades. (I'll just dump this rather heavy case right here shall I?) Have a look at this: I made up a name. A name that no-one else had, that would only link to us on the search engines. It is no secret that the name was a combination of my fave character from Ab Fab and the surname of someone I worked with that I rather liked. I made this cover myself. No-one had ever heard of us. I spent 3 days working out the HTML coding for formatting the book. I took a tutorial on how to work out KDP. I started a blog. I did interviews for other blogs. I joined a million sites, set up a facebook account, I tweeted, I actually started to think that one person might want to read what I/we had written. Then... NOTHING HAPPENED. What??? Are you insane? We have just published a book that was over ten years in the making. Our blood, guts and glory are woven into every word that has spilled out onto that page. What do you mean you don't want to read it? Me and this shy, long-haired, latte-guzzling bloke that I met on the net have something to say, you WILL listen! ;-) And listen you did - eventually. After some meagre and frankly embarrassing sales figures for the first 4-5 months, Sugar & Spice took off and we have never looked back. We hit the number two spot on Amazon UK and I THINK, we were even number one for a brief hour, losing out on the top spot to Gordon Ferris and his Hanging Shed. We were the first indies to ever hit that spot and we stayed in the Top 100 for over three months until Amazon mysteriously 'lost' our book for almost four weeks. Who knows how long it might have stayed there? Anyway, despite that minor blip, Sugar & Spice has been in the Top 100 of its category ever since and we still sell 100s of copies a month. It reached number two in the Waterstones chart and is still at number 5 in Police Procedurals on Kobo. It has since been translated and published in France as Paraphilia. We owe a lot to that book. We owe a lot to each other, Mark and I. Speaking of my partner in crime (literally), I found this today. This was one of the first email exchanges between Mark and myself after he had reviewed Equilibrium (now called Dark Halo and STILL not finished!) on youwriteon and we began talking. How polite we were to each other back then! ;-)
Hi Mark, Nice to have a bit of information to put to the name! Many thanks for the link to your blog, I will be reading regularly from now on and will take your advice on writing my own. I have always been a tad wary of venturing into the social vamp scene as I was unsure of how much of Equilibrium to put 'out there' so to speak. I am mindful of the fact that I could end up with people already having read most of it before I actually finish it! But hey, if you say it sits well with agents etc to have a following, then it sounds like a good idea to me. Personally, I am not a writer of any description. I am a 37 year old H&S Manager and have had no formal training other than a writing course that I bought off the internet some years ago, hence my speedy acceptance of your kind offer to review my work! I am learning all the time (mostly from YWO) and am trying to apply everything that I am learning to what I have written so far, so I hope you understand when you find a plethora of mistakes later on in the book! As I explained before, I am well aware of the fact that my writing needs a lot of 'fine tuning' but I hope eventually to have something in a publishable state. I have been at this book for so long now (I started it almost 10 years ago! And have not touched it for long periods of time, sometimes years) that I decided this year was the year to blow the dust off and finally finish it and move on to something else hopefully. I didn't have a great deal of time to write before and only ever spent an hour or so here and there on it, but recently, now that I have finished studying/training for work etc I am spending a lot more time on it and receiving positive reviews on YWO is giving me the impetus I need to move it on to a conclusion (I think I may be able to use the angel angle somewhere there too). So, please be patient with my writing and please do not hesitate to point out where I go wrong, I will take everything on board as I am just so grateful for your giving up your time to help me. I intend to read your chapters tonight on YWO and will submit a free will review later too, if it helps! Can't wait to hear what you think and if you continue to enjoy it. I have some reservations about the whole Diary of murders (this will make sense as you read on) and I am not sure how else to weave them into the plot, so please feel free to comment on that too. Hope to hear from you soon and thanks again. S -----Original Message----- From: Mark To: sjg1973@aol.com Sent: Mon, 26 Jul 2010 12:58 Subject: Re: Equilibrium Many thanks, Sarah. As per previous email, I’ve managed to successfully download Equilibrium, and can’t wait to read it. It makes a welcome change to be reviewing something from choice rather than as an assignment! A little about myself, to put any commentary in context. I'm a self-employed tutor / freelance writer with a past record in TV, theatre and journalism and now working on becoming a novelist myself, hence my finding your work on youwriteon. So a professional writer of sorts, but NOT a novelists’ agent or publisher (I have to jump through the same hoops as you to get that far!). I've just started a new writers’ blog and shall be commending Equilibrium on it. (Obviously as you've put your work on youwriteon you're happy to have it in the public domain.)  Being a new blog (I've just moved to this area) it won't have much of a following initially, but hopefully will soon build up, and increase Equilibrium’s public profile. If you haven’t got a blog yourself I strongly recommend you do so. They can be enormously useful in promoting your work and yourself, with a literally millions worldwide as your potential audience. I would imagine that linking to writers circles and especially chat-groups centred around vampire-style stories would prove enormously beneficial in the long-term. (Demonstrating an on-line following for your work is a sure-fire way to get an agent's interest!) Always bear in mind that publishers and agents receive literally hundreds of submissions every week, which is why it is imperative to have a final product as near perfect as it can be, to get someone to give it a second glance and forward it to the next review stage. As I think I said in my initial review, the reading public’s interest in this genre is beginning to wane, with angels apparently the up and coming theme, but don’t let that worry you. I think Equilibrium, if say published two years down the line (a realistic timescale given you are only two-thirds through), will be ideally placed to capture the hearts and minds of the mid-teen Twilight readership who will by then be late-teen / early twenty-somethings looking for more mature storylines. Anyway, I shall not distract you from your writing any longer. I’ll get back to you as and when I can and let you know my thoughts Best wishes, Mark
Well, what a long way we have come since then! We have now published 5 full-length novels, 2 anthologies, 2 (s0on to be 3) kids shorts and 9 novella/shorts (although some under a different name) and we are  hard at our second Rose Red Rhyme and book 3 of the Rose Red series, as well as many other projects. As you saw earlier, Mark isn't one for working on one thing at once! ;-) So where do we go from here? Well, the honest answer is, we don't know. Not for sure. We have a million and one projects bubbling along and one day, hey, we might even finish Book One of the Dark Halo series. That'll be a day to celebrate when that finally hits the virtual shelves. I originally started that one in 1992! But for now, we will just keep doing what we do. Bringing readers reasonably-priced, quality stories, because our readers deserve the best. Let's face it, without you, we wouldn't be having this conversation... Here's to the next twenty four months and whatever they might bring! Saffi
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05
Nov 2012
Well, what a ride! Two years ago today, we clicked  'publish' on our Amazon KDP account. 200,000 downloads and 175,000 + sales later and here we are! And those totals are just for Sugar & Spice. I haven't tallied up the sales for the other books, but it's fair to say we are within kissing distance of a QUARTER OF A MILLION SALES. Let me repeat that: 250,000 people have downloaded our books. That would fill Old Trafford 3.3 times over. They call OT The Theatre of Dreams. It is certainly a place where you can live out your fantasies and leave life behind for an hour and a half. I know. I've done it many times. What I didn't ever dare dream about, was that, one day, people would want to read what I had written. That the inner-bowels of my imagination, spilled out onto the page like a gutted pumpkin, would interest anyone. Twenty four months ago (that is 730 days, 17531.6 hours) Mark Williams and I had a dream. We dreamt that if the agents daren't take on our book, that the public might give it a chance. They might read it. Hell, they might even enjoy it! I just came across some old emails. One of them, was a rejection from our now hard-working agent. She loved the book, but daren't take it on. Then the ebook revolution started and publishing changed forever. The gatekeepers realised (well, some of them) that they didn't hold the only key anymore. Hey, newsflash! The readers will decide! Look at Twilight and Fifty Shades. (I'll just dump this rather heavy case right here shall I?) Have a look at this: I made up a name. A name that no-one else had, that would only link to us on the search engines. It is no secret that the name was a combination of my fave character from Ab Fab and the surname of someone I worked with that I rather liked. I made this cover myself. No-one had ever heard of us. I spent 3 days working out the HTML coding for formatting the book. I took a tutorial on how to work out KDP. I started a blog. I did interviews for other blogs. I joined a million sites, set up a facebook account, I tweeted, I actually started to think that one person might want to read what I/we had written. Then... NOTHING HAPPENED. What??? Are you insane? We have just published a book that was over ten years in the making. Our blood, guts and glory are woven into every word that has spilled out onto that page. What do you mean you don't want to read it? Me and this shy, long-haired, latte-guzzling bloke that I met on the net have something to say, you WILL listen! ;-) And listen you did - eventually. After some meagre and frankly embarrassing sales figures for the first 4-5 months, Sugar & Spice took off and we have never looked back. We hit the number two spot on Amazon UK and I THINK, we were even number one for a brief hour, losing out on the top spot to Gordon Ferris and his Hanging Shed. We were the first indies to ever hit that spot and we stayed in the Top 100 for over three months until Amazon mysteriously 'lost' our book for almost four weeks. Who knows how long it might have stayed there? Anyway, despite that minor blip, Sugar & Spice has been in the Top 100 of its category ever since and we still sell 100s of copies a month. It reached number two in the Waterstones chart and is still at number 5 in Police Procedurals on Kobo. It has since been translated and published in France as Paraphilia. We owe a lot to that book. We owe a lot to each other, Mark and I. Speaking of my partner in crime (literally), I found this today. This was one of the first email exchanges between Mark and myself after he had reviewed Equilibrium (now called Dark Halo and STILL not finished!) on youwriteon and we began talking. How polite we were to each other back then! ;-)
Hi Mark, Nice to have a bit of information to put to the name! Many thanks for the link to your blog, I will be reading regularly from now on and will take your advice on writing my own. I have always been a tad wary of venturing into the social vamp scene as I was unsure of how much of Equilibrium to put 'out there' so to speak. I am mindful of the fact that I could end up with people already having read most of it before I actually finish it! But hey, if you say it sits well with agents etc to have a following, then it sounds like a good idea to me. Personally, I am not a writer of any description. I am a 37 year old H&S Manager and have had no formal training other than a writing course that I bought off the internet some years ago, hence my speedy acceptance of your kind offer to review my work! I am learning all the time (mostly from YWO) and am trying to apply everything that I am learning to what I have written so far, so I hope you understand when you find a plethora of mistakes later on in the book! As I explained before, I am well aware of the fact that my writing needs a lot of 'fine tuning' but I hope eventually to have something in a publishable state. I have been at this book for so long now (I started it almost 10 years ago! And have not touched it for long periods of time, sometimes years) that I decided this year was the year to blow the dust off and finally finish it and move on to something else hopefully. I didn't have a great deal of time to write before and only ever spent an hour or so here and there on it, but recently, now that I have finished studying/training for work etc I am spending a lot more time on it and receiving positive reviews on YWO is giving me the impetus I need to move it on to a conclusion (I think I may be able to use the angel angle somewhere there too). So, please be patient with my writing and please do not hesitate to point out where I go wrong, I will take everything on board as I am just so grateful for your giving up your time to help me. I intend to read your chapters tonight on YWO and will submit a free will review later too, if it helps! Can't wait to hear what you think and if you continue to enjoy it. I have some reservations about the whole Diary of murders (this will make sense as you read on) and I am not sure how else to weave them into the plot, so please feel free to comment on that too. Hope to hear from you soon and thanks again. S -----Original Message----- From: Mark To: sjg1973@aol.com Sent: Mon, 26 Jul 2010 12:58 Subject: Re: Equilibrium Many thanks, Sarah. As per previous email, I’ve managed to successfully download Equilibrium, and can’t wait to read it. It makes a welcome change to be reviewing something from choice rather than as an assignment! A little about myself, to put any commentary in context. I'm a self-employed tutor / freelance writer with a past record in TV, theatre and journalism and now working on becoming a novelist myself, hence my finding your work on youwriteon. So a professional writer of sorts, but NOT a novelists’ agent or publisher (I have to jump through the same hoops as you to get that far!). I've just started a new writers’ blog and shall be commending Equilibrium on it. (Obviously as you've put your work on youwriteon you're happy to have it in the public domain.)  Being a new blog (I've just moved to this area) it won't have much of a following initially, but hopefully will soon build up, and increase Equilibrium’s public profile. If you haven’t got a blog yourself I strongly recommend you do so. They can be enormously useful in promoting your work and yourself, with a literally millions worldwide as your potential audience. I would imagine that linking to writers circles and especially chat-groups centred around vampire-style stories would prove enormously beneficial in the long-term. (Demonstrating an on-line following for your work is a sure-fire way to get an agent's interest!) Always bear in mind that publishers and agents receive literally hundreds of submissions every week, which is why it is imperative to have a final product as near perfect as it can be, to get someone to give it a second glance and forward it to the next review stage. As I think I said in my initial review, the reading public’s interest in this genre is beginning to wane, with angels apparently the up and coming theme, but don’t let that worry you. I think Equilibrium, if say published two years down the line (a realistic timescale given you are only two-thirds through), will be ideally placed to capture the hearts and minds of the mid-teen Twilight readership who will by then be late-teen / early twenty-somethings looking for more mature storylines. Anyway, I shall not distract you from your writing any longer. I’ll get back to you as and when I can and let you know my thoughts Best wishes, Mark
Well, what a long way we have come since then! We have now published 5 full-length novels, 2 anthologies, 2 (s0on to be 3) kids shorts and 9 novella/shorts (although some under a different name) and we are  hard at our second Rose Red Rhyme and book 3 of the Rose Red series, as well as many other projects. As you saw earlier, Mark isn't one for working on one thing at once! ;-) So where do we go from here? Well, the honest answer is, we don't know. Not for sure. We have a million and one projects bubbling along and one day, hey, we might even finish Book One of the Dark Halo series. That'll be a day to celebrate when that finally hits the virtual shelves. I originally started that one in 1992! But for now, we will just keep doing what we do. Bringing readers reasonably-priced, quality stories, because our readers deserve the best. Let's face it, without you, we wouldn't be having this conversation... Here's to the next twenty four months and whatever they might bring! Saffi
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01
Nov 2012
Ever since we started on this crazy journey two years ago (yes, Sugar & Spice is two years old this week!) we have been inundated with requests for our books in paper back version as believe it or not, not everyone has an e-reader! ;-) Well, we listened to your requests and today, I am thrilled to announce that the first of our titles can be ordered, in print, direct from Amazon! Rose Red 1 - Snow White comes in large (airport-sized) glossy paperback format and can be delivered to your door, anywhere in the world within 48 hours! (Amazon Prime membership ONLY. Normal delivery between 2 & 5 days). Looks good huh? [caption id="attachment_1500" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Just imagine this on your coffee table![/caption] So there you go! What better stocking-filler or cool addition to your library is there? ;-) Buy Snow White from Amazon UK Buy Snow White from Amazon.com Sugar & Spice will be available soon, followed by Rapunzel and Anca's Story. Saffina Desforges - Because readers (whatever they read on or with) deserve the best! ;-)
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27
Oct 2012
Happy (almost) Halloween everyone! And for those of you in the UK, don't forget that the clocks go back an hour tonight/tomorrow. We don't want you rocking up at Tesco for your Sunday shop only to find that there's only you there. Well, you, the guy who pushes his life around in a stolen trolley and the proverbial carrier bag being whipped up in a gnarly wind and scuttling across the car park, dancing and weaving... sorry, got carried away then. ;-) Anyho' just stopped by to let you know that there was some free love being shared this weekend. Yup, you can get the US/American edition of Sugar & Spice, here for nothing. Zip. Nada. Zilcho. For this weekend only. (unless you happen to be an Amazon Prime member, in which case, you can borrow it FREE, any time!) And here (if you're on dotcom) Cool huh? Have a great weekend!
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27
Oct 2012
Happy (almost) Halloween everyone! And for those of you in the UK, don't forget that the clocks go back an hour tonight/tomorrow. We don't want you rocking up at Tesco for your Sunday shop only to find that there's only you there. Well, you, the guy who pushes his life around in a stolen trolley and the proverbial carrier bag being whipped up in a gnarly wind and scuttling across the car park, dancing and weaving... sorry, got carried away then. ;-) Anyho' just stopped by to let you know that there was some free love being shared this weekend. Yup, you can get the US/American edition of Sugar & Spice, here for nothing. Zip. Nada. Zilcho. For this weekend only. (unless you happen to be an Amazon Prime member, in which case, you can borrow it FREE, any time!) And here (if you're on dotcom) Cool huh? Have a great weekend!
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24
Oct 2012
Well, it's been a couple of weeks since the release of our second book in the Rose Red crime thriller series, Rapunzel and we couldn't be more pleased with the start it has made. Within a week of its release on Amazon UK, it hit the Top 20 in its category and the top 5o in another. On Wednesday, it even knocked our own title off the number one spot on Amazon UK in the Crime, Thrillers & Mystery Series category! We had more sales in two weeks with this book than we had in the first three months of our first book back in November 2010! So, thank you. Thank you to our loyal readers and to the new readers joining us. *Update as of 26/10/2012 - you wonderful readers have given us a 1-2-3 on the Amazon UK best-seller list!   Rapunzel will shortly be available on all other platforms: iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, Kobo and many other ebook retail outlets. It will also be available to buy in paperback format direct from Amazon before Christmas, as will all other Saffina Desforges full-length titles. Make sure you come back soon for more information! We hope to continue to offer you quality books at affordable prices...because our readers deserve the best. And to celebrate that fact, and with a little nod to my personal favourite time of the year, we are pleased to introduce the first of our new short story crime thriller series Rose Red Rhymes. Ring-a-ring o'roses is a Rose Red crime thriller series related short story and the perfect way to keep up with Red and her team whilst awaiting the next book in the series! Here's the blurb:
From SAFFINA DESFORGES, international best-selling author of Sugar & Spice, Anca's Story and the Rose Red crime thriller series based on traditional fairy tales (Snow White, Rapunzel), comes ROSE RED RHYMES, a collection of crime thriller short stories featuring the Rose Red cast, based on traditional nursery rhymes. But be warned. These are not for children! ROSE RED RHYMES 1:  Ring-A-Ring O'Roses When a rare family day out for Detective Chief Inspector Cass Red Rose and her barrister partner Philippa Crichton-Ward QC is cut short by a murder on Blackheath, Red’s team are faced with the possibility of gang warfare and race riots among London’s troubled youths unless they can sort things. Fast. With the Super wanting results yesterday, the pressure is on to find the killer. But DCs Barry Taylor and Jez Harris have other things on their mind. As usual. And when the pathologist examining the victim starts pointing out anomalies it’s clear a simple murder case is about to open up new mysteries. As if Red didn’t have enough problems, the Huntsman is back in town and meeting with the mysterious Queenie. And the kids want to go trick-or-treating. Even the busiest of detectives have to make time for Halloween! ~

 Look out for more Rose Red Rhymes coming soon!

 The Night Before Christmas will be available for the holidays.

The links:

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

Amazon. fr

Amazon.de

It will shortly be released on all other platforms. Have a happy Halloween and make sure you lock those doors! ;-) Look out for the next book in the Rose Red Rhymes series: The Night before Christmas due for release mid-December. Happy reading! ;-) Saffi
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09
Oct 2012
Well, we had our ups and downs and quite a few delays (mostly medical and power-related!) but we got there in the end! Rapunzel is now live on Amazon and will appear on all other platforms within the next two weeks! Get your copy now! Amazon UK Amazon.com Amazon.fr Amazon.de Look out for the new series of short stories to keep you in touch with Red and her team whilst you wait for the next book! Rose Red Rhymes, Book 1 - Ring a-ring o'roses will be out soon! Thanks for reading - as always! Saffi
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01
Sep 2012
They say hindsight is a wonderful thing. I say:
Who needs hindsight when you have the internet?
These days, I am very careful about what I write. Always. I know several authors/bloggers that have quickly come to regret comments on facebook or twitter or had to backtrack on statements made six months ago on the barely-still industry we have the pleasure of being involved in. Abraham Lincoln was a wise man indeed when he warned us:

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.

No, nowadays, it really is best to listen and learn. What was true yesterday might be ridiculed a week on Friday. Publishing changes quicker than Ussain Bolt running a bend and what you really need is a crystal ball.

That, or cahones as big as shot puts and the nerve to write and publish whatever it is you like - and to hell with the rapidly becoming redundant gatekeepers! ;-) Speaking of balls of steel, what a summer it's been eh? For Great Britain especially. We have had a wondrous summer of sport and music; Diamond Jubilee, the Euro's and the unforgettable Olympic games. The Paralympics has recently started and in a few days the closing ceremony will lower the curtain on a season that will be remembered by a generation for many, many years to come. I for one am dreading the imminent post-summer hangover that will start as the nights pull in and you watch the last swallow take to the skies for another year... But panic not! After Summer comes Autumn, which means Halloween. Halloween gives way to Bonfire/Guy Fawkes night and no sooner have the sparklers fizzled out and the embers died on the bonfires, then the countdown to Christmas begins... And so we do it all again. We find ourselves another year older (you have no idea how much dread the thought of my next birthday celebration fills me with! I cannot be forty, I CANNOT be forty) and hopefully, wiser and the seasons continue to change. It's been that way always. What you do with it is another matter. Since I last posted on this official blog (for a weekly dose of  my hugely popular Banning the Bullsh*t blog, go here) quite a few things have happened, not least, in the publishing industry. The already-mighty 'zon joined forces with the weedy-by-comparison (in the digital publishing stakes) Waterstones in a huge one-eighty that left lots of people frantically stuffing their ill-thought words back in their mouths and going back on previously professed declarations of abhorrence for the Kindle (see earlier statement about thinking before you speak/type/tweet) and with more than a smidge of egg on their faces. Still, it will no doubt have a huge impact on digital publishing in the year to come. Enter the only other (but slightly battle-worn) worthy opponent into the digi-arena to have one last crack at the 'zon with its patched-up sling-shot. Barnes & Noble have just announced that the Nook will be gracing our shores come October and not only has it got software giant Microsoft in its corner, but it's had a make-over too and the new-look-Nook has a trick up its sleeve. A secret move that may just catch Amazon square on the jaw and leave the ref pounding the canvas in a ten-count. It glows. Yes. Not only does it have up-to-date eInk technology, but it allows you to do the one thing that the Kindle can't without performance enhancing asssitance. You can read it in the dark. B&N aren't stupid. Rumour has it that they have hand-picked three MONSTER retailers in the UK to help them in the war against Amazon, John Lewis and Argos being their best-equipped allies. You can read all about it here. So what does that mean for us mere minions? Well, as writers, it can only be good news, right? What with Kobo allowing us to directly upload to their sites and these two beasts fighting it out for supremecy it only provides more ways for us to get our books in front of readers, wherever they decide to download them from and whatever device they select to read them on. So everything's groovy and being a writer now is the best time ever to earn your millions? No. Not unless you wrote 'Fifty Shades of Grey' and didn't tell anybody. Why? Precisely because of the above. There are more books than ever before digitally available and more places to get them from, so unless you are already very well-known and have the rights to a massive backlist and want to stick them out there for twenty pence a pop or have a huge publisher with an even bigger marketing budget behind you, you're gonna have to work harder than ever to get your books noticed. And then some. So how do we do it? Sorry, I don't have a draft ready to stick on (insert your preferred digital platform here but discount others at your peril) entitled 'A guaranteed best-seller in forty eight hours without paying for reviews or writing mummy-porn or your money back'...all I can tell you is what Saffina Desforges is doing next. The rest, you'll need the aforementioned crystal ball for... and a big dose of luck! A few days ago we clinched our very first Amazon.COM category #1 with a book that is totally out of our comfort zone. Soooo un-Saffi'fied that unless you looked closely, you wouldn't even know it was one of ours. Anca's  Story  is no-holds-barred, Young Adult, Historical, literary fiction. If you're gonna stick a label on it. Some time back, we were told by an uber-respected agent (not our current agent, I might add) that we couldn't release anything  that 'wasn't a crime thriller' and we were 'risking literary suicide' if we did so. Anca's Story has only been out a couple of months and is selling very well thank you, on both sides of the pond and will soon be available on all digital platforms and in paperback on Amazon. For the next five days in the UK/Europe, you can get Anca's Story FREE here (UK). And here for France And for Germany here. Just a little thank you to our loyal Brit'/European readers and a final hoorah before we take it out of KDP Select. That is one for another day... Within the next fortnight, the second book in our Rose Red crime thriller series, 'Rapunzel' will be available on Amazon and within the next month, Kobo, Waterstones and iTunes, plus a handful of other retailers. Book One, 'Snow White', plus 'Sugar & Spice' will also be available in paperback from Amazon in time for Christmas. Look out on Amazon for the first in our new short story series, Rose Red Rhymes too. 'Ring-a-ring o'roses' will be out in October! See? There is no magic formula. We just keep writing and writing what we think readers want to read. And we make sure they are in as many places at possible. Oh, and a couple of other things we have learned along the way and we might have mentioned before:
  • Get a great cover
  • Write an exciting blurb
  • Get your book proof-read. Upload a clean version of your book and if readers find mistakes, correct them and upload a new version until it's as perfect as can be
  • Keep the price affordable
Other than that, just keep writing! Write blogs, tweet, write posts on facebook, comment on other blogs. Write short stories, write under a pseudonym, write local newspaper articles, write guest blogs, write goddam erotica if you're good at it and you think your readers will like it (your current readers might not, but new readers might, then they might read your other stuff!) hell, write chic-lit or  fantasy if the mood takes you, as long as you're writing! Phew! Did I mention that you should be writing? As we speak, one of our two preferred cover designers is beavering away on some new stuff for our late 2012/2013 releases (you can find links to Athanasios and Jeroen on this blog) and Jeroen has just shown us the fabulous new cover for Book three in the Rose Red Series, 'Beauty & the beast'. What do you think to this? Print   Awesome huh? 2013 is hopefully going to be another great year for Saffina Desforges and a very exciting one too! We can't reveal too much other than what we have already given away, but we're going to be putting some new stuff out there that will not be what you're expecting! More to follow on The China Town Mysteries, The Dark Halo trilogy and a few other surprises along the way. So what does all of this mean for the shape of publishing over the coming 12 months? Truth? We don't know. We don't have said crystal ball. There will be a next-big-thing. Shades of Grey will topple at some point, the erotica market will reach saturation point and readers will be looking for something new. No-one can say what that will be. The agents and publishers don't even know! But I'll tell you this for free: If you haven't got a book out there, it won't be you. AND, whatever it is, you can bet your bottom dollar/pound/yen/euro that it'll have been an ebook first. So what are you waiting for? Saffi
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01
Sep 2012
They say hindsight is a wonderful thing. I say:
Who needs hindsight when you have the internet?
These days, I am very careful about what I write. Always. I know several authors/bloggers that have quickly come to regret comments on facebook or twitter or had to backtrack on statements made six months ago on the barely-still industry we have the pleasure of being involved in. Abraham Lincoln was a wise man indeed when he warned us:

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.

No, nowadays, it really is best to listen and learn. What was true yesterday might be ridiculed a week on Friday. Publishing changes quicker than Ussain Bolt running a bend and what you really need is a crystal ball.

That, or cahones as big as shot puts and the nerve to write and publish whatever it is you like - and to hell with the rapidly becoming redundant gatekeepers! ;-) Speaking of balls of steel, what a summer it's been eh? For Great Britain especially. We have had a wondrous summer of sport and music; Diamond Jubilee, the Euro's and the unforgettable Olympic games. The Paralympics has recently started and in a few days the closing ceremony will lower the curtain on a season that will be remembered by a generation for many, many years to come. I for one am dreading the imminent post-summer hangover that will start as the nights pull in and you watch the last swallow take to the skies for another year... But panic not! After Summer comes Autumn, which means Halloween. Halloween gives way to Bonfire/Guy Fawkes night and no sooner have the sparklers fizzled out and the embers died on the bonfires, then the countdown to Christmas begins... And so we do it all again. We find ourselves another year older (you have no idea how much dread the thought of my next birthday celebration fills me with! I cannot be forty, I CANNOT be forty) and hopefully, wiser and the seasons continue to change. It's been that way always. What you do with it is another matter. Since I last posted on this official blog (for a weekly dose of  my hugely popular Banning the Bullsh*t blog, go here) quite a few things have happened, not least, in the publishing industry. The already-mighty 'zon joined forces with the weedy-by-comparison (in the digital publishing stakes) Waterstones in a huge one-eighty that left lots of people frantically stuffing their ill-thought words back in their mouths and going back on previously professed declarations of abhorrence for the Kindle (see earlier statement about thinking before you speak/type/tweet) and with more than a smidge of egg on their faces. Still, it will no doubt have a huge impact on digital publishing in the year to come. Enter the only other (but slightly battle-worn) worthy opponent into the digi-arena to have one last crack at the 'zon with its patched-up sling-shot. Barnes & Noble have just announced that the Nook will be gracing our shores come October and not only has it got software giant Microsoft in its corner, but it's had a make-over too and the new-look-Nook has a trick up its sleeve. A secret move that may just catch Amazon square on the jaw and leave the ref pounding the canvas in a ten-count. It glows. Yes. Not only does it have up-to-date eInk technology, but it allows you to do the one thing that the Kindle can't without performance enhancing asssitance. You can read it in the dark. B&N aren't stupid. Rumour has it that they have hand-picked three MONSTER retailers in the UK to help them in the war against Amazon, John Lewis and Argos being their best-equipped allies. You can read all about it here. So what does that mean for us mere minions? Well, as writers, it can only be good news, right? What with Kobo allowing us to directly upload to their sites and these two beasts fighting it out for supremecy it only provides more ways for us to get our books in front of readers, wherever they decide to download them from and whatever device they select to read them on. So everything's groovy and being a writer now is the best time ever to earn your millions? No. Not unless you wrote 'Fifty Shades of Grey' and didn't tell anybody. Why? Precisely because of the above. There are more books than ever before digitally available and more places to get them from, so unless you are already very well-known and have the rights to a massive backlist and want to stick them out there for twenty pence a pop or have a huge publisher with an even bigger marketing budget behind you, you're gonna have to work harder than ever to get your books noticed. And then some. So how do we do it? Sorry, I don't have a draft ready to stick on (insert your preferred digital platform here but discount others at your peril) entitled 'A guaranteed best-seller in forty eight hours without paying for reviews or writing mummy-porn or your money back'...all I can tell you is what Saffina Desforges is doing next. The rest, you'll need the aforementioned crystal ball for... and a big dose of luck! A few days ago we clinched our very first Amazon.COM category #1 with a book that is totally out of our comfort zone. Soooo un-Saffi'fied that unless you looked closely, you wouldn't even know it was one of ours. Anca's  Story  is no-holds-barred, Young Adult, Historical, literary fiction. If you're gonna stick a label on it. Some time back, we were told by an uber-respected agent (not our current agent, I might add) that we couldn't release anything  that 'wasn't a crime thriller' and we were 'risking literary suicide' if we did so. Anca's Story has only been out a couple of months and is selling very well thank you, on both sides of the pond and will soon be available on all digital platforms and in paperback on Amazon. For the next five days in the UK/Europe, you can get Anca's Story FREE here (UK). And here for France And for Germany here. Just a little thank you to our loyal Brit'/European readers and a final hoorah before we take it out of KDP Select. That is one for another day... Within the next fortnight, the second book in our Rose Red crime thriller series, 'Rapunzel' will be available on Amazon and within the next month, Kobo, Waterstones and iTunes, plus a handful of other retailers. Book One, 'Snow White', plus 'Sugar & Spice' will also be available in paperback from Amazon in time for Christmas. Look out on Amazon for the first in our new short story series, Rose Red Rhymes too. 'Ring-a-ring o'roses' will be out in October! See? There is no magic formula. We just keep writing and writing what we think readers want to read. And we make sure they are in as many places at possible. Oh, and a couple of other things we have learned along the way and we might have mentioned before:
  • Get a great cover
  • Write an exciting blurb
  • Get your book proof-read. Upload a clean version of your book and if readers find mistakes, correct them and upload a new version until it's as perfect as can be
  • Keep the price affordable
Other than that, just keep writing! Write blogs, tweet, write posts on facebook, comment on other blogs. Write short stories, write under a pseudonym, write local newspaper articles, write guest blogs, write goddam erotica if you're good at it and you think your readers will like it (your current readers might not, but new readers might, then they might read your other stuff!) hell, write chic-lit or  fantasy if the mood takes you, as long as you're writing! Phew! Did I mention that you should be writing? As we speak, one of our two preferred cover designers is beavering away on some new stuff for our late 2012/2013 releases (you can find links to Athanasios and Jeroen on this blog) and Jeroen has just shown us the fabulous new cover for Book three in the Rose Red Series, 'Beauty & the beast'. What do you think to this? Print   Awesome huh? 2013 is hopefully going to be another great year for Saffina Desforges and a very exciting one too! We can't reveal too much other than what we have already given away, but we're going to be putting some new stuff out there that will not be what you're expecting! More to follow on The China Town Mysteries, The Dark Halo trilogy and a few other surprises along the way. So what does all of this mean for the shape of publishing over the coming 12 months? Truth? We don't know. We don't have said crystal ball. There will be a next-big-thing. Shades of Grey will topple at some point, the erotica market will reach saturation point and readers will be looking for something new. No-one can say what that will be. The agents and publishers don't even know! But I'll tell you this for free: If you haven't got a book out there, it won't be you. AND, whatever it is, you can bet your bottom dollar/pound/yen/euro that it'll have been an ebook first. So what are you waiting for? Saffi
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15
Jun 2012
We ♥ the French. It's true. Not because they lunch for three hours, or because of their beautiful churches and gloriously gorgeous people, nor is it because you can drink over there at fourteen and seemingly deposit your car between two parked cars by shunting them out of the way and NOT get arrested - no, it's none of that (although all of the aforementioned reasons do help). So, why the love-fest on the Saffina Desforges blog today for our friends across the channel? Well, I'll tell you... It's their love of books. Not just their love of books, but their infinite passion for the written word (in whatever format it might take) and their open-mindedness when it comes to subject matter. Now, you may accuse me of being biased and maybe I am. I am still a little love-sick for Paris after my recent trip and miss the waving of hands when talking and the kissing of both cheeks every time you greet somebody, but there are a few things about our experience with our French publishers that we wanted to put out there into the blogosphere to help dispel a few myths. For those of you who have either been living under a rock, detained at Her Majesty's pleasure or are just not the slightest bit interested, a few things have been happening recently. There was the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, the Leveson Inquiry, Euro 2012 started and the Olympic torch started its journey around the UK. Oh and lest we forget, Paraphilia, the French version of Sugar & Spice was released in print and digital! ;-)  You can read about my promotional trip to Paris here on my SMoD&L blog. So, of course, we are totally enamoured by the French to start with because they took the chance on publishing our book and for that we are eternally grateful, but what has become glaringly obvious is the difference between the horror stories that you read daily on writers' blogs about ogre publishers, non-compete clauses that rival any of Tolstoy's offerings and the age between the signing of a contract and holding a book in  your hands, and our recent dalliance with a publisher. Well let me put that straight right here and right now: With our publishers (MA Editions),  we had none of that. In fact, the polar opposite. I have talked about how professional, friendly, approachable, flexible (shall I go on) and just downright awesome MA have been with us from the very first email contact we had in previous blog posts, but it won't hurt to recap:
  • From first email requesting the MS to signing the contract approximately 4 weeks
  • Total control over the re-name of the book
  • Constant contact with the translator throughout that process
  • Frequent updates on release progress
  • Meeting in person in the UK with the Publishing Manager
  • Time from contract to print approximately 7 months
  • Arranging of promotional visit to France for myself and sorting meetings with publicists, bloggers and other influential literary persons
They have been brilliant! The owner of the Publishing company even turned up at le Gare de Nord to collect me from the Eurostar and drove me to my hotel, before staying with us all day throughout the meetings and translating for me during my interviews. Nothing has been too much trouble, honestly. We couldn't have asked for better treatment, even as total unknown/debut authors, they have treated us with the utmost respect and professionalism and we hope to continue and strengthen our relationship with them going forward. Even now, with Paraphilia in its first week of official release in France, we are talking to them about our next projects and they are involved already. We are looking to  set the third book in the Rose Red crime series, Beauty & the Beast in Paris, so we checked with them on the legalities of mentioning place names in the book and asked if they knew of anyone who could help us with the French police procedural references. Two hours later, we have a French lawyer to contact for the project and they are currently seeking out an English speaking detective to assist. That's what I call service. The whole publishing system in France is completely different too. In a very long (and slightly scary) drive to my hotel in Paris, I chatted with Eric and Valerie, who between them have over 45 years experience in publishing, about the UK's reluctance to publish Sugar & Spice, the print v digital debate and the French pricing structure. Eric could not get his head around the whole 'we love your book but we daren't publish it because it's got the word paedophile in it and we can't be associated with that' saga, nor could he understand why you had to have an agent to get anywhere (or so some people think) these days. He also wafted away my concerns about the price of both the digital and print version of Paraphilia and explained that publishers have no (or little) control over pricing and that the margin for promotional/reduction purposes is not even as high as ten percent. Ergo, the French buying public expect to pay the prices set. Not a bad model. At least for the publishers and authors. A week in to our release and we are awaiting reaction and reviews to come in, but sales are looking promising. Today we charted on Amazon.fr with the Kindle version of Paraphilia and we couldn't be more thrilled:                                                 As for print sales, it will be some time before we find out how that is going, but one thing we do know is, our publisher will be doing everything within their powers to ensure the book is a success. Our wonderful translator, Christophe Sisyphus even sent us this picture of Paraphilia in the Virgin store! So all that remains for me to say to all you wannabe/new and disillusioned writers out there , is 'don't believe everything you hear'.  Most horror stories aren't true or at least, not the ones you hear about publishers anyway. ;-) I leave you with the question: Why are the UK so far behind in just about everything? Of course, if it comes down to England v France in the Euro's at any point (I realise we have played them, but we COULD meet again), I won't be quite so in love with the French, but I cannot deny, a little of the blue in the red, white and blue running through my veins, now belongs to Francais. ;-) Au revoir. Saffi PS. If you are so inclined and can read French, you can get Paraphilia here: Amazon UK print Amazon UK Kindle Amazon FR print Amazon FR Kindle
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Saffina Desforges is an international best-seller writer.

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