Frequently Bought Together

There are many proud moments in an author’s career like when you finish your first draft, when the first copy of your book arrives in the post or when you get your first review.

I was on Amazon this morning and I felt a pang of pride I simply have to share with you and it’s seeing that Amazon are listing that my three non-fiction books as being “Frequently Bought Together”.

Now I’ve no idea how many people have to do this before the Amazon algorithm kicks in – it might just be one!! It is however a significant milestone in any author’s strategy.

In the best selling author John Locke’s book, How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months, his advice is not to even attempt this with one book.

So my advice to all authors is this :

1. If you are just starting out – think how you can write a series – publishers and readers alike will love you for it

2. If you have written one book and want to sell more copies – write at least two more

3. If your book is out in print only, make sure it’s available for the Kindle too (as it can be then read on all devices)

Note that your books don’t have to be published with the same publisher or a linked sequence of titles – it’s best if they follow a particular theme or logical progression though …

For example, my books flow like this:

Blocks – clear barriers to creativity

Flavours of Thought – understand not all thoughts are the same

Light Bulb Moments – tune into a special class of thoughts that take you on amazing leaps of imagination and creativity

P.S. the fourth book is being crafted right now and it extends the thoughts in these three to a whole other level … watch this space and I can’t wait until Amazon list all four as being Frequently Bought Together 😉

Afterword in 2013 – here is that book Planes of Being and another I didn’t even plan to write called This We Know

P.P.S. Not even two years after I wrote this blog, I find Amazon recommending not just three but five of my books to people via emailfrequentlyBought

Lightbulbs on the Kindle

I am so thrilled that my new book, The Art and Science of Light Bulb Moments, has now made it on to the Kindle platform a couple of weeks after it was available in print.

Especially as I have just been reading about how US-author John Locke has been going about selling over 1 million books in a few short months – see my Bookwright blog for details on this.

At the same time, bookings are coming in thick and fast for talks on how to experience light bulb moments on demand – see the schedule here – and contact me if you have a group you’d like me to talk to.

I’ll also be sharing some new about the full workshop programme I am launching in the UK in Autumn and extending worldwide to 2012.

It’s a real testament to the doors writing a book opens to an author … watch this space.

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If I was writing this article just five years ago, when asked what an ebook is, I would probably have said a PDF. Where PDF is an acronym for Portable Document Format which, unlike say an Word document, is read-only and retains all the source formatting and layout.

Nowadays, with the increasing ubiquity of ereaders, it might be tempting to define an ebook as something you downloaded to be read on an Amazon Kindle or Apple iPad. To make matters slightly more confusing, the humble PDF can be read on both devices.

Where a PDF essentially differs from a book formatted for an ereader is that the latter, be it in ePub, HTML5 or the techie format, tends to be copy protected and tied to the purchaser’s account – not even their device. This means they can read it on their Kindle, iPhone and computer if they own all three.

Neither of these descriptions however fully defines what an ebook is or can be.

Before I explain, although I am a technophile and even writing this article on an iPad, as a reader, I am a big fan of the printed book. Specifically, I much prefer reading fiction in print but now favour the ‘ebook’ for non-fiction.

As an author though, I am both agnostic and catholic about how readers of my books engage with them. An ebook in my eyes (and ears) is simply any of my content which isn’t print and that is delivered by electronic means. I want the reader to choose how they engage with my work.

The publishing industry is going through the same transition as did the music industry 10 or so years ago. In some ways and in some areas, it is even overlapping and merging with it. One of the reasons being that the ebook is just about to come of age.

Now an obvious format for an ebook is audio. This allows those with visual impairments to enjoy a ‘good book’. Many people like commuters and those with dyslexic different-abilities might prefer auditory input.

The exciting developments in the ebook arena are the Enhanced Edition book and the mobile app. In addition to the rich functionality offered by these two developments, the ebook and app also come with the potential of royalties of up to 70% for the enterprising author. All of this is of course in a context where the number of target devices is in the millions and growing daily.

If I now have your attention, let me explain what they both are. Enhanced Edition books allow you to embed multimedia elements like audio and video inside a book. Good use of this format are books like Knitting for Dummies and Yoga in Bed.

For ‘ebooks’ which are apps, even richer functionality is possible. For example, user input such as completing exercises or a journal or even engaging in dialogue with the author. Content can also vary depending on date, location or user type. The latter could be dependent on parameters such as age or subscription level.

With all this choice, it would be easy to get carried away. Baby steps are advisable and market testing is essential. The future is very bright for both authors and publishers who embrace the possibilities that are opening up. The caveat being that the reader, listener and viewer is the ultimate judge of what is good use of the technology.

Related posts



Some example links

Example of an ebook with embedded audio and video – Wordlube

Enhanced Edition : Yoga in Bed

A discussable book – 140 Characters the Short Form

A multimedia app : Elements a Visual Exploration

Originally written for and posted in

Karmic Rights Management

I am often asked by both new and experienced authors how you go about protecting your books in the digital age.

In these days when you can blog a story or submit an ebook direct to the Amazon Kindle Store, the Apple iBookstore or to one of many aggregator sites like Issuu, Lulu, BookBuzzr and Smashwords, what’s to stop anyone stealing and copying your work illegally?

If you submit your novel to a author community site like Authonomy, what’s to stop someone stealing your idea and writing their own book on the subject?

Well if you think about it … not a lot and it’s not much different from how it has been since Caxton invented the printing press.

If you produce a printed book, there is nothing to stop anyone photocopying it. How many times have you borrowed a book and read it and not paid the author or the publisher a penny? How many times did you not give it back?

For digital products, you can add password and enable DRM protection but there is nothing to stop someone telling someone else the password. Even if the digital rights management is tied down to a particular device as it is for Kindles, iPhones and iPads, there is nothing to stop people other than the purchaser enjoying the work.

I am sure when you write your book, you didn’t do it in isolation of any influences from other authors, friends, colleagues or teachers.

By far the best way by far to protect your work is to look at your behaviour and modify it so it’s karmically balanced.

Now I am not trying to preach here or be holier than thou – this is just good common sense and politeness and I too have fallen foul of not playing by the karmic rule book.

My seven top tips for karmic rights protection

1. Don’t run the fear your work will be copied

2. If you use a quote or concept from another writer, give them some credit in a Thanks section of your work or, at least, list their book in references

3. Be open to your payback coming back in another form other than the sale of your books

4. Don’t steal another writer’s work

5. If you like a book you borrowed, buy a copy or buy another book from the same writer

6. Give loads of stuff away for free

7. Be thankful for everything you receive


– just think what it would be like to live & breathe in a world that worked to these principles, it’s within our grasp & starts with each one of us today

p.s. if you ‘breach’ the spirit of KRM, you will find others will ‘steal’ from you