11/02/2013

Kindle Matchbook

An update from Kindle that I think is seen as a welcome change by many authors - Kindle Matchbook. And I'm pleased to say my 'What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know' book series is enrolled.



Launching imminently, Matchbook means that people who have purchased copies of a paperback book can (where the author has opted in) buy a copy of the Kindle version at a large discount. (obviously this only applies to those who bought the paperback at Amazon in the first place!)

I'm pleased to be part of that service and have enrolled all my ukulele guidebooks in the service at the lowest possible price. Personally I would like people who bought my paperbacks to get the Kindle version for free, but Amazon will not allow that. Sorry - but this is the best I can do!

So, if you have my paperbacks and fancy a version to carry on your Kindle check out my titles on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk (as well as other Amazon online stores that carry Kindle titles.

Enjoy!

9/13/2013

36 months published - a thank you!

Well it seems an age since I remember being persuaded by a friend to put my love and knowledge about the ukulele into print / kindle, but I must say it's been a great ride.


The Complete What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know
Click for link


Despite their being many 'big name' published uke books out there, many written by faceless organisations, I am delighted that my books have continued to stand their ground. The feedback I have had from readers is always the best (and I don't just mean reviews on Amazon, I mean the emails I've had, or comments from people I have met at ukulele events that they like the books. In fact one friend tells me she has a thing for buying friends ukuleles, and she gets them one of my books to go with them each time!)

Since publishing, firstly on Kindle, my first book - What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know went on to become the number one selling book on the Amazon Music book chart. In fact its delightful to see  that all of my books at some time or another are appearing in the top 100 in the music book categories. The rise in popularity of the ukulele clearly shows no bounds!

Soon after they arrived in paperback (is there anything more fun than getting your hands on a print copy of your book?) and started to appear on the other ebook sites such as KoboNook and iTunes, but I suppose it is Amazon where they get the most popularity.  Amazon are constantly drilling me to get exclusivity and I won't do that for a host of reasons. As such, my book will always be available on other ereader formats. Why? Because the reader is the one that matters, not Amazon!

So you can find them in all formats on Smashwords, and also on all of the worldwide Amazon stores including Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

I hope more people continue to enjoy them, and if you have a copy, feedback is always most welcomed.

Keep strumming!


6/02/2013

Price slashed on chord book for Kindle

My interactive chord chart book on the Kindle store has been slashed in price - to only $1.99 - an absolute bargain. Chords That Ukulele Players Really Want To Know!



Perfect to carry on your iPad, Kindle, iPhone etc!

Available on Amazon US, Amazon UK and other Amazon stores worldwide.

Grab it whilst it's hot!

5/10/2013

Nominated for a book award!


I didn't see this one coming, and not mentioned my ukulele books on here for a while - but my title The Complete What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know has been nominated for a book award!


The Complete What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know

Not sure how it was nominated, but it's up there in the DIY / Self Help Category at the eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook Awards! But thanks if you did - your support, in fact support of anyone who grabbed it is MUCH appreciated!

You can grab the book on Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk as well as on Nook, Kobo, iTunes and Sony book stores.

You can see all the nominees here and details on how to vote will follow soon.

Apparently it also allows me to use this badge!


4/16/2013

Ukulele Exercises For Dummies Review

I posted this on my main Got A Ukulele website, but seeing as it's book related I should share it here too.


This book has intrigued me since I heard of its launch, so was pleased to get my hands on an early copy. Ukulele Exercises For Dummies, by Brett McQueen.


Ukulele Exercises For Dummies


Now, there are actually not all that many tutor books with any great detail out there, and of those that do exist, they tend to be those churned out by the normal purveyors of music books, written by 'who?'.  There is of course Ukulele For Dummies by Ukulele Hunt's Alastair Wood, but they are the exception rather than the rule. This one on the other hand is authored by Brett McQueen - the chap behind the Ukulele Tricks website which has proved so popular. So we now have a book written by someone who we know actually plays ukulele! Add to that the fact that Al Wood has provided his services as a contributing editor and you have a book with some real weight behind it.

Now, having said that, this isn't really a tutor book in the normal sense. In fact in the introduction Brett points out that it's not a book to be read cover to cover, rather a book to be dipped in and out of. It's intended to provide exercise routines for the key areas of ukulele playing.

It's written in the very familar 'Dummies' style, which I always find easy to follow. It's split into three main disciplines - working on your strumming technique, working on fingerpicking and working on the fretboard (scales). I suppose the scales section is the main 'theory' bit in the book, and the other two are for workouts with numerous example exercises.

The book opens with some general advice, stretching exercises and workouts. It's worth pointing out that whilst an absolute beginner should do OK with the book, it clearly seems to be written for those who  have grasped the basics and are now looking to work on their technique. As such, whilst it does cover some absolute basics (reading chord boxes, tuning up etc) - they are dealt with quickly and it's straight down to the playing. If you are still struggling with how to even hold or strum a uke, then you may do better to get some basic techniques sorted before reading.

The next couple of sections are extremely detailed. The strumming chapter starts at absolute basics, nicely building up a library of strumming patterns, with varying time changes and advice on  syncopation, before moving on to more advanced techniques such as triplets, chunking and finger rolls. Each technique is clearly described and comes with example exercises to play provided in both classic notation, tab notation and with strum pattern indicators. There is plenty to go at here, and I can see why Brett suggests dipping in and out of it.

Moving on to fingerpicking, I found this particularly helpful (as it's a weakness of mine!). It is laid out in the same way, starting with the absolute basics before moving on to pinched patterns, arpeggios, slides and melodies. Again, it is laid out clearly, and comes with example exercises in both classical and tab notation.

The scales section is weighty, and as I say above, the 'theory' bit, Brett explains and provides exercises for the major scales, minor scales, 7th chords, building triads, together with pentatonics and the 'bebop' scale amongst others. There is also a really handy section that deals with recognising 'landmarks' on the fretboard to help you  in learning the notes. In a way I expect many people who already know their chords when coming to this book would do well to read this chapter first.

The book ends with a couple of top ten listings, one on ways to improve and get the most out of your practice, and one on performing. The chapter feels a little tacked on to be honest, and I'd perhaps have preferred some more complex songs to practice, or a chord chart, but the advice is sound. In fact in one 'tip' Brett points out then when you start to write your own music you should ignore all the advice in the book - as he says 'The writing process is should be one of creativity' - and that shows why this book should be better regarded than one written by a faceless corporation - it's written by someone who knows the ukulele and the community who are going to be reading it. Exercises are great for improving your technique, but should never be followed rigidly.

I don't have many gripes. One thing that did stand out was the choice of musical pieces for the exercises. Sure, for beginners, they need to be simple, so we have the usual choices like 'Clementine' or 'Greensleeves',  - and that is because people will naturally know the melodies already (and thus will know if they are playing it right or wrong immediately). But for a book that is going out on both sides of the pond, there are some songs in here that I hadn't a clue what they were - 'Billy Boy', and 'Hello Ma Baby' to name a couple. Perhaps that's just me, but it should also be borne in mind that young players may not even know Greensleeves and Clementine - as such it would have been nice for something more modern and popular to be in there. Minor gripe though, because the book also comes with an hour of downloadable audio tracks to play along with ( a whopping 256 of them!), so there is my argument blown out of the water!

I suppose I also think that some of the pre-amble and final chapter space would have been better used for more exercises, but that is a minor quibble also - there is plenty in here as it is. That said, there is no chord chart or fretboard map in the book at all, but I am sure you have those already.

If you are looking for a book that provides tons of exercise routines for the key facets of ukulele playing, you really should look no further as I don't think there is much missing from this. Written by a player for players themselves, it's got a style that works well and is clear to follow. For those bored by their practice routines, this should be an essential book to dip into and find inspiration.

Recommended.

Ukulele Exercises For Dummies is available for pre-order on Amazon (at a discounted price) and is available from 22 April 2013.

Also available from other good booksellers


3/07/2013

Time for a book price cut


Ah well, it's nearly spring, and things are looking up. So why not - have cut the price of my ukulele books on the Amazon Kindle store.


what ukulele players really want to know book cover

You can now get my first three books for the price of a couple of lottery tickets each, and my omnibus ukulele book, The Complete What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know for the price of a pint of beer.

You can grab the books via AMAZON UK and AMAZON.COM at the reduced prices until further notice. And at the top of this blog you will also find pages with direct links to Amazon for each book.

Can't say fairer than that? Enjoy!

3/06/2013

Mark Coker tips on rescuing a flailing book performance

As always, great tips from Mr Coker on how to revive flagging book sales.

Well worth a read I think.

Article link


Particularly the account of the author at the end. Very sad.

For me though, perhaps I am lucky that my books are very niche. Or perhaps that I'm grateful for any sale - I didn't write them to earn a living and give up the day job!