Showing posts with label Kindle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kindle. Show all posts

Thursday 14 April 2016

Patsy Collins Returns- E-books to Print Part 2

Welcome back to part 2 of e-book to print for the self-publisher. Today it's the useful 'how to' post.

(I'm taking notes for the future.)

Over to you again, Patsy.

Thanks for having me back again Carol, despite the cheeky way I mentioned my new short story collection, Through The Garden Gate and how the kindle version is currently on sale for 99p! (Gosh, but I'm subtle!)

It's also available as a paperback version, which is available now for £6.60

How I did it.

There are a variety of companies which allow you to self publish your own books. I use Createspace, which is a print on demand (POD) service. It's part of Amazon, which means the distribution is taken care of. There's nothing to pay in advance as they take their money from the sale price. If you don't sell any, you don't pay a penny.

Available now...
The work involved.

Createspace provide useful articles on every step of the process. For example, here's one on formatting. I suggest having a quick read of those first. There's also a forum where you can ask questions if you get stuck.

Everything you need to do the formatting is available in most of the software packages you're likely to have used to write the book. Word, OpenOffice and NeoOffice will all do the job.

1. You'll probably want to add page numbers and might want to include your name and the title in page headers. It looks best to start each chapter on a new page. Use section breaks for that.

2. You should select 'mirroring' for the page set up, so there's a slightly wider margin for the inside edge of each page than the outside one. Pages should also be sized appropriately for the book size.

3. If it's a short story collection or non fiction work, you'll want to include the page numbers in the table of contents, or index, if you're using one.

4. It's a good idea to use an ISBN. Createspace will provide this for free if you select that option and you may wish to add this to the front matter of your book - that's the bit where you put copyright notices, disclaimers and that kind of thing. Just copy and paste.

5. Once you're happy with the document, save it as a pdf. You're now ready to upload it. Select the 'guided' option and you'll be guided through each stage.

6. Once uploaded, you can view a digital proof online. Look through this carefully and if there's anything you're not happy with, adjust the document and upload the new version. Repeat until it's perfect.

7. It's a good idea to look at a physical proof too. You can order it at this stage.
This is one place I don't follow the Createspace guidelines as their proof is expensive and it'll take a long time to come through. Instead, I publish the book, buy one copy and immediately un-publish again. 

8. If you already have a kindle cover image this will need some tweaking. The resolution needs to be higher and you'll have to allow for 'bleed' - that's the bit which will probably be trimmed off when the physical cover is formed. The precise requirements are clearly given when you get to that stage.

9. Selecting categories, sales channels, adding the blurb and pricing are all explained and almost identical to doing this for an ebook. Again you'll be guided through. 

Top Tip

Allow plenty of time for formatting and uploading your book. It's better to do it a step at a time over several days than try to do it all in one mad rush. There's also a wait of several hours, or sometimes days, from when you click the confirm button to it appearing for sale.

Go on then – What are you waiting for?

Tuesday 12 April 2016

Patsy Collins - From E-book to Print Part 1...

Welcome my guest this week, Patsy Collins, who's sharing her experience of creating print copies of her books (in addition to the e-versions).

Over to you Patsy...

Thanks for inviting me onto your blog, Carol! It means I can mention that I've self published a kindle version of my new short story collection, Through The Garden Gate. It's available at the special price of 99p until19th April.

Oh ... that's not why you invited me? That's right, I remember now.

Patsy and her latest collection
Carol, being an observant writerly type, noticed that whilst self publishing ebooks is fairly common, far fewer writers also produce paperback copies. She asked me to explain why, and how, I'd done this for Through The Garden Gate. Which is available now for £6.60  (hee hee, got away with that one!)

The Advantages

1. It's nice to be able to hold your own book in your hands. Trust me, you'll feel a lot more like a proper writer when you do.

2. There are lots of people who don't use a Kindle and some of these might want to read your book.

3. Paper copies can be sold to libraries and they qualify for PLR and ALCS payments.

4. It's good to have physical copies if you give talks, both to show people and to sell.

5. Physical copies can get passed around. That doesn't help your sales, but might bring more readers (who might buy other books you've written). You never know who'll end up seeing a copy and becoming a fan.

6. Books make nice gifts or competition prizes.

7. You'll have done (or outsourced) all the hard work of writing, editing, formatting, proofreading, selecting a cover image and promoting for the e version, so there will be very little extra work involved.


1. It will take up a small additional amount of time. That time would probably have been used being annoyed by grammatically incorrect memes on Facebook, watching insurance adverts on TV, or something else equally worthwhile.

Have I talked you into giving it a go? 

Hope so as I'll be back Thursday to explain how I created the paperback version of my latest collection.

(Carol here again.)

If you've got any comments on today's post do please use the comments link below, and Patsy will be checking in from her travels...

Sunday 10 April 2016

Coming Up on Tuesday- My Guest Takes the Next Step...

As I've had a very heavy day with computer updates, I'm a little late in sharing some very exciting news.

This week both posts will be courtesy of my guest, blogger Patsy Collins.

Patsy is a wonderful writer with numerous short stories (and collections) to her credit, and a number of novels, including her most recent, (it features a hunky fireman) Firestarter.

It was Patsy who encouraged me to finish and send off my cake-related short story to one of the women's magazines- more about that in the summer.

Patsy Collins
Patsy Collins
Patsy is also my writing buddy, and the purple-loving writer behind the very useful womagwriter's blog.

On Tuesday, Patsy will be discussing the advantages/disadvantages of taking your self-published work beyond the kindle e-book and into print, using Createspace.

Then on Thursday, you can discover more about the actual process, with useful tips and links to help you take that next step.

You'll still have to do all the work, but Patsy's experience may help you decide whether it's for you...

And to top it all off there's an offer you won't be able to resist.

So pop back on Tuesday to find out more...

Sunday 8 November 2015

A Little Help from Your Friends...

The great thing about writers is that they are not only fun friends to have, but they are willing to share their knowledge to new and developing writers.

I know I wouldn't have improved without the generosity of experience of many current writers, and those who are no longer with us.

One of my roles at the writers' club is Prose Secretary; I find judges for our assorted competitions held throughout the year. The valuable comments each entry receives back helps the writers continue to develop their skills, and highlight where they may be going wrong- as well as what they are doing right.

So when I was tasked with finding a judge for the 2016 Nottingham Writers' Club, National Short Story Competition, I had a few potential people in mind.

I'm very glad to say that my first choice, a successful short story writer and novelist agreed to the job.

Admittedly, Patsy Collins sprung to mind due to her short story pedigree, plus the 2016 theme which is 'Fire'. Patsy just so happens to have released a new book- a few days ago- called 'Firestarter'. I have it ready to read on my Kindle.

I'm assured there's a hunky fireman involved... :D

You can find out more about Patsy's latest novel over on her blog Words about writing...

The club's national competition usually opens on the first day of the New Year, but for 2016 we're holding the submission period during February. And as next year is a leap year, there will be 29 days to submit entries, either online or by post.

PLEASE NOTE that only entries from writers residing in the UK can be accepted.

There are a few rules of course, so do read and follow them. Often newer and less experienced writers are put off entering competitions by the thought of competing against 'professionals'.

So the main criteria for anyone considering entry: if you've earned £300 or more from short story writing during 2015 please don't enter.

For more details about the 2016 competition, pop along to the page on the Nottingham Writers' Club website.

Firestarter- the new novel
from Patsy Collins

Thursday 29 October 2015

'The End'...

Yes, that's it, today I was able to write THE END at the bottom of chapter eighteen. I know there's still a lot to do, but that's for the future now.

I've enjoyed the break writing a contemporary romance, but I've not been interrupted with ideas as I am when I'm working on a historical.

Yes, I'm looking forward to getting on with the Nottinghamshire story now; it's been calling to me, demanding attention. Entering the first chapter in the New Talent competition only confirmed the feeling I wanted to get back to it.

My aim is to work steadily through the second draft making changes, adding the missing characters, and scenes that I knew I needed -because my mind was blank about what I was aiming for at that point.

Over the weekend I'll be changing the images over on my big cork board.

The big board was really helpful with the contemporary story- so I hope it will work with my Nottinghamshire story too.

Even if I had a couple of days- or even a week- when I couldn't add to my word count, my characters and settings were by my desk, always at the corner of my vision, remaining in my thoughts. I never lost contact with them, so I was able to pick the story back up quicker from where I'd stopped at the end of the previous writing session.

Here are the lessons I've personally learnt from writing these two first drafts:

  • Even a couple of hundred words a time soon adds up to a chapter, and then another.
  • Just because a character says or does something unusual, there will be a reason later on.
  • If a scene isn't working, make a note what it should be about and move on to the next bit.
The End is just The Beginning...
  • Don't worry about chapter length; end it when it feels right.
  • Some scenes/chapters will be easier to write than others.
  • The middle will always feel like you're climbing a mountain.
  • When you see the end approaching, don't slacken the pace.

I'm going to catch up on reading a few new books on my Kindle too, while my mind is clear.

image courtesy of njaj and

Sunday 5 July 2015

Scribd and Kindle Changes- Good or Bad?

The week just gone has seen a couple of changes relating to e-books that have implications for both writers and readers.

The unsettling announcements came days apart, so concerns and questions will depend upon which service is your priority...

I'd heard of Scribd, a subscription service for e-books, but never looked into it further.
I can see that if you're travelling every day then reading a book on your mobile device would be a good way to pass the time, and you could get through a number of books in a month, before you add on the number you could read at other times. So a one-off cost each month would be cost effective.

For the writer it's another sales avenue that doesn't rely on Amazon only, and gets their books out to more potential readers. But now it seems many romance writers will find their books delisted- though free offerings are being kept.

Smashwords who provide many self-published books to the service have an extensive post on their blog, and highlight the few advantages the culling of titles will bring- less competition being no.1, nice if your paying titles are kept, not so good if they've been removed...

For anyone who is unfamiliar with the news, here's a few links to find out more: Smashwords blog and the Guardian books section. And the Bookseller. Obviously there will be some duplication of content, but each has something different to say on the subject.

Now to the Kindle changes.

For those authors who have books in the KDP Select and the Kindle Owner's Lending Library, they will now be paid by the page read. This will be referred to as KENPC- Kindle Edition Normalized Page Count, so no matter how you've formatted it, it will be calculated to a standardized form that they've worked out.

There's a good explanation of how the money side works in this Bookseller article.

The brilliant thing about KDP was that there was finally a place to publish novellas- something many mainstream publishers didn't want. Every story has its own length, and not every one will be novel length, so authors of shorter works could suffer under this new regime- it depends on whether the amount they get per page equates to what they would have received under the previous system...

Writers who have been able to build up a readership over a number of books, probably have more choices available to them, plus the statistics to help them.

Likewise. those who have e-books with a mainstream publisher are in a different position to self-publishers.

Anyone just starting the self-publishing process needs to step-back for a moment and look at all the options available to them before they make a decision.

Yes, Amazon will triumph because they have the largest share of the e-reading market, and any writer who ignores that fact does so at their own peril. The option of which service you sign up to will be the difference...

It will be interesting to see what effect the Scribd and Kindle changes make, to both writers and readers of e-books, for the remainder of the year.

Monday 17 November 2014

It's National Short Story Week...

The 17th to 23rd November is National Short Story Week in the UK.

After years of decline the short story has had a resurgence, and the organisation behind this week, works hard to encourage and promote short stories, as do the organisations that support it.

Collections of short stories are becoming very popular, as they can be turned into an e-book, or find a home with a small publisher like Alfie Dog Fiction.

Many of my blogger friends (Patsy Collins, Rosemary Gemmell and Teresa Ashby to name just a few) have had lots of stories published, and they are now giving them another outing in collections.

If you pop over to Sue Moorcroft writes you'll be able to find out more about Wendy Clarke and her new short story collection, "Room in Your Heart". Wendy's name will be recognisable to anyone who has read The People's Friend magazine.

Do you remember a few months back, I was going to try and get an entry done for The Historic House Association Short Story Competition?

In the end I didn't have time, but you can find out who won, the names of the runners-up, and also those who were shortlisted and highly commended, via the National Short Story Week website, here.

Writing short stories are a good way to learn the skills you need to eventually write serials and even  novels. While the parameters are larger in a novel, the same skills in dialogue, narrative and characterisation are needed.

The wonderful thing about short stories is that you can read them anywhere, whether you have five or ten minutes, or an hour...

Long live the short story...

Saturday 1 March 2014

Confused About Publishing to Kindle? You Need This New Book...

Kindle Direct Publishing For Absolute Beginners: A guide to publishing Kindle e-books for beginners
Available on Amazon platforms
(image from
Unsure about creating a kindle e-book, then worry no more.

Kindle Direct Publishing for Absolute Beginners by Sally Jenkins.

I think this new book will sell very well, as it covers so many essential elements of the publishing to Kindle process.

You can read about how this new book came about on Sally's blog here.

This e-book doesn't cover formatting in detail- there is an e-book that covers that aspect that Sally recommends.

Her book goes into all those other essential areas that you need to understand and use, from the pre-publishing stage- what you need to consider and check for before you begin formatting, to the options for cover design, and more.

You will find out about the thorny issues of pricing, royalties and tax- the latter has always seemed to be the most confusing issue for UK writers who have sales in the US (30% withholding tax, and the US Tax identification number- and how to get one).

Then after your e-book is loaded and on sale, important issues like keywords, getting reviews and keeping track.

I've only been able to have a quick scan through my copy- I bought it last night, £1.53 on Amazon's UK site but the parts I have read for compiling this blog post, have convinced me.

I like the straightforward manner in the way each aspect of the process is addressed, and even those elements that always seemed quite unnerving are no longer scary, or headache inducing.

This e-book is a purchase you will not regret making.

Monday 26 November 2012

Computer Issues...

My regular posting schedule is going to be out this week.

I've written this on my OH's netbook- had to plug a mouse into it, so I could get anything to move...

No idea what's wrong with my computer, but I can't access the Internet, and the security package isn't working either on my desktop.

Strangely enough everyone else using a wireless connection in the family is fine and secure.

My service provider claims it's a computer provider issue- because the laptop computers are able to access the browsers and security package okay, even though I can't on the wired line...

So tomorrow I will be contacting Dell to see if they can resolve the issue, even though I've run all the diagnostic tools and not come up with any obvious issues.

I expect to spend most of Monday on the phone and tearing my hair out in frustration. :(

I'd been intending to spend some time getting the size of the book in the side column reduced in size, but at the moment it will have to stay as it is, until I'm back to full browser access.

So apologies for the size-but the link to works if you click on the book. Apparently 69 copies have been sold so far, though I don't know if that includes the Amazon sales...

If you've bought and read the anthology, would you consider adding a review to Amazon?

The writers who contributed stories and poems to the anthology are reluctant to write and add reviews themselves, as they are concerned about the ethics of doing so.

They don't want to be linked to any accusations of sock-puppetry...

As soon as my computer is back online, I'll be blogging again.

In the meantime I'll be trying to keep to date with as much as possible via the netbook.

Apologies for not visiting and commenting on fellow bloggers pages meanwhile.

Fingers crossed it's not a major problem...

Wednesday 14 November 2012

A Learning Experience from Promoting...

Well I've learnt a lot about book promotion this past week, so I thought I'd share a few of the things I've discovered.

Plan ahead

It might help you to make a list of all your potential outlets for advertising your book- flyers that can be left at any local shops, libraries, writers groups and community settings (these do depend upon the genre of your book of course, and permissions).

Local newspapers - worth looking at the free papers that get put through the door; if you can find a local slant to appeal, as with any regional paper you buy. (Our daily paper has a weekend supplement with the Saturday edition and includes books, and local related articles- often by specific writers, so send a suitably adapted press release.)

Check out local radio- if you're in a big (UK) city you'll possibly have a BBC radio station. You may find a show during the day that has a book slot that would welcome local writers.

Flyers with your book cover, author name, where it's available (for e-books) and the price, plus a bit of the blurb. More can go by e-mail nowadays but please don't just send it to everyone on your contact list and every writer you have a contact address for. That is spamming them and they will not appreciate it, or buy your book. You can lose more friends and contacts that way.

Social media- hopefully you have a presence on Facebook and Twitter; so you've made friends who might retweet a message when you're tweeting about your book launch, or giving links to where they can read about and buy your book.

If you've created a page for your book, invite your friends to like it.

For the anthology we started with the important posts - images of the book, the back page, and the gorgeous Lola, trained by the charity we're giving 10% to.

Each day a small related link was posted as a countdown to the official launch, which hopefully kept the book in the back of readers minds, and coming back to find out more each day.

On launch day as many of the writers who could do so blogged, visited, commented, tweeted and retweeted, and posted on Facebook, also sharing. (Be warned it is tiring, so have regular breaks.)

And then there were the launch parties...

Only time will tell how sales from all sources have done, but yesterday the anthology was 17th in the kindle store anthologies list. Of course it's dropped back today as everything has gone back to normal and other anthologies get promoted.

As is inevitable there were the odd typos that slipped through, but they've now been corrected.

If you're just one person promoting a book you can only do so much. And a lot of it can be done online to reach more potential readers, so choose your best methods to get the news out and books sold.

A really important point to remember when approaching local press/radio- especially at this time of year; are there any major events going on, either locally or nationally?
Last weekend was Remembrance Sunday, and this Friday is Children in Need- both big news events, so I'm not approaching local press about the anthology until early next week, and hopefully it won't get passed by.

(It may still be, but why make it harder for yourself spending time sending out press releases that won't get read because there are big events going on with lots of local coverage filling the pages?)

I'll be adding the book cover in my sidebar (somewhere). It's a lovely reminder that I've been published in a book before I'm another year older... :-)

Are there any tips you would like to pass on? If so please leave a comment below.

Saturday 10 November 2012

Meet One of the Writers in the One Word Challenge Anthology...

As we're only a couple of days away from the launch of the One Word Challenge Anthology, on Monday the 12th, I thought it would be fun to introduce you to one of the writers in the anthology.

Catherine Dalling is not just a writer and friend, but also a talented artist.

Catherine Dalling
So to the questions and answers...

Tell the readers a little bit about yourself.

I’m almost 48, married with two teenage children, a dog and three cats.  I became a stay-at-home mum when the kids were born and other than a couple of part-time jobs have stayed that way.
 Twice a week I run a music quiz at a couple of local pubs and love it, even though I have to say I now know more useless information about one hit wonders and chart stats than I am probably ever going to need, unless one of my characters ever becomes a DJ.

What started you writing?

Up until the children were born I was predominately a portrait artist, people and pets,  but when you have two young children it's not easy to paint when you don't have the space. So the paintbrushes were put away and I got on with being a mum.  But something was missing, I needed something creative. 
I had been a prolific writer whilst I was at school, short stories (somewhere between the Famous 5 and the Hardy Boys) and rather bad poetry.  So I started writing a bit of fan fiction, then it mutated into not-so short stories - always dark, either realistically so or heading into urban fantasy.

As the kids got older I started painting again, but I have to admit I had the bug for writing. I enrolled on a writing course and really enjoyed it. I have very Gothic tendencies, but other than my beloved New Rocks (a particular type of boots) you wouldn't really notice it - well until you walk into my office that is...

Some writers concentrate on one genre, others a variety. Which type are you? And what are you currently working on?

I admit to a love of all things dark and macabre, but I don't do gore. I always think the less it's described the more it affects the imagination of the reader. So I tend to stick to what I know, and love.

I have a vampire serial that is at the stage where it needs a good edit, but to be honest I've popped it in the back of the cupboard as I feel the market is so saturated in blood that it will probably drown. My vampires can wait.

 I am focussing on what will hopefully become a series of books involving the Nephilim; it's still in the early stages but the characters are already shouting at me at inopportune moments, which is always a good thing.In my head the characters are real. As long as I don't walk down the street talking to myself we should be okay.

When you're writing do you need to shut yourself off from everything, or are you happy to work with everyday life going on around you?

Normally I like to be all alone, locked away without distraction, once the kids get home from school I have no hope of getting anything done. Or if I don't want to be distracted by the washing/cleaning (can't work in a messy house) I take myself off to one of the local cafes with my net book for an hour and have a couple of lattes and get my brain working. I can shut the noise out, or I can people watch (it's valid research – honest).

 I used to write in silence but now I tend to have music on, something that sets the mood for what I'm writing: a bit of HIM, or Within temptation, Bach, Beethoven, it varies, of course.

You have four stories in the anthology. How would you describe them to readers?

I have to say that the OWC has been an interesting exercise for me. I remember looking at it and thinking there is no way I can actually get my point across in 200 words (she has) - probably takes me more to tell people what they are about. So looking at the four stories, each is different, but very typically me.

  • In 'Heat' I wanted to get over the feel of the inner city on a hot summer night, the seedy underbelly of nightclubs, I think I did.

  • Bounce – you know that kid at the back of the class that you always thought was a bit odd?This is how he could have ended up, school wasn't the happiest days of everyone's life.

  • Chaos – A humorous look at the beginning of the Apocalypse.

  • Witness – A look at humanity from an unusual viewpoint.

As a writer in a rapidly changing book industry, do you see your genre as benefiting from them? Or having to adapt?

I think it's a two edged sword (to use rather apt cliché). When I was growing up dark fantasy/urban fantasy wasn’t seen as a serious genre. It seem to be changing. You only have to look at the plethora of vampires around at the moment - some better than others - to see that technology (and teenage girls) seem to be the vampires friend.

I remember when the books were either nestled in with the horror, or epic fantasy and you had to read the backs of covers to find what you wanted to read. Now it’s so much easier to find something that appeals, with no end of suggestions thrust at you when you have purchased online.

I think ezines are brilliant. There’s more scope to showcase writers who would probably never see the light of day otherwise.

I used to get the bi-monthly Fantasy and Sci-Fi (my abbreviation) periodical from the states (not overly expensive) but sometimes late etc; now I have it direct to Kindle for 99p - brilliant (I don’t own a Kindle but I have it on my phone) which means I read more as it’s always in my pocket.

What authors would you recommend new writers read?

I think it depends on what you want to write, but honestly, read whatever you can lay your hands on- especially if you aren't sure of what genre you fancy, or more to the point how you want to write it.

 I’d avoid how-to books until you’ve found your voice, as I think they can be slightly a negative influence; and if you read too many it will just confuse you. It’s like painting, you find your own way, or you just end up like someone else.

Don't feel you have to like, or emulate someone if it doesn't do anything for you. There is nothing wrong with not liking what someone writes. It’s not bad writing, it just isn't for you.

The same goes for your writing. Don't try to write to please anyone but yourself. If you love your characters and your story, it will show.

So read, read, and read. 

Read classics (in my case) Poe, Lovecraft, Wilde.  The Picture of Dorian Grey is a really well spun tale. 

As for vampires you can’t beat ‘Dracula’. Bram Stoker was a genius.

But for more recent authors (and again I can really only point you in the direction I go) look at  Jim Butchers 'Dresden Files', Mike Carey 'Felix Castor',  Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles and Tanya Huff, Laurel Hamilton, and Charlaine Harris.

Where can you be found on the web?

For my writing there is a fairly new blog which will be updated on a regular basis:

For my paintings: and

Thanks you for sharing your thoughts and inspirations with us, Catherine. And I'm certainly looking forward to reading your contributions  to the One Word Challenge Anthology on Monday.

And remember you're invited to the official launch on Monday, here, and on Facebook (The One Word Anthology) and on Twitter...

Thursday 4 October 2012

A Quick Whizz Round...

So much to do and so little spare time to do it...
That seems to be my life at the moment, but I'm sure it's the same for everyone else too.

Over the next week or so I'll be updating Carol's Corner. Some things may go and others appear in their place. But I won't be changing the purpose of my blog; there will still be posts about competitions, events I've attended and the trials of this writer's life. :-)

Now to some good news.

Writer and blogger, Patsy Collins, is sharing the news that her book 'Escape to the Country' is going to be free to download on Kindle on the 4th and 5th October.

I read Patsy's book on the Kindle for PC app, and it's an easy way to read a Kindle book if you don't happen to have a Kindle e-reader.

It's a great book. I bought it when it was released, it's fun and heart-warming. When I got to the end of the story I was still smiling- a real feel good ending. It doesn't matter whether you're 16, 76, or any age between, you will enjoy it.

Meanwhile, I've decided on the future of my rejected short story. After I've looked it over again and made any changes, it will be winging it's way to Alfie Dog Fiction, the short story download website.

It may not make the grade of course, but if it doesn't, the editor will at least tell me why-and if it's not beyond salvaging, make suggestions for improvement.

I still believe it has potential and don't want to give up on it. But as a writer who hasn't sold a short story to any of the women's magazine markets before, my choices are restricted. I've been looking at those that remain open to me and the story wouldn't fit without major changes or cutting.

The idea for the Mail on Sunday Novel Competition is coming together, so I'll be starting to work on that next week.

Progress with the novella is ongoing. It's working much better with concentrating on getting the story down first and not worrying about description that can be applied as appropriate in the first revision stage.

Blog post done, another item on my list can be crossed off...

Monday 9 July 2012

Brain Drain...

My brain has decided that it needs a rest.

I fit my writing in around the other demands of my life, so I have busy spells when I get very little writing done, and other times when my creativity is at full flow and hours at the keyboard go by.

Every writer finds what works for them, and my brain has decided that this week it's on go slow!

When I'm not writing then I find it easier to read, and I've finally settled down to a kindle book, 'Pets on Parade' by Malcolm Welshman, which has been sat on my computer for a couple of months. (This is his second book. I read the first one -now called 'Pets in a Pickle'- when it was first published some years ago, so I'm looking forward to revisiting some of the characters.)

If I'm in the creative spell then I'm either in writing mode or editing mode. This year these two elements have really started to become distinct. Likewise, I'm either in a short story spell, or happier with one of my longer length works.

Now I have to admit I do minor editing as I go along, as I re-read what I've written during the previous session and make minor changes to things that aren't quite right. This way I'm back in the story and ready to write the next stage of the plot.

As to editing, I really think it is something you learn best as you go along. Yes, you can read about it, but like writing you need to do it to improve.

I look in horror at all the things I missed in the editing process in my very early manuscripts...

And I still wonder why it is so easy to see the edits needed in someone else's manuscript, but still miss the odd item in my own work?

I know breaks away from the work in progress before edits are important, but I do find I need to have a long break to get a decent perspective.

I need to spend the rest of this year working toward consistency, and getting a little further along with one of my longer projects.

Now if I can just have some dry weather to get the office area box free... :-)

Friday 9 March 2012

Is the Recession Good for Some Writers?

As I was out food shopping today, I noticed more price rises. By making a few changes in my weekly purchases, I can still afford the occasional book- their prices don't seem to be rising the same amount.

In fact, there seems to have been a surge of small pocket type recipe books covering, baking to quick meals, and all aimed at showing the consumer how they can eat well but at reduced cost...

A couple of days ago, I went to a publisher's website intending to browse some cookery books- I'd received an e-mail newsletter.
I came across a few of these pocket type books (to be published very soon) and looked to see who the author was. Well I was a bit taken aback when it said the author was to be announced...

Now it's only my suspicion- but have they rehashed an older work/s, updated it and added some enticing pictures of the completed recipes? Are they looking for a recognisable 'name' to go with it to boost sales?

I could be entirely wrong, but that's the lurking cynic in me!

But when there's a trend that will last for some time (as this recession surely will) publishers are sure to join in. It's business and they're part of it.

For the average (but brilliant :-) ) writer, the current recession is going to be a challenge, when magazines are either paying less than a few years ago, or doing more in-house. Then there's the reduction in short story markets; with the 'only previously published' restrictions implemented by a few...

It means the competition for both previously published, and those trying to get accepted for publication is going to be high.

Even simple things like entering competitions, your writing skills can give you an edge.
E-books are a different matter- especially if you have your own back list. If you've published to Kindle, or other digital outlets, you can control your asking price, up or down; even offer your book free for 24 hours and promote, promote promote.

For many writers these tactics have brought increased sales, so there's income from royalties- but there's no guarantee, and some genres sell better.
Though in long term planning, hopefully many of those readers will go on to buy the writer's other books- and I'm sure it's a good idea to be able to demonstrate a following for your work when you get the interest of a publisher.

The public may not be buying as many tree books, but e-book sales are on the rise, so a little judicious planning by digital authors can pay.

If you have any views on the subject, then you're welcome to share them in the comments section.

Saturday 21 January 2012

KDP Select- Is it For You?

I know a few writers who have put their Kindle Direct Publishing books into this scheme and have seen a good response to their fiction and have recommended it.

But is it worth signing your KDP book up to the lending scheme?

If you haven't heard of the scheme or have and aren't sure if it's for you, then you'll find this article by author Caroline McCray (on the Publishing Perspectives website) a useful introduction.

Basically you are taking part in a lending scheme. US Amazon Prime members can borrow a book once a month and if it's your book you will get money from the Kindle Owners Lending Library Fund-you need to read how this is worked out.

But like everything, with advantages there are also disadvantages...

You have to offer exclusivity to KDP Select. So if you sell your e-book via your website, Smashwords or any other place, you'll not be able to for the 90 days you're signed up to KDP Select.
If you are selling your book in a hard copy, or any other (non-digital) format, you don't have the same restriction on selling elsewhere.

I can see that the scheme would mean your work would reach a wider audience- and we all know how word of mouth can sell books- but you can't absolutely guarantee it will result in more sales. For many it has, but there are probably books that don't or get very few.

It could be seen in some eyes as Amazon having found another method of dominating the book market.
But, when even agented (new) writers are not being taken on, because publishers seem to be wanting 'exceptional' books, you can't blame a writer for doing whatever they can to get their books to willing readers...

Monday 21 November 2011

Self Publishing with Kindle...

I've lost count of how many e-mails I've had from Amazon promoting their latest Kindle e-reader in the past couple of months- you can't escape it. Admittedly their e-readers do seem to be popular Christmas gifts.

Whenever I check the stats for my blog there are regular hits for my Kindle posts, so I thought I'd add another one.

There is a great article (in the December 2011 edition of Writing Magazine) by Kindle author Lily Childs explaining how to format your book for uploading, what to do once it's ready and lots of other useful information.

Lily has just published her second Magenta Shaman book via Kindle and has started to build up a readership for her novels.

Now I'm not the most technically minded person, but I think even I could do it following Lily's instructions...

The December issue of Writing Magazine is worth getting hold of as it has a section solely related to self-publishing, including an article by Malcolm Welshman about generating publicity for your book- yes he did dress up as a rabbit, I saw the original video...

If your newsagent has run out of copies of the December issue, you can buy a copy at the Writers Online website, and a digital edition is available for a reasonable price here.

It will be some time before my work is ready for Kindle, so I better go and get on with writing it... :-)

If you've Kindled your book/s do let me know (in the comments box below) if you think it has been worthwhile...

Wednesday 26 October 2011

The OFT Decision on the Amazon/Book Depository Merger is a Disappointment...

I think there are a lot of readers and writers who will disappointed today; the OFT (Office of Fair Trading) has cleared Amazon in its intention to take over the Book Depository. They will not be referring the take-over to the Competition Commission.

You can read this article on the Bookseller website that explains some of the reasoning for this decision.

The Booksellers Association, one of a number of organisations who sent representations to the OFT during the consultation period this summer, are concerned that Amazon could put its competitors out of business, now the take-over has got the go-ahead.

"Tim Godfray, chief executive of the BA, said: “ Amazon now has even more power to put its bookseller competitors out of business and, having done that, it will be in an excellent position to increase prices and/or reduce choice.” "
The BA website didn't have anything about the OFT decision in the news section of their website at the time I posted this, so here's to The Bookseller again.

I'd be very surprised if Amazon hadn't been preparing for the merger in the meantime, so I don't expect its completion to take too long now.

Amazon features in the financial news today, with the announcement that their third quarter's profits have slumped (that's July to September) - likely due to their investment in the new Kindle devices, Fire and Touch.

This time next year it may be an entirely different situation.

So for those book buyers who don't want to buy from Amazon, now is the time to support small booksellers, or go to the publisher and buy direct from them- a lot of them are offering this now.

Monday 8 August 2011

Social Networking for Kindle Users...

I'm having difficulty getting onto the computer these past few days- school holidays and the novelty of all the things my family can now do on the computer. I haven't even been able to do any writing!!!! :-(

So I've only just seen this Kindle item on the Bookseller website. Apparently has launched a social networking site for Kindle

Now how useful this could become to both readers and writers is yet to be seen, but it apparently allows users to set up a profile and review books they've read and see public notes made on the book.

We all know how valuable word of mouth recommendations are- even if they are digital and not face to face.

So it will be interesting to see how this progresses and if it spreads further...

Monday 20 June 2011

Kindle Direct Publishing- Good and Bad News...

KDP is in the news again.

Today the Bookseller highlighted a million KDP e-book sales by John Locke. Now that has obviously taken work, but he has written nine novels- his latest  is called How I Sold 1 Million e-books in 5 Months.
I suspect he'll get a lot of sales from that one too. But well done John Locke.

A lot of writers have taken to selling their books with KDP and Smashwords, and they're enjoying the opportunity to finally get their work to readers and to earn money from their writing.

But some are holding off taking that step. That could be because of the latest complications on that emerged in the US press late last week. SPAM- and let's not be polite, piracy.

A report appeared in the Los Angeles Times on the 16th, 'Spam is clogging Amazon's Kindle'. The article mentions thousands of e-books being produced without the need for any writing of their own. They use PLR- Private Label Rights (not to be confused with the UK's Public Lending Rights PLR).

I read an explanation on a US blog that this system allows for content to be bought and reused in any form, even an e-book if so wished. Now as long as the original writers have provided that work for use in this way and are happy, then fine.

But it's claimed these books, often priced at 99cents alongside normal priced e-books, results in you having to look through quite a few books to get to those original, hard work put into writing them, e-books...

Sadly there are scam artists who are getting e-books by writers who are selling well, then republishing them with a new cover, and a  new title, but aimed to appeal to "a slightly different demographic" (Paul Wolfe, an Internet marketing specialist, quoted in the LAT article).

Stealing someone else's work and selling it, is PIRACY- plain and simple.

Carol Arnell who brought my attention to KDP originally (and did a Q&A on the subject) has knowledge of this.

"I've just had an email from someone who has found their Kindle book being given away for free on a site. She emailed the site last week - Of course it is a false address as she hasn't heard back."

Obviously once a writer discovers their book being sold by someone else on Amazon they can report it, the fake work is copyright infringement to start with so removing it for that reason shouldn't be an issue.

Carol added: "Thinking back to my one of my author friends whose book has been stolen, and the book is now being downloaded for free somewhere. I cannot see what the hacker would gain by doing this. They're not making any money from it. I can only think it has been done through jealousy. The author concerned has sold many thousands of this book on Kindle."

This highlights another problem. If a hacker resells your e-book under another identity they will be getting the 35 to 70% royalties, so there is financial gain behind their actions. They are clearly guilty of piracy.

But what is the reasoning behind those who provide the books for free? Envy? Belief that the writer gets enough from legitimate sales so they won't miss the ones the hacker gives away? Or are they just ignorant?
Whatever their reason they are certainly ignorant.

We all know how quickly the issues on KDP can soon be repeated by the version. Writers have been finding it increasingly difficult to advertise their books on the Kindle forums because problem posters have led to clamp-downs.

Now successful sellers are going to need to be aware there may be pirate copies of their work for sale, or being given away for free.

As for the free copy thieves- checkout the provider for their sites and complain about their piracy.

Amazon will have to do something to stop the piracy under their nose. They have too much to lose if they don't...

Thursday 19 May 2011

Kindle Direct Forums- What You Need to Know...

Author Carol Arnall- who kindly provided some further information on Kindle Direct Publishing   (in April) has recently made me aware of an issue relating to the use of the Kindle forums.

"I don't know if any of you know but have changed the rules on posting in their Kindle Discussion Forums. You have to post in the new Author Forums now otherwise your posts will be deleted and you stand a chance of being banned! I'd say read the rules first before you post in the new forum they have created."

(Like any forum there are people who abuse the rules- whether intentionally or through failure to understand and follow them; as a consequence everyone has to jump through hoops to comply to even stricter rules.)

Carol added. " A friend of mine got banned from two weeks ago for leaving his website in his post! He only posted over there once a week. They are getting even stricter because of the fly by posters. There are still threads where you can just leave a link and not say anything apart from a line about your book."

Carol has also provided two links that currently seem to be okay, here and here but do check you qualify to post on them first.

So the advice is check first, otherwise your promotion efforts could be wasted.

Just to remind everyone, this only relates to NOT