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Showing posts from July, 2012

Guest Post: Ann Jungman - The Sad Death of Barn Owl Books

This post has been published in Sparks, A Year In E-Publishing - An Authors Electric Anthology 2011-2012. It has therefore been temporarily reverted to draft status to comply with amazon KDP Select's requirements.

Guest Post: Rachel Abbott - Marketing Your Way to #1

This post has been published in Sparks, A Year In E-Publishing - An Authors Electric Anthology 2011-2012. It has therefore been temporarily reverted to draft status to comply with amazon KDP Select's requirements.

Celtic symbols And How To Get Sidetracked When Researching - Hywela Lyn

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I was wondering what to do for my post this month and happened to glance at a silver ring given to me by my dear friend Mary, when I visited her in the States, recently. It's designed like  a  Celtic knot, combined with triskelions, and for me, represents the 'power of three' symbolising the friendship between her, our late much missed friend, the talented American author Sharon Donovan, and myself.
This made me think of the research I did when writing 'Dancing with Fate', set in 5th Century Wales.  I enjoy finding pictures for my posts, and among some of the pictures I found in my file for the story, along with Greek gods and goddesses and war chariots,  were Triskelkions and Celtic knots.
These designs are much used in Celtic jewellery and, of course, the traditional  Welsh carved wooden LoveSpoon.
A triskelion or triskele is a motif consisting of three interlocked spirals, or three bent human legs, or any similar symbol
It represents the concept of completion …

Free books, new book, new writing (and rain) - Enid Richemont

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The most cliched comment in the UK at present will almost certainly include the word 'ark', as we've had almost non-stop rain for about three months. As an introvert, I'm not the greatest fan of real summer, which, with its blue skies, sunshine etc, keeps pulling at me like an irritating child, but this greyness and endless rain is something else. However, it has made me concentrate on my latest publisher's brief - a challenge involving subverting some well-known and excellent texts. Work completed (or probably not - is it ever?) I really would like to sit in my garden (at present very soggy) and enjoy some sunshine.

          My latest book - PRINCESS FROG - is just out, but I have yet to receive my author's free copies. Seeing and holding the actual book still feels like the culmination of the creative process, so what about ebooks where the words are everything and the material object doesn't exist? 'Real' books still draw me, but words …

Nine Million Readers a Month Who Could Open a Chapter of Your Book – Andrew Crofts

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I have now had my book “The Fabulous Dreams of Maggie de Beer” up on Wattpad for around three months, so I thought it might be useful to scrutinise the figures. The ultimate aim of any writer is to have their work read and www.wattpad.com allows you to see actual reader numbers, chapter by chapter, (and provides a new addiction just as time consuming for an author as the compulsive checking of the Sunday Times and Amazon bestseller lists).
Maggie de Beer is divided into eighteen chapters and more than 150,000 individual chapters have currently been opened by readers.
When Wattpad acted as gatekeepers and put the book on the first page of their “Featured” list, (a bit like being on the front table at Waterstones), the total was rising by over 6,000 hits a day, which means that around 250 people were reading a chapter of the book every hour of the day somewhere in the world. After a while the book slipped to page two of their Featured list and the rate of hits instantly halved, bearin…

A revolutionary friendship - virtually.

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I’ve never met Rosalie Warren (I couldn’t actually since she’s a pseudonym) and I’ve never actually met Sheila her alter ego (a ‘real’ person.) But we have become friends thanks to the magic of cyberspace. That is the ‘virtual’ world in which increasing amounts of the ‘real’ world are now framed and constructed. And because we’ve become friends I offered to do her post for her today while she brings herself back to the ‘social’ place following bereavement. I feel our society doesn’t ever allow people the time and space to grieve and I’m very pleased to be able to assist ‘a friend’ by hijacking her post for the revolution!    Because today is the 26thJuly. An important day for Cubans. 26th July 1953 marks the birth of the movement that would ultimately lead to the Cuban Revolution And in tribute to the day I’d like to talk about another revolution being born. A revolutionary friendship.





Since I first ‘encountered’ Che Guevara aged 14, I have studied, researched and generally obsessed …

Advice to the Lovelorn and Lonely - by Susan Price

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Advice to the lonely or lovelorn often says, ‘Get a dog.’  Reguarly walking the beast means they make daily circuits through the park or across the common, where they meet other people and dogs doing the same thing.           People who would never otherwise speak to a stranger will stop to pat a dog, while other dog-walkers recognise another dog-lover.  They nod, smile, say hello, ask about your dog – and tell you about theirs.  If the dogs are friendly, you walk on together – and part with a wave and, ‘See you tomorrow!’  A new friendship has begun.            I would suggest that, as an alternative, which doesn’t need walking in cold, wet weather, or taking to the vet’s, you get a kindle.  It won’t guard your house, or fetch sticks, but, much like dogs, kindles seem to attract admirers wherever they go.           I am not usually sought out by people eager to talk.  My mother was, and she was not entirely happy about it, often complaining that in bus-stops and queues people …

The Best Writing Advice I Have Ever Received

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A Monday morning knock at our door three weeks ago brought the surprising news that our home was in danger of “sudden and catastrophic” collapse and life as I knew it evaporated. We decamped to a nearby hotel and friends, rallying to the bar at cocktail hour, started calling me Mrs Self.


          I’m not a stranger to uncertainty but the general feeling of limbo, of being away but just a short walk from a home that might topple over, takes some getting used to. Life goes on of course and I'm trying to keep my mind on the advantages: a sudden, completely unforeseen withdrawal of housework, supermarket shopping and cleaning for starters. The abundance of folded white towels, bath robes and slippers.  A gym, newspaper delivery, interesting Olympic-related lift encounters etc etc. My old Mac was too huge to unplug and lug all the way here, though I did certainly contemplate doing just that, and I miss it dearly.  I’m still getting to grips with working from a PC laptop usin…

Some Things That Make Me Want To Become A Hermit - by Simon Cheshire

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All jobs have their good points and bad points, and writing is no exception. You just have to learn to live with the frustrations. However, there are some things that, try as I might, I just can't muster the good grace or inner calm to let slide, but about which I can do n-o-t-h-i-n-g... For instance:


Brain Donor Book Reviews.
I don't mean internet trolls, exactly, I mean stuff that's just plain thoughtless and pointless. We all like, and need (even crave!) people to comment on our work, but not when they say "I loved this book" and then give it one star. 'Cos it's the star people notice. Or when they say how much they hated every word of every sentence, because you gave one of the characters a green jumper on page 139. Or when a middle aged person gets sniffy about a children's book being childish. It's! A! Children's! Book! The worst of it is that these things are indelible. Even if you, very nicely and very politely, post a comment next to a …

Creating Books on CreateSpace

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Print? Why bother? The eBook revolution is taking over, any self-respecting indie-author knows that - eBook revenues doubled in 2011 to over $2 billion in the US market. If they do so again in 2012, then by this time next year eBooks will have over a third of the publishing take.

And it's the eBook that has enabled the self-publishing revolution - Smashwords.com and Amazon's KDP program have led the way in allowing individual authors to compete on a more or less level-playing field with the big publishing houses. Author's are dreaming of electric books, it's why we're all here - so, why bother with print for your self-published book?

I had a pretty good answer to that question until about six months ago - don't.

Distribution is much tougher for print compared to an eBook. Although you can easily get the print book listed on Amazon and B&N's website, the big chains are very unlikely to stock a self-published volume in their stores. And it's a long ha…

'TELLING THE SEA' - A New Novel And An Old One: Pauline Fisk on revisiting the past

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In 1990 I started writing a novel called ‘Telling the Sea’.  I’d had success with my first novel, Midnight Blue, and my publishers were on at me to write a sequel.  I’d sketched out some rough thoughts, then gone on holiday. I had a young family of five children, a weary husband and a hyperactive, far-from-weary dog.  We took ourselves down to the cottage where we always went on holiday, in Pembrokeshire. Only a three-hour drive from home, it was the easiest thing to do. We knew the place. We knew where to find the best baker, butcher and fish & chips.  We’d been going down there for years, which meant the unwinding process didn’t begin on Day Three – it began on the journey.  We only had to get over those Cambrian Mountains, heading in the direction of Aberystwyth and the long road down the Welsh coast, and the unwinding would begin at our first glimpse of the sea. 
I was there in the same cottage last week, working on the kindle version of ‘Telling the Sea’.  Twenty-two yea…

Do self-publishers still need to explain why? By Roz Morris

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This time last year I sent a tweet that said ‘after so long ghostwriting, this book’s for me’.
I was preparing to self-publish my first novel. In the sunny land of tweets, I was keeping up a front of jolly emancipation. Behind the scenes, all was frantic. I’d done a last edit that turned drastic. I was pleased with it but my first advance reader bawled me out for my robust treatment of reincarnation. Although we’re now great friends, this was not reassuring. I had no clue how to market the book, but if I aimed at the wrong readers there’d be hate mail.
I was blogging about it here and there, attempting to sketch my multilayered story in a thumbnail. Each time it sounded like a different book. And as for a back cover blurb? I was totally failing to write one that grasped the novel satisfactorily.
But flap copy was a detail because I had no front cover. I was designing roughs and hated the way they were going. Even if I was going to use a designer (which in the end I didn’t), I had t…

What Kind of Writer am I? - by Chris Longmuir

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I want to talk a bit about the different genres of my published books. I have 3 published novels on sale, one paperback and two e-books. Dead Wood and Night Watcher are dark crime novels which some readers describe as scary, although I don’t necessarily agree with this. Maybe I’m immune. This sticks me in the crime writer genre box. However, I have also published my historical family saga, A Salt Splashed Cradle, and two books of short stories which include horror. So which genre box am I in now?


          So what’s with this genre box thing? Well, an author who is lucky enough to acquire a publishing contract is immediately put into a little box that defines which genre he or she will publish. So if the first accepted book is crime, you become a crime writer.

          Many authors are dissatisfied with this but find it impossible to climb out of their genre box, which publishers keep firmly locked. With e-publishing, however, the situation can change. An author has the freed…