Wednesday Briefing

An Appeal to Authors on Behalf of Reviewers

Recently, in a LinkedIn Group, I was answering a thread.  It raised something that I felt needed addressing.  I did what I could in a few words, but I’d like to spell it out more fully here.

We all need feedback, and it’s a subject that I’ve already covered, to some degree.  However, there’s an aspect of it that I missed entirely!  We authors have certain duties to those we ask to provide us with feedback.  The obvious one is to offer a product worth their time, of course.  Or, at least, to genuinely believe that we are doing so!  But how many of us take the trouble to offer review copies in more than one format?  As far as this is concerned, authors using Kindle direct, and especially Kindle Select, are perhaps the guiltiest, I’m afraid.  We must not fall into the trap of believing that we need only concern ourselves with one ebook format!  I have experienced the problem myself – where I’ve been asked to review books but been offered ‘Kindle or nothing’.  That’s really not good!  Of course, it’s possible to convert ebooks to other formats, but if you have elected to employ DRM, then conversion is impossible!  So, I appeal to all authors: produce your books in as many formats as possible!  I’m not saying you have to offer them all for sale.  If you want to stick with, for example, Kindle – then by all means do so!  Just make it easier for potential reviewers!

News On Shade of Evil

I am currently working towards making the paperback version of my novelette, Shade of Evil (Being Part 1 of G1: The Guardians), available through CreateSpace and, therefore, Amazon.  I only submitted it yesterday, but I was amazed to find that it is now available from CreateSpace and will be available from Amazon.com and Amazon’s European stores within about a week!   The links will be added to the book’s page on the blog.  it should, I hope, be easier for some to buy a copy.  If things go well enough, then I’ll be inclined to make my other books available through the same channels.

This does not signal an abandonment of skoobebooks!  Far from it!  I couldn’t be happier with the help and service that I’ve had from them, and I suspect that it is far superior to what I could expect from CreateSpace!  It is simply a reluctant acceptance of an unavoidable fact – more people shop through Amazon, especially internationally!  It is also a reflection of the fact that, sadly, I can’t afford the extra fee for wider distribution (including through Amazon), imposed by skoobebooks.

One last word on skoobebooks!  If you live in the United Kingdom, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend your use of skoobebooks.  Having used both them and UK-based FeedARead, I am very happy to say that skoobebooks  win hands down on service!  From the very first book that I submitted to them, I have been constantly impressed by the help provided, and the fact that they work so hard to get your precious creation printed in the way you want!  Working with Keith at skoobebooks has taught me a great deal, and I can only publicly express my gratitude to him, and his colleagues.  Without them, I doubt that there would have been a printed option for any of my books!

~ Steve

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Result! Plus, Promotional Days. Questions, please?

Smashingly Good Result

Yes indeed!  I’m delighted to report that the problem and mum with Smashwords has reached a very good conclusion!  I received an email from them which, while brief, was polite and helpful!  I’d still like to be told why they made retrospective reviews on the books, of course…

Book Promo Day Explanation

I should have made this quite clear from the very beginning, I guess!  The weekly Book Promo Day does not have to feature only your latest books!  Any of your books can be featured, which means that you have a great opportunity to bring them ‘back into the light’.  SO, dust off those older works and give them some love by submitting them for Book Promo Days.  Of course, do remember that the limit is one book in any week!

Blog Browser Day

The question has been asked, perfectly correctly!  How can you give a ‘star rating’ to your own blog when suggesting it for Blog Browser Day?  To be fair, you can’t.  The fault was, however, mine!  By making the star rating ‘required’, I forced folk to make use of it!  I have now added a star rating of “My own blog” so that modesty may be reserved in future.  I hope that the problem is now solved satisfactorily.  In future, any blog submission with the new non-star rating will have the lack of a star rating properly explained on the Blog Browser Day posts.

Any requests?

An odd one, this!  You will doubtless have seen the background posts about the G1: The Guardians series.  These are being produced from the copious notes I have for the series,  If, however, there is some aspect that you would like to know more about (within reason, of course), I’d be very happy to hear from you!

What a Shame!

Blog Browser Day

It strikes me as being a shame that nobody nominated any blogs for Blog Browser Day this week.  To me, this opportunities to bring the spotlight of free advertising to bear are priceless.  Okay, so this one is really intended to direct folk to blogs that we, ourselves, like, but I would have thought that there’s no shortage of those!  Please, my friends!  Don’t be shy about these chances!

What the…?

Those of you who follow me on Facebook too will know about this.  My feelings are, however, still strong on the whole thing!

Yesterday, while doing a quick check on my Smashwords Dashboard, I discovered a whole bunch of my books had been taken off “Premium”!  Now, that setting means that the books can and are sent to numerous other online bookstores.  A very desirable state of affairs, of course.  So removing books from it is devastating!  But why?  Well, all but one had, according to the Smashwords ‘autovetter’, a very, very tiny fault.  Now hang on!  I was under the impression that this system was part of the initial submission process for books.  All of these books have been available for several months!  So why did this happen?  I’d love to know but, to be honest, the folk handling such questions at Smashwords get very defensive and I’m really in no mood for such nonsense.  Suffice it to say that it took me bout 11 hours to make the amendments!

On a Very Much Happier Note…

I was delighted to discover that my short story, Skylord, had received another 5 star review!  It’s on Smashwords (yes, that same place) but I repeat it here:

Skylord is a short story depicting the plight of a young dragon nearing adulthood who is testing his mettle. When he flies too close to Ydren and makes an enemy of her, he tells his parents a lie about their encounter. There is an overabundance of dragons and not enough open territory. His lie leads his parents to go to war over territory. When Skylord learns that he cannot fly in the Phalanx and do battle because he is not yet an adult, he despairs that others will die and he cannot right his wrong. He flies off to the Lost Caverns and meets Belarth, a wise old dragon long presumed to be dead. Belarth gives him some valuable advice which gives Skylord the answer to the problem for which he as been searching. Great adventure fantasy for children ages ten and up.

Barbara Mojica on Aug. 16, 2013 : starstarstarstarstar

Thank you so much, Barbara!

And Finally…

Apart from being able to get the brand new ebook version of Shade of Evil from Smashwords or any Amazon store, with the great new cover by Chris Graham, the 2nd Edition paperback is being prepared right now.  In addition, my new novel is with skoobebooks and will, hopefully, be available in paperback by the launch date of 10th September.  In fact, and this is very exciting, it may also be available in hardback!  The ebook will be processed on the launch date, simultaneously at Amazon and Smashwords.

More exciting news:  I have an artist friend looking into producing illustrations and a new cover for Skylord!  The illustrated version, a fully fledged children’s book, will, I’m afraid, not be available as a free ebook, and the text only version will be withdrawn at the end of this month.  This will reflect the additional work involved in producing an illustrated book.  I will do all I can to keep the price down but ebooks generally can’t be priced below $0.99 USD.

~ Steve

Counting Up To Networking

Summer?  It’s here?  Where?

It seems that summer is upon us.  At least, it is in some places!  Personally, I’m not convinced.  The weather here certainly doesn’t suggest it.  Anyway, judging by the stats, a fair number of people are now able to get out and about in good weather, and maybe even have vacations.  There’s definitely been fewer people looking around the blog over the last week or two.  Hopefully they’ll wander back when they aren’t off enjoying themselves LOL!  In the meantime, while the summer months may not get the same volume of traffic, I’ll maintain posting daily, if possible.

Numbers

Anyway, I was delighted to discover, this morning, that the blog has still managed to reach a total of over 7.000 views since I started it!  The vast majority of those views, more than 6,300 of them, have come since the beginning of 2013.  The blog also has just over 370 direct followers – kind folk who have either clicked on the ‘Follow’ link if they use WordPress.com too, or subscribed by email.  I would like to thank all of you who have done so!  When the Social Networks are added in, that’s a lot of followers or people who at least receive notifications of what’s happening on the blog.  In fact, there are 1280 Twitter and 370+ Facebook followers.  I also have way over 500 LinkedIn connections, 200+ fans and friends on Goodreads, and links with folk on Google+, Pinterest, tumblr, etcetera.  Of course, there’s duplication, but it’s still an awful lot of very good people!

The Same Old Advice?

I have seen a few posts recently extolling the virtues of Social Networks.  It still intrigues me that the message is still being pounded out that Social Networks are not only nice to be a part of, but fundamentally essential to success, despite my own recent findings to the contrary.  Don’t mistake me!  I have no intention of abandoning the Social Network scene!  What concerns me is the forceful claims.  Surely these must impact on those newest to writing and self-publishing?  If that’s true, just how useful, or damaging, is the advice?  Active participation in, for example, Facebook soon leads folk away from the matter in hand into strange lands, where peculiar graphically enhanced (GE rather than GM) quotations – many of dubious authenticity in regard to the alleged sources, humorous photographs of animals and other matter, status messages where folk have hit the panic button having read a piece of ‘news’ proven entirely false some years previously, invitations to participate in (fake) competitions for products that are too good to miss out on owning, invitations to join groups/like pages/play games… well, you get the idea!  So, the one absolute certainty of devoting significant time to Social Networks like Facebook and Twitter is that there’ll be no hope of ‘distraction free’ writing!  Other networks can be approached with a little more confidence, but even they have their dangers, circling like sharks, ready to strike.  For example, Goodreads.  There is, in my honest opinion, nothing to compare with Goodreads!  It is a superb system for readers, authors and reader/authors.  But, there are perils, mostly in the form of the hundreds (maybe thousands) of ‘special interest groups’ and more generalised forums.  Join more than a handful, and you will be pulled and pushed, poked and prodded, to be active in them.  And that’s when the trouble starts – just like Facebook and Twitter: overload!  So the potential damage to the actual writing process is obvious.  What about benefits?  Well, I guess there are some.  When an author’s website or blog is very new, then the Social Networks may bring a few visits from the curious, and I do mean a few!  The evidence simply can’t be disputed.  A more significant benefit is in finding other authors!  But even there, it’s good to be wary.

Mistakes in Social Networking

Believe it or not, many authors who have been using the Social Networks for a significant amount of years are actually abusing the system, deliberately or otherwise.  It may be that they simply haven’t got the message, or they may have ignored or discarded it.  There is, however, a very simple truth that must be given heed to!  It is very bad practice to issue post after endless post advertising your book(s)”!  Don’t believe it?  Then you evidently enjoy being continuously Spammed via email, social network sites, and so forth.  More, you enjoy Spamming others!  Because that’s what it is.  If all you ever post is advertising your work or you, then people will flock to the doors – the exit doors!  Apart from the Spam aspect, it’s just bad manners to do it.  If you blog, then let your blog system post updates about your blog.  Don’t repeat the effort.  Social Networks exist to keep people in touch with each other, in a sense that sees constant advertising as an evil.  If you do the same to people you know in real life, then I pity them, and the chances of you having many real life connections are very low indeed.  No, you have to work at it properly!  You have to provide interesting, humorous, sometimes informative information, with only the occasional advertisement for your work, almost as an aside.  This is true at all levels – from blog to network.  Anything else, and the only visitors you’ll have in any numbers will be Spambots and worse – and many of those won’t bother with you, either, because your statistics are so shockingly low.  Everything is open to abuse, intended or misguided.  If you’re determined to use the available facilities, learn to look beyond yourself, beyond your work.  If you’re not inclined to provide ‘informative’ posts, at least try to amuse your readers!  It’s like any social situation.  You have to ‘court’ your audience, even if you don’t appear to have one.  If you get it right, people will find you!  More, if you truly engage in a friendly manner with both readers and fellow authors, others will support your efforts – not just in direct responses but by Tweeting, posting to Facebook, and numerous other ways.  But I’ll sound another note of caution here: if you set out to use others, they will find you out!  In other words, just be a real, ordinary, sociable person – willing to help others not because you want something in return, but simply because

The best advice I have to give?  Be ‘good people’.

~ Steve

Reviewing The Adventure So Far

DSCN7533 I thought I’d share a photo’ or two.  These are the first two paperbacks of my novelettes.  I was finally able to get some batteries for my camera.  Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to get them into good light so there’s some flash flare on the photo’.  Still, I think it’s better than a simple scan!  I still can’t begin to describe just how it felt, after waiting 43 years, what it’s like to hold them in my hand.  Don’t get me wrong!  I doubt very much that I would have them now, if I hadn’t first discovered the miracle of ebooks.  Seeing my ebooks receiving interest gave me the courage to go for the ‘real thing’!

Perhaps that’s the true importance of ebooks and self-publishing.  Without ebooks, I would have continued to write, but what I wrote would have remained forever a curious pile of paper or collection of computer files, gathering dust, getting damaged or lost.  I’ve never had the resources to mail agent after agent, publisher after publisher – well, not since my youth, anyway.  As many manuscripts I produced were either written longhand or typed in non-manuscript format (MS format took far too much paper), I couldn’t even afford to have them typed professionally, ready in case somebody actually showed interest.  But ebooks!  Oh what a revolution!

DSCN7525 Early experiments with PDFs had not convinced me.  I don’t like them.  It’s as simple as that.  SO a handful of half-hearted attempts at writing on the computer simply sat there, doing nothing.  discovering Kindle ebooks and ePubs transformed everything!  A good number of short story ebooks yielded the fact that I could get readers – judging by the number of downloads.  It was this that led to the novelettes.  Naturally, like the vast majority of Indie writers, translating hundreds of downloads of free stories into sales of longer tales has not been quite so impressive.  In fact, I still get excited by a sale.  That gives you some idea of how quick sales are going!  Despite that, I know that there are millions of people who don’t like ebooks, so I decided to issue the novelettes as paperbacks, at the absolute minimum price.  I’m not sorry I did, even if I’m yet to get any sales!

And that’s the thing.  I have made a discovery.  I now know that the dream on its own is enough!  Yes, some sales would be very nice, and no, they’ll never make me rich – or even financially ‘comfortable’, but, I have realised the most cherished dream of my life!  Yes, I would feel immensely honoured to have readers, especially ones who come back for more, but that would be icing on the cake, and icing without a cake is rather pointless.  After all these years, I now know that it is simply the sense of having moved from a manuscript to a finished, honest-to-goodness, book is incomparable in terms of satisfaction.

Does that al sound egocentric?  It probably does, but I’m honest enough to acknowledge the truth, now that I understand it.  This realisation of a simple fact caused me to consider something.  Is my ambition now fulfilled?  Do I now move to something new?  Well, you may be unhappy to learn that I intend to continue writing.  I have another ambition, and it may even be the one that has driven everything else this far.  I want to see one of my novels not in ebook format, nor even in paperback.  I really wish to see one in hardback!  More, it should be a stylish hardback, such as anybody would be proud to display on their most publicly visible bookshelf.  Sure, it can have a slip cover, but the bare book, without that paper wrapping, however ‘pretty’ is very much secondary.  And here, I will make a confession.  I came very close to having that a very long time ago.  I contacted a company I thought were legitimate publishers.  In fact, I discovered that they were ‘Vanity publishers’.  Still, if I had had more money and less sense, I would have leapt at the opportunity to see my book published.  I had a clear impression of how it would look, and I so wanted it!  Yet, with the good sense instilled in me by excellent parents, I recognised that it would be an expensive way to massage my ego.  As a result, and not without a few twinges of regret, I rejected the deal and returned meekly to the realms of the author dreaming but not succeeding.  Today, I am very glad that I didn’t take that route.

The other two of my novelettes are on the brink of appearing as paperbacks.  My recently completed novella will follow as swiftly as possible.  I’ve now begun writing another book, which will be the fourth of the G1: The Guardians series, and I don’t yet know what length it will be.  It is my hope that it will be the longest tale yet, but that could mean that it will still be of novella length.  My production rate has declined, but that’s natural given the increased length of each book.  I’m not really writing less, it’s just more concentrated.

So far, this adventure has been fascinating and fun.  With any luck, it will continue in the same vein!

~ Steve

Book Collectors

As the owner of several antiquarian standard books, including a very early copy of The Virginian by Owen Wister, I began to wonder what impact ebook publishing would have on First Edition volumes.  There are two types of First Edition owners: the true bibliophile and the investor.  The former may be less concerned about the fact that a book may have originally been published as an ebook, but what about the latter?  Of course, we may not particularly care about the investor’s attitude, if that’s all they are.  I know that I would rather that all First Editions were owned by true bibliophiles, and especially those who loved the books for their content first and foremost.  Even so, will we see a shift away from just ‘First Edition’ to ‘First Print Edition’?  One thing is patently obvious: there will never be a trade in First Edition ebooks!  There’s a better chance of eReaders becoming valuable collectibles.  Does that leave a gap in the book trade?

I know that many authors enjoy owning every First Edition of their own works, and giving copies to family and friends.  This obviously can’t happen in the same sense with ebooks.  Is it something we should mourn?  Are we going to be happy with the ‘First Print Edition’ alternative?  Or are we resigned to waiting until we publish (ourselves or through publishers) printed books?  And there’s another question springing from that.  Many self-published authors opt for paperback editions (I know I have), because the cost of hardbacks would be exorbitant.  But paperbacks, notoriously, don’t stand the test of time well (though I’ve bought hardbacks that have actually been even worse!).  Are we, by the combination of producing our first editions as ebooks and self-publishing as paperbacks, devaluing our own collections of our own works?

I’m a great proponent of ebook publishing, especially as it gives genuinely able authors opportunities which might never otherwise occur.  At a personal level, I’m perfectly happy to accept the ‘loss’ of a pure First Edition of any of my works.  I’m also happy to accept the fact that any First Print Edition will be in paperback.  To me, the value of a book must be, above all else, in its content.  My ownership of antiquarian books has less to do with their age than those other qualities of printed books: the look, feel and smell!  You may think me odd, but one or two of the old books I own that I cherish most are not antiquarian standard.  In fact, they’re not even a high standard.  They were printed during the two World Wars, when paper was not to be wasted on such things.  The paper they’re made from is coarse, thick and very badly trimmed.  All of which gives them  a curious quality.  More, they were obviously considered to be works of such importance that they were published!  I wonder how many modern books would be so honoured in the same circumstances?  I suspect that we would see just about all books being hastily converted to digital formats.  Publishers are, after all, in existence to make money.  Being prevented from publishing hundreds of books because of restrictions imposed by governments because of war would not sit well with them.  What then for the First Edition aficionados?

In parting, let me make one thing quite clear!  The issue of First Edition values has nothing to do with whether a book is self-published or not.  Many famous authors would never have achieved their renown without self-publishing, and their First Editions are extremely valuable.  It is only a question of the nature of the first edition of a work that is involved.

It will be interesting to see how the trade in First Editions develops in coming years.

~ Steve

Indies Unlimited – the website for all Indies: Guest Post by Carol E. Wyer

carol wyer Imagine, if you can, a middle-aged technology-challenged woman who has eight friends on Facebook (four of whom are her son’s friends) and who isn’t sure what a blog is. Yes, that was me three years ago, when I decided to write my first novel about a middle-aged woman who writes a blog, has a torrid online affair with an ex-lover on Facebook and makes hundreds of cyber friends.

overlay medium Sometimes, life imitates art and in my case it did exactly that. (Apart from the torrid affair bit.) This was not thanks to luck but thanks largely to one genuinely kind author, Stephen Hise, and a website he started along with some very talented folk: Indies Unlimited.

All new writers flounder. The internet is awash with advice and help but if you, like me, don’t know where to begin, then having a website like Indies Unlimited is an absolute Godsend. Should you need advice about anything at all to do with writing, publishing or social networking, you are sure to find the answer there.

If you want to grow your own social platform then the twice weekly “Like-fests” allow you to do just that. If you want to challenge your writing abilities, you can enter the weekly Flash Fiction challenges and if you need to know how to become a super dooper internet social butterfly, then the weekly tutorials will introduce you to tools you never would have dreamed of and you’ll become an internet guru.

Indies Unlimited is filled with intelligent, well-written articles and features from authors who clearly know their stuff. I subscribed to the newsletter and got a daily dose of what was on offer. Before long, I was able to set up pages at Goodreads, my own author page on Amazon, Facebook and Twitter, shorten URLs, learn about the latest developments in the publishing world, find out if services I might have otherwise considered weren’t just rip-offs, and was thoroughly entertained every day, by lively posts. The biggest success came when I followed a tutorial about joining HARO, help a reporter online. I followed KS Brooks’ advice and sent off a pitch in response to a query. It later transpired that the query was from NBC who chose my pitch, interviewed me, wrote an article about me and gave my book a lot of exposure on their website too.

The tutorials transformed my online life. I rapidly learned an enormous amount and became fascinated by the tools you can employ or use to improve your life as a writer.

It may sound like I am gushing here, and to an extent I suppose I am, however, writing can be lonely, and advice, especially good advice is hard to come by. Indies Unlimited offers sound thoughts and expertise based on personal experiences.

Last year, I was invited to join the team at Indies Unlimited. I write mostly about marketing since I have become somewhat of an expert on that side of things, and more recently I’ve begun to write some of the tutorials. I love researching and finding out new ways to help authors so they can get their work noticed.

That’s the key thing about Indies Unlimited; the authors are so enthusiastic and want to help others. It is infectious. I find, even now, that I want to discover more and share that knowledge.

Indies Unlimited gave me more than the confidence and support I needed to become a well-known author; it gave me a group of incredibly friendly and supportive people who are only too happy to help with a query. If you are starting out or indeed have questions you would just like answered, drop by the website. You are sure to find what you need and more.

********

carol wyer Carol E Wyer is a Contributing Author for Indies Unlimited and an award-winning and best-selling author of humorous novels including MINI SKIRTS AND LAUGHTER LINES, SURFING IN STILETTOS, and HOW NOT TO MURDER YOUR GRUMPY. Carol has been featured on NBC News, BBC Radio, and in The Huffington Post  For more information, please see the IU Bio page and her website: http://www.carolewyer.co.uk

cew Grumpy cew miniskirts

Updating Progress and DIversifying

Progress Report: Paperback Editions

As you probably know, I’m testing the service provided by FeedARead and Skoobebooks.  Having submitted my manuscripts to both (a different one to each), I was pleasantly surprised to get feedback fairly quickly – on Monday, in fact.  Now, the first comparison is possible.  The email from FeedARead gave the reason why the manuscript needed revision – somehow, the page numbering had gone wrong and I had a book full of Page 1s.  It was sent from an automated system, which meant that emailing back would be pointless.  That struck me as being very impersonal and not a pleasure to deal with.  The response from Skoobebooks was entirely different.  The initial email was from the person who had reviewed my manuscript.  They indicated three corrections they had made, which included correcting a couple of typos, and offered the PDF proof for my approval.  As it happened, I had since spotted a couple more minor alterations that I wanted to make, so I supplied a revised manuscript.  This involved several emails back and forth.  A much more personal service!  I’m now waiting for the revised PDF proofs for my approval.

Progress Report: Writing

I am no nearer resuming work on my novel, which is very frustrating.  However, I should be releasing my new novelette, and my longest work to date, very soon.  It follows on from Shade of Evil and takes up the story of that mysterious group, the Guardians.  It involves their top team – G1.  The series of stories will, in fact, be entitled G1: The Guardians.  The tales of this group of warriors for humanity will take them into some extraordinary situations.  The first two novelettes are merely the beginning!  Meanwhile, the adventures of Captain Henri Duschelle are waiting in the wings, always ready to be told.  What lies in wait for him and his crew is a mystery, for now.  Finally, I am considering bringing the Thief short stories together in a single paperback volume.  If I do so, then I regret to say that I will have to withdraw them as free ebooks, so get them while you can.

New! A General Blog

Yesterday saw the first general post on what was my knitting blog and which will be a general topics blog henceforth.  I will be revising its look and changing its name (if I can), to reflect its new mission.  I won’t cross post between the two, but the general blog might make the occasional mention of things happening here on Imagineer-ing.  The posts over there will reflect things other than writing that feature in my life.  I haven’t yet decided on a new name for it but I hope to shortly – possibly even later today!  I would be very happy to see you over there from time to time, if you’re interested in my thoughts outside of writing, or what some may see as being trivial posts.  You are likely to discover more about me, and my family, there. 

~ Steve

A Question of Ambition and Beyond eBooks

Why Are You Writing?

When we look at our aims, our ambitions, as authors, what do we see?  Are we honest with ourselves, or do we drift in blissful dreams of semi-delusion?  In honesty, most of us will only ever write either just for ourselves, or maybe for a small circle of friends and followers.  It’s a sad fact of life.  If we’re really lucky, and offer a free ebook, we may enjoy the feeling of our ebook being downloaded by others.  Unfortunately, most of these downloaders won’t ever actually read the ebook, and those that do probably won’t provide any feedback.  Worse, I’ve heard of some submitting cruel, viciously scathing reviews even when they haven’t read the ebook!  The internet can be a very nasty place at times.  If you attach a price, watch how few copies are bought – that will give you some insight into the often splendid number of downloads of free offerings.

Does all this mean that we should stop writing, or at least stop offering our work to others?  The answer to that depends on why you’re writing.  If you’re looking at it only as a potential means of making money, then I’d say don’t bother!  If, on the other hand, you are driven to write, then does it matter whether others ever read your work?  It’s a bit like decorating. Do you decorate your home to impress visitors, or because it pleases you?  I have been writing for many years, and most of my production in that time will never make it beyond the manuscript stage.  Indeed, much of it has been lost.  Yet I have no regrets at having made the effort to respond to that force which drives me to write!  In fact, I have a certain quiet pride of how much I’ve written, and I look back with pleasure at some passages which were particularly effective.  So, with the writing-bug driving you, then the answer has to be that you never stop writing.  It’s part of your nature and there’s no true need for validation of an intrinsic character trait.

Assuming that you are going to carry on writing, but believe that ebooks alone aren’t the only option you want to try,then read on…

FeedARead

Yesterday, 6th April, I happened upon a post on my Facebook Newsfeed.  It made reference to something that intrigued me.  The subject was simply referred to as FeedARead, without a link.  A quick Google search yielded a result and I pursued the link.  I discovered that FeedARead is a ‘print on demand’ (POD) service, allowing authors an opportunity to upload their manuscript and turn it into a genuine paperback edition!  They offer sales through their website alone, or through many major bookstores.  And the cost?  None, zero, zilch!  Now, if that isn’t interesting, I don’t know what is.  The royalties may not seem particularly big, but then you’re now dealing with much higher production costs.  If it gets you the opportunity to get even one book out there, and hopefully noticed, then a relatively low financial return is worth it.  The package is made even more attractive in that you don’t have to buy an ISBN first.

Consequent to this find, I have started the process of putting one of my novelettes through the system.  Important note here: download and use the Word templates that they provide free!  They offer two sizes of paperback, depending on the size of your book.  The templates allow you to create a properly formatted manuscript for the book size you have chosen.  Just make such amendments as you need to, to the pre-filled parts (the title page and the ‘rights’ page) and then copy your manuscript into the template.  The website offers excellent guidance on making your manuscript right for publication.  One note, if you use OpenOffice or one of its derivatives, such as Libre Office, then save the manuscript in Word DOC format, close the file and reopen it, recheck how the chapters look, and only then use the DOC file.  I discovered, after uploading the DOC file, that subtle differences existed between the ODT and DOC files.  There’s a cover designer on the website, including some very nice cover templates for free.  You can, of course, use your own cover images.  Note that you can’t complete the cover design for submission until you have completed the full content approval stage..  Content approval involves you waiting for a PDF proof of your manuscript to be sent to you.  This has to be checked and accepted.  One reason for this is so that the system knows how wide the spine of your paperback will be.  There’d be no point designing a cover with a spine that was too big!  I am currently awaiting the PDF proof.  When I’m able to progress further, I’ll update you on how it goes.

I’m kind of excited about this new venture.

~ Steve

“The Ossilan Affair”: New Release

The Ossilan Affair Yes, folks!  Captain Henri Duschelle has sailed again.  In fact, he sailed right into the Amazon bookstores worldwide.  The latest adventure was released yesterday, 28th March.  It’s another novelette, of around 43 pages, or a little over 13,500 words.  To quote the blurb:

A terrible disaster on the Earth type planet of Ossilan leads to Captain Henri Duschelle and his crew being enlisted to risk destruction to investigate. The mystery isn’t what it appears to be, with powerful forces working in the background. Can Duschelle solve the mystery, and live to tell the tale?

This tale follows on, chronologically from the last, For the Sake of Mercy.

You can buy the ebook in Kindle format from:

Amazon.com (worldwide)

Amazon UK

Amazon Canada

Amazon France

Amazon Germany

Amazon Spain

Amazon Italy

Amazon Japan

Amazon Brazil

If you’d like to buy a copy in a different format, you can either wait until it’s released through Smashwords or you can contact me directly.  I can email other formats, as soon as payment is received.