Category Archives: Publishing

Firing up again!

Yesterday we had another meeting of my film group and have two project shoots planned for July now. I am so ready to go! Still a lot to be done.

I only have the outline of story No.2, so need to write dialogue, preferably before next week’s meeting. It’s a fun story about a camping trip gone bad, with a twist at the end. Can’t tell you much more about it though, got to keep up the suspense!

I also need to get the AFP website up and running, including the short that we filmed in March. We have a website up at the moment, but it doesn’t let us play a movie so I am working on fabricating a website from scratch. Steep learning curve!

Next to this I am still working hard to re-edit my first novel, so the first seventy pages are not just information without action. It’s a tough job, but it has to be done. My stick behind the door for that one is that I really, really like to re-launch my books with the new covers!

And I need to get writing on the last book of the trilogy, but I’m afraid that will have to wait until after July and we have done the filming.

Apart from this I need to organise carpet for my bedroom, put a second paint layer on the walls and paint the skirting boards, preferably before the carpet is put in.

Whaaahh!!!

New Book Covers!

I can’t help myself, I’m so happy with my new book covers made by David Williams (david@dswilliams.com) that I’ve got to show them to you. Working with David was a pleasure and he changed every little detail that I wanted, again and again, without sighing even once! And the results are awesome…

So, let me know what you think of the covers!

 

© Copyrighted

Lessons Learned #15

I’m sorry for the lateness of this Lessons Learned, I normally post them on Fridays. Things never go the way you want them to go. I could have written it last night, but I had to watch ‘Warcraft’ at the cinema 🙂 .

This time, as expected, I want to share with you the lesson I learned about book covers. If multiple people tell you to hire a design artist, then maybe you should! They say ‘don’t judge a book by its cover,’ but everybody does. A cover is the calling card that draws people in. You have to make sure it stands out from the rest. Have a look at some book covers. Some are really not as good as they could have been. And what makes some covers really good? What are the things a cover should have/not have? Here are a few tips.

  • You must be able to read the title in a thumbnail. So don’t use long title names, like I did. I have just decided that ‘Succedaneum’ is way too long and have shortened it to ‘Suckers’. That’s the name I use in the book anyway.
  • Don’t use the same font for the author name as for the title name. I don’t know the reason why, but it’s a big no-no to do so. Use a serif and a sans-serif font, but they have to complement each other. It took me a while to figure out what this meant, but I think it means that if the e’s are round in serif, they also need to be round in sans-serif (not the hayfork version). Same with the a’s and k’s. They all have to be alike.
  • Make sure the title doesn’t disappear into the background. So don’t, like I did, use a dark red title on a black background. Again, this makes it really hard to read in a thumbnail.
  • Don’t put too many images on your cover. Don’t’ try to tell the story on the cover. Leave some for the imagination of the reader. Too many images also distracts from the title.
  • Don’t make the author name too small. Be proud you wrote a book!
  • Don’t use a male, six-pack, torso on the cover unless you promise some erotica inside the book. Just… don’t.
  • Hire a good graphic designer to do the work for you. Not only can they do it in a jiffy, they have an enormous ‘library’ of images to choose from. I just spend £20 on an image from the internet of a butterfly, which, when I finally got it, appeared to be a fake butterfly…
  • Don’t be afraid to tell the graphic designer what you like/don’t like. It’s your book, it should be the way you want it.

I hope these few tips help you make your book cover awesome!

Have a Happy Writing Weekend!

10 Reviews for Succedaneum – Living Like A Vampire on Amazon.com!

Hooray! I have ten reviews for my first book, Succedaneum – Living Like A Vampire, on Amazon.com! Slowly but surely we’re getting there. I also have three on Amazon.au, three on Amazon.co.uk and two on Amazon.nl., so I have eighteen in total. A bit to go yet before I can get on a promotional website, but it’s only been five months since it was released.

Most reviews are for four or five stars, which is a great boost as I was wondering whether I should write at all. But people seem to like what I have written. I only have one three-star review, which was a very honest review telling me I still have a long way to go to become a good writer (hey, I’m still wearing writer diapers here!). I also received a one star review, which appears to be a mistake as the person in question mentioned that they downloaded the sequel and wanted to read more in the series. It gave me a bit of a freight when I saw it first as it did take my overall rating in the UK down to three stars, but if people read the review they will realise what happened.

Mind you, I have only sold thirteen books. The most recent reviews were given by other authors after I gave them an ARC. It is great to get reviews from other authors as it gives you an idea of where you’re at. They could have said it was rubbish. But they didn’t. Phew!

If you haven’t read my book yet, you can get it by clicking on the top image of it in the left sidebar. It’s very entertaining, a good six hours read, and well worth the (little amount of) money! And tomorrow the price will go up, so get your copy now!

As I have promised so many other authors to read their books and give my honest opinion (I’ll be reading well into the new year by now) I can’t accept all requests. So I promised one author to put the blurb of his book on my blog, so here it is:

The Man Upstairs

– by Mark Fowler –

Frank Miller, hero of the best-selling mystery novels written by The Man Upstairs, works the weird streets of Chapeltown as a private detective. During the legendary case of the Black Widow everything changed when Frank became aware of his fictional existence. Proclaimed at the time as a work of genius, Frank wonders if it was the first sign that The Man Upstairs was sick.

This latest case, involving the death of a care worker, and coinciding with the appointment of Chapeltown’s first elected mayor, has Frank baffled. The Man Upstairs appears to be losing the plot, giving the womanising Frank a steady girlfriend, Marge, who warns him that to survive he must change from the tired cliché that he has become.

As the case darkens Frank recognises the depth of his creator’s sickness. His days are numbered as clearly as the pages in the books in which he features. The looming battle with the Mayor of Chapeltown is nothing less than the battle to save himself, Marge, the series – and the mind of The Man Upstairs.

The Man Upstairs is plotting to kill Frank Miller and take Chapeltown to hell.

If this has sparked your interest, it’s available here.

Juggling…

I am trying to juggle at the moment. I never was any good at it. I could do it with two balls, sort of, but I never managed three. I knew girls who made it seem so easy, they could even do it with four! I have asked them how they did it, but all I got was ‘just do it.’ Much help that was.

Now I’m trying to juggle with more than I could ever handle. I’m trying to follow these writing courses, to advertise my books, to keep up with FARG entries, to read and write reviews for fellow authors, to write for the local writers’ club, to blog, to keep my Twitter entries interesting, to write my new book, to run the film group I started, and on top of that I need to keep my family taken care of (no, not in the final way).

I think I must be slightly manic-depressive, because I know I’m going to crash soon, experience tells me. I have these moments that I take on so much. I could take on the whole world if they wanted me to! And then there come the moments I come to nothing, when I prefer to stay in bed all day (and sometimes do). Fortunately I have this miracle husband, who never asks, never blames, never points the finger. He just takes me as I am. Frustrating sometimes, I admit, but good in the long run.

I don’t know how other people do it, ‘to stand in the middle of life.’ I don’t know if that’s a typical Dutch expression or not, but what I mean with it is that some people just do, and keep doing. I can’t. Everything is an effort. Usually I only do because there is a deadline. I run out of dishes, I have visitors coming, kids are waiting at school… I bought car wash soap the other day. My car needs washing. But I can’t make myself do it. Just the thought of getting wet horrifies me. I’ve driven past the car wash a couple of times, but it keeps being shut. And there is no deadline, so it will never happen…

When I write I don’t have this problem. Writing is not a chore for me. I don’t need to leave the house, I don’t need to get dressed, and, the best part, I can do what, when, where and how I want in my stories! Nothing is holding me back! It is such a wonderful feeling, it is almost intoxicating! I wished I could be like that in real life, but, alas, I am only me…

Copyright infringment!

Through my dear friends at #FARG it came to my attention that my second novel, Succedaneum – Raising A Vampire, was available as a free download on an obscure pirate website. I was furious!

I entered my first novel into the KDP Select program and had a free promo day last week. It is a common strategy to make your first novel available for free, so people get hooked an buy your sequels. Hence my second novel has never been available for free. These pirates must have bought it, converted it into a PDF and are now handing it out for free. WHY?

First of all my book is copyrighted, to offer it to anybody without my permission is an infringement of the law. Secondly, why would they want to rob me of my income? I worked hard to make this book happen. It cost me time and money, lots of it, to make something beautiful that brings enjoyment to others. Why do they want to punish me for this?

I saw this entry on the internet the other day about people paying just under £5 for a coffee that is made within minutes and then tipping the barista as well. These same people are complaining that a book, a work that somebody has sweated over for months if not years, something that will give them hours of reading pleasure, is too expensive at £0.99! This is just wrong! Why do people value books so little nowadays? True, indie books can be dodgy with bad storylines and atrocious grammar that make you cringe with every spelling mistake. But there are those of us who have pride in their work and have our work edited and proofread professionally, which costs lots of money… not to mention the time we spend on it…

Illegally downloading a book for free is like a kick in the nuts for an author. Some argue that it is a form of publicity. How else are people going to notice that you exist and have written a book? Lots of people have favourite authors because they were lent a book, they didn’t buy the first one. There is something to say for this. To find my book available on this website was a bit of a pat on the shoulder. Apparently they thought that people were interested in my books. I have no idea how many people have actually clicked on the ‘download’ button. I have no idea how much money I could have retrieved to cover my costs if these people would have bought my book. I only know how many books I still need to sell to have this happen and, according to the current indie book stats from Amazon, this is very unlikely to be in the near future…

If you truly want to support good writers, please please, pretty please, BUY their books!