I feel that I have already written too much of late about my new book covers, but it is a very important strategy in my plans for the future
I have quite a few books, but most of them were written years ago and the covers are stale. So, they need replacing. There is no argument about that. However, at what pace?
Obviously, cost is a constraint. People say that the benefits that the new covers will bring in… increased revenue… will pay for future investment. However, it doesn’t always work like that. Returns can be slower than hoped for.
Unexpected Results of Cover Changes
This can be because old customers don’t recognise the new covers or series formats. The benefits of change can be slow to accrue. Slower than hoped for, or expected anyway.
One thing that keeps me hopeful though is that I receive compliments on my new book covers several times a week, and mostly from people I don’t know.
That is encouraging, because even using the best cover design company in the world, it is a big step to rebrand… expensive too.
The company that I use allows an infinite number of remakes, but, which is perfect for the novice, even if a little embarrassing. It is far better to have thought about what information you want your new book cover to display beforehand. My tip is get a book off your shelf that is ‘similar’ to yours, ie if yours is in a series use one from a series as an example to copy.
My New Book Covers Checklist
So, my checklist for book cover design is: you will need the book title and your name for a start. Other options include: a subtitle, a series name, the number of the book in the series, and collaborators. Then on the back cover: a description or blurb, an author bio (and photo?), the title(s) (again?), and the cover designer. All the while remembering that you will need to leave enough room for the barcode.
Check out where I buy my new book covers on this link:
When the property is there, but it’s value is not being realised…
I know an author… Yes, all right, my father, Owen Jones, who has 1250 publications registered in his name on Amazon. Furthermore, they are all original books penned by him. However, he is not making a living from the books that he has created.
Many of his original works in English have been translated. Not only that, but all those books in English, and many other languages, exist as ebooks, paperbacks, audiobooks and even hardbacks.
I’ll say it again: 1250 publications with his name on them to date!
However, they are earning next to nothing… a giant pizza a week. He is not really making a living from books. In fact, he was earning more from his first few books ten years ago, than he is from all these hundreds now.
This doesn’t seem right to me. When I ask him about it, he says he likes writing and working with other writers both home and abroad. He suggests that he has probably fallen behind modern marketing methods.
I don’t know whether that is true or whether his low sales are attributable to the global slowdown that is a result of Covid. Nevertheless, whatever the reason is, there has to be a way to improve his situation.
Anyway, I am determined to find out how we can rectify the situation. When we do, we are willing to share our findings.
So, are there other authors out there in the same boat? Is there anyone out there who knows how to cash in on all this intellectual property?
I’m looking for a marketing expert who is willing to help us for a fair, even generous, percentage of sales. Furthermore, if the scheme works for us, then I would gladly refer you to other writers.
Please contact me, if you want, using the form in the title bar.
Daisy’s Chain – set in the rich person’s paradise of Marbella, Southern Spain
3 Do you prefer to read a particular genre? I like all genres
4 Do you write in the same genre? If not which one? I have written a fantasy, a western, and a contemporary crime drama
5 Have you always written and what got you started professionally? I got involved in story telling in the 8th grade. I wrote, directed and starred in a student film called ‘’Destination Destiny’’ I then picked up writing again in my early thirties. A movie producer friend of mine, challenged me to co-write a screenplay. And from that point on, I was hooked.
6 How many books have you published? One, ‘’Dragons in the Clouds’’ is my first published work. Although I do have other completed manuscripts waiting in the wings.
7 Which one would you like to tell us about? ‘’Dragons in the Clouds’’ of course.
8 Why did you write this book and what is it about?‘’Dragons in the Clouds’’ first started out as a project for ‘’Puff the Magic Dragon’’ that beloved song recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary. I was having lunch with the hair stylist for Universal movie producer Kathleen Kennedy’s hair stylist. I mentioned that I was working on a story based on Puff, then about a month later I read in Variety – the industry magazine – that Kennedy had bought the rights to Puff. Needless to say, that taught me a lesson to keep my mouth shut.
‘’Dragons in the Clouds” is a epic adventure that takes place in a time when Dragons were alive and freely roamed the land. The people during this time were getting eaten by a vicious specie of Dragon, the meat eaters. The ruling king of this period finally orders the total annihilation of all living Dragons. A powerful wizard named Merlinius, does not agree with the Kings order, for he knows that all Dragons are not what they seem. For Merlinius is friends to a species of Dragons, the plant eaters. So to protect his Dragon friends, Merlinius grants a family of Dragons the spell of weightlessness and then tells them to fly up and to hide in the cover of the Clouds. And for them to only come down at night to feed.
An unforeseen ability of the Dragons’ weightless spell is that their fire now looks like that of lightning and their roar now sounds like thunder. An apprentice to the wizard who has grandeur of his own has meat eating Dragons hidden deep within a cave and he too, gives them the same spell of weightlessness. Now enters a widowed mother and her young son who also has befriended a dragon, though a very young one. They suddenly find themselves caught between the king’s order and the battle that has begun between the two species of Dragons. A battle that will determine control of the skies above the Kingdom of Albion. The apprentice’s plan has consequences that may bring the Kingdom and perhaps the very world we live in today to a devastating end.
9 Book cover and ISBN/ASIN:
Dragons in the Clouds
ISBN -13: 978-1-949809-17-6 ASIN – B07KCQ8173
10 What would you like your next book to be on? I have a contemporary crime drama I am excited to publish. Titled ‘’Meaner than the Devil”
11 If you could go anywhere in the universe, where would you go and why? The centre of the milky Way. I heard that is the centre or origin of the Universe. The Nebula would also be awesome to get a closer look at.
12 Is there anything you can share about yourself or your work that not many people know? I love to write, When I get in the zone, I could write for hours and hours.
13 What is your favourite foreign food? Toss up between Italian and Mexican food.
14 Are you, or have you ever been a terrorist? Hurting people is evil, Wouldn’t have any part of that.
15 Have you ever accidentally called your spouse/partner by the name of a character in your latest book and if so what was his or her reaction? LOL, no.
5 Have you always written and what got you started professionally?
I was inspired to write after I lost my family 40+ years ago. It was like a part of the hidden me emerged. The pain of loss was so immense, my brain switched to pushing me to express my feelings through writing. I got started writing professionally by having a poem titled, “Dad”, I wrote that was published by “Success Unlimited”.
6 How many books have you published?
One. A second one, “The Real Ghost”, which won 1st place in the Waldorf Publishing Book Competition, is now being published by Waldorf.
7 Which one would you like to tell us about?
“The Real Ghost”.
8 Why did you write this book and what is it about?
I originally wrote “The Real Ghost” as a screenplay, after another screenplay I wrote, “Born to Win”, a story about a boy who sets out to win a muscle car race to win the prize money to pay for his Gramps’s life-saving surgery, was produced by Incline Productions, Inc. I converted “The Real Ghost” screenplay into a novel. “The Real Ghost” is a story about a boy who sets out to prove he saw Babe Ruth after no one in town will believe him. Known for telling “tall tales” to get attention, the boy wants to prove he is telling the truth this time. It is a light-hearted, suspenseful thriller that walks on the edge of the paranormal genre.
9 Book cover and ISBN/ASIN
Waldorf Publishing is in the process of publishing the book, so there is no book cover, or ISBN/ASIN at this writing.
10 What would you like your next book to be on?
My next book is titled “The Caller.” It is a suspense/thriller about a successful woman who sets out to find her soul mate only to experience that each time she dates someone, they are murdered. I am also presently writing my autobiography for my grandkids.
11 If you could go anywhere in the universe, where would you go and why?
I’ve been here before, but I would like to return to Stratford Upon Avon, the hometown of William Shakespeare. The community possesses positive energy for me. It is quiet there. The people are friendly, but not to the point of being pushy or anything like that. The fields surrounding the town are lush in green foliage. A small river runs through the town and there is a large oak tree right in the middle of a main thoroughfare in town. This particular road swerves around the tree to preserve the tree, which is about a block from Shakespeare’s grave. There is simply a certain kind of peace and safety there that is relaxing and nice.
12 Is there anything you can share about yourself or your work that not many people know?
I love to work out 6 days a week lifting weights, stretching, rowing & walking on a treadmill (knees from running for several years have limited me to walking on a treadmill). I am a Twitter freak. I love doing puzzles. I love to read. I love animals. I love my wife and traveling with her. We’ve been to numerous countries even marveling at the Berlin wall, crushed and being used for streets and walkways in Berlin, not to mention the Masai Mara Game Preserve in Kenya, where our wildest dreams of seeing wildlife closeup, became a reality.
13 What is your favourite foreign food?
Since I’ve been to numerous countries, it is difficult for me to single out one favorite foreign food. The Vietnamese Pho Ga stands out for me as one of my favorites.
14 Are you, or have you ever been a terrorist?
Being a terrorist, as far as I’m concerned, is one of the most cowardly ways to make a point. I use my brain to express myself, not guns, explosives, knives, beheadings, torture, murder, etc. So, no, I’m not or never have been a terrorist.
15 Have you ever accidentally called your spouse/partner by the name of a character in your latest book and if so what was his or her reaction?
No, I never have.
Thank you for telling us about yourself, Don. Best of luck with your new book. I hope that you will come back and give us a cover shoy and purchase details when it is available.
3 Do you prefer to read a particular genre? I read mostly detective mysteries, spy fiction, political thrillers, some adventure books, etc. Occasionally, I like to re-read a classic. For example, I am currently re-reading “War and Peace.”
4 Do you write in the same genre? No, although my writing time is limited, I try to write in different genres.
If not which ones? I have two additional projects in work in the mystery detective genre. I am planning to re-write a science fiction book I self-published in 1997. Following that, I have plans to write another nonfiction book on how to prepare proposals for the federal government.
5 Have you always written and what got you started professionally? When I was a freshmen in college, a classmate and I wrote a chapbook about the painters whose paintings were displayed in the lobby of the administration building. After I retired from the United States Air Force (USAF) in 1990, I started a career as a free-lance technical writer specializing in preparing proposals for companies desiring to get business with the government. I am still pursuing this career.
I still dabble in writing in my spare time. In 1995, I won a regional writing contest for a short story I wrote. I wrote a science fiction book (black comedy) in 1997. Then, I published my nonfiction book on doing business with the government in 1999. I wrote and published my novelette, “Harry’s War,” in 2012 and then in 2018, I published two of my short stories. “Mar: A Harry Miles Redemption Story” and “Melanie: A Tale of Wonder.”
I am a busy technical writer and do not get much time to pursue my fiction more fully now and in the immediate future.
6 How many books have you published? I have published two full length books (one fiction and one nonfiction), one eBook novelette, and two eBook short stores.
7 Which one would you like to tell us about? One I like is “Melanie: A Tale of Wonder.”
8 Why did you write this book and what is it about? I originally wrote the story in 1997. I was thinking about alternative history. What if a famous worldwide singer had not died but was stricken with a mysterious malady, had faked his death, and roamed the countryside doing odd jobs. Then, a freak accident gave him his voice back for a few hours and he used the occasion to befriend a ten-year old girl whose father was dying. This story is the result.
9 Book cover and ISBN/ASIN
Melanie: A Tale of Wonder
Melanie: A Tale of Wonder – ASIN: B07BZ3RGDJ
10 What would you like your next book to be on? I am slowly but surely working on a book called “Redemption.” It features Harry Miles but focuses on the development of his character, his tragic encounter, and his dive into despair, alcohol, oblivion, metamorphosis, tragedy, and his realization life endures.
11 If you could go anywhere in the universe, where would you go and why? Antarctica – it is the only continent on this planet I have not visited.
12 Is there anything you can share about yourself or your work that not many people know? Many people ask me the source of the name of my character, Harry Miles. I never knew my paternal grandfather, Harry Miles Benjamin. When my father was around eight or nine, my grandmother died, and her family looked after him and his sister. There was a division in the family and my grandmother’s family would not allow my grandfather to see my father or his sister. They eventually adopted my father and his sister. Legend has it my grandfather was an adventurer and succeeded in obtaining a new life for himself in the wilds of Canada. I felt a calling to name my character after him.
Harry is a composite of many fighter pilots I have known and dedicated to military people of all ranks and all military occupations (aircraft maintenance technicians, cooks, motor pool technicians, security personnel, etc.) who have dedicated their lives to a cause greater than themselves.
13 What is your favorite foreign food? I fell in love with polenta while working on proposals in Italy.
Thank you for telling us a little about yourself and your work, Ed Benjamin, perhaps, you will come back after you have finished your next project: Redemption, isn’t it?
PS: You can read more about ex-USAF Ed Benjamin’s featured book: Harry’s War by clicking this link: Harry’s War
For the sake of this article, let’s call them ‘books’, and their contents ‘stories’. I say this to silence the pedants from the outset, because there are several other variations and possibilities.
The reason that I started thinking about the subject of a book or story was because the other day, I was talking to someone who said that he was reading my book on his tablet. Being a bit of a pedant myself, I had to stop myself from saying something, not least though because I didn’t want to stem his adoration of my work.
However, what he said did get me thinking. Surely, a book is series of pages – a physical thing… something that you can put on a shelf and something you can leave to someone. In short, it can become an heirloom and even a valuable one – whether that be a monetary one, or a treasured family possession.
That is not true of an ebook though, is it? I mean even the best story in the world will never grow in value or sentiment as an ebook, because it can be copied ad infinitum and distributed freely (in most countries).
So, is it time to stop saying: ‘I’ve read your book’, when you mean ebook? I, at least, from now on, I will ask where they bought the book and whether it was the paperback or hardback.
Or do you think that that it’s nit-picking to talk of a book or story?
As an author, it is fairly valuable information to me, but to a reader, I suppose it seems irrelevant. It might even be embarrassing to reveal, as the ebook is still considered the down-market, even cheap option, although I buy ebooks if I don’t know the author, but want to try him or her out.
So, the easiest way out is to say: ‘I have read your story about…’, or you might just decide not to talk to me (on that subject, or even at all!), but that’s up to you, not me and, to be honest, I don’t care either way. As a linguist and a writer (and a pedant), I think that people should think more about the way they say things, if not about the things that they say.
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If you are a reader, or a writer, you probably use Amazon book rankings at some time or another. Even if you are a bookshop owner’s dream and buy your latest reads locally, the chances are that you do your research online and, therefore, on Amazon.
And why wouldn’t you?
‘What could be wrong with that?’ you might ask.
The answer is: nothing, as long as you are aware of some of Amazon’s weirdest policies.
I will come clean here, and say that I am a writer, and I know many writers, just as you know many people in your profession, trade occupation or hobby. I have about 175 books on Amazon and other online book retailers, and I have been doing it for about six years.
A few years ago, I forget how many, but let’s say three or four, the powers that be in Amazon decided to attempt to wipe out the widespread practice of ‘sock-puppet’ book reviews. Some unscrupulous authors, literary agents and publishers were buying a book on a false account and then leaving a gushing review about it.
They might do this a hundred times or more – at least enough times to boost the said book into the Amazon book rankings top-ten charts, which would ensure that it sold significantly more.
Beating Amazon Book Rankings
Buying hundreds of books was beyond many independent authors, so they might just open dozens of Amazon accounts in false names, or get their friends and family to write reviews for them. I’m sure that you can see what I am getting at.
You see, many, many readers choose their next read from the top-ten lists.
So, in attempt to combat this, Amazon decided to spy on authors’ social media accounts and delete any GOOD reviews from people that the author knew.
This is a bizarre method of dealing with the problem, because those who use fake accounts won’t appear in anyone’s friends list. On the other hand, many authors, myself included, end up becoming friends with some of their readers.
I could name six or seven right now off the top of my head – people I correspond with, but have never met. So, I (and they) have two options: either to pretend we don’t ‘know’ one another like secret agents in a comedy show, or let Amazon do its worst.
I choose the latter, and consequently have lost well over a hundred reviews on just my flagship novel, Behind The Smile.
It is a silly policy, but it also means that the top-ten lists that many people choose their books from are inaccurate.
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3 Do you prefer to read a particular genre? I mostly read various forms of fantasy or mystery books, though I read other stuff too.
4 Do you write in the same genre? If not which one? I write fantasy since I never could break my “make-believe” habit. In reality, I’m a hermit who doesn’t interact much with the outside world anymore, so creating fantasies where I can ignore the intricacies of the faddish world work best for me.
5 Have you always written and what got you started professionally? Started writing in the sixth grade when my teacher introduced me to the concept of me creating my own stories on paper. Have written since then. I sold mostly non-fiction. I didn’t start getting ending on most of my fiction until I retired. Writing keeps me busy and out of mischief.
6 How many books have you published? There Be Demons is the only book I’ve published, but I do have a list of several novellas and free short stories set in Andor. Once There Be Demons had a contract with a mom & pop publisher and I tried to build a platform for them. Must say the reviews for all of my available stories are decent.
7 Which one would you like to tell us about? Actually, I’d like to mention the There Be Demons sequence. The whole thing started with an idea about how would a gargoyle protect a city. Night for the Gargoyles was born, featuring Gillen as loadstar, and sold to Spectra Magazine, a defunct ezine out of the UK. But I kept wondering how Gillen would cope trying to teach the headstrong teen-aged girl he admired. There Be Demons was born. While I shopped it, I wrote On the Run set in the same world. The sequence runs: Showdown at Crossings, Night for the Gargoyles, There Be Demons, On the Run, and Rendezvous with Demons, if it gets written. [Rendezvous is about 30,000 words of sloppy notes and some chapters at the moment
8 Why did you write this book book and what is it about? See the book review here: There Be Demons
9 Book cover and ISBN/ASIN: ISBN: 0999203908 – ASIN: B075Q6KJST
There Be Demons
10 What would you like your next book to be on? It’s a little complicated. I have edits of a Far Isles Half-Elven novella in my computer I’d like to finish. Then, I don’t final edits on the sequel/stand-alone book titled On the Run. Then, I’m working on a new book is a possible trilogy. The working title is Rendezvous with Demons, featuring Britt/Cahal and Pillar/Nate plus other characters facing down a demon team of Vetis/Grylerrque.
11 If you could go anywhere in the universe, where would you go and why? My back yard. It’s relaxing under the trees watching the birds and butterflies do their thing. It’s my favourite place to read though I read mostly in my comfy chair in the living room.
12 What is your favourite foreign food? I don’t do favourites–either books or food. It all depends on my mood. Mostly I cook plain American, Mexican, and Greek. I learned to cook decent Asian food back in the day when my town didn’t have any good Asian restaurants. My least go-to food is Indian though I often cook curries with a heavy Asian accent.
13 Are you, or have you ever been a terrorist? I used to cause terror regularly, mostly when I was younger. I have strong opinions and wasn’t shy about sharing them, especially in public meetings.
Thank you very much for this interview M. K. Theodoatus, I look forward to your nrxt book.
I review crime books, so that makes up the bulk of my reading. I’m partial to police procedurals and psychological thrillers, darker than what I write.
4. Do you write in the same genre? If not which one?
I do write mysteries, a mix of amateur sleuth and police procedural over two series, so my reading is also helping me keep up with the curve of what’s popular with readers.
5. Have you always written and what got you started professionally?
I knew I wanted to writer from an early age and wrote everything from poetry to essays during a 30 year nursing career. I studied various forms and experimented, did journalism during that period for a nursing journal. By the time I was ready to change careers and write full time, I’d settled on mysteries because that’s what I enjoy reading the most. During that turnover period, I wrote interview articles for “Mystery Review” magazine and learned from many of the authors whose work I read. Good training!
6. How many books have you published?
I have four in The Nora Tierney English Series and one in the newer Trudy Genova Manhattan Mysteries. I’m writing the second one in the Trudy series right now, and then will go back to Nora #5 and continue to alternate them. I’m also co-author of a non-fiction primer on finding your writing group, Writing in a Changing World.
7.Which one would you like to tell us about?
The Golden Hour: Nora Tierney is an American writer living in England who’s left the magazine job that took her to the UK to write children’s books. Nora feels she and her young son are being stalked, at the same time her partner, DI Declan Barnes, is investigating the death of a young art conservator at Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum. How the two threads intersect provide the twisted plot.
Ausma Khan says the books is “…A meditation on love, loss and motherhood, The Golden Hour blends touchingly real domesticity with tongue-in-cheek humor, as the backdrop to a tale of art theft, germ warfare, and international conspiracy…Add to this is a wonderful sense of place—Bath, Brighton and Oxford are vividly rendered and charmingly true to life. Come for the crackling mystery, stay for the steady companionship of debonair detective Declan Barnes and feisty heroine, Nora Tierney, who offers warmth and smarts in equal measure.”
8. Why did you write this book book and what is it about?
What makes The Golden Hour different from the first three Nora Tierney mysteries is that I deliberately decided to take a darker turn with it. First, I didn’t want followers of the series to feel they were always reading the same book. And second, I felt I wanted to do something different to stretch myself as a writer. In the first 3 Nora’s and in the first Trudy, I’ve been exploring something that fascinates me: what makes a seemingly normal person feel it’s reasonable to cross that line and commit murder? What motivates a person to convince themselves to do that?
But in The Golden Hour, readers know up front who’s the bad guy. This one is not a Whodunit? but more of a Cantheystophim? A psychopath has launched a plan to take down the people of Great Britain, whom he loathes. He has the financial resources and contacts to make this happen, too, but his anger blinds him to how far people will go to protect those they love.
This is the first time I’ve written a psychopath, and to my surprise, I had great fun creating the evil Viktor Garanin. Readers learn the roots of why Viktor has hatched his plan. The theme revolves around ‘what is family?’ and who composes it as we take risks to make that happen.
The next book will be a Trudy Genova Manhattan Mystery, and is titled Death of an Heiress. Trudy has what was my favorite real nursing job during that career, working as a medical consultant for a NY movie studio. It’s the series my mentor, P D James, insisted I write, as she felt readers love a behind-the-scenes look at jobs they don’t know a lot about. The first in the series, Death Unscripted, is dedicated to her.
In the second, Trudy is working on a television film being shot at the famed Dakota apartment building on the Upper West Side, familiar to most people who are not New Yorkers as the place where John Lennon lived and died. In fact, Yoko Ono still lives there. In the story, the actress Trudy’s hired to watch over is in the early stages of a difficult pregnancy when she disappears. In reality The Dakota does not allow filming, but in Trudy’s world they do.
11. If you could go anywhere in the universe, where would you go and why?
I’d always go back to England. My husband and I will be there for two weeks this summer (2018) for setting research for me for the next two Nora books, mainly in Cambridge and Cornwall. I try to get there every other year, and sometimes attend St Hilda’s Mystery and Crime Conference in Oxford, the longest running conference of its kind in the UK. When I visit England, I feel as if I’m coming home and I used to joke that I’d lived there in another life. Then this Christmas my husband got us DNA kits. I always thought I was half German and half Italian in my roots. I am 17% of each of those, but to my enormous surprise, I am 20% British!
12. Is there anything you can share about yourself or your work that not many people know?
I’ve already told you I was a nurse before writing full time, which surprises many people. I read 2-3 books a week for my crime review blog, but when not reading or writing, I’m wrapped up in my two pups. My husband and I love dogs, and currently have two Australian Labradoodles, Seamus and Fiona. They wrestle and play together, sleep entwined, and have the sweetest nature. I highly recommend this breed, and they don’t shed!
13. What is your favourite foreign food?
That’s a tough one. With my Italian heritage, I’m fond of pastas and pizzas and tend to go there first. But I also like Greek and Mexican. I’ll even eat Indian. Must I choose?
14. Have you ever accidentally called your spose/partner by the name of a character in your latest book and if so what was his or her reaction?
While I haven’t called Doc by a character name, we did get into a bit of difference over a male character. In the first Nora book, The Blue Virgin, Nora is close to her illustrator, Simon Ramsey, who loves her. But she’s just ended an engagement, only to have the fiancé die a few days later in a plane crash; three weeks later she finds she’s pregnant. So her emotions are all over the place. When she meets DI Declan Barnes, sparks fly but she’s in no place to start a relationship.
In further books once it became clear that Nora and Simon would be loving friends but nothing more than that, Doc read the first draft and told me I’d gotten it wrong, that Nora had to end up with Simon! I finally said to him: “You must think Simon is modeled on you, but he’s not!” He’s since gotten over it . . .
You will be able to read more about M. K. Graff’s The Golden Hour on this blog when I have finished the review (soon).
You will be able to access details of M. K. Graff’s The Golden Hour on this site when the relevant page goes up (soon).
This is a special day for me, it is the day that I took the advice, yet again, of my friend, Lord David Prosser, and started my own personal blog diary. He has been advising me to do it for years, but, well, I can be stubborn and stupid. However, today, I am committed to writing a blog diary post at least every week and hopefully every day. I am saying that with the enthusiasm of the newly converted, not, I hope, with that of the average maker of New Year’s resolutions. I hope not anyway. I mean to do this, but saying that makes me sound like a resolutionist already, if there is such a word, but I’m sure that at least you know what I mean, dear reader, and that’s all that counts. So, what am I going to be writing about in this new blog diary of mine? No, it’s a fair question, but one to which I don’t have a clear reply. Anything and everything! Sounds good, but I doubt if I will ever write about space travel, dogging or hawking. I’ll probably write about what I do every day, hence blog diary, and that is living the life of a sixty-year-old writer of novels who lives in a remote village in the rice belt of northern Thailand with his Thai wife and their four-month-old granddaughter, the first child I have lived with since I left home as a teenager, over forty years ago. I also like dogs and languages. Well, all animals, really, except mosquitoes and slugs, but definitely all languages. I learned seven to fluency in my distant past, and now I am trying to learn Thai. It is touch and go at the moment whether I will succeed or the language will continue to elude me. I’ve been trying for ten years already and my wife says I haven’t made a lot of progress, but I may have another ten years left, if the three score years and ten thing is accurate. I’ll hope it is until I get there, then I’ll probably jump ship and believe that it’s a load of bunkum. Such is life, or mine anyway. What else? you may be asking. I have travelled a lot, I have been using computers every day for more than half my life, I like chocolate and beer and sailing. I like swimming too, and used to be pretty good at it, but decades of inactivity have so far put the kibosh on that, although I still love anything to do with the water. I have always felt an affinity for it, but whether that has to do with the protective amniotic fluid in my mother’s womb or the sea from where they say that all our ancestors originated, I do not know. Perhaps, your opinion will depend on whether you have a stronger propensity towards being a Freudian or a Darwinian, but I’ll leave that up to you, if you choose to return to see what is written in my new blog diary tomorrow. Anyway, nice to meet you and hope to see you again. Say ‘hello’ in the comments box of my blog diary below if you’ve a mind to, I’d love to hear from you.
I have written and self-published more than a hundred books, so it came as quite a surprise to me the other day when a good friend and author of four excellent books told me that he found authorship in the form of self-publishing on his own daunting and confusing. It seemed so straight-forward to me, but it got me thinking.
If my intelligent, Internet-savvy friend found self-publishing on his own difficult, how many other authors must be having the same problem with self publishing by themselves as well?
I suppose it’s quite obvious really. We all have our blind spots, don’t we? Some people can’t even boil an egg, mend a car or write a book, so it stands to reason that some people won’t be able to understand how to self-publish a book on their own via the Internet too. I suppose the problem is a mixture of technology and terminology. If you don’ understand the instructions that you are reading, how can you do what they are telling you to do?
As it happened, I was in the final stage of writing a novel, so when it came to publishing, self-publishing, it, I described exactly what I was doing so that other writers could easily follow the process. When that book was published, I wrote the whole process down and followed the narrative to publish that manual on self-publishing.
I am happy to report that my instructions, help and advice allowed the publication of that reference manual to be achieved without let or hindrance!
So, there you have it, there is now a brand-new book on the market which will take you through the process of authorship and self-publishing step by step. However, there is not only one route to self-publication, since there are two sorts of books these days and two major printer/publishers for the do-it-yourself author. Not to mention the four of five major distributors that you must have your book with in order to have a chance of selling it to many people.
The two types of book are, of course, print books and ebooks. Before you pooh-pooh ebooks, let me say that Amazon reported in 2010 that it had sold more ebooks than paperbacks for the first time ever and that it could only foresee that trend increasing. The two printer/publishers available to self-publishing authors are Amazon and Lulu. Amazon creates and sells print books via CreateSpace and ebooks via Kindle, both of which are owned by Amazon.
The other major distributors of books and ebooks are: Apple’s iBookstore, Barnes and Noble, Nook, Smashwords and XinXii. All of these outlets require a different form of book or ebook. The format of print books and ebooks is completely different anyway, but Kindle, Lulu, Smashwords and XinXii each have different requirements for ebooks too, so if you want to be with them, you will need to know what they want.
This reference manual sets out the requirements of each of these outlets and describes, step by step, what you have to do to format your book’s text to meet them. Anyone, no matter how a-technical, can be a self-publisher on his own with the help of this book.