Saturday, 29 August 2015


Here's a link to an article about a very important sequel - not mine!

Plus a picture of me taken when outdoors in the winter time which I think is fast approaching. Leaves are falling  and starting to turn already, and its not September yet.

My good news is that I have just published THE MAGICIAN'S BRIDE on Amazon Kindle. I've been working on it since I went to France in May right up until last night when I published the last few updates. (One person had already bought it from Amazon US within hours of it going live, so I can only apologise to that person because I made upwards of 25 tiny corrections after I'd bought a copy and read it through on Kindle. I thought it was perfect, obviously, or I wouldn't have gone ahead and pushed the Publish Now button. The corrections were tiny things, like deleting or adding the word 'of' or 'it' and certainly not altering the sense of anything. But we want perfection, don't we?)

So I've done a lot of work on it. The storyline is stronger, with more fantasy to prop up the magician element;  most importantly I have given the heroine a first person POV right from page one. she is now a character who allows readers into her thoughts and feelings. In the previous version she was denied any voice at all; I wanted people to judge her by her actions, but sadly it didn't work at all well. I think the quality of the writing is better too, because once I had the storyline down pat, I found I could embellish the style much more easily. So, there we are; the book is out in the big wide world and now I'll just have to see how it goes.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Kippers, anyone?

I'm pretty close to releasing another book and wondering how many checks I'm willing to do on the text to make sure it is perfect! Once the plunge has been taken, I'm going to concentrate on PR and Marketing my list because I have ignored the need for it for so long. Most of this year, in fact. I am writing a second draft of a sequel to Abduction of the Scots Queen, but that will take some time and I don't envisage publication until next year at the earliest.

I'm also investigating the possibility of a week's holiday in a cottage on the Northumbrian coast in the autumn. It seems such a long time since we came back from France, and change of scene would be nice. The weather can be really good in the autumn, too - bright, cheerful days full of colour. I have to check carefully  before I book, because not only do we want somewhere nicely furnished and not too Spartan, but we want to take Tim. Some places won't take dogs at all; some charge for them. Some say they must be comfortable on the lead because of livestock and wandering cats and hens which is fair enough but not for us. Tim still pulls like an express train on the lead. What we want is wide open spaces where he can run to his heart's content. Then there's the internet/wi-fi situation to consider, I'd want to take my laptop and keep up with writing and all its attendant responsibilities, and dh will want to be in contact with the off-spring in Australia plus his interests. So, the coast seems a better option for us than the countryside with all its cows and sheep, and I'm looking at the area around Craster and Embleton. Craster is famous for kippers and not far from Dunstanbrough Castle and there are some gorgeous beaches along the Heritage coast. Might be windy, but it certainly won't be crowded!

Saturday, 22 August 2015

First person POV

For me, this pic captures all the colours of high summer - blue sky, dense foliage and long dry grasses blowing in the breeze. Lovely. If only people wouldn't throw empty water and juice bottles around in such pretty places. Not to mention the crisp packets, sweetie packets, cigarette packets....have these people no appreciation for their surroundings, or are they just mindless?

Had a busy fortnight, but it has come to an end, as all things do. The back lawn, wrecked by dog pee, has been replaced by artificial grass and looks terrific - so no more mowing the lawn! It took a while to do the changeover; the best part of seven working days as the lawn was a fair size and I designed it (cough cough) with curved edges which the lads followed faithfully. In fact they evened it up a bit. All we have to do now is infill with soil around the edges and put in some little plants and settle down to some pruning, weeding and getting control of the garden again. Going to France for almost two months is fine but the garden does get out of hand while we're away.

Also it is time to work on my writing and start moving along again. I've spent the last few weeks re-writing one of my books. Viking Magic never did well and it took a while to figure out why - I wanted a heroine who would be judged by her actions, but it didn't work well.  She was misjudged, I think! Now I've re-written the whole thing, tweaking the story line into something better than it was, and now the heroine reveals her feelings right from page one. She is my first, first-person POV character and was surprisingly pleasant to write even though it limits what she knows at any given time. In some cases that actually helps the plot along. The changes have made MAGICIAN'S BRIDE a much better book than the original.

Sunday, 16 August 2015


There are bunnies who are not happy about the new payout system from Amazon Kindle.  I must be honest and say my payout is on the plus side when compared to what I've been earning over the last few months. Now the big question is if this will be sustained over the rest of the year.

There are authors complaining bitterly that their books are not earning anything via the pages read system, which means, basically, that no one is reading their pages. or put another way, the book has been downloaded but not read. One of my titles has been downloaded but not a single page read. Who knows why this happens? (Though I must admit I've downloaded books, even ones I've paid for, and then left them to one side unread. Usually it is because something better comes along and I read that; or life gets in the way of reading for a spell.)

I'm not sure if the download for free system - you know, the Top 100 Free Reads - racks up any payment on the pages read system. Looking at my July account, I can't be sure, but I suspect it might. Certainly there is one title where only 3 copies were purchased and only 10 pages read; but 70 free downloads were made and  the pages read, which earned me money, were far more than three times the number of pages the 3 purchased copies would have generated. If anyone has a definitive answer, let me know!

In general it seems to be the authors of short books who are complaining loudest. A lot of authors have discovered that writing a short book and publishing quickly earns them more money than publishing longer books at longer intervals. One argument is that a download is a download and should be paid as such; the counter to this is that if it is never read, then it should not. What puzzles me is why people download books and then never read them  - and do this on a regular basis. I'm sure there will be more information coming out over the next few months so watch this space!

Friday, 14 August 2015

Eight times more responses

Alison Flood in the Guardian has written a piece about author Catherine Nichols finding that submitting her manuscript under a male pseudonym brought her more than eight times the number of responses she had received under her own name. “In an essay for Jezebel, Nichols reveals how after she sent out her novel to 50 agents, she received just two manuscript requests. But when she set up a new email address under a male name, and submitted the same covering letter and pages to 50 agents, it was requested 17 times.”

Responses from agents to Catherine Nichols included comments such as “beautiful writing, but your main character isn’t very plucky, is she?”; responses to her male pseudonym were “polite and warm”, even when they were rejections, describing the work as “clever”, “well-constructed” and “exciting”. One agent who sent her a formal rejection as Catherine asked to read “George’s” book, and then asked to send it to a more senior agent.

Nichols’ essay comes at a time when the literary world is under scrutiny for its attitude to female writers, with Vida’s annual count of the paucity of female reviewers, and female authors reviewed, added to in recent months by the novelist Nicola Griffith’s discovery that novels featuring male protagonists are more likely to win literary awards. The novelist Kamila Shamsie has called for a “year of publishing women” in 2018 to “redress the inequality”.

The Flood article goes on at some length but ends with the comment: “Nichols has since used the comments she received as “George” to rework her novel – and now has an agent.” So the book needed work, the work was done and then accepted.

I saw the headline to this article and felt outraged. Then I got to thinking about it and I have the feeling there will always be personal bias in the selection of anything, from sweeties to flash cars and everything in between. I also suspect, but cannot prove, that there are fewer men writing than women these days, which might be one reason the so-called male submission was taken up so readily. Women write about things women are interested in, and men do not find them so engaging. Yet male readers must be catered for in the bookshops and it seems the agents are busily looking to fill that need. 

Perhaps women writers need to invade the literary world; to start writing literary reviews instead of putting a paragraph on Amazon and Goodreads. It takes time to write a fair review, to put forward an argument and back it up with facts. Perhaps more women need to write about something other than simple romance, tackle bigger topics. Then the recognition might come. I wonder how people feel about War and Peace v Gone with the Wind?  Me Before You v Anna Karenina? Is one more literary than the other? 

Monday, 10 August 2015

Is it luck or is it skill?

An article in the Telegraph by Arts Correspondent Hannah Furness, gives me hope.

Rachel Abbott has been named as the 14th bestselling author in the last five years on Kindle, after having her book rejected by ten agents.

She joins a list that includes  E L James’ Fifty Shades series, Gone Girl writer Gillian Flynn and cult authors including George R R Martin, Suzanne Collins and Stieg Larson and has beaten Yann Martel, Jojo Moyes, and Jeffrey Archer, after releasing four novels on the Amazon e-reader.

 She retired in 2010 and decided to write a book for her own pleasure. Her first novel was priced at £1.99 – not cheap by Kindle standards – and began to get noticed after Abbott used her marketing experience – she ran an interactive media company, developing software for the education market - to get exposure through social media and forums.

She is one of hundreds of thousands of authors who have chosen to self-publish with Kindle, and is the number one bestselling independent author in its charts.

Kindle is now celebrating its fifth anniversary, after growing from 400,000 titles to more than four million. Analysis of its sales figures, released yesterday, showed Huntingdon, Cambridge, buys the most books per capita, while Yorkshire was crowned “the romance capital of the north”.

H'mmm. Memo to self - must find those sales figures, and must also promote myself though social media. and with reference to the title of this post, I think it is a mixture of both - plus something else - a knowledge of social media!

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

How big is self-publishing?

I read an interesting article by  Philip Jones today entitled How big is self-publishing - the results. The link is:
with some additional links I plan to check out -

It's a long article, so I've encapsulated the main points to jog my own memory and perhaps  create interest in readers of this blog. If you are into self-publishing, read the whole thing!

The questions went to publishing houses. “What is your estimate for the market size of self-published e-books in the US by value in 2014?” brought figures between $1bn  to less than $50m as the answer.
US Self published books make up 5 percent of overall book sales. 80 percent digital, print 20 percent. People are reading 99.9% trad pub books and there is still a stigma to self-publishing.

The UK self-publishing market estimated figures between £10m and £150m

The conclusion to be drawn is that We won't know how big this market is until Amazon tells us.

"There are a few things I would conclude from this:"
1) "despite Amazon Publishing’s continued growth (primarily in genres, not general trade) and what appears to be the continued growth in self-publishing it has not really threatened the legacy publishing business. As long as the big authors don’t abandon the publishers, they’re safe. And as long as there is a complex demand chain for publishers to manage and service to pull in the revenue, they probably won’t.”

2) "The impact of self-publishing on traditional publishing looks to be over-hyped (at least on social media). What does matter to them is how the KDP has become a breeding and testing ground for new authors. They watch the charts like hawks, but not because they see KDP disrupting their world, but because it actively helps them expand their hegemony." (I found this remark very interesting. Jen)

3) "Self-publishing may still feel marginal in terms of overall business right now, but in certain genres it is already highly visible and highly influential. Most important, we are at the beginning of this: e-reading is in its infancy, as is self-publishing (as we know it today, and in contrast to vanity publishing which has been around for decades). Amazon has just redrawn how it will pay authors participating in its Kindle Unlimited subscription scheme. To be paid by page read is a revolution. A boon for serial writers, a nightmare for poets.
How we quantify this dark matter going forwards will be a key consideration not just for traditional publishers, retailers, investors and industry observers - but perhaps most important of all for writers. Authors will have tough decisions to take going forward, and are ill-served by the present data arrangements."

The great fear among traditional publishers is that their big name authors will take their business away.
On the Passive Guy website thriller writer Lee Child gave one of the most telling of comments: “Whichever numbers you choose to believe, e-reading gets a minority of eyeball time in a couple of major markets, and less than that in a handful of others. It’s a small fishbowl. Even with the spectacular 70% return, it’s a losing proposition for the one-percenters. So the disruptors have hard work ahead – they need to drag e-reading acceptance into an overwhelming global majority, without the one-percenters to help. If they manage it, then we’ll jump ship, probably.”

"Is that enough of a carrot to dangle in front of Amazon that will see the giant tech group release its e-book sales data? Is it a big enough hint to traditional publishers that what seems fixed now may not be forever? Time will tell."

Lost dog!

Sunday 8 th May Slow start to a sunny day with a promise of high temperatures. Bill took Perla out at 7.30 as he has done all this month ...