Friday, 30 September 2011

GUEST AUTHOR - Sara Sheridan


Sara Sheridan is mostly an historical novelist but also publishes her contemporary fiction on Kindle. She sits on the committee of the Society of Authors in Scotland (where she lives) and on the board of the writers’ collective, “26”. She tweets about her writing life as @sarasheridan. Her books are available here.

Today she tells us about all her Kindle adventures...

This summer, at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, I read from my kindle during an event rather than using a copy of my book. All month “The Secret Mandarin”, my novel about early Empire explorer and tea botanist, Robert Fortune, had been running up and down the top 100 in the Kindle store, getting into the top 20 several times. “The Secret of the Sands” the book’s follow up (set in the desert) was not too far behind it. I figured most of my readers that month were using kindles, and why shouldn’t I? I was taking part in several events and wanted to read from lots of different sources – so the kindle was the obvious choice – I could bookmark what I wanted and have 1000 books in my pocket (to quote from at will). The event’s chairman was frosty, to say the least, but lots of the audience came up afterwards and asked questions – mostly about whether I liked the kindle or not (yes, I do!) and if I still bought ‘real’ books (yes, indeed! I have 36 metres of bookshelves in my study – I’ll always buy books).



You can’t attend a book festival, a trade conference or even the event programme in your local bookshop right now without having to sit through any number of people discussing their views on the digital revolution. There are celebrants and evangelists, those who are deeply suspicious and some who are outright up in arms. I am already bored of this debate. In essence it doesn’t really matter what we all think. Kindle is out there, being used and enjoyed by millions of readers. What I’m interested in focussing on is content, not delivery and personally I am completely unflustered by whichever medium people choose to read my words. I’m just delighted they’re reading them at all! To my mind, it’s way too early to decide how these technical advances are going to effect the industry as a whole – it’s easy to see where the issues are but no one can really know what will transpire. My attitude has been to keep myself informed, to campaign for net neutrality, and that aside, to dive in and see how I like it. So far, I like it fine. I’m thoroughly enjoying the level of control that this new media is giving authors (alongside social media tools) and I’m delighted that my out of print contemporary fiction has found a new audience online.


Mine is a two kindle household and we both use our kindles in different ways. My husband loaded his kindle mostly with classics from Project Gutenberg (initially with so many that he overloaded it). I use mine for a mixture of research (for which the search function and font options are fabulous) and books I can stockpile as I hear about them, in a virtual To Be Read pile that can go with me wherever I am. Because of my kindle I’m reading more – snatching precious minutes to dip into books. It’s so easy to carry in my handbag and I love that I can buy what I want, when I want - and get it straight away.

I was fascinated to see that Amazon is bringing out a new kindle – the much vaunted 7” Kindle tablet. This will play music and video as well as store books. However, it won’t have the celebrated e-ink matte screen. It’ll look more like an ipad with a touchscreen (though all indications are it’ll be far cheaper than the Apple version). The Kindle tablet will only support Amazon materials (not for nothing, one feels, that Amazon recently bought Lovefilm) and seems perfect for enhanced books where readers can click through for video or audio material that relates to the content. You won’t be able to see the screen in bright sunshine (though in Scotland that’s a moot point – so far I’m not sure I’ve sat reading in bright sunshine). For my research material it might well be a boon but when I’m reading, I like all the action to be contained in my imagination, as if I’m plugging the words straight into my brain! I’m not interested in music or additional video features. That’s not the way I take in a story.

Happily, Amazon have no plans (that anyone has discerned) to make readers choose between these two formats. The e-ink model will be on sale alongside the tablet and both will be developed. I expect they don’t know themselves, which one will prove most popular and whether a tablet that doesn’t have the app functions and computer smarts of the ipad can win over enough customers to carve out a market for itself. Little in this world stands still. It is amazing that the book has remained in much the same format for as long as it has. Now the geeks are in on the game, things are no doubt set to change exponentially. But writing, I expect, won’t. Especially in the fiction market where a good story is complete of itself. There I go – adding my voice to those dreadful bores with opinions. Tell you what – why don’t we just all wait and see what happens? And when the Amazon tablet launches (they say it will be late 2011 or early 2012) I’ll be first in the queue to have a shot and see how I like it. Best, I think, to make up my mind then.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Introducing Hywela Lyn

Hello, this is my first post here and I'm thrilled to be part of this wonderful group of E-book writers. I'm making this post an introduction but I promise not to go on too much about myself in future posts.

If you haven't come across me before I'm Hywela Lyn - my real first two names.  I was born and lived most of my life in Wales.  Hywela is Welsh but no-one ever called me that - so I thought it would be nice to combine those two names and use them as my pen-name. I've been writing for as long as I can remember and had several short stories published in UK magazines over the years, but it's only since about 2008 that I've decided to concentrate on  novels.






My writing space overlooks lush Welsh countryside - and the paddocks where my two horses peacefully graze...
...in my dreams!(When I win the lottery or make the international best seller lists!:) )

In fact, I live in a small English village, too far away from my beloved Wales, and my horses live several miles away. So the window of my 'office' actually looks out on some of our neighbouring bungalows. This end of the village is quite quiet and there are plenty of green areas.

When I'm not writing I love to spend time with my horses, and my rescued Jack Russell 'Bouncer'.

I mainly write futuristic and fantasy romance, although I have an historical Western Romance on 'the back burner' if I ever get time to finish it.

My latest release is one that was originally published with the US publisher The Wild Rose Press and  I've revised it and published it on Smashwords and Kindle with a brand new cover by my good friend Miss Mae 
I also have two full length novels published with The Wild Rose Press, available on Amazon and in print, Starquest and Children Of The Mist.
 Next month will be the first UK Romance books Festival - The Festival of Romance in Watford.http://festivalofromance.co.uk/
I'm really looking forward to it and  I'll tell you all about it in my next post.

Until next month, stay well and keep writing.  (I'm going outide to check on the barbeque I started before writing this post, to make the most of this lovely unseasonal summer weather we're having!)

Hywelalyn.blogspot.com
Hywelalyn.co.uk
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Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Enid Richemont - Creative Writing Books (and other things).

To London's Barbican library yesterday to check out books on creative writing (which I sometimes have to talk about). I often browse through these when I'm going through an arid patch (when I'm working, I don't bother). The same applies, I've found, to books on drawing and painting (I was trained as an artist). Working, actually WORKING, throws up most of the problems they write about, except that, when you're actually doing the stuff, they become just things you deal with. I think these books, when they're good, are useful for exploring the psychological issues involved in writing/drawing/painting, and for suggesting possible new ways of looking - at things, at life, and everything. For this reason, I did, finally, borrow three - one about writing a blockbuster (which I know I shall never do unless it happens naturally), one very New Age American, but which did seem to contain some interesting ideas, and one Buddhism-based curiosity which I rather liked.

The book that really grabbed me, though, was Jennie Erdal's GHOSTING (Canongate) - a memoir of her years as a ghost writer in the 70-80s. She writes beautifully and richly, and I REALLY WANT TO KNOW who the mysterious 'publisher' she mentions is - flamboyant in jewels, mismatched socks, multiple expensive watches, and aristocratic babes (never met one remotely like that). Can there ever be equally flamboyant ebook publishers? Don't think so. Another age, another age...

Two of my picture books with Franklin Watts have been translated into Arabic, and at present we're  contemplating a short, escorted tour to Oman. We've never visited an Arabic/Muslim country before, and for this reason, I began checking out (among other things) children's publishers there, and yes, there are quite a few. Do they ever come to the major European book fairs? And how many authors go to Frankfurt and Bologna? It's always psychologically difficult trying to sell your own work - well, that's what agents are for. I used to design and make medieval play tents and Victorian paper theatres, and it wasn't easy.

Conventional publishing-wise, the absolutely worst part, these days, is waiting for responses, and for people like me, still accustomed to the author nurturing which used to happen at Walker Books with Sebastian and Wendy, it's a killer. I'm also the world's worst wait-er, which is where ebooks come into the picture. It will be so interesting to see how it all develops, which is why I've switched myself on as an ElectricAuthor....crackle and zing!



Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Should Authors be Publishers? - Andrew Crofts



Asked to suggest a subject for a debate by a branch of the Society of Authors, I suggested "Should authors become publishers?" and found myself leading the discussion a few weeks later. By the end of the session, and after publishing some 80 books the traditional way both as an author and a ghostwriter, I was convinced that it was time to grasp the nettle and take my own advice.


When printing was first invented authors published their books in joint ventures with printers and booksellers, raising extra money from patrons when needed. Publishing companies as we know them today only really arrived on the scene around 1750, but from then on authors spent all their time writing to please these business people, (and later the business people who set up as literary agents), before pleasing themselves and their potential readers. Now technology, ironically, allows us to turn the clocks back.


Charged with enthusiasm at the lifting of the scales from my eyes I realised I had a manuscript ready and waiting to be dispatched straight to the readers along the electronic highway that I could now see clearly stretching away in front of me.


"The Fabulous Dreams of Maggie de Beer" (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/86679 ) is a sequel/prequel to "The Overnight Fame of Steffi McBride", a novel I published in the traditional way a couple of years ago. Maggie is Steffi's estranged mother and during the writing of Steffi's story I became increasingly intrigued by her.


Maggie left home in 1970, when she was only fifteen, and headed for London with the express aim of becoming famous. Her journey mirrors the rise of celebrity culture over the last forty years and the growth of the media which ruthlessly created it, exploiting and destroying girls like Maggie in the process. Despite the many terrible things she did I loved Maggie for her optimism in the face of endless set-backs and disappointments, always believing that her big break was just around the corner. She was determined to make herself "interesting" and only when she finally achieves her goal, at enormous personal cost, does she discover, under the full glare of the media spotlight, that the family she was running away from had secrets of their own.


All I needed was a brilliant cover and I was ready to go. I had already commissioned some photographs of one of my daughters to represent the young Maggie and the wonderful designer, Elliot Thomson of Preamptive, did the rest.



Monday, 26 September 2011

Do teenagers buy ebooks? by Nicola Morgan

Before I start: hello! This is my first post as a member of Authors Electric and very delighted I am to have been accepted into the group. Thanks to everyone.

In a few months, I'm releasing the ebook version of my very first teenage novel - Mondays are Red, which was originally published in 2002 and is now out of print. I'm doing it jointly with my ever-supportive and patient agent and the question we have is a rather basic one: do teenagers buy ebooks? I hope so!


Today and tomorrow, I'm going to be asking them. I'm speaking at the Appledore Festival in Devon, with a family event on Sunday and school events on Monday.

This won't be the first time I've asked teenagers this question but it's the first time the answer is going to be terribly important. Here's what I've learnt from the few (probably too few to be significant?) times in recent months that I have asked:
  • When I ask a mixed group whether they have ever read a book or part of an ebook, about a third say yes. (The others look at me blankly!)
  • When I ask those who have not done this whether they would in theory like to read an ebook, most say no. (And I'm guessing it's because they aren't interested in reading at all, whether paper or runes.)
  • Of those who have already, many (half?) have no objection to reading ebooks. They seem to divide fairly equally into those who still prefer physical books and those who prefer ebooks. 
  • And the keenest readers tend to have a passionate view about one form or the other.
  • But the interesting thing to me is that of those who like to read on screen, most (hugely most in the small samples I've taken) choose to read on their phones.
And THAT's what I find strange. It makes my eyes feel fizzy even thinking about it!

Some more questions I want to ask, though:
  • When it comes to buying books for their phones or Kindles or whatever, are they allowed to do this themselves or do they have to ask permission? (They'd need to have permission to use a parent's credit card account?)
  • How much is price an issue? (A lot, I'm guessing.)
  • And how fast is all this changing?
  • I'm also interested in whether the Kindle (or other device) is perceived as a desirable gadget among that age group.
There's something else interesting that I've learnt already. Over the last nine months, I've suddenly had several emails from schools who had been "teaching" Mondays are Red. (It's a book which lends itself to classroom activities and English teachers like it.) Their class sets all seem to have fallen to pieces at once and they have suddenly discovered that the book is out of print. Where can they find it, they are asking? So I've been able to say, "Ah, well, I'm bringing out the ebook soon - is that any use to you?"

"YES!" they are all saying, because increasingly schools are acquiring Kindles and other ebook readers. So, what I will do, to show goodwill and thank them for their enthusiasm, is offer a free pdf version of the text for use in their school. And, as long as they pledge only to use it in school or for school activities, then they can do what they want with it - make powerpoints, copy bits, anything. And I'll hope they (and their pupils?) will enjoy it enough to buy some copies of the ebook.

So, those of you who have already published YA ebooks, what do you think? Do teenagers buy books? 
And teenagers - do you?
Parents - how do you allow your teenagers to buy ebooks? Do they have free rein? Do they need to ask you?

I'm really interested! And I'll report back on my findings from sunny Appledore.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

SUSAN PRICE: Wolves, Woodcuts, World Trees

  Ghost Song by Susan Price 
            As Ambrosi trod over the bridge [to the Ghost World], its note changed, rising and falling. He could feel its rising curve beneath his feet, and, at the height of the arch, he saw the shape of a great and beautiful tree, winter-bare of leaves. It rose out of the empty dark with the pale, pale sheen of steel by moonlight, faintly outlined against the blackness and the stars. The stars shone through its branches, like brilliant, unseasonable fruit. He stood still, and the changing, thrumming note of the bridge steadied, but other sounds, distant and eerie, crept to his ears. The stars, every one of the thousands of stars, as it spun in darkness, spun its own crystalline, icy, piercing note that mingled with the thrumming of the bridge, and wove and interwove with the note of every other star. Cold, thrilling, calling harmony: poignant discord: the music of the spheres.

          I wrote that 20 years ago, but it describes something I imagined over 40 years ago.  When I was 11, I first read the Norse Myths, and the description of Yggdrasil, the Iron Ash, the World Tree.  I never forgot the image those Myths created in my head: the great tree, its roots in Chaos, its branches spreading among the Nine Worlds.  When I finally wrote it down, when I wrote ‘Ghost Song’, I remember feeling something like, ‘At last!’
'The scholar cat who walks round the tree...'
          And now that it’s available again, as an e-book, after being out of print for so many years, I feel that same sense of, ‘At last!’
          E-publishing my Ghost World books has been quite an experience.  There’s been the fun and challenge of learning something new, and of taking part with others in creating this blog.
          But one of the biggest surprises has been reading the books again, so long after I wrote them – reading them as much as a reader as a writer.  I confess, I’ve enjoyed reading my own books!
          It’s great pleasure to work so closely with the cover-artist too – he’s my brother, Andrew Price.  So I was able to tell him exactly what I wanted – something like a woodcut.  In the cover for Ghost Song, he has put the World Tree, the learned cat from Russian folk-tales, the bridge between the worlds (which to us looks like a rainbow), the bear-shaman wearing his bear skin, and the wolves.
          I’ll leave you with another quote from the book, this time about those wolves:-
          Their cold, cold cries rose into the darkness, each cry weaving its own way among the others, seeming to call down the black sky and nail it to the frozen earth…
          Wolves scratching at the doors, wolf faces looking in at the windows; the padding of wolf feet through the snow on the roof, and wolf growls down the chimney. And, every night, the beautiful, terrifying wolf carols about the village, songs celebrating - what? The people feared to know…

           All three books of the 'Ghost World Sequence': 'The Ghost Drum', 'Ghost Song', and 'Ghost Dance' are now available for download from Amazon.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Sales figures junkie needs help! - SImon Cheshire

The freedom we Kindle authors enjoy, simply in terms of content, packaging and so on, is something writers haven't had for many, many years. Not since the 17th and 18th century, when self-publication was common, have us scribblers had such control over our own work. The only reason Virginia Woolf became one of the giants of modernism in the 1920s was because she ran the printing presses and thus could write whatever she darn well liked! (For more on this, see my latest ebook "You've Got To Read This". There, I'm not too proud for a shamelessly self-serving plug..!)

So perhaps it's this feeling of control which makes me such a cat on the proverbial heated metal roof, when it comes to sales figures. Amazon makes it very easy for us to check how a title is selling. Or not selling. A couple of clicks into your account, and there it is: a table setting out every sale this month, so far.

They make it too easy. Too tempting. There I am, sitting at the keyboard, getting on with something else, when suddenly the craving strikes. I wonder how Such-And-Such is doing this week? No harm in taking a quick peek. Let's see now... total sales aaaaare.... two. Oh. Well, early days, still only 23rd of the month, plenty of time for things to pick up. Argghhh! Who am I fooling? It's all a disaster! Penury laughs in my face again! Curse you, Amazon, for your hourly updates and your accurate sales data!

No, no, I'm not being fair. It's not their fault. It's mine. I have to admit it. I have to stand up, chair scraping the lino of the meeting room, and say it, loud and clear, to my Kindle peers and colleagues. "Hi. My name is Simon. And I'm a sales figures junkie."

It's the one part of the whole equation writers can never, ever influence. Or at least, influence ENOUGH. We can tweet, email, blog(!), shout up and down the street until we're blue in the facebook, but our fate - our income, our self-respect! - lies in the hands of the public, and they always make up their own minds, thank you very much. Which is, of course, exactly as it should be. Nobody ever said being a writer was easy.

Is this how mainstream publishers have always felt? Did the sales staff tremble with nervous anxiety when my first book came out fifteen years ago? Hmmm... Better check those figures again.... still two. Damn. OK, I'll look again in an hour. Bound to be 50-odd by then. Bound to be.

One last thought. I read George Gissing's Victorian novel "New Grub Street" again the other week, for the first time in many years. It shocked me. Nothing has really changed in the world of books, except technology. The only thing that would have improved the lot of those poor characters was access to the Kindle, and its self-publishing paradigm. But, then again, I reckon they'd all have turned into sales figure junkies too.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Essential Reading - Joan Lennon


Catch your loved ones - pop them in front of the computer - get them to read this!

Tips for a Writer Wrangler


And remember, "if problems persist, consult a thesaurus."

P.S. I'm away this week, so I'll reply to comments NEXT week!



Wednesday, 21 September 2011

IT'S ALL ABOUT HOPE - Pauline Fisk becomes an Electric Author

This is a true story. It happened twenty years ago. I was on the train home from London having discovered that I’d made the Nestle Children's Book Award shortlist for my first novel, ‘Midnight Blue’. It was a celebratory occasion, as you can imagine, and became even more so when the man sitting opposite fixed me with his eyes and said - completely for no reason that I could see - ‘Excuse me, but are you a writer?’

Well, I’m not in the habit talking to strangers on trains, but who could resist an opener like that? We talked about all sorts of things, though I never did find out why the man thought I was a writer. Bruce Chatwin’s ‘Songlines’ came up, as did Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’. I can’t remember a more enjoyable train journey. At no point did I feel hit on or chatted up. When the man got up to leave, he said, ‘To tell the truth, I’ve had it with modern literature. It’s all either whimsical nostalgia about the past or doom and gloom about the future. What we need’s a bit more hope.’

Those words have stayed with me all my writing life. Anything on that occasion might have seemed imbued with significance but they really hit me like a message from on high. What a start to a life in publishing!

Three years ago, funded by the Arts Council and the Authors’ Foundation, I went out on a fact-finding trip to Belize. I’d long wanted to write a novel for young teenagers about the phenomenon of gap year volunteering as a modern rite of passage – a subject that appeared not to have been tackled. To this end, I trekked in the jungle, visited and stayed with the indigenous Kekchi-Mayan people and spent time meeting groups of young gap year volunteers working on conservation projects. I travelled the length and breadth of the country, enjoying its culture and lifestyle courtesy of the people of Belize - Garifuna, Mestizo, Creole, Mayan, Yank, Brit, Taiwanese and even German Mennonite, who all had the extraordinary knack of appearing to live in harmony.

Before I left Belize I interviewed a government official helping run the health programme in the south of the country. So many cultures, I said, so many languages and different ways of living and looking at the world – was there a single defining characteristic that spoke for all these people of Belize?

The answer I got was hope. Belizean people might be poor, but they were full of hope. ‘Whether for a better day, a better government or the chance to turn our fortunes round, it’s in our blood.’ That’s how that particular conversation ended up in ‘In the Trees’, my gap year novel which came out in Kindle earlier this year. ‘Like a river rich with gold, we run with hope. It’s deep down in our soil, like buried oil. It’s as much our national heritage as Belikin beer.’

It’s now twenty years since I started writing novels for young people. Twenty years since ‘Midnight Blue’ went on to win the Nestle Prize, beating, amongst others, Roald Dahl. How different the world was then. The computer upon which I hammered out my pages was one of those first flickering Amstrads, and when somebody handed me my first mobile phone I didn’t know what to do with it. Yet the story in ‘Midnight Blue’ – Bonnie's story of escaping the grasp of her evil Grandbag by means of a magical hot air balloon, only to find herself in a mirror-world which strangely reflects what she's left behind – is every bit as relevant today as it was back then.

That’s why it’s coming out again. A twentieth anniversary ebook edition. Not quite my first electronic book – ‘In the Trees’ has that honour – but the first I’ve published myself.

This is a whole new venture. Over the last weeks I’ve pounded the keyboard, groaned over the screen, formatted, unformatted, added, taken away, sworn I’d never get this right, asked myself why I was doing it and also asked why I hadn’t done it before. After all, I’d seen for a while the way that things were going. Publishing appeared to be in disarray, and so did the bookshops. Authors, good authors, were struggling to be heard. Never, it seemed, had the people without whom there’d be no books appeared so powerless.

And yet something new is happening, and the shortly to be published ebook edition of ‘Midnight Blue’ [I hope you like the cover, seen here for the first time] is a part of it. So, too, is my becoming a part of Authors Electric. I’m in unknown territory here; I’m branching out and taking a risk. But when I went out to the jungles of Belize I was taking a risk. When I wrote the first chapter of ‘Midnight Blue’, never knowing that I’d even get it published, I was taking a risk. Even when I wrote that first story, back in school at the age of nine, I was taking a risk.

It's all about hope.


Pauline Fisk is the author of eleven novels for children and young adults. More can be found about her books and writing life on her website, www.paulinefisk.co.uk, where she also blogs [here] and serializes the journal of her travels around Belize [here].


Tuesday, 20 September 2011

What’s your book about? Well, it’s quite like a TARDIS...Roz Morris



'So... this book you're writing... what's it about?'

A common question. But answering it can be so hard.

Genre novelists have it easy. All they need to do is focus on the staple ingredients that get readers going and the USP of their book. Vampires? Romance? Mysteries? Murders? Simply precis the first few events, make sure to mention your book’s special angle and you’re done.

A literary novel is way more gnarly. Although mine has a suspenseful plot, it isn’t about what’s on the outside, it is about the infinite labyrinths within. It’s like the TARDIS; bigger inside than outside.

This was all cosmically satisfying until I had to write a blurb - one paragraph that fitted all that infinity into a neat space again. And not just for the sake of five minutes of fluffy chat at a dinner party. This paragraph would go in an email to potential reviewers. It would serve as the description on the book’s Amazon page.

This is serious business. My Memories of a Future Life is 100,000 words and I had to distil it into 150. Those words would have to pitch my book cold, to strangers who had never seen my blog, didn't know what I like to read, what films I love. If I got it wrong, I'd be chatting up the wrong kind of reader, who would leave a sore review. And I would miss mister right.

This is where a publishing house would have come into its own and Linkwritten it for me, with full knowledge of the market. But I had only myself and my labyrinths.

For a month, on and off, I prepared by reading blurbs of literary novels. I test-drove all the blurb styles. I tried writing about the characters alone, but that made it sound like they didn’t do anything but stew in their starting emotions when in fact the novel is paced like a Hitchcock movie. Tactic 2 was to explain why it was called My Memories of a Future Life but that skewed it towards science fiction, which it isn’t (despite my liking for TARDISes). I then had a go at explaining the cover. ‘A red piano - hell, blood, passion. A blue sky - infinity, the beyond, hope... or perhaps it’s just sky.’ No, too abstract and indulgent.

I groped my way to a first draft of the blurb, then sent it to my trusted readers who had helped with the final phase of fine tuning. They were surprised to find themselves my wise counsellors as I attempted to pin down exactly how I should woo an utter stranger to try my book. For a solid three weeks, we ping-ponged that blurb back and forth across the Atlantic. ‘You haven’t mentioned the main character is injured; I think that’s important.’ ‘Don’t put so much emphasis on Jack the Ripper, he’s peripheral.’ ‘We need more of a sense of despair and reincarnation while not being supernatural. And the green Post-Its are good. If you know what I mean.’

A classic blurbing trick is to cite similar books. I thought that would be a lifeline but it was a minefield. I could easily say what songs embodied the book’s spirit, but if you put that on a blurb you look half-witted. My confidantes suggested The Time Traveller’s Wife and Vertigo, even though when I wrote the novel I had not read either of them. When I did I could see strong similarities, but also glaring differences. Of all the statements to make, comparisons with other books are the most dangerous. I imagined reviews saying 'that's my favourite book and yours is nothing like it; how dare you.'

Anyway, the book is out, the reviews are winging in... a process that is nail-biting and thrilling. And it’s finding the right kinds of readers, so the month of the long scalpels was worth it. Comparisons with other books are coming in too. Niffenegger’s novel is namechecked a lot; one reviewer volunteered The Magus, which I'm still trying to fathom. Another seemed to take x-ray specs to my past and said Iain Banks’s The Bridge. I read that novel 20 years ago and it remains a landmark that certainly nudged me towards this one. Fancy him seeing that.

But perhaps we writers are not the best people to judge what’s going on with our novels. All we can do is tempt our readers over the threshold and in. And wait for them to tell us what the TARDIS is like on the inside.

Thank you for the TARDIS picture, Sarah G.

My Memories of a Future Life is out now on Kindle. A print edition will follow on September 26.

You can listen to the first four chapters for free - stream it or download an MP3.

Roz Morris is a ghostwriter, editor and the author of Nail Your Novel - Why Writers Abandon Books and How You Can Draft, Fix and Finish With Confidence, available from Amazon. She has a website and a blog. You can follow her on Twitter as @DirtyWhiteCandy and @ByRozMorris.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Finally .... Karen King

Hooray! My romance book Never Say Forever is finally ready to go up on Amazon Kindle.  Readers of my last blog will remember that the book has previously been published in  paperback and softback (under the pen name of Kay Harborne) and I was wondering whether to go for a new cover. I decided it would be best to as I wanted to give the book a fresh, modern feel so went for a pink background with a black silhouette. So, courtesy of my talented illustrator daughter Naomi, here it is:


The cover has been uploaded, so has the book, it's all ready to go. Just one final check through to make sure there are no typos or extra spaces (I soon learnt that any errors really show up on the small Kindle pages) then I'll be pushing the 'publish' button. 

Publishing an e-book isn't quite the same as having the first copy of a print book in your hands but I have to confess I'm getting hooked on it. I've another e-book almost ready to go. This one is a children's fantasy novel called, Firstborn, which was praised by several publishers but turned down because 'there are too many dragon stories about'. The cover was designed by Naomi's partner Andres, a graphic designer - it's very useful to have two illustrators/graphic designers in the family!



I was hoping to launch both books at the same time but I'm wrestling a bit with the formatting of Firstborn. Despite the text looking perfectly fine on my computer screen when I preview it on the Kindle screen there are some indents in the middle of paragraphs. I can't figure out why and it's driving me a bit mad but hopefully I will sort it out soon.

E-publishing is a challenge, and once the books are actually 'published' there is the biggest challenge of all - marketing. That's going to be another learning process!


(For those of you who haven't got illustrators/graphic designers in the family and want help with your covers Naomi can be contacted at naomi.r.king@gmail.com and Andres at AlzateDiaz@gmail.com)

Sunday, 18 September 2011

What Does Anybody Really Know? by Catherine Czerkawska

  
Catherine Czerkawska

This is my very first post for Do Authors Dream of Electric Books? and I’m delighted to be a part of such an enterprising and interesting group. One way and another, it’s been quite a year. A writing career is a switchback of highs and lows. Just when you think you’re reasonably secure, a new editor or artistic director decides that you're no longer ‘marketable’ and you’re cast in the role of supplicant again, going cap in hand to the gatekeepers. A few years ago, when I was working as Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow in a Scottish university, helping students with their academic writing, a bright Commercial Music student remarked ‘You know, you writers need to do it for yourselves – as we’ve done with our music. It’s the only way forward.’ At the time it didn’t seem feasible, but only a little while later, the advent of ePublishing has revolutionised things in much the same way as iTunes and other sites changed music. And I think my student was right. The time has come for us to seize the day and do it for ourselves.

Let’s be clear about this: eBook publishing may not necessarily be a perfect solution to all the problems which writers now face in finding a publisher, since anyone who has judged any kind of literary competition will know how much badly written, unprofessional and entirely unedited stuff there is, out there. Truth to tell, most of us started off by writing this kind of thing ourselves, and are then embarrassed to find and read those 'bottom drawer' manuscripts, so many years later. But if writers risk the early release of an unready novel, is that such a bad thing? Wouldn’t it prove to be a steep learning curve for the writer-in-training? I think we have to get used to this brave new world in which nothing is set in stone, experiments can be made and editions revised.

But for the many experienced,  professional writers who are now struggling to find publication for widely praised and properly edited work, eBook publishing can be a blessing. My diligent agent is currently sending out a new historical novel called The Amber Heart for me, in the usual way, and back in April, he had high hopes for it, probably higher than I had myself. It’s an epic tale of love and loss, a sort of Polish ‘Gone With the Wind’ based on my own family history, and his initial response was that it was ‘wonderful’ which surprised me, since he isn’t given to rash statements of approval. I’ll admit that I’d be delighted to find a good publisher with whom I could work in the long term. But he hasn’t exactly been knocked down in the rush to buy it. There is more, much more, where that came from. I’ve spent many years as a professional playwright, but I wrote prose throughout that time, and I have numerous short stories and several full length novels which don't quite fit the mould of what my agent is currently sending out. And there seems little point in hanging onto all this work in the hope of some hypothetical jam tomorrow.


Ardminish Bay, Gigha

About a month ago, I put a toe in the eBook water with a trio of short stories: A Quiet Afternoon in the Museum of Torture. This was quickly followed by a Scottish historical novel called The Curiosity Cabinet. The novel is set mostly on a small Scottish island, and was inspired by the landscape of the Isle of Gigha (above) which we've visited and loved for many years. It had been shortlisted for the Dundee Book Prize, published in the conventional way, sold out within the year, was well reviewed, widely praised, but never reprinted. Scottish novelist John Burnside had called it 'a powerful story about love and obligation... a persuasive novel very well written.’ I reclaimed the rights and decided, with my agent’s blessing,  to publish it as an eBook myself.

eBook cover designed by Alison Bell

My friend and mentor, textile artist Alison Bell designed a beautiful new cover as a response to the book and as a reflection of the landscape which is so central to the novel. She and I have had many conversations comparing how we work and how we feel about our work, and it's a fascinating comparison. But there is one way in which our experiences differ. As an artist with a fine track record, she might discuss her work productively with a fellow professional, she might welcome informed advice, but she would never expect to be told to go away and comprehensively redo the work in order to shoehorn it into some perceived market. I would, of course, be the first to admit that, for a writer, a good editor is an asset. But I also think that with experience comes the realisation that - like my artist friend - you are professional enough to know in a general sense when something works and when it doesn't, when you mean it and when you may be floundering. All too often now, writers are expected to rejig their work to the requirements of a committee which consists of a miscellany of people with different notions of some hypothetical market, all of whom are convinced that their point of view is the norm. And what you get then is not the prancing pony of your imagination, but the proverbial camel.

There are no easy answers to any of this, but I sense that a great many writers are exhilarated by these new opportunities. It certainly – and refreshingly - means that we need to become more businesslike in our dealings with the industry that surrounds us, relinquishing our habitual role of supplicant, becoming proactive partners. It’s all precarious - but what writing career, isn't? We walk a tightrope between success and failure and we are much too afraid of putting a foot wrong, of falling into the abyss that awaits the midlist writer who doesn't 'break through' to the big time quickly enough.

Maybe online publishing will help to take that fear away, to persuade us that, as committed professionals, we can assume control of our working lives. If it all goes wrong, we can chalk it up to experience and move on. But we won't be left with the frustration of being told over and over again that we've written something wonderful which isn't commercial enough 'in the current market.' Of being advised to revamp the plot, dumb it down a bit or (conversely) make the language more experimental and less accessible. Unbelievably, I was once told this. All of these things are distractions from our true business as writers, which is ... what?

I think for me, it's to tell interesting and well crafted stories about believable characters, facing life choices that - in one way or another -  we all recognise, even when those characters lived at a different time and in a different place. I want to tell those stories in the best way I can, but in a way that excites me, without somebody trying to get me to replicate last year’s big success and ignoring the truth that in the world of fiction, next year’s big success is invariably unexpected and – at first - unsung. In the words of William Goldman, a fine screenwriter, writing brilliantly about film, 'nobody knows anything.' And isn't that exciting?

Saturday, 17 September 2011

You can't throw that away; it's research! - Jane Adams

We've been having a bit of a clearout, as you do, having finally ventured into the cupboard under the stairs and the Big Cupboard upstairs - you know the one, everybody has one; that place you just shut the door on and forget about. Anyway, we decided last weekend that it was time to see what exactly we'd been storing so protectively. We knew about the magazines; old issues of Fortean Times and Elektor and Television and obscure electronics magazines by husband insists are reference material - and about which he has an elephantine memory. But what I'd kind of forgotten about was all the research notes.
My research notes.
For projects I've forgotten or abandoned or used so long ago I'm not even sure what book they were for.
I mean, I can kind of understand why I have copies of the Police Gazette from lord knows how long back and I know why I dragged my kids, back when they were still kids and tolerant of that kind of thing - and Stuart Hill- up to Lincolshire to take pictures of a prospective murder scene. And I do know what the blurry images that look like they were taken from the bottom of a hole were used for (They were taken from the bottom of a hole. I'd fallen into the hole having fallen over a tree root looking at another potential crime scene). What I really can't remember is why, for example, I needed a report on Sumptuary Laws for the Jewish Commune in Florence in the 1500s.
It is really interesting though and I think I'm going to have to use it...somewhere. I think it was probably for the same project, The Heart of Magic, a book I'm hoping to put on the Kindle at some point and for which I also collected information on boxing, New York and The Egyptian Hall in London.

The folder on Urban Legends; ah, now that was used for lesson plans. We created a couple and released them into the wild - they still continue to thrive, I believe. Every now and then a former student will get in touch and tell me they've spotted one. And the medieval bestiaries were from the time I was still home educating our son - and then they got pressed into service for yet more lesson plans.

Oh and then there were the rejection letters from very early on in my career - not that they ever really go away, of course. I really did try anything and everything early on and have submission guidelines and rejections for everything from erotica (50% of the content must be erotic.) to Dr Who (sorry, too many new idea in this) to an SF magazine that shall remain nameless who simply sent me a rejection slip with the words you must be kidding! scrawled along the bottom.

I suppose it's natural that we keep these things, but working through the strata of a writing life and a career that has been so all absorbing for so long was a little odd. Unnerving in a way. All the time and focus and -yes, in the early days- obsession this represents. What I found strangest was how my attitude to writing has changed. The need to tell stories is still there but that absolute, driven, desperate hunger is not. Which is strange, but also oddly relieving.

So, what did we do with all this stuff? Well, the Fortean Times is back under the stairs with the electronics mags - research, you know! and some of the others are now collated and photographed and will go on eBay because apparently we aren't the only people who collect all these things.
The research notes have been culled and tidied, but, I'm afraid they've been returned to the Big Cupboard, though I've re-stratified, so I can get at the ones which have inspired new thoughts and the rejection letters, those badges of office we all collect; Ah, well they have been returned to where they belong; the deepest, darkest corner of the cupboard where they will, no doubt, fester and manifest as something strange and uncanny.

Meanwhile, I have another book to write and a couple of others to get ready for the Kindle. But not today. Today, I'm painting magpies and baking bread - though not at the same time - and reflecting on the fact that a few years back every spare second was spent with a pen in my hand. There is a small part of me that misses that driven, obsessive creature, but only a very small part and that part has also gone back into the cupboard with the rejection slips and the research notes to be called out when required - you know, when one of those deadline thingys is looming!

Have a good weekend, everyone. I'm off to get out my paints!

Friday, 16 September 2011

Who Am I by Dan Holloway

I was particularly taken by Deb’s piece on the themes that ran through her work, and it seemed like an excellent topic to filch. I’ve been lucky enough to talk about it before, at a couple of conferences – one of the things that spurred me to self-publish was the looming 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. As Songs from the Other Side of the Wall is essentially about the numerous crises in identity that precipitated (all dressed up in Murakami-esque wrapping), it was important to me to get the book out in 2009. And having done so, I was able to take part in conferences marking the anniversary, combining practical and theoretical approaches to identity. The papers I gave appear as appendices in the paperback edition.


The question of how we even begin to discover our place in such a complex world in which apparent polarities pull us from every direction is the thread that runs through everything I write. In The Man Who Painted Agnieszka’s Shoes, I tackle the issue of the way in which our identity, even our existence, is constructed by the attention of others. The stories and poems in (life:) razorblades included, and the narrative of Black Heart High, all tackle the question of the outsider. What is it like to live as a constant outsider? Does the notion of being an outsider even begin to make sense? Doesn’t it simply mean being inside something else? What would it be like to be outside *everything* - to the extent I have called The Last Fluffer in La La Land a description of “the last contact in human history,” whilst the desperate lovers in Solid are literally unable to connect in any way, even when they have cast off every single trapping of the world from clothes to friends. And at its ultimate extreme, in The Man Who Painted Agnieszka’s Shoes, characters proliferate upon whom the world makes no mark at all (the artist, Ludwig, whom we never see, whose works appear and disappear overnight, possibly in other realities to which the audience is temporarily transported, and who speaks only through a melancholy dominatrix, calls the purpose of his work “an examination of the way we make, or fail to make, a mark upon the world”), from a Japanese schoolboy who locks himself away in his bedroom to study beauty, through a disappearing astrophysicist whose dead wife exists only as traces of light making their inexorable way to the outer edge of the universe, to the central character’s daughter, who went missing ten years before the book begins and may now exist only as diminishing background noise trapped inside a play arrow on a mobile phone screen.

But it is in Songs From the Other Side of the Wall that the question of identity gets its closest scrutiny. Sandrine was born as the Berlin Wall fell, to an English mother – who walked out when she was a week old – and Hungarian father. She lives on a vineyard that’s been in the family for 300 years but wants to live as an artist in the city, and ultimately in The West. She has always seen her life as a series of choices between opposing pairs – East and West, old and new, art and commerce, virtuality and reality, family and lovers. Choices that are heightened when a letter arrives at the apartment she shares with her lover whilst at art college, telling her her father is dying. As midnight on New Year’s Eve approaches, she is transported back to the previous New Year (that’s the Murakami-esque, Norwegian Wood-ish narrative move), when life was full of these simple choices as she played a concert to mark the accession of Romania to the EU. As midnight chimes, riots break out and she witnesses the death of a woman, Claire, she has seen once before on an aborted return trip of her mother’s to the vineyard, a woman with whom she fell instantly in love. The narrative then follows Sandrine through the intervening year as she attempts to piece together Claire’s life and the inexplicable way it might be tied to her own. As she moves closer to the present, each of the things she had believed formed part of her identity fall away one by one, until midnight of the New Year strikes and she is left utterly alone, and we are uncertain whether reality itself may have unravelled around her.

Her identity, like ours, is not made up of adjectives, of either/ors, of categories and definitions. It is something elusive, evanescent, the most fragile thing in the world. Something we can spend a lifetime trying to find and never succeed, only to look over our shoulder and find our life has spooled out to the horizon while we looked.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Jan Needle - Away with the angels

I once read a book by Gwyn Thomas called The World Cannot Hear You. I can’t for the life of me remember much about it (except that I loved it), but the title has always lurked in my mind. It seemed to me to epitomise the writer’s (or writers’) tragedy. You write, or read, these wonderful books, somebody reads them, or maybe not, and then they are gone. I used to drone on about Gerald Kersh, whom I thought was fantastic. Nobody else had ever heard of him, which I bitterly resented, more on his behalf than my own. Before and during World WarII he was enormous. And now…?
But sometimes, out of the blue, things get jogged. My phone rang not so long ago, and I was asked to take part in a Radio 4 programme about the writers considered to be in the van of the “new realism” in children’s books. My Mate Shofiq was mentioned, and Albeson and the Germans. Good God, I thought - I wrote them! And suddenly remembered being rung up by the headmaster of a school in Peckham to cancel my invitation to appear as keynote speaker in a conference on “Realism in Children’s Literature.” The teachers had had a vote, he told me, and had banned me from his school. My brand of realism was too realistic for them, as their brand of democracy was possibly too weird for me. My Mate Shofiq, the archetypal anti-racist book, was deemed to be racist because it dared to use the reality of racism among the young, rather than pretending it was just something not worth worrying about too much because only naughty persons did it. In this case, even if they’d wanted to, that small part of the Peckham world could not hear me, and that was that.
I agreed to take part in the radio programme, and took the train to London for the interview. It’s nice to visit the beating heart of democracy once in a while. I actually joined a meeting in the Houses of Parliament discussing the proposition that Britain should stop recruiting child soldiers. (We alone of Europe drag them in at 16, when we deem them mature enough to know exactly why they want to risk their lives for oil.) I was actually flying false colours, having published a filthy and appalling book about the army, called The Skinback Fusiliers, under the pen-name Unknown Soldier for personal reasons that no longer apply. It’s 86p on Kindle http://amzn.to/dPaeCb, but don’t show it to your auntie or the servants. It was a fun meeting, and I was actually able to tell Patrick Mercer, MP, that he was talking bollocks (as reported in the Guardian diary.)
Perhaps I'd better qualify that "filthy and appalling" tag. In fact, Michael Rosen called it "daring, immediate, painful, powerful." Frank Cottrell Boyce wrote: "gave me a feeling of inescapable immediacy. It's so vivid and the prose is so urgent and gripping. Envious. Bloody fantastic." Melvin Burgess wrote: "Next time you see an ad suggesting the armed forces are like some kind of adventure playground for men, think again." Naturally enough (!) my agent couldn't get a publisher to touch it with a bargepole.
The radio show, Comp Lit, was aired on September 8, and it was nice to hear that some of my old muckers, like Gene Kemp, Bob Leeson et al were still up and punching. But the process had set me thinking about getting the unheard heard. Skinback Fusiliers had been serialized for ten weeks on the OpenDemocracy website, people had put me wise to things like ebooks, and as one of my sons has the expertise, the die was cast. My Mate Shofiq and Albeson went up on Smashwords the day of the broadcast, with simple but effective high-speed covers he cooked up, and others are in the pipeline. All suitable for every known e-reader, so I'm assured.
Not just reprints, either. I’ve already written one to go up very soon – Dracula Lives – and I’m working on more. A big dirty thriller about the coming explosion in Britain's prisons, and a comedy kids' or two in case I'm getting morbid. A couple of friends are coming in from time to time, under the banner Skinback Books. Friends – I am a virtual publisher! My expert son, incidentally, who has a master's degree in technology and is currently unemployed (thank you Dave; and no, you're right, he didn't go to Eton) has helped several people with their electronic publishing, at far lower costs than they would have paid professionally. If you're interested, he can be contacted through me.
I don’t believe in fairies, though, and I’m quite prepared to find that nothing happens at all, just like in proper publishing. Maybe there are fairies, though, or even angels. The last known burning of a woman who was deemed "away with the fairies" in Ireland was, after all, as late as the early years of the twentieth century. Another book I'll be writing soon! In the meantime, I'm throwing caution to the winds, and putting out everything at 86p. Anything, as my old father used to have it, is better than boredom.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Change of plan - Dennis Hamley

Last month I was full of The Long Journey of Joslin de Lay. And I still am. I've found a cover designer and she is doing STUNNING new covers. I have perfect texts to be uploaded. And now I wait, because putting a six book sequence on as ebooks in very quick succession in the hope that they may catch the Christmas market may be a longer process than I would like. Technology, dear boy.

So I've got to do something quickly or nobody will take me seriously. Who'd have thought it? A blogger on Authorselectric who hasn't actually got an ebook out! I couldn't stand the shame. So Colonel Mustard in the Library with the Candlestick; Four Slightly Weird Stories was born - or rather finagled - into existence. Well, I hope you think they're weird. Two have been published before: the title story in Point Crime: 13 Murder Mysteries and Hospital Trust, in Point Horror, 13 Again, both published by Scholastic. And two new ones; The Other Task, Tolkein with a big difference, and The Devil In Him, Whatever can I say about The Devil in Him? It's about football (I can hear the groans already) but - well, remember the Faust legend. If you don't know it now, you will when you've read The Devil in Him.

When the cover is ready in a few days and I'm satisfied with it (we've had a few goes and I'm still not really content) I'll re-edit this blog and put it on. Though the cover is OK, I suspect it's quite run of the mill and NOTHING like what is planned for Joslin, which will blow your socks off. It did mine when I first saw what my cover designer is planning for the first book in the sequence, Of Dooms and Death.

Anyway, what else? I'm a member of Writers in Oxford and we often have what we call Topical Suppers, where we meet in a nice pub, do what it says on the tin and order our supper. But it's not just food and wine: we invite either members or people from outside the society with something worthwhile to say to speak to us. Three months ago we had a publisher. Tonight (I've just come home from it) we had an agent. No names. no packdrill. And they both said some interesting things about ebooks. Forgive me if you've heard this all before. They both agreed that ebooks were here to stay and that it was no bad thing. They agreed that the day of the mass-market paperback was over and that ebooks would soon become the staple reading experience. But, before you think that they are both on the point of making themselves unemployed, they both independently came to the same conclusion. The publisher's evidence was that they had actually done it and it works. The agent's evidence was because they had observed it and their clients had experienced it.

The evidence they presented it is that while ebooks are destroying the mass market paperback, they are encouraging what the publisher called THE BOOK BEAUTIFUL. Hardback sales, on the back of cheap ebooks, burgeon in a way they haven't done for a long time. So what has that got to do with us who are ploughing our independent furrows? Well, as I said, I know that most of you have heard this already. But for us, there may be some intriguing implications. You can throw away a paperback and think nothing of it. You can leave it on a park bench for someone else to pick up. You can delete an ebook. But in the end, don't we believe that a really well-produced conventional book is one of the most beautiful things in the world? And don't we covet beautiful things first when we have an idea of what they actually are?

Think about it.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Murder! She wrote. By Ann Evans.


E-book version
We all know that most kids love scary stories, so, 11 years ago when my editor at Scholastic asked if I would do a series of ‘sealed mysteries’ I got my thinking cap on and came up with some story ideas such as priceless articles going missing and people going missing. But then...
    “No,” said the editor. “We want murder mysteries.”
    “Not a nice jewellery theft?” I suggested.
    “Murder!” she repeated.
    “How about an exciting kidnapping?” I ventured further.
    “MURDER!” she roared, her eyes sparking with excitement. (Sorry! Getting carried away.)

So murder it had to be. But as it was for children, it had to be murders without any really yucky bits - no blood, no gore, no actual terror, and certainly our young heroes couldn't be bumped off. Whoever the victim was, he was going to be murdered nicely, without any nasty stuff. And if possible, make it so he deserved it anyway!

I had a year to write the four 25,000-word books,and while I was absolutely thrilled to have got the contract, it was a long hard slog and you really had to plot! Hats off to real crime writers!

Original version
Each of my characters, even the minor ones had to have a motive for doing the dastardly deed, also the ability and the opportunity. They all had to look guilty, so there had to be lots of clues and red herrings throughout the story, plus of course enough real clues to indicate the real villain to the observant reader.

Also, the real ‘detectives’ of the stories were the main characters, such as Daniel and his best mate Jack in Pointing the Finger; or Rachel and her little sister Jessica in Pushing his Luck who were streets ahead of the 'boys in blue'. However, while our heroes and heroines were trying to solve the crime, they were sinking deeping into danger themselves.

After a year of constant writing and re-writing, three of the books were published, but alas the publisher changed their mind about publishing the fourth book even though it was at proof stage.

Now, a decade later all four titles are enjoying a fresh lease of life as my Little Tyke Murder Mysteries ebook editions and a new generation of readers will be getting stuck into a nice juicy murder - but it's murder in the best possible taste!

Monday, 12 September 2011

A Blogging Virgin Learns by Susan Jane Smith


          Thanks to Katherine Roberts' earlier blog, I read John Locke’s book “How I Sold 1 Million ebooks in 5 Months”.
          Praise to the Master.  John has given me confidence... the confidence to try social media.  Now I am Tweeting, I’ve joined Facebook, I renewed my efforts on Ecademy and will get around to Linked In etc.  I’m not very photogenic so you probably won’t see me on YouTube! Am I buzzing on Google Buzz yet?
          Fancy me being in The Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, England reaching out across the world.  Now I am not saying I understand what I am doing with all this, but that book has at least made me TRY!
          I would thoroughly recommend Mr. Locke’s book as a good read even if you are not going to sell e-books...one of the things I think he says is to identify your “target audience” BEFORE you write your book.  Well I didn’t.  Now I have to figure out if readers of self-help books are my audience and then how to connect to them.
          Years ago I went to a talk by Sir John Harvey Jones (IBM and Business Guru) and came away with the concept of needing to find my niche.  That is also what John Locke is saying and having done a lot of marketing courses it makes sense to me.  I just never thought about it in connection with my books!  John Locke's book has so much to teach!
          Yes, I do have other books that will be uploaded to Kindle as soon as my designer has the time.  I am not sufficiently techy to do it myself and I have also overloaded him with ideas generated from all this marketing activity in my brain!
          My current Kindle e-book “Emotional Health For Emotional Wealth” was featured in my blog (12 August) and is the most important book that I will ever write (in my opinion). 
          The next book on to Kindle will be “Pre-Marital MOT: A Relationship Inspection” there again based on my 20 years of listening to the experiences of people.
          If you know anyone who is sad, angry, stressed, depressed or in an unhappy relationship please suggest my books to them!  Also, they can join my Facebook group “Self-help Book Readers”!  If they go to my website “Contact Me” I will get in touch by the good, now old fashioned, email!
          One more tip I learned from John Locke’s book – place reviews at the front of your Kindle e-book.  It’s a great idea as I have solid praise on my website section “Book Reviews” and wondered how to get them out into the world. 
          Here is just one example of a review:-  Steph said “I read your book “Emotional Health for Emotional Wealth” which I thoroughly enjoyed.  The advice you gave on coping with life’s stresses was very informative.  As with many other women, I cope with working and raising two very busy children which can be very stressful.  Your common sense approach to coping was a great source of support. 
          'The inclusion of your own life experiences, which you use as a very sound platform for your advice, adds credibility to the information.  By the time I finished the book I got the feeling that I really knew you.
The cover conveys serenity which is what you will get when you have emotional wealth!
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who sometimes feels that life can be just too hard and could do with some guidance.  It leaves you feeling invigorated.”
          This is exactly why I wrote my book and now I understand that Kindle requires extra effort with marketing, I think I ‘m on my way to selling books!