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Monday, 30 April 2012

Guest Post: Terri Giuliano Long

 Today, Authors Electric is delighted, and honoured, to bring you a guest blog from American indie author, Terri Giuliano Long, who offers all indie-authors valuable advice based on experience.

Indie Publishing: 7 Mistakes I Won’t Make Again

When I published In Leah’sWake I had no idea what I was doing. I could barely get out of my own way. I’m grateful that, despite my dumb mistakes, readers and book bloggers gave my novel a chance.  Today, as the number of books competing for attention increases, and the quality of indie books continues to rise, with many indie books rivaling those published by major New York houses, I might not be so lucky.

When I publish my new novel, Nowhere to Run, this fall, I’m bound to make my share of mistakes. The industry is evolving and we’re all more or less feeling our way. Still, it’s foolish make the same mistake twice. Having learned from past errors, I’ll make adjustments. Here are 7 mistakes I’ll be sure to avoid:


1) Neglecting to hire a professional editor. Of all my blunders, this is the biggest and the one that has caused the most heartache and stress. Call me naïve: the possibility of hiring an editor never occurred to me, not because I think I’m above the need for editing. Not at all. My writer’s group – all professional writers and teachers – had given the green light. Moreover, in 2006, the book had been scheduled for publication by a small independent press (unfortunately, they folded, as happened frequently then), and the book had been edited by the publisher’s editorial team.

Although the book had been read, edited and proofed many times, by at least a dozen different people, it turned out that we missed several typographical errors. In February, I launched a new, professionally edited edition of In Leah’s Wake. But it’s too late. Any damage is already done. With my new novel, I’m working with an editor and I’ll also hire an independent proofreader.

2) Paying too little attention to eBook formatting. Smashwords, a retailer and eBook aggregator, distributes to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Sony, Kobo and other eBook retailers. Having paid a professional to convert my file for Smashwords, I assumed the formatting was perfect. As Smashwords distributes to Amazon, I figured I could use the file there too. Wrong. Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) uses a proprietary platform – entirely different from the Smashwords platform.

Formatting and conversion problems cause dropped punctuation as well as paragraphing errors, which appear to the reader as sloppy editing. While I consider any error too many, all things considered the typos in my novel were relatively minor. Even books published by major houses have a few.  Add punctuation and paragraph issues and the mistakes look egregious. Naively, I trusted the process. Until a reviewer pointed out the errors, I had no idea there were problems.

3) Not soliciting for reviews before publication. Reviews – like all information on a book’s product page – send a meta-message to potential buyers. When people look at a product page, they get an impression, good or bad, of the book and that impression influences their purchase decision. Obviously, some readers base their decision solely on the description; still, it’s hard not to notice that a newly published book has 20 or 30 reviews. If reviews are generally good, better yet.

I’m not suggesting that authors stack reviews. Family and best friend reviews are usually easy to spot.  If anything, they give savvy buyers a negative impression. I am saying that it makes sense for authors to create ARCS (Advanced Review Copies) and solicit reviews from book bloggers and other professional reviewers – Indie Reader or Kirkus, for example.

4) Failing to submit to contests. Readers’ Favorites, Beach Books, Next Generation Indie Books, the Independent (Ippy) Book Awards, Writer’s Digest, and Global eBook awards are just a few  of the contests and awards open to indie authors. Because we’re not published by major houses, our books appear to have no vetting process. Recognized awards are a great substitution. They tell readers that someone discerning has read the book and believed it to be of high caliber.

Because there are so many awards, readers tend to be wary. While it’s fine to apply for lesser known awards – and wonderful if you win! – recognized awards tend to have more sway. In Leah’s Wake received the Coffee Time Reviewer Recommend Award and it was the Book Bundlz 2011 Book Pick – the editorial team chose the finalist and members voted for the winner. These helped my book tremendously. I doubt In Leah’s Wake would have sold as well without them.

5) Waiting too long to begin marketing. I feel like a broken record saying this: it’s crucial to begin marketing early. Traditional publishers begin marketing months ahead of publication. This builds excitement and momentum. We need to do the same.  While we can’t really go into full-swing marketing mode – tour, for example - until we’ve published, we can blog about our progress, post updates on Facebook, G+ and Twitter, spread the word to bloggers, talk about our new work in interviews, put a counter on our website to count down the days until publication, etc. 

6) Using more than one distributor. The jury is still out on which distributor to use, with some authors favoring the flexibility of Lightning Source and others the ease of Createspace (the two largest distributors of indie books).  Lightning Source allows authors to offer returns and give a higher discount to bookstores; theoretically, this encourages stores to stock paperback books.

In reality, for many reasons, primarily dollars and cents*, bookstores rarely stock books by indie authors, regardless of an author’s discount or return policy. Listing with both creates confusion. While Lightning Source allows authors to distribute under their own ISBN number, Createspace requires you to use theirs. Books distributed by both Lightning Source and Createspace have two distinct ISBN numbers, and so two product pages. Some buyers will purchase from one source, others buyers from the other source, resulting in diluted sales and lower sales rank.

7) Failing to reach out to schools, libraries, and independent bookstores. It’s impossible to say how many opportunities I may have missed by neglecting to do any sort of concerted outreach.  This time around, I’ll draft a list of schools, libraries and stores that might consider carrying my book, and I’ll send a letter with a description and other pertinent information. I have not yet formalized a plan, but I may offer incentives to encourage them to give the book a try. Times are tough and money always an issue, so they may not stock my book. At least they’ll know it exists. 

Bio

Terri Giuliano Long is a contributing writer for IndieReader and Her Circle eZine. She has written news and feature articles for numerous publications, including the Boston Globe and the Huffington Post. She lives with her family on the East Coast and teaches at Boston College. In Leah’s Wake is her debut novel. For more information, please visit her website. Or connect on Facebook, Twitter or Blog.


The Tylers have a perfect life—beautiful home, established careers, two sweet and talented daughters. Their eldest daughter, Leah, an exceptional soccer player, is on track for a prestigious scholarship. Their youngest, Justine, more responsible than seems possible for her 12 years, just wants her sister's approval. With Leah nearing the end of high school and Justine a seemingly together kid, the parents are set to enjoy a peaceful life...until everything goes wrong.

As Leah's parents fight to save their daughter from a world of drugs, sex, and wild parties, their divided approach drives their daughter out of their home and a wedge into their marriage. Meanwhile, twelve-year-old Justine observes her sister's rebellion from the shadows of their fragmented family—leaving her to question whether anyone loves her and if God even knows she exists. 

Can this family survive in Leah's wake? What happens when love just isn't enough?

Coffee Time Romance Reviewer Recommend Award
Book Bundlz Book Club 2011 Favorites - First Place
Reviewer-nominated for Global eBook Award, 2012

Margot Livesey, award-winning author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy, calls In Leah's Wake, "A beautifully written and absorbing novel."


Sunday, 29 April 2012

One of those 'Tagarene' weeks by Hywela Lyn

http://www.flickr.com/photos/morten_liebach/
 No, that's not my desk. (Although I have to admit at the moment it's not far off.) This is a good illustration of 'Tagarene' (or clutter)

I used to have a regular 'Monday spot' on my  own blog, entitled 'weird words.' My source of wisdom when it comes to all things wordly is Michael Quinion* who stated about the word 'Tagarene' which I featured some time ago -

"You're unlikely to know this word - variously spelled - unless you come from north-east England, especially the Newcastle area. But it does occasionally pop up in prose that gains a wider audience..."

"...A tagarene shop was a kind of junk shop, sometime specialising in old clothes but often carrying a much wider range of miscellaneous oddments, particularly marine scrap. The tagarene man who ran it did much of his trade with ships..."


Well my whole house, not just my desk has been like a tagarene shop this week.  We're being 'converted' to gas central heating and our tiny bungalow has been turned upside down as storage heaters have been ripped out, and shiny new radiators put in, together with a new, sleek boiler, and what seems like several hundred metres of copper piping.  We're still waiting for the places where the storage heaters used to be to be 'made good' and painted, before we can put the furniture back in place, and for the shelves to be replaced in the airing cupboard. (At the moment, all my clean clothes are in plastic bags in the bedroom.)  None of this is helping the fact that I'm due to fly to America for the first time, in a week,  to meet up with a writer friend. So as well as living in a 'tagarene' I'm desperately trying to get myself organised and make sure I don't forget anything.

What has all this to do with writing? I hear you ask.  Well, to be honest, nothing much, although it's my excuse for being so late putting up my post this month, (Apologies) but it did occur to me that sometimes our writing can be a bit of a 'tagarene', with ideas whirling around in our minds with no sense or order, until we sit down at our desk and start writing them down, slowly making sense of all those ideas and whipping them into what we hope will be the perfect story, making order out of chaos.

I just hope I'll be able to restore some order to the chaos that is my little home, as well, before I leave for foreign parts!


*World Wide Words is copyright © Michael Quinion 2012. All rights reserved The  original post can be found at:  http://www.worldwidewords.org/

Hywela Lyn

You can find out more about Lyn and her books on her  WEBSITE
She also blogs at her own BLOG, and THE AUTHOR ROAST AND TOAST
and is on TWITTER and FACEBOOK


Saturday, 28 April 2012

Editors, Singing Wolves and Picture Books- Enid Richemont

I've just been re-reading Linda Newbery's post on editors and editing, and I think that, on the whole, I've been very lucky. For my earlier books with Walker, I worked with Wendy Boase, Anne Carter and later, Mara Bergman, and in nearly every case, the process of editing brought added richness to the stories. A really good editor is like a midwife (sorry, guys, but even you can be pregnant with a good story which might have to be eased into the world in the most appropriate way). For one YA book, THE GAME, the introduction of a new character was suggested. I kicked, screamed and objected, finally capitulated, experimented - et voila! Something  amazing happened (thank you, Anne).

The next of my out of print YA Walker books to become available as an ebook  will be WOLFSONG. It's set in a big, ancient house in Brittany, a real house which played an important part in my own life - its name, 'Chanteloup', translating satisfyingly into WOLFSONG - the song of the wolf (on the left is a drawing I made of it many years ago, when we stayed there). Recently I learnt that there had been a major fire, that much of the house had been destroyed, and while I was saddened by the news, the incident seemed to chime with the anima of the place. 'A house like that has a soul', my French friend said. I never doubted it.

On the subject of ebooks, I've just finished reading John Logan's 'THE SURVIVAL OF THOMAS FORD.' It was a two day read, and wasn't the kind of book I'd usually enjoy reading, but John's part of the Authors Electric team, and I thought I should. Turned down by a number of publishers (see John's blog for the full painful story), it's now a best-seller on Amazon, and for good reason - it's a brilliantly written and terrifying thriller which I hope will eventually be made into a film. In conventional publishing, the good will endure, and the rest will end up in a charity shop. In e-publishing the same is true, except that the charity shops will miss out.

Re - editing again. At present I'm working, re-working and editing my latest picture book text  (my current affair with a dancing hippo) so it was interesting to read Malachy Doyle's post on Picturebookden. Malachy has five picture books publishing this year. All of them had an average ten year gestation period. The very best picture books come out of the same discipline as the very best poetry, and it's hard, hard writing.

And a postscript. On April 23rd, World Book Night, I joined a number of other AuthorsElectric members to give away three of my books. Two of them, TWICE TIMES DANGER, and, THE STONE THAT GREW, had been published before, so this was a second lifespan for them. The third, DRAGONCAT, had never been published until I did it myself, and I was curious to see whether it would attract many readers. The results were overwhelming. All three books stayed, for two days, on Amazon's 100 top Bestsellers list, and DRAGONCAT made it, briefly, to number 1 in its category. It was both exhilarating and informative. The times, they are certainly a-changing.



Friday, 27 April 2012

What Would George Bernard Shaw be Campaigning for Today? - Andrew Crofts


The Society of Authors has kindly put my name forward as one of four nominations for its Management Committee. If all goes smoothly and I join the other distinguished committee members I thought it might be useful to have a clearer idea of what it is that we would all like the Society to be doing for authors in these exciting times?

What, I wonder, would George Bernard Shaw, (an early and active member of the Society), be campaigning for if he was around today? What would his views be on e-books and self-publishing, for instance? Would he be championing Amazon for making books so accessible or criticising their monopolistic and capitalistic tendencies? Would he be sympathetic towards struggling high street independents or would he see them as the architects of their own downfall?  

What better place to launch such an investigation than here amongst a group of authors operating on the “cutting edge” of the electronic publishing industry. I would greatly welcome any ideas anyone might have on ways in which the Society should be making itself useful to its members.

Below is a short biography which the Society has published in The Author to support my nomination.

Andrew Crofts is a full-time author and ghostwriter. He has published more than 80 titles, a dozen of which have spent many weeks at the top of the Sunday Times best seller charts.

As well as using traditional publishers to reach readers, (including Arrow, Blake, Bloomsbury, Century, Ebury, André Deutsch, Hamish Hamilton, Harper Collins, Headline, Heinemann, Hodder, Hutchinson, Little Brown, Michael Joseph, McGraw Hill, Orion, Pan Macmillan, Penguin, Pocket Books, Sidgwick & Jackson, Sphere and Weidenfeld & Nicolson), he has also experimented with e-books, publishing “The Fabulous Dreams of Maggie de Beer”,(a prequel to his traditionally published “The Overnight Fame of Steffi McBride”), on both Kindle and Smashwords, and has guided a number of international clients successfully through the minefield of independent publishing.

His books on writing include “Ghostwriting”, (A&C Black), which was extensively quoted by Robert Harris in his thriller “The Ghost”, and “The Freelance Writer’s Handbook”, (Piatkus), which has been reprinted eight times over twenty years. In 2010 he wrote “The Change Agent – How to Create a Wonderful World”, a biography of James Martin, the futurologist and biggest ever private donor to Oxford University. Andrew lectures on the subject of making a living from writing at Kingston University and frequently guests at writing workshops, literary festivals and in the media. He blogs and tweets regularly on matters pertaining to publishing and writing.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

And Now for the Next One (E-book, I mean). I'm Getting a Taste for This! By Rosalie Warren



Following on from yesterday's post about book covers from Sue Price, I should say I'm delighted with the cover designed for me, at a very reasonable price, by designer and photographer Rob Tysall of Nuneaton.
 



Rob did an excellent job of bringing alive my somewhat blurry vision of the character Charity from Charity's Child - imbuing her with a wonderful mixture of scariness and vulnerability that for me exactly captures her persona in the book. So huge thanks to Rob. I'll be asking him if he'd like to do some more work for me soon... and that brings me to the topic of my next book...



This one is for adults and it's called Alexa's Song. The publishers of my first novel for adults, Low Tide, Lunan Bay, made encouraging noises at first but then decided that Alexa's Song  was 'too depressing'. (Gosh, I'm being my own worst publicist here. Though I actually quite like 'depressing' books...) Not that Alexa really is depressing, of course. It just has 'issues', serious ones, as indeed do most of my books, without my deliberately making any effort to introduce them. I start with characters; the characters grow on the page and reveal their issues in the process.


This, of course, forces me to do research, in order to make sure I've understood the background and got the facts straight. I enjoy research, as I think most authors do, but I always feel guilty while doing it, as it doesn't feel like real writing.


Anyway, Alexa's Song  is about a woman who is a talented musician and composer, and a man called Jake, who is deeply in love with her throughout her marriage to someone else and various other frustrating and distressing developments. Jake has bipolar illness, something I very much enjoyed researching. I suffer from chronic mental health problems myself, so I had some background on this, but not precisely on bipolar (I get the lows but not - or not very much - the highs - so it was interesting to investigate the other side of things).


Publishing Alexa  on Amazon Kindle and in other e-formats will be part of an ongoing experiment. For the last two days, I've participated in the Electric Authors e-book giveaway, which you may have heard about. I put my novel Charity's Child - Dark Deed or Virgin Birth?  on Amazon's KDP Select and offered it for free download on April 23rd-24th.


Although, of course, the downloads are not 'sales', I was gratified to see my ratings soar and, even more so, to receive great reviews and comments on Charity  from people I'm pretty sure would never otherwise have thought to read it. So I'm hoping they'll remember my name and look out for more e-books by me, and perhaps even be willing to pay for them. I haven't yet decided on the price for Alexa's Song, but it's likely to be somewhere close to that of Charity's Child, £1.94 ($2.99 in the US).


I'll be fascinated to see if this works. I'm also really excited to find a good cover for Alexa and perhaps discover what she, and/or Jake, really look like. I never quite 'see' my characters while I'm writing them. Almost, but not quite. I hear their voices; I feel I know them like my friends by the time I've finished a book. But their faces are blurry, until someone else nails that cover for me. So watch this space - I hope to reveal Alexa and Jake very soon.


Happy reading!
Best wishes,
Ros


Charity's Child - on Amazon UK and on Amazon USA
My website
My blog, Rosalie Reviews
My Facebook author page
Follow me on Twitter @Ros_Warren








Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Indie Publishing: The Cover Image


Andrew's cover for 'Christopher Uptake'
     One of the problems of self-publishing is: What about the cover?  (As Mark Chisnell was saying only the other day...)
     Some writers are talented enough to do their own; or ask past publishers for permission to use the covers from their published editions.
     I wasn’t talented enough, and didn’t want to go cap-in-hand to publishers.  Anyway, if I'm honest, I didn’t like many of my old covers.
      Luckily, both my brothers are artists, and as my Twitter name is @priceclan, you might guess that I’m all for keeping things in the family.
      Let me introduce the older of my brothers, Andrew.  I have eight self-published books on sale so far, and he has done the covers for them all.  So I asked him to tell us about how he learned his art.

Andrew at the Price Clan Christmas Do
      Andrew said:
      I spent most of my free time as a child drawing things.  There was no ‘you must do two hours of drawing practice a week.’ I did it because I wanted to.  Around the age of eight and nine I was obsessed with aircraft and knights in armour.  I probably spent most of my time attempting to draw them.
Cover by Andrew Price
      One of my earliest memories was wanting an easy way to draw a suit of armour, because they were so intricate that drawing one was beyond me.  So I turned to the Beano.  Dennis the Menace had a suit of armour in one story. Why?  Don’t ask.  But it gave me a simple formula for drawing a suit of armour, which kept me satisfied for a year or two.
      I was so mad about aircraft that I copied photographs and drawings of them, and attempted to make my own drawings almost all the time, to such an extent that, at 12, I realised that my efforts at other things, like human figures, suffered.  From then on it was just a process of studying and copying anything and everything.
Design and photo by Andrew Price
      There was something of an artistic arms race in our house. In the ‘60s I had two siblings, one five years older [that's me, folks - Sue Price] and the other about a year and a half younger, and both drew.  What one learned to do, the others had to do their best to learn as well.  It was a matter of pride.  Our parents, on a tight budget, would buy us all pads and pencils and pens at Christmas, and we made them last – drawing in someone else’s pad was sacrilege.
      I remember, at 13, trying to copy Michelangelo’s famous chalk preparatory drawing for the Libyan Sibyl.  If you know this drawing you’ll think I was mad, and the finished result was probably execrable.  However, nobody told me I shouldn’t try, and I was never told my efforts were foolish or that they would never amount to anything.  This is how you learn to draw – copy, copy, copy.

       S: But now you often use a computer. How did that happen?

Cover by Andrew Price.
       A: It seemed a natural progression once computers had developed to a stage where they could make a decent line.  I wasn’t interested in them at twenty (much to my present shame) because I didn’t see the use of them for anything I did.  I’m rather envious of those slightly younger people who saw that they might learn programming and bought a computer and went ahead and did it.
      I bought my first computer in about 1995, because I was interested in 3D computer animation.  It’s everywhere now but this was something I’d been watching throughout the eighties and foolishly believed that it would never become mainstream enough for ordinary people like me to attempt.
      But this is the nature of computers: they gradually take over and you either see this as a good thing and get involved, or a bad thing and leave well alone.  And they still inevitably take over.
Cover: Andrew Price.
      An off-the-peg 3D programme called 3D Studio was released in 1990 and I got hold of a copy and learned it.  This led to a stint in a games company where I learned Photoshop and other similar graphics programmes.  To do art with a computer you need a lot of RAM (Random Access Memory), and my early computer, although purchased for this very quality, would roll over and die if I had even tried to open one of the files I do for Susan’s covers. They are very large files.

      S: How do you go about designing a book cover? 

      A: I make myself familiar with the main events of the book and the most important characters, and then do small thumbnail sketches on paper, attempting to lay out a pleasing design.  I can do dozens of these small sketches before something happens which seems interesting, and then I develop that and try to clarify and strengthen the theme.
Cover: Andrew Price.
      I continue doing this with more thumbnail sketches until I have something that’s strong enough to be developed on a larger scale.  I place characters into the frame, work out things like the positioning of a head, where the arms and hands are going to be and so on.  At this stage I might also do a little research on costume or architecture.  With the Ghost World books Susan wanted the images to resemble Russian woodcuts and this needed research.
      At this stage I may re-evaluate the image, and feel it’s not working.  Then I go back to stage one again.
      If I think the image is strong enough, I start to think about colour.
      The images I’ve so far done have been for kindle, and have to be black and white, but for website publicity they need to be in colour.  This has to be a balance; the colour images must still have the same impact when reduced to black and white.
      They must also have a strong effect when seen as a small thumbnail on a website like Amazon, and this depends on a strong central element such as a figure or a colour, while lettering placement is also very important.
Cover: Andrew Price.
      Design packages in which lettering can be added to a file always allow for layers to be incorporated, so elements of the image and the lettering can be ‘floated’ over each other, and moved about without too much restructuring of the work.  So you can experiment with the right placement of a title or a picture element until it looks right.

      S: Would you be willing to do book covers for other people?  

      A: If someone asks me, yes!

      S: How much would you charge?

      A: It would probably have to be something in the region of £100.  But order two and there’d be a discount!

      S: Contact details?

      A: Oh, just email me via admin at Electric Authors. That's you, and you're my sister - you know where to find me!

          Just to add - the Book Giveaway we held on Monday and yesterday was a big success!  There'll be more details later in the month, but several of us reached the top ten in various categories both in the UK and the US - and some of us reached the number one spot!
          If anyone reading downloaded one of our books - we hope you enjoy it!

          Susan Price can be found at her website: www.susanpriceauthor.com
          And she blogs here at http://susanpricesblog.blogspot.co.uk/

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Authors Electric giveaway still goes on...

World Book Night may now be over, but our giveaway hasn't quite disappeared. Follow this link  for more than a dozen free books by Authors Electric. But hurry - it won't last for ever...

And now here's Simon Cheshire with his post for today.

Cross my palm with silver... - Simon Cheshire

Meet the future
DON'T FORGET THE WORLD BOOK NIGHT GIVEAWAY! SCROLL DOWN!

          With World Book Night just behind us, we've all been celebrating the published word in all its glory. But in a few years' time, I reckon, what bricks and mortar bookshops that remain will all be little kiosks: you'll go in, search and order using a touchscreen (which will be swamped by adverts put there in the last dying gasps of the legacy publishing system), then have a coffee while the nice lady behind the counter prints off a paperback on the Espresso Book Machine out the back, or transmits an ebook to your tablet PC. If chains exist at all, they'll be chains of franchises run by the online booksellers.
          I think I'm havin' one of me mystic blasts here. I'll stick a tea towel on my head and dangle a couple of shower curtain rings from my ears. Let us gaze into the crystal ball (well, the goldfish bowl turned upside down), and let us see what else the future brings for the book trade...
  • June 2012: A midlist author discovers one of their titles on the shelves in WHSmith. The media are alerted. Red-faced, WHS remove the book and apologise.
  • July 2012: Independent bookshops launch a new sales drive to promote a diverse marketplace, by burning effigies of Jeff Bezos outside parliament. A spokesman comments "watch it, book buying public, you're next if you don't smarten your ideas up!"
  • September 2012: An old lady from Bournemouth buys a £50 premium bond, thus guaranteeing the UK public library budget for the 2013/2014 financial year.
  • October 2012: Waterstones think about getting rid of those horrible shelving units. But don't.
  • January 2013: A blog post entitled "Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!" marks the start of an armed uprising of indie writers against J.A.Konrath and John Locke.
  • February 2013: Amazon buys up several impoverished European nations, and puts the inhabitants to work making knitted covers for the Kindle Fire.
  • March 2013: Another major publishing company gives up and runs home in tears, leaving a pack of interns called Charlotte and Penelope to wander the streets of north London in a state of confusion.
  • December 2013: The marketing team at Barnes & Noble in America make a rude gesture at the  development department of Apple, and are challenged to a fight to the death. There is an unseemly brawl involving hand-paddling and screwed-up eyes, which results in a broken Nook.
  • June 2014: Archaeologists unearth what they believe may be the fossilised remains of the last ever Sony Reader.
  • August 2014: The number of books by James Patterson published each month passes infinity and creates a hole in the space/time continuum.
  • November 2014: Waterstones have a serious rethink about those horrible shelving units. And decide to keep them.
  • April 2015: Publishers from across the UK and America attend the London Book Fair. They chat, gulp wine, sell each other assorted rights, and do everything they did at the same event in 1974. They reassure themselves that this ebook thing will definitely blow over very soon now.
  • May 2020: The manager of the last surviving independent bookshop turns into Khan from Star Trek II and launches a nuclear strike at an Amazon warehouse near Slough, screaming "with my last breath I stab at thee" etc etc. The warehouse is undamaged.
  • The far end of time: Amazon grudgingly agrees to pay UK authors by bank transfer instead of by "check". The universe ends before any payments are due.

Simon Cheshire is a children's writer who'll be your bestest friend ever if you buy his ebooks. 
His website is at http://www.simoncheshire.co.uk/ 
And his blog about literary history is at http://bookhistorystudies.blogspot.com/




Monday, 23 April 2012

Roll Up, Roll Up FREE eBooks

Yes you did read that correctly - FREE eBooks.


In honour of and to celebrate World Book Night over the 23rd and 24th April 2011the eBooks listed below will be FREE to download. So please feel free to click on the link and download. 


Once you've filled your Kindle with some great new reads tell your friends and family to visit us and take the opportunity to discover something new.


And remember you don't have to have a Kindle to read these eBooks and enjoy them for FREE. Simply download the free app, so you can read them on your PC, Mac or Android phone. Just follow the 'No Kindle? No problem! link on the right. 


We hope you enjoy!


PLEASE NOTE: If visiting us a.m. on the 23rd our books may not be showing free on Amazon. It can take a few hours for them to change the books price to free. Simply bookmark our blog and come back in a few hours.  


But here are the free books:-

Emotional Health For Emotional Wealth by Susan Jane Smith


Genre: Non-fiction self-help
View on Amazon UK and Amazon US 
Synopsis: 
Child abuse, bullying, rape, domestic violence, alcoholism and depression are forms of emotional pain that need to be healed before a person can have emotional health.  Chapters on love, parenting through divorce, anxiety, stress and bereavement are included.  The author’s experience led her to identify the changes people can make to move themselves from pain to health and on to emotional wealth.  That wealth not only creates happier people and healthier finances – it increases people’s integrity, compassion, respect and serenity which is something the author believes the world needs!



My Memories of a Future Life, Episode 1: The Red Season
by Roz Morris


Genre: Literary Fiction, women’s fiction 
FREE download from Amazon UK and Amazon US 
Synopsis: 
          The Red Season is the first episode of the four-part novel My Memories of a Future Life. Each episode is novella length (one-quarter of the full novel, which is 360 pages).
          If you were somebody’s past life… What echoes would you leave in their soul?
          Could they be the answers you need now?
          It’s a question Carol never expected to face. She’s a gifted musician who needs nothing more than her piano and certainly doesn’t believe she’s lived before. But forced by injury to stop playing, she fears her life may be over. Enter her soulmate Andreq: healer, liar, fraud and loyal friend. Is he her future incarnation or a psychological figment? And can his story help her discover how to live now?
           My Memories of a Future Life is much more than a 'who was I' tale. It’s a provocative study of the shadows we don’t know are driving our lives, from our own pasts and from the people with us right now. An examination of what we believe, what we create and how we scare and heal each other.
           Above all, it’s the story of how one lost soul searches for where she now belongs.



The Amber Heart by Catherine Czerkawska


Genre: Historical Fiction
FREE download from UK Amazon and US Amazon
Synopsis: 
The Amber Heart is an epic love story set in the troubled Eastern Borderlands of 19th Century Poland. Tackling adult themes with sensitivity, this is a vivid, dramatic and intensely romantic story of obsessive love and loyalty, of tragey and triumph, set against the backdrop of  a turbulent time and place. It has been described as ‘Zhivago-esque’ and if by that you mean the film rather than the book, it probably is! There is an ongoing blog about all things Polish, including food, to go with the book click here to view. 

Clever Rabbit by Lynne Garner 




Genre: Picture Book
FREE downloads: Kindle versions from Amazon UK and Amazon US plus app for iPhone and iPad  
Note: If the app link doesn't work then click here.

Synopsis: 
         This is one of three eBooks (one of four apps) that feature Burdock the Rabbit. In this story Burdock is playing hide and go seek and becomes lost. Thankfully Burdock has taken Rabbit with him. Now Rabbit is a very clever toy and he leaves a trail, so Burdock can follow it safely back home.

          This digital picture book helps young readers develop their reading skills and contains 21 hand drawn images, which help tell the story.


          If you would also like to download some FREE activity sheets to go with this book then just click here!

I hope you enjoy! 

Dancing With Fate by Hywela Lyn


Genre: Fantasy Romance (first published by The Wild Rose Press)
FREE to download from Smashwords  
Synopsis: 
When Terpsichore, the Greek Muse of Dance, is assigned to revisit 5th Century Wales, and help the people regain their love of dancing, her task seems simple enough. She is unaware there is a hidden agenda. Before she can return to Olympus her path crosses that of the mysterious Myrddin, and her heart is lost.

But Myrddin is promised to another. His mind is set on the dangerous task that lies before him, and the woman he has sworn to save. Nevertheless, he cannot deny the growing attraction between him and the beautiful stranger he meets along the way.

Terpsichore and Myrddin face a deadly force that threatens to part them forever. Is she destined to lose the only mortal man she has ever truly loved? Is there nothing she can do to save him? Finally, when all seems lost, in desperation she finds herself DANCING WITH FATE

Cover Art by the talented US author and cover artist Miss Mae to visit her website click here.  
Visit the authors website by clicking here 

Christopher Uptake By Susan Price


Genre: Historical Fiction
FREE to download from Amazon UK and Amazon US
Synopsis: 
‘Merry England’, during the reign of Good Queen Bess, was a police state.  It was a crime to miss attendance at the state church on Sunday, and a crime to hear a Catholic mass.  It was a crime to be ‘a free thinker’.   Christopher Uptake, a young playwright, is an atheist.  Living and writing in the crowded city, he thinks it has escaped notice that he never attends church – until the red-haired man appears at his door and gives him a choice: spy on your friends or be tortured and executed.
From then on, Chris plays a desperate game, trying to spare his friends yet save his own life…

Cover artwork by Andrew Price

Head and Tales by Susan Price


Genre: Historical Fiction
FREE download from Amazon UK and Amazon US
Synopsis:
In ancient myth, the severed head stood for Wisdom.  In story after story, the severed head speaks and gives counsel.
A sick man, a story-teller, dying in a work-camp, fears for the children he’ll leave behind in a harsh world.
His last wish is that his head be cut off, and carried by his children on their long walk home to the grandmother they have never seen.
When they are tired, despairing, threatened, the head opens its eyes – and tells stories.  Words have power.  Stories can be spells.
Here are the stories the head tells…

Cover Art Work by Andrew Price.


Twice Times Danger by Enid Richemont


Genre: Thriller (age 9+)
FREE to download from Amazon UK and Amazon US
Synopsis: 
Becca and Daisie have been best friends for two years but their friendship has grown increasingly strained during the summer holidays before starting at different schools. Then Perdita turns up. Posh, bossy, rich Perdita, not Cornish like the others but a summer visitor, an 'emmet', and so identical to Daisie they could be twins (even Daisie's dog Dracula has trouble telling them apart). And from the moment the two girls meet, Becca becomes an outsider, a stooge in their games of swapping identities. But what begins as a joke to fool Dita's au pair, becomes deadly serious when Daisie goes missing.


Becca must solve this sinister mystery to prevent twice times danger turning into double death.

The Independent on Sunday:
"This spirited adventure story for girls has two children (and a dog) uniting to solve a crime that baffles police."

Times Educational Supplement:
"...an intriguing thriller about the jealousies of friendship... warm-hearted, unambiguous... well-judged for the older junior/early secondary level."

The Stone That Grew by Enid Richemont



Genre: An ecological fantasy ( ages 8+). First published by Walker. Books
FREE download from Amazon UK and Amazon US
Synopsis: 
Katie finds the stone in an old box in the loft. It doesn't look like much at first, but then it does something amazing: it grows! Katie thinks it's wonderful. What's more, it's hers and she's not going to share it; it's bad enough having to share Mum with her little stepbrother, Jake. It might even be a way of getting in with Sarah and her gang. Meanwhile the stone continues to grow... and grow!

Dragoncat by Enid Richemont


Genre: Children's Fiction, first published by Squinx Ink for the Kindle 
FREE download from Amazon UK and Amazon US
Synopsis: 
Lulu, the cat that lives in a small Chinese supermarket, has just had five kittens. Wing-Yu would like to keep them all - especially the dud one with odd flaps of skin. Pa, however, has other ideas. That dud kitten would look bad in his food store, and what's more, everything has to be perfect for Grandpa's visit  from Hong Kong to celebrate Wing-Yu's baby sister's One Month Feast. Pa would secretly like to have the kitten put down, but finally he lets Wing-Yu keep it outside in the shed.

On the day the kitten escapes into the shop and appears to fly, Pa's really had enough. "Bad for business," he says. "We'll have the health inspectors around". But when racist yobs target the shop, Pa changes his mind, and even Grandpa seems to approve. "He's like a little dragon," says Grandpa, "and dragons bring good luck."

DRAGONCAT is set in London's Chinese community, and is based on a real shop in Stroud Green.



The Boy With the Hawk-like Eyes by Sheridan Winn


Genre: Fantasy Adventure aimed at 'tween' readers
FREE download from Amazon UK and Amazon US
Blurb: 
‘The Boy With Hawk-like Eyes’ is the sixth in Sheridan Winn’s Sprite Sister series. These fantasy adventure stories have been bestsellers for Fischer Verlag, with 200,000 hardback copies sold in Germany. Piccadilly Press published the first five titles in the UK, where the books have a keen fan base.
Synopsis: 
It’s a year and a half since the Sprite Sisters last used their magic powers. Amidst much bickering, Flame and Marina are busy with their teenage social lives and even Ash seems to have forgotten about magic. As Ariel harnesses her power of Air to learn to fly, a strange boy comes to Sprite Towers and the family is threatened by the invasion of terrifying, insect-like creatures. With dark magic unleashed in the old house and the air turning poisonous, the Sprite Sisters must quickly find a way to remember their powers.

‘Have you ever thought about flying?’ said Zak.
Ariel blinked. ‘In an aeroplane?’
‘No. Lifting your arms and soaring into the air.’
Ariel stared at Zak. She could feel his eyes boring into her and the colour rising
in her cheeks. She had been flying over Sprite Towers last night!
What should she say? ‘No,’ she said, with a shake of her head. ‘Why, have you?’
Zak grinned. ‘Yes – flying is cool. You should try it.’

Other books available in series: Four Sisters, Four Elements, Four Powers


Stealing The Show By Ann Evans



Genre: A great whodunnit for anyone aged 8years and above.
FREE download from UK Amazon and US Amazon 
Synopsis:
It’s the chance of a lifetime. Emma and Lucy have won a competition to spend the weekend with the hottest new boy-band around, Street Wise. Flying to France on their private jet, watching the concerts, going backstage… It all sounds brilliant. Until something deadly happens…

Stealing the Show is part of the series: Little Tyke Murder Mysteries. Other titles are: Fishing for Clues; Pushing his Luck and Pointing the Finger.


The Long Journey of Joslin de Lay 1

Of Dooms And Death By Dennis Hamley


Genres; Mystery, crime, historical, thriller, young adult

FREE download from Amazon UK and Amazon US 
Synopsis:

It is 1369 and England and France are at war. Joslin de Lay is a minstrel like his father. But when English lords visit the French castle in which they live, his father is murdered and Joslin escapes to hostile England, charged with a quest to Wales to find his lost mother. And a mysterious, threatening man follows him secretly.

But no sooner does Joslin land in England than he is embroiled in murder. The great Doom painting is taking shape in Stovenham Church, but each time the face of one of the damned is painted, the person whose portrait it is meets a violent death. ‘The devil walks abroad in Stovenham,” says the travelling friar. There is danger, heartache and cruel murder before the truth is known and Joslin can continue his journey.

There was no doubt. Near where the altar had once been been were legs encased in green hose, a barrel chest in a red doublet and shiny leather jerkin. Whoever it was looked sound asleep.
Fearfully, Joslin crept closer.
Then he caught his breath. He knew who lay there. And he was not asleep.



Charity’s Child – Dark Deed or Virgin Birth? by Rosalie Warren



Genre: YA Psychological Suspense (age 14+)
FREE download from Amazon UK and Amazon US
Synopsis:
A Virgin Birth?

It’s 1984 and Charity Baker, aged 16, is pregnant.

Who is the father of her child? Could it be Alan, assistant pastor of the Crabapple Christian Fellowship? Or could the father, as Charity is claiming, actually be God? Charity’s friend Joanne has her own reasons for needing an answer. But the truth, when it  emerges, is dark enough to shake the strongest faith.


The Great Rosette Robbery and other stories by Karen Bush


Genre: Children's Fiction
FREE to download from Amazon UK and Amazon US 
Synopsis:
A pony that won’t jump: a talented horse loses his nerve: an equine escape artist saves the day: a missed show results in a dream coming true and a lost rosette leads to the opportunity of a lifetime – just a few of the exciting stories in this collection of horse and pony stories. There is also an exclusive excerpt from a forthcoming full length pony book.

Midnight Blue by Pauline Fisk


Genre: Children's Fiction
FREE to download from Amazon UK and Amazon US
Synopsis: 
Bonnie wants to live with her mum, Maybelle, and Maybelle wants that too, but Grandbag’s always been in charge and won’t let go. Into this tangled tale steps a mysterious shadowboy with a hot air balloon fuelled by fire, smoke and more than a dash of magic. Another world awaits Bonnie beyond the blue veil of the sky, a world she’s always dreamt of, and now it looks as if it’s real. But is getting rid of Grandbag really as easy as simply flying away?

 ‘The scariest book I’ve read for years.’ Bookwitch; ‘This is fantasy at its best’.’ Fantasy Focus; ‘The kind of book that casts a spell over the imagination.’ Susan Hill, The Sunday Times; ‘Magical and scary.’ The Bookbag

"As they rose, the sun rose with them as if they were racing for the top of the sky. Its warmth welcomed them, turning the dark skin of the fiery balloon a beautiful midnight blue. They flew straight up. Above them, the sweet, clear music of the lonely pipe, the only sound left in the whole world, drew them on until they prepared to hit the very roof-top of the sky itself. Then the smooth sky puckered into cloth-of-blue and drew aside for them, like curtains parting. The music called again, and they passed straight through."

Christina Rossetti: Learning Not to be First by Kathleen Jones 


Genre: Biography
FREE down load from Amazon UK and Amazon US
Synopsis:
This biography is a fresh and illuminating study of Christina Rossetti and her poetry. Kathleen Jones looks at her life alongside that of other nineteenth-century women writers - notably Emily Bronte, Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Emily Dickinson. Christina was the youngest of the four Rossetti children, born in England to Italian parents. Although she and her brother, the artist Dante Gabriel, were known as the 'two storms', Christina's passionate nature was curbed in a way that her brother's was not, as she submitted to the social and religious pressures that lay so heavily on Victorian women. Like Elizabeth Barrett Browning, she suffered the tyranny of a loving family. Her sister Maria's influence was described as 'a species of police surveillance', and Christina was always careful never to write anything that would hurt her mother. Often referred to as the 'High Priestess of Pre-Raphaelitism' Christina had a genuine lyric gift that could articulate both the joy of being alive and the bitterness of loss. The loneliness of the unloved was her particular province. As her personal life became increasingly tragic, her output of religious poetry grew. Her desire for poetic excellence and moral excellence were continually in conflict and her poetry betrays the corrosive effect of this struggle. Christina's deliberate self-effacement, Dante Gabriel's portrayal of her as the meek virgin and William Rossetti's role as editor and interpreter of her work have gradually blotted out the passionate lively spirit who wrote with such simplicity and power. Learning Not To Be First strips away the shadows of Christina Rossetti's life to reveal her true self.

Voices in Ma Heid by Cally Phillips


Genre: Adult short stories
FREE download from Amazon UK and Amazon US   
Synopsis:

Five short stories in Scots exploring those perennial Scottish themes: sex, football and politics. Dark and hard edged but humorous characters from ‘the scheme’ and wasters from ‘the pub’ discuss issues as diverse as Scottish History and what might have happened to Oor Wullie when he grows up.

These stories are adult in content and written in Scots dialect/language.

Cally Phillips is better known for her writing in English but these storeis reveal the ‘naked’ voice in her head before she translates it into the English people find easier to read.


A Game of Soldiers by Jan Needle



Genre: Novel
FREE download from Amazon UK and Amazon US
Synopsis: 
Three Falklands Island children are awoken by the sound of battle in the night. Next day, in the moorland near their homes, they come across a teenage Argentine conscript who has been badly hurt. Fired by their parents’ outrage at the invasion, they decide to kill him. It will not be easy – he has a rifle, they are unarmed – but it is their patriotic duty. As the day grinds on, the full horror of the situation slowly comes to them. As a TV serial, this was nominated for a Bafta award.



Kicking Off by Jan Needle






Genre: Thriller
FREE download from Amazon UK and Amazon US
Synopsis: 
When a hardman inmate is killed during a rooftop jail protest, a charismatic and ambitious junior minister is helicoptered in to save the situation. But he cuts corners too hard and too fast – and sets off an explosion of horrendous violence throughout an overcrowded, fissile system. Rosanna Nixon and her partner, a hard-bitten and cynical investigator, become embroiled in a dark web of politics, corruption – and murder.



Killing Time at Catterick by Jan Needle



Genre: Novel

FREE download from Amazon UK and Amazon US
Synopsis:
Three teenagers – one white, one black, one Asian – join the British Army as a way of beating the jobs famine, and even giving something back to the society they were born into. For all of them it turns into a disaster. They recognise that they might be misfits, and try their hardest not to apportion blame as they become close friends. Their struggle against racism, bullying, drugs and drink becomes a struggle for survival. Based on real lives, this book has been nominated for the Orwell Prize. 

Silver and Blood – Return to Treasure Island by Jan Needle




Genre: Novel

FREE download from Amazon UK and Amazon US

Synopsis:

Sequels have been written in plenty to R.L. Stevenson’s classic, but this version is NOT one of them. It takes a completely new look at the story, although bloodshed and violence are still the key. Now though, the piratical thugs use AK47s not flintlocks, and the multi-million pound Caribbean drugs trade is the backdrop. Jim, the only innocent, finds himself in a world of complete moral collapse. The question he must face, as he struggles to keep his life – is just who are the bad guys?




Firstborn by Karen King


Genre: Fastasy Adventure (9-12 years)
FREE download from Amazon UK and Amazon US
Synopsis:
When Myden and Tsela are captured by the evil Isleck, they are determined to outwit them and escape. Bork the dragon comes to their aid, and soon they are all entangled in a dangerous quest to find the Golden Dragon and a battle to save Cryenia.


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