Released: The “Big” Book

Yesterday, publication was completed. That’s that. If you are not a Kindle user, Conventions: The Garden At Paris is now available in paperback, too:

That paperback, which is a pretty BIG book, is also at Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com and all other Amazons worldwide. Tell your friends!

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Deadline Day

As you can see, today is March 31. As you may also see, Conventions is not out today. However, I knew a few weeks ago that the deadline was going to have to give – by a few days or weeks.

I had set “March 31” as publication day in my head sometime late last summer. If I may offer one piece of writing advice based on my own experience, it is this: you must give yourself a deadline that you take seriously. It focuses you on finishing the work. Without one, I assure you that you will drift – and may never finish your book.

Screen shot of Kindle site.

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“Bond” Can’t Just Jet Off To Mecca Because You Want Him To

Yesterday, spy novelist Jeremy Duns – creator of the Paul Dark novels – shared this discovery on Twitter:

Screen capture of Twitter.
Screen capture of Twitter.

It’s a “James Bond” novel.

However, there’s just one small problem with it:

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Art For An Eighteenth Century Tale

Because the cover is probably the FIRST THING anyone sees of your book, and we all know how important “first impressions” are, I have to believe the cover art issue drives every indie author nuts. It does me. Naturally, you are desperate to get it right.

Free Stock Photo: Various art related clip art.
Free Stock Photo: Various art related clip art.

None of the covers I’ve seen over the years from artists offering original artwork in the romance genre have been, let’s say, what I wanted for my books. The last thing you need is the cover letting down the story inside that you’ve worked hard to bring to life. If the cover’s a turn off, there are potential readers who will turn away and never read a word of the tale.

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Memo To Romance Authors: Nazis Are NOT “Leading Men”

[WARNING: This post contains an upsetting photograph.]

Our imaginations and personal interests will invariably take us down our own writing paths. It’s any author’s right to invent what he/she wishes to invent. Our creativity means everything.

So I’m not one usually to hit out at other authors’ chosen fictional subject matter. Yet there are times you feel you have to make clear where you stand as a matter of fundamental moral principle. Thankfully only very occasionally are there those tales that make you, frankly, gasp and shudder:

A story of an SS officer, his Jewish wife and their fight against the Reich

After gasping and shuddering at that cover blurb, I could only shake my head in disbelief. I’m sure if you want to, you can find that indie novel; but I won’t name it here. (I think it’s a 2015 publication.) I had never heard of it before, nor of its author, until I first saw its full cover pop up on my Google+ the other day.

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E-Books Are Here To Stay

Have you read any good books lately (besides any of mine)? πŸ˜‰ If so, on which “platform?” E-book or paperback?

Screen capture of Twitter.
Screen capture of Twitter.

Thus tweets the editor of the New York Times Book Review. Some replying have questioned it, pointing out for instance that it is just one year, and also that many e-books are “overpriced” by large publishers while many paperbacks are “priced to sell.” Yet it does once more address that tantalizing question: E-books or paperbacks?

I hate talking money. However, occasionally we do all alas have to nod to it in life. Many readers might not know: Kindle and other e-readers have been a real boost for us lesser-knowns and those looking to break into authoring, who often indie publish to get a start.

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From Narragansett Bay To Writing Today

Wednesday’s post about a writer of “17 books” going on and on about her personal money woes, combined with the end of my “Bastille Day” free promo for Passports, got me thinking more on this subject.

Free Stock Photo: Illustration of books.
Free Stock Photo: Illustration of books.

We know there are the “sneak peeks” that the likes of Amazon use to drive sales. But that is not always enough. Much as with musicians who do free gigs and artists who display paintings merely to be seen, when you are lesser known as an independent author it is certainly unreasonable to expect readers to part with money for your work until they believe it is worth it.

So making a novel free is often necessary. Still, it does go against the grain to offer complete free books to enable readers to get to know your work when yours aren’t “shorts” produced every few months for quickie consumption. It’s a lot easier psychologically to give away 1 “short” book when you have “16” others out there, than it is to give away a 400 page novel when you have only 2 of them.

* * *

Much is also made of the fact that independent novels, be they shorts or full-length, are imperfect. They may have, for example, typos:

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Opening With A “Hit” Single

Inspired, I sensed afterwards, by my grandfather memories that I’d posted in the morning, I spent the day yesterday smashing through the opening chapter to Distances. Although it’s not long (but none of my chapters are really “long”; I dislike “long” chapters), it’s – I believe – on target.

Textured. Sentimental. Sharp.

A new character also zooms in, offering the novel’s very first line.

Free Stock Photo: Illustration of a piano with music notes.
Free Stock Photo: Illustration of a piano with music notes.

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More “Distances” Cover Fun

I know this post appears much later in the morning than usual. However, when you have an unexpected light bulb go off over your head you have to drop almost everything and get the idea into your manuscript as quickly as possible. If you don’t, it may vanish forever….

Having done that, on to this post. Yesterday saw me pass 40,000 words. So with Distances looking daily more and more like an actual book, rather than just bits and pieces, I took a break and decided to have another mess around with a potential cover. That’s always fun:

“Distances” draft cover, April 28, 2015.

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The Quest Continues….

Well, everyone, I’ve struck out with the first literary agent. She emailed me that she likes my books’ idea (whether that’s really true, who knows?), but (and but is always the operative word) added that what she had read did not “grab” her enough. She concluded – quite politely – that she must “pass.”

Free Stock Photo: A Beautiful Young Business Woman Posing On A White Background
Free Stock Photo: A Beautiful Young Business Woman Posing On A White Background

Naturally not the response I had hoped for. Then again, not bad for a first try either. That’s the business. I took up this endeavor without illusions. You need a skin as tough as marble and to possess the ability to shrug off “passes” and move on immediately.

Because not everyone is going to be wildly impressed by what you write. Even the likes of Sir Salman Rushdie have produced books some consider “unreadable.” Every author gets rejected.

I choose to see this “pass” primarily as her loss. She had read only a little of it, and I’m sure if she doesn’t want it someone else out there will. As in sales, you just have to keep knocking on doors, and may have to pile up lots of unanswered queries and “Nos” until you encounter someone who says “Yes!” πŸ™‚