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Louise's current project is to make all her sweet romances available on the internet.
Look out for her new Regency romance, Regency Fortune, coming soon!


Wednesday, 21 March 2012

KingFisher Days - Last chance to read free e-book

Kingfisher Days will no longer be free after this week - it gained some reviews, and maybe a few readers, who knows? But I've decided to take it off the free books sites and put in on Amazon. Their free promotion is much more effective in terms of numbers, I tried it with Concrete Proposal and over a thousand people downloaded it each day, and it continued to sell after the promotion was over - so if you still want a free copy of Kingfisher Days, look out for it on Amazon!

As ever - free copies of any of my titles will be available for readers who offer reviews in exchange for their review copies.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Cinderella Suffers in Luxury & Geezers Shouting in a Small Place

I have just read Twilight by Stephenie Myers and it made me think that there are two literary genres (or are they themes?) that I've never seen discussed, or named, yet I'd say they are the most popular of all.

For women, it's Cinderella Suffers in Luxury. Bella is a good little girl, and she cooks and washes the dishes for her daddy. Edmund (and sometimes his sister) FORCE her to go to parties, drive posh cars and wear nice clothes. She cries a lot and feels pain all the time. See what I mean? Danielle Steele was brilliant at this type of novel. It's usually a sub genre of romance.

For men, they like to get into a small enclosed area such as a submarine, a prison or a court room and shout at each other. I call this (think cockney accent) Geezers Shouting at each other in a Small Place.  But is it a plot, a theme or a genre, because it pops up in all kinds of settings? I adore SF - but not when it's Geezers Shouting at each other in a Spaceship.

Alas, I've not patience to write a Cinderella Suffers in Luxury story. I'll never be rich!

Monday, 13 February 2012

Dear Taxpayer...

I'm so grateful to great people who post on the Internet. How else would a British author find out how to get an exemption number so that they don't have to pay US tax at 30% on their e-books?.
I am in the happy position of being owed money for e-book sales by both Kindle and Smashwords, but they are American publishers, and I am a UK author. When I published my e-books, I ticked the boxes that said 'don't send me any money yet'. This is because if they pay a UK author who isn't registered with Uncle Sam, then they have to withhold tax at 30%. So I thought, I'll sort it out later, and promptly forgot about the whole thing - until I checked my balances and hey! Diddle dee dum. I've got royalties coming to me!

Of course, I'll have to pay UK tax at 20%, but a short session with my calculator and some sums that made my fingers inky convinced me that it was worth getting an ITIN number.

Smashwords very helpfully tell you what an ITIN is and have a link to the US government website where you can download form W-7. Then I Googled to see what other authors were doing. Two (sorry, lost the links, but you can Google them too) very helpfully detailed the whole process. I filled in the W-7 form the way they suggested and sent it off with my passport to the American Embassy in London. A couple of days later a letter, addressed to 'Dear Taxpayer', came back saying they were happy with the documents and had sent them off to America to be processed. Thank you, fellow authors.

Two extra notes for UK authors who want an ITIN number:
1. You need TWO special delivery envelopes - one to get your passport to the embassy, and one to have it sent home again.
2. Send off for your number NOW! My letter says that the ITIN number will take 4 months to arrive - and then I have to fill in another form and send that to the publishers, so I should have started this process last year some time.

It'll be so nice to be paid, though. I love royalties!

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Formatting First Lines with NO Indents for your Kindle E-Book

One of life's crumpled rose petals has been smoothed out at last! When I formatted my books for e-publishing, they looked perfect on Smashwords and in all other formats but Kindle, and it took me forever to find out why!

The publishing convention for paper books is that the first line of a chapter, or a section after a line-break, is NOT indented, like this.
         Then all the other lines are indented, like this!

It looks unprofessional if you don't format your books that way, as if you didn't know any better. But for some bonkers reason, Kindle insists on adding an indent. I didn't want an indent. I'd set the styles function of Word to remove the indent, an indent looked completely and utterly wrong, but, there it was, every time: a rubbish, extra indent.

I rummaged around the Internet. As usual, I didn't keep proper notes, so I can't credit anyone, but thanks to all those helpful posters, and eventually, I pieced together what I needed to know. Here is my (nontechnical) version in case it helps anyone else.

Those extra indents appear because Kindle is trying to be helpful - seems a lot of folk try to upload manuscripts with no paragraphing, so Kindle has been set to add a paragraph space automatically, but whoever wrote the programme didn't add the publisher's beginning-of-a-chapter-has-no-indent option. You have not gone crazy or formatted wrong. Kindle is overriding your instructions.

The way to fool Kindle is to go into the styles section of Word and alter your first line style. (If this means nothing to you, then I recommend the FREE styles guide over at Smashwords by Mark Coker.) If you right click it allows you to 'modify' then you select paragraph, then, where it gives you the option to set an indent, you set the tiniest possible indent 00.1 cm will do it. It is invisible to the naked eye, but it makes Kindle happy because it reads that line as having a proper indent. Your text looks professional. Everybody is happy. Hurrah!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

How to get your Star Ratings from Book Reviews inside your Kindle Book

I've been reading a book about promoting e-books (I'll blog more later on how to sell a million e-books by John Locke) and one thing he said seemed fairly straightforward: - make sure you have some good reader reviews in the beginning of your e-book. It puts readers in the right mood to enjoy your story.

So, I went and collected some kind words that readers had posted about my books (modest cough!) and cut and pasted them into the front of the book that I was editing. The stars vanished. So, I wrote by hand, 4 stars. It means the same, I know four out of five stars means the same, but words just don't have the same impact as a row of stars - I so wanted to see stars.

Well, I finally worked out how to get the image of stars into your e-book to show off your reader reviews. This is how I did it.

1. Collect your reviews and paste them into a Word document. The stars will show as pretty stars.

2. Format the document until it looks pretty.

3. Press the 'print screen' button on your computer.

4. Open the programme 'Paint' which is loaded free on most computers. It hides in accessories.

5. Save that document as a JPEG.

6. Open the JPEG in Picture Editor - or whatever software you use. Picture Editor is the free default one that comes with Office.

7. Select 'edit picture' and crop away all the edges that contain a photograph of your toolbars etc.

8. Resave the cropped photo.

9. Paste as an image at the beginning of your manuscript.

10. Lock the image in place by clicking on 'In line with text.'

11. Ta da! Reader reviews with pretty stars.

It's probably better not to resize the image - I made mine larger after pasting it into the text, and have since noticed that it looks strange in a couple of readers, so I'll have to enlarge the document, then go through the above steps as well. The text hasn't been updated on Amazon yet (or it hadn't last time I looked) so check it out on Smashwords if you want to see how it looks.

A Change of Heart on Smashwords

Hope this is useful.

Saturday, 31 December 2011

Free Romance Novels in Exchange for Reviews

Reviews are so important to authors - mine are building up, but slowly, if only because Amazon UK, Amazon.Com, Goodreads and Smashwords are 4 different places, so I have to have 40 reviews to get 10 on each site, if you see what I mean.
So I thought I'd try offering books in exchange for reviews.  So, if you like sweet romances, go to this link: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/LouiseArmstrong and you can see what kind of romantic novels I write. Or this one: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Louise-Armstrong/e/B001HOGK5W/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

If you would like a free paperback copy of a sweet romance in exchange for a review, just leave a comment with contact details below, or go to my website and you'll find snail mail details etc. I'll then send you my private email address so that you can send me your address and I'll post out a book to you. I won't keep any details if you tell me not to, and honest reviews are fine.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Romantic Novelists' Blog


Check out this link for an interview about how I write.

The RNA - Romantic Novelists' Association - is a great organisation. There is so much support available for writers and want-to-be writers. When I started writing I sent a novel to the New Writers' Scheme. It came back with a crushing report - but I needed to know the truth and somebody had to tell me! The conference is good value. There are so many workshops, and the networking opportunities are great as well. There are local meetings, but I'm usually working when they are held, which is a shame.

Another regret is that I wasn't writing when I lived in London - Lancashire is too far to travel for the events. If you live closer, take advantage of your luck and go!