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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, 28 September 2011

Independent versus Professional Publishing

For once, dilly-dallying, or having no time, has paid off. Robert Hale are an independent publishers based in London (UK) who publish Black Horse Westerns. I wrote one when I was on holiday in Egypt, and they published it. For the sake of completeness, and because I really like it, I wrote to them a few months ago to check it was OK for me to publish it in e-format (I'd lost the contract - how organised is that?) and they replied saying, 'Go ahead.' I got as far as making the cover, but not any further, which is a good thing, because they wrote this week saying that Faber were going to publish it with all the other Black Horse Westerns, if I would give permission.

IF!!! IF??? Of course I want Faber to publish it! I won't have to go through the grind of turning it into an e-book. I won't have to force my poor dyslexic brain to proof read it. I won't have to find someone to draw me the half a dozen Chinese characters that are used as a part of the story. I won't have to scan the characters and find out how to publish a book with images in it. I won't have to try to market it. I won't have to make a cover...oh! I made a cover! Mind you, I'm sure theirs will be better. However, I've pasted my cover up here a second time, seeing as I had made it.

The secret to a good cover for an e-book (when you don't know what you are doing!) is to find a photograph that does all the work. This one does it all. I'm quite sorry about not getting to use it, but delighted about everything else.

My eyes have recovered. As soon as I've prepared a good few lessons ahead (all new syllabus this year - WHY do people change so often?) then I'll go back to proofing.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Opportunity Cost

I was browsing the Internet looking for wise words on book marketing when I came across a blog by an agent and book publicist which seemed very good. He used the phrase 'opportunity cost' and pointed out that whatever you spend time doing, you are not doing something else. It seems obvious, but clearly lots of writers spend a frightening amount of their time networking on the Kindle boards, Linked-in author's groups and similar activity. Why not, suggested this agent, spend that time writing a new book? There's a kind of anxiety when you see other people doing something, especially when they all swear they are making money (buy their e-book to find out how) and yet I was coming to the conclusion that a good deal of so-called networking actually goes around in circles. I was pleased to find someone in the business who agreed. So, that let's me off the hook! I can go back to being a grumpy old anti-social writer who writes books.

The other reason that the phrase 'opportunity cost' is resonating with me this week is that I am in the middle of proof-reading all my published books. It didn't seem right to leave them them up for sale when I knew there was a problem, but after doing seven in a row (and not writing any new books) my poor eyes gave out. Physically the muscles around them are so tired they are simply refusing to scan any more lines, so I'll have to wait until they recover. I had three days off, and did one more chapter today, so they are slowly coming good. I keep reminding myself that this is a once only task, once the old titles are up they will never need doing again.

I also had another good idea that will have to wait. Public Bookshelf emailed to say that the response from their readers had been positive about Kingfisher Days, and did I have any other titles I wanted to publish free?  Like many authors, I do have a couple of unsold novels. Looking for Griffin being one of them. I made the cover before I decided that it wouldn't be worth rewriting. It's a shame to waste all that work - I found my notes for it and might do another post discussing them, because I worked so HARD on that book! So, I thought, well, I could post it for free with a note at the front saying that my editor hadn't liked it, and asking readers for their feedback. I could put a few chapters from a better book at the end so that they could see if they thought I'd improved!

And of course, term has started so I'm teaching again. By great good fortune nearly all of my hours are for the same course - that means one lot of prep and then delivering the same material over and over. I love that idea! I was a bit sorry at first not to have a group doing the new A-level this year, because I love teaching literature, but it takes even longer to deliver an A-level than it does to study for one, so now I feel that someone has taken a burden off my shoulders! It's that opportunity cost again. Instead of preparing lessons on other people's books, I'll be writing my own.

It is worth thinking about though, because there are so many things I could be doing with my time right now. The blog is definitely worth it, because it helps clear my mind. I'm going to give my eyes a break and do a bit of cooking now.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Preparing British e-books EVEN MORE THOROUGHLY for the American Market

 Mea Culpa!!  Forgive me, readers, for I have been blind and lazy. Oh, dear. I am thoroughly ashamed of myself! Yesterday I got another review complaining about mistakes. It suddenly occurred to me to do a check of the book I've just finished typing up in the Kindle previewer, so that I saw what readers saw. And you know what I saw - typos!! They jumped out at me. Lots of typos. Humbling, shaming, misery-making typos! So that means there probably ARE mistakes in the other books. And me a teacher! Me who writes to want-to be writers kindly pointing out that their manuscripts should be error free before submission. Me who puts red ink all over her student's essays.

All I can say is writers heed this: there is a good reason why copy-editing costs money. It is a skilled art and I wish I could afford to have it done. It requires the kind of brain I don't have. The kind of brain that can do spreadsheets and use logic. Why is it, though, that I can look at a page of my own manuscript and happily read, 'the government were' with no flicker of an idea that it should be singular? Possibly because I'm thinking of the people in the government taking the action? But when I  look at the same line in a Kindle viewer, I think, ah, that should be the government was. It's a mystery.

Ah well. As it happens I haven't got around to putting my notice about British English in front of the books that are already out there - I was too busy and happy working on my new Regency, but now it can't be avoided any longer. I'm going to take them all down, add that notice and check them page by page in the Kindle viewer.

So the moral of the story is check, check, and check again!!

So, if you are one of those people who wrote a review, THANK YOU!! I'm proof reading them all again. If you'd like a coupon for a free book, or if you'd like a signed paper copy, get in touch (with the name you used on the review) and I'll be happy to send a free book - you deserve it and thank you again.