Tag Archives: ebooks

Autumnal events

Book launch

dfw-cs-pp-cover-smallAs I write this it’s just a few days until the official launch of Phantom Phantasia, so hopefully in my next blog post I’ll have some lovely pics from that to show you!

There’s been a lot more to organise for this book launch as I was keen to make it into a more social event/book party than previously, and that means sorting out refreshments and lots of other bits and bobs. It’s all the little details that you might not really notice, or that you take for granted on the night, which actually, take a bit of time to create!

Anyway, if you’re coming along, then you can expect a Q&A as I chat with Denis McNeill (formerly of Q Radio) and then I’ll do a reading from the book and the audience can ask me questions and whatnot. coastal zine

After that, it’ll be book signing and mingling  as with any party – with some little treats thrown into the mix… If you’d like to come along and celebrate launching PP into the world, then please do!

PP scrollsEntry is of course free and the more the merrier. The kids will also enjoy exploring the Coastal Zone itself, as it’s full of interesting aquatic objects and displays.

As well as my online invites to the launch, I sent out some written invitations to family members and then got creative with some messages in bottles, which I hide along the North Coast at the weekend. Girls PP

One woman posted this lovely pic (right) on Facebook after finding a bottle, so I’m very happy that it worked! 🙂 And the Coleraine Chronicle also printed an article about the launch, which is always much appreciated (see below).

Free Magical Masquerade e-book

dfw-cs-mm-cover-ebookTo celebrate the pending launch for Phantom Phantasia, book one – Magical Masquerade – is currently free to download as an e-book for Kindle, so if you want to grab a copy of that, please do! You can download it here: https://amzn.to/2DGhjmO

The offer is running until Wednesday noon (UK time), so there’s still a few days left to get your hands on this. If you read it, let me know what you think!

Love is Blind ARC

Speaking of books, I was excited to receive an ARC of William Boyd’s latest novel, Love is Blind, earlier in the month from Viking Books UK. The book was published on September 20, so you can get a copy of that now if you’re interested. I’m a big Boyd fan, after being introduced to his work by a friend a few years ago. I particularly enjoy the novels where he tracks a character’s entire life (e.g. Any Human Heart, The New Confessions, Sweet Caress) and, while this one didn’t quite do that, it did follow a sizeable chunk of Brodie, the protagonist’s life. WB book

This was a bit of a slow-burner of a book and centred on Brodie’s obsessive love for a singer called Lika Blum, taking us around the world as Brodie worked as a piano tuner, first for a company and then exclusively for an Irish pianist. I enjoy Boyd’s richness of writing, as he spends two years before writing his books just researching everything. Personally, I always learn something from his work – this time around it was mostly to do with pianos – and as a reader, you trust that what he is telling you about places is how it was at that time. I enjoyed this book and am glad to add it to my Boyd collection. 🙂

GC Book Club

hill houseOnto last month’s Giant’s Causeway Book Club then! In September we read Yoko Ogawa’s collection of short stories – Revenge – and I’m happy to say that it went down very well with the group! Only one reader didn’t like it (and didn’t finish it) – saying that it was a bit too dark for her, while one other also thought it was fairly dark and creepy… Quite a few of the rest of us, however, thought it wasn’t as dark as we’d expected, but we all agreed that it was well-written, engaging in its style of linking the stories together, and yes, was a bit weird. But then, aren’t most good short stories ‘a bit weird’? 🙂

Our overall book club rating was a healthy 7/10, which is the highest score yet! For October, we’ve decided to read a spooky book for Hallowe’en and have opted for The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson…

Creative writing workshopscreative writing

From books to the writing of! I’m looking forward to delivering a series of creative writing workshops for Antrim & Newtownabbey Borough Council, beginning October 2 at Crumlin Leisure Centre. These will run for eight weeks and will hopefully inspire those who come along and get their creative juices flowing! You can book via council – Tel: 028 9445 2733.

I’m also doing a workshop at the Irish Writers’ Centre on marketing for self-published authors on Saturday, October 13. You can sign up for that here: https://bit.ly/2Oph9UV

Craft Day at the Causeway

Meanwhile, on October 6, the Giant’s Causeway Visitor’s Centre is hosting a craft day, where members of the public can come along and meet some of the crafters and creators whose work is sold at the centre. I’ll be heading to this for a short while in the morning to sign copies of Magical Masquerade, so if you’re in the area, call in!Chronicle PP

And finally…

Once the busyness of the PP launch is over, I intend to start thinking about my next writing project – though as yet, I’m not quite sure what form this will take. MM and PP is being left as a duology, so Felicity and her friends are being set aside for now. I do have a previously half-written manuscript which was abandoned when I decided to publish MM a few years ago, so perhaps I’ll finish that. Or maybe I’ll start something completely new… We will see!

More as I have it. 🙂

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Pre-orders open for MM e-book!

Can there be a more exciting email subject line to land in your inbox than this – ‘Proof shipped: Magical Masquerade…’ ? Not really, no! Yes, Magical Masquerade is currently winging its way to me from the States so you may or may not see a photo of me clutching it with a big grin on my face in the next blog post – depending on how quickly it travels.

In the meantime, I have more exciting news (exciting to me anyway lol):

The Magical Masquerade e-book is now available to pre-order!

Just click this link: http://amzn.to/2mF6YK6 dfw-cs-mm-cover-ebook

I didn’t actually realise you could do this … if I had, I would have mentioned it in the Northern Woman magazine article … The main thing, however, is that it is doable, so if you have a Kindle and want to give it a go, it’ll only cost you a couple of dollars. 🙂

I’ve set the e-book release date as April 29, because I want it to be available at the same time as the paperback (which, by the way, I don’t have an exact release date for yet, other than April. This is because it can take a week or two to appear on Amazon after I hit ‘publish’ and I still need to approve those proofs…) It basically gives me enough leeway to ensure that the e-book won’t be out before the paperback and, if all is well with my print proofs, then I might be able to move the publication date forward. I.e. You might get it earlier than April 29. I will keep you informed! And no – you can’t pre-order the paperback version, as this is only an option for the e-books currently.

As I mentioned before, I just couldn’t face doing the e-book formatting in the end, after tackling the paperback, so a big thank you to the ever-helpful Averill Buchanan for assisting with this! She’s done a great job and it certainly wouldn’t have been uploaded as quickly if I had been at it!

Bookstore update

As well as sorting out the e-book, I also took some time this week to contact a couple of NI’s leading bookstores re stocking the paperback. Now, as a self-publishing author, I realise that online sales are the focus for my book. Indeed, the general advice is not to try getting into bricks and mortar stores because it’s just too expensive for the author – you end up having to bulk-buy the books yourself and/or go through a distributor, which could end up costing you thousands … (Not a good plan unless you have money to burn!) Also, some stores won’t take SP books anyway, though it’s always worth asking if you’re keen to get into one.

However, I’m not trying to get the book everywhere offline and I was interested to see what the response would be. Feedback was that the paperback may have a chance of getting into one of my local bookstores but nothing is as yet confirmed and it may be they can just buy in enough books for an author event. I’d be happy with that, so we’ll see how it goes.

I also have a few independent stores who are willing to take the book so I’ll keep you updated on this too.

Other than that, I will be on the air waves again once Magical Masquerade is published, so I’ll let you know when and on which radio station that will be happening once all is confirmed.

Other bookish stuff

I will certainly be watching eagerly for my postman over the next 10 days, as not only am I looking forward to receiving my proofs, I’m also expecting my first-ever FairyLoot box, which also happens to be their first anniversary box. (So it’ll be extra-special I hear …)

If you haven’t heard of FairyLoot, I’ve linked to it a couple of lines back but essentially, it’s a YA (Young Adult) subscription box of bookish treasure, including a new release YA hardcover and an assortment of bookish gifts every month. Quite frankly, it looks brilliant from what I see online.

February’s box has the theme Myths & Monsters, while April’s theme is Dreams & Wishes (yes, I’ve already ordered the April box without receiving my first box, such is my faith that it will be great!). I should point out that I’m not affiliated to FairyLoot in any way – it just seems like a really cool bookish brand and if you like YA fantasy books then I recommend you check them out!

Anyway, those are all my updates for the week! Now, back to waiting for that postman …

PS Don’t forget – if you want to pre-order the Magical Masquerade e-book for Kindle, you can do so here! https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XQ2GF27 🙂

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Ways with Words (part three): Self-publishing!

The third and final part of the recent Ways with Words event, kindly organised by LitNet NI as part of the Belfast Book Festival, saw us enter the rather exciting world of self-publishing. I’ve spoken before on this blog about my hopes of getting published the traditional way, that is, via an agent and publishing deal, but more and more, my eyes are being opened to the adventure that is self-publishing.

In the past I shunned the idea, having laid eyes upon books which very obviously hadn’t graced the hands of an editor and had simplyTree of books been written (revised? maybe?) and pushed out into the world without a second thought. Books like this, no matter how great the concept, are what give self-publishing a bad name. They play into the hands of the ‘literary elite’ who only deem traditionally published novels to be legitimate and worth the reading. It’s true that most people will still reach for the mainstream published book ahead of the self-published one but… times are a-changing.

People like to have things now, not in a week’s time; they read online every day; they download books for a pound or two for Kindle or other e-reading devices. In short – they are increasingly likely to take a chance on a self-published novel. They don’t have much to lose. The onus on the author then, is to make that book the best that it can be and help to grow the good reputation of an expanding industry.

But enough from me on the matter (I’m on board now, can’t you tell?!). What did our self-published gurus tell us at the Ways with Words event?naked author

Alison Baverstock, author of ‘The Naked Author – A Guide to Self-Publishing’, began by telling us that, in wanting others to read our work, “writers need strong egos.” She added that with self-publishing, more females opted for this and that, perhaps despite what some may think, 76% of self-published authors have a degree to their name.

“It’s not just for people who can’t find a publisher,” she stressed. “People are coming back for more – people who had traditional publishing deals and then decided to self-publish.”

Why is this? Well, most importantly, because it gives the author more control of the publishing process.

Meanwhile, 59% of those self-publishing, as backed up by Alison’s research, were using editors, whilst 21% took legal advice on the process. A further 26% used marketing support. So – self-publishing (SP) is taken quite as seriously by authors who are serious about their work as traditional publishing. The only difference is – here the author is in charge, not a publishing house.

Unsurprisingly, “uniformly, self-published satisfactions are very high,” added Alison. Her conclusions?

  • SP is a segmented market – no one size fits all
  • It’s a process, not a product
  • SP brings contentment
  • Far from ‘going it alone’, it’s very often team-based

As for publishers… “they haven’t tried to show how they add importance.”mousetrapped

Alison reiterated the point about knowing when to acknowledge that work was finished and suitable for showing to people. It can be too easy to send something off without waiting until it’s the best it can be. She added that the dangers of getting feedback too soon were:

  • You can go viral for the wrong reasons
  • You can damage your writing self
  • Ideas can shrivel when explained to those who aren’t interested

Also – SP can help you get objectivity and most importantly – “It’s something to be proud of, not apologetic about.”

Next up was Catherine Ryan Howard from Cork and AGR Moore from Belfast – two SP authors who have seen success with their books and are passionate about the benefits of SP. Interesting points to note from them for potential SP writers:

  • Lulu is a great SP service to use (Catherine has sold over 25,000 copies of her Mousetrapped book after SP using Lulu)
  • Also, Createspace is good for paperback copies
  • Amazon and Smashwords are SP staples and ebookpartnership.com is also worth checking out
  • Employ the service of an editor and a good cover designer – skip these and, well, open the door to errors, dodgy covers and sullying the reputation of quality SP work
  • Use Goodreads and Twitter competitions to promote your book
  • Oh, and, in the words of Catherine – “everyone should self-publish. It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it!”

amelia blackAGR Moore, aka Andrew, author of The Unseen Chronicles of Amelia Black, advised that putting a short story onto somewhere like Smashwords (for free) with links to your SP books for sale, is a good way of directing the purchasing public to your work. Generally, the advice was that ebook sales for SP are higher than paperback sales, harking back to the fact that people are still a bit wary about investing heavily in SP books as opposed to traditionally published ones.

“They just want entertainment,” he said. “Ebooks are something disposable that will entertain them. As a SP author, you can raise up and meet this demand.”

As a children’s author, AGR also advised that getting endorsements from teachers (and parents) for your book would help sell it to parents, who, after all, are the ones who are going to be doing the buying.

What we all wanted to know however was – how much does this all cost? Well, the reality is – if you want to do something well, you have to give some to get some, and you’re really talking, after deploying an editor and cover designer, around the ÂŁ1,000-ÂŁ1,500 mark. It’s a business after all and if you want to succeed, it had better be good.

What’s more, when it comes to being an author – ‘you don’t know what you don’t know.’

 

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