My new book, 'The Power of Four Queens' has just gone live on Smashwords, making it available in all electronic formats. It sold its first copy there within a few hours. At the moment, it is only available through Smashwords' own website (www.smashwoprds.com) but it will go live on iBooks, Barnes and Noble, Kobo etc. within a few days when it achieves Smashwords premium certification.
I have updated my 'Published Works' page to include the relevant link.
Meanwhile, I am pressing ahead with my next Rutter book, 'Rutter's Redemption'. I am now about 20,000 words in, so there is still a long way to go, but I will keep you updated as to how things develop.
My latest novel, 'The Power of Four Queens' has now gone on sale in its Kindle and paperback editions. The file has also been submitted to Uncovered Books for iPad upload, but that will take a little while yet because they vet them very thoroughly before giving them the go-ahead. The Smashwords edition will be uploaded as soon as I can get round to it. It is exam marking time again, and I don't have enough hours in the day.
Nevertheless, all is developing. You can find the links to where they are available on the 'Published Works page. I recently enabled distribution of the paperback editions to bookshops and libraries, so, hopefully, they will be available in them before much longer.
Meanwhile, I have started work on my next book: the third Rutter novel, entitled 'Rutter's Redemption'. To date, I am three chapters into the first draft and it is going well.
The editing is done and 'The Power of Four Queens' has gone off to Cuzzie for proofreading. She expects to have it done in a couple of weeks. The ePub and Pdf versions are all ready for upload, assuming she gives it the all clear. No cover picture yet, I am afraid. Now that Paul has moved to the south coast, I must make use of Amazon's cover creators, and that happens at publication time.
Those of you who have been waiting, the wait is nearly over
This came as a bolt out of the blue, even to me. About a year ago, I was asked for some advice on how to write a book. I penned this little treatise, distilling what I had learned since becoming an author. Since then, it has lain around on my hard drive, gathering dust, as it were.
Now, with 'The Power of Four Queens' entering the final stage of its preparation, it occurred to me that I had another book (well, booklet - it's only about 50 pages long) virtually ready to go. I wrote it, so why not put it to work?
Accordingly, I took a couple of days off 'Four Queens' to revised this collection of ideas and observations and I published it today.
It deals with the process of creating a novel and publishing it on the Kindle. Because of that, I am only putting it out on Kindle unless somebody asks me to issue it elsewhere.
- Hopefully it will provide some new writers with advice on how to proceed. Available now from all Amazon Kindle stores.
I mentioned Uncovered Books a week or two ago. Well, they have finally launched. They had originally in tended to launch on August 27th, but became so inundated with submissions that they had to delay the launch by a month. Right up until September 30th, their website was stating a 'Late September' launch. When I looked on October 1st, however, they had launched, with official confirmation arriving in my inbox the following day. It is still very early days, of course, but already I have received reports of interest in my books. Watching the situation with bated breath.
I finished the first draft of my new book, 'The Power of Four Queens' on Sunday. It topped out at a whopping 524 pages (or 128,000 words, using the time-honoured editors' method of calculating). This, of course, is too long and I am now doing some rigorous pruning. Already I have chopped fourteen pages (or about 4,000 words) out of it and there is still much to do. The cutting isn't 4,000 consecutive words, of course. It is a word here, a phrase there, a paragraph somewhere else, but it all adds up. I have now redrafted about a fifth of the book and it is looking much sharper already. By the time this redraft is complete, I expect to have the overall length down to something like 475 pages. That would be a more appropriate size for a story such as this. That done, the process of serious editing can get under way. This involves printing the work out and going through it with a fine tooth comb both forwards and backwards. There are still several weeks' worth of work ahead of me before I can publish - but the result should be worth the effort.
'The Power of Four Queens' is the final instalment of my 'Queen's Heart' trilogy, itself the sequel to 'A King's Head'. Although the story is brought to a definite conclusion in this narrative, one thread does remain unresolved, although it is an aside to the main storyline rather than a central theme. That thread will be concluded in a forthcoming appendix. You might have to wait a while for it, though, because I feel the need to write another Rutter book first. The appendix already has a title, which will be revealed to anyone who buys the book. As things stand at the moment, however, it has not yet been started.
No cover yet. My resident cover artist, Number Two son, Paul, now lives 350 miles away on the south coast, so I will have to do the job myself. Expect one in the next mont
In my last entry but two, I mentioned Uncovered Books. This is a new publishing venture that launches within the next two weeks. Unlike all the other self-publishing outlets that I know of, Uncovered actually markets our books for us. This is the traditional achilles' heel of self-publishing. The others all make our work available on their own websites and through online agencies, like Amazon - some even put us in bookshops. So far, so good, but actually persuading potential customers to select our work for purchase is left very largely to the writers, and therein lies the rub. It tends to boil down to how good we are at selling things. I have my strengths and my weaknesses. Being a successful salesman is definitely one of the latter.
This is where Uncovered comes in. They take an entirely new approach to publishing that is very promising. For the first time, we will no longer have to find our customers for ourselves because their system will actually bring them to us and we can sell our work on the basis of what we do best - writing. If their plans prove to be successful - and of course nothing is proven yet - this could spark the biggest revolution that the world of publishing has seen in decades - nay, centuries.
In my view, Amazon's KDP subsidiary (Kindle Direct Publishing), erred in allowing anybody and everybody to publish their work on Kindle free of charge. There were no quality controls, and this resulted in a mass of poorly-written, error-strewn books flooding the market and giving all independent writers a bad name. They are now taking steps to address the situation by including a spelling checker and playing around with their algorithms, but it is too little, too late in my opinion. Uncovered have taken a different approach from the outset. It takes, on average, six weeks to achieve acceptance into Uncovered's library, which means that they check every submission. Any that do not achieve high technical standard are rejected. Consequently, all Uncovered books will be written by authors who work to professional manner. This can only give the platform a reputation for quality.
Uncovered launches before the end of the month, initially on iBooks (for the iPhone and iPad - an estimated market in excess of 100,000,000 and rising - so plenty to aim at) and will spread to the other electronic outlets later in the year. I am happy to report that all eight of my published works so far were approved by Uncovered yesterday, so they should be available at the launch.
Waiting with bated breath. This could be very exciting.
After a month with no updates, suddenly you get two in a day! I have refreshed my website, giving it a new look. Hope you like it.
First post in a little while. I have been working my typing fingers to the bone updating all my existing books as ePubs, then reissuing them. The last of them, 'The Shattered Realms' was finished just yesterday morning. It was already the most error-free of my books (I found only seven on the re-read), so there was minimal revision to be done. I did, however, add a sentence at one point. This sentence does not affect the narrative of 'Shattered Realms' in any way. It is merely a piece of minor description. It does, however, act as a foreshadow of events to follow in the third part of the trilogy, 'The Power of Four Queens'. These will be very significant events at the climax of the final book. Although I knew what I wanted to happen at that point when I wrote 'Shattered Realms', I had not yet decided on a suitable setting. Now I have (I am in the process of writing it at the moment) and the foreshadow helps to tie the whole thing together. If you have previously purchased the old version of the book, you should be able to download the updated one free of charge.
You will be able to tell that you have the new one because it has a spanking new cover. I was never completely happy with the original cover because it looks like it belongs to a sci-fi book, rather than fantasy. I downloaded a new picture of a much more appropriate medieval city from my usual source - an online picture library, called Dreamstime. My traditional cover artist (my younger son, Paul) has now moved down to the south coast, some 350 miles from here, so he is not readily available to do covers for me any more. This one, therefore, is my own work.
Finally, the third, and final, part of the trilogy, 'The Power of Four Queens' is nearing completion. I am working on the climax as I write this and have an estimated thirty pages or so to go (which should take the first draft up to around the five hundred page mark, making it my longest book). It then has to go through a period of ruthless editing and survive the dreaded Cuzzie Test (all of which should shorten it a bit) before it takes its final form for publication, which will be about a month from now.
Been a while since I posted. I have just re-read my previous contribution and discovered that I wrote 'pout' when I meant 'put'. Apologies to anyone who noticed this faux-pas
. I wasn't intentional.
Things are developing on the book front. To begin with, KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing - Amazon's self-publishing on the Kindle subsidiary) now accept ePub files for submission. ePub (the initial letter must always be lower case for reasons known only to computer geeks) is the industry standard format for electronic books, being the format used by iBooks, Nook, and Kobo. What this completely fails to take into account is that the biggest-selling ebook reader, by far, is the Kindle, which uses a format called Mobi. Fortunately, ePub and Mobi are very similar in reality, so converting one to the other is not that difficult. In the bad old days of a few months ago, KDP accepted Word, Html and Mobi files.
For a writer like me, this was bad news. I write on an iMac and my word processor of choice is Apple's Pages (which is a very fine word processor). It does not, however, output an Html file. Instead, you have the choice of its own (Pages) format, Word format, Rich Text, Plain Text, Pdf or ePub. What I had to do was write and edit the book in Pages, then save it as a Word document. This I then opened in Word to make an Html copy, which was converted into Mobi for upload by a free program, called Calibre.
A few months ago, KDP began rejecting submissions that had been converted with Calibre because they were developing the Kindle range and absolute compatibility was no longer assured. At that point, I started just submitting the Html file and letting KDP do the conversion. That worked reasonably well. Now, however, KDP have refined their Kindlegen format converter to include ePubs. This is wonderful news to me because it means I no longer have to go via Word (a program that I detest, although millions love it) at all. Having exported the file as an ePub, Pages is no longer able to open it. You need an ePub reader for that. Fortunately, they are available free of charge, so I have two: Adobe Digital Editions and Pagina ePub Check. Getting it to behave itself, however, was a little tricky. Sigil (another free download) was recommended to me. It is an ePub editor. I tried it, but I didn't like it very much. Then the answer suddenly appeared. Apple produce an 'ePub Best Practices' document, which is also a free download. This is simply a Pages document that has all the relevant styles (Title, Author, Chapter, Body Text etc.) in the Styles Drawer and they all have the appropriate ePub tags embedded in them. An ePub file is simply a text document with formatting tags embedded. Everything is now simple. I create and edit the book as before, then paste it into the Best Practices document, which is now my template. The result is a clean ePub that converts like a dream.
I am now in the process of going through all eight of my published novels, eradicating the last lingering errors (there are very few) and republishing them as ePubs. So far, I have done five. This has also enabled me to sign up to a new publishing venture, called Uncovered Books. Uncovered is an exciting new development, designed not only to make books available to customers (they all do that), but also to help in marketing them. It hasn't launched yet (that happens later this month) but it will be interesting to see how it develops. Uncovered pre