'The Planning Officers' wasn't the first book that I ever wrote, but it was the first one published. Today marks a landmark in its history as it becomes my sixth book to be released through Draft2Digital.
Like my first foray, 'Chained in Time', this edition has a new cover, and for exactly the same reason. The original - the handiwork of my son, Paul, is inaccessible on my defunct Mac. Paul will be spending Christmas with us and he has offered to recover it, which will be fine. I will then have the choice of restoring the original or retaining this one.
The new cover symbolises the story. Bland, functional - but pleasant enough - modern architecture, strung up for no better reason than to further the careers of its loathsome self-obsessed antagonists, Anna Maria Aitcheson and Dirc Starkey (yes, he really does spell it that way). This is played out against the backdrop of a monumental cloudburst (hence the rain). Notwithstanding, a ray of sunshine in the form of Hazel Tweddle, who refuses to be trampled underfoot by their ambition, shines through.
This edition already has its Universal Link. Find it under the links to Amazon on the 'Other Works' page.
I have now moved my involvement with Draft2Digital to the next level by establishing Universal Links. What this means is that instead of putting separate links to Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and all the others beneath each book entry, one simple link will now take the reader to all of them. This simplifies the whole process enormously.
What happens is that you click on the link that says 'Click here to browse/buy from Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo etc.' and you will immediately be taken to Draft2Digital's associate website, Books2Read. Here, you will see the logos of all the outlets where the book is available. The list is longer than the three mentioned. Click on your chosen logo, and you will be taken straight there, to the actual entry, so you don't have to search for it.
Apple enthusiasts may notice that Apple may not yet appear on the list for every book, even though it is included in the link. This is because their quality controls are the most stringent in the entire industry and it can take a couple of weeks for even the very best epubs (which Draft2Digital's undoubtedly are) to make it through the process. Just keep clicking whenever you browse and the link will appear soon enough.
So far, only the Rutter books are affected because they were not enrolled in Amazon's KDP Select program, which limits electronic publication to Amazon only. Neither is 'The Planning Officers', which will get the Draft2Digital treatment in the next day or two. Everything else is currently enrolled in KDP Select. These contracts will expire over the next three months, the last of them on January 22nd. As they become available, they will be added to my Draft2Digital portfolio. Avalind, Cabral, Larussi, Strella, Stella and Rose will soon be available to everyone.
Links to Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk are still listed separately. This is because I have temporarily disabled distribution to Amazon's sites because the books are already there and it makes little sense to have them competing against themselves. The ultimate intention, however, is to withdraw all of my books from Amazon's proprietary publishing division and resubmit them through Draft2Digital. When that day dawns, there will be one simple link beneath each book entry, inviting the reader to browse or buy at all outlets .
That may take a while. It depends on how quickly sales are established through D2D.
You could help matters along by checking out my Facebook page:
There, you will find this blog replicated and all manner of other stuff. Feel; free to friend me. I am quite amiable really.
If and when you acquire a book from one of my D2D outlets, you will find an option to join my mailing list at the end. If you sign up to that, you will be given notification of any new book that I bring out. I am writing the first of them now. It will be my first book to go out to all outlets (Amazon included) from D2D.
Draft2Digital is beginning to have its effect as the Rutter books become available in their new form on Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo etc. The publication process can take anything from a few hours to a couple of weeks to complete, so not all of the links are live yet, but those that are have been incorporated into this website. To visit the appropriate retailers, browse the books (and buy if you want) simply click on the link beneath the book's entry and you will be taken straight there.
All of the affected books are in the 'Rutter Books' section. Books in the other sections will be incorporated over the next three months.
Yesterday saw the beginning of a major new push to maximise the availability of my books. I have had my eye on an outlet, called Draft2Digital, for some time now and did, indeed, dip my toe in the water when they first launched several years ago. That was not a serious attempt, however. They were small and had only limited market penetration at the time. Things have changed since. D2D have grown greatly, and that can only mean one thing. Since their income is dependent on selling books, they must be successful.
In essence, they are similar to Smashwords in that they supply books to the widest possible selection of retailers. Where they differ is that they make a concerted effort to help in marketing the books - and that has to be the reason for their success.
So, I am back. At present, I am only able to publish the Rutter books and 'The Planning Officers' via Draft2Digital because the others are all tied into KDP Select contracts, which limits them to Amazon only. These contracts are due to expire at intervals over the next three months, at which points I will also put them out on D2D. Initially, at least, I have disabled distribution to Amazon from D2D because all of the books are there already and it makes no sense to have my books competing against themselves. Should D2D sales start to outstrip KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) sales, I have the option to move all of my books over and add Amazon to my list of D2D distributors. Time will tell on that.
So, as of yesterday, my work will be available from Barnes and Noble (Nook), Apple, Kobo, Scribd, Tolino, 245 Symbols, Playster, Overdrive, Baker and Taylor and Bibliotheca as well as Amazon, of course.
To celebrate the launch, I have treated the first Rutter book, 'Chained in Time' to a brand new cover. If I am honest, the change was rather forced on me. The original cover was designed by my son, Paul, from the same basic image. He is a wizard with Photoshop, but he has since grown up, moved on in the world and made his home in another part of the country. His cover is now unavailable, not lost but on the hard drive of my old, and now defunct, Mac - where I can't get at it. I really should have stored it online. Nevertheless, I made a new one from the basic picture from which Paul's cover was derived. Amazon sales continue with the original cover, at least for now.
The last month has been a busy one, although little that is actually new has emerged. Since my adoption of Grammarly, I have put all fifteen of my books through it and republished them. The changes are subtle, but they number into the hundreds for each book. The vast majority are very minor - a misplaced comma, that sort of thing - but the catalogue includes errors that I should have noticed when originally publishing, but didn't. No excuse for that, but it happens to us all. You get so used to seeing your text on the screen that you simply don't register some of the mistakes. One such example was that I was habitually referring to overhanging branches at the edge of a forest as the 'eves', when I knew perfectly well that it should have been 'eaves'. Cuzzie didn't spot that either when proofreading, which only goes to show that we are all human. At least Grammarly isn't human, so it has now become an invaluable resource. I recommend it to any would-be writer. It's free.
The more interesting news is that book number sixteen is now underway. At first, I wanted to call it 'The Painted People', which seemed to have a nice ring to it. It did not really go with the subject matter, however. I switched 'Painted' for 'Tainted'. That would go. Then I thought the word 'Tainted' sounded much more dramatic on its own - until I discovered that somebody else had already snaffled that title. Eventually, I simply dropped the definite article and it is now known as 'Tainted People'. It may keep that title or it may not. We shall see as things develop. 'Tainted People' is the sixth Rutter book. I have shelved plans to do a couple of prequels, set between 'Chained in Time' and 'Rutter's Reunion'. I did get a couple of pages written on the first but was unimpressed with what I had produced. Instead, 'Tainted People' begins just two days after 'The Secret Angels' ends, but it isn't a sequel. It's a new story. So far, I have written the Prologue, which ties up any remaining loose strands from the previous book before setting out on the new plot. Having seen 'Angels' clock up its initial sales, it became apparent that the book introduced a major new character, whom I simply have to develop further, hence the decision.
First upload in quite a while, I am afraid. Sorry about that. I have been very busy.
The first reason is because of my discovery of Grammarly. I do everything I can to keep my work up to professional standards, but I received a bit of a jolt a moth or so ago. I discovered Grammarly, a powerful grammar checker and gave it a try. That really opened my eyes. Don't get me wrong. My grammar is perfectly good, but it revealed a plethora of tiny errors that my eyes had simply not noticed. These were things like commas in the wrong place, instances of where I had deleted a sentence, but forgot to delete the full stop, unintentionally repeated words. You get so used to seeing your work on screen that you no longer notice these things. Grammarly weeds them out for you, which is why I recommend it to anybody who is considering becoming a writer.
For the last few weeks, I have been going through all my published works and subjecting them to the Grammarly treatment. The process isn't finished yet, but I am getting there. It shouldn't be much longer.
The other bit of important news is that Amazon have merged their CreateSpace service (which produced printed books) with their new KDP Print facility. All my printed works have now been transferred to KDP Print. The process only affects me. The books continue on sale as before.
More than a month after my last post, I have an announcement.
Sorry about the delay, but I have spent the past month doing exam marking (my annual penance to atone for my sins). That, however, is now over. The Secret Angels is published and has clocked up its first sales, which leaves me free to think about another book.
Therein lay a problem. What to write next? I thought tentatively of an eighth Avalind book, entitled The Baroness, and I even got as far as jotting down a few paragraphs. That was as far as it went, though. I will probably return to it later when it has matured in my mind, but that is for then.
I could have gone for a complete change of direction - and even have a request to write a specific story that is an entirely new departure. I am still considering that. Other things must be taken into account before I commit to it, however.
So what to do now? Then it came to be. The Secret Angels is the fifth Rutter book (sixth if you include the short story, Rutter's Rescue). Between the first and second there is a gap of nearly ten years. As has already been revealed in the previous books, Rutter moved first to Derby and then to Sheffield during that period. While in Derby, she met and fell in love with Malcolm Renwick, later to be her boss at Bow Road. Sheffield was the scene of her initial involvement with Julian Radcliffe. During the same period, she rose from Detective Constable to Chief Inspector. There are two stories waiting to be told there. Instead of slotting them directly into the canon, where they would affect the numbering, I have decided to call them supplementals. I began the first of these this morning. At the moment, it is to be called Sergeant Rutter. A check on Google did not reveal anybody else publishing a novel under that title, so it will do, at least for now. It will chronicle her time in Derby.
Don't hold your breath. At the moment, it consists of one and a half pages of disconnected musings, all of which will almost certainly be rewritten as the story takes shape. In the meantime, enjoy The Secret Angels. Hopefully, Sergeant Rutter (or whatever it is called by then) will be finished in time for Christmas.
After more than two years of slog, effort and redrafting (not to mention breaking three computers), 'The Secret Angels' has finally gone on sale. It was begun in Nisus Writer Pro on a Mac - until that died. It was continued in Libre Office Writer (in Linux) - until that also died. Then it was continued in WPS Writer on a third computer, running Linux. That machine is still alive. It was replaced, however, by a super fast Windows 10 machine, also running WPS Writer - until that gave up the ghost, temporarily. I will be able to fix it. Finally the book was finished and edited on the third computer, but using its Windows 7 side, and in WPS Writer.
Needless to say, none of this will be apparent to the reader, for the book is seamless and gives every impression of having been created on just one machine, using just one program - which it would have been, had my Mac not died on me.
Am I happy with it? Yes, I am. All the toil,sweat and frustration was worth it in the end. The Kindle edition went on sale, at least in the UK, this morning. For some reason, it has not yet appeared on Amazon.com, but that should be rectified by the time you read this. The paperback edition has also be submitted, but that takes a bit longer. It should be on sale early next week.
'The Secret Angels' is back from Cuzzie, and it is still a work in progress. She pointed out a few flaws in the manuscript that need my attention. This is the purpose of a proofreader. These people spot the shortcomings that pass the writer by because we become so used to seeing them that we no longer notice. Anyway, the bulk of the book is fine. There is nothing wrong with it that a good re-edit cannot put right, so that is the next step. I still have a couple of weeks before exam marking takes over my life (my annual penance for my sins). All being well, it should be on sale before then.
The manuscript is still with Cuzzie. She told me last weekend that she had been having a bit of trouble with her eyes. Nothing to worry about, but it has delayed matters a bit. Hopefully, |I should get it back by the weekend.
In the meantime, I have been preparing for my annual penance by downloading the Emarker to mark GCSE English Language papers, as I have done every summer since 2007. That can only be done in Windows, so it was back to the other half of the hard drive to work in Windows 7.
The main reason why I installed Linux on the old machine was to breathe a bit of life into it. I have since made the discovery that its woeful Chrome performance was really down to an excess of cookies. Once these were cleared out, it began to perform more like it should.
That prompted me to experiment with a new browser that I have heard of recently. It is called 'Brave'. Its claim to fame is that it blocks all adverts and doesn't track your activities. I downloaded it, installed it, and am immediately impressed. It is hugely fast on even this old slug of a machine. Needless to say, it is now my default browser and the need to switch between Linux and Windows is greatly reduced. In the near future, I will have the monbey to get my proper PC repaired, and then I will be installing Brave in Windows 10. Recommended.
Writer of Fantasy, thrillers, comedy - and anything else that takes my fancy.