Silly Saturday on Sunday – Rave Reviews

There have been rave reviews for my latest novel At The Seaside Nobody Hears You Scream; from my mother, that chap at writers’ group, the husband of someone at knitting group, someone at knitting group, the young chap next door, a friend whose review was rejected by Amazon… I could go on and on… Of course you won’t see these reviews as they are by word of mouth, but you can take my word for it.

And I must not forget to thank Baz the Bad Blogger who posted a one star review on Amazon and Badreads, my first one star review, I was so excited, though it is true that Baz gives every book he reviews one star, as none of them are a patch on his first and only novel I Zomboid.

Here is his review.

Not Enough Zombies. I started reeding this novel, whose title I keep forgetting, when it came out in November 2019, I couldn’t put it down and had finished it by August 2020. I usually take a couple of years to reed a book. The plot was a bit complycated for me and two many karacters, I prefer stories with too characters. There wur not enuff zombies and hardly any violence, but apart from that it was a great reed and I past it on to my mum who loved it and said it was nearly as good as my novel.

I don’t know how Baz managed to get his review accepted as in recent years Amazon has rejected almost every review I have written. Therefore I think we can safely assume Amazon must be rejecting the thousands of reviews readers have written of my novels.

My novels are not for the faint hearted, though I can guarantee there are no zombies. You never know what may happen or how long they might last, but if you are as brave as Baz download a copy or order a paperback for your Mum.

Read more about the novel here at my website or visit Amazon. https://www.ccsidewriter.co.uk/chapter-six-fiction-focus/

In the summer of 2013 Annette Bethany Brown went missing without trace. Her boyfriend Toby Channing was the last person to see her, the only person who knew where she had spent the previous days. In February 2014 Tobias Elliot Channing, private investigator, was still roaming the country, a camper van detective specialising in missing persons; hoping to discover why so many people go missing. He was visiting every place that had a connection with Anna, there were still no clues to her disappearance.

Sunday Salon – July 2020

I haven’t done a Sunday Salon for a while ( ages ) and still have reviews to do and lots of interesting story collections I am dipping into on my Kindle. Here are three very different novels I have recently read on my Kindle. I have posted these 5 star reviews on Goodreads and my Facebook author page. As usual it looks like Amazon is going to reject my reviews. I am also featuring a very old paperback I picked up at the charity shop which is suddenly relevant.

Little Big Boy by Max Power

This is a story about a little boy’s first love, his mother. It is not autobiographical, but is so powerful readers might assume it was, with its vivid evocation of early childhood.  It is more than that, a story of families, of Ireland in the early nineteen seventies. There are many things that are dark inside and outside the home, that will make you angry, but the tale also bursts with life, of young boys exploring and having adventures with their friends. I have included a link to one of Max Power’s blogs in which he talks about his mother.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25442729-little-big-boy

https://maxpowerbooks.wordpress.com/2020/06/30/the-space-in-the-break-of-my-heart/

Warning Signs  by Carol Balawyder

More vivid than a television murder drama, this an intelligent psychological thriller with the killer trying to understand why he could be tempted to kill and how he can stop himself. It is also the story anyone will recognise of young women looking for love, the dating game. Everyone is a stranger when you first meet them, when do we start trusting a person and when you begin dating someone how do you know if you are safe? A great story that kept me on edge all the way through.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/49733864-warning-signs

Marriage Unarranged  by Ritu Bhathal

I have not been to India, but the pictures the author paints are how I imagine from stories told by British Asians ‘going home’ and others visiting for the first time. This is a romantic story, but also an amusing one, young people on holiday to India without their elders hiring drivers and keeping to an agenda. They want to visit a real cinema, not the new multiplex, travel around like locals. There is glamour, for this is also a business trip for Aashi’s older brother who wants to reinvent the family fashion shop, but solemn moments as they contemplate dark historic events.  As the five visit the Golden Temple there is an insight into the faith of the Sikhs. New friendships are made, Aashi’s broken heart might be mending, but how will life work out when they all return home to Birmingham?

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/49901585-marriage-unarranged

The Decameron Vol 2 by Giovanni Boccaccio  is the second part of a collection of rather saucy short stories written during the plague of 1348. My paperback copy is not quite that old, published in 1959 and costing three shillings and sixpence. I read it a while back, but when I saw this item in the newspaper I took it off my shelf again. The stories they tell each other are a lot of fun with the ladies often managing to trick the men, but a lot of trickery in general.  I guess this little group had more fun in isolation than lots of people this century.

Silly Saturday – Who Needs Numbers?

Who needs nuWho needs numbers?

Not writers, they use words, except for page numbers…

rWhen I published my first novel seven years ago on Amazon Kindle it was a miracle; I didn’t even possess a Kindle myself and had to ring our friend, who had helped initiate us into the process, to tell him it was live so he could download and see if it had ‘come out’. It was quite difficult explaining to people that my novel did not exist on paper. Of course independent authors were already self publishing real paper books by various means and with varying degrees of success. But I was not going to do anything that involved outlaying money, being conned or ending up with box loads of unwanted books in the garage. A writers’ magazine claimed that soon we would be walking into book stores, plugging in a memory stick with our novel on it and returning to collect a printed book an hour later. This hasn’t happened, but what the Amazon Elves do at their printing press, hidden somewhere in Magic Mountain, is print on demand. You can order one copy or a thousand.

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Two years ago I published my first paperback at Amazon Kindle and was pleased with its appearance, now I could send a real book to my mother in Australia! Since then things have moved on and we can order author copies at cost price. I ordered one copy of ‘At The Seaside…’ it looked good, I posted it off to Australia and ordered more, gave a couple to friends, but it was not until I took a copy round to our writer friends that bad news was revealed… by the time I got home there was a message on my phone  did I know there were no numbers on the pages? Not surprisingly the others in the batch also had no numbers… Did the elves not check before the books left Magic Mountain?

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This poses the question, do we need page numbers?  Cyberspouse helpfully suggested that I just put a bookmark in each copy. Books on Kindle don’t have page numbers, the pages themselves are pretend. If you change the size of the font the page alters. The bottom of the ‘page’ in the novel I’m reading on my Kindle Paperwhite tells me I have read 85% and have 45 minutes reading time left. There is a location number 3629, but I would probably forget what it was if I nudged the screen and lost my place. With real books we can see our progress, but do we notice the page numbers? It is handy if you can recall which page you were on if you lose your bookmark or if you want to look up a particular chapter.

Back at Tidalscribe Publishing House we downloaded the novel again in what we hoped was the right format, the preview showed page numbers, I ordered one copy and waited nervously…

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In the meantime I took the remaining copies to writers’ group and offered them free, with the chance they might become valuable editions if I ever became famous…

…the very rare 2019  numberless edition… what am I bid?

The new version arrived in the post the other day and it did have page numbers.

Could you read a  book without page numbers?

 

Silly Saturday – Surviving Self Publishers

Survival guide for friends and relatives of Indie Authors

How many of us recall being waylaid at the school gate by other mothers with Tupperware party invites or the friends for whom Amway cleaning products became a religion? Do Amazon Kindle Self Publishers pose a similar threat?

Spare a thought for friends and relatives of Indie Authors…

You probably were not even aware your friend or aunty was an Indie Author; you weren’t listening when they were telling you about their writing, or when they mentioned modestly that their first novel was available on Amazon Kindle. So here is a survival guide.

  1. Never reveal that you own any electronic device larger than a postage stamp.
  2. Never ask ‘How’s the writing going?’

If it is too late for the above, the following excuses may be helpful.

A. I’ve lost my Kindle charger.

B. I left my Kindle on the train.

C. WiFi not working.

D1. I’m going to buy your book when I go on holiday.

D2. LIE. I have downloaded your book and will read it when I’m on holiday.

E. I like to buy my books at the charity shop.

F. I have to finish reading the book for my book club.

G. I have an iPad, but don’t know how to download books and have to wait till my son/daughter/nephew comes round.

H. My Kindle is full, I already have 5,000 free classic novels by dead authors on there.

I. I’m just waiting till pay day. (This last excuse could be seen as rather feeble, especially if they are selling their book for 99p.)

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Good luck, but don’t think you have escaped. Did you get an invitation to tea and cake round at your friend’s house, wondering what a Pop Up Bookshop is? Your local Indie author has now learnt how to create paperbacks on Kindle Direct Publishing. After eating some delicious cakes they expect you to wipe your sticky fingers and look at the pile of lovely new paperbacks that just arrived on the doorstep. They belong to Amazon Prime and get free deliveries, so they have saved you the trouble of ordering from Amazon yourself and there is the bonus of getting your copy autographed by them. …and if you don’t buy their latest novel you will probably get it for a birthday present.

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A Novel Experience

Catching up with family and friends is always very pleasant, especially if it involves eating out. It is even more enjoyable for a writer if some of those present are reading or have finished one’s latest novel. But if someone says they have read the second in your trilogy, but could not find the third volume on Amazon, it is embarrassing to admit you haven’t finished writing it.

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Often the reading experience is out of our hands.  A friend has finished your novel after at last finding her Kindle charger. It was lost during the process of moving; she thought that may have been why the middle part of the book seemed to move slowly.
Whether your readers have a real paper book or are dependent upon electricity, they bring their own experience to the novel, it is out of the author’s hands. Sadly we can’t expect every reader to take a week off work and live undisturbed in isolation, so they can give our novel the attention we think it deserves. Those who devour a book in a week and get ‘lost’ in it are the writer’s dream. In reality people drop their paperbacks in the bath, can’t read their Kindle on the bus to work because it makes them feel sick, or lose their book down the back of the sofa. They read at bedtime and fall asleep after one page, or they wake up in the middle of the night with raging toothache and read their Kindle to try and take their mind off the pain, so that your novel is forever associated with misery.

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Outside factors may encroach; family dramas involving lots of form filling take over just as they reach chapter three of your novel.
Even if reading is proceeding well, each reader has memories and moods; they read your words through a prism of their own.
An author whose novel is turned into a film may see his book as others see it. We have all seen a film and thought it unlike the book. I saw a film after enjoying a well known novel and thought the film was rubbish, felt indignant on behalf of the author. I was later surprised to hear him talking on the radio about how pleased he was with the film adaptation.
Despite your readers’ experiences and the impossibility of seeing into their minds, if they say they loved your novel and were left stunned by the ending you know they’ve read it ‘properly’.

 

If you are feeling strong enough, visit my Amazon author pages for a glimpse at my novels.

https://www.amazon.com/Janet-Gogerty/e/B00A8FWDMU/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Janet-Gogerty/e/B00A8FWDMU

 

How Big is a Book?

When I finished the first draft of my first novel ‘Brief Encounters of the Third Kind’ it was 325,000 words long; considering it had started off as a short story you may wonder how that came about. Much editing and removal of sub plots later and it was reduced to the final 225,000 words. As it also adhered to no known genre, the chances of finding an agent were even less than they are for most new and unknown writers. As I sent off chapters, letters and synopses to agents, I started writing ‘Quarter Acre Block’ in which nothing strange happens. This time I planned to stay under 100,000 words and aim for the family drama market. But even as I wrote about 1960s England and Australia, a character who had walked uninvited into Brief Encounters was nagging to have his story told.

Even as ‘Three Ages of Man’ was being born I had decided to try the self publishing route; on Amazon Kindle there is no limit to how many words you can publish, after all a Kindle device can hold thousands of books and trillions of words.

This year, as I have written in previous blogs

https://tidalscribe.wordpress.com/2017/03/10/reinventing-the-printing-press/   

we started turning all my books into paperbacks. With four collections and Quarter Acre Block published and copies handed out as gifts to various friends and relatives, whether they wanted them or not, it was time to start on the Brief Encounters Trilogy.

But would the magic printing press cope? ‘Three Ages of Man’ is 195,000 words long, and the preparallelequel to  Brief Encounters. Don’t look the word up, I made it up and have trouble spelling it myself; Three Ages is second of the trilogy, but is also a stand alone novel. Not a lot shorter than the first novel, but it seemed logical to experiment with it first.

How long is a novel, how big is a book? First time writers are often quoted 80,000 words, certainly not over a hundred or under fifty. But the truth is, a story is as long as it takes to tell; some readers like a quick read while others enjoy something they can get their teeth into.

When Cyberspouse ‘accidentally’ joined Amazon Prime, perhaps a ploy to get the Amazon Firestick, we were happy to enjoy the benefits of free delivery. ‘Three Ages of Man’ arrived and I put it on the kitchen scales, just under three pounds Imperial. It is nine inches by six inches, no thicker than other paperbacks we have in the house, with larger print and a generous margin on the inside edge of the pages so the reader won’t need to prize it open to read. I was happy.

Now to turn our attention back to ‘Brief Encounters of the Third Kind.’

 

 

Goerge Had Six Moths To Feed.

After nearly five years floating in the ether, the first novel I published on Amazon Kindle is now available as a paperback. Quarter Acre Block was inspired by my family’s experiences emigrating to Australia as Ten Pound Pommies; ironically the paperback costs £10.00  (£9.99 ).  I have not yet written a novel inspired by my return to the United Kingdom, as a twenty year old on a six month working holiday which has stretched till now; suffice to say I have family on both sides of the world and there have been many journeys back and forth over the years, few of them mine.

Project Paperback QAB took on some urgency as Australian visitors were coming to stay; Kindle Direct Publishing paperbacks are not yet available in Canada or Australia.

Technology at our In House Publishers is rarely new; second hand computers, smart phones and other devices pass through the house, passed down from family who are upgrading or bought from ‘Pete at work’. Quarter Acre Block documents were in my new computer, in the external hard drive and on various memory sticks, but we couldn’t find the HTML document that had formed the original Kindle book. I wanted to add pages at the beginning and end that could not have existed in the first version, ‘By the same author’  ‘About The Author’, so with my Kindle at my side as reference I treated the Microsoft word document as a final edit. It was good to read the novel again and the Palmer family were pleased I had not forgotten them, but I was mortified to find more than one mistake in spelling and grammar. Had gremlins crept in? There was no escaping the fact that the same errors occurred in the Kindle version.  I am not alone in this, I have enjoyed plenty of e-books where letters have swapped places and full stops have fallen off; perfection is hard to achieve, but it was galling to read that George had six ‘moths’ to feed.

At last the book was ready to download, with a new cover and perfect pages. Before you press Publish, Amazon comes up with a helpful spell check, a feature not available when we first published. Six errors… four were colloquial, wheatbelt should have been The Wheatbelt, but the glaring mistake was Goerge. One of my main characters, George, had endured the indignity of having his name spelt incorrectly in the first chapter; I can only hope that like the jumbled letter quizzes on Facebook – only people who are highly intelligent can read this – readers did not notice.

We ordered one copy to check it was fine. The visitors arrived on Thursday, the book on Friday. I ordered ten more; they were due on Sunday, an e-mail from Amazon on Sunday afternoon stated they had been delivered and left in the porch. The porch was empty, the visitors were going on Tuesday morning. On Sunday evening the neighbours came round with a parcel that had been left in their porch. On Monday evening we gave our visitors their gift and luckily they had enough room in their suitcases to take copies for my mother and niece; at 95,000 words the book is quite heavy, I had saved a lot on postage and packing.

In all the excitement we had not noticed one glaring omission. There was no title on the spine… on Amazon Kindle nothing is set in stone, you can go back in at any time and change the book, future copies will not be spineless. Perhaps those first eleven copies will be famous rarities in a hundred years time…

Read my previous blog on how KDP print on demand first came into my life.     https://wordpress.com/post/tidalscribe.wordpress.com/383

 

Reinventing The Printing Press

The printing press was invented nearly 600 years ago, Gutenberg credited with the birth of mass communication; but of course the written word goes back much further. Has the invention of the E-book been as important as the invention of the printing press? Not in terms of mass communication; radio, television and the internet surely qualify for that.

Have Kindle books revolutionised our reading habits? Real paper books have survived radio, television and the cinema so are unlikely to suffer a demise. But e-Books have brought new delights; reading in bed in the dark still gives me a wicked thrill when I recall my childhood self trying to read with a torch under the covers without being caught. Packing one slim item for holiday reading, or on the commuter train with nobody knowing which book you are reading… But people still love the feel and colour of real books and I never dare take my precious Kindle on the bus or to the beach hut, paperbacks still have their use.

But for the Indie writer Amazon Kindle provided a tempting doorway into self publishing with a worldwide audience, not necessarily translating into world record sales, but with the opportunity for your aunty on the other side of the world to download your wonderful novel onto her Kindle in seconds.

Self publishing is not new; famous writers in history have published their own novels or pamphlets of poetry. In the modern world unknown writers must first find an agent, who in turn must find a publisher who in turn may let months slip by and still reject the precious manuscript. No wonder lots of writers have turned to what used to be called vanity publishing. They have the advantage of real books to show friends and take to local bookshops for signing events. They may be very successful or could end up with boxes of books in the garage.

Print on Demand is another development which is an attractive proposition. When I first started reading writing magazines one editorial suggested we would soon be wandering into bookstores with a memory stick and downloading our novel, returning later in the day to collect a printed book. That hasn’t happened, but recently Kindle Direct Publishing announced that authors could now create paperbacks as well as e-Books for free. Of course the publishing costs come out of the book sales, but at Chez Gogerty Publishing House it seemed an opportunity too good to miss, as I was just editing a collection of short stories, Tides and Times. Even if we only produced one real book to give my 91 year old mother it was worth a try.

Cyberspouse is always willing to face a technical challenge if it involves no financial outlay. After several attempts at downloading his own  cover design, the book was accepted, then we had to wait for it to go ‘live’, then we ordered one copy…

We were not disappointed, it looked and felt good, we ordered five more. One of the reasons why Amazon is so successful, why we can’t help using them for everything under the sun, is that they always deliver in all senses of the word; they tell you it’s on it’s way, they tell you when it will arrive.

After four years of extolling the virtues of Kindle books to my writers’ group, mostly to no avail, the five copies were snapped up. So now to finish writing my next book with renewed vigour and to turn my back catalogue into paperbacks.

How does all this work? Obviously by magic. In a mountain cave somewhere are lots of little Amazon Elves beavering away at a printing press. I just hope there is not an international scandal involving zero hours contracts and mistreatment of Elves, so that we are all expected to boycott Amazon and sign petitions on Facebook…