Tuesday, 24 December 2013

It's a hard knock writing life

2013 has been a weird writing year for me. My first book in a series of revenge novellas I've dubbed Die Hard for Girls because a kick ass woman takes centre stage, was published and I finished writing the second. And How Kirsty Gets Her Kicks finally found a new home after two years in the wilderness despite having a book contract.

Two other novels are also on the shortlist of potential books for another publisher.

But there have been lows too. I've had one book, a book I devoted the best part of a year to researching, writing and blogging like mad about, remaindered because my publisher frittered away cash on marketing gurus instead of selling books. All of this publisher's other books were also remaindered. Despite me compiling an in depth list of online stores with thousands of potential customers who would buy my book, the publisher didn't bother to contact any of them.

Here's what else I've learnt in 2013...

The "publishing" industry is full of parasites who pose as publishers but in reality they are nothing more than money grabbing leaches feeding on the hopes and dreams of writers. 
They sell services like editing, marketing and book illustration and talk like they are doing you a favour. They might even look like genuine publishers, publishing some books without payment.

A book they wanted me to pay £500 to be published.

Real life example - One publisher (Endeavour Press - and I have the emails to prove it) turned How Kirsty Gets Her Kicks down in a form email after asking me to send in the ms, but helpfully suggested someone "we often use to produce and promote our list" who'd format my book as an ebook and "provide you with marketing/publicity plan and arrange for book to be sent out to readers to generate a couple of positive reviews."

The person named was the same person I'd submitted my first inquiry to asking if they'd consider How Kirsty Gets Her Kicks. To me, that's unethical, not to mention predatory. 

The cost was  £500.

I said "no thank you" when what I really wanted to say something mean, especially when they made it sound like making money from books was easy. 

They even had the audacity to say that they could promise the money would be recovered by sales. NO publisher can promise that.

This was a book I'd had a publishing contract for and got a contract for two months later, so I knew it was good.

Unless you're a big name publisher, most publishers do little to promote your books and often they don't capitalise on any publicity you generate.
Case in point, my book was featured in a publication with sales of 250,000 copies. I notified the publisher of this expecting one of their publicists to try and use that as a platform to sell more books by contacting Scottish bookstores (my book's a Scottish crime thriller). They didn't bother, making me wonder why I bothered.

Publishers can take years to make decisions then change their minds, again.

One minute, they love your work. They think it's great and want to publish, the next they're not too keen, then they're back to liking it again and maybe wanting to publish.

Then they change their minds again.

Yep, I learnt this in 2013 and 2012 and 2011...

Most traditional publishers set prices too high costing authors sales.
Far too high, which is fine if its authors who are already successful, but not too good if you're trying to establish yourself.

Self-published authors have one major advantage over traditionally published authors, they get to set the price and when that price applies, particularly the eBook price the format in which most self-published books are sold.

I'm strongly considering self-publishing for that reason.

Keep writing. Work on different projects. You should always have a variety of projects on the go.

If you don't, when an opportunity presents itself you won't be able to capitalise on it. For example, some publishers who are usually closed to all but agented submissions may have submissions windows that can be as short as a month, day or even a week. Be ready to take advantage.

Unless you get hundreds of reviews they don't help to sell books.

Seriously. This has surprised me. Maybe the scandal of authors paying for good reviews or getting people to pour scorn over rival authors' books has led to readers not trusting reviews. Whatever the reason, in my experience reviews don't sell books. I've heard other people say the same thing.

Most top authors only endorse books by their own publishers.

They're too busy to do that to endorse anybody else's unless it's a friend's book.

Publishing is fast becoming a rich person's game.

Agents and publishers have programmes/courses that cost a small fortune to go on that boost your chance of getting published. These courses are out with the reach of most writers, many of whom don't have a barrister wife\husband or rich parents to pay their way.

Take the Faber Academy. They do courses like this one that cost £4,000. And, this online one that costs £2800.

No I'm not endorsing them, I just want to prove a point.

That's why if you don't have the benefit of coming from a well off background - think that covers most of us - you need to make sure your writing is sharper, more energised and entertaining than those who have the benefit of completing these courses and making contacts the rest of us can only dream of.

At the end of the day, readers want good books. They don't care who writes them. The next bestseller could be written by you.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Does your publisher deserve you? Questions you should ask before you sign on the dotted line.

It sounds crazy doesn't it that you you work your backside off to get a publishing deal, but you might be offered a contract by a publisher and not take it.

But the truth is, not all publishers are good publishers. And the last thing you need or want is your precious manuscript that you've slaved over and put so much love and care into, to end up with a publisher that won't do you or your book justice.

Why is it important to get the right publisher?
Any publisher is better than no publisher. Right?


It might cost you a deal with a better publisher because they'll look at the sales of previous books and go "Oh, they only sold 10 copies of their last book." They won't check to see how proactive your publisher was in selling books - even although promotion's a two-way street. They won't care that the price of the book (that'd you'd no say in) cost more than the new Harlan Coben.

So, how do you spot a good publisher from a bad one? Read on my writing friends -

1. How do they treat authors? Try a simple Internet check. You might get lucky, although authors are cautious about discussing publishers online, in case they come across as whiny or the publisher reads it and takes the hump, or other publishers read it and think, "They're trouble - avoid."

Also, visit/join writers' boards and see what they're saying about publishers. Many users use fictitious names so they're more likely to be honest.

2. What appearance do they present to the rest of the world?
At the bare minimum, every publisher should have a professional website, a blog, Twitter and Facebook account. If they can't present themselves well to the world, they won't be able to sell your book.

3. Do their books sell and how proactive are they in selling them? Try following one of their titles on Novel Rank (www.novelrank.com) for a few weeks. How are estimated sales?

4. Are their royalties and advances (if applicable) industry standard? One writer I know, was offered just 2.5% royalties on paperback sales. That's too low and no, they didn't offer an advance.

Remember, Amazon never pay the full price for a book. The trade price they pay might be as low as 30% of the cover price. If a book sells for 7 pounds or 7 dollars and the publisher gets £2.10 pounds or 2 dollar 10 cents for every book, the writer gets a measly 5 pence or 5 cents.

5. What kind of reviews do their books get? Ignore the "this zombie novel didn't have enough romance in it" (that's one of the reviews The Restless Dead got) comments and look for phrases like "badly edited" and "character died in one chapter and miraculously came alive in other."

6. Are their covers the kind that will sell books? Do they look professional or are they cheap and tacky looking? Covers sell books.

And, remember, there's always self-publishing so you can at least get your work out there:) 

Friday, 27 September 2013

Police on the lookout for ladies in pajamas - Unlikely stories come from unlikely stories

Recently, where I live, there was an incident where a marquee was damaged. Apparently a drunk man and two women in pajamas were spotted fleeing the scene and are wanted by police.

This is a true story.

For any writer, a news story like that is fertile ground for your imagination to run free.

Who were the three, and what were they doing running around late at night in their jammies?

What do you think? There are so many stories you could write, in so many different genres.

Erotica - they were looking for somewhere to have a naughty three-some in public?

Horror - they'd been chased by zombies and were looking for somewhere to hide?

Crime - One of their relatives had lost their mind and had started murdering their family as they slept?

Tragi-com - One of the group doesn't have long to live and it was a dream of his/her to sneak into a marquee at night and have a picnic.

These are just a few possibilities, but there are an infinite number of possibilities.

Here's an exercise for you. Look through the newspaper headlines. Don't read the whole story; just the headline and first two lines.

Now unleash your creativity and write your own story.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

RIP Jack - You deserved better

Two weeks ago, my neighbour Jack died. I'm sorry to say that I didn't know Jack that well. He was what we call a curmudgeon. 

Permanently grumpy, always bickering with the neighbour above him who also happened to be one of his best friends, he always clapped our dog, but he made me cry the day we moved in.

My dad has bone cancer and two sticks to stop him falling over. My mum is so frail at times she can be blown over like a cigarette packet tossed about in the wind. When they drove over with our furniture, naturally they parked outside our new home in the disabled spot - they both have blue badges; they're entitled to park there. It's not a residential parking spot, although Jack treated it like it was.

He ranted and raved at my mum and dad, cursing his head off. I cried because I thought "Great, now I have the neighbour from hell, and I've just moved in."

Our last neighbour used to let their grand kids use the floor as a trampoline. Now this one was gonna be big trouble.

As things turned out, Jack was fine. After that day, we never had a cross word, although he had plenty of cross words with everyone else.

When he died it came as a bolt out the blue. He collapsed and  was taken away in an ambulance and died the next day in hospital.

The next day, two of his relatives arrived. What they did next was disgraceful. And, I've seen some pretty low things in my life.

They rummaged through his things at the speed of light. Taking anything of value. They dumped everything else of his in the communal bins. Personal stuff. Private stuff. They dumped his glasses and his bunnet in the bin. Our neighbour, one of his Jack's friends, found them when she went to put out her rubbish. Despite inviting his 2 relatives into her home, giving them coffee and sympathy, they went back home to Birmingham. They didn't tell her when the funeral was. One of his few friends probably wouldn't be there, but two of his money grabbing leech relatives would be. That's if they even bothered to have a funeral at all.

I half expected to see poor, expired Jack in the bin.

Hey, I'm not laughing as I write this because I'm too bloody sad.
One minute you're there, going about your daily business, the next you're a gonner and people have their greedy, fat fingers rifling all through your stuff. They don't give a shit about you or your memories or what matters to you. All they care about is taking anything of value.

I hope wherever Jack is, he never got to see all this. The callous disregard for his possessions and his life.

As for his heartless relatives, what goes around comes around. In years to come, it could be you who's dead, having some callous someone's fat, grubby fingers rifling through your stuff, before tossing out the glasses and hat you last wore in the trash like you and your life meant nothing for your friends and neighbour to find.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Me and JK Rowling in the Scottish Daily Record

Hell To Pay's in the top right hand corner:)

I'm in the Scottish Daily Record's  today talking about my crime thriller Hell To Pay with someone called JK Rowling.

Well, we're on the same page and it's her Robert Galbraith novel that nobody was supposed to know she wrote that was being featured.

Although, I think I need the publicity more than her. Think she sells a few books:)

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Never give up - The one mantra every writer should have


Tenancious wee guy - "Nobody is stopping me from getting that cheese."
Of all the mantras that writers have, that's probably the most important because most of the time your work won't get picked up right away. That was the case with How Kirsty Gets Her Kicks.

The road to publication has been a long and winding road for the short novel I wrote 3 years ago.

Back in March 2010, I saw a snippet of news in Writer's News magazine about a publisher looking for women to write "violent revenge fiction." I cut it out and filed it away for later. Up until that point, barring a few published short stories I'd stuck to fiction.

A few months later, this image came into my mind of a one-legged woman (I didn't give her a prosthetic leg deliberately to make her different; she came to me that way) standing over a man who had a stiletto heel embedded into his skull and Kirsty was born. I started writing, asking myself the  question's
"How did she come to be in this position?"
"Who was Kirsty?"

The answers came quickly - she was a Glasgow barmaid and she'd just killed one of Jimmy McPhee's goons after he'd got a bit too handsie. Now I had my story. Kirsty had to go on the run because McPhee would come after her and to protect herself she'd steal the gun he had in his safe and his cash.

Within a few months, I'd written the book and sent it off to the publisher. A few weeks later, I had a publishing contract. Cue happy dance and the best Christmas present ever.

Hey, that sounds easy. But then as the publication date loomed, I'd heard nothing. Received no edits, so I got in touch and was told publication had been delayed and it wouldn't be out until later. A few months later and it was the same story.

Almost a year later, came the bombshell. The person who commissioned the book got in touch. They were leaving the publisher and taking the imprint with them and they hoped to set up on their own. The little hope I had was crushed when I never heard from them again.

The book never came out and after some toing and froing, I realised it never would. The two years on my contract expired and my hopes and dreams came to an end.

In the meantime, I wrote a self help title, my zombie novel Dead Bastards and Hell To Pay, the first in a series of books I'd called Die Hard for Girls. I also finished the second novella in the Die Hard for Girls series.

I never gave up on Kirsty though. I wanted people to read her story. She was a real person to me. One day, I even thought I saw her.

I had strong interest from one publisher who later decided the book was too short. Another wanted me to add to the text and they'd look at it again. Another said it wasn't the kind of book they published, but their "friend" would format it as an eBook if I gave them 500 pounds. Obviously, I declined.

A month ago, it was turned down by one of Stephen King's publishers. I'd sent it off in the early hours of the morning to avoid the "I'm not worthy" pull that'd prevent me from pressing the dreaded SEND button.

The comments about why it wasn't right for them - that it was gonzo and over the top, Tarantino like - sounded more like endorsements to me than admonishments.

check out their website

Snubnose Press must have thought so, because they offered me a contract which I duly accepted, delighted to be onboard with such a classy outfit that are kicking down crime fiction doors.

Kirsty's damn pleased too. She's gonna get her kicks and boy, is she gonna have a ball. Hey, she's even gonna jump out of a cake. You'll need to read the book to find out why.

You'll need to wait to read why Kirsty jumps out of a cake:)
Footnote - another mantra writers should have is not to get ripped off. A publisher proclaiming "not to be a vanity publisher" wanted 500 smackers to publish Kirsty. Well, I guess you can Tell what Kirsty said to that. Hell, I've got no control over that gal.

Are the magnets in stands and cases ruining your tablet?

Like most people, I love gadgets and when my OH bought me a Google Nexus tablet, I was chuffed to bits.

The Nexus is a great piece of kit for a writer. There's plenty of free apps that are great for writing like notebooks where you get to create your own unlined or lined notebooks with different covers and numbers of pages. That way you can work on multiple projects at once and gmail them to yourself or send to other apps.

Need to see a copy of the magazine you want to write a piece for? No problem, the Google Play store has lots of them. For the cost of the cover price you can have the publication uploaded to your tablet in minutes.

The Twitter app also allows you to send tweets from multiple accounts at once. Ideal when like me you've got a specific zombie account (hey, I love zombies and The Walking Dead) and a separate one for your writing and personal stuff.
Naturally I wanted to protect my new gadget from damage. So I shopped around for a stand.

That's when my problems started. The first one I bought, a black Carbon Fibre Print PropUp Stand Case Cover with integrated stand function and magnetic sleep sensors looked great.

Then I put my tablet in it. At first everything was okay. Then my cursor went haywire. I couldn't seem to copy and paste no matter what app I used. I thought my tablet was broken.

I shut it down. Took it away from the stand. Then I restarted it and the Nexus worked fine. It didn't take a genius to work out the stand was the problem and more to the point the magnet in the stand that activates the sleep function on the tablet.
I sent it back for a refund.

Then I bought the IPEVO PadPillow Lite Stand. It looked like an adjustable pillow. It wasn't until I received the pillow that I discovered the magnets. When I tried it with my tablet it was the same story. The cursor went crazy. My tablet was unusable. This time it took the tablet longer to recover. I actually thought it was broken forever.
I'm still on the look out for a stand or case, but from now on I'll avoid the ones with magnets. They nearly wrecked my tablet and they could damage yours.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Monday, 5 August 2013

Writers, what to do when you get a bad review

The advice from other authors is to ignore reviews, but it's hard to ignore them especially when your publisher keeps going on about how reviews get you sales. When you get a really bad, withering review that makes you think you should never inflict your writing on the public ever again, you just want to dive under that duvet and never come out again.

But, is getting a stinker of a review really so bad? Well, yes it is, but here are some things to think about before you think of chucking this writing game in.

It helps if you write the answers down. That way your brain absorbs them and you can move on from the bad review, because you've got to move on so you can get on with writing.

Another great thing to do is answer these questions as though it's someone else's book that got the bad review; one you've read and know well. I use a similar technique in my bullying book, Bullying A Parent's Guide,  and to deal with my social phobias. 

Trust me, it works.

First off, look at the review -

1. Has the reviewer said anything constructive, that you can be used to improve the author's writing? For instance, a reviewer might spot a continuity error or that a writer over does speech tags. Or they might say that they couldn't see your characters, so you need to work harder on that. 

2. Do they talk about themselves in the review? Good reviewers don't talk about themselves, no; they talk about whatever they're reviewing. The over-use of I is a sign of an ego. The reviewer’s saying, "Look at me, look at me" and not here's a review.

3. Look at their other reviews. What kind of things do they say? Are they constructive in their criticism or venomous? Do they always seem to give good reviews to the top publishing houses, whilst slating self-published books or ones from smaller publishers?

I got a reviewer who admitted to not reading all of another book they reviewed because they "knew how it'd end." Why didn't he just read it then to see if he was right?

Another reviewer complained that a book with a bloody hand on the cover wasn't the erotic fiction they expected. Hey, I know what people do in their bedrooms is their business, but murder sex re-enactments? Now that is weird.

Does a good review come with a price tag?

4. Do they review for a site that charges for some books to feature on the site? I call these subsidy reviews. How likely are you to get a good review if you don't pay and are not with one of the big publishers who send them books and will probably stop sending them books if they start giving bad reviews? Mmm, we wonder.

5. Did the right person review the book?
There are books that have popular cross appeal, like books by Stephen King, but most books have a specific readership.

I wrote Hell To Pay as an escapist piece of fiction for women who were sick of seeing women being the victims of appalling crimes like rape and not getting justice. I gave the book the sub-title Die Hard for Girls.

A male reviewer on a well known book review website that charges some books up to £145 to be featured (I didn't pay them a penny because as well as paid for reviews they legitimise themselves by doing reviews for books like mines from commercial publishers) panned the book calling it "reverse misogyny" because my heroine Nancy got revenge on the men who raped her and murdered her parents. In fiction, clearly just like real life, women are allowed to be victims, but woe betide them if they fight back.

I disregarded his comment because the book's not aimed at men who think women should behave like they're in a Jane Austen novel. It's aimed at modern women who are just as likely to punch a mugger as hand over their handbag. I make no apologies for that. 

Other things to consider -

1. Look at all your reviews. What have other reviewers said - reviewers who aren't family or friends? If every reviewer hates your book, then you should start to worry.

2. Have you won any writing awards? Placed in any contests? Had good reviews on sites like youwriteon.com or authonomy?

If you have, how can your writing be as bad as that review makes you think it is?

3. Do you have a history of getting published? Relive your successes.
Now, that feels better.

4. Look at reviews top authors have got on Amazon. Are they all five star glowing reviews? I doubt it.

Look at all of the one star reviews for authors who get advances in the hundreds of thousands or even the millions. 

Stephen King has got one star reviews, so has Harlan Coben and Frederick Forsyth. In the case of Day of the Jackal, one reviewer said "Derivative and lightweight. Another wannabe Ian Fleming best forgotten." 

Now get writing. The worst thing you can do after a bad review is to dwell on it.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Watch the trailer for Hell To Pay...Glasgow's about to get meaner

Hell To Pay's official release date is Friday July 26th, 2013 when it will be available on paperback and on Kindle...

Disclaimer: The Die Hard for Girls books are pure, escapist fiction and do not in any way advocate violence.

Monday, 22 July 2013

It's time self-published authors were more honest

You'd need to have been on another planet not to notice the rise of the self-published or indie author. Their stories are everywhere and make selling books sound, well easy –

"I sold a thousands books a day using social media."
"Why I'm turning my back on a big money book deal to stay indie."
"I tweeted my way to hundreds of book sales a day."

Whilst all these stories inspire indie authors and those who are thinking of going indie (like me) they also make those of us who don't sell thousands of books a day (whether we're self-oublished or traditionally published), feel like garbage.

We use the social networks, we blog, we write promo pieces. And, we wrote good books. So, what's wrong with us or our books?

Probably nothing. So, why are other authors succeeding whilst we're not?

Part of the problem is that although I've no doubt these bestselling authors work extremely hard, they are not always completely upfront about the things they do to "sell" so many books or the fortune they spend.

Here are 3 things I've discovered -
1. Writers counting free books as sales. When something's given away, it's a freebie not a sale. If I see someone giving out free candy bars, I grab one. It doesn’t mean I’m gonna eat it, or in the case of free books, read it.

2. Authors are spending a fortune on publicists. One author I read about spent 40 thousand dollars on her publicist. Compared to what others spend, that's chump change.

3. Authors spending a ton of money on advertising, including fees to get on book blogs. I was sad to see that there seems to be a growth industry in prising money out of authors’ hands. This is often money they can’t afford.

What this post isn’t, is me having a go at indie writers who write great books that sell and work hard to get those sales. What this post is however, is a call for successful self-published authors to be more upfront about how much money and time they spend to make the Amazon bestseller list.

Sadly, I know of too many authors who have grown disillusioned because they’re not the next John Locke, the first self-published author to sell over one million eBooks on Amazon.com. As well as writing what I’m told are great books, he spent a bundle on advertising to sell books too.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

The angry writer makes a comeback...and she's livid.


When you're not being published you look at writers who are and think their life must be wonderful. They've made it. Their book's out there being coveted and they're being told how wonderful they are. They're raking in the cash - go on, you in the know; chortle away at that one.

Then you become one of them and realise life can still be, well not to put it to politely, shit.

So far (I'm expecting more rotten tomatoes) here's the lowdown on my publication hell -

Amazon getting the listing wrong on ALL their sites, so all of my books wouldn't appear on my Amazon author page. I had to contact those sites individually - you can't just contact one, you've got to contact them all - to get the details changed. See What to do when Amazon gets your details wrong post. This was a time consuming process and all because whoever keyed in the details on a book site, couldn't copy information.
The book coming out a month early but the Kindle version not following suit. Result - losing would be sales and losing out on potential readers.

Getting one star ratings from people who complained that the book "didn't contain enough romance."
It's a crime thriller with a bloody handprint on the cover. There's no mention of romance.

Getting two one star ratings on Goodreads from someone who hadn't read the book. One rating was for the Kindle version that isn't even out yet. I contacted Goodreads and they didn't seem to think this was a big deal. It wouldn't surprise me if there's going to be an Amazon review scandal with people leaving malicious ratings and reviews.

My publisher saying my book came out at the wrong time "for the word to have got yet" and the book missed out in being in "some of the trade catalogues" where so many bookstores order their books, so there were hardly any orders.

A writer with the same publisher wanting to exchange likes on Facebook, then pulling out and sending me a sniffy message saying "I don't like your cover." A bloody handprint for a crime novel - why didn't I have a picture of a fluffy bunny? Eh, it's not a book like Living Cruelty Free.

To top it all, I've spent hundreds of hours promoting this book, doing things like setting up a website, a Facebook page, blogging, getting reviews and running a Twitter account, as well as putting excerpts up on Wattpad and Scribd and I'm starting to wonder what the hell is the point? The last time I wrote anything was this blog post. Yet, I've got a heap of writing projects that I could be doing rather than promoting a book I seem to be more invested in than my publisher and fixing Amazon screw ups.

Then today I got a call from my dad to tell me they'd seen a book with the exact same cover in Waterstones. I'm now off to scream into a bucket.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Would you like a starring role in a novel? Have a character named after you.

Some fanfare please –

Would you love to have a starring role in a novel?

Or have a character named after a person of your choice – your other half, or even your dog as a unique gift?

Well, your dreams can come true.

Everybody who writes a review for Hell To Pay on Amazon or Goodreads between now and July 26th when the book will be out in Kindle - available now on Amazon in paperback – will be entered into a draw to gets a character in my next book named after them or someone of their choosing (but no obscene, made up names please). The two winners - YES - TWO WINNERS - will also get a signed copy and get a mention in the acknowledgements.

Here’s the links people -

Happy reading and good luck:)

The book won’t be available on Kindle until July 26th, so I will be repeating this competition then for the Kindle version.

Note – I’ve had to extend the original closing date because a few people have been in touch to say they’ll be in holiday or books take longer to be delivered where they are.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

What to do when Amazon spells your name wrong (or gets other book details wrong)

I was really excited to see Hell To Pay going on up on the various sites including Amazon, but that excitement was diluted ended when I saw that they’d spelt my surname wrong. Firstly, on the Amazon.com site and then on Amazon.ca

It’s important that the details are correct so that your Amazon author central* page will be linked to your book. Your author central page has tweets from you, details of blog posts and a list of your other books. It’s a great promotion tool, but only if the details are correct.

If this happens to you, this is what you do to get Amazon to change it.

*To get an Amazon author central page click here to register. For Amazon.com, click here

Go to the book page on Amazon

Tip – Ignore the message for publishers and authors where the publisher is told to update the feed sent to Amazon and the author is told to contact their publisher. I know for a fact, that my publisher sent the correct details to Amazon who keyed it in wrongly.

Scroll down to where it says Would you like to update product info and click on that.


You will be taken to your Amazon sign in page. Sign in.

From there you will be taken to Update Product Info


Put in as much info as you have. For instance, if you have a pictures of your book cover complete with ISBN number (you need this) then submit that.

Tip – You can also submit a change of details through your Amazon Author Central account. It's just as easy to use.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Writers, what to do if you get a stinker of a review

My filing cabinet for bad reviews.

It happens to every writer eventually. You get a review that has you wanting to scream one minute and curl up in a ball sobbing until the stars fall out of the sky. How do you deal with that?

Here's a few tips.

1. Remember it's only one person's point of view. One person. Not hundreds of people - just one. Does everybody everywhere like the same things? Nope, so you have to accept that there will be people who may not like your book.

2. Print out the review and roll it up into a ball and throw it in the bin, or use it to play a game of ping pong. The review doesn't have much power over you now, eh?

3. Talk to other writers. Ask them about the worst review they've ever had. Moan about it. Laugh about it. Then forget about it.

4. Look at all your good reviews and all the good things that anyone has ever said about your writing. Does one or two bad reviews mean you are suddenly a bad writer? Of course not. Push away all that negativity by submerging yourself in positivity.

5. Tell yourself that at least they bought your book. The money from someone who leaves you a bad review is the same as someone who leaves you a good review.

6. And, if you really get upset by reviews, step away from the computer and STOP reading them. I know it's hard, but a writer needs to keep writing. Any time spent being all maudlin over a review, one person wrote, is eating into your writing time.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

7 Ways to Kickstart your writing in the new year

If only it did come in a can:)

It happens to all of us. We get very little writing done over the holidays - that's if we get any done at all. Then when we have to get back to it, it's hard to get going again.

How do you break through that wall and get going again?

Here's some tips -

Even time spent watching Jeremy Kyle isn't wasted.

1.Look through a real life magazine or watch a show like Jeremy Kyle or Jerry Springer. Are there any stories that catch your eye? Don't read it. Just take the headline say, "My husband was a bigamist and a murderer" and write your own story based on that. Try for a new angle. Write from the husband's point of view or from two of the wives when they get together. 

2. Write your own version of your favourite movie or TV shows. 

Even time watching the soaps isn't wasted.

3. Soap storylines are also a good source of inspiration. Use a current storyline, but feature your own characters.

4. No takers on that book? Try turning it into a screenplay. The more strings a writer has to their bow the better. 

5. Pick any book off your shelf and look at the first paragraph. Write a story that follows on from that. 

6. Cut out pictures of people from a magazine or catalogue. Imagine their lives and what could have happened to them. Write about them. 

7. Try an online story generator. You'll be surprised at what they come up with. 

Friday, 11 January 2013

Writers, it's time to get out of Twitter jail

I realised I was getting too caught up in tweeting, Facebooking, blogging, messageboards, google plus...and the list goes on and on and on...when I wanted to throw my computer out the window in a fit of all consuming incredible Hulk rage.

Well, I couldn’t get the book trailer for Dead Bastards on Kindleboards.

With a second book in what I hope will be a popular Die Hard for girls series to write, my blood pressure bubbling and the lack of sleep, I decided enough was enough.

Here are the commandments I will now live by -

1. No social networking through dinner. No tweeting, Facebooking or writing a blog post.

2. Have one day a week when I don't use social networking at all.

3. When I'm watching a film or a TV show, I also have to go cold turkey.

4. Enjoy the social networking experience. Have fun with people. Stop saying "Please, pretty please buy my book/s" all the bloody time. Folk are sick of hearing it. You're sick of hearing it.

5. Write more without a computer because unless you do you’ll be dragged back to Twitter. Write in long hand. Scribble. By all means take a break, go on Twitter, but only for twenty minutes at the most. Then go back to writing. I'll set an alarm if I need to.

And those are the rules I hope to live by. Well, once I've posted, tweet, FB, Google + this blog post.

DI Duncan Waddell - Detective in a Coma Book 2

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