Tag Archives: e books

On behalf of a friend : Buy a book and make a difference.

I spend a lot of time on Google +, the social network. Through it I have met many other writers, artists, performers, parents, students, poets… Many have become genuine friends, and from time to time I see appeals for help. Someone has unexpected medical bills, or a family member in need of help. But Brad Poynter’s story was a little different, because he wasn’t asking people to send money. He wanted to give something in exchange, so he’s cut the price on his e-book and asked people just to buy that.
Please, read his story below. I know there will be some people out there who say “I had some hard times, where were all the people to help me?” Well, right here and now, those people are YOU. You have the choice to buy a book, or not. I’ll be reviewing Brad’s book on this site shortly, and I’m sure he won’t mind if you want to wait and hear what it’s all about before you click the button on Amazon.
Here’s what Brad posted:
“Brad Poynter originally shared:

My family needs your help.

One of my daughters is struggling with life and was planning to kill herself. Thankfully she talked to her mentor at school first and now that we are aware of her hidden struggles, we are doing everything we can to help her through this.

She is in the best facility in Arkansas for troubled teens and they are getting her on some meds along with the counseling of their great therapists. We will do whatever it takes to get her the help she needs.

First, I would ask that you send prayers, good vibrations, mojo, or whatever other positive energy you prefer her way. Science be damned today; she needs whatever advantage she can get to get through this. It would be greatly appreciated.

Secondly, this is going to be expensive even if we get approved for the state assistance for children. We are at that income level on the borderline and I’ve been told not to get my hopes up. A 20% copay is still going to be a lot in relation to our incomes even if we do get their help.

That being said, I’m not asking for donations. I would prefer to give you something in return for your help and not be one of the freeloading poor people that politicians get so worked up about. Our family has worked hard and gotten off of all government assistance two years ago, but like I said I’ll do whatever it takes to get her help. That includes selling my dream car or taking advantage of the programs my taxes help pay for.

If you would like to help, I ask that you buy my book so you get something in return for your generosity. You can see what it’s about at the links below and if it sounds good, purchase it there as well. So far, the people that have read it seem to really enjoy the story.

Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ANORCHW
Print: https://www.createspace.com/4030391

If you don’t read or want to buy it as a gift for someone who does, tag me in a private message and I can give you my paypal details. I would really prefer to earn it, but once again; I will do whatever it takes to get her the help she needs.

If you’re not in a position to help financially, you can share this plea with your internet friends or if you’ve already read the book and haven’t reviewed it you could do so to let these other kind folks know what they’re getting into.

As you can imagine, this is all very hard for me to come to terms with but it’s not about me. It’s about a tender soul who is struggling to come to terms with the sometimes harsh and ugly world around her. I would do anything to make it better. Even standing on the virtual street corners of the internet busking my book like it’s snake oil is fair game.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and for any support you can offer.”

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Self-pubbing : Is it a Catch 22?

Though there’s no guaranteed way to self-published success, a lot of writers will agree on some “best practice” ideas that will improve your chances. The Holy Trilogy are these:

  • Pay for a professional Editor to make sure your story and copy are spot on.
  • Pay for someone to get the formatting right for whatever method of publication you’re using
  • Pay for a professional to design your cover artwork.

They may not be in order – the cover art is what is likely to snare your passing trade, after all. A decent front cover makes your book look professional and worth buying. Once you’re over the threshold, it’ll really help the reader get into your book if the inside is as well laid-out as the outside, with no irritating typos, bizarre paragraph breaks or plot holes you could lose a badger in.

We can all see the worth of these three choices. But what if they’re beyond your reach?

Certainly, a lot of people are finally able to tell the story they’ve been thinking about for years, and publish it through the magic of the internet. No more submission letters to agents and publishers, hoping to catch a break. Just write it, upload it and wait for the money. Except, without the money to start with, you don’t get your Editor, Formatter and Cover Artist, so the odds of your book selling in decent numbers are small. Maybe you could hire them once your book has sold a few hundred copies, but…Oh. It won’t sell without the hiring and I can’t hire without the….Right.

I posted this question on some writer communities on G+ and received some great responses. Many of the writers there had used contacts they had made through social media – getting friends to Beta Read, rather than using editorial services, or they had traded their own artistic or graphic design skills to get editing in exchange for cover art. Some simply shopped around, getting good deals on editing work from new editors looking to make their names.

My favourite response was from Buzz Malone of the writing group “Literary Agents Hate Kittens”. He said:

“The good news about self publishing is that you can learn from your mistakes and fix them. I would encourage every writer to dive in and start making the mistakes as soon as possible. It really is the best way to learn.

HOWEVER, I would also encourage every writer to think and long and hard before ever spending a penny on almost anything. Why not try it yourself first? You may discover that you needn’t ever hire a cover artist because you like the pictures your fiance takes. Or, it may be a good venue toward showing an artist friend’s work.

As far as making the whole chicken and egg thing of hiring people to do stuff using the money you’re going to make from your writing, etc., forget about it. We all have golden dreams of becoming overnight sensations and making it rich somewhere deep inside. But the fact is that 99.99999% of us will never get rich writing. 99.99% of us will never make a living at it. 90% of us will never sell enough to recover our time. If you’re writing books or novels as a way of getting rich… let me save you a lot of time and money and heartache. Stop….now. Buy a lottery ticket. Your odds of winning are way better.

If not, you write and starve and go in debt, and then, you make the mistakes. And then, finally, you get a job and hire an editor to fix the mistakes that you cannot fix for yourself. But even then you do it with the realization that the investment is into making your art the best it can be, and not with the idea that somehow, someday, your “investment” is going to pay off in cash. That’s not why we write. “

This is the real truth, I think. Always strive to make your work the best it can be. If that means you re-read it a dozen times yourself, and hand-draw the cover art, then so be it. As long as you are committed to producing the best work you are capable of, then be proud of it. If that means you hire people to work on it because you have the available cash, that’s fine. If you do it all yourself, then that’s fine too.

The work and words of Buzz Malone can be found here: http://buzzmalone.blogspot.ca/

 

Book Launch: The Great Canadian Adventure

The terrific cover designed by Eduardo Ramirez

The terrific cover designed by Eduardo Ramirez

It’s been almost exactly a year since I last worked in an office for someone else. In that time I’ve increased the trade through the Lazy Bee Appraisal Service, completed hundreds of play reviews for my publisher and written a handful of new plays and sketches.

Behind it all, I’ve been polishing old blog posts and working with some neat software to repackage that material with some new entries and information to make this book : The Great Canadian Adventure.

The whole family, just before we left the country

The whole family, just before we left the country

This is the true story of our emigration to BC from the UK. Starting the week before we flew out, it tells of our rush to clear the house we’d been living in, the whirlwind tour of family and friends and the first twelve months finding our feet in the Vancouver area.

But it’s not just a memoir – along the way I’ve collected useful links and made note of things I wish I’d known in advance, and laid them out in the book. Thanks to the Amazon Kindle technology, you can read this book on your PC, your smartphone, your iPad…or even your kindle… and follow those links to learn more.

Writing this book took over four years and several thousand pounds – I had to apply for residency in Canada, and move three children and one wife. We had to get new jobs, a new car, a new house and a dog. And dogs aren’t cheap.

Enjoying our new life in BC!

Enjoying our new life in BC!

Officially launching on May 1st, if you’re seeing this blog post it means you’re special enough to warrant a head start on everyone else! Plus, for the first month, I’m lowering the price by fifty percent. Buy now to avoid disappointment!

If true-life stories of emigration, excitement and orthodontics aren’t your cup of tea, then perhaps you’d rather take a look at some of the other ebooks I’ve written in the past:

Troubled Souls : Three short stories told from the male perspective, each dark and a little disturbing.

Coffee Time Tales 1 and 2: Easy reading for coffee time, two collections of five tales with warmth and often, romance.

Sci-Fi Shorts: Four stories of Science Fiction and Fantasy, including “Twist Stiffly and the Hounds of Zenit Emoga”, a golden-age sci-fi romp.

Writing a play for the Amateur Stage: Guidance and advice on writing plays for community theatre groups, written from the perspective of someone with over a decade of experience in the field. (Me.)

If you’ve produced an ebook, or have some other kind of project you’d like to shout about, HOP ON THIS BANDWAGON! I’ll be posting links to this page as I travel the internet, hawking my books, so why not drop a link to YOUR brilliance in the comments section?

Why not be sociable?

Screen grab from my G+ circles page. If you don't know what that means, read on.....

The urge to moan about my lack of output or success in the job market is growing, so I thought I’d side-step it and talk about Social Media instead.

I’m not a guru. I can’t tell you how to “do” Social Media, and I can’t promise you that I’ll get Social Media to increase your sales, your popularity or your productivity.

What I can say is that I enjoy interacting with other people through Social Media, and the Social Media I prefer is G+. I’m sorry, Facebook friends, but most of the time when you’re talking to me or getting comments from me on Facebook, it’s Mrs Dim. Facebook has been brilliant for staying in touch with friends from the UK, and it’s a great standby if someone hasn’t handed out their email address. When Mrs Dim was away recently, we even used it to message each other, which looked very bizarre to other people, since we both used the same login….

Anyway, I was invited to join G+ during the Beta phase and found it was fun. At first it was quiet, with few users, but I added some interesting folks to my circles and things started to move. In G+ you have circles for different groups of people, and you can post things to a single circle, or all your circles, or just to the public….and you can do the same with the things you see. What appears is called your stream, and you can set it to receive a lot of things from particular circles, and not much from others, or just leave them all open all the time, like I do.

I’ve been quite cautious about who I’ve added to my circles, meaning I’m only in contact with around 400 people. That’s still a lot of content rushing past every day. In turn, only around 200 people have ME in THEIR circles, so I’m not filling the whole internet with my ramblings. What that small grouping means is that I can actually converse with these people, swap ideas and stories, read what they’ve got to say and maybe pass it along.

I’ve learned a great deal from G+, from reading articles reposted by friends, following links to other websites, and I’ve made some good friends. Yes, friends.

Some people have the opinion that friends are only friends if you’ve met them face to face. But these are people I chat to every day. I may not know a great deal about them – in some cases, I don’t even know their real names – but I know I like chatting to them. They don’t ask me creepy questions about my kids, they don’t try to find out my address, my phone number or bank details, and we share a lot of interests. When I need an opinion on something, like my new e-book, I can ask these people. They don’t have the need, like real-life friends do, to say nice things to me because someday we’ll be having dinner together. In turn, I’ve been asked to offer advice on THEIR stories, or pictures, or projects.

This is the key with social media, or so I’ve heard. Not building a huge following and broadcasting your ‘stuff’ to them on a regular basis. No, the idea is to build relationships by talking to people, getting to know them a little, and giving them some of your time and attention. It’s only fair, after all.

I know that some of the 200 people who have me in their circles, have LOTS more people following them than I do. Thousands and thousands, in some cases. If I post news of my new project and one of them is kind enough to repost it, it can be seen by thousands of readers instead of hundreds. If some of them repost it, it could reach hundreds of thousands. That’s the connecting power of social media, but it means nothing if YOU don’t connect with the people first.