Saturday, 15 December 2012

Now I can go on holiday!

I have finally approved the proof for But a Dream.  So now it will be available in paperback as well as eBook for within a few days.

This is book number three in my series, Southhill Sagas, and is the last of the five completed so far to get published as a paperback.  For some reason I had incredible problems with the formatting, which I didn't have with the others.  This book is in three section, at the start of each of which is a quotation.  (Tightrope has a quotation at the start of every chapter but gave no such problems).  For reasons not understood by me till recently the last line of the quote in Section two went to the left instead of being centred.  I tried and I tried and I tried but it took my wonderful computer teacher to show me that there were some hidden spaces between lines three and four - she says when the computer sees spaces it sees a brick wall.  She said I appeared to have used the space bar at some stage.  I hang my head in shame - I hadn't realised what a dreadful crime I had committed - truth to tell I wasn't even aware that I had used the space bar but the evidence is there!  

Then the page numbers kept going awry as did the headings with Title and Author's Name, as found in the templates supplied by Create Space.  In the end I looked at several books and see that none of the modern books have Title and Author's Name as headings so I deleted them all.  I wish I had done the same with the others, but it's too late now!  Then every time I checked a proof I found something wrong again - like a blank page suddenly inserted seemingly for no rhyme or reason but apparently all something to do with gremlins who sneak in and use the dreaded spacebar. 

It has taken me over two weeks since I thought I had finished the formatting, (and 19 (!) versions uploaded) but now it's done!  No more hassles.  All five up and running, and available to be bought as Christmas presents - that's the rationale for getting them all up now, anyway.  So no more formatting till I finish the next one and I'm only on chapter three so that will be a couple of months away at least.

 Now I can relax, wrap some presents, do some last minute shopping, pack our clothes and on Tuesday morning we're off to Singapore! Can't wait! Catch you in the New Year when we get back.

To anyone reading this I wish you a very Blessed Christmas and a happy and successful 2013.

I leave you with a delightful clip my sister sent me

Till next time:)

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Number Five up and running, well almost

I managed to finish Rock-a-Bye Baby, and have spent several days proofing and editing it. (I do a lot of that by reading aloud – amazing what typos slip by otherwise).   It is now ready for Amazon except for the cover which I am hoping to get back today or tomorrow.   This means I will have five books available! 

And of course I have started on number six.   I’m only on chapter 2, so very early days yet but it’s all coming together.  It’s the first completely new book I have written in about eighteen months.  I had Fisherman’s Dream and Rock-a-bye Baby each about two thirds along then lost momentum.  After that I got disheartened trying to find a literary agent or publisher so abandoned the whole writing lark.  Then a couple of months ago I got fired up again.  So I made enquiries about Amazon and here we are.
Now I that I have my books ready it would be nice if I sold some – I had quite a lots of eBooks downloaded when they were free but only a little drip drip of eBook sales since.   It’s not even the money, though that would be nice, but for my self esteem, for validation of myself as a writer.   But I do need to make my books available to the right people, who would seem to be of Baby Boomer age, though not necessarily.    But then every now and then I stop and think what the hell?  If I enjoyed painting or drawing  I would paint or draw and not worry about selling the end product.    I enjoy writing, so?   

I am putting Puzzle, Fisherman’s Dream and Rock-a-Bye (if it’s ready but it should be) up for a free Kindle promo on Boxing Day.  My rationale is that people will have nice new Christmas Kindles and be dying to try them out.   The exposure is what I need; sales should start picking up after that (fingers crossed).  Depending on the response I thought I might try the same on New Year’s Day but will need to decide beforehand as I will be in Borneo between Christmas and New Year J 
Check out my Amazon author page if you are interested.

I can’t sit here nattering all day.  Presents to be bought, presents to be wrapped, a dog to be walked, a dip to be prepared for a party tonight.  Onwards and upwards!

Till next time J

Friday, 7 December 2012

No, not another one! Not now!

I got on well while the internet was down –so much less to distract me.  I finished the first draft of Rock-a-bye Baby.  I had an idea of how it would end but only knew for certain when I wrote it, if that makes any sense. 

I sometimes find my characters surprising me.  ‘Wow, I wouldn’t have thought of that!’ I say to myself.  I suppose it’s another side of me doing the writing – one I have less control over.  Probably that’s what makes writing so much fun.
Anyway my aim is to finish Rock-a-bye completely and get it published on Amazon before we go to Singapore on 18th December.  Then I plan to take a complete break over the holiday period.  We will be visiting our daughter and son-in-law and also taking a trip to Borneo with them.  Sounds amazing – a holiday of a lifetime.
So I was not best pleased when last night, as I was checking for the umpteenth time to see if my internet access had been restored, another story popped into my head.   That’s not allowed – that’s not the way it’s supposed to happen.  I have to finish one book before starting another.  That's the rule.   Now I can’t wait to start the new one.   I always have to have a title.  My working title is A Fairy Tale but actually I am pretty sure that will be the subtitle or part of the title.  I have the main characters, the basic story line, the introduction, the first couple of lines and the last couple of lines, all in my head; I haven’t written a word yet.  This is always the best time – when it’s new and exciting.  But the timing is BAD!   I have so much to do before I go away.   And three parties next week – well it is that time of year.

Till next time J

Help! I’m an addict!

On Wednesday  morning while I was trying to sort out the shambles that had been created between Amazon and the Kindle store (my paperbacks and kindle books all separate, as though different books not different versions of the same book) my internet went down.   It has done it before – each time I rebooted my router until it eventually came back.  However my service provider said there appeared to be a fault and that I was to call them next time it happened.   Which was Wednesday morning around 10 am.  The ISP checked and said the fault appeared to be with the line so they reported to fault to Telkom the state owned company who provide all the ADSL lines in South Africa.  Telkom said there was a fault in the whole area which would be looked into.

I waited and I waited.   Twelve o’clock came, then one o’clock then two o’clock.  I could feel myself getting more and more stressed.  By 2:15 I came to the conclusion that I am hopelessly addicted to the internet.  I feel cut off from the world, from my life when I don’t have it.   I know the first step is to admit one is an addict.  I have taken that step.  I admit it!  I am an internet addict!
On Friday my service was restored – after more than 48 hours later.   A long looooong 48 hours.  However I did find that I had far more time to do things without the distraction of emails and I actually finished the first draft of Rock-a-bye Baby.  I now have 11 days to proof it and get it ready for publishing.   What with last minute Christmas shopping, end of year/Christmas parties and preparing to go away time will be tight.  Perhaps the internet should go down again?  Could I turn off the router?   No, I couldn’t go that far!
But I have made a decision.  When we go away at Christmas I will not take my laptop with me.  I know it’ll be difficult – I know I’ll have withdrawal symptoms but I will do it, cold turkey!  I will take it one day at a time.   I will be strong.  Of course, as a very last resort, I will have my iphone!

Till next timeJ

Monday, 3 December 2012

Marketing? I'm not a marketer!

I don't know how it came about but these days one is expected to do everything.  It doesn't make sense.  I like writing - that's what I do.  As a writer I'm a pretty introverted type of person - I live inside my head.  How can someone like that market and promote their own work?  I have an artist friend who is exactly the same.  I still cringe when someone reads what I have written - what if they don't like it?   What if it's not good enough?  I don't think it's unusual in a writer - I read somewhere that someone really famous (Hemingway?) felt the same so I'm in good company.  I'm obviously not putting myself in Hemingway's class - I just write stories.  When a story pops into my head I write it down.

So I go through the motions of trying to get my details on suitable websites, join groups and forums, and when I get frustrated or simply can't take anymore I retreat into my writing.  If things are really getting me down I write a poem.  That's my way of dealing with stressful situations.  I don't show my poems to anyone - they just sit there in a file on my computer but the act of writing, and especially of writing a poem is very therapeutic.   I can highly recommend it!

In the old days a writer had an agent and a publisher to promote them.    These days it's very very hard to go down that road unless one is already published.  A Catch 22 situation.  So what does one do?  Self publish on Amazon and just hope that someone will find the site?  Actively push one's work on various websites?  Not so easy. 

I have just approved the proofs of three of my books so they will be available as paperbacks on Amazon within a few days.  Number four got stuck because it seems I had uploaded the wrong version of the cover picture - the one where the author's name is too close to the bottom of the page, so hopefully that will be ready tomorrow or the next day.  I have learned so much in the process, assisted by my wonderful computer teacher who helped me with some of the formatting problems and is busy sorting out my computer and the way I use it  (it seems the slow round the houses way).  So I should be a whizz next time! 

Then I can push on with book number five, which I have set myself a deadline for finishing before we go to Singapore on 18th December (only 2 weeks - can't wait) to join our daughter and her husband for Christmas.  It's nearly finished so I should just manage in between all the Christmas preparations and parties that are unavoidable this time of year - parties for the school volunteers, the aqua aerobics group, the bridge clubs and so it goes. 

 My daughter has a wonderful word for procrastination - not sure if she invented it or found it somewhere.  It's wabbing - wab is an acronym for work avoidance behaviour.  So when I should be either finishing my book or trying to promote the ones that are finished and instead I am blogging I am wabbing at the same time!

Till next time:)

Saturday, 1 December 2012

BB writer? Could be worse!

I don't like labels.  I don't like labels for me, for other people or for books.  But things and people do get labelled.  I am technically a baby boomer.   What does that mean?  Absolutely nothing - I think it was probably coined by  (and is definitely used by) people who want to sell products to those of a certain age.

A couple of years ago I had an idea for a story.  It just popped into my head.  How it happened was that my husband and I were watching television one evening,  I popped into the kitchen to finish preparing our evening meal and when I came out with it a few minutes later he wasn't there.  In our case it was pretty innocuous - he had nipped upstairs to fetch some new candles.  I thought, What if there weren't stairs? What if a woman did exactly what I had done and when she came out her husband had disappeared and she never saw him again.   Next day in the bath all the characters jumped into my head, fully formed, and I started writing.  That became my first novel, Pieces of a Puzzle.

Well, once once the bug bites!  I have now completed four novels and my fifth is well under way.  The trouble I was to discover is that books get labelled.  I thought my genre was women's fiction, although I freely confess I had never heard or at any rate never noticed the term until I started wrting novels.  (I have actually written all my life - poetry, articles etc but never before a novel).  Then I found there were labels within labels.  Four of my five books have as a main character a woman in her fifties, although there are lots of flashbacks.  This would appear to put me in a subgenre.  The very worst I have heard is matron lit.  Ughh!  The mind boggles!   I do not want to be a writer of matron lit!  Today I heard of Baby Boomer novels.   So that's what I am, a BB writer.   Still limiting, as all labels are but better than matron lit!

Why do I need a label?  Well, I have been trying to promote my kindle free days on a variety of websites.  Everyone else is plugging young adult fantasy featuring magic, sword fighting, warring kingdoms and possibly vampires.  Small wonder my success has been undistinguished.  Yet I know there are thousands of people out there who want to read about ordinary people, doing ordinary and sometimes extraordinary things. 

So now what?  I am looking for websites or facebook groups for baby boomers where I can exchange ideas and books with others.  Do you see what's happened?  I am using labels already! 

Till next time:)