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Showing posts from October, 2012

Stick to the Day Job

I recently came across this gem on an Amazon discussion. The writer had started the discussion because he had had a bad review for his first self-published book and wanted to know how he could get good reviews. Here's what he had to say (copied and pasted):

I av bin writing for about 5-6 years now n i fort id got it as good as i could really. I con tek bad reviews so long as I know what iv done wrong an con improve.

I am certain this gentleman is an excellent car electrician (his day job, according to comments later in his post) but he is not a good writer. I think I could tell him why he got a bad review. I suspect his reviewer paid good money for his book and was very disappointed to discover that the author had the literacy level of a six-year-old.

Sorry to be so harsh, mate, but if you can't write, don't. And the trick to getting good reviews is to write a good book.

Adventures in Self Publishing

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Last week I blogged about Vanity, Self and Indie publishing and how I feel that, however you dress it up, it's all just about paying to have a substandard book published to benefit your own ego.

But a week from today I'll be self-publishing my next book, something I swore I'd never do.

In a way this is even more exciting than publishing the old-fashioned way, because this really feels a lot more like "my" book. I designed the cover, and (with my co-author) I'll be doing the layout, chapter divisions, blurb, everything. And we'll be a collecting a full 70% in royalties rather than the 15% I'm used to. No objection to that, either.

But that's not why I'm doing it. I'm doing it because, even though I'm the author of five successful novels, no publisher will touch this book.

That's because our book, The Saved Saint, is based on a true story about a returned Mormon missionary who becomes a born-again Christian, and the effect his conver…

Vanity or Validation

I always wanted to be a writer, but I also always knew it was a difficult gig to get in on. When I was growing up I knew that you had to send your manuscript to publisher after publisher (agents didn't seem to be big back then) but if no one accepted it, that was it. Your book wasn't good enough and it never saw the light of day. End of.

Of course, there was the Vanity Publishing option. That was for people who were really terrible writers (as evidenced by the fact that no publishers wanted their work) but had lots of money. They could pay several thousand pounds (multiply that by 1.64 to get the dollar equivalent) to have the book printed up for them. They then got boxes and boxes of their very poorly produced book which they stored in their garage, and had to go round local bookshops asking very nicely whether the manager would be so kind as to sell their book in his shop. I suspect many of those 1970's and 80's would-be writers still have boxes and boxes of damp and…

Marriage - my thoughts

An American friend, visiting from the very heart of faithful Mormon Utah, was shocked to discover just how many people in Britain live together as couples without being married. I assumed that her objection was due to her religious sensibilities. Whilst I share her belief in the sanctity of marriage and importance of the law of chastity I live here so I'm used to other opinions. I have many friends who say "Marriage is just a piece of paper", or "I don't need a ring to tell me we're in love" and I'm quite happy to accept that as their view and let them enjoy their chosen lifestyle.

I was surprised, then, when my friend told me her real objection to the idea of living together. "They are setting women's rights back years!" she protested.

I naturally asked her to explain.

"What they are saying to those men," she said, "Is 'I will pay your mortgage with you, do your housework, have your children and raise them, but I ex…