To all authors, writers, artists, photographers, crafters…

In 2017, may your books sell well, your stories are well received, your paintings are enjoyed, your photographs tell the stories you want to tell, and the things you make don’t fall apart. In short…

Happy New Year


Merry Christmas, Fellow Websiters and Bloggers!

This is my favourite ever Christmas song, which always makes me do this


Image result for Merry Christmas

Publishing a paperback with KDP – is it worth doing?

Now and then, I check my sales on the Amazon KDP platform where I publish my Kindle titles. A couple of days ago, I noticed a new feature: you can now publish paperback versions of your books with KDP.

‘OO!’ I thought. ‘You don’t say!’

It’s a beta version, so they’re still developing it. On the face of it, it looks worth doing if you haven’t self-published before, but I personally have a few questions:

  1. Can I use my own ISBNs? Apparently you can, but only if they’re issued by Bowker and that’s a US company; I’m British and my ISBNs came from Neilsen, so for me the answer is no – for now, because I have five left to use. Bowker has operations in the UK, but I can’t tell from their site if British SP authors can buy Bowker IBSNs, otherwise it’s an Amazon issued ISBN. I used a Lulu ISBN for Goalden Girl and this effectively makes Lulu the publisher of that book.
  2. Will my paperbacks be available in other stores? This is a promised feature for the future, but I’m unsure whether this means popular bookshops in the UK like Waterstones, WH Smith or The Book Depository
  3. Any chance of free book promotion? Not mentioned at this time, but if they’re going to do that will it be the same as the eBook where you can’t have your book on other sites?
  4. What size are the paperbacks? The information doesn’t say, but probably 6 x 9 inches like Lulu’s (yuk!), the standard US trade size.
  5. Will this eventually take over from Amazons existing print publishing platform, Createspace? Watch this space.

There are bound to be benefits as well as drawbacks (setting your own price being one, but comments have been made about proof copies being unavailable for authors, which would be a problem; without the proof how can you check it prints all right or that the cover looks OK?). It will be interesting to find out how it develops and what the reported pros and cons are, but I’ll give it a few years before I think about giving it a go myself.

Publish Your Paperback on KDP (Beta)

Illegal book downloading: avoid these sites like the plague!

Apropos of an earlier post, this is what I’ve discovered on further research:

To recap, authors who don’t Google themselves are massive liars; then they see their books revealed on illegal download sites; curiosity gets the better of them, they click the link and they eventually go to what looks like a kosher site, but it isn’t.

It’s a scam, people, and there’s a simple reason why: the web addresses/links are all different, they lead to the same site; you sign up, but what they’re really after are your card details, and more often than not, they carry viruses. Your book isn’t actually on the site! If it were, DRM/DCMA has been contravened.

Here are the culprits:

Playster (ignore the recommendations at the bottom of the screen, lies, lies, lies, and have a day off, it’s not the Netflix of books!)
13th Century Books (and they have the front to show a DMCA policy when it’s their site that’s contravening it!)
Weg Wij (another site of crafty buggers who utilise links from multiple sources; click on the link and all you’ll see is a hosting platform)

If you actually put these sites in a search engine, you won’t find a home page, except for Playster, trying to make itself look legit.

Just this: aside from the sites you know are the real deal: Amazon, Smashwords, Nook etc, chances are the links you click on offering you pdf, epub, html or mobi downloads of a book are fraudulent. Steer clear!








I’ve been freed from Kindle book promotion jail!

A year ago, Amazon put me and my books into Kindle promotion jail because they found two of my titles available for download on iTunes while they were available on KDP select. I hadn’t put them there myself and eventually found a way of taking them down, but despite this, I was branded a persistent offender and given a year’s hard labour: I couldn’t promote my Kindle titles and make them free for any period of time or make them available on Kindle unlimited!

Well, I’m pleased to announce that as of 13th November I’ve been released from jail and can now promote my Kindle titles, so up until Christmas I’m doing free weekly promos for all my books. They’re all available to borrow on Kindle Unlimited. Goalden Girl was free to download from 14th November until 18th November; Goalden Sky is free to download now until 25th November; Abbie’s Rival 28th November until 2nd December; Epiworld from 5th until 9th December and Big Brother from 12th until 16th December.

Free promotion is a great way to introduce potential new readers to your books and can encourage sales later on. Once the promotion is over I sell them for only 99 p in the UK, 99 cents in the US and Europe and prices elsewhere are based on the US price.

When Episode is published in 2017, it will be available for a limited time for free on Kindle.


Good luck to all authors taking part in NaNoWriMo this month!

Guess who won’t be taking part yet again this year, but I’ll be thinking of you! 👍😉

(I can’t believe it’s November already!)

You can lead a horse to water…

On 22nd October 2016 a programme aired on BBC 2 in the UK called The School That Got Teens Reading. Naturally, as a children/teens author, I was keen to tune in.

Some of the reasons the students gave were ‘I hate reading’ and ‘I don’t see the point of doing it.’ They’re not reasons, they’re states of mind. That’s where, at their age now and my age a hundred years ago, differ: I was reading full length children’s books from the age of 10 and I’ve never stopped. Without reading I would never have wanted to be a writer. Then again, I didn’t have social media to distract me, but I did have the telly and the football (and I still do). There was no internet back then. When I was 14/15 the nearest thing I had to social media was hanging round on a street corner gassing to my mates. We didn’t even have email, never mind Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp or Snapchat. As for smart phones, are you kidding? It was the queue for the local phone box if you wanted to ring your mates! That’s how old I am! Computer games? Nope. Now, at the age of 30-and-the-rest (oh, come on, a lady never gives away her age!) I use three of those social media formats and without them I wouldn’t be able to engage with other writers and readers, so I won’t knock it now.

Does social media distract this ageing teen? Er, yeah…

What was the programme attempting to achieve? It was presented by an actor/comedian who admitted he didn’t like reading at that age, either, but he found his love for books later and he was trying to engage a group of reluctant 14/15-year-olds with a particular book, One, by Sarah Crossan, about conjoined twins, in a three week experiment. The students were encouraged to read the book; some said they didn’t have time, some tried and ran out of time and admitted that they were distracted by other things like Facebook. Later, the presenter sought the help of a children’s author and they tried to engage the class further by asking them to dress up and live like conjoined twins. By the end of the programme, some of the class had managed to finish the book and others expressed interest in reading more books, so I think the experiment was somewhat of a success.

That said, you can’t force someone to read if they don’t want to; secondly, I agree with the author – using one book in the experiment was a mistake. Not everyone has the same tastes in reading and when you’re forced to read something because you have to it goes down like a lead balloon, so I knew how the students felt. When I was at school we had to study Far From The Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy for English Lit. Now I love the classics, but I found that book boring beyond words. I read the first page and gave up. I’ve never felt the desire to pick it up since. All the other girls in my English class were of the same mind and we rebelled against it. We ended up studying The Chrysalids by John Wyndham and I loved it. It was an easier read and more engaging, but I remember some girls found it boring.

I was 14 at the time and more into the Chalet School books.

Some people like reading textbooks and non-fiction like biographies and autobiographies. Not me. Others like crime books and erotica. I’ve read a handful of the first, the second just makes me laugh. I’ve never read Fifty Shades of Grey, but the reviews on Amazon are entertaining.

So if reading isn’t for everyone, it isn’t for everyone; you might be into music, or dancing, or outdoor things. Reading doesn’t make you a nerd, either. Can it help you get a better job like the programme claimed? I think so; I have a good job. It can certainly help you with your literacy, anyway. I hasn’t helped me with my maths, but that’s because I’ve never liked maths textbooks! (Rubbish plots!)


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