Hay-on-Wye is cool, but have you heard of Bookbarn?

Well, if you don’t live in the Bristol/South West area of the UK, you probably haven’t.

This book-loving Scouser has lived in Bristol for more years than she cares to admit to and has been to Hay-on-Wye on numerous occasions. Hay-on-Wye, a town on the England/Wales border, is home to the most number of bookshops in the UK and packs in the crowds every year. It’s that renowned it even has its own website. Every other shop in this small town is a bookshop crammed packed full of antiquarian, second-hand and new books, people spend a week there to browse and if you go for the day, you’re advised to get there at stupid o’clock so you can park. Take my word for it, this place is solid gold to book lovers, and a lot of the shops turn away donations because they don’t have the room for them!

Today, however, me and my hubby discovered Bookbarn, a place we kept passing frequently on our way back from visiting a friend who lives nearby, and one we kept telling ourselves: we must go there one day.

We were not disappointed.

In the Bookbarn, there is a massive collection full of second-hand books, all priced at £1; they even have brand new books for £1! There are more expensive, antiquarian books not on display and if you can’t find what you want on the shelves, you go on their computer system and a staff member will fetch it for you from the stores. There’s everything from general fiction, mass market paperback, young adult, children’s, the classics, science fiction, music scores, vinyl albums, plays, non-fiction: historical, cookery, sport, Haynes car manuals – you want it, they probably have it. There are over 1 million books! The website has a catalogue for you to search, but these are usually for more expensive, rare, out-of-print titles.

I bought two Jennings books (I’m collecting them!) and my man bought six books, four cookery and two walking books: total spends £8.

There is also a lovely little cafe selling snacks, cakes, tea and coffee.

So if you’re holidaying in the Bristol area or thereabouts, check out the Bookbarn. You’ll love it!

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
Usenet.nl (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!)


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