Monday, 24 June 2013

STOP PRESS!  **Free download**  My metaphysical horror story 'Angels' is free from 27th to 30th June.


FeedARead Experience.

I love being a self-published author, despite the occasional bad press (which, let's face it, is occasionally well-founded, although that's not to say that bad or inaccurate writing is confined to self-published works!).  Ebooks are wonderful in many ways and I now use my kindle regularly to download books that are difficult to get hold of in paperback here in France.  The ebooks are cheaper too, which is a factor I cannot ignore.

So, having published four ebooks, all I really missed was the chance to have them in print and hold them in my hands.  Not to mention the fact that lots of people still prefer to buy books rather than ebooks, which meant that I was not able to reach a huge number of potential readers.

I did some research, procrastinated, did some more, and finally decided that, if everything everyone was saying about FeedARead was true, and bearing in mind that it is run by the Arts Council, then I should take a chance on it.  If it was a waste of time, then at least I had tried.

I logged on and followed the very clear instructions, uploading the front matter and book file as a pdf, using the template they provided.  I double and treble-checked the instructions and then sent it off.  The file came back for my approval and I checked the formatting carefully, making sure the chapters looked right and that the front matter was on the correct pages.  At this point I did not read it through, as I was pretty certain is was as perfect as it could be. I clicked 'approved' and was taken to the next stage, which was the uploading of the cover, spine and blurb.  Again, they provided the template and the whole process was simple.  I downloaded the image I had bought from 'Dreamtime' again, with a higher pixel density - this is important, don't skimp.  Then I agonised for ages over the blurb and the fonts, eventually deciding that I would never be more than 99.9% happy and sending the cover off for inspection.  It came back the next day for approval and I clicked 'approved' so that I could get it finished.  By this time, I was convinced that I must have made a mistake somewhere and that I would just have to start all over again when the inspection copy arrived upside-down, back-to-front and with odd pages missed out completely.

Around five days later I received an email from FeedARead which directed me to my 'Account' page where I was able to order my inspection copy at a  reduced price (just over £4, plus postage) and then had to wait almost three weeks for it to arrive.  As I live in France, I was not particularly surprised by this.  I believe that it is a lot quicker if you are resident in the UK.

I cannot over emphasise the excitement and pure joy of seeing my book in print.  The quality of the product was superb in every way and on the back cover was my very own ISBN number!

At this point, I read the book with a neurotic attention to detail that nearly drove me and everyone else mad.  I found one typo and decided that I would not risk changing it and repeating the whole process only to end up with a different and perhaps more serious mistake.  When I do re-submit, as I am sure to (incorrigible perfectionist), there will be a small charge.

This brings me to the cost of publishing with FeedARead.  I decided to pay the £88 for 'distribution'.  If you want your book to be on sale exclusively on the FeedARead site, there is no cost whatsoever.  But, if you want other distributors to advertise it for sale, you pay £88 and FeedARead puts it out into the world for you.  There is no advertising, just distribution.  It's up to you to let people know where they can buy your book.  Also worth noting is the difference in royalty payments: from FeedARead I get around £3.60 of the £7.99 cover price and from Amazon I get around £1.50.  The only drawback is that FeedARead charge the purchaser a fairy hefty delivery fee, whereas Amazon offer free delivery.  So, unless it's your favourite auntie or other doting family members, the majority of sales will be via the site that offers the best deal.  Having said that, you will probably get a lot more exposure and sales through Amazon than through FeedARead.

One disappointing aspect is that you cannot track sales, as you can with Amazon.  All sales will show up on the FeedARead site, on your 'Account' page, but this is only updated twice a year.  I have to wait until October to find out how many books I have sold!  I can of course get a rough idea by checking the 'Best Sellers' rating on sales via Amazon.

So, all I can say is that, if you want to get your book into print, there is absolutely nothing to stop you.  Of course you want it to be as perfect as you can make it so the usual advice applies - get it edited and proofread by people who are capable and meticulous.  After that, FeedARead will do the rest, providing you with excellent support and advice on their site and via email if you have particular concerns.

I am about to submit 'One Summer in France' and will follow up with 'My Grandfather's Eyes' and 'A Good Day for Jumping.

Thank you FeedARead!

'Bunny on a Bike' in paperback:

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Carol and Bev meet Antoine and Cedric

 Bev and Carol are characters from my humorous memoir 'One Summer in France' (prequel to 'Bunny on a Bike')

‘I’m bloody starving!’ exclaimed Carol, when we eventually got back to our tent.
‘How can you be hungry?’ I slurred.
But it was true that, while I had gorged myself on chicken gizzards, followed by veal in cream sauce, followed by tinned lychees and crème anglaise, Carol had barely tasted her food.
‘I hate French food!  Why do they have to fry up the insides of things, roast baby cows and grow fruit that looks like eyeballs?’
I wanted to tell her that lychees were in fact Chinese gooseberries, but instead, I managed to trip over a guy rope and fall flat on my face, forcing Carol to step over me in order to unzip the tent and crawl inside.  She was still wearing her polka-dot pants, which I thought not particularly hygienic.

Carol woke up with white globules, slimy and sticky, on her forehead and in her hair.  I racked my brains, horrified that we may have inadvertently performed a depraved act with our new neighbours.  Luckily, the substance revealed itself to be the best part of a tin of French rice pudding in a caramel sauce.
‘You must have been very hungry!’ I laughed, dipping a finger in the remnants of the tin.  ‘Quite nice, actually.  Bit sweet, but not bad at all.’
‘Where did it come from?’ asked Carol, running a comb through her hair and making it much, much worse.
‘No idea,’ I chomped.
The mystery of the rice pudding was solved upon unzipping our tent and finding, along with the cloudless blue sky, a bag of supplies, including bread, jam, butter, milk and a second can of pudding.
We got up and, having cleaned up in the showers, went to say thank you to Antoine for not taking advantage of two innocent English girls.
‘We can take you to see the medieval castle,’ he offered. ‘And tonight we will have an Italian pizza in a restaurant I know very well.’
We didn’t see why not and so we agreed.
In the afternoon, we sunbathed and read.  I had brought along some Virginia Woolf and a copy of Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra.  Carol had an old copy of Cosmopolitan and a book of verse by Spike Milligan.
We congratulated ourselves on our luck, as we read, and had a certain degree of smug satisfaction at the French we were learning and the culture we were experiencing, albeit by accident.
‘Can you put some oil on my back?’ I asked Carol. ‘I like the smell of it.  Where did you get it?’
‘It’s Lipton’s sunflower cooking oil, with a dash of patchouli,’ replied Carol.
‘Perfect!’ I said, impressed with her powers of money-saving inventions.
In those days, the idea of protection hadn’t been understood.  Red, was the colour your skin went before it went brown.  Simple.  The important thing was that your skin should look shiny and smell nice.

If you'd like to read more please click on the link at the top of this page, where you can download 'One Summer in France' from Amazon.