Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Where do ideas come from?

Back in October I was walking a forest trail with my partner when I started thinking about people dying of cancer. As you do.

We’d been watching a series from Britain where cancer patients had made the decision to donate their bodies to science. The documentary charted the time after diagnosis until death with them and their families, then followed on with the medical students and researchers who used their generous donations.

It was a hard but rewarding watch. Having observed my own mother’s struggle with cancer, there were many situations shown that mirrored both her and my experiences.

So, I was thinking about this show and about how if I received a diagnosis of cancer I’d need to start “putting my house in order.” I thought about where my life insurance and medical insurance certificates were, whether my will was up to date, and then I wondered what would happen if someone had something really big to get off their chest before they died?

What if they needed to confess to a murder?

A short time later we arrived back at the car and while I was buckling myself in I thought,

“And what if someone else didn’t want them to confess?”

Two ideas, 92358 words, three drafts, a thirty-day Kindle scout campaign, two edits, and one creeped-out cover later…

The Three Deaths of Magdalene Lynton

On Sale Now $3.49

Thanks to Amazon Kindle Press :)

Monday, 21 March 2016

Exciting Times

Well, the past week has been very exciting indeed. Starting with a nice-gosh I'm excited-type of excitement, progressing to a-good Lord what's going on-excitement, and culminating in a-I've never felt so stressed in my life-excitement.

It got my pulse going.

On Tuesday (that's my time, not your time [unless that's the same thing]) my latest novel went up for pre-order on Amazon. Gosh, I was excited. I received the email letting me know this was happening shortly after receiving my free copy courtesy of Kindle Press due to my nomination of my own book through the Kindle Scout program. (Yeah, that's where one of my votes came from.)

This publisher lark is certainly a new experience. Usually I know before my readers what's happening with my titles.

Reading through my book page on Amazon I noticed that my blurb had been completely rewritten. Oh well, whatever. Thanks for the heads up people.

On second read through I noticed that the newly written blurb had a number of instances where the text departed from what happened in the book. One quite significantly departed from a major theme in the book. On third read through I noticed that the newly written blurb had two instances where something at the start of the blurb contradicted something that appeared later in the blurb. And all this in three compact paragraphs. Good Lord, I thought, what's going on?

After dispatching an email noting the five errors present in the new blurb I reached out for help from Facebook (where else) and was pointed in the direction of the Author Central page where I could happily override the details that Kindle Press had loaded up for the book.

Feeling rather like I was going behind Mummy and Daddy's back, I updated the blurb to the one I'd already released on my website and sent out a Twitter and Email blast to let my followers know my book was now available.

My job done for the moment I sat back to let the reviews roll in. The first one noted there were a number of typos that could be picked up by spell check in word.

Two editors and a proofreader and there had better not be!

Luckily, the reader provided a number of examples through to me. Excellent. And they were quite right. There were a lot of errors that could have been picked up spell check in word. In fact, if they'd been present in the manuscript I submitted I would've been ashamed.

However, they weren't. So I was horrified instead.

Two editors and a proofreader (not to mention me going over the manuscript at least a dozen times just looking for errors) and the final version went out to every reader who nominated me through the Kindle Scout program with errors introduced during the conversion process to turn a word document into an Amazon .azw ebook file.

I've never felt so stressed in my life**

All those lovely free copies are sent out to readers in the hopes of generating reviews for the book while it's on preorder so when it's released for sale potential readers can peruse the multitude of reviews in order to inform their reading choice.

A multitude of reviews that will say things like: it was fine apart from all the typos.

Now, three days after alerting Kindle Press to the problem, I'm sitting and waiting for a message to let me know that the file has been fixed and all those readers have been sent a bump letting them know they can download the alternative, error-free version. Also, to let me know that the version sent out to paying customers once the preorder period is up won't still contain them.

I'm also waiting for an error free copy to send to bloggers who may be interested in reviewing and hosting on their blogs.

Yep. This publisher lark is certainly a new experience.

(and if you'd like to preorder a probably-error-free copy CLICK HERE)

**obviously a lie

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Facebook Activity

Today Facebook contacted me to announce that there'd been suspicious activity noticed in my account so it had been closed and locked down until I verified my account details.  

Coming so soon on the heels of my credit card details being stolen, I could be fooled into thinking that I'm being targeted by some shadowy online mafia.  

If anyone starts receiving odd blog posts that don't seem to be related to anything in particular, you could be witnessing yet another cyber attack. Or, you know, it could just be my normal blog. It's hard to tell.  

At first, I thought it was just a matter of resetting my password and deleting the post about clothing written in another language.  

Simple and straightforward.  

There was also a notice on my ad account saying that it wouldn't authorise any further transactions on the account until I re-verified my details there too.  

I figured that would just stop me leaping into another bout of advertising frenzy when a strange idea took my fancy, so I didn't bother.  

Later, when I was accessing my author page, my account asked me if I wanted to use my Facebook business to manage my Facebook page or continue using my personal profile.  

What's my Facebook business?  

I clicked on yes, as you do, and discovered that one of my Facebook friends was now the name of my Facebook business account, while another Facebook friend was the name of my advertising account.  

The little rat-b*****ds. What were my friends doing setting up an account under my Facebook page?  

Well, of course they weren't. And kudos on Facebook for realising that I wouldn't suddenly open up a business account and try to spend actual money on advertising.  

That was the cyber thieves downfall, right there.  

I've taken out ads on Facebook before, but with such a teeny, tiny threshold that when someone tried to use actual money to run an ad they knew something was going on.  

Setting up an ad with a budget of $5.00 and then stopping it after it clocked up $2.47? That's me.  

Setting up an ad with a budget of $1000.00? Thieves.  

Please note that if you follow me on Facebook and see any posts in your account that look out of the ordinary I could just be in a strange mood. Then again, I could be hacked.