Saturday, January 22, 2011

Conf 659: Publication! (*Clamps Hands To Ears, Runs Off & Hides*)

Ten Good Reasons To Lie About Your Age - A novel by Stephanie Zia Free Sample Chapters 1 - 7

SO - here we are. After a few technical glitches and a last-minute purge of the word "shuffle" it went up on Smashwords a few nights ago and has just gone up on Kindle UK, Kindle US and my publishing site If you do read these sample chapters and think it's something you might enjoy, mail me at and I'll send you the link for a free preview download. In return, if you spot any obvious glitches like repetitions of the same word over and over,  I'd be grateful for a flags up. If you don't think it's a pile of pants and can review it online or on Amazon, even better. Easiest way to read the sample is to select 'Book' view in bottom L corner (where it says 'scroll'), then 'full screen' from top menu.

If you haven't got an ereader, you can download free Kindle reading Apps here for PC, Mac, BlackBerry, Android, iPad, etc. Alternatively, Calibre is a great free download ebook reading & management system for your computer. It also automatically converts & transfers any docs to your ereader in its favoured format (eg Mobi for Kindle). 

In the spirit of Stephen Leather's I Sold 44,334 Kindle Books In December blogpost, I thought I'd chart my self-publication ebook story from the reverse, arse, end of things as it were. By the time I went to bed, 4 people had downloaded the free sample chapters and 25 had viewed the sales page. I got quite excited. Yesterday's check showed that 55 had viewed the sales page and 13 had downloaded the free early chapters. Today's check showed no change. Hmph.

Total sales figure(s):  0

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Conf 658: Ta Da De Raa - Preparing To Go Indie

Exciting times as I near the end of my final edit on novel 3 in readiness for epublication. This was very nearly sold by my agent a couple of years ago but fell at the final hurdles. (2 editors wanted it but one was over-ruled by the sales team, the other by her CEO. Such is the life of an editor in jittery mainstream publishing.) Recently I took the big decision to part company with my lovely, hard-won, agent so that I could sell it myself.

I will be selling it as a PDF on my ebooks site, and on Amazon Digital, Apple iBooks, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Sony and more. There will be preview chapters for you to read here very soon. Meantime, (ta da ta ra, after 5 years of blogging about getting this written and published) the very first outing for the cover and blurb:

When baby boomer rock chick Sally Lightfoot is suddenly widowed at 50 she's torn between ageing gracefully or disgracefully. Whilst interfering but caring neighbour Val turns her on to Gardener's Question Time and cosy nights in with Sudoku and the telly, Ramone, her saucy ex backing singer mate, has other ideas. Sally must get out there again and lose her wididity, her born-again virginity, before it's too late. 76,000 words PDF.

I've spent the last year or so learning about the ebook business. At first, everything was in the US and, indeed, I made sure the text of my non-fiction ebooks suited US as well as UK audiences, but now things are moving fast and I think, for once, I may have the timing right. News is now coming in of the UK/Ireland's first big fiction ebook 'indie author' success story.

His name's Stephen Leather. His vampire novel Once Bitten and The Basement, a serial killer story set in New York, are numbers 1 and 2 in the UK Kindle bestseller fiction chart respectively. Another of his novels, Private Dancer, set in the world of Bangkok dancing girl bars, has been highly praised for its authenticity (he lives between London, Dublin and Bangkok).

His Kindle sales chart, which he's just published on his blog, shows clearly that selling ebooks at 99 cents brings in a great deal more sales than 'full price' ($2.99/$3.99). Since Amazon revised their royalty payment schedule last June, however, the 99 cent option is no longer open to new indie authors. The lowest price an author can now charge is $2.99 in the US and £1.49 in the UK, for which they receive a 70% royalty. However, to get this full 70% you have to fill in all sorts of complicated US tax forms, the subject of another blogpost coming soon.

Stephen Leather's blog: How To Make A Million Dollars From Writing Ebooks (or How I Learned To Love The Kindle).

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Conf 657: Howard Jacobson at Bookslam

The Bookslam literary nightclub night was in Clapham (London South) rather than Notting Hill (London West) this month, but, as Howard Jacobson was on, thought I'd make the trek. A few friends thought it worthwhile as well and we had a great evening.  I've just about finished The Finkler Question - would have finished it sooner if daughter didn't keep on comandeering the Kindle for English homework -  and hearing him read extracts was a real treat.

Bookslam is always worthwhile. They not only manage to find a star author every month but there are always some really, really interesting support artists. Discovery of the night this time was Jackie Kay who read from Red Dust Road, her very funny memoir about travelling to Nigeria to meet her real father.

There are tables, proper food if you want it (Notting Hill Tabernacle big bowls of chips yes. Clapham Grand mush on paper plates no nibbles not even crisps, no) and drink and, for a top night out, it's all very affordable.  If you're nowhere near London, there are always the excellent free podcasts. And now Bookslam TV - here's last month's new discovery, The Mind's Ear Orchestra, an orchestra that the audience gets to conduct themselves (with me shouting out lawnmower!) :


Another new discovery was the 49 bus route. Very scenic - South Kensington, Chelsea, Battersea Bridge, Clapham:

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Conf 656 - A Public Appearance


On Monday evening I'm going to be here at the Stoke Newington Bookshop taking part in a writers and readers evening. I'll be talking about and what great opportunities the rise of ebooks and ereaders has provided for authors, especially new, struggling ones.

I'm on with 3 others:

an author who'll be explaining POD (print on demand)

an author who set up her own printing press to publish her books

a publisher who runs a small publishing company which shares the costs of publication with their chosen authors.

Organised by the N16 Writers and Readers, it's at 8pm, Monday 10th January 2011 at:

The Stoke Newington Bookshop
159 Stoke Newington High St
London N16

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Conf 655 - In Good Company


Finding yourself on eBay and the likes is the pits for most authors or, at best, irrelevant. But I was made up to see my long lost novel nestling in amongst the giants.

Sorry for long absence.  The publishing business has taken over.

Will be back soon, Meantime, here's some good news for struggling authors everywhere:

Five Ebook Publishing Predictions - Huffington Post

Happy new year, thanks for visiting, come again soon.