Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Georgian Summer's Evening in Ladak, East Sheen - Conf 672

Private views. Love them. Early summer's evening drinks, nibbles, a bit of art, a bit of chat, old friends, new. Another glass of wine why not. Then off for dinner somewhere (fish & chips on the way home for the family in this case). In the early 80s new galleries were opening up all over the place around my W11 flat. They're long gone. Folkestone's the place now for unusual little art galleries. My sister lives there. It's great. Last week I found one closer to home. A really lovely new little gallery in Sheen, west London. Beautiful light, run by friendly, warm people and with some great art on display.  The owner of the gallery is from Ladak, Nepal; the artist, Misha Shengelia, is from Georgia. He does these postcard oils:

My favourite was a painting of a little town with a statue with a big nose in the middle called 'an unimportant statue in an unimportant town' - :) I couldn't find a picture of it but there are lots of lovely ones:

Those are small, A4 kind of size and, at £180 a pop, £300 for 2, affordable art for many. There are bigger pictures too:


If you're in west London the exhibition is on till 4 June Noon - 7pm. The gallery is called Ladak and it's in downtown Sheen at 192 Upper Richmond Road West, East Sheen SW14 8AN.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tagging Tricks - How It Works - Conf 671

The importance of Tagging
'Tagging' your ebook with relevant words/phrases makes it more 'searchable'. Having a lot of tags on your Amazon sales page is the ebook equivalent of getting your book into the big bookstores and displayed on their tables. If a UK Amazon reader is searching for 'Contemporary Fiction' for instance, they'll get a listing of 2,711 products. My novel is currently on the front page at No. 1. Like getting on the first page of Google, getting on the first page of Amazon's search means you'll get many more readers looking at your book cover and clicking on it to find out more.
The trick lies in the forum Tag for Tag threads. Each month new threads open up on the Amazon Kindle Customer Discussions Forum and at You tag everybody else's books and they tag yours. As these threads run into 100s of pages, the etiquette is to go back six pages from when you joined and tag everybody from thereon in and return to update whenever you can. You don't have to click every tiny Tag box on every product. Go to the book page, hit TT and the Tag box opens up. Cut and paste the list of words below the box into the box. Done.

Extract From How to Publish An Ebook On A Budget - An Author's Guide
PDF, Kindle, iBooks, NOOK, Smashwords for all formats. Paperback coming soon.  

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Getting Your Books Noticed - Conf 670

Rare treat, lunch out. At the Wolseley no less. What a place. Thanks, I'm sure, to my starry author companions we got the top balcony table looking down over it all!

Good celeb-spot spot. Gordon Ramsay comes here for his porridge and blueberries every morning and Terence Stamp comes for tea. I didn't see anybody - apart from my esteemed companions of course. THINK I saw Alan Whicker on Piccadilly, sure I recognised the blazer and the jib of the (now very white) moustache. Anyway, to the important bit. My other half is scared of mince, he has a real, real fear of it. I don't cook it at home very much, making this a double double treat:

The Wolseley Shepherd's Pie

Being the only self-published, digital girl there it was interesting to compare notes. The Holy Mother of all the grails of getting noticed once you're published is still the supermarket buyer. If Big Supermarket Buyer decides to stock your novel, and goes through with their decision, you can start breathing again.
I've been doing ebooks a while now but have only just discovered the important digital equivalent of the supermarket shelves and the good old Waterstones tables. My sales have been growing slowly slowly. Logged on this morning to find this:

Ebooks are so new in UK it's not that hard to get in the charts but in the US it's much harder. This got there thanks to the Tagging system. If a book is tagged in Amazon it goes up their internal search list. So, if you're looking to read about selling ebooks and put Sell Ebooks into search you get:

Or if you want to see what's popular in contemporary fiction. There I am No. 1 of 2,711 products:

Now off to add this fairly crucial piece of info to my How To Publish An Ebook Ebook... text.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Thursday, May 12, 2011


My novel is featuring on the US The Indie Books Blog today. And, um, actually I'm not that age... caught lying there, but in genuine error, and in the wrong direction...

The blackbird is getting more dog-like. This is what I see when I pull back the curtains every morning.

She waits expectantly until she gets what she wants:

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Spreading The Word - Conf 669

Ten Good Reasons To Lie About Your Age is featuring on Patti Roberts lovely blog tomorrow 10th May 2011 (today in Australia already).

 Paradox - The Angels Are Here

What would have been my mother's 99th birthday!

Thanks Patti!

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Rules for Writers - Conf 668

Have been in Procrastination Central all morning. It's 12.14 now, I haven't been out for my run, no yoga, no nothing because today is a writing day.

Well, it's editing, which isn't so bad. Or shouldn't be. But I've been so involved in producing books it's going to take a while to settle back. I haven't written a word so far. Actually I haven't even opened the file. And it's nearly lunchtime now. And I haven't voted yes yet (we have voting elections today on how we vote) (I think it's just that sort of a day).

The morning hasn't been completely wasted. I've updated myself at Good Reads and had a little go on the kindle boards (they rate Good Reads highly as a promotional tool). The Amazon kindle discussion forum is a procrastinator's dream. This is where all those supremely high-selling ebook authors say they started. So you have the added value of thinking you're actually doing something constructive whilst chatting at the same time. But do you have to be careful where you post. Reader threads really, really don't like authors butting in with their promo spam. I didn't realise that at all at first. I found a discussion that appeared relevant to the content of my novel and merrily joined in, with a link at the end to my novel. Mistake! There are lots of author threads though, and some are proving useful, like the tag for tag one, I'll tag you and you tag me. Then your book gets a higher visibility rate.

Over a cup of tea and a biscuit I revisited The Guardian's wonderful Rules For Writers series. I love Will Self's:

'You know that sickening feeling of inadequacy and over-exposure you feel when you look upon your own empurpled prose? Relax into the awareness that this ghastly sensation will never, ever leave you, no matter how successful and publicly lauded you become. It is intrinsic to the real business of writing and should be cherished.'

and Sarah Waters'

'Writing fiction is not "self-­expression" or "therapy". Novels are for readers, and writing them means the crafty, patient, selfless construction of effects. I think of my novels as being something like fairground rides: my job is to strap the reader into their car at the start of chapter one, then trundle and whizz them through scenes and surprises, on a carefully planned route, and at a finely engineered pace.'

I half agree with the 'carefully planned route.'  If you're writing mysteries with twists then it's obviously necessary to plan it out. I'm less of a planner, to start off with anyway. Endings are always a surprise for me. In the interview I saw at the London Book Fair, Boris Akunin sounded more like a pantser. He starts off with the casting. He gets his characters to a living, breathing point. Then they start interacting with each other and he takes it from there...

One more Rule For Writers from Will Self:

'Regard yourself as a small corporation of one. Take yourself off on team-building exercises (long walks). Hold a Christmas party every year at which you stand in the corner of your writing room, shouting very loudly to yourself while drinking a bottle of white wine. Then masturbate under the desk. The following day you will feel a deep and cohering sense of embarrassment.'

Ooh, lunchtime..

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.