Naked Reviews

I just bought this book on Amazon – Naked Reviews by Gisella Haussman. It was recommended by Stuart Aken another author. I haven’t read it yet but hope it helps.

I sometimes find the cheery tone of these books a bit annoying: ‘Hey! Let’s grab a coffee and move on to the next step!’ But all the reviews say this is full of information.

As a reviewer myself, I know we are swamped. Everybody wants reviews. They’ll give you the book free and a pizza with it. The publishers are banging on the door of review sites. Editor Geoff at SFcrowsnest.org.uk has his rooms all piled high with books waiting to be reviewed. A canny reader need never buy a book again! I don’t.

If anyone wants to review my self-published book Consarn Christmas and Other Stories I’ll be glad to send a copy in mobi, epub or pdf. And if anyone wants to review The Brigstowe Dragons contact Alban Lake Publishing. Thank you for your time.

Eamonn Murphy

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Hurrah for Canva.com

In my ongoing struggle with the technical side of self-publishing on the cheap, I had cover trouble. They say people judge a book by its cover. I think this is unwise but there’s no doubt that first impressions count. I designed quite a striking cover for Consarn Christmas and Other Stories. I typed the title and my name in a word document then transferred over a robot/clockwork picture I obtained free from www.FreeImages.com.  After that, I chose the background colour, a bright yellow that reminded me of the old SF books put out by Victor Gollancz years ago. It seemed suitable.

After some more wrestling with the computer, I changed this Word document to a jpeg and used it for my book cover on Draft2digital, Amazon and Smashwords. They all accepted it but Smashwords wouldn’t put it in their Premium Catalogue because the cover didn’t have enough pixies. Or was it pixels. How do you add more pixels?

After some deep thought I googled ‘Free Book Covers’ and top of the list, I think, was www.canva.com. Their system was so easy even I could use it. I found a design very similar to my own, substituted my photo for the well-dressed young man in the original, rewrote the title and  Hey Presto! I replaced the old one on Smashwords with it and today they e-mailed me to say that Consarn Christmas and Other Stories had been accepted into their Premium Catalogue. That wasn’t essential because I’ll get to most of the same retailers through Draft2digital but all those red warnings popping up on Smashwords every time I logged in were annoying.

If even a techno-flubber like me can make a book, anyone can do it. Of course, you should write something worth reading before getting to this stage.

Eamonn Murphy

Hurrah for Draft2digital and books2read!

I had two books published yesterday. One was The Brigstowe Dragons put out by Alban Lake Publishing and it’s available in their store if you click that link. Buying it there helps keep the small press alive, and the small author.  The other book was Consarn Christmas and Other Stories. Admittedly this was put out by me but the stories were accepted in the past by editor  Sam Bellotto, Jr. at Perihelion SF so I’m not just foisting any old rubbish on the public. Here are universal links.

THE BRIGSTOWE DRAGONS: DRAGON EGGS

CONSARN CHRISTMAS AND OTHER STORIES

Yes, universal. These aren’t just ordinary links. They are books2read links which will show you every book store where the product is available. So whether you be on kindle, kobo or even another reader not beginning with k, you can get it. This service is provided free to authors by books2read.com and I highly recommend it.

Even highlier for the self-published author, I recommend Draft2digital.com where they provide a free formatting service that will convert your word file into epub, mobi and pdf files. You can download all three converted files and use them anywhere! The decent thing, of course, would be to use them on Draft2digital and let them put the book out, which I did. However, because I have a presence on Smashwords as well I put it there too. The infamous Meatgrinder didn’t accept my epub file for the super catalogue or whatever it’s called but did put it on Smashwords. That’s all I wanted for I am very content to let Draft2digital supply all the other retailers. I suspect the formatting error was me not Draft2digital. I had two Tables of Content pages because good old Drafters put one in for you, and a copyright page, and a title page! I really can’t recommend them highly enough.

I used the mobi file they provided – with no trouble at all – on Amazon, the big beast in the digital jungle. Draft2digital don’t have ties to Amazon so doing it separately is fine. They don’t lose out. Smashwords only put your book on Amazon if you sell a certain number of copies. I’m happy to sell on Amazon but not exclusively. Smashwords provides its books in multiple formats, including mobi. Draft2digital doesn’t (yet) have a catalogue but only puts the books out through other retailers. Amazon sells books in its own mobi format and that’s it. Other practices such as their KDP Select program are attempts to rub out the competition. Amazon is a business and so wants to maximize its market share, even get a monopoly. Their welcome to try but I don’t have to help them.

There are zillions of discussions on author websites about the pros and cons of KDP Select. If you enrol on it you can’t sell your book anywhere except on Amazon but you can do promos, make it free for five days and lots of other clever stuff. Some are of the opinion that you’re a damn fool if you don’t use it. Others use it for a spell and then go back to general distribution. I’m a damn fool and decided not to use it at all. This is partly because my most important book – The Brigstowe Dragons – is on Smashwords but also because…well, I’m a bit of a lefty and think everyone should have a fair share.

I’m not anti- Amazon. I have an account with them and have bought many books from them over the years, and even dog worming tablets. I’m delighted to sell my own books on Amazon and may we both profit thereby. But I’m not helping anyone get a monopoly.

Eamonn Murphy

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘New technology baffles pissed old hack’

My e-mail account is with microsoft. Once it was hotmail and now it is outlook. I’m vaguely aware that outlook is not the best but too lazy to change, and I don’t want to change my address and have all the hassle of telling everyone.

In the last few days I’ve had some trouble getting into my outlook account. It says there is a problem try again. Trying again is futile. I googled it (other search engines are available) and one post said try using a different browser. I have google chrome on my laptop so I switched to that and got in instantly.

My usual browser is microsoft edge, by default as part of Windows 10. It makes no sense to me that microsoft’s own browser won’t access microsoft’s own e-mail service but google’s browser can.  Maybe I should switch.

I stay loyal-ish to Microsoft because that nice Mister Gates and his wife spend a lot of money on good works, trying to cure malaria. Whatever you buy nowadays is making some tycoon richer so one might as well pick a nice tycoon. But this situation is a bit odd.

The headline is a quote from Private Eye by the way.

‘I don’t care too much for money…’

I’m not sure McCartney was being entirely truthful in the Beatles first U.S. number one but there are certain perils to having too much. The Great American lottery winner is now besieged in her home. (see here). Previous winners have been killed and robbed. Some lotteries make it a condition of winning that you must have publicity which then makes you a target for the greedy and unscrupulous. One was shot by armed robbers in his home. Another had all the money stolen by a con man who became her financial advisor.

I don’t want to get all sniffy about money but it’s dangerous stuff if everyone knows you’ve got it. Best to keep a low profile. I’m actually a billionaire but wear baggy old clothes and drink cheap beer to conceal it.