Tag Archives: books

Released into the wild

Stobor books has now released my finalised Hardback edition of “The Cat Tree and other stories” for distribution. Currently only available from here for the modest sum of CAD$35.00, the hardback will be joined on Amazon and Barnes & Noble by an eBook edition in January 2020.

The rewrite of the Stars Trilogy grinds on, but in the times when I am not working at my day job, I will be putting out a collection of my short science fiction and fantasy stories, which I don’t have a working title for just yet. However, I do have around twelve four thousand word stories which should fit the bill nicely and provide some welcome diversion from all the doom and gloom in the news.

This means a lot of editing and re-writing over Christmas, but this will be my own antidote to terrible TV and far too much to eat and drink.

First on the list for revision is “Oggie”, originally written as a companion piece to the Paul Calvin themed stories. I’ve had what I think is a very entertaining idea, which means some major surgery, an amputation here, a few grafts there, but nothing that won’t make it a far better read.

Stobor Books

Stobor books, my new boutique publishing web site, is now up and running. “The Cat Tree and other stories” is published and due for general release when the main proof copy arrives and approved for general distribution.

For anybody keen to purchase a hardback copy, I appreciate that there have been long intervals where it appears that nothing has been happening, but these are delays mostly occasioned by production faults, travel and a four week illness, also holding down a part time job which temporarily drifted into full time hours and of course waiting for Canada Post.

One of the things I will do over this Christmas, as part of my own learning curve is share my experiences of the publishing and distribution process on video, hopefully enlightening any would-be authors about the quirks of putting their own work out in the marketplace.

Updates on Authors Den

Having been working for six solid hours, My Authors Den page has been updated with eBook and paperback links for the following;
Cerberus Conspiracy
‘A Falling of Angels’ eBook Kindle edition
‘Head of the Beast’ paperback

Stars Trilogy
‘The Sky Full of Stars’ eBook
‘Falling through the Stars’ eBook

And an amusing four thousand word festive offering (It’s free!)
‘Happy Christmas Charles!’

My ‘Goodreads’ page will have to wait until this afternoon, as it’s a little more user-fiendish than Authors Den and I am in sore need of a walk and some coffee.

Out now…

Even though it’s the weekend and under our self imposed house rules I’m not supposed to be working, the one minor correction has been made to ‘A Falling of Angels’, the second Paul Calvin Adventure and it’s out on Lulu.com. Adverts and other links will be up late Monday morning via Goodreads.com and AuthorsDen. Previews are already available.

There’s been no Distribution problems reported with any of the main platforms (Kindle, Nook, Kobo et al) in the past two weeks, so go-ahead has been given for the project to go ‘live’. For a paltry CAD$4.99.

Links are available via my ‘published works‘ page. Or from the links below.

Cerberus Conspiracy
Book One
Head of the Beast Kindle eBook edition.
Book Two
A Falling of Angels eBook available via Lulu.com.

New project

While trudging away on the ‘A Falling of Angels’ manuscript, Angie and I took a little time out. We’ve been working every day of the week solidly for the last two years and are trying to reclaim our weekends. As part of this process we were out discovering some of the more interesting places in Victoria on foot and I had a little flash of inspiration which has turned into a minor project overnight.

With the working title ‘The Great Book of Everything’, I came up with the framework for a comic novel about a boy, his sarcastic pet Hamster and the Quantum nature of everything. And Squirrels. As soon as I get the web pages organised, I’ll post what I write online. This site needs reorganisation.

Recovery mode

The past two weeks have been somewhat traumatic, and I’ve hardly written a word, what with dashing back and forth across the Atlantic. Too many errands and too much jet lag. Today, for the first time in just over two weeks I feel back in control of my life. I actually only awoke at 5:30 this morning. For the previous three nights I was waking up, despite sleeping tablets, at around two and three thirty in the morning feeling tired but unable to slip into the arms of Morpheus until four or five AM.

Everything over the past two weeks, despite best efforts, has gone sideways. It’s been a harsh emotional lesson about planning for the worst family case scenario. Some unpleasant thoughts have to be faced, but these are best examined when the immediate pressures are off. Conversations must be had with family and arrangements made. Just in case.

On the bright side, I’ve been preparing for the two courses I start in mid and late April by raiding second hand bookstores and downloading public domain material online. Now I am the proud possessor of Diana Hackers ‘A Canadian Writer’s Reference, Strunk and White’s ‘The Elements of Style‘, Prentice Hall’s ‘Handbook for Writers‘, and Harold H Kolb’s ‘A Writer’s Guide‘. Not to mention applying for Student Membership of the Society of Technical Communication. I’ve done Technical Writing for real before, for a couple of multinationals no less, but without a Degree found it nigh on impossible to convince anyone to hire me in that role, especially on this side of the Atlantic. Hopefully I will have redressed this shortfall by October or November this year with a Canadian recognised qualification from Simon Fraser University.

The down side is that I won’t be getting as much writing time in on ‘Darkness’ or ‘A falling of Angels’ as I’d like but at least I’ll have a piece of paper saying that I’m a Canadian qualified Technical Writer.

I like George R R Martin

I’m not generally a fan of fantasy as a genre. On the other hand, I’m very happy to read and watch the work of George R R Martin. The series is engrossing, and I think (takes deep breath as I’m about to write fantasy heresy) better than Tolkien. I’ve read Tolkien, and it just never took hold with me the way that George Martin’s work has.

I watched this interview, and discovered much that finds resonance with me. No-one is completely good or evil, and his female characters are less bound by stereotype than in many similar works. Characters morph and change throughout a story, being moulded and in turn moulding the narrative. They do the unexpected for their own strange reasons. Loyalties shift, even within families, and I feel this is a good thing, as it adds depth and surprise.

The only thing I hope he doesn’t do is kill off Tyrion Lannister. Not yet anyway. Both the narrative version and Peter Dinklage’s performance in Game of Thrones are far too much fun.

Oh well, I have my own lonely furrow to carry on ploughing. Back to the keyboard.

Formatting and metadata

Getting an eBook ready, especially sorting out the ‘metadata’ isn’t easy if you don’t want to end up tearing your hair out. I’ve just spent all my ‘free’ or writing time for the last two weeks proofing, editing and ensuring the chapter headers and all that shizzle are in apple pie order. Reminder to self; buy more Tylenol. I’ve mercilessly hunted down the last errant apostrophe, ruthlessly swatted the last inadvertent spelling error, jumped up and down on the non-deliberate grammatical errors, and corrected the chapter headings. When you’ve been working on a hundred and fifty six thousand words, it’s easy to make mistakes. Three times this morning I’ve gone back over a hundred and forty heading entries to find stupid dingbatted errors, and I’m allowing myself two days pause before I run the spell checker twice more, and re-read the MSS specifically looking for those dumb ‘a, the’ errors I’m prone to after cut ‘n paste rewording of a passage that feels clumsy and clunky.

Target price is CAD$4.99. Which is pretty cheap, considering all the time and effort that’s gone into it. I think there’s an option for serious discounts for the first two weeks as well, which will be nice for some. Depending on their taste in Sci-fi.

The metadata is fine. The author and title names all match throughout the manuscript, and I’m sticking with some old cover art that I really don’t want to change. Especially as I’ve moved computers twice and lost track of the specific cover art font. There is a follow on already written (155,000 words at last edit), and I just need to get that ready before skipping over to see friends and family back in England, Ireland and the Netherlands. I’ll have my laptop with me, so will be logging onto the nearest free WiFi point every so often to check on the distribution. Amazon, Barnes & Noble and the iBookstore shouldn’t be an issue, and I’ll be confirming availability via the Kobo marketplace. which should be relatively easy now that we have a little Kobo Glo.

End result is a tale in a style of Robert Heinlein meets Tom Clancy (I think). The characters love, hate, laugh and cry, get alienated, reconciled, killed and wounded and all that jazz. What’s truly amazing is the fact that I still actually like the story, even after all the prolonged birthing pains of repeated rewrite, edit and format.

Head of the Beast proof copy arrived today #SelfPublishing

Took a walk down to the post boxes today and found, joy of joys, that the proof paperback copy of Head of the Beast had arrived. 152 pages. 25 chapters. 70,000 words. In real terms looking terribly small, and feeling very light considering its length. My baby. Fruit of my over active imaginings. Head of the beast proof copy
It’s an odd sensation, holding the results of all that hard work and finding the result so small. Overall? I’m very pleased with the starkness of the look, although I might think about textured or matte covers in future as they don’t get quite so easily marred by every sweaty fingerprint. Perfect? No. Reading through, I can see ‘improvements’ to be made, but that’s just me. There has to be a point at which your baby bird has to leave the nest and try to fly.

I’ll proof it over the next few days and see how I feel about approving the distribution then.

A reply to popping the Kobo question #SelfPublishing #BookMarketing

While I was Hors de combat recently, those nice people at Kobo sent me an answer to my query regarding Kobo eReaders as a distribution platform for the Cerberus eBook series. The best word for their response has to be ‘comprehensive’. I’m still working my way through the ramifications.

Essentially, since I own all the rights to the work, I can create special editions so long as they are marked with a separate ISBN via Kobo, or whoever’s existing publication platform. This seems to indicate I’ll have to go through Kobo’s own self publishing programme, as I can’t afford the prices they’re asking for commercial ePub conversion and Metadata services. Not sure about Amazon and the Kindle, although this may prove to be a similar situation. Last time I checked, I was led to the conclusion that the Kindle agreement required exclusivity to a given title, although at the moment I’m not sure.

This merits further investigation, and since my brain is only slowly returning to full function, I will be taking my time about it.

On the plus side, I’ve found a local proof reader for a reasonable price.

Popping the Kobo question

I’ve just submitted a question to the Kobo guys regarding getting existing ePub formatted titles with existing ISBN’s listed on the Kobo marketplace. I’m sure it’s not as complicated as it looks. It’s Friday, and I’m not expecting any kind of reply until at least midweek next week. About the same time the proof paperback of Head of the Beast drops onto my doormat. Should Kobo work out that makes three large market places with product placement.

Note to self: must check out the listings to make sure sufficient excerpts and tasters are available to sufficiently whet reading appetites. As soon as proof is okayed and listed on Amazon, I’ll cut and paste a taster on the Amazon page.

Money is tight right at the moment, and I’ve no spare cash to spend on marketing. So it’s head down and keep on punching keys, preparing product for release into the public domain. Keep the day job and keep throwing things at the wall. Something is bound to stick sooner or later. Although I’d rather it was sooner.

That’s about as much as I’m doing with that one…..

Head of the Beast will be available as soon as I’ve got cover art that I’m happy with. The Header issue has proved insurmountable, and may actually interfere with eBook conversion, so I’ve ditched the headers. The page footers and numbering work fine, with none of the unwelcome surprises upon reopening the document after saving or conversion. 188 172 action and horror packed pages laying the groundwork for the next in the series on the most recent reformat.

First Edition Hardback will be ready in a week, and I’m tempted to go for a plain, textured look for the dust cover. Just authors name and title, with a little blurb and text sample on the back. Paperback edition will follow the same route, and I’ll double check the eBook requirements before submitting to iTunes, Barnes and Noble etc.

All this formatting practice is telling me the limitations of OpenOffice and its weak points, so I can concentrate on the story in future, and not waste so much time on what I feel are purely cosmetic issues.