All the Stories…

people-2583943_640
From Pixabay

“All the stories, all the songs, all the focus on the first flush of love,” he mused, raising his voice so Delilah could hear as he gazed out of the window. The world was rushing past, faster and faster like a ride at the funfair.

“All the hearts, all the promises, all the drama. So much attention for that daft time when nobody is thinking straight. When lovers are still pretending and posturing, still trying to impress.” He liked to play with poetry of the words and let his thoughts amble by as he waited for the kettle to boil. These were slow things that moved at a rate he could understand.

“All the cards, all the I-love-yous, all the fancy clothes,” he carried on as he took the tea through to where Delilah was sitting. “Like they don’t know it’s only a fleeting fuss, just hysteria gone in the blink of an eye. It makes them silly, doesn’t it? They don’t see their beloved, they’re too busy looking at themselves, and then it falls apart and they wonder how they could have got it so wrong. Truth only comes with time. Love that sticks around, doesn’t run at the first sign of trouble. Like what we’ve got, eh?” He patted her hand and she looked up and smiled. She hadn’t heard a word he’d said, but she didn’t need to, she’d heard it all many times before.

Self-Publishing Glossary

book-book-pages-bookcase-415071
Image from Pexels

There is lots of information around the internet on self-publishing, but what I found difficult was that all the information seemed to start in the middle, assuming that I already knew what all the programs were, and terms meant. To try and help any of you new to this to avoid the same confusion, here’s a glossary.

Publishing programs and files

Ebooks can be published in a number of different formats, each of which can be used on different ereaders and devices. Other file types here . I’ve just referenced the ones I know.

Mobi – a file used on Kindle ereaders

Epub – a file for kobo ereader and Blackberry

PDF – a type of file often used for other documents, but sometimes requested from reviewers to play on Acrobat.

Kindle – refers to the electronic book reader made by Amazon or the type of file for that reader.

Calibre – a program that can be downloaded for free to convert any of the above files (or a word file) to any other of the above files.

Createspace – the program that can be used on Amazon to create a paperback. Most simply it involves downloading a template and then putting your book into that template and releasing it online. Once up, Createspace is the website you use to check your book, sort out blurb, price etc, and then shows you how many books you’ve sold. You can use this website to make changes also.

KDP – like Createspace, but for ebook publishing. Note: you can use KDP to publish paperbacks, but I have no idea how good that is.

Sellers of ebooks

Kindle Unlimited – a subscription to Amazon ebooks that allows readers to download a few at a time for free. A little like an online library that you pay a monthly fee for.

Kindle Select – you can choose to enrol in Kindle Select. The downside is you can’t use any other publishing platform, like those below. However you can get a higher percentage of the profits of each book you sell (but only if it’s $1.99 or above) People who are paying a subscription to Kindle Unlimited can download it for free, and you are paid for page views.

Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Ibooks, Gardners – I’ve not used these, because I’m enrolled in Kindle Select. There are more publishers, but these are the big ones. You can upload to each one individually, but it’s easier to use a distributor.

Distributor – InGram Spark, Smashwords, D2D. Each of these will distribute your book to multiple platforms, like those listed above.

Descriptions

Categories – a word to broadly describe the book eg ‘Thriller’ or ‘romance’. Used on KDP and Createspace (and no doubt on the various publishing platforms)

Keywords – More detailed words or phrases used to help a reader find the kind of book they’re looking for, can be titles/authors of similar books. Eg ‘Female protagonist’ ‘George Orwell’. When the reader searches for these phrases, your book comes up in the results.

Teasers – short quotes from the book or blurb, with a photo/image background. Used to advertise the book

Blurb – a description of a book’s plot, usually a paragraph or two. Focuses on being catchy, rather than complete.

Synopsis –  a more complete explanation of the plot. May or may not include the ending (depends on who is asking). Usually more focused on being clear rather than being catchy.

Video adverts – short videos to promote a book. Often with music, pretty scenery in the background and with quotes or ideas from the book overlaid in text

Promotions

ARC – author review copy, a copy of the book usually sent out to reviewers/promoters before the book is published.

Blog Tour – a service an author signs up to. The book is sent to various review blogs, who write about it. It is also tweeted about, and plugged on Facebook, Instagram or any other social media platform.

Author spotlight – Attention paid to one author, often with an interview, review, photos of the author. Used for promotion, usually on a review site.

AMS – Amazon Marketing Services. A paid for promotion. The author chooses ‘keywords’ that will lead to their book being inserted into searches by a reader. The author pays a set amount for ‘click’ (every time someone clicks the link to their book) although this doesn’t guarantee a sale.

KDP Rocket – a program you can use to help you get AMS keywords. Since you need a thousand keywords, this program is invaluable.

Click rates/click-through rates – how many times a link to the author’s book is clicked (but not necessarily bought) on a site or in an email.

Countdowns – a promotion whereby a book is cheaper, or free, for a limited time. Mostly an Amazon thing.

Giveaways –  a promotion whereby a select number of people get free books and/or other goodies. An Amazon and Goodreads thing.

Help

Kindlepreneur.com – a very helpful set of videos with information about publishing

Beta readers – people paid or unpaid who read through a book specifically to look for flaws, whether grammatical or structural. Like an amateur editor.

Goodreads – a very informative site. Primarily created for readers, but has become a place for self-published authors to discuss the trials and tribulations of getting their book finished and read.

Anything I’ve missed? Let me know, the more information the better.

And if you found this helpful, then please share or reblog!

 

 

Moon Juice

tee-1756497_640

Thursday 12th June

I have had the worst morning ever. Somehow, I can’t even imagine how, my hairdresser managed to use Ravishing Plum on my hair instead of Autumn Hue, I was simply devastated. I told Becky it was unacceptable, and of course she was apologetic, and I don’t want to be mean, but I look like a circus clown, and I’ve got my art class this afternoon. Luckily a new box of Moon Juice sachets arrived just this morning. It really is a miracle worker, soothes all that stress away, and I can really sense the different adaptogenic plants bio-acting with my very being. Dream is my favourite, it gives me an inner strength I’ve never known the like before. So I tried to keep my spirits up on the walk back to the car, and then I saw poor Hannah begging outside the carpark. Well, I always like to stop and say a few words, I think that’s important for them. Plus it gave me some perspective, I really am lucky. No matter what life throws at me, I always have a roof over my head.

I was just sticking on the kettle, for a mug of Moon Juice (I was going for Beauty this time) and I had the best idea. The Moon Juice! I should give Hannah some Moon Juice! You see, it seems wrong that it’s people like me who have access to these drinks, when I think, really a woman like Hannah probably has more problems and stresses living on the street than I do arguing with my hairdresser.

So why don’t I buy Hannah a box? Or maybe not the whole box. I’ll pick out a few of the enhancements most appropriate: Brain, Dream and Spirit, I think. I’ll hang onto Sex, Power and Beauty, I can’t see them helping her. Oh she’ll be so excited. Within weeks her life could turn around, she’ll find the inspiration and inner strength to sort all her problems out. If this goes well I’ll start teaching her Feng Shui. We pretend that homelessness is some huge unsolvable problem, but all it takes is for each of us to make a little bit of an effort.

#BookBlogger #BookBloggers PEDDLING DOOMSDAY #BookTour Signup 20th -29th August #BookBlogHosts #CrimeFiction #LoveBooksGroupTours — Love Books Group

Originally posted on Love Books Group Tours: ? I am organising a book blog tour for PEDDLING DOOMSDAY by Petra Jacob Psychological Thriller Women’s Fiction Mystery and Suspense 344 Pages Synopsis You don’t know how significant you are. We need you. No matter where she is, Deirdre feels out of place. So when a cult…

via #BookBlogger #BookBloggers PEDDLING DOOMSDAY #BookTour Signup 20th -29th August #BookBlogHosts #CrimeFiction #LoveBooksGroupTours — Love Books Group

Writing Blurb for your Novel

alpaca-2214504_640
This guy knows how to write blurb, just look at him, he BREATHES blurb

Blurb sometimes gets muddled up with teasers, so I’m using the definition that makes sense to me. Blurb is a short, enticing description about your book, up to four hundred words long. It’s not a synopsis. Guides on how to write blurb often have a long list of information to include, such as description of main character, setting, events, all finishing with a question. I disagree with most of that. Although it’s fine as a formula, the description is so ubiquitous that everybody is writing blurbs that look the same. If you have a captive audience (ie people who know your writing and have at least some interest in it) then that’s ok, because those people are paying enough attention to actually read the few paragraphs you’ve written. However, if your blurb is on Amazon, alongside thousands of other blurbs, then it won’t stand out.

My theory (which may prove to be totally wrong) is that blurb only needs to contain one idea that captures something about your book and is interesting enough to draw attention to itself. It shouldn’t misrepresent your book (that will only annoy your readers) but it doesn’t need to capture the whole book either.

I was inspired by this blurb on the back of Before I go to Sleep by SJ Watson

Memories define us.

So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep?

Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love – all forgotten overnight.

And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story.

Welcome to Christine’s life.

I think that’s brilliant. In five short lines it’s got me thinking, I want to know what happens in this story, and it only took a few seconds to take it in.

Then I wrote my blurb for the back of my book and my Amazon page

‘Listen to me. Humanity is in trouble. You know that, right? The wars, the greed, the waste. We’re heading for disaster.

They tell us that’s just the way the world is.

But they’re lying.

I have the truth, and I can teach you the answers to the two most important questions.

Who is really running the world? And why are they doing it so badly?’

                                                                                                             Myra, Prophet 2018

I was worried that was too nonspecific, so at the bottom I added the line

Peddling Doomsday is a tense psychological drama about a cult run by a charismatic female leader.

My hope is that the first part will get people’s attention and then the final line will provide enough information for people to decide if they want to read or not.

At the moment I don’t know if this will work or not. We’ll have to see.

What are your thoughts on blurb? Have you written any? Any feedback for mine? What does it take to persuade you to read a book?

 

 

Peddling Doomsday – a psychodrama

cheap cult

(I promise I will keep spamming to a minimum, but here is a section from the beginning of my book, so you can see if you like it).

Amazon Link $0.99 or £0.99 or free with Kindle Unlimited

An excerpt from the start of Peddling Doomsday

The printer was flashing a blue light, which made a change from the red light it usually flashed when refusing to work. However, it was still refusing to work. Deirdre looked around for assistance. But in the open-plan office, sixteen people were suddenly talking on the phone or staring at their computers to avoid having to face the fiendish machinations of the printer. Deirdre sighed to herself, and went through the usual routine to get a printout. She pressed each button in turn, turned it off and slapped the top twice. Then she unplugged it, slapped it again, plugged it back in and turned it on. What she refused to do was think happy thoughts while she did this, despite the written instructions on the wall telling her to do so. Deirdre found that small, unobserved rebellions caused less trouble.

The printer had arrived three months ago. Deirdre’s boss’s boss, Dove, marched into the office in his leather trousers, a printer-laden minion struggling behind him. Dove had stated this was the absolute latest in artificially intelligent technology. This printer would eliminate the need for excuses. This printer would not simply print when they pressed a button, but would anticipate, adapt and evolve to create the perfect printing experience.

‘In time,’ Dove had said, swaying on his hips, face shiny with the excitement of his own importance. ‘In time you’ll see this as the most vital member of our little team.’ The reality was that the printer simply would not print when they pressed a button; it took a good twenty minutes of cajoling, resetting and violence. Whenever Sarah, Deirdre’s boss, tried to persuade Dove the printer needed fixing, his argument was,

‘It’s a highly sophisticated machine, Sarah, it requires highly sophisticated usership. You need to take a step into the technology of tomorrow. I’ll book you onto a seminar.’ Seminars were how Dove battered dissent out of his employees, their will broken by tedium; trodden into submission by PowerPoint presentations and flipcharts.

‘But it doesn’t work,’ Sarah had persisted.

‘It knows you’re complaining about it. Try asking it nicely while thinking happy thoughts. Negativity is the enemy of success!’

Deirdre’s office was at Stronk and Lowry, the backwater branch of a corporate advertising agency, and happy thoughts weren’t easy to come by. However, Deirdre’s colleagues all tried, and then blamed themselves when the ink refused to flow.

‘I think I’m thinking happy thoughts, but what do happy thoughts, you know, feel like?’ said John, a creative, his quirky hat perched to hide his balding head. Deirdre didn’t have an answer and shrugged.

When Deirdre had discussed the printer with Henry, her erstwhile boyfriend, he was convinced artificial intelligence hadn’t been invented yet.

‘And definitely not artificial sulking, why would they bother?’

‘What about psychic artificial intelligence that senses negative thoughts?’ Deirdre had asked, and Henry gave her a look. Together they Googled the make of printer and discovered it was a perfectly normal, cheap printer that happened to not work very well. Erstwhile Henry found this incredibly funny and had fallen off the sofa with laughter. Office insanity had been bearable when she could use it to make Henry laugh. Now there was no one to laugh with, and Deirdre kept her head low and pretended that foolish things were a natural part of working life. She let her inner mockery wither.

Wherever possible, workers in the office did their work-printing at home and brought it in the next day, meaning printing costs at Stronk and Lowry had dramatically decreased. This was seen as a win by management and the one-printer-system spread throughout the branches.

Deirdre gave the machine a kick, it whirred indignantly and then deposited the letter she was printing at a diagonal. She shrugged, that would have to do. Mission accomplished, she got herself a chocolate Hobnob. They had been her dad’s favorites, and she sucked on it as he would have done. As she passed, she picked a few cigarette butts out of the peace plant growing on the window sill of the kitchen, and returned to Sarah’s office to chop the letter straight.

Amazon Link $0.99 or £0.99 or free with Kindle Unlimited

My Novel is Out Now!

So I finally got it all together, it’s been complicated! I’ll carry on sharing my mistakes and discoveries about the self-publishing process over the week, but first, here’s the book!

Here on Amazon!

Peddling Doomsday
My Moody Cover

It’s a psychological drama about a woman who escapes her life to join a cult.

The Plot

You don’t know how significant you are.  We need you.

No matter where she is, Deirdre feels out of place. So when a cult known as the Center contacts her, wanting her join up, she’s intrigued. They say a terrible war is coming, humanity is in danger and without explaining why, say she’s needed for the fight. Suddenly the chance to be spectacular is within her grasp. With the charismatic Myra as the cult leader, and talk of prophecies and psychic abilities, Deirdre is soon seduced and ditches her humdrum life to join up.

Once inside, her understanding of the world shifts. She learns the truth about the elite, a secret organisation that has meddled with humanity since the beginning of time. The elite use entertainment and the media as a constant distraction to stop people from reaching their true potential. To free themselves of this conditioning, the followers must give up ‘excessive’ food and sleep. They also carry out increasingly bizarre rituals under the critical eye of the Captain, a minor leader of the new followers. He seems to take pleasure from turning them against one another.

Tensions increase. The followers gain odd new abilities, but bullying and hysteria also grow. Meanwhile Myra’s prophecies become increasingly extreme. As paranoia intensifies, Deirdre questions where the belief ends and delusion begins.

 

It’s now free on Kindle Unlimited. To buy it’s 99p, 99c or equivalent.

Peddling Doomsday by Petra Jacob

 

Flash Fiction: Sleepectomy

painting-1077855_640

It was five months since she’d had her sleep removed. An unpleasant, precise process that involved gradually scraping the need away with a scalpel. And no she never needed to sleep again.

After thirty-four years of never quite having enough time, finally all her problems would be over. She would no longer need to snap at the children when they wanted her to sit with them and watch cartoons. Her husband would never need to complain that his dinner was a ready meal, she’d be able to cook him exquisite banquets. She’d have time to take that evening class to finally learn German. She’d start pottery again. She’d take up sewing the children’s Halloween costumes. She’d write a play. Her life would never be the same again.

For a few weeks she lived in bliss, floating through the harried mums to pick up her kids at the end of the school day. Making pots and plates for birthday presents. Baking brownies in the middle of the night.

But the nights got emptier as the silence started to invade her thoughts. She would try to keep busy with useful things, but hours would pass spent only on forums, trying to connect with lives that were still busy and noisy. Trying to feel smug.

She’d fill the night up with sound, the radio, the TV. Her husband would clamber out of bed with blurry eyes and follow her around pleading with her to stop. She felt so relieved of the company that she’d keep going. And she started to get stupid. She never seemed to learn the German, just repeated the same lesson over and over. She’d find herself sitting vacantly staring into space for hours on end. Even when she felt alert and ready to do things, she couldn’t think of anything she actually wanted to do. Or why. Instead she’d repeat the same dull actions over and over, doing the washing, hanging the clothes out on the washing line even though it was the middle of the night. Taking the clothes in, still soggy and pushing them unfolded into the wrong drawers. She spent one entire evening sorting socks.

“Sorting them how?” asked her husband, his exasperation evident, although she couldn’t think why he would feel that way.

“I’m putting them into alphabetical order,” she explained.

“But they’re socks! They don’t have alphabetical order!” she patted his shoulder and started to drift away.

“Pull yourself together and do something productive!” her husband shouted.

That night as she was refolding all the clothes in her son’s chest of drawers, she paused, a bright blue Spongebob t-shirt in her hands. She began to twist it, pleased that it held the contorted shape well. She placed in back in the drawer, a little of the material rising up out of the drawer. She took another t-shirt and twisted that around the first to make a snake, escaping from the drawer. She let out a small giggle, hoping that no one heard her.

By the morning all her son’s clothes were spilling out onto the floor, as if escaping. Twisted into bizarre shapes or seated figures.