Traditional British Fish and Chips
I am continuing my tortuous path to international fame and stardom. Under advice from people who should know better than me I am trying to raise my profile on Goodreads (well, they are in bed with Amazon, so it cannot hurt to be in bed with them – three in a bed? – maybe next weeks blog topic!)
Good reads is complex, but quite fun. Even an internet Neanderthal like me can usually manage to work around it – and once you get used to it it’s quite comforting to see people putting your book on their shelves, voting for your book on lists and participating in one of the thousands of discussion threads. I suspect that there will be increasing co-operation and integration with Amazon, so a presence there can only be a good thing.
My readers (yes, both of you) have liked the snippets I have put in about life in the Philippines – where I lived for eight years and where my book is set, so I will try to put something in each week to help you build up a picture of life in these idyllic islands.
The lawmakers are rushing through a bill to prevent people keeping small change! Yes, thats right – it will soon become illegal to hold large quantities of small copper coins. Why? you may ask.... Well, go on then, ask..... Ok, I’ll tell you anyway. The currency has such a low value that the small copper coins are worth more than their face value if melted down and sold as scrap metal. Apparently this practice is so widespread that there is now a shortage of small change...... only in the Philippines!
Now, the price of fish is a subject that I know is on everyone’s mind these days. Here in Hong Kong fish supply is abundant – excellent piscean delights of all sorts can be acquired in the markets quite cheaply – then taken home, usually still flapping. However, when it comes to the staple diet of an (expat) Englishman, it is difficult to find Fish and Chips in the various eateries for less than $80 – ($10 US) – even in the supermarkets, English battered fish is nearly $100 for a box of four. Are shopkeepers and restaurateurs profiting from the perception that expats are wealthy and do not care about the price? Oh well, never mind. It is a great place to live, so I do not mind too much.
Click on book for more details
Now, down to business. My Book – Deadly Election – is (as I write) number 14 in goodreads list of “Little Known Authors Worth reading” (out of nearly 1,400!) – if you can assist me by voting for the book you will find it here http://bit.ly/14r0fmb - and I will be very grateful.
You can read more about my book here – http://amzn.to/11Tr6aV – check out some of the 20 plus reviews.
Please go and like my facebook page if you have time - www.facebook.com/arthurcrandonauthor and follow also - @arthurcrandon, so make sure you follow me on twitter.
I would also like to mention another new service aimed at helping new authors to get published – its free so why not check it out – here - Publishizer.com
The Cats are back! – probably after the fish and chips – stay away!! It’s mine....................
See you next week, Arthur.
S L Wallace responded to my last blog with an excellent piece of advice for writers - I thought I would share that advice so today I am giving my blog post to S.L.Wallace. I have learned from her - I am sure you will too... Bye for now, Arthur
Like many people, I am not a multi-published, award winning, best-selling author. What I am is a teacher and a mom with a passion for writing. And I am grateful for the world of self publishing that has so recently opened its doors. Without it, many wonderful stories would remain hidden, visible only to the author's family and close friends.
I began my journey about two and a half years ago. By that, I do not mean that I began writing two and a half years ago, but rather that I began writing with a plan to publish. In that time I have learned a lot, but no matter how much I learn or how long I hone my skills, I also know I will never be able do everything in this business, because no one is a master of all trades.
Does that mean in order to self publish high quality reading material, one must pay a lot of money? No, it does not. Does it mean that a writer should spend a lot of time and effort on their craft? Yes, most certainly, and wouldn't they want to anyway? Does it mean writers need to be open-minded and honest? Yes, if they plan to be any good—yes.
First, be honest with yourself. You cannot do everything. If you're terrible at art, ask or hire someone else who has artistic talent to make your cover designs. If using computers for anything other than typing frightens you, hire or beg someone else who is skilled with computers to format your books for you. It's okay to ask for help. Actually, it's good to ask for help. If you hire a cover designer, editor, or someone to format your books expect to pay them well if you want high quality. And yes, high quality is important whether a book is traditionally published, published by a small publishing house, or self published. However, you can cut costs by working with someone you know personally or by trading services within the Indie community. There are many of us out there, and among us, we have a wealth of knowledge and skills. Many Indies are willing to trade editing services for cover designs or for formatting assistance.
Then, take this a step further and begin to learn about your own weaknesses by asking others to read your work and give you their honest opinions. When they do, don't defend yourself. It will be tempting to respond, but don't give in to temptation. Instead, listen to their advice and think on it. If multiple people notice that you tend to make the same sort of grammatical error or that you overuse a specific word, believe them, and watch for those errors when you edit your work. The “find & replace” function is your friend. Use it to find your common errors and correct them.
It's true, much can be done on your own. Tutorial videos and Indie help groups can be found with a simple online search. Join some groups, and read what participants have to say. Read articles on blogs and websites. Watch tutorial publishing videos. Take some time to learn a little bit each day or even once a week. One of the beauties of self publishing is that you are not restricted by someone else's deadlines.
Here is a final piece of advice. Watch out for piranhas. There are companies out there who prey on authors' fears. They advertise high quality package deals in order to help authors get published. STEER CLEAR! There is a big difference between paying for a service, such as editing, and paying to become a published author. A friend of mine published through iUniverse http://www.iuniverse.com/ and lost a great deal of money in the process. What did she get for her money? A number of paperback and hardcover copies of her book and a bunch of overpriced postcards and bookmarks. What was the downside? She had difficulty connecting with agents by phone, cannot set the price of her own books (even though their site says they have a non-exclusivity agreement), and she had a terrible time getting them to use the cover image she wanted, a photo she had taken herself. What's worse, when I pointed out editing errors in one of her books, the company refused to publish an updated version even though their editors had clearly failed, big time.
An FYI for anyone who is considering self publishing. You do not have to pay anyone to publish your books. Anyone can publish their ebooks for free through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you prefer one stop, Smashwords is a free way to publish your ebooks and have them distributed in all formats. After publishing through Smashwords, your book will show up at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Itunes, Apple Store, etc. What's more, most of these outlets will pay authors anywhere from 35% - 70% in royalties. There are also a number of ways to publish your book as a paperback. This also costs you nothing. I use CreateSpace which is affiliated with Amazon, but there are others as well. Don't be afraid of a poor formatting job. There are video tutorials and books to help you at all of these outlets. These are provided free of charge; you have only to look for them. And once uploaded, you get to preview your book before it goes live to the world.
If you have a great story or a work of non fiction that you want to share with the world, don't be afraid to do so. There will be highs and lows as you travel this winding path, but it's both worth it and affordable.
If you enjoyed S.L. Wallace's guest post, you may also enjoy reading her post, “Indie Writing Tips” at: http://crossroadsofhumanity.blogspot.com/2012_12_01_archive.html
Official website - http://www.slwallace.com
Blog - http://crossroadsofhumanity.blogspot.com/
Facebook author page - https://www.facebook.com/author.slwallace
Facebook fan page - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Reliance-on-Citizens/269905359690713
Here are S.L. Wallace' published novels - click on the covers for more details and to buy
A rubber duck in Victoria harbor - bizarre!
It’s been a hard week here in Hong Kong – it is nearly the height of the summer now, so very hot.
My friends and family in the UK are always complaining about the economy, the weather, the politicians, the bad TV, the expensive restaurants and the poor service everywhere – and then about the economy again.
I do consider myself lucky to live in Hong Kong. The economy is strong and people generally (expats and locals) have a much more positive attitude to life, the universe and everything.
As a writing community we are also lucky. Many famous writers live here, some teach in on the creative writing programmes of the Universities. There are a couple of active writers groups who are both supportive and informative.
Most writers I know here adopt the J.K. Rowling model – writing in starbucks! Living spaces here are very expensive – and very small and cramped, so the coffee shops are full of students (in Hong Kong students are VERY diligent) doing their homework – businessmen having meetings – and the occasional writer.
I guess Hong Kong achieved notoriety for a few short days recently when Edward Snowden stayed here while shopping around for asylum. He stayed at the Mira hotel – a hotel I visit regularly, but I did not see him.
Now that the giant rubber duck (see picture) has gone from Victoria Harbour there is not really much exciting going on here.
Oh well, back to the writing. I have started on the second novel in my ‘Asian Intrigue’ series. Did you know that a lot of gold is smuggled out of the Philippines and ends up in China (via the Hong Kong)? Well, there is – and my story is about that, and the surprising spy agencies involved and the unsavoury characters they use to achieve their questionable objectives.
In the meantime, my relaunched novel Deadly Election now has more than 20 reviews – an amazing total in so short a time. Here are some brief details of the book – click the cover to go to the Amazon page:
As usual - the blog would not be complete without the cats! - a duck is no substitute! I have promised many readers that I will not go another week without fur - so here they are: If you have trouble relaxing - try watching this cute cats parade video - it works for me. click here for cats video
My daughter TALIA used to sing this song
The Brave New World of epublishing and print on demand has brought with it more freedom for writers than ever before, but it also brings with it (for the would-be professional writer) responsibilities and obligations.
I am not a multi-published, award winning, best-selling author. I once won a school prize for a 500 word essay on taking care of your pet cat, but that doesn’t seem to count for much in international literary circles.
Here is what I am. I am a new writer who believes he has something to offer, who learns fast unless it’s anything to do with IT – I have the attention span of a goldfish and the comprehension of a biscuit when it comes to anything electronic or wwwebby. It frightens me more than werewolves / vampires / zombies combined. But, I do have determination, and what I do not understand, I will either persevere with until I do, or (preferably) pay, bribe, extort, bully, or as a last resort, ask nicely for someone to help me.
A disturbing and rising phenomenon I have observed is a new breed of ‘publisher’ who will do work that you can mostly do yourself, then take up to half of whatever money you may earn. Be afraid, be very afraid. I have seen the results of some of these companies.
I am sure there are good ones and genuine people doing this who will make sure your book is well-edited, has a great cover, and will put a good cover on it – then spend time, effort and money in promoting it.
However, I have seen published books – with a ‘publishers’ imprint – that would embarrass a proverbial monkey at a typewriter. The aim of these organisations seems to be to (sometimes) take money from you, do as little work as they can to squeeze you into kindle/amazon – then sit back and hope your book makes money.
My advice ALWAYS to first time authors now is to do as much work as you can. THEN – PAY for a professional EDIT (even if you have three MFA’s and a couple of Pullitzer prizes, you are STILL unlikely to spot your own mistakes) and get a PROFESSIONAL cover designed. Your cover is your first hook to catch a reader – a badly designed cover will put them off straight away.
Don’t be tempted by the cheapest services (especially editors) – you should expect to pay $3 a page upwards – and to pay $100 upwards for a good cover.
That’s the lecture over for this week. I am happy to give advice, recommendations, assistance – all you have to do is ask – please register for my newsletter – over there on the right ->
Now - check out my book - or else!
I keep my facebook pages updated with great editors and book designers who will help you at a reasonable rate – please go and like my facebook page - www.facebook.com/arthurcrandonauthor and I tweet about them also - @arthurcrandon, so make sure you follow me on twitter.
Finally, you can see the results of my long and painful journey to my first published book Deadly Election – I hope you will read and enjoy (and review) – please let me know what you think.
Here are the cats – they are back again, due to public uproar at their absence. I have learned my lesson – Pussycats Rule!!! See you next week.
Meet the author
Arthur Crandon is a lawyer, the boring office kind, not the exciting (and much better paid) courtroom type. He worked as a solicitor for a while before embarking on an interesting life overseas. He has spent most of his time in recent years in South East Asia, more recently in Hong Kong. Before that, Arthur lived and worked in the Philippine Islands.
He loves to fish, and play the piano – but spends most of his time writing, eating, drinking and sleeping
– usually, but not always, in that order.
His first book, Deadly Election, draws on his strange imagination and his
experiences, together with those of others, in a land that, beneath a veneer of civilisation, operates like the Wild West and is very
dangerous to innocent and gullible foreigners.
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My thriller - Deadly Election - is now on sale at Amazon. Anyone who buys the book and leaves a review will get a signed paperback. Please subscribe to my blog and newsletter here