The Price of Fame

Beware Book Pirates!

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been running an Instafreebie promotion (where science fiction readers sign up to my newsletter and receive a free copy of my novel, “FACES OF JANUS“).

Then Google Alerts notified me that the novel was available on a few pirate sites. I checked and found that one site claimed not only to have my novels but also every anthology I ever was published in. Some charge for their copies (and keep the income). Others hand out copies for free. Forever.

I explored a few pirate sites’ extensive book lists. Some of these pirates claim to have as many ebooks as Amazon! Most likely, these were cover shots only and downloaders would get a nice virus instead of my book. (Be warned!)

As my free offer was limited in time and scope, I was at first unhappy about this. But I decided to ignore it, because… Continue reading

Snippets

KINDLE/NOOK AND NOVELS GIVEAWAY COMPETITION

The contest I announced last week is now over and the winners’ names will be released next week. So keep those fingers crossed.

REVERSALS

(Apologies to followers who received a draft copy of this post, sent in error last week. And this contains an update.)

It’s well known that book reviews are important to readers making buying choices. My two Janus Paradisi novels enjoyed a straight flush of 5-star reviews and I was a happy man!

Of course, I’m eager for more reviews and took a look to see if I’d garnered any. I found the opposite: a whole bunch of reviews had vanished.

Of course, I queried this with Amazon: no reply.

I queried again: no reply – for a few days.

Then came the good news: Amazon reinstated those reviews after investigating. Thank you, Zon!

I want to make it clear that I strongly approve of Amazon’s campaign to stamp out fake and bought reviews that boost a rich author’s lousy book to top position, misleading book-buyers. I guess I was just collateral damage, but anyways, Amazon refunded me the stars and so now I’m happy again.

An author friend suggested I’d drawn attention by being a new author with 100% 5-star reviews. So now I’m hoping for a few 4-stars… although it feels odd to be wanting worse reviews to enhance credibility and sales.

Ah, well. Such is the modern world.

SUCCESS STORY: DAVID BRADLEY

I had to mention this. You have to hand it to this guy: following a long list of acting appearances including the Harry Potter movies, Captain America, and Broadchurch, he’s been in both Game of Thrones and Dr. Who.

Well done, that man! And he’s from Yorkshire! Just like me.

So we’ll be looking for his appearance in Westworld soon?

Happy reading, until next time.

 

Faces Of Janus: 100% 5 star!

Reader Reviews

51i8civxul-_ac_us240_ql65_With Janus Challenge straining at the release leash as March approaches, I’m starting to gather 5-star reviews for Faces of Janus (the first in my Janus Paradisi series)

Samples of kind words from readers… Continue reading

What’s With Wattpad?

I heard a few good things about Wattpad during 2014.

Wikipedia (December 20, 2016) says…

Wattpad is an online storytelling community where users post written works such as articles, stories, fan fiction, and poems, either through the website or the mobile app…

As of April 2014: [Yes, 2014]

  • 85% of its traffic and usage comes from mobile devices,
  • the site has 35 million unique visitors per month,
  • there are over 100,000 story uploads per day,
  • there have been over two million writers.

… According to the profiles visible on the site, many of these authors are teenagers.”

I took a look and found it full of YA, Romance and Undead Fantasy (not my genres), mostly written by teens. Still, I thought I’d give it a try and uploaded some short stories (horror, hard scifi…) to test the waters. I had a reasonable readership response, but few Likes or comments. Okay (shrug), I’m not Rowling or Atwood or Howey (yet). I’m not going to get swarms of eager readers seeking out every word I electronically utter (yet).

Persevering, I tried a novel.

Continue reading

FACES OF JANUS : Published

cid_cacf5aae-676f-46cb-b6a4-de5dd38d7479Can a handful of security agents overcome the greatest corporate conspiracy and reach the stars?

In the last decades of the twenty-first century, the wealthiest, most powerful families on Earth choose to escape the increasingly failing planet by constructing ten vast ships that would ferry mankind to colonize Mars.

It was a lie. Continue reading

A Beginner’s Tale #3

Large FoJIt has been a long journey, but here I stand on the verge of publishing my first novel.

I always wanted to write, but my first High School English teacher convinced me I was barely literate. I think he resented me being taller than him, as a later (taller) teacher promoted me from bottom of the class to (almost) pole position.

Too late!

It was my final year of school and my small fantasies had been strangled. Hurrah for education! Continue reading

Spooky Times

31-days-of-october

Well, that Brexit thing was a blast. Britain will pull out of the EU (European Union). To some, it’s like Hawaii pulling out of the US of A. (It isn’t.) And lots of lies on all sides, it seems.

Gosh! Anti-establishment folk, politicians and urban elites telling lies? Unbelievable! Spooky times!

Continue reading

So Where Have I Been?

Debt Collector in Storm in the Stars

Andy as Debt Collector in A Storm in the Stars

I took a long break between posts this year. I’m sure you noticed.

So where have I been? Continue reading

Mancunicon (Eastercon 2016)

mancunicon

I’m still recovering from a splendid few days at the annual British Science Fiction Convention, held at Easter and generically named Eastercons. 2016 was the turn of Manchester, England to host 1200 sci-fi and fantasy fans, and a fine job the organising team did. Continue reading

Dysprosium : SciFi Convention

dysprosiumDysprosium was the 66th annual UK SciFi Convention, held at Easter 2015.

(Yes, I’m still playing “catch-up”.)

Overview

Weird and wacky, thoughtful and intelligent, and a Real Ale bar permanently packed-out with hobbits. Well, not real hobbits, but hairy folk wearing homespun and sandals. (For my non-UK readers, Real Ales are traditional beers produced by smaller breweries with love and care and no artificial additives.) The Bar seems to be a popular recurring feature of these conventions.

Differences

This was my first “big” scifi convention. I’d attended Luxcon a week earlier (see post): the difference was remarkable. Most Luxembourg attendees lived locally and needed no hotel accommodation. UK attendees were from a wider catchment area so most needed hotel rooms. As a result, the age profiles were radically different. LuxCon folk were predominantly young adults, with a greater cosplay tendency: the UK folk were generally older, more likely to have spreading waistlines, receding hairlines and greater disposable income (to afford the travel and hotels).

I’d say there was more pop-scifi in Luxembourg, and more fantasy in the UK.

Workshops and Beyond

I submitted different pieces of writing to three writing workshops. Due to the number of attendees, time constraints prevented full analysis of the submissions, but each presenter team provided follow-up:-

  • Elsewhen Press – critique session
    • submitted : a short story, “Homo sapiens inferior
    • follow-up : Elsewhen invited attendees to submit a story after the convention for a full critique
  • Terry Edge and Kim Horwood – improving writing and achieving goals
    • submitted : the first chapter of my far future novel-in-progress, “Succession!
    • follow-up : Terry and Kim sat with me between other sessions for valuable informal chats
  • Donna Scott (editor and chair of the British Science Fiction Association) – critique session
    • submitted : the first page of my noir novel-in-progress, “Private Vices
    • follow-up : Donna edited the entire submission after the convention and sent me her comments

Thank you to them all.

Conclusions

Between the Real Ale and the wonderful attendees I met, the excellent session presenters and the great folk running the workshops, I had a great time and learned so much. Already looking forward to next Easter’s Convention, “Mancunicon” (in Manchester, UK).

Afternote : Only a few people ignored the “No Bare Feet” notices. I do hope they enjoyed their pedal fungal infection transfers.