Monday, 27 March 2017

39 is the New Fabulous...

This week I turned 39. 
Some people find ageing problematic. I do not. Other people are indifferent. ‘Age is just a number’, they say as they shrug it off. For me, the older I get, the more I understand, the more knowledge I possess, the more experiences - good and bad - I have lived. I like myself more, I know myself better. In addition, I have far less tolerance of dick heads. Win.

The past year has involved the steepest learning curve ever. Like a baby from birth to one, I have learned to smile, sleep through, eat solids, and crawl my way through the self-publishing industry. I am now about to pull myself up to the sofa and have my first bash at walking. Before I get carried away with the clunkiest of metaphors, here are 39 things I have learnt in the past year.

  1. Google don’t like being used as a generic term for the verb ‘to search’.
  2. Leaving two spaces after a full stop is no longer considered correct. One space only, these days.
  3. Copyright law doesn’t affect naming things that simply exist, such as song titles or films.
  4. Copyright laws stop existing once the artist has been dead for 70 years.
  5. To buy a single ISBN number costs £89.
  6. To buy 10 x ISBN numbers costs £149.
  7. There is a legal obligation to send the British Library a copy of every book that is physically published. It is called Legal Deposit.
  8. Google’s feed manager site, Feedburner, has not been updated since 2012.
  9. Adding new features to a blog is not as simple as adding text or pictures to Word. It involves actual code. Who knew?
  10. Twitter Analytics show a summary of your monthly Twitter activity and its impact.
  11. A picture is worth a thousand words.
  12. A gif is worth a thousand pictures.
    A home made gif! It is almost seamless.
  13. I am content in the knowledge that bodies with poppers, bodycon dresses and anything labelled 'peplum' have been designed for people other than me.
  14. To sell via Amazon, you have to complete an online tax questionnaire, otherwise the IRS keep 30% of all your US sales.
  15. When in doubt, ask the Internet.
  16. The right page of a book is called ‘recto’ and the left page is called ‘verso’.
  17. Recto pages have odd numbers, and verso pages have even numbers.
  18. Subscription services are a ball ache.
  19. Statistics say that Monday morning at 11am is the optimum time for a blog post to be read.
  20. My long-term boycott of Amazon, does not stand up to my desire of selling books to the widest possible audience.
  21. Uploading a book to Ingram Spark means having an immediate presence on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Waterstones without having to do anything else.
  22. A blog needs to be regular and reliable. Three weeks off for Christmas is indulgent. (It won’t happen again.)
  23. Finishing a book in 2014 that’s set in 2016 is problematic when the real 2016 saw all the famous people die, and witnessed massive political upheaval in the UK and US. (I sneaked in a Bowie reference and one brief Brexit mention.)
    2016 was a busy year for death.
  24. Clicking the pilcrow button in the Word toolbar will show all formatting marks.
  25. Proof-reading could be done indefinitely and there would still be things to change.
  26. Writing an end-of year tribute about your favourite comedian/writer who died in April is a waste of time when a couple of days before you plan to upload it, your favourite pop star/first crush/long-term love of a singer dies and throws every emotion up in the air again. (RIP Victoria Wood and George Michael.)
  27. Paying for a professionally designed cover is money well spent.
  28. An imprint goes in the place of the publisher’s name.
  29. Deciding to be a sole trader means you can avoid the need to set up your publishing company as a new business.
  30. US anti-spamming laws require a postal address to be linked to a blog’s subscription sign-form.
  31. Bricks and mortar bookshops do not like to buy books that are created by Amazon. It is less problematic for those made by Ingram Spark.
  32. Apparently Facebook has more uses than all other social media sites, combined.
  33. Explaining to a stranger that you are a writer is much easier when you have an available book to buy.
  34. My alcohol intake has increased with the amount of computer code I’ve had to use.
  35. The most frequently asked question (about the book) is ‘Is it like Fifty Shades?’
  36. The answer to the above question is 'No’.
  37. It is very easy to spend an entire working day on Social Media. This isn’t necessarily a bad use of time.
  38. The majority of my favourite paperbacks measure 8 x 5 inches.
  39. Holding a book with my name on the cover is the best feeling in the world.

Right then Thirties, let’s go out on a high and pack the next twelve months with even more thrillingly beautiful new experiences. Forties, you are going to have a lot to live up to, so get warming up and stretching your muscles now.

Have a great week, folks.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Roll Up, Roll Up...

Right folks, let’s cut to the chase.  You can pre-order Carry the Beautiful on Amazon here. Or here? Or here! Click away now for marvellousness beyond your wildest dreams. Or something like that.

Yes! Can you believe it? Just one teensy click away from nabbing yourself a jolly good read. The Easter break is coming up. What more could you want from a four-day weekend, than chocolate eggs and a hot-off-the-press novel in which to lose yourself. You’ll soon forget yours (and Jesus’) troubles, no worries. 

Pre-orders can be placed now. Publication day is 7th April 2017.

The last week or so has continued to be both exhilarating and daunting in equal measure. First of all I have an Amazon Author Page. I know! Isn’t that hysterical! Let’s all ROFL together. It’s here, along with a charming photo of myself (that was definitely not the gazillionth photo I had taken after deleting all the others. Not at all. No sirree.)

I also experienced THE BEST FEELING IN THE WORLD when my paperback proof arrived at my door. I mean, seriously. That was an OMG/WTF/YOLO moment when I HELD MY OWN BOOK IN MY HANDS. It had pages and words, and a weirdly touchable cover. It felt weighty and solid and perfect.

I even read it properly. Every word like I’d never read it before. After months/years of working on a screen, it was suddenly different. I could see things I hadn’t noticed previously. Unfortunately it was at this point that I realised it was not perfect. On approximately the 6th time of proof-reading the entire novel in the past month, I discovered I overuse commas. Literally. They were strewn about every sentence like I might be trying to win a prize for the highest number. Another re-read later and all erroneous punctuation was removed. A re-upload of the manuscript, and it was all back up to speed. But still.  What is it with me and commas?

Author looks on as small child demonstrates exceptional literary taste.

I now have the old comma-infested book in my handbag. When anyone asks me what I do/what I’m writing/what’s the craic, I will brandish it in their faces, whilst taking great care not to let them see the horrors inside. It has been a much a longer process than I first anticipated. (I was aiming for a pre-Christmas launch date initially. Lolz.) But never fear. We’ve all made it. We’ve come through relatively unscathed and ready to give the next stage our all.

Have a fab week, folks.