Chris Gardner

The joys of self-publishing.


3 Comments

Isolation

All our lives have been affected in one way or another by Covid 19 and we don’t know how long the after effects will last. No one in my family has been ill and we’re all pretty well isolated. I haven’t seen any of them for–I don’t know how long. Do you lose track of time?

I missed the birthdays of the youngest in my family, two and four year old grandsons, and the eldest in my family, my mother, who turned 100 a couple of weeks ago. We had a big party planned, which was cancelled of course, but I still intended to see her. She’s 400 ks away from us and we weren’t allowed to go. Even if we had we could have only seen her wearing masks and gowns, and not touch her at all. We might have a late birthday party when everything’s open again. She had a great day though–everyone at the nursing home spoilt her rotten and she loved it! I’m glad that the home has such tight rules because they have no cases of the virus there.

My husband and I are pretty used to being on our own at home now that most of our sons have left town and are a few hours away, but we miss them all of course. Our youngest grandson just turned two and I wonder if he’ll still recognise us when we get to see him again.

I’ve been quite busy editing and designing book covers but not writing. I intend to get back to that but I’m not sure I can at the moment. The world is just weird. It’s not that bad for me, just kind of boring, but it could be a lot worse. Our deaths in Australia were up to 93 yesterday and at least 13 are from one nursing home in NSW. Our Victorian premier is a bit firmer on keeping isolation going than the others are and I’m happy about that. Some of the schools in other states will be opening soon but I think it’s too soon. Kids are such bug carriers. When my youngest started school, having not been to kindergarten because we lived out of town, he caught every disease you could imagine, and was home more than he was at school.

Hopefully this time next year things will be back to normal, or some kind of new normal at least, where we can travel to see our family and friends, and give them lots of hugs! If you’re looking for something to read I have plenty of books available, including one free. Stony Creek is the first in a rural romance series but each book can be read as a standalone–no cliffhangers.

Available on Amazon as ebooks and paperbacks, including the Australian site, where you can search for each book.

 


2 Comments

Self-Publishing on a Budget.

I’m an Indie author and an editor and I’ve been writing this blog for years now, with the intention of sharing my experiences and helping other authors who choose the self-publishing path. It can be very expensive and some are willing to spend whatever it takes to get their book out there, as polished a version as possible. Some are unable to afford help, and unfortunately some books are published that are full of errors, which makes a lot of readers reluctant to buy any self-published books.

I’m not going to suggest you don’t need to spend money on an editor, but if you absolutely can’t there are a few options that will help. Text to Speech on Word is very good at finding typos and there are other programs like Grammarly. Do some research and try all the free options. Stay away from vanity publishers!

When you’ve done as much as you can get someone else to read it. Not your best friends unless you’re confident they’ll tell you the brutal truth. Find some beta readers who will tell you what they actually think. If several point out the same problems see if you can fix them, but if only one does and you don’t agree then leave it. It’s always worth having another look though. You can find Beta reader groups on Facebook.

If you rely on Amazon’s cover creator you can get your covers for free, but you might want to change them later. I started off using Createspace covers but have changed them all since then. Another free option is to learn how to use GIMP, which is free software along the lines of Photoshop. I use it every day now but I did find it very hard to get started and only managed because I have very intelligent sons!

You can get stock photos free and Pixabay is the best, in my opinion, because they have 300 dpi images, which is essential for book covers. If you want people on your cover though you need to make sure you have model releases, and you might have to use a more commercial stock photo for that. Some will sell just the one image if you find something perfect for your book. I’ve done that a couple of times.

What I’m doing now is making heaps of premade covers for other self-publishing authors, so I can save you all that trouble. All ebook covers are $25 AUD and paperback covers are $60 AUD. Premade Covers $25 AUD FOR EBOOKS AND $60 AUD FOR PAPERBACKS.


Leave a comment

Premade Covers

I’ve been making my own book covers for years and I’ve decided to branch out and try my hand at some premades. The ebook covers are all $20 AUD and covers for print (made on an Amazon 6 x 9 template) are $50 AUD. Book covers can be very expensive and so can editing; I’m attempting to keep my services at a reasonable fee. Lots more here.

 

pbgirlpurple6x9_BW_300 - Copy

Beautiful cover for print

dragon mum

Dragon mother

GUYWITHAXE

Murder

snowgirl

Ice girl

Portrait of a beautiful red-haired woman in green medieval dress

Queen

GIRL WITH MIRROR

Girl with mirror

10 cover womanviking

Female Viking Warrior

Beautiful Long-haired Girl In A Magnificent Emerald Fairy Dress

Girl in green

Elf Woman In Armor Holding Sword. Isolated On Grey

elf girl with sword

Noble fairy elf in the magic forest. Fantasy. Fairy tale, magic.

Elf boy

GLADIATORbigstock--180681301

Warrior with shield

9 cover tatts (1)

Tattoo guy

8 iceman

Knight

Attractive couple relaxing in the countryside on a sunny day

Young Couple

6 cover redvic

Victorian Woman

5 cover princess

Young Princess

4.cover redheaddark

Dark Redhead

Smiling couple embracing in park on a sunny day

Smiling couple embracing in park on a sunny day

Portrait of happy couple relaxing on a blanket in vineyard

Portrait of happy couple relaxing on a blanket in vineyard

 


Leave a comment

Beta Readers–yes or no?

I’ve just finished my latest novel, House of Dreams, which has taken me around two years, for various reasons. I had an operation this time last year but I was also in a bit of a writer’s block phase for quite a while. I had an ephinany, watching something on TV, when I realised I had to kill one of my tradies!

What that all meant was that I knew my final draft would need a lot of work. I’d forgotten names and had to keep checking back–Did I actually write that or did I just think about it?–Did I forget I killed that guy and mention him again?—Did I mention this before?–Lots of things that I knew I could easily miss myself.

My two elder sisters read all my books, usually in paperback form, so of course after they’re published, and invariably find at least a typo or two. Neither of them are really computer savvy; one does have a laptop but really bad internet. I sent her a USB with my story on it when she agreed to read it for me, and she was my first Beta reader! I also found two more in a Facebook group and all three were helpful in different ways, so I would say yes, find beta readers if you can. No matter how many times you read through your book you will miss things. And of course get an editor, but you’ll make things much easier for them and perhaps cheaper for you, if you get everything as clean and tidy as you can first.

Again because it had been two years since I published my last book, The Letter, I was unaware of the changes that had been made to the software I’d used before to build a cover. If I had no sons to help out I would not have been able to make a paperback cover at all. I refuse to buy Photoshop, since I don’t make covers often enough to spend that much and also it looks way too complicated. I do use GIMP, which is free, but have been using Pixlr as well. To cut this story a little shorter–Pixlr has ‘upgraded’ to a service that doesn’t do what I need but fortunately I was able to do everything on GIMP, which is fantastic!

This was also the first time I published a paperback without Createspace–going straight on to Amazon. I actually found it pretty good, possibly easier than CS was. I was a bit concerned though when I noticed the page count on their site for my ebook was 70 pages less than my paperback! I’d already sold some by then and I emailed Amazon first, then went through it all again myself. I’m still not exactly sure but I think they changed the spacing between lines. They’ve fixed it now so I’m happy with it all, at last. Whew!

All my books are available on Amazon, most as paperbacks as well as ebooks.

https://author-christine-gardner.site123.me/

 


Leave a comment

Building your own Website.

I’m not going to pretend I’m an expert but, after several attempts with different providers, I’ve finally built my own website! Two actually, since I’m a freelance editor as well as a writer.

Do I need them? I have no idea but there were no costs involved, apart from a couple of days work and quite a bit of stress. It just bugged me a little when various sites wanted my website detail so now I have one. Two.

I found this company so much better to deal with than others I tried. I doubt I was speaking (text) with the handsome young man pictured, but I’m pretty sure it was a human and he was very prompt and very helpful. They have images of three young men with big smiles and their names are there as well but, seriously, I doubt very much that’s who I was dealing with.

I went with my editing site first and that was pretty simple, but when I started the author site it became more complicated because I wanted to show my books and also add some links. I had to compromise a little but all in all I’m pretty happy with them both.

The company I’m with is SITE 123 and these are my links. They also have options you can pay for, but I always try free when that’s an option!

Editing Indies

Christine Gardner, Author

My books are available on Amazon as PODs as well as ebooks and on Apple, Kobo and others as ebooks. Stony Creek, the first book in my Red Dust series, is free and can be read as a standalone.


Leave a comment

Writing Reviews

How much attention do you give to reviews when you’re buying a book? Do you review books when you read them? Indie authors appreciate reviews and we all know that we’ll get negative ones as well as positive. Not everyone likes the same books or the same movies or even the same colours; we’re not robots, not yet.

Just please, when you write your review, whether it’s two words (Great book!) or a small essay, please don’t give away the surprises! You may think they’re easily predicted or amazing but there’s no need to tell other readers you saw it coming or even that you didn’t. Just say you loved the book or that it’s just not your thing. As authors we can’t edit reviews, or remove them when they give away the ending to our story, and I don’t understand why any reader would want to spoil it for another reader. That’s my rant for the day–keep reading and thanks for the reviews!

My books are available on Amazon as ebooks and print and ebooks also at most digital shopfronts via Draft2Digital.


Leave a comment

What’s your Kryptonite?

I’m an editor as well as an author and I also spend way too much time on Facebook so I see lots of errors, which I try hard to ignore. I would never point out spelling or punctuation marks on social media–that’s just plain rude, but when I see lots of people making the same mistake I might just post something like this on my editing page:

Most of us have at least one kryptonite word–you know that word you’re never quite sure you’ve spelt right? A lot of people have trouble with ‘occasion’ and I used to as well, but the single ‘s’ is easy to remember if you look at how that works in other English words, like erosion and fusion. The pronounciation of these is quite different in words with a double ‘ss’. such as passion, hessian and mission. The sound of the double ss is different to the sound of the single s and the vowel before the single s is pronounced differently to the vowel before a double s. It’s a long vowel sound, rather than a short one. I don’t know every word in the dictionary but I can’t think of any that don’t follow this pattern. It’s not easy to explain but if you say the words aloud you’ll understand what I’m trying to get across. Just remember occasion/erosion and don’t be taken in by that double c!

https://www.facebook.com/editingindies

My books are available on Amazon as PODs and ebooks.

https://www.amazon.com/Christine-Gardner/e/B00AY80A08

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Christine-Gardner/e/B00AY80A08

My ebooks are also available on most digital shopfronts, including Apple, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and others:

https://books2read.com/ap/nElAjR/Christine-Gardner

 


Leave a comment

Sharing Previews

I’ve just found out I can share previews of all my books on Amazon. I have no idea how long this has been available but it seems like quite a good idea. The only one I’ve tried so far allowed a free read to well into the fourth chapter so readers should have a pretty good idea by then if they want to buy the book and read the rest. Or if it’s more suitable for their mother for Mothers Day, or their teenager. I’m going to attempt to list all my books here with the links to FREE previews.

STONY CREEK

THE ROAD TO KARINYA

RED WINE AND SUMMER STORMS

THE GIRL WHO LIVED UNDERGROUND

THE LETTER 

HER FLESH AND BLOOD 

THE INHERITANCE

NOT GUILTY

RUNT OF THE LITTER

WONDERLAND

BEAST OF WAR

DARK INNOCENCE

Maybe not all then, but if anyone wants a preview of any of the others I’m happy to provide one. Happy Mothers’ day!

                                                                                                                                                     


Leave a comment

Finding Lost Books and other friends

Do you have a book that you’ll never forget but you can’t remember the name of it, or the author? I like to try new (to me) authors and different types of books and those that have stuck in my mind tend to be by authors I haven’t read before. One that I only remember a little of was about people travelling to another planet by hot air balloon–I know, right? Sounds ridiculous but I enjoyed the weirdness, the fresh ideas of that book. I had no idea until yesterday even who the author was, since it was at least 2 decades ago that I read it.

I love Google and look up all sorts of things so I tried a pretty random search for a book ‘about people travelling to a different planet on a balloon’, without much hope, and found it! https://biginjapangrayman.wordpress.com/2017/09/26/the-ragged-astronauts-1986-by-bob-shaw/  Apparently I have quite good taste as it won an award and he was quite a prolific author. It’s probably one of those books that people either love or hate and I wouldn’t read it again because I might hate it now. I just really appreciate writers who can come up with bizarre ideas and somehow make them work.

Another book I loved years ago, for the same reason, and wouldn’t read again, for the same reason, is The Watcher. The name, strangely enough, popped back into my head a few years ago and that made it easier to find, although it’s not the only book by that title. It’s too weird to describe but well worth a read if you like horror/fantasy/psychological thrillers. https://www.amazon.com.au/Watcher-Charles-MacLean-ebook/dp/B006C3Q13O

There’s another book stuck in my head, something about people living on the edge of a chasm, but I can’t find it. There’s a number of books with Chasm in the title but I don’t remember enough about it–it may not even have that in its title.

I’ve also found, not on Google, but on Facebook, two people, one a cousin and one a friend, I haven’t seen in over 40 years, so the internet’s working well for me!

When I’m not on Facebook or Google, or learning French on Duolingo, or writing, I like making new covers for my books. Here’s the latest. You can find all my books on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Christine-Gardner/e/B00AY80A08herfleshandblood

 


1 Comment

Building Your Own Book Covers

If you’re an indie author you’ll know how important covers are and how expensive they can be. I’m a stingy indie author and a control freak so I like to do as much as possible myself. I also quite enjoy working with pretty pictures and I do have some background in art and design.

The most annoying thing about POD covers with Createspace has been the difficulty I’ve had in fitting the text into their requirements in the cover creator.  It always seems a bit squashed into the middle to me and when I had someone from fiverr do the text for my last book, The Letter, I was amazed at how close to the edges they were able to get away with. Passed through the system no problems and it’s beautiful! My artist daughter-in-law did the rest of the cover and I couldn’t be more pleased.

But–I wanted to go back and re-do some of the covers I was never completely happy with–they look fine as ebooks but the text on the PODs was a bit meh. Every now and then I’d have a look at different types of software that would enable me to use the Createspace template and I eventually downloaded GIMP. It sat on my computer and I stared at it for months. Well, not all the time. Every now and then I’d open it and try to make sense of it. I looked at youtube instructions and although I refused to admit it, I pretty much gave up. I’m one of those people who needs someone right beside me to take me through it one step at a time and if I’d known of a local class I’d have gone.

Fortunately I have five sons and one of them happens to know how GIMP works–unfortunately he doesn’t live nearby, but he spent 15 minutes with me and GIMP on his last visit and I’ve been working through it for a few weeks now. It’s not easy and I’ve made mistakes but learnt from them and refused to give up, so now I’d like to show off my new covers for my Red Dust Series. Stony Creek, by the way, is still free for Kindle, new cover and all! Check them out on my Amazon page.