Chris Gardner

The joys of self-publishing.


12 Comments

Problems with Smashwords! Amazon’s looking easy.

I’m in the process of publishing all my books on Smashwords, one at a time, as their KDP Select runs out on Amazon. I knew I was up for some re-formatting but some were already on there–I’d just archived them and only had to open them up again. Easy, right? Ha! If there’s one thing I’ve learnt about self-publishing, nothing is easy!Stony_Creek_Cover_for_Kindle

It may be something to do with Apple, which apparently is where we all want to be published. Something about their requirements with TOCs or whatever. Blah blah blah. I might just forget about it all for a while. Is it a waste of time? Time I could, maybe should, be spending writing? I’ve had very few sales on any of my Smashwords stuff and the same books sell pretty well on Amazon but I like the idea of having them available everywhere. I suppose I’ll figure it out eventually. Feels a bit like housework now. Something that needs to be done and I might feel a sense of achievement when it is finally finished, but then I’ll just have to do it all over again the next time and if no-one sees it is there any point?

We’re in for a week in the high 30s to low to mid 40s Celsius, about 102 to 109 F for those of you who don’t speak Celsius. It’ll be horrible but we do have an air-conditioner so I can’t complain too much. I plan to spend most of the week in the lounge room, hopefully writing, not torturing myself with Smashwords. I’ll have to get that done though–having anything half-done gnaws away at me and I cannot forget about it. Of course I also have two stories under way as well which are nagging me a bit. Quite a bit.

I’m well aware of the horrible weather some of you in the US and UK have been enduring, with ice and floods, so sorry to be whining about a bit of heat. I hope things are improving for you if you’re in an affected area.

I hope to have my book, Her Flesh and Blood, up next week. It’s a fiction story based on a murder trial in Australia, in 1910, and I enjoyed writing it. I also enjoyed writing Stony Creek, which is an outback romance I published a few weeks ago. It’s doing quite well, so thanks to you if you’ve read it.


1 Comment

Free Books

I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions but I am trying to get organised this year. I’ve decided to gradually move all my books over to Smashwords, not instead of Amazon, but as well as. Although I’m not entirely sure there’s any real advantage in doing so, because my sales on Amazon far outweigh those on Smashwords, since I don’t want to use Amazon’s KDP Select (which requires exclusivity) forever, my books may as well be on both.

One thing I like about Smashwords is that I’m able to make books free if and when I want to and I’ve made ‘What Did You Say?’ free there permanently. It’s not a great tome and certainly isn’t a comprehensive guide to all the vagaries of the English language. Rather it’s a little help for some of the most common errors people make in everyday life–like misuse of that pesky apostrophe, for example. I’ve included, where I can, ideas to help remember when and where to use an apostrophe, as well as why. Many people seem to have a problem with ‘their’, ‘they’re’ and ‘there’ as well and I suggest ways to help you remember when to use which, as well as some other common mistakes. If you read ‘What Did You Say?’ and like it a review would be much appreciated.

I also have my children’s book, ‘Last Chance‘ free on Amazon right now, from the 3rd January to the 7th, for the last time. I’ll be moving it across to Smashwords later this month and it’ll be the same price there as Amazon, 99c. Children who are good readers from 9 or 10 should enjoy this; it’s a futuristic tale and starts off a bit grim but has a happy ending and won’t take long for you to read yourself if you have any doubts about its suitability for your child. I’d love a child’s opinion on it–my readers all seem to be adults, judging by the reviews.

Not Guilty‘ is on a 40 hour Countdown deal starting tomorrow, 4th January, at 99c. I’m not sure yet what my plan for this one is. It’s non-fiction–an horrific story about a mother who brutally murdered her own children and it’s also my most successful book on Amazon. I definitely won’t be putting it up free again but I’ll see how this promotion goes before I decide whether to add it to Smashwords.

Well that’s my plans for the first month of 2014–oh I’m also working on ‘Her Flesh and Blood’, which should be up this month, and am hoping to get back to another story I started last year. That’ll be after I finish a longish short story I’m co-authoring with another writer, So, busy times ahead.

I hope you all had a good new year (my New Year’s Eve consisted of watching fireworks on TV–ho hum) and all the best for 2014.


7 Comments

Back to Smashwords

I’ve decided to re-publish some of my books with Smashwords, just to see how they go. I like the idea of having more options and not being locked into Amazon’s rules, although one of my major reasons was that Smashwords allowed the use of various reading devices, like smartphones, while Amazon ebooks only worked on kindles. I’m pleased to see they’ve changed that and you can now download kindle books to any kind of reader. There’s a link at Amazon to do that and it’s free so if you thought you had to buy a kindle to read Amazon ebooks, that’s no longer the case. Good news.

Anyway, another reason I had was that I wanted to make my little ebook on grammar, spelling and punctuation, ‘What Did You Say?’ free all the time and Amazon doesn’t give me that option.  I wrote this one, not as a comprehensive teaching tool, but as a collection of useful tips about common errors people make that some of us find very annoying. Grocer’s apostrophes for example. Grocers who put signs out the front of their shops advertising ‘Tomatoe’s and Potatoe’s’. Sign-writers are pretty good at that too, only they do it in much bigger print. Have a look and feel free to share ‘What Did You Say?’ with all your friends. I also have a brief interview on Smashwords at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ChristineGardner

I have a free book on Amazon, from the 5th to the 9th of November, called ‘Beast of War‘, a fantasy for kids. This is one of my favourites–I really enjoyed writing it and was kind of sad when I’d finished. I even had a sequel in mind but it’s hard to find a market for kids’ books. If you know anyone between the age of 9 and 13 I’d love their opinion on Beast. Or yours.

One of the best things about self-publishing is that you can edit even after your book’s published–or is that not a good thing? Debatable, I suppose. I have no desire to keep editing the same book for the rest of my life! I have been doing a bit of editing though, on my true crime, ‘Not Guilty’ and I decided to play around with the cover as well. I only meant maybe a change in the background colour really but I kept playing with it until I lost the original cover and, more importantly, the photo on it. One would think I had a copy somewhere but the only one I can find is too small to use. I suspect my computer holds lots of secrets, as does my house, of missing bits and pieces, never again to see the light of day.

I decided then to do something different–I have some rather nice photos of a certain place where my protagonist spent some months, under lock and key, after her crime, and I thought one of those might make a nice cover. Much to my surprise I was denied permission to use them (my own photos) as the organization didn’t like the association. Now I’m waiting to see if I can get permission to use a photo of the courthouse where she was tried. Hopefully they’ll be more accommodating. If not, I’ve found a rather good on-line site for free pictures http://www.morguefile.com/archive and there’s one there that will do. Most such sites seem too difficult and have all kinds of conditions attached but this one’s good.

Happy reading.