Monday, 25 March 2013

Conversing with the British Library

As we all know in the self-publishing world physical copies of our work are really a vanity side of our hard labour. We are not likely to sell many paperbacks, with some authors selling 100 e-books for every paperback sale. That isn’t a lot. But despite the dismal sales of paperbacks, if you sell in the UK you are required to submit a free copy to the British Library for their records, called the Legal Deposit. This is a legal requirement. Or is it?

For starters let me explain what happened. I was reviewing my proof of my new release “Ghost Haunts” when someone reminded me of my legal obligation. And when I say reminded, I mean informed. I immediately went into detective mode to find out exactly what I had to do, when I found something interesting.

The legal requirement comes from the Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003. The act is fairly straightforward, but it is the wording in the act that got me thinking.

For instance the wording says it is the legal requirement for the publisher and distributor to provide the copy – not the author. Some people may think what is the difference with a self publishing author? But I got my ISBN from Createspace and the ISBN labels them as the publisher, not me. Also Createspace act as the distributor. So technically, under the legal description in these circumstances, I was not obliged to provide a copy to the British Library.

But I wasn’t content with my own reading of the act – I needed more information. So where did I go? Where else but the British Library deposit team!

So I called them and spoke to a very nice lady who said that it is indeed a very grey area and she wasn’t entirely sure, so she would call me back after speaking with her manager.

Within thirty minutes her manager called me back. She was also very nice and this is where I got some very interesting information. After explaining the situation and said I was unsure on whose responsibility it was to provide a copy. She stated it was a legal requirement to provide a copy within 1 month of publication to the British library and a copy each to the other five institutions that keep copies; within 1 year. That’s six copies! But, she relented and said that as the ISBN was provided by Createspace and they were technically the publisher on record, and they were also the only ones distributing – I was not required to provide a copy. And neither was Createspace as they are an American based company.

They were a little disappointed and said that they would still really like a copy of my book if I would be willing to provide it. So, feeling slightly sorry for them I spoke to them about the benefits of being part of the records. And to be honest it isn’t a great deal. Essentially if you place your book in the archive anyone can go in and read your book (but not borrow it) and some bookstores use the catalogue they compile from the records to order copies.

But then came the bombshell I was not expecting. The legislation is changing as of...

6th April 2013!

That’s right; it’s not long until the legal requirement for authors publishing in the UK changes. And this one, in my opinion, is big!

From the 6th of April, all books sold in the UK, whether digital, physical or both will have to be deposited with the British Library by the publisher. Now you may assume that makes no difference, but technically in e-book form, I am the publisher – not Amazon. So I would have to submit my book for the British Library records. But when I asked for more details about this, the manager couldn’t help me any further saying there has been a new department set up to handle this and she had no idea about it. So I thanked her and took a breather.

Then I searched the internet for the number for the other department. I found it pretty easy, and immediately gave them a call. There I spoke to a nice gentleman who was one of the team implementing and managing the new digital archive.

From my conversation with him I could ascertain a number of things. Firstly the legislation will take effect from the 6th April 2013. After that date the preferred (notice the term preferred) method of submission to the Legal Deposit will be digital copies of any e-book that is sold in the UK for small to medium publishers; that includes self publishers, but not anyone who traditionally publishes with a large publisher. Much in the way which the copy is used will stay the same. The method of delivery will be done by an online portal (easier submission for authors and less costly) which they were just testing when I phoned.

I was also able to learn that a similar scheme was used in New Zealand, where it worked well. However traffic was apparently low.

At the end of the conversation I thanked the gentleman nicely for his information and hung up the phone realising that in a few short days – I will be obliged to provide a digital copy of my book.

What are your thoughts on the changes?

Of course my conversations with these individuals should not considered legal advice and you should gain your own in these matters. I am merely providing a summary of my conversations today. I have not mentioned any names as neither provided permission for me to share them (although both were informed I would write a blog post on this) – for the record I didn’t ask them for permission.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Three Author Promotion Websites to Look out for

We all know that marketing is one of the problems in which most authors, whether traditionally or self published, struggle with. What works for some authors, doesn’t seem to have any positive effects for another which makes it tough for authors to decide what avenues to pour their valuable time into. Add on to all the existing methods, new websites for promoting author’s hard work are opening all the time. Some will say that this can only benefit authors, but readers only have a limited number of hours per day to read. With limited time and readers divided between numerous sites, spending your time on the right site is so very important.
So what I wanted to do was to introduce three up and coming sites in which authors may not know of, but in my mind may help the author out in the future to gain valuable reader’s time. What’s great about these sites; they don’t care if you are a best seller, they are there to promote you.

A lot of authors will probably know of this website, but in my mind it is still growing and is nowhere near the size of Goodreads or other social media – yet.

Authors Database is a huge database of authors from just about every genre. The author can create and edit a listing of their own and that listing can contain just about anything you could want to know about them. A personal bio, websites, blogs, facebook, twitter, linkedin, Goodreads, Google+ and a list of your books with a choice of their reviews really gives authors the chance to show off their best and connect with readers. But authors have the option of adding multiple media including photos and videos which can really set up a unique listing that can catch the reader’s attention.

Every week the website does a list of featured authors that are randomly selected and a special Author Spotlight which again is randomly selected; thus giving authors a chance of precious exposure to readers at any time. However with so many authors on the list, feature time will probably be few and far between. Yet the biggest advantage of the website is the number of links that it adds to your social media, making it easier for readers to find you when they are doing an internet search for your name. If you are pretty good at meta data this site could be gold for you.

The power of this website has certainly been demonstrated to me. When I recently added myself to their listed almost 10% of my blog traffic came from this website.

The Electronic Text and Literary Cloud

This is a very young site and is still in the beta stages at the moment, yet it could be a great asset for authors to list their books and readers to find their next great read. When I contacted the eTLC about doing this feature they sent me this blurb for their website.

The Electronic Text and Literature Cloud (eTLC) was established to help readers discover Indie authors. The majority of writing on this cloud is available in a digitalized format, which provides Indies with a viable medium to post their work. Our focus is self-published material since we believe it remains closer to the "vision" of the writer than work reshaped by publishers with "elusive" marketing goals. 
Currently, 325 works are posted on eTLC.  Fiction and nonfiction titles are separated into eighteen categories.  In addition to novel-length works, we welcome short stories and poetry.  All postings include cover art, product descriptions, and links to bookstores.  Most postings include links to the websites and/or the social-networking sites of the authors, and one or more book reviews.  In addition, more than half of the listings include sample chapters.

With the scope of information, the addition of sample chapters and good connectivity to your books across all sale platforms and to your own blogs, this site has the potential to develop into a good catalog for readers to use.


As regular readers will know; I’ve done a couple of blog posts on Bublish. One was way back in September 2012 the other was in February when I went through their bubble creation process. I won’t go over those points again. This time I come back to view how I think it has done on my exposure. Well to be honest, I know my name has been thrown out a few times by the Bublish team that has gained me huge exposure. Each week Bublish tweets a line from my bubbles with links back to the excerpt and once a week I can find myself on their floating bookstore. That on its own is a great way to gain exposure.

However Bublish do weekly author interviews on twitter, something which I have not yet participated in, but have watched /read several of them and on a Friday they do a surprise feature on one of their authors. Both of these events are great for authors to interact with their readers – which is key for authors to gain a good fan base.

When you combine all the efforts that they do to promote you and the fact that they are only in their beta stages, Bublish has the potential to grow your fan base exponentially if used right by the author. For readers this is great for finding the next great author. Not only do you get to "try before you buy" but they can interact with the authors that has been rare before.

Do you have any other sites that are good for finding a good author? Have you got any experience with these sites? Leave your comments below.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Review: Troll or Derby by Red Tash

Story Overview:

Fifteen-year-old Roller Deb is singled out by town bullies for both her skates, and for being different. When her popular sister is kidnapped by a local drug dealer, Deb must flee the trailer park in which she's grown up, and rescue her. Along the way, Deb becomes enmeshed in the magical realm of trolls and fairies, and the blood-thirsty version of roller derby at which these beings excel. But spending too much time among the fairies comes with a price.
Cover Page: 15/20

While I look at the cover I tend to be in two minds. It is simple in its design with a rather enigmatic character looking out at the reader. Both of which can entice many a customer, but with the title being Troll or Derby, I don’t see the connection between fairy on the front cover, the title of the book or the genre as such (although I have never seen fairies as dark fantasy myself so probably my imagination). Also the cover looks out of proportions to the book, which can detract from overall look. However all things considered I think the simplicity, the writing and the character really excel this cover.

Character (and their development): 15/20

The characters in this story are well throughout and interesting enough to follow throughout the book without wishing for a larger assembled cast. My main problem is that the two main characters are very much alike and if you read one chapter and then another without the helpful chapter title telling you who was talking, you might get a little confused on who was talking. But the development which happens within the book was brilliant and I like the idea that the characters have been well established in their communities before and everything has a connection.

Storyline: 18/20

The storyline is face paced, exhilarating and interesting to say the least. There are twists, turns and surprises and each character has their own personal goals which make the story flow brilliantly. But what I would say is that there was little time for ‘breathing’ in the book and that pace needed to have a little rest from time to time, if only to give other areas more impact.

Style: 12/20

As some people know, I am not a fan of 1st person. I find the concept to be difficult for anything other short stories. However in this piece the 1st person works well because we see the perspective from two different angels, both in 1st person. However what I did not like this time round was the idea that we were seeing the same events twice. Once from one character, the second time from another character. Each character may have had something different to say about each part of the story. But at the same time it was necessary through most of the book.

Also something else that I picked up on was some historical inaccuracies. There was a moment in the book when the author commented on something being like World War 2 Jet fighters. I am pretty sure that Germany were only just developing jet engines at the end of the war and were never fully able to produce a squadron and Britain and the USA didn’t employ them. Please do correct me if I am wrong, I love finding out new stuff, but I have never actually heard of them used in combat during World War 2.

Spelling and Grammar: 18/20

Spelling and grammar were not bad. The odd mistake here or there, which to be honest was no more or less than any traditionally published author’s books of about this size.

Conclusion: 78/100

A book that is well worth a read for horror and dark fantasy fans; or for those readers who like a fast paced novel with plenty of description. But readers with tastes away from fairies, trolls and those who may take offence at violence and drug use (although the latter definitely seen in a negative view within the book) should think twice.

Buy Troll or Derby from:

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Why Free E-book Readers Shouldn’t be Feared by Authors Excerpt

A second guest post done by me today:

A few months ago I read an article about the cheapestE-reader to enter the market. At the time many articles were flying around like this, and the news was strife on author facebook groups. What astonished me was the sheer number of authors opposed to this. I for one welcome the idea for consumers to gain access to free e-readers. For those who think I am crazy I implore those of you to keep reading in order to see why I am suggesting this.

We all know that there are three styles of books; hardcover, paperback or digital. Hardbacks are the most expensive ((AU)$30) while digital are generally the cheapest((AU)$15). However a kindle can be a significant investment at about (AU)$119. I’ve heard of some people complain that a kindle can only last about a year, however I’ll assume that it lasts for about 2 years. That means without buying any books, an e-reader costs approximately (AU)$60 a year; the value of two to three physical books.

Full article here

The Author's Guide to SMART excerpt by D J Lowbridge

Latest guest post by David Lowbridge over on Novel Publicity.

When I talk about being SMART, I am not talking about the actual intelligence of an author. I am talking about the acumen SMART (Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic Timely). Some people would like to think when they write that they will accomplish great goals set in their head: to be a bestseller or to create a kick-ass book. But in reality are either of those targets useful?

What is a kick-ass book; one that you like or your family likes or 100 million readers like? What about being a bestseller—where is the line that divides a mid-list or not-even-on-the-list author from the bestseller? Neither of those goals have defining, measurable borders. And when would you like to complete those tasks by: Christmas, next Christmas, your 100th birthday?

By setting goals with the following criteria you’ll be able to create better, more realistic goals for both your writing and any marketing you would like to do.

Full article here

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Please take a seat, pour yourself your favourite beverage and have a read of some of our reviews. We cover Science Fiction, Fantasy and Paranormal and have something for everyone.

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