A Village Is Blind Under The Stars

My father, who enjoys messing around with brushes and colours, made this painting of a scene from my book Emma’s Story:

A single light burns at the top of the hill.
A village is blind under the stars.

The cover image of Emma’s Story was painted by a friend of mine. You can read more about it here.

After I got the cover and showed it off, it struck me that it would be fun to have some more images from the story to share. It’d also be really fascinating to see how others imagined it.

I’m not sure how many of my friends who read the book are into painting, but I know my dad is (he counts as a friend too), so I asked him. Turns out he was more than happy to help out, and you can see the result above.

What amazed me was that I was able to tell right away which scene it was he’d painted. All of the details add up, and it’s actually really close to how I imagined it myself. Most likely this is what I’ll see next time I read that part.

I hope those of you who’ve already read it will be able to recognize the scene though, but perhaps the caption gave it away?

The scene is from very near the end of the book, so to avoid giving away any spoilers I won’t be going into details about it – other than what you can see for yourself.

In other news, I’ve brought the price of the ebook version of Emma’s Story up to the full retail price ($2.99, £2.49, €2.99)  instead of the cheaper launch price. Sales dropped off after the first week, and I figured everyone I know who wanted the book would have gotten it by now.

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It’s cheaper than a coffee and a brownie too.

I’m unlikely to do any more promotion of the book for the time being, and anyone who finds it will have heard about it through word of mouth. My thinking is that if you get a recommendation from someone you probably won’t be too fussed about whether the book is 0.99 or 2.99.

Sure, it’s three times the price, but it’s still cheaper than a pint of beer, and it’ll take you longer to read – and hopefully it’ll bring you more enjoyment too.

A Village Is Blind Under The Stars

Special Book Offer – For Locals

If you’re in Cork, Ireland, I would recommend stepping into Alchemy Coffee & Books on Barrack Street to check out this fine offer:

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Unfortunately, they’re out of brownies, but I didn’t know that when I made the sign. There’s plenty of other good stuff though.

Alchemy is the place where I wrote almost the entire first draft of Emma’s Story. I went there after work, and I went there during my weekends. I used to sit on one of the bar stools over by the window to the coal yard and write, with my laptop on the shelf and with a coffee and a brownie next to it.

It’s how the story got done.

Sure, I might have done some writing at home, and perhaps in a pub once in a while, but it’s writing in the window at Alchemy that I remember. They’ve moved the bar stools now, and put two small tables and chairs in their place. Better use of space like that. It gets crowded enough in here as it is anyway,

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I need to take more time and be less self-conscious about taking pictures in public. This one got a bit rushed and the sign is out of focus a bit.

I’m very happy to have been able to work out this deal with the staff here. I consider them friends of mine, and they always seem happy to see me. Sometimes I get a free coffee.

I don’t know that I’ll make a killing selling books at the local coffee shop, but it’s a fun little gimmick, and it’s getting me some good attention. That’s the main thing for now I think. If I’d had sequels lined up to release I’d have put more effort into promoting the book and trying a little harder to sell it.

There’s no follow-up though, and my series I’m working on won’t launch until early July. For now, this is mainly just for fun, and to try and learn a bit about self-publishing. In that regard it’s working out great, and I believe I’ll feel a lot more confident once my new stories are due for release.

That said, if you want to have a closer look at the book, you’ll find it here. Also, since sales on the book have dropped off I’ll be raising the price to 2.99 tomorrow morning. I won’t be doing any more promotion for it in a while, and as such people will mainly only find it through word of mouth.

Special Book Offer – For Locals

Book In Hand

Just a quick post to show off that the print copies of my book I ordered finally arrived:

I’ve seen pictures of the book myself, and I received a proof copy shortly after the paperback first went live, but this is the first time I hold the finished book in my hand.

It feels pretty good.

A few of these will go to my friend who painted the cover. I’ll keep one for myself, and the rest will probably be sold at the cafe where I wrote the book. I even have a special deal worked out with the owner of the cafe, but I’ll show that off on Monday when I know for sure it’s all going through as planned.

EDIT: I’m apparently crap at self-promotion. Here’s the link to the book on Amazon: Emma’s Story.

Book In Hand

Poetry As Promotion

A while back I wrote a poem to go with my book Emma’s Story. As part of promoting the book I turned the poem into a slideshow and shared it on instagram (I even paid a few Euro to promote it). I’m quite happy with how it came out so I wanted to share it here too:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The poem tells of the events of the story from an outside perspective and from the angle we expect that kind of story to be told. Then, towards the end, it turns around and says that the story’s really told from a completely different point of view.

When I originally wrote the story, I didn’t want it to be a subversion of the traditional fairytale. I didn’t even think about it, and it wasn’t until after the second draft that I realised I had. That’s probably just as well. If I had actively tried to subvert the trope the story would have been very different. Most likely it would have been worse too.

Front Cover - OnlineNow it’s really just a story about a young woman facing a difficult decision, and not about a supporting character in someone else’s adventure.

However, from a certain point of view the story really is about the fair maiden that the hero wants to win the heart of. Only, it’s not really told as such, and if anyone tried to call Emma a fair maiden to her face she’d probably punch them…

In other news, I’m not getting rich, and I won’t be able to quit my day job anytime soon, but I have sold a few copies. It’s not enough to make back what I paid in advertising, but it’s more than enough to be encouraging.

I’m happy with how I’m doing, and I’ll do better next time.

Poetry As Promotion

It’s Alive!

My book (Emma’s Story) is now fully released. Yesterday the ebook version finally went live on Amazon. It can now be purchased for kindle, or read for free through Kindle Unlimited.

Before I tell you about it, I need to share this link with you though:

Free Kindle Books & Tips.

I’m featured on their list of New Releases for the weekend (even though the book isn’t actually free). My book is the second one in the list so it’s in a good spot for visitors to the site. Check it out, and have a look at the other new releases as well. The link to purchase the book is on that page (so I’m not including it here).

Now, about that release…

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Paper crane in a window covered by condensation.

The release was, I’m somewhat surprised to say, not that big of a deal. I expected I’d be a lot more nervous and that I’d be freaking out and refreshing the sales dashboard every thirty seconds to see if someone made a purchase. It didn’t happen like that at all.

Instead, everything just progressed much as expected. The book became available, and the pre-orders showed up as being delivered on the dashboard, and then two more sales showed up towards the end of the day.

It wasn’t quite an anti-climax, because this was what I’d reasonably expected. Sure, I’d hoped for miracles, but I haven’t really put in enough work for any of those to happen. Instead, everything just worked the way it was supposed to.

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This morning’s coffee. It is, unfortunately, gone now.

However, what turned out to be really nerve wracking was sending out my first ever newsletter. Through the free book giveaway I took part in during January I’d amassed a small number of subscribers, and now that my book was released I had to tell them about it.

That was scary.

I’ve never done anything like that before, and not only did I have to worry about promoting my work to strangers I’d never met, I also had to figure out how to make a newsletter.

Fortunately it wasn’t very complicated once I set my mind to it, but it took some tinkering before I got it right. Last I checked, no one had unsubscribed from the list, so I can’t have messed up that badly.

According to the mailer-report someone even clicked one of the links in the mail. :D

It’s Alive!

Someone’s writing in my book

This is it. Very plain and very simple.

A few years back I made a book that’s a collection of Valentine’s Day cards I’d created. I’ve not marketed it at all, and while it’s for sale it’s not something I ever expect to make any profit on. It’s purely a personal project that I’ve made available to the rest of the world in the hope someone might find it and enjoy it (info page here).

It makes for a great gift once in a while – someone I know gave a copy to a friend for a wedding. Stuff like that.

The layout of the book is very simple, with a little bit of text and a whole lot of empty white space. I have a few copies for sale at Alchemy where I go for coffee regularly, and one of these copies is for customers to write and draw in.

Compared to most other pages in the book, this one has a lot of text on it.

I rarely see it happen. It’s been ages since I saw someone even just pick it up to look at. Still, over the years that copy has filled up with scribbles and drawings and notes from people stopping by at the cafe.

Sometimes I have a look through it myself just to see if something new has been added. I think pretty much every single page has had something drawn or written on it now.

And then, this very morning, when I step in to the cafe someone’s sitting there right next to the door drawing in my book. It’s a strange and wonderful feeling. I didn’t expect it at all, and it really made my morning.

I didn’t talk to the person, as I don’t want to ruin their moment, but I can’t help but glance over once in a while. I try not to, because I feel a bit like a creepy stalker when spying on people, but at the same time it’s difficult not to.

I hope they’re enjoying my book.

Also, as I’m previewing this post to make sure the writing is passable, I notice the person on the table next to mine has picked up one of the other copies of the book – one not for writing in. They flip through a few of the pages and then put it back.

It’s not for everyone.

Someone’s writing in my book

My Book is Done

Front Cover - OnlineTo be honest, the book’s been done-ish for a while now, and the paperback version has been available for purchase for over a week. However, it’s not until last night that I uploaded the last and final version of the book, both for the ebook and paperback versions.

I sent out print copies of my book to friends, family, and beta readers. When my friend D got hers she tore into it with a vengeance, and she discovered plenty of things I’d missed. I thought my sister had caught it all when she sent me a list of well over forty different things she wanted me to consider.

Turns out that wasn’t all of it.

D identified an issue with my comma usage that both I and my sister had missed. She also located all instances where I’d got my commas wrong throughout the entire story. That’s a whole lot of work, and I’m both impressed and grateful.

I’d have been happy releasing the book in the state it was in, but now that I got these issues pointed out I went ahead and changed most of them. In a handful of places I kept the incorrect punctuation for artistic reasons.

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This picture is just here to add some life to the page. It’s got nothing to do with my book.

There were other issues as well, but I won’t bore you with the details. The main point is that I’ve now fixed or considered all of the errors that were pointed out to me, and that I’ve uploaded the final version of the story.

Then, once that was done and the paperback version had cleared the review, I uploaded it again because of a typography error on one of the first pages.

That’s the last of it though. This time I really believe I won’t be making any more changes to the book. I may change the category keywords or the blurb, but that’s another matter.

The final (!) version of the book can be found on Amazon here (US) and here (UK)

My Book is Done