The Starguard News





The Starguard News

The rest of April's news

by ray burke on 05/30/16

Apr 26th

The Starguards is available from Blackwells! http://bookshop.blackwell.co.uk/jsp/id/The_Starguards_of_Humans_Heroes_and_Demigods/9780992890605. Why don't I get emails from these guys... good though 

The book's now available on 30 platforms around the world!

 

 

 

Then there was the latest rejection from publishers Gollancz, but had a nice personal hand-written note from the editor, whom I had met at an event. Makes it worth it. Next!

 

 

 

 

Book Promo

by ray burke on 04/18/16

So, a bit of a book promo here. Running up to the London Book Fair, The Starguards was on Amazon, Kindle, Kobo, Nook, Barnes and Noble, Waterstones online, Sainsburys online and Goodreads. Now after LBF16, I'm on Smashwords (thanks Jon-Jon), iBooks, BookBub, and Scribd and working on Wattpad. Plus whatever worldwide independent sites CreateSpace and LightningSource have placed the book on and looking for more. And I even had my first sales on Smashwords hours after uploading it. So thanks to whoever brought it. The Starguards is now on these sites at new competitive prices.

For CreateSpace (owned by Amazon) they have a lukewarm relationship with other publishers so they list the LightningSource 2nd edition as 'not in stock' but it is. They just want you to buy Amazon's older version! So in the near future I'll be updating the CreateSpace version to be inline with LightingSource's updated version (which has the purplish cover with the swirly vortex on front). So all of you with the old blue CreateSpace cover you will have a 'limited edition' book smile emoticon

My Twitter following has never been large, but in the past 5 days followers have doubled and no doubt it will grow, even if not in the 100s or 1000s, it all helps. So if you can have a gander follow me at @thestarguards ?#thestarguards?. And please, please, please when you read the book post a review - that drives book site ranking algorithms as much as sales.

I'm also looking forward to joining The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) in the near future. And most of all, catching up with all the new friends I made in 3 days, but also thanking you all for your support.

I'll shut up now :-)

London Book Fair - Day 3

by ray burke on 04/18/16

 

Day 3 - Thursday April 14h


So, the last day of the Fair. I got in later than I wanted and just made it to the seminar below. Today was a day to mingle, chat, and learn. But it ended so much better...



12:45 - Author Collectives


Philip Jones (Editor of The Bookseller) chaired this meeting with Jill Marsh of Triskele Books http://www.triskelebooks.co.uk/, Melanie McGrath from Killer Women http://www.killerwomen.org/, and Mary Hoffman from The History Girls blog http://the-history-girls.blogspot.co.uk/.


These days, to protect and promote themselves in the publishing industry, authors are clubbing together to form collectives. Who are they and what do they do? Do they work and would you join one? And what are the advantages and disadvantages?


Jill Marsh explained Triskele Books as a writers' collective of stories, places and times. They are a small publisher with 5 people spread between the UK, France and Switzerland. They were looking for a 3rd way between normal stand alone self-publishing and traditional publishing where they would have creative control and flexibility in their business. Since 2011 they have published 21 books in five genres.


They based Triskele on 5 basic principles: Professional presentation, strong writing, strong sense of place, ethical operations, and supporting other authors. They run an independent author fair and a magazine (Words with Jam http://www.wordswithjam.co.uk/), have a book review site, edit each others' works, and run a mentoring programme.


In a collective they can share their skills (editing, design, blogging, etc), monitor the book market, raise their game in the industry by collating writing courses, promote their books, create a strong brand identity, and share expenses allowing for bigger events like launch parties. This they called the Triskele Trail. They all have to approve the business agenda (which can be a bit of a headache), but they have common ownership of their brand, while authors have their own rights.


The History Girls is a historical fiction group blog started in 2011. It has around 28 members (with some men as guest bloggers) and is mostly adult fiction with room for some YA. The History Girls was created to improve the status of historical fiction, to stimulate interest in history and raise awareness of historical fiction. Bascially they want to create a definitive historical fiction brand - all in the face of 'sniffy historical experts' looking down on them - David Starkey was mentioned!! The members are all traditionally-published authors forming an online community. They have published an anthology of stories in 'The Daughters of Time' http://www.templarco.co.uk/fiction/mary_hoffman.html and Mary has also created Grey Stone Press http://www.thebookseller.com/tags-bookseller/greystone-press.


Melanie McGrath's Killer Women is a group of all-female crime writers, one of the biggest growing writer trends. They wanted an 'authoritative and safe platform' for women to be able to have the tools to publish themselves. Also, as an author Melanie has seen the industry change where authors and readers want different types of launch events. Thus they have held Killer Women cocktails and Killer Women salon events, murder mystery parties, crime panels, and hosting special guests like forensic experts.


They all saw Author Collectives as being more informal than the other groups, associations, and publishers. Author Collectives are still rather new concepts, but are more supportive, social, better representative of their members, have tighter financial management (in royalties, event expenses, membership fees, etc) and can essentially be Limited companies if planned and run properly.



14.00 - The Write Stuff

The Dragon's Den-type panel event returned with 6 authors pitching their books to literary agents with Tony Mulliken (Midas PR), Tim Bates (Pollinger), Sheila Crowley (Curtis Brown) and Ella Kahn (Diamond Kahn and Woods Literary Agency).


I wasn't going to go as I was jealous of those who got through... sniff, sniff, but I went to see what it was about :-P


So first up was a lady with her YA book about 2 kids (one from the rough side of tracks and the other a rich kid banding together to avert nuclear disaster)! Next, a gent on about Samuel Pepys' blog as he and his wife were somehow stranded in our time! Next came a bio of a real life female detective in the 1940s (didn't catch the name). She was followed by a former RAF pilot with his video intro, a series of already-published books and a new one about a pilot out to save the world. He was looking for his wingman agent. Next was a young woman (former armed forces) with her book 'Not My Soldier'. She had bascially lived the life of her characters and had practically had the panel in tears (as they related after having read her 3 chapters). And lastly, the poor young chap who had to follow her with his YA contemporary techno/sci-fi/magic world tale.


Though not my type of book, it was a no-brainer who had won. Natalie Hart and her soldier story - look out for her name. And she chose Sheila Crowley as her agent. Natalie also had a great story to tell when she introduced her elderly male friend in the audience. She used to work in his book shop when she was 13 and she told him not to retire or close the shop until she had a book on his shelf. He is now 80! Good on them!


So after that David Perlmutter and I met up and had a wander around. We met author Nick Sheridan (The Wrong Ghost). Then Dave had some meetings so I continued alone and came across Jon-Jon Jones. I had seen Jon-Jon around as he had been wearing an 'Aaron the Alien' t-shirt and I had wanted to ask him about it. So, I approached him and he seemed surprised that I recognised him as he wasn't wearing the t-shirt then. We chatted and I learned that Aaron the Alien was his first book, a children/adult sci-fi book set on the planet Bejjerwejjertejnej! His second book is 'Tiger! Tiger! Tiger!' an adult adventure with a safari gone wrong! http://www.jon-jon.co.uk/ - Watch his book trailer!! It's Clawsome! He also told me about Smashwords, which I had heard of but not looked at or used. I would take it into consideration.


We went walking taking pictures inside The Club at The Ivy and in Author HQ, my artful reposed pic taken by Reedsy (www.reedsy.com) co-founder Ricardo Fayet, who gave me a bit of book and cover advice. We ran into David and found out that there was another after party happening at the Hand and Flower pub across from the conference centre, hosted by Orna Ross and ALLi http://allianceindependentauthors.org/ with an open bar paid for by Amazon! Jon-Jon introduced us to Australian Doctor Amanda Neill who writes medical books then it was upstairs to the event. There we saw author Stephen Marriott (Candyfloss Guitar) who we had met on Wednesday with his friend Safeena Chaudry of Novel London http://www.novellondon.co.uk/.


This was a heady event with loads of chat and meeting so many others in the mix that shamefully some peoples' names and books were forgotten :-( I did speak to Orna Ross and also the Amazon host (name forgotten though she was moving jobs within Amazon). But there were a few special memories. I met Debdatta Sahay (blogger, reviewer, publicist) known as DD and Saiswaroopa Iyer (author and columnist). Now it turned out they love sci-fi and DD is amazingly one of the top 100 reviewers on Amazon!!! Dave had the bright idea for me to give her one of my book copies I had - no brainer! So DD got a signed copy of my book right there and then. And as her name is Deb, like one of my characters, I signed it to the 'Real Deb'! I think she was very happy! I'll be looking out for her review soon. I should also have given the other copy of the book I had in my bag away free with so many industry people around. Oh well, missed opportunities.


Through Dave, I also met Finish author Helena Halme http://helenahalme.blogspot.co.uk/ and later crime novelist Lorna Dounaeva. I spoke to others including a real physcist there supporting his author wife. The finger food was great as well - best pulled pork mini-burgers. And then I had my video interview. Oh, yes, my video interview conducted by ALLi's Eugia(?). Hopefully the video or link will be out soon and I don't cringe when I see and hear myself talking about The Starguards...


As I had work the next day (boooo!) I had to leave around 8pm. But the memories will live with me for a long time and new friends we made. Can't wait until next year LBF17!

London Book Fair 2016 - Day 2

by ray burke on 04/18/16

 

Day 2 - Wednesday April 13th

So, while waiting for the first seminar, I sat down to read one of the free magazines. In it was an article about Scribd https://www.scribd.com/, the book subscription service. Think of it like a netflix or spotify but for books - your own personal digital library. Worth looking into as a reader and author.


I then talked to Mark Lefebvre from Kobo who had emailed me after we met with some advice. Most of it had to do with pricing and the platforms I was on. Even though the Starguards is a big book, as a first-time author and as a buying inducement, I should be charging less than what most genre books and established authors are. I have to interest people in buying the book to drive sales. When the 2nd book is out, the 1st book can be for free or discount and so on as the series builds. He then suggested I talk to the guys at Draft2Digital https://www.draft2digital.com/ Dan Wood, the director reiterated Mark's words. We exchanged cards and I had much thinking to do.


Before going into the seminar, I kindly asked an author to take my photo in front of the Author HQ banner. Thanks Jaq Hazell https://jaqhazell.com/.


13.45 - Is Self-Publishing Getting Onto the Next Level?

Diego Marano was the host from Kobo https://www.kobo.com/writinglife with Bookouture http://www.bookouture.com/ publisher Oliver Rhodes and author Kathryn Croft http://kathryncroft.com/.


Diego made a stunning comment that in talking to a tradititonal publisher they still saw self-publishing as the wild west with lone cowboys looking for the publishing gold mine!! This basically is the view of old dinosaur traditional publishers. They cannot see, relate to, or compete with the new business models of publishing, which offer good business models, are flexible and responsive, offering new opportunities to authors.


Bookouture sold 2.5m units last year. Their main USP over traditional publishers is to attract new distinctive authors through direct submissions and add value to them. Attention to detail is key. The self-publishing platform is used once the book is complete. The author gets daily data updates, can vary their price for different markets and make changes on the go for readers. It's the best of the traditional publisher in a digital publisher package concentrating on the digital market and fostering social media realtionships.


Kathryn had been weighing up selling through self-publishing or working with Bookouture. She chose the latter as Bookouture could then handle her PR/marketing and sales, allowing her the time to write. As a former teacher she considers herself a planner rather than a plunger! (i.e. she would have detailed plots rather than make it up as she went along). And the royalty balance was right for her so she didn't have to worry about other distractions. There were no upfront fees and authors receive 45% book royalties.


Bookouture search for new talent using a strong editorial team. They assess how will the book sell, what can be promoted? Is it a distinctive book or is it replaceable? Pricing depends on any prior sales, what the author's following is like, is it a series, what genre is it - all these options would require pricing data models and strategies.


15.45 - Sell More Books in More Formats, in More Territories, with the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi). http://allianceindependentauthors.org/


Orna Ross was the chairperson, an author and from ALLi, Toby Mundy is founder of TMA (Toby Mundy Associates) http://tma-agency.com/, Joanna Penn who we met yesterday http://www.thecreativepenn.com/ and author Mark Dawson http://www.selfpublishingformula.com/ known as the Facebook ads man.


Toby started off by describing self-publishing as full of talent, innovative, and a means of keeping production costs low. Traditional publishing was like a conveyor belt where quality suffered. They are more like a 'brand management system' churning out what they already know. There are more author rights in self-publishing when it comes to volume, sales, extracts, merchandising, films and translations, though the latter 2 are hard to come by and would require phenomenal book success.


Joanna is published in 5 different languages, but required agent Toby to handle the rights. It also is preferred to have a platform and a translator in that language who could also handle the social media and marketing in that language. Quote: "I plan on doing this for the next 50 years!" Joanna can see the value in different platforms including audio and gaming. Pre-ordering has also been made available to self-publishers on Kobo and iBooks http://www.apple.com/uk/ibooks/ where a click on pre-order counts as a sale (though not paid twice when ordered) which helps with book placement algorithms.


Mark specialises in Facebook subscribers with his website. He builds reader lists with their emails and/or sells his books directly to his readers. His ads target similar book readers and he can change the ads to suit different market and territories. Mail Chimp http://mailchimp.com/ would be one such site he used to generate his mail list.


When a question was raised about blogs and podcasts, there was a muted response. They all agreed podcasts were harder for fiction than non-fiction. They take a lot of work. However, audio podcast were better than video such as Podiobooks http://podiobooks.com/. Blogs are even harder for fiction writers as they take away from an author's writing time and so aren't worth it. Write and sell your books rather than talking about it. You have to have long-term ambitions - you are the creative director of your work. Make the most of it!


16.30 - After the seminar, I met author David Perlmutter http://www.davidpperlmutter.com/. We have a mutual author friend (among others), KJ Waters http://www.kjwaters.com/, who suggested we should meet up for the first time We got talking as David, along with a storied background, is also the writer of the My Way series of help books for indy authors. We chatted and he helped me to understand Twitter better, which as a twentieth-century caveman I had decided was not as useful as other sites, but a few hashtags and more new followers later, I was convinced and I wish hastag the s#it out of everything. David is currently writing his 4th My Way book, which may feature myself as one of his subjects. We also talked pricing, which I had mentioned before, and better marketing/PR strategies. I felt like I had talked to an agent!!


So after the seminars we decided to go for a drink; an 'after party' by the Publish Scotland http://www.publishingscotland.org/ area where we tasted some Arran Malt - a few times, and got chatting to others. I noticed a man with a goose foot and stone arrowhead around his neck. When I questioned him about them, he -Andrew Appleby http://skarabook.com/author-information/ - replied he had written a historical fiction about Neolithic life on Skara, in the Orkneys. Amazingly, it is also going to be turned into an opera! When I told him I had studied archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology at UCL, he replied he had given a lecture there and also was able to carry out some experimental archaeology firing pots, as it had been discovered that duck fat had been used to keep the pottery intact. Fascinating stuff. For my archaeology friends, check it out - the book and/or the duck fat ;-)


Meanwhile, David was talking to the students helping out at Publish Scotland, whether they were from Scotland, California, Germany, Preston or Blackburn. Travel author Stephen Marriott http://www.marriottsquest.com/home/ then joined us and we chatted about our experiences. Pics were taken and while David, Stephen and a few others went to the pub 'after after party' I had to return home and complete my homework for you! ;-)

The London Book Fair 2016

by ray burke on 04/18/16

The London Book Fair http://www.londonbookfair.co.uk/

April Tues 12th - Thurs 14th, 2016

Olympia Conference Centre


Author HQ Seminars
While I like the Author HQ seminars, in my second year there, the main issue is still noise and speakers not using their microphones properly. It's an open air' event without an enclosed room so there are lots of people milling around outside the barriers and a busy cafe around the corner so if the speaker's microphone wasn't at their mouth and if they spoke quiely to begin with then some of us at the back weren't ging to hear everything. So with that in mind, in my little summaries below, hopefully all the info I have conveyed is accurate and if not, the mistakes are mine... But by and large it was an enjoyable and informative experience. Each seminar lasted around 45 minutes including time for questions from the audience.


Between seminars I walked around taking pics and stopped in at SilverWood Books http://www.silverwoodbooks.co.uk/, who I think were quite helpful and may use as they also work with Ingram and also stopped by Matador Publishing http://www.troubador.co.uk/matador.asp. Both could be options for publishing the second book.


11.45 - The Publishing Landscape - Everything You Need to Know

Reeta Windsor from Nielsen Book Research and Nicola Solomon gave some fascinating info and numbers for authors. In all, publishing is up in all genres, especially self-publishing. That means both volume of books and the value of profit is up on the last 2 years. And while ebook price values have dropped, their volume sold have risen - up to $73m versus $20m in 2015. Vlogging and video sharing about books have also risen. Quote of the seminar: 'Metadata - the most important self-publishing tool you have never heard of!' ['self' was crossed through]. This relates to browsing habits and the key words and metadata an author enters into their information file about their book (i.e. Genre, readership, key words, etc). The UK buys 50% of book online and 47% in shops, so having a strong online presence is key.


Nicola was from the Society of Authors http://www.societyofauthors.org/. They have been a trade union for authors since 1884. For a yearly fee, they give advice on author contracts, copyright, train/teach/lecture on writing, have an author foundation, and run prizes and awards. For self-publishers to qualify you must have sold at least 250 print books and 300 ebooks. If not, you can still be an associate member but without the right to vote on issues.


She reiterated that most writers write for money and that 'discoverability' is the main drive of the business. She lamented that while we may spend up to 10 hours a day on mobies and laptops, most people only spend 19 minutes a day reading, which sharpely reduces an authors discoverability. The rise in audio books means someone can mulitask while listening rather than having to sit and read.


Lastly, Nicola confirmed the recent stats that only around 11% of authors are full time, down 40% from 1970s-1990s. And that the average professional author will only make £11k pa. So let's not all give up our day jobs! Have a business plan and marketing models in place.


12.45 - Industry Spotlight: Independent Publishing - Is the Future Hybrid?

This was about authors taking control of their own business.

Justine Solomons of Byte the Book http://www.bytethebook.com/ organises networking events (including the one at the end of the day). She moderated between ('Million Pound Mum') Hazel Cushion (Accent Press https://www.accentpress.co.uk/hazel-cushion Xcite Books, Octavo Books), Stephanie Zia (Blackbird Books http://www.blackbird-books.com/stephanie-zia/ and authors Jodi Taylor and Diana Morgan-Hill. There was a discussion about giving away ebook for free or charging to them. It has worked for some markets, but depends on the author's needs and goals. Stephanie highlighted her company's author-friendly 50/50 contracts and Waterstones distribution where the author keeps the rights to their books rather than tradition publishers who can take much more in both cases. Octavo offers assisted publishing where the author pays some of the fees. They all advised setting time apart for social media mentioning such sites as Netgalley https://s2.netgalley.com/, the Facebook group The Book Club https://www.facebook.com/groups/thebookclubreviewing/, Book Bub https://www.bookbub.com/home/ (where you pay to advertise), and the book trailer site Animato https://animoto.com/. Quote of the seminar: It was lamented how authors' 'intellectual property is sold away for nothing' and that events like this help authors to choose their career path wisely.

13.45 - DIY Publishing - Breaking the Mould

Jemima Hunt from The Writers' Practice http://www.thewriterspractice.com/ was the chairperson with WhiteFox Publishers http://wearewhitefox.com/, Smart Quill editorial http://smartquilleditorial.co.uk/ Phillipa Donovan, and authors John Schwab https://twitter.com/johnschwab and Dan Gennoe (White Fox clients). The Writers' Practice offers Book Development and Author Representation while Smart Quill offers a range of bespoke author services, manuscript editing, and refer scripts to agents.


There was a discussion about what the author and publisher agendas were. What does an author want from his/her book? Make money? Write for hobby? It was agreed most authors won't make money on their 1st book. You might have to wait for the 2nd, 3rd or 4th book before any appreciable money comes in. But Dan stated that even so he is encouraged to write the second. With White Fox he had more control over his cover, formatting, textures, colours etc.


Dan is a music journalist http://dangennoe.tumblr.com/ and in the music industry he saw that many musicians now are their own start ups. Best quote: 'Being Indy is cool!' It is so in the music industry, so why can't that be so with independent authors? He also noted that a certain level of writer should demarcate between an agent and a manager; the former to handle finanacial transactions and the latter for the PR/Marketing.


Times have changed with traditional publishers. Long gone are the days where they would wait for an author or book to bed down. Success has to be almost instant – 1 chance or nothing. That's why self-publishing can help authors dictate their own agendas.


14.45 - I missed the probably most important seminar as I needed lunch :-)

Character and Plot Development with Sunday Times bestselling author Peter James. I did catch the last of it where Tony Mulliken from Midas PR had basically promised Peter he would make him a best-seller author. It took 7 years, but he did it! There is hope!


15.45 - Successful PR & Marketing Strategies

With Tori Lyne-Pirkis from Midas PR http://www.midaspr.co.uk/ and Jennifer Krebs the marketing campaign manager at Harlequin http://www.harlequin.com/. There was a special guest appearance by best-selling author Marian Keyes with some words of advice before she opped off.


Marketing is basically the 'who', 'what', 'how' of publishing. What is your book about? What is your agenda? Who are you? Who will your book connect with (your demographic)? How do you want your book promoted? This is paid for. PR is free! It takes time and effort but relies more on 3rd party endorsements (media and readers/reviewers). These are powerful tools though the marketing spend on books does out-sell the PR method.


PR can involve contacting regional press, setting up local book shop events, contacting libraries and book clubs, seeking book and/or author reviews and interviews, and taking advantage of a 'World Day' to launch your book with a day of that theme. Maybe I can get a book out for National Science Fiction Day (January 2nd) in the US which celebrates the birthdate of science fiction writer Isaac Asimov. Sites such as Wattpad https://www.wattpad.com/ share stories for free and Facebook's Bloglovin https://www.bloglovin.com/ helps to share and discover blogs, plus reaching out for book feedback and beta readers. PR company list sites include Gorkana Media Database http://www.gorkana.com/ and Response Source http://www.responsesource.com/ (the latter of which offers a free trial).


Book covers were also mentioned. If you are writing a certain genre, make sure your book has a cover similar to other genre books. Publishers go through hundreds of books per week and if the cover doesn't catch the eye, no matter how good the book it won't get picked. It is a split-second decision. I had changed my cover to reflect a more sci-fi orientated book, but it doesn't have the classic spaceship, space city, or space soldier on it. Book 2 will!


Best Advice - Tori mentioned that the best PR and marketing strategy is a mixture between promotion and entertainment. The hard sell does not work. 'Buy my book, buy my book, buy my book' won't get you anywhere on websites and blogs, so have a story to tell about yourself and connect with your fanbase. Wise words!


16.45 - Inside Out: The Business of Writing Recounted by Mark Lefebvre, Director & Author Relations, Self-Publishing & Kobo Writing Life https://www.kobo.com/writinglife and Joanna Penn, author, The Creative Penn http://www.thecreativepenn.com/.


Joanna was a wonderfully passionate advocate for authors making writing a full-time career. The author has to decide what their definition of success is - to make money, to write full time? How do you want to manage your book and writing career? As noted elsewhere with independent publishing there are investments to be made on editing, formatting, covers etc. And again, the right key words in metadata are important and how you want your book to be seen. In Joanna's case she has written both fiction and books about how to write as a business. Her best quote - making your book available for 'multiple streams of income' whether print, ebook, sold in multiple countries, with different translations, and in different markets. One of her books is a book about writing, but is also a workbook where notes can be filled in, 2 separate books in one and a multiple stream revenue source of income.


There was a question about how to divide the day for writing, especially for full time workers. One interesting solution was to diarise your writing time. You diarise other events and get it done, so why not writing. If you have a 100, 000 word book and you can write 1000 words a day, you book will have a draft in 100 days! Can it be that easy? Time will tell!


Mark confirmed that the most successful authors are those with a book series (i.e. Trilogies or quadrilogies, etc) or a large number of single novels usually be well-known authors. This takes time to build up and again relies on your marketing and PR strategies. In an aside, one of the gentlemen sitting beside me in Author HQ earlier was a pensioner. We got chatting and he opened his briefcase to show me his 6 historical-fantasy books. He has sold thousands of them but mostly from stalls (in Covent Garden) without a book deal and was frustrated by Amazon and Kindle, though he would give them a try again. He noted (as had some speakers) that Waterstones were not overly-accommodating to self-publishers even if the book was on their online store (like my book The Starguards). They only allowed him a one-day event. Joanna also raised this point about Waterstones, though said there may be a change of policy soon.


After their talk, I had a brief chat with Joanna, exchanged cards and got a selfie. Both she and Mark were very helpful and in the 'after party' by Byte The Book, I also had a good chat with Mark.


17.30

As mentioned, Byte The Book had an 'after party' networking event with wine/juice where we all had to talk to others for a few minutes and move on. There was a type of blind date bingo game where you had to fill in a card with names, emails, and answer questions frm 5 others and the winner got a bottle of champaigne. I met a few more authors, artists, and Catherine Dunn from Help For Writers http://www.helpforwriters.me/ which assists with all online book distribution.


Then it was time to go and so ended a very good 1st day at the London Book Fair.


Hodderscape, Waterstones, and Sainsburys - Good news and bad news!

by ray burke on 04/08/16

Thursday April 7th:

 

So, good news and bad news. Late last week, Hodderscape sent their rejection letter. The Starguards was a needle in a 1500-book haystack. Better luck next time...

Late last week, I also sent my book to the IPC (Independent Publisher Coordinator) Waterstones. Today, I received word that while they haven't selected it for their core range they will make it available for waterstones.com and in-store orders!! Hurray!!

Then, I found out that Nook is no longer selling digital content in the UK, but has transferred their UK customers to Sainsbury's. So, The Starguards will be on Sainsbury's Entertainment on Demand.

And next week is the London Book Fair! Looking forward to a successful week... smile emoticon

BSFA March

by ray burke on 03/25/16

Wed March 23rd:

At the March BSFA meet where author Aliette De Bodard was being interviewed by Edward Cox. It was a very interesting interview where multiple award-winner De Bodard talked about incorporating her French-Vietnamese background and engineering career into her books. I had seen both authors at the Gollancz Book Festival last October, but it was great to learn more about them and how De Bodard juggles family and work to achieve such literary standards. Plus I won a Neal Asher book in the raffle! Good night all round.

After, I chatted to Marcus Gipps, a Gollancz commissioning editor who was also there. The Starguards is currently in the open submissions process with Gollancz, so nice to meet one of the editors and exchange cards.

2nd Edition Starguards and Book 2...

by ray burke on 03/25/16

March 11th:

 

A big thank you to Crystal Robertson (formatting4indies@gmail.comfor helping to re-format my ebook. And to Narinder Singh for formatting the 2nd edition of the book. And finally, Lightning Source got the bugs sorted out and the newest and final edition of Book 1 is done. No more tinkering! Now I can just fuss over Book 2. The proof version was finally out last week and I'm happy with it. Now it's time to start hitting the book festival circuit starting with the London Book Fair next month. And I hope to have a 50-page Starguards sampler book ready for then.

 

As for Book 2, while I've written the last line of the book, I have to fill in the 3 chapters preceding it! Now approaching 600 pages! Onwards and upwards...

The BSFA

by ray burke on 03/25/16

February 24th:

Back in December 2015, I joined the British Sci-Fi Association (BSFA). They have meets at least once a month. My first meeting featured author Peter F Hamilton interviewing author Gareth L Powell. It was a very entertaining evening with them describing their writing experiences and methods. I learrned quite a bit. And I won one of Powell's 'Ack-Ack Macaque' books 'Hive Monkey', in a raffle, signed by him, and looking forward to reading! After, there's a bit of social and I got talking to other like-minded authors. There's also an outside chance The Starguards will be reviewed for the summer edition of Vector. Fingers crossed.

Open Submission News

by ray burke on 03/25/16

January 22nd:

So in the week I sent off The Starguards to the latest open submissions by Gollancz, I received a rejection from Twenty7 Books open submissions. I now know the daunting task ahead as thousands of MS were probably sent in and they were only choosing 5 books! It was good to at least get a response as many publishers don't respond so respect to Twenty7 Books. So waiting for the new competition and I've promised myself to finish book 2 before George RR Martin finishes book 6 or before the next planet is discovered! Never quit!