Life goes on…

…and so it does.

This month I have been starting one of the final passes of my third novel, really getting to the stage where I can polish it off, ready for publication. Obviously, personal issues aside, writing is not such an easy job, and I would say that editing/re-drafting is an even more difficult one. But, it is getting there, at least.

I shall continue to read, write and live, and keep you updated if anything needs to be said. For the moment, that’s all I have 🙂

The Self Published Problem

This is perhaps a controversial title because The Self Published Problem is actually more of a my problem than a problem with self publishing. However, as I can only truly comment on myself, that is what I shall do here.

So, what problem?

Going into writing a novel with the intention of self publishing for the first time, I colour myself naive because the sole amount of research I did on the matter was to read the Terms & Conditions thoroughly (which I never normally do) so that I understand what I am getting myself into in regard to contracts. But I didn’t really take any notice of the bigger picture. I wrote, I then ran through the steps, and I published with the honest knowledge that I would sell many copies. Now, don’t get me wrong. What I wrote was written properly. I didn’t skimp on the care I took to write my book, how many redrafts and edits I dragged it through, how much attention I paid, and money I paid for an editor afterwards. But in regard to the actual production of a book? I just went and did it.

Here are a few things I realised soon after my first stab at creating a paperback novel that I simply never thought of before, ever. (I am apparently quite unobservant.)

  1. Most fiction novels are printed on creme paper.
  2. Some (or most) fiction novels do not print page numbers on numbered chapter pages.
  3. A lot of chapters begin half way down the page, or at least very rarely at the very top of the page.
  4. New ‘parts’ and the first chapter of each ‘part’ should be printed on the right-hand page, leaving the left-hand page blank.
  5. Turn off Widow/Orphan feature in Word Processing programs, otherwise you end up with more lines on one page than another.
  6. Size does matter, all depending on if you want global distribution, or the size of book most popular in your country, versus another, etc, etc.
  7. Cover design and ability to edit for different trim sizes also as important as the artistic look of your cover.

The list goes on, but you get the general idea. Only after many (many) paperback proofs did I come to find out all of these quite obvious things that I had always taken for granted before. And don’t get me started on eBooks, because Kindle formatting is like…the Devil’s Mobi File.img_0534

I recently watched a YouTube video of a young author displaying the difference between two different POD (Print on Demand) services, and though she appeared to favour one one the other, her main complaints with the one she did not like seemed to mostly be with the Interior formatting—which, by the way, you yourself have to create. So, the video was rather unfair as the mistakes she pointed out were her own, and the things she couldn’t quite understand (large four-paragraph sized blank spaces at the bottom of many, many pages) that had gone wrong were down to her own ability to format the paperback interior file. And it is hard, and takes a lot of practice, and thankfully I have it down as perfect as I’m going to get it now. (Just don’t blame the printer for the interior design…they have nothing to do with that).

My point being, really, that I wish there had been a complete guide out there as to how to get all these things just right, first time. The problem with self publishing is that is relies on you learning, and in a time-consuming and expensive sense, learning on the job.

This then leads on to your brand. If you have to re-do over certain things, and cannot reverse some of your mistakes (paperbacks still listed on Amazon that you wish would go away, but they will never ever remove, just show as ‘out of print?’), then this can hurt the initial building of your brand. You are constantly swapping and changing, moving the goal posts. Print a book so big, NO, damn it, it needed to be smaller and now a re-do, a new ISBN. Even with eBooks, the compatibility between even just Kindle software vs their hardware readers can be…dodgy. Learning all this through trial and error is not just hard (which I can take), but potentially just messy, leaving you with a splurge of early mistakes you can simply never change.

Subsequently, now that I have got it down, I have learned an incredible amount, and feel fairly confident in getting these things right first time for my next novel. There’s a positive. So, if anyone felt they might want some advice on paperback/hardcover interiors, or where to go to truly set up an eBook correctly, then by all means contact me, and I’ll do my best to give you my advice (or, maybe even do it for you, for a fee 😉 ).

That’s enough for now I think. Less than organised ramblings, but I felt I just had to get it out there.

If you’d like to purchase the paperback, hardcover or eBook editions of my books, please check out the links below. These are the current, live editions (and perhaps the last, if nothing ever needs changing again 🙂 )

THE ASSASSIN PRINCESS

978-0-244-44377-1 — Hardcover

978-0-244-43434-2 — Paperback

978-1-386-90744-2 — Ebook

B00CL4NE6U — Kindle

A STEP INTO DARKSCAPE

978-0-244-74378-9 — Hardcover

978-0-244-13610-9 — Paperback

978-1-386-35036-1 — Ebook

B00YWE3PDY — Kindle

TALES OF LEGACY

978-1-386-59460-4 — Ebook

B00AD6V9PQ — Kindle

 

 

Further Updates

Well hello there. I thought that I better write a quick blog post just as a further update to the previous update—suffice it to say that, I have not yet sat down to think about what my blog should focus on in the future. I will do. It’s coming. Just, my mind has been elsewhere recently.

And so, for the updates. (And yes, when the need arises, you can use and to begin a sentence. Creative licence.)

Books and stuff

I now have THE ASSASSIN PRINCESS and A STEP INTO DARKSCAPE available as an ebook, in paperback, and in hardcover also. You can find all these on the book pages on this website to find the format that is right for you. I also do a special hardcover copy that is so called: Signed Edition. Yes! This is a copy of each of the books that you can buy in dust jacket hardcover which cannot be purchased outside of this website. It will be signed by me, dedicated to you, and be specifically marked as a Signed Edition. How ostentatious is that! No, seriously, a great gift, a keep-sake, and easily accessible at £19.99 plus p&p.

Website and stuff

So, I have given the website an overhaul, going for an overall black motif. Hopefully, I have made the book pages a little easier to read, a little more accessible, and the exploration pages will get fuller and more expansive as time goes on. Obviously, the only purpose of the website is really to showcase my work in a central hub, and I hope it does that well.

Writing and stuff

I am still battling through a long process of re-draft editing THE ASSASSIN’S CODACI (I’m not sure what the technical term is, but in essence, making it the best it can be), and am at the latter stages of the second to third draft. It gets easier from this point onward (he says), and as you can see by my overuse of parenthesise in this blog post, my confidence levels are on the level of: sarcastic.

This book will be, and is, the third in THE ASSASSIN PRINCESS NOVELS series, and it really is coming together quite nicely. Words, plot, characters. A book emerges.

So, for now, that is it I feel. Update done and now, back to the work.

Book Availability & Website Updates

Over the past few weeks I have been getting everything ready to update you on two main areas.

1 – Book Availability

The first two novels of the Assassin Princess Novels series, The Assassin Princess and A Step into Darkscape are now available on the following stores:

Apple Books / Amazon Kindle & Paperback / Kobo Books / Barnes & Noble Nook / Scribd / 24 Symbols / Playster / Angus & Robertson and possibly a few others not yet mentioned.

The links for these stores (all but Amazon) can be found here:

BUY THE ASSASSIN PRINCESS

BUY A STEP INTO DARKSCAPE

I was very much looking forward to having my novels available to buy through the Apple Books Store as I’m an avid user of Apple’s products and services, and was excited to see my books displayed on an iPad and iPhone.

2 – Website Updates

I have also been working hard to open up the blakerivers.com website with more content about the books, the characters, the creatures and the worlds they all come from. Now, my start on this is modest, but its really about providing you with tasters and extras about the worlds I started writing about.

I will also be adding content about the new book, the third novel in the series so that even before it has been released, you can find a little out to explore.

You can see this extra content as it grows:

The Assassin Princess page.

A Step into Darkscape page.

That’s really it for now. I’ll add another post and hopefully a regular blog soon.

 

So, what is going on with Blake?

After an eight month break from writing, I decided that I needed to come back to it. Never have I been so long away from this passion of mine. So I ask, as the title says, what is going on with Blake?

Firstly, I finished the first draft of my third book some time ago. Done, finished, excellent, or so you might think. Actually, not so, as that was only the first draft. Then, I finished the second draft of my third book, and huge chunks of the story changed. Well done! Then, I started the third draft of my…well, you see how this is going?

Writing a book takes time, and getting the first words out, (the first words, or the first 100,000 words) is sometimes the easy bit. It is certainly the first bit. Then comes the reading back what you wrote, forewarned, forewarned I tell you, that it will read like crap, and then comes the working with that crap into the almost-gem you kind of envisioned.

Every book is the wreck of a perfect idea.

– Iris Murdoch

Iris was right. It will never turn out quite how you first envisioned it, but you can only hope that it turns out better. I’ll let the reader decide on that while I move on to the next project.

Anyhow, this third book was originally called Of Colours and Shades but has more recently been renamed The Assassin’s Codaci. These last two months I have managed to push through the editing and redrafting of nine chapters so far, and I hope to get the whole book ready for its next shake-down certainly by the end of this year. It’s a bigger book than I have written before, in regard to word count, and also plot and subject matter. There are quite a few main characters, and each of their chapters are, at least initially, separate from each other. It’s not a new idea. I don’t think there are any truly new ideas out there anymore, just renewed old ones, but…it’s all new to me, so that’s why it’s taking the extra time. (Plus the eight month break didn’t help).

So, that’s what is going on with Blake. Writing, thankfully, and mostly consistently. Most importantly, the book is being completed. This will be the third in the Assassin Princess Novels series, and for now at least, the last. Then I shall move on to other projects that won’t be fantasy based, I feel. That’s not to say a fourth won’t appear, but certainly, not immediately.

I am truly excited to get Codaci finished and get it out there, and I obviously hope that people will enjoy it. I certainly do. 🙂