Phase one ends. Now for phase two…

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A reconstruction of an Anglo-Saxon hall

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Yesterday I completed the historical phase of my current WIP Autumn 1066. As I said earlier, I will now walk away from it for a week before I begin phase two, the fictional side of the story. As I also stated earlier, this will be a novella. Or to put it another way, an extremely short book. Having written the historical side of things, means that the first phase stands at slightly over 6,300, or thirty pages in the standard 5×8 paperback size.

Once I have completed phase two, I will offer its text to my beta readers, either as a read only .pdf, epub or .mobi file, for them to offer their thoughts and undoubted criticisms (everybody is a critic – right?) But, only on the condition that they agree to write a pre-publication review, which I will add to the finished product when I publish it as a paperback, always providing its favourable and short – ten words or less.

If any of you wish to become one of my beta readers, partaking in the privilege of being able to read it long before the general public, please email me at jackeason5@gmail.com after reading this post.

When I have completed the story I will then email a copy to anyone who has requested to be a beta-reader for this my latest WIP. Think of it as your one chance to not only read it for nothing, but also to participate in a new book’s evolution. Definitely something to brag about to your circle of family and friends.

PSPotential beta-readers please note that as its as historically accurate as is currently possible, given the paucity of actual facts available, means that phase one leaves no room for expansion, unlike the fictional side.

Remember this also – all favourable pre-publishing reviews accompanying any book, providing they bear the actual name of the person responsible for them and not a pseudonym, are what always convince others to read any book these days.

I hope to hear from some of you in the next few weeks while I’m busy writing phase two…

😉

The Next Progress Report

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Easy to tell I’m back in full writing mode. Its just gone 03.19am and I’m wide awake!

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Despite what some may say, there is no such thing as a magic formula for a best seller. As writers all we can ever do is give our literary progeny a chance to be read. Even if a book is well written, expertly edited and has the best possible cover, it still does not guarantee its success no matter how hard you try. Making a book available to the public is always a gamble. You can’t get away from the fact that while some will like it, others won’t.

Its been twelve years since I wrote a full length science fiction novel and five years since it was published. Even though the one hundred and fifty thousand word space opera Onet’s Tale was professionally edited and published via a traditional publishing house, receiving a presale boost in the form of a five star review from a carefully selected industry reviewer specialising in scifi by the publisher, the public at large simply didn’t rate it. In all, a paltry twenty-five copies were bought, and so it was withdrawn from sale after being available for barely two months on Amazon and Barnes & Noble to name but two of the many book outlets it was sent to in both its paperback and eBook versions.

~~~

I’m still in the early stages of the first draft (approximately five thousand words) of my latest science fiction novel. I’ve begun to establish the characters. So far I’ve concentrated on the one character central to the story, the ship’s fully aware artificial intelligence Céleste and her particular attachment to the other main character, the mission commander David O’Leary. Regarding the others I’ve established a few essential characteristics and traits for one of the two other female crew members – Constança Blanco. I’ve already shown how jealous she is of the time David spends with Céleste. I’ll being adding more about her and each of the four remaining human characters as the story gradually unfolds.

I’ve more or less already decided that its title will simply be Céleste. You will all see why when you read it. Just to please my friend and fellow author Nicholas Rossis, I’m avoiding great swaths of information like the plague with this one, as well as paying particular attention to the editing. 😉

When it comes to the cover Chris The Story Reading Ape, I know I said I’d leave it up to you. But its my prerogative to change my mind. So I’ll be emailing you shortly with all the information you will need for what I would like it to be. There is no hurry Chris as I’ll be working on it well into next year. One thing to bear in mind though my friend. As I will be publishing it via Smashwords (eBook) and CreateSpace (Paperback), the quality of the image you produce is paramount. Both Smashwords and CreateSpace are extremely fussy when it comes to image size and quality. The eBook version will include the title and my name, possible with a secondary title. I’ll get back to you on what that will be later. The paperback version will be the cover pic minus any added text as I’ll be adding it to one of CreateSpace’s cover templates.

Well Céleste and my beautiful muse below are calling. Like every female I have ever met, they both demand my full attention. Am I having fun? Silly question. Of course I am…

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My beautiful muse Bianca ❤ xxx

More later folks,

Jack

😀

A New Science Fiction Story Begins

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Well, I’ve started thinking about my next Scifi WIP. At the moment it has no title. That will occur to me much later as the story gradually unfolds. So far all I have is the vague preamble below.

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      There was a time when mankind’s only means of exploring the Universe meant either sending unmanned probes to various locations across our solar system, or exploring beyond its borders by using powerful telescopes, parked in stationary orbit above the Earth and dotted across the planet. That all changed in the twenty-second century when fusion propulsion became a reality, and a way of keeping a human being alive for the duration of any flight, further than the inner limits of our solar system, was finally worked out.

~~~

Out of those few words will come the story itself. How it starts, where it goes, who and how many characters are involved, only time will tell. But one thing I can definitely say is that one of them will have a hidden agenda, which means that the story will, in all likelihood, be dark. Developing he/she or it and their reasoning is the fun part for me.

When will I publish? Next year.

Will it be an eBook or a paperback? Both.

Will it be published using Amazon exclusively? Definitely not! With this one I’ll be publishing the eBook version via Smashwords, and the paperback version via CreateSpace. But all of that is many, many months away.

Will I be asking Chris The Story Reading Ape to come up with an eye catching cover? Yes, but much later on.

Well that’s all for now. From time to time I’ll be publishing progress reports here on my blog.

Spot you later,

Jack  😀

Definitely a wood for the trees moment?

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This post follows on from the other day – https://havewehadhelp.wordpress.com/2015/09/02/a-message-to-the-slackers/ where one of the commenters (Ken Thackerey) questioned my thoughts on reviews being the author’s only real means of knowing how many people actually read a free copy of a book. He got me thinking further on the subject.

***

Why do some books become best sellers? Is it the fact that the author promoted their book, hoping for sales, by initially giving it away once it was published? Perhaps it’s because the author publicised it on every book and social media site, not to mention their blog? Could it be because the author let it sit for a while in preorder mode, prior to publication? Maybe its the cover? Maybe its the fact that it was edited by a professional, or that a lot of money was spent having it promoted? Each one of them is standard practice, and yes they all help. But only up to a point. Might it have anything to do with genre? Not necessarily.

Then the penny finally dropped. It’s none of them or any combination you care to come up with. I’ll tell you why some books succeed while the rest don’t. It’s only taken me twenty years to finally figure it out. Call it a case of not being able to see the wood for the trees if you like. It’s blindingly obvious once you see it. The answer was staring me in the face all the time from the books in my library. It’s in yours too.

In this day and age, no matter the genre, or how much time and effort you put into bringing that story to life to make it stand out from the crowd, what any book needs is reviews. It doesn’t matter how good the story might be. Nor does it matter how eye-catching the cover is, or how much money was spent on having it promoted. To become popular, and therefore by osmosis, to be considered a best seller, if it doesn’t have glowing reviews prior to publishing, quite simply you are wasting your time. I’m not talking about those written by the general public after a book is published. Instead I’m talking about presale reviews.

Look at the cover of any book coming out of any traditional publishing house. Whether the author is a known quantity or a newcomer, all trad publishers ensure that each book they put out receives a smattering of excellent reviews prior to publishing, one or two on the front cover. Others inside after the title page, and maybe one on the back cover along with the author’s bio. It’s simplicity itself when you think about it.

What about Indies? Does this apply to them as well? Emphatically yes. I known what I’ll be doing with my next novella or novel before I publish it. Oh, and no more free samples…

😉

Are Book Reviews Really Necessary?

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In a word, yes!!!

To survive, books need reviews like you need to breath. In their case reviews are necessary to bring them to the notice of potential readers out there. Without several reviews they will rapidly disappear into the slush pile along with the millions of unread books out there. One review, no matter how praiseworthy, is not enough to ensure a book’s future. But one negative review will soon attract others, ending a book’s chances of surviving!!

Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t make a scrap of difference how eyecatching a book’s cover may be. What helps readers to make up their mind about any book are its reviews. Without them books simply don’t generate curiosity among the millions of jaded readers.

***

To give you an example, here are the numbers so far for each of my nine books:

The Adventures of Ursus the Bear (a story for tiny tots) – 1 five star

Cataclysm (a Science Fiction novella) – 4 five star, 3 four star

The Guardian (my latest Science Fiction novella) – 2 four star (with two more reviews promised in the immediate future, which I’m looking forward to it receiving)

The Forgotten Age (an Archaeological adventure) – 5 five star, 7 four star, 1 two star, 3 one star

The Seventh Age (an Archaeological adventure) – 7 five star, 8 four star, 8 three star, 10 two star, 20 one star

The Next Age (a Science Fiction novella) – 3 five star, 1 four star, 1 two star, 1 one star

Goblin Tales (a Fantasy anthology) – 1 five star

Turning Point (a Science Fiction adventure) – 8 five star, 5 four star, 2 three star, 3 two star, 3 one star

Onet’s Tale ( a Science Fiction Space Opera) – 5 five star, 1 four star

***

No prizes for guessing which of the above titles consistently sells and which don’t. Believe it or not if potential readers see nothing but five and four star reviews, they are immediately suspicious and won’t buy.

As the old saying goes, “there’s nowt as queer as folk,” especially when it comes to buying a book. The other thing to remember is that these days, anyone with an axe to grind will automatically give any book a one star review, hoping to put off potential readers.

To counter their attack, if you enjoyed it, review that book you’re reading as soon as you finished it. But before you do, take the time to think about what you are going to say. As much as you may be tempted at times, always leave objectionable reviews to those who are insanely jealous of the particular author’s success.

Plus, don’t forget to tell your friends about the book and where they can get a copy of it if you enjoyed it.

😉

 

Why Is It That Total Rubbish Always Sells?

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When it comes to book sales, more ofen than not, total rubbish sells to the detriment of quality? Of all my books, the quality ones from my point of view stand apart from the rest as evidenced by the four and five star reviews they attracted. Yet for some inexplicable reason they simply fail to appeal to the majority of readers. Why is that I wonder?

I freely admit that my best seller to date is total rubbish. Why? Because it was written quickly with little editing! As a consequence many reviewers quite rightly condemned it. Despite that, it exceeded my wildest dreams when it comes to sales. It still appeals in America to this day. What does that say about readers? Not a lot…

Meanwhile, two titles I am proud of, Goblin Tales and Cataclysm simply fail to attract readers, even though in the main, they both have excellent reviews. As the title suggests, the fantasy anthology Goblin Tales is all about goblins. I thought it was high time that a series of stories was written about a band of friendly ones for a change. On the other hand, my novella Cataclysm is a mixture of scifi and a degree of poetic license on my part regarding the ancient history I employ within it, along with a tragic love affair between the hero of the story and a beautiful transgender entity. Click on the above links to read the reviews for yourselves.

***

It’s early days yet, but I wonder if my latest erotic scifi novella The Guardian,which I am also justifiably proud of I might add, will go the same way as the above two titles? In its case only time will tell. So far it has received two four star reviews:

Another Great Yarn. By Derek on August 4, 2015

Format: Kindle Edition

Jack Eason spins another great yarn here, with a little archaeology, a little space travel, a mysterious baddie of course, and even a little bit of spice thrown in for good measure! Top read.

Great read. By Chris Graham on August 2, 2015

Format: Kindle Edition

An enigmatic beginning to a fast paced story, involving quite a few nerve wracking events for the heroes before reaching a finale with a twist that will make you want A SEQUEL PLEASE.
***
Note that in neither case did the reviewer feel the urge to condemn or pore scorn, despite the popularly held misconception that any book these days must have a mix of good and bad reviews to make it appeal. Here’s hoping that The Guardian appeals. If you are currently reading it, or have just finished, please add your review to the first two.
Thanks
😉

From now on it’s entirely in your hands!!!

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The one and only chance anyone had to get themselves a free copy of my latest scifi novella The Guardian, is at an end. As I mentioned in the previous post read hereat the end of its promotional period I said I would give the story its final edit. Well I did. Yesterday (Monday) I uploaded the totally error free version to Smashwords, Creatspace and KDP, prior to it coming online at full price.

How do I know it’s error free? Trust me, if it contained so much as a single error Smashwords would have immediately rejected it. When it comes to quality control they are extremely particular, more so than Creatspace or KDP even know how to be!

To buy your eBook copy in the format of your choice on Smashwords click here

To buy your Kindle or paperback copy at Amazon.com  click here

To buy your Kindle or paperback copy at Amazon.co.uk click here

With so many new books coming out daily, it came as no surprise to me whatsoever how few free copies were actually downloaded. The days of a free copy of any book in a promotion being taken up in its hundreds or even the low thousands are well and truly over thank goodness. In The Guardian’s case, over the five day period one hundred and five free Kindle copies were taken. If you are interested in sales statistics, here is its final rating at the end of the promo.

Amazon.com rating:

#27 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Erotica > Science Fiction

#1517 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction

Amazon.co.uk rating:
#7,003 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)

#21 in Kindle Store > Books > Literature & Fiction > Erotica > Science Fiction

In Amazon.com’s case the best it placed was nineteenth in the top one hundred free list. In Amazon.co.uk’s case it achieved even better at sixteenth.

***

Well that’s it. I can do no more, except to continue advertising it on numerous social media sites, and here on my blog from time to time. Now its fate is in your hands. You need to read and review it. If you don’t, it will wind up among the millions of unread books out there. Even if science fiction, or in this case – erotic science fiction, isn’t necessarily your bag, the very least you can do is to help spread the word by reblogging this post, and by uploading the above links on your Facebook page and Twitter feed as well as any other’s you may contribute too. Plus, don’t forget to recommend it to a friend.

PS – If you do decide to follow Chris-The Story Reading Ape’s example (thanks Chris, much appreciated) by writing a review, please make sure that you post it separately on the Amazon site for your country as well as Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk, both on the Kindle and paperback versions. Why? Because any review posted on Amazon.com does not automatically get added to the Amazon site you purchased your Kindle or paperback copy from in your respective countries, and vice versa. While you are at it, don’t forget to add your review on Smashwords (click on the link above) as well pretty please.

PPS – now its high time this writer took a much needed rest until next year.

Thanks

😉

 

Introducing the award winning Belgian/Flemish writer, Robert Van Laerhoven

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As readers if you have never heard of him before, it’s not really surprising. Until now, few of his books have appeared in the English language. Usually they are published in Dutch and French, only available in paperback and hard cover. Hopefully that will change in the not too distant future. Like all of us, all he wants is to ensure his books are read by the widest audience possible.

Bob, as he prefers to be called, is an award winning Belgian/Flemish writer. I’ve known him for years. So far he has written more than thirty books. Among the awards he has won is the much coveted Hercule Poirot Prize for his crime novel Baudelair’s Revenge, published in 2007, (paper and hard cover) set in Paris in the eighteen seventies.

A few days ago he contacted me via chat on Facebook to ask if I would be willing to participate in a project to our mutual benefit. On Saturday he sent me an email explaining exactly what he had in mind.

In essence, if I was prepared to read and review the English language version of his collection of short stories Dangerous Obsessions, he would like to do the same for one of mine. Needless to say I readily agreed. So I suggested that for his part he read and review my novella Cataclysm published in 2014. He emailed me to say he had ordered the paperback version yesterday (Sunday).

Normally this is an arrangement that I would not enter into. But Bob is such a likeable character, it would be churlish of me to refuse. So why not oblige him?

He offered me a link to a free PDF version of the collection to read. But, if I’m going to fully support his wanting to break into the fastest growing English language literary market – eBooks, particularly in the USA, I’m going to do it properly. So I started as I mean to go on by purchasing a Kindle copy.

He went to the expense of having the collection translated by Bryan Doyle here in the UK – accredited by the Flemish Fund for Literature. Bob asked that I review it on Amazon and Goodreads. I told him that I’m more than happy to place a review on Amazon, but not Goodreads, explaining that the latter is still riddled with author hating trolls.

So from now on my evenings will be taken up with reading through the short stories in the collection. The following link is for the interview with him that his US publisher Anaphora Literary Press produced – Bob’s Interview.

If this writer who’s first language is English can’t support another who is more comfortable writing in Flemish, what is the world coming too?

PS – why not join me in helping Bob out. Get your Kindle copy by clicking on the Dangerous Obsessions link, or go to the Amazon site you usually use. Then read and review it. Come on folks, let’s help a fellow writer.

PPS – My fellow bloggers, you can all do your bit by reblogging this post. Bob’s name and his books need to become known to the entire English speaking world.

PPPS – before anyone thinks of pointing out the obvious yet again – I only use Amazon.com links in my posts. Why? Because the majority of my readers live there. Ok?

😉

Totally Illogical Practices

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Illogical adj. lacking sense or clear, sound reasoning

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For anyone who isn’t a writer, and doesn’t deal with Amazon other than to purchase items from them, here is a classic example of the mindset of those individuals employed by Amazon that all writers have to endlessly do battle with.

***

A few days ago, in order to get everything ready for the launch of Goblin Tales I first went to my page on Kindle Direct Publishing to unpublish its former incarnation – Globular Van der Graff’s “Goblin tales for Adults.” One edition down, one to go.

Next I went to CreatSpace to do the same for the paperback version. Unlike KDP, CreatSpace does not have the facility for the author of the book to do the deed. So I sent them an email from their ‘contact us’ facility, which as it turned out went straight to KDP, requesting that they ‘retire’ it from my list of paperback editions. A few hours later, I received an email stating they had done as I asked and that it was no longer available for sale. All fine and dandy you would think, right?

I then went to my Author’s Page on both main sites for sales of my books – Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk, to check. Sure enough the Kindle version no longer showed. But, the paperback version was still up. So I made further enquiries. According to Amazon, the paperback version could not be eliminated from my Author’s Page, just in case someone who owned a copy might want to sell it back to them.

The very fact that no more than ten paperback copies were bought, most of them by myself to give to friends, probably hadn’t registered with the mental retards Amazon employs. Had they bothered to check the sales they would have known this!

To prove my point about them being idiots, I recieved the following in a ‘no reply’ email from Amazon this morning:-

At this time we cannot accept the following suggestions. We cannot remove a book(s) from an authors page when the author in question is indeed the one who wrote the book.

If that’s the case, who the hell can remove it if not the author of the work?

While they don’t complain when an author unpublishes a Kindle version of a book, why is it that they say no to removing the paperback version. After all, Amazon’s ‘resale’ system also works for any and all Kindle eBooks!!!!

This is a classic example of how differing departments within Amazon, fail to follow the same rules, nor talk to one another. The way Amazon’s minions operate at the moment under all three banners, to say the very least, is incomprehensible, let alone illogical…

PS – So, if you are perusing my books on Amazon, please take note. The paperback version of Globular Van der Graff’s “Goblin Tales for Adults” is no longer available. For that matter, neither is my science fiction space opera Onet’s Tale, even though both of them still appear.

😉

Cataclysm – now available in paperback

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Cataclysm is now available in paperback as well as an eBook

Click on the cover for paperback or the highlighted word for the Kindle version

Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars A challenging, passionate book November 24, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Cataclysm carries distinct echoes of Daeniken’s Chariots of the Gods. The premise is exciting, if somewhat familiar: an ingenious scientist builds a time machine and uses it to discover the truth behind humanity’s creation. What sets apart Cataclysm from similar books is the author’s passionate take on various subjects, from religion to third gender rights. For many, this will be the book’s strongest point.

However, it occasionally meant focusing on one subject but skimming through another. For example, the time travelers come across a city in the Black Sea, 3 mil. years ago. I expected a detailed description of such an amazing discovery; instead, the whole episode is over in a few pages. Oh the other hand, the hero’s apartment is described in exhaustive detail, and an anti-religious speech takes up a number of pages. Similarly, the ending felt somewhat rushed, with a strangely indirect resolution.

Still, if you’re not easily offended and are looking for a challenging, passionate book and an interesting story, this is a book worth checking out.

4.0 out of 5 stars A Ripping Yarn! November 7, 2014
By Derek
Format:Kindle Edition
Jack Eason spins another of his ripping yarns in, Cataclysm. His rich knowledge of history along with ancient myths and legends thread through each page, and true to his unique storytelling style, it is punctuated with the occasional pithy dash of the language and dry humour that marks his Kiwi and English upbringing. While Cataclysm has an element of science fiction to it, it is in the historical facts, and myths, which are intertwined with the present that make this such a good read.
5.0 out of 5 stars Read and ponder! November 3, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
I was lucky enough to be a Beta Reader of this book prior to publishing and can tell you that it is not JUST a ‘science fiction / time travel / action / thriller / romance with a difference’ story that will grip you from the start and keep you gripped throughout.
It will also make you wonder if there might be an element of truth behind the premise of the fiction.
5.0 out of 5 stars Controversially revolutionary November 9, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is an example of an extraordinary author with a voluminous knowledge to share. Cataclysm is a wonderful beginning of a series that will captivate the world. Jack has dealt so well with some difficult topics and expounded upon them quite eloquently. I am thoroughly invested in this concept.
Thank you Jack