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 here,ย at 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.comย  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. Inย 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

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Which is more important to you?

Think back to when you were a child opening your Christmas or Birthday presents. What mattered to you the most? Was it the packaging, or was it the content? If your preference was for the packaging, you need some serious one to one time with a psychiatrist!!!

Click to buy from Fishpond

As a typical example of packaging, the above cover for Matthew Wright’s – The New Zealand Wars – A Brief History, could hardly be said to be attractive to the eye. What sells the book to students of New Zealand’s history is its content and Wright’s reputation as a serious writer, not what the cover looks like.

I don’t know how many times I have to say it – forever it seems, but far too many of today’s writers become totally obsessed with relying on the literary equivalent of packaging, believing that somehow or other it will sell their book on its own, or at the very least make their book stand out from the crowd. Many times I see examples of an author desperate to bring their book(s) to the attention of potential readers, either by changing the cover or the title, or both. If the book failed to sell in the first place, no combination of fancy cover and title, original or new, will ever help.

I tried it once, never again. In my own case when my fantasy anthology wasn’t selling, I altered the title from Globular Van der Graff’s Goblin Tales for Adults to Goblin Tales. It still failed to sell even though the original version had received seventeen five star reviews like the following:-

“While I read this book, I must have thought at least a dozen or more times to myself, “This should be made into a movie.” The storyline is perfect for it. Magical characters. Battles of good vs evil. It has everything it would take to make another Lord of the Rings. I would see it in the movies and then buy the DVD.”ย 

So you see, you are not alone. Even mid-listers like myself have our failures from time to time.

In light of this example and others, it appears that once again I need to restate what really matters when it comes to any book is not the packaging, but the book’s content. Unless your book holds a reader’s attention, it matters little that you have found a title that not too many others have also used, (bearing in mind that there is no such thing as an original title these days) which you think will appeal, and spent your hard earned money on having a cover created.

I can just hear book cover illustrators hackles rising at this point as they read this, but the simple fact is this; no matter how good a cover and title may be, unless the book’s content is up to scratch, you’re book will never sell!

If you are pinning your hopes on gaining regular readers by your book’s titles and covers, I would argue that you are deluding yourselves. While catchy titles and pretty pictures may appeal to some, mainly those who occasionally read something other than gutter press newspapers and glossy magazines for airheads, written by airheads, neither a book’s title nor its cover picture will sell your book to serious bibliophiles.

They couldn’t care less either about the cover, or the title. What the book contains within its pages is what interests them. That is what you should be concentrating all your efforts on. Its worth spending all of your time getting that right first. Any book wholly reliant on its title and cover to attract sales, is nothing more than mutton dressed as lamb; currently there are millions of examples on offer. The only time most of these shift any meaningful numbers is when their authors offer them for free, or as an online promotion on social media sites.

Is that the fate you had in mind for your book?

It is a fact that for a book to sell more than five copies, first of all it must be well written. In most cases it needs to be fast moving. It must have a good plot as well as a concise, well written ‘hook’ to even begin to pique the genuine bibliophile’s curiosity.

Everywhere you look on the internet these days, there are writer’s sites and blogs telling you that unless you have an appealing cover and title, your book will soon disappear from the public gaze. While that may be the case for most new writers, the reverse is true if you are a mid-lister. My own book sales back up what I’m saying.

Yes, that first book you published probably did need a cover and title to make it stand out from the rest at the time it was published. But once you have published several books, and by definition gained a loyal readership, they couldn’t care less about the cover and title. What matters to them is that you have built yourself a reputation for telling stories they enjoy. Consequently they look forward to reading your latest.

I would further argue that if you want to attract even more readers, get yourself a blog like this one. Don’t just constantly advertise your books on social media sites like Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Twitter as many hopefuls do. Instead, regularly contribute to your blog about anything which interests you, giving your potential readers an insight into how you feel about all kinds of topics. As for advertising your books, do what I’ve done, add the links to the sites where they can find your books on your blog’s ‘About’ page.

What people really want to know about is you. By letting them glimpse your life through your blog posts, it helps them to realise that you are just another human being like them. As a sub-species of humanity, writers are not unapproachable. Instead we’re constantly thinking about and writing our current WIP, and blog posts like this one.

When it comes to your latest Work In Progress, why not do what I do. Produce ‘Progress Reports’ concerning it on your blog from time to time. By the time it is finally published, and always providing that your blog followers are anticipating reading it, in effect what you have done by providing those ‘Progress Reports’ is a bit of pre-publication advertising. My good friend, and fellow author, Robert Bauval, does exactly the same thing as I do, in his case on his webpage – http://robertbauval.co.uk/books.html with links to his blog and his books. As a consequence our readers are chomping at the bit, continually asking us when our latest book will be available for purchase.

Remember this as well – endless advertising of your books on any social media site is guaranteed to put off potential readers. It looks like just another case of sheer desperation on the part of the book’s author…

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The Sixth Guardian Progress Report

angry_cyborg_w1

This is my creator’s eighth book in twenty years of slaving over a computer keyboard, so pay attention to what he has to say about it humans, or else!!!

Sorry about that, it can get a little tetchy at times, par for the course for something like The Guardian. Your all right, you don’t have to work with it on a daily basis. Now, before it comes back, read on…

***

I’m about to start writing chapter four. I’m more or less happy with the core of chapter three. As I said previously, I’ve begun to ramp up the action somewhat. I’ve also added a bit more for you to surmise about. I’m talking about the relationship, if you can call it that, between Lynne and Adler. I’ve decided to add one of the three new characters – Brett, Cliff and Bayla, into the mix as a possible rival for Lynne’s affections if Adler doesn’t declare his feelings for her one way or another. Which one of them it is, and why, you will just have to find out when you read the novel won’t you. It might be that a love triangle develops – only what I’m thinking at the time will determine what happens between Lynne and Adler. I’m still undecided about that situation at the moment.

I’ve also introduced a few items that they need to protect themselves like LSAT Assault Rifles and the XM25 air burst grenade launcher, as well as the M110 Sniper Rifle, all of them actual weapons, but still under development and testing at the moment, plus C4 plastic explosive, fragmentation grenades and Claymore mines. Even though the story is set in the twenty-second century, twentieth century explosives like C4 and the highly effective Claymore mine, still have their uses in the eyes of my team of ex military personnel.

Meanwhile The Guardian is always somewhere, waiting, watching, hatching plans, and now keeping its eye not only on me, but you too. I beg you, for my sake be careful not to upset it. It is gradually becoming more involved, making its presence felt, not only to me, but also as the story unfolds. Now its time for more thinking. I most certainly don’t want to get on its wrong side by taking some time off for myself now do I.

More later

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Where To Get Your Kindle Copy

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For those of you wondering where to get your own Kindle copy of my latest novella, to save you time searching, I have prepared a list of all the links. Simply click on the Amazon link appropriate to where you live to take you directly to it.

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USAhttp://www.amazon.com/Cataclysm-Jack-Eason-ebook/dp/B00P6KUJUU/ref=asap_B003MEA7AY_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1415185674&sr=1-6

United Kingdomhttp://www.amazon.co.uk/Cataclysm-Jack-Eason-ebook/dp/B00P6KUJUU/ref=asap_B003MEA7AY_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1415175995&sr=1-6

Germanyhttp://www.amazon.de/Cataclysm-English-Jack-Eason-ebook/dp/B00P6KUJUU/ref=sr_1_1/278-2266928-9006234?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1415185761&sr=1-1&keywords=Jack+Eason

Francehttp://www.amazon.fr/Cataclysm-English-Jack-Eason-ebook/dp/B00P6KUJUU/ref=sr_1_1/278-7996577-3438365?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1415185810&sr=1-1&keywords=Jack+Eason

Spainhttp://www.amazon.es/Cataclysm-English-Jack-Eason-ebook/dp/B00P6KUJUU/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1415185866&sr=1-1&keywords=Jack+Eason

Italyhttp://www.amazon.it/Cataclysm-English-Jack-Eason-ebook/dp/B00P6KUJUU/ref=sr_1_6/280-5044894-9867646?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1415185949&sr=1-6&keywords=Jack+Eason

Japanhttp://www.amazon.co.jp/Cataclysm-Jack-Eason-ebook/dp/B00P6KUJUU/ref=la_B003MEA7AY_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1415186011&sr=1-1

Indiahttp://www.amazon.in/Cataclysm-Jack-Eason-ebook/dp/B00P6KUJUU/ref=sr_1_6/278-3399580-9294723?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1415186064&sr=1-6&keywords=Jack+Eason

Canadahttp://www.amazon.ca/Cataclysm-Jack-Eason-ebook/dp/B00P6KUJUU/ref=sr_1_1/186-8960017-1319757?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1415186119&sr=1-1&keywords=Jack+Eason

Brazilhttp://www.amazon.com.br/Cataclysm-English-Jack-Eason-ebook/dp/B00P6KUJUU/ref=sr_1_6/188-4848099-8509517?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1415186160&sr=1-6&keywords=Jack+Eason

Mexicohttp://www.amazon.com.mx/Cataclysm-English-Jack-Eason-ebook/dp/B00P6KUJUU/ref=sr_1_6/184-3545316-5513502?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1415186213&sr=1-6&keywords=Jack+Eason

Australiahttp://www.amazon.com.au/Cataclysm-Jack-Eason-ebook/dp/B00P6KUJUU/ref=sr_1_6/377-0030861-2120853?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1415186265&sr=1-6&keywords=Jack+Eason

***

Don’t forget folks, without you buying a copy of our books, and leaving us feedback in the form of a review, we writers have no way of knowing whether or not our work is to your liking.ย 

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Progress Report 14

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My new cover. Just click on it to see it properly

As you’ve all been so patient, with only two chapters to go I thought you might like to be among the first to see the cover for my new adventure novella Catacylsm. Once again I have created it myself.

Yesterday I showed it to two professionals I know, one a leading American cover artist, the other an American graphic designer with over thirty years experience. Both of them specialise in digitally created book covers. In each case the cover met with their approval. Words like ‘stunning’ were uttered, not by me, but by them which did a lot to boost my ego. It’s always gratifying when experts heap praise on your work, don’t you think? These days a cover must be ‘eye catching’ to attract readers. This one certainly is.

Before you ask, no it is not a digital painting. It is a photograph, just like all of my previous covers. It took me ages trawling through my favourite site for photographs –ย Morguefile.com free stock photos to find the one I wanted. I resized it, improved the quality of the photograph then applied the lettering, all by using my Corel Paintshop Pro X6 64 bit programme. Next I checked the end result in thumbnail and eBook sizes using another indispensable tool I rely on – Calibre.

Here’s hoping that when it appears on Amazon, Cataclysm will be favourably recieved. As I have said previously, if the trolls, armchair critics and pedants want to tear it apart, they’ll have to buy a copy just like everyone else. Just remember that thanks to them, there will be no free giveaways with this one.

When I upload the Kindle version to Kindle Direct Publishing in a month or so, I’ll be pricing it at US$3.00. The cover size is large enough (2000 x 3000 pixels) to suit CreatSpace when I get round to uploading it to them for its paperback version. What the paperback price will be, all depends on their pricing regime. Don’t worry, I’ll let you know.

Once I have finished writing it, it will be down to my faithful team of Beta readers to give the novella the once over while I go about that all important final edit. If any of them think that something needs changing, that’s the time when I will do it.

Meanwhile I am relatively happy with the the way the ‘blurb’ reads at present. Here it is:-

Nothing is every straight forward. Consider what would occur if the origins of mankind, together with many of the preconceptions we hold dear concerning religion, were proven to be false. How would you react? At the end of the twenty-first century, time travel became a reality. Humanity was about to get an unwelcome wakeup call. For hundreds of years history books went unchallenged and all religious beliefs were considered to be inviolable, never to be questioned, until the era of the Teleportation Gate.ย 

Now I’d better get back to the penultimate chapter. Things are really beginning to hot up.

More later…

PS – Even Chris the Storyreading Ape approves.

PPS – The woman on the cover is exactly how I envisioned one particular character – beautiful but deadly.

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Progress Report 13

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It might be here

Well folks, yet another progress report for you. I’ve been up since 4.30 am just to finish the revamped Chapter Eight, having axed the original after merging the two preceeding chapters into one, which gave me the opportunity to steer that part of the story in a more logical direction. The word count now stands at 21,858 and almost forty-two A4 pages.

I changed my mind, yet again, about the cover. I’m betting that despite what he said to me yesterday, the Story Reading Ape is quietly cursing me about it. Still, because of the troublesome new OS software on his Mac, at least he hadn’t got as far as beginning to work on what I had originally asked of him, or so he says.

Believe it or not, but I’ve been having fun developing Briggs’ love affair. Normally I steer well clear of the depths I have entered into with the subject, preferring to simply suggest any romantic involvements, leaving it up to the reader’s imagination to fill in the gaps. But, as this highly controversial love affair is an integral part of the plot it needs to be spelt out, but only by writing it as tastefully as is humanly possible.

Since doing the major edit of the first seven chapters, I became aware of something I’d normally not pick up on until the final edit – inconsistency. For instance, you can’t have a character enter stage left in one paragraph, only to say later in another that he entered stage right when reminding the reader about his entrance, now can you.

Well that’s about it for now, except that I’ve a feeling that it will end up as a novella by the way its going.

PS – still confused by the pictures I put up for each progress report? Good, that’s precisely my aim, to get you curious enough to want to buy yourselves a copy when I publish it. They may be relevent to the story, or they may just be nothing more than red herrings. You’ll have to wait and see won’t you.

I’m exhausted, so I’m taking tomorrow (Sunday) off. Chapter nine will begin on Monday morning.

More later.

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Progress Report 11

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That should read – Do Not Disturb, Editor At Work

Well folks, hopefully you will be pleased to know that I have now completed eight chapters, or 18,177 words in thirty five A4 pages. Chapter eight has proved to be a real challenge as I have moved well outside my male comfort zone to introduce the beginnings of a highly controversial love affair involving the principal character, Dr Gilbert Briggs.

Who he has fallen in love with, and why, will have to remain a mystery for now. Sorry about that, but I love teasing you. To write about Gilbert’s love affair, I have drawn on the way I met and fell completely head over heels in love with the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, back in the nineteen sixties in South East Asia. She was a Montagnard named Mai. (You will note that I did say ‘was’. Both Mai and our four month old son, John, were killed in a bombing raid while I was away.)

All I will say at this stage of the proceedings is that the object of his heart’s desire is not at all like Mai. In fact, I doubt that there are many books in existance which involve the kind of person Gilbert is attracted to. Mind you I may be wrong. I haven’t checked.ย  ๐Ÿ˜‰

As I feel that I’m about halfway through the story (at the moment, it looks as if it will be a novella), before I go any further its high time I did a full line by line, paragraph by paragraph edit, even though I have been constantly editing as I go. Besides which, I need to check out each chapter in its entirety, adding things which hadn’t occurred at the time of writing, as well as subtracting others that contribute nothing overall to the story so far. The other thing I need to do is look at each chapter as it stands. It may be that I might find the need to amalgamate two chapters. Only time and careful editing will tell.

As I have said previously, it does contain a certain science fiction element. But the further I progress, the more the story dictates what will happen next. There is now no doubt that it has developed into a full on adventure. That’s the beauty of being flexible about adding various elements to the mix. Sooner or later one will become dominant over the rest. By doing this major edit, hopefully it will ensure that the story will become, as far as is humanly possible, a troll, armchair critic and pedant free zone. When I’m happy that I have brought the story to its conclusion, I’ll do another major edit.

PS – In the future if I decide to add a few more chapters, it may well wind up as a full length novel.

More later.

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Progress Report 9

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It might even be here. What might?

Well folks, the word count now stands at 13,119. Or if you prefer it, twenty-five A4 pages. I’m still working on Chapter Seven. While I’ve added those two extra characters I was talking about in Progress Report 8, I’m still trying to work out how I draw one particularly nasty individual out into the open – the second of the new characters. There are so many ways to achieve this. I just have to decide which is the best scenario, considering my main characters and the way they react when it comes to any form of danger to themselves. To that end, progress in this chapter is slow. But, I’ll get there.

This story is definitely dictating how it wants to be written. So far I have broached two highly controversial subjects, Religion and Sexual Identity, within the context of the story. My character’s views on both thorny issues are guaranteed to upset some thin skinned people out there who are easily offended. All I will say is that they/you need to remember one thing. When you read this novel, it isn’t reality. It’s nothing more than a fictitious tale. That’s the beauty of fiction. You can ask questions, or suggest explanations for practically anything you care to name, without it reflecting your own personal beliefs and prejudices. Some individuals forget that when they read a book.

With all of the clues I’ve given you so far, do you think you know what the story is all about yet? Maybe they’re not clues at all. Why have I used photographs of various cityscapes for each of these progress reports? Could they be Red Herrings? You’ll just have to wait and see, won’t you. Even some of the categories listed below this and all of the ‘Progress Reports’ could be nothing more than Red Herrings.

More later, but only if you’re good.

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Five Star Reviews for The Next Age

TNA

Finally, here are the five star reviews for the Science Fiction story I wrote last year. None by famous authors this time, just reviews from ordinary readers, not forgetting one by our very own Chris Graham aka The Storyreading Ape, who kindly agreed to be a Beta Reader.

~~~

5.0 out of 5 stars Man and Machine, a romance, October 12, 2013
By
ย Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: The Next Age (Kindle Edition)
Very entertaining sci fi thriller which takes place in a distant future where mankind seems to have made few advances politically which may account for our disappointing advances scientifically. When we have the advantage of contact with a more advanced species basically dumped in our lap, our old habits seem to ruin any positive outcomes for us. I liked, very much, the relationship between the main character and the alien ship which becomes a very real character over time. Interesting study in geopolitics on a broader scale and a worthwhile, thought provoking read. I’m a little vague on some of the math involved in wormhole propulsion, but its an idea worth suspending your disbelief for an essential to the story.
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant feat of imagination . Captivating !, October 11, 2013
ย Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: The Next Age (Kindle Edition)
Jack has shown us again that there is no limit to the boundaries of the imagination . Creating worlds , universes and the means to operate within them along with a host of lovable characters . Stretching the boundaries of imagination to open the mind to possibilities perhaps not considered . A must read series .
The Seventh Age The Forgotten Age Turning Point
5.0 out of 5 stars Be afraid HUMAN, be VERY afraid, October 7, 2013
ย This review is from: The Next Age (Kindle Edition)
As one of the fortunate Beta Readers, I can tell you that this is a science fiction book in the best tradition’s of Arthur C. Clark and Isaac Asimov, written for the thinking man, but that doesn’t mean that it’s dull or slow reading – far from it.
The story starts by reminding the reader of our past endeavours to announce our presence to the Universe at large (bearing in mind one of our emissaries has just recently left our solar system and is now in interstellar space)
Did we REALLY think that all advanced extraterrestials HAD to be friendly?
Were we WRONG?
Warning – this story may have you diving for the chequebook, to sign up for the next spacecraft leaving Earth…..
~~~
So, that’s it for reviews of my books folks until the novel I’m currently writing is published, either later this year or early next. There are many other reviews but I don’t want to bore you to death. If you want to read more, go to my amazon pages atย  Amazon.com as well asย  Amazon.co.ukย  and click on the book covers.
If your wondering why I have only reproduced five star reviews in this short series, who want’s to read the one star variety by trolls? I know I don’t. I bet you don’t either. I don’t know about you but I’ve got far better things to do than read their nonsense. Besides which, reproducing their bile and invective here on my troll free blog only legitimises their attacks.
Far better to ignore them…
~~~
Once again, thank you Ed, Gordon and Chris.
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