A rewrite is underway

7th age

When I wrote and published The Seventh Age back in 2012, my thinking at the time was to get it out as quickly as possible before the winter solstice in that year, mistakes and all. Why? To appeal to those who firmly believed the Mayan calendar predictions that the world would end on December 21st of that year. Obviously it didn’t happen, but the book enjoyed a lot of success, selling in excess of a quarter of a million copies.

Now, having finally got round to re-reading it four years on, its time to produce a second edition, correcting the spelling errors as well as adding the few words missing throughout the story, principally to get the damned grammar nazis and assorted idiots of my back! Let’s face it, by not editing I gave them what they wanted. Unless they can tear a book apart, they’re not happy. And yet what really galls them to this day is that a book written by an Indie author became an overnight best seller despite the editing errors and their worst efforts.

So, this morning I’ve already begun while the rest of the world was still asleep. I’ll keep you updated with its progress. Meantime here is a direct quote from the original regarding the love affair between the two main characters Ithis, a crypto terrestrial and the archaeologist, Dr Nick Palmer at a critical juncture in the story:

alien-hybrid

My heroine Ithis

From now on at night while he slept, Ithis entered his mind tenderly making gentle love to his soul, taking him beyond the normal wonderful sensations of lovemaking, ever mindful that she must not make actual physical contact – at least not just yet…’

PS – will it have a new cover? I have no plans to replace the original as it shows what the book is all about – time.

More later

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Whether By Accident Or Design, Amazon Has Become A Literary Gatekeeper.

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“Hearken to my words writers of the world. Know that once your book passes through these portals, it shall never see the light of day again unless hell freezes over first, or a miracle occurs!”

~~~

Call me a pessimist if you must, but after over two decades of writing and publishing, I’m forced to the inevitable conclusion that despite self-publishing and print on demand still being the way to go these days, it is also the quickest way for your book(s) to rapidly disappear from the public’s attention, due to the sheer number of titles on Amazon since it became the major player in the self-publishing game.

Unless you are extremely lucky, no matter how well written and edited it may be, no matter how spectacular the cover, or for that matter, the amount of time, effort and money spent on marketing it, within a few short days after launching your book on Amazon, its destined to join the slush pile of over five million others as more and more titles appear each day, nudging your work farther down the list.

What is the alternative? Indeed is there one, given that these days even glowing reviews are no guarantee of keeping any book in the public eye for very long. First of all, don’t give up. Carry on writing. But don’t expect to be read by anyone other than your nearest and dearest if you decide to publish on Amazon in the accepted sense of the word.

My anthology of Goblin Tales is a classic case in point. More people have read the tales since I began posting them here on my blog during the last few weeks in an attempt to keep them in the public eye, than have actually bought a copy for themselves from Amazon to read at their leisure, during the entire time the anthology has been available for purchase.

This realisation, epiphany, call it what you will, gave me an idea. Why not try what Charles Dickens did back in eighteen thirty-six, even though, unlike him, I’m up against literally millions of other writers?

~~~

The whole publishing ethos has changed so much in the last few years since self-publishing and print on demand became a reality. Everywhere you look there are people only to willing to creat covers, promote your book, review it, edit it, even format your manuscript, all for a fee of course. Therefore the cold hard reality is that they are the only ones who benefit in any way shape or form from the product of all of your hard work.

Yes but it’s what you have to do to bring it to the attention of the reading public – right? That and hawking paperback and hard cover copies of it around all your local book fairs, conventions, book shops and libraries.

Are you sure about that?

I’ll tell you what I think the problem is. It’s a modern-day catch-22 situation. Don’t publish and no one will read it. Publish on Amazon, and still no one will read it because it is one of over five million titles. Ask yourself how many people you know who actually bother to look beyond the top one hundred recommended books these days? Practically none!

What is the ultimate goal for any writer? Surely it’s to be read…

That’s true, but when your book winds up in Amazon’s slush pile within a few days of it being released, no amount of money spent, or marketing will bring it to the attention of the jaded reading public, despite what the many pundits out there with a vested interest in making money from your book may say.

Not too long ago before the sheer number of books in Amazon’s title list got totally ridiculous, the big five traditional publishing houses relied on one star reviews for any book appearing on Amazon to turn people off self-published titles. These days there is no longer any further need for this less than acceptable practice to continue, thanks to Amazon’s open door policy and its slush pile. Conventional publishing houses do not hoard titles like Amazon does. If a book isn’t selling, all unsold copies get pulped. As a self-published author you can’t even remove one of your own titles, because Amazon insists that it must stay on your Author page, just in case someone might want to return it years down the line. Highly unlikely I would have thought, wouldn’t you?

Whether we as writer’s like it or not, if we don’t want our book(s) to be read, all we have to do now is self-publish on Amazon or Smashwords. To that end, both Derek Haines and myself are seriously contemplating the unimaginable – no more self-publishing of our books.

I can’t speak for what Derek’s solution to the problem may be. Or even if we both change our minds, and simply carry on. But in the meantime I’m now seriously considering doing what Dickens did back in the nineteenth century when he serialized his first work – Pickwick Papers, to raise awareness of his writing. In my case taking a leaf out of Lucy Brazier’s book by publishing each chapter here on my blog.

At least that way any further books by yours truly won’t get buried and forgotten about before anyone has had the chance to read them. Plus by adding the post(s) as I produce them to Twitter, Google+, Pinterest etc, and the many writer’s groups on Facebook, that’s a whole lot of potential readers (especially on Twitter) for each episode, always providing they feel inclined to actually read them and not just ‘like’ them. Even what I’m proposing is no guarantee that anyone will want to avail themselves of my books. But then again, doing nothing is not an option either.

All I’m asking you to consider is to seriously think about what I’ve said before you rush to publish the product of all your hard work. Meanwhile I’ll continue on with my promise to Adele, Kate and a few others to rework and reformat Goblin Tales for its 3rd edition, this time as a paperback…

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I thought perhaps you might appreciate a helping hand

3d e-book

In order to assist all of you in deciding whether or not you will actually want an Ebook copy of my crossover novella Céleste, pictured above, pay attention!!

To clarify, at the moment there is absolutely no point whatsoever in you trying to look for it. I thought I’d better make that point crystal clear as some people think its already available. NOT YET – BE PATIENT!

Don’t worry, I’ll let you know when it is right here on my blog, along with its Amazon.com link.

In the meantime to help you out a little more, I have the greatest of pleasure in publishing for the first time anywhere, the carefully considered impressions of three of today’s finest writers in their respective genres, in the order in which I have included them on the novella’s second page, where you will find that I have hyperlinked their respective names back to one of their own books in grateful thanks. They will also feature together with the blurb as its online description (in that instance, minus the hyperlinks of course) once I have submitted it for publication.

~~~

“Eason’s best work yet, his new book Céleste combines romance and science fiction in a story that has a twist on every page” – Nicholas Rossis

 
“Romance beyond the stars abounds in this sensuous sci-fi, entwined with mission, morals and lust. Eason takes us to a place where human desire dwells in mankind and aliens alike, no matter how many light years away” – D.G. Kaye

“Jack Eason never rests. When he is not knee deep in archaeology, or wandering around forests in elf fables, he is busy combining sci-fi with a little added romantic spice” – Derek Haines

 

~~~

One last thing, if any of you are hoping I will offer it for free at some point – sorry, but that will not be the case where this novella is concerned. I invested a lot of money in commissioning its cover, which I need to recoup. You don’t do that by giving the book away now do you?

So, there you have it. As you saw, Nicholas, Debby and Derek loved reading it, hopefully you will too…

More later,

Jack

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Well, Its Hyperlink Time

CELESTE cover 8,5 x 11

As I draw nearer to completing Céleste, now is the time to begin inserting the hyperlinks necessary for the e-book version. What do I mean by that? As it will be in preorder mode for maybe a week or ten days prior to its publishing date, you will still be able to take a look at the first few pages using Amazon’s Look Inside feature. The first hyperlinks you will come across are on the second page. They consist of two pre-publication reviews by two fellow science fiction writers. I will also be adding them to Céleste’s blurb on Amazon, minus the hyperlinks. After you have read what they have to say, by clicking on their hyperlinked names in the e-book, you will be taken directly to books by them I deem to be their best. I’ve done this in grateful thanks for their involvement in Céleste’s journey from idea to end product.

The other hyperlinks you will find are on page three, consisting of chapter headings. By simply clicking on the relevant chapter you can go straight to it, once you have bought your copy.

As for Céleste’s e-book price, I’m still thinking about that. One thing is certain, it won’t be any more than my usual US$2.99. Both of my fellow authors, Nicholas Rossis and Derek Haines, agree that I’ve cracked it once again with this science fiction romance. Its success or failure all depends on whether or not the reading public agrees with what they had to say in their pre-publication reviews…

More later folks,

Jack

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More News Concerning Céleste’s Progress

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Well, things have finally gone the way I wanted them to regarding the cover for my latest W.I.P Céleste. As you can see from the above advertising banner, (click on it and the Kindle cover below to see them in more detail) I finally found someone prepared to come up with the cover quality the story demands to make it stand out from the crowd.

The cover artist’s name is Alexios Saskalidis who can be contacted at https://www.facebook.com/187designz. He was recommended to me by my fellow scifi author and friend, Nicholas Rossis. As you may have guessed, like Nicholas, Alex is domiciled in Greece. He is the one responsible for all of Nicholas’ excellent book covers. I can tell you this, I’ve already told him that he will be getting all my future trade if the eyecatching cover below is anything to go by. He doesn’t come cheap by any stretch of the imagination, but quality is always well worth the price paid in my book, if you will pardon the pun.

I know I’m once again onto an absolute winner when it comes to Céleste, as I was three years ago when I came up with a timely story written around the dire predictions about the end of days when the New Ager fraternity misinterpreted why the Mayan Calendar had ended in 2012, in my novel The Seventh Age (which became a best seller by Indie standards, at well in excess of 200,000 sales).

Since then it has become more difficult to attrack potential readers for any book. This new story deserves to be given the same chance if it is to succeed in what has now become a saturated marketplace. Ask any other full time author you care to name and they will all tell you the same thing; no matter how good the story may be, these days unless a book’s cover attracts the attention of potential readers, you are quite literally wasting you’re time…

Alex has been producing high quality covers for years. Therefore he is full of ideas. In this case he came up with a much better alternative to what I had in mind for the cover. So far, apart from the above banner which is one of three I will be using as pre publication advertising until I finally publish Céleste sometime next year, he has aready provided me with the Kindle version of the cover shown below. Using the material I supplied to him (blurb, bio and my mug shot), he has also created the paperback version. But until I finish writing the book and can give him the final page count, along with the CreateSpace template size I have finally settled on, which will be the standard paperback size, (5×8 inches) understandably he is holding off from sending the finished product to me.

CELESTE cover 8,5 x 11In the meantime Céleste has taken an entirely different direction to the way I originally intended. To begin with I saw it as being a ‘dyed in the wool’ science fiction tale, full of adventure and dangerous situations. But I’ve now gone down an entirely different route, largely thanks to the way the characters are interacting with one another. Apart from the ongoing love affair between Céleste and the mission commander David O’Leary, there are now two more slowly emerging from among the ranks of the remaining crew members aboard Apkallu.

Why have I decided this is the way to go rather than sticking with hard core scifi? Well, I was reading another of Derek Haines’ informative articles the other day concerning what sells in todays world of books and what doesn’t. From the research information he came across, it turns out that by far the most popular genre being bought and read these days is romance, (over 80% of the market). So to appeal to that readership I’m combining the three romances as the main thrust of what is essentially still a science fiction story at heart.

By the way If you think that the stunningly beautiful Céleste looks like trouble as she moodily peeks out at you from the cover, I can tell you that she very definitely can be, especially when provoked. Even though I’ve just finished putting the finishing touches to the fourth chapter, already two of David’s crewmates have fallen foul of her – one of them twice.

Well that’s about it for now. I realy must get back to it, as chapter five now beckons. So far the word count stands at 20,843. It’s pointless me giving you the number of pages as I’ve yet to transfer the text to the CreateSpace Word template I’ve decided on. Having grown heartily sick of Createspace endlessly bleating on about my sending them an A4 sized .doc file, I experimented with a larger size of template the other day and the page count then came out at thirty-eight, way more than the standard A4 page count of twenty-two of the original file. I’ve a feeling that if I did transfer it to the new template at the moment, it would easily exceed fourty pages already.

So in the meantime if you will excuse me, I’ve got the intricacies of three romances to be getting on with.

More later folks,

Jack

😀

Nicholas Rossis Has His Say

Nicholas Rossis

In his usual acerbic fashion here’s what he had to say about The Guardian.

4.0 out of 5 stars Nontraditional Sci-Fi, October 12, 2015
Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: The Guardian: Some things are written in stone (Kindle Edition)

The thing with Eason is, you either love him or hate him. I read with interest the reviews, but found a lot of them were of the “I saw the blurb and some sample content and moved on” kind. Which is a shame, as it feels that people didn’t bother actually reading the book before leaving their scathing reviews.

True, Eason has a unique style that ignores conventions – whether PC or editing ones. But I did enjoy the premise and the story. Would it have benefited from a more traditional editing? Yes. It does contain info dumps in the form of dialogue, that could have been handled in a better way. It also leaves some questions unanswered, and has a few typos.

Are these more technical aspects enough to make the book unreadable? I don’t think so. It was a fast read with a flowing pacing in all but a couple of places. As for the plot, I think that Eason did a great job making us wonder until the end: who’s good and who’s bad? Was this a first contact gone wrong? Or something far more sinister?

So, if you’re willing to turn a blind eye to its imperfections, this is a nontraditional Sci-Fi book with a nice story and some interesting ideas to discuss with your friends.

***

Whether people love or hate me is neither here nor there Nicholas. The haters will always condemn anything I write. I’ll never please everyone because with me there are no shades of grey. If just one person enjoys reading my books, I am content.

Thanks,

Jack

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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.

~~~

      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…

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A Message To The Slackers

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If you get a free copy of any book, it behoves you to at least read it!

***

Unfortunately for independant writers, the downright miserly of this world will never deign to purchase a copy of anything you write. Instead they wait for a free copy to become available. Which brings me to the free giveaway of my latest scifi novella last month. So far out of the one hundred and five free copies of The Guardian taken up, it has received a grand total of five reviews – two five star, two four star and one three star. Does that mean that only five people read it? You could be forgiven for thinking so.

I can just hear the weak-willed apologists right now saying something like “ah but they probably have it on their TBR lists. Besides, reading a book, let alone reviewing it, is not compulsory.” To which I would readily reply, “in that case why did you help yourself to a free copy of the book?” I would go further by pointing out that good manners and common decency demand that you must read and review it.

On the odd occasion when I do read a free book, even those I beta read for other writers, I always review them without fail. Yes I have a TBR list, but when I owe someone the courtesy of reading and reviewing, I get on with it! Think about it, how else will any author know if their books are being read? Book sales figures don’t tell you.

Five out of one hundred and five definitely have read it. Its high time the rest of you got your backsides into gear. You know who you are, so please read and review it, preferably during the next two weeks! I gave it to you for nothing. So you owe me…

At the moment on Amazon US The Guardian sits at 2066th place in its genre (Science Fiction), while here in the UK The Guardian is placed at 1020th. What does that tell you?

I know what it tells me. The Guardian aint dead yet.

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What’s wrong with getting an eBook for nothing?

Free Books.001

Only everything!!!

The fact that today’s readers of eBooks demand they must be free or on offer as part of an all you can read for x number of dollars per month package deal, is just so wrong!

Face it people, when you go to your supermarket to get your groceries, or to any other retail outlet you care to name, do you get what you want for nothing? No of course not. So why should you expect to get a book for free? I’ve heard some people claim it should be free because an eBook isn’t a real book, only an electronic file. Good grief morons, try engaging your brains for once in your lives! These same idiots argue that they should be able to download their favourite music for free as well. I have just two words on that particular subject – Taylor Swift!!! We need someone like her to stand up for the largely toothless contributing authors of this world…

Thanks to Amazon belabouring the fact that eBooks are electronic files, the concept of never paying for any eBook written by an Indie has become the norm. How many of you feel guilty about reading that eBook you got for nothing? More to the point, how many of those free eBooks you downloaded, have you actually read, let alone reviewed?

Doesn’t it bother you that the eBook’s author invested several months, or in some cases, years writing it? If not, it damned well should!

It’s high time you all grew a conscience and put yourselves in the author’s place for once. After all, would you go into work if you knew that you would not receive a salary for your hard work? Of course you wouldn’t!

More fool us for loving the written word, to the point where we sweat blood like you wouldn’t believe to bring you that latest book. Common decency demands that we are owed monetary recompense for all our hard work in the form of royalties, no matter the price of the book in question.

Unfortunately these days most Indies are lucky if their titles sell in the dozens per annum. Thanks to Amazon’s penny pinching change in how they pay royalties, known as KENPR or Kindle Edition Normalized Pages Read, combined with your own equally selfish attitude towards the product of our labours, if any writer thinks they will become rich these days, they’re seriously kidding themselves. We’re no different to you in that we need money to survive, but thanks to Amazon and uncaring people like you, 99.999% of Amazon’s Indie authors consider themselves lucky if they make maybe a couple of hundred dollars (US) yearly from writing.

Remember this tightwads – authors never receive royalties from those free copies you all greedily help yourselves too.

PS – if you agree with me, reblog this!!!

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