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Sunday, 30 September 2012

Self Publishing - The Story So Far...

Back on 4th August, I wrote a blog called "Smashwords - the future of Ebook Publishing at RWA 2012". This created such a lot of comment both here on my blog and via my mailbox (christinahollis@hotmail.co.uk), I did some more research. Much as I love browsing in bookshops and handling real books, I couldn't resist trying it out myself. The process was really easy, and led to the release of Lady Rascal, an historical romance set in Paris and the English countryside during the French Revolution. Over the next few months I'll be reporting regularly on what happens. If there's interest in a conventional version, I'll release it as a paperback title, too. Lady Rascal was originally published as part of the Harlequin Mills and Boon "Masquerade" line, so I've already had a lot of feedback from readers of the original hardback and paperback versions.

The new ebook version is now widely available on Amazon, iTunes, Kobo and elsewhere. And remember - if you like Lady Rascal, please don't keep it to yourself! Word of mouth recommendations and on-line reviews are great ways to let other people in on the secret.  They give a writer a real boost, and I'll be delighted to hear what you think.

Friday, 21 September 2012

The Romance of Writing versus the Reality...

Masquerade Ball by Mark J Sebastian
I didn't realise how exhausting writing was until I began to do it full time. When I was fitting in a bit of note-taking while on the bus to or from work, or writing up my diary last thing at night writing was a restful break from routine. Putting my words down on paper was a way to download my brain ready for either the trials of office life or sleep, whichever was most appropriate at the time.

Now writing is my life,  the stakes are much higher. Readers know what they like, and it's my job to give them exactly what they want. At the same time, I always want to write from my heart. Without conviction there can be no emotion, and without emotion writing is lifeless and without passion. And we all want to read about passion, whether it's the romantic or the dangerous type, don't we?

Every writer I know puts in a full working day at the computer screen, notepad or in my case, the Neo. Family life comes before work, but in between the two time has to be found for research and promotion. I find it hard to decide which of these two aspects of the writing life I like best. Surfing the net or spending a few hours in the library is pure indulgence for me. On the other hand, I really love chatting with readers and other authors. Especially if there's tea and cake involved...

If you're a writer, which non-scribbling part of your work do you like best? If you're a reader, do you like meeting authors face to face?

Thursday, 13 September 2012

So Here She Is At Last!


The Finished Article
The waiting is over - here's my new release, the historical romance Lady Rascal. The ebook is already up on Amazon (see the panel on right) and as it's available in both Mobi and ePub forms whatever device you have, there's a version for you! 

This release is by way of testing the water -I had so many comments and emails after my recent blogs on the epublishing explosion, I decided to try the system for myself. If the response to Lady Rascal as an ebook is good, I'll bring out a paperback version and my other historical novels will be issued in both 'real' and virtual formats. I'd love to know what you think, and if you've had any experience of epublishing. You can add your comment below, or mail me direct at christinahollis@hotmail.co.uk

To celebrate the release of Lady Rascal, I'm giving away new edition bookmarks and pens to the first ten new subscribers to my newsletter. Visit http://www.christinahollis.com and click on the link to subscribe. Don't worry, I'll never pass your details on to any third party.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

*STOP PRESS* My New Release Is Almost Here!

So new, it's still got its watermark!
I had so many comments and emails after my recent blogs on the epublishing explosion, I decided to explore the subject in more depth. As a result I'm putting one of my historical novels, Lady Rascal, out as an ebook. It will be released within the next few days in both Mobi and ePub forms, so whatever device you have, there'll be a version ready for you.

This release is by way of testing the water - if the response to Lady Rascal as an ebook is good, I'll bring out a paperback version and my other historical novels will be issued in both 'real' and virtual formats.

I'll post more details on here soon but to be sure of hearing the latest, you can sign up for my newsletter at http://www.christinahollis.com. To celebrate the release of Lady Rascal, I'm giving away new edition bookmarks and pens to the first ten new subscribers to my newsletter!

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Three Tips To Instantly Improve Your Chances of Getting Noticed...

The publishing business is a crowded market. Everyone's either looking for the next Harry Potter/Fifty Shades, or trying to write it. When the book of your heart is finished, here are three tips that will help your work get noticed.

1: Give Them What They Want.
Know your audience.  Write first to please yourself, but if you want to entertain others as well, make sure you tailor your work to their likes and dislikes. Check out author guidelines, like the ones produced by romance publishers Mills and Boon. http://www.millsandboon.co.uk/.Read the sort of books you want to write. Popular authors get to be that way because they know what readers like, and expect.  

2: Keep It Clean!
This has got nothing to do with sex - the level of heat you're happy with is up to you. When you're showcasing your manuscript to agents or publishers, first impressions count. They can make or mar a reader's experience of a text. While William Shakespeare would still have been a genius if he'd scratched ogham with a stick on unnumbered wax tablets, his texts would have been chucked straight in the midden without a second glance. He knew how to present his work. Times have changed, but some basic facts remain the same. If an editor's got a dozen manuscripts to read, the ones presented in the commonly accepted, easily readable fashion are going to be dealt with first.  It's human nature to assume that if a writer can't be bothered to make an effort with presentation,  their ratty text might not be worth reading.  It you're sending off a paper version of your manuscript, make sure the lines are double spaced, and printed in an easily-read font (Times New Roman 12 point is a good one) in black on only one side of white paper. Always include a front sheet with title, word count and all your contact details. Type "The End" in the appropriate place, so the editor or beta-reader isn't left wondering, and add your details again. That's it - no fancy bindings, Gothic script or coloured ink. Clean and clear. If you are sending a submission by email, make sure you know whether your contact wants attachments, or samples in the body of your message. If you use a Mac, make sure you supply your text as a Word document too, just in case. And always, always keep copies.


3: Aim Carefully.
Times have changed. In the Seventeenth century, the only people who wrote fiction were geniuses and people with time on their hands, and there weren't many of either. These days, it seems like everyone wants to be a writer. With the world population now around 7 billion, that's an awful lot of competition.  Whether you go down the route of getting an agent or going straight to a publisher, make sure you choose carefully. Research firms and individuals via the Internet, or an up-to-date specialist publication such as The Writers' and Artists' Yearbook. Don't send your steamy sex-saga to a publisher who only deals in children's books, for a start! Make sure you send off exactly what is asked for, too - no more, and no less. If your book isn't finished, tell them so, and how long it will take you to complete it.

Finally - good luck!