Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Digital book pricing and piracy.

I read with interest a blog about the furore at a recent festival for crime writers. A panel member, who is a highly successful and well thought of self-publisher, put forward a suggestion that selling books at less than a pound was a positive move. An agent commented that she was surprised he was prepared to work for so little, completely missing the point that by pricing the book at £0.99 you are likely to sell 10,000+ copies over the course of year and make more than you would from a traditionally published book. I am certainly making far more money from my KDP books than I've made from any books put out by a publisher.
Other authors have told me that although you sell four times as many books when it's priced in pennies you don't actually make as much money as you do when you price to receive Amazon's 70%  royalties.I'm still experimenting on this one.
The piracy issue is something new to me. When the panel member said  piracy could be beneficial in some cases he was greeted by hisses and boos from the audience. His premise is that people who download pirated books wouldn't have bought his books anyway, but if they enjoy it they might well buy other books written by him.
I'm not sure about this. I've yet to discover any of my titles on one of these sites, but then I have not really looked. I'd be interested to hear your opinions.
Do you think selling a book for less than a pound, or putting it in a free promotion, somehow devalues the work? I certainly don't.
Can piracy possibly be okay? I think when you can download so many titles free, stealing them is not acceptable.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Bride for a Duke
Yesterday my second Regency romance Bride for a Duke was published on Kindle.

Anna Hadley has no option but to agree to a marriage of convenience with handsome, young Lord Rupert Shalford. If she does not do this, Sir John Radcliffe, her step-father, will sell her to the highest bidder. However, Rupert's older brother Ralph, The Duke of Westchester, has ideas of his own and is determined to have the union dissolved. Sir John is equally determined to discover the whereabouts of his missing step-daughter.

Hope this does as well as The Duke's Reform.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Carol Chance

Today I'm delighted to have Carol Maclean with me. Carol has a new book out with Astraea.Press,
'Wild for Love.' Her blog is
'Wild for Love' is available at Amazon as well.

Something that fascinates me is how an author finds their characters so I asked Carol to tell me how she does this
Do you start with you characters or your plot?
It depends. Each story is different - sometimes a character will come to me fully formed and I then weave a story round them. However for 'Wild For Love' I had the plot in mind and then came up with the characters - they had to have opposing viewpoints so they could clash over the environmental issues raised in the story. So Polly (an Ecologist) and Jake (a property developer) were born.

Do you write a biography of all your character/main only/none?
I write a brief biography of all the characters. I find if I make it too detailed I get bored with them and don't want to write their story. As I write, I find things out about them and they develop and change in ways that at the start, I might not have imagined!

Do you base your characters on a real person/film actor etc or are they entirely imaginary?
They are mostly conjured up from my imagination. I never use actors to base them upon although I admit to a lot of people-watching on a daily basis and if someone's interesting enough, then an attribute may be used in a character.

Do you cut photos out of magazines to use as your main characters?
Never - I can see my characters quite clearly in my mind. I don't need a photo.

Do you see your characters or only hear them or both? 
I see and hear them - when I'm working on a chapter it's like a film set - I can see the action and hear the dialogue.

How many characters do you think are too many for a book to work?
Probably two main characters (heroine and hero) and three or four minor characters are enough. In 'Wild For Love' Polly's sister Lou and her husband Ian are having marital difficulties which are dealt with sensitively and resolved during the book - they are there so that Polly can reflect on the nature of love and learn for herself what real love means. Jake's mother is an important character too for Jake to learn to grow up and move on to what he really wants out of life.
We've all read stories where there are so many characters we have to flick back through the book to remember who they are! I don't want that to happen in my stories.

How do you make your characters individual? Accent? Catch phrases? Mannerisms? Other things?
I use catch phrases and mannerisms to some extent but I do try to be careful not to make the characters charicatures. I may use accents occasionally but I find a bit of local dialect goes a long way! The best thing to do is read out dialogue from the story and see if it works. Can I distinguish who is speaking from cadence and choice of words? If not, I've failed and have to try harder to individualise them.

Do you write with multi-view point/deep third/first/omnipotent/narrator –or a combination of these?
I write in third person but swop POV (Point of View) between the heroine and hero as the plot devlops.

How often do your characters run away with your plot?
Quite a lot. As the characters develop and mature the shape of the plot naturally changes. That's fine, I don't have a problem with that. The end of a book is always in the mist anyway when I start off.

Would you ever kill a main character/child/animal/villain?
I haven't yet but it's a possibility in the future....

In your opinion which is more important –plot or character?
For romance, most definitely character. The plot comes from the interaction between the heroine and her hero.

That's great, Carol. Thanks for giving us an insight into the way you work.

Wild For Love:
Polly is an ecologist, passionate and uncompromising about wildlife rights. Against her better judgment she falls in love with Jake, heir to a London media empire, whose development company is about to destroy a beautiful marsh. Can love ever blossom between two such different 

Sunday, 1 July 2012

What is a good book?

With all the media attention surrounding '50 Shades of Grey'  and the huge number of destructive reviews for this book I thought I'd ask the question. 'What is a good book?'
I haven't read 50 Shades of Grey or the sequels but I have read several of the blogs which deconstructed the book and it would appear there are serious flaws in the writing style, the plot, and characterization. Therefore I could conclude that this isn't 'a good book'.
However this book has sold more than 3 million copies and is still selling well. Some of these sales could be accounted for by media hype, but the majority of readers  have bought this book must have bought it because they want to read it. If the reviews are true then millions of readers are enjoying 'a bad book'.
This is obviously nonsense. For so many people to be reading  this book it must be a good read - or 'a good book'. It might not be a well written book but it is certainly, in my opinion, 'a good book'.
I think books written in the first person present are unreadable but his doesn't make them 'bad books'.  I also find Jeffrey Archer and Dan Brown unreadable but they sell millions so their novels can be defined as 'good books'.
After all the majority of authors write books they want people to read. The more that buy their books the happier they are. The sales are what counts, not the number of rave reviews in national newspapers.
I have three reasons for writing. One: because it's what I do. Two: to entertain my readers. Three: to make  money.
I'm not sure James is writing for anything apart from the money - but that's another story.
What do you think if the definition of a good book? I'd be interested to hear your views.
best wishes