Sunday, 13 April 2014


E-books have advantages and disadvantages. It takes a hardback book to swat a cobra.
   I tell potential purchasers how long my books are. This information goes into the blurb - Amazon's product description. I use snippets of blurb in the back matter.
   What's that? A fancy term for the end of the book. This is where I'll dump my ALSO AVAILABLE section. A home from home, for snatches of blurb.
   Blurb has always been a tough proposition, as a piece of writing - not just as a dollop of reading.
   Give away no twists. Tell the audience nothing and enough. Do this on an imaginary postcard.
   You aren't writing a trilogy, in scribbling blurb. So, yes, pretend you are writing a postcard.
   Dear Readers. Wish you were here.
   Into the mix, I drop a sane dose of transparency. Plots may not be for all tastes, but the word-count is the word-count. Novels or collections run to at least 100,000 words. If I bundle a novel with blogs, I'm aiming to write a story that's at least 75,000 words.
   My FICTION FACTORY stories are cheaper than the regular books, with a minimum length of 30,000. (The upper-limit is 50,000.)
   Recently, in reviewing blurb, I realised one book carried word-count info that was ambiguous.
   Always revisit your self-published books. Look at covers, pricing, blurb, content, and in the cupboard under the stairs.
   Read what you've written. Notice what we think you imagined you meant when you wrote that bit there. Realise you meant something else. Revise. Update.
   In some cases, I split the word count. Blog posts: 41,000 words. Novel: 149,000 words. That comes from REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE. VOLUME 1. MIRA E.
   If you have a hankering for rogue cop stories featuring alien invasion, click on that link and get stuck in.
   I decided readers would have the option of reading around 30,000 words of collected blog posts, bundled with a novel. Okay, I threw in an extra 11,000 on the blogging front. Call me generous. Or wordy.
   Occupational hazard of being a writer.
   MIRA E. was meant to be at least 75,000 words long. I put a little more into the writing of that book, and pretty much doubled my initial projection.
   The blurb lets readers know what's for sale. That book's product description wasn't written on a postcard.
   Bundling blog posts at the start of the book means giving customers a LOOK INSIDE! at blog posts only. My extended blurb provides a sample from the novel.
   The word-count listed in the blurb is straightforward. I wrote what I meant. But, in self-publishing, you must work across all your products. Aim for consistency. Transparency.
   In splitting another book's word-count into blogging and non-blogging categories, I accidentally threw in a note of ambiguity. I had to fix that.
   And the fix was easy. Add two words. Sorted. But...
   That vague blurb was used in all the other books, in the ALSO AVAILABLE section. Back matter matters. I had to update every book.
   So I did.
   The mass-update was an opporchancity, and I took it. Even though I'd recently updated my products, and thought there wasn't much to go over again...
   I knew the Universal Truth. There's always one more thing to do. I added a request at the end of my books. Nothing grand. I asked people who made it that far to write honest reviews on Amazon.
   Not just for me, but for all authors out there.
   As with letting readers know the word-count, in the name of transparency, it's important to inform the customers of the review-policy.
   In the name of transparency? I want honest reviews. You can read my take on that at the end of any one of my books. In the interests of transparency, that was a plug.
   Write your story. Edit your story. Publish your story.
   Revisit your published books. Update details. Fix glitches. But do not summon me to your neighbourhood with a rifle. Do not fucking rewrite the fucking plot of your fucking book once it is fucking published.
   I tone the swearing down, for the adults in the audience. If you must rewrite something so drastically that it becomes something else, then let it be something else.
   Write another book. With another title. Transparently.


There's a contact e-mail listed twice on this blog. That's for transparency, too.
   It leads to the receipt of official e-mails about all the fantastic tax rebates and upgrades the government owes me.
   Occupational hazard of being a writer. Having one monolithic government department write to me from half a dozen different e-mail addresses.
   In the interests of transparency, I block spammers and scammers. My policy is as transparent as their fakery. Sani Abacha makes regular appearances in my in-box too. I still don't want to help his relatives unlock the missing squillions. Just sayin'.


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