No Such Thing As A Free Book

I have over a hundred books in my Kindle cloud. Probably more than two hundred. I don’t know the exact number but trust me when I say there are lots. And I’ve paid for only a fraction of these. Before you go getting your knickers in a twist, I came by each and every one by legitimate means: because I review them on my blog I have many books sent to me by authors and I have around 30 digital ARCs from NetGalley which have been read and reviewed, or are in the queue to be so. But by far, the greatest number of titles on my Kindle have been free and I have read very few of them. From today, I’m not going to download any more free books and once I tell you why, I hope that you’ll join me. The rationale behind giving one’s work away for free is to get noticed. Sell...

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If Only I Knew…

My debut self-published story collection ‘And The Angels Cried and other stories’ is launched on Amazon Kindle tomorrow. I’ve hardly slept for a week and have been obsessively checking and double checking everything. I can do no more. I have read, with great interest, many blogs written by friends and colleagues who have gone down a similar path to mine and have found them, without exception, to be filled with great advice for the novice self-publisher. Without their help, the tricky process of formatting, negotiating the author interface on Amazon and pricing dilemma would have been much, much harder. But what I haven’t been prepared for is the sheer emotional anxiety of the process. Maybe it’s just me. I don’t normally...

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A week to go…

… and I’m not sleeping. The first flush of confidence about And The Angels Cried has gone and left in its wake a quivering mess of insecurity, nerves and nausea. Have I made a mistake? Will anyone buy it? And if they do, will they leave nothing but 1* reviews on Amazon? I am sure that traditionally published authors have similar worries and anxieties, but the self-publisher doesn’t have the security of knowing that someone believes in them: their publisher, their agent, their mother… I have gone over my work time and time again. I have checked and double checked the formatting and apart from one problem in the list of contents that nothing seems to fix, I can find nothing wrong with it. I have had positive feedback on each story in the...

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Reading a Book: it’s a journey, innit?

Are you a corner folder, an enveloper or a proper bookmarker? I want to know how you keep your place when you are reading. For years and years I would place whatever I had to hand between the most recently read pages of my book, reluctant to do anything to damage it. I love my books; I define myself by my books and have bookcases in almost every room of the house, each one full to brimming, as well as a Kindle stuffed with titles yet to read. Why would I want to vandalise something which means so much to me? Then I started to share books with my daughter. While she was always respectful of my books, when I borrowed one of hers it was dog-eared, spine-concertinaed and the pages annotated by her thoughts on the text. The book was totally and irrevocably Claire’s...

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