Posts Tagged ‘e pub’

Writing Retreat Planned For April

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

IMG_1319This Easter I will be spending two weeks travelling through Malaysia and the Philippines with fellow author and StreetWise Global business partner, Frank Green. A major objective of the trip is to actually meet after over a decade of online friendship and nearly three years in business together. We have shared many hours of  VoIP conferencing (Skype) and email exchanges but nothing beats spending time face to face. Frank is an Englishman who lives on an island off the west coast of Ireland with his two children. A superb writer in his own right, Frank handles a lot of the ‘grunt’ work of running an online writing business.

StreetWise Global is one of the StreetWise group of businesses, but separate to my personal StreetWise Publications. SWG handles the factual self-help series of StreetWise Guides and Language Courses that currently focus on the Philippines. One of our goals is to explore Malaysia a little more than we already have on previous individual visits. (I was last there in November 2012 after attending the Singapore Writer’s Festival). We both believe there is a lot of potential in providing StreetWise Guides for those looking to retire to Malaysia, especially those who can’t quite afford the superb ‘Malaysia My Second Home‘ retirement scheme. We have some unique insights to develop on how expats can enjoy everything this fabulous country has to offer, but at a more affordable retirement budget.

IMG_1274While in Malaysia we will be undertaking a road trip, not quite as epic in length and duration as the one Scott and Greg enjoy in ‘Never Be Unsaid’, but epic nonetheless. The plan, so far, is to drive from Kuala Lumpur to Kuantan on the East Coast, then north to Kota Bharu, across to Alor Setar and then back down to KL before flying on to Cebu. In Cebu we will circumnavigate the island as we both believe road trips are ideal for focusing one’s thoughts and giving us plenty of time to talk things through in detail. While on this trip we have pledged to write at least 1,000 words per day of short fiction. The theme will be decided but the setting will be wherever we are that day. The resulting anthology will be published online and in print.

Another objective is to scout out various WW2 and Malayan Emergency (1948-60) battlefields and add them to the planned tours of Singapore. Once the focus on Gallipoli, Flanders and WW1 dies off and everyone has done the Kokoda Track and Vietnam, I think there will be interest in the Malayan Campaign, Fall of Singapore and the Emergency and Confrontation with Indonesia (1964-67) as a place of military historical value to visit. In the Philippines I have to visit my inlaws and make sure they are getting back to normal after the devastation of Typhoon Yolanda, meet up with old friends and refresh a lot of material for my existing titles. While you can update many things via the Internet and forums, there is nothing like boots on the ground (or sandals in my case) to get you genned up.

When we return there will be a lot of writing to be done and no doubt some new publications to be promoted. I can’t wait to challenge Frank to a Satay Eating Contest!

Hilda Hopkins, El Asesinato que Ella Tejio

Monday, July 16th, 2012

I have published my first Spanish Language edition of a StreetWise Publications title. ‘Hilda Hopkins, Murder She Knit’ is now ‘Hilda Hopkins, El Asesinato que Ella Tejio’, thanks to Maria Nalus of Bogota, Colombia. I have published it in print at Pocket Size like the other novellas and must now make it an eBook in .mobi and .epub and get it out to Amazon.es and iBooks, BN and Sony et al.

I am very excited by this, the first step on the journey of being a truly international independent publisher. It is making the very most of the media and technology available and something all writers that self publish should contemplate. We English speakers are not the only readers in the world. There are billions of intelligent people out there who don;t read English, but that doesn’t make them not worth our while. If our books are good enough, they should be available to as many people as possible, just as we should try and read English translations of as many foreign works as we can. Perhaps in this way we can appreciate our differences rather than use them as an excuse. Truly, el uno mundo! One world!

Hola! Habla Espanol?

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

I am working on a project which will see my books translated into foreign languages, starting with Spanish. I chose Spanish as it has a huge market out there in Latin America as well as Europe and it is easier to follow when formatting (I think). I also have a Hindi translation under way and did have a German one lined up but no word from the translator since a glitch at PayPal had me having to ask him to wait three days to fund the job. (You deposit the money into ‘escrow’ and that lets the translator know the money is there for payment) I also plan to do some in Chinese and other languages.

The Philippines titles will be done in Spanish and German but the big push will be the Hilda Hopkins series. I plan to use these as language readers with English on the left page and the foreign language on the right to make learning either easier and more interesting. I have my translators, a layout expert and a cover designer lined up so watch this space. I hope before august hits I hold in my hand the first foreign language StreetWise Publications book.

Earth Hour Excuse

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

Last night was Earth Hour and we observed it with friends at Rob and Nick’s place. Rob and Nick are two writers who have kicked off a new literary review called ‘Mosaic’, due out in a month or two. Mosaic has some great writing in it and will become a must tick to have for those wanting to be published. The night was a lot of fun with Rob entertaining my five daughters with some balloon animals and the rest of us with his impression of a Hollywood stuntman walking into a glass door.

We basically had a bush BBQ and then sat around eating a terrific cheese board selection, cooked sausages, roast potatoes and corn cobs and even toasted a few marshmallows over a candle, all the while talking books, writing and more general topics. What is really worth mentioning is that Rob and Nick have moved down from Queensland and in a short time made themselves valuable members of the writing community, such as we have, here in the Blacktown local government area. They have taken the initiative and started up a Writer’s club that meets on Wednesdays at Blacktown library and Mondays at their home. They made an effort to meet their neighbours for Earth Watch by letter boxing for a few streets around them. So much so that when I for some reason lobbed up at #62 the Asian man there was able to tell me to go to #95. He knew what was on and where! (I swear the flyer had #62 on it and that changed to #95 while I was away)

The lesson to learn is that while writing is a lonely craft or business, you have to make the effort to get out there and meet your peers. Say hello and make things happen. Otherwise you will be forever sitting behind that monitor and while you can make some great friends online, there is nothing like sitting there face to face and sharing some food, drink and good conversation. Isn’t that a part of what the writing life should be all about?

Writing Up A Storm

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Feast or famine seems to be the way it goes. I had a quiet (writing wise) Christmas and a damp, dreary summer thanks to La Nina and her Southern Oscillation. With no income from the tutoring and lecturing due until well into March, it is a long haul from mid December. Book sales have been bubbling along but getting paid is problematic. Either it is a US Check costing $15 to clear and taking 40 days, or it is a 3 month wait plus forty days and then the US tax man wants 30%!

I decided to ramp u the prospecting for writing work. I was lucky to come across a new client who wants a 70,000 word book ghostwritten. A lot of work as I have to develop the outline and structure from a ton of ideas, links and snippets he has sent me but I can do it and do it well. Already he has put me onto a couple of other potential clients. My eBook client from last year has given me some article writing work, the rate is half my usual low rate but I get half the sales the articles generate. I don’t have  a problem with an ‘Ayn Rand’ model of writing, as I call it. Ayn Rand was the ultimate capitalist/writer combination. That client has passed me onto another who needs blogs and a web site filled with content and I passed him on to a colleague who is a whizz with WordPress, so the good fortune goes round and round.

I have found by being so busy I am more productive. I still have the collaboration with Rainbow Writers to offer my Online Writing Online course. It has been ramped up and put on steroids, it is bigger and flashier than I could ever have made it by myself and will soon be released. The community college courses are up and running so the fourth Rorschach Anthology will be published in April. The publishing end is coming along with Hilda Hopkins getting some major coverage in the world’s largest machine knitting magazine in March. I wrote a feature article on the books and their author, Vivienne Fagan aad we plan to serialize the first book and offer some as competition prizes through the magazine.

So all in all my writing business continues to grow and that is a good thing. I am losing weight at the rate of 2kg a week and that is a wonderful thing. I juice fruit for breakfast and some lunches and eat less the rest of the time and try to do my exercise routine as often as I can. No point being wealthy if I’m not healthy enough to enjoy it, is there? Which just happens to be what the 70,000 word book I’m ghostwriting is all about! Stay tuned.

Create Space Impressive

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

I have to confess I am impressed with the two books I have published through Create Space.com. The quality is very good, but that reflects the hassle they give you to make sure your files are up to snuff. Covers are particularly demanding but that is a good thing. One of the major issues many have with self publishing andPOD is the fear the quality will not be there. Without the editors and publishers and proof readers and all the staff of the big houses it is true a lot of stuff is very poorly put together, but not StreetWise Publications’ books.

Shipping was listed as taking  over a month to get the book to Sydney but both books ordered have arrived in about a week, same time frame as with Lulu. The cost of the books are about half what Lulu charges, a significant saving. The down side is they pay by cheque which costs me $15 to clear and takes 40 days, while lulu pay into PayPal. Time will tell if enough books are sold because the big draw with Create Space is they sell hard copy on Amazon.com.

New Year, New Focus

Sunday, January 1st, 2012

For us here in Australia it is already past 1pm, 1 January, 2012. This new year will see me changing focus in some ways. The Philippines related books and associated web sites (60 or so at last count) are in the hands of a manager. We hope to develop them and sell off a few. I might sell the books as well and give someone a good little online business to retire there on. I am involved with writing reams of content for a new Internet Safety web site, including eBooks and lots of free downloads. The research has been interesting to say the least and quite enlightening. There are a lot of threats lurking out there in cyberspace for the unwary and unprepared, but nothing you can’t guard against.

I have written a novel, ‘Twenty Severn Seventy’ which is entered into the 2012 Miles-Franklin Award. That was my contribution to NaNoWriMo, quite an experience. I am also writing another novel which will not be written in just 28 days, plus it is going to be double the word count. That novel is the only fiction I plan to write in 2012. I am going to focus on selling the writing that I have on the inventory of StreetWise Publications, focusing on promoting and marketing because that is the end of the business I need to learn more about. StreetWise has several excellent authors and some very good writing on the shelves. Jeff Lassen, John Aalborg, Vivienne Fagan, Aaron David and Jonathon StCyr as well as the Rorschach School of authors and of course my own material. In the four or five days previously sales of Vivienne Fagan’s ‘Hilda Hopkins’ series have gone through the roof thanks to some marketing efforts we targeted. We have proof of concept, now I just need to multiply the efforts over the range of titles we hold.

Writing a great book is only the beginning. Getting it on line, published in print or whatever is the next step. The real mark of success is, of course, selling lots of copies. What is even better as a sign you are doing something right is when you have several books for sale and readers of one buy the rest. Sales of Vivienne Fagan’s books have included several multiple orders of all six in the series as well as the same customer coming back to buy the rest after trying the first couple. Always a great sign. On top of all this, once school goes back I will be tutoring and lecturing. I won’t be writing for any essay writing sites, while WriteRight (Oxbridge) have paid me for my work, it has been in dribs and drabs and always after weeks of waiting past the promised payment date. Not to mention a lot of excuses and promises and I am still waiting for the last $50. I am sure they will pay but I write on time and ‘superbly’ according to the owner, I expect to be paid properly and on time without having to chase them for weeks on end. Then again, I can’t get their web site to load so who knows? So even if you get paid it can be a chore. I will look for more content writing opportunities for 2012 because thanks to the Google Panda slap of 2011, quality content is once again a must have to rank your site highly. I’ll talk more about that and those opportunities during the year.

2012 Miles-Franklin Entrant Published!

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

‘TWENTY SEVEN SEVENTY’ was written, proofed, edited, formatted and published in 30 days and so far the people who kindly helped to proof and edit as I wrote it are all saying how much they like it. Perhaps it’s a little too early to say but it is indicative that you don’t have to agonize over every comma and preposition to write a readable novel. I also like the short novel length, 50,173 and hope to see more offerings instead of the seemingly mandatory mega length books that are really just the size they are because of set up costs and buyer perception of value. I think if a story can be told well in x number of words, why try to drag it out just to justify the economics of the exercise? Easy to say when you run your own publishing imprint as I do (StreetWise Publications). That is the true power of the internet. It has allowed writers to regain authority over their work and, provided they are willing to invest the time and effort to promote their books, the chance to actually make some money from their writing.

I have just finished David Morrell’s ‘The Successful Novelist’ and I recommend it to all writers. He makes it clear there is an awful lot of work for the author once the writing is done to help sell the book I personally see little value in not doing it yourself. For now, check it out at smashwords.com or by clicking the link below for the paperback version from lulu.com

You Know You Are Making It When…

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

You know you are making it when they start to help you promote your books. In this case one I am the publisher/editor of, not the writer.  Lulu.com, my printer of choice, just sent me a coupon to promote the third in the Hilda Hopkins Machine Knitting Serial Killer series, saving 15% off the cover price! This is a great book with the infamous Hilda jumping from a train to escape the Law and landing on her feet once again, this time as maid to a Mistress of BDSM! The mind boggles yet the book is very much a PG rated volume any parent would comfortably give their teen to read.

The first in the series, ‘Hilda Hopkins, Murder She Knit’ and the second, ‘Hilda Hopkins, Bed & Burial’ are ripping yarns in the traditional English detective/murder mystery genre but with a twist. That twist is put there by the machine knitted garrotte used by Hilda once she puts her victims to sleep with a nice cup of tea… laced with a little something special, of course. She always knits an effigy of her victims, so they can be remembered of course.

I am editing #4, ‘Hilda Hopkins, M.I. Knits’ at the moment. This time Hilda answers her country’s call and becomes a secret agent assassin, shopping trolley and all, for Her Majesty’s Government. Who knows what she will get up to in #5, not even Vivienne Fagan, the writer. Vivienne has an inside line on the secret agent gig as she was in military intelligence and then worked for the ‘Home Office’ herself for 30 years but she won’t say more than that. She could, but then she’d have to get Hilda to serve you tea…

Buy a copy and enjoy, and get the other titles while you are at it! Before they become super valuable first editions of the next Agatha Christie-J.K. Rowling. To use the coupon click on the link Hilda Hopkins Machine Knitting Serial Killer and insert AUGUST306 into the panel marked Discount Coupon Code when you hit the checkout. Offer ends September 15, 2011.

Tom Clancy And Perry Gamsby’s Latest Best Seller Out Soon!

Friday, August 12th, 2011

OK, I am lying through my teeth here but I wanted to get your attention. I have just returned from perusing my local bookstore and once again I noted how so many books released of late are co-written. Tom Clancy has three other writers, so too Clive Cussler and James Patterson. Eric Van Lustbader is writing under the Robert Ludlum name with a Bourne sequel (call me a cynic but I expect to see it in the cinema soon). So many writers, big names, have ‘and Bob Nobody’ in much, much smaller font on the cover.

I know it is because the big name sells books and the big name is now so well off he or she no longer A) needs to work so hard and B) the publisher needs to make money. They get to pump out inventory that they are pretty sure will sell purely because of the BIG NAME on the cover. Few will notice the little name, or care. The style will be similar to the BIG NAME’s original and at best all they will have done is proof read and make a few suggestions. Given how meddlesome some editors are, completely revising the original manuscript at times, I would not be surprised if the true story was ‘little name and BIG NAME’s regular editor with BIG NAME simply agreeing to have his name on cover and take a cut.

OK, we know it is a business, we know it is all about selling paper but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. Although, I am the first to confess that were I offered a crack at being a little name next to a BIG NAME, I would not knock it back. I am a freelance writer, a literary mercenary. I write for money just like BIG NAME does.