Friday, 31 October 2014

Various ways of publishing

Traditional Publishing? Online Publishing? Indie Publishing? The choice is yours.

I have recently been thinking about the advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing, as against publishing with traditional and online publishers.
Obviously, traditional publishers have a lot to offer, editing, marketing, professional support, and your books also hit the book shelves in bookshops and libraries. All excellent reasons for being published by them; that is, of course, if they offer you a contract. They also give you an advance. Not as much as in previous years but it is money on the table.
Disadvantages. You sign the rights to your book away; hence, any alterations the editor wants to do have to be carried out. Be warned your story can be changed! Pricing is set, and you have no say in the matter. You have to wait for your sales information. Plus you sign to say (normally) that they have the rights to publish your next book/or two. You also have to work within the timescale that they set. If you dislike pressure, then it’s not for you.
Marketing? You still have to do a set amount of marketing. Publishers do not have the resources to promote new authors. They tend to stick to the celebrity authors now. They know they are going to make high sales from anything they publish. What they make can then be spent on publishing new authors.

Online publishers
I often wonder what the advantages are for placing your book with an online publisher. Some of them do offer free editing. Okay, that is an advantage, but there are many reliable editors in the market place who will check your work for a reasonable fee.
A few of the online companies do publish in paperback, but the books are a bit pricey. They also pay royalties, but take a substantial amount for themselves. Many online publishers do not publish paperback copies; this is a disappointment to the many readers who are not online. After all everyone deserves to read your book. Not everyone likes reading online or on an e-reading device.
You do not get offered an advance.
The on-line publisher will upload your book for you. Fine, this is an enormous help if you lack the technical skills to do it yourself. The thing is there are many authors who will upload your book for you, or there are small companies (easy to find) who for a small fee will format and upload your book for you. Cover design?  Yes, the business will provide one of their covers. I have seen good and bad.
And, as with traditional publishers you have to sign a contract, and this can include future books. Of course, if they should consider that your book has not made enough money for them they can break the contract. If you have written a best seller, they will benefit enormously until your contract has run out.
Marketing? Make no mistake the online company will push you to promote. You will have to do a massive amount of marketing. It will be part of the contract; you will be expected to work with their other authors and push, push, push. Hopefully, you will find new readers, not authors; it’s not helpful to keep selling to authors (who, I agree are readers. I’m one myself). But you need to break away from Facebook and Amazon forums and try to reach the big wide world where readers are. It is difficult, but it can be done.

Paying to have your book published.
This is another option, but it is quite expensive. There are quite a few companies that will publish your book for you. But as mentioned it is very expensive. I know a few people who are happy with the books they have published this way. Very few authors make it to the top, but then surely that is not the goal, is it?

 Independent publishing
You work for yourself, no-one else; every penny you earn in royalties is yours.
Once you have written and have checked your m/s until your eyes hurt; the next step is to find a professional editor. When you are happy with any changes recommended by the editor your book needs formatting. This should not present be a problem to you. KDP publishes  instructions on their site that lead you through the process. They have also published a free booklet which you can download.
What more could ask?
You are in total control of the content; there is no-one breathing down your neck. The choice of the editor is yours. The cover design is yours alone to choose. You set the price. You also choose where, when and how you publish. And a huge plus is that you can check your sales any time of the day or night.
When you upload to kindle your book is normally online within 24 hours.

Createspace is excellent for publishing your paperback copies. Within ten days, (at the latest) your book can be on all the Amazon sites. I have three of my books with Createspace.
There are companies who offer to format your book for you for a small fee.
 Remember there is no stigma attached to self-publishing today. It has become quite acceptable to publish your own work.
I have friends who are with traditional publishers. They tell me that they  have to market. I also have friends who have books with online publishers, and I have colleagues who own an independent publishing company. The latter use Lightening Source to print their books. They all have to market their books. How else will people know that they are out there?
It all comes down to making a choice. Whichever way appeals to you is the one to try.
There are millions of books are online now. Your book is just one of them. Think about it, you have to get it known. Leading companies market their goods week in and week out; we as authors have to make a bit of  noise, or should I say a giant explosion to let the general public know about it. But a word of warning do not over do it. Think of the advertisements on the television, the most annoying ones are those we do not watch. Why? Because they’re on far too often, and so become boring in the extreme.

Publishing a book should not be about making a shed load of money. Not many do. For me it has always been about writing and publishing a book that people will enjoy. If it happens then you have scored the biggest hit ever.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

The Other Place - Read the first page and watch the video

Available from Amazon Kindle & also available in paperback.

Chapter 1

‘Oh, my bum feels so cold on this step, Sis; I’ll have to move or I’ll freeze me knickers off.’
Jumping up, twelve-year-old Chrissie James started running up and down the garden path, rubbing her backside trying to increase the circulation. Babs, her fourteen-year-old sister, doubled up laughing as she watched her sister’s antics. She called, ‘Pack it up or you’ll have the whole terrace laffing at you. Our mum will clip your ear’ole for showing us up if you ain’t careful. Mind the cat, you nearly tripped over ’er, ’er’ll be having ’er kittens soon, look at the size of ’er!’
Chrissie stopped dead; no way did she want to anger her mother. Their mum was someone to be reckoned with when she lost her temper.
Hearing footsteps coming up the path running between the back-to-back houses, they saw a tall, heavily built woman in her thirties advancing towards their gate. The woman had long black hair held back with hairgrips on either side of her face. What drew Babs’ attention more than anything was the slash of bright red lipstick the woman was wearing, giving her long, pale face a ghoulish look. Her blue eyes almost popping out of her head, Babs gave the woman a hard stare, which the woman returned with a wide smile, revealing the largest set of teeth the young girl had ever seen, and to make matters worse, they were smeared with lipstick. 

Number 1 Amazon Kindle Best Seller (Supernatural and Reincarnation Category) 

Chrissie James is a troubled soul: with family problems, unexplained phobias and a stalker to contend with, she seeks help with a hypnotherapist. Whilst in therapy, Chrissie discovers she has led a past life. 
Will living a previous life help Chrissie to discover the truth of what caused her fears and phobias, and will she find out who is stalking her? 
The Other Place is a paranormal mystery. Its many twists and turns will keep you guessing to the very end. 

Here's a link to the short video of the book

I've updated my biography

Following a serious road accident in the late 1980s, I made the decision to begin writing.
Having always had an interest in the Supernatural and reading tarot cards, I knew my first piece had to be about ghosts. When reading tarot, many people had shared ghost stories with me, so with their permission these were included. Local newspapers proved a great source of information, publishing appeals for stories, and there was no shortage of people willing to share their ghostly tales.
I published my first booklet of ghost stories, Mystical Staffordshire, in the early 1990s. I had only intended writing one booklet, but it was so popular I wrote another, then another. Numerous ghostly booklets later I combined them into a book: Mysterious Happenings. 
I wrote my first fiction book in 2007, Dancing with Spirits, followed by the sequel Spirits of the Lights, Other fiction books followed, The Other Place, A Haunted Past Life (Jen's Story), The Haunting of Kate Somner.
My nonfiction books are Birmingham Girls,Whatever Happened to Birmingham Girls, Choosing Your Psychic Pathway, Mysterious Happenings, Rugeley Ghost Walk.
My next novel The House of Psychics will be available in December.
All of my books, with the exception of my autobiography Birmingham Girls,are full of mystical happenings.

Link to my Amazon page

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

The Haunting of Kate Somner

Available from Amazon Kindle

After a reading from Gary, a clairvoyant, Kate Somner’s life changes forever. 
Her husband Ben disappears in unusual circumstances. 
She loses her job,her home, and her friends. 
As if all the above isn’t bad enough, Kate begins experiencing time slips which take her back to the 1960s. Here, she “sees” Sheila, who is living in the same flat that Kate now lives in. Is there a connection between the two women? 
Kate revisits Gary, hoping that he will be able to help her. 
Will Gary help Kate find her missing husband? 
Will she unravel the mystery of the time slips? 
The Haunting of Kate Somner is a supernatural mystery full of intrigue, secrets and deception. 

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Favourite reads

At the moment I'm reading A Week in Paris by Rachel Hore. I'm finding it a little boring and might put it to one side and come back to it another day. A pity really as I normally enjoy her books. 

I've just finished reading Pauper's Gold by Margaret Dickenson. I enjoyed this book, there are plenty of plot lines, and one or two surprises. It held my interest most of the way through, although towards the end I did find one of the main plot lines completely unbelievable. But then others would argue that as it's fiction it's acceptable. I won't spoil it by writing a spoiler, but it did spoil what had up to then been a pretty good read.
I would  give it a 4.0 star review on Amazon.

About this book
Hannah Francis has been forced to leave her beloved mother and the life she knows in the silk mill town of Macclesfield and is set to become an apprentice at a cotton mill in the Derbyshire dales. It is a cruel blow for such a young girl, but her three travelling companions are even younger than she is, and Hannah is determined to keep their spirits up and remain in good cheer. Once she is settled in the mill, Hannah discovers that the hours of work are long, and the daily routine is dangerous, arduous and harsh, but her bright singing and capacity for joy lighten the load for everyone. Hannah soon becomes a favourite with the other mill workers. Friendships are forged and an innocent love starts to blossom. But can such a fragile love survive cruel reality? It is not long before she attracts the eye of Edmund Critchlow, the man who owns them all, body and soul – the man from whom no pretty mill girl is safe. Times are hard in the cotton industry as civil war rages across America affecting even the mill owner and the lives of all his workers . . . 
Sorry about thelong link I couldn't get Tiny Url to work!

I really loved this sweet Christmas romance.

In this 'Sweet' Festive Romance, Josie Merry is full of the joys of the Christmas season, until she notices that Toby the Labrador appears to be unwell.
When she calls out vet Matthew Richardson, late one Winter's evening, she does not expect to experience love at first sight; nor does she expect all the joys and the heartaches that the following days will bring.
This is a gentle 'sweet' love story, which is brimming with the spirit of Christmas.

Originally published in December 2012, this version was released in December 2013.

Moving On is a fascinating read, packed full of memories of Machester. I found I could not put it down once I'd started it. I would highly recommend it.

This continues my journey from ‘The Age of Innocence’ a wartime memoir as I ‘Moved On’ to a much more contented and moderately successful life, looking for work, taking on second jobs until I got married and eventually in 1960 I started working for a TV Company. This was a time when Granada TV was only a few years old and I watched it change from being just one of the regional companies to become one of the most popular and respected of all the companies.
Sometimes people behind the scenes can see a different picture from the one on the screen. I worked in some very interesting departments one of the first was as a copy taker in the News Room and I was only the third person to hear about President Kennedy’s assassination and Granada was the first company in Britain to break the story. 
Some of the stories are funny, some homely and some tragic, witness when I typed a transcript of the Moors Murder tape. 
I worked for Granada for almost thirty years finishing up as a Picture Editor.
Some of the stories in these books illustrate just how na├»ve I and many others of my generation were, and some of us still are 

Another favourite read of mine is New Mediumship below. This in my opinion is an exceptional book.

Available from Amazon Kindle and in paperback

Have you ever wondered why only certain individuals appear to have the gift of mediumship? Have you ever wondered just what mediums see and hear when they receive messages from the spirit world? All can now be revealed in this ground-breaking new book from the spirit counsellor - and the answers will shock even the most experienced of spirit workers. Join the spiritcounsellor on his quest to seek answers to the questions that nobody dared ask before.

The Girl on the Swing is a book I really enjoyed, and highly recommend. It's one I intend reading again.

The Girl on the Swing by Ali Cooper

Julia believes she has lived before.
Suspended from her job and grieving for her lost son, Julia's past lives become an escape from her troubles in the present. For the first time, she meets someone in this life whom she recognises from a previous existence. But this man is a murderer, convicted of killing his wife. As Julia seeks to find out more, past and present entwine, culminating in a dramatic conclusion.
The book is available from Amazon Kindle and in paperback

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Halloween approaches

Boyden 2000 - 2013

With Halloween approaching, I'm wondering if anyone in the spirit world will make their presence known at midnight? Or, perhaps my dog will leave me a sign as he did last year?

Halloween 2013
Yesterday was Halloween. Tradition says that at midnight the veil between this world and the next is at it's most vulnerable. I wondered whether any of my loved ones would be able to make contact.
Midnight came and went. I received not at a sign. At 12.15 I thought I saw a movement on my dog's blanket. She -Sophie- had gone to lie in another part of the bedroom at just gone midnight. On seeing the movement I blinked, but could not see anything.
This morning when I looked at the blanket there were two white feathers lying on it. To me these tiny white feathers are always a sign of contact from someone in spirit. As they were both on the dog's blanket I can only assume they were a sign from my dog, Boyden.
I felt a lovely warm glow knowing that he had visited me. Not that he has ever really left me or ever will.

A psychic story which inspired me to write Dancing with Spirits

Dancing with Spirits
Available from Amazon Kindle

The Mesolithic Cave.

The story of this cave just over the Rugeley borders, about a mile from Etching Hill, inspired me to write my novel, Dancing With Spirits.
I came across the story of the cave about 15 years ago. I felt drawn to researching it as the thought of the two women who died there kept coming back to me. I wondered what circumstances led to their deaths on such a bleak, lonely hillside, all those thousands of years ago.
The cave is on private land. I think I became a little obsessed with the story (as you do!), and wanted to visit the site of the cave. I tried writing to the land owner. She rang to say they had sold the land. I wrote to the new owner, but he never replied. One day I was out walking with my husband  in the vicinity of the cave –it is strange how my walks always led me to the area of the cave. My husband knew I desperately wanted to visit the cave, so he headed off to try and find it. To my delight he did and took me to its location. Walking around the outside of the cave, I was surprised that instead of feeling happy at finding the cave, instead I felt incredibly sad. I was filled with a terrible feeling of horror, sadness and death. It was one of the strangest feelings I have ever had experienced. Despite, the weather being quite warm that day, I started shivering and felt as if I needed to get away from the area.
I was so puzzled by my reaction I decided to try and find out more about the cave. After many more months of research, I discovered the reason for my reaction to the area surrounding the cave.
Apparently the findings at the cave had been sent away for analysis; there were children's teeth, and many human bones in and around the cave. I had written in my book about a massive battle taking place at the site of the cave. At the time of writing my book, I believed that there had only been the two women near the cave. When I visited it that day somehow I became linked with the awful happenings of the past.
It was a strange episode. I'm convinced that the area of the cave holds all the memories of what happened. I'm also convinced I was meant to visit it that day. I did not have an inkling of what was about to happen.
The site is on private land. The area where the cave is can been seen from the layby, near the roundabout, which is at the start of the Rugeley bypass -the A51. The site is not far from the sewer building, at the bottom of the field. A bronze arrow head was found one day on the site of sewer company. Also a man was gardening one day, at a housing estate not far from the field when he also found a bronze age arrow head. Further proof the area was occupied thousands of years ago.
Below is a brief history of the Mesolithic Cave This occupation site dating to the middle-Stone-Age consists of a shallow cave about 2.5 metres deep and a maximum 1 metre in height (c. 8 x 3½ feet) and is located on the southern side of a small sandstone outcrop overlooking a shallow, dry valley running north towards the Trent. When excavated, the cave was found to contain a hearth together with a 'lithic assemblage' of 267 stone tools dating to the Mesolithic period (10,000 – 4,000BC), with an early-Bronze-Age (2,500 – 1,500BC) knife which may have been purposefully deposited. The site was discovered by accident in 1978 when the remains of two human skulls were unearthed by children playing within the cave entrance. A forensic investigation of the two skulls concluded that they were probably both females, 'one [aged] 18-20 years and the other considerably older,' both having died in prehistoric times. The skull fragments were located in a stratified layer above and unconnected with the Mesolithic occupation deposits in the cave, which is evidence that they are later in date, perhaps belonging to the late-Stone-Age or Neolithic period. The cave is now back-filled and buried in order to preserve the site.

View of The Cave a few years ago

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Rewind Time. For my dog who died July 2013


Rewind Time
We were two
But now you've gone
I am one
I call out your name but I know it’s in vain
Because you've gone never to be with me again
Alone I yearn for the time we shared
The happiness you brought is beyond compare
Beautiful times of years gone by
Oh, how I long to rewind time

Carol Arnall
October 2014

RIP My beautiful friend