Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Taking Stock of 3 Months in Self Publishing.

In many office jobs, workers receive a quarterly appraisal or evaluation and I thought therefore, since I am now also technically an employee of myself, that I should do the same for my second job as an indie writer. Performance wise, the sales are still only coming in at a trickle, but from the feedback that I have received this is simply a case of struggling to be heard amongst all of the noise on Amazon and not indicative of the books quality. Reviews have been very positive.

My most recent review actually came about from a circumstance that everybody says is pointless. It was the result of a direct pitch on twitter to buy my book. Obviously, you are not going to sell many books by tweets alone, but every sale is important and sometimes that one sale can lead to greater exposure for the book. This was exactly what happened in this instance.

About a week ago I received notification of an email via Goodreads (I have still to get to grips with Goodreads, so this was a surprise). The mail was a friendly note by somebody who had bought my book after seeing a tweet and had loved it. The readers name was Christoph Fischer and he is also a writer. He also has substantially more twitter followers than I, so when he posted a glowing review on Amazon and Goodreads, I was over the moon. I have also since learnt that Christoph is ranked by Goodreads as being in the top 1% of reviewers on that site. He has also kindly offered to post an interview with myself on his blog in the coming weeks. I am yet to see how much of an impact this will have on books sales, but the increased exposure and connections that I have made already are not bad from just one tweet! The review can be seen here

The other significant event for me this month was publishing a paperback edition via Createspace. My review of the service can be found here How Paper Compares to Digital for the Self Published Author Again, it is early to tell how successful this venture will be as I am still waiting for the book to link with my Amazon profile. In terms of confidence and experience however, it has already been invaluable to me.

So what then, for the next 3 months?

Well, I still have two completed books waiting to be published. This time, I will synchronize the Paper and ebook release dates and I am also going to give KDP Select a try. When I have more than one book for sale, the free giveaways make a lot more sense. If I can get as many copies as possible of one of my books into reader's hands and they like it, they will hopefully be inclined to buy the others.

After the release of Stealing Asia and Diamond Sky, I will go back to working on the sequel to the latter, which will be in turn followed by a third in the series.

After that - who knows? That is the beauty of self publishing.

Anything can happen.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Createspace - How paper compares with digital for the self published author.

It finally came. That one precious moment when I felt that I could confidently and proudly say “I am a writer”. Not just a wannabe or an amateur, but a bona-fide writer. It happened a few days ago when I came home from work to find a parcel waiting for me. It was from Createspace.

Many writers will be familiar with Createspace, even if they have not used the service themselves. Createspace is a print on demand (POD) company affiliated to Amazon. Unlike with vanity publishers who request an expensive upfront fee in order to fulfill a large print run for unsigned writers, POD is a completely free to use service whereby copies of the writer’s work are printed to order.

I must admit, I was sceptical at first. Particularly with regard to product quality. Ultimately though, I found the lure of holding an actual physical copy of my book too hard to resist, so I took the plunge and signed up. I am speaking figuratively of course. There was nothing to sign and no contract to bind me. It was as easy as uploading a book to Amazon. In fact, it was even easier.

Those who are not confident with computers and hate anything overly technical can find formatting ebooks to be quite daunting. I would be surprised if many people get it right first time. I know that I didn’t. The problem is that an ebook has to be formatted to be readable on a kindle or equivalent device and how it looks in the original Word document is very different to how it looks when uploaded. Rogue formatting is also a problem. All tabs have to be removed. Page breaks must be in the correct place. And paragraph indents can be especially annoying (it took me a while to discover that in order to avoid the first line auto-indent on early kindle models, the indent has to be set to 0.01cm as opposed to none).

With Createspace none of this is a problem because you can format directly to word and provided you have your base document set to the correct size specifications (5” X 8” is common) the interior of the book will look exactly as it does in the Word document. Of course, there are still a few things to keep in mind. The side of the page where the spine is going to be needs a wider margin and the pages have to be mirrored to make the interior symmetrical. (instructions are provided by Createspace and a wealth of information on what works best can be found by browsing the usual forums).

The spec that I used was as follows:

Inside margin – 2cm
Outside margin – 1.25cm
Header 0.75cm
Footer 0.3cm
Line spacing 1.15cm

Everybody will have their own preferences, but the above works for me and is similar to some trad print books that I compared mine to. As for the font, I eventually settled on Garamond 11pt. This was the style/size combination that I found most pleasing to read. I increased the font to 22pt for the chapter headings and began chapters 12 lines down from the top of the page (again, a case of personal preference). To give the interior that little bit extra, I also added Drop Caps (2 line).

Other variables are paper colour (generally speaking, cream for fiction and white for non-fiction), trim size (as stated earlier, 5” X 8” is typical for fiction) and things like page numbers/headers, which can be chosen however the author prefers.

Createspace has a very good interior viewer so everything can be proofed before moving on to cover design. This is where things get a little more complex than with uploading an ebook. I personally, would not recommend using the pre-made cover templates on offer as they are a little boring (although they could work well with non-fiction), in which case you need to create a back cover as well as a front. The barcode is automatically placed, so you do not have to worry about that. For my back I used a faded mono version of my cover (titles/name removed) and placed a brief tagline at the top and my standard blurb from the ebook version under that.

(left) In the final version the barcode is in the bottom right corner. The cheesy tagline is a nod to Ridley Scott's Alien.

The cover may also need to be different from an ebook version depending on the layout. The cover creator requires for spaces to be left around the outer edges where you cannot have any font going over. If your titles go all the way to edge, you will have to bring them in a bit.

(above) The left image is the original ebook cover. Right is the Createspace version, the received copy had the writing closer to the edges and parts would have been cut off had I used the ebook image.

Once the interior and cover is complete, it is time to add the meta data and set the price. The royalty calculator makes pricing easy.

ISBN’s are provided free of charge, but there is also the option to use your own if you have one. There are also several extra paid for packages with regards formatting, editing and marketing services, but again I am not in a position to comment. In the case of the formatting, it is so simple using Word that I do not see the need for this. It is far better to take the time to learn the necessary skills and do it yourself.

Once everything is complete, it is just a case of ordering a proof copy before going live in store. As I stated at the beginning of this post, I had the moment where I truly felt like I am a bona-fide writer. The reason being is that the quality of the product received far exceeded my expectations and is virtually indistinguishable from any print book to be found in traditional stores.

I am posting this review to coincide with the release of my paperback version. It may take time to see the benefits (apart from the boost to one’s confidence in seeing the physical fruits of all of the hard work), but it certainly looks more professional to have the print option available alongside an ebook (the two copies are automatically matched up in the Amazon store). Though there are other POD services available such as LULU and Lightning Source, for the moment I see no reason not to stick with Createspace. For ease of use and the fact that it links to the ebook version on Amazon it cannot be faulted. For authors interested in expanded distribution it would certainly be advisable to shop around, but for me Createspace satisfies all of my requirements at this stage in my self publishing career.

Now, if you will forgive I have to go, because I have a book to read. My book.

If you found this post interesting, why not sign up to join my blog using one of the tools on the sidebar to the right. You can also check out my two self published novels The Outback and Stealing Asia. Both are available as ebooks and paperbacks.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Six Word Story Challenge - #Sharp

The Card Sharp

Cards are dealt. All in. Damn!

This post is in response to a post by Marian Allen, which got me not so much intrigued, but positively obsessed until I could come up with my own offering.

Click to see original article by Marian Allen

Monday, 22 July 2013

The Proposal

Today marks one year to the day that I proposed to my now wife, Katie. Marriage was something that we had both kind of taken for granted since quite early in the relationship. The only cause for procrastination in actually taking the plunge had been a purely financial one. The idea that Katie may have said no was just as alien to me as the prospect of me never one day proposing had been to Katie. Simply put: we were on the same page right from the start. Yet the evening of 22nd July 2012 had turned out to be one of the most awkward and cringe-worthy moments of my life.

Sometimes in life, a happy beginning can come to a sad end and likewise, a happy ending can begin from tragedy. Katie was orphaned as a child. She does not have a lot to remember her parents by, but her mother's diamond engagement ring is one particular heirloom that she has retained. Being an aspiring writer of humble means, one months salary spent on an engagement ring is a tradition that I could scant afford. I thought that using her mother's ring to propose to Katie would be a romantic and meaningful way to forego with said tradition.

I had booked us a friendly bed and breakfast in Cornwall for a long weekend, which would culminate with Katie's thirtieth birthday. With the ring taken from her jewelry box tucked safely in my pocket, we set out on our getaway.

I chose the night before her birthday to propose as I knew that reaching the big 3-0 was making Katie anxious and thought it would be good for her to cross off one more milestone before she got there. I had it all planned out perfectly. We would find a nice restaurant close to the beach for dinner and then as we watched the sun set over the ocean, I would pop the question. It could not have gone wrong. Yet, somehow, it very nearly did.

The first problem was in finding a restaurant close to the beach. We had taken a walk along the clifftops and come to what I knew to be the ideal spot to watch the sunset. There were just no restaurants nearby. We carried on walking a bit farther and found a bar (it had already stopped selling food) and a chip shop (had just closed). Since we still had about one and a half hours until sunset, I decided that we had time to go back into the town for food. After which, we could return for the sunset.

Newquay is a popular destination and never more so than in July. Even on a Sunday night, all of the bars and restaurants were packed to capacity. It was a thirty minute wait for food. By the time that we left the restaurant, the sun had already begun to set and we were a good twenty minute walk from where I wanted us to be. With full stomachs, the brisk walk was not pleasant and it soon became obvious that we were not going to make it. I needed a different plan.

A large hotel sat atop the cliff and I figured that by cutting through its grounds, we could make it to the spot that I had picked out in time. I was wrong. When we got to the rear of the hotel, we were prevented from accessing the public footpath by building works. There was not time to turn back as only the top tip of the sun remained. It was now or never (actually, it was now any other time of my choosing, but I was dead set on "now").

I led Katie to a wooden bench that gave us a view of the now dark ocean with the fading silhouettes of diggers in front. She was slightly confused.

'There is always tomorrow for sunset,' she suggested. 'We can go back to the guesthouse if you want.'

'Maybe we can stay here for a bit longer,' I replied, not exactly sure what to do next.

When I am nervous, it shows. One of the more bizarre manifestations of this is when one of my legs begins to involuntarily shake, which it did then. I was terrified. In the six years we had been together, I had always been 100% sure about our relationship, yet right then, I felt like a schoolboy who was hopelessly out of his league. Wanting to get it over with before true panic set in, I reached into my pocket with my trembling hand and took out the ring.

I do not remember what I said next. How I worded the question is irrelevant. Only the answer mattered and I was no longer quite so sure what it would be. I looked Katie in the eyes, but she could not take hers off of what I held between my forefinger and thumb.

'Er, where did you get that ring?' she asked, awkwardly.

'It's your mum's,' I told her. 'I thought that it would make it more special. You're not offended are you?'

She still had her eyes fixed on the ring. Looking at it like she was trying to work out if her tetanus shots were still in date.

'That's not my mum's ring.'

'What do you mean?' I asked. 'Trying to hide the sense of dread from my voice. 'This was the only diamond ring in your jewelry box. It has to be your mum's'

She shook her head.

'This isn't a diamond. I cannot understand how you could have thought that it was. It is really cheap, I actually thought that I'd thrown it out years ago. My mum's ring is with my aunt for safe keeping.

I looked down at the ring. How could I have been so stupid. It was hideous! It looked nothing at all like an engagement ring. I may as well have proposed with a piece of plastic. I was acutely aware of just how little I had to offer Katie as husband. I thought that she did too, because she had started to cry.

'I'm sorry, I've messed this up,' I said, hoping to placate her.

She wiped away a tear.

'You haven't messed this up at all,' she said. 'I don't care about a ring. All that matters is us. Of course I will marry you.'

She held up her hand and I gently slid the cheap zirconia onto her engagement finger, assuring her that we would exchange it for the correct one at the first opportunity.

As it turned out, I bought King a ring after all. I found out that she was not overly keen on her mum's ring as she finds diamonds gaudy and was also worried that it would bring bad luck. To avoid any more mishaps I let her choose the replacement. She decided to go with something meaningful rather than traditional. Having met in Australia, an opal was the perfect choice.

(Above) The opal ring sitting atop Katie's wedding band.

If you found this post interesting, why not sign up to join my blog using one of the tools on the sidebar to the right. You can also check out my two self published novels The Outback and Stealing Asia. Both are available as ebooks and paperbacks.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

What Is The Difference Between Imitation and Copying?

For a first time novelist, being compared to a well known and successful author is extremely flattering. It also gives people who read the review an idea of what to expect from your book. That is why when I received a review comparing my writing to Stephen King, I was actually a little alarmed. More than a little, in fact. I was close to panicking. You see, Stephen King is known for his horror writing; a genre which is very different to the thriller category that my book falls into.

To say that I was confused is an understatement. For a moment I was even concerned that the reader had reviewed the wrong book, but knew this was not the case when they went on to reference backpacking and Australia. There is no doubt that it was me they were comparing to the Master of Horror.
It is only recently, when editing my third novel, that I began to understand the statement. This time, I could actually see it myself.

"I think it would appeal to fans of Stephen King, as the narrative style is certainly from that school and it is very much written with the same 'write what you know' ethos."

The comparison was in style and not content. Once I understood this, I began to see more and more how my writing is influenced by Stephen King as well as many other of my favourite authors (I also see a lot of Grisham in my writing, though I have not taken any of my characters near a courtroom). The question is of course, where is the line between inspiration and imitation?

Bookstore shelves are filled with copycat writers. Books with titles along the lines of "Twenty Tones of Scarlet" abound and it is by no means a good thing. In fact, it is appalling. The publishers are shamelessly trying to cash in on successful titles and the quality is usually awful. It may seem like an enticing prospect in the short term, but I have no respect for writers who mimic others with such a lack of originality.

If we want to emulate our favourite authors, we should try to capture the "essence" of what makes their writing so good as opposed to trying to simply copy the way that they write. I have recently been reading a conspiracy thriller that tries so hard to be like a Dan Brown novel, but fails miserably. It stood out instantly as an impostor. Put simply, it has no heart (I will not name and shame, but I am sure that everybody has come across similar books. This was a trad pub novel as well, not self published, I will add.)

This takes me back to the Stephen King comparison. How can I be copying his style without being another soulless copycat? To explain, I will use an example from one of King's most popular books; Cujo. The story is truly terrifying, but this is not because of the nightmare descriptions of the eponymous St Bernard. The real horror of the story is in the fact that there is a young child trapped in the back of a car on a sweltering day, certain to die of dehydration if nobody can help him. The dog keeping him trapped there merely draws our attention to this further. King knows that the way to truly scare people is not with monsters, but by tapping into our primal fears of losing that which is dearest to us.

In The Outback, though a thriller not a horror, I also have a monstrous villain. Like King, I also know that the tension and suspense that I need to build does not lie in the hands of my baddie, but in the hearts of his potential victims. The two stories are from different genres, they are written in completely different voices and on the surface share almost nothing in common, but at their heart, they are the same. They are like songs from different eras or genres that sound nothing alike, but share the same key. For that, I am no longer concerned by the comparison with Stephen King. In fact, I am actually quite flattered. If I only I had just a tiny fraction of his sales...

I couldn't bring myself to post a picture of Cujo, so here is a friendly St Bernard instead!

If you found this post interesting, why not sign up to join my blog using one of the tools on the sidebar to the right. You can also check out my two self published novels The Outback and Stealing Asia. Both are available as ebooks and paperbacks.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

A Fighting Chance...

This is not the post that I intended on writing today, but sometimes life just takes over and demands that we change our plans. When I started this blog I thought that it would be about the art of writing. In many ways, I have stuck to my original aim, but what I have now realised is that rather than write about writing, I simply need to write - on any subject. No matter what I choose to write about, I use the same words to form sentences, the same punctuation to help those sentences to make sense and the same passion and creativity to make it all (hopefully) interesting to anybody kind enough to take the time to read it.

This brings me to today. A typical Saturday in summer, but one that contained a brief moment that has formed a memory, which is going to stay with me for a long time. I had been out for an early morning walk with my wife, Katie (it was a little more than a walk actually, but not quite strenuous enough to call a hike). We were on our way back and were crossing over a bridge by a busy roundabout, which leads into our home city of Portsmouth in the UK.

It was a blisteringly hot day and many people were out taking advantage of that fact. As we crossed the bridge, we were overtaken by a jogger and passed by cyclists travelling in both directions. A road was to our right and traffic was heavy. Then I noticed something on the pavement about ten yards ahead of us. By the time that I had shortened that distance by half I could see that it was a small bird, but it was not moving.

'Look at this,' I said to Katie. 'Isn't it sad?'

She knelt down next to the creature.

'Why is it sad?' she asked.

'Well, because it is dead, obviously.'

I made to give it a little nudge with my foot to confirm my suspicions, but Katie stopped me.

'Don't kick it, you idiot,' she said. 'It isn't dead. I can see it blinking.'

I got down beside her and she was right. It was indeed alive and also very young. Fluffy down covered its head and carried on over its back. I was unable to see how well formed its wings were.

'Something isn't right,' Katie said. 'What is it doing here?'

I shook my head, unable to answer. I gently nudged its back, but it did not move away. It did not seem capable. It was sat in direct sunlight and appeared to have been drained of all of its energy. After a quick glance around we determined that it must have made its maiden flight from a nearby tree and become stranded on the bridge. With all of the traffic; foot, cycle and car, it must have been terrified. I could see the entrance to a wooded area not far from the termination of the bridge and gathered that was were it had come from.

'Give me your hat,' I told Katie.

Katie duly obliged and as she held out her hat by the bird, it used what little strength it had left to hop inside, craving the blissful respite of shade the garment offered.

We then carried the hat over to the entrance to the woods, but neither of us was exactly sure what we needed to do next. The bird was still not moving and we had to face up to the fact that it may not be able to survive on its own.

'Do you think that we should take it home?' Katie asked.

I thought of all the neighbourhood cats. Between them and the two mile walk back to our house in blistering heat, I did not think that taking the bird home was a good idea.

'Maybe we should just wait for a while,' I suggested.

We then placed the hat down on the ground. Hoping for a miracle or at least a means of removing ourselves from the situation with a clear conscience. It took a few minutes, but the miracle did eventually come. Well, I say miracle, but it was actually just the shade offered by the trees doing its work. The baby bird finally started to show more signs of responsiveness. It hopped around the interior of the hat and opened and closed its mouth, searching for a song, but finding none.

'I think that it needs water,' Katie said. 'Perhaps if it can find its voice, it can call to its mother.'

It was worth a try. We had brought two bottles with us on our walk. One was filled with raspberry cordial and I did not want to risk poisoning the creature, but the other bottle that was filled with water had been emptied earlier. I turned it upside down and managed to collect a few drops, which filled about a third of the lid. We placed this into the hat, but the bird was not interested (or did not know how to drink without its mother there to drip feed it).

Katie was the one to take on the role of mother bird and after she poured a few precious drops into the chick's beak, it finally found its voice. As it chirped, it also hopped and spread its wings, but could not escape the confines of the hat. Katie tried tilting the hat, encouraging it to simply hop out, but it seemed scared and retreated away from the grass offered to it. I decided that it was now my turn to intervene.

I scooped the bird up in my right hand (it weighed nothing) and was pleased to find that this time it offered no resistance and displayed no fear. I then began to walk around, hoping that as the bird continued to sing, its mother would hear and come to its aid.

Just as I was beginning to feel that the plan was futile and trying my best to think of another, I noticed something pass by the corner of my eye. Another bird had flown in and landed on the grass beside me. It looked to be the same breed as the one that I was holding, but without the fluffy down of infancy. It too, began to sing.

With the two birds engaged in what could only be described as a conversation, I realised that my part in all of this was no longer needed. I said a final goodbye to my little friend and placed him down on the grass beside what I assumed to be its mother (or slightly more mature sibling). The two birds continued to sing at one another and I knew that everything was now going to be okay. The second bird to have entered the scene unfurled its wings and flew up into the trees. The singing however, did not abate. In fact, it increased. More voices were added and unable to resist the calling of his family in the trees, the little bird who had been so inanimate just ten minutes earlier was now hopping and jumping and flapping its wings. It was not long before it too had vanished into the cover of the trees.

If I had left the little chick on the bridge, it would surely have died. The heat was simply too great. I do not know if my intervention really had saved its life, but I was at least certain of one thing. I had given it a fighting chance. Sometimes, a fighting chance is all that is needed.

If you found this post interesting, why not sign up to join my blog using one of the tools on the sidebar to the right. You can also check out my two self published novels The Outback and Stealing Asia. Both are available as ebooks and paperbacks.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

A Short Lesson in Social Media

The most important rule to follow when using social media is to avoid this.

There are many unscrupulous marketeers out there who will try and sell you this.

However, readers are smart and even if you try to dress it up, they will still know what it is.

No matter how sweet you make make it, they will always see through the ploy.

No amount of repackaging will make a difference

You can even try the direct approach, hoping that readers will see the irony. You may get a laugh, but definitely not a sale.

Ultimately, all the reader will see is this.

Do you really think that yours will stand out? I didn't think so.
So do everybody a favour.

And people may just start to take notice of what you have to say.

If you found this post interesting, why not sign up to join my blog using one of the tools on the sidebar to the right. You can also check out my two self published novels The Outback and Stealing Asia. Both are available as ebooks and paperbacks.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Wasabi Ice Cream and the One That Got Away

Last night my wife Katie and I decided to treat ourselves to a meal out to celebrate the end of the working week. We settled on Japanese and tried a fairly new restaurant that we had never been to before. The food was good and the service excellent. So much so that when it was time for dessert we were willing to accept the waitress’s recommendations. If you can remember the title of this post then you will appreciate the extent of the trust that we had placed in her.

There was a time not too long ago when chilli chocolate was considered “out there”.  This now seems like a long, long time ago. I am a huge fan of Japanese cuisine, but I have always had a bit of a problem when it comes to their interpretation of horseradish. If even the tiniest bit touches my tongue I feel like I have had a dagger thrust into the back of my head followed by a snort of napalm. Suffice to say, it never ends pleasantly. I was therefore, rather surprised that I quite liked the dessert version.

Wasabi ice cream tastes exactly like one would expect wasabi ice cream to taste. The strange thing is that it is actually rather good. There was no assault on the back of my skull or inside of my nostrils, just a spicy tingle on the tip of my tongue. Best of all, it still had the comforting effect of regular ice cream that was like a big emotional hug, which left me feeling all fuzzy inside. I really like wasabi ice cream. This leads me nicely onto what I will probably always regard as my biggest regret as a writer. The setting of which was also a Japanese restaurant.

We were in Hong Kong, staying in the Kowloon district, which though frequented by many tourists was by no means overtly westernized. Apart from the upmarket places on the harbour front, the restaurants were much more authentically Chinese than we were used to. Until then, I was not even aware that “seal blubber” was something that anybody would ever consider eating.

After several unsure circuits of the eating districts, we settled on the Japanese place. Although not exactly like Japanese restaurants back home, it still felt like more familiar ground than the Chinese places (which were nothing at all like Chinese restaurants back home). The best thing was that we could get a good look at all of the dishes before ordering as they were displayed on the conveyor belt. All of the dishes that is, except one. In its place was a card that simply read “fresh LIVE Octopus”.

I have stated in the past how I think that a writer needs to live life to the fullest. They must put themselves into the mindset of never saying no. A writer writes based on their experiences, so to be the best that one can be, one really needs to fill ones memory bank with as many experiences as possible. In my time I have eaten camel, kangaroo, emu, crocodile and even dried fish heads (the Filipino equivalent of kippers for breakfast). Yet, I was not brave enough to try the live octopus.

Regardless of whether or not I would have been able to eat or even kill the creature is unimportant. Just being faced by such an overwhelmingly ridiculous prospect would have been enough to provide me with so unusual a life experience as to make for highly interesting writing material. If ever I needed a quirky restaurant scene in one of my books, there was the raw material right there. It was mine for the taking, but I blew it. For that, I will always be regretful. At least however, I do not have the same regret when it comes to the wasabi ice cream, which was nothing short of spectacular. And perhaps one day, one of my characters may share that experience too.

If you found this post interesting, why not sign up to join my blog using one of the tools on the sidebar to the right. You can also check out my two self published novels The Outback and Stealing Asia. Both are available as ebooks and paperbacks.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Lost in Translation

Any regular reader of this blog will have recognised that I tend to write a lot about my time spent travelling. I usually take a favourite memory and then use it to highlight a particular area of the writing process. I suppose that this technique has become somewhat of a speciality for me and with each instalment I try to colour my prose with a little humour. Due to time restrictions, I am not able to labour for too long on these posts, but I hope that my readers find them to be well written and free of pretence.

It is my hope that these posts are both informative and entertaining. I also believe that keeping a blog is an excellent way to put in some writing practise. I do realise however, that though my intentions are honourable, there are some who will criticise. There are always people who will take offence. Not necessarily with what I have to say, but with the way that I say it. In particular, with regards to the spelling. Any writer knows that the difference between a favourable review and a harsh one can come down to just a few simple spelling mistakes.

The problem is of course, that we do not all spell words exactly the same way. In the UK, we have many different variations of spelling to our neighbours across the Atlantic. The fact that when I upload my work to sell on Amazon I use the exact same text for both regions may cause confusion. At the moment I get most of my sales in the UK so writing in British English makes sense, but what if things change in the future? Should I produce an American English version?

Take this post for example. How many spelling mistakes can you spot? If you are reading this from the UK I sincerely hope that the answer is none. If you are reading from the States I think that the answer will be considerably more...

If you found this post interesting, why not sign up to join my blog using one of the tools on the sidebar to the right. You can also check out my two self published novels The Outback and Stealing Asia. Both are available as ebooks and paperbacks.