Thursday, 30 August 2018

Which is best - paperback or Kindle / ebooks?

This blog post is being written at the request of Melanie on my Facebook author page
But it is a question so often asked across all social media I'm surprised I've not actually written about it here before.

So, do you prefer ebooks or hard copies (paperback or hardback)?
Each has pros and cons...

Let us begin with ebooks:

Very portable - can take hundreds of books anywhere in one light device
Ebooks tend to be cheaper as there's lower production costs
Perhaps a greater variety - most indie authors tend to try out books in this format first
Can be read in most light conditions - Many have adjustable backlights & anti-glare screens
Discretion - nobody can tell what you're reading
Easily downloads - no waiting, download and read

The initial device can be costly
Battery which needs to be recharged sometimes
You don't get to see the pretty book cover after purchase
Doesn't have the classic smell and feel of a book


That smell! Is there anything quite like it?
The feel - you pick it up and leaf through the pages, a physical connection
Can be displayed proudly on your bookshelf 
Secondhand bookshops can be a treasure trove, you excitedly search through

Usually more expensive
Widely available paperbacks tend to be offered by mainstream authors; limiting your choice
People can see what you're reading
Weighty - if you want to take some on holiday, they take up space and weight in your luggage


Prestige - let's face it, they are good for showing off with
Look even better on your bookshelf

Very expensive
Quite cumbersome to read

Now, it could be argued that paper degrades over time. You may lose your precious book to mites and dust, particularly if you have an old hardback.

However, although ebooks have an online store, where they may be deemed safer, what happens in the event of an EMP type thing? If all our electronics are suddenly wiped out, what happens to these precious tomes?

But paper can be burned. Civilisations have almost been lost to history in hostile times. House fires have claimed libraries and books.

So, is it better not to put all your eggs in one basket?
Perhaps a little of both is really for the best?

And at the end of the day, is the most important thing not just that you read?
All books have the magick ability of transporting you away from modern life and into a whole new world.
Let us not quibble over one way or another. Let's just pick up whichever type of book we most cherish, and read.

Do feel free to state your preference and reasons in the comments. It's always good to have friendly discussion.

Always in love & light,

By the way, my latest book will be available in both paperback and ebook.
Available for pre-order now from Amazon , all good online stores , Waterstones and Barnes&Noble

Thursday, 23 August 2018

REVIEW - Catnip - it's addictive!

Date read: 23rd August 2018

My rating: 5*

Genre I reckon: YA sci-fi fantasy (with a little romance)

Buy link: Amazon

Well, what a fabulous book!
This has been on my TBR for ages, and I've been anxious to read it. 

Just look at this cover. Now try to stop. No, I can't either! 

Whilst weaving a 'tail' of science and madness, JS Frankel also raises some poignant questions. How far should one go with scientific research, for example. 

The cat-girl is incredible, her journey no less so.
Anastasia with amnesia; lol

I don't want to say too much for fear of spoilers.
But transgenics is the theme, with a slight love story running alongside. Plenty of action, and the men in black suits.

Really well written; give it a go, you won't be sorry.
And when you do fall in love, there's more to find, as this is but the first in a whole series. Yay!

Friday, 17 August 2018

The Art of Self Love

Image c/o Princess Sassypants

I wanted to explore self-love a little more here.
Yes, I have a novel of that name coming out, but when I started to look at the hashtags, I began to get concerned. Not because of smutty images; do get that mind out of the gutter, please. No, because I fear it may be being misinterpreted.

Self-love is about self-care.
Simple as that really.
Valuing yourself, making sure you're OK.

When we seek outside validation for how we look, this is NOT self-love.
In fact, it could be quite the reverse.

My background; I had started my Reiki training, but changed tutors. My new Reiki Master asked us all in level 2 if we'd been doing self-Reiki. We all shook our heads.
"No, that's for my clients," I explained when asked.
As holistic therapists and spiritual people, we all put others first. That's what lovely people do, isn't it?
Let me tell you what she told us. "You cannot pour from an empty cup."
This really struck a chord with me.
So, to help others best I need to be at my best? Well, yeah. If I'm not vibrating at my highest energy then I'm not going to channel as much for others.

This does not just apply to Reiki, please don't worry about that.
But when you are happy are you not more inclined to help others too?
If you are sad you require assistance, and that's absolutely fine. But you're not in the best place to help others.

When I was a counsellor, I went for what is called 'supervision'. It's a kind of counselling for counsellors. We would discuss if anything had pressed our buttons, if we needed to discuss anything that had come up for us. It ensures the counsellor is not adversely affected, and is able to help others without their own stuff interfering.

That may all be well and good, but maybe you're now wondering what on Earth I'm talking about with vibrations (it does NOT include batteries btw 😉), or thinking you don't want to go for counselling. Well, you don't have to! (but please do seek help if you need it)

Self-love, as I said, is as simple as self-care.
Perhaps you're a highly driven career person, desperately trying to keep up with hostage etc. when you get home.
You may be a busy mum/dad, running around, putting your precious poppets first. They demand this attention, after all.
"I don't have time," you may tell me.

OK, so this quote drives the point home, but is a little bit terrifying too.
I'm not going to tell you to meditate for an hour, unless you want to.
I just want to encourage you to make time.
Even if it's once the kids are in bed, and you manage to go to the loo in peace for ten whole minutes. Light some candles (they help with the smell 😃) and read a book whilst you're there.

Better yet, take a hot bubble bath. This is one of my favourite ways to relax. Candles, music, perhaps a drop of wine, time to myself as I soak in suds; bliss!
But there's so many ways you can practice self-love.

  • Take a walk; find some trees to wander around. 
  • Eat healthily. Drink more water. 
  • Get some exercise.
  • Breathe in the aroma of your coffee and relish that cup. 
  • When you go to bed, close your eyes, and let your thoughts wander without dwelling on problems before you sleep.
  • Hell, just brush your hair and put on clothes that make you feel good. 
*see womenwithsparkle on Instagram for weekly inspiration/reminders to sparkle up.
And/or follow princesssassypants on Facebook for happy pictures.
Or, you know, just look at cat pictures.

The important thing is YOU do something for YOU!  

We have been conditioned to think selfishness is bad. "You should not be all about you."
You should still be compassionate and think of others. But NOT to the exclusion of yourself!
Take care of you, and you can better take care of others.

Self-love is self-care.
It is NOT selfish. Is IS essential! 

Got it? Good!

Always in love & light,

Should you wish to read my novel where Molly goes through personal growth whilst shrinking, you can pre-order Self Love on Amazon and all other good eReaders

Thursday, 9 August 2018

How To Get Your Indie Book Into A Book Shop

I shall be talking of the hallowed territory of Waterstones for this blog post.
It is one of the largest book chains in the UK.
WH Smith is another huge goal, but I cannot find an application process for them at all, which is a shame, because I'd love to also get the chance of being in the Richard & Judy Bookclub. Hey ho.

So, you want to get your indie book into a bricks & mortar store?
Great ambition, and not entirely futile.
But I would like to point out: this is just outlining the process. It does NOT guarantee success, and is a LOT of work to set up. So, are you really really sure you want to do this? It might make you cry!

OK. Brace yourself, let's go...

First and foremost, make sure you have an excellent paperback product. And I mean excellent.
The editing must be spot on. The cover must be of a highly professional standard. 
Great book

Tip: make the print a little smaller (not stupidly so; be sensible, it must be readable), but try to keep your page count minimal. 
I like to start each of my chapters on the right hand page, so pay attention to that when you're formatting. 
Try to keep your costs down.

I was lucky; my first paperback was created via Createspace (doh!), but this means I have a handy interior template, which works on IngramSpark. Sadly, IngramSpark do not have such a facility at the moment, but give you guidelines instead.

OK, next step. Grab an ISBN (International Standard Book Number). 
This will need to go on your book cover and pdf file name, so you need this prior to uploading to your printer people (IngramSpark).
tbh, getting your own ISBN just seems sensible anyway, if you ask me. That way, you own the rights, and can publish it where you choose.
In the UK, you will need to obtain this from Nielsen
You will need to create your account as a publisher on here. 
 Get an ISBN

Well done. Next, make sure you print via IngramSpark, or a similar company who has the right access.
KDP & Createspace DO NOT have the correct distribution channels in the UK for the likes of Waterstones (at time of writing this post)! 
The top two preferred distributors incidentally are Gardners and Bertrams for major stores. 
✓ Correct printers & distributors

There are many steps and considerations when putting your book into IngramSpark, such as trim size (I like 5x8), cream paper (better than white for fiction books), matt or gloss cover etc. 
Follow their guidelines closely. Ensure your fonts are embedded when you convert to pdf (there's an ISO_19005-1 compliance option under save options, and yes, my Word to pdf file works just fine). 

Once you upload your interior file, you'll be able to generate a cover template to send to your cover designer, with the correct dimensions. 
Once you get the cover file back, upload this too.
You will then get an e-proof in due course, once it's been through the verifying process. 
And once you approve that, you can order a hard copy proof (at your expense).

Phew! Formatting and uploading a paperback can be tough. But if you've got this far, well done. 

Now tell Nielsen Title Editor about your book.
This is a different site from the one where you purchased your ISBN/s.
You will need to know at least:
  • ISBN
  • Author
  • Title
  • Subject classification (there is a link to BIC codes on the site to help you choose)
  • Publisher & imprint
  • UK availability
  • UK price (when you set up on IngramSpark all territory prices will need to be worked out, but they have a tool for this - allow a 55% wholesale discount)
  • Format
  • Territory rights
  • UK publication date
  • UK distributor (e.g. Gardners and Bertrams)
  • Book dimensions (produced on IngramSpark when you go through their process)
  • Cover file

✓ Update info on Nielsen Title Editor

Incidentally, Gardners also have the additional requirement of this form.

Hoorah! Very well done on getting this far. It's been a lot of work, but now you're ready to ask the nice people at Waterstones if they would possibly maybe consider stocking your book, pretty please. They accept requests from indie publishers, don't forget.
✓ Apply to Waterstones

Each step takes a while. 
Patience is your friend. 
And don't be afraid of asking Nielsen for assistance; their customer service is very good.

Now, Waterstones demand a 55% wholesale discount. Plus printing costs. This means your RRP will be fairly high. The store probably won't like it. So, don't get your hopes up. These are just instructions to give you an outside chance. 
They will be more likely to bung your book on their website, which is a helpful start.

Waterstones say not to approach individual stores, but you know what? If you have a lovely hard copy and you're passing, I reckon it's worth a cheeky question to the manager. Some of them want to support local authors, and will be able to stock if your book is on the system (after this process). But don't be hurt or surprised if they tell you to go away.

Good luck! 

Always in love & light,

3rd November 2018 - TODAY I went into a Waterstones book shop and my book Self Love was on the shelf for sale! Actually!!! 
This CAN work! 
Self Love in Waterstones, on a real shelf!

Sunday, 5 August 2018

REVIEW - Saving Grace - who saves who?

Date read: 5th August 2018

My rating: 4.5*

Genre I reckon: Kickass survivors of abuse

Buy link: Amazon

The trouble with a TBR list as long as Santa's 'naughty' one is that some gems stay hidden for a while. And this is one of those gems. 

Saving Grace deals with a really tough topic with sensitivity. It does not go into in-depth detail of the abuse in the girls' past, but you know it happened. And you learn how each woman deals with the aftermath.

Taylor - determined survivor of abuse and the streets
Gray - awesome woman and author

Their lives have similarities, yet very different paths.
But this book is about so much more; deep friendships, trust building, and hope.

The characters are all well rounded, and it's beautifully written. The women are tough, the good guys are strong and supportive. Really sweet love stories intertwine throughout.

Really powerful stuff!