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Bad timing

The last month has been busy, rewriting the beginning then doing an edit of Book 1 on the computer. I was going to rerelease Bk 1 in June with the new Books 2 and 3. I had a vague notion June was getting closer, but not that it was nearly May already.

Life’s been a bit busy, and working through that and illness/injury hasn’t been going so well, or at least not speedily.

With only about 40 days to what was going to be publication date there’s book 3 still wanting a proper edit. And a title. Though i do have two frontrunners for Book 3’s title, so better than before when nothing came to mind.

I was finishing book 3, then rewriting Bk 1 in part, and hadn’t realised Book 2 needed quite so much work or that the edits to Book 1 would take a month to complete. Once edits are done, the books need reprinting for a last edit to check for typos i did when i edited.

So I will use up all the time i have left, quite easily. Argh.

And that’s before the prep required for actual publication.

Yeah, so not June. I’ve decided to simply postpone release rather than estimate a date. I don’t know how long this will take.

This is me sliding back under my rock.
Hopefully i’ll see you before Christmas. Or Easter 2014.

****

copyright 2013 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com


Writing Myself To Death

I finished Book 3, about a week late, first week of March. No, it still doesn’t have a name. Book 1 was The Birthday Dragon, Book 2 is Dragonskin. So something dragony. It’s so recently written I can’t remember what happens, so no worries about spoilers.

Book 2? Well, other than he survives the army, which you might have figured, seeing there’s a Book 3, he’s growing up. This often means doing stupid things. In Polo’s case this usually involves sex. He had unprotected sex, and this caused him all kinds of problems. One of them’s a queen married to someone else.

At the end of Book 3, as I was checking my list of plot bits that need resolution, I realised I’d left one of the problems, a pregnant one, not the queen, outside a party. So Book 3 is finished, aside from going back and filling in holes in the plot.

I’m getting on with editing those plot holes into sanity. Or perhaps my own version of it. Then I’ll edit Books 1-3 and hope they make sense. Shove in more jokes. Take out the waffle. The story in Book 1 will be the same, but i think i’ll revert to an earlier version i liked more.

I’ve found out my readers aren’t as fragile as i thought they were. Apparently frank sexual discussion and being attacked by dragons are both cool.

I’ll publish all three books (Book 1 will a new edition, of course, which anyone who’s already bought it on Smashwords will be able to download for free) at the same time. Once I’ve done some covers. But I have a graphics pen again, so it’s just a matter of time. And Photoshop. The geeks are getting thinned out in the corral, i’ve had to sacrifice so many of them to the various internet gods to get to this stage.

Estimated Time of Publication. June. Yes, 2013. It will be two years since I published The Birthday Dragon. It’s still (at 22 Mar 2013) Number 1 in the Epic Sci Fi Charts.

Until June, shush, please. Or maybe later, because now i think of it, June is only 10 weeks away so seriously, it seems unlikely. The Delta Reader’s only just got going. I don’t want to make promises as to when but am ranting on Twitter most days so you can always just ask.

At the least you will provide me with useful impetus to get off Twitter and back to editing. Yes, in this case, “useful impetus” means “you will shame me into going back to work”.

Someone remind me, never ever promise to do a trilogy, ever again. Ta. And remind me too, that whenever i say never i’m always made into a liar, so i really should know better.

(I will do single volumes from this world/universe
which will continue various stories or start new ones.)

copyright 2013 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com


Sorry, Forgot You Were There…

I did mutter something on Twitter about delaying publication, but it’s not really enough. So, here’s the thing. Due to circumstances beyond my control, Book 2 was delayed. I was ready to publish, edits done.

The time while i waited gave me thinking space.

****

Book 2 is now not going to be released until i finish Book 3. Book 2 is complete, the Beta Readers loved it. No doubt I’ll do another edit, but due to those circumstances i couldn’t control, I was going to have to delay the release.

Book 2 took longer than I thought, about nine months, and I had a lot written to start with. It’s really good though, I’m glad I took the time. I hadn’t announced a publication date, wary of possibly having to change it, but was planning to release the book mid-April, and people did know I was close to publication, so figure I need to let them know I’m now finishing the trilogy first.

I’m learning from experience, at least in places. Book 1 suffered from a lack of promotion. The sales figures speak for themselves. It has only sold when I had time to promote it, despite being in the 10 top-rated books on Smashwords for nearly 12 months, and with a free sample (20% of the book) for anyone to look at.

I didn’t have time for promotions, being busy writing Book 2. Something for those self-publishing to remember, you really are doing everything yourself. I’ve decided I need time to promote the trilogy properly. I had already said to a number of people that I was glad that I self-published, but that it would have been easier if I’d resisted the pressure to put Book 1 out, and instead got the trilogy done first.

In my defence, I was planning a paper edition only a month before publication, which would have been easier, as being epublished (with no paper version) meant being in the forefront of a new publishing paradigm. Because i’d been planning for paper publication, being shafted that time (the person who was going to invest in me was just messing with my head for fun) meant when it all blew up, i was actually adrift without a plan at all.

For a while there I wasn’t sure epublishing would catch on, but fortunately for me, the Kindle and other ereaders have become commonplace. In the meantime, I’ll be re-releasing Book 1 – The Birthday Dragon – after a last run-through to remove stubborn typo’s. It will be Edition 4. Am sure I’ll get it right eventually.

Polo Shawcross wishes for a new life, but the Birthday Dragon brings a ghost who says he’s not one, a best friend who thinks he’s gay, and a very bad reputation. Polo’s crazy extended family keep trying to kill him, and he becomes an unwilling party to treason. Nanny Black says he’s like the goddess of death with testicles. Despite this, he’s considered a fine companion for the heir to the throne.

Nobody has noticed that the Crown Prince is in love with Polo or that the half-brother with the eating disorder is trying to kill him, and Mother’s still in denial over Father’s alcoholism. Polo doesn’t know where he fits in, but discovers that shapechanging is harder than it looks.

Adventure with more than one twist, set in a vivid new world where Men might be Dragons.

The story hasn’t changed, the editing is just a little more coherent, and there are fewer typos. The sheep are still suicidal and Polo Shawcross still has the kind of appeal he’s quite happy to take full advantage of. He still ends up escaping the farm, getting tangled in the machinations around the throne, and learning about the sexual possibilities of vegetables from the wife of the Kavar ambassador.

Thanks to all the people who encouraged and assisted me in getting The Thing this far. It’s called The Thing because it’s part of this Thing. It’s huge, I’ve been writing in this universe for over a decade, learning about it.

Always, at the birth of the Dragon Kingdom, there was a hero.  I couldn’t help wondering, what was he really like? The man from the songs and the legends, the man who united Theus. And so, I sat down with Polo Shawcross and his journals, and began to take notes.

****

My sincere apologies to those lovely people waiting. I have no new publication date other than I’m hoping to get it done this year. I’m not starting from scratch with Book 3, but I may not make it inside 2012.

Thanks for your patience.

copyright 2012 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com


Competition time oh yes

I should probably write something here.

SOMETHING.

There, now go away, i’m busy. No really, BUSY. Wait, what do you mean, nearly February?

*sounds of screaming*

So, to recoup. I am writing Book 2 of The Polo Shawcross Journals. Book 1 – The Birthday Dragon – is selling the odd copy. (Not very often, i’ve been too busy to punt it about the place, seeing i’m trying to get the next one done. Yes, you see the trap i fell into?)

****

A word to the wise: never buy an ebook without reading a sample. You wouldn’t buy a novel without opening it up and looking at the first few pages.  If you like the sample, go ahead, but NEVER rely on reviews. I’ve had a good look at my e-published competition on the web, and frankly a lot of it’s a joke. On you, if you buy it without reading some of it first.

People fake reviews (and reviewers).  The same writers are faking reviews all over the net – Goodreads act very promptly if you can prove the reviews are fake, but nobody bothers banning the writer from their sites.

Smashwords  sometimes take action if you complain at least twice. They did remove one guy’s over 200 fake reviews and his 20 fake reviewers, but he just came back with more fake reviewers and reissued his old books as new ones, so Smashwords gave up.

I did too, because jeez, there’s a man with time on his hands. Me, i’m not getting paid to find these tossers, and if you buy his book from Smashwords or Amazon (yes, there too, plus his own author web page) on the strength of all those fake reviews, they get a cut, so why should they worry?

Of course, people get suckered by this, and you’ll see occasional reviews by those who’ve made the mistake of not reading samples, saying the other reviewers are lying, but it’s up to you to spot that one.

You see, the moment the ‘author’ sees a negative (real) review, they’ll add a bunch of fake reviews, 5 star ones, to bump that nasty review down – or just republish their book as a slightly different name. I’ve seen the same book under three different names.

However, it’s easy not to get suckered – read the sample, and only buy if if grabs you.

If there’s no sample, shut the page. Either the writer is a newbie who will learn to let people open their bo0k, or they’re trying to rip you off.

****

My book has a sample – and there’s a competition! [edit: competition over, see below]

So if you like the sample, you can enter to win it free.

To WIN
Just leave a comment here, @ me on Twitter, or Direct Message me on Twitter – say you’d like to win a copy.

Competition closes in about 18 hours – midnight Monday night Eastern Australian Time – that’s 7:00 am Monday morning (approximately) in the mid-US or 1pm in UK.

Winners will be notified by DM or Email, and i will also announce their names on Twitter.

WINNERS OF ECOPY OF THE BIRTHDAY DRAGON

@jolantru @FaineBlackadder @cravenheart @Nyx2701

copyright 2012 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com


I will never do that…

I was never going to learn to type – no kidding, this was when i was growing up last century (horses and carts weren’t even invented yet, because they only came after electricity, but we had manual typewriters and iceskates, even in Western Australia).

You see, if i learned to type, i’d never escape the steno pool – in 1975, a woman with ambition did not learn to type. Being typists was something women did in droves before men learned to use computers (email happened) and made the steno pool obsolete.

Steno is short for stenographer – someone who took shorthand (a form of hieroglyphs men couldn’t read), and operated the Gestetner machine and made it spit blurry purple copies. Men didn’t know how it or typewriters worked. All that stuff was women’s work. (No, am not joking at all.)

To my disgust, when they wouldn’t let me do woodwork at school i had to learn typing instead. To my surprise, it came in very handy, as though i’d discarded my idea of being a poet, turned out being a writer was something i wasn’t going to grow out of, and of course, computers were about to change the world completely.

I also learned to sew, much against my will, forced once more to do it while the boys did woodwork or metalwork. It too turned out to be stunningly handy, and i really think everyone should learn at least to sew a button back on. Meanwhile, as electricity was introduced, along with hair-dryers, (in my early 20’s, back before there was internets), I discovered computers.

I did not want to learn computers. At all. However, there was this game. Like many people before me, i was hooked. I don’t remember the name of it, but it came on a cassette tape. Yeah, it was the Dark Ages of Computing.

By the mid-80’s things were moving much faster – and the lights no longer dimmed when the rich woman down the road started up her electric toothbrush. Though i do wonder, in these days of moar RAM than a girl can swallow comfortably, how in the name of God did i write my first book on a machine with only 20 megabytes of disk space and a RAM so low it was in triple-kilobytes? (360k i think.)

The only way to accommodate the hugeness of my average-size 125,000 word scifi fantasy – basically a small text file by today’s standards – was to split it into small enough chunks. I kept splitting it until it was loading in seconds, not minutes. Yeah, that 125,000 ended up cut down to twenty chapters that each were separate documents, so the machine didn’t choke.

I fought against learning to cook. Oh teh stupid! Cooking is a joy, a pleasure, an expression of art, sustaining and tasty all at the same time. Being able to feed oneself something fabulous (as simple as good bread), is cool. Fortunately i absorbed quite a bit from being around women cooking and then being forced to attend cooking classes at school.

I was never going to …. well, pick almost anything i said NEVER to. It seemed the Great Siamese Cat in the Sky liked to mess with my head, and if i said NEVER, it was a guarantee the thing would happen.

I was never going to self-publish. Oh har-de-freaking-har.

copyright 2011 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com


Forty Days and Forty Nights….

Well, i cracked the Self-Imposed Social Media Exile after 40 days in the Desert and started dropping into Twitter. I missed Twitter. Facebook i missed so little it’s brought me to a decision.

Naturally, it was something i already knew but had buried under deluded ideas of book promotion.

I hate Facebook. There, it’s said. Hate. Hate. Hate. Well, dislike intensely, at the least. Anyone i like on Facebook, i already like on Twitter and their blogs. If we need more contact we have email and can talk on the phone.

My Facebook Account as Polo Shawcross (my writing alias) is Deactivated and this is now a Facebook-free zone. I’m going back to Twitter – where a person can be free.

Of course there's such a place as West Arsecrack - Google Earth doesn't know everything.

****

In other news, i was stuck on Book 2 #TheThing and couldn’t get past the first two chapters – then about 6am i woke up, and thought “That’s it!” Suddenly figured out there is a character missing from the first two chapters, (one who can easily be picked up) and now i can get on with writing.

****

Obligatory Bit Where I Try to Turn You On to E-Books
Mine In Particular

As one reader put it – “If JRR Tolkien, Douglas Adams, Jane Austen and Phillip K Dick were to collaborate on a book, they might write something like this.” It’s also been compared to Terry Pratchett, Connie Willis, and “like Carry On Blackadder meets The Graduate – with added stimulants.” So obviously i drugged everyone because they thought it was very funny too. If it would get me reviews, i would totally do it.

Polo Shawcross wishes for a new life, but the Birthday Dragon brings a ghost who says he’s not one, a best friend who thinks he’s gay, and a very bad reputation. Polo’s crazy extended family keep trying to kill him, and he becomes an unwilling party to treason. Adventure with more than one twist, set in a vivid new world where Men might be Dragons.

Book One of the Polo Shawcross Journals – “The Birthday Dragon” is currently Top 10 on the Smashwords Highest Rated Sci Fi & Fantasy charts and available in various formats including those to suit the Kindle or any other e-reader. You can read 20% free to see if you like it before you buy, and read the reviews in full. It’s not on Amazon, but it is on Smashwords, the Apple iBookstore (for iPads and other Apple devices), Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo and the Diesel eBook Store.

If you don’t have an e-reader but have a computer, there’s a free Amazon download that gives you the look and feel of an e-reader on a computer screen. (PC version is here and there’s a Mac version over here. PC version is very good, don’t know about the Mac one.)

copyright 2011 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com/


Self-imposed Social Media Exile: Day 37

  • I have begun to hallucinate conversations with people online. I have them in my head rather than logging on. This saves heaps of time and reduces chances of arguments.
  • The baby hippo pics are not up to par. Have been forced to watch National Geographic doco’s to get my hit.
  • my Klout is in freefall. Down to 45! Despite formerly being a well-respected social media guru (over 50 on Klout) I’ve now lost my social media guru-status.
  • The Birthday Dragon (my debut novel) is sliding up and down the various charts on Smashwords – last seen at number 6 on Highest Rated but it’s fallen off the Best Sellers – i did suspect it showing there was a glitch, or that books on Smashwords only had to sell a copy a month to rate.
  • Yet again, some hot young pop starlet is supposed to be looking at one of my songs with view to recording it. Goddamn it, stop getting my hopes up, bitchez! Record something, then don’t wipe out on drugs or unsuitable men, and make my freaking fortune. Mind you, you killing yourself could be good for sales. *looks thoughtful*

****

In other news: I have pretty much given up on my first book (The Birthday Dragon – yep the one on the right of this post with the pretty cover). Not completely, just on spending much more time pushing it for now, as for the first 10 weeks of its publication – while it topped all the charts – it was completely invisible.

So all the work i did (and the work done by all my lovely friends who actually bought it, or won it as a prize, and were kind enough to do reviews for me) was pretty much pointless.

 ****

This last has induced a state of Siamese Zen™ which means instead of being really that chilled, i’m a bit tight-wired, and might kill something. Oh, yeah, the book was invisible because i made the mistake of marking it Adult.

I figured seeing people were having sex i probably should. It’s a novel for adults, with adult themes, including frank discussions of various sexualities, pretty constant drug use, and a hero whose main motivation is usually getting laid, so i figured Adult it should be.

Turns out that was huge mistake, one that took months to discover. As most of the Erotica isn’t Adult rated, there’s no need for The Birthday Dragon to be as it’s a novel, not a pornographic work (it’s also known as #TheThing when on Twitter).

Especially because Smashwords was completely blocking any passers-by from seeing the book.  The only people who could see it were those went direct via a link  (which meant usually people who happened to follow me on Twitter), or those who knew the site and had switched off the Adult filter, which is in about 4pt type in the top right of the page.

*sounds of screaming*

****

But hey, i did a good deed, told another author about it – her book seemed excellent (from my glance at the sample), she’d been published 6 months longer than i had, and was invisible. How could i not say anything? She’d marked hers Adult because she used the F word.

We were both left shaking our heads (and no doubt both using the F word and worse rather a lot) at how Smashwords never bothered to say, in BIG letters, that

Adult means Nobody Can See You.

****

Yeah, so i was feeling really fucked off a trifle dispirited at that, especially since i’d wasted rather a lot of time both promoting my book and trying to find out why, after the first few weeks, there was no buzz. No interest. Nobody was even looking.

Finally, the fact that it was invisible was revealed, just as i completely ran out of energy and time. Oh and sanity. That’s where i’m at. Like a sensible person, i’m writing Book 2, and will relaunch Book 1 when i do.

I’m very glad there are people out there who liked Book 1 and are prepared to say so in public. I’m hoping at least some of you meant it about wanting to buy Book 2. Which reminds me, if you read it and haven’t done a review, please do (at link just above), they make a huge difference to site visibility and thus to people’s interest.

This time, while you’re all enthused and telling people about the book, they WILL be able to find it easily on Smashwords.

*bangs head on desk rather a lot, for a very long time*

****

  • When i write about 2011, it will be the “Year of The Headdesk”.

****

Book 2 is currently titled “Dragonskin” – as yes, you guessed it, this it the book where Polo learns to control shapechanging. Of course, being Polo, he’s going to take the scenic route to that discovery.

The half-brother second-in-line to the throne is still out to get our hero, thinking up inventive ways to kill him slowly, but he has to let the enemy in the north take their turn. The heir to the throne, having driven Polo away, is still plotting to take over the world. He may just manage it.

Polo’s just trying to survive. Little matter of having joined the army while on a drunken bender. He has three years.

****

I’ve shifted my estimated publication date for Book 2 – which was “before Christmas 2011” – because no way will i make that.

Currently aiming at “first couple of months of 2012” and earlier the better, but i’ll keep you posted.

Now shoo, i’m busy writing.

copyright 2011 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com/


I’m only wafer thin

Had a seriously eek moment. I’ve simply run out of time. Thanks to a series of natural  and unnatural disasters that took up large chunks of time for the last 5 months until now, my usual couple of thousand words a day is down to a few hundred.

We had floods, wonky internet phonelines, and death, then the unnatural ones were members of my family throwing tantrums. You can’t get much more unnatural than that.

I endured minor glitches like Mr Whatsit being crook which landed me with all the cooking and cleaning, then the book being invisible for the first 10 weeks of publication so i had to spend much more time trying to promote it than I actually had. Still somehow optimistic – possibly demented – when asked, i said sure, I’ll get Book 2 done by Christmas.

Now i’ve realised (because i put the equation into a spreadsheet) that i’m not going to finish book 2 before Christmas 2012 unless i disengage from social media. Not completely, i’m not doing a Stephen Fry – just need to use it much less.

The problem with being a sole trader, if you’re busy, there’s nobody to mind the shop. Which is why my book’s on Smashwords, so at least there’s a shop there.

I’ll check emails and DM’s of course, (most things let me know if someone says hi, Facebook even lays guilt trips on me) and will have to trust word of mouth continues with the first book.

So far, despite being invisible for 10 weeks (and only visible since 14th August – yes, 12 days!), The Birthday Dragon is in the Smashwords Top 10 for both Best Selling AND Highest Rated Science Fiction Fantasy Novels.

No doubt i’ll surface in a short while, scream about freaking writing a bit, then disappear again. See you in November? It will be earlier, as if i know i’m not going to finish Book 2 on time, i’ll have to let people know. I really don’t want to put out something rushed (again).  I only have a small number of disciples audience, it’s not like i can afford to screw up with a shoddy sequel.

Then it will be same with Book 3. And then, i swear, i’m going to take a breath. This will probably be sometime after June 2012. And yeah, i have to move interstate in that time too, at least that’s the plan.

Free sample of Book 1 of the Polo Shawcross Journals here – The Birthday Dragon – not a children’s book. A funny, touching, story about growing up, which happens to be set in the future. As my one reviewer said (you can read it and more reviews on the link just above) “If JRR Tolkien, Douglas Adams, Jane Austen and Phillip K Dick were to collaborate on a book, they might write something like this.”

We have to mention ‘not a children’s book’ because there is a kids Euro TV show of the same name. I swear it didn’t turn up when i googled my title.

See you when i’ve put down a few thousand words instead of a few hundred.

copyright 2011 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com/


Competition Time!

Win a copy of The Birthday Dragon – just say on Twitter you’d like to enter the competition, or leave a note here – or you can email stinginthetale at hotmail dot com.

That’s all. First Competition closes in about seven hours. (Midnight Friday in Australia.) Entries must be in by then, in case i’m still awake and do the draw. Winners will be notified, and noted here and on Twitter. Oh, and on Facebook if i remember.

Again on Saturday, same drill.

And on Sunday (Australian East Coast time so Saturday US)

This is to celebrate the damned thing – aka #TheThing reaching 10 weeks of publication, the heights of the top 5 Best Rated Scifi Fantasy Books on Smashwords – and somehow managing that despite being completely invisible unless you switched the Adult filter off.

It’s not invisible any more. So you can win a copy. Enter.  It’s a damn fine book. Funny, character-driven adventure. Don’t just take my word for it, read my reviews. 😀

First Competition WON (see comments below – gave away 2 books) but all entries that didn’t win will go into next draw – will be drawn 20th August midnight my time.


Second Competition also WON – gave away 3 books – when i catch my breath, i may do another one. Stay tuned. 

Third Competition won by @_tractorgirl_ @_PDT @dhympna – congrats to all.

copyright 2011 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com/


Headdesk Times A Million

I confess, i was getting freaked. Panicking even.

Book published, check. Sending people to Smashwords, check. Them looking at the book, some of them buying it, check. Giving it away in a few competitions, check.

And where’s the through traffic? I put it down to my book not showing up in the first pages of either Best Sellers, Most Downloads (some books are free), or Highest Rated.

So, how will they find my book? I’ll have to get it rated, i don’t have enough sales to get it on the bestseller lists, and i’m not yet desperate enough to give it away to drum up publicity for Book 2.

I worked hard, trying to get people to review it – did very well, and got some wonderful reviews. Smashwords was doing what it says on the box, sort of – i wasn’t getting sales, but the sales i did get in my first month (so in the last quarter), Smashwords promptly (quarterly) paid royalties, which are generous per book. (85% of the cover price comes to me if sold from the site.)

Still, despite sitting on front page of Smashwords Highest Rated Scifi And Fantasy for weeks, nothing. For a month, nothing. Not even someone downloading the sample?

I mean, really, is my intro that bad? I decided to rewrite (to an earlier edit) Chapter 1. Waited. I rewrote the blurbs. Waited.  I rewrote them again. I cried some.  Waited. No impact. Nothing. Nobody even looking at it, unless i went on a flurry of self-promotion. Then, to make things worse, i couldn’t always find it in the listings.

I was beginning to wonder if i’d over-estimated the pull Smashwords might have by itself. I did think they had some people wandering through. Then i found someone with a bunch of fake reviews. Was everyone fake? (I reported the fake, action is pending or being taken at various sites across the net – more later.)

My book wasn’t always visible, but i assumed they had a slightly glitchy search, and shrugged it off.  What could i do? Most of the time i showed up, and always on the Sci Fi Fantasy listings. Then i disappeared from the SFF pages. Completely. I could see where i should be, the books ahead and behind me in rankings, but i wasn’t there.

I waited. Maybe questions had been asked and my book was invisible because i reported the fake? I cleared my internet cache. Another day. I cleared cookies, cache, and discovered i was still invisible. I think i cried again then.

Now, I’ve had the year (or so) from hell. I no longer have a family, and my health’s deteriorating in scary ways. My book was the one bright shining thing i had. And now what i thought was my main marketing tool was useless.

I simply don’t have time to do what i thought Smashwords could do for me. In fact, i wouldn’t have self-published if i hadn’t investigated them and self-publishing very thoroughly, and decided their way was the only feasible option – unless i went the traditional route of finding representation and a publisher.

Now, by self-publishing without a decent market, i’d completely destroyed my career. That book is the first in a series, and if i’ve published it in the wrong place, i’m screwed. I think i cried some more. Then, i pulled myself together.

There must be a reason, it had been 4 days or so, it was now reasonable to ask wtf.  So i did, politely. And she (lovely helpful lass from Smashwords wrote almost straight back) said it’s there, page 5 or so on my comp on the main ‘Highest Rated Smashwords books’ pages.

Phew, i thought, and went to look. Several hours later, having cleared everything again, i asked Twitter friends to help out. Could anyone else see it? Five couldn’t, and i wasn’t in the index either. I thought aha! But then one could see me. Huh? Oh wait, bet she’s on a Mac. She wasn’t.

She was using exactly the same WinXP with Firefox as me. Meanwhile,  i logged back in and noticed something. A tiny something, top right of the page.  Adult Filter is ON

Bah humbug to adult filters, i said to myself, and of course I switched it off and magically, there i was. At number freaking 3 on the best rated SFF! I didn’t even know i’d made it there!

I wrote back to Smashwords, so if the nice lass had similar hysterical authors, she could sort it out in a snap. Then it hit me. I would never get any passing traffic from Smashwords. The only people who would see me were those who noticed the Filter and switched it off.

I cried some more. Mr Whatsit was getting damp. Then i said, i’m taking the Adult rating off.  He thought would be fine, i checked with others who’d read it, decided to do it.  Nice lass at Smashwords said that was okay, was up to me. (But of course, i now hope nobody is horribly shocked by suicidal sheep or permanently emotionally scarred by Polo’s mother.)

Then I noticed the “voluntary” Adult rating wasn’t even on most of the Erotica on the site!  After a fairly short time, (an hour or so) my book is now showing. To anyone. I’ve already had several people look at the sample. No sales yet, but that’s cool – you don’t have to buy it if you don’t like it. I’m fair, i keep telling you.

I’ve noticed another writer like me, with a well-reviewed book (genuine reviews, i checked) who’s also marked her book Adult. I marked mine adult thinking it wasn’t a children’s book. So, if you’re self-publishing, and thinking of using Smashwords? Don’t mark your book Adult content.

I’ve just wasted ten weeks of promotion for a book nobody could see unless i linked directly to its page. Every time i posted the Highest Rated chart – unless they knew about the Adult filter and switched it off – they looked, and assumed i was posting the wrong link, mistaken, or lying because my book wasn’t there. And get this, NOBODY SAID ANYTHING. Fortunately, i’d posted the direct link a lot, but some of my best retweeted posts were for a link that didn’t show my book.

In a few days, i’ll get it together, relaunch the book with a competition, and pretty much start from scratch. In the meantime, another sample’s been downloaded, am getting steady interest now people can actually see me.

There’s a lesson here. I’m too mangled to figure it out.

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In the meantime, The Birthday Dragon is still at Number 3 – and anyone can see me.You can also download a free sample to see if you like it.

If you have a Kindle, Smashwords provide downloads for you, as they do for every other kind of ebook reader. If you’re like me, on a PC, you can download FREE Kindle software. If you’re on a Mac they have it too.

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