Sunday, 16 February 2014

My Guest Visit On Emma Jane Holloway's Blog

I am very grateful to Emma Jane Holloway for hosting me on her blog. She was kind enough to give my novel a boost. Thank you Emma! Emma is a wonderful story teller, whose Baskerville Affair Trilogy is a must read.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Review For Penelope Parker

Penelope Parker: Witch in Training is a fun little fantasy book. There is an obvious analogy to be made with the Harry Potter series - a child goes to a school of witchcraft and wizardry to be trained to control her powers. However, there are a few things that set Penelope apart. First, PP:WIT is centered around female characters. While it certainly isn't a girly book (male readers will love it too--no fairy princess nonsense), there is more opportunity for young female readers to identify with the main characters in this book than in some of the other books in this same genre. Further, the magical instruction and rituals in the book reference genuine Wiccan practices. This lends a sense of realism and solemnity to the magical themes that is missing from most witch and wizard books. I think readers will find this both enthralling and educational.

PP:WIT is action packed, and moves very quickly. It is descriptive enough to draw the reader in to its magical world, but it does not get bogged down in overly long descriptions or dialogues. As such, it is perfect for young readers who aren't yet accustomed to reading lengthy novels, or for older readers who just want a fun quick read.

The book's vocabulary is challenging at moments, but not so much as to take away from the experience. Young readers may find that every few pages there is a word they have to look up, or ask an adult about. This is just enough of a challenge to expand a young readers vocabulary and to make them feel like reading this book was an accomplishment.

PP:WIT ends leaving the reader wanting more. The characters are likeable and interesting, and by the end I found myself genuinely interested in their exploits, and concerned for their well being. I, for one, welcome and anticipate a sequel.

Word to the wise: the characters are always hungry, and always snacking on something good. Have some snacks on hand while you are reading. ~J.H.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

My Experience with Self-Publishing

I know many of you who took the NaNoWriMo challenge are wanting to self-publish, so I thought I'd do a post about my experience. The whole idea of self-publishing can be daunting; so many places offering to help you become a published author. But like anything else, it's Buyer Beware. Some companies only want your money, and don't offer good value. Others offer many services, but are also prohibitively expensive, especially for those of us on a hamburger budget!

I checked out many companies, and found that many only offer Ebook publishing, which is fine if that's what you are looking for, but not if you want a hard copy in your hot little hand! Smashwords is good for Ebooks, as is Kindle Direct, as long as you can do your own formatting to their specifications. I found Kindle much easier and more forgiving in that respect; Smashwords had me tearing my hair out before I finally got it right.

For paperbacks and hard covers, there is Lulu, which lets you publish for free, but also has a learning curve to get the formatting right. The problem is, I found them very expensive to produce, and you would have to sell your books at an awfully high price to break even, never mind make a profit.

If you're OK with a paperback, for my money, CreateSpace gives you the best bang for your buck, and their support line is great. You can publish yourself, if you can stand the formatting hassle. I couldn't and used their Simple Interior Design service. It was $349 US, but the best $349 I ever spent, for the frustration it prevented. They also offer editing services if you need them, and a book cover design service. However, one great thing is that they have an online cover designer that you can use for free. It is limited, but offers many templates, and variations. I used it and was pleasantly surprised at the quality. They will also distribute your books to many distributors at no cost to you, unless the books sell, and even then, their royalty system is more than fair. The interior is also very professional, and I am completely satisfied with my experience with them, and will definitely go with them again when my second book is ready for publishing.

Guest Blog Coming Soon!

Keep an eye out here for my guest post about my book, over at Emma Jane Holloway's blog. She is the author of A Study In Silks, A Study In Darkness, and A Study In Ashes. If you haven't read the series, you should!