Tag Archives: KDP

What Happens Next Monday?…….

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I’ll start this week’s blog with an apology….. technically there isn’t one. A blog that is.

My creative focus has been on finishing the first draft of Book Baby 5 and I’m almost but not quite there. Another three or four productive hours should finally see it complete- albeit a few weeks later than  originally planned.

Unusual for this stage in my creative process, it’s more or less all typed as well as written and it’s not naked!  Well, it has a bare bum as I’ve not finished the back cover for the paperback edition but it has a front cover.  🙂

I already revealed it’s title a while back – Shattered Hearts – so what is there left to reveal?

The cover and the release date……..

Watch this space and my author page next week…… all will be revealed.  😉

https://www.facebook.com/coralmccallumauthor/

 

Shattered Hearts

 

 

 

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It’s all about the date …… and a little itty bitty announcement

So, a year ago today I put pen to paper and began to write Book 4 in the Silver Lake series.

I blogged about it…. in fact, I had intended to blog about 8th May being the sixth anniversary of putting pen to paper blah blah blah blah but realised I did that last year.

Missed it?

Here you go, you can catch up here: –

https://coralmccallum.wordpress.com/2018/05/08/whats-in-a-date-quite-a-lot-actually/

In the year since I posted that blog, I’ve been busy…very busy. I finished the writing and editing for Book Baby 4 aka Ellen and successfully self- published it via Amazon’s KDP, albeit slightly later in the year than planned. I’ve worked steadily on Book Baby 5 and, a year down the line, its still not fully written but I am on track (just!) and the proofreading process has recently commenced. Cue my nerves being shot to hell even more so than usual! Yes, the old fear of letting people read what I write has returned with a vengeance.

So, having discovered that I’d already posted the blog I intended for this week I have been left with a bit of a dilemma….. how to mark this creative Silver Lake anniversary?

It feels wrong to let it slip by without doing or saying something.

I’m going to take a leap of faith here. (Those of you who know me personally will realise just how big a leap this is shortly.)

I’m very superstitious about not naming my Book Babies until their first draft is more or less complete. I may have their title in mind but I tend to keep it under wraps almost for as long as I can for fear of destroying the magic of the creative process.

However, Book Baby 5 aka Book 4 in the Silver Lake series has proved to be a little different.

Its title came first before I’d even put pen to paper. That has never happened before!

So, to mark six years to the day of the evening I sat down in the sun with my notepad and pen and began this incredible creative journey, I’m going to share that title with you.

The cover reveal (yeah, that’s kind of almost done too) and the publication date (yeah, I have one of those in mind too and it is another date that is special to me) are a way off so please don’t get too excited here.

Drum roll please, Paul……..

The title of Book Baby 5 aka Book 4 in the Silver Lake series is………

title reveal 

Watch this space…….

 

 

If you’ve missed the start of the series, you can download the books or purchase paperback copies from Amazon

Amazon.com links –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XSQHG71

 

Amazon.co.uk links –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XSQHG71

 

and if you missed Ellen –

Amazon.com link

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FYHKR44

Amazon.co.uk link

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07FYHKR44

 

 

 

 

 

This “proper/improper” author is celebrating some book baby birthdays….

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A few weeks ago, someone, who for their own safety should remain nameless, suggested that I wasn’t a “proper” author.
Biting my tongue at the time, I felt a red mist of anger swirl in around me.
Define a “proper” author?
Apparently, I was duly informed by this nameless soul, its an author who has a publisher.
I have a publisher. It’s KDP.
The exchange  hasn’t rested easy with me then I noticed the date that was approaching and smiled – 15th April.
Today marks the fourth birthday of my KDP published debut contemporary romance novel, Stronger Within.
Today also marks the second birthday of my third KDP published contemporary romance novel, Bonded Souls.

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Proper or improper author, seeing my name on the cover of a “real” book truly was a dream come true moment that will live with me forever.
Almost six years have passed since I began this creative journey. If you are a regular follower of this blog, you know the story. For those newer followers, I literally sat down on my front doorstep in the early evening sunshine on 8th May 2013 and began to write a story. I began to write just for me. I began to chase down that dream come true moment.
So far there have been four book baby dream come true moments (births). Each one has been special. Each one has been unique.
While three of the books form part of the Silver Lake series, they are all individual book babies who came with their own challenges. Like all children that we give birth to, they are related but different and each one is precious to me.
Book Baby 5 is still a work in progress and this is proving to be a bit of a “bumpy” creative pregnancy however I’m still on track…. more or less…. for a 2019 Book Baby birth.
The last six years have been incredible from a creative perspective. It’s been a steep learning curve and a hell of a lot of hard work and I don’t regret a second of it.
I’ve blogged about Stronger Within’s birth and Bonded Souls’ arrival into the world before. What? You missed those blogs? Don’t worry, here’s the links –

https://coralmccallum.wordpress.com/2015/04/15/stronger-within-the-dreams-come-true/

https://coralmccallum.wordpress.com/2017/04/20/book-baby-motherhood-the-toddler-phase/

So, after four years as a published author, have I overcome the fears I mention in those previous blogs? No! Have I reconnected again with Silver Lake characters? Yes! Have I stopped blushing whenever I receive a compliment about the books? No!
This hasn’t been a journey I’ve tackled alone. There are a small group of wonderful friends who provide the love and support, the alpha and beta reader duties and who help to keep me motivated when the demons of self-doubt creep in. You guys know who you are and I love each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart. Couldn’t have come so far along this crazy creative road without you.
I describe myself as an indie author.
As far as I’m concerned, I’m proud to be a part of the indie author community. I’m proud of my book babies. I’m beyond proud of their Amazon and Good Reads ratings. Who would ever have thought that I’d earn 5* reviews for a book I’d written? I’m proud of the fact I’ve earned royalties every month. OK, most months the payment wouldn’t cover the cost of a cup of coffee but I’ve earned something from my writing.
So, am I a proper author?…… I’ll let you decide.

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To celebrate being  Book Baby Mummy to two books celebrating their birthdays today, they are both FREE  to download to Kindle for the day.
If you’ve not met Jake and Lori yet, not is your chance.
If you’re a Silver Lake fan, then thank you for your love and  support. There will be news about Book Baby 5 soon. Book four in the Silver Lake series is coming…..promise!
Happy reading! 😊
Amazon.com links –
Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VXDSC1M
Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XSQHG71

Amazon.co.uk links –
Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00VXDSC1M
Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XSQHG71

some images sourced from Google – credits to the owners

Define Success……. Go On I Dare You To…

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Like many indie authors and bloggers I have “liked” and “joined” numerous….ok countless….author and book promotion Facebook groups and pages. I use these as a means to promote my author page, this blog and my book babies and very rarely comment on any discussion style posts.

Recently one caught my attention… “Do we have anyone in here with a lot of success?”

Initially I read it and scrolled on…. but it was bugging me….so I scrolled backup and replied.

“Define success? It means something different to each of us. If you mean “Do I feel I have succeeded with my writing?” then the answer is “yes” as I have told folk a story that entertained them and caused an emotional response. If you quantify success as hard cash then you’re in the wrong game. There’s more to life than money when there’s a story to be told.”

My response was well received by other members of the group.

And I stand by what I said.

It took me a long time to think of my writing as being successful in any shape or form. Self-publishing my first novel in 2015 was a surreal experience. It took me so far out of my comfort zone! Even having published three more novels, it still feels surreal.  Seeing my name on the cover of those books feels like a dream I am about to be rudely awakened from. However, as time has passed, I’ve come to realise that I’ve achieved something pretty special. Well, it’s pretty special to me.

How many people can say they’ve seen one of their lifelong dreams come true?

I can and that genuinely makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Makes me feel successful in my own quiet way.

I’ve been incredibly fortunate that no one yet has said my book babies are ugly. Seeing them sitting on Amazon.co.uk with lots of twinkling stars and multiple reviews makes me feel proud of what I’ve achieved (with the love and support of my Infamous Five and my cavalry) Seeing them with stars and reviews on Amazon.com, which is such a huge arena, blows my mind. It makes me feel successful in my own quiet way.

You can’t put a price on the emotions you experience when someone tells you they’ve loved your book and that it’s evoked an emotional response whether it be laughter or tears. Feedback like that is truly priceless.

If indie authors and bloggers were in it purely for the money, there wouldn’t be many of us left. FACT!

Let’s be honest, unless you strike it really lucky and your work lands before the right person at the right time and catches their eye then, chances are you’re not making a huge income, if any. I half-joked when I published my first novel that I hoped to earn enough to cover my concert ticket budget. My royalties come nowhere near to covering it! Most months they would barely cover the cost of a couple of coffees.

Authors are storytellers. We write to tell the story that’s grown inside us. At the risk of sounding cheesy for a minute, writing is a passion and I’ve always maintained that as soon as I stop feeling the love for it, I’ll stop.

But, do people realise the length of time it takes to pull an article/blog together or the number of hours of work a short story requires? Or the hundreds of hours a novel requires?

I’ll use this blog as an example and it’s not a long piece. It has taken me roughly an hour to write and re-draft and it’s taken another hour or so to type and re-draft again then say it will take ten minutes to publish it. That’s about 2-3 hours work. And guess what – it doesn’t earn me any royalties?

Last week, I published a short story on this blog page.  The word count was roughly 4000 words. It took me about four hours to write it. It took another couple to re-draft it, another couple to type it then fifteen minutes to post it. Let’s call it eight hours of work. And guess what – that didn’t earn me any royalties either.

Novels take months of effort. I really should take note of the time spent writing, typing, editing etc one of these days. All in all, it’s probably about four hours of work in total per thousand words ( rough guesstimate). My novels so far have ranged from 107000 words to 186 000 words. Let’s do the maths – that gives us about 428 -744 hours of work and that’s before you factor in the time to design the cover, the time my alpha readers (my Infamous Five) and my beta readers (the cavalry) donate and the time to upload the file to Amazon for publication…… and then there’s marketing and promotion to be done…..

The current National Minimum Wage in the UK is £7.93 per hour.

If I had been paid that for writing Ellen, my latest and shortest novel, that would have earned me £3400 approximately. To date, Ellen has generated around £100 in royalties.

I personally don’t define success in respect of my writing in terms of hard cash. If it was about the money, I’d have closed over my notebook and put the lid back on my pen a long time ago.

Success for me is about seeing people enjoying what I write. It’s about folk saying I’ve made them laugh or cry. It’s about entertaining readers. It’s about telling the story and setting my characters free from my imagination.
So, next time you read over a short story in your lunchbreak or a blog post, pause to think of the time and effort that went into making it a success.

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(images sourced via Google – credits to the owners)

Book Baby Update….we’re in labour!

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The imminent arrival of a new “book baby” is dominating my non-work world just now.

To continue the pregnancy analogy that I’ve been using all along, we’re definitely in labour!

Last night was spent making the final corrections (well, I hope they’re the final corrections!) to the CreateSpace formatted document. Once I’d saved it out and saved at least two backup copies, I began to upload it to the project file. I waited…and waited…and waited.

It crashed and generated an error message about slow internet speeds.

OK, it’s a hefty file. (Big Book Baby but not quite as big as the first one) After a bit of feutering on the laptop, I had a smaller pdf version of the formatted file.

Second attempt at uploading.

I waited…and waited…and waited.

Success! File uploaded.

Next challenge was the cover file. Again, I browsed the laptop, selected the file and began to upload it to the project file.

Error message! The file size had exceeded the maximum allowed. GRRRR…cue an unscheduled venture into the dark realms of Photoshop to flatten the image and save out a smaller pdf file.

Second attempt at uploading.

I waited…and waited…and waited.

Success! File uploaded.

Book Baby 3 aka Bonded Souls had moved into the “file review” phase. (This phase of book baby labour lasts roughly 24 hours)

By this time, it was after 11pm. I’d been on the go for 18 hours and I was knackered! Bed was calling.

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Patiently (ok, impatiently), I waited all day on the email that would give me the green light to order my paperback proof copy.

The email arrived a couple of hours ago.

Reject! The cover file needed adjustments to the text layout as it was too close to the margin.

AGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

Took several deep breaths then ventured back into the dark realms of Photoshop to amend the text on the cover file. (CreateSpace- it would’ve been helpful to indicate which text was breaching the margins…hint..hint!)

Eventually, in between bites of chicken sandwich for dinner, a fresh flattened pdf image had been saved out with minimal cursing and swearing.

Third attempt at uploading.

I waited…and waited…and waited.

Success! File uploaded.

Book Baby 3 aka Bonded Souls has moved back into the “file review” phase of this labour of love.

I now need to wait impatiently (I’m not even trying to pretend I’m being patient here) wait on the file being approved.

It’s going to be along 24 hours!

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If this were a “real” labour, I’d be reaching for the gas and air about now.

As this is a “book baby” labour, I’ll be reaching for a glass of Pinot Grigio shortly!

I’m being a little flippant here, I know, but I really wanted to draw attention to the fact that a hell of a lot of work goes on behind the scenes to get a self-published book out there. I also wanted to highlight a couple of things.

Firstly, to the indie authors, and in fact all authors, out there, I’m sure you recognise this pain and frustration only too well but will agree that when you finally get to hold your “book baby” in your hands for the first time, there’s no feeling like it.

Secondly, to the readers out there, books written by indie authors and released through the likes of Kindle and CreateSpace don’t happen by magic. The author does it all. Writing the story is the easy, fun part (although it doesn’t always feel like it). The hard work lies in making it look pretty. The simplest way for you to recognise this effort is to review the book honestly on Amazon and/or Good Reads. Mention it on your social media pages. If you liked it, tell your friends. Yes, the author markets and promotes their own book too so every little kind word helps.

I see myself as incredibly fortunate in that I have a fantastic group of people supporting me every step of the way. I honestly couldn’t do this without their loyal support, love and encouragement. It’s their kind words that keep me going (And, thank you to one of those wonderful people, who will remain nameless and anonymous, for your beautiful message earlier this week. I REALLY needed that “motivation boost”!)

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There are still six weeks to go until Book Baby 3 aka Bonded Souls is published (15th April- keep the date free) so this is going to be a long “labour” as the work’s not done yet but I know in my heart that it’s going to be worth the wait.

Despite my frustrations with the wonders of modern technology, there’s a wee bubble of excitement building as I wait to hold a copy of my “book baby” in my hands.

I’m just a tiny bit proud of this one.

Now, where’s the Pinot Grigio!

With A Little Help From My Friends – hopefully!

It’s been another one of “those” weeks around here. Living with two exam-stressed teenagers isn’t fun, as I’m sure all parents of teenagers will agree. Five exams in five days has been baptism by fire for Girl Child. (These exams are her first experience of sitting formal exams in the school assembly hall) I really felt for her and could empathise with her rising fear and panic, as I recalled my own exam experiences. I can still clearly picture the rows and rows of desks and still hear the silence.

In the midst of all this emotional turmoil, I made time to take my next leap of faith towards bringing my “creative baby” to life. Well it was on this week’s To Do List and had to be done at some point.

Mid-week I set up my Kindle Direct Publishing account. GULP!

Cue rising fear and panic to rival Girl Child’s!

Adding things like your tax information and bank account details in international format suddenly felt like very grown up things to be doing. Not like me at all. Scary stuff!

On reflection, my immediate reaction didn’t totally surprise me. As I’ve said in previous blog posts, my biggest fear as a writer is letting folk read what I write. Crazy, I know. By creating the KDP account and reading the T&C’s, in particular the list of countries that Amazon cover, brought home how many people my “creative baby” will be exposed to. Now I know that’s a good thing. The more exposure I can get for this book, the greater the chance of sales and success etc. I get it. But what if they think my “creative baby” is ugly? Hence the rising tide of fear and panic.

Breathe! Deep breaths! Breathe!

(A medicinal glass of wine may have been required at this point)

The following day, I stumbled across a magazine article about something that is another weakness of mine. (No – it was nothing to do with coffee or rock stars!) It was an article extolling the virtues of asking for help.

To ask for help is a bit of an alien concept for me. I’ve always attributed this to the fact I was an only child and had no siblings to either ask or help. Over the years and through various situations that life has thrown across my path, I’ve got used to finding my own way through things. I guess there have been times when I’ve felt to ask for help was to show weakness. The article brought home to me the fact that sometimes it’s necessary to ask for some assistance. We don’t all know the best way to do things or have the ability to do everything on our own. At the end of the day, it’s not a sign of weakness or stupidity to ask for help, particularly if you are doing something you’ve never done before.

The time has come to follow the advice I’ve been giving to both Boy Child and Girl Child for years. If you don’t fully understand the subject, ask for help.

So, that’s what I need to do here. If any of you beautiful people have any hints or tips to offer this fledging writer regarding using KDP, I’d be eternally grateful. If there are any pit falls lying in wait that I should be aware of, please let me know where they are lurking as it may save me from a painful fall. Any help will be gratefully received.

And if there are any suggestions for steering stressed out teenage girls through exams, I’ll take those on board too!