Saturday, 30 October 2010

Twitter Story - Week 11

"Yeah. Who’d you think had to do the fire assessment for Matt when he decided to bid for it?"

"You could’ve told me!" Jim snapped, and Jake waved a reproving finger at him.

"No I couldn’t. Professional confidentiality. Besides if you’re too dumb to check who actually won the auction, or actualy talk to your brother, or even look left at the huge grey nuclear bomber that you drove right passed -"

"Ok, ok." Jim went back to watching the old crop sprayer pilot scrubbing industriously at the paint, reflecting that his brother could be particularly annoying when he was right. "Who’s he planning to get to help him look after it?"


The story updates daily at my twitter feed, under hashtag #vhfstr1.

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Thursday, 28 October 2010

Making Steady Progress

For anyone interested in the Goodreads giveaway these are examples of the uncorrected proofs/ARCS that are being dispatched. In fact, two of them probably are the copies that will be sent out.

It's been a very busy day. It started with dispatching some advance copies to reviewers, and hearing that the first batch the publisher had sent out had already arrived.

Then the first set of test bookmarks I'd designed for Fire Season arrived in the post, and I set up an order details page to go with the media kit. I dropped a note to some potential advertisers, who came back to me the same day and were very nice about arranging to put my ad up around the time the book is coming out.

Then I was shown the first tests of the actual cover, not the placeholder used for the ARCs. The artist is still working on the final image, but it's a very nice picture.

If all that wasn't enough, the day ended with me talking to Waterstones about doing a book signing or event there. They were very nice and more than interested in helping out a local author, so I came away with a list of contact names and people to talk to about getting my book stocked with them.

My publisher's already following up on it, so hopefully things will work out.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Planning a book launch

With six weeks to go until the book is released, people have started asking the question that I was hoping to avoid:
  • "So, when's your launch party?"
  • "I'll get back to you."
The launch party appears to be a traditional part of a book launch now, with press, publisher, author, and possibly family, friends and vague acquaintances being invited. Since I am being published by a small press, I have to arrange my own. As someone with a life-long aversion to public speaking, large events, and media exposure this feels rather like being asked to pick the members of my firing squad.

I have not even settled on a venue yet. Ideally I'd like a bookshop with a cafe, so they can handle the book selling part and I can get something to eat and drink. Unfortunately my local closed a few months ago, and I can't find another that fits the bill. I did consider going to the other end of the spectrum and asking Foyles, but when I checked the schedule that would put my little event head to head with the Poet Laureate. I know my limits.

It may yet be upstairs in my local with pub grub, friends, family and regulars attending, and a stack of books in the corner. To be honest, that rather appeals.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Cover Artist

The ARC copies have gone out for review with a placeholder cover. Much as I liked seeing them, I can't wait for the actual book with the full cover.

The cover art for Fire Season is being done by Barry Weekley, a noted aviation artist. With an outstanding gallery, including a number of other book covers, to his name I find myself worried that my book won't live up to its cover.

Unfortunately, like most authors, I didn't get much of a say in the cover art. After a few discussions in which I gave some ideas, I am left to see what the publisher and artist come up with. I do know it's supposed to be a wrap-around image, so to see the full picture you'll need to open the book flat.

Barry Weekley has his own book of aviation art out, "The Aviation Art of Barry Weekley" which you can see on Amazon.

For the best idea of his artwork however, please see his website at:

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Twitter Story - Week 10

It was true, Jim knew. He had deliberately avoided looking, since the last thing he had wanted was to watch Matt's planes when he had just lost the auction for his own. Turning the magnification up to full he surveyed the aircraft, the eight propellers gleaming before four engines. The faded grey livery showed that this was an old, old, lady, and yet she still looked ready to fly. As he looked along the wing he stifled a chuckle. Matt was already up on a stepladder with a bucket and cleaning supplies, attacking the grime on the grey surface. Then Jim suddenly realised –

"Hold on. That means you already knew I lost." Jim lowered the binoculars and gave his brother an accusing glare.


The story updates daily at my twitter feed, under hashtag #vhfstr1.

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Thursday, 21 October 2010

ARC giveaway

My publisher just let me know I am getting more ARCs than expected. As a result, I have put two of the extras on Goodreads as a giveway.

These are uncorrected proofs from a digital press, and have placeholder covers, so they don't entirely represent the finished item. On the other hand, if you are following VHFstr1, they are your chance to avoid waiting until December to read the rest.

Reviews are not mandantory, but definitely appreciated.

Here's the details:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Fire Season (Paperback) by V.H. Folland

Fire Season

by V.H. Folland

Giveaway ends November 01, 2010.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

ARC Copies recieved!

This morning brought a very welcome package: my first Arc copies.

To get the issues out of the way first: There are a few issues with the positioning which the publisher wants to adjust, and a sheet of final corrections they want made to the manuscript after seeing it laid out in the proof. They are digital proofs for the printrun, with place holder covers and the almost too-white pages from a digital press.

None of this changes the fact they are also the first copies of my book in print, and if I may say so they look really good.

I've also got a few extra copies in the post from layout testing. Since the publisher no longer needed them I've snaffled them for PR, and possibly early reviews.

It seems very final in a way. Even if the books are hardly the finished product, looking at layouts from a digital proof and having something you can hold in your hand, really does drive it home. My book is coming out.

I just hope the reviewers like it.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Quick Amazon Update

The book's back up on Amazon, so search for the ISBN, author surname or title (sorted by publication date) and you can see it again.

However I will admit to spending a very worried evening.

My attempt at publicity materials are also underway, including a set of mini-bookmarks that should arrive later this week. The publisher is refining their press release and putting together a media kit.

Monday, 18 October 2010

The Rocky Road to Sales...

Things are currently rather interesting. I'm in the middle of setting up my Amazon Author Central page which will be live in seven days, working on my Goodreads and Authorsden pages and generally trying to tell the world about my book. On Twiends I got a brief VIP feature which increased traffic to my Fire season lens significantly.

The publisher spoke to Nielsen and the release date issue has been corrected. I will confirm here it is the 1st December 2010, not 1st November.

Perhaps most worrying of all, in two days I should receive an ARC copy of my book for promotional purposes. It has a placeholder cover, but the internal text should be properly laid out.

Things were looking good.

This of course is when Amazon crashed this afternoon and lost my book page. The page still exists but currently without the direct URL you can't find it as it isn't on the search, making promotion rather difficult. Things don't ever seem to be easy with this book, but then nothing worthwhile ever is. If I keep repeating that I might believe it, but I can't believe most authors go through all this to get their books out.

Meanwhile I'm back to bothering bloggers for reviews. If anyone would like an ARC copy for a review, please leave a comment below and I'll pass it on to the publisher.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Twitter Story - Week 9

"Yep. Matt heard there was a plane up for sale, and you know what he’s like." Jake sounded rather pleased with himself. "Thought he’d get a gate guardian, and god knows he’s got the hanger space."

"He spent that much on a gate guardian?" Jim sounded incredulous and Jake sniggered.

"And what were you going to do with it? Tour flights?" Jim ignored him, lifting the binoculars to take a closer look. The markings were all still in place, and he knew without a doubt that this was his aircraft - even if he now had to accept it was Matt’s.

"How?" he asked quietly, slightly stunned.

"She arrived this morning. You must've been too busy sulking to notice or you'd have seen her when we drove passed."


The story updates daily at my twitter feed, under hashtag #vhfstr1.

Follow VHFolland on Twitter

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Promotion underway

Since it can now be pre-ordered I'm back to promotion. Less than fifty days left to sell the entire printrun before we print it (just joking).

The trailer is slowly being sent out. I'd deploy it everywhere at once, but to be honest neither my internet nor my patience will stand for waiting on the upload times. There's a new hubpage for extra backlinks, and even a few promotional items for Fire Season up on Zazzle using old digital artwork designs.

I'm shattered already - and it's only Day 49 before launch. Much more to do!

Monday, 11 October 2010


Without yelling, may I just say that as I typed the last update I got news that the book is now available for pre-order.

Fire Season can be preordered from the Foyles website. I am rather chuffed that my little book is available from the largest independant bookstore in the country.

The only problem is the release date is listed as 1st November, not 1st December. The publisher is talking to Neilsen to get that fixed. To be honest, I'm just happy to see it up there. Here's the link:

A pause in promotion

I was slightly doubtful about the title change; after all if you google VH Folland Firestorm I am the first three pages of results. However that happened in four weeks, so with luck I can get the same effect with Fire Season. Unfortunately I can't seriously start promoting until next week.

With just over 50 days to publication and launch, I have been asked to hold off on publicity for a few more days. If I wait, I can include pre-order links in my online material. Since the publisher is setting things up with a partner who sells world wide, I think that it is well worth waiting for.

However to keep people interested, while the publisher gets their pages set up, there's a page now up on Squidoo with everything about the book so far (including the Amazon link).

Sunday, 10 October 2010

On Amazon!

This was set up a couple of days ago, but it takes time for the details to come through. This is why the book is showing as "Out of Stock" instead of "Coming Soon". The important thing is, it's there.

Dates for updates:
  • Cover Image: 16th November
  • Targeted Release: 1st December

Unfortunately Amazon won't allow you to reserve a copy, or tell the publisher if you add it to your wishlist. Alternatives are apparently being looked into, and I'll let you know when I have an update.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Twitter Story - Week 8

Jim shrugged free and turned away from the airfield, reluctant to be reminded of his aircraft, now on its way to the breaker’s yard. The faint hum of a microlite in the distance did nothing to improve his mood.

"So what’s so important?" he asked irritably, and Jake shook his head in exasperation.

"Look, idiot." Jim’s eyes followed Jake’s pointing hand automatically, and his retort died unsaid.He didn’t need binoculars to know the silhouette even at that distance. The grey frame, with its stub nose and the long glider-like wings with their unique propellers was unmistakeable. He gaped for a moment before collecting himself enough to speak.

"Is that -?"


The story updates daily at my twitter feed, under hashtag #vhfstr1.

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Friday, 8 October 2010

ISBN's registered - promotion underway

Well, the book's been through Neilsen and it now has a ISBN. The e-books are taking slightly longer as they apparently go through "Pubweb". My publisher has previously only allocated ISBNs to print books, so they're sorting out registration, but it all takes time.

On Monday, once the ISBN has propagated through to Neilsen's feed, the publisher will be chasing print distribution. Ideally I'd love to get it in Waterstones and WHSmiths, but I'm a realist and while they work on large scale distribution I'll be begging my local book store owners. At least I'm already a good - read, frequent - customer!

I did mention I'd been in publishing before, just not writing novels. If you do ever end up in this situation, I will say that dropping off a copy of your book, a press pack, and the name of a recognised distributor (particularly running Sale or Return) where they can buy it, makes it a lot more likely a few copies of your book will be picked up than handing across a book, press pack, and your phone number for consignment purchases.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Book trailer beta up!

Live on Youtube for a limited time, and featuring all the changes I got from my first round of feedback.

If you'd like to get a preview of the book trailer, here's the link:

Feedback is, as always, welcome. It is still a beta release.

What's missing for now? ISBN, release date and cover art. A full version with these will be released once the book proofs come through. What it has that I haven't announced yet? The new title. It's amazing how much fuss can be made over such a small change.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Twitter Story - Week 7

"Then try these." Jake handed him a pair of binoculars, all-too-conveniently to hand, and Jim took them. They had obviously been fished out or a cupboard and recently cleaned.

"What've you been setting up?" he asked, suspiciously.

"Go and look," Jake replied. The annoying grin was still there. Realising that he wasn’t going to be left alone to get drunk quietly, Jim gave in.

"Fine. Sooner I get this done, the sooner I can get down to drinking." Jake chuckled, stood up and,gripping Jim’s shoulders, propelled his brother towards the door. Out in front of the house, Jim shrugged free and turned away from the airfield,


The story updates daily at my twitter feed, under hashtag #vhfstr1.

Follow VHFolland on Twitter

Friday, 1 October 2010


I've just been told that my books ISBNs have been filed with Neilsen. This means it is actually going to be coming out. The publisher's started talking to distributors, and I've got details for at least one competition they want to submit it to.

If anyone following the blog is interested in an ARC copy, please let me know!