Monday, 23 January 2012

Taking a chance...

Well, this blog is normally not the first with breaking news, but right now it is on the frontline of a test.

Testing what, you ask? Well, go to the Fire Season page (on the menu above) and you'll see a new "Read Sample" button. It's a prototype of an embedded reader for Smashwords samples, and making its first (temporary) appearance away from the test server.

If there's any takeup for it and no critical bugs, there is a Java app in the works which has more options, and which this version will eventually become the fallback for. Meanwhile here's v0.3 on temporary display. Since this blog is more likely to attract readers and authors than the coders' blogs, it's up here to gain a bit of feedback and some extra opinions.

For background, this is all part of the Smashwords Tools project which has been taking up a lot of my writing time. You might have seen a few of the small blue widgets we've been building, used on this blog and elsewhere. A few technically-minded Smashwords authors got together to make some widgets to help promote the ebooks.

There are more details over at the project's blog, here.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Conflict of Interest

Here's a surprising announcement for the New Year:

Conflict of Interest, the Docks sequel, which I withdrew for re-editing after several critiques?

It's back up on Amazon, it hasn't been re-edited and it's up in its original form.

It sounds like an odd move, but while the editors suggested a lot of changes, the betas didn't like the edited versions. Since the beta readers are more representative of my audience, and I was going round in circles getting nothing else written because of the back and forth over COI, I've decided to take the decision to push it out the door and move on with something else.

The other reason for that decision was the christmas sales figures - while I may have pulled it most of the third parties didn't and it's building a steady fanbase.

I wrote it to deadline, I wasn't happy with it, and I just kept nit-picking, which really wasn't very productive. It isn't as if I don't have enough other manuscripts to work on, and I got into this to write what I wanted to read, not what I can already buy on shop shelves.

The other issue for me is an obvious spelling error in the Smashwords description for The Docks. While it is entirely my fault, I am somewhat nervous about updating it in case Smashwords proceeds to pull the entire book from premium and re-apply it for the sake of one missing "l".

I'll let you know how it goes...

Friday, 6 January 2012

The Twelth Night

In some traditions, the start of 2012 proper. In mine, time to take down the decorations since it is unlucky to leave them up longer. In both cases, it's the time to shift from holiday mood and face the year ahead.

And there are a few changes coming up for 2012.

You might notice the blog is back to Project Wonderful ads, this time installed properly. After a few ads for well-known publishing scams showed up through Adsense, I decided to shift across fully since I didn't want to be thought of as endorsing them. I actually prefer Project Wonderful as a service, but last time my blog went down for a few days and my average traffic level dropped too low. This time, using a networked ad that runs across multiple sites, it should avoid that.

There are more unofficial Smashwords widgets in testing, although lack of feedback does appear to be getting to the developers.

I have books, and novels, and short stories, and things to write and edit. Unfortunately I also have bills to pay, so my writing time this year will be more limited.

It is always tempting just to take the huge amount of back-manuscripts I have piled up and throw some straight onto Smashwords unedited. Unfortunately, I think my readers deserve better than that, but editing costs money (and takes time) so 2012 releases are going to be rather slow. On the other hand, going by activities since New Year, it's also going to be more productive and more successful.

So, here's to a good 2012 to everyone, and don't forget to take your decorations down!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Blog hop & bookstore

Join the New Year's Blog Hop at to win your choice of five ebooks or grand prize of a Kindle Fire!

Yes, my first post of the year is promotional, but then The Docks is one of the prizes for a rather large blog hop. I'm still working on COI and hopefully that will be back up and re-edited by tomorrow.

The other thing that is coming soon is an embeddable bookstore widget for the blog. I'm helping test the alpha version now on the Bookstores page (and you can view the mini-site version here), since this blog uses a narrower template than most.

The Smashwords tools in beta can be viewed here, for anyone who wants to help with the testing, or use one on the blog.

2012? Off to a good start, I think.