Sunday, 25 September 2011

A bear with a sore head...

Head colds! Why hasn't anyone found a cure for a head cold yet? I'm just coming to the end of one and I'm amazed (and a bit fed up) at how much it's affected me - I just haven't been able to think - I've come home from work at the end of each day and instead of being filled with the joys of spring at the thought of sitting down and writing, have just drooled and snuffled on the sofa (sorry to have imposed that image on you!).
   The third Burly & Grum book has suffered and I'm only just able to think about progressing the story. Having been like a bear with a sore head I was thinking about giving Burly a head cold but maybe that would be a bit mean of me? I'll think about it! 
   Even though I've been quiet the books have been busy and almost two and a half thousand copies of Burly & Grum and the Secret City have been downloaded this month on, and Beyond the Forest has now reached 500 downloads on Smashwords! People are reading the Burly & Grum Tales - yay! (I only hope they like them...)
   I've got to give careful thought to marketing now. I'm progressing with making the books available on audio but am still waiting for hard copies of the first two books to arrive from Createspace so I can proof them. I'd really like to have printed versions and audio versions of the books available by Christmas. Oh, and that includes the third book in the Burly & Grum Tales! Good job my headcold is now over and done with because I think I'm going to be busy. 

Monday, 12 September 2011

Forget the admin - let's party!

I'm feeling a bit more upbeat this week! I've (sort of) solved the 300 dpi problem of last week and am now waiting for printed copies of the two books to arrive hot off the press from the States. Eeep! - hopefully the quality will be good, if not a lot of sobbing and gin drinking will take place... I'll tell you next week how they've turned out.
   Tomorrow afternoon I'm hoping to solve the problem of the W-7 form and will be making my way to the American Embassy where I've been assured that a very nice member of staff will help me fill it in. Properly. In blue ink (not black).
  For those of you who don't know what a W-7 is, it's a form you have to fill in if you don't want to be hit by the 30% American tax rate - always handy for those of us who also have to pay UK tax. Although filling in a form may sound easy, apparently the W-7 can be a trial on a par with the labours of Hercules, and I have it on good authority from other writers that it can take up to 8 months to process. I do hope that the people at the American embassy are kind to me...
    But more importantly than all that is the fact that I'm really getting into the third Burly & Grum tale. I'm loving the fact that I the characters are developing and I'm becoming more and more comfortable with them. I'm laughing a lot as I type which is (I think) a good sign. A beach party is on the cards this time although I'm uncertain how Burly's going to cope with all that sand in his fur. Maybe Grum will have a pair of snazzy shorts - who can say? A lot can happen on a beach!
   So, as you can see, despite all the W-7s, dpi and goodness knows what else, I'm still loving the writing and frankly that's what counts. Now, enough rambling and on with the beach party! 

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Who'd have thought dots would be so important?

You may have noticed that I've been a bit quiet over the past week. Unusual I know. I've been busy trying to use Createspace, i.e. converting my ebooks into 'proper' printed books. If you look at the picture of Grum, that'll tell you how it's been going.
    Both of my Burly & Grum books are ebooks at the moment but I've had a lot of feedback over the last few weeks from parents, and the majority of them tell me that they still prefer to read printed books to their children and actually, I have to agree that there is nothing quite like sitting down with your child and reading to them. I've just been putting off doing the conversion to print because I had this sneaking feeling in the pit of my stomach that it wouldn't be straightforward and hey, guess what, my gut feeling was spot on!
    Don't get me wrong, Createspace is great, it gives you all the tools and templates but the problem with my books is the fact I have quite a few drawings in the body of the text. 
    I spent one weekend doing the conversion. I designed a jacket cover for each book and worked hard on the content to ensure it was as perfect as possible before sending them off for the first part of the review process. It took less than 24 hours for Createspace to come back and tell me that some of the pictures were not of a good enough quality, that the dpi (dots per square inch) were below 300. If I wanted sharp, quality pictures I had to get them above the 300 mark. 
    There was no way I could let either Burly or Grum be fuzzy so I took a deep breath, sat down at the computer once more and painstakingly went through the drawings again and again trying to improve the quality. 
    I sent the books off for a second time but the feedback once more was polite but to the point - some of the the drawings are apparently still below 300dpi. Mind you, I have to stand and do a little cheer at this point because I had actually managed to improve the quality of the majority of drawings so it wasn't all bad (I'll just keep tell myself that!).
    Anyway, I'm going to keep plugging away at this - I just needed a breather before delving back into the world of dpi... wish me luck folks!