Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Holy Grail

It used to be that finding an agent was the way to get your book published. Some publishers were prepared to accept unsolicited manuscripts but many weren't. I can't remember how many letters and first chapters I sent out full of hope only to get a rejection by return of post, or months later or over a year later in two cases. Did I ever get close? No, not really. Most letters I had were form rejections no matter how 'sympathetically or supportively' they were worded.
Then came the advent of digital publishing and the world changed. I redefined the genre I was prepared to write and was able to submit direct to publishers. Getting an agent lost its importance.
I still toyed with the dream for a while but I've long since given up on that and in fact, it's been overtaken by a new Holy Grail - the problem of getting reviews.
My publishers have a list of sites they submit to, but no certainty of getting your book reviewed. I can send to some sites on my own and I have done - and I'm shocked how many don't even bother to answer - even to say - no thanks. It seems many review sites have become reincarnations of the agents I used to approach.
It's a hard world out there. Word of mouth is the best way to get your book into people's lives and reviews drive that process. I'm told reviews on Amazon count the most which is more than a pity for me. My best seller Strangers - has 88 reviews on Amazon - massively more than any other of my books, but thousands of reviews on Goodreads. Ah, if only I could fix that. But I can't. All I can do is keep contacting review sites to ask for reviews. But I'm one of so many now, I'm probably buried in a different sort of slush pile. Things really haven't changed.
If anyone has any advice, please share it!!!
And because I like the cover of my book coming out in November - here it is!!!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Is anyone watching?

I do worry about my internet browsing. While researching for my stories I end up accessing all sorts of strange sites and if the American listening station at Menwith Hill - which is really not that far from where I live- has a bank of machines looking out for key words - I might be in for a visit from the police at some point.
EG - I wanted to know what the insides of the MI5 and MI6 and New Scotland Yard buildings were like - what security there was etc
        I wanted to know what could be used to disguise the odour of cocaine to fool a sniffer dog
        I wanted to know how much of a dead baby would be left after being left in a dry cold environment for several years
      And a lot of other searches for sex related stuff. The latest yesterday involved me checking out a male escort site. To my astonishment I spotted a picture of my husband. Well, it wasn't, but it really looked like him. The guy was available for fifty pounds an hour and no sex. Hmm - wonder if he'd do the dishes, the garden, the windows, the shopping.....

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Welcome the amazing Dawn Jackson!!

1. What gave you the idea for this story?

Mostly I wanted a story that my hero had to make some tough choices, pick the lesser of two evils. The one thing I thought would be a difficult choice would be to engage in biological warfare.
2. Which part of writing gives you the greatest pleasure? Creating the world? Characters? Other?  Personally, I'm in awe of your world building! And your humor!

Thank you, Barbara. You hit the nail on the head there. I love building unique worlds. It's my passion.
3. How difficult did you find writing the FF parts of the story? Are sex scenes in general easy to write?

Yeah, the F/F scenes. I knew going into this I wanted a ménage story, however, I wasn't comfortable penning M/M. Just didn't feel I could do it  justice. I did however, feel I could a F/F, since I'm a woman and understand how everything works. Sex scenes have never been easy for me. I know some of the first scenes I ever wrote, I tossed your way and promptly ducked under my bed to hide. It's gotten easier through the years, but every now and then I'll wonder if I can still fit under the bed when I hand it off to betas or editors.
4. Do you plan any follow ups to Kaleb and the girls? If not, why not?

Absolutely. The next story that follows is called Jericho's Fall, about the offspring of Kaleb, Jessica and Melissa. The ending of Last Flight of the Ark ends with the hybrids under a police state. There is a reason I leave off there.
5. What's been the nicest thing a reviewer has said about the story? What's been the worst and how would you answer that?

Well, one review I received for Last Flight of the Ark, the first time I published it, wasn't that great a review, but the reviewer made by day by calling me "a master of science fiction." After that, I could care less about the ratings or anything else she said about the story. She went to the top as one of my favorite reviews.

As for the worst. I was torn down on Slipping the Past--for things that weren't even in the story. I wondered if the reviewer truly read it through, or just skimmed. You want to come back and say, "Hey, that's not in there, or I didn't write that." But that would make me a author behaving badly, and I don't need the flack. I decided to leave it to my readers to decide, if it was or wasn't a justified review.
Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Barbara. You've been a great critter and friend through the years and I appreciate you taking the time to help me re-launch one of my first novels. For excerpts and information on my published works and upcoming releases, please stop by my website and browse. I love visitors.  http://authordljackson.com

Saturday, August 3, 2013

In praise of a friend

I've met lots of people since I discovered the Internet - made a lot of friends who've helped me on the writing journey. None has been more faithful than Arlene Webb, who is a brilliant and quirky writer. Arlene has beta read everything that I've written - as I've done for her. I don't put acknowledgements in the front of my books for all sorts of reasons but by rights, Arlene's name should be in every one. She has a brilliant eye for me repeating, overstating, not being clear. She comes up with ideas to help when I'm stuck. She's everything a writing partner should be.
I have met her in the flesh once! I hope it won't be the last time. Arlene has to snatch time for writing while she's busy running a florists. I'm lucky. I don't have to work at anything other than writing - well apart from babysitting grandson and looking after husband.
I've loved everything that Arlene has written. She's had some truly original ideas and anyone who's a writer knows how rare that is. I'd be hard pushed to say what story I've liked the most. It would have to be a toss up between Incoming Alert and the Colors Series - starting with Splintered Energy. As I'm currently writing and struggling with a story that has quite a large cast of characters for me, I'm even more in awe of Arlene's cast in the Colors books. I often commented to her as I beta read - how well she handled dialogue from a lot of individuals. I still have a lot to learn and I'm lucky I have her!