Tag Archives: Indies

Australian #Selfpublishers needed to beta test KDP how-to guide

Apologies! I’d love to send beta copies of the paperback overseas, but the postage is a killer so this plea is for Aussies only.

So what do I want and what do you get?

I’d like 5 volunteers, anywhere in Australia, who’d be prepared to test the KDP how-to for functionality. I’ll send you a questionnaire to make things easier, but essentially, the questions I’d like answered are:

  • do the step-by-step instructions leave anything out that a real beginner would need?
  • do the examples make sense?
  • are the screenshots good enough?
  • are the page numbers in the Table of Contents accurate?
  • are the page numbers in the Index accurate?
  • if dipping into a guide is your style, do the Table of Contents and Index help you find what you’re looking for? Quickly? Easily?
  • is the cover too garish? Tone down the green? Pick another colour for the back cover entirely?
  • and of course, typos, but only if they hit you in the face. Don’t worry about combing through each page.

In return, you get to keep the proof copies I send you. No strings, no obligations. However, if you return the questionnaire, I’ll also send you a ‘first edition’ of the final, finished version. If you want it signed, I’ll do that too, but you can have it naked if you prefer. Again, no strings, no obligations. 🙂

Almost as important are the things I won’t do:

  • no using your email address in any newsletters, either now or in the future,
  • no contacting you directly with any promotional stuff, and
  • no pressuring you to write a review.

So there you have it. I’m hoping to have the proof copies ready within 2 weeks, so if you think you’d be interested, please contact me on:

meeka at triptychacf dot com

or

@acflory on Twitter.

Many thanks,

Meeks


Online Privacy, Security and Newsletters

I’ve just come from Indies Unlimited, one of my favourite websites because of all the free information they provide to Indie authors. The article that prompted this post concerns the new EU regulations and how they relate to newsletters. One of the key facts in the article is that people who use newsletter companies, such as Mailchimp, will have to ask their European subscribers to formally ‘opt in’.

I strongly recommend that everyone who uses a newsletter to communicate with subscribers take a close look at this article:

https://www.indiesunlimited.com/2018/05/14/authors-with-newsletters-must-get-subscribers-to-opt-in-again-per-eu-regulations/comment-page-1/#comment-3488092908471512056

After reading the article, I was curious to see what Mailchimp had to say about the new EU regulations. What I found was not really a surprise, but it did concern me enough to write the following comment:

Great post, RJ and something all Indies have to look at very seriously, because very few know exactly what the Newsletter companies are doing with their own data and the data of their /subscribers/. This ignorance, and the responsibility that goes with it, will not disappear with a simple opt-in form.
I don’t use a newsletter service but I decided to check out your link to Mailchimp, as it’s a very popular one. The following quotes are taken straight from their various pages:
INFO COLLECTED
‘That information may include your IP address….and other information about how you interacted with our Websites or other websites.’
[the important bit is ‘or OTHER websites]

TRACKING DEVICES & PERSONAL INFO
‘In some cases we may use cookies and other tracking technologies described in this Cookie Statement to collect Personal Information, or to collect information that becomes Personal Information if we combine it with other information.’
[the important bit is ‘that becomes Personal Information if we combine it with other information’]

THIRD PARTIES
‘The third parties that set these third party cookies can /recognise/ your computer both when it visits the website or service in question and also when it visits /certain other websites or services/.’
[the important bit is that Third Parties can include every tech company on the internet including Facebook, Google, Amazon and countless others. Seriously].

TRACKING SUBSCRIBERS
We also enable our users [that’s people who use Mailchimp for newsletters] to employ cookies and similar tracking technologies in connection with their use of our Services in order to allow us and our users to track their subscribers.
[the important bit is ‘to track their subscribers’].

“Do Not Track” or “DNT” signals. Since uniform standards for “DNT” signals have not been adopted, our Websites do not currently process or respond to “DNT” signals. MailChimp takes privacy and meaningful choice seriously and will make efforts to continue to monitor developments around DNT browser technology and the implementation of a standard.
[the important bit is that Mailchimp IGNORES do not track requests. In other words, until they’re forced to obey, your choices don’t matter doodly squat to them].

Now that the EU is bringing in such strong regulations [and other countries may follow], we all have to make choices about how we treat other people’s privacy and security [because data gathered by ad companies can be hacked and used by anybody with the technical skills].

I don’t use any of the newsletter companies, but I know that in the past I’ve signed up for newsletters from online friends and colleagues. Now I’m quietly seething because I am very concerned about my privacy and online security. That’s why I deleted my Facebook account AND deleted everything to do with Google. To learn that I’ve been spied on like this is…not pleasant.

I know that most of you don’t see the privacy/security issue the same way that I do, but I’m asking you to please consider those who get caught up in it without any idea that it’s happening to them.

Not happy,

Meeks

 


Neural network needs help with novel writing

I couldn’t resist this one. A neural network [human brain-like computer] needs thousands of ‘first sentences’ from novels to learn how to write a first sentence of its own. Think of this as teaching baby to become Shakespeare. 🙂

In order to feed baby with enough first sentences, Janelle Shane of ‘Ai Weirdness’ is asking netizens to donate first sentences from their own novels, their favourite novels, or any novels on their bookshelves [or Kindles]. These first sentences will be fed to baby to improve its current, um, not-so-creative efforts. Some of its first sentences are hilarious.

I’ve donated first sentences from my books so why not jump in and donate some from yours? No need to register or even leave an email address so it’s super quick and easy. You can read the article and find the form here:

http://aiweirdness.com/post/167049313837/a-neural-network-tries-writing-the-first-sentence

Go on, do it!

Meeks


‘Free’ doesn’t sell books – and here’s what does — Matthew Wright

canstockphoto8443816This is one of the best articles I have ever read about marketing.

https://mjwrightnz.wordpress.com/2016/04/23/free-doesnt-sell-books-and-heres-what-does/

cheers

Meeks


Playing Charlie Cool by Laurie Boris

Way back in the mists of time, I wrote a glowing review of Laurie Boris’ novel ‘Don’t Tell Anyone’ . You can find that review here. One of my favourite characters from that story was [and is] Charlie, the MC’s gay brother-in-law.

Sadly I knew Laurie did not write series, so I resigned myself to not meeting Charlie again. And then the woman tricked me [in the nicest possible way]. 😀

First, Laurie brought out a novella called ‘The Picture of Cool’ which you can buy on Amazon for the princely sum of $1.

http://smile.amazon.com/Picture-Cool-Trager-Family-Secrets-ebook/dp/B00JHO7VYI/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1408585615&sr=1-3

Now The Picture of Cool is a kind of sideways step in the series, and focuses on a part of Charlie’s life that is barely mentioned in Don’t Say Anything. In book 3 however, the Trager family story continues!

Not surprisingly, book three is called ‘Playing Charlie Cool’, and will be out in October, 2014. But! Thanks to Amazon finally giving us Indies the ability to promote the pre-ordering of our books, you can now pre-order ‘Playing Charlie Cool’ on Amazon. 😀

http://smile.amazon.com/Playing-Charlie-Trager-Family-Secrets-ebook/dp/B00MQ6MDWY/ref=sr_1_5?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1408584986&sr=1-5&keywords=Laurie+Boris

I’m seriously excited about both the book [which I have already pre-ordered] and this new ability Amazon has finally given us. If enough people pre-order, the sales spike on launch day will send the book zooming up the sales rankings. And that, my friends, can make the difference between success and failure. Put simply, with so many books available on Amazon, being seen in the crowd is the single biggest problem we face.

So please, give Laurie’s new book a fighting chance to be seen. Pre-order now!

-hugs-

Meeks


I am not Chris James!

I’m a big fan of Chris James’ work [The Second Internet Cafe, Stories of Genesis] so I don’t mind being mistaken for him. But really, we don’t look anything alike…

This is Chris

Chris James bio pic

And this is me

self protrait1

 

Any fool can see that he has curly hair and I don’t!

You can read all about it at :

http://tinyurl.com/lx7gcyh

mwahahahahahaha!

Meeks


Interview with Ch’kara Silverwolf

Apologies, the title of this post is a little misleading – Ch’kara Silverwolf, another aussie author, is the interviewer, I am the interviewee. If you’d like to have a look, please follow the URL below :

http://sheerak.wordpress.com/2014/04/09/author-interview-a-c-flory-the-vintage-egg/comment-page-1/#comment-805

While you’re there, have a look at some of the other great interviews Ch’kara has done.

cheers

Meeks


SFWA – let’s shrug off the straitjackets, gentlemen!

angrySFWA stands for Science Fiction Writers of America, and the organization is one of the most prestigious in science fiction. Apparently it’s also a boyz-own club where the odd female writer may be tolerated, but never truly welcomed.

As an Indie, I’ve never taken much notice of the SFWA because Indies aren’t welcome either. That’s one reason I had no idea of the $hit storm brewing over at the SFWA until I read this article on the Passive Voice this morning. Once I’d read the excerpt, I followed the link to the original article, which you can find here.

Now I’m not a rabid feminist, but some of my all time favourite science fiction writers are women. Ursula K. LeGuin opened my eyes to the wonder of ‘social’ science fiction. Margaret Atwood blew me away with The Handmaid’s Tale, C.J. Cherryh introduced me to cloning, and Mary Robinette Kowal finally made me see the beauty of short stories.

Just for the record, Mary Robinette Kowal won a Hugo award for her short story ‘For Want of a Nail’, and you can read my review here.

So you can see that I have enormous respect for Mary Robinette Kowal, which made her treatment by the SFWA all the more shocking.

Science fiction writers used to be avant guard. They used to push the boundaries. In some ways, breaking out of mental straitjackets used to be the raison d’etre of science fiction. My, how things can change in just a few decades.

To be honest, I haven’t read much traditionally published science fiction in the last two years. Not because of any political motivation, but because the science fiction that truly excited me was being written and published by Indies. Social science fiction, cross-genre science fiction, political science fiction, philosophical science fiction, literary science fiction. All from Indies.

I did try reading one of the novels recommended by John Scalzi on his blog, but I couldn’t finish it. The story was well written, in terms of craft, but the plot bored me to tears – a sort of cross between James Bond and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. But I digress.

Until this morning, I believed this renaissance of science fiction was due to Indies being able to write what they wanted to write, instead of having to conform to the arbitrary standards imposed by traditional publishers. However it appears the straitjacket was also being tightened by the SFWA old guard. Little wonder then that the truly innovative writing is coming from Indies who don’t ‘belong’.

I think it’s time we had a new organization, one that is open to writers of any gender, race or publishing platform. We could call it the IISF – International Indies of Science Fiction. Okay, that doesn’t quite roll off the tongue, but I’m pantsting it here.

What do you think? Are you sick of the same old, same old? Are you sick of fanciful space battles and ‘hard’ tech that is just one step removed from a sorceror’s wand? Or do you think I’m biased in favour of Indies because I am one?

Don’t let my rant put you off. I’m open to different points of view, especially if they come with recommendations for truly innovative, traditionally published novels. So have your say, I promise not to bite. 😉

cheers

Meeks


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