Is this the month self-publishing becomes respectable in the UK?


This sounds like a great opportunity for all self-published authors …

Originally posted on BRIDGET WHELAN writer:

Literary prize for self-published novelThe Guardian newspaper has joined with publisher Legend Times to offer a monthly literary prize to the best self-published novels written in the English language – translations are also eligible. Submissions are first read by a panel of Legend’s readers who will draw up a shortlist of up to 10 titles a month. The prize is respectability and exposure – the winning book will be reviewed in the Guardian. Claire Armitstead, the newspaper’s literary editor , explained why they had decided to launch the prize:

“the phenomenon of self-publishing over the last couple of years has become too big for any of us to ignore”.

Submissions will be open for the first fortnight of each calendar month. The book must have been self-published after 31 December 2011 and should be sent to with “Self-Published Book of the Month Submission” in the subject line. Find out morehere.

Without quality…

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Social Media – Giving as well as Taking … a revisit

This is a post I first wrote on June 28, 2012, and after reading Seth Godin’s blog today (the link to which is at the bottom of what I have to say), I was reminded to get these words out there again to all the new followers and readers who I have met in these past couple of years. If you want to skip my verbosity, scroll down and read Seth’s much briefer take on the subject. Otherwise, read on, and please add a comment afterwards to let me know what you think. Let’s get a conversation started! smt

Here’s the way blogging and Social Media work… We post our opinions and observations to our blogs; we create status updates for our friends to read; we tweet about where we are, what we’re doing and what is of interest to us so that our followers may know what’s happening in our lives and what we consider to be important news. That’s the “taking” part of how we use personal blogs and both Facebook and Twitter, because we’re using these opportunities to promote ourselves, to get the word out there about us and what we’re doing, and thinking, about all that we believe to be of interest to our readers, friends, followers, and the world at large. Great!

But that’s not where it ends. You can’t expect everyone out there in Internetland will be breath-bated, awaiting your very next missive. Well, one or two might be anxious to read your every word, but don’t fool yourself into thinking that every one of those subscribers, friends or followers is actually paying any attention at all to what you’ve written, let alone that they think it will all be totally brilliant. Sorry to burst your egotistical bubble, but that’s just the reality of the Internet and Social Media in general these days.

Don’t get me wrong! I believe that blogs, Facebook and Twitter are all great methods of promoting my business and my own writing and book and I use them extensively, and every day. But I also realized a long time ago that the only way all three work for me in effectively getting the word out is if I also give back to the system. So I have always made a point of “liking” blog posts, subscribing to blogs I enjoy reading on a regular basis, making comments on them (with a link back to my own blog), and sharing those blogs on Facebook and Twitter. And while on Facebook, I “like,” comment on, and share my friends’ status updates as much as possible. On Twitter, I retweet, mention followers, thank them for retweeting my tweets, etc. This is the SOCIAL part of social media – the giving part of Give and Take. By commenting, sharing, retweeting and liking, we’re exposing our friends’ and colleagues’ writing to a whole new set of eyes – those of our own subscribers, friends and followers! After all, if we have loyal people who like to read what we post, then they will likely be interested in anyone we’re recommending they read or learn about from our shares. (Which is the point of my other blog, Reading Recommendations.)

By doing this, we become part of a conversation which is really what all of this Social Media was meant to be in the first place. And a conversation means two or more people equally taking part, contributing, listening, and encouraging others to become involved. One person posting alone and never conversing with others is a monologue – and how quickly do we tire of listening to a monologue? I have hidden countless friends and followers because of their incessant Me! Me! Me!’s and their seeming inability to take any active role in the actual conversation, in the social aspect of Social Media.

So, if you are an active blogger or user of Facebook or Twitter (and I’ve only concentrated on these three here because they are what I choose to use, but the same goes for Google+, LinkedIn, etc.), think about how you interact on them. Remember that it’s not about the number of subscribers, friends and followers you have, but whether those people are actually reading what you post and sharing it with their own friends and followers. What goes around, comes around. Think of sharing as good Karma.

Give as well as take.


Well, that put Mr. Griz to sleep. But if you’re still with me, read what Seth Godin has to say.

The generosity boomerang

Bequia – Fine Boneless Roti


Thought I’d take a break from posting about publishing and writing and all that book-talk, and instead post an oldie-goldie culinary post from June 23, 2012. This may be what we’re having for lunch today … with plenty hot sauce!

Originally posted on Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing:

When we first moved to Bequia in the Caribbean, we thought we’d try living like the locals or, at least, to sample as much local life, and food, as we could. Rotis seemed like something safe to begin with – thin flour-lentil wrappings surrounding a curry filling that includes lots of potato chunks with your choice of protein, and plenty of hot sauce served on the side.

Dennis offered to make a roti-run, coming back from the Green Boley with two of these delicacies, still-piping-hot, individually wrapped in waxed paper, and stuffed into small brown bags along with a paper towel-napkin.

We unwrapped them and both bit down at the same moment.

“Bones!” I said in disgust, examining what I held in my hand.

“I think I broke a tooth,” Dennis said. “There’s a whole leg bone in here.”

“Mine’s a wing, by the look of it. I like wings…

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Do You Ever Wonder if You’re a Good Writer?


An excellent blog post by my friend, Tim Baker! What kind of a writer are you?

Originally posted on blindoggbooks:

“Good taste is the first refuge of the non-creative. It is the last-ditch stand of the artist.” ~ Marshall McLuhan

Writing is a bi-polar occupation.

It can fill you with pride, confidence and satisfaction that you never thought you’d feel (ask any author how it felt to hold that first book in their hands) and it can make you feel unworthy of teaching basic composition to second graders (for more on this, ask an author who gets a rejection letter or a scathing review).


Since the release of my first novel in 2009 I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know many authors and I haven’t met one yet who hasn’t ridden that roller coaster of emotions.

Some jumped off and went in search of pursuits with more predictable results, but most of them hung in there and ran back to get in line for another ride.

I guess that’s…

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Infinite patience and a good sense of humour


A blog post from the vaults (Feb. 14, 2013) that still holds true today … posted today for #MondayBlogs

Originally posted on Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing:

Dennis has always said that if you want to build a house and live on Bequia – successfully – what you really require are infinite patience and a good sense of humour. And we’ve discovered over these past 20 years that he’s correct.

Since ePublishing and printing my own novel, and after many years spent working with authors and publishers on promoting and selling their books, I’ve come to the realization that these are precisely the same qualities we all need in order to be able to write and publish – successfully. Especially lots of that first bit, I find, goes a long way towards achieving some of the ultra-success part in our careers.

I can’t count the number of writers who have deep-sixed all their writing and publishing efforts by being too impatient with the entire process. The world does not care that you have a personal deadline to…

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…open invitation to Authors… come show yer wares here… #TBSU…


Let’s hope that my blog post, Here, let me help you with that promotion … , becomes a tsunami of authors (and readers) promoting other authors! If it does, it’s because of authors like Seumas Gallacher who are at the forefront of that wave. Thank you, Seumas!

Originally posted on Seumas Gallacher:

…yesterday I re-blogged a superb post by my good pal, Susan M. Toy … in it she espoused much of my own sentiments about ‘paying it forward’ … giving a leg up to other scribblers, indies or traditional… arguments may rage in other quarters about the supposed ‘battle’ ‘twixt self-publishing and traditional publishing … to me, that discussion matters not one jot… the essential thing is that all we quill-scrapers share a common bond… we write to be read … the emergence of the Great God Amazon Kindle and other ePublishing channels has produced an eruption of wannabe Nobel Literary Prize aspirants… the proliferation of new titles is an awesome readers’ tsunami… the discussion on ‘free books’ versus ‘paid tomes’ online is also a bit of a red herring too… I believe that discerning readers have no reluctance to pay for books… but good books, interesting books, well-written books, entertaining…

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Here, let me help you with that promotion …

“Get someone else to blow your horn and the sound will carry twice as far.” — Will Rogers

There is nothing worse – and I mean NOTHING!! – than an author who over-self-promotes!

Now I didn’t say just “self-promotes” but qualified it with “over”, because we all need to do a little bit of promoting, within reason, to get the word out about what we’ve written. Even traditionally published authors need to promote themselves, because many publishers just don’t have the financial wherewithall to deal individually with each author on their list. And you authors already know who your personal and professional contacts are, anyway, so you have a better chance of attracting attention by approaching those people personally.

But what happens when you run out of those initial contacts and begin preaching to the converted, so to speak? How do you attract new readers to yourself and your work without becoming the kind of self-promoting author we all love to hate – the one who constantly blows their own horn? Why, you seek out other people in the book business who will toot that horn for you – people like me, fer instance. I publish a promotion blog called Reading Recommendations precisely because I want to offer other authors free promotion and help them get the word out about themselves and their books.

And because I know that by doing so – by promoting my fellow authors – I also promote myself and my own work. That way I don’t run the risk of sounding off about ONLY ME AND ME ALONE. I know I am not the first author to have published and I know I won’t be the last to publish, either. Why not promote as many other authors as I can? That way I provide my audience with different reading choices when they’ve exhausted everything I’ve written – and before they become exhausted with me!


And since I set up this blog and changed my approach to how I promote my own work – guess what? I’ve discovered that I’m finding more readers for my own published novel and novella, as well as for those other authors I promote. I’m receiving more reviews, I’m selling more copies, and I’m being invited to promote myself and my work on other blog sites.

But the best part is – I’m not pissing off my loyal family, friends, and current readers by constantly singing the same tune. I’m offering information about new authors whose work they might like to read. So I’m providing a service to readers as well as to my fellow authors – and I’m not pissing off anyone in the process.

(This “not pissing off anyone” part cannot be stressed enough! I’m sure you are, as am I, tired of authors who tweet and share endlessly about themselves and their latest, but never say a word about anything else. It all seems so desperate, don’t you think? Those who tick me off the most are the authors I’ve followed on Twitter who don’t then give me the courtesy of following me back, but instead send me a direct message telling me where I can buy their books or asking me to like their Facebook page. I unfollow them in a nanosecond! We all want to receive recognition for what we’ve written and published. But we’d be more inclined to become readers and fans ourselves, if those self-promoters just took a wee bit of interest in something other than themselves. Ya know what I’m saying??)

So I challenge all you authors reading this out there who have been guilty of over-self-promoting to change your ways! You don’t have to stop promoting yourself altogether, but figure out ways to promote your fellow authors. Or band together as a group and promote each other. This works very well if you are all writing within the same genre, but I’ve also known it to work for groups of writers who only have writing itself in common. You could begin by tweeting/sharing something about 4 other authors for every 1 tweet/share you post about yourself. That would work! Or you could set up a promotion blog like mine that is dedicated to singing the praises of everyone else in the business. When you do find blogs or sites like mine, share the information with your fellow authors. Here’s another great blog you should be aware of: Chris The Story Reading Ape (If you know of others, please add a link in the comments section.)

Read promotions about other authors on these blogs; share, tweet, like, and reblog your favourites. Discover some new authors, read and review their books, and help them to get ahead. Do all the things listed in the box up above.

I can’t promise you overnight success for your own books, but I do guarantee that – aside from the warm-fuzzies you’ll experience from having done a good deed – you will eventually reach a new group of readers, and your work will be exposed to people you never dreamed might want to read what you write.

So, please, for all our sakes, STOP THAT ENDLESS SELF-PROMOTION!!! Start discovering and promoting other authors. Believe me, your family, friends and fellow-Facebook-and-Twitter users will thank you! And you can stop feeling so desperate and enjoy your writing and publishing, once again.

A special shout-out here to my own band of promoters – the special cheerleaders for me and my books – and of the Reading Recommendations blogsite: Armand Rosamilia, Tim Baker, Michael Fay, Lisa Bowes, Lockie Young, Maria Savva, J.P. McLean, Becky Heishman, Mary Cunnningham, Linda Granfield, Janice G. Ross, Marianne Jones, and Seumas Gallacher. Also, my editor Rachel Small, and writing pals, Carin Makuz, Glenna Jenkins, Cheryl Shenck, and Detlef Karthaus.

Publishing in 2010


I’m reblogging this post from Dec. 2009 for #MondayBlogs, and also because I think I sound kind of prophetic here about the direction the publishing business was heading more than four years ago. … Scary!

Originally posted on Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing:

There was a good article in the Globe & Mail today about the future of publishing in Canada, and the effect, during their very brief life, so far, that e-readers and e-books have had, are having, are expected to have, on publishing of traditional print books. Not surprisingly, it’s actually the older readers who have embraced this new technology, and for the very reasons why trade format paperbacks became a popular alternative to mass market format a couple of decades or so ago, and not only for publishing “serious” literary fiction – but because they offered bigger print for failing eyesight. Mine is also the group (Boomers) who read the most “books” (in any form), and buy the most books, because we have a disposable income; we belong to book clubs in larger numbers than any other generation; and, while I haven’t checked my facts on this next statement, I’m…

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K.L. Silver – MASTERED, The Novel – REDUXED


Here’s an update from K.L. Silver that’s been posted to Reading Recommendations today!

Originally posted on Reading Recommendations:

K.L. Silver was previously featured on Reading Recommendations on March 6th and now she’s back to tell us about some exciting new developments regarding her novel Mastered!



MASTERED, The Novel was released on Feb. 18 on Amazon/Kindle Canada, US, UK, Barnes & Noble and Createspace (paperback). (standing O’s and confetti accepted…lol)

‘BUZZ’ was created by first publishing it as a series of four short stories: Deep Within Her, Metamorphosis, Take Me, and Bound to Thee

Since its release, the feedback has been nothing less than stellar – ORGASMIC even!

Not only that, it sits atop the shelves of THREE retail outlets – including McNally Robinson Booksellers – the biggest independent bookseller in Canada! Also available at The Boutique Erotica and Artistry and Adam and Eve.


MASTERED is much more than just SEX

While it MASTERFULLY depicts the…

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Wanted: Members of Team Ike 2014


Ike is back! There’s a brand new T-shirt in the works to help support the cost of editing and printing the next novel by Tim Baker! Get them while they’re hot and collect the whole set, folks!

Originally posted on blindoggbooks:

  Remember last year when I sold tee shirts to help with the editing and printing costs of Unfinished Business ?

Many of you – appropriately dubbed Team Ike – were wonderful enough to help me out by buying a shirt – and then you got a free book when you posted a picture of yourself sporting the shirt on facebook.

shirt collage

Well – guess what?

My latest novel, tentatively titled Protect This, will be released in August – and after the success of last year’s Team Ike shirt campaign I have kicked it up a notch…

This year’s model is bound to be very popular!

Feast your eyes on this bad boy…

2014 shirt front   2014 shirt back

It’s available in 3 styles and 2 colors and it has a beautiful tropical themed logo.

It’s a fund raising campaign so here’s how it works (for those of you who didn’t participate last year):

  • The…

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