Category Archives: Publishing

Night Watcher by Chris Longmuir featured on June 15th on Sinclair Books

Night Watcher by Chris Longmuir

Chris is being featured on this month’s Book of the Month in Alex Sinclair’s blog, Sinclair Books. Alex features one of the books each day and her slot is on the 15th.

In addition to being featured tomorrow on the blog, you can vote for her book to be the “book of the month”. To vote you need to click on the book title Night Watcher, which is about the middle of the list of books that go down the right hand side, then click on vote button at the bottom. Here is the link that will take you there.

Although Chris’s book is featured tomorrow, you can vote at any time during the month. At last update she had 15 votes and is trying to get that increased as there are other book on his site with lots more.

Come on folks, lets make Night Watcher Alex Sinclair’s book of the month for June 2011.

Behind Blue Eyes Trilogy

Audrey Hawkins, who writes as Joanna Lambert, makes her home in south-west England near Bath. While she loves the city, her heart remains in the country where she grew up in a small village on the edge of the Salisbury plain – well known for its World Heritage Site – Stonehenge.

According to her author website, Audrey describes herself as a Saga Writer.

Her Behind Blue Eyes Trilogy began its life as one rather large manuscript with the working title “In Sunshine or in Shadow”. Now the story is told over the course of three books, the first of which is “When Tomorrow Comes”.

Book 1 is set in 1967 and introduces the reader to eighteen year old Ella Kendrick.

Loves, Lies & Promises, the second in the series, begins at Christmas 1968.

The final book in the trilogy, The Ghost of You and Me, takes place after the birth of Ella’s baby. But that’s all I’m going to say for now.


I’m the associate reader for this author at

The Behind Blue Eyes Trilogy can be purchased from the following locations in paperback or Kindle format:

or at the following…

1923: A Memoir by Harry Leslie Smith

World War II veteran, Harry Leslie Smith, was born in 1923 in Barnsley, Yorkshire England. After the war, he worked in a number of professions and now splits his time between Canada, the UK and Portugal.

In this first volume of his memoirs, Smith chronicles the tragic story of his early life. He presents his family’s early history-their misfortunes and their experiences of enduring betrayal, inhumane poverty, infidelity, and abandonment. )I can relate to this because my father’s family was poor and they were forced to send some of their children to The Orphan Homes of Scotland.)

1923: A Memoir presents the story of a life lyrically described, capturing a time both before and during World War II when personal survival was dependent upon luck and guile. During this time, failure insured either a trip to the workhouse or burial in a common grave. Brutally honest, Smith’s story plummets to the depths of tragedy and flies up to the summit of mirth and wonder, portraying real people in an uncompromising, unflinching voice.

I can’t wait to curl up and read it. I think I had best keep a box of tissues at hand because I think I’m going to need them.

Paperback: 312 pages
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9781450254137
ISBN-13: 978-1450254137
ASIN: 1450254136

1923: A Memoir is available in paperback or for the Kindle, Nook, or Kobo at the following (buy) US: (buy) UK:
Nook (buy): 
Kobo (buy):
FaceBook 1923 A Memoir:
Twitter Account @1923Memoir:!/1923Memoir
Author Website:

My Authors at

Here is the information on the two authors I’m supporting at

First, Audrey Hawkins who writes as Joanna Lambert on the page She also has her own website at

Second, Harry Leslie Smith’s page Harry also has a website set up for his book 1923 A Memoir at

I’m looking forward to my involvement in this exciting project and hope I can do my authors justice.

Wish me well!

Check out to see what all the buzz is about!

Exciting New Website

I’m involved with an exciting new website that brings readers and authors together. It’s called

The plan is to have thirty authors and a number of “Feature Readers” and “Associate Readers” who will read and review books by the authors on the site. As an Associate Reader, you choose as many authors you wish to support and promote them via the various social networks and your own blog/website etc.

In addition to Janice Horton, who first put me on to this fantastic idea, I’m supporting two other authors who have yet to have reader support.

My first author is Harry Leslie Smith, author of 1923 A Memoir. His book is available on I’m looking forward to reading it.

The other author I’m supporting is Joanna Lambert. Her trilogy Behind Blue Eyes includes When Tomorrow Comes, Loves Lies & Promises and The Ghost of You and Me.

The official launch day of is June 29th. Keep watching the official site, my blog, Facebook and Twitter for further updates.

You won’t be disappointed.


After the Self-Publishing Workshop

Now that I’ve had the opportunity to let the knowledge I absorbed from today’s workshop digest, I think I can finally relay what I learned from it. The presenter, Robert G Johnston is the self-published author of Vinland The Beginning and Vinland The Ragnarok – novels based on the Vikings arrival in Canada.

His presentation was excellent, well organized and thorough. Robert’s willingness to share his self-publishing journey which is just recently finding its place in the e-book world, is a demonstration of his commitment to helping fellow writers.

Self-Publishing Workshop Today

Today I’m off to a self-publishing workshop. It should be interesting, especially with the current move by many authors to try this route with their novels and other shorter pieces. The timing (for me anyway) for this subject is perfect.

I’ll post more about it after I’ve been and let everything sink in. It could be rather overwhelming at first.


Conversation with Janice Horton – Author of Bagpipes & Bullshot

I discovered Janice Horton on a friend’s Facebook. The picture of her book cover and link to her blog were there. I was intrigued from that point on. I sent her a friend request saying that I was as good friend of the person whose page I found her on.

I offered to promote her Amazon launch by passing the information on to the guys and gals in the writers’ groups I belong to, by posting on my own blog and buying a book on “launch day”.

I joined her Followers on her blog and visited all the blogs she guested on during her launch.

Then I decided why not ask her if I could interview her about the process she went through to publish her book on amazon. I was thrilled when she agreed to answer my questions.

So, without further ado… my conversation with Janice.

Why did you decide to self-publish for the Kindle on Amazon rather than seek out a traditional publisher?

Two reasons: the first was that having been previously published in paperback by both traditional and self publishing methods, I couldn’t resist the challenge of having a go at indie e-publishing, especially on Kindle, because distribution and marketing on Amazon are all well established. The second reason was that I unexpectedly fell in love with the Kindle my husband bought me for Christmas and wanted to have my books available for it.

Tell me a bit about the process you went through to put your book up on Amazon. Did you have to pay for someone to edit your book first?

I kept costs to a minimum by edit checking the book several times myself before asking one of my sons, who is at Edinburgh University reading Literature, to edit the book. I then asked an astute writing friend if she would give the book a ‘once over’ before publication. I was amazed how many errors they both picked up which I’d completely missed – proving it is impossible to edit your own work – as your eyes see what your brain tells them to and not what is actually on the page. I hope the book is now error and typo free!

To publish onto Amazon, I read the Amazon guide to formatting and also watched some helpful You Tube videos to give me an idea of what I was letting myself in for. I also opted for the simple route. You can get involved with writing your own HTML if you like, I didn’t.  Preparation is key, so do make sure you edit your manuscript with formatting ‘activated’ which will help you check that tab stops and page breaks are correctly placed. If they’re not, then transferring your file will move your paragraphs all over the place. You do get a chance to preview before you actually publish but that should just be for final checking. I had the manuscript on Word, saved it as a HTML filtered file, and uploaded it to Mobipocket Creator (downloaded free from the internet). This created a stable file recognised by Amazon Kindle.

I set the price for Bagpipes & Bullshot at a very affordable $1.95 / £1.38.

Have you been able to translate the success of your Bagpipes & Bullshot launch and climb up the Amazon ratings into an actual number of books sold?

Yes, as well as the Amazon rankings, which are updated hourly, the Amazon author account gives actual sales figures on a monthly basis. So I will be able to see how many books I’ve sold. I’m very excited about that – and nervous at the same time – I hope all those lovely people who bought my book enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Will you also make your book available on Smashwords to take advantage of the other e-books that are out there (Kobo, Sony, etc.)? If so, will you have a launch similar to your Amazon one?

My next step with Bagpipes & Bullshot will be to upload to Smashwords. I have not done it already simply because I wanted to focus on assaulting the Amazon chart with my launch promotion. Other e-book authors have advised that currently 80% of their sales revenue comes from Amazon. I’m sure this is simply because Amazon has marketed the Kindle e-reader and their free Kindle App so successfully recently. However, no e-book author can afford to ignore a 20% share of the market which is likely to increase. As for more promotion, I will do a follow up promotion but will likely spread it over several weeks rather than one day. I’m couldn’t possibly ask for that level of support all over again and expect the same results.

Electronic publishing typically pays higher royalties than print because of the lower overhead. Do you mind telling us what % you’re receiving through self-publishing with Amazon? Do you know if you’ll receive the same rate from Smashwords?

The royalty from Amazon Kindle Publishing depends on the price at which you set your book. Books priced under $4.88 or £2.99 get a 35% royalty with no delivery costs on every sale. Books priced over $4.88 or £2.99 get 70% minus delivery costs – and that is why lots of indie authors pitch lower (to encourage more sales and therefore readers) and the publishing houses mostly set a higher price for their books. Bagpipes & Bullshot is priced at $1.95 or £1.38 – so I am in the 35% bracket. I don’t know for sure yet but I would expect Smashwords to offer similar royalties.

I love the Bagpipes & Bullshot cover. Who did the art work for it? Did you have to pay for the cover art? Did you incur any other expenses?

I did the cover art entirely myself. I gave a lot of thought to how I wanted the cover to look – it had to convey the premise of the book –  it had to say ‘Scottish’. I decided I needed a small castle and so went to and searched for an image. I struck lucky and paid for the image. This is a very inexpensive way to make sure you have a great cover picture and also the legal rights to use it for your purpose. I imported the picture to Microsoft Publisher, overlaid my title and name, and I had my cover. Total cost of putting a book on Kindle – less that £30 /$50.

What other methods of promotion have you employed?

The on-line blog promotion and blog tour for Bagpipes & Bullshot was a first for me and therefore a learning curve. I had no way of knowing if it would succeed. In the past, I’ve had paperback books published (both by traditional and indie methods) and I have had a big launch party, held book signings in book stores, done book readings in libraries, and had articles in newspapers. I’ve even done radio and TV promotion. On-line promotion was entirely unknown territory for me. Thankfully it all went well, and I must admit to feeling completely overwhelmed by the response and support I received, which on the day put Bagpipes & Bullshot in the Amazon Top 20 Bestseller Chart.

Growing up, who were your favourite authors?

Enid Blyton, Ruby Ferguson, Jilly Cooper, Jackie Collins, Anita Burgh, and the list does not stop there!

Which author do you think had the most influence on your writing or inspired you to write?

I was inspired to write by the authors I listed in the previous question, but I am influenced by none. This is because I’m pretty independently minded. I can take advice, in fact I actively seek it, but I don’t think that is the same as being influenced. I tend to adopt ideas only if they meld with my own mindset or help me to achieve a predetermined goal. I admire others and have great respect for people who can do things better than I – but I’d rather innovate than imitate.

Coming up with a title is the bane of many writers. Do you have problems coming up with titles for your work?

Well, it was a matter of finding something jaunty that reflected the humour and the theme of the book. The story starts off with a prologue set in the US but the novel itself is set in Scotland. Innes, the hero of the tale, does indeed play the bagpipes and quite beautifully too. Bullshot is not a typo or a clever play on words but a drink: it’s a bit like a Bloody Mary and is favoured by those who swig from a hipflask and shoot from a shotgun. To me the word ‘bullshot’ epitomises the Scottish country estate!

My next book, another humorous contemporary romance, has the title of Reaching for the Stars and it seems an apt title to me because the stars my characters are reaching for are the culinary ones. It’s the story of a disillusioned celebrity chef who gives up his hard won accolades – three stars – and goes into self imposed exile in a castle on a Scottish country estate.

For an indie author, choosing the right title, cover, and selling price are important decisions and ones a traditional publisher would normally monopolise. I thought the cover of my first traditionally published book was ‘just okay’ but the first time I ever saw it was the day it went on sale – that felt weird. The publisher assured me they’d sent me an advance proof copy – but I never got it.

What advice to you have for aspiring authors?

I would advise them to write from the heart. To trust their own inner voice. Not to imitate others but to be unique and to just do it – write – and learn the craft.


Bagpipes & Bullshot can be downloaded from through this link: 

or from through this link:


Will you share your recipe for Bullshot?

Certainly – take two mature bulls…. Erm, no, not really!

Bullshot is a drink very much like a Bloody Mary. If you prefer it, you can use vodka, but the traditional Scottish version and the one favoured by the characters in my novel, Bagpipes & Bullshot, has whisky in it. However, if you are planning a trip across the grouse moors later or doing a bit of stalking on the hill, you’ll certainly need your thermos and the extra ingredient of hot beef stock with your bullshot. Mmmmm….warming.

First take a whisky tumbler – and put in it a bit of ice and a slice of lime. Then add a good measure of finest Scotch whisky. Fill to the top with tomato juice; add a good dashing of both Tabasco pepper sauce and Worcester sauce and half a teaspoon of grated horseradish. Stir and enjoy! Mmmmm…delicious!

A bit more information about Janice for those who don’t yet know her work.

She lives in Scotland and writes entertaining and humorous contemporary women’s fiction novels which are, for the most part, inspired by the romantic beauty of the heather-filled glens around her country cottage. When she’s not writing novels she writes lifestyle articles and has had work published in national magazines and regional newspapers. She’s also been involved in BBC Scotland’s ‘Write Here Write Now’ project. Her website is at:, her blog is: and you can follow her on Twitter at @JaniceHorton

Traditional Publishing vs Self (indie) Publishing

It’s a really tough decision. The publishing industry is changing every day and it’s getting tougher as an unknown to break down the barriers and get that elusive YES from a traditional publishing house – whether they publish physical or e-books.

If you decide to indie publish, then do you go physical or electronic? How much money are you willing to put in? You have to remember, there’s no guarantee you’ll recoup your investment. How much time are you willing to put in to market and promote your product? How aggressively will you do it?

Even with traditional publishing houses, the onus is falling more and more on the author to promote themselves.

On April 1st, Janice Horton launched a successful marketing campaign for her indie published e-book for the Kindle, Bagpipes & Bullshot, on and While her book had been up on their site for some time, she asked everyone to hold off purchasing it until the official launch day. She built momentum with her blog, facebook posts and asked others to blog and post on facebook, twitter and other social media sites. Throughout the day, she was the guest blogger on a number of other blogs. If you look at my Successful Launch post, you’ll see how things turned out for her.

Decisions, decisions. The only thing that is constant is you need a quality product no matter which road you choose to travel down.