Be the first to know about new releases - and even read them early!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Help International Authors Get Paid

On a somewhat serious topic today, it's about Amazon and international authors and money.
Sign the petition Help Indie Authors.

As I publish mostly short stories for 99c, it takes awhile for my royalties to build up enough for Amazon to actually pay me. 
As an international author, they only pay authors by cheque, and only once you have reached $100 or more in royalties (or 100 pounds in the UK store, 100 euro in the French store etc). So they pay in $100 installments. 

I can understand this, as mailing out thousands of teeny tiny cheques a month would be time-consuming and costly (can you imagine the postage on that?)

US and European authors on the other hand, get paid every month straight into their bank account, regardless of how much they have earned.

I received my first ever royalty cheques last week, one for $17 and the other for $56. I don't know how this happened, as it's not $100, and it was split between 2 cheques, but okay. It happened.

I tried to bank my cheques. ROYALTIES. REAL ROYALTIES. I'M A REAL AUTHOR.
Except it costs $25.00 for the bank to process one international cheque. So of my $83, $50 was going to be taken in fees.

I have heard of other authors tell me that at their bank it costs $40.00.

This means, for my $17 cheque? I will be out of pocket $8 if I went through with depositing it. Royalties COST me money. And this is before foreign currency conversion.

Smashwords pay their authors by Paypal. And though I'm not Amazon, I don't know how simple this is to implement, but it sounds pretty simple.

Sign the petition (all it takes is a click of a button) in order to encourage Amazon to consider switching from cheque payment to PayPal for international authors. We may be further away, but just like US and European authors, we deserve to keep ALL of our royalties, instead of handing them over to the bank.

If you support this cause, and I hope you do, you can tweet about it and Facebook it to your friends and colleagues.

Sign the Petition! Amazon: Pay International Authors via PayPal/bank account instead of cheques  via 

Thanks lovelies,


Saturday, February 18, 2012

The psychology of book covers

Happy Saturday Aussies!
Or Friday night everone else...erm...should I just say happy weekend?


I was in one of those rare venues called a bookshop the other day, and I saw this book with a crap cover.
Actually it had 2 covers.

Americans might know it with this cover?

Okay, so the images here of the two Australian covers don't do it justice. The font is all embossed and shiny, the white font is the same shade of white as the background and the black is the same black. It's all barely legible unless you pick it up and tilt it to the side a bit so the store's fluorescent lighting doesn't bounce off it.

So I was thinking to myself, GOD. What a horrible cover, and they made two of them? There's NOTHING ON HERE, it doesn't tell you ANYTHING about the book. Poor author being lumped with that. There's no way I'd want to read it from looking at the cover. What the hell is this thing about, anyway?

So I picked it up and read the blurb. And it sounds interesting. And now I want to read the book.

So I guess what I'm saying, is that the incredibly plain, mysterious cover worked (damn it). It was so plain, it made me curious as to what it was about. It got me to read the blurb, whereas other covers that are demonstrative of what you'll find inside, don't always get me to pick them up. I have a bit of an idea what to expect just from the cover, and because of that, I might just leave it where it is, thanks.

But covers that don't actually tell you much about it get TWO shots at wooing a prospective reader toward it. One: The cover. Two: The blurb.

It's a complicated business, cover design, methinks.


Here's the blurb for all of you who are curious now! Dystopia FTW!


Pure by Julianna Baggott

We know you are here, our brothers and sisters . . .
Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. In her sleeping cabinet behind the rubble of an old barbershop where she lives with her grandfather, she thinks about what is lost-how the world went from amusement parks, movie theaters, birthday parties, fathers and mothers . . . to ash and dust, scars, permanent burns, and fused, damaged bodies. And now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as a soldier or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run.
Burn a Pure and Breathe the Ash . . .
There are those who escaped the apocalypse unmarked. Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Partridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. Different. He thinks about loss-maybe just because his family is broken; his father is emotionally distant; his brother killed himself; and his mother never made it inside their shelter. Or maybe it’s his claustrophobia: his feeling that this Dome has become a swaddling of intensely rigid order. So when a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive, Partridge risks his life to leave the Dome to find her.
When Pressia meets Partridge, their worlds shatter all over again.

Hidden New Jersey Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations, Mickey H.!

You won the signed paperback of Hidden New Jersey by Linda Barth, illustrated by Hazel Mitchell!

More later (today),


Friday, February 10, 2012

Hidden New Jersey blog tour + INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY!

I met Hazel Mitchell at the Society of Childrens' Book Writers & Illustrators New York Conference in the freezing cold end of January, 2010.

I was a budding author, she was a budding illustrator, both of us making our way, hoping to break into the industry.

Fast forward two years, and Hazel has broken into the industry alright. In a BIG way. And it all started with an email she received while at that conference about a book which just so happened to become Hidden New Jersey!
I love that I was there at the beginning, though she didn't know it was the beginning of her professional life as an illustrator.


Written by Linda J. Barth (and I'm sure you're surprised to read it was illustrated by Hazel Mitchell), Hidden New Jersey by Charlesbridge/Mackinac Island Press is a great combination of picture book, history book and guide book, with poems and facts about New Jersey's history on each page. The text surrounds a multitude of lively illustrations with hidden objects to hunt for! It's sure to keep kids (and grown ups) enthralled, taking their time as they inspect every detail of each one.

But the best part is that when packing for a trip to New Jersey, you should totally pack this book and follow its suggestions, checking out the places mentioned and learning the history as you go.

Hidden New Jersey is available in both HARDCOVER and PAPERBACK. Here's a little linkage to check it for yourself on Amazon.

And you wanna know what else is cool?


Hazel is giving away a SIGNED paperback copy of Hidden New Jersey, and the giveaway is open internationally!

Just enter with Rafflecopter below. Now, this is my first time using Rafflecopter so DO let me know in the comments if there are any kinks, okay? Giveaway is open for ONE WEEK. So get your entries in by FEB 17 2012!

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Death & Life of Rocky the Crab - FREE for 24 HOURS ONLY!

Go get it right now, people!

The hilarious story The Death & Life of Rocky the Crab is available for FREE. RIGHT NOW.

Even though I'm the author, I can say it's hilarious - wanna know why? Because it's based on true events! This ACTUALLY happened to someone I know.

Awesomesauce. Check it out if you're intrigued!

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon DE
Amazon ES
Amazon FR
Amazon IT

Lisa was supposed to be pet sitting. Looking after a crab is easy, right? Unless you forget to feed it. And then you find it dead minutes before its owner is back in town. 
There's something a bit different about this dead crab though.


Short but sweet, The Death and Life of Rocky the Crab is an amusing look at a good deed gone wrong. Lisa volunteers to pet sit her friend's crab while he's away, but after failing to feed it the entire time, wakes up the day of her friend's return to find the crab has escaped and nearly died. In a chuckle-worthy confrontation with one pissed-off crab, Lisa--stuck under a bed with the crab--defends herself with kitchen tongs. Billington is talented at bringing a kind of slapstick humor to life on the page and yet keeping it real enough that readers can stay immersed in the story. The ending is unexpected and brings the story full circle in a way that makes it wholly satisfying.
Erin Fry (author of "Losing it", coming September 2012)

Lisa offers to pet-sit for Caleb's crab, Rocky. Big mistake. When Caleb calls to say he's coming over to reclaim Rocky, Lisa checks on the little fella, maybe for the first time. He was gone. The frenetic hunt that ensues is hilarious. And I love the irony of the ending. 

Sarah Billington is a creative storyteller whose tales will put a smile on your face...and maybe give you pause before you agree to pet-sit anything!

Gail Handler

As you were.


Jumping Through Hoops: OR The EASIER Way International Self Publishers can get PAID.

Since I started publishing short stories and one novel (so far) in April last year, I have sold lots of ebooks. Though I don't know the exact numbers (I really should crunch some) I'm pretty sure I've sold around 1,000 on Amazon and 500 through other channels (though it appears Smashwords were giving away a lot through distribution channels so don't know what's going on there). Anyhoo it's been terribly exciting watching the numbers go up.

But nearly a year later, I still have not seen a cent from it.

Partly, this is my fault. The whole process for an international author to get paid is a giant headache, in which you need a US ITIN number and the process of applying for one could drive anyone to madness.
To get paid as an indie, you must jump through firey hoops of death

As a fan of what little sanity I have, I haven't bothered yet. But I'm getting to the point where my sales are rising each month and it would be nice to be financially rewarded for my efforts. Ready to jump through hoops, I happened upon a short cut.


You just need to make a 10 minute international phone call and send one form each to your distributors (Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, CreateSpace et al) and voila. You're ready to get paid WITHOUT copping the IRS's 30% cut.

Check out this information board in which JamieSEO has provided some SUPER helpful information. For reals.

It's worth your time.
Now if only my phone carrier would let me make a freaking international call...


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Guilty Until Proven Innocent - OUT NOW!

Edwina Ray's new short (though about 3 times as long as The Runaway) mystery/crime thriller Guilty Until PRoven Innocent is out now on Amazon and Smashwords, and coming soon to all other major ebook distributors!

Amazon US
Amazon UK

In the backwater town of Carringwood, Doug and every other resident turn out to watch the drama as the Gabarski home burns down. Luckily Shana and the kids got out. And her husband Peter is mysteriously absent. Speculation runs rife through the town, why are arson investigators here? Did Peter do it? Why did he do it? But Doug wonders something else. If it wasn't Peter, who was it?

Available RIGHT NOW for the grand total of .99c

Hope you love it,


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Cover Love #4: Middle Grade edition! (+UPDATES!)

Hello cover lovers,
It's been awhile since I posted one of these. But I have a new favourite book cover - and it's for a middle grade novel!

Debut author Shannon Messenger's cover for The Keeper of Lost Cities is pretty rad, I love the illustration style, and the wind movement and it just looks like an exciting adventure book for middle grade readers, doesn't it? My bet: it IS.

Speaking of covers, I've given The Ballerina & My Best Friend a makeover!

Check it:

Pretty, yes? I think so.

I've been a VERY busy bee lately. I've been putting the finishing touches on Edwina Ray's new short (though it's longer than her other short stories) Guilty Until Proven Innocent, writing a new short YA romance for Sarah Billington, plotting out a series of YA stories all centred around one very eventful Saturday night, preparing my middle grade ebook Life Was Cool Until You Got Popular for PRINT and within days I start on the third round of edits of YA chick lit, The Kiss Off.

The Kiss Off has a cover already and everything.

Yes, it's about girls groping rock stars. But mostly other stuff.

Happy Thursday everyone!