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2 February 2016
Tuesday mornings are not necessarily the best day of the week for me. So to find I'd manage to write 1085 on the train this morning was quite a pleasant surprise.

I know I'm capable of writing 1000 word in the time it takes Southeastern to get me from Gillingham to Cannon Street (the length of the journey varies, sometimes by quite a lot but never seems to be that which is published on the time table) but it's always a surprise when I manage it.

I think it happens more when I get into that groove (to quote Madonna) where I'm really transported to that moment in time with those characters I'm writing about.

This morning was one of the more sensitive moments in the sequel to George and the Dragon. George is having a moment with his mother having returned to their family home for the first time since they both left in chapter one of the first book.

It's one of those moments when a young character comes of age and for George it marks the moment when he sets his mind on being a man rather than an angry child.

For a writer you get those moments when the words just flow and you can type away on the keyboard without looking at it or really even reading what you are writing. Everything is happening in your head.

Although I've nearly hit the 100,000 word mark I still know that there is much work to do before Dragon's Breath becomes a finished product.

I am trying to dedicate much more of myself towards finishing this book rather than allowing myself to be distracted by things like Lego.

On that note here's a dragon for you. One that I designed in the Lego Digital Designer :)

2 November 2015

....yes it's NaNoWriMo time again.

I haven't done much in writing, updating my blogs or anything along those lines for the last couple of months.

Mainly this has been due to real world events completely taking over my life - we've decided to move house. 

House move aside I've been looking for a reason to get back into the groove of writing and what better reason can their be than the annual National Novel Writing Month challenge.

That's right 50,000 words in 30 days.  Or roughly 1,666 words per day for the whole month of November.

So how am I doing? Well I'm not where I wanted to be on day 2 but I'm not doing badly either.

I got off to a great start and managed just under 500 words just after midnight on 1 November. However, I only managed about another 400 throughout the whole of Sunday. There's always a lot going on at home and between the kids homework, re-plumbing the waste from the bath and going our for lunch there wasn't really much time for writing. 

Day 1: 868 words.

That's 798 words short of the daily total. Not a great start when it pays to try and get ahead early on. Going behind so early means you are in a position of playing catch up from the outset. You're putting pressure on yourself from the word go.

This isn't my first NaNoWriMo, it's actually my fourth, and so I'm experienced enough now to know not to panic.  There's plenty of time and I'm a dab hand at pacing myself across the month and hitting my target with a day or two to spare.

This morning was a new day and I'm back at work. Armed with my laptop and and just under an hour on the train it was time to get back into the groove.

At Cannon Street station I checked my word count before saving the doc and closing the laptop; 1966 words. That's 1096 words written on the train. A big boost to my word count indeed. But I'm aware that's really only 300 words out of today's word count.  Another big total on the way home and I can expect to be closer to 3000 words. If I get a chance I may write a little at lunch and when I get home tonight. 

3333 words is today's total target. I think I'll get there but time will tell. Even if I don't 2000 words a day will put me back on track before the end of the week and see me finish well before the end of the month.

Wish me luck.


6 August 2015

...and what more I've learnt.

The first thing I've found out since my last post is what page count Amazon are using for purposes of calculating my pages read.

To find this value out you log into Kind Direct Publishing and select the Bookshelf.

Click on the Ellipses (...) button and select Promote and Advertise.

You'll find the page count at the bottom left hand corner of the screen.

For George and the Dragon this reads: 

Kindle Edition Normalized Page Count (KENPC) v1.0: 563

So now I know that my page count is 563 and that helps a lot.

According to Morris Rosenthal's back of the envelope calculation:

"An estimate for the Kindle Select royalty system that starts today is $0.0058, or 0.58 cents per page read. This is based on Amazon’s announcement that the global pool for July will be at least $11 million, and that last month, the number of pages read was almost 1.9 billion."

I believe the pot has been increased since this calculation but it does give us a good value to work with and that's 1/2 cent/page,

So here's my latest rather erratic chart showing the number of pages read/day for George and the Dragon.

Armed with the above I can start to make some sense of it.

Firstly what are they paying me per book?

563 x 0.5c = $2.815

So each book completely read pays me $2.81 that's a reasonable amount higher than the $2.04 I would get paid from a Kindle eBook sale on a $2.99 eBook.

Next what do my stats tell me?

Total pages read so far:          1255
Number of books equivilent:  2.23
Expected royalty payment:     $6.28

What it still doesn't tell me is the number of people who have loaned a copy of the book or the percentage of the book that is being read per person. I'm sure there are other stats that I would like to have at my disposal that I haven't thought of yet.

I also now understand why Amazon HAD to make this change. Too many people were releasing too many short stories, serialising novels etc. If I serialised George and the Dragon into say 5 parts and these all got rented via KDP Selected I'd get 5 payments whether the book was read or not. This would have been of financial benefit to the author but must have been breaking Amazon's bank.

So there you have it; everything I have discovered about the new payment system in a nutshell.

I still think I'm going to switch back to not being Amazon exclusive.


4 August 2015

...and what I did this last weekend.

The weekend just gone I took the family off up to Norwich.  It's not a bad drive but it's still a good 3 hour drive, luckily I'm blessed with kids who sleep in the car.

The reason for this trip was two-fold:

1. I was doing my first ever reading of George and the Dragon

2. Norwich has been the host of GoGoDragons. Which is a two month long interactive arts sculpture trail bringing 84 large dragon sculptures and 120 school dragons to the City of Norwich.

I have to confess I was little disappointed with the turn out for the reading.  However I did love the park in which it took place. It's got a fantastic little amphitheater built in to it. Also the owners of the opticians who had arranged the reading had also arranged for an amazing piece of artwork to be included on the wall over-looking the park.

I have to say I was nervous so it's maybe a blessing the audience was small. I'll know what to expect next time.

Before then and for a large part of the weekend we spent time look at all of the dragons on display in the city centre. We didn't get to see all of them but those we did see were fantastic.

Here are some of my personal favorites:


Patch                                                          Morgan

Sherlock                                                            Biggles




The Mother of Dragons


So there you go, even my weekends are taken up with dragons!


17 July 2015

...and what I dislike about it already.

For those out of the loop if people now if people borrow George and the Dragon via Kindle Unlimited the way I get recompensed for this is via the number of pages red.

Here's a look at the chart I'm presented with that shows my Kindle Edition Normalized Pages (KENP) Read.

There are two huge spike, one over 500 and the most recent is 149. In between this there is a tiny blip of 5 pages on 13 July.

Now I'll be the first to admit sales of George and the Dragon aren't huge but this data is so incomplete I find it hard to be able to extrapolate anything from it.

It doesn't tell me how many pages it considers George to be. On the Amazon website it shows:

Length: 248 pages

So let's go with that.

How many people have borrowed George and the Dragon? I have no idea the data isn't available to me.

How many people have read the book in its entirety? Again I have no idea.

Does this data represent pages read that day or pages read over any kind of time or, as I suspect, pages read since the reader's Kindle device last connected to the internet.

Does this represent 60 people having read 10 pages each who then read no more of the book or 3 people who have all finished it but the data hasn't quite caught up with one or more of them.

Another issue I have is that I still have no idea how to consolidate this data along with my standard sales figures so I can get some idea of how well the book is doing when I look back over time.

All-in-all I can't use this data and have no idea how many people this is reaching.

George and the Dragon will be Free for all on Kindle on 1-3 August.

Once this promotion has completed and my 3 months initial subscription to Kindle Unlimited expires I don't think I will be continuing with it.

It was something I had to try for myself and it was unfortunate that Amazon changed things while I was doing it but I have learnt from it and that was important.

6 July 2015

...or use an alternative?" he queried.

This weekend just gone I was scrolling through Facebook and came across a group where someone had posted something like this:

The reaction it sparked I thought was both eye opening and hugely divisive. On one hand you had people arguing that these alternatives were perfectly acceptable. On the other were the group that would state any editor worth their salt would suggest replacing them with said, or asked in the case of a question.

There was even one comment where the poster said they would not read a book where the author used anything other than said or asked.

This evening I've just finished reading The Long War by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter - the first book I've finished in ages.  These are a pair of best selling authors working on a collaborative project. I'd like to think they and their editor/s know what they are about.

I have to admit they don't use said, asked or any of the alternatives that often. They are happy to leave speech to stand on it's own as part of the dialogue.

However there are plenty of times when they do.

There are examples of asked and said like:

Roberta asked, "Birds, or Dinosaurs?"

"There are other sorts here too," Yue-Sai said softly.

They also often write sentences like:

Joshua grunted. "Makes you proud."

But they also write sentences such as this:

"Are you sure?" Captain Chen murmured.

or elsewhere:

"Here, Captain," the engineer replied promptly.

So they are happy mixing up the way they handle their dialogues depending on the narrative. I'd like to think I treat my works similarly. Although I have to say I'm more aware of not over using alternatives to said and asked just for the sake of it especially as a lot of my dialog is telepathic and not spoken.

I would be more than interested to here people's thoughts on this.


23 June 2015

...does anyone really know?

George Atkins is the eponymous hero of my novel George and the Dragon. Throughout the early stages of the narrative we get little clues as to what he looks like

Obviously I, as the author and creator of George, have my own idea of what he should look like. 

And I am sure people who have read the book each have their own idea of what he might look like. Many times I have found my idea of a given character challenged when I watch a film of a book or see a drawing of a character in that book.

Here I present to you the first ever drawing, that I am aware of, of George himself.
I actually think the artist has done a great job from my brief, although I think his head could be a stronger shade of ginger. That apart I'm so chuffed expect to see images of many of the other characters from George and the Dragon appear on my blog in the future.

What do you think? Have you attempted to draw him yourself? Fancy a go yourself let me know I may even let you have a copy of the novel for free!