Archive for October, 2012


I can’t believe it has taken me until now to fathom out how to format the description on Create Space, or Kindle. The descriptions have to be one of the most important aspects of a readers decision for them to consider buying your book. I will keep the examples simple for those like me who are not computer literate.

Create space unfortunately offer no assistance with HTML. I have always uploaded as a direct copy and paste from word, but in 4 books I have just uploaded to Create Space, their software ignored all my paragraphs.

Type out your description in Word, or notepad. Format your paragraphs single spaced. I have not set a paragraph indent  and no paragraph spacing. Now you can add the HTML code as below.

<p> creates a paragraph. <p/> closes the paragraph and automatically creates a paragraph space.

<b> Creates bold text. <b/> Closes the bold text.

Note: Let the HTML code create the paragraph space.

<p><b> Missing: The Body of Evidence, is a gripping crime thriller. A story of secrets and deceptions, and one woman’s determination to discover the truth. </b></p>

<p>When rookie LAPD detective Nancy Roberts is called to the scene of a fire  and the remnants of a body are discovered, CSI can’t be sure if it is the result of a suicide, accident, murder, or….  Well… kind of something else. </p>

<p>The CIA declare an interest and point everyone on the investigation in the direction of a freak accident. Nancy doesn’t buy the theory of spontaneous combustion put forward. Her own unconventional investigations point her in a different direction, but they are curtailed when she is framed for being on the take. This brings her into conflict with her fellow detective and boyfriend, Kyle. </p>

<p>Suspended and under orders not to continue with the search for answers, threats to her life and those she holds dear force her in a race against time to clear her name. But will she avoid death long enough to prove her innocence and to uncover the truth behind the strange events? </p>

<p><b> Emotionally charged and gripping from the very beginning to an extraordinary and unforeseen, though satisfying twist at the end. It doesn’t get much better than this. An uncompromising and compulsive thriller from Declan Conner. </b></p>

Once uploaded it will look like this on Create Space, but for some reason the bold does not show on the kindle description.

Note. I am just in the process of changing all my description, so the formatting may not show yet on my actual books.

Missing: The Body of Evidence, is a gripping crime thriller. A story of secrets and deceptions, and one woman’s determination to discover the truth.

When rookie LAPD detective Nancy Roberts is called to the scene of a fire and the remnants of a body are discovered, CSI can’t be sure if it is the result of a suicide, accident, murder, or…. Well… kind of something else.

The CIA declare an interest and point everyone on the investigation in the direction of a freak accident. Nancy doesn’t buy the theory of spontaneous combustion put forward. Her own unconventional investigations point her in a different direction, but they are curtailed when she is framed for being on the take. This brings her into conflict with her fellow detective and boyfriend, Kyle.

Suspended and under orders not to continue with the search for answers, threats to her life and those she holds dear force her in a race against time to clear her name. But will she avoid death long enough to prove her innocence and to uncover the truth behind the strange events?

Emotionally charged and gripping from the very beginning to an extraordinary and unforeseen, though satisfying twist at the end. It doesn’t get much better than this. An uncompromising and compulsive thriller from Declan Conner.

An example of how I formatted my short story collection.

<p><b> Lunch Break Thrillers – Short Stories.  Twelve not so short stories. Also available as single short stories. </b></p>

<p> In this busy world where time is precious, no matter if you are taking a short journey or a lunch break and need to sit back and relax, what better than to read a short story to its conclusion, rather than to put a book aside and forget it. </p>

<p> Lunch Break Thrillers is a gripping mix of suspense, mystery, disaster and murder, all interlaced with memorable characters. </p>

<p> Designed to intrigue and satisfy, these tales will leave you with something to ponder, long after they fade into the dark corners of your mind. </p>

<p><b> The Mystery of the Crimson Robe.</b>

Rookie LAPD Homicide Detective, Nancy Roberts, has a strange encounter with a figure in a crimson robe. Ridiculed by her colleagues, she has more to contend with than a fancy colored garment. A story of overcoming self-doubt. </p>

<p><b> Hide and Seek.</b>

Carl didn’t believe in ghosts. Unless you want to count the Holy one? All that is about to change. </p>

<p><b> The End, or a New Dawn.</b>

For those worried about climate change. Maybe it’s all part of a grand design for a new start of biblical proportion. </p>

<p><b> Where There’s a Will, There’s a War.</b>

A tale of political intrigue and deception. This one is for conspiracy theorists. An interactive story that will have you opening your browser to search the net for answers. </p>

<p><b> Careful What You Wish.</b>

Ross Kellerman does not seem to have any luck at dating. Trapped 24/7 behind his bar, he turns to Internet dating. Big mistake. Luckily, his so called friends are at hand to help out.

<p><b> Downward Spiral. </b>

A cautionary tale and a Helter-Skelter ride for Annie in her fall from grace during rough times. </p>

<p><b> The Black Widow.</b>

When death comes a calling, it can take all shapes and sizes, especially where revenge is the motive. A noir Mafia tale. </p>

<p><b> Phoenix Rising</b>

Set in the backdrop of a bankrupt UK, a corrupt Federal European Union has taken control of the country. Can a failed British secret service agent unravel the mystery surrounding the death of a leading British industrialist?

<p><b> The Enemy Within.</b>

There is a war taking place, but where? It could be nearer than you think. They say to keep your friends close and your enemy even closer. But what happens in a society where you can’t tell one from the other? Would this cause you to become your own worst enemy? </p>

<p><b> The Silver Locket.</b>

A hypnotic tale of hope, from the depths of adversity. </p>

<p><b> Lost Baggage.</b>

How precious are your possessions? Worth risking your life for? Texas born, Rob Carter has the answer. </p>

<p><b> Who Am I? </b>

Worried about identity theft? If not, you should be. It could cost you your life. </p>

Once uploaded it will look like this on the Create Space description, but the Kindle description does not show the bold. If I wanted the text after the title to have started as a new paragraph, then I would sinmply have placed </p> after the title and the bold</b> . I would then start the text with <p>

Lunch Break Thrillers – Short Stories. Twelve not so short stories. Also available as single short stories.

In this busy world where time is precious, no matter if you are taking a short journey or a lunch break and need to sit back and relax, what better than to read a short story to its conclusion, rather than to put a book aside and forget it.

Lunch Break Thrillers is a gripping mix of suspense, mystery, disaster and murder, all interlaced with memorable characters.

Designed to intrigue and satisfy, these tales will leave you with something to ponder, long after they fade into the dark corners of your mind.

The Mystery of the Crimson Robe. Rookie LAPD Homicide Detective, Nancy Roberts, has a strange encounter with a figure in a crimson robe. Ridiculed by her colleagues, she has more to contend with than a fancy colored garment. A story of overcoming self-doubt.

Hide and Seek. Carl didn’t believe in ghosts. Unless you want to count the Holy one? All that is about to change.

The End. or a New Dawn. For those worried about climate change. Maybe it’s all part of a grand design for a new start of biblical proportion.

Where There’s a Will, There’s a War. A tale of political intrigue and deception. This one is for conspiracy theorists. An interactive story that will have you opening your browser to search the net for answers.

Careful What You Wish. Ross Kellerman does not seem to have any luck at dating. Trapped 24/7 behind his bar, he turns to Internet dating. Big mistake. Luckily, his so called friends are at hand to help out.

Downward Spiral. A cautionary tale and a Helter-Skelter ride for Annie in her fall from grace during rough times.

The Black Widow. When death comes a calling, it can take all shapes and sizes, especially where revenge is the motive. A noir Mafia tale.

Phoenix Rising Set in the backdrop of a bankrupt UK, a corrupt Federal European Union has taken control of the country. Can a failed British secret service agent unravel the mystery surrounding the death of a leading British industrialist?

The Enemy Within. There is a war taking place, but where? It could be nearer than you think. They say to keep your friends close and your enemy even closer. But what happens in a society where you can’t tell one from the other? Would this cause you to become your own worst enemy?

The Silver Locket. A hypnotic tale of hope, from the depths of adversity.

Lost Baggage. How precious are your possessions? Worth risking your life for? Texas born, Rob Carter has the answer.

Who Am I? Worried about identity theft? If not, you should be. It could cost you your life.

Good luck with your publishing.

Declan

For those who really don’t want to, or find the task too daunting, I am now offering a formatting service for Kindle eBooks and POD print books, using Word to a publishing standard. For a quote, email me at declanconner@hotmail.com


Basic tips on writing and self-publishing a thriller book..

 


Now Released and available through Amazon (Full length thriller 350 pages 9×6) Print and  eBook

Also available through the Amazon Prime lending library. 

Don’t have a kindle? No need, you can download a free app from the book page for kindle to computer or mobile device.

Mystery Crime Thriller

Paranormal – Romance – Thriller

Amazon.com     Amazon UK    Germany   France    Italy   Spain

Basic tips on writing and self-publishing a thriller book.

I’m not exactly a novice at writing and self-publishing, but I still have a lot to learn. The task can be quite daunting at first and for someone writing their first book, the entire process can be quite frustrating. The same is true if you intend to go the submissions route to agents, in seeking a traditional publishing contract. I will start by saying, there are no rules in crafting thrillers, only conventions. The aim is to write in your own style and voice that will define you as an author.

Much of the frustration can be eliminated beforehand by a little research on your genre/sub genre. Here are some of the things that you need to know before you even put pen to paper. The last thing you want is to write 100,000 words by the seat of your pants, only to discover that you have alienated agents and readers alike and whom expect certain conventions in your chosen genre. I can say this with some certainty, having a similar book consigned to my hard drive for eternity. Once completed, you need to be able to say with some certainty for example….This is a crime thriller, or, This is a disaster thriller. Yes, it may have elements of romance, or a family saga, but the genre must be clearly defined. Just remember, if you don’t know in which slot on the bookstore shelf your book belongs, then neither will a publisher, or a reader.

***

1st person, or third person?

For the thriller genre, third person past tense is the norm. Some stories will lend themselves to 1st person. In fact I am working on one now in 1st person, (The Journey) uploaded in draft at Authonomy for chapter critique, but then I have no intention of submitting to an agent, preferring readers to be the gatekeepers. Having said that, if a publisher or an agent were to come knocking on my door, I wouldn’t turn them away. The odds of being picked up by an agent are bad enough, so I would recommend third person for thrillers.

Chapter/Book length.

For the thriller genre, you are seeking to drive the read forward. If you sample books written by mega selling authors, such as James Patterson, you will find that many books are around 3 pages per chapter. In my latest work, I usually work to a loose template of between 1,200 & 1,800 words per chapter and a book length of between 80,000 and 110,000 words. My latest work has come in at the top end of the scale and 80 chapters. It is not uncommon to find thrillers with 100 chapters.

Pace.

The pace of stories for me, are determined by how you craft each individual chapter. With the thriller genre, you are looking to start with an opening in the first paragraph or opening section that will hook the reader. That first chapter needs to create the unresolved conflict/mystery that will drive the read forward, ending with a cliffhanger at the end of the chapter.

In new chapters, if you are to continue with the scene from the previous chapter, then try not to resolve the cliffhanger immediately, but create more suspense/tension, leading to a further cliffhanger ending. As James Patterson says, or words to that effect, if a thriller doesn’t thrill, then you have missed the mark.

If you do fly off into a romantic scene for a chapter, then don’t lose sight of the plot within that chapter, work your way back to a cliffhanger by the end of the chapter, or the pace will slow at best and at worst the reader will lose interest.

There are a number of devices that can be used to increase pace and suspense. One such device used to good effect is the ticking clock. Dan Brown used this in The Da Vinci Code.

You will have a good idea of the pace as you write. If you are not excited as to what comes next at the end of chapter, then you need to step away, think about it, and re-write the section. If you are not excited as to what comes next, then the reader will likely have the same feeling.

One thing that can slow down pace is backstory. Large chunks of backstory will kill a story stone dead if not done right. The way to approach this subject is to add snippets throughout the story. Another way to overcome this is by using dialogue/character thoughts.

A trait that will slow down pace is head hopping. It is common for new writers to change narrative Point of View (POV) within chapters. I am not saying don’t do this, because done right, it can be effective. If you are to do this, then at least leave a space between POV sections, or use *** to denote a POV change. It is far easier to keep the reader’s attention if you can stay in one POV throughout the chapter.

For me, when writing, I think it is important to remember that we are not writing a film script, where the camera can pan from scene to scene and person to person in rapid succession. In films, rapidly changing POV is held together by the audio/visual art of the film, leaving little to the imagination. With books, I tend to believe that what sets the medium apart, is that the narrative creates a flowing picture in the reader’s mind, and in which, the changing POV can have the effect to unsettle the imaginative process for the reader and cause them to switch off.

Overuse of dialogue tags can slow down pace. Give each speaker their own worldview and quirks in the way they speak, but don’t overdo dialect or accents. Add movement, or facial expressions between individual speakers. Make sure the dialogue is realistic and you will find you can cut speech tags to a minimum.

Characters.

It is always a good idea to write character CV’s before you start. If nothing else, a list of characters is useful. It’s surprising how many times Mike will end up as Bill by mistake at the end of the story. For your main Character, you are looking to create someone who the reader will want to follow on their journey. Flawed characters are a bonus. Character traits are what will make them three-dimensional and can be used as a means of adding depth to the story. It is the emotional baggage they have to overcome in resolving the issues that they face, that will add to the satisfaction of the read, with the reader becoming attached to how the main character changes through the story.

Characters emotional responses.

Just because it’s a thriller, doesn’t mean your characters shouldn’t have emotional responses. Emotional responses to words and deeds are what take the character out of being one-dimensional. They may be depicted as hard-boiled, but everyone other than a psychopath has feelings. If someone says to your character “you fat useless bastard.” Then show their hurt or disgust at the insult before they respond with dialogue. Similarly if they witness a traumatic event, show the reader the effect it has on their psyche before stirring to action.

Plotting

Cliché I know, but beginning middle and end is the way to go. Many writers prefer to write the story by the seat of their pants. It can and does work, however, as I have found, using this method you can end up 50,000 words in and stuck in a cul-de-sac with the dreaded writers block. At least outline your plot and know your twist ending before you start if you want to avoid writers block.

Show v Tell

Aim to show rather than tell the story. Don’t have characters “feel” show by their actions and expressions. Every time you write “feel or felt” go back and think how you can show the reader what your character is experiencing. eg …Does he feel sick at the scene before him? Or does he retch and avert his eyes?

I can’t stress enough how important it is to read books in your genre. It is rare for someone who does not read to make it as an author.

Toolbox.

Not everyone is skilled in all aspects of writing. If you have a full toolbox, then great, but if not, don’t let it be an impediment. I would rather be a good story-teller than a professor of grammar. Of course, if you are both, then great. If not, there are many things you can do to acquire skills. You can take night classes at college, or maybe join a creative writing group. If time is of the essence, then there is a wealth of information on the internet.

If you take a look at publishers, they have editors, proofreaders and copyeditors. All these skills are rarely possessed by each discipline.

Substantive editors… They will look at the overall plot, pace, continuity, characters etc.

Line editors…. They will provide a line by line edit for grammar and punctuation.

Proofreaders… They will re-check edited work for house style/ consistency, regards punctuation and grammar and they will correct typos.

Copy editors… Final check for typos, punctuation and formatting errors before print.

Most books, by the time they are finished and polished to the best of your ability, regardless of your skills, they will come back from a publisher, or a freelance editor with a mass of red marks for alteration. In some cases whole sections have to be re-written. I only say this, because it is nothing to take offence at, and in preparation for when you have the experience.

Once you have 10,000 words written, you can upload for critique to sites such as Authonomy.com. You can exchange reads with other authors who can provide valuable feedback. There is a game being played on there to win a Harper Collins review, but regardless, take out the gamers and it is a useful site. Just don’t get caught up in the game and continue to write. One thing I would do, is to go to the books on there that have received HC editors’ reviews. If nothing else it will give you an idea where your story could fall down.

If there are aspects of grammar and punctuation you don’t know, then there are many sites on the internet with the answers.

Okay, so you’ve finished your book…what then?

Unfortunately, this is just the beginning, especially, if you intend to self-publish your work. Here it is easier to tell you what not to do.

Don’t ask friends and family to read and give their opinion. They will only tell you that your work is great.

Don’t rush to publish and don’t think that paying for a line edit will catch everything. It is a rarity to find an editor who posses all the individual editorial skills to complete the work to perfection. Put the book to one side after editing and then come back to it with fresh eyes. Only when your book is edited and proofread to the extent that you are pushing commas around for clarity are you ready to format your work for publishing, or for submitting to agents. My site contains guides for formatting your work both as an eBook and as a POD (Print on Demand) paper book.

If you are still game for self-publishing when you have finished, then good luck on your journey. You may not make your fortune, but trust me, it is a very rewarding experience.

Don’t have a kindle? No need, you can download a free app from the book page (scroll down right hand side) for kindle to computer, or mobile device. Declan Conner’s latest release, Missing: The Body of Evidence now available as an eBook and a print book through Amazon. (Print book 350 pages 9×6 inches.)

Mystery Crime Thriller

Tags; Paranormal – Romance – Thriller – LAPD, Female detective – CIA black projects – Astral travel – Spontaneous combustion.

Amazon.com     Amazon UK    Germany   France    Italy   Spain

Declan’s author page on amazon UK

Declan’s author page on Amazon.com

How to format an eBook

How to format a POD print book