Archive for August, 2012

This Week in Kenny’s World…(2)

Round up of this week’s reviews. Thanks Cherese and Martha!

Review of The Altercation of Vira – Cherese A. Vines of Charming Words

Review of The Other Slipper – Martha of BooksBooks&MoreBooks




The Great Conspiracy of The Flashy Cover

We’ve all done it before – browsing the aisles of a bookstore as you wait for your flight to be announced, scrolling through pages on Amazon looking for the perfect book to upload to your Kindle before your train commute, or (shock of all shocks) walking into Foyles to explore the wonders that publishers have deemed worthy to provide for our perusal. Most people will tell you that an author’s name or a blurb drive their purchase of books but let’s be honest, put a pretty picture on any old crap and you might be able to sell it to a king. When dropped in a sea of literary works, most of us usually walk towards (or hover over) a book because the cover attracts our attention. Then we notice the title and the author’s name (whichever is in larger font) before we even check what the book is about.

Why am I going on about this? I recently completed the first draft of my YA novella, Aversion, and was faced with the task of creating a cover for it. When it comes to marketing related tasks, I prefer this exercise to synopsis or blurb writing so I tend to spend more time on this than I should  (although I’ve heard this doesn’t necessarily translate to the end product). I like book covers with block colours and few images on, like those I’ve included above. No pretty lasses in frocks floating about on my covers, thank you very much. Yes, those types of covers are eye catching and most people think that’s what young adult novel covers should look like but they don’t really have anything to do with my stories. It’s bad enough that people mistake some of my work for romance just because of the young adult genre (okay, this only happens with The Other Slipper but people, why can’t YA adventure exist without romance?).

Anyway, in my lengthy research on book covers, I came across this blog post which restored my hope in simple covers. It shows some iconic but simple book covers from the 20th century which support my notion that over glossed, fluffy covers are not necessarily the only way to go. Unfortunately I don’t think any of the titles are in the YA range (unless we class Lord of the Flies as YA) so maybe I still need to rethink my strategy. And maybe I need to step into the 21st century. Maybe…

I’ve previously uploaded my attempts at being a cover designer on here so I decided to put up the current fruits of my labour. Do people have any opinions? The covers are pretty much the same concept with slight variations (the three I’ve narrowed my efforts down to are at the top of this post). I’ve included the current blurb to give a feel of the story but all of these are subject to change before the end of year release of the novella. Let me know what you think.

Aversion – Book One of “The Mentalist Series”

For Gemma Green’s first time, things should have been straightforward. Find your subject, hold their gaze and push a thought into their head to save them from future disaster – Aversion complete. A pretty simple process given that the subject was to have no recollection of the experience. But Russ doesn’t seem to want to forget. In fact the more she tries to avoid him, the more he pushes to get to know her. Gemma knows she has a problem but is she facing the side effects of a failed Aversion or has the school’s tennis champ really fallen for her?

Can You Top My 22

Ah, it’s that time of year again, WBN has opened its book list for readers to nominate their top 100 books. World Book Night 2013 Interactive Top 100 List

It’s an interactive (changing) list so will probably look quite different by the end of August when it gets frozen for the judges to decide the books that will be distributed in 2013. Exciting stuff! Last year when I did my “read” count, the list was fixed and I had read 26 out of a 100 books. I’m currently on 22 (31 if you count movie adaptations) but will check again at the end of the month to see if any of the books I’ve read have fallen off the 100 (or if new ones have been added).

I have to say though that I was quite shocked to see Fifty Shades of Grey on the list. I know everyone is raving about it and it’s now the most sold book in the UK ever (or something like that) but I have mixed feelings about this one being on the list. Although I’ve heard the story is compelling, I’ve also heard from numerous sources that the writing is basic/bad and that contrary to what a lot of women have said about it being liberating, the subject matter is pretty sexist and crude (this reader’s review says all there is to say really). I know what people might say, I shouldn’t really judge it till I’ve read it Continue reading

The Tale Of The Big Scary IRS And The Unknowing UK Writer

Once upon a time, there lived a woman who wanted to write for a living. She wrote YA fiction in the hope that her work would be accepted by a publisher/agent but soon realised that this was going to be more difficult than eating fermented cheese on a full stomach on a humid afternoon (yes, this is very difficult indeed). One day she decided to take the plunge and put her novels up on the internet for sale. She was extremely delighted to find that people were willing to take a chance on her work and pay to read her e-books. Soon she realised she would have to face the tax man to account for her extra earnings so she went online to research the situation.

Her tax status in the UK was fairly straightforward as she lived there and all she had to do was ring the lovely people at HM Revenue and Customs and inform them of her new earnings. She was told to write a letter which would enable them reduce her tax allowance to compensate for her (very humble) estimated earnings. However she discovered that as a non resident of the USA, 30% of her royalties would be withheld by her retailers (Amazon USA, Smashwords) for the IRS (USA tax man). The reduced royalties would be taxed again when she declared her earnings to HM Revenue and Customs (UK tax man). She was unhappy with this news and sought to remedy the situation.

She learned that non USA residents who live in countries that have a tax treaty with the USA can obtain an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) or EIN (Employer Identification Number) which would help them avoid paying the additional 30% tax. She fell into the ITIN seekers group as those seeking EINs would have to be part of a registered company (sadly, she doesn’t have more information on this to share). To obtain an ITIN, she would need a  letter from her retailer to confirm that she was going to earn royalties for said tax year. She read on most online forums that Amazon USA  letters are usually rejected as they are not on letter-headed paper so she requested a letter from Smashwords and received one in less than two months (she was impressed by their promptness).  She also needed to fill out a Form W-7 and provide a notarized copy of her passport or other approved identification documents.

She rang one of the IRS-authorized Acceptance Agents in the UK (aka accountants) and panicked when she was told that their service would cost about £500. This was far more than she expected to give away so she went back to the internet for help. She stumbled upon a post which gave a step by step explanation of how to apply for an ITIN with little grief. The post pointed out key things like the fact that the IRS lacks tolerance for abbreviations (UK = bad, United Kingdom =good) and the fact that the helpful IRS staff at the USA embassy in London would notarise passports for free (you can either post your original documents by special delivery or take a morning off work to do this in person if you live in the area). Continue reading

This Week in Kenny’s World…

Round up of this week’s promos:

Interview on Hock G. Tjoa’s blog
Review of The Altercation of Vira on Library Mosaic


Short Story 21: Flash Fiction – The Size of A Mountain

She had been chipping away at it for days. Slowly but surely, the decimation had carried on until she sat looking at the remains of what had once seemed the size of a mountain. She had nearly lost it when her mother showed up to check on her, asking too many questions as always. Why hadn’t Erin returned it like they had discussed? Did she think it was healthy to continue like that? Erin had moved it into the spare room once her mother had left the house and just in time too as her sister also popped in the day after. She too would have been unimpressed by its presence. They all said getting rid of it was a good sign that she was moving forward but Erin knew best. Days had turned into a week and now there was only one task left to finish.

She took a deep breath and picked up the marzipan figure, looking all smug in its top hat. It was only when she heard the cracking sound as her teeth clamped down on its neck that she finally let out a sigh of relief. Continue reading