Tag Archives: book

Lament for the Living – Now Available in Paperback

Paperback and e-reader formats. Signed paperback copies are also available
Paperback and e-reader formats. Signed paperback copies are also available

I’m pleased to announce that ‘Lament for the Living’ is now available in paperback.

Lament for the Living – Paperback edition

The print copy has some additional features that were omitted from the ebook version for formatting reasons.  Although there is no difference to the story, the paperback is my original vision for the book.

Changes in the paperback version:

  • Proper ‘verso’ page at the beginning of the book.
  • Names with special characters are included correctly.
  • Diary entry is handwritten.

There have been requests for a hardback version, but that will not be happening as I don’t feel the book is long enough to warrant it.  Although, once the series is complete, I will be releasing a hardback anthology that includes all the books.

All the best
sigSMALL

Lament for the Living Final Cover

It is with great pleasure that I release today two exciting pieces of news.  The first is that a benefactor, who wishes to remain anonymous, has been solely responsible for securing a block of ISBNs for the upcoming ‘Lament for the Living’ and future titles.  I cannot thank that person enough and will ensure that a similar kindness is contributed in the same vein.

The ISBN for ‘Lament for the Living’ is 978-0-9575452-0-5.

To coincide with this amazing turn of events I wanted to create new cover art that was more eye-catching and announce them both at the same time.  So here it is:

Lament for the Living by David Nicol
Lament for the Living ISBN 978-0-9575452-0-5

Lament for the Living will be released in May 2013.  I’m still looking for review readers who will receive advance copies in February.  If you would like to participate, please get in touch.

Visit me on Facebook: David Nicol – Author
Follow me on twitter: @davidxnicol
What about on Amazon: David Nicol Author Page
And ofcourse, GoodReads.com: David Nicol on GoodReads

I Rarely Buy What I’m Sold

David NicolIn this article I discuss the “marketing” tactics that some indie and self-published authors embark on and why they may be doing more harm than good.

I don’t like being sold to.  When I go in to a shop, I’m there because I know what I want.  If they don’t have it, I’ll find it somewhere else.  What won’t happen is this: a ‘sales assistant’ will saunter up and ask me if they can help, they then listen to what I’m after, ignore the specificity of my request and instead offer me what they have in stock, regardless of comparability.  Here’s the thing: I’m very specific.  I do my research before setting foot in a shop so I’ve already disregarded any alternatives.

Sometimes the sales assistant will offer to order in the item.  That type of sales person is getting rarer and rarer each day, and unless they can sell me the product cheaper than I can order it online myself it’s going to be a No Sale.  I’ve worked in sales myself, or retail as it was called many moons ago.  I didn’t enjoy it, but it was a job and my sales/commission were good because I employed a mysterious and occult talent that many of the other sales people lacked:  I listened to the customer.  I never told a customer what THEY wanted.  They know what they want and building rapport and trust with them wasn’t going to happen if I railroaded them in to buying the item that I made the most commission on, especially if it wasn’t what they were actually looking for.

Building trust enabled me to provide my customers with what they actually wanted, and when I recommended other items to compliment their purchase they would have more confidence in my suggestion.  It also meant that I had more repeat business (although at the time I didn’t realise any of this!).

So let’s fast forward to now, and social media, and online marketing, and self promotion….

I read with interest this article by Kristen Lamb entitled ‘How Can We Brag Without it KILLING Our On-Line Credibility?‘ which discussed the issue of Obnoxious Ollies and Super Secret Susans.  Obnoxious Ollie being the continual self plugger, while Super Secret Susan told no-one what she did and the importance of finding a balance between the two.

The reason for my interest is that recently I got fed up with the Obnoxious Ollies (and Olliettas) whose incessant self promotion was swamping my twitter feed.  I have already started pruning my twitter following list and already I’ve noticed a difference.   I can now see posts from people who have something to say, not just posts saying how wonderful their book is and why I should buy it.

What does this have to do with sales?  I think what’s happening in the independent author world is that people are finding their feet in unknown areas.  The issue I believe stems from all the “how to market” type sites and books out there, and in particular one gem of (mis)information.  According to marketing “law”, it takes eight impressions before someone will take action.  It’s possible that that information is from a very credible source, but like many quotes without the original context it can easily be misconstrued.

For many they seem to think that if someone sees their blurb eight times then they will buy their book, so they keep spouting it out.  Sooner or later their message will scroll through your feed, you’ll see it eight times and be powerless but to click on that link.  Except for one glaring problem.  Is what they’re selling actually what you want?  It could be that their book turns out to be finest thing you’ve ever read, completely life changing and you find a new muse for life.  But what if it’s not.  What if it doesn’t live up to the self produced hype?

I actually find it quite offensive to be constantly sold to, the use of social media becoming a one way hosepipe.  It’s meant to be social, to allow interaction.  But as more authors turn to auto-tweeting platforms they slowly destroy the platform.  Now that I’m weeding out the one-way tweeters I’m spending more time on twitter rather than facebook and enjoying the interaction.

Having a feed full of adverts, retweets and 5* review links was not my idea of fun.

 

Available now:

The Deluge of Elias by David Nicol

Long after a cataclysm that destroyed humanity had been forgotten, the descendants of the original survivors live in a protected Dome governed by a set of rules known as ‘The Orders’.

The rigid enforcement of The Orders now threatens the people they were designed to protect. Elias has a solution, except it puts him on a course of action that is at odds with the rules that he has been charged to rigorously uphold. On top of every thing else, the solution came to him in the form of a dream; in a time and place where no one dreams.

Can he save the last vestiges of humanity, or even himself?

The Deluge of Elias from Amazon US

The Deluge of Elias from Amazon UK

Hannibal House by David Nicol

‘Sometimes you don’t choose the house, the house chooses you’.

The supernatural story of a house that attracts lost souls. Set in South West Wales, Hannibal House tells the story of Troy who leaves Seattle in search of his roots.

Unsure of what he’s really looking for, Troy comes across Hannibal House. Immediately infatuated with the building he sets out to possess it, or is the house aiming to possess him…

Hannibal House from Amazon US

Hannibal House from Amazon UK

 

Catch me on twitter: @davidxnicol
Check me out on Amazon: David Nicol Author Page
See what I’m up to on GoodReads.com: David Nicol on GoodReads

Self-publishing Ponderings

David Nicol I’ve read many posts by authors defending their decision to self publish.  This isn’t one of those posts.  I don’t see the need to defend that decision, rather I think people should consider why they would want to go down the traditional publishing route.

I’m proud to stand up and say “Yes, I’m an independent author, yes, I self publish.”  Why wouldn’t I be?

Historically there’s been a stigma attached to self publishing due to vanity presses.  If you’re not familiar with the term, in a nutshell, vanity publishing allowed people to publish their books, for a fee.  However, the costs involved meant that a book published via a vanity press had a higher unit cost than a traditionally published book.  If an author wanted to make any money, or break even after using a vanity press, they would need to charge more for their tome than a mainstream, established book (plus they also had to source their own outlets for their books).

Chances are, if you’re an aspiring author, when you see the likes of Twilight, The Hunger Games, or *shudder* Fifty Shades of Grey getting the top spots, and featured everywhere you think “that could be me”.  It could be, and why shouldn’t it be?  After all, your work is probably more original, less cliched and better written than those titles that languish in the popular consciousness.

The traditional wisdom is that to be successful you can’t be a good author, you have to be a great author.  You have to live and breathe your passion and then, once you’ve emotionally exhausted yourself you have to lie prostrate at the feet of a publisher/agent and beg for a chance to be heard.

What a load of crap.

Excuse my French, but Fifty Shades of Grey has shown that any old shit can be a best seller.  Reading parts of that book makes me feel like a Nobel Laureate.  And maybe that’s the problem that many new authors have.  They create works of literature rather than pulp fiction.

Publishers want to sell units.  Publishing houses are businesses, they want authors who write profit making commodities, not literature.  Publishing is going the way of the music and film industries where it’s the smaller indie providers who produce the majority of the works of value, the works that touch you, that live with you, that make you think.  At the same time, the large powerhouses try to beat down and pour scorn on the indies while pushing their own watered down insipid rubbish to the masses.

Now this seems like I’m being a big fat Negative Nancy about publishing.  That’s not where I’m going with this.  To be honest, if a publisher offered me a deal that was agreeable then I’d probably take it.  Publishers allow a minority of authors to break in to the mainstream, and if that’s your goal, then good luck to you.

What I’m saying is that if you choose to be an independent author, to self publish, then you shouldn’t spend your time justifying your decision. Instead, spend your time writing, honing your craft.  Build your following, create the best work you can and be a success on your own terms.

In the event that a publisher does come knocking, remember that you’re doing them a favour by allowing them to exploit your work.  It’s not the other way around, and YOU should be the one benefiting from YOUR work.

My indie writer manifesto

I will –

  1. Produce the most professional work I can
  2. Fully develop my characters and plot
  3. Ensure that my work is proofread, spellchecked and edited
  4. Not compromise my vision to please a specific market

Available now:

The Deluge of Elias by David Nicol

Long after a cataclysm that destroyed humanity had been forgotten, the descendants of the original survivors live in a protected Dome governed by a set of rules known as ‘The Orders’.

The rigid enforcement of The Orders now threatens the people they were designed to protect. Elias has a solution, except it puts him on a course of action that is at odds with the rules that he has been charged to rigorously uphold. On top of every thing else, the solution came to him in the form of a dream; in a time and place where no one dreams.

Can he save the last vestiges of humanity, or even himself?

The Deluge of Elias from Amazon US

The Deluge of Elias from Amazon UK

Hannibal House by David Nicol

‘Sometimes you don’t choose the house, the house chooses you’.

The supernatural story of a house that attracts lost souls. Set in South West Wales, Hannibal House tells the story of Troy who leaves Seattle in search of his roots.

Unsure of what he’s really looking for, Troy comes across Hannibal House. Immediately infatuated with the building he sets out to possess it, or is the house aiming to possess him…

Hannibal House from Amazon US

Hannibal House from Amazon UK
 
 
 
 
Catch me on twitter: @davidxnicol
Check me out on Amazon: David Nicol Author Page
See what I’m up to on GoodReads.com: David Nicol on GoodReads

‘Hannibal House’ is now available

Today, ‘Hannibal House’ launched on Amazon. Before we launch in to the blurb that goes with it I’d like to thank those who have been involved in helping tweak the story to the finished version. I received some fantastic feedback from those involved in the beta so thank you to all involved.

Those who provided feedback will be receiving a personalised copy of ‘Hannibal House’ via email.

And now, on to the main event:

Hannibal House by David Nicol

‘Sometimes you don’t choose the house, the house chooses you’.

The supernatural story of a house that attracts lost souls. Set in South West Wales, Hannibal House tells the story of Troy who leaves Seattle in search of his roots.

Unsure of what he’s really looking for, he comes across Hannibal House. Immediately infatuated with the building he sets out to possess it, or is the house aiming to possess him…

Available on Amazon:

(UK) http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hannibal-House-ebook/dp/B008LDK2PG

(US) http://www.amazon.com/Hannibal-House-ebook/dp/B008LDK2PG

 

And the futuristic dystopian short story ‘The Deluge of Elias’ is also available:

The Deluge of Elias by David Nicol

(US) http://www.amazon.com/The-Deluge-of-Elias-ebook/dp/B0082FRKNU

(UK) http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Deluge-of-Elias-ebook/dp/B0082FRKNU

Deluge of Elias – New Cover

I decided that ‘The Deluge of Elias’ needed a new and totally original cover. This cover needed to have three elements to it: a figure, moisture, and decay/rust. Those elements are prevalent in the story and so the image began forming in my head.

Stock images wouldn’t cut the mustard this time, although they’d make an appearance for the background. I needed a model for the face. Hmm, where can I get a model from at this time of night? I thought, looking in the mirror. OH! Hey there handsome. You’ve got the look of a man with the world on his shoulders.

The problem with me being the model is that I’m usually the one behind the camera. That’s what I trained as, and that’s where I’m comfortable. I also have no illusions about ever being a model (let’s get that straight right now). Enter stage right: the wife.

Imagine the conversation went like this: So honey… after covering me in vaseline you get to throw water in my face while taking photographs.

Sounds like something out of Fifty Shades of Suburbia, and it could have been, but it wasn’t. Anyway, my other half seemed keen on the idea of potentially waterboarding me for some twisted reason so we got to work.

I think that Wifey dearest enjoyed chucking water in my face as the photo shoot took a lot longer than seemed strictly necessary to get the image I was looking for. Some editing time later and here we have the new cover for ‘The Deluge of Elias’:

The Deluge of Elias by David Nicol

Catch me on twitter: @davidxnicol
Check me out on Amazon: David Nicol Author Page
See what I’m up to on GoodReads.com: David Nicol on GoodReads

Sci-Fi short story ‘The Deluge of Elias’ is available now on Kindle:

Available from Amazon.com

Available from Amazon.co.uk

Hannibal House: Release Date 14th July

The beta reading event for ‘Hannibal House’ is under way. Feedback received so far has confirmed that the story holds up and has the desired effect. Other than a handful of minor edits ‘Hannibal House’ only requires formatting to ebook.

The release date for the final commercial version will be July 14th 2012.

Hannibal House is the tale of a young American who heads to Wales after the death of his father to get in touch with his heritage. He doesn’t quite find what he’s looking for until he heads off the beaten track and comes across Hannibal House, a place that attracts lost souls.

Look out for it on the Amazon Kindle Market.

Hannibal House by David Nicol

Sometimes you don’t choose the house,

the house chooses you

Catch me on twitter: @davidxnicol
Check me out on Amazon: David Nicol Author Page
See what I’m up to on GoodReads.com: David Nicol on GoodReads

Sci-Fi short story ‘The Deluge of Elias’ is available now on Kindle:

Available from Amazon.com

Available from Amazon.co.uk

Adventures in Writing: A Strange Occurrence at Hannibal House

Life imitating art. I’ve been writing a short story (that’s turned out not to be that short) called ‘Hannibal House’ that is a diversion from my usual Sci-Fi slant and in to the realms of the supernatural.

I am a very logical person, I adhere to probability and in everything I write I attempt to ensure that the scenarios are believable.  Throughout the writing of ‘Hannibal House’ I’ve considered the actions of the protagonist and whether his choices are realistic, and at the same time made it so that the reader shouldn’t be tempted to throw down the story while yelling “Why is he SO STUPID?!”  which is the way that I feel when reading many works of supernatural fiction.

That’s all very well, but what’s the point of this post?  Well, I had a strange occurrence last night while writing.  It was late (I tend to write late) and due to having a full time job too I was very tired.  I regularly fall asleep in the middle of doing things late at night.  Playing video games I’d nod off while navigating my character only to wake up to falling off the map, or being attacked by beasts.  On more than one occasion I’ve nodded off mid sentence and woken to pages of “gggggggggggggggggg” for example.

So last night I was incredibly tired and I knew that I was going to nod off (again), but I really wanted to finish the section I was writing.  I couldn’t keep my eyes open, so decided that I would just close my eyes to type the last bit (I am a touch typist so that’s not an issue).

Mid typing I fell asleep.  I couldn’t have been asleep for more than a couple of minutes.  When I opened my eyes I hazily remembered what I had done and that I had dropped off pretty much as soon as I closed my eyes – it’s a gift.  I expected to see on the screen a load of nonsense.  But it wasn’t.  There was a single, perfectly formed sentence.

It wasn’t the sentence that I intended to write.  In fact, I had to read it a couple of times to understand its context.  Then I realised that what I had written was actually a much better scenario than the one that I had planned.

Spooky huh?  Well, no, and yes.  It’s spooky in the context of me writing while asleep.  It’s also odd that I would write something completely different to what I had ‘queued’ in my brain to write.  But looking at it objectively, the brevity of the amount written (about fifteen words) indicates that I was writing for a very short amount of time.  It’s not like I woke up to an extra thousand words (I wish).

The notion of ‘automatic writing’ crossed my mind.  A phenomenon where people in sleep or a trance like state have imparted seemingly valuable information.  Then there is the power of dreaming itself; Albert Einstein apparently achieved his theories via the medium of dreaming about flying through space and time.

Obviously the issue of me writing a different scenario is significant and the logical explanation is that my subconscious thought my original idea was a stinker and seized the opportunity to over-ride me.

*shakes fist at subconscious*  Cheers pal.

Hannibal House is now available on Amazon

Hannibal House by David Nicol

Sometimes you don’t choose the house,
the house chooses you

(US) Hannibal House on Amazon.com

(UK) Hannibal House on Amazon.co.uk

Catch me on twitter: @davidxnicol
Check me out on Amazon: David Nicol Author Page
See what I’m up to on GoodReads.com: David Nicol on GoodReads

Sci-Fi short story ‘The Deluge of Elias’ is available now on Kindle:

Available from Amazon.com

Available from Amazon.co.uk

The Deluge of Elias – updated

I’ve just spent the best part of the day re-editing ‘The Deluge of Elias’ (the dystopian sci-fi short story in case you’re new here).  During the conversion from straight .doc format to HTML I was able to pick up and correct a number of errors, and expand on some sections to give it more depth.

It’s been a while since I worked in pure HTML so it was quite enjoyable to ‘get my hands dirty’ again.

Some additions to the original version are an encoded version of the cover, a note from me and then an introduction to ease the reader in to the world of Elias.  I did this as some readers felt the story was lacking some background information relating to The Dome.  Although I had intended to convey one of the main themes of the story (the control of information) by alluding to a total black out of everything that precedes the present; it was obvious that it didn’t come across as clearly as I hoped.

As I intend to continue write about The Dome I have deliberately avoided giving any details about how it came about, so hopefully the information presented in the new introduction will plug some of the holes, but leave the reader still wanting more.

At the conclusion of the story I’ve also included a teaser to the next short story that I’ll be producing.

Catch me on twitter: @davidxnicol
Check me out on Amazon: David Nicol Author Page
See what I’m up to on GoodReads.com: David Nicol on GoodReads

Sci-Fi short story ‘The Deluge of Elias’ is available now on Kindle:

Available from Amazon.com
Available from Amazon.co.uk

Sneaky Peeky

I’m in the processing of writing a full length book. It’s set three years after what can only be described as a zombie apocalypse. Although there are zombies in it, I wouldn’t classify it as the typical zombie story. It’s more about the societies that continue, and get destroyed. The people who live, and die. And how people develop.

Here is the opening scene:

The early evening light pierced through the pine forest. As the dark shadows edged away from the sun on the thick carpet of pine needles two sets of feet made their way through the half-light. One set, oblivious; the other, fixated. One pair of feet wearing tired and muddy shoes, the other wrapped in sack cloth. The shoes clumsy and slow, the sack clad feet swift and sure. At one time the shoes had obviously been expensive; the type worn by a banker, accountant or other office dwelling professional. The feet wrapped in sack cloth would, in the past, have indicated desperation; someone with no alternative way of protecting their feet from the elements. Today, the sack cloth was worn for another reason: stealth.

Shoes stumbled over the uneven ground, splashing in staggered steps through shallow puddles of rain water and rotting pine needles. He stopped, as if unsure which way to go. Sacks continued silently through the carpet of bracken and mud, halting when she saw that Shoes had stopped. Crouching down she pulled her hood back, her raven hair shorn on one side almost to the scalp so it wouldn’t impede her sight or the drawing of her bow. Shoes remained oblivious to her presence. She removed the bow from her back, its lightweight composite recurve design betraying its previous life as the choice of champions; a Rolls Royce in the world of target archery now pressed in to service against a different kind of target. Sacks narrowed her hazel eyes, gauging the distance to Shoes, looking for signs of any breeze that could affect her shot. She nocked an arrow. The carbon fibre shaft slid back noiselessly as Sacks drew the bow, taking aim at Shoes. The distance was about twenty metres, half the effective range of the bow, a straightforward shot. Sacks slowed her breathing, eyes concentrating on the distance from the end of the arrow to Shoes. She made minute adjustments as she finely tuned her aim. Centre mass? Vital organs, heart and lungs: a nice large target, but not good enough this time. The neck and spinal column? A good kill zone, but too tricky under these conditions. The head? Perfect.

Sacks breathed in, drawing back the bowstring to full extension. Finessed the aim and let the arrow fly. She felt the bowstring brush the short hair at the side of her head, the sensation sent a shiver of excitement down her spine. In the Before Times, before the outbreak, before life had changed, Sacks had never shot an arrow. Never killed anything. She had enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle in a comfortable suburban home, eating pre-packed foods that were as far removed from the animals from which they originated as you could get. Spending her time watching inane television shows that concentrated on the shallow existence of celebrities. Whenever the Before Times crossed Sacks’s mind it was like watching a film of someone else. That person was gone. She watched the arrow arc through the air, flashing as it crossed shafts of sunlight that broke through the gloom of the forest. The arrow hit its mark a little high and to the left of where Sacks was aiming, there must have been a breeze after all, but the outcome was not affected. The arrow smashed through the back of Shoes’s skull, destroying what was left of the brain with a mixture of steel tipped arrow and shards of cranium. The arrow partially exited below the right supraorbital foramen, the eyeball already partially decayed, popped from the socket like a horror mask. What remained of the life of Shoes was extinguished before his body splashed down on to the muddy ground. The noise of Shoes hitting the ground was louder than Sacks expected. She frantically looked around her to check that nothing else was coming to investigate the sound.

When all was clear Sacks retrieved the arrow before searching Shoes’s pockets. Before she reached his body the familiar odour of the infection almost overwhelmed her sense of smell, it was something she knew she would never get used to. His suit had been ‘off-the-peg’, he had probably been some sort of middle manager. There was an open packet of chewing gum, a wallet, a mobile phone with a broken screen, and a set of house keys. Sacks looked through the wallet, discarding the money and the credit cards. There was a photo folded in half. Sacks unfolded it carefully and looked at the family smiling back at her. A man who was probably Shoes at one time, a woman and a child. They stood smiling in the sun, the background showing some tourist destination near a beach. The woman smiling down at what must have been their daughter as Shoes grinned towards the camera. A happy family. In a side pocket was a driving license. The driving license named Shoes as “Anthony Redfern”. Sacks looked at both the family photo and the drivers licence for a while before pocketing them. “Sorry Tony” Sacks said quietly. As she got up she pulled the hood back over her head before moving off silently.

Catch me on twitter: @davidxnicol
Check me out on Amazon: David Nicol Author Page
See what I’m up to on GoodReads.com: David Nicol on GoodReads

Sci-Fi short story ‘The Deluge of Elias’ is available now on Kindle:

Available from Amazon.com
Available from Amazon.co.uk