Sale!

I’ve entered all my books in the Smashwords July sale.

I’ve also re-priced some of them so that the prices are consistent. That means that on Amazon (and usually on Smashwords), all the novels in the two series are $2.99, the stand-alone novellas are $1.99 and the short story (Silver Chains) is $0.99.

So in the sale, the novels are $1.50, the novellas are $0.99 and the short story is free.

The coupon for the sale price is automatically deducted if you make a purchase.

I’ve noticed that even over yesterday and today the free short story has been taken by quite a few people so obviously Smashwords readers do look at the sale lists, and hopefully it will get my name as an author better known.

When I’ve finished the two series (Living Fae and The Skilled Investigators) I plan to market them as boxed sets but that’s some way off.

Anyway, if you’ve fancied giving my work a try, now’s a good time!

Flying Free is published.

Flying Free, the third volume in my Living Fae series, is now available!

I was surprised at the speed at which Smashwords accepted it into their ‘premium’ catalogue and therefore shipped everywhere in various formats. Usually they take a few days, and this time they didn’t. So I am now scrambling to get this post out!

Harlequin is the narrator for the various sections in this book. He is still on Alderley Edge with his lover, Yarrow, after Yarrow’s time in Tara but before Harlequin’s. He tells the stories of some of his siblings. Peasblossom, Columbine and Cobweb all find romance and the book is hard to categorise as the romance is both same gender and opposite gender.

Whilst the main focus is on the various love affairs, there is an underlying theme of a family saga and although there is foreign travel, most of the action takes place in midsummer on the Edge. There are fairies, goblins, humans, unicorns, cats, etc.

The story probably won’t make sense unless you’ve read the first two volumes, Growing Up Fae and Tales from Tara. However, there is helpful (I hope) page on my WordPress blog with a glossary and a timeline, and the fourth (and final) volume is complete and with my editor.

Buy links:
Amazon.com https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07TGH19MS
Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/945685

Sale! (and some freebies)

I’m participating in the Smashwords Read an e-book week sale. All my titles have been discounted by 75% for one week, running from 3rd to 10th March. That means some of them are free and the rest are at silly prices. The discounts will be automatically applied when you add a book to your cart.

The Lord of Shalott (a novella) FREE
Silkskin and the Forest Dwellers (a novella) FREE
Silver Chains (a novella) FREE
Three Legends (three short stories) FREE
The Skilled Investigators (series):
The Scroll (book 1) FREE
The Market (book 2) FREE
The Crown (book 3) $1
The Lantern (book 4) $1
Living Fae (series):
Growing Up Fae (book 1) $1.25
Tales from Tara (book 2) FREE (I wouldn’t recommend reading this without reading book 1 first)

This is a pricing experiment to see if I can tweak my marketing somehow. No guarantees it will happen again so make the most of it if you’re interested in what I write!

Go to https://www.smashwords.com and search Jay Mountney in the search box at the top.

Silver Chains

chain-941229_1920 (1) - Copy

Shameless advertising. A short story, outside my ‘normal’ style. This one’s a contemporary May/December romance and is 99p on both Amazon and Smashwords. It’s been up for about 48 hours but then Smashwords had a hissy fit when I mentioned my Amazon page in the ‘about the author’ section, though Amazon didn’t seem to care about Smashwords. That delayed things a bit while I hastily edited so that Smashwords would send it out to other platforms.
Incidentally, I wrote it ages ago and it first saw the light of day in an online zine under the title ‘Angus’ (the main character) but I now have the rights back and have done some edits and changed the title. I know some of the zine group follow this blog and I wouldn’t like them to buy the story and feel cheated.
Links:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/924818

Tales from Tara

TALES FROM TARA: fantasy mm with solstice celebrations. Yes, that’s right.

And yes, I’ve managed two books out in one month, which explains why I haven’t actually been doing a lot of writing these last few weeks.

‘Tales’ is the comparatively short second volume of my Living Fae series. In this book (40k words) the ‘heroes’ leave Alderley Edge (separately) to spend time on royal guard duty in Ireland, meeting (and romancing) all kinds of other fae. And celebrating the winter solstice, of course, in the underground palace.

So it’s suited to the season, and if you don’t know the story so far, you can get a lot of information from the Living Fae page here (my WordPress account) or you could buy Growing Up Fae…

The story is erotic without being explicit if that makes sense, and I hope it gives a taste of magic to readers.

The buy links for Tales from Tara are:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/913151

If you have problems with the Amazon link (Amazon is behaving strangely at present) try my Amazon page – just type Jay Mountney into the search box.

My new novel is out.

The fourth volume in my Skilled Investigators series is now ‘live’ on Amazon and Smashwords.

For anyone who has no idea what I’m talking about, the series features a mix of fantasy and crime with a trainee female elf detective, and has a sub plot of gay romance between the detective’s brother and her training mentor. There’s also a telepathic dragon. But I think you’d need to read the first book first, because I never intended the volumes to stand alone.

If you click on the link at the top right of my WordPress site you’ll find a map of The Kingdom to go with the book.

I’m really pleased because for the first time, neither Amazon nor Smashwords had any issues with my formatting and I didn’t (so far as I know) forget anything. That bodes well for later this week when I have another book to publish.

Here are the links – at first for Amazon I could only get a live link for the US site which then redirected me to the UK one. Go figure… Then I managed to get a UK link but at least one friend found it didn’t work. The only reliable answer if you want to use Amazon is to type in my name (Jay Mountney) and my author page will show you all my books including this one.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/911587

 

 

Two guest appearances…

I should have shared these a while ago but for some reason my laptop didn’t like the way I was trying to load them. Huge thanks are due to Jackie for spreading the word about my books!

First, she interviewed me re my Skilled Investigators series.
https://www.jackiekeswick.co.uk/author-chat-jay-mountney/

Then she invited me to return to talk about my fae saga Living Fae.
https://www.jackiekeswick.co.uk/growing-up-fae-jay-mountney/

Piracy – or not?

140 piracy

I should start by saying I know a lot of you are going to disagree with this post. But please, read it and think about it.

I really really don’t understand the way piracy, theft and sharing are conflated and confused both by the ‘big’ publishers and the authors who feel shock/horror every time someone reads one of their books without buying it.

Yes, piracy is wrong, very wrong, if we mean the taking of content and reselling without giving the profits to the original writer/artist/publisher. Yes, anyone downloading from pirate sites is committing theft because they are depriving the original producers of profit. They are also aiding and abetting the crime of piracy. No arguments from me, there.

However, I do think that some of the mega media moguls must share a little of the blame; they have been so arrogant about release dates, pricing, etc. that people have, in a world where news spreads instantly, felt tempted to obtain the offered goods in whatever way seemed most convenient. For example, sometimes my fellow writers recommend a book that turns out not to be available on UK sites. I’m not condoning the illegal downloads, just pointing out that it’s sometimes understandable, more often in the case of films than of books or music, but people do tend to repeat behaviour that works for them.

Then there’s sharing.

Publishers would have us think (and have convinced some authors) that sharing is piracy/theft. Their argument seems to centre on the fact that whilst if you lend a paperback book you don’t have access to it while your friend reads it, if you send them a digital version you retain your own copy. (Although with the paperback you still retain ownership. The only occasion when theft enters the picture is when the reader does not return the printed book to the owner. )

Nobody mentions the fact that sharing is probably the very best advertising an author or any artist can get. When people were asked by Neil Gaiman, at a lecture in London, how they found their favourite authors, the vast majority said that they found them through loans from friends, second hand book shops, charity shops, and libraries. Nobody mentioned browsing either in shops or online. Nor, perhaps more surprisingly, did they mention recommendations from friends. Once found, a favourite author is one the reader will buy again and again and will recommend to their entire social circle.

None of the above ways of finding books gives any immediate profit to the author or publisher. Neither does it prevent a sale because the new reader would probably never have found the book in the first place. What it does do is to ensure that at least some of the new readers will become customers for further books by that author, and maybe for their own copy of the one they ‘borrowed’.

Traditionally, the fame of books has spread by recommendation, either by critics or by friends. I know I’m more likely to read something a friend lends me, if only because they’re going to ask me what I thought of it. Reading is a social activity as well as a solitary one. We share opinions on books, we buy them as gifts, we leave them in guest rooms, we compile lists of favourites and lists of things to avoid. We read bits out to each other, sometimes to the annoyance of all concerned. We listen to books read on the radio together. We form book clubs. When we read reviews we ask around to see if anyone we know has read the book concerned.

I have two Kindles. (This was almost accidental but there you are.) So if I buy an e-book I can read it and pass it across to my daughter or my husband or someone else in my family who might be interested and they read it too. I haven’t lost it. It’s still in my library ‘cloud’. And they haven’t gained it. They’re using my Kindle, after all. But this constrains me artificially. I used to share books with two or three friends. Now that most of my books are e-books I no longer do this. (Even with two Kindles I’m unlikely to let one out of the house.) But I am so tempted to share my favourites with them. And who knows? I might gain a new customer for that author.

Recently I subscribed to a book via Unbound. As well as the hardback version they sent me a download link. I don’t need two copies (although it’s a good book) and I am very tempted to give the download link to a friend. After all, I paid (quite highly) for it and I need a Christmas present for her.

I also have a ‘wishlist’ that includes a lot of books. My nearest and dearest can’t buy them for me because they know I would prefer the e-book versions (otherwise the wish list would have more bookcases at the top). I gather that things like Amazon tokens are not considered to be quite the same. And yes, some of the indie sites allow gifting, but not all of them do, and Amazon certainly doesn’t.

Television companies have dealt with the problem. They ‘lend’ us their programmes for a number of days or weeks, accessed via catch-up sites. Although Amazon has some kind of lending feature, many e-books don’t fall into its net, and I’m sure we don’t particularly want to force everyone in the world to have an Amazon account in order to borrow books. I would have thought it should be possible to provide lending copies, time limited, with books. Since that hasn’t happened, is anyone truly surprised that people share their books? I should perhaps add that it has happened, for libraries, but not for individuals unless you have close family members who share your account details.

I dislike my desire to share being compared with theft. It diminishes my relationship with books (and fellow readers) and is an aspect of e-books I thoroughly object to. When we can’t share, because of the nature of e-books, we lose something very important about reading and about our culture. And I am totally convinced that we, as writers, lose customers.

I also dislike, intensely, the criminalisation of an activity that has been the ‘norm’ in literate societies, one of the things that help culture to grow and solidify, and the way it has been compared, unfairly in my opinion, with the very real crimes of theft and piracy.

Snippets: to read/post or not to read/post?

snippets

I rarely read snippets. If I’m glancing at an unknown author’s work in a bookshop or online I might look at a few random paragraphs to see whether the grammar and style are to my taste. (For example, I personally don’t enjoy long books written in the present tense.) But snippets that appear in my inbox or on social media are something I avoid. I only see them if I already know the author and am following their work, so presumably these are writers whose style already appeals to me. So that reason for reading an extract vanishes. I also like books that have some kind of mystery, preferably though not necessarily crime, and some sort of developing relationship and that means I really really don’t want spoilers. Nor do I want to recognise a passage when I read a book for the first time. I like my first reading to be ‘fresh’!

So if I see a snippet or extract I move rapidly past, averting my eyes!!

But so many authors do put snippets out there and I’m wondering whether it’s a good marketing ploy or not. Just because I don’t like them doesn’t mean other readers won’t. Recently I actually chose an extract to put on a review blog a friend publishes. It took us ages to choose the sections she used. I don’t think the post garnered any sales at all but it might have made my name known. Here it is!

GROWING UP FAE – Extract from the novel by Jay Mountney

What do you think? Worth the effort or not?

Calibre and Kindle

I get a lot of the books I read via author newsletters. I sign up to these via freebie offers and then try a free book. If the author’s style appeals then I’m likely to buy more and I let the newsletters keep coming. Some of my favourite authors, particularly in the romance, fantasy and crime genres, reach me that way.

So far, so good.

The only strange thing is the way their publishers or distributors don’t seem to have caught up with the way a lot of people actually handle e-books – downloading, transfer to e-reader, etc.

They go into long, convoluted explanations of what they consider is the best way to get the book. This often seems to rely on my willingness to order the book by typing on the keyboard on my Kindle Fire.

I would only do that if there was absolutely no chance of getting the book any other way!!

Then they warn me that the mobi version they are sending me might not download straight to my Kindle. Duh!! Then there’s another long and equally convoluted explanation of what to do.

What I actually do is to get the mobi version downloaded to my hard drive. Or an epub version. Or almost anything, really. Then I load it to my Calibre. Calibre is free (though they do ask for donations and I have occasionally donated because they do such a superb job). I then make sure Calibre either has the mobi version or has converted whatever it was to mobi. This takes about three seconds and the information shows nicely in the sidebar. I connect my Kindle to the computer and tell Calibre to upload to the Kindle main drive. Hey presto!

There are lots of plus factors here. I have a copy on my hard drive and can even save it to disc. I am not totally tied to Amazon. I have the glory of my Calibre library which shows me the covers and metadata and is much more easily organised than the Kindle for PC library (though I use that for books I have bought directly from Amazon). I can then add notes, reviews, star ratings and even cover pictures for the books that start without one.

I also use Calibre to check that my own books look right in various versions. There are dire warnings (again) on all kinds of helpful sites and blogs, about how they might not look exactly right. Well, I check against the way they look on friends’ computers once they’re actually published, and there has never been a problem of any kind. I don’t use embedded graphics or even many odds and ends like italics or accents so maybe I just don’t need to worry? And whilst Smashwords and Amazon are at daggers drawn over the best way to insert an active table of contents, it isn’t really a big deal for a fiction book that starts at the beginning and moves smoothly through the middle to the end. For me, Calibre does a superb job.

I first found Calibre when I got my first Kindle. You might have gathered that as well as published books I read a lot of fanfiction. Nowadays, I get most of it ready converted to mobi by AO3 and then just upload it the same way I upload mobi versions of published books. But I used to access a lot of it via social media and had to rely on Calibre to convert it for me so that I could take it anywhere on my Kindle.

About the only glitch I have found with Calibre is that when you switch to a new laptop and transfer your information you must never ever ever alter the path to the file/folder by renaming things or putting them in umbrella folders or it all disappears. I have no idea where it goes but go it does. Fortunately, I have never been in the position of having a crashed laptop and no means of retrieving it. And I do have some IT experts in the family.

So – Calibre makes life easy and Kindle makes carting my ‘library’ around even easier. But publishers and distributors don’t seem to have understood yet!