Category Archives: paperback

Pegasus Falling’s new look

It is with great pleasure I present to you all the new cover of Pegasus Falling.

Pegasus Falling's new cover artwork

I’m really pleased with this new look for the first part of the Cypress Branches trilogy. It has taken a long time to get to this point, this being the fifth (and hopefully final!) version of the cover.

The previous four covers were all very similar, with small changes to the original picture of Lesley holding Sammy’s Paratrooper’s cap in her hands. Although I liked the image, and readers kept telling me they liked it too, I was never entirely happy with it as a cover. There was a certain something lacking which I couldn’t put my finger on.

For a while I had had the idea of using the image within a wider context. When I created the cover for The Bridge (William’s short story available to download for free), I considered using the haunting image of falling paratroopers on the cover of Pegasus Falling as well. I had a play around, but didn’t come up with anything satisfactory and left things as they were.

However, a few months ago, I opened up Photoshop again and had another play. This time, inspiration must have struck and I was much happier with the result. The original image of Lesley holding the red beret (captured brilliantly by photographer Dewi Clough) remains, but as part of a much more dynamic whole.

With the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Arnhem coming up next month, I’m really pleased that I have been able to include two bold key images portraying the British Parachute Regiment on the cover. The regiment, then newly formed, played an important part in the infamous and controversial operation which forms the backdrop for the opening scenes of the book. Even more poignantly, the author was a witness to those appalling scenes he describes so vividly – he was 18 when he fought on the front line at Arnhem, and used his experiences to tell his story.

I’d love to know what readers think of the new cover, so please do leave a comment or get in touch.

It Never Was You is ready to (indiego)go!

It Never Was You will be released some time in April. Yep, that’s a month later than previously announced, but having looked at the lead times, I realised I was being a little hasty and have had to put it back by a few weeks.

I know that will come as a blow to many readers who are waiting patiently to read it. However, there is a way to get your hands on a copy early. Want to know how? Then read on…

Want to get hold of It Never Was You before anyone else?
Click here to head to the campaign and grab the perk!

In order to give It Never Was You the launch it deserves, I’ve put together a crowd funding campaign on indiegogo.com.

indiegogo is a great place where all sorts of people from around the world are raising money for all kinds of concerns. From film makers trying to get their latest project off the ground to charities raising awareness of their cause, it’s full of inspiring stories and projects and well worth a browse.

Publishing the Cypress Branches trilogy is a labour of love for me, and it’s something I do without the aim of making a profit – in fact, I’ve ploughed a lot more money in than I’ve got out. The reason I do it is because I’m determined to see William’s work in print. That vision, and this project, costs money, and that’s where this campaign comes in.

Last year I was able to fund a print run and the beginnings of a marketing push for Pegasus Falling using my own funds before selling one book. This year, I was facing the possibility of having to launch It Never Was You without any funding available. Whilst I would have been able to launch the books by making them available as an ebook and via print-on-demand on Amazon, I would not have been able to distribute them to a wider audience. That would mean that I would not be able to supply the shops which stock Pegasus Falling with stocks of its sequel, or send copies to journalists, reviewers and bloggers. Not the best way to keep the momentum going! By creating this campaign, I should be able to give It Never Was You the push it deserves.

So why indiegogo? 

One of the great innovations of the site is something they call “perks”. Perks are rewards which people can claim in exchange for a contribution. Film makers provide anything from a DVD of their finished movie to the chance to go on set during filming. Charities offer a warm fuzzy feeling or priority booking on fundraising events.

I’ve made one of the perks of contributing to the Cypress Branches campaign being able to get your hands on an advance copy of It Never Was You. Depending on your budget (or your preference!) you can request an ebook or paperback copy as a perk, sent to you as soon as the files are ready / the books are printed in mid March, and before they appear on Amazon or in the shops. By grabbing one of these perks, you’ll get a copy at the same time as the review copies go out, and be amongst the first to read it.

It’s the perfect solution, I think. I can raise funds to ensure that I can give It Never Was You the perfect launch, and also make sure that all you lovely lot who have supported me over the past year or more get the chance to read the book sooner. (And enjoy the bragging rights!)

If you’re feeling generous and fancy treating yourself to an extra special perk, there is also the chance to own a copy with a personal handwritten note from me inside, or a rare copy of the hardback edition featuring the original manuscript we printed back in 2009 or even get your name added to the acknowledgements page.

Whatever way of contributing you choose, you can be sure that every penny raised will go towards getting William’s books into print. I’ve set the target at £2,000. This will pay for an initial print run of It Never Was You, a second run of Pegasus Falling and a big marketing push to get sales going.

The great thing is that we can keep raising money, even if we reach the target before the end of the campaign. If we can smash the target, I’ll plough all the extra money straight back into the project, starting work on Part Three of the trilogy as soon as possible.

If we don’t reach the target, I will still receive around 90% of the funds pledged (indiegogo raise their fees to 9% if you don’t reach your target). Whilst this would be less than ideal, it will still mean that I can go ahead with launching It Never Was You – but the print run may have to be postponed or curtailed and the marketing will be much scaled back. This would be sad. Let’s not think about it.

Spread the word…

The success of the campaign very much depends on how far we can spread the word. If you’d love to see William’s trilogy taking a significant step closer to completion, then please help get the word out there by heading to the campaign page and using the “share this campaign” tools. You can “Like” it on Facebook, send a tweet, do whatever you do on G+, share on your blog or website, send your friends an email or do all of the above, all from within the campaign. You can also post comments, check for updates and brag to your friends that you’re helping William get his books printed.

And the cool thing is that the more of us who share, the greater chance we have of raising the profile of the campaign on indiegogo itself! They use an algorithm which measures a campaign’s success and attributes it a “gogofactor”. The higher the gogofactor, the higher up the campaign goes in the listings, and the better chance it has of being spotted by others using the site.

I won’t be releasing any copies of It Never Was You to general buyers until the official launch date. The only way to get a copy before then is to contribute to the campaign and request the perk. Then you’ll not only get that warm fuzzy feeling from knowing you’re helping me get William’s books out there and into the hands of the audience we all know will love them, but you’ll also be able to read them before anyone else! Now there’s bragging rights!

Head to the campaign page now, grab your perk and get sharing! 

As ever, happy reading, everyone and thank you all for your continued support!

Coming to America!

Last week, Pegasus Falling “landed” in the United States in paperback.

To mark the occasion, Melissa hosted a guest post I wrote on her There For You blog introducing Sammy, the main character. To get to know Sammy, and also read an exclusive extended extract from the book, head over to Melissa’s blog by clicking here

To celebrate the release of the book across the pond, we’re giving you the chance to win one of five copies of the paperback. If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning, head over to Goodreads.com and enter the giveaway. 

Hurry, the giveaway closes on 20th July.

Good luck, and happy reading!



Pegasus Falling is available now to buy in paperback for $13.99 from amazon.com

Print On Demand vs Short Print Runs

I finally received the proof copy of Pegasus Falling from CreateSpace yesterday which seemed to take its time crossing the pond. I had a good look over it and thought this would be a good opportunity to showcase the differences in build quality between the original Short Print Run (SPR) copies we had made by Biddles for the UK market and the Print On Demand (POD) copies made by CreateSpace which will be sold through Amazon in the UK and US.

As you can see from the photo below, the front covers belay quite a few differences, despite the fact that both books have been built using almost identical files. In all photos, the short print run copy is on the left and the Print on Demand copy on the right.

There are both positives and negatives to be had from both manufacturing techniques, some of which I touched on in an earlier post. Here, I’m looking at the build quality in particular.

FRONT COVER

Two Pegasi: The SPR copy is on
the left, the POD copy on the right

Now, bearing in mind that I have tweaked the artwork slightly from the original print run (in order to highlight the text on the cover) so ignoring those traits, it immediately struck me that the colours on the POD copy were vastly different to those on the SPR. The colours are much warmer, with a slightly reddish tinge to the whole cover. I’m putting this down to the CreateSpace printers being calibrated differently, as both cover files were built using a CMYK colour space. I think I prefer the toned down hues of the SPR book, but others may “warm” to the other cover (see what I did there?).

The board used on the POD cover is of a lower grade – it feels flimsier, and you can see how much it wants to curl in the picture. This isn’t necessarily a problem, as some readers have commented that they prefer their paperbacks to be flexible and the SPR copies have too stiff a cover. Personally, I prefer the feel of the SPR copy, but that’s personal taste!

BACK COVER

You can see the red tinge in the POD cover on the supposedly monochrome back cover here. Thankfully, the quality of the image rendering on both covers is acceptable, and the text is legible. 
The biggest difference on the back cover is the barcode area. CreateSpace insert the barcode automatically, meaning you have no control over where it goes on the design. This is all to do with making the process as easy as possible for authors who might not be technically minded. For me, though, it caused a headache. As I had designed my back cover before CreateSpace was available, and therefore had to add the barcode myself, this meant a redesign.

I’d have preferred it if CreateSpace gave you the option. It’s a shame, because I prefer the white box design on the SPR cover over the white bar on the POD. Still, both are fine, and contain identical info (bar the pricing which reflects US and EU prices now we’re international and all!).

Since the proof was completed, we’ve had a couple of fairly high-profile reviews. I’ve added some excepts to the back cover, so it will look slightly different on the finished books. 

SPINE

Now, this is the biggest difference between the two. The CreateSpace book is a full 5mm thinner than the short print run copy. This is because I decided to opt for a heavier grade of paper stock for the original print run. Believe it or not, both books contain an identical number of pages. Biddles offer different paper stocks (and will even send samples to help you make your choice, which was very helpful) and I have to admit I was tempted by the thicker stock. This added to the cost of the run, but I felt it was worth it, as it made for a more impressive spine width.

CreateSpace, however, only give you a choice of white or cream – there is no choice of paper weight. And I wasn’t even given that choice, as cream paper stock is only available with a limited choice of paper sizes, and I wanted to match the paper size of the UK books, which happens to be one of the sizes cream paper isn’t available for.

As an aside, I’m really happy with the changes that have been made to the spine artwork. It’s amazing the difference that some shadowing makes to the text. I’m particularly pleased with how the cropped cover image has come out. This was included because I figured that most books on bookshop shelves will not be front-facing, so it needs something to entice the wannabee reader. I love the cover image for Pegasus Falling (courtesy of the very talented Dewi Clough) and it looks great on the spine too!

INSIDE

Short Print Run

Print on Demand

Finally, a look at the interior…the meaty bit…let’s face it, the bit that matters the most (to the reader, at least). Like the cover, the interior was built using almost identical files. The CreateSpace system, however, insisted on minor changes being made, which caused some head scratching and late night cursing a couple of weeks ago. The eagle-eyed among you will spot that the gutter (the area where the pages disappear into the spine) is wider on the POD copy. A wider shot of the pages would show that the outside borders are narrower than the SPR book too. The difference is only a few millimetres. This is an improvement in a way because the writing doesn’t slip into the gutter quite as much as on the SPR book.

The difference is negated, though, because as you can see, the CreateSpace book folds back much more than the Biddles book does. I’ll almost certainly make this change on future short print runs.

Now, I know that the act of breaking the spine can be a controversial one. Personally, I hate doing it (so this test broke my heart a little bit), but another member of my household loves doing it, and complained to me that Pegasus Falling‘s spine didn’t break easily enough.

I cracked both books roughly in the middle. I wanted to see firstly, how easy they were to bend and secondly, how flat they’d lay. The POD copy was a lot easier to bend back, so spine-breakers will love it. It also lies very flat compared to the SPR copy, so it’s a good one to lay down on the table. Readers who like to keep their spines in tact, on the other hand, will prefer the SPR copy! 


As you can see from the close ups below, the spine on the SPR copy looked to be in much better shape after the crack, with the binding starting to show through on the POD copy. Now, I did give both books a good old bending back, which was probably a bit rougher treatment than they would get in every day use, but it does point to better build quality on the SPR copy. 

The SPR copy – the spine was harder to bend

The POD copy – note the binding starting to show through

Another difference is that the text is heavier on the SPR copy. The paper stock seems to be more porous, and the ink has been soaked in a bit more. It’s not a big difference, though, and I’d rate the print quality highly on both copies. 

IN CONCLUSION

So, both copies have their positive and negative traits. I would say that the build quality on the UK-made short print run copy is slightly better than the US-made print on demand one. However, the choices made (and available to me at the time) have had a bearing on this outcome. The thicker paper stock makes for a more substantial SPR copy, and the spine is certainly a lot more sturdy. However, the POD copy is probably a bit more “reader friendly” thanks to its more pliable spine. 


From a publishing point of view, I’m very happy with both copies, and I’ll continue to use both manufacturing techniques in the future. The choice is there to just use CreateSpace. Copies can be ordered in bulk at a discount for the author to distribute themselves and the prices per copy are comparable when ordered in batches of 100. However, all CreateSpace bulk orders are manufactured in the US and shipped over and I’m keen to support British manufacturing wherever possible. So, Short print runs will continue to be made for distribution to UK bookshops and CreateSpace will be used for all Amazon sales channels. It’s fantastic that the choice is there. 


So, to you readers after a copy, I’d say the choice is yours…


If you’re a spine breaker, head to amazon


If you’re a spine preserver, order it from your local bookshop or head to acuteanglebooks.co.uk


If none of this is of concern to you because the spine on your Kindle will never break, try here


Happy reading!

A few questions about CreateSpace

This is a technical post, so look away now if you’re not interested in the ins and outs of distributing your books on Amazon!
As I posted over the weekend, we’ve set the ball rolling to make Pegasus Falling available using CreateSpace, and therefore always “in stock” on Amazon in the US, UKand Europe.
Before the off, I had a few questions, so I emailed the CreateSpace team with them. To their credit, the customer service team replied within 24 hours with a fairly comprehensive answer. As I’m sure the replies will be useful for other self-pubbers who are considering using CreateSpace, I thought I’d share them here.
Question 1: I understand that I can upload my own files to CreateSpace, therefore being able to create a virtually identical book to the ones I have printed elsewhere. As the books/content would be identical, would I be able to use the existing ISBN number?
To be honest, this question wasn’t answered directly. What was included in their reply was this nugget: “If you use a new ISBN for the title, a new Amazon detail page will be built in stages over five to seven business days, which will be separate from the detail page created for your Amazon Advantage account.”
My main concern was that because there would be a few minor changes to the look of the book (it will still look pretty much the same, but I’m making some improvements to the cover artwork and minor layout changes to conform with CreateSpace’s requirements), would I need a new ISBN or be able to use the existing one already used and registered in the UK?
Bowker, the US ISBN agency has this to say about ISBNs and the difference between reprints and new editions: “A reprint means more copies are being printed with no substantial changes. Perhaps a few typos are being fixed. A new edition means that there has been substantial change: content has been altered in a way that might make a customer complain that this was not the product that was expected. Or, text has been changed to add a new feature, such as a preface or appendix or additional content. Or, content has been revised. Or, the book has been redesigned.” Source: http://www.isbn.org/standards/home/about/faqs6.html

They key word here is “substantial”, so, it seems that because there would only be minor changes to the book’s artwork, we will not need to use a different ISBN. All that’s changing is that we’re using a different distribution method. I doubt customers would be too disgruntled by the fact that the barcode on the back cover has moved from the lower left- to the lower right-hand side!
One point I should note here for anyone else considering using their own ISBN for a CreateSpace book is that if you do so, it does restrict the distribution opportunities you can access via the premium Expanded Distribution option, namely US libraries and academic institutions. The expanded distribution option also allows distribution to other retailers and via CreateSpace’s wholesale website.
Obviously, using a new ISBN provided by CreateSpace would negate this issue and allow access to all distribution opportunities, but this would cause problems elsewhere – the CreateSpace book would be considered a different product and therefore listed separately on Amazon’s sites. The existing book with the existing ISBN would still be listed as “Out of Print – Limited Availability” which would be a disaster. Although it would be nice to make Pegasus Falling available to libraries in the US, it’s not a priority, so I’m willing to forego that opportunity to avoid potentially more serious problems.
Question 2. By changing from using Advantage to CreateSpace, will this affect the book’s listing on the Amazon Europe channels? As I plan to use the existing ISBN number, will the system recognise the new distribution channel, or do I need to take any further action to ensure this?
According to the reply, there would be a problem as long as our Advantage account remained active because Amazon’s system would always order inventory there rather than use CreateSpace.
Their reply went on to explain exactly what needs to be done to transfer the title to CreateSpace, which I repeat here verbatim:
1. Set up your title in your CreateSpace Member Account. Complete all steps for your title’s information and upload your files.
2. We will then review your files to determine if they meet our submission requirements. If your files meet our requirements, you will be able to order a proof copy through your Member Account.
3. Once you receive your proof and are satisfied with the results, approve your proof through your Member Account. Immediately after your proof is approved, customers can start ordering your title from your CreateSpace eStore.
4.When your new title page is live on
Amazon.com, discontinue your Advantage Membership or close out individual titles by contacting the Advantage Vendor Services Team through your Advantage Account: http://www.amazon.com/advantage
In short, set up the title in CreateSpace first, then make sure the title is closed out in your Advantage account soon after. When any inventory left in stock is sold out, Amazon will then start ordering books through CreateSpace.
It all sounds relatively straight forward but my concern with their answer is that they refer to amazon.com. We’re signed up with amazon.co.uk, so I’m not entirely sure whether the process will be as smooth as they make out. I’ll report back if there are any problems.
Question 3: Can I continue to print copies of the book via my usual printers for distribution to other outlets?
Their simple reply was, “To confirm, the Member Agreement is non-exclusive, meaning you may pursue various distribution channels if you wish.”
This is fantastic news because, although you can order bulk copies from CreateSpace to distribute yourself (either to friends or other retailers), and at fairly reasonable prices, I’m very keen to carry on supporting the UK printers we’ve been using so far. We still intend to print more copies for distribution away from Amazon (we’re hoping to be stocked in more shops as time goes on) and we can continue to support the British printing industry. What’s more, when you order copies of your own books, these orders are printed in the US, despite the fact that customer orders which originate in the UK and EU are now being printed this side of the pond.
I hope these pointers have been helpful for anyone considering a similar move. Whether all this means that the transfer from Advantage to CreateSpace will be successful or fraught with problems remains to be seen. I do wonder just how much Amazon’s US, UK and European arms communicate with each other. Fingers crossed all goes smoothly, but if we do encounter problems, I’ll be sure to blog about them and try and help others to avoid any unforeseen pitfalls.

we’re currently waiting for the proof to arrive from the US. When it does arrive (hopefully within the next week), I’ll be comparing the CreateSpace book with one printed in the UK. It’ll be interesting to see how they differ and I’m really hoping the quality will be similar. Watch this space!

Happy reading and self-pubbing!
Mike

The Createspace Conundrum

This week I’ve had my head down concentrating on something I would have liked to have done months ago, but until now realistic opportunities just haven’t been there.  We’re about to launch Pegasus Falling in the USA using CreateSpace, a print on demand service from Amazon. If all goes well, by the end of this month, it should be listed as In Stock rather than “Out of Print – Limited Availability” as it is currently on amazon.com, which is all very exciting. What’s more, signing up to CreateSpace has some other very important benefits which will help things on this side of the Atlantic too.

Amazon represents a bit of a conundrum for the small publisher. You can’t sell large amounts of books without being available on the Amazon websites, but their terms and conditions make for eye-watering reading when it actually comes to having your book in stock.
Now, this post is far from an Amazon bash. Far from it, I think they are providing some very important services which are invaluable to self-publishers. In fact, they’re offering services and products which no-one else has had the gumption to offer so far, and they do make selling ebooks very easy indeed (some might say too easy) and have pretty much revolutionised the industry. There is a great deal we self-pubbers have to be grateful for on the whole. However, until now I’ve felt that it is a very different story when it comes to selling physical copies with them.
I’ve been struggling to work out what the best course of action is for the paperback version of Pegasus Falling for months. Initially, I decided to take the same direction I did with the hardback of The Cypress Branches– print a short run for distribution to different outlets and print more runs as and when necessary. When we printed the hardback in 2009, I’d researched the options on the market – everything from Print on Demand to the various complete self-publishing printing and marketing products available. I decided to take the middle-road option and print a short run myself. I found a great partner in Biddles – they’re UK based and offered a very competitive price for an excellent product. They were also rather nice to work with. It made perfect sense to use them again for Pegasus Falling.
To make this whole venture work, we had to make sure we could set a reasonable retail price and thankfully, the printing and other costs involved meant that we could do just that. We could supply books to retailers for the going rate of 40-50% discount and still manage to scrape in a small profit to plough into the next book. The problem comes when you consider Amazon who insist that you sign up to their Advantage programme in order to ensure that your book retains an “In Stock” status on their websites. Basically, you sign up and their system orders books from you as and when needed. It all sounds great until you consider the fact that they insist on a 60% trade rate and that vendors must swallow shipping costs as well. That must be fine for vendors dealing in the hundreds or thousands of copies at a time, but so far Amazon have ordered only a handful of books from us, one copy at a time. This has meant that with every copy we have supplied Amazon, we have lost in the region of £2-2.50. Coupled with the fact that Pegasus Falling is currently listed as out of stock (something the Advantage programme is supposed to avoid), clearly, there is no advantage for us as a small publisher. 
Just as I was about to pull my hair out, along came CreateSpace. I’d already heard about the Print On Demand service from Amazon, and had had a look into it several months ago, but I’d had to dismiss it because it didn’t offer a solution for the UK market – and as we’re based in the UK, and the books are based around British characters, the UK will be our biggest market, certainly to begin with.
However, late last month, Amazon announced that CreateSpace was going to be available for distribution to Amazon’s UK & European markets. I found this out quite by chance from Catherine Ryan Howard’s rather useful (and entertaining) blog, so thank you Catherine.
So, a second look at CreateSpace revealed that it might actually fulfil many desires which had so far remained unfulfilled, and hopefully without too many problems. Not only does it offer the opportunity to actually make rather than lose money by selling print books in the UK, but also makes the book available in the potentially lucrative markets in Europe and the US. And without the need to price the book ridiculously high in order to not lose out.
After I had emailed CreateSpace and received a reply (within 24 hours – something to be congratulated) which assuaged a couple of concerns (I’ll blog more about the nitty gritty at a later date), I spent the week tweaking the print-ready files in order to make them compatible with their systems (something else I’ll go into more detail with later), and today I ordered the proof copy which is about to be printed and shipped over for approval. It’s due with us on the 14th and all being well, we’ll have it up and available to buy in print in the US and (when the copies Amazon hold in stock at the moment are sold) in the UK and Europe shortly after. At least that’s the plan…we’ll see how things go!
As a lover of books in all shapes and sizes, it has always been a high priority for me to have the book available in print as well as e-ink, but somehow it always felt a bit like a novelty aside rather than a serious side to the project, the print books being subsidised by the ebook sales. Now, all being well, it feels much more like an integral part of the business and a wider audience will be able to enjoy the book, which has always been the ultimate goal. With many US based bloggers lined up to review Pegasus Falling in the coming weeks and months, it’s fantastic that it will be easily available in whatever format readers prefer when the reviews come out.
I’ll blog again when the proof arrives and when the book goes live. It’ll be interesting to see how smoothly the transition from Advantage to CreateSpace goes. 
Happy reading!
Mike

Pegasus Falling has landed!

This post was originally published on acuteanglebooks.co.uk on 26th March 2012

A newsletter was sent to the mailing list this morning to announce the launch of Pegasus Falling. Here’s what was sent. To join the mailing list, send a message to contactusATacuteanglebooksDOTcoDOTuk.

Dear Friends and Family,

Launch day has finally arrived and Pegasus Falling is now available as a paperback and ebook. Yesterday, we held a small party at the care home where William is now resident, so that the man himself could be included in the celebrations. A massive thank you to those involved in putting the day together and to everyone who attended for giving the book a brilliant launch. Pictures of the day can be found on the website here.

We plan to make Pegasus Falling available as widely as possible and you have a plethora of options for where to buy it. And if you haven’t made up your mind whether to buy it yet or not, you can download samples from both the paperback on the acuteanglebooks website and the ebook at Smashwords (follow the links below).

PAPERBACK – £8.99
The paperback is available now to buy online from www.acuteanglebooks.co.uk/pegasusfalling and if you order before 30th April 2012, you’ll get the ebook as well for free.

It can be ordered from Amazon and Waterstones.

It is also available to buy through the Facebook page – www.facebook.com/pegasusfalling.

We’ll be approaching high street retailers over the coming weeks, including big chains and local bookshops, to see if they’d like to stock the book. In the mean time, if you’d like to buy from your local shop, they can order it from their wholesaler by quoting the ISBN number – 978-0-9562299-1-5.

EBOOK – from £1.53
Pegasus Falling is also available as an ebook. This is a very exciting prospect as the e-reader phenomenon takes hold. We’ve priced the book very competitively and will cost as little as £1.53 in the UK, EUR2.60 in Europe and $2.40 in the US (depending on the addition of VAT).

Kindle – download at the Amazon Kindle store in the UK, US, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

Smashwords – head to www.smashwords.com to download the book in a range of formats which are suitable for any reading device or for reading on your computer. It’s an American site, so prices are in US$, but you can buy from anywhere in the world using PayPal (they’ll do the currency conversion for you). It’s a great site in itself with a huge range of interesting and unusual ebooks published independently.

The ebook will be made available through other ebook retailers in the coming weeks, including the Apple iBook store on iTunes and Kobo. Keep checking and it should appear shortly!

WE NEED YOUR REVIEWS!
We’re now about to plug the book for all its worth to generate interest and excitement. We’ll start with the local press and social networking sites and work our way up to the national press over the coming weeks and months.

But there’s nothing like word of mouth to get the buzz started, and there are a number of ways you can join in and help us spread the word. If you can do any of the following, we’d be incredibly grateful!

Like the facebook page – Next time you’re on Facebook, have a look at the Pegasus Falling page. Clicking “Like” will not only show all of our updates in your newsfeed, but also help us spread the word around Facebook. The more likes we have, the better our chances of success. Feel free to join in and leave comments and messages on the page.

Leave a comment – use the comments box at the bottom of the page in the shop to tell us (and your friends!) what you think of the book.

Follow us on Twitter – follow @cypressbranches for updates and use #PegasusFalling to talk about the book. We’re getting followers from all over the world, which is fantastic.

Rate us on Smashwords – leave your star rating and help us raise the book’s profile on the site.

Tell your friends – if you’ve enjoyed the book, let your friends know!

Tell us – email contactusATacuteanglebooksDOTcoDOTuk to let us know your thoughts. Please mark your email “Not for publication” if you’d prefer your comments not to be used in our publicity.

Once again, a massive thank you to everyone who’s bought a book (or plans to) and for all the support we’ve been given over the last few years.

Happy reading!

Mike Harris
acuteANGLE books

Ebooks vs. Tree books

This post was originally published on acuteanglebooks.co.uk on 9th March 2012

The debate is well and truly raging – what’s better? Digital ink and the handheld device? Or a good old fashioned paperback?

When we published The Cypress Branches back in 2009, digital books were still in their infancy and I never really gave the idea of releasing a digital version any thought. But now, E-books and digital publishing is definitely a force to be reckoned with and we simply can’t ignore them.

The whole E-reader revolution has somewhat taken me by surprise. In only three years, they’ve gone from a relative novelty to a must-have accessory. According to research, astonishingly, 1 in 40 adults in the UK received an e-reader for Christmas last year – that’s over a million E-readers. And just as interesting is the fact that they appear to be more popular with the over 55s than they do with younger age groups. It therefore makes perfect sense to make Pegasus Falling available in digital format and that’s exactly what I’m working on at the moment. In fact, I’m thinking that digital copies will far out-sell the print version.

The quality of the reading experience aside, I believe the key to digital publishing’s success is the cost. Amazon reported to be selling its devices at below production cost, no doubt in an effort to get them into as many homes as possible and therefore sell more E-books. They are, in retail terms, a loss-leader. And the books themselves tend to be cheaper – best-sellers from established names aside, most commercial E-books tend to be in the region of £1-2. That’s no doubt a big sell, and it has made the traditional publishing industry sit up and think.

This time around, I’ve always had the digital version of the book firmly planted in the back of my mind as I’ve prepared Pegasus Falling for print. And a lot of people have asked me why I’ve even bothered printing hard copies when it would be easy enough (and a lot cheaper) to just release it online.

Personally, I still prefer paper to plastic, and I know a lot of people out there feel the same. I also think that there is still a stigma attached to “digital books”. There are millions of books which are published exclusively online every year. Pegasus Falling could have been one of their number, fighting for recognition in a very large and crowded field. But I believe there is still a desire for people to own the actual book and publishing it in physical form as well as online lends a book a certain legitimacy. It also gives people a choice – it’s there if they want to buy it, in which ever form they wish.

This morning, Channel 5’s The Wright Stuff held an interesting debate on this very issue, and thankfully, it reassured me that we’re on the right track in terms of making the books available in both physical and digital forms. Matthew Wright’s guest, children’s author Michael Rosen, appears to be a fan of E-readers, as do the callers and audience members asked – but there were also murmurings of that desire to hold and interact with a paper book.

One question which always pops up is whether E-books will kill off the printed book altogether. I’m with Rosen on this one – I doubt it. There’s no reason why the success of one means the end of the other and I think they can both live alongside each other. There will always be a wish to own books and after all, doesn’t the saying go, “a home without books is a body without soul”?

NEWSLETTER – MARCH 2012

This post was originally published on acuteanglebooks.co.uk on 9th March 2012

Below is the text from the latest newsletter, sent to members of the mailing list on 7th March 2012. If you’d like to be added to the mailing list and receive all future newsletter directly to your inbox, please send an email to newsletterATacuteanglebooksDOTcoDOTuk

Dear friends and family,

PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY OF PEGASUS FALLING TODAY!

There may only be 141 days left to go before London 2012, but booklovers have another, much closer, date to look forward to. Pegasus Falling, the first part of the Cypress Branches trilogy, launches in just 19 days and after a lot of hard work, and what seemed like an interminable wait, the first batch of books arrived this morning from the printers and I am very happy to announce that Pegasus Falling is now available to pre-order from the website. Head over to www.acuteanglebooks.co.uk/pegasusfalling to order your copy.

Pre-ordered books will be dispatched to arrive on launch day so this is the only way to guarantee receiving your copy before the official launch date of 26th March. Depending on how well the postal service is working, you may be lucky enough to receive your copy a day or two early (but I can’t make any promises!). Pre-ordering will be available until Wednesday 21st March 2012 when the site will revert to normal sales. All orders placed after 21st March will be dispatched from 26th March onwards, so hurry to make sure you bag your copy early.

THE DIGITAL EDITION
Those of you with Ereaders will be glad to know that Pegasus Falling is also going to be available on many devices. From launch, it will be available in the Amazon Kindle bookshop. Other devices and ebook services will follow in due course. Links to all available formats will be presented via the “Pegasus Falling Digital Edition” page on the website.

KEEP UP WITH ALL THE NEWS
A lot will be happening over the next couple of months as the PR campaign kicks into action. As I’m keen to keep these newsletters to no more than once a month, if you’d like to keep right up to date with all the news, you can:

Follow @cypressbranches on Twitter and use the hashtag #PegasusFalling to discuss the book with your friends. Let’s get it trending!
“Like” us on Facebook. Pegasus Falling now has its own Facebook page. Search Pegasus Falling, like the page and all the latest will be streamed straight to your newsfeed.
Join the website and discuss the book in the Forum. Membership on the site is free and I’m keen to get people nattering about the book in the forum. Click on “Join this site” in the top left of the screen on the site and get the discussion going.

Facebook, Twitter and of course, the website itself will be updated regularly with news and photos and anything else happening. The newsletter will be sent out every so often with a digest of the latest in case you missed anything.

As ever, please feel free to forward this newsletter to anyone you think would be interested in the book. Everyone is welcome! And feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions or queries – the address to write to is contactusATacuteanglebooksDOTcoDOTuk.

I’ll be in touch again on 26th March to mark the launch day. Until then, best wishes to you all.

Mike Harris
acuteANGLE books

A note on the digital edition: We will not be selling ebooks directly from the website. Instead, we are making it available through third-party sites which specialise in selling ebooks.

NEWSLETTER – JANUARY 2012

This post was originally published on acuteanglebooks.co.uk on 11th January 2012

Below is the text from the January newsletter, sent to members of the mailing list on 11th January 2012. If you’d like to be added to the mailing list and receive all future newsletter directly to your inbox, please send an email to contactusATacuteanglebooksDOTcoDOTuk.

Dear friends and family,

First of all, a very happy new year to you all. Once again, it has been a long time between newsletters – in fact, well over a year this time! And it’s been quite a year – I’m not entirely sure where the time has gone.

Despite the lack of news, there has been no shortage of action behind the scenes as far as The Cypress Branches is concerned and I’m now ready to reveal some very exciting details of the forthcoming release of the first paperback edition.

PEGASUS FALLING – THE FIRST PART OF THE CYPRESS BRANCHES TRILOGY – DUE FOR RELEASE 26th MARCH 2012

As I revealed in the last newsletter, The Cypress Branches has been split into 3 parts for release as a series of paperbacks. The first is very nearly ready and will be released on 26th March. That’s only 75 days from now!

Titled Pegasus Falling, the first book follows the emotional story of paratrooper Sammy and his search for the woman he loves in war-torn Europe. William’s work has been edited in such a way that this story is able to stand alone as it is, but will also link in with the other two books when they’re released. The editing has been as “soft touch” as possible. The order of chapters has been moved around, but nothing has been added and as little as possible has been omitted. It’s been another labour of love to get the paperback ready. Lessons have been learned from printing the hardback and many of the compromises that were made to fit the whole work into one volume haven’t been necessary this time. (Many of you will be happy to hear that the text size is larger than in the hardback.)

The manuscript is very nearly finished – all that remains is one last proofread – and the cover is also just about there. My humble thanks go to everyone involved in the photo shoot in the summer. I think we have finished with a very powerful cover which is a credit to the book. Once everything’s signed off, it’ll be off to the printers.

Pegasus Falling will be priced £8.99 and will be available for pre-order from the website very soon – hopefully mid/late February. If you’d like to register your interest before then, please send an email to sales AT acuteanglebooks DOT co DOT uk. It will also be available as a digital book on Kindle from Amazon. I’m also exploring other digital formats, so watch this space – and let me know if there is a particular format that you’d like to see it published in.

NEW WEBSITEacuteanglebooks.co.uk
Earlier this year, I took down the old website – http://www.thecypressbranches.org. In its place I have been putting together a brand new website – acuteanglebooks.co.uk – in preparation for the launch of Pegasus Falling. The new site is designed to be much more attractive, professional, user-friendly and interactive. The idea is for it to grow as the books are released. Some of the features of the new site include:

News – a blog to cover all the news stories about the book as and when they happen.

Shop – a place to buy all of the books as they’re released with all the information you need about each book on its own page and easy & safe checkout using PayPal. There will also be a “look inside” feature where you’ll be able to download and read a preview of the book.

Forum – a place to discuss all things Cypress Branches with other readers. The forum can be read by anyone, but only members will be able to take part (see below).

FAQs – for all those niggling questions you might have.

Membership – by joining the site, you’ll be able to post messages in the forum and sign up to receive the newsletter (but don’t worry, if you’re already on the mailing list you’ll still receive it even if you don’t join the site). Membership is free and you can sign up by clicking on “Join this site” in the top right-hand corner of each page.  Members will receive news and offers before anyone else and there will be other benefits in the future.

I’m also planning a lot of other online features to help the book get mentioned, including a Facebook page and comments boxes. I’ll send more details about these features closer to the book launch. As ever, I’ll keep email updates to a minimum though, rather than clog up everyone’s inbox. The @cypressbranches Twitter feed will continue and be updated more regularly – if you don’t already, please follow us for all the latest news.

The site is up and running now, so please feel free to have a look around and join in – it would be great to get the forum up and running. Please do get in touch if you have any comments, suggestions or if you spot any problems – it’s still under construction, so there may be a few niggles.

NEW EMAIL ADDRESSES
This will be the last newsletter sent from contactus AT thecypressbranches DOT org. This and all other “thecypressbranches DOT org” addresses will now be wound down and all future newsletters will be sent using a dedicated email address – newsletter AT acuteanglebooks DOT co DOT uk. Please add this to your contacts list or safe list to ensure you continue receiving the newsletter.

You can contact me/us by emailing contactus AT acuteanglebooks DOT co DOT uk (also as it appears above). Please do not reply to the newsletter address – it is an unmonitored account and we may not read it!

2012 promises to be a very exciting year. I simply can’t wait to get Pegasus Falling out there at last. Please forward this email to anyone you think might be interested, and point them in the direction of the new website. This continues to be a small, family-run project and its success depends on a community spirit getting behind it and people talking about it. A lot of people have a lot of faith in William’s work and it would be fantastic to make it as big a success as it deserves to be.

I’ll be in touch again in February with details of how to pre-order your copies. In the meantime,  a big thank you to everyone for their continued support and a very happy and healthy 2012 to you all.

With best wishes,

Mike
acuteANGLE books