Spain: A New Playground for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror

Author and SF blogger, Cristina JuradoI am delighted to host author Cristina Jurado on my blog today to describe the current boom in Science Fiction in Spain and the assimilation of Fantasy into mainstream publishing. Cristina brings together the views of leading figures in Spain’s SFF community to discuss the future of science fiction, fantasy and horror publishing.

If Spain were the title of a recent fantasy movie, it would be “The desolation of Smaug”. The country has been in such economical stress over the last few years – rampaging unemployment, numerous banking and political scandals, and popular discontent over the Government decisions – that it looks as if it has been ravaged by powerful predators. No more Spanish miracle due to the booming of the construction market.

Spaniards are having a hard time getting back on their feet, and the cultural landscape has been greatly affected by high taxes (21% in cultural related products like e-books, movies, etc.) and cuts in public funding. Although the Conservative party in power has recently announced it is planning to lower taxes, people remain highly skeptical.

Fewer books but more science fiction titles Read more

47North Releases A Calculated Life, Today

The 47North editorial, design and publicity teams have surpassed themselves! In the space of just two months — since acquisitions editor David Pomerico signed me up — they have created a fabulous new cover for A Calculated Life, expedited my manuscript through the editing and proofing process, organized the audiobook and generally ‘put the word out there’. I’ve been involved at every stage in the process!

Little did I know when I took the difficult decision to self-publish my novel that, eight months later, I’d be signing a book deal with a US publisher. Read more

A Calculated Life signed up by publisher 47North

Big news!

I’ve signed a book deal with David Pomerico of 47North, Amazon Publishing’s science fiction, fantasy and horror imprint, for a new edition of my dystopian novel A Calculated Life.

How sweet does that sound? I can barely believe it.

The 47North team is based in Seattle and over this summer they will create a new cover for my novel, copy-edit and proofread the manuscript, including changing the text to American spellings (!), and release the new edition in mid-September 2013.

The original edition of A Calculated Life, with British English spellings and the great Mack Manning cover, will be available until the release of the 47North edition.

I’ve read some excellent feedback online from authors about their working relationships with Amazon Publishing and I can’t wait to get started. Read more

Self-Publishing Tips: Manuscript to CreateSpace Paperback

As soon as I released my Kindle eBook last November, I began formatting a paperback. Here’s a lengthy post with a few tips on self-publishing a paperback based on my experience with CreateSpace – a print-on-demand (POD) service operated by Amazon. The whole process was less fraught than I expected. In fact, I really enjoyed it.

Making a paperback is a fundamentally different process to creating an eBook. In the case of my Kindle eBook, I uploaded a Microsoft Word document – I explained the process in an earlier blogpost. In essence, this Word document was a long, single scroll of text. When readers download eBooks from the Amazon Kindle store, they can control the font and font size; those decisions are out of the author’s control.

pod dHowever, for the paperback, I had total control and at the end of the formatting process I uploaded a PDF to CreateSpace – so I knew exactly how the paperback would look. So here are my self-publishing tips for making a paperback with CreateSpace.

Before I plough on, I should point out that some authors prefer to publish their paperback before their eBook. This allows them to send advance reading copies to reviewers, and sometimes these ARCs are sent out with a draft cover design. However, I wanted to reach as many potential readers as possible in the shortest possible time so I started with an eBook. I might change my strategy for a second novel.

If you’re planning to publish a paperback, look at your own bookshelves and examine the differences between books. This will help you to make the following choices: Read more

I’ve Survived the Move from Posterous to WordPress

I’m ridiculously excited that I’ve shifted across to WordPress. I had to make the move because my previous blogging platform, Posterous, will be shut down at the end of April by its relatively new owner, Twitter. It’s a shame.

widgetSo this blog looks different from today: a little more (ahem) sophisticated with extra features such as a home page, category clouds, a little tweet feed, and ‘Anne’s Best Work’. These appear in the website sidebar, all thanks to widgets. Posterous didn’t do widgets – and I didn’t know what I was missing! Read more

Paperback Paperback! Released


I can’t express this any better than Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell: Ain’t nothing like the real thing, baby.

I’ve really enjoyed fine-tuning the paperback version of A Calculated Life and it’s now available on Amazon. Read more

Kindle Dollar Royalties Sorted, At Last


Indie-authors who operate outside the US often feel like country cousins who invariably arrive late to the party. But slowly things are improving. One breakthrough came earlier this year when Amazon’s CreateSpace switched to regional distribution for print-on-demand books. This alone persuaded me to go with CreateSpace for my paperback (announcement coming imminently on that front). Read more

Buy Your Own ISBNs To Unlock Pre-Ordering

Isbn_postI have discovered, unexpectedly, a major advantage in buying your own ISBNs for the print versions of your books. Self-published paperbacks (and hardbacks, I assume) with ISBNs can be pre-ordered on certain Amazon sites before the publication date.

Read more

Self-Publishing Tips: From Manuscript to Kindle


So, your manuscript is finished (raise the flags!) and you’re ready to self-publish your ebook. You’ve already set up an account on Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and you’ve completed all the information requested – book title, description, categories, verified your publishing rights.

Here are my hints and tips that should contribute to a smooth upload of your completed book. My advice is really aimed at other novelists rather than writers of non-fiction since their books have more complex formatting issues. And I took the simplest route, I believe, by preparing and uploading a Word document to the KDP website. (I won’t deal with the Front Cover upload in this blogpost). The KDP conversion process will produce a .mobi file, which you can download and check before you hit the Publish button. Read more

Authors Tempted to Switch to Self-Publishing

I didn’t notice this (staggeringly interesting) story in the run up to Christmas and I reckon it’s worth resurrecting. According to the Digital Census by Futurebook, almost half the traditionally published authors responding to their survey have contemplated switching to the self-publishing route. This is the first time that Futurebook (part of The Bookseller magazine) has posed questions to authors in its annual census.

In addition, traditionally published authors expressed less satisfaction with their publishers’ achievements (6.2 out of 10 rating) compared to self-published authors’ satisfaction with their own publishing efforts (7 out of 10 rating).

Trad authors complained about their ebooks being over-priced and that their publishers were slow to respond to market changes. They were disappointed with publishers’ ebook strategies as well as their marketing efforts.

As for authors who self-publish, many would be tempted to move to a traditional publisher for the kudos, for further intellectual property exploitation (eg translation rights), and . . . for improved marketing. (Ha ha! See above).

According to Futurebook’s Sam Missingham:

The obvious conclusion seems to be that we are at a significant moment when many authors are weighing the pros and cons of pursuing a self-publishing or traditional publishing route for their work.

Or a case, possibly, of the grass always being greener on the other side.

Maybe we’ll witness more developments in 2013 akin to literary agency Curtis Brown’s move into ‘self-publishing’. Curtis Brown is self-publishing in the US market for its established UK authors such as Tony Parsons.