News Process

Paperback writer…

Today I’ve been formatting the paperback version of Practice to Deceive, which is long, long overdue for a paperback version! Just like when I first published the book on Kindle, this is really a testing ground for me… and boy, it’s testing.

I forgot how god-damn finicky Word can be when it comes to formatting. While I write in Scrivener and would never change that, to format, you really need to use an external word processor… and Word is pretty much the only game in town. Getting Word to format correctly so you can create a 6in by 9in paperback is a pain in the ass, though. Especially because of Styles. Grrr.

The original cover for Practice to Deceive.
The original cover for Practice to Deceive.

Well, after a couple of hours, it looks like I’m almost there. Right now assuming I don’t make any more big changes to the text size, etc, Practice to Deceive is looking like it will be a 386-page paperback, roughly. (I have no idea what it’ll cost, but as I’m making it print-on-demand, it won’t be cheap. Sorry, but Kindle / eBook will always be cheaper.)

The next big hurdle is coming up with a new cover design for the book. The original cover (shown here) was one I got from a pre-designed cover site. At the time I was fine with it, even though it wasn’t exactly what I wanted. It was close enough – a woman, looking sexy and suitably mysterious. Over time though, I came to like it less and less. I’m not a huge fan of the typefaces, and the woman, while sexy, doesn’t really look like I picture Linda (or rather, Billy-as-Linda). It’s an elegant cover, but it’s not quite as attention grabbing as I want it to be.

In the years since I’ve learned a lot more about Photoshop and cover design. I created the covers for A Lie Within A Lie, and think they came out pretty well. So, now I’m tinkering with new cover designs for Practice to Deceive. When I’ve got some final candidates, I’ll share them here and I’d love to get people’s opinions on what they think works. Shortly after that, anyone who’s been jones’ing for a paperback will be able to get one, with the new cover included!

Right, back to wrestling with Word.


The bad and the good

The bad…

So: I got my first-ever one-star review on Amazon recently, for A Lie Within A Lie: The Singer. Here it is, in all its incisive, detailed glory:

Eloquence, thy name is 'PDD'.
Eloquence, thy name is ‘PDD’.

So, many people will say you should leave one-star reviews the hell alone. And I am, effectively. I’m not wallowing in this. Clearly, for whatever reason, the book wasn’t for him. Okay; that’s fine.

What does irk a little is the ‘didn’t get past Chapter 4’ part. Because – and SPOILERS if you haven’t read the book, shame on you, get on that, etc etc – Chapter 4 is literally where the book’s big turn kicks in.

In other words, if he’d made it to Chapter 5, he’d probably have started to realize just what he was reading. Which is, in case you’re wondering, exactly in line with his other buying habits. (I checked, based on his reviews. It’s not as if he bought this thinking he was getting anything other than a book involving transgender themes, soooo….)

Anyway. His loss, right? I’d say so, given the other reviews of The Singer, every one of which I really appreciate. The fact is I’m happy to get bad reviews, if they’re constructive. This is just the review of someone who, for some reason, couldn’t be bothered to read a little further, let the story play out. You could argue that he wasn’t ‘hooked’ inside the first four chapters… but fuck it. I’m not going to give him any more brain power.

So that was the bad. How about the good?

The good…

I’ve been very fortunate to get reviews for Practice to Deceive and A Lie Within A Lie: The Singer from Sally Bend, over at TG-book-review-blog Bending The Bookshelf. Sally had some ‘real life problems’ delaying her recent reviews, so she didn’t get to review A Lie Within A Lie: The Spy until after release.

It was worth the wait. Here’s an excerpt:

I love that Ghostly Writer keeps so much of Dominic’s plans from the reader, only giving us as much insight and knowledge as Ethan and Nicole share. As a result, we share each of their fears and hopes, and really do have to wonder what the climax could possibly be. Of course, I love even more than the story indulges the erotic side of masking so intensely, really driving home the fantasy element of being intimate with someone who can become anyone. It gets intense, and turns very dark in the latter parts of the novel, but you really do get a sense of how much arousal comes from our mind as opposed to our genitals.

What I really enjoyed about reading this review – apart from the praise, of course – is that I feel Sally understands what I was trying to go for in the book, and indeed, understands something about my writing in general. While there’s plenty of sex in my books, ultimately, I know the arousal you’re going to feel reading them has to happen in your mind, in your imagination. That’s why I try to tap into that as much as possible, to get you to feel what’s going on, as much as show it to you. That’s the idea, anyway.

Read the whole review here. The conclusion is so ridiculously nice, I’m sure I’ll disappoint Sally with my next release!