Category: Article Page 1 of 2
The dedication to my latest book, Annihilation: Origins and Endings, reads as follows:
My silent companion during the writing of this book. You didn’t offer any suggestions, but you sat beside me throughout.
The question is, who is Theo?
Two years ago, my aunt was no longer able to look after her dog, a Maltese Terrier, due to ill health. We offered to look after him, and Theo soon became an integral member of our family.
Decimation: The Girl Who Survived is set twelve years in the future and features a variety of new technologies that don’t exist in commercial form today. Take the quiz and see if you can guess how many of the listed technological developments are already in use or have just been made up for the book.
Only one answer is valid per question.
It’s certainly not true that all authors earn huge amounts of money and lead a life of leisure. Whisper it quietly, but I don’t make enough as a writer to live in the manner to which I have become accustomed. That means I have a day job, which pays the vast majority (in fact all) of the bills. I try to keep the world of work—in which I am a Software and Systems Manager—separate from my life as an author.
Imagine my surprise, therefore, when the two worlds collided, and I received a message to my work email address referencing one of my books in a lot of detail. With the sender’s permission, I have quoted the exchange below:
This is a copy of an article I wrote for Emma The Little Bookworm’s blog.
It’s May 2017. A deadly new virus has emerged. Within weeks it will sweep across the globe and infect every living person. The true horror of the pandemic will only become evident when pregnant women start dying moments after giving birth. This will have a catastrophic effect on the global population and in less than twelve months the birth-rate will reduce to practically zero. For the next seventeen years, scientists will strive to develop a cure. They will be unsuccessful.
Welcome to the world of Decimation: The Girl Who Survived.
This post is just a quick tip about how to put an animated GIF onto a Facebook post. See how the tear in the above picture is flashing on and off? It doesn’t go into how to create an animated GIF – more on that in a later article.
Firstly, you need to upload your animated GIF to another site – your WordPress site for example! You can use any website you like. If you don’t have your own site, you can easily create a WordPress blog at https://wordpress.com/.
Next, copy the link to the GIF file (from whatever website you have uploaded it to) and paste into your Facebook post. The easiest way is to right click the picture and copy the image address. This is a screenshot from the Chrome browser.
In my case, the link is https://www.rjne.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Decimation-animated-tear-small.gif. When you post to Facebook, just make sure it’s the first link in the post. Facebook will follow the link and embed the picture, together with its animation.
That’s all there is to it.
A few weeks ago I did a five day free give away of The Rage on Kindle. During that period there were about 2000 downloads and a steady trickle of sales thereafter. Amazon provide statistics on the Kindle Direct Publishing page including a button to download a report. I hadn’t looked at one of these reports before so I decided to check it out.
The report gives a daily breakdown of the sales by book and by region. I have only the one book at the moment so all rows were for The Rage. As I studied the report, my first reaction was I haven’t sold that many. Upon further inspection I noticed a column called “Units Refunded”. In the week after the free give-away this accounted for about 30% of total sales. So what’s going on?
I did a search on Google and discovered several articles from people who had discovered the same thing. There seemed to be three main schools of thought:
- People had downloaded the book thinking it was still free only to realise that it now cost them the huge amount of £1.99 and had requested a refund from Amazon. Possible, but some were a good five days after the end of the give-away so unlikely in all cases.
- People felt that the description did not match the product. One example might be that the book was far shorter than expected. Not applicable in my case at about 115,000 words.
- Dishonest people download the book, strip off the protection then ask Amazon for a refund. You would have thought Amazon would pick up on this practice as the perpetrators are likely to be repeat offenders.
So basically I have no real plausible explanation. It’s not enough sales to get excited about but if anybody can shed light on this I would be interested to hear from you.
Many years ago (12 to be exact), my wife came across a book whilst shopping in Devizes. The book was called Frozen and the author shared my name. She wrote a message inside the cover and gave it to me for my birthday. Well yesterday I discovered the other Richard Burke’s website (www.richardburkeward.co.uk/) and decided to send him a message.
Richard responded almost immediately and offered some very interesting insights into the life of a published author. After the success of the first book, published by Orion, he struggled writing the second but eventually published Redemption through the same publisher. Interestingly his third book, Payback, was self published and Richard says that he would go down this route again for any future books. In his words, “far easier and potentially far more lucrative”.
You can find Richard’s books on Amazon here.
In a show of solidarity he also bought a copy of The Rage and offered to act as a sounding board if I wanted to bounce any ideas off him – a generous offer for which I am very grateful.
These days Richard earns a living working mostly on factual film scripting (details on his web page).
When I read Frozen all those years ago (I recall that it was very good), I never thought that I would ever write my own book and exchange emails with my namesake.
Hopefully we will now stay in touch. After all, us Richard Burkes must stick together!