The Witchling

The Witchling

Today, as we are battered by a cold and strong north wind, sitting here in hat and gloves in the workhouse, I’m going to blatantly advertise the new cover for ‘The Witchling’, and the book itself. We’re still finalising the image, and we’ve not got to the back part of the cover as yet, but below is what we’re looking at, for the moment.

saddling smallThe story is a follow-on to ‘The Saddling’ and, if you could, it would be great if you can share the news around all your Facebook pages and friends and any readers’ groups you might belong to there. (You can use the share buttons on these pages for direct links.) You can find more details, on Facebook, at my author page: Here, I put up links to books and things of interest to my readers, and there will be more news about ‘The Witching’ there, and on here, as we approach publication date. I’m still not 100% sure when that’s going to be, but if you’re interested, below is the vague timetable. Meanwhile, here is the cover so far:

The WitchlingI’m hoping to have my beta readers’ comments back within the next week – thank you to those who have already returned their notes.

Early February, I will be making any last edits to the MS before sending it off for the final edit by my editor, as you can’t have too many people checking for typos, especially not when an MS had been written by me.

The cover will also be finalised before then – must work on the back blurb – and I’m hoping for a release date in early March before we go on honeymoon to Croatia.

Me, being me, want to send this out now and get the book out there, but I am trying to curb my enthusiasm for the sake of accuracy, something I very rarely do.

So, if you’d like to play a part, please share ‘The Saddling‘ around and maybe have a read if you’ve not read it. (It’s on Kindle Unlimited if you have that it won’t cost you anything.) And also keep an eye on these pages and Facebook for more news of ‘The Witching.’

How about swapping some free publicity?

I’m still working up this (unoriginal) idea, but it would be good to get some feedback so I can see if it’s worth pursuing. If you have the time to read to the end of this post, there might be some free publicity in it for you.

Free publicity on offer

Getting free publicity for our books is tough. You don’t want to overdo your self-publicity on Facebook pages as that just puts people off, but if someone else talks about your book, it’s a different matter.

It strikes me, as writers, we probably have blogs about our writing. I do. Actually, I have two blogs. So, I’m thinking about offering a blog post every now and then for a fellow self- or indie-published author to write something about their work. I’ll put it up on my blog, and it will get the same mentions on FB, and my Twitter pages as my own would do, and the blog post would also link to where it’s for sale on Amazon. A bit of free publicity for you, some content for me, and vice versa. A publicity swap, in effect. But there would have to be a reciprocal understanding and certain conditions.

My conditions

I wouldn’t just post any old book. It would have to be something of interest to my readers and me. If one of your books matches the genre/niche of one of mine, you can send me a post about your book to go on my blog. I’d send you the same about a ‘matching’ book of mine for your blog. We’d trust each other to reciprocate and share the blog post on FB etc. Kind of, “I’ll show you mine, you show me yours” – but in public. I think you’ve got the idea.

So, if you’re still interested, here are my criteria for acceptance:

The book must be for sale on Amazon.

  1. It must fit with the type of books that I write and like (there is a list below) as that’s what my readers will be interested in.
  2. You write the blog post to go on my blog (in English), and I post it when I can – if I get lots of replies to this it may take a while to get through them all.
  3. You can write what you want but it should be more about the writing of the book, the inspiration, the journey of creating the piece, but it can also have a paragraph of ‘blurb’, suitable quotes from happy readers, a short logline, etc. And it must be honest. This is not an exercise in putting out spam, there has to be some meat to the post. (Note the pun?)
  4. The post must be well written and be between 500 and 1,000 words.
  5. I’ll get the cover image from Amazon, and the link.
  6. I’ll have the right to edit the post (no naughty words etc.), and you can do the same to mine.
  7. One book per person, at least to start with. Don’t send me three and ask me to choose, you decide which of your titles you think would best fit.

Is your book suitable?

To make sure your book fits with what I like to write and blog about, you can check out my titles on my Amazon Author’s page but here’s a quick list of what I’m looking for:

Books about or set in Greece – this is for my island blog, (voted one of the top 25 island blogs on the net) Previous guests posters there have included Anne Zouroudi (Bloomsbury’s ‘Greek Detective’ series) but I am looking for self- or indie-published authors. ‘Girl Gone Greek, by Rebecca A Hall, has featured on this blog in the past, for example.

For this blog, James Collins Author, these kinds of books:

Amusing travel tales – Three of my titles are collections of stories concerned with moving to and living in Greece, but yours can be about anywhere. Think Bill Bryson style books.

Books with gay characters – but not pure erotica! All but one of my novels features positive gay characters, but there’s very little erotica in them (apart from Other People’s Dreams my first one, written a long time ago which also has the advantage of being partly set in Greece). My new mystery/thriller (coming out in May), ‘The Saddling’, has an underscore of ‘coming out’, there are some homoerotic moments, but they are very understated. My horror novel, Lonely House’ has a very ambiguous relationship between the two main characters, I like to leave it to the reader to decide if Pete and Drover’s relationship is a ‘bromance’ or something deeper. So, gay novels would be welcome, but I’m not looking for Mills & Boon style, pure gay romance with a bit of nookie in them.

Satire – well-written comedies. Check out the details of ‘Remotely, my gay/straight body-swap satire that came out last year. Or You Wish’ which is a mad comedy with gay characters (and straight) that was written as a bit of fun, and written a long time ago before I worked with a professional editor.

Thrillers & Horror – yes, but as there are so many of these I’m going to narrow it down again to my three main categories. I’ll consider thrillers and horror stories only if there is a positive gay character, or it’s set in Greece, or it’s also a comedy (well, you never know, and I do like to mix genres).

I’m not looking for fantasy, science fiction, children’s books, academic books, straight romance, erotica‚Ķ If in doubt, take the time to check my Amazon Author’s page and see if what you have will match up with what I’ve written. If you’re still in doubt, send me the link to the book on Amazon, or a decent, short synopsis, and I’ll decide.

What now?

If you are interested in doing a blog post swap, send me an email that includes:

  1. ‘Blog post swap’ in the title (so I see it in my Mailwasher and make sure it’s not marked as spam).
  2. Give me the title and link to its Amazon page and say which of the above criteria it fits into. (The book must be in English.)
  3. A link to your blog so I can see that you have one.
  4. Obviously, ask any questions you may have about this idea.

RemotelyI’ll then get back to you as soon as possible to say if I’d like to do a swap with you or not.

Don’t take time writing the post until we’ve made contact with each other, I don’t want to waste anyone’s time.

Note: there’s no money involved here, but I’ll affiliate link to your book, and you can do the same to mine. You may make a sale or several (I can’t guarantee it) and so might I when you put up my reciprocal blog post, something you promise to do and which I will trust you to do if I select your book.

My email is

I look forward to hearing from you and, hopefully, mutually benefiting from some free publicity swapping.





It’s not all about writing

When you’ve set yourself up as a writer, it’s not all about writing. Saturday morning was one of those ‘admin’ mornings. Sometimes these are hard work, other times like today, they are pleasant. Today pulled into focus the fact that there are enjoyable things about the writing process, some less pleasant and some that are just plain nice. (Please change that adjective and use one of your own. I was lazy there and should have used ‘rewarding’ or ‘pleasant.’)

The hard work of writing

Writing thoughtsSome things about being a writer are hard work, but the fact that you are doing what you want to do makes them easier. Or at least, it should. The most difficult part of writing a novel is putting in the words, and putting in the hours of putting in the words. You latch on to your plot and characters and do all the fun background stuff of creating the story ahead. Then come the hard part, putting in all the words. I think it was Agatha Christie who said, “I have the plot and characters, all I need now are the words.” Something like that. That’s the hard part, writing down 80,000 words – or whatever.

The second hardest part is selling the book. Even if you have a publisher with a publicity machine and marketing to do it for you, you must do a lot of things yourself. Book signings, PR, etc. If you don’t have a publisher you have to work even harder to get the word, and the book, out there. That’s the thing I dislike the most, the PR. I’m not a salesman. But, get yourself in the right frame of mind and put that mind to it, and you can find you actually enjoy entering competitions (a good way to get noticed) and persuading friends to write reviews, finding blogs that might cover you and talk about your work, making contacts and all that. Keep at it. It’s hard work, but in the end, it may pay off and, if you enjoy the journey along the way, all the better.

[There will be more about the process of putting a story together later, check the category list in the right column. There’s a drop-down menu that says Post Categories, then you click on a subtitle and find all posts under that heading.]

The easy work of writing

the saddling, James CollinsFor me, the easiest parts are the creating and the editing. Inventing a world, and its characters, thinking out a neat plot with twists and turns, obstacles and trials, tribulations and events for your character that will make things interesting. Working out backstories and making up lives, that’s all fun too. (You then have to write the body of the text, see above.) Then you have the editing where, after putting the thing aside for some time, you can come back to it and see what you have repeated, what you’ve told us already, what that character wouldn’t do but does (if he wouldn’t do it, don’t let him! Keep in character), seeing what you have misspelled (a great deal in my case), see how you can shorten it. Then get into the technical detail of your grammar and so on. I now use Grammarly to help me with this and I have an excellent editor too.

The next fun part is working on the cover, but I shall cover covers in another post one day. If you want to see who I used (for the first time) on ‘The Saddling’, check the bookmarks list on the right. The Design link with lead you to People Per Hour where you can put up a job and see who bids, or where you can simply find and contact designers and layout experts. There are many excellent ones there looking for freelance work.

email your fansAnd the next stage is the ‘nice’ things about writing. Not that I like the word ‘nice’. It’s not a nice word at all, strangely enough. But you will know what I mean. Today, Saturday 11th March, I received an email from someone I don’t know. She had bought ‘Remotely’ for a friend and thought she’d check it out first. She’s now “gripped”, as she puts it. As well as saying some other things she adds, “I love all the many details you pull together in one eloquent paragraph!”

It’s always good to get feedback like this and you have a responsibility to reply to such emails. Thank the person (even if they are not complimentary emails) and, in cases like this, try and get them to write a review on Amazon as these help sales. But do connect with your readers, especially if they have taken the trouble to connect to you. It makes it all worthwhile.