Weekend Reading, Live Chat With J Carson Black & More

A quick round-up today, then it’s back to getting Let’s Get Digital: How To (And Why You Should) Self-Publish ready for upload. If I get it up on Sunday or Monday, it should be live on Wednesday or Thursday. As soon as it goes live on Amazon, the free PDF version will go live, right here.

If you want to read a copy a few days ahead of anyone else, I have 10 0 left to give away. All I ask in return is that you read it quickly and try and post a review on Amazon on release day (or as soon as possible after).

If you are interested, please leave a note in the comments (or email me at david dot gaughran at gmail dot com). The first 10 were snapped up quickly yesterday, so don’t hang around!


J Carson Black has an amazing story. I’ve been following her sales figures on Kindle Boards each month, watching them grow with awe (and a teeny tiny bit of envy). She has sold almost 200,000 books this year (and not at 99c either).

She is one of the 33 writers who have kindly contributed their self-publishing journey to Let’s Get Digital and I am excited about showing that to you next week. But before then, you have a chance to pick her brains.

As part of the Summer Book Club (click the link for more info), she will be taking part in a live chat on Facebook today. It kicks off at 4:30pm Eastern (that’s 1:30pm Pacific or 9:30pm GMT). If it’s anything like the last two weeks where we got Cheryl Shireman and Mark Edwards to spill their secrets, it will be very enlightening.

If you miss the chat, it will stay up on the Facebook page afterwards, and you can read the whole thing. For some more background on J Carson Black, check out this guest post on Mark Williams’ excellent blog, and this post on Declan Conner’s blog.


Speaking of Declan Conner, he is a fellow short story writer who is trying something very interesting that I wanted to highlight. I have spoken with him a lot about the thorny problem of US/UK English, and how some American readers think a story written in UK English is full of typos.

My solution has been to write everything in US English, as UK English speakers are a little more forgiving of that kind of thing, and have a lot of exposure anyway to US spellings.

Declan Conner has tried something else. He is packaging all his short stories with both UK and US versions, and letting the reader choose.

But he hasn’t stopped there. For his latest short story release, as you will see from this press release, he has included the German version. I think a lot of writers will be watching very closely to see if this attracts any German sales (most of us get nothing at all).

For those considering something similar, blog regular Josephine Wade has an interesting post on the pitfalls of getting translations done.


On the topic of pitfalls, Nathan Bransford ran into some opposition when he ran a promo post on his own blog for his own book. Some negative Twitter reaction caused him to pull the post briefly, but I was glad to see he put it back up and stood his ground.

If you don’t know Nathan Bransford, he is an immensely helpful (and courteous) agent-turned-writer. He has given so much of his time to the writing community, and provides a hugely popular forum for writers (with no advertising), funded out of his own pocket.

The one time he posts asking people to consider purchasing his book to help defray the costs of running his blog/forum, he gets grief. Voice your support here.


I had a very popular post this week on the process I go through with my cover designer. Another blog regular, Joan Reeves, has an exhaustive series of posts on cover design which I highly recommend. To complete the circle, author Isabella Amaris has documented her attempts to do her own covers here.


Finally, I would like to say thank you to Matt Ellis who posted a long and thoughtful review of If You Go Into The Woods. He also poised some interesting questions about finding the right balance between marketing and writing, and I recommend you check it out.

23 Replies to “Weekend Reading, Live Chat With J Carson Black & More”

  1. You mentioned me! I’m so pleased!! Oh, the spelling’s a bit wrong… Amaris, with an ‘A’ in the beginning…. hmmm, is it rude to point that out when you *drumroll* mentioned me in ur post?!:) Okay, I’ll stop there, before I burst with excitement:)… Although, I was wondering earlier this week if 7 syllables in my name is too much for ppl to keep track of…now I’m wondering again…

    On a separate note, I was pretty surprised to see some of the comments on Nathan’s promo post… and am glad he stood his ground and posted what he did. Honestly, I thought it wasn’t a big deal at all. I guess there’re a lot of lines that people think shouldn’t be crossed when it comes to self-promotion though… Well, one can’t please everyone, I suppose.

    1. You know what the worst thing is? I wrote it first as Isabelle Amaris. Then I thought that wasn’t right, so I checked your website and changed it to Isabella Maris. Which was still wrong! I’m sorry, and thank you for pointing it out. It’s now fixed.

      The funny thing is, I wrote the correct name in the keywords without checking.

      1. lol yeah I noticed it was right in the keywords… You know what? I think you automatically went for 6 syllables max when it came to the post… I was doing a study on this (wholly unscientific) and realised the most memorable names are between 3 and 5 syllables. 6 is pushing it. 7 syllables is… my personal foolishness:) I can’t think of a single successful person with 7 syllables in their name… Not off the top of my hat anyway. I might just have to change my name to Isabelle Amaris after this!:) Anyway, thank you so much for the shout-out:)

        1. Hmmm. I wonder if there is something in that. I don’t know if it is the number of syllables as much as the repeated vowel “a” leading to a pause between the first and second names. Isabella Maris and Isabelle Amaris kind of roll together, whereas Isabella Amaris causes a pause, almost like you trip up when saying it. I bet this isn’t the case in Italian or Spanish where the emphasis on the syllables would be different and it would all flow quite naturally.

      2. Hmmmm, you have a point there… I think that might be it… Well, have decided to keep the name for now in the hope that ppl will get used to the double-vowel issue:) I think I’m way too attached to this name to lose it anyway:) Hope all’s going well with the final touches to Let’s Get Digital!

  2. First off, thanks for the shout-out.

    And a great round-up of blog recommendations too.

    We’ve tried a US Edition of of our own novel, after numerous comments about spellings, British phrases, etc, but despite significant sales in the UK we’ve made no comparable headway over there.

    But we’re eyeing the am.de market with great interest. Our feeling is a well-translated version going into a market-place like am.de at this stage could pay huge dividends in the future as the site establishes itself. But how to get a good translation? Josephine’s post sums up just a few of our concerns.

    Reaching the non-English speaking markets seem to us the single biggest reason for indies to still be looking at legacy options.

    1. Hi Mark – I think Bob Mayer is organizing Spanish and German translations (the Spanish language market is huge, and that should be the next Kindle store), so it might be worth getting in touch with him.

    2. Mark – There is a database of German (literary and scientific) translators on the homepage of the Association of German Literary Translators:
      It’s in German only, but you should write in keywords like “Englisch” and “Thriller”, and you will get a list of possible translators. Every translator has reference works given.

      If you need more information about generally underpaid German translators in the European context, here is a 2008 study by CEATL (European of Literary Translators’ Associations): http://www.ceatl.eu/docs/surveyuk.pdf
      Interestingly, they also made a survey about digital publishing rights early in 2010 (but as far as I could see, this is only in connection with works that were translated basically for print publishing):

      Hope this will help you (and others).

  3. Hi David, I was surprised by the reaction to Nathan’s post as well. Thanks for all the links and I’m really looking forward to the release of Let’s Get Digital. Can’t wait to hear from all those authors.

    Also, I finally got the chance to read If You Go Into the Woods last week and I need to go over and review it on Amazon. I really enjoyed it. Congrats on the lovely review! Very well deserved.

  4. I’m looking forward to the release of Let’s Get Digital. I’ve really enjoyed the posts and have found them immensely useful and encouraging. If you have any give-away copies left, I’d be happy to give it a quick read and review when it goes live. Otherwise, I’ll buy my own copy on release day. 😉

  5. Thanks for the shout out Dave, I hope the information helps people.

    @Isabella when you were mentioning famous people with long names the first person who came to mind was Garbriel Garcia Marquez — so you are in good standing and well within the outside limit. Also I always wanted to say how much I enjoy your poetry. It is quite beautiful.

    And the attack on Nathan was a shock. I saw him mention his book on his blog, but thought nothing of it. I’m glad he stood his ground.

    1. Wow, how could I have forgotten him? lol now I feel a bit better:) Thanks, Josephine:)

      And thank you too for the compliment on my poetry. Poetry isn’t exactly something that I expected to make any kind of impact with, but so far the feedback’s been wonderful!:) I don’t know if it’s because my poems are often more personal to me than a lot of my other pieces, but it’s always extra-delicious to hear from those who enjoy them. Thank you again:) Cheers.

  6. Hi David,

    I’d like to have a copy of “Let’s Get Digital” if you have anymore left. Also, we’d love to have you on No Trees Harmed, for a guest post or just to feature your new book.


  7. I’d love to get a copy of “Let’s Get Digital” if you have any left. Am closing in on finishing my first fiction novel and plan to take full advantage of the opportunities offered in today’s publishing world.

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