Another update.

Success! It’s working! Or at least, it feels as if it is working as I finish writing for the day and head to the homepage to update my ‘live word counter’. It’s not really live – to actually do that would require some sort of link between my website (the inter-web) and my 2009 version of Word – and that terrifies me. Anyway, now that my word counter has evolved into a ‘live word chopper’ it is safe to say I am making some progress.

Slow progress; mind you. At the moment I’m squeezing 238,722 words to fewer than 130,000 so I can stuff in all the scenes needed for the narrative to form some semblance of novel. My method requires it: I pour it all in, everything – all the brain-mess and the overused words like looked, interjected, exclaimed, gazed, shifted – it’s all about the body language in my first draft. Then, horrified by my bloated document, I force a temporary end so I can throw most of it away. The parts where I get to bin whole pages are the most satisfying: away you go, small talk, here’s some plot advancement instead. These alterations to conversation, timing and place get me thinking about the nature of real life – does free will exist, or are we bound to some plot arc with small details that may change, but that never ultimately affect our final destination?

You can tell I’ve been watching too much Doctor Who. Every evening, storming through time and space with the Doctor in the TARDIS – when episodes are watched in close succession the disruption the Doctor inflicts upon his companions seems darker than before. Comparing the series I would definitely rather travel with Tennant or Smith – so far all of Capaldi’s companions seem to have ended up highlight for spoiler>indisposed<highlight for spoiler. Despite my many distractions I am confident I will get a decent first draft done by the end of the summer, which will (with a lot of hard work) set me on course for publication in 2018. Hopefully. I announced it on Twitter so it has to happen. I’ll show you the cover as soon as it’s ready – it incorporates the New Moral eye-cross in a way that is quite sleek.

Anyway, plans for this year: still many. My Resolutions To Do list has birthed two more: To Do This Week and To Do In The Flat. As you can tell from Twitter I’m following UK politics closely – the offer from the EU guaranteeing citizen’s rights seemed fair: it would have guaranteed (for life) freedom of movement for those that have already used it. Whilst too many would still miss out, at least those who rely on freedom of movement would have their roaming protected in future. Of course the UK came back with the suggestion of fewer rights in Britain for EU nationals (and one can assume also for Brits abroad). Given that so far during my adult life I’ve had to move every two years, the default ‘five-year residency equals potential long-term residency rights’ wouldn’t work for me. I estimate this will be a significant problem in my future.

I opened up Word to do some editing and I wrote a blog post instead. Details. Keep watching the homepage for updates on the ‘live word chopper’ – and if you haven’t read the first instalment to The Future King yet, where have you been? Pick up your copy here.

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Beware the keen reviewer!

I learned this one the hard way. Hopefully by sharing my experience I will spare a few indie authors the sting of the keen reviewer – you know, the Goodreads reviewer who has some sort of ranking, a blog, and seems to get an awful lot of novels for free; the reviewer who messages you and asks if they could pretty please have a free copy of your book in exchange for an honest review. Some want PDF formats only (my e-reader is broken, so I’m having to use my computer), others insist on paperback (my computer is broken, I can only accept paperback), and the ones that will accept .mobi or .epub just, somehow, never get round to reading it (my life is so busy right now, I just can’t cope with all these novels I’ve requested).

Despite any reservations about dishing out your novel for free (and not only that, but in the case of paperback, paying for it), it’s impossible not to consider the what-ifs of sending out your novel to unknowns because, if they do review it, it will hopefully generate book sales. There may be the added risk of the reviewer disliking your novel and slating it (or worse, leaving you with a DNF), but that’s the part of the deal referred to as ‘honest’. The latest obstacle is Amazon’s updated Terms of Service – Authors can no longer send out their book for free with the agreement of a review, only with the possibility of one (they can’t demand, or expect, or request it: only hope). I gave away copies of my novel before these ToS came into force, and have yet to actually see a review from a reviewer who requested to review my book.

At first I only sent out .epubs and .mobis, refusing to distribute PDFs. Anyone with a phone or a computer can read PDF, and if the only version you have is the one you formatted to print, you’d be giving them free rein to print and sell your own novel for you. Ebook files feel more controlled, excluding when it appears in a ripped version, helpfully created by the people who make their living  converting self-published ebooks into PDFs for distribution around pirating websites (side note: society demands to be constantly entertained yet bemoans actually paying authors, artists, writers, directors and musicians fairly for it). The ebooks went out to two or three people early last year, and I’m still waiting for the promised reviews a year later.

Not yet stung by the above agreements involving ebooks, and still believing the reviews would materialise in time, I sent out a couple of paperbacks. I’ve come to admire the cheek of the emails essentially declaring that the person can’t be bothered to pay for your book themselves, but that they would like to read a hard copy, and can you please send it to them posthaste. Usually accompanied by the excuse of a broken e-reader, a few do have the honesty to admit to just preferring paperbacks. Telling them a paperback is currently impossible due to lack of funds, I offer an ebook instead – but no – they brightly insist they are happy to wait until I have more money. After a bit of research to determine that, yes, they did have a reviewing blog, and yes, they were regular reviewers on Goodreads, I decided I was willing to shoulder the cost for the promise of a few more reviews, and sent them the paperbacks.

The reviewers received their paperbacks last year. If a review doesn’t materialise within the first six months the whole process feels like a waste of money – yes, the review may happen eventually, but once you approach the one year mark the reviewers could have arguably just bought the book themselves.

One particular reviewer sent me an email telling me there would be an extra charge to pay if I wanted my book read within a year. They had received my novel a few days before, and were just too busy to read all the books they had requested. I wasn’t the only author stung by this – several complaints appeared on Goodreads from other affected authors. Not only was this reviewer essentially ransoming books for money, they were suddenly declaring themselves a paid reviewer (which is against Amazon and Goodreads’ terms of service), so if a review did materialise there was a very real possibility that Amazon and Goodreads would assume I had paid for the service (I hadn’t), and that I might then be banned.

Three months pass, then six, then nine. Ever hopeful that a review may still appear, you send polite emails prompting for updates, only to be met with radio silence. The ones that do get back to you seem to all be reading off the same script – this year has been manic – I’ve been unwell – your book is next on my review pile – I started reading it but something came up – I’m hoping to get back into it soon. Reasonable excuses, if given the once. Less so, and less believable once given again, and again, and again.

These reviewers need to be aware that when they are asking for a free paperback, most writers probably can’t afford it to send them one, even if they agree to send it anyway. Margins will already be minimal, if there are any profits at all. Just because a book is published does not mean that it is selling, and just because a book is selling does not mean it is profitable. If the reviewer receives the free book as discussed but then doesn’t produce the honest review in return, as discussed and agreed, it is essentially stealing.

Of course this doesn’t apply to the legitimate reviewers on Goodreads, of which there are many. I’ve sent paperbacks to several reviewers who were gracious, kind, prompt and considerate – all of which I, or a friend, approached. If someone approaches you, however, and asks to review your book in exchange for a ‘free’ copy, my advice would be not to do it. It may be tempting, but my experience so far shows me that the review will never materialise. If they’re trying to build their portfolio as a reviewer there’s no reason why they can’t start with free books in promotions, offers from Kindle Unlimited or even just purchase the novels themselves.

If you’re one of the reviewers I sent a free copy to and you happen to read this – I’m still waiting hoping.

An update.

Hello, hello. Yes, it has been horribly long since my last blog post or update. I suppose this is the point where I rattle off the relevant excuses – work and life in general – reasons why I have not penned anything much of late. Blog posts are usually low down on my list of priorities and I do admire those authors who manage to fire one off daily (monthly would be an achievement for me). They are important, but when you have your next novel pushing to be written or artwork needing to be produced, it’s difficult to fit them into a routine.

So, a quick summary of where I’m at. Logres Volume One: Book Two – still not fully drafted. My children’s book – where it was about 6 months ago. I think it’s safe to say that 2016 was not a good year for me creatively. There was far too much going on and not nearly enough time to focus on the projects I wanted to see finished. Being knocked into the cycle of ‘working to afford somewhere to live close to where you work so you can afford to live somewhere you can work‘ absorbed more recourses than I anticipated, and any free time that I did have left me feeling uninspired and unable to produce anything of any real substance.

It’s been over a year since I self-published The Future King: Logres, and though reviews are still trickling in it’s been tough accumulating them. I’ve learned a lot about self-promotion and advertising this year, have been burned by one or two ‘reviewers’ (be weary of the ones who approach you asking for free copies of your work), and understand well why people prefer to have publishers. Had I not had to do all the promotional work myself I’d have had more time for writing. Well, no excuses this year – I’ve done what I can. The reviews will hopefully come in eventually, more (with some luck) once I publish Book Two. This year it is my goal to kick myself past my own goalposts.

My new year’s resolutions list is expanding and ever-changing like some organised hydra (scratch one thing off, three more appear), but the core aspect of it is that I need to write, need to draw and I need to get my next novel properly drafted. It has to be extracted – no ifs, no buts – and it needs to happen sooner rather than later.

The first step is to be more transparent about my writing progress, it’s the only way to hold myself to my new goals. It worked the first time round, posting word count updates on Facebook like some race against myself, so I’m hoping it’ll work this time if I update my homepage with daily (being optimistic here) word counts.

So you’re aware I’m starting my next draft from scratch, starting on Monday (that’s the 16th), working with what I already have and refreshing myself by reading The Future King: Logres from a new viewpoint. If you’re feeling impatient and think I should be working faster – you’re probably right, but in the meantime you can help by spreading the word about The Future King if you enjoyed it. Then if the reviews keep coming in while I’m writing my next draft, it’ll be at least one thing from my new year’s list that will be taken off my mind.

Goodreads Giveaway – Last Day!

GiveawayweekLASTDAY

Giveaway dates: Jun 01 – July 31, 2016
Availability: 1 signed copy
Available: See giveaway page for list of eligible countries

The final day of my Goodreads Giveaway is here! Today is your last chance to win a signed paperback edition of The Future King: Logres. All you need is a Goodreads account and to enter on the Goodreads Giveaway page. This raffle is available to the countries listed on the Giveaway page and runs until midnight tonight. Once the Giveaway has ended Goodreads will select a winner at random – who will then receive a signed copy of The Future King: Logres, posted by me!

Please see the Goodreads terms and conditions for this giveaway.

You can find the event page for this giveaway here, where you can invite others to enter. The purpose of this free raffle is to get as many people involved as possible – so don’t forget to share it with your friends! Remember to add The Future King: Logres to your ‘to read’ list as well.

Thank you and good luck!

Britain, 2052. In a world of war, disease and hunger the UK stands alone as a beacon of prosperity under an all-powerful ruling party. Life at new school Logres seems promising for fifteen-year-old Gwenhwyfar, and quickly she falls for the school’s handsome catch, Arthur. When Arthur’s rival, Lancelot, returns after a suspension, her heart is soon divided. Realising that behind the UK’s prosperity lies unspeakable cruelty, Gwenhwyfar sets off on a path to dismantle everything the government stands for. Suspenseful, raw and awash in a dystopian setting, The Future King: Logres is a story of identity and discovery against this backdrop, the second coming of the Arthurian legends.

100% of readers liked this novel. Check out their reviews here.

I liked the characterisation of the characters in this book, you loved who you were supposed too and hated who you were meant too! It was so fluid and strong in it’s writing style that it’s hard not to love this book. I’m so excited for the second book to come out, and to see what happens next!

Check out more reviews from Amazon here.

Set in a dystopian future that you fear could all to easily come to pass, with a well-written and engaging storyline and believable, intriguing characters, this book pulled me in and kept me hooked until beyond the last page. With the hope that M. L. Mackworth-Praed has already started on the next instalment in this series, I strongly recommend that you read it yourself.

 

Goodreads Giveaway Week #9

Giveawayweek9

Giveaway dates: Jun 01 – July 31, 2016
Availability: 1 signed copy
Available: See giveaway page for list of eligible countries

Week nine of my Goodreads Giveaway is here! Enter for the chance to win a signed copy of The Future King: Logres. All you need to enter this raffle is be a Goodreads account holder, and enter the giveaway via the Goodreads Giveaway page. This raffle is available to the countries listed on the Giveaway page and runs for one week until the 31st of July 2016. Once the Giveaway has ended Goodreads will select a winner at random – who will then receive a signed copy of The Future King: Logres, posted by me!

Please see the Goodreads terms and conditions for this giveaway.

You can find the event page for this giveaway here, where you can invite others to enter. The purpose of this free raffle is to get as many people involved as possible – so don’t forget to share it with your friends! Remember to add The Future King: Logres to your ‘to read’ list as well.

Thank you and enjoy the Giveaway!

Britain, 2052. In a world of war, disease and hunger the UK stands alone as a beacon of prosperity under an all-powerful ruling party. Life at new school Logres seems promising for fifteen-year-old Gwenhwyfar, and quickly she falls for the school’s handsome catch, Arthur. When Arthur’s rival, Lancelot, returns after a suspension, her heart is soon divided. Realising that behind the UK’s prosperity lies unspeakable cruelty, Gwenhwyfar sets off on a path to dismantle everything the government stands for. Suspenseful, raw and awash in a dystopian setting, The Future King: Logres is a story of identity and discovery against this backdrop, the second coming of the Arthurian legends.

100% of readers liked this novel. Check out their reviews here.

M.L. Mackworth-Praed creates a multi-layered and inventive story, based on the Arthurian legends, through concise and descriptive prose and a unique sensitivity to the elements of successful storytelling. The Future King: Logres is an amazing novel and a great literary achievement.

Check out more reviews from Amazon here.

What this book does beautifully is describe and explain the world it is set in without you even realising it. You never have to read through a history or exposition explaining the background; you learn through the conversations, narrative and action of the story about the England that Gwenhwyfar and her friends and family live in.

This is your last week to enter, so good luck!

Goodreads Giveaway Week #8

Giveawayweek8

Giveaway dates: Jun 01 – July 31, 2016
Availability: 1 signed copy
Available: See giveaway page for list of eligible countries

Week eight of my Goodreads Giveaway is here! Enter for the chance to win a signed copy of The Future King: Logres. All you need to enter this raffle is be a Goodreads account holder, and enter the giveaway via the Goodreads Giveaway page. This raffle is available to the countries listed on the Giveaway page and runs for two weeks until the 31st of July 2016. Once the Giveaway has ended Goodreads will select a winner at random – who will then receive a signed copy of The Future King: Logres, posted by me!

Please see the Goodreads terms and conditions for this giveaway.

You can find the event page for this giveaway here, where you can invite others to enter. The purpose of this free raffle is to get as many people involved as possible – so don’t forget to share it with your friends! Remember to add The Future King: Logres to your ‘to read’ list as well.

Thank you and enjoy the Giveaway!

Britain, 2052. In a world of war, disease and hunger the UK stands alone as a beacon of prosperity under an all-powerful ruling party. Life at new school Logres seems promising for fifteen-year-old Gwenhwyfar, and quickly she falls for the school’s handsome catch, Arthur. When Arthur’s rival, Lancelot, returns after a suspension, her heart is soon divided. Realising that behind the UK’s prosperity lies unspeakable cruelty, Gwenhwyfar sets off on a path to dismantle everything the government stands for. Suspenseful, raw and awash in a dystopian setting, The Future King: Logres is a story of identity and discovery against this backdrop, the second coming of the Arthurian legends.

100% of readers liked this novel. Check out their reviews here.

I liked the characterisation of the characters in this book, you loved who you were supposed too and hated who you were meant too! It was so fluid and strong in it’s writing style that it’s hard not to love this book. I’m so excited for the second book to come out, and to see what happens next!

Check out more reviews from Amazon here.

Well written and carefully crafted story. Most enjoyable read, well worth getting.

Good luck!

Goodreads Giveaway Week #7

Giveawayweek7

Giveaway dates: Jun 01 – July 31, 2016
Availability: 1 signed copy
Available: See giveaway page for list of eligible countries

Week seven of my Goodreads Giveaway is here! Enter for the chance to win a signed copy of The Future King: Logres. All you need to enter this raffle is be a Goodreads account holder, and enter the giveaway via the Goodreads Giveaway page. This raffle is available to the countries listed on the Giveaway page and runs for three weeks until the 31st of July 2016. Once the Giveaway has ended Goodreads will select a winner at random – who will then receive a signed copy of The Future King: Logres, posted by me!

Please see the Goodreads terms and conditions for this giveaway.

You can find the event page for this giveaway here, where you can invite others to enter. The purpose of this free raffle is to get as many people involved as possible – so don’t forget to share it with your friends! Remember to add The Future King: Logres to your ‘to read’ list as well.

Thank you and enjoy the Giveaway!

Britain, 2052. In a world of war, disease and hunger the UK stands alone as a beacon of prosperity under an all-powerful ruling party. Life at new school Logres seems promising for fifteen-year-old Gwenhwyfar, and quickly she falls for the school’s handsome catch, Arthur. When Arthur’s rival, Lancelot, returns after a suspension, her heart is soon divided. Realising that behind the UK’s prosperity lies unspeakable cruelty, Gwenhwyfar sets off on a path to dismantle everything the government stands for. Suspenseful, raw and awash in a dystopian setting, The Future King: Logres is a story of identity and discovery against this backdrop, the second coming of the Arthurian legends.

100% of readers liked this novel. Check out their reviews here.

I liked the characterisation of the characters in this book, you loved who you were supposed too and hated who you were meant too! It was so fluid and strong in it’s writing style that it’s hard not to love this book. I’m so excited for the second book to come out, and to see what happens next!

Check out more reviews from Amazon here.

Set in a dystopian future that you fear could all to easily come to pass, with a well-written and engaging storyline and believable, intriguing characters, this book pulled me in and kept me hooked until beyond the last page. With the hope that M. L. Mackworth-Praed has already started on the next instalment in this series, I strongly recommend that you read it yourself.

Good luck!

Goodreads Giveaway Week #6

Giveawayweek6

Giveaway dates: Jun 01 – July 31, 2016
Availability: 1 signed copy
Available: See giveaway page for list of eligible countries)

Week six of my Goodreads Giveaway is here! Enter for the chance to win a signed copy of The Future King: Logres. All you need to enter this raffle is be a Goodreads account holder, and enter the giveaway via the Goodreads Giveaway page. This raffle is available to the countries listed on the Giveaway page and runs for four weeks until the 31st of July 2016. Once the Giveaway has ended Goodreads will select a winner at random – who will then receive a signed copy of The Future King: Logres, posted by me!

Please see the Goodreads terms and conditions for this giveaway.

You can find the event page for this giveaway here, where you can invite others to enter. The purpose of this free raffle is to get as many people involved as possible – so don’t forget to share it with your friends! Remember to add The Future King: Logres to your ‘to read’ list as well.

Thank you and enjoy the Giveaway!

Britain, 2052. In a world of war, disease and hunger the UK stands alone as a beacon of prosperity under an all-powerful ruling party. Life at new school Logres seems promising for fifteen-year-old Gwenhwyfar, and quickly she falls for the school’s handsome catch, Arthur. When Arthur’s rival, Lancelot, returns after a suspension, her heart is soon divided. Realising that behind the UK’s prosperity lies unspeakable cruelty, Gwenhwyfar sets off on a path to dismantle everything the government stands for. Suspenseful, raw and awash in a dystopian setting, The Future King: Logres is a story of identity and discovery against this backdrop, the second coming of the Arthurian legends.

100% of readers liked this novel. Check out their reviews here.

M.L. Mackworth-Praed creates a multi-layered and inventive story, based on the Arthurian legends, through concise and descriptive prose and a unique sensitivity to the elements of successful storytelling. The Future King: Logres is an amazing novel and a great literary achievement.

Check out more reviews from Amazon here.

Overall it was a weekend well spent, I’d recommend the book to anyone who enjoys YA novels, Orwellian stories, or the legend of King Arthur. In fact, my son is reading it now. I can’t wait for the next installment!

Good luck!

Goodreads Giveaway Week #4

Giveawayweek4

Giveaway dates: Jun 01 – July 31, 2016
Availability: 1 signed copy
Available: See giveaway page for list of eligible countries

Week four of my Goodreads Giveaway is here! Enter for the chance to win a signed copy of The Future King: Logres. All you need to enter this raffle is be a Goodreads account holder, and enter the giveaway via the Goodreads Giveaway page. This raffle is available to the countries listed on the Giveaway page and runs for six weeks until the 31st of July 2016. Once the Giveaway has ended Goodreads will select a winner at random – who will then receive a signed copy of The Future King: Logres, posted by me!

Please see the Goodreads terms and conditions for this giveaway.

You can find the event page for this giveaway here, where you can invite others to enter. The purpose of this free raffle is to get as many people involved as possible – so don’t forget to share it with your friends! Remember to add The Future King: Logres to your ‘to read’ list as well.

Thank you and enjoy the Giveaway!

Britain, 2052. In a world of war, disease and hunger the UK stands alone as a beacon of prosperity under an all-powerful ruling party. Life at new school Logres seems promising for fifteen-year-old Gwenhwyfar, and quickly she falls for the school’s handsome catch, Arthur. When Arthur’s rival, Lancelot, returns after a suspension, her heart is soon divided. Realising that behind the UK’s prosperity lies unspeakable cruelty, Gwenhwyfar sets off on a path to dismantle everything the government stands for. Suspenseful, raw and awash in a dystopian setting, The Future King: Logres is a story of identity and discovery against this backdrop, the second coming of the Arthurian legends.

100% of readers liked this novel. Check out their reviews here.

An outstanding work of dystopian fiction, The Future King: Logres centers around Gwenhwyfar, a high school student who seeks a right path as her world grows increasingly dangerous. Set in mid-21st century England, Gwen and her friends must navigate a turbulent and mysterious political scene, oppressive school conditions, and the intricate landscape of their personal lives to survive and hopefully fulfill their destinies.

Check out more reviews from Amazon here.

As a fan of the Arthurian Legends, this modern day conception of them spoke right to me! This is a brilliant, fast paced read that won’t leave you disappointed!

Good luck!

Goodreads Giveaway Week #3

Giveawayweek3

Giveaway dates: Jun 01 – July 31, 2016
Availability: 1 signed copy
Available: See giveaway page for list of eligible countries

Week three of my Goodreads Giveaway is here! Enter for the chance to win a signed copy of The Future King: Logres. All you need to enter this raffle is be a Goodreads account holder, and enter the giveaway via the Goodreads Giveaway page. This raffle is available to the countries listed on the Giveaway page and runs for seven weeks until the 31st of July 2016. Once the Giveaway has ended Goodreads will select a winner at random – who will then receive a signed copy of The Future King: Logres, posted by me!

Please see the Goodreads terms and conditions for this giveaway.

You can find the event page for this giveaway here, where you can invite others to enter. The purpose of this free raffle is to get as many people involved as possible – so don’t forget to share it with your friends! Remember to add The Future King: Logres to your ‘to read’ list as well.

Thank you and enjoy the Giveaway!

Britain, 2052. In a world of war, disease and hunger the UK stands alone as a beacon of prosperity under an all-powerful ruling party. Life at new school Logres seems promising for fifteen-year-old Gwenhwyfar, and quickly she falls for the school’s handsome catch, Arthur. When Arthur’s rival, Lancelot, returns after a suspension, her heart is soon divided. Realising that behind the UK’s prosperity lies unspeakable cruelty, Gwenhwyfar sets off on a path to dismantle everything the government stands for. Suspenseful, raw and awash in a dystopian setting, The Future King: Logres is a story of identity and discovery against this backdrop, the second coming of the Arthurian legends.

100% of readers liked this novel. Check out their reviews here.

I liked the characterisation of the characters in this book, you loved who you were supposed too and hated who you were meant too! It was so fluid and strong in it’s writing style that it’s hard not to love this book. I’m so excited for the second book to come out, and to see what happens next!

Check out more reviews from Amazon here.

This is a great read – an exciting story that escalates into something pretty epic before you realise what really is at stake! Would enthusiastically recommend

Good luck!