Knightfall - buy it now

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Half term week

Hi all

I am not going to be around much this week, it's half term and the kids are at home with me, so quiet time in front of the computer just doesn't happen.  Having lots of fun though, got a Badminton set from sports direct (only £15 with a net and 4 racquets - bargain!) and the weekend and yesterday was sunny so out in the garden all day!

Saw the Hangover part 3 on Saturday, my 15 year old enjoyed it but I just didn't laugh that much, the best bit was during the end credits just like in previous films.  If you liked the other two it was probably worth it, but if you've seen a couple of trailers don't expect any funny surprises.

If I get chance I will edit what I have done of book 2 this week but I won't commit to doing anymore writing until next week.  Hopefully I am on the home stretch now and hurtling towards the end.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Why do indie authors still get such a bad rep?

Okay, another rant here, so I apologise up front if that's not what you're here for.  This post is following some twitter comments I have seen recently that have really begun to irritate me.  Essentially, it's this - why do indie authors still get such a bad rep? (see how just copied the title there?  Author trick to increase word count....)

Does indie music get the same treatment?  No
How about indie films?  No again

Yet someone writes a book, chooses not to go down the 'traditional' publishing route, and automatically they must be

a. stupid
b. a rubbish writer
c. just looking to make some quick money
d. all of the above

Now, I'll admit, I sent my manuscript first to a selection of agents, looking for a 'traditional' publishing option.  I was rejected, and the only two pieces of feed back I had were 'it's too sci-fi/fantasy for what we're after' and 'it's not really the sci-fi enough for us'.  The others just sent me the generic thanks but no thanks letter or email.

So, I decided to go ahead and do it anyway, on my own, just like so many other people out there who just want someone to read their work.  I paid a very talented artist to design my cover.  I paid an editor to go through my book and polish it.  Is it perfect?  No.  Is any book perfect?  That's a topic for a different debate.

So, my book is out there, along with thousands of others on Amazon, hoping that someone will think it's worth a read.  Now, I'll admit I've read some not very good indie published titles, but I would argue that I have so many more awful books that were published traditionally.  The same with music and film.  There are so many terrible movies and albums that went through the 'traditional' route, so is every film from Hollywood or album released by a major label terrible?  No.

So, back to my book.  When I was asked about this, I tried to explain it thus-

'This is my Star Wars, this isn't meant to be Citizen Kane.'

'Ah ha', you shout, 'you think you've written a story as good as Star Wars?'  No, of course I don't, that would be ridiculous.  What I mean by this is that when I watch Star Wars, I enjoy the story, the action, adventure and humour.  Do I care that one Storm Trooper is a good six inches taller than the rest and cracks his head on a door?  No, I move straight past it and continue to enjoy it for what it is - entertainment.

All writers try so hard to make their work the best it can be.  I have never met anyone who thought 'ok, this'll do, lets just publish it'.  Does that happen in traditional publishing?  In movies and video games, most definitely.  Anyone seen the mummy sequel with the awful CGI for The Rock as the Scorpion King?  Meeting a deadline.  Anyone have the misfortune to play Battlecruiser 3000AD on the PC?  Blatantly not finished but released anyway.  And I'm sure we've all read books and found editing errors that were published down the 'traditional' route.

As so many websites keep claiming, publishing is changing, and independent is no longer a bad thing, just like for movies and music.  Go out there and read an indie book, I bet it's a hell of a lot cheaper than a 'traditionally' published novel in the same category, and it may just surprise you!

Something every Indie Author should know

I made an interesting discovery yesterday, and I thought I would share it in case it was as much as a surprise to the wider community as it was to me.

I don't know about anybody else, but when I first published my book on Amazon using the KDP system, I purchased a copy myself just to make sure it was working.  This also allowed me the bragging rights to my naysayers to say 'look, someone bought my book!'. 

Now, I was a little premature (no jokes please!) when I first published the book.  I had just had the awesome cover art back from the designer but I was still waiting or the final edit to come back.  Now, I had been through my book so many times, tinkering and adjusting bits, that in my arrogance I imagined that the editor would come back and say 'wow, perfect, I didn't change a thing!'.  Of course, that wasn't the case and in fact there were bits on most pages that needed adjusting.  There was also the issue of some feedback I had received of the internal artwork being difficult to read on certain devices, so I redid it all as well.

So, back to KDP.  I uploaded the improved edited version (at the same time I made it available as a paperback - see, not a complete moron!), waited my 12 hours, and the new and improved version became available.  Yesterday, whilst playing with my tablet, I clicked to open my book on the kindle app and found it was the old incorrect original version.  Okay, I thought, delete it from the device and set it to download again.  Downloaded the older incorrect version.  Tried it on my kindle keyboard - same outcome.  Tried it on my PC (had to install the kindle app) and yet again, it downloaded the old version.

Now, I understood that one of the benefits of digital publishing was the ability to make changes to the published works and make new improved versions of my books available.  Amazon says as much on the KDP site.  Now, I didn't necessarily expect my kindle to do this automatically, but surely if I download a book to a kindle device, I should get the most up to date version? 

If I was downloading a piece of software or a video game, the same would be true, or it would check and download an appropriate patch to bring it up to date.

I contacted Amazon, and they very helpfully manually updated my account to download an updated version - see email excerpt below


I'm following up on the recent phone conversation you had with one of my colleagues regarding your inability to download the updated content.

I've sent the updated version of your title, "Knightfall," to your Kindle library. To complete your download, please verify that your device is sufficiently charged and your wireless connection is enabled. To manually activate the download, select "Sync & Check for Items" from the Home screen menu. The same will apply if you’re using any other Kindle application, as well.

The previous version of your book will be automatically replaced by the updated version.

To contact us about an unrelated issue, please visit:

I hope this helps. Thanks for using Amazon KDP.


So, great for me, but not for my other customers who have already downloaded my book and want the most up to date version.  Did everyone already know this?  Is it just accepted that 'you bought that version, that's what you get forever'?  Or is it just a blip for my account and normally people get the most up to date version?

I don't know what I can do about it, if anything.  I have had two reviews that mentioned the formatting and editing and I have commented on the review, offering an updated copy, but so far had no response.

Please comment and share your thoughts below, I would love to know about other peoples experiences of this.


Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Another author interview

In between all of the ranting I did last night, I forgot to mention that another author interview I did has gone live!  I filled it in for Gary Vanucci on his blog - click on the link below.

Gary writes epic fantasy novels set in the Realm of Ashenclaw as well as a cool looking 4th edition D&D supplement set in the same realm.  I have just purchased the first book called Wothlondia Rising which is described as a selection of prequel short stories, to set up the world and characters found in the later books.

Visit the website and check out his books at amazon - links below!

Wrote some more today, nearly at the end of chapter 7, hope to finish it this week.

Back soon!

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Xbox One

I've not posted for a few days as I thought I would wait to comment on the new Xbox, but it's really because I don't have that much to talk about!

So, Xbox One eh?  Not the infinity or fusion or 720.  Can't say I'm impressed really.  I play Xbox in a small 4ft x 4ft room upstairs (the same place I write in fact!).  I don't watch TV or movies in there.  It's far too small to use Kinect (if for some reason I wanted to) and there is far too much crap on the floor anyway to get up an move around.  My son is 15 and he plays Xbox in his bedroom, as do almost all of his friends.  How many people have Xbox actually in their living room?  Not married people, that's for sure.

They really wanted to push the TV integration and the all in one living room entertainment system.  I don't want one!  I've got my sky box and blu ray player down there.  Even the Halo TV show didn't get me excited, I mean, come on, it's no Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  I want a games console to play games on.  I suppose Quantum Break looked good, I'll be keeping an eye out for that one (I really enjoyed Alan Wake, very underrated game in my opinion). 

Okay, onto the partnership with EA sports - don't care.  Partnership with the NFL - DON'T CARE - it's not even football, it's a twisted version of rugby with body armour!  And the big game showing - the new call of duty???

And I like how they didn't broach the always online rumour, but they did happen to mention 'cloud based' and 'cloud saves' and a lot of other cloud related things didn't they?

Anyway, rant over.  I know I'll be buying one, mainly for the exclusives, but I'll be buying the PS4 too.  I have both machines now and they are both fantastic, they both have great exclusives and they both take up far too much of my time.  I'm far more excited for the PS4 at the moment though, and if things don't sway me at E3, I'll be transferring my cross console games to that (I played all the Mass Effect and Assassins Creed games on the 360 just because that was the console I played the first one on).

Writing wise (yay for those of you who come here for that reason!) I had another good day today, cracking on with chapter seven and I have done basic editing of chapters 1-6.   When the second book is finished, I will be looking for beta readers, so if anyone out there is interested, sign up to the newsletter or email me and I will be in touch.

Ooh - nearly forgot to talk about Dr Who at the weekend!  Fantastic, best episode all series, and redeemed some of the quite frankly terrible episodes we've had since xmas.  They made Clara make sense and be less annoying, which is a fantastic achievement considering how much she has annoyed me this series.  Can't wait for November, will be going to the cinema to watch it all unfold.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

The numbers are in....

So, my three free KDP select days are over, and the figures are in as to how many people downloaded my book during the last three days.  It's a good amount, and I am pleased to see so many, but at the same time I am a little disappointed.  I think I was expecting thousands for some reason, and I've no idea how many are normally downloaded and I know how many other books are also free, so more fool me I suppose.

Anyway, I'm sure all these words here are just boring you, so lets get down to the numbers!

US            176
UK           124
Germany  25
France      1
Japan        18
Canada      9     (I was expecting an American or UK type number?)

Total         353

Roughly    117 per day

So, that's 353 new potential readers, reviews, maybe even fans.  If anyone has any experience of how many readers this translates to, or any other words of wisdom, please do comment and let me know what you think.

On a lighter note, it's only 5 days until the next Xbox announcement (infinity or fusion or whatever it's called), but they're going to have to try very hard to beat my excitement for the PS4, especially if it does end up needing an always on internet....

Monday, 13 May 2013

Knightfall free days

Today is the first of three consecutive days where Knightfall is free for Kindle - click on the links below if you haven't already got it, trust me, it's awesome!!!



As of about 4 seconds ago, it has been downloaded 81 times, including by customers in Japan and Germany, which I think is pretty cool.  Not quite the thousands that I was hoping for, but it's a start.  I only hope that

a) some of them read it; and
b)some of them enjoy it and/or review it (even if they don't like it, all feedback is useful).

On another plus, I somehow managed to write 5050 words today, which is the most I have ever written in one day.  I'm putting it down to the position of my chair (I finally managed to get the lever to raise the chair up so I'm not straining my neck to see the monitor!), so if anyone moves my chair from its current position there'll be hell to pay!!!

And finally, if you are due a phone upgrade, check out the Galaxy S4 - it really is awesome (as is the book, honestly).  Got mine yesterday and it does everything my S2 did, only faster and prettier somehow.  Well worth the price (which was free, but that's beside the point).

Follow me on twitter if you are interested in how many copies get downloaded (and really, who wouldn't be?), I am sure I will be tweeting about it over the next few days.  I'm sure that I sometimes say funny or interesting things on twitter too, but that isn't guaranteed, disclaimer or whatever, does not guarantee to entertain or inform through twitter!


Friday, 10 May 2013

Star Trek vs Iron Man

I have just returned from seeing Star Trek - Into Darkness, an excellent movie which I thoroughly enjoyed, but in my opinion was not better than Iron Man 3.  On the way back from the cinema, my good lady and I discussed this, as she felt that Star Trek was infinitely better than Iron Man 3.  We eventually agreed to disagree.

My reasons for enjoying Iron Man more are numerous, but to discuss them would result in spoilers for both films.  So please, if you want to get into a debate about this, message me or comment or something as I was really enjoying the discussion before it edged towards argument territory....

With regards to actual writing things (which is what this blog is sort of supposed to be about!), I gave five of my local libraries copies of the paperback today, which was more difficult than I expected.  I thought that they may have to vet them in some way to make sure that I wasn't trying to give them something pornographic or offensive or whatever, but one library in particular was very obstructive.  Has anyone else had any experiences?

Anyway, going to watch the last (possibly forever!) episode of community now, will let you know my thoughts on that another day (or not, I might just forget or not be bothered....).

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

The moment of truth...

So today I have posted paperback copies of my book to newspapers, local news, SFX magazine and some other review outlets that I discovered on the internet.  I have no idea if any of them will go ahead and read and/or review the book, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

I suppose.

Sort of.

Now I just have to sit and wait and see if anything comes of it.

I have also listed a 10 copy giveaway with Goodreads so that may promote some interest too, hopefully there will be a link below this if I can get it to work (something about HTML something something!).

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Knightfall by R. Jackson-Lawrence


by R. Jackson-Lawrence

Giveaway ends May 24, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Anyway, more writing tomorrow and I have tickets for Star Trek for Friday so all must be right with the world!

Monday, 6 May 2013

Bank Holiday Monday

Really good day at the computer today, despite outside being the hottest day of the year so far.  It comes down to whether I would prefer skin cancer or obesity related diabetes I guess.

I wrote another pivotal scene today, the one I have jokingly been referring to as 'the shot heard around the world' (but only to myself, obviously, or people really would start to look at me funny...).  Remember when I said it was all going to get worse for my characters (I'm talking to you, single reader who stumbled across here by accident!), well this is when it starts to get REALLY bad for them.

On a nicer note, Tina Pollick has posted an author interview of yours truly on her blog, please go and check it out at

She also has an on going promotion to support breast cancer research so please support her however you can.

I hope you are all enjoying your BBQ's

Friday, 3 May 2013

Happy Star Wars Day for tomorrow - May the 4th be with you!

Finally finished chapter 5 of my second book (Darkest Before Dawn), seems like I have been at it forever and I don't know why.  It's one of my longer chapters, true, at 39 pages, but I think it's been more of a psychological barrier to complete.  In some respects it's a bridging chapter, making way for the second half of the book to be much more involved and exciting, so maybe that's it.  I'm just printing it out now so I can read it and scribble all over it and hopefully make it make sense.

Anyway, another fun weekend planned with my daughter, and surprisingly it's set to be sunny - almost unheard of on May Bank Holiday weekend!  Hopefully she is all feeling better and we can get outdoors and celebrate Star Wars Day in style.

Make sure to check out the YouTube link below (Star Wars: The Empire's May the 4th Response), it made me chuckle but it won't stop me enjoying the day.  Down with the Empire!

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

The Hangover

Hi all, apologies for not writing for a few days but I have been busy - honest!  After an awesome night out on Saturday, and the inevitable hangover on Sunday (but totally worth it!), I have been trying to get back into writing book two.  Managed to get a few hundred words done today and I hope to do more tomorrow.  I have also been making more maps (se below), there are more journeys ahead for my merry band of misfits and I wanted them to have somewhere interesting to go.

Need to say two things first though, to get them off my chest as it were:-

1.  Iron Man 3 is amazing.  Really.  Believe the reviews, it is another fantastic Marvel movie, everyone should see it, NOW!!!  I really hope that they continue to pull it all together with the Star Wars universe.  The trailer for Thor 2 looks great too.  And Kick Ass 2.

2.  What's up with Dr Who this series?  We had some pretty poor episodes, then the reasonable one with the ghost that wasn't, and then this last weekend it was poor again.  I was so desperate to watch it when I got  home on Sunday, and yet again I was disappointed.  I know they are building up for something with Clara and who/what she really is, and the 50th special in November will be amazing (Rose at the cinema in 3D - yes please!), but they seem to have messed up a bit since Christmas.  Just one guy's opinion.

Anyway, rant over, on to the badly drawn maps!