A Crazy Publication Day

A Crazy Publication Day

Yesterday was a crazy day: I sent out a newsletter, the U.S. paperback edition of The Shadow Queen came out, andquite by coincidence — my INK e-book edition of The Shadow Queen launched in the UK and beyond.

TSQfinalcover2Shadow Queen Anchor (US) ppbk cover

Any one of these requires quite a bit of on-line attention, but to have all three in one morning?

Too much!

By 11:00, I decided I needed a walk, so I went out to buy watercolour supplies for the class I’m taking this afternoon. Very therapeutic!

And soon … to the beach, where I will be reading the 4th draft of The Game of Hope with an editorial eye. I put the novel aside December 1. It will be interesting to read it afresh.

I’m reading:

Publishing 101 by Jane Friedman. Excellent. Highly recommended.

The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber. I’m only a few chapters in and I love it already. Will it last? I very rarely read speculative fiction. I suspect this one will hold me.

Inside out: not unlike the writing process

I adore this trailer for the new Disney movie Inside Out:

It reminds me of all the voices in my head when writing a scene:

  • Why would she do that?
  • What are the others thinking?
  • Someone, do something!!!

I’m excited this morning about an idea for the covers of the INK non-fiction titles I’m planning. Designer Kris Waldherr and I have had several back-‘n-forths. The new idea is to have them look a little like old chap-books with marbled papers.

Looking at marbled papers just about put me into an aesthetic swoon. Google “marbled pages” for yourself and you will see:

marbled pages

If you want to see more of these, go to my Pinterest board, where I’m collecting ideas.

New covers for The Shadow Queen and a suitcase of research books

 herald 2 copy

Tra la!

Here’s The Shadow Queen cover for the U.S. Anchor paperback edition, coming out in January:

Shadow Queen Anchor (US) ppbk cover

It’s almost identical to the hardcover cover, which pleases me very much, since it is so very striking, my favourite cover ever.

I am curious to see what HarperCollins Canada comes up with; their intention is to create something quite different.

As for different, here is The Shadow Queen cover for my Sandra Gulland INK edition, by the ever-so-talented Kris Waldherr.


It should be ready to launch soon. I’m toying with the idea of publishing print editions as well as digital. We shall see.

Suitcase of books

With this last suitcase of research books now unpacked, I’m very nearly settled into my office in San Miguel de Allende. Time to get to work! I’ve a Dec. 1 deadline for The Game of Hope, and that will be upon me sooner than I realize.

Have a wonderful weekend! I hope you’re reading something delightful. I’m reading a rather horrid little book on the virtues of being tidy. More on this later. The author does make some good suggestions.

Travel-lag, research-lag, To-Do-List-lag



We’re back from a trip to London and Paris—I’ve a lot to absorb! No wonder I feel so “lagged” (not just jet-lagged).

Today I began the read/edit of the 4th draft of The Game of Hope. I always think I can whip through a manuscript in a matter of days—this one is only 70,500 words, after all—but I began this morning at 6:00, and I’m only on page 41.   (Sorry, I couldn’t resist an emoticon.)

Not that there isn’t a lot going on.

I’ve been posting a blog series on writing, a lovely thing to do when not writing. My latest post: A writer’s routine: on hunting & gathering. I hope to pull them all together for a modest Sandra Gulland INK e-book publication.

Speaking of INK publications, we have a beautiful cover by Kris Waldherr for the INK edition of The Shadow Queen.


I’m turning 70 —  (heh) — in one month, and I admit that it’s throwing me for a bit of a loop. Normally I’m fine with birthdays; I celebrate them! But 70?! How did that happen? I’ve been too busy to notice.

To be thrown for a loop: such a curious phrase. According to one Net site, the loop “alludes to the comic-strip image of a person pushed hard enough to roll over in the shape of a loop.” Another says that “loop” refers to the force of a train, plane, or roller coaster when it travels in a loop, causing your head to spin. And yet another, of a calf brought down by a lariat looped around a leg. All very colourful. I’ll go for the comic-strip image.

Re. the craft of writing, this is a wonderful interview with John Truby, author of Anatomy of Story. Everything he says about scriptwriting applies to novels.

What I’m reading:


I’ve been listening to the biography Washington: a Life by Ron Chernow. (It’s excellent.)


The Paying Guests by Sara Waters, also excellent.

I’m also reading, for research, a number of books, but I’ll just mention here a book on Fanny Burney which includes snippets that were deleted from her diaries, many having to do with the mundane details of daily life. Of course I love it.

The image at top is of the novelist Madame de La Fayette, also weary.

Why Amazon/Kindle is leader of the pack

My on-going adventure into e-book publishing has been eye-opening. Although I didn’t do even a fraction of it myself, setting up an account on Amazon/Kindle seemed relatively easy (once I got through the hurdle of the tax-exempt forms required for non-American publishers). Kindle Direct Publishing’s instructions were clear and to-the-point, a class act. And the cost: zero. 

Barns & Noble doesn’t deal with non-US publishers at all—so that was a dead-end.

Kobo is a growing force in Europe, but they are suffering growing pains—and it shows. Their contracts were confusing and contradictory. They’ve launched a clean, new interface—but it couldn’t upload my books (too big!), so we had to go the geeky route. (So glad Kris was dealing with it, not me.) Although my books are up, I still can’t see them, much less get at any direct information about my sales. Too, it seems they are weekly changing their system. Go, Kobo! You’re David against Goliath, but you do need to get your act together. 

iTunes, known to take For Ever to approve a title, came through surprisingly quickly. There were glitches uploading, but once up, okay, although their sales reporting system leaves a bit to be desired. Plus, the sales are about 1% of what gets sold on Amazon. That said, the titles display most beautifully there. 

Because most of my INK titles are sold in the UK, I wanted to be in Waterstones and other UK venues. That has turned into an expensive headache: first to get the titles on Nielsen’s database (I’m still working on that), then to have to pay for a middleman. (This requirement was discovered in a deluge of confusing small print.) OK, I got that far, but I was just now informed that to get a book synopsis and reviews even mentioned on Waterstones’ e-book website (which is hard to find and not that functional), I’d have to pay upwards of $240 plus tax each year. I think not

Which all brings me back to Kindle Direct Publishing: its user-friendly interface, the remarkable ease of uploading and editing … for free. (Sort of: there is a charge for each downloaded purchased title.) Plus, Kindle accounts for well over 90% of sales: no wonder.

I’ve got my own issues with Amazon, but frankly? My practical advice to someone starting out in e-book self-publishing: stick with Kindle Direct.

For information about Sandra Gulland Ink titles: click here.