Spot the difference.

Unhappy Families (Large)

Available to pre-order now here Amazon UK and here Amazon US.


I’ve taken some good advice from a reader. (No I’m not going back to teaching.) I’ve created a Facebook author page. I wish I’d done it years ago. I’m an idiot for not. It offers lots of possibilities for a perspiring writer. Please go over and have a look at the below link. In case you’re wondering what’s in it for you (don’t we all?) it is only on my FB author page that you will be able to see the covers for A White-Knuckle Christmas (Romney and Marsh File #7) and Deep State (Acer Sansom #4). They are both in the photo albums section. If you do stop by PLEASE click the ‘like’ link.


A few weeks ago I posted this image. For this photo shoot I was engaged in my own round of proofreads and edits for Unhappy Families (R&M File #6).

nice work

Here’s me today. Anyone got time on their hands for a game of spot the difference? (Me neither.)


Did I mention the heating’s stopped working? And this was Ankara last week. It might look sunny out there but it’s bloody freezing!


This week I received the proofread copy of Unhappy Families (R&M File #6) back from my gentleman friend. It’s now available for pre-order hereΒ  Amazon UK and here Amazon US.

When the books come back from proofreading they need formatting for uploading to Amazon. This is my least favourite task in the whole self-publishing process. It’s onerous and boring and time-consuming. I refer closely to the Smashwords style guide. It’s never let me down yet. Basically it entails:

  1. Copy and paste the whole document into a new MS notepad document. This will get rid of any glitches in the document that have come from it being worked on on multiple computers. (This is called the ‘nuclear method’ and it cleans the whole document up.)
  2. Copy and paste that all back into a new MS word document. (Trouble with the ‘nuclear method’ is it removes all previous formatting. So the italics have gone along with any oversized font for chapter numbers and newspaper headlines etc; paragraphing and spacing also needs redoing and asterisks used to denote change of scene etc have been aligned left. I like them centred.)
  3. Redo all the things that were lost in the creating of a new document. (See 2)
  4. Create the front matter.
  5. Create a hyperlinked table of contents.
  6. Make sure that there are ‘x’ number of spaces between every chapter end and start and asterisk and chapter number to chapter start.
  7. Create end matter (book links, letter of thanks begging for feedback).
  8. Then it needs reading again on a Kindle to make sure that everything has been done properly. (There is always something to change and I have never read one of my books at the last stage [this one] and not found something to change in the story – a word, a line. Example: I’ve just removed a paragraph from R&M#6 because it didn’t add anything.)
  9. Update word document with these final tweaked revisions and guess what? Read it again on Kindle to make sure I didn’t bugger anything up when I did the revisions.

I have to get this book to Amazon by Wednesday or I’m in trouble with them. (They demand it ten days before publication day in the case of a pre-order.) I’m halfway through the first read through of the formatted ‘finished’ book. The hard copy of the manuscript has got purple ink all over it. (I’m working in purple crayon today, even though it hurts my eyes and I suffer from a crayon allergy that brings me out in hives [part of my PTSD from working with small children for too long], because The Halfling has hidden all my highlighter pens.)

With so much to do on top of everything else all this begs the question: why am I messing around taking pictures of myself in silly hats?


10 thoughts on “Spot the difference.

  1. You are well on the way to be the published author you desire. Your books are great and it is our task to ensure the reading public of the world see it the same way. Several steps to take place first, but for certain it will happen. Looking forward to your next blog.

    • πŸ™‚ Great answer, David! Maybe the world would be a better place if everyone wore silly hats. Maybe a ‘Silly Hat’ day to promote world peace. I think it could work. πŸ™‚

  2. Hi Oliver

    You’re either a Facebook person or you’re not. I appreciate that lots of people live and die by Fbook and so an author page is a good way to reach readers. However I really like your blog posts and hope you’re not going to give those up. I have found interesting stuff via Facebook but mostly the important things get hidden in a mass of cat photos and adverts. Keep blogging!

    • Hi Sarah
      It’s always nice to know that the blog is being read and enjoyed; it’s become as important to me as any of the books in many ways. I’m certainly not intending to give it up or cut back. I look at FB as adding another string to my social-media bow. (It’s all about social-media, apparently. And there was me thinking it was all about writing.) The blog will remain my main online presence with FB just a place I can share the posts (and maybe some cat photos). πŸ™‚
      Best wishes.

  3. Hi Oliver, and greetings from (almost) sunny Dover. No sign of even a frost here at the moment!! I have pre-ordered R&M6, and much looking forward to reading it.
    Like Sarah, I am not a facebook person, so am glad that you will continue the blog. Keep warm, and enjoy the festive season.
    All the best

    • Hi Andy
      Thanks for your message and the download. Much appreciated, as always.
      I spoke to mum (on Romney Marsh) today and she said the temp is still in double figures! But still miserable. (The weather not her.)
      I hope, as a Dovorian, you like this one. As for FB, as I said to Sarah, it’s just another outlet. The blog will remain my primary online ‘voice’. πŸ™‚
      Happy Christmas to you and yours.
      Best wishes.

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