Worth the wait?

As you may remember, I had the bright idea of creating an anthology for the Once Upon A Time Flash Fiction Contest, which was held to coincide with National Flash Fiction Day… which was on the 16th May. You may also remember that I had hoped to have the book ready for then… As you are no doubt aware, it is now almost July, and this was over six weeks ago…

So what happened?

Right, here goes (feel free to skip this bit if you’re not really interested in my pain, but the pain was real and I felt it and I want some sympathy…)

I DID have the book ready for the 16th May, pretty much. Of course I’ve made a few tweaks during the proofing stages, but by and large it was ready.

Thanks to Anna, we got a wonderful offer… Jess Grey (who also donated her book as a prize and is basically a bloody lovely lady) offered the services of her husband to create us a swanky new cover… for free! Whoohoo! Amazing, and after a very short time, we had agreed on the fabulous cover – which you can see below (sorry, it won’t go any bigger in this post, but you’ll get the general feel of its gorgeousness).

So far so good.

Then everything went wrong.

I wanted to use CreateSpace, but at the time they didn’t have a European distribution channel, which would’ve meant that half of the authors in the book would’ve had to order from the US, taking to long and costing too much in postage.

So I went with a UK based company, who have distribution partners in the US. They have a nice looking website and they came recommended and I had seen one of their books before  and it looked great – so what could possibly go wrong? Upload the interior file (created according to their specs), then upload the cover file (created according to their specs), get a proof copy (quickly) then get it out there for everyone to buy. Simple, right?

WRONG.

First off, their lovely looking website was actually quite faffy and difficult to navigate. Then I uploaded the interior… the sizing was wrong… er, hello? I created it according to your sizing spec. I amended and uploaded another. Ok, fine.

Then for the cover. Sizing was wrong. Completely. Er, hello again? It was created according to your sizing spec. Now you might be thinking – ok, big deal, fix it, upload again, move on. It wasn’t that simple.

I sent it back to Jess and it was fixed quickly, despite the confusion over why it wasn’t right when it was right according to the specs. To cut a long story short, I think this happened three times, maybe four. I lost the will to live at one point, but luckily Jess was a sweetie and calmed me down. her hubby was fitting this work around his real, proper work, so I had to be patient. Meanwhile, I exchanged a few emails with my contact at the printing company. I was sick of the pretty website – it seemed to be full of bugs and issues and I lost faith in it.

Finally, the proof came: the cover was the wrong size and a white line appeared down the edge.

At this point I was ready to give up on the whole thing. I felt totally crap. I thought I was going to have to let everyone down. I stayed off twitter, I didn’t blog. I went on holiday and started thinking ‘what if I never go on twitter again?’ This might sound like an overreaction – my account of it all probably doesn’t even sound that bad… but when you’re like me, and you like things to be perfect, it was all a massive, massive let down. My contact at the printing company didn’t get back to me, it was all hanging in limbo…

Then a miracle happened.

CreateSpace announced that they now had a European distribution channel, so the book could listed on both the .com and .co.uk Amazon sites. Happy Days!!

The process looked a bit complicated – it wasn’t. I expected issues with the formatting. As it turned out, they have a neat little template for the interior, I had to do minor resizing and shuffling and checking. I expected that the cover wouldn’t fit. I uploaded it anyway. It didn’t fit quite right, but guess what? THEY FIXED IT. No hassle, no crap, no tears from me. I ordered a proof… I paid the extra for super fast delivery… it arrived.

Guess what?

It looks fan-bloody-tastic!!!

So it’s now in the CreateSpace eStore – you can buy it from there, but it should be on Amazon in 5-7 days where the prices will show up in dollars, sterling, euros. I’ve made it as cheap as I possibly can for you – it’s under £3/$4 (plus postage), but you’re not allowed to have no royalties so I’ve set them at a penny. I’ll give all the pennies to charity, and I’ll let you know which one when I do.

Finally, I’m excited again – and I’ve managed to get my mojo back – I’ve been back writing my novel again this week, and I’ll update you on the progress of that soon. I’m still a bit quiet on twitter, but I am back and I’m gradually popping my head above the parapet.

I can’t wait until you see the book… I can’t wait for your reactions when it plops through your letterbox.

I hope you’ll agree with me when I say it’s worth the wait!

***

P.S. I haven’t been totally idle, I wrote a festival review while I was on holiday… 😉

Once upon a time… there were WINNERS #OUATWRITING

At last – it’s 16th May and it’s finally here: National Flash Fiction Day 2012 – whoohoo!

I’m keeping this short and sweet, I don’t think any of us can cope with the suspense any longer…

The winners of #OUATWRITING are HERE!

Picking 3 out of the fabulous 88 entries was very, very hard – please don’t be disheartened if you are not one of the 3, but you should definitely pop over and give them all a pat on the back via Twitter, or by commenting on their blogs… but don’t forget to give yourselves a big pat on the back too – you all ROCK!

Head over to Yearning for Wonderland too, see what Anna’s got to say about all this… 🙂

As for the anthology – it’s nearly finished, and as soon as I’ve checked the proof, I’ll be posting details about where you can get hold of it!

In the meantime – keep writing… we love your stories 🙂

Once Upon A Time… there was an anthology #ouatwriting

Yup, you read it right… but I’ve kind of given it away now, haven’t I? 😉

So, some of you who follow my ramblings on twitter may have picked up on the fact that I have been working on a TOP SECRET PROJECT… and maybe if you’re one of those detective-types, you might have guessed that it has something to do with the Once Upon A Time writing competition that Anna and I have been working on… well, you’d be right!

It became apparent  as the entries began to come in that we were getting some seriously good stuff. Then we got more. And more. AND MORE. But there can only be 3 winners… 3 out of 88 is practically impossible. Seriously, the standard of entries was extremely high. We had lots of new takes on the old classics, we had modern adaptations, we had some very original new fairytales, we had an instruction manual, we even had a rhyme. I can’t speak for Anna, but in my humble opinion, there was not one bad apple in the whole box – yes, I had some strong favourites, and these were not necessarily the same as Anna’s – which is what made collaborating on this such a great experience for me. I really enjoyed reading all the stories and I love the way that everyone has been enthusiastically reading and commenting on each others’ – culminating in the FanFav mini-comp and the resultant fame of our lovely winner, Cory Eadson.

SO, without further ado – I announce the ‘Once Upon A Time’ anthology, which will contain all the stories from the competition, plus mine and Anna’s.

The collection will be available in both eBook and REAL PAPER format and I will post the details when available. It will be ready soon after National Flash Fiction Day on 16th May (when the WINNERS will also be announced).

Now for the technical bit: I am still working on the running order of the stories, and I need a couple of things from you…

(1) Copyright remains with the individual authors, but you need to tell me if you DON’T want your story published in the book.

(2) Some of you didn’t give your story a title, and some of you don’t have a full name on there – I need titles and names, folks. Also, if you don’t have a blog, you need to confirm that you are happy for your twitter name to be added into the ‘bio’ section (essential this is a list of blog addresses – there is no space for anything more than that)

I will be sending an email to everyone soon with more details of what I need from you…

…and that’s it for now… hopefully I have now brightened your day 😉

Questions, comments etc – you know where to find me!

Once Upon A Time: Open for Entries! #flashfiction

For those keenly awaiting further news about the Once Upon A Time flash fiction contest… your wait is now over 🙂

Anna announced the opening a couple of days ago here.

So, just to recap…

The contest is open until midnight (EST) on 29th April 2012.

Word count: max 350, no minimum

Theme: Unexpected Fairytales – more info here and we also have a rather cool video to whet your appetite here.

How to enter:

  1. Write your entry on your own blog (let us know if you don’t have one and we will post if for you…)
  2. Go to the entry page on Anna’s blog, add the link to your blog then paste the linky code onto your own blog
  3. Click on the pics of the other entries to read & comment & support each other!

Prizes: Full details to follow soon… 🙂

Also check out the National Flash Fiction Day site for details about other flash competitions still accepting entries.

Happy writing & good luck!