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Topics - Jan Hurst-Nicholson

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Writers' Cafe / The perils of video conferencing
« on: March 27, 2020, 08:54:49 am »
Now that many of us are working from home video conferencing is becoming the norm. However, there are a number of things that should be taken into consideration:

Media interviews

•   Skype videos open a window into your home, so check what viewers will see in the background. Do you want the world to see your untidy bookshelves, backs of doors with clothes hanging on them, or your general clutter? If you have a laptop, take it somewhere that will show your home off to the best advantage. (Apparently you can use Chromacam or Manycam to create a pleasing background)

•   Make sure that background plants and standard lamps don't look as if they are growing out of your head. If there is a window behind you check that there is no distracting traffic or pedestrians.

•   Close doors to shut out extraneous noise. Make sure children are properly supervised and any barking dogs are out of earshot.

•   Tell the family what time the interview will take place so that they are aware they should not make a noise. Post someone near the front door to prevent a visitor ringing the bell (and setting the dogs barking).

•   Watch the lighting. Is light reflecting from your reading glasses? Good natural light is probably best, but you can check what your webcam software recommends.

•   Position the webcam so that your face is seen to the best advantage. Viewers don't want to see up your nose, so avoid looking down at the camera - it will also emphasise a double chin! Remember to look directly at the webcam and not at the screen. Place the laptop on some books or a box to raise it to eye level.

•   Skype a friend or family member beforehand to ask how you look.

•   Prior to the interview, make sure everything is working properly and nothing needs charging, and that you have decent connectivity.

•   As it is a small screen this is not the time for expansive gestures. Keep your gestures to a minimum otherwise they will become distracting.

•   Watch for cues that the interviewer wants a turn to speak. Time delays can make a 'normal' conversation difficult.

•   Dress the same as you would for a normal interview so that you look professional. Leave off jangly or noisy jewellery.

•   Make a note of important facts and figures. Write them large enough to be read without having to put on your reading glasses, and keep them on cue cards so that you can easily glance at them.

Hope these tips help.   ;)  They are an extract from one of my books.

Writers' Cafe / What's happening with KBoards Link Maker?
« on: August 26, 2019, 11:44:07 am »
I entered my title 'Something to Read on the Plane' into the link maker and it came back with 10 books, none of which had any of the words I'd entered into the search facility, except for my book, which was listed in 7th place. It's not the first time some odd books have shown up when making a link.
Anyone else noticed this?  ::)

Writers' Cafe / Why would a publisher do this?
« on: July 04, 2019, 11:39:31 am »
I've just started reading James Patterson's Roses are Red in paperback. When I first opened the book I thought the first page had the skeletal remains of a tiny squished gecko lizard in the top corner (it wouldn't be the first time I've seen this in a second-hand book). But it turned out that the 'head' was a rose, the 'feet' were leaves and the 'body' the stem. This rose is now on every page, changing shape slightly, and I find it quite distracting as it takes me out of the story as it continually catches my eye.
I can't understand the reasoning behind this, or if any of his other books have the same sort of thing. Does anyone have an answer?  ::)

Writers' Cafe / Need advice on KDP paperback cover
« on: June 02, 2019, 11:21:29 am »
My children's book was originally published by Penguin. I have the rights back, and the illustrator's permission to use her illustrations and cover. I'm using the original cover for the ebook. The book is only 42 pages and is stapled with no spine. Can I scan in the cover and save it as a PDF and use it for the KDP print cover? What happens about a spine?
I don't sell enough copies to warrant spending money on a cover artist or a new cover. 
Thanks in advance.

Writers' Cafe / Need help. Google Chrome crashed
« on: May 30, 2019, 06:01:16 am »
A message popped up that I didn't understand and can't remember, and then I kept getting the 'aw snap' can't open this page, when I tried to open Google Chrome. I tried everything I knew, including downloading again, and my tech guy spent an hour trying to sort it out. He finally diagnosed a ram problem in the area where Chrome was located.
Has anybody else found a solution to this as I want to avoid taking any drastic action with the computer.
I'm using Windows 7 (and want to avoid W10).
I'm having to use Explorer, but I've got tons of stuff/links saved in Chrome.
Thanks in advance.

Writers' Cafe / Hmm, that's actually not a bad idea for a story
« on: May 05, 2019, 07:57:42 am »
Instead of typing 'the case of the kidnapped mouse' I inadvertently typed 'the case of the kidnapped muse' .

Muse - an imaginary being or force that gives someone ideas and helps them to write, paint or make music.

I think there is potential in this  :D

I keep getting a message that it's taking too long to open the site  ???

Just had their email about this. Their FAQs don't include one about 'why have I had no print sales since the move?'  ::)

I see that you have to enable expanded distribution.

Is Expanded Distribution available on KDP?
Yes, Expanded Distribution is available on KDP. CreateSpace books that aren't available for sale on will move to KDP in a "draft" status and will no longer be enrolled in Expanded Distribution. To re-enroll in Expanded Distribution, you'll need to make your books available for sale on by publishing and enabling Expanded Distribution through the KDP Bookshelf. It can take six to eight weeks for your book to become available again in Expanded Distribution channels. Learn more about Expanded Distribution.

I did check that my account was moved, but I'm going to try doing it again.

ETA CURSES Went through to check the expanded distribution and discovered that my recent BookBub promo book had not even been completed for the print version - no categories chosen etc :o yet I had gone through them all weeks ago  >:(

I asked if I could sell some of my Leon Chameleon books at a talk that was being given about chameleons. They agreed that I could, and would I like to donate one of the books as a raffle prize, which I did.
The organisers said it was one of the more successful raffles they've had  :D
I also sold more copies than I expected as everyone entering the venue had been asked if they would like to buy a raffle ticket and were shown the book.  :)

Writers' Cafe / Talk about getting into a panic!! (BOOKBUB RESULTS
« on: March 22, 2019, 01:35:51 am »
BookBub results reply No 30

We are experiencing rolling blackouts from 2 - 4 hours per day, and I also have a problem with intermittent internet connectivity due to an underground ADSL cable fault, so ten minutes before the power was due to go off I downloaded my emails and discovered one from BookBub asking why I hadn't replied to their offer of a featured deal and they could only hold it for me for one day before giving the place to someone else. WHAT!!  :o I hadn't received any emails to say I'd been accepted. NOOO you can't give my place to someone else. :o

I now had eight minutes to reply and pay for the deal. (I have a desktop computer, and while I have a backup battery for the computer I don't have it linked to the modem). Never having had a BookBub I was unsure of what to expect. No time to read their terms and conditions. I hurriedly filled in the form.  Have to keep my wits about me (when I have any) as the dates can be a problem e.g.  4/6/19 is the 4th of June to me, but the 6th April to the US.

I haven't used PayPal to pay for anything online in at least four years and it's been a year since I organised to be able to receive Paypal payments, which was a nightmare of several days trying to get them to accept my password, so I was panicking about that, while still watching the time and the light on my modem to make sure I was still connected to the internet.

Great was my relief when I made the Paypal payment. But then I got an sms from my credit card provider to say there was suspected fraud on my account and they would suspend the card unless I confirmed that I had made the payment to BookBub. The power blackouts have also caused delayed sms messages, so this was another panic.

There was now about two minutes until the power went off. I confirmed to the credit card that it was me who had made the payment and was relieved to get an sms acknowledgment from them.

With moments to spare, the power went off. When it came on again two hours later I had an email from BookBub confirming my featured deal. Panic over.

Now to get my ducks in a row for my first BookBub. Got any tips for me?  ;)

Writers' Cafe / When Windows 7 dies - January 2020
« on: March 21, 2019, 03:47:37 am »
I couldn't find any threads on this subject, but if there is one, please merge. What is everyone else going to do about this - if anything?  ::)

What happens when Windows 7 is no longer supported in January 2020

Why I stopped using Windows 10

The Book Corner / The importance of reading aloud to children
« on: February 15, 2019, 11:04:37 am »
I thought this was an interesting article. I wonder if it would also help elderly people who are suffering from dementia if their loved childhood stories were read out to them.

When we look back on our childhood, many of us have fond memories of being read to, of snuggling up and enjoying a favorite story with the people who love us. And it's not so much the story that we remember, but the feeling of love and security that it gave us.

It turns out that reading aloud, a time-honored tradition in so many families, is actually a wonderful way of helping children to reach their full potential:

An interesting blog post.

Dialogue tags are always a controversial topic among writers. While some like to ring the changes with a wide vocabulary, Giacomo Giammatteo, indie author of over 70 self-published books, makes the case for keeping dialogue tags simple, and explains his reasoning. See if you agree ...

Writers' Cafe / Lee Child talks to Stephen Sackur on Hard Talk
« on: December 20, 2018, 04:08:28 am »
If you haven't already seen this it's worth watching.  :) Among other topics he discusses who is to play Jack Reacher in the TV series of his books.

Writers' Cafe / Asking a reviewer for permission to use their review
« on: November 24, 2018, 10:55:31 am »
I'd like to quote a review and would need the reviewer's permission to do this, but I'm not sure whether it's a good idea. Are reviewers usually ok with this, or do some get mightily offended?  :-\

Writers' Cafe / Delayed reporting on dashboard
« on: October 22, 2018, 01:25:17 am »
I've just finished a free promo on one of my books. It was from 17-20th. I had a few downloads trickle in on the 20th, nothing on the 21st (as expected) but I've had one free download show up today. Most odd. (Not complaining - just wondering what else is delayed  ::))

Writers' Cafe / Online sellers 'pay for positive reviews' - Which report
« on: October 20, 2018, 01:27:13 am »
This might alert more buyers to fake reviews

Fake five-star reviews being bought and sold online

The Which? investigator found five sellers who gave instructions to order an item through Amazon, write a review and share the link, with the promise of a refund.

The investigator gave an honest review of the items, but in three out of five cases was not refunded because the reviews were not positive enough or the seller could no longer be contacted.

The consumer group said that in one example the investigator gave a smartwatch a two-star review. They were told by the seller to rewrite it because the product was free, so it "is the default to give five-star evaluation".

In another, the investigator was told that a "refund will be done after a good five-star review with some photo" after receiving some wireless bluetooth headphones. But after posting a three-star review with photos they were told they would not be refunded unless they wrote a five-star review.

Writers' Cafe / This made my day
« on: October 18, 2018, 04:46:36 am »
A friend bought one of my Leon books as a birthday gift for her friend's son. This is what happened when he opened it  ;D A book is a gift that you can keep on opening  ;)

Leon Chameleon PI and the case of the kidnapped mouse

The Book Corner / What writers do in the name of research *sigh*
« on: October 06, 2018, 09:59:53 am »
I sometimes wonder if readers realise how much time and effort writers put in in the name of research.  :).
If you are going to have a snake in your story you should have some hands-on experience  :D
Fortunately this was a harmless one, part of a snake handler's collection .

Writers' Cafe / What's happening with Photobucket??!!
« on: October 05, 2018, 06:46:53 am »
The site can't be reached, and it looks like some of the posts where I used it to upload my covers now have no covers showing  :o . Hope it's just a temp glitch and they haven't been hacked or something.

The Book Corner / Book Discovery
« on: October 05, 2018, 01:45:09 am »
Sad to see Harvey's avatar gone  :'(.

The Book Corner / At least you don't have this problem with an ebook
« on: October 03, 2018, 08:52:14 am »
Bookworm!  >:( They can chew through an entire shelf of books leaving just a pinhole through each book. I usually see the holes they've left behind, but I have actually seen the tiny worm that looks like a maggot.  Working in a charity bookshop meant flipping through every donated book looking for bookworm, and sometimes you found it in nearly new books. Collectable books we treated with a insecticide. Some people used to put the infected books in the microwave - but this meant a very delicate balance of time and heat otherwise you melted the glue in the spine  ::).

Writers' Cafe / Guard your digital legacy - you need a Digital Executor
« on: September 23, 2018, 06:58:23 am »
Our data will last longer than we will. Who do you want to access your social media accounts when you're gone? Is there anyone to run your website?
I found these websites helpful.

Writers' Cafe / Need help. Photobucket is in beta and giving problems
« on: September 08, 2018, 12:04:41 pm »
I've been using photobucket for ages with no problems, but now they have changed things and are in beta. There is an edit button - but nowhere does it have a 'resize' option. I can't make the pics small enough to post.  >:( And I can't get back to the original photobucket unless I don't login. It let's me upload and edit in the old version - but I can't share it  >:( >:(.
Is anyone else using it and found a way to resize pics? I've wasted at least an hour messing about.

Writers' Cafe / What makes readers buy books?
« on: August 15, 2018, 08:53:58 am »
This is quite a comprehensive survey. It also mentions Mark Dawson's survey.

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