Can Everton Jones find out how his father stole Emperor Bokassa’s diamonds and, more importantly, where he hid them; before the world and his brother get there first? Click on the picture link in the sidebar to read an extract of my first novel, which was published by Paradise Press in August 2012.
I’ve been too busy getting press-releases out to share this until now, but Bokassa’s Last Apostle has just made the shortlist for the prestigious Lambda Literary Awards book competition in the USA in the ‘Gay Mystery’ category!
OK, so there were only 20 entrants in that category and, yes, I took one look at the (much longer) list of ‘LGBT debut fiction’ contestants, one of which was published by Penguin and ran a mile. But the category I entered for was for ESTABLISHED authors, some with many titles to their name. So I am very pleased to have some recognition at last for all my work.
Don’t get me wrong, the story is plotted to death and the dénouement doesn’t come until the penultimate chapter. It definitley qualified as a ‘mystery’. But it wasn’t quite in the same vain as the other entrants, which were for the most part more muscular ‘cop’ stories. The two American character’s dialogue in my book is phoneticised, which could have pissed off US judges. Seemingly not! I took great care to make Kash’s dialogue sound like he was from Atlanta and Oliver’s dialogue sound like he was from Texas. Looks like I succeeded. Fuck! It took me long enough to work out how to do it! Then the setting is in London and there is dialogue in French AND Polari (which the US judges might not know about). It was altogether a difficult pill for them to swallow. But swallow they did!
I have no illusions about my chances, shortlisting was all I was hopeful of. But the competition is less linear than my book. Heck, It's a ‘mystery’ category. I paced my story like a thriller. Only time will tell.
This indicates that the folder engine2 has to be physically located in the same directory as the file with the code for the slideshow. In my method outlined in the previous post, the folders engine2 and data2 were on the paradise press website, and the code for the slideshow was on my blog. As a result the slideshow, whilst it worked, failed to display the captions (for some reason I can’t divine).
So I put the slideshow into a file in the root directory of the paradise press website, called wowdemo.htm. Also I put the folders engine2 and data2 in the same folder. NB Wowslider generates the folders and a file called index2.html. I just copied the contents of index2.html to wowdemo.htm.
So how to get the file on the remote website to display on my blogger blog? All I had to do was to create a new post and edit it in html mode. I inserted an iframe using this code as the only text in the post: <iframe src="http://www.paradisepress.org.uk/wowdemo.htm" width="399" height="388" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" marginheight="50" marginwidth="50"></iframe>
The page on my blog now looks at the page on the remote site and shows it in the iframe as though it was on my blog. Note the border of 50px I included. The slider format I chose has a neat ‘burst’ effect which extends beyond the edge of the graphic, so I gave it 50px of space to ‘burst’ into. The effect can be seen below. NB chosing a different set of options in wowslider lets you have an infinitely looping slideshow.
NB: the additional text in the post has been edited in after I got the slideshow up and running.
PS: Remember to update the remote file if you make changes to your website!
As Paradise Press treasurer, I have just been passed the following:
It represents our e-book sales on amazon.com to the end of November 2012. Just how am I supposed to transfer this dollar cheque/check into sterling, especially as it is drawn on the ‘Wells Fargo Bank’ in the USA? Our bank here says it will cost anything from £8 up and I bet we get a crap exchange rate! At least, after taking timely action (see earlier posts), was I able to avoid Amazon being forced to pay a 30% ‘witholding tax’ to the Internal Revenue.
It is not unimportant to me as a significant slice of that cheque should come to me! Never mind the inequity that we have had to wait TWO months to get our hands on it. Just how much is Amazon making in interest on the money they are sitting on? I hate to think.
If you are not based in the US, be aware that selling your e-book on amazon.com is not without its problems.
I have a basic slideshow to do the banner on my blog. See here for the details. Unfortunately, I can have only one such slideshow per page and also I have no real control over how it displays. Wowslider is an awesome graphical slider building programme which you can download for free from here. It is extremely simple to use if you have the pictures in a folder on your computer. It generates a file called index.html and two folders called design1 and data1. For a website you own, all you then have to do is copy the folders to the root directory of your website (the one containing your own index.html file) and then edit that file to include some code from the index.html generated by wowslider. Some goes in the header and some in the body sections of your index file.
However, you can’t do that in blogger? Can you? Well, firstly you should put the code from the header of the wowslider index file into the header section of the template for your blog. (Remember to back it up before tinkering with it!) Next, you can put the code from the body of the wowslider index file into a new post. The trick, if trick it be, is to put the folders generated by wowslider somewhere else on the web. In my case I put them on the paradisepress website. Then I edited the links in the wowslider code to point to this location. (I’ve done the same with the animated counter in the sidebar, because blogger does not support animated gifs.)
The outcome can be seen on a new blog I’ve made for paradise press which is here. For some reason, the captions on the photos in the slideshow do not display. Well, they could be edited into the photos, I suppose. Without upgrading the free version of wowslider (which involves paying them some money, although not-for-profit organisations can do this for nothing) the programme prints a discrete watermark onto the photos, which is a small price to pay. Wowslider comes with some amazing transition effects, although a simple swipe effect is favourite with me. The slideshow widget provided by blogger cannot be set to loop infinitely. One other possible way to get the pictures into wowslider might be to enter the url of a feed from flickr or some other photo-sharing site, but wowslider didn’t like the link I got from flickr.
My e-book is now available on the iBookstore, thanks to a distribution deal with Troubador. (See earlier posts.) But how can I link to it? There is a link opposite, which has cost me three days to achieve. The other links, to Kobo, Nook and Kindle are just direct hyperlinks wrapped around an image. Click on the image and you go directly to the book’s page on Nook, Kobo, etc. Apple is a different story. The link has to take the browser to the iTunes store.
Googling around, I discovered that Apple has an affiliate programme. They have outsourced it to four companies, depending on where in the world you are. Details are here: http://www.apple.com/itunes/affiliates/resources/documentation/itunes-app-store-affiliate-program.html. Clicking on the European option took me to a company called TradeDoubler. I had to set up an account with them. Their website is not very user-friendly, but can be navigated with patience. Once in, you need to update your details including bank account etc. There was a bit of back and forth by email because they had a ‘company number’ field. Contrary to the information on the website, if you have no company number, this field should be set to ‘.’ (period, full-point or full stop)
Then they want to know which websites you will be linking from. Each one needs to be entered separately and verified by adding a metatag which they provide to the header. (For blogger, this needs to be added to your template – remember to back up your template before doing this!)
THEN you need to go back to the TradeDoubler site and click the link to verify your site. Essentially, this satisfies them that you control the site. Then, to get into the apple affiliate programme, you need to search on TradeDoubler for the iTunes programme. Once you have found the details, click on the ‘apply’ button. The website says you can get a button for your website whilst awaiting approval from apple, but that didn’t work. I had to wait a few days until I got an email from apple saying I had been accepted, and then I could make a button which worked.
So, how do I get the code for a button? Remember, it needs to be an apple button, which will open iTunes in a browser when clicked. Well, the procedure is not simple. From Trade Doubler, select the Advertisers/Search Affiliate Programmes menu. Enter iTunes and search. Remember to select the website you want the code for in the pop up menu. (The code will be different for each website you want a button on.) In the search results, click iTunes under ‘programme name’. You get a pop-up menu, and here it is rather counter-intuitive. Rather than clicking ‘link’ in the pop-up, you need to click ‘info’ instead. This displays a lot of guff about the programme, but scroll down to where it says ‘Basic Tools’. Just below that it has a sub-heading ‘Link Maker’. Click on the button at the end of that paragraph which says ‘Access it here’.
Given the obscure way I found this link, the ‘tip’ immediately below which suggested bookmarking the destination was very apposite!
The link directs you to a page on Apple’s iTunes website. Crucially, you will notice code at the bottom of the window which identifies your tradeDoubler account. All you now have to do is to enter the title of your e-book in the appropriate field, select ‘books’ and click ‘search’. From the search results, click on the jacket image of your book and a dialogue appears with the html code for your button.
In Blogger, all you now need to do is edit your layout and add an HTML widget and simply copy the code into it. I did think of a way to make the button bigger, but the image is not of a sufficiently good quality to be blown up without visibly pixelating.
The main reason for going through all this rigmarole is because it is the ONLY way to get a link to the iBookstore on my blog. It now takes its place among the links to the other BIG FOUR e-book retailers on my blog: apple, Kindle, nook, kobo, who, between them, have nearly 80% of e-book customers. A secondary advantage is that I get 4% of each sale referred to apple from the button on my blog. The Amazon box works similarly with an affiliate programme operated by Amazon. NB the tradeDoubler programme also has a similar facility with Waterstones and DK Books.
Soooo… Paradise Press has a new e-book distribution agreement with Troubador. Bokassa’s Last Apostle is to serve as the guinea pig. It loaded without a complaint onto the Barnes & Noble ‘Nook’ store. Apple proved a more difficult nut to crack.
It was sent to apple just before Xmas. First difficulty: they went on holiday from until 28th December. Silly me, I thought the internet didn’t sleep. Then it was sent back because it had a price on the back cover. I’m astonished that they even looked at the back cover, let alone why they don’t like the price being on there.
So I took the price off and sent it back. It came back again! This time because I had links or references to websites which offered the same e-book for sale in competition with Apple’s iBookstore. Now how on earth would anyone get to see those links on an apple e-book unless they had first purchased the thing from the iBookstore in the first place? Anyhow I can see their reasoning. Just about. Thinking it through, I had to take out ALL the hyperlinks AND references to the websites, including the Paradise Press website, my blog and, for good measure even third-party websites such as www.authonomy.com and the Manchester Sisters of Perpetual indulgence. Although this latter doesn't seem to be selling e-books, they might in the future.
I just today have figured out where the iBookstore is, apparently I have to go through iTunes. To read the apple e-books I would need either an iPhone or an iPad, and there doesn't seem to be an app I can use on my Mac, which is a bit of a lacuna. Anyhow, my e-book was there! Nook owners AND NOW iPad and iPhone owners can get my book!
Apple’s paranoia frankly looks like protectionism to me.
More about how to link to the iBookstore coming up!