Monday, 25 November 2013

Nora The Screenplay by Charles J Harwood

This easy to read screenplay is centred around the fickle yet pervading aura of celebrity culture in Western society. Biographies are published about lives that have hardly begun and the media tell the audience what they need to read, plugging only an airbrushed and commercial view of what is real. Incidentally, the screenplay is being adapted into a novel on my other blog.

Story of Celebrity Culture

The other extreme is often written about, the woman with 10 husbands or a story about the man who committed the biggest tax fraud. We don’t hear about the in-between, the ordinary and very real lives of people struggling with everyday problems. I decided I would bring the lives of two such people together. Vince is a playboy millionaire and owner of a string of nightclubs. He is the sort of celebrity who has a publishing deal with a top magazine to print a series of exclusives about his private life that in fact are a promotional ruse. His teeth are airbrushed white and his skin is flawless. Everything goes his way with oily ease.

Fifteen Minutes of Fame

Vince is often spotted walking from one of his nightclubs arm-in-arm with a mysterious and attractive lady. This whets the appetite of the paparazzi. Could this be The One for such an eligible bachelor? But little known to his female subjects, Vince and his PA Leon have an arrangement going. How long will the fifteen-minutes-of-fame last for each unsuspecting female? And what will they do with their lives afterwards?

Culture Clash and Sycophants

This is where ex-nurse Nancy comes into the story. Her difficult life has forged a series of gritty and old fashioned values that Vince would find contemptible. She is ashamed of her alcoholic mother and shabby home. But she had learned to hide her identity behind a party dress and a cheap makeover in the local salon. She finds herself the unlikely subject of Vince’s photoshoot as they walk side by side from his nightclub.

Story of a Car Crash

Nancy finds herself out of her depth once inside Vince’s car and Leon drives off. Their dry and surreptitious humour forged from their rich lifestyle brings her past into sharp contrast. The result is a bizarre exchange between people from vastly different worlds.

Screenplay on Modern Life

Nora the Screenplay on Kindle
But the lives of all 3 characters are about the change when the car crashes, killing Leon and cementing the lives of Nancy and Vince. From thereon, Nancy’s brittle persona, Nora fuels the story. Nora is not about to allow Vince’s recovery to go as he had planned. She has a harsh brand of rehab that is not to Vince’s tastes and for the first time in his life, Vince is about to learn one of life’s lessons the hard way – the Nora way.

After several redrafts, the story dialogue developed snappy exchanges charged with subtext and conflicting emotions. This Kindle screenplay has been formatted for easy reading. Formatting text in a screenplay format is not possible in an Epub, as the running text will appear different on various readers. I decided to denote action description in italics, character cue as bold and dialogue in “normal black.”

The paperback version of Nora The Screenplay is formatted like a screenplay. It measures 8x5in and is 102 pages long. My screenplay can also be found on other platforms including Kobo, Sony and Apple as well as Kindle.

Related Screenplay Articles on this Site

Read the novel serialisation of Nora on my other blog
My other screenplay A Hard Lesson
Tips on writing a screenplay

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Gone Too Far: 3 Psychological Thrillers about Taboo is now in Paperback

This large thriller trilogy comprising full length novels (collectively around 250,000 words) is now available in paperback as well as Kindle. The novels of which this book comprises can also be purchased singly.
Psychological Thriller Trilogy

This fabulous trilogy of novels is centered upon a common theme: the forbidden. Three such situations of taboo can be found within.

The hostage and the captor; the voyeur and the performer; the teacher and the pupil. Here exists a line that should never be crossed – but what if it were? Some scenes are toe-curling, others a little more disturbing. Blurbs are provided below.

The Shuttered Room

Little do they know their captive holds a deadly secret.

Jess’s idyllic life is shattered when she is taken hostage and held in an upstairs room by 3 thugs. In a failed escape attempt, she cuts a hole in the bedroom floor and instead finds herself spying upon her captors.

Jess’s spying draws her into a treacherous mind game involving a twisted version of Stockholm Syndrome.

If only they knew what their captive was up to. What would they do to her?

Falling Awake

Gemma is faced with homelessness after her husband Liam mysteriously vanishes, leaving only a contorted doodle as a clue to why.

To save her house, she takes a commission performing for an unseen voyeur who watches from across the street.

Her hours of work clue her in to his insomnia. But if she knew the cause behind his sleeplessness, she wouldn’t perform for him.

Darkly funny, frightening and disturbing, she is about to find out what it is like to be psychologically tied to someone she fears most.

A Hard Lesson

Sarah thought she was teaching a schoolchild a little English.

She couldn’t have been more wrong.

Not only is her subject a full-grown thug, he is dyslexic and part of a criminal clique headed by a psychopath. And this psychopath doesn’t like people interfering with his business.

Soon, she will learn the meaning of treachery.

And fear.

An affecting tale of blackmail, lies and betrayal.

Print version of this trilogy is 8 x 5in and 666 pages. Available also on Kindle.  Novels available singly.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Should I Sell My Books Through Google Play and Google Books?

Google has revamped their old Google Books Partner program to enable self published writers to upload their books onto their platform in both Google Books and Google Play. After uploading my books on Google’s digital platform, have found some pros and cons on using Google Books Partners for selling my books.

The Difference Between Google Play and Google Books

Google play is basically a digital platform comprising a choice of uploads centered upon hobbies and leisure for Android-powered handsets and computers. Similar to its former Android Market, forms of entertainment include apps (games and gadgets), ebooks, movies/TV, music and magazines. Google Play is a unified shop where customers may upload various modes of entertainment from one store.

Selling Books on Google
Google Books, formerly known as ‘Google Print’ has been around longer than Google Play. As well as commercially available books, this program comprises scanned images of books that are out of print or no longer commercially available. Google Books can be viewed on most computers as well as Androids.

How to Use Google Play Books Partner Center

I have written a separate article offering guidance on how to upload ebooks onto the Google Partner Program. Personally I have found the dashboard tricky. For instance, if something is amiss, the dashboard will simply say that action is needed or not live without informing on the problem. Some guesswork is often required. You will also need quite a lot of information handy on your books for filling in each field.

Creating an Epub File for Google

Uploading books onto KDP Amazon and Smashwords is easy compared to Google Play-Books. For one thing, you have to upload an Epub, not a Word document or a zip file for conversion. This means uploading software onto your computer. I used Callibre, which is good for converting most file formats. I also found necessary the upload of another program called Adobe Digital Editions which will display how your book will look when read by digital ereaders.

Selling Your Books on Google Play

Despite looking extensively, I could not determine the book royalties the author will earn from the Google Play Books Program FAQ, but the figure 52% has been reported from other writers who have sold books through Google Books/Play. Not an attractive figure when compared to Amazon (70%) or Smashwords (between 60 – 85%). 

Another problem to be aware of is pricing your book. A higher price may have to be set in order to earn the same royalties as the other ebook platforms offer. Google also discounts book to around three-quarters of the list price set, which could be ‘price matched’ by Amazon. To avoid this, add a quarter of the price wished for to the list price field. In my case, I wanted one of my ebooks to sell for $5. I would therefore put it up for around $6 within the book dashboard. All these factors do not bode too well for the writer trying to make sales from ebooks.

How to Make Google Books Work for the Writer

Reports indicate that sales are not that good on Google Books/Play, but may not remain this way for long. Google Play is a big presence and self published writer may ignore it at their peril. Uploading your books onto Google Play Books mean your books become more visible and easier to find by Google searches. Being more visible means more sales could be generated in the long run. Google Books/Play also offers an additional sales channel.

Writer’s Guide to Gbook Marketing

Enrolling for the Google Book Partner program has its drawbacks and advantages. Creating an Epub and completing the book dashboard is not straightforward. The royalties aren't as good as other epublishers, and Google will discount your books without notice. Bear these factors in mind when pricing your book. Having said this, the Google Play/Books partner is a big presence on the Net and could be used to make your books more visible.

More Articles on Self Publishing

How to publish your books on Google Play
Create a book in large print
How to claim tax refund on royalties
Sell your books as an affilliate

Selling Gbooks through the Google Partner Center

The Google Books and Google Play program enables the self published writer to sell ebooks online from one dashboard. All you have to do is to sign up for the Google’s Partner program. Within a few steps, your books will show up on Google Books searches and also on Google Play.

How to Get your Books onto Google Play

The writer may consider uploading a completed novel onto Amazon’s KDP platform, Smashwords or Kobo. But Google has also a platform where the writer may upload books where they may become more visible on searches. The system is a little fiddly and the pros and cons of selling your books on Google play are explained in another article. For now, I shall take you through the steps. Firstly, enroll for the Google Partner Program. You will need a Google account into order to do so. Once enrolled, you will need to complete all fields on a ‘Book Catalog’ page.

How to Publish Books on Google Play

You will need to collate some information on your book in order to fill in each stage of the book catalog. Firstly you will need to click on ‘add book’. Your book may have an ISBN (if it has been published on Smashwords and/or Createspace and Lulu). Don’t worry if there is more than one ISBN per book, the ‘general details’ page enables the author to inform on other ISBNS the book has. In my case, I had an ISB for the paperback version of my book, large print and digital.

This general details page also requires a title, the subtitle (if applicable), an autobiographical note (about the author) and book category (known in the US as a BISAC or in the UK a BIC). Book categories for other countries are provided. I placed my book under the subject heading ‘thriller/suspense.’ There are many other subject areas to choose from.

Creating a Gbook for Beginners

Some of these fields are a little tricky and here’s the first. Under language, don’t put ‘English’, but ‘Eng’ or the system will reject the book.

You may add the publication date, page count and age group the book is aimed at. If adult, leave blank or 18 plus.

The book description is vital, so some thought must be put into this. I used the blurb I had written for Amazon with some adjustments. Do revise this part if need be. A good book description can create sales.

If applicable, infill the details if the book belongs to a series and the publisher name. If self-published, this will likely bear the author’s name.

Before going further, click the ‘save’ button on the top right of the screen.

Setting the Price of a Gbook

You will now be presented with the ‘Google Play’ settings of your book.

Google has made things a little simpler than the older Google Partner system regarding the pricing of your book in that you only have to put in the price in your own currency (in my case, USD). Put in caps WORLD and the system will automatically convert the price into all currencies. A word of warning, don’t put $ or £. Again, the system will reject it. USD or GPB is the format required depending upon where you are. Click the relevant box if tax is included in the price.

You may choose to tick whether to protect your digital rights and whether to show ‘flowing text’ from the epub you will download. More about epubs in a moment. You may then decide how much of the book you are happy for customers to copy and paste.

How to Grant Free Copies of Your Book to Reviewers

This next bit comes in handy. You can grant chosen reviewers to read your book for free on their Android device without having to purchase a digital copy of your book for them. The reviewer must have a Google account to receive the ebook for free.

Remember to ‘save’ before progressing onto the ‘Google Books setting’ page.

The fields here are pretty self-explanatory. Under ‘territories’ put WORLD if you hold worldwide rights. If not, you can select the countries you wish the book to appear. You can download a graphic and link back to your own website or blog where your books can be purchased.

Again, remember to ‘save.’

The Content Files of Google Books

Now for the slightly tricky bit. On the ‘content files’ page of your book, you will need to upload the cover image of your book (preferably a JPEG, PDF or TIFF. You will also need to upload the content of your book. I uploaded both PDF (or scanned images) and the Epub version for ereaders. You only need to save a PDF version of your book if a print version exists (such as on Createspace or Lulu). Simply open the word document and click on ‘save as.’ select PDF. I chose to compress the file for online reading only. I saved before uploading the PDF file.

Uploading an Epub to Google

When it comes to flowing text, Google will not accept zip files, Word or MOBI files, only an Epub file, which is not as easy. If you do not have an Epub version of the Word document that represents your book, upload a free software called Callibre which will convert any file format into any other file format. Callibre is easy to use. Once uploaded, add your Word document into the library and then select ‘Epub’. The book will be saved as an Epub version within a separate folder generated within your Documents called Callibre Library.

To ensure the file works properly, you can upload another free and simple-to-use software called Adobe Digital Editions. If your book opens OK on this program, chances are, Google will be happy with it.

Once you have uploaded the cover image and the content of your book, click ‘save.’ Don’t worry if the files don’t show up immediately on your book details. Refresh after a few moments and they will show up. Now you will have to wait a day or so to see if the system has any problems with your files. Until then, your book catalog will show the status ‘not live’ or ‘needs action.’

Epub Cannot be Sanitized

On occasion, an error message will come up saying that the epub cannot be sanitized. I have to admit, even after querying this with Google am unsure what this means and welcome comments of enlightenment at the end of this post. All I know is that a site called ‘Github’ is used to pinpoint the problems with the Epub.

 If all fails, you could upload your own book onto your computer from an epublisher you have already published your book on. (Don’t use Amazon, as they use MOBI files). Epublishers that convert Word documents into Epub files include: Apple, Nook, Sony, Kobo and Smashwords.

How to Upload Epub onto Google Books

Once you have saved your Epub file (which likely will be saved under ‘Downloads’ of your computer), browse to it and then upload the Epub onto Google Books/Play.

Save and then wait another day or so. If all is OK, the book will show up as ‘live on Google Play.’ Don’t worry if your book does not show up on Generic Google searches. Give it a few days and the book will be Google indexed. Until then, you can still link to your Google Books/Play page of your books by clicking on the ‘Google Books’ or ‘Google Play’ link that can be found at the top of the ‘contents file’ page of your book once you have signed into your Google Books Partner Center account.

The pros and cons of enrolling your books onto Google Play is discussed in a separate article.

More Articles about Self Publishing

The pros and cons of selling your books on Google Play
I wish I had the time to write a novel
My ebook won't format properly