To celebrate summer (at least in the US – it’s the middle of winter here in Australia!), I’m taking part in the Summer Splash Blog Hop. This is a series of giveaways that are run across a huge number of authors blogs. Each blog has their own giveaway, which you can enter (click on the image to the right for the full list of blogs participating). And the main site (that links everyone together) has it’s own giveaway where you can win one of Two Kindle Fires, a $75 amazon gift card, a $50 amazon gift card, a kindle cover, or signed paperbacks from several authors. Read more »
Today I have an interview with Grant Stone. It’s not very often you run into a writer who feels their work is the reason they are alive, but Grant’s passion for his books is obvious. You can find him on the web at http://www.readzing.com/
JGA: Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. To start with, can you tell us a bit about yourself, and how you got started writing?
GS: My career has always focused on writing and exploration. For over 15 years, I’ve held a “dream job” working as the Editor on Crystal Cruises’ luxury vessels, traveling to hundreds of destinations in almost 150 countries.
As a young teenager I started writing a journal – 25+ years ago – which definitely helped to develop my writer’s “voice.” However, the moment I truly believed I was a writer was when I wrote a piece for my grandfather’s funeral in April, 2001 (a year a half before I started writing Everything Zing.) The words and message felt so beyond my own means that I knew something greater was at work, and I’ve always believed that was the quality of good writing.
JGA: How do you go about the actual process of writing?
GS: Like most writers, I’m very particular with my routine. I start as early in the morning as possible, often by 6am. I keep a notepad with me to jot down notes, but the actual writing is always done on my laptop… with my legs stretched out on the bed. I usually break at the two hour mark (for at least 30 minutes) and never write more than six hours in one day. For me, the discipline was always time – so many hours per day, rather than a set word / page count.
JGA: How do you personally like to read books you buy these days?
GS: I travel a lot, so I’ve become a big Kindle fan, but there’s no replacement for the hard cover, especially a book you love and want to keep and read again in the future.
JGA: How do you go about planning your writing?
GS: Before I even wrote the first sentence for “Everything Zing” I had an outline for each of the four books. Before writing each, I thoroughly plotted out dates and events and any other relevant notes. Then, I simply took it scene by scene, often asking, “OK, what’s next?”
GS: This novel is my life’s work – absolutely without a doubt in my mind. It’s the reason I’m on this planet, and I’m thrilled to share the story. I feel like the luckiest guy in the world because I got to discover the Imagine Nation’s Capital City of Zing first!
JGA: Who are the readers who would enjoy “Everything Zing” the most?
GS: Book One’s inscription says it best: Dedicated to every grown-up Muggle who still believes in magic.
JGA: What other items are you working on at the moment?
GS: “Everything Zing” is a four-part series, all of which are written, the first subtitled “Winter” now in publication. All of my energy is focused on promoting the current release, as well as finalizing the remaining four installments (Spring, Summer and Fall).
JGA: If you could somehow change reality and become the author of any published book instead of the person who originally wrote it, which book would you make your own and why?
GS: Harry Potter! For two reasons – of course, the enormous success, but also the fact that JK Rowling’s books were the ones that turned my attention back to reading for the fun of it.
You can find Everything Zing on Amazon.
I posted about this on Facebook and Twitter, but never actually put it into words here 🙂
After doing my own books, and a few books for others, I’ve decided to offer an ebook & CreateSpace formatting service. My prices are based on word count, to make them affordable for short story/novella writers as well as writers of longer works. The full details of what I can do for you are on the page I’ve linked to.
If you have a book you would like formatted (either now, or in the near future), just use the form here and we can chat. 🙂
In an attempt to make up for a week of lost sales, I’ve temporarily lowered the price for Gears of Wonderland on Amazon to just 99 cents. This price reduction won’t last long – it will return to it’s normal price of $2.99 in four days time.
Here are excerpts from some of the reviews Gears of Wonderland has received:
“Anderson stays true to Lewis Carol’s world and characters, but adds so many of his own ideas that Wonderland feels, well, wondrous again.” – Heather Blackwood, Amazon review
“Seriously, if you like ‘Alice in Wonderland ”and you enjoy Steampunk or you’re just looking for a fun and entertaining adventure. Put down the java, just for a second and click on one of the links to get your copy of ‘Gears of Wonderland.” – HeadshotHeather, Amazon review
“Jason G. Anderson does an amazing job of reinventing Wonderland long after Alice has left; a classic story mixed with a modern day/steam-punk twist. The different characters in the book and the image created of this world was what prevented me from putting the book down!” – Ashley Rosenberg, limerencemag.com
If you happened to visit my Facebook author page during the past week, or tried to look at any of my books on Amazon over the same period, you would have discovered that my books were no longer listed on Amazon. While it would have been nice to say that they were unavailable because a publisher had offered me millions of dollars for the rights to them, the truth of the matter was much simpler.
I was an idiot, had broken the Kindle Direct Publishing Terms of Service, and had my KDP account closed as a result.
It was a mistake born of laziness rather than ill-intent, but it was still a violation.
[What had I done? About two years ago, I put up three books that were private label rights (PLR) material. This was long before publishing my own fiction was an idea, and at the time it was allowed. Later, Amazon changed their TOS so that using PLR material was no longer allowed. I was lazy, and didn’t bother deactivating the books myself. Two of the books were automatically deactivated within a couple of weeks of the change, but the third (which I had done some work to) remained. I should have deactivated it, but foolishly left it in my account as I thought I had done “enough” to make it okay. Last week, Amazon noticed the book was based on PLR, and as that was the third “strike” against my name, closed my KDP account. Start panic attack! Thankfully, they accepted my appeal to reopen my account.]
Now, while most authors are unlikely to run into my specific problem, there are other clauses in the terms of service that authors could easily break, without knowing that they were. The best way to be safe is to have a read through the terms of service for yourself (or a re-read, even if you’ve read it before, just to remind yourself about what is and isn’t allowed).
Here are a few items I noticed that could easily catch someone out (NOTE: I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice, consult your own lawyer, yadda yadda yadda):
- No multiple accounts (4.2) – There are many reasons why you might want to have two (or more) accounts, but under the TOS you can’t (and Amazon have been cracking down on this the past few weeks).
- No ads (5.1.2) – You’re not allowed to advertise or promote anything in a Kindle book. If you wanted to be strict in your interpretation, this could even include linking to your other books! You’d probably be fine if you just linked to your Amazon pages or website/Facebook/etc, but don’t risk linking to your Smashwords/B&N/etc pages.
- Sales data is confidential (7) – You’re not allowed to say how many copies of your books you’ve sold. Most authors have (unintentionally) broken this rule at one point or another (I know I have), as we’re all excited to tell others how well (or not) we’re doing. If you want to be safe, don’t do it any more.
I can’t stress this enough – take the time to have a re-read of the terms of service, and ensure that you’re not accidentally breaking the rules. Or you might get the same heart-attack-inducing email that I got, telling you that your KDP account has been terminated.