Maria Savva's Blog, page 5

June 20, 2014

The Keynote speech from the TLC writers' conference this year was from Cory Doctorow a successful Canadian-British blogger, journalist, and science fiction author.

His speech centered around the use of DRM in digital publishing and he says we don't need it and shouldn't use it.

What's DRM?

When you publish an e-book you have the option to 'protect' the content with Digital Rights Management. This means that your book will be effectively locked and no one can copy the words and steal it. Well, that's the theory anyway.

This part of Cory's speech stood out for me because as an independent author I have always been concerned about piracy and I always check the box when I publish on Amazon to make sure my books are protected with DRM.

The truth is DRM doesn't make it impossible to steal the words. I have always been aware of the existence of software that can remove DRM, but I thought it's better to have the protection in the first place because any pirates might only target text that is easier to get hold of without having to go to the bother of getting software to remove the DRM. After hearing Cory's speech, I am left thinking that it probably doesn't make a difference whether you have DRM protection or not. The fact is your e-book is vulnerable to piracy either way.

Not only that, Cory thinks that you're actually giving away control of your work to the book seller e.g. Amazon, when you allow them to 'lock' your product.

Cory Doctorow says there are 3 things that publishers must understand for digital success. He calls it 'Doctorow's Law':

1. When someone puts a lock on something that belongs to you and won't give you the key, there is something wrong and it's not there for your benefit.

So this goes back to the DRM issue. It is illegal to remove DRM protection unless you're the company who published the product, so once you've given the go-ahead for DRM protection, you can't then change your mind with that particular product. However, pirates happily remove DRM immediately, and very easily.

Cory Doctorow is adamant that DRM doesn't prevent piracy.

2. Fame won't make you rich, but you'll have a hard time making sales if no one's heard of you.

Cory believes that the problem most digital publishers should be more concerned of is obscurity, not piracy.

It's becoming more common for publishers to approach and offer publishing deals to authors who are successful on Kindle.

Piracy can actually help you get noticed. It only takes one person to read your book and become a 'super-fan' and that may help with promotion. People who download from pirate sites will always be downloading that way, whether or not a book has DRM doesn't make the decision for them. Potentially, you are missing a market by 'locking' your books.

3. Information doesn't want to be free but people do

Cory says DRM hands over control to the companies that publish the digital material.

Information that’s supposed to be free and public is shut away, where it’s kept under lock and key. There is a law that prevents companies telling people about the flaws in DRM.

He says that his publisher (a Macmillan imprint in the US) has dropped DRM and hasn't seen a resulting fall in sales.

Cory says that most indie authors are naive about DRM.


It was an interesting speech and definitely made me think.

One of the audience members did make a comment after the speech that perhaps the use of DRM has prevented large-scale piracy.

I'm not really sure where I stand on this. As an author, of course I don't like the idea of anyone getting my writing free when I hardly sell any books. Writing is hard work and authors deserve to be paid for it.

What I'm now thinking, though, after Cory's speech, is maybe I'm losing out on reaching a wider audience by insisting on DRM protection of my work.

It would be interesting to hear other authors' views on this topic.


I'll be posting some more stuff from the conference soon...

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Published on June 20, 2014 12:51 • 550 views • Tags: cory-doctorow, digital-rights-management, drm, indie, piracy, the-literary-consultancy, writing-in-a-digital-age

June 17, 2014

Last weekend I was at The Literary Consultancy's conference: Writing in a Digital Age.

Those of you who follow my blog will know that I attended last year and ran a series of blogs afterwards with lots of advice for writers.

This year's conference was just as information-packed and useful as last year's.

I came away with lots of scribbled notes and there is probably too much information to fit into one blog post so I'll do another series of blogs here.

I'll also be copying the blogs to my UK Arts Directory blog so that more people get to see the advice.

As an overview, a few interesting snippets from the weekend that stood out for me were the following:

1. Traditional publishers and independent/self-published authors now appear to be working more in unison. Last year there seemed to be a resistance to change. This year, however, there was a wonderfully author-friendly aura about the whole conference. The industry is changing and it felt more like the big players in publishing are embracing the changes more. I imagine that there will be much more collaboration between indies and mainstream publishers over the coming years. I'm happy about this because most of the books I read these days are by very talented indie authors and -- as some of the speakers at the conference proved -- indies are finally finding a place in the market. Although not yet equal, the playing field is levelling out a bit. There was the use of the term 'Author-Publisher' rather than 'self-published' that is becoming more popular, giving more credibility to independent authors.

2. One important thing that kept being repeated at the conference by different speakers was the importance of targeting your readership for effective book-marketing. Many authors (especially self-published) try to market their books too widely and miss their target audience. It's important to know who the perfect reader for your book is and to seek them out.

3. The past year has seen a significant rise in self-published eBook sales. I'll be posting more details about the numbers in a future blog.

4. Agents can be very important to writers to help secure things like foreign rights and TV/film rights etc. Some of the largest book markets are abroad and authors need to know how to promote effectively to those countries. Again, I will post more information about this in future blogs.

There is a lot more, but I think I'll stop here.

Stay tuned for more information coming soon...

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Published on June 17, 2014 12:33 • 410 views • Tags: free-word-centre, marketing, the-literary-conference, the-literary-consultancy, tlc, tlc14, writing, writing-in-a-digital-age

June 8, 2014

I'm the featured author this month on Clive Eaton's website.

To read my interview and find out more about my latest book, Perspectives, follow this link:

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Published on June 08, 2014 10:50 • 595 views • Tags: clive-eaton, featured-author, interview, perspectives

June 6, 2014

Just a quick blog post to let you know about a giveaway here on Goodreads!

You can win one of five copies of my latest short story collection, Far Away In Time

Here's the link you need:

Good luck!

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Published on June 06, 2014 07:10 • 551 views • Tags: far-away-in-time, giveaway, goodreads, paperback, signed

June 4, 2014

"No story is the same to us after a lapse of time; or rather we who read it are no longer the same interpreters." George Eliot

I spotted this quote on Facebook the other day. There is so much truth in it. It made me think of books that I've read more than once, at different stages of my life. Some I loved when I read them in my twenties didn't seem so great when I read them again in my thirties. Some I hated because they were books I might have been forced to read at school,I actually enjoyed reading after years had passed.

This is a very important thing for not only authors but readers to acknowledge. As we change, as we grow, as we learn more and go through new experiences, books will mean different things to us.

If ten people read the same book, they'll probably all take away something different from it, and much of the reason for that is they won't all relate to the same characters in the book; it all depends on their life experience.

One of my favourite authors, Paulo Coelho once said: “It's not my business if people like or dislike [my writing],”

That is very true. The reasons why a reader may or may not like a book will more often than not come down to their own life experiences, not whether the book is any good or not.

This is an important point to consider when reading and writing book reviews.

I was once warned by a fellow writer that it's not a good idea to go back and read a book that used to be your favourite because chances are you might not like it anymore. At the time, I didn't think that was likely, but he was proved right when I re-read a book that I'd previously raved about and recommended to others, only to find that I didn't really find anything amazing about it anymore.

Our taste in books will change as we change, just like our taste in music, films, etc.

So, never completely write off that novel you thought you hated, and don't be too disappointed when you go back and read a book you loved 20 years ago only to find you don't like it anymore. :)

The most important thing is to keep an open mind when it come to literature and read as much and as widely as you can.
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Published on June 04, 2014 03:52 • 372 views • Tags: books, george-elliot, literature, paulo-coelho, reading, reviews

May 29, 2014

I've been invited to write a blog post about books and chocolate. How can I resist?

I love chocolate and I love books, not sure which I love the most. Okay, maybe chocolate would win... but maybe books... You see the problem?

Thank you to author Susan Buchanan for tagging me in this challenge. You can read Susan's blog post here:

So the rules are that you should choose between 6-8 chocolate bars or types of chocolate and link them to books you think they might be a good accompaniment for.

Here goes:

Killing Instinct: A Michael Sykora Novel

Darcia Helle's wonderful novel uncovers a very dark and murky underworld. This dark fiction suspense is surely suited to one of the darkest chocolates out there :)

Beyond the Veil - Omnibus Edition

J. Michael Radcliffe's brilliant trilogy contains wizards and witches from the Black Order who are skilled in the darkest of magic. This omnibus edition is suited to the Black Magic selection box as there are also some short stories included. Some of the characters are good characters and some are bad, so a box of chocolates seems to be an appropriate accompaniment.

The Avalon Trilogy

Julie Elizabeth Powell's enchanting Avalon trilogy contains lots of magic, so how about a selection box from The Magic Chocolate Company to accompany this series? It's a very colourful collection, and her books contain some very fun and colourful characters.

Fastian: An Edgeweir Tale

Jay Finn's characters go in search of a key in this first adventure in the series, so a chocolate key from Not On The High Street would be perfect.

Shadows of the Realm

This chocolate dragon could probably accompany J. Michael Radcliffe's Beyond the Veil trilogy as well :)

Dionne's wonderful fantasy adventure contains dragons galore, so this lovely handcrafted chocolate dragon would go very well as a snack to eat while you read.

Metallic Dreams

All you music fans out there might like to nibble on a novelty chocolate guitar from while you read this 'very metal' novel by Mark Rice.

Either Side of Midnight

This cleverly written thriller about twins Naomi and Annabel, would go very nicely with a Twix bar :)

Love & The Goddess

Last but not least, for this heavenly novel featuring no less than three goddesses, how about something from the Divine chocolate range? I would suggest some dark chocolate hearts as there's lots of romance between the pages :)

This challenge has been fun! I hope you liked my suggestions.

I'm now going to tag a few of my author friends:

Helle Gade, poet and photographer. Has written three fabulous collections of poetry and is a talented photographer, as well as a chocolate addict so I am sure her choices will be very interesting! Find out more about her on her blog:

J. Michael Radcliffe, writer of spellbinding fantasy fiction, and cat hoarder! You can find out more about him here:

Darcia Helle, talented author of suspense novels and short stories. Visit her blog here:

Ben Ditmars, talented poet and author of novels and plays, you can find out more about Ben on his blog:

Look out for their chocolate and book choices on their blogs soon!

May 23, 2014

I've just heard that May is Short Story Month. Nice to know there is a month dedicated to the short story.

I thought I would take the opportunity to highlight some of the short stories I have read and enjoyed recently.

In no particular order:

Owned by Jess C. Scott Nine Lives by Terry Tyler Looking Back  by Jay Finn Beneath the Darkness by Jay Finn Road Markers by Jason McIntyre The Blues Detective by Andrew   Peters Solos by Andrew   Peters The Other Room by James Everington Oblivious by Neil Schiller Quiet Fury  An Anthology of Suspense by Darcia Helle Contemplations  An Anthology of Short Fiction & Poetry by L.M. Stull
Nights Gone By by Jason McIntyre Legend of the Pumpkin King by J. Michael Radcliffe Frostbite - The Dragon that Saved Christmas by J. Michael Radcliffe Scale of a Dragon by J. Michael Radcliffe
The Void by Marta Moran Bishop
Dark Spaces by Dionne Lister The Amaranthine Flask by J. Michael Radcliffe A Patch of Blue by Brian Mullally Mourning Doves and other stories. by Tom Upton Figments by Julie Elizabeth Powell
Sandcastle and Other Stories  by Justin Bog Revelation Was Wrong by Mark Rice

I hope you'll try some of them.

Happy Reading!
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Published on May 23, 2014 09:45 • 734 views • Tags: favourites, recommendations, short-stories, short-story-month

May 14, 2014

There are lots of things you can do to help your favourite authors. Authors need your help. The reality is that there are thousands of new books published each day and it is becoming harder and harder to sell books. This is true of traditionally published and self-published authors.

"But authors are giving their books away free, they don't need my help," I hear you say.

When authors give away books free, it's because they are trying to find readers, readers who will read their books and tell others about them. Unfortunately, this is backfiring; with so many books being given away free these days, there are millions of unread books sitting on Kindles. Many will never be read.

"What can I do to help?" you ask.

Here are some ideas:

When you read a book you love, leave a review. The best places to leave reviews are Amazon, and Goodreads. There are lots of other websites out there as well. Leave your review everywhere you can.

Word of mouth is still the most effective method for selling any product. If you like a book, tell your friends.

Last week, I wrote a list of 50 books worth reading and nearly 2000 people have viewed it in under a week. This proves people love recommendations. They want to read a book that's been recommended by someone else. Why not make a list of your own if you have a blog?

The harsh reality is that most writers will never make a living from their books. Most are working day jobs. If they don't sell books, they will stop writing at some point out of necessity. Bills need to be paid, food must be bought, etc.

The best thing you can do for your favourite writers is buy their books. If, for example, you've read a book by that author without paying for it -- maybe a friend lent it to you, or you downloaded it free -- why not buy one of that author's other books?

Also, NEVER download a book free unless it's advertised on the author's official website or as part of a free promotion on Amazon or other booksellers, by the author. There are many pirate sites out there that will offer free downloads. They are not approved by the authors. Many of those sites also contain malware that might be downloaded when you download the book and could potentially harm your computer.

Request your favourite authors' books at your local library. Order them in your local bookshops. Getting the books on shelves helps with promotion. More people will find out about them.

Follow your favourite authors on Twitter. 'Like' their Facebook Pages. Share their books on Facebook and Twitter and your other social media sites.

Don't let your favourite author be the one who stops writing because she/he can't afford to carry on writing.

You might think that you can't make a difference, but you can. Read, review, recommend.

If anyone has other ideas about how readers can help, please feel free to add them to the comment section below.

Happy Reading!
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Published on May 14, 2014 03:07 • 2,607 views • Tags: helping-authors

May 8, 2014

I recently saw a list of 50 indie books worth reading, but it didn't include any of my favourites, so I thought I'd make my own list. These books, in no particular order, are some that I have read and enjoyed. They include self-published and those published by small publishers. These authors are often overlooked in favour of the bestsellers from major publishing houses, which is sad because there is a wealth of talent out there. Yes, there are lots of great books published by traditional publishers, but so many self-published books these days are just as good.

Some of the authors on my list have written lots of other great books, but I'm only listing one book from each author so that I can mention as many talented writers as possible!

Here's my list:

1. Into The Light, by Darcia Helle

2. The Guardian's Apprentice, by J. Michael Radcliffe

3. Gone, by Julie Elizabeth Powell

4. Horse Latitudes, by Quentin R. Bufogle

5. Crooked Moon, by Lisette Brodey

6. You Wish..., by Terry Tyler

7. 33 Days: Touring In A Van. Sleeping On Floors. Chasing A Dream., by Bill See

8. Joe Soap, by Andrew Peters

9. Metallic Dreams, by Mark Rice

10. Love & The Goddess, by Mary Elizabeth Coen

11. On The Holloway Road, by Andrew Blackman

12. Rock'n'Roll Suicide, by Geoffrey David West

13. Walkout, by Jason McIntyre

14. Playmates, by Jess C. Scott

15. Fastian: An Edgeweir Tale, by Jay Finn

16. An Eye For An Eye For An Eye, by Marc Nash

17. Northern Whispers, by Helle Gade

18. Contemplations: An Anthology of Short Fiction & Poetry, by L.M.Stull

19. The Conversationalist, by Justin Bog

20. The Rock Star in the Mirror, by Sharon E. Cathcart

21. The Funny Adventures of Little Nani, by Cinta Garcia de la Rosa

22. Ten Minutes in Heaven, by Ben Ditmars

23. Shadows of the Realm, by Dionne Lister

24. A Poet's Journey: Emotions, by Marta Moran Bishop

25. Sign of the Times, by Susan Buchanan

26. Pearls, by Tasha Harrison

27. The Bone Cradle, by C.E. Trueman

28. Beyond my Control: One Man's Struggle with Epilepsy, Seizure Surgery & Beyond, by Stuart Ross McCallum

29. Sink or Swim, by Stacy Juba

30. The Other Room, by James Everington

31. Oblivious, by Neil Schiller

32. The Word Gang, by Mark McKenna

33. Losing Addison, by Marty Beaudet

34. Harmony Bay, by Tom Gahan

35. Pixels of Young Mueller, by Jerry Schwartz

36. The Day the Flowers Died, by Rebecca May

37. My Schizophrenic Life: The Road to Recovery from Mental Illness, by Sandra Yuen MacKay

38. Cursed, by Jeremy C. Shipp

39. The Beatle Man, by Scott M. Liddell

40. Four Years from Home, by Larry Enright

41. What Remains, by Rosemary Poole-Carter

42. Fade, by Darren Smith

43. Musical Chairs, by Jen Knox

44. Caviar Dreams, by Judy Nichols

45. Breathing into Stone, by Joel Blaine Kirkpatrick

46. Rock & Roll Homicide, by R.J. McDonnell

47. Here All Along, by Lori Osterman

48. Adventures in Mother-Sitting, by Doreen Cox

49. A Song Apart, by Jeffrey Baer

50. Stone Cold, by Jenny Hilborne

This is by no means an exhaustive list, and I'm sure I've left out a few of my favourites! I hope you'll try a few books from this list.

Happy Reading!
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Published on May 08, 2014 04:14 • 2,402 views • Tags: 50-best-books, favourites, independent, indie, indie-authors, self-publihsed, worth-reading

May 5, 2014

For the next few weeks, Everything Books and Authors is running a giveaway featuring my short story collection, Far Away In Time.

You could win a signed paperback copy, and it's an international giveaway!

Far Away In Time is a collection of 8 short stories. They are mixed genre including a mystery/paranormal, fantasy, and dark fiction.

Far Away In Time by Maria Savva

Our lives are a series of stories, and we are the characters with the starring roles. The memories, regrets, secrets, and struggles that fill these pages are at once unique and relatable. These stories belong to us all.

Eight unforgettable tales reaching out to a place Far Away In Time...

You can enter by following this link: http://www.everythingbooksandauthors....

Good luck!!
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Published on May 05, 2014 14:41 • 471 views • Tags: everything-books-and-authors, far-away-in-time, giveaway, maria-savva, paperback, short-stories