Monday, 27 July 2015

Love Goa, Love Chupplejeep

I'm Goan. I grew up there, but I live in England now. When I was 8 we moved to Goa and I loved it. What was not to love? We had complete freedom, a beautiful house overlooking the Arabian Sea and we knew each and every one of our neighbours. The colony where we lived was a safe haven - a place for just being a kid, where you were almost certain that no harm would come to you.

As we grew up we took advantage of the night-life Goa had to offer ; the beach parties, the nightclubs and the 'rave' scene. It was fun. I look back at those years withwith a warm nostalgia and I suppose a bit of yearning for a time gone by - a youth I cannot re-capture.

Flash forward 20 odd years and even though I go to Goa regularly, the change in the last ten years has been dramatic. The colony is full of high-rises and I only know a handful of residents - there is little feeling of safety amongst the residents now; the party scene has exploded - infamously so. Like most things in today's society we want everything in excess and Goa has borne the brunt of this where tourism is concerned.

Sure, we wanted tourism in the state - we encouraged it, exploited it - because, after all, tourism accounts for the livelihood of many Goans and with tourists comes money.  

I have to admit that up until a few years ago I felt a bit jaded by what was happening in Goa and what it had become, but after a few visits to the villages , my love for Goa has been renewed afresh. The soul of Goa has been preserved here in the old colonial houses and white-washed churches - where the pace of life is slower, but hard earned.   As Gandhi said - India lives in its villages, lets keep it that way.

If you, like me, are a regular visitor to Goa, or perhaps you are going there for your first time - take time to explore the villages - discover the real t Goa, but look after it too. We need to preserve this beauty one way or another.

Under the Coconut Tree - A Chupplejeep Mystery  is a light-hearted detective novel, set in rural Goa and is available now. You can buy a copy here

Saturday, 18 July 2015

The publishing nightmare

So if you are a regular reader of this blog you will know my grammar sucks. I must admit that mainly it's the punctuation that no book or course seems to fix, but hey I'm trying. Before I start telling you just how difficult self-publishing is, I thought I would tell you about my recent faux-pas. And when  I say recent, I mean like minutes ago.

Basically, I used JD&J to do my front cover and they are in a word- amazing. Not only have the produced the most wonderful cover for 'Under the Coconut Tree' but they have - post contract - made some amendments to my blurb - not once but twice because I missed a typo on the first round- disaster.

But I suppose the real disaster was averted as I hadn't approved my Createpace proof- so really I can still make changes, without it being too much of a headache. It has also made me realise I need to read the full printed version  (and check for any more errors) before I approve it. With any luck get someone else to read it as well.

So self-publishing a paperback has been hard, time consuming and stressful. I have had so many sleepless nights this week. But pushing back the deadline for the paperback release has been worth it. It was going to be this Monday - 20th July - the same publication date for the e-book. It will give me the much needed time and space to review my paperback properly. And therein lies the difference between paperbacks and e-books.  Paperbacks are hard to produce even though Createspace makes this as easy as they can (and Scrivener is a must buy for this too) - with POD - print on demand- you need to get it right or it will be difficult to make changes later. With e-books you can change your manuscript and upload instantly. The main issue for me is that without a mainstream or even indie publisher I am always doubting myself, my punctuation - even after I have paid for a full line edit. Even though I have seen countless typos in traditionally published works, I always think doing it yourself means there is a higher risk for getting it wrong. The sad thing is, is that I'm not even a perfectionist. How they cope with something like this I'm not sure. Perhaps the proof sits on their desks for ages until they finally think it's perfect. The sad thing with that is that your perfect will never be someone else's perfect. We all have different expectations and standards.

My e-book journey has been relatively straightforward. Amazon has it nailed with the Mobi software and I have a kindle too so viewing my book on the device has given me the confidence to press the publish button. It's available to pre-order now, with official release on Monday. Smashwords was a  bit of a challenge, where I uploaded in a clean word document and found that the format changed on different reading devices, so I took advantage of their direct e-pub service which seems to work fine once I uploaded the pub version of the book. Once your ms is accepted into the premium category, all you need to do is take advantage of their free isbn service and your book should be available globally.

So there you have it. The writing high this week was holding my proof copy in my hands. I have to say it is exactly what I wanted. The low was the sleepless nights and the stress in getting this far. Not long to go now. My top tip is this - writers be patient. The publishing process is a long one.