Post a book announcement to Goodreads Groups

I know most other authors won’t know the first thing about this HTML web programming nonsense. I wouldn’t expect you to, either. Sadly, Goodreads do, which is a crying shame, because by not offering their members a better editor, people are missing a huge opportunity.

As a web designer and developer, it’s my job to understand things like HTML, and that knowledge elevates me to a privileged by sparsely populated plateau.

So, I’m hoping I can alleviate this problem by sharing with you some advise and a template of sorts.

Editing the Goodreads Group post template

  1. Firstly, go to the post by myself for A Darkening of Fortune on the Kindle Readers and Authors Group on Goodreads to see how I’ve laid things out. Like it?
  2. Secondly, if you’re on a Windows PC, you’ll need to use NotePad, which you can use to open HTML files. If you’re on a Mac, I’d recommend using TextWrangler.
  3. Next, download this Goodreads Group post template by right-clicking on the link and choosing the option to save or download the file, which you can then open with your chosen text editor.

Editing the body copy

Scared? Don’t worry! For the most part, HTML is self explanatory, at least for the simpler things. So long as you don’t disturb the code “tags”, you’ll be fine.

  1. In the first line, you’ll see a sentence inside two “strong” tags, which instruct the web browser to display the text within them as bold. You can replace the text within the tags with your own blurb.
  2. Inside the “blockquote” tags is where you place your synopsis, which should also appear within the opening (“) and the closing (”) curly double quotes. If you don’t want the double quotes, you can delete them, but be sure to delete both.
  3. Okay, see the two Amazon links? Don’t worry about the code they’re inside, just replace those links with your own, making sure you don’t remove any of the code, or the two containing double quotes.

Editing the book, cover illustration and author references

Now, go to the Goodreads page for your book.

  1. First, copy the link for the page in the URL bar at the top of the web browser page, and then paste and replace the similar text that’s for A Darkening of Fortune.
  2. Secondly, return to your book page and right-click on the cover illustration (assuming you have one, which I strongly recommend you do). You’ll see an option to copy the image URL or link. Do that and then paste and replace the similar text that’s inside the double quotes with the “img” tag, for the “src” attribute.
  3. Finally, you need to include references to your book and yourself on Goodreads. So replace the references to my book and my name (by deleting them), and use the “add book/author” button just above the big text box for the post itself.

Once you’re done, select everything and paste your code inside the big text box and press the hardly visible “preview” link next to the “post” button, to make sure everything works. Doing this should help you avoid making a mess.

If you’ve done everything correctly, you’ll have a book announcement post that looks more presentable and professional.

If you’re stuck, don’t panic! reply in the comments and explain where you think you’ve gone wrong. I’m sure we can fix it.

Darwinism versus the persistence of ignorance

Darwinism, both as an idea and as a mechanism, has been used as an excuse for no end of atrocities — from Hitler, to Pol Pot, and to Stalin.

Justifying hate

Almost anything can be used as an excuse and as a means to inflict harm upon others, like the Christian Bible, for instance. Do we see people protesting against the sale and distribution of religious texts in the same way as Christians — and particularly Conservative Christians do — in the southern states of the United States of America? No, we don’t.

Or what of the Qur’an, or the Torah? Again, silence. Yet religion is the original weapon of mass destruction, one responsible for unparalleled cruelty and destruction, visiting death not just on mere people, but on entire cultures and civilisations, which have been swept from the face of the Earth.

So clearly, what we see is not knowledge itself as being harmful, but what people choose to do with it.

If he were alive, you could ask Robert Oppenheimer for his thoughts on the potential of hydrogen atom, and how it was harnessed to unleash unimaginable devastation upon the Japanese. Specifically, we could ask Oppenheimer what he thought of his part in the harnessing of this element, yes?

“I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.”
― J. Robert Oppenheimer

Knowledge is potential, not power unto itself

The internet is another much maligned entity, which is essentially a repository for knowledge of many kinds.

“The internet is a reflection of our society and that mirror is going to be reflecting what we see. If we do not like what we see in that mirror the problem is not to fix the mirror, we have to fix society.”
― Vint Cerf

Substitute the internet for almost anything, like Facebook, and again you find something that contains various things of varying edifying quality, and many things some — or most —people would describe as challenging or troubling. But what you’re seeing is only ever a reflection of society itself.

Yes, there are blueprints for bombs on the internet, but that blueprint is nothing but bits of data without the want of someone to harm someone else.

Belief — and by extension religion itself — does not require anything so stoic and solid as proof or evidence, and relies entirely on fear, uncertainty and doubt. Darwinism — or any other theory of science — does not require such an ephemeral thing as belief to exist, only the persistence of human enquiry and the willingness to learn.

Who do I write for?

Me. First and foremost, I write for myself. I have to motivate myself to write, and a key motivator is writing about something that excites me. Romance? As a genre, it’s not my thing. I might throw the occasional romantic interlude into a novel, but that’s purely as an essential, vehicular aspect of wider character developments, not an overarching theme.

So, what’s Wayne’s writing style?

I don’t write for genres. A genre is something I only consider once I’ve written the story. If you begin to think of a genre as a means of beginning the writing process, you’re immediately compartmentalising your efforts — narrowly defining to the point of constriction.

If you’re a genre writer, that’s perfectly fine. But for someone like me, a genre is like a toolbox that contains only a hammer, and in the eyes of the builder, everything would then look like a nail.

I write whatever is necessary to transform an idea into a story.

Character driven. People buy into people before they buy from people. Once the reader believes in a character, they’re far more able to suspend their disbelief when that same character finds themselves in an unbelievable situation.

Cerebral, with a twist. Invariably, there’s a twist to everything that I write. I don’t write light entertainment. Dark themes hang like an autumnal fog, punctuated by acts of violence, occasionally breaking to reveal the light of love and the usual emotional suspects, lingering at the fringes.

I delve deeply into the themes that are shaping the world around us, such as: how science and technology interface with society; minor and major socio-political issues, using them as backdrops to the main events.

The fact is, escapism isn’t synonymous with optimism, which isn’t automatically pessimism, either. The world around us is far richer and infinitely more nuanced than it appears at first glance.

Apparently, I don’t write science fiction. Earth Day ought to be science fiction, but it’s more akin to a fable. Lucidity deals with identity, espionage and dreams. A Darkening of Fortune is a crime thriller and action adventure, but grabs racism and prejudice with both hands.

When you the reader encounter the science fiction elements, they may not even be immediately obvious to you, but that’s often a good thing.

If the science obscures the fiction — confusing the reader with jargon — then the author probably got something wrong, or they’re extremely sure of their target audience.

Incidentally, I have several out-and-out science fiction novels in the planning stages, but they’re possibly not due for several years yet.

I don’t fear writing a female protagonist. In fact, both Earth Day and Lucidity have female protagonists.

Fantasy. Fantasy? Kind of. At this point, I’d rather not explain too much, because in doing so, I’d be completely undermining the very effect I’m attempting to create, once the whole meaning is revealed. Suffice it so say, everything is connected.

Everything is connected? So many questions. Just imagine, a universe running in parallel to our own, one sewn together by sinuous threads of interconnectedness — binding characters, events, places, corporations, and technologies together.

Imagine one novel flowing into another, not as part of a series, but as a continuum. Imagine one major novel as a star, and surrounding it, a nebulous array of novellas.

Yes, it’s ambitious, of course it is. But if I make it work, it’ll be spectacular. It’s a far better thing to aim hight and come up short, than to make mediocrity your goal.

So who?

If you’re here, reading this closing paragraph, there’s every chance you are interested in my writing style, and you’re my ideal reader! Buy a book and read on…

Lost, up the Amazon

I find it strange that Amazon doesn’t offer a redirect to the correct regionalised version of an ebook. Authors could be losing sales because of this. Let’s face it, Amazon doesn’t often miss a trick when it comes to maximising sales, but they’re missing this one.