Posts tagged Star Author September 2010

How do I sign an ebook?

E-Books will never take off, I thought. Until I bought an iPhone.

I love books. I love the feel of them, the smell of them. I love to curl up in bed on a cold dark night with a book. There’s no way, I thought, that I would ever want to read books on a glowing electronic screen. It just wouldn’t feel right. It wouldn’t have the same atmosphere. You can watch a sports game on the TV, but nothing beats being at the stadium.

And I definitely wouldn’t want to read an e-Book on an iPhone. Why would anyone want to read a novel on a screen the size of a playing card.

Then I bought an iPhone, and my world changed.

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The FaBo story competition

Hi everyone, have you entered the FaBo competition yet?

It’s an interactive novel writing project dreamed up by a crazy team of kiwi authors, including me!

Each week you can pit your writing wits against one of the FaBolous team. If you think you can out-imagine, out-write and out-FaBo the FaBo Team, write your own version of the next exciting chapter and send it in.

The best chapter each week will be posted on the FaBostory blog, and you can try and guess which author wrote the week’s “official” chapter.

Check it out here: http://



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First review for The Project

A lovely first review for The Project from Booksellers & Publishers magazine

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Publish your own stories

I love writing stories, and I hope you do too!

If you’ve written a story that you’d like to have published online, just go to my website and click on “Your Stories” or you can click on this link:

On this page you can publish your story so that other kids can read it. I read all the stories that are published.

Happy writing!


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Authors and Book Reviews

I thought I’d write today on the subject of book reviews. Like most authors, I crave reviews, just as I fear them. My work, my beautiful baby that I spent years writing and editing, is up on public display for anyone to comment on as they like. But I, the author, get no right of reply. My mouth is taped shut.

I have been fortunate in that I have had almost all positive reviews. Where a reviewer has criticised some aspect of one of my books, after the initial defensive reaction, I have tried to take that criticism on board for future books, thinking that if one reviewer thinks that, then so will thousands of readers.

I publish all the reviews I find on my website, good or bad, so that people can read them all and make up their own mind.

Reviews come in two types. There are those by professional reviewers, who write for newspapers, magazines, radio, television, or sometimes just for the web. Then there are amateur reviews. Anybody with a computer and access to the internet can write down their thoughts on a book and publish it on a blog somewhere.

The first kind, the professional reviewers, tend to be people with experience in children’s literature who have read widely and can write well. Whether they like a book, or not, they tend to provide a balanced, reasoned view of the book, although it is, of course, still just one person’s opinion.

The second kind of review, the amateur blogger, is very different, but just as interesting. Anyone can express an opinion, even if they’ve only read one book in their entire lives. But it is still a valid opinion. I think most authors value amateur reviews as taken collectively they provide an insight into the mind of the average reader.

Sites like GoodReads ( invite readers to write reviews and rate books, and give an author the ability to see how their books rate against other books such as Harry Potter. (Brainjack:  3.8 stars, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone: 4.2 stars).

The only amateur reviews I don’t like are the stupid ones. Ones where the writer simply doesn’t know what they are talking about. One review of “The Tomorrow Code” criticised the science in it, saying “it involves so much appalling cod-science that I actually hit myself over the head with the book at one point to see if it was less painful that way.” Yet the science was very well researched, including interviews with university professors.  The science was extended from science fact into science fiction, but the basis of it all was solid. So I rather think that this reviewer must have hit themselves on the head with books a little too hard, or too often! (Now I’m reviewing the reviewer! I wonder how they feel.)

A review yesterday of Brain Jack described the technology in the book as “just a bunch of random computer terms”. But they weren’t. I have a long background in computers, and also sought the help of one of New Zealand’s leading computer experts to make sure that the technology was as accurate as possible, bearing in mind that the book is set in the future, and that I didn’t want it to become a “how-to” manual for hackers.

Yet even while I grit my teeth at such stupid comments, I know that even these people represent a proportion of the readership of my books and that all reviews, even the misguided, ill-informed, stupid, amateur ones have a right to exist, and to be read.

Some authors claim they never read reviews. I wonder if that is true, but if it is, I think they are misguided. Reviews, professional and amateur, give the author an insight into the mind of the reader.

Henry Ford famously said “Never complain, never explain.”

That’s the world that we authors live in.

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Story Ideas

A lot of kids ask me where I get my story ideas.

Ideas for stories are all around you, all the time. What story writers do is to look around us and use our imagination.

All you have to do is to say “What if…”

What if my sister could fly…?
What if I found a million dollar note…?
What if my dog started talking to me…?
What if my best friend moved to Alaska…?
What if the sun went out…?

If you want an idea for a story, and you are really stuck, you could try my random story idea generator.

Just click on “Find an Idea” and keep clicking through the randomly generated ideas until you get one you like.



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The Project finally arrives!

The first copy of The Project (previously titled “The Most Boring Book in the World”) arrived yesterday. It looks great. Fantastic work by everybody at Walker Books Australia. It goes on sale next month.



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