Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Meeting the Puppets

Yesterday was busy. I decided to reward myself for all my hard work on the translation with a theatre break. One of my Starlight guide teachers was giving a talk for schoolchildren, but with a twist.  He played the straight man while two naughty children (the puppets) kept interrupting, setting light to balloons filled with hydrogen and so on.  It was a great laugh, and I was very glad I went. I didn't learn any astronomy, but I learned quite a bit about sharing astronomy with kids.  Plus it was good to see Alfred again and to meet the stars afterwards. Ramiro and Estrella come from the same firm of puppeteers who created Trancas and Barrancas on Spanish TV.

And boy did the kids love the infra-red camera! Here's Alfred with his hand in a bin-bag - completely opaque in visible light, and transparent in infra-red.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Reasons to be Cheerful

Yippee! 200 copies of my book have shipped from Seville, on their way to La Palma. The printers say they should be here in two weeks, although it wouldn't astonish me if it took a few days longer.

And I'm halfway through the first draft of the translation.

And the postman brought a nice cheque for my story "Scream Quietly" which will be in a time travel anthology shortly. (Yes, of course I'll let you know when it's published.) My head's been so full of the translation that I forgot all about it.

So all in all, I'm felling pretty cheerful.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Selling on Amazon have this really nice program called Advantage, designed for people selling their own books/CDs/DVDs.  But you need a US bank account, and you need to deliver your books or whatever) to their warehouse in the USA.

This isn't going to happen with my books any time soon. don't have Advantage.  They do have something called "Fulfilment by Amazon" which seems similar, but I'd still have to get the books sent to their warehouse, create the product listing (not a serious problem) and pay for storage space until the books sell. On the other hand, Amazon provides the website, collects the money and makes the delivery.  This sounds like something to look into if I get as far as a second or third printing. They could also deliver to the rest of Europe, which would be handy.

"Sell on Amazon" sounds like a better idea for now. I put the book on their website, they handle the purchase, and then I send the book to the customer.  For this they charge 75p +15% + a variable closing fee, which is anything from £0.43 to £1.32, with no explanation that I can find of how much or why. Still, the book will sell for 15€ or about £12. So the worst case would be 75p + £1.80 + £1.32 = £3.87 to Amazon, £8.13 to me. This is about what I'd get selling through a local bookshop.

The Spanish version is 0.99€ + 15% + 0,45€ a 2,1 € - worst case 0.99€ + 2.25€ +  2.10 € = 5.34€ to Amazon, 9.66€ to me.

To sell internationally, I have to be able to communicate with customers in English or Spanish (no probs), have a bank account in one of the EU countries (no probs), meet international safety standards (no probs, books don't explode) and pay any international taxes, including VAT.

Ah. That might well be a problem.  You don't have to pay the Canarian equivalent of VAT on books. If I have to register for VAT, I can just imagine that would mean having to create a limited company and pay 2,000€ in other taxes.

So that's a little something for me to find out about next week.  I can manage without Amazon, selling via book shops and tourist shops and my web site, and perhaps direct to tourists at the Roque, but it would be really nice to get this book into Amazon.

The Hamster Wheel

"A Breathtaking Window on the Universe" is in production at the printers, and it should be here in 2-3 weeks.  I need to get ready to sell it, don't I? So I've improved the webpage for it and added extracts from the book, and my next move will be to look into getting it listed at Amazon.

Meanwhile I'm doing enough tour guiding to cover my social security payments and translating the book into Spanish (about 26,000 words to go).

It's a lot of work, and it gets a bit hamster-wheely at times. So it felt good when my contributor's copy of Something Wicked arrived on Thursday. It's just a pity that I won't have time to read it for at least a month.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


The English version of the book is still "in validation" at the publishers. In theory, it should get the green light on Monday, and move into production.

I've done about a quarter of the translation.  It's not quite as difficult as I expected, and I'm making better progress now that I make a note of puzzling words and carry on, then send an email to a Spanish astronomer asking how to translate things like "survey" (as applied to astronomy) or "site testing" or "broken Cassegrain."

Still and all, it's a really good thing that I have Spanish friends who are correcting my text.

Meanwhile, I've started publicity for the book on my blog about La Palma. This is good, because I need to have the publicity ready for the launch when the books get here at the end of the month.  So I have to create web pages and prepare excepts and so on at the same time as I'm translating.

So no lying on the sofa and eating chocolate for me just yet!