Saturday, 1 September 2012

Your chance to win a freebie paperback!

Go on, you know you want to ...

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Pike's Quest by K.J. Bennett

Pike's Quest

by K.J. Bennett

Giveaway ends September 30, 2012.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Learning from one's mistakes

OK, I haven't posted here for a while.

Pike is undergoing a makeover at the moment. My original cover was the subject of some derision, and when I held a printed copy in my hand I had to agree that it could be better. I changed it to the now familiar "Pike nose-to nose with Horse" version and went ahead and published the paperback version.

Sales have been slow. VERY slow.

When my own sister read the book she said words to the effect of:

 "I delayed reading it but when I did I really enjoyed it - that'll teach me to judge a book by its cover!"

- it was time to take action. So I've changed it again. The print version is temporarily unavailable while the changes are made (should be back in a few days) and the Kindle/Smashwords versions are happily downloadable (although the Amazon site hasn't updated at the time of writing this). 

And now, the new cover reveal is here:

I shall not be changing it again any time soon! 

Click HERE to check out purchase links.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Travelling the world, one page at a time.

Picture via @clraven Twitter feed

Only two weeks ago, Pike made his way to Rome to be examined by the wonderful Sara Viti. Today he is in Wales in the hands (all four of 'em) of fabulous writing duo C L Raven.

He certainly gets around a bit.

Check out C L Raven's latest release Disenchanted on Amazon or Smashwords - suitable for those aged 18+.

Check out Pike's Quest purchase links HERE

Monday, 9 July 2012

Well this is an honour

9 July 2012

Going from strength to strength, Pike's Quest has been selected as Indie Book of the Day.

How much better can it get? Well, this is how much better - I get a nifty badge and a certificate, as well as a feature on the IBD website -

Don't forget, Pike's Quest is now available as a paperback as well as in e-book format. Purchasing links can be found HERE.

My thanks to IBD for selecting my book and making such nice comments about it on their website.

Sunday, 1 July 2012


Let me tell you about Sara Viti.

First of all, I don't know her, but we made contact via Goodreads. For those who don't know, Goodreads is a reading and writing community with more than  nine-million members world wide. Any budding authors really ought to join - most of the early reviews for Pike's Quest emanated from the Goodreads community. 

Up until now my reviewers have, in the main, been on the upper side of thirty-years old (in some cases I am generously underestimating, here!). Nothing wrong there ... I have broad appeal and I am on the other side of fifty, myself. However, when I was hawking Pike around literary agencies and publishers, they were advising me that the book was clearly in the Young Adult arena, so where were my younger readers? Well, that's where Sara came in.

Sara Viti is a book reviewer and blogger. I am a writer ... you can see where this is headed.

Pike is just coming out in paperback, having spent the last eight months in e-book format. I have a few publicity things up my sleeve, but I wanted someone in the supposed age group of the book's main audience to have look and give me an honest opinion. I e-mailed Sara and asked her if she would like to review Pike Quest. 

"I can send you a free e-book copy," I offered, realising that this was a cheap option.

"I'd prefer it on paper," she replied, increasing my expenditure.

I cringed, but after seeing her website I really wanted Sara to review Pike.

I had one copy. It was my proof version with an awful cover and pencil marks all over the pages where I had hurriedly scrawlled some corrections. Actually, I hadn't even finished correcting it, but I had already ordered a new proof with a new cover. Reluctantly, and with a warning of "It's got pencil marks all  over the place and the cover is rubbish" I wandered off to the post office and spent a considerable sum in postage.

I need to point out at this juncture that I live in England. Sara lives in Italy - Rome - and my God, postage is expensive. AND, following a recent Achilles tendon reconstruction, I had to almost hop to the post office, as I am still using crutches. Suffer for my art, me?

Anyway, getting to the point at last, it was worth the effort. Sara is, perhaps, the most perceptive reviewer to have read Pike's Quest. This is highly apparent when you read what she thought of the book. She picked up on some (good) things that no other reviewer so far has. For instance:, a recent reviewer on Amazon gave me my first poor review. I'm not offended: most of what the reviewer said was fair comment. Pike isn't everyone's cup of tea and she is entitled to have an opinion (and she said my writing was good). However, that reviewer complained about a lack of character development. I didn't understand what was meant by that: my characters drive the story and they develop quite nicely, but not in an 'in your face, I'm going to write reams of innermost thoughts and bore you with my pain: woe is me!' sort of way. Sara picked up on this in her review:

"I noticed, during the reading, that for the first time there was not a depth descriptions of the characters, of their passions or feelings toward other people, but I felt like it was not necessary. In other books there are often entire chapters dedicated to a particular character or to the protagonist; in Pike's Quest this is not present: the author succeeded in revealing the characters' features, only by describing their behaviours during certain situations, the way they reacted in front of difficulties. As for Pike, I can't remember a chapter in which he was widely described, even if he was the protagonist. By the way, I feel like I know him.”

Later in the review, Sara also got to the nub of what the book is really about: power, greed and corruption. She quotes from the book to reinforce her realisation. 

So, not only does Sara live in Italy, she is Italian and English is a second language (maybe a third, but certainly not her first). She is one highly talented reviewer who, in addition to her book reading, blogging and reviewing, holds down two jobs. I may be wrong, but I think she may also still be studying.

After reading Pike, Sara invited me to do a guest post on her blog. She also persuaded me to part with yet more money by way of offering a FREE PAPERBACK copy of Pike's Quest for a give-away on her site.

The review, guest post and give-away can be found here -

To my fellow writers who may be working in the YA arena, I urge you to consider Sara Viti as a top rate reviewer. Her enthusiasm for reading, the English language and hard work is humbling.

Now I feel like an under achiever!


Friday, 29 June 2012

It's here - the real book!

It’s time to blow my own trumpet and inform you all that my wonderful, fantabulous and understatedly brilliant book Pike’s Quest is now available in paperback as well as in Kindle format.

Am I enthusiastic? Yes. Should you buy a copy? Of course you should: don’t hang around.

Oh, you may have to hang around. Currently it’s available via the CreateSpace e-store  - (good if you're in the USA), but by 6 July it will be available from Amazon UK/US/IT/ES/FR/DE/IT.

Now, view the outrageously good - and again, understated – promo video:

Please feel free to spread the news, share the video, embed the video on your own sites, blogs, Facebook pages, etc, and you may consider buying a copy of the book (£6.99 UK, $8.99 US, €7.99) when it’s available through your friendly neighbourhood Amazon outlet!

Friday, 22 June 2012

The story so far ...

The new proof copy arrived on Tuesday, much to my delight. Pretty impressive stuff, I have to say. The print quality is great and it feels really good to hold a paper copy of Pike's Quest in my hands and to look at the cover art over which I have lost sleep.

Ardent followers of Pike may have noticed that the cover has recently gone through a series of iterations - from the orange-coloured silhouette, through to the clean-cut Pike in yellow tunic, going head-to head with a brown horse. Then Pike's hair grew, and Horse remained brown.

I started to read the proof and realised that it was not the fully corrected version. Dammit!

When I formatted the paper copy it turns out I did so with the last but one script of the Kindle versions, which contains around about 6 errors/typos. I can't remember what they are. I only knew of this when in the first chapter, Moorlock the Warlock says, "Look at your mouth ..." The proof copy still contained this - "Look at your youth ...", which is slightly confusing, to say the least.

I have found two more of the errors, and the hunt is on for the final ones. I have to say, it's easier to read the book and check for them than it is to reformat the corrected Kindle copy.

Finally, the cover art has had another make-over. In the book, Horse is a piebald stallion. My cover image showed him to be plain brown, and probably not big enough (in fact, the promo video that I have in the back ground, waiting for the paperback release, still will show a brown horse so it doesn't distract from the overlaying text [EDIT: or maybe I'll change it!]). Also, because of the bright yellow tunic on the right, from a  distance you can't see that there actually is a horse in the picture: it was tonally imbalanced. I have also had to lighten the image for the print version, as for some reason, the CreateSpace cover print comes out several shades darker than what I see on my screen and what I see when I print it on high quality photo paper at home.

So now I can reveal this - positively the last version of the cover (for the time being)!

Pike, with long hair, a piebald stallion and a sparrow.
Don't make me re-do it again.