Covers and Branding

In a recent blog post, Jon. F Merz (author of the Lawson books, novellas and short stories) talked about the importance of having a series and a brand. He’s right. The moment I hear ‘Jon. F Merz I think ‘Oh yeah, the Lawson books.’

About ten years ago, I came up with an idea for a SF series of books called Far From Home. I filled notepads with ideas, but nothing really worked and obviously I only started to take my writing seriously over the last year or so.

So, I was thinking of a way to continue on from The Stars My Redemption. I liked the universe I’d come up with, the Terran Union, the Draxx, replicants, etc etc. The way the tech was a mix of Trek and Star Wars, with a good dash of Battlestar Galactica thrown in for realism.

That’s when I started thinking about Far From Home again. I realised that I could work that storyline and concept into the universe of The Stars My Redemption, albeit several decades later.

So that is now underway. It’s started with the pimping of the original The Stars My Redemption cover so that it fits in with my branding for Far From Home.

See below.

Far From Home #1: Legend is now being written. I plan on having it written, edited and published by the beginning of August. Then it will be #2 and so on.

They will all have the same look, using the same basic template for each cover so they are uniform.

I think it’s good sense for any writer to have a series. This will be mine.

More details on it as #1 – Legend progresses.


Screenshot of my KDP:


Last year I published a collection of articles from my site

I did not include interviews and re-posts of articles from other sites because, obviously, they’re not my sole work are they?

However after a lack of sales, I took it off sale. I thought “I’ll do something else with them another time.”

A few months ago, Amazon contacted me to ask if I could prove I had the rights to the content of The Fringe Scientist Almanac.

I thought “Fuck off” and didn’t bother replying. If they did a quick bit of Sherlockian investigation and deduction, they would have seen on my author profile that it clearly labels as my website.


Fringe Scientist Almanac.

Fringe Scientist dot com.

Is there a connection here?

Anyway, today they e-mailed to say that they’d suspended my account. Here’s the e-mail:


We recently contacted you from kdp-quality@ regarding Kindle book(s) you have which contain content that is freely available on the web. You informed us that you have unpublished the following book(s):

The Fringe Scientist Almanac 2011 (ASIN: B0072NFKV2)

Because you have not proven that you hold exclusive rights, we have temporarily suspended your account. While your account is suspended, you will not be able to access or modify any books in your bookshelf.

To reinstate your account, please reply to [] with the following confirmation: “I confirm that I will remove any content for which I do not have the exclusive publishing rights and that I will adhere to all terms in the Content Guidelines when submitting new content.”

Until you respond to [] regarding this issue, your account will remain suspended. To prevent termination, we encourage you to review our content guidelines and unpublish any other books that may violate our policies

To which I replied with:


As requested:  “I confirm that I will remove any content for which I do not have the exclusive publishing rights and that I will adhere to all terms in the Content Guidelines when submitting new content.” 
To clarify, the Fringe Scientist Almanac is solely my own content, and originates from my former website
All of the articles and posts from that site are now at my new site and can be found here:
I unpublished it purely because it wasn’t selling, not for any other reason. The work is my own, I hold the rights to publish it. Follow the link above and you will clearly see that it is all my own stuff and has been since I created it.
I find it ridiculous that I have to prove that something like that is mine. How many other authors are putting together collections of articles from, all written by Tony Healey? Not many I bet.
Hopefully this resolves the issue.
I don’t know. As Laurie pointed out, they’re just covering their arses in fear of a law suit. And I’m sure that in a day or so I’ll be able to access my books on kdp.
But is it right that Amazon  have that much power? And are we authors fools for putting all of our eggs in one basket.
Obviously, Amazon Kindle is the best market for our work at the moment. I’m sorry to Nook and Kobo lovers, but it just is. Kindle is the leader of the pack. So at the minute, we author’s are under Amazon’s thumb.
If Smashwords could publish to Amazon I’d go with them, but at the moment I don’t think you can. You can publish it as a Kindle book for sale from Smashwords, but it won’t go onto Amazon just yet. That’s a shame.
There is one thing Amazon have that nobody can buy: a pre-established customer base. That means, millions of people who already shop with them. Unless you’ve got a huge internet presence, large enough to sell the books yourself, you’re stuck using Amazon as the means of getting your work out to people.
At the minute.
I’m hoping that in the future we authors will have more choice in where we sell our work, and who ultimately has the power to say whether we can or can’t. For now it’s Amazon. Hopefully one day soon it will be us.