Emily for emphasis

Think e-books, think Emily

QUT Digital Literature Award

Sparkles the Royalty Fairy

Sparkles the Royalty Fairy

How the Digital Honesty Box can save authors from penury

The Curse of Rowling

[n] coll.

    The false perception that authors are rich, therefore you don’t need to pay them.
    The false perception that eBooks cost nothing to produce, therefore you don’t need to buy them.

Cinderella Syndrome

[n] coll.

    The urge to preserve the illusion of wealth in the hope it will come true.

Authors are often plagued by Imposter Syndrome. But Cinderella Syndrome makes willing slaves of very clever people.

News flash in Fairy-tale Land!

Authors are broke. Dead broke. Earning a third of minimum wage kinda broke.

And yet, authors are unwilling to openly discuss this.

Traditional paperbacks earn their authors $2 per copy. Selling 3,000 copies is a great accomplishment.

And eBooks, whilst cheaper to produce than printed books, still incur costs, most of which are born by the author. And piracy is the added earning challenge of the format. One legally purchased eBook can generate thousands of others, from which the author makes no money.

Cinderella Syndrome is at the heart of this. Like the eponymous princess herself, we are all scullery maids frocked up to the nines hoping to make the dream solid through the power of self-belief, charisma, and luck, thus contributing to the very Curse that enslaves us.

Every author can dispel the Curse of Rowling, but only if they can get over Cinderella Syndrome.

The solution …

And so in response to the above, I invented the Digital Honesty Box; the means to take payment for the eBook, from within the eBook, and “To Conquer Heaven” is the first eBook to have one.

Like many transformative concepts, the Digital Honesty Box is very simple. It is a link within the eBook to a hidden page on the author’s platform. This page holds a PayPal widget and a kindly, but firmly, worded request for payment.

However, a single Digital Honesty Box is just a cute little marketing trick, but a thousand Digital Honesty Boxes is the start of an industry revolution that will overcome the reservations against payment held by consumers and directly benefit authors.

Half the battle in overcoming indifference toward paying for content is an accessible mechanism for payment.

And the exposure afforded by this award is the other half.

We, as authors, have to address the underlying reasons why readers are reticent to part with the price of a cappuccino for an eBook that represents thousands of hours and thousands of dollars of investment.

Which means dispelling the Curse of Rowling with the facts that we are too proud to share; namely that the $10,000 prize money for this award represents an average annual wage for an author in Australia.

And this, my dear judges, is why I believe that awarding the QUT Digital Literature Award to ‘To Conquer Heaven’ will benefit all authors in Queensland, and Australia.
Thank you.

Emily Cooney

And introducing … To Conquer Heaven

To Conquer Heaven

To Conquer Heaven

JEREMY WANG, an astrophysicist completing his PhD at Cambridge, discovers a clue to the secret location of an ancient tomb sealed with the deaths of all 700,000 labourers and artisans who built it. The tomb is the final resting place of QIN SHI HUANG; the bloody-thirsty tyrant who forged a new empire from the ashes of six ancient kingdoms in 220BC. The empire that bears his name to this day; Qin’a, pronounced in English as China.

Terrified of the fate awaiting him in the afterlife, Qin Shi Huang combined the emerging science of alchemy with the deepest secrets of Taoist lore to create the Elixir of Life.

The Emperor was tricked into drinking too deeply and fell into torpor. And so he waits in his hidden tomb; the apex of an entire civilization’s art, science, and magic.

Helping Jeremy to unravel the riddle and find the lost tomb are:

BRETT EAST; ex-college roommate and professional gambler who owes Jeremy a big favour
DR SAFFIYAH HALCYONE; aloof and lovely Egyptian archaeologist with a controversial academic theory
JIN; Saffiyah’s trusted family friend and guide.

The tomb will be found. Mind games, magic, and supernatural creatures will be countered with science, cunning, and luck. Will they survive? Will they succeed?

Fans of 80s action adventure cinema; ‘Big Trouble in Little China’ and the Indiana Jones series will love To Conquer Heaven. A similar title is Kylie Chan’s ‘Dark Heavens’.

100 promotional copies to give away!

Get your free copy by entering coupon code JU3449PJ39.

Also available on Amazon.

Devastated …

Dear All,

Sadly my application for funding under RADF for Anthology Aaronson has been declined.  I received a phone call to explain the decision and I can’t say I agree with the reasons but I am grateful for the personal nature of that courtesy.

This rejection highlights the great struggle we all face as authors to put our stories out there, connect with our audiences, and earn a living wage.

RADF grants are seldom given to writers.  But we need to keep trying, and keep applying.

Thank you all for your support.  Hopefully I can find alternative funding for this project, as I consider it to be very much worthwhile.  Stay in touch folks and keep writing.

NaNoWriMo baby!

Dear All,

In November 2014 I started my second novel, Habnab.  And now, in November 2016, I have finished it.

Well … when I say finished, I mean the first draft.

So it is now on cool down awaiting my pleasure.  In the meantime I am editing an amazing historical memoir of local Brisbane artist Anne Collins; Tradewind Annie.  Stay tuned … it is a cracking read.


Anthology Aaronson smartphone app

Friends, writers, countrymen (of Logan in particular and Queensland in general) … lend me your ears!

I have this great plan.  And I’m applying for an RADF grant in order to make it happen.

This plan is to create a free smartphone app called Anthology Aaronson targeting commuters containing 20 of your short stories.

At the bottom of each short story is the option to:

  • share the story through the subscriber’s Facebook feed, and
  • buy an e-book from the author of the short story.

So, in marketing terms, the short story is a lead generator for your work for sale, a tool for building your audience, and a way to publicise upcoming releases.

In order to gain RADF funding, I really need your support.  You can demonstrate your support by leaving a message in the Comments below containing the following:

  • Your name
  • The title and genre of the short story you would like to contribute
  • Contact details (a phone number or an email address)

Here is the Project Description from my application:

In today’s distraction rich environment, literature often plays second fiddle to other pastimes. On buses and trains all over the world, e-books jostle for attention against apps like Candy Crush and social media sites like Facebook.

As a Logan writer, I understand the greatest challenge is attracting and holding the attention of an audience.

According to Macquarie University, author earnings are at an all time low of $12,000/annum; a third of minimum wage.  Lack of awareness of this issue contributes to its continuance.

Drawing upon my background and experience as a computer programmer and database analyst in the nineties and noughties, I have come up with an innovative strategy to attract and retain readership for my work and that of other authors in Logan and throughout Queensland.

New audiences for short stories and novels can be found by effectively exploiting smartphone functionality and engaging directly with audiences in a manner familiar to them.

I will create an app, like the popular game Candy Crush, and use the popular social media site Facebook, to promote it.  The app will contain twenty short stories from Logan authors.  The app will be advertised on buses and at coffee shop tills in the form of a QR code.

When downloaded onto a smartphone, the app will ping every weekday morning at 7.00am with the story of the day.  Whilst on their commute, the subscriber can read the short story.  At the bottom of the story is a discount on an e-book from the supplying author which the subscriber may purchase with a single tap.  Also at the bottom of the app is a ‘Like’ button so the subscriber can share the short story through their Facebook feed attracting further readership for the contributing author.

Each day a new story is made available through the app.  This drip feed approach will build and retain readership.

This strategy aims to encourage reading among the target audience; commuters, and generate sales for the authors who contribute their short stories.

The app approach to disseminating short stories allows for important metrics to be acquired, such as bus routes of greatest engagement, collection of email addresses from interested subscribers, and conversion rate from short story subscriber to e-book purchaser.


Only through innovation, and support can authors increase their earnings to a living wage and spread their stories as far as possible.


Thank you for your support.  I look forward to reading your stories.

Post BWF …

Well what a festival!  I got to meet lots of local authors including Philip J Bradbury!

Keep an eye open for his new book “The Last Stand down”.  A psychological thriller that fans of Lee Child and Jodi Picoult will love!   Coming soon …

One of the highlights of the festival was meeting local legend, Dr Barry Jones; former Science Minister in the Hawke years and ex-quiz show champion.  He has always been a person I have greatly admired.

I managed to overcome my nerves, approach him, and introduce myself.

Me:  “Dr Jones, I’m a life long fan of your work.”

Him:  “Well dear, there’s no reason to stop now.”

What a wit!

See you at the Brisbane Writers Festival

Dear All,

This year’s Brisbane Writers Festival looks like a brilliant line-up.  Can’t wait to see one of my all time comic idols – Alexei Sayle!

Come along and let’s talk about getting your e-book on line and up for sale.

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