It used to be said that everyone has a novel sitting in a drawer, waiting to be published. Well not any more. These days everyone has a novel, or three or five, sitting in Amazon’s Kindle Store or on Smashwords. Which is great for all those with literary pretensions. Unless they want people to notice their novel.
New independent authors can hardly contain their excitement. Suddenly they can publish what they want, when they want, without fear of rejection or criticism. They dream of hitting the best seller lists, of giving acceptance speeches at major prize givings, they are liberated by the thought of being able to spend the rest of their lives writing for a living. We live to write as my friend O.G. Tomes reminds me Continue reading →
It seems that ebooks have become the latest creative medium to be hit by digital piracy. According to one report, ebook publishing is being undermined by pirates in the same way that the music industry has been. Books which retail on Amazon and elsewhere for up to $15 are being given away free by bootleggers.
I have to say that as an ebook author and publisher I am not very concerned about this. On the one hand some ebooks cost too much anyway, principally because of an agreement (which is now being investigated by the European Union) between six major publishers. It seems that these publishers are trying to protect their traditional print businesses by making it uneconomical for people to buy digital editions. Well, if that’s what they are really up to, having their books pirated serves them right. Continue reading →
The first time I wrote historical fiction I had no idea what I was taking on. Even now, with one historical novel under my belt, and with a second on the way, I am filled with admiration for anyone who can craft a good period narrative. Of all the literary genres historical fiction must be the toughest.
Writing a good novel is always a challenge, indeed it should be. But when I have written contemporary novels I’ve had no problem describing the setting. I know what my characters wear, what they eat, where they live, how they entertain themselves. I’m familiar with their slang, their humour and their daily concerns. It’s all familiar stuff. But it’s not when the characters lived centuries ago. Continue reading →
The Jewish festival of Hanukah, which starts tomorrow night, is only famous because it falls round about the same time as Christmas. In religious terms it’s a minor festival; in 21st century cultural terms it is possibly the best known of Jewish holidays.
Hanukah celebrates a successful revolt in 165 BC by a bunch of guerrillas led by Judah ‘the Hammer’ against the Greek empire. Judah wrests back control of Jerusalem and rededicates the Jewish temple, which the Greeks had defiled.
That’s the history. About 500 years after the event a Jewish legend emerged that, even though the rebels were only able to find a smidgeon of oil in the temple, the holy lamps miraculously burned for a full eight days, until fresh oil could be procured.
It’s not an original story, Elisha did something similar with oil several centuries before. But it’s a nice story. Because of it Jews everywhere light candles for eight days in the dark of winter, brightening the place up. The legend of the oil turns the sombre commemoration of a military victory into a cheerful occasion. And, since Hannukah roughly coincides with Christmas, Jewish kids can get presents like everyone else. It’s a nice story. But it ain’t history. Continue reading →
Handwriting is in decline. But writing is on the increase. Paradoxical isn’t it?
Think about it. How often do you pick up a pen these days? I bet it’s not as often as before computers came along, (unless you’re too old or too young to remember a time before computers). But you probably write more words each day now than you ever did with a pen or pencil. It’s so much easier with a keyboard, and there’s always another text to write, email to reply to, or online form to fill in. Continue reading →
Independent publishers shouldn’t overlook this week’s announcement that the European Commission is to investigate ebook price fixing by Apple and five major publishers. The implication is that the agreement between the publishers and Apple has forced up the prices of e-books in Europe, leading to higher profits for the publishers and book sellers.
You might think this is good news for independent publishers. After all, if mainstream publishers have hiked their prices, then we have a competitive advantage- we can set much lower prices. But it doesn’t work like that. If ebook prices in Europe are high, there is less incentive for people to buy ebook readers. And if sales of ebook readers are sluggish, then the market for independent publishers is smaller, and we sell less.
So the investigation by the European Commission is important for independents. As is the class action lawsuit launched against Apple and the same five publishers in the Northern District of California earlier this summer. After all, we want as big an ebook market as we can get, worldwide. Continue reading →
Something very big is happening that could have a profound impact on world culture, and it’s all due to e-books! I’m not exaggerating (at least, not a lot) but the proliferation of websites dedicated to books, particularly e-books, and the number of visitors they attract is quite phenomenal. And it says something very exciting about peoples’ reading habits. Continue reading →
I know it’s not a new story, but the more it’s told the more the publishing world might take notice. Like so many people I have decided to move away from print to e-books. And although I’m fast becoming an ambassador for digital book technology that’s not why I decided to make the move. I only really saw the merits in digital once I started to seriously look into e-books- which wasn’t so long ago.
So why am I changing? In a word, because of indolence. Not mine, but the publishing industry’s. The agents and publishers who make it so hard, and so financially unrewarding, to get a book published. Unless of course you are an A-list author and there’s a good chance of a screenplay coming out of the book. Continue reading →