Friday, 24 June 2011

SUSAN PRICE: Kindle and Beyond!

Hello, and welcome to my first blog for Kindle Authors UK, something I’m very excited to be part of.  I can publish a book from my sofa!  Have, in fact, already published two – Overheard In A Graveyard and The Ghost Drum.  It feels a bit like science-fiction.
I started young – I was 16 when my Dad signed the contract, with Faber and Faber, for my first book, The Devil’s Piper.  (I was too young to sign a legally binding document.)  The photo’s of me when I was about that age.
In those days I hammered out books on an old iron typewriter, and it was hard work.  I could never type a page without making a mistake, I hated changing ribbons, and figuring out word-count was too much for my unmathematical brain.  In the late 80s I started hearing about computers but wasn’t too interested – they seemed expensive, and I didn’t want the bother of having to learn to use one.  Then a friend showed me how fast his computer could print off documents and I immediately went out and bought an Amstrad.  No more changing inky ribbons!  No more calculating word-counts and getting them wrong!  No more months of work to produce a good final copy!
I know it must have been 1985 or 6 when I bought my Amstrad, because I finished writing The Ghost Drum on it; and The Ghost Drum won the Carnegie Medal in 1987.  That’s my Carnegie below (if you got it, baby, flaunt it.) 

And here (below, right) is a photo of me from around that time – 1980s specs and all.
Now I have a whole family of computers – Great Big Desktop, Middle-Sized Laptop, and Weeny-Little Netbook.  I still sometimes write by hand, if the mood takes me, but when I hear writers saying that they will never part with their old typewriter, and that technology gets in the way of the Muse, that writing by computer makes writers careless – well, I confess, I want to bombard them with scrunched up balls of paper and old typewriter ribbons.  At the least.
Now I have a Kindle too – and I love it much more than I expected.  I love carrying 50 books around in a gadget that weighs less than one ordinary book.  On my kindle at the moment I have: Shakespeare’s sonnets, the complete works of M R James, Kiplings Indian Tales and Traffics and Discoveries, the complete works of Jerome K Jerome, MacKay’s Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, Fort’s Wild Tales, Mo Hayder’s Gone, Pratchett’s Sourcery, Celia Rees’ The Fool’s Girl, Victora Connelly’s The Perfect Hero, Katherine Roberts’ Spellfall, Mary Hoffman’s Troubadour, my own kindle books and an introduction to Hinduism.  However much I cram into it, it never weighs any more.
I’m looking forward to finding out how the kindle is going to change the book world.  I’m in the process of turning all my ‘Ghost World’ books into kindle e-books.  This is a series in which the first book won the Carnegie, which agents, critics, publishers and readers enthused about – and yet it’s been out of print for a decade or more.  The whole series, plus a new book, Ghost Spell, has been on offer to publishers for the last two years – cue more enthusiasm from agents here and in Europe – and yet no publisher will take it.

So I’m putting it on kindle – here – to see what happens.  Will it sell, will it bomb?  I’ll report here, on Kindle Authors UK.

So, from mechanical typewriters, agents and publishing firms – to Kindle and beyond!

I’m busy on the net today.  You’ll find my regular Nennius blog here – with a new Blot cartoon!  And my website is to be found here


Katherine Roberts said...

I haven't been published as long as you, but even I can remember typing my first novel (Song Quest) on my Brother typewriter, and wasn't it hard work when you wanted to change something? I soon bought my first personal computer - horrendously expensive, since I remember spending half my advance on it - but well worth the investment. And now we have Kindles to read books... what next?

The interesting thing is that although technology changes - oral storytelling, stone tablets, paper and pen, typewriter, computer, Kindle - the stories remain. Authors will continue to create, and readers will continue to read.

(And I'm dying to know what you can see coming in your red hood?!)

Joan Lennon said...

Do you remember those typewriters that had a corrector ribbon built in? So cool.
The first time I worked on a computer was when I got pulled out of the typing pool at a summer job and sent into a separate room FILLED with noisy boxy things - and one keyboard. I had to keep the door and windows shut for fear of dust. The actual typing wasn't any more exciting though!

Ann Evans said...

I well remember those old typewriters where you had to wind your ribbon on with your finger - or maybe that was just me winding it back to get double use from it!
I bashed out all my early stuff on what would be a museum piece now. The harder I worked, the more the table shook.
Just like you, Sue I thought if I had to learn all new techi stuff with computers, I wouldn't be able to write. Thank God we gave it a go!

Agnieszkas Shoes said...

When you have OCD, typewriters pretty much put paid to any creativity. I don't remember ever getting beyond the first chapter of a typed book - I was strictly pen and paper.

What a wonderful "life in spectachles" set of photos.

Anonymous said...

I too remember laboriously typing out my first two books on a typewriter - didn't mind changing ribbons but aaaagh! the frustration of typing a page only to find you'd put the carbon paper in the wrong way round.
Nice medal by the way!
(And is that really a huge spliff in the moody teenager pic, or a pen?)

Karen :-)

Susan Price said...

I'd love to say it was a spliff, Karen, but it was a pen... obsessive teenage writer and all that.

Anonymous said...

A smokin' pen, obviously...