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Showing posts from September, 2011

GUEST AUTHOR - Sara Sheridan

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Sara Sheridan is mostly an historical novelist but also publishes her contemporary fiction on Kindle. She sits on the committee of the Society of Authors in Scotland (where she lives) and on the board of the writers’ collective, “26”. She tweets about her writing life as @sarasheridan. Her books are available here.

Today she tells us about all her Kindle adventures...

This summer, at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, I read from my kindle during an event rather than using a copy of my book. All month “The Secret Mandarin”, my novel about early Empire explorer and tea botanist, Robert Fortune, had been running up and down the top 100 in the Kindle store, getting into the top 20 several times. “The Secret of the Sands” the book’s follow up (set in the desert) was not too far behind it. I figured most of my readers that month were using kindles, and why shouldn’t I? I was taking part in several events and wanted to read from lots of different sources – so the kindle was the obvi…

Introducing Hywela Lyn

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Hello, this is my first post here and I'm thrilled to be part of this wonderful group of E-book writers. I'm making this post an introduction but I promise not to go on too much about myself in future posts.

If you haven't come across me before I'm Hywela Lyn - my real first two names.  I was born and lived most of my life in Wales.  Hywela is Welsh but no-one ever called me that - so I thought it would be nice to combine those two names and use them as my pen-name. I've been writing for as long as I can remember and had several short stories published in UK magazines over the years, but it's only since about 2008 that I've decided to concentrate on  novels.






My writing space overlooks lush Welsh countryside - and the paddocks where my two horses peacefully graze...
...in my dreams!(When I win the lottery or make the international best seller lists!:) )
In fact, I live in a small English village, too far away from my beloved Wales, and my horses live sever…

Enid Richemont - Creative Writing Books (and other things).

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To London's Barbican library yesterday to check out books on creative writing (which I sometimes have to talk about). I often browse through these when I'm going through an arid patch (when I'm working, I don't bother). The same applies, I've found, to books on drawing and painting (I was trained as an artist). Working, actually WORKING, throws up most of the problems they write about, except that, when you're actually doing the stuff, they become just things you deal with. I think these books, when they're good, are useful for exploring the psychological issues involved in writing/drawing/painting, and for suggesting possible new ways of looking - at things, at life, and everything. For this reason, I did, finally, borrow three - one about writing a blockbuster (which I know I shall never do unless it happens naturally), one very New Age American, but which did seem to contain some interesting ideas, and one Buddhism-based curiosity which I rather liked.

T…

Should Authors be Publishers? - Andrew Crofts

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Asked to suggest a subject for a debate by a branch of the Society of Authors, I suggested "Should authors become publishers?" and found myself leading the discussion a few weeks later. By the end of the session, and after publishing some 80 books the traditional way both as an author and a ghostwriter, I was convinced that it was time to grasp the nettle and take my own advice.

When printing was first invented authors published their books in joint ventures with printers and booksellers, raising extra money from patrons when needed. Publishing companies as we know them today only really arrived on the scene around 1750, but from then on authors spent all their time writing to please these business people, (and later the business people who set up as literary agents), before pleasing themselves and their potential readers. Now technology, ironically, allows us to turn the clocks back.

Charged with enthusiasm at the lifting of the scales from my eyes I realised I had a manuscr…

Do teenagers buy ebooks? by Nicola Morgan

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Before I start: hello! This is my first post as a member of Authors Electric and very delighted I am to have been accepted into the group. Thanks to everyone.

In a few months, I'm releasing the ebook version of my very first teenage novel - Mondays are Red, which was originally published in 2002 and is now out of print. I'm doing it jointly with my ever-supportive and patient agent and the question we have is a rather basic one: do teenagers buy ebooks? I hope so!


Today and tomorrow, I'm going to be asking them. I'm speaking at the Appledore Festival in Devon, with a family event on Sunday and school events on Monday.

This won't be the first time I've asked teenagers this question but it's the first time the answer is going to be terribly important. Here's what I've learnt from the few (probably too few to be significant?) times in recent months that I have asked:
When I ask a mixed group whether they have ever read a book or part of an ebook, about a…

SUSAN PRICE: Wolves, Woodcuts, World Trees

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            As Ambrosi trod over the bridge [to the Ghost World], its note changed, rising and falling. He could feel its rising curve beneath his feet, and, at the height of the arch, he saw the shape of a great and beautiful tree, winter-bare of leaves. It rose out of the empty dark with the pale, pale sheen of steel by moonlight, faintly outlined against the blackness and the stars. The stars shone through its branches, like brilliant, unseasonable fruit. He stood still, and the changing, thrumming note of the bridge steadied, but other sounds, distant and eerie, crept to his ears. The stars, every one of the thousands of stars, as it spun in darkness, spun its own crystalline, icy, piercing note that mingled with the thrumming of the bridge, and wove and interwove with the note of every other star. Cold, thrilling, calling harmony: poignant discord: the music of the spheres.
          I wrote that 20 years ago, but it describes something I imagined over 40 years ago.  When I was 11…

Sales figures junkie needs help! - SImon Cheshire

The freedom we Kindle authors enjoy, simply in terms of content, packaging and so on, is something writers haven't had for many, many years. Not since the 17th and 18th century, when self-publication was common, have us scribblers had such control over our own work. The only reason Virginia Woolf became one of the giants of modernism in the 1920s was because she ran the printing presses and thus could write whatever she darn well liked! (For more on this, see my latest ebook "You've Got To Read This". There, I'm not too proud for a shamelessly self-serving plug..!)

So perhaps it's this feeling of control which makes me such a cat on the proverbial heated metal roof, when it comes to sales figures. Amazon makes it very easy for us to check how a title is selling. Or not selling. A couple of clicks into your account, and there it is: a table setting out every sale this month, so far.
They make it too easy. Too tempting. There I am, sitting at the keyboard, gettin…

Essential Reading - Joan Lennon

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Catch your loved ones - pop them in front of the computer - get them to read this!

Tips for a Writer Wrangler
And remember, "if problems persist, consult a thesaurus."

P.S. I'm away this week, so I'll reply to comments NEXT week!



IT'S ALL ABOUT HOPE - Pauline Fisk becomes an Electric Author

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This is a true story.It happened twenty years ago.I was on the train home from London having discovered that I’d made the Nestle Children's Book Award shortlist for my first novel, ‘Midnight Blue’. It was a celebratory occasion, as you can imagine, and became even more so when the man sitting opposite fixed me with his eyes and said - completely for no reason that I could see - ‘Excuse me, but are you a writer?’
Well, I’m not in the habit talking to strangers on trains, but who could resist an opener like that?We talked about all sorts of things, though I never did find out why the man thought I was a writer.Bruce Chatwin’s ‘Songlines’ came up, as did Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’.I can’t remember a more enjoyable train journey.At no point did I feel hit on or chatted up.When the man got up to leave, he said, ‘To tell the truth, I’ve had it with modern literature.It’s all either whimsical nostalgia about the past or doom and gloom about the future.What we…

What’s your book about? Well, it’s quite like a TARDIS...Roz Morris

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'So... this book you're writing... what's it about?'A common question. But answering it can be so hard. Genre novelists have it easy. All they need to do is focus on the staple ingredients that get readers going and the USP of their book. Vampires? Romance? Mysteries? Murders? Simply precis the first few events, make sure to mention your book’s special angle and you’re done. A literary novel is way more gnarly. Although mine has a suspenseful plot, it isn’t about what’s on the outside, it is about the infinite labyrinths within. It’s like the TARDIS; bigger inside than outside. This was all cosmically satisfying until I had to write a blurb - one paragraph that fitted all that infinity into a neat space again. And not just for the sake of five minutes of fluffy chat at a dinner party. This paragraph would go in an email to potential reviewers. It would serve as the description on the book’s Amazon page. This is serious business. My Memories of a Future Life is 100,00…

Finally .... Karen King

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Hooray! My romance book Never Say Forever is finally ready to go up on Amazon Kindle.  Readers of my last blog will remember that the book has previously been published in  paperback and softback (under the pen name of Kay Harborne) and I was wondering whether to go for a new cover. I decided it would be best to as I wanted to give the book a fresh, modern feel so went for a pink background with a black silhouette. So, courtesy of my talented illustrator daughter Naomi, here it is:


The cover has been uploaded, so has the book, it's all ready to go. Just one final check through to make sure there are no typos or extra spaces (I soon learnt that any errors really show up on the small Kindle pages) then I'll be pushing the 'publish' button. 

Publishing an e-book isn't quite the same as having the first copy of a print book in your hands but I have to confess I'm getting hooked on it. I've another e-book almost ready to go. This one is a children's fantasy…

What Does Anybody Really Know? by Catherine Czerkawska

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This is my very first post for Do Authors Dream of Electric Books? and I’m delighted to be a part of such an enterprising and interesting group. One way and another, it’s been quite a year. A writing career is a switchback of highs and lows. Just when you think you’re reasonably secure, a new editor or artistic director decides that you're no longer ‘marketable’ and you’re cast in the role of supplicant again, going cap in hand to the gatekeepers. A few years ago, when I was working as Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow in a Scottish university, helping students with their academic writing, a bright Commercial Music student remarked ‘You know, you writers need to do it for yourselves – as we’ve done with our music. It’s the only way forward.’ At the time it didn’t seem feasible, but only a little while later, the advent of ePublishing has revolutionised things in much the same way as iTunes and other sites changed music. And I think my student was right. The time has…

You can't throw that away; it's research! - Jane Adams

We've been having a bit of a clearout, as you do, having finally ventured into the cupboard under the stairs and the Big Cupboard upstairs - you know the one, everybody has one; that place you just shut the door on and forget about. Anyway, we decided last weekend that it was time to see what exactly we'd been storing so protectively. We knew about the magazines; old issues of Fortean Times and Elektor and Television and obscure electronics magazines by husband insists are reference material - and about which he has an elephantine memory. But what I'd kind of forgotten about was all the research notes.
My research notes.
For projects I've forgotten or abandoned or used so long ago I'm not even sure what book they were for.
I mean, I can kind of understand why I have copies of the Police Gazette from lord knows how long back and I know why I dragged my kids, back when they were still kids and tolerant of that kind of thing - and Stuart Hill- up to Lincolshire to tak…

Who Am I by Dan Holloway

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I was particularly taken by Deb’s piece on the themes that ran through her work, and it seemed like an excellent topic to filch. I’ve been lucky enough to talk about it before, at a couple of conferences – one of the things that spurred me to self-publish was the looming 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. As Songs from the Other Side of the Wall is essentially about the numerous crises in identity that precipitated (all dressed up in Murakami-esque wrapping), it was important to me to get the book out in 2009. And having done so, I was able to take part in conferences marking the anniversary, combining practical and theoretical approaches to identity. The papers I gave appear as appendices in the paperback edition.


The question of how we even begin to discover our place in such a complex world in which apparent polarities pull us from every direction is the thread that runs through everything I write. In The Man Who Painted Agnieszka’s Shoes, I tackle the issue of the way…

Jan Needle - Away with the angels

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I once read a book by Gwyn Thomas called The World Cannot Hear You. I can’t for the life of me remember much about it (except that I loved it), but the title has always lurked in my mind. It seemed to me to epitomise the writer’s (or writers’) tragedy. You write, or read, these wonderful books, somebody reads them, or maybe not, and then they are gone. I used to drone on about Gerald Kersh, whom I thought was fantastic. Nobody else had ever heard of him, which I bitterly resented, more on his behalf than my own. Before and during World WarII he was enormous. And now…? But sometimes, out of the blue, things get jogged. My phone rang not so long ago, and I was asked to take part in a Radio 4 programme about the writers considered to be in the van of the “new realism” in children’s books. My Mate Shofiq was mentioned, and Albeson and the Germans. Good God, I thought - I wrote them! And suddenly remembered being rung up by the headmaster of a school in Peckham to cancel my invitation to ap…

Change of plan - Dennis Hamley

Last month I was full of The Long Journey of Joslin de Lay. And I still am. I've found a cover designer and she is doing STUNNING new covers. I have perfect texts to be uploaded. And now I wait, because putting a six book sequence on as ebooks in very quick succession in the hope that they may catch the Christmas market may be a longer process than I would like. Technology, dear boy.

So I've got to do something quickly or nobody will take me seriously. Who'd have thought it? A blogger on Authorselectric who hasn't actually got an ebook out! I couldn't stand the shame. So Colonel Mustard in the Library with the Candlestick; Four Slightly Weird Stories was born - or rather finagled - into existence. Well, I hope you think they're weird. Two have been published before: the title story in Point Crime: 13Murder Mysteries and Hospital Trust, in Point Horror, 13 Again, both published by Scholastic. And two new ones; The Other Task, Tolkein with a big difference, and Th…

Murder! She wrote. By Ann Evans.

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We all know that most kids love scary stories, so, 11 years ago when my editor at Scholastic asked if I would do a series of ‘sealed mysteries’ I got my thinking cap on and came up with some story ideas such as priceless articles going missing and people going missing. But then... “No,” said the editor. “We want murder mysteries.” “Not a nice jewellery theft?” I suggested. “Murder!” she repeated. “How about an exciting kidnapping?” I ventured further. “MURDER!” she roared, her eyes sparking with excitement. (Sorry! Getting carried away.)
So murder it had to be. But as it was for children, it had to be murders without any really yucky bits - no blood, no gore, no actual terror, and certainly our young heroes couldn't be bumped off. Whoever the victim was, he was going to be murdered nicely, without any nasty stuff. And if possible, make it so he deserved it anyway!
I had a year to write the four 25,000-word books,and while I was absolutely thrilled to have got the contract, it was a …

A Blogging Virgin Learns by Susan Jane Smith

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