Showing posts from June, 2012

Guest Post: Dougie Brimson - Why reviews are so important for the eBook author

Over the last couple of years, as you might well have noticed, the world of publishing has changed dramatically. Not least for mid-list authors such as myself.

No longer under the total control of editors or publishers we are now free to go it alone to write what we like and publish it when we like. Trust me, for all kinds of reasons that freedom is liberating!

For the reader, this evolution has been equally revolutionary. Who would have thought five years ago that not only would there be a genuine alternative to good old paper, but that there would be books available to download for free at the touch of a button!

However, the rise of the ebook has added a new and very important element to the reading process and it is one which not everyone seems to have grasped. It is the power to review. Be it on Amazon, iTunes, Goodreads or any of the numerous reader websites, if you enjoy or even dislike a book you are now able to tell the world.

That my friends, is power, real power. And I will…

Animals As Minor (or Major) Characters - by Hywela Lyn

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love animals, in particular, horses.

I'm not sure from where I inherited my love of horses, any more than I know where I got my love of writing. We weren't a horsey family, and didn't have any land to keep a horse or pony. However, my  father loved all animals, and passed down this love to my sister and me. I can't remember a time when we didn't have a dog when I was growing up in a small seaside town in Wales, and I spent my school holidays helping out at the local riding school. As soon as I left school I saved up every spare penny for five years, to buy my first horse, a bay Thoroughbred cross, Flikka, who stayed with me until she died at the ripe old age of 35 years.

I suppose it was my love of horses that gave me my fascination with the Old West, so much so, that I bought a Western saddle, learnt to ride in the Western style and retrained my horses in this gentle, relaxed way of riding.

I'd been writing since my early teens …


So, the guardians of our culture are now about to offer us an eroticised version of Jane Austen, having first taken note of the success of Fifty Shades of Grey - are these people publishers or bankers? The threat of ebooks does seem to worry them (what, authors taking complete control over their own work and making money? And sometimes quite a lot of money...)

I've had a browse through the Fifty Shades, and like everyone else (don't tell me you don't do it) sought out the juicy bits, but since I like my sex embedded, like a jewel, inside a really good story, it didn't really grab me. At present, I'm re-reading (after decades) Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, so my personal pov might well have been slanted. Has anyone been to the eight hour-long reading of this book? Apparently it's been a huge success, and I was tempted, but didn't think I could sit still for that long.

From eroticism to passion, and passion in the act of writing. I have written two a…

Possible New Business Model for Publishing - Andrew Crofts

It’s boom time in the world of self-publishing but in the vast majority of cases the creation of any book is a team effort, not a solitary one, however much some of us might wish to the contrary.           Traditionally writers have recruited valuable team members by persuading an established publishing house to join in the creative endeavour, providing financial backing, editorial, design and marketing assistance all in one package.           If self publishing writers want to gain the support of a similarly experienced team they either have to call in a lot of favours, or they have to hire the necessary editors, designers and publicists themselves. The flaw in the argument there, of course, is that without the “financial” contribution of a publisher, not many writers can afford to do that. The result can then be the badly edited texts and badly designed covers which the enemies of self-publishing continually draw attention to, and the low levels of “discoverability” that be…

An Ebook Blog Begins – Katherine Roberts

A word from our founder today. Our usual blogger, Rosalie Warren, has suffered a family bereavement, and can't post today.  So, instead, here's Authors Electric's onlie begetter, Katherine Roberts...

Those of you who have been with this blog from its early days might remember me… later comers to the party won’t, because I’ve relinquished the reins since then and others have very ably taken them up to ride the electric horse onwards across pastures new. But I thought this might be a good time to explain why I am still with you in e-spirit, if not in e-body.

Originally, Susan Price and I set this place up as a joint blog to promote our backlists, which we were both in the process of converting to Kindle to rescue our out-of-print work from oblivion. A few others in our Scattered Authors group for children’s books were doing the same, but there weren’t very many of us. So we made an important early decision to open the blog up to adult authors with Kindle projects – or, rather…

Getting Medieval On Your Text - Susan Price

I think it must have been something like that.  People don't change much.
        Writing was a gob-smacking break-through.  Think of it - instead of memorising all the harvest records, you could write them down on clay-tablets and refer back to them to work out, say, which fields were the most productive.  (Writing seems to have been used for record-keeping before any artistic use.)
         And then - another break-through! - instead of struggling to hear the story-teller above the rowdy singing, you had the story pressed into clay, and read it while sitting quietly by yourself.  Bliss!  It was worth selling those slaves to afford it.
         Heavy clay tablets must have been a nuisance, though - difficult to hold and bulky to store - but there was no other method of writing, so you put up with it.  After all, if you could read and write with those complicated wedge-shaped symbols, you were at the forefront of technology.  I suppose you rather boasted about how awkward the tablets…

Editing Ebooks - So Who Does The Editing? - Stephanie Zia

If you're thinking of going to the London Book Fair next year I'd give the pokey little Author's Lounge stand a wide berth (Lounge... LOUNGE?!! with those toadstool benches and hard-sell salesmen?). Instead pause for rest, refreshment and author interviews at the splendid English PEN Literary Cafe and plan your day around the numerous seminars that take place in the conference rooms scattered throughout the building. It was good to see more author-centric seminars this year, like this one, "Has Anyone Spoken To The Author?" chaired by Unbound's John Mitchinson. All sorts of interesting new possibilities in this "era of broken models" were discussed.  Bundling - get an ebook free when you buy a hardback. Building on the all-important "word of mouth" phenomenon by having credit buttons in ebooks so that readers can send recommended titles to friends. Readers, basically, becoming part of the sales force. The amount of control that self-publis…

We're all punks now - Simon Cheshire

There's been a lot on TV and radio recently about punk rock. Not sure why, probably some anniversary - the media do love their anniversaries, bless 'em. I was never a punk myself, I was far too weedy and straight-laced, but I can't help feeling a certain nostalgia for an era when anyone could simply shout at a microphone, stick two fingers up at the establishment and call themselves a musician...
Hang on...
          Does that ring a bell with anyone? Might there be parallels between the punk movement of the 1970s and the self-publishing movement of the, err, what would we be, the '10s? Both were kicked off from an unexpected direction. Both caught on in a way which makes wildfire look like a 20W lightbulb. Both initially had their svengalis and their fringe pundits. Both were looked down upon by the press and the critics, apart from one or two far-sighted individuals. Both put the proverbial fear of God up their respective mainstream industries.
          Both …

Plotting After Powder Burn

One of the things I've learned so far about this writer gig is that you have to keep the books flowing... I published The Fulcrum Files back in the winter (the writing of it was the subject of an earlier blog). But I wouldn’t be a real writer if I didn’t already have the next one on the go. I’ve already added a page to my website for Powder Burn, which I’m hoping to finish for January next year - or, maybe February...

And so it’s time to start thinking about ideas for novel number five. I’ve decided to go for a series, kicking off with a sequel to Powder Burn. The main reason for this is that I just love the main character in this book, an American girl called Sam Blackett; here’s a little bit of Powder Burn that will give you a feel for her character:

She looked back down to the screen and the single email in her inbox. She’d sent out twenty-five more query letters to different newspaper and magazine editors just after she’d arrived in the city. All with ideas for travel stories.…

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A BOOK CAN MAKE: Pauline Fisk on the Olympic Dream [and the value of occasionally tearing oneself away from the computer]

I’ve told part of this story before, but bear with me because I’ve something new to add, and it’s quite a story anyway. In 2008, the British Arts Council funded me to go out to Belize.  I was interested in the concept of gap year volunteering and the difference – if any - it made to young people’s lives. In particular, I wanted to explore it as a modern rite of passage, comparing it to the rites of passage that young Belizeans - say Kekchi-Mayans from the poorer end of Belizean life - might go through in order to achieve adulthood. The result of my research was a novel for young adults, ‘In The Trees’.

I learnt a lot in Belize. It wouldn’t be exaggerating to say the six week visit changed me. For twenty years I’d been a desk-bound author, living a largely desk-bound life. Sure enough, for ‘Flying for Frankie’ I’d taken to hot air balloon, and for my Children of Plynlimon novels, I’d explored the three great rivers - Severn, Wye and Rheidol - which flow out of Plynlimon Mountain in that…