Monday, 28 February 2011

In which our heroine accepts the inevitability of change...

It's no secret to anyone who knows me that e-books just don't light my candle. I like 'proper' books, books you can hold and smell and flip through and hoard like a fire hazard on dusty shelves that make a house feel like a home. Try doing that with your Kindle!

I felt the same about the whole vinyl to CD revolution.

However, now as then, there's no point in 'doing a Canute'. Change isn't just a-comin', it's here.

Two things I read yesterday (along with much Internet clicking and pondering of options and opportunities) have really kicked my brain into gear on this one. That and the fact that the traditional publishing model seems to me to be, if not dead in the water, then certainly floundering and spluttering and hoping someone will throw it a lifebelt.

The first piece I read was in The Observer. It tells not only of the success established thriller writer Stephen Leather has enjoyed, selling as e-books novellas his publisher had turned down, but also of paranormal romance writer Amanda Hocking, who went from an author unable to secure an agent to the world's best selling e-book writer in less than a year.

The second piece I read  was by New Jersey writer Kevin Michaels, who has just released his first novel, LOST EXIT, as an e-book. That in turn led me to this piece, by MONK author Lee Goldberg writing on thriller writer Joe Konrath's website. These are facts and figures that are impossible to ignore. And I suspect the majority of people who love to read will continue to buy 'proper' books, simply adding e-books to the ways in which they enjoy stories - just as so many of us write for and read stories, news and blogs online.

Just to top it all off, The Bookseller reports today that Bloomsbury predicts 2011 will be 'the year of the e-book'.

I have outlines written for a couple of non-fiction books that I honestly believe have a market. What I don't have is a publishing deal for them. Armed with my new-found knowledge, what do you think would be the best way for me to proceed? Should I do the rounds of agents and publishers, submitting speculatively and waiting months at a time for a reply? Or should I simply write the best books I can, self-publish them as e-books, setting my own prices, and let the readers decide if there's a market?

Doesn't really need thinking about, does it? Please excuse me, I have to go now - I have an e-book to write!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

News round up

Just these past few days, there seems to have been a wee explosion of good stuff to be had and to be heard about, so I thought I'd round it all up here.

First up, there's something amazing, unique, exciting, fantastic, cool and swinging going on over At The Bijou. That swell dame ABSOLUTELY*KATE has charmed the incredibly prolific, insightful and super-cool Mr ROBERT J RANDISI and together they present the one, the only, THE RAT PACK REVUE!  The Revue plays Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturday matinees, check it out, don't miss a thing, be there or be square. I'm absolutely thrilled to be in with a story - also playing are Eric Beetner, Paul Brazill, Kevin Michaels, Sean Patrick Reardon, Anthony Venutolo and the dame herself, Absolutely*Kate. And there's lots of stuff from Mr Randisi throughout - as he says himself, he's going to 'work the lounge' before he 'hits the main room'. All good stuff.

Next up, Paul Brazill - he gets everywhere, that man! No complaints about that, he's a class act, and to prove it, he's camping out over at Mulholland Books with some fine advice: TEN CRIME BOOKS TO HELP CURE YOUR HANGOVER, no less. See, a fine author and a generous humanitarian to boot.

I was reading an article the other day about becoming a Writer in Residence and how it can only be a good thing for all parties, when blow me down, but didn't Nick Quantrill, author of BROKEN DREAMS, go and land himself exactly such a gig! Now the newly ensconced Writer in Residence at Hull Kingston Rovers, and with a second book, THE LATE GREATS, due out later this year from Caffeine Nights Publishing, Nick is flying high. Great to see someone enjoying such well-deserved success!

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

The Big Society

If, like me, your heart sinks whenever you hear this nonsensical term, the following will not surprise you in the least. Wandsworth Council intend to create a  'Big Society' Library, which they reckon will enable them to save more than £155,000 by 2012 - partly by 'deleting' (their word for 'sacking') five staff. This is purely a cost-cutting exercise and is in direct response to the cuts imposed on them. Maybe the 'deleted' staff will be able to keep on doing their jobs as unpaid vounteers, for the good of The Big Society.

So is The Big Society all about cuts, then, as its many detractors claim? Apparently not. David Cameron, while attempting to justify plans to sell off public services, explains that The Big Society is about: '... rebuilding responsibility and giving people more control over their lives'.

Not convinced? Try The Telegraph, where Iain Hollingshead channels seven year old Nancy Cameron to afford us this explanation. Finally, a bit of clarity. From the mouths of babes...

Monday, 14 February 2011

Reasons to be cheerful

1. In the midst of all the libraries angst, there's this. Great news, and fantastic for Stockton, lucky people!

2. If you're skint, the Internet can be a terrific source of lovely, free things to read. Paul Brazill signposts the way to some good stuff here. Help yourself and enjoy - and have a wander around his site while you're there. There's even a story for Valentine's Day to be had, courtesy of guest blogger Rizzy Rodham.

3.  Spring is on the way - yes, it's still winter and it's still pretty cold, but you can feel a hint of it in the air and I saw crocuses poking their heads up in the park last week. Which prompted me to make this. Can't be bad!

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Libraries campaign

After the successes enjoyed on the day of action last Saturday, some of which get a mention here, the libraries campagn continues. Authors Julia Donaldson, Kate Mosse and Tony Parsons, and Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, put their two penn'orth in here. In the article, Kate Mosse tells us that:

'There are more than 5.2 million adults classed as "functionally illiterate" - with skills lower than expected of an 11-year-old.' 

That's worryingly debilitating. It's hard to imagine how a person can cope with such a disadvantage, since so much of what we do on a daily basis depends upon our ability to understand the written word. And whilst it's a problem that runs deeper than having access to books and other materials that will stimulate the mind and encourage people to learn and develop their literacy skills, surely shutting libraries is another nail in the coffin. Especially since many libraries work in tandem with adult literacy and numeracy initiatives.