As a novice "indie" author, the learning curve has been pretty steep and I keep discovering areas that could make a material difference as to how successfully my current and future books will be distributed.
Today's discovery was that Amazon's Kindle eBook format appears to be different from Nook, iBooks, Kobo and just about everyone else. While I can appreciate the need for any business wanting to maintain a competitive advantage, this strikes me as just plain silly if not "cutting your nose off to spite your face." It has the potential to antagonize both authors and customers.
As an author, I'm in the "I wish I had known this sooner" category. Possibly I may have chosen the other format. At the very least I would have been alerted to the need for two eBook formats for a comprehensive market coverage. And, from what I can tell, it is not a simple conversion process, but entails going back to the original manuscript. Thus, it has an impact on maintaining a consistent interior book design.
I would love to hear how other authors cope with this
The book, Conall:Rinn-Iru
mentions a great earthworks - the Black Pig's Dyke.
Long before the Romans thought of building several walls to keep out the Picts and around the same time that the Great Wall of China was built, the ancient people of Ulster, the Ulaid, built the Black Pig’s Dyke or Gleann na Muice Duibhe, which is literally the “glen of the black pig”.
The dyke itself is a series of discontinuous defensive earthworks built along the southern boundary of the province of Ulster. Remnants of the banks and ditches stretch through South County Down, County Armagh, County Monaghan, County Cavan, County Leitrim and South County Donegal.
Excavations reveal that the original construction was of a substantial timber palisade with external ditch. Behind the palisade was a double bank with intervening ditch. The timber structure was radiocarbon dated to 390-370 BC, so the whole of Black Pig’s Dyke may date to that period.
However, the tales from old Gaelic folklore that the dyke was the result of a large boar who tore up the Irish country side with its huge tusks or that it was made by a huge worm wriggling across the countryside, are less factual, but perhaps much more interesting.
It strikes me that there are four overarching phases to writing a novel: writing, editing, design and promotion. This of course does not include the over-riding phase of despair! My writing tends to be ad hoc
and dream-inspired. I do not have set times when I sit down and just write, possibly because I still have a “day job” of running a consulting company which pays my salary while I also attempt to get a new start-up company (A Wee Publishing Company
) off the ground. I’m supposed to be an expert in start-ups, but sometimes the adage “physician heal thyself” comes back to bite you with a vengeance. I certainly dream of the day that I become a full-time author and can devote myself to writing best-sellers all day long. However, I suspect that successful authors would likely tell me that this in itself is urban myth or fantasy.
But back to writing, by which I also include developing a story-line. Although I term my writing habit as ad hoc
I actually undertook a lot of research once I had decided on a period and culture. I strongly suspect that, in the historical fiction genre, many authors are more expert in their period than their academic counterparts. I would happily go head-to-head with anyone on ancient Ireland circa 400 BC.
As a new writer, at least in fiction, I thought I would never get past the first fifty pages. There was so much white space to fill up. By the time I had reached 500 pages I was beginning to panic as to how to draw the book to an appropriate conclusion leaving threads that would link it to the next in the series, but yet be a self-supporting story in its own right.
Now my challenge is how to end this blog article with a suitably snappy comment. I will defer to Brendan Behan - “All publicity is good, except an obituary notice.” Until the next time, “Slántu”
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This is my first blog... ever, but as a new author apparently I have to generate interest in my novel (and future novels) otherwise no-one will buy them! I also have a goal of being a famous author before my hair recedes further - so please help! The blog will have several focuses:
First, I would genuinely like to get feedback on my novel (Conall: Rinn-Iru
). It is my first fiction piece and is likely not perfect, so I am looking on it as a First Edition which may (or may not) be refined. I take some consolation that the first novels of some of my favorite authors were not as smoothly flowing as their later novels, but they did have a theme or a set of characters that said, "Try the next in the series."
Second, I will be using the blog to talk about the period the book is set in and Celtic culture in general. In this case, the book is set in Ériu (Ireland) around 400 BC. A time when myth, legend and fact were liberally mixed. It is also a period about which very little is known - so if you have interesting insights on the period, I would love to hear them.
Third, in my role as managing director of A Wee Publishing Company
, I will be unashamedly promoting our services in the area of Celtic literature and art. To use a strategic buzzword I am hoping that the company will grow "organically" to better serve its target market. So if there is something as a writer or an artist that you absolutely hate doing, tell me about it and maybe it can become part of our services.
Fourth and finally, for this item at least, it is my intention to expand the number of bloggers on this website. A Wee Company's Editor, Lauren McAdow
, will be contributing future articles on the more technical aspects of writing and a good friend who is both a storyteller and writer of Irish yarns will be writing for us. However, I am looking for 2-3 more contributors in the area of Celtic literature and art, so please send me a note (or a sample of what your opening blog would be like) using the Contact Form
. I promise to get back to you as soon as possible.