How do you write a blog about writing? Well, plenty of people have written about writing so it can’t be that difficult. Yes, but this is writing about writing Ebooks (as in picture right) and furthermore writing about them as a retired person. What does a retired, old git person know about publishing Ebooks after all? Well, quite a lot now. In this context I am writing about ‘books’ I have written over the years, in various degrees of completion and having suffered from publishers varying degrees of rejection. Those ‘bottom drawer’ books complete with their rejection slips. Let me be clear, that I am not a complete loser on the publishing front, I have had things, quite a lot of things, published, 6 books and about as many chapters in the edited books of others as well as quite a few articles. But all of these, apart from the golf one (Golf: a Mind Game) which makes sporadic appearances on this blog, have been work-related books. Every time I tried to step outside my field, rejection or non-completion, in one form or another, was the result. Now with Ebooks, self-publishing has become something better than the tired old project of vanity publishing where you end up with 500 books, that nobody wants, stuck in your garage having paid a pretty penny to get them there. I now have the chance to publish and be damned. I only have to please myself, and to put in the quite long hours and to some extent expense, of turning these once hard copy versions (all had to be scanned, then gone through to correct the many errors that this operation throws up – please forgive the odd ‘mistakes’ I have missed) into something called Mobi. This, as I am sure you know, is the text format required by Kindle.
There is an ironic aspect to this, I love books, proper books that is. I have more than 2,000 of them. It’s probably why I have spent a large proportion of my life writing and trying to get published. So before we go any further let me say, I have a confession to make, I would never buy a Kindle, at least I don’t think so and never say never and all that. Certainly when I thought I was going to publish Ebooks I did consider buying one and, even got as far as trying to buy one on line, but they didn’t have the one I wanted and reviews were mixed of the one they had got, so I didn’t buy it and then I found out that you could read Ebooks on your laptop, phone, tablet etc, without needing to buy a Kindle, so that was that – I think. I can see that they – Kindles and the like – serve a purpose but I need, as with CDs and DVDs, to own the product I have paid for, to hold it in my hand and say this is mine, bought and paid for. Maybe it’s a Yorkshire thing but I don’t think so. Well, maybe it is when you consider that this electronic stuff doesn’t always seem any cheaper than the 3D version – my own modest examples excepted of course. And yet, despite this, here I am, through this blog, trying, in a subtle way, to persuade you to buy my recently published Ebooks on Kindle. Also in this selling game, this ‘big it up’ process, I am trying to persuade you to buy my, so far, two shortly to be three, Ebooks while remaining honest about what you’re buying. Hence no words like, brilliant, best Ebook this year, amazing achievement and all that. What I will say is that, for less than £3, I think they are worth a punt.
I did hope, before I began, to do the whole thing myself but, on advice from my IT guy, the one who set up this blog for me, I decided I would pay the money and get somebody (who according to my IT guy lives on the other side of the world) to do the HTML coding or whatever it is. Paying for the coding is one reason why I have decided, somewhat against my better-self judgement, to charge for the books. Also it seemed easier, when putting the books into the Kindle book store, to charge for them rather than, as I had originally thought, give them away for free. I read somewhere that free ebooks had more downloads than ones that cost. A self-evident truth I would have thought. But I also remember when professionally we provided services to schools, that the school seemed far more inclined to take what we said seriously and act upon it if they had paid for the service rather than received it ‘free’ through the Local Authority’ or similar. Anyway, to cut it short, I have charged what seems like a nominal amount considering the hours of hard work that’s gone into getting them this far.
You can buy them by googling Kindle, going to books and then typing in the titles:
Dead Country (image in blog Retirement and being in Control) and below in case you missed it the first time.
That Which Lies Beneath (image above in introduction)
And then buying them!
The more alert of you will notice that these are two titles that make up the right hand side of my blog. The first, Dead Country, has been tidied up bit and a missing chapter added. I would accurately describe it as an interesting crime story set in the Yorkshire Dales. It has witty dialogue and a sense of place. The second. That Which Lies Beneath is a series of 12, this could happen to you, ghost stories. I submitted one for a short story competition and it won first prize, so that can’t be bad. It has 33% more stories, i.e. another 3 to add to the ones I’ve put on this blog and of course they are all together for your reading convenience and delight.
The third Ebook, Four (or Five) Go to New Zealand, to be published in the next few weeks, is a record my time spent in New Zealand with my family. Having read every word of it again, at this distance, I think it makes interesting reading for anybody with an interest in New Zealand beyond the travel brochures and it’s a cautionary tale to those of you who might be thinking about taking your family to live in another country. As well as this, it’s a cracking read, as somebody once said, although not about my book. To follow, in various stages of completion are books on questions, driving for young people, the golf book if I can sort out the technical details, a book for Americans about cricket explained in terms of baseball, self-esteem in retirement and maybe a collection of some of these 180 blogs. That’s some way off, however.
In summary then, the thing is that, when I started to consider what my retirement would look like, how it would balance out, as in one of my most recent blogs, it was clear that I needed an intellectual, if that is not too grand a word, writing component to it, to balance with the pups, the jazz and the, ahem, vineyard. This blog was the most conspicuous response to this decision but then, later, the idea that I would ‘get into’ self-publishing took root. It lay pretty dormant for quite a while, it seemed just too complicated. But, as is often the case with me it took very little, in this case a kindly remark from a friend about one of my ghost stories, suggesting I should put them out as a book, to set me off. That, and the help of my IT guy and his contact ‘on the other side of the world’, got me through, all that and the very easy process of actually putting the books onto Amazon (with my other professional books that are still in print, incidentally). And there we have it, that’s the story of a retired person’s venture into the world of self-published Ebooks. BUY NOW for Christmas, sorry, couldn’t help myself.