Benches of Louth now available

Benches of Louth is now available!

Paperback and Kindle ebook options for your reading pleasure here.

There’s also copies at Off The Beaten Tracks in Louth.

I’ve got a limited edition of 50 numbered and signed paperbacks which come direct from me. Perfect for those who fancy a signature in their reading matter, are addicted to numbers lower than 51, and/or don’t want to buy their books via Amazon. As of 10th November, I’ve got 25 of these left. Ideal gifts for the sitter-down in your life.

If you fall into any of these categories, PayPal me £9.99 (make sure there’s a delivery address, and it’s clear who you’d like the book dedicated to, if that’s your wish), and I’ll send a copy out. Just click the PayPal button below to get started. Thanks!

BoL cover 3D.PNG

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Authors Unbound: Nottingham Waterstones 6th October

As part of the ongoing crowdfunding-related shenanigans for my upcoming thriller East of England, I’m involved in a day-long writing event at Waterstones in Nottingham on Saturday 6th October.

Authors Unbound offers a keynote speech from award-winning author Alice Jolly, plus five themed panels with discussions - and audience Q&As on contemporary writing, genre fiction, historical writing, non-fiction and documentary writing, and on comic writing. There’ll be a few readings to round out the day also.

Here’s the running order:

6 Oct running order.PNG

All the writers featured have works either in-progress or published by Unbound. Tickets are £% plus book fee (the fiver’s redeemable against book purchases, which makes it almost free, really!), and can be bought here in advance from Waterstones.

Also, in support of the event, we’ve put together an e-book sampling a fair selection of those in Nottingham on the day. That e-book can be downloaded here (It’s free for a limited time, so gt in quick and you might snaffle a freebie!).

Lastly, many of the writers who’ll be there have been interviewed on this very blog in my 10 Questions series. Have a look-see here:

Eli Allison

Lulu Allison

Tim Atkinson

Stephanie Bretherton

Erica Buist

Sue Clark

Alys Earl

Eamonn Griffin (yes, I interviewed myself)

Maximilian Hawker

Paul Holbrook

Stephen Leslie

Miles Hudson

Patrick Kincaid

Amy Lord

Virginia Moffatt

John-Michael O’Sullivan

Emma Pusill

PJ (Philip) Whiteley

Hope to see you on the 6th October if you’re available, and if not, at least consider downloading the ebook (it’s free until the morning of Tues 25th Sept, 99p thereafter - that’s the cheapest it can be made), as well as checking out these fine author types.

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Torc: the ebook is free from 22 May 2017 to 26 May 2017 inclusive!

Afer last month's ebook giveaway for Juggernaut, I've decided to run another! Torc, my MG/YA-ish (you decide!) Scottish-set timeslip novel is free for download from Amazon between the 22nd and 26th of May 2017 inclusive. Just in time for the bank holiday weekend, if you're in the UK!

Here's the synopsis:  

The west coast of Scotland, present day. Ailsa's world is threatened when the future of the hotel she calls home comes under threat. She's saddled with her cousin Tom for the day while the adults talk, but Ailsa has a plan that might just save their way of life.

The same village, two thousand years earlier. Iona, daughter of clan chief Duer, is given a vital errand; a Roman incursion into their homelands is rumoured, and a scout has not returned. Iona's task is to complete the scouting mission.

The two girls' lives become entangled through time; linked by their shared homelands, their dreams, and an artefact that binds them together across the centuries.

Hope you enjoy Torc - if you get to read the book, then please pop a review up onlne!

 

Hardbacks and paperbacks and ebooks, oh my.

Or, why do we have all of these formats? And is it time for a change?

Back in the day, whenever that was, there were only hardback books. If you wanted a book, it came with a hard cover. On the upside, the book was well-presented,  durable, and looked and felt good. On the potential downside, book were comparatively expensive, not least because they were a status item, but also because they cost money to be produced. 

Then along came the railways. Mid-Victorian publishers sprang up offering cheap paper-covered volumes, often smaller in size, that were lighter, thus more portable, for the new rail-travelling markets, both to commuters and to leisure travellers. Chains like WH Smith grew on the back of such novelties, and for many these inexpensive alternatives were a way into book ownership for the first time.

So part of the history of books is the history of the available technology; innovations in mass printing, the developing rail infrastructure, changing leisure patterns. Add to this the rise of literacy among all classes throughout the 19th century, and there you have it. 

It wasn't until the inter-war years that paperbacks took off as a mass-market alternative though. Imprints such as Penguin bought reprint rights to ranges of books; offering again portability, the eye-catching immediacy of the distinctive Penguin cover and branding, and also price.

Now, until comparatively recently, publishing was not as vertically integrated as an industry as it is today. In other words, there were publishers, and there were paperback publishers. The two co-existed uneasily. There was a delay, often of years, if not decades, between original and paperback reprint publication. For in-demand books, there'd be bidding wars, not for original publication rights, but for reprint rights in paperback. Stephen King, in On Writing, tells of such an auction for the paperback rights of his first-published novel Carrie.       

But that was forty years ago. Through mergers, acquisitions and internal development, there's no longer the organisational divide between hard- and paperback; the same company will tend to publish both. As such, gaps in publication between the two formats have come down to a few months, perhaps a year. 

So here's the question: why? And how do ebooks complicate matters? The hardback remains a premium product, and profits per copy on their sales outweigh those of the paper alternative, so there's both kudos and cash to be had in hardback sales. Plus, some people prefer the format, and they're hard-wearing, so handy for long-suffering librarians to allow out on loan.  

But there's no hard-and-fast rule for ebook follow-on publication. Traditionally (if I can even talk about there being ebook traditions) the ebook price shadows the cheapest available real-world version, being pitched at just a little less. Sometimes, there's a delay until the ebook is available, sometimes not. 

In the world of movies, matters are more standardised. Either a film is released across all formats at once (limited cinema release to gain some reviews, home sell-through, video-on-demand) or the more traditional cinema release, followed twelve weeks later by DVD/Bluray and virtual rental, and then a few weeks later to other on-demand services. 

So are there options here for publishing? Release the book in all formats at once, so that the reader can enjoy the writing in the format (and price band) that suits them best? Many self-publishers and genre publishers do this in some form or other.  

Or is there value, use, and profit (let's not begrudge margins for all) in maintaining a lengthy staggered release system? And where do ebooks fit into this? I'm a little dubious of current mainstream ebook pricing policies, which seem (to an outsider) unduly attached to the price of the alternative, rather than to the value of the electronic file itself. Of course there are the hidden costs of publishing (design, production, marketing, editing, agent commission, writer's advance and royalty, storage and distribution, retailer's percentage and so on)  but some of these are either minimal or co-opted in to the physical book's existing costs where an e-version is concerned. 

I think I'd rather pay the same price for the ebook as the print version rather than something different. The paper/e-ink is, after all, merely a delivery system. A price differential raises questions about what you're buying. 

Then again, though, there are the intangibles. The smell of the paper. The softness of US paperbacks compared to their UK alternatives. Folding the page over (yeah, I'm a folder-over) rather than clicking the top-right-hand corner to have a virtual fold icon pop up. The display function; books as interior design, as conversation piece, as conspicuous consumption, as social identifier and as accessory. 

A Kindle or an iPad draws attention to the technology, not to the book.  That's not necessarily a bad thing, but who'd ever sneak a second peek at that person over there who's staring at a screen when there's that automatically-more-interesting other person. The one with the book. 

Maybe some things are worth paying for, after all. 

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My novel The Prospect of This City is out now and is available in paperback from me (signed if you prefer!) or in both paperback and  ebook via Amazon

 

    

Prospect: out in paperback and Kindle ebook!

So it looks as though The Prospect of This City is available in paperback as well as in Kindle versions! Blimey. 

The covers are a little different at present - the ebook cover with the woodcut is the frontispiece of the paperback version - so you won't lose out by not seeing it if you go old-school and buy the physical version! 

Anyway, I hope you like it. If you read the novel, please leave some feedback on the Amazon review page. It's a really useful way of getting the book out there, and for you to sound off about it as appropriate! 

Here's links to the UK and US sites (though it's also up on other overseas Amazon websites too):

UK paperback / UK Kindle ebook / US paperback / US Kindle ebook