CreateSpace – Part I of my anticlockwise journey towards a paperback

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books and pages

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, but never really imagined that it would be possible for me to have my novel on a shelf alongside the likes of of Robert Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke and David Eddings (I did say I’d been writing for a long time).

But when I began to imagine that it could be possible, I began to write with a serious aim – to see my work in print.

However, I could never have imagine the circuitous, nay, labyrinthine route that my journey would entail.

I’d imagined that I would complete my book, send it off to a publisher and they would dance for joy at my having approached them. And for a while, I continued to entertain this (flimsy) dream.

But then things began to shift within the literary world. It became de rigueur to approach an agent first if any hope of publishing was to be entertained. So, with my first attempt at a novel completed in 2011, I began to make the Royal Mail postal service earn their keep by querying over one hundred UK-based literary agencies.  

To no avail.

I received a smattering of replies (less than half) from the agencies, during which time I began to take notice of the rumblings regarding self-publishing for indie authors. In July 2012, when I received John Jarrold’s extensive rejection letter, it prompted me to write my first-ever post and I plunged into the world of electronic authorship, swimming with my other published and want-to-be-published fellows. In the three months that followed, I learned a great deal fom my fellow bloggers (thank you, one and all!) and October saw me uploading y debut novel, ‘A Construct of Angels,’ to Amazon.

I couldn’t have been happier. I’d achieved a life-long ambition – to create a novel that could sell.

But now, thanks to potential buyers’ feedback, I find myself in the peculiar position of considering a paper book once again, except this time, I will be the publisher, agent, publicist and distributor. CreateSpace, the printing arm of Amazon, has opened up whole new possibilities for the independent author. Books and novels (for they are not the same animal) can be created for a modest cost and shipped directly to the buyer via Amazon or bought in bulk and delivered to retail outlets such as Waterstones.

This work-around route to getting a paperback novel published still seems a little crazy to me…but, hey, we gotta do what we gotta do.

I’ll keep you posted as to how this all works out. 🙂

In the meantime, Write On!

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To CreateSpace…or not to CreateSpace?

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hbrinkman bookseller

Over the past six months I have introduced ‘A Construct of Angels’ (using my bookmarks) to hundreds of people. In that time, a clear pattern of responses has emerged from my endeavours.

Pretty much everyone is initially startled by my ‘Do you read much?’ query, but they soon settle when I hand them a free bookmark and ask them if they’d care to try my book. Most stare at the bookmark, then at me and I can almost hear the penny drop as they say; ‘This is YOURS? You actually WROTE this?’

It always surprises me how people change when it dawns on them that they are standing next to someone who has (self) published a novel. Having had six months to get used to the idea, the shock and awe of finally completing a book has worn off, and I often forget how humbled I always felt in the presence of Jenna Burtenshaw, the author of Wintercraft and Blackwatch. Last year, I attended her book signing in Darlington and there she was – a published author and there I was, a newbie wannabe unpublished speck of nothing. I wasn’t fit to stand in her shadow…and so on.

It’s very strange hearing people using words like ‘honoured’ and ‘amazed’ when they talk to me – words that I try to shrug off. I’m not a movie star. I’m simply a writer who managed not to succumb to the depressing idea of never having a book see the light of day – nothing more.

Generally, the people I talk to are quite receptive to the idea of the bookmark and most will assure me that they will have a look at the free chapters available via Amazon. Of those who tell me that they don’t own eReaders, most are surprised that Amazon will offer them free software, ‘Kindle for PC’ that allows them to read Kindle books on their PC, Laptop, Netbook or Tablet. I’ve probably been responsible for a few dozen non-Kindle readers now being able to buy and read Kindle eBooks. 🙂

I also point them towards Smashwords, where ‘A Construct of Angels’ is listed in ePub, pdf and several other formats.

With the remainder, I have hit a stumbling block and I feel that the time has come to address that problem. Some readers, for various reasons, remain committed to paper books – something that I am currently unable to supply for sevral reasons. For one, I have been rejected by every genre-relevant agency in the UK, which is one of the reasons that I decided to self-publish. The other reason for my remaining entirely electronic is that the cost of a paper book was so far above that of an eBook, it seemed prudent to sell my work at the lower cost rather than try to push the more expensive paper version.

But I have seen so many faces registering disappointment when I admit that my book doesn’t exist in physical form, I am now reconsidering my decision to remain purely and unshakably twenty-first century electronic.

CreateSpace seems, for the moment, the best option for me. My book is already uploaded to Amazon, so having it available on the same site would appear to make sense. I’m currently using Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo and Scribd to shift copies (some with better success than others), so a fifth site would just complicate things – unless of course that new site was far better than CreateSpace.

If you’re also in the position of thinking about offering a paper book, Karen Inglis has posted a huge amount of information on the subject. As a UK-based children’s author, Karen is favour of using a combination of CreateSpace and UK print-on-demand company LightningSource to save on shipping costs and delays.

*One day later;*

A couple of my blogging friends (thanks guys) have advised me that CreateSpace may now be advanced enough to be able to use for distribution on both sides of the big pond.

Sounds like a plan…although the goalposts are constantly shifting.

Watch this space…I might be entering the twentieth century once again. 🙂

.

keep calm plus author inside

It’s been a busy old month!

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Hello Fellow Bloggers!

I haven’t posted anything for nearly five weeks now and I feel terribly guilty.

You may (or may not) have noticed.

The lack of posts, that is,not the guilt.

Following the upload of my book to Amazon, I have had my head down and have been peddling (!) furiously in an effort to spread the word about ‘A Construct of Angels’.

Complimentary PDF copies have been sent out to those who assisted me in the research phase back in 2010.

I’ve produced laminated posters and around 300 bookmarks (Excellent idea, thanks Sonya!) which have been passed out to everyone who admitted to being a reader of books.  The bookmarks have also been liberally scattered wherever reading material (magazines and books) were found to be clustered on waiting room tables.

My works vehicle has become an advertising hoarding, plastered with magnetic signs in the hope of generating further interest.

I’ve fluffed up my Facebook account, joined MySpace, KindleBoards, a dozen authors’ forums at LinkedIn, the World Literary Cafe, Goodreads and sent links to half-a-dozen book review sites.

Next up is CreateSpace, Search Inside the Book and Author Central.

I’m even considering contacting regional newspapers as a ‘local author’ to see if they’d be interested.

I have, however, stopped short of Tweeting, although it has now become apparent to me how useful it could be.   Tweeting 140 characters instead of waiting for a spare half-hour (which never seems to arrive) to compose a full post?  That has possibilities.  I may yet find myself becoming a Twitter convert.

Naturally, with all the new traffic, I now find that my Inbox is overwhelmed *sighs* and is now in need of a re-jig, i.e. creating new folders for comments, updates and notifications to flow into.

And on top of all that, I have finally, finally managed to forge ahead with my sequel, ‘A Vengeance of Angels’.

By an odd and completely unplanned coincidence, I began it on the first day of NaNoWriMo.  Not that I could keep up that sort of pace.  1500 words a day?  The first day saw me pen around 1000 words.  The second? About 500.  And so on down a sliding scale until I found myself not writing at all on some days.

But I’m back in the saddle and currently 10,000 words or so into ‘Vengeance’ and re-discovering the joy of ‘pantsing’ – but more on that later.

The project that I’m most excited about is slowly coming together.  Normally, my work bats me around the country like a ping-pong ball, but lately, I’ve been working in one place for the past six weeks and that looks to continue up until Christmas.  So, I’ve contacted a local drama group with a proposition;  Would they like to be actors and extras in a three-minute video that will ultimately serve to promote ‘Construct’?

My question has apparently caused a great deal of excitement amongst the students.  Their Head of Department is currently reading through ‘Construct’ and is very keen to discuss my ideas.

Watch this space…

So, what I now need to ask is; in addition to the endeavours above, has anyone had notable success with any particular method of advertising?

Bearing in mind that ‘Construct’ is an eBook, activities such as book signings and book parties wouldn’t work, unless anyone has a ‘twist’ that could be applied…

As always, all ideas and comments are welcomed. 😀

Write on!

 

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