Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Writing - World Book Night


Libraries rule ok!

World Book Night is a celebration of reading and books which sees tens of thousands of passionate volunteers gift specially chosen and printed books in their communities to share their love of reading. World Book Night is celebrated on April 23. In 2013 it is being celebrated in the UK, Ireland and the USA.

My little contribution in conjunction with the launch of 'A Changed Reality' on Smashwords I am making it free until 25/04/2013 Use the link below and coupon code SH79V


The libraries photo is linked to the fact that due to local authority cut backs 200 libraries have been closed in the UK in the last year or two. 170 have re-opened run by volunteers and with charitable donations.
I remember the library in my village, I remember the library at my grammar school, also  at college and university. In some ways those institutions have played a large part in my life providing both enjoyment, functionality and stimulation. I can never remember a time when going to the library was not a pleasurable experience even when studying.

So as a result of being asked about ebooks and on this WBN here is my take on the question.


            I make no excuse for including the definition of ebooks as posted on Wikipedia

An electronic book (variously, e-book, eBook, ebook, digital book, or even e-edition) is a book-length publication in digital form, consisting of text, images, or both, and produced on, published through, and readable on computers or other electronic devices.  The Oxford Dictionary of English defines the e-book as "an electronic version of a printed book,” but e-books can and do exist without any printed equivalent.

That is the definition out of the way! There are other companies that produce ebooks including WH Smith who market the Kobo reader and the Android platform which also makes electronic books available on many different non-Apple devices.
As a storyteller I want to make my writing available for others to read. The traditional method of publishing has not been made available to me as yet, in fact I have a fine collection of rejection slips, not however as many as some authors.

On top of that the chance that a traditionally published book becomes a hit is around 7 out of 1000. It is hardly surprising then that people who have the urge to write look to the electronic self-publishing market. There are 700 000 plus people who are currently publishing electronically and the traditional publishing houses cry long and loud about quality in their own defence. In fact, in my opinion, they are partly responsible for the electronic publishing explosion because of their marketing policies. It would be wrong to claim that everything published traditionally was of high quality. Even some of the classics are questionable.

The operative word from the publishing houses is ‘marketing’. I have read a number of autobiographies over the years, ranging from Dennis Compton (cricketer) to Chris Moyles (Radio DJ) and the range of quality has nothing to do with the extremely hardworking ghost writers who struggle to ‘make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear’. The point is that a book produced by a ‘big name’ is more likely to be marketable than something written by an unknown writer. If you are interested in testing the theory try Niall Quinn’s biography and follow that up with Roy Keane’s. Opposite ends of the same scale!
The bottom line is that if you want to write then you should do but it would be silly to expect to become a ‘literary genius’. I heard an interview from Daisy Waugh – Evelyn Waugh’s granddaughter – who said that the term ‘literary genius’ is usually applied by others after the death of the author and therefore it was ‘silly’ (her word) to expect to attain that status. 
The modern world is becoming increasingly centred on the electronic media and it’s not going to go away so it is worth exploring what that market has to offer. There are benefits. An electronic reader takes up less space than three or four paperbacks and holds thousands more. My very basic Kindle holds over 3000 books and fits easier in my hand luggage. That brings me to why I have a Kindle. My mother loved to read but once she lost the sight in her eye she was less comfortable reading. The Kindle allowed me to increase text size to a comfortable level which is another benefit. It is quite easy to load books from Amazon to Kindle. However, you do need to open an Amazon account which is easy but some people are nervous about links with the web. A big plus is the price - ebooks are cheaper and that is because the production costs are so much lower
I publish my books both in paperback, because I still like holding a book, and electronically. Some major authors have begun releasing their work electronically in retrospect. There is no doubt that the advent of ebooks is here to stay what we have to do is decide whether we are going to embrace them or otherwise.

God Bless