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Posts Tagged ‘kindle bookstore’

because you writeRoll up, roll up! Put your novels and short stories on Feedbooks, Lulu, Createspace, Smashwords, Wattpad. Don’t charge for them, then others can scrape your content freely like stinking great estuary dredgers. Then Google yourself. Go on, don’t be shy,… you’ll be amazed where your work ends up: Rapidshare, Scribd, Filesflush, Getebooksfree, ebdb.net,… the list is endless. The pirates will love you too. They’ll cut and paste your work and sell it on The Kindle Marketplace, publish it as you, cutting and pasting even your pseudonym in to the vast nefarious money making machine that forms the unregulated realm of cyberspace. But try it yourself and you’ll run into the opaque and somewhat circular regulatory labyrinth regarding income tax on your occasional 50p downloads.

Not satisfied yet? Then set up a blog too, put something up there a couple of times a week so the spammers know you’re still alive and can continue attaching their odious marketing limpets to your work by way of “likes” and comments and “follows”. Yes, Josh, I’m talking about you!

“Hi there click my blog and see how I got rich and handsome and incredibly successful using WordPress blogging.”

Groan.

“No Josh. You are an MLM spammer.”

To be sure, it’s a weird business – one in which a small number of crazy people go about creating genuinely original content for others to exploit and farm and pirate at will. Be under no illusion, dear frustrated, friendless writer, if self publishing online is something that interests you, this will happen to your work. You will be adding your muse’s sincerest outpourings to that vast ocean of words the web savvy tech trawlers crawl for content to make their own vacuous machine generated pap look worth pausing over.

And it can be really annoying.

So why do it?

Well why not? It’s not half so bad as sending your hundred thousand word manuscript off to a publisher, waiting six months in hope and expectation, then getting it back torn and creased and the front cover blobbed with grease from someone’s lunch – but otherwise no real indication it’s been read past the first page. Do this year in year out with every single thing you’ve ever written and you start to get the picture. Need advice on how to narrow the odds a bit? Spend a fortune on those trite and useless “how to get your novel published” books, but in the main just keep going, refuse to admit defeat – five, ten, fifteen years,… or worse drop dead with a pile of work going rotten in your shed, for your unfortunate executors to finally throw away.

Now that’s mad! And worse, it’s pointless. But the alternative,… giving your work away for free online? Really? Well, speaking as an unknown writer of otherwise unmarketable material, I’d probably go mad if I didn’t.

BTTCoverMy novel “Between the tides” – the seventh I’ve given away – has been live on Feedbooks now since the end of February. It’s had 1600 downloads. The rate has tapered off somewhat in recent months, and is currently averaging about 4 per day – not massive, but it’s out there, it’s being read and some of those readers have said nice things about it. Oh, it would probably benefit from an editor’s know-how – probably benefit from a proofreading eye other than my own – but if I’d gone down that route, “Between the tides” would still be sitting in the first of many editors’ slush-piles waiting for a long line of underpaid office numpties to stick it in the return envelope, unread.

For me, reaching a bunch of people who seem interested in actually reading your stuff – you know – readers – and reaching them directly – is better than holding out for a few thousand pounds in royalties and never getting your story published in the first place. Nobody will ever know who you are of course – how great, how cool, how handsome, how indisputably “A list” your demeanour, and you will never be invited onto that TV chatshow to pontificate and shamelessly promote yourself . But if that’s the sort of thing that turns you on, you’ve a lot of growing up to do and maybe writing’s not the best course for you anyway.  As for the dead weight of all those webscrapers and pirates and other hangers on,…

Who cares?

What’s that you say? Who is this guy? Well, my name isn’t really Michael Graeme and I write stories, for the people who read them. And to the people who have read Between the Tides and all my other stories, as always, I say thank you.

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This is becoming something of a habit.  I’ve just found my interpretation of the Hexagrams of the Book of Changes for sale as a Kindle Edition on Amazon for £6.57. Needless to say, it wasn’t me who put it there. Please don’t  buy this book. It’s available for free, from my Website here. I’ll be making sure Amazon take it down as soon as possible. If you have already bought it, please don’t worry. It will eventually disappear from your Kindle of its own accord and your account will be refunded by Amazon.

As with all Kindle titles from unknown authors do please check the preview content before paying. You can usually tell if it’s pirated by the standard of the formatting. Pirates take no interest in formatting. They simply cut and paste from the source text and the result is always sloppy. A bona fide author  will always take more care with presentation.

I do not publish my work on the Kindle Marketplace. If you find it there, it’s been cut and paste pirated and the alarm bells are most likely already ringing because I do keep an eye on things, having fallen foul of those pesky Kindle-pirates before.

If you are the pirate – desist. You’re self-evidently and very seriously out of Tao, and anyone who knows their Book of Changes will tell you that’s not a thing to be taken lightly – they’re also likely to give you a wide berth in order to avoid the risk of getting caught up in collateral damage. So, don’t be a clown, take it down.

For those of you who don’t know me, all my work is free and (mostly) available from Feedbooks.

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It’s been rather a soggy weekend here. I woke up this morning to find that all of my plans for the day were off because it was raining, and I’d have to find something else to do. So, I stood in the back porch and caught up on my Qigong practice, which I’ve been neglecting recently.

It’s interesting that I immediately ran into a consumerist distraction, thinking I was bored with the music I usually practice to – an album (do they still use that word?) of traditional Chinese music by Hong Ting. So I dialled up iTunes on my iPod and began searching on music for Tai Chi. Half an hour passed during which my finger hovered dangerously close to the purchase button – a quick click and £7.99 might be gone on an electronic download – except I resisted the temptation, realising in time that I was suffering from the curse of wanting what I’d not got, and no longer appreciating what I had, so I put Hong Ting on the player and I began my practice.

For the next hour I ran through the 8 Brocades, which is my usual routine, then did some memory jogging on the Yi Jin Jing – another set I learned a while ago, then some standing meditation. Afterwards I sat with coffee, marvelling at the smell of it because I’ve been without a sense of smell now for several years, and for no reason I can think of this week it’s come back and increased the depth and texture of my world immeasurably. But anyway, as I sat there, I was thinking about my writing and where it’s going, and if I should think about charging for the next one, which is called “The last guests of La Maison Du Lac”. Should I, I thought, put it up on Smashwords or Kindle bookstore, or even step over to the darkside again and resume my quest for that most mythical of characters – an agent? Fortunately I looped back through all the same arguments for why I shouldn’t. As a UK writer I need to get as US tax id before those websites will let me sign up, which is fair enough but it seems a complicated process, and am I really going to sell that many copies to make it worth my while? Smashwords distribution on “The man who could not forget” is hopeless, and it’s free. So if I charged for it,… blah-di-blah-di-blah. As for the agent, I find I’m still in not in the frame of mind to want to waste years chasing one. I mean, there are so many other works I want to pursue without getting bogged down again trying to publish something that is for me ‘old news”. At the moment it takes me about half an hour to publish, and I can pretty much guarantee a decent distribution – and isn’t that better than beating your head against a brick wall? So I come back down to Feedbooks and Lulu as my usual outlets and decide to keep things pretty much as they are. It’s a bit like that earlier consumerist distraction – why don’t I want to make a shedload of money from my writing? Why would I want to spend years writing a story – the best part of a decade in the case of “Lavender and the Rose”, beating myself up over it and wrestling it into a shape I think will make a half decent read, and then just give it away? Answer: I’m fortunate in having the day-job to pay the bills, and if I lost that job I’d have to get another conventional kind of job – though probably one nowhere near as well paid – what generation x might call a McJob, just to cover the bills while I go on writing in my spare time. Because this is how it is for most writers, and just be thankful the internet came along when it did or you’d be really bitter and twisted by now.

And then I get to thinking about my life and how it’s such a small thing, and without wishing to appear morbid, does it really matter what I think or feel or do about anything? Maybe I shouldn’t mix qigong with strong coffee, but sometimes I sit there in the qi-tingly afterglow and my mind casts off for lands unknown,… but I’m thinking that it does matter – not that many people read my words, because that’s not the point, and the most important thing in all of this is that you’re somehow offering up a gift of your thoughts for your maker. There’s a hexagram in the I Ching that’s always fascinated me. It’s called Ting, which is basically a melting pot, a cooking vessel. The vessel is you, your life, and what it contains. You heat up the contents and the vapours rise to heaven, and the important thing is that you offer up what’s most sincere about yourself. It doesn’t matter if it’s just between you and the universe. It doesn’t matter that not another living soul knows nor cares what it is that you think, and the ability to be accepting of that is an important step along the way to making peace with the world, as well as yourself. Perhaps the first step towards realising your immortality is to embrace the beautiful imperfection and the fleeting ignominy of your mortality, and carry on anyway.

The rain continued, and I tuned in to the news around lunch-time to find there’s been yet another twist in the so called phone hacking scandal that’s currently gripping the British media – where certain newspapers famed for their scandalmongering have been caught out hacking into people’s telephones and somehow accessing all manner of private details – not just of the great and good, but also of the bereaved in certain high profile murder cases. And though I share in my nation’s revulsion in all of this, I’m surprised that anyone is surprised. At the same time I thank God for my small life and that no one would want to hack my phone – not that they’d find much on it, though it impresses me that even though I’d struggle to tell you my own mobile ‘phone number, a newspaper could have it with so little effort, and access details which I probably couldn’t myself because I’ve forgotten my blasted passwords. How is it done? Well the only thing that springs to mind is corruption of those in authority who supposedly guard the digital gateways to this mine of personal information, which comes down to money again and the corruption, not only of those in authority, but through them the values we should be aiming for as human beings: sincerity, humility, and dignity. Instead the ‘phone hacking scandal seems to highlight the degree to which we have become each of us commoditised, our details, our selves apparently up for sale in an amoral free-market free for all.

And then as the day closes, we have a two hour TV special of “The Apprentice” – not about apprenticeships as I understand them of course, but a reality TV show where the future captains of this free-market free for all have the opportunity to strut their corporate stuff – and a pretty tawdry show they make of it as well. And I wonder, with the economies of the western word in such dramatic decline, if we don’t have need of a different model of leadership these days? That you can only go so far in undercutting the financial bedrock and the dignity of the vast majority of the citizens of the world – who just want to make a living – without the whole lot coming crashing down on top of you.

And now it’s 9:00 pm and the rain’s finally abated, and the sky’s a uniform blue-grey, deepening by the minute, and it’s work in the morning, and I’m contemplating a pile of stunning novels I’ve managed to pick up for a few pounds from the charity shops in town, and I’m wondering if I should start one or save them all for my two weeks annual leave coming up next week, and how, living such a small life those two weeks are the world to me, and I wonder what’s the world to those captains of the tawdry sleazy landslide of the western economies?

And what can we do about it? Well,… believe there is a power working silently for the good – behave yourself, and never mind the rest.

Thank you Beatrice.

Graeme out.

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