Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘pirates’

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.

Read Full Post »

As pirate attacks continue to wreak havoc on one of the world’s major shipping routes, my researches into completely unrelated matters have turned up this fascinating nineteenth century account of piracy off the western coast of Africa, and how it was efficiently dealt with.

On the morning of the 14th of September 1828, a 500 ton copper clad East Indiaman, armed with six carriage guns, slipped out of Portsmouth harbour, bound for Bombay. The vessel, the Sesostris, was a regular trader between Britain, Cape Town and the East Indies, carrying freight and passengers.

Two of the passengers were a young couple by the name of John and Margaret Wilson.  John a newly ordained Church of Scotland Minister,  was bound for what would become a lifetime of work in India as a respected missionary. His wife, Margaret, was to become a devoted teacher,  establishing among others “the Bombay school for destitute girls”. As the Sesostris neared the equatorial region, Margaret, in typically understated fashion wrote in her diary:

We were once or twice alarmed by the appearance of piratical vessels. The captain ordered the large guns to be loaded, while muskets, swords, and pistols, were all in readiness for an attack. I do not doubt that one of these vessels was what we took her for; but we looked so formidable, that she kept at a distance.*

To disgracefully mangle an Ambrose Bierce quotation: “There is nothing new under the sun, but a lot of old things we have apparently forgotten!”

*From “A Memoir of Margaret Wilson” by John Wilson (1844)

Margaret died of fever in Bombay , in 1834.

Read Full Post »