Tuesday 29 December 2015
Wednesday 23 December 2015
Tuesday 8 December 2015
The word count was posted regularly so visitors to cheekyseagull could keep tabs on how the challenge was progressing through November, but the actual writing was behind the scenes. It has meant that things have been quiet here for the last month, and thanks to all who dropped by during that time.
Sunday 1 November 2015
Wednesday 28 October 2015
Friday 23 October 2015
The book cleared Premium Catalogue selection just after midnight Friday and will be on its way through distribution in the next few days, Follow the trail at smashwords and further down the line when The Obedience of Fools appears at the online retaillers. Direct links from cheekyseagull to the online stores will be installed as and when the book appears.
Enjoy, keep up with the action at The Grange at smashwords!
Monday 19 October 2015
The Obedience of Fools; text completed and undergoing an edit and proof read to nail down the obvious glitches and grammatical goof ups. The updated and formated text should be uploaded to smashwords within the next few days, I can't say exactly when at the moment, watch this space and @MartynSeagull for the latest news. The text will then go through the Premium catalogue selection and once that hurdle is cleared it should appear in the retailers shortly after. If you already have a copy and want to finish the story, please help yourself. New readers on the Premium channels will find there is a tag of $3.99 and it will take its place as the fourth in the Grange Series at smashwords for the same price.
A funny thing happpened the other night, Thursday 15 October 2015, as I wrote the final pages. The last scene had a particular engine waiting on the platform at Goathland on the North York Moors Railway, heading the train to Pickering. The LMS Stanier Black 5 45428 "Eric Treacy" is the type of engine in some versions of the myth of the Strategic Steam Reserve that were hidden away and is unique in the class. Very few Black Fives were named (barely half a dozen)during their service with the London Midland Scottish Railway or later with British Railways; 45428 "Eric Treacy" was named after she was retired and went to work the Heritage Railways
The scene has "Eric Treacy" waiting to depart, and just to make sure I had the details spot on, for dramatic effect, I checked the website of the North York Moors Railway and discovered that "Eric Treacy" was heading the working locomotive list for that day. Even as I wrote the last words of the text, drawing The Obedience of Fools to a close, the locomotive in the book may have been standing at the station waiting to depart!
The locomotive honours the former Bishop of Wakefield, Eric Treacy, a noted railway photographer who recorded the last days of steam and published his photographs in numerous books. In the introduction to "The Lure of Steam" (pub: Ian Allen 1966, reprinted 1967) he describes sitting in Church House at Wakefield and watching a sleek Deltic, the largest diesel electric locomotive on British Railways at the time, crossing the viaduct with the London train and below it, running under the arches a Stainer Black 5 belching smoke on the Yorkshire to Lancashire line with a string of coal wagons. His powerful images evocatively recall the changeover to diesel and the demise of steam made more poignant in monchrome.
The medium lends itself to the sense of things past.
One of the strongest arguments against the existence of the SSR is the feasability of maintaining it over the long term, preserving the skills and knowledge and the basic infrastructure to ensure its viability, even down to simply running the engines and carriages.
A government reserve would require masses of support and maintenance, and always be at the mercy of policy changes; perhaps that is what happened. The policy changed, the designated engines were shunted around, and the counter strike brought it down, but another level, driven by a passion for the engines themselves swung into action and in the confusion of move and counter move brought enough engines and rolling stock to where they could be kept safe.
A collection of locomotives and rolling stock scattered across the length and breadth of the countryside, so widely dispersed that it couldn't be crippled during an attack instead of locked down in a handful of easily targeted locations. Free of government policy and the meanness of bean counters entrusted to those who knew its value and its worth...
Manned by volunteers who shared their passion for the beauty and splendour of steam, harnessing the nostalgia for a better time, passing on the intricate knowldge and practices of running steam on the railways and out of the dark shadows of the Cold War came something that leaves a warm glow.
Tell me it doesn't happen to you; when you breathe in the smell of the loco, feel the warm touch of swirling vapour and hear the rasp of the smoke and steam from the chinmey. The pistons start to lift the pulse from resting and the steel sinews of the drivng rods and cranks turn the wheels as the train begins to movel the whole thing comes alive - and there's that lump again, stuck in your throat!
Friday 9 October 2015
Saturday 12 September 2015
Give it a review, tell me what you like about it - OK, yes, tell me what you thought was totally crap too.
Thursday 10 September 2015
All is not well, the initial results show a downturn in sales, with books from the big five averaging over $10 compared to all the other 2015 e-books marked up at $4.95.
I'm having to do a bit of guesswork here, working the calculation that the reaction to spending $5 as opposed to $10 is similar to that between £5 and £10 in GB pounds. I'll quite cheerfully dug into the pocket for a £5 purchase, but £10, calls for a bit of thinking about. It is possible to find e-books priced the same as hardback, and higher than the paperback. The latest top 100 on Kindle shows no books priced above $10.
Sunday 30 August 2015
Monday 10 August 2015
He cites Tracy Hickman's experience of going to the other side, published by Penguin and joint creator of the DragonLance series, New York Times bestseller and having enjoyed the experience of people queueing around the block for his work. He chose to self publish and now his books are no longer in the bookstores, he laments, "I have a 6 million following, and they don't remember me!" (The Dragonlance Chronicles are available at Amazon).
The writer comments, if a bestseller cannot make it in self-publishing, how can anyone?
We know that not every book is rejected because it is bad; some are not considered commercial enough for the publisher to invest in. The bottom line again. The article quotes Andrew Franklin at a recent London International Book Fair talking about the quality of self-published books, the link to the page was broken when I tried it but I did stumble across an earlier interview with Mr Franklin, quoting Stanley Unwin, the original publisher of Tolkien, "The first duty of a publisher to the author is to remain solvent."
What is the real basis for this animosity, is it truly about quality, or driven by the sales figures. Every successful self-publisher says it can be done, and how do you stop a self-publishing success story, buy it out!
What am I seeing, an industry going through a series of changes over which they have little or no control and using a form of social manipulation to reinforce and enhance their position - you are not a proper writer unless we say so and give you our approval, (until we publish you)!
So who says so? Simon Pegg has a discussion with a self appointed authority in the closing minutes of "The World"s End" demanding of the alien presence "Who put you in charge?"
So who really is in charge, the publisher or the public?
Ultimately, why we write and who for determines the path we take, it isn't about the right or wrong way, it is a choice. Hammer at the gates of Trade, sign up for Authonomy or something similar, weave your magic on Wattpad, strew dollar bills and pound notes along the corridors of vanity or go it alone; self publish!
I self publish, but I'm not alone, there are thousands, hundreds of thousands self-publishing their own work on a daily basis and revealing one self-evident truth. Readers who enjoy and love the written word don't just love reading it, we love writing it!
Friday 10 July 2015
Control Escape and What You Ask For are down to 50% of their new price, $2.00 each with the code SSW50 at the checkout. at the end of the month they revert to $3.99, grab a piece of the action and what else is on offer at the July Summer/Winter Sale.
Sunday 28 June 2015
Monday 22 June 2015
The biggest shift has been the meteoric growth of self-publishing;not through it's long standing derided Vanities but via the more direct self-publishing across the Internet.
Tuesday 16 June 2015
The Passive Voice posts a blog post from The Creative Penn on Happiness and the Self Published Author, and the comments generated an interesting level of discussion around the meaning of self publishing and the continued blurring of the distance between vanity and true self publishing.
Sunday 7 June 2015
Sunday 31 May 2015
mis-selling are the stumbling blocks in my way as much as any other writer, and it doesn't take long to stretch the bank balance beyond its limits.
Follow the submission guidelines and go for it, The Vanities (still awaiting the bonfire that will commit them and their charlatan ways to history) remain to snare the unwary, and the myriad variations of Assisted, Hybrid, and Supported publisher are waiting in the wings, and beyond them is the independent self-publisher.
They are not alone; Mark Twain, Marcel Proust, Bernard Shaw, Edgar Allen Poe, Anais Nin, Beatrix Potter self-published the Adventures of Peter Rabbit, Joyce Joyce did the same with Ulysses. Charles Dickens followed suit with A Christmas Carol, after a dispute with his traditional publisher over the sales of Martin Chuzzlewit
Virginia Woolf, and her husband, Leonard Woolf solved the problem by becoming their own publishers and established the Hogarth Press, a road followed by some of their contemporaries.
Monday 18 May 2015
Sunday 10 May 2015
Wednesday 6 May 2015
- Non-payment of royalties
- Making out-of-print works available for sale without the author's consent
- Excessive mark-up on advertising and review services
- Failure to deliver marketing services as promised
- Breach of Contract
- Informing the customers that add-ons will cost hundreds of dollars and charging their credit cards thousands
- Shaming and banning customers who go public with their stories
Friday 24 April 2015
Lynne Cantwell pulls together the loose ends and links in a resume post at Indies Unlimited, rounding off the #PublisherFoul series for the time being
The whole series generated a fascinating insight into the trials and tribulations of independent authorship and publishing in an ever changing world. Where the predators lurk behind the glossy adverts and enticing promises, sadly often without foundation, and grief and sorrow may be no more than a click away.
Sunday 19 April 2015
Saturday 11 April 2015
In the not too distant past the giants of publishing held sway over the road to print and the way forward lay through the Gatekeepers of tradition, the literary agent.
Saturday 4 April 2015
March is traditionally supposed to come in like a Lion, roaring with the wintry weather blasting out of February and slowly slip into April, quiet as a lamb.
Thursday 26 March 2015
Indies Unlimited's, March Madness continues and a couple of days ago RJ Crayton ponders why, despite the bad publicity writers still fall for the Vanities and authors cheerfully sing their praises, and comes up with an interesting answer; Stockholm Syndrome. Authors believe publishing a book is an expensive process, so the exorbitant fees are expected, what she finds puzzling is the enthusiasm.
The Traditional publishers never describe themselves as traditional, and the vanities never use the V word in describing their publishing activities. Both are simply identified as publishers, so they apparently 'speak' with the same authority.
Authority requires obedience, often unquestioning; do they actually get it?
Signing up with a publisher puts you on their side, and the subtle threads of authority and obedience tie the two parties together with a requirement to toe the line. The higher the cost the more compliant or enthusiastic the author may become; up to a point!
The point is not fixed, the tipping point varies from person to person and the circumstances of the arrangement, a relationship explored in the 1963 at Yale University by Stanley Milgram. The result of his experiments helped develop his Agency Theory regarding behaviour in a social situation. With the modifications on the original parameters (636 partiicipants in 18 variation studies) he identified different reactions and conditions of compliance.
The degree of obedience is supported by the moral or legal legitimacy of the authority figure, and many aspects of our upbringing support this compliance; perhaps this suggests an explanation why authors taken by the Vanity Press enthuse about their situation when the overwhelming data suggests it's not a good place to be.
This may be a form of dissonance reduction, where the product continues to be sold after the purchase is made and the customer, (a favourite reference among the Vanities) sees the other brands which may be as good or even better. The sales patter continues to reinforce the original action and affirm the buyers choice, confirming the wisdom of their decision. Their enthusiastic support for the Vanity Press helps to support this belief and turning against this level of pressure calls for real courage, to admit that a costly mistake has been made does not come easy.
The available resources are the greatest limitation to any course of action. Working with the traditional/trade publishers doesn't cost the writer, your obvious talent has been recognised, snapped up and acknowledged and the cost to you is minimal. the publisher puts their money into the project.
Friday 20 March 2015
Victoria Strauss offers more information at Writer Beware and one particular link discussing Vanity/Subsidy Publishers caught my attention. A lengthy piece worth taking the time to study, especially the case histories and the custodial jail sentences given to publishers. The owner of Northwest Publishing, a Vanity Press based in Utah, received thirty years for cheating authors out of millions of dollars. (Some of the details may seem dated, but the page has been checked recently - Dec 2014.)
Labyrinthine, yes it may be, chasing the links between the sites offering information, but and it's a big but; taking the time to work your way through the links may save you a lot of money and of heartache.
Saturday 14 March 2015
The big player in the field is Author Solutions, but they are not alone and the predators aren't always the size of the proverbial Great White. Some are smaller, akin to the Piranha but the methods and principles are the same.
Wednesday 11 March 2015
Monday 9 March 2015
Yeats' writes of love, but how does it feels as a writer; clutching the completed manuscript, edited and proofed, and searching for the agent or publisher who will lift it and send it soaring into the wider world?
Dreams indeed and for some the trampled shards remain. This month, Indies Unlimited are featuring those who who have a story to share about the pitfalls of publishing. The first post by Lynn Cantwell "Fouled Part1: Taking on Scammy Publishers" reveals how the focus came about, an email from a writer revealed a hole in the coverage and offered the invitation to anyone with a story to tell. Guest posts by David Gaughran, well known for his work in revealing the predatory world of vanity publishing and his ongoing exploration of Author Solutions in particular - a Hydra of classical proportions if ever there was one- and its nefarious alliances. He offers a useful list in "How To Avoid Publishing Predators" joining the traditional with the vanities; comprehensive and illuminating in the connections he highlights.
Offerings by TD McKinnon recall "Surviving The Scammer Minefield" among the smaller "independent" presses and the consequences of partnership publishing and Sophie Jonas Hill reveals ten ways to prevent being scammed, and speaks from her own experience.
One of the valuable assets of the self-publishing community is the willingness, the enthusiasm to share the knowledge we have gained on our own journeys. Why, why retread old ground. it's old ground to us, but those who follow are stepping into unknown territory and our insights and knowledge are their map.
If you have a story to tell, check back on Indies Unlimited and see how the month unfolds or share your own story via their contact form.
I've often found the posts on Indies Unlimited useful, entertaining and friendly. Click the links, use them as signposts on your journey, and good luck.
Friday 6 March 2015
The-active-voice is the website of the author Becca Mills, a writer of speculative fiction, and from the subject matter of a recent blog I don't think her speculative musings could have prepared her for what happened. She recalls the trials of her novel Nolander being withdrawn from Amazon and Smashwords by a malicious DMCA notice citing a breach of copyright, and her endeavours with some degree of success to track down her accuser and make the book available again.
Over quite a lengthy post she unfolds the story of what happened and how she rectified the situation, so that happily now Nolander is back up on Smashwords and Amazon.
Take the time to read through and ponder what she has to say, I believe it will be worth the time and effort.