Real Books Have Curves

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Paul Whybrow

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Jun 20, 2015
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Cornwall, UK
As I continue my rambling way towards self-publishing my series of crime novels this summer, I had the alarming thought last night, that I hadn't yet uploaded my first two stories to my WordPress Cornish Detective website to make them available to readers as downloads.

How to do that? Should they be in Word (.doc) format or as a PDF...or, both? And, how does the book cover fit into all of this? I found two helpful articles about both formats, then spent three hours faffing around attempting to get the Word (.doc) to appear on my site. I've moaned about the complexity of WordPress before on the Colony, so I won't go on. One of the problems with WordPress is that it's regularly updated, as are the plug-in widgets that operate it, meaning that online advice about how to do things is quickly outdated.

Getting a blog about writing and a website on my books up and running has felt like the Labours of Hercules. I've spent most of my time in the Augean Stables! :cow-face::disappointed-face::horse-face: Augeas - Wikipedia

None of this activity feels like being a writer. And, anything I've read about WordPress hasn't been reading for pleasure. As for my novels, they exist as intransigent digital files—it's hard to think of them as books.

Weary with frustration, I shut down my laptop and went to bed with five books...I'm a promiscuous reader! :rolleyes:

Laying there in the company of real books, that I could feel, smell and move around wherever I wanted them, I enjoyed the sensuality of the experience.

I'm dedicated to self-publishing eBooks this summer, with POD to follow if readers ask for it, but as an activity it feels as sexy as scrubbing bathroom grouting clean!

For the reader, Kindles and other eBook reading devices have advantages, such as anonymity and being able to store many titles, but they're not alluring or likely to encourage conversation. These are paranoid times, with mass surveillance of the population, meaning we seek ways to preserve whatever privacy we can—including stealth reading.

What do you think?

real-books-have-curves-this-is-sexy.jpg
 
Well, to each their own, but without ebooks, I wouldn't have a writing career. :) Romance as a genre lent itself easily to the ebook world precisely because of that anonymity. Which is sad because I hate the thought of any reader feeling they have to hide what they're reading from those around them. But that's a different discussion.

I love physical books, too, but I also read on my laptop, phone, or e-reader. And if physical books disappeared one day, it would be good to know there were still books in some form. :)
 
Why self-publishing?
I first self-published in 2013, liking the freedom, but swiftly realising that the onus was very much on me to self-promote to get my name and books known. I regret not doing that, for instead I turned to writing five crime novels in my Cornish Detective series...it's easier to pitch a series of books to a literary agent or publisher, and fans of eBooks prefer series to standalone stories.

These days, every writer is expected to generate their own hoopla, by blogging, social media posting and tweeting—that's true if you're signed to a book publisher or you're going it alone on Amazon, D2D or Smashwords as a self-publisher. If I'm going to be doing all of that razzmattaz, then I may as well do it for myself as an indie than jump through hoops for a publisher. I don't do circus routines for my trainer—I've always been the grumpy lion—more likely to eat the man cracking the whip than obey him!

I'm not going to pretend that self-promotion has been enjoyable. In fact, the last six months have been joyless as I wrestled with WordPress and tried to sell myself as a captivatingly fascinating writer. I don't much like the journey, which feels a bit like crawling for the delight of potential readers I'll never meet, but it beats making supplications to literary agents who ignore me.
 
I can't hold a book with one working hand AND turn a page, so I've little choice but to use e-books exclusively. That means I'm very familiar with what my Kindle app can do (though I'm sure there's more). I find it easy to search up words I use against published books (I've a few authors whose style I use as a guide) to see if I'm overusing them etc. I couldn't do that with a hard copy.

Before my stroke, wandering secondhand bookstores was something I've loved doing, ever since a teen. I've lovely cloth-bound copies with silver and gold gilding of Shakespeare, Byron, Austen, Tennyson and John Donne. I remember a fantastic second-hand store in Wales. Hay-on-Wye from memory.

My books are right behind me these days (not all of them, don't have a strong enough bookcase).
 
One piece of advice I would give when uploading .doc or .docx files is to make sure you have "cleaned" them first. Microsoft Word has a nasty habit of leaving all sorts of hidden information lying around in word documents; old edits, personal details, o/s details and other such info that you probably don't want to share with everyone.
This link is one that explains how to do this for Office 365 documents, there are other links for other word versions.
 
I first self-published in 2013, liking the freedom, but swiftly realising that the onus was very much on me to self-promote to get my name and books known. I regret not doing that, for instead I turned to writing five crime novels in my Cornish Detective series...it's easier to pitch a series of books to a literary agent or publisher, and fans of eBooks prefer series to standalone stories.

These days, every writer is expected to generate their own hoopla, by blogging, social media posting and tweeting—that's true if you're signed to a book publisher or you're going it alone on Amazon, D2D or Smashwords as a self-publisher. If I'm going to be doing all of that razzmattaz, then I may as well do it for myself as an indie than jump through hoops for a publisher. I don't do circus routines for my trainer—I've always been the grumpy lion—more likely to eat the man cracking the whip than obey him!

I'm not going to pretend that self-promotion has been enjoyable. In fact, the last six months have been joyless as I wrestled with WordPress and tried to sell myself as a captivatingly fascinating writer. I don't much like the journey, which feels a bit like crawling for the delight of potential readers I'll never meet, but it beats making supplications to literary agents who ignore me.
I admire your determination and dedication, I'm not sure I would have the energy (or the time) to do all that and write as well. I barely have any time to write.
 
Thank you for your kind words, @Tim James, but I'm starting to feel brain-dead, rather than determined or dedicated. I have to stay tenacious, for nothing comes from nothing.

Your advice about MS Word .doc is welcome. It's something else to check, but at the moment I'm entangled in producing eReader compatible versions of my manuscripts, which means converting them to the three most common formats of PDF, EPUB and MOBI. I'll start a thread about what's involved...which will probably put a lot of Colony members off self-publishing!
 
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