Wednesday, 7 July 2010

To E or not to E

Today an old writing friend is guest posting about his experiences with e-book publishing. David Robinson is 60 years old (see, I told you he was an old friend) and lives on the northeast outskirts of Manchester in sight of the Saddleworth Moors, a location he's used in at least one of his novels.

But I'll leave it to David to tell you the rest in his own words ...
My fourth novel hit the virtual bookstands on July 5th. Voices is a 120,000 word sci-fi/psycho horror tale with an unusual pedigree.

My hearing has gradually declined over the last few years. My eyesight’s been poor since I was a kid. Both knees are shot, my hips play me up, my heart’s having second thoughts, so trivia like losing your hearing tends not to worry you. But there was a curious side effect. I began to hear indistinct muttering, as if my neighbours had their TV turned up too loud. Apparently it’s my brain tricking me (another bit on the blink perhaps?) Because it’s got into the habit of hearing sounds for the first 55 years of my life it’s trying to fool me that it can still hear them.

That was the catalyst for Voices, the tale of Chris Deacon, college lecturer, survivor of a bomb attack who finds himself troubled by phantoms and voices in his head.

Although I penned the first draft in just over a month, the finished project took a year and a half, and then began the rounds of agents and publishers. As usual it met with serial rejection and worse than that, disregard. Some of the companies I sent it to never returned it, and one company has had it for over a year now.

So I submitted to E-Books For Pleasure (EBFP) a brand new outfit based in Minnesota, and they said “yes”. Voices is out as an e-book.

Shock horror! An e-book. Was it not good enough for print?

All four of my novels saw the light of day as e-books; only one became a paperback and even then, the e-book is outselling the print version.

I’m aware of all the arguments for and against e-books, I know there is a lot of dross put out by the “make two million quid this weekend by buying my e-book” self-publishers, and I know that even with the more upmarket publishers the quality often leaves something to be desired. But when economic times are tough, what do you do? Send it out to publisher after publisher, agent upon agent, wait three, four, twelve months for someone to say “no thanks”?

I may not (yet) be setting the world on fire with my fiction, and I can’t afford to give up the day job on the back of my earnings, but it is making money, I am a published author.

E-books also gave me the opportunity to self-publish two volumes of my sledgehammer humour; a couple of projects no self-respecting print house would take on. That’s six times I’ve been published. Five more and I’ll have to take my shoes and socks off to count them.

God bless technology.

If you want to listen to David talking about e-book technology, you can hear him at:

Voices is available in epub format at:

Or check out David's website at:

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