Category Archives: e-publishing

Blimey!

I’ve had a bit of a pip tonight.

My first freebie short story, Is This Heaven? has had 108 downloads on Smashwords and is linked in two other writer’s profiles. It’s had about 350 hits on Freado/bookbuzr and Scribd but I’m not so sure of the accuracy of their stats… but I digress…

My point is, I put the second short story – Bog Man – onto Smashwords at about 6.00pm last night.  I hoped to get a few hits, I thought that if I did it would mean that the people who’d downloaded Is This Heaven liked it and had been waiting for the second one.  Well, by the end of the evening 75 people had downloaded it, by 6.00pm today, 86 people had downloaded it, even better, two of them were new readers who liked it so much they downloaded Is This Heaven, too… 7 Smashwords authors have linked to Bog Man in the first 24 hours, too.

Mmm (says a very smug M T). Isn’t that a pip?

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Filed under About My Writing, Blimey!, e-publishing, Encouragement

New Freebie

Yep, there’s a new freebie afoot, a short story…

Bog Man
A perfectly preserved pre-historic cadaver is discovered in the fens and brought to a Museum. For the new Director it should present a major opportunity but is it real? And if it is, how come the pre-historic ring it’s wearing also bears the marks of a local shop. And where is the Museum’s Head Electrician? If the Director doesn’t find answers soon the unthinkable may happen. In front of the world, he may look an idiot.

You can find it, here free to download…

Enjoy!

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Filed under e-publishing, Free Stuff, winging author

Brief summary of copyright for UK authors

ESTABLISHING COPYRIGHT FOR YOUR NOVEL
Do you need to? How do you do it?

If you’re looking into self-publishing like I am (in this case while I wait for the results of my latest submission) you’ll be amazed at how many questions crop up as you start to explore your options further.  In this case, a few worries about copyright.  It took me a couple of hours of digging to find anything approaching the hard facts on-line in a form I was prepared to believe so… for other authors like myself.  Here are the main points.

As someone who is thinking of self-publishing in the UK, I’m not going to worry about selling different types of publishing rights, thank heavens, because if I self-publish I’m going to be my publisher and unless (or until) I’m are picked up by a bigger one, all the rights stay with me.  Remember to check the small print if you sign up to a POD or distribution sites to make sure of this!

The copyright of your work is yours, from the moment you’ve written it down.  This applies to the words you use or at least the way you express your idea (ie people can’t lift passages from your work) your characters, your plot and the way you conclude it.

So for example if you want to quote someone else’s work in your own; song lyrics, poetry, extracts… you have to seek permission from the owner of the copyright, unless you are using a short phrase of about 14 words… In other words, you’d probably get away with quoting “a long time ago in a galaxy far away” without permission but not the whole schpeil of floating letters that comes after it!

General ideas are different, somebody must have come up with the name tractor beam at some point but this has slipped into the language to the extent that most of us could explain what it is, even though it doesn’t actually exist… yet.  No permission required for tractor beams to appear in your work, or flying cars, cf whichever Harry Potter it was and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang happily coexisting.

However,  I noticed a section of people on forums, info sites, etc were talking about “establishing copyright” of a novel.  Now, in the US you have to do this, as I understand it but in the UK and most of the rest of the world you don’t.

Naturally, the next question that came up in my mind was should I do something to officially ‘establish’ my copyright, even though I live in the benign UK/rest of the world (the US is a bit of an anomaly on this one)?  So… I looked into it and discovered that there are several ways to establish your authorship just in case it turns out to be a hit – after all, I read somewhere there’s a saying which goes, ‘where there’s a hit there’s a writ’.

  1. There are people you can e-mail or post your book to who will store it on your behalf to prove you’d written it from well… the day they process it but you need to watch out as this might be as much as several months after you’ve submitted it.  Sites such as the Writers’ Copyright Association will do this for you, for a fee (around £60 I believe).
  2. You can put it in an envelope and deposit it with a bank or a firm of solicitors – recommended by the Society of Authors, that one.
  3. You can put it in an envelope and post it, making sure it has a legible date franked on it, to yourself; amusingly, that one was recommended by the firm of solicitors I approached after reading the advice from the Society of Authors.  Apparently, you can ignore people who say this method doesn’t stand up in court, one of the UK’s leading IP lawyers told me that actually, it will.
  4. Keep a paper trail, keep the rejections, notes you make, etc.  Back up and keep old drafts on your computer and on an external storage device.

Clearly as I am not in the US and any self-publishing I do will be on a shoestring, I think 3 and 4 are my tickets!

For more information on copyright there’s an excellent article on the Writers’ and Aritst’s Yearbook blog here.

Another thing to remember, if you publish a book with an ISBN number in Britain (which you need to do if you want to sell it on Amazon) is to send it to the six Legal Deposit Libraries within a month of publication.  This also helps establish you as the original author.  The Legal Deposit Libraries are:

Well that’s handy, Cambridge isn’t far away, I could drop that one in and yes, clearly, if you have one, your publisher does do a little bit more than print up your book.

That’s very much an ‘in a nutshell’ guide but I hope it’s useful.  Apart from the Writers’ and Artists’ yearbook blog.  Initially, I found absolutely bugger all about any of this on the web that wasn’t specific to the US. I’m hoping this may help other British authors who are researching self-publishing.  I’ve done the digging so you don’t have to.

I am looking into ISBNs at the moment, where you get them, how many you need, whether one fits all versions of a novel or whether you need a new ISBN for e-book, audio or revised versions.  I’ll post a quick summary of my findings on that when I’ve finished.

Please note, I’m not a lawyer but what I’ve shared here might be enough information to help you ask the right questions.  I hope it is useful and if you spot an error, please let me know.

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Filed under audio publishing, e-publishing, self publishing

Hoorah!

My e-short is now available on Barnes & Noble – I wondered why the Smashwords stats were going up!

If you want to see the listing it’s here the cover picture hasn’t loaded yet, unfortunately, but at least the description’s there…

I appreciate that most of you have read it already but… if you like it and you have a B&N account and feel like giving it a few stars, or even writing a quick review, I’d be hugely grateful (as well as downright cheeky)!

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Filed under e-publishing, General Wittering

Widget testing…

I’ve uploaded my short story to another site which provides me with a free ready-widget.  Just thought I’d try it out.

Nah… doesn’t work. Sigh.

Sadly the review site I mentioned in my last post is clearly full of people who don’t get on with fantasy… actually it’s bound to be, judging by the amount of literary fiction I’ve waded through.  Damn.  Two excellent reviews in the first two days and then nothing… I hope it’s not going to go quiet on me.

Never mind, I might finally have cracked the bit of book I’m writing.  It’s hard to do scary bits in a comic novel… I want them to be properly scary… it’s also hard to do properly scary without being properly cheesy.  Still a little cheesetastic, I’m afraid but getting closer, definitely.

Pipple toot.

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Filed under e-publishing

No but…

OK.  So Wade and Doherty were a no but they are going to get a tick in the “good guys” box because they were kind to me.

  1. They were fast.
    I submitted my query on 21 December.  Robin Wade replied to me today, 5 January.  That’s 15 days… most of which were holiday.  Top job.
  2. They were kind.
    What may well be their standard “no” is still a very good one.  I quote.

Many thanks for sending us this proposal, which I read with interest. I considered it carefully but I’m afraid on balance it just doesn’t quite grab my imagination in the way that it must for me to offer to represent you. So I must follow my instinct and pass on this occasion. I’m sorry to be so disappointing, but thanks for thinking of us. Of course this is a totally subjective judgement, so do try other agents and I wish you every success.

3. They were helpful.

I asked the e-publishing question.

Like many unpublished authors, I’m thinking of e-publishing my book.  How would that be looked upon from your side of the divide – as entrepreneurial flair or desperation?

His reply was pretty instant…

Desperation, I’m afraid, but ok of course if it will otherwise be unpublished.

Hmm… This is the second or third warning I’ve had about this from people a lot closer to the industry than I am.  Maybe I should submit to a few more agents before I e-publish my entire novel.  Sigh… the original plan which was to submit to the lot (there are only about 20 in my field who do comedy too) but I got so discouraged last year when it took so bloody long…

I’m going to have to do that, though, or shoot my credibility to bits.  When they’ve all said no… that’s when I e-publish, I guess.

And I see no harm in carrying on e-publishing free shorts… if plenty of people end up downloading those, it has to help prove the stuff appeals.  I won’t miss the e-publishing explosion either, that way… or at least even if I am last to market with a commercial product, the freebies might have built up a small following.

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Filed under e-publishing, Rejections

That second handy blog…

The second handy blog is… ta-da-daaaa.

This one

The reason I find this one useful is just to read comments from a savvy person who is an agent and is prepared to share information and time with the world.  Here in the UK, you do tend to get the impression, when you approach an agent, that it’s about how busy they are and what a nuisance (to the point of stalkerdom) you are.

And there go my chances with any of them.

But what I mean is, they aren’t all like that, even the ones who give that impression, they’re just laden with British guilt because they have about 3,000 authors after each slot on their books… possibly more.  Underneath it are people who want to help and when I read the work of Mr Bransford, even though he’s in the States I feel that yes, it is worth continuing the search for an agent, even as I self e-publish my book, because many of them are human.

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Filed under e-publishing, Finding an agent, Useful Resources