Tag Archives: booker

Enter the eBook

I used to have thousands of books, my house had a bedroom that was effectively a library. Then I moved from the UK to Brazil and I had to give away hundreds and hundreds of them just because they were too expensive to ship.

I still kept a fair number though, and I enjoy visiting book stores and purchasing and reading real books.

But I just bought a Kindle and started downloading some books to it. Why?

There is a very practical problem living overseas. The bookstores in São Paulo carry very few books in English, and the ones that are sold are from the best-seller list – not exactly what I might purchase. I have gone to Amazon and eBay and purchased books and paid for them to be posted, but when I recently bought a new hardback, which was about £25 for the book and postage, I thought seriously about how much easier this would all be with a Kindle.

I can get a book in seconds, I can pick any book I want, and even recently published books are available for just a few pounds. Many classics are available entirely free.

So the first authors I downloaded were John Wyndham, Julian Barnes, and Oscar Wilde… I’m sure that I will keep on buying regular books now and then, when I really want the physical artefact, but the experience of wanting a book then having it in seconds does change the process of acquiring books.

I’d never wait until I got to a record store to buy an album any more, so why wait to buy a book?

Kindling

Advertisements

How to get your book published

Friends and business associates often ask me how they can get their book idea into print. The assumption is always that because I have published a few books, I can offer some magical nuggets of advice on how to get into print. And I guess I do have insights from experience, but I have tended to stay on the non-fiction side of publishing. I haven’t published a novel or tried to get in a Booker shortlist.

But if you are thinking of writing a book then here are a few things to think about.

  1. You are unlikely to make a lot of money, despite what you see JK Rowling making. Business, management, and other non-fiction titles don’t sell in huge numbers so you need to consider publishing non-fiction for the joy of contributing to the pool of knowledge in that subject, plus it may become a valuable calling card that gives you work in other areas – such as consulting or speaking.
  2. You need to think commercially. Publishers are not in this for the love of it. They want a commercial product they can turn into real returns… so they are unlikely to be interested in uncle Tom’s memoirs of fishing on the river Thames – unless there is some way you can prove that the book-buying public really needs to see this title.
  3. You need to take advice from people who have published in the area you plan to publish. As mentioned, most of my work has been in non-fiction management titles, but I am straying outside this zone gradually. If you are thinking of fiction then I would recommend reading how horror author Stephen King started out in writing and also the views of literary agent Carole Blake. This kind of advice gives you a much better idea of how to balance the idea of what you are producing as art against what will actually sell. The Blacks guide is also essential reading.
  4. You need to think about marketing. Sure, the publisher has to do a lot of this, but the author can really help with networks, media contacts, social media… The author can make all the difference.
  5. You don’t always need to get an agent first. In fact without any track record it can be almost impossible to get an agent. If you can show samples of what you can write and you can show a good synopsis for an entire book then publishers will listen to you.
  6. If you can’t make progress quickly on much of the above then you may want to consider self-publishing and then using your published book to secure a deal at a major publisher. Sometimes it can help just to have it out there and available on sites such as Amazon. Lulu.com is a great site for this because they will publish your book with no upfront fees – just shared royalties on sales. It’s proper publishing, just the distribution is harder because it’s going to only be at online book stores.

My books