I thought I’d share a photo’ or two. These are the first two paperbacks of my novelettes. I was finally able to get some batteries for my camera. Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to get them into good light so there’s some flash flare on the photo’. Still, I think it’s better than a simple scan! I still can’t begin to describe just how it felt, after waiting 43 years, what it’s like to hold them in my hand. Don’t get me wrong! I doubt very much that I would have them now, if I hadn’t first discovered the miracle of ebooks. Seeing my ebooks receiving interest gave me the courage to go for the ‘real thing’!
Perhaps that’s the true importance of ebooks and self-publishing. Without ebooks, I would have continued to write, but what I wrote would have remained forever a curious pile of paper or collection of computer files, gathering dust, getting damaged or lost. I’ve never had the resources to mail agent after agent, publisher after publisher – well, not since my youth, anyway. As many manuscripts I produced were either written longhand or typed in non-manuscript format (MS format took far too much paper), I couldn’t even afford to have them typed professionally, ready in case somebody actually showed interest. But ebooks! Oh what a revolution!
Early experiments with PDFs had not convinced me. I don’t like them. It’s as simple as that. SO a handful of half-hearted attempts at writing on the computer simply sat there, doing nothing. discovering Kindle ebooks and ePubs transformed everything! A good number of short story ebooks yielded the fact that I could get readers – judging by the number of downloads. It was this that led to the novelettes. Naturally, like the vast majority of Indie writers, translating hundreds of downloads of free stories into sales of longer tales has not been quite so impressive. In fact, I still get excited by a sale. That gives you some idea of how quick sales are going! Despite that, I know that there are millions of people who don’t like ebooks, so I decided to issue the novelettes as paperbacks, at the absolute minimum price. I’m not sorry I did, even if I’m yet to get any sales!
And that’s the thing. I have made a discovery. I now know that the dream on its own is enough! Yes, some sales would be very nice, and no, they’ll never make me rich – or even financially ‘comfortable’, but, I have realised the most cherished dream of my life! Yes, I would feel immensely honoured to have readers, especially ones who come back for more, but that would be icing on the cake, and icing without a cake is rather pointless. After all these years, I now know that it is simply the sense of having moved from a manuscript to a finished, honest-to-goodness, book is incomparable in terms of satisfaction.
Does that al sound egocentric? It probably does, but I’m honest enough to acknowledge the truth, now that I understand it. This realisation of a simple fact caused me to consider something. Is my ambition now fulfilled? Do I now move to something new? Well, you may be unhappy to learn that I intend to continue writing. I have another ambition, and it may even be the one that has driven everything else this far. I want to see one of my novels not in ebook format, nor even in paperback. I really wish to see one in hardback! More, it should be a stylish hardback, such as anybody would be proud to display on their most publicly visible bookshelf. Sure, it can have a slip cover, but the bare book, without that paper wrapping, however ‘pretty’ is very much secondary. And here, I will make a confession. I came very close to having that a very long time ago. I contacted a company I thought were legitimate publishers. In fact, I discovered that they were ‘Vanity publishers’. Still, if I had had more money and less sense, I would have leapt at the opportunity to see my book published. I had a clear impression of how it would look, and I so wanted it! Yet, with the good sense instilled in me by excellent parents, I recognised that it would be an expensive way to massage my ego. As a result, and not without a few twinges of regret, I rejected the deal and returned meekly to the realms of the author dreaming but not succeeding. Today, I am very glad that I didn’t take that route.
The other two of my novelettes are on the brink of appearing as paperbacks. My recently completed novella will follow as swiftly as possible. I’ve now begun writing another book, which will be the fourth of the G1: The Guardians series, and I don’t yet know what length it will be. It is my hope that it will be the longest tale yet, but that could mean that it will still be of novella length. My production rate has declined, but that’s natural given the increased length of each book. I’m not really writing less, it’s just more concentrated.
So far, this adventure has been fascinating and fun. With any luck, it will continue in the same vein!