Archive | April 2013

Why would you not read a book on your Kindle? Apparently because Kindles aren’t for reading books on!

Maybe it is my age showing through, maybe it is because I am trying to become an author, but the new Kindle Fire HD advert has really really annoyed me. A few years ago Kindle was revolutionary in that you could download digital copies of books and take them with you whilst you were on the go. It had so many good features like the ability to download and store thousands of books, change text sizes, get it to read to you, find out what words meant straight away as well as linking to other work by authors. The beauty of the Kindle store is that it allows people like me to post short stories for cheap and get a readership. We can all become self-publishers in a digital age. Then the wave of copies came along, that was good for competition. But then came the tablets (or rather the tablets got smaller, more portable and much more powerful). So Kindle changed. We got the Kindle Fire with its lovely screen and choice of apps, movies and games. So now the Kindle Fire is more like a tablet you can read on. But the crime has happened now in my eyes, the new advert shows that you play games, watch a movie and surf the net on the go. But what does it lack? It does not show that it is a device for reading. Kindle Fire has now just become another tablet, marketed to a visual age. It has moved away from its primary purpose as a device to promote literature and has merged in with the digital age stating clearly, why read when you can play games and watch movies. Maybe I should not be annoyed, Kindle Direct Publishing allows me to get my work on the Internet, to a wider audience and even make some money from it (well maybe it will one day!). I am just so frustrated by this marketing change of direction, moving away from the uniqueness that Kindle created.What is more interesting is that I looked for the advert online and only found the American version. This has someone reading in it. Why doesn’t the UK version? Are we too stupid to be able to read or has it been cut for air time? Maybe there is a short and long version, if so someone has cut the main point of the Kindle!  Is this then a clever business strategy to allow more people to access Kindle or another nail in the coffin of reading?

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James Camp (or how I got into writing)

I stole his picture from his Kindle profile, hope he doesn't mind!

I stole his picture from his Kindle profile, hope he doesn’t mind!

Now I have a book up on Smashwords (which has already been downloaded 26 times and has a review!) and a twitter account as well as work on Wattpad and using this blog to promote my writing amongst other things I felt I should do a shout out to the reason I am doing this. In previous posts I have said ‘my author friend James Camp this’ and ‘my author friend James Camp that’, providing the odd link, but I do not every really promote him. Of late (and actually before that) he has had a few publishing problems (one of the reasons I am not looking to get a publisher, another being that I do not have a finished book!) and I hope this goes some way to making him feel better.

Right then, where should we start. James Camp is an author of Sci-fi and Fantasy. He is particularly good at a comic yarn and his Pirate Camp short stories are a particular favourite of mine. He decided some time ago to quit his job and try to become a full-time author, a brave move indeed! From then he has been writing two books set in the world of Lepodonia called The Ritual and Black Magic, these come under the series name Death’s Daughters. Hopefully if publishing issues get solved these should be out some point this year or early next. Camp (as I call him) started a site called The Story Network where you could send him your work and he would post it online, this is what made me start writing my novel. Due to funding he had to shut it down but it led me to find Wattpad and then go on from there. He has also helped me with hints and tips as well as getting me to join twitter for more exposure. It was even the fact that he has work on Kindle that I decided to pop a story up there recently (couldn’t give it away for free so took it down but will be putting some more work up there which will not cost you much money!). More than all this, Camp was my best man at my wedding. So basically here is the shout out to my friend and a fellow author (even though I am doing it more as a hobby so probably don’t really count as an author!).

So what I implore you to do now is check out his work (the stuff on Kindle is only £0.77 so a bargain), here are some useful links…

Cover for Pirate Camp in The Great Captain Rescue

Cover for Pirate Camp in The Great Captain Rescue

James Camp’s website

James Camp on twitter

James Camp on Facebook

Kindle edition of Pirate Camp in The Great Captain Rescue

Kindle edition of The Destruction of Lathaven

Right, all that remains to be said is, Camp can I have a signed first edition copy of your first book for free?!

Smashwords here I come!

Smashwords Logo

Will Smashwords mean my work can be downloaded onto multiple e-readers?

I just got back from a bonnie holiday in Scotland to celebrate my first wedding anniversary (yes she has stuck with me that long!). Whilst out there I took my laptop so as to write a bit more of my forthcoming sci-fi story. It’s not that I am unromantic but more that my wife tends to like afternoon naps and I end up sitting around watching rubbish TV. However something interesting happened. My mother-in-law was cat sitting (not sitting on cats but looking after ours, like house sitting…get it!) and there was an issue, an issue which got me into thinking of a short story. I ended up therefore writing a story about my two cats aimed at around 5-7 year olds (more about this in future posts). I have been toying with the idea of putting something on Kindle and charging to see if anyone would buy it. It seemed to me that this story was an obvious choice, so earlier today (if you are reading this today that is, well you are reading it today but as I am writing it this is Thursday 11th April!) I decided to put my only finished piece of work, Super Lizard Begins, up there for free. The problem though, is that you can’t put anything on Kindle for free. Well not using their site anyway! I decided to look about and saw Smashwords. I know some people from Wattpad who use it so checked it out. Amazingly you can put stories on it and give them away for free. Also if you format them correctly you can get them on Kindle, Kobo, Sony Readers, iBooks and many many others. It took a little while to play about with the formatting features and change my front cover a bit (well blow it up and then edit it so it was not pixellated) but I managed to be eligible to get on these readers. To do this you also need an ISBN number. To my mind this was some exclusive club, but no, they are free. So I now have a book with an ISBN number, how amazing!

So there it is, I am on Smashwords meaning my work will now be able to be accessed by a wider audience. Whether they will do or not remains to be seen. I could even be downloaded on e-readers, lets just hope that some of them accept my book. It is free so I see no reason why not. You know people could be reading my work on Wattpad, Smashwords, Kindle, Kobo, iBooks and so on and so on. Anyhows, Super Lizard Begins is now on Smashwords and it has been proofread again and some errors taken out. You can get to my account here. Whilst writing is still something I will be doing in the background at least I have another platform to share my work with the world!

People are more important than things

Now it is the Easter holidays I thought I would get to do some writing and update the blog a little more regularly (well for the next two weeks). The writing is coming on fine but I really did not know what to blog about. Today I found the perfect inspiration in my unborn child. Yes, it is true, I am going to be a Father and don’t know whether to be happy for my little Bambino or feel sorry for the amount of time I will embarrass them. One thing I know I will do, in fact already do, is love them. The very morn on the day on which this post was written I was clearing out the spare room which will become the nursery. We moved to our new house almost a year ago and since then many boxes have been left untouched. As I rifled through the boxes I came across special items and memories. But as I went I was unsure where all the stuff would go. As I reasoned I noted that a lot of it was just stuff, things I don’t need and things I don’t use. I thought of my unborn child and what my wife would want the house to look like. I made a vital decision, get rid of the stuff for the people I love. The two hardest things to rid myself of were my fancy dress and my dragons. The fancy dress has been collected over years and has many memories of parties, dancing and good times attached to it. But I only wear them once and most of the pictures are up on facebook. To the charity shop they go! Next the Tudor Mint dragon ornaments I collected as a young adult. Well, I reasoned, I haven’t opened the boxes for over five years but I have always dreamed of that glass cabinet to display them in. But my wife won’t want that around the house and if I sell them I can make some money that could go towards baby paraphernalia. Onto ebay they go! Let’s hope I actually make a little money, if I make £50 for the lot I’ll be well chuffed.

So there we go, the only question is…is this a sign of growing up and taking on responsibility or am I crazy? The more I think about it the more I realise I do these things not for me but for the people I love. I want my wife to be happy and my child to have the best start in life. If that means sacrifice then sacrifice it is, although these are hardly very big sacrifices there will be more to come. For me memories are more than material goods, we store things up but what for? I have also been looking in my special boxes, basically shoe boxes where I place things that help me remember the good times. When going back and looking I couldn’t remember why I had saved half the stuff. So again, chucked half of it away. To be special something should bring back a memory, an idea or a hope. If it doesn’t then it is simply not worth having. How much stuff is out there that is simply glorified rubbish? I know as I carry on clearing my new nursery room I will find more and this will end up on the scrap heap too. Right, I’m feeling very sentimental today so I better go before I make even myself sick!