Category Archives: Ireland

Beating your own drum

I am a natural to self promotion in much the same way that an African bull elephant is a natural to riding a unicycle. Which is why this blog is only active in spasms, I mostly ignore my twitter account and Facebook I primarily use to keep in touch with friends and relatives. Self promotion is not my thing, I’m not good at putting myself forward, my sense of humour leans towards self deprecation and I am on the whole a very private person*.

Why do I mention this?

Well as I put up on my previous blog entry last weekend I was at Octocon 2015, I was a speaker on five of the discussion panels which covered topics like the dangers of time travel, how much military science fiction borrows from the past and renewing genres. All good stuff and I had a great time, in fact the panels all went a lot better than I expected. There is no doubt that in recent years I have become a lot better at public speaking and actually if you’re looking for public speaking experience, a panel is potentially a good place to get it since if you do stall out, one of your fellow panelists is probably waiting to jump in.

When I released the Nameless War back in 2011 it was sent off without any form of advertising or promotion. The book was launched off into the world and…

Bell curveas I’ve said in an earlier blog post from what I can tell – because hard numbers are few and far between and my links to the writing community in Dublin are tentative at most – I’ve done a lot better than average. Without advertising*2. Which was fine by me. There was the potential to be interviewed on local radio during this year but unfortunately that fell through and most of the other things that so many writing advice websites will grandly declare you have to do, I haven’t. Because I don’t enjoy self promotion and because by books did so well, it was an aspect of the whole process that I continue to know very little about*3.

I guess one of the things that fears/concerns/worries I have when it come to promotion is that I’ll get boring, that if I continue to endlessly beat the same drum there likely won’t be any unpleasantness but will become part of the white noise of life.  There’s also that irritating tendency to do myself down and diminish my own work. As I said someone not that long ago ‘don’t do yourself down, there are plenty of people who will happily do it for you‘ very much in finest traditions of suggest to other advice you should take yourself.

So on that note without self deprecation or false modesty, let me say that I am an author, a modestly successful one in an industry where such an achievement is a mighty one and what I have achieved so far is just the beginning.

 

 

* Yes, I am aware of the contradiction of saying that on a blog that potentially be read by anyone in the world with an internet connection.

*2 Up to now but that’s something for another day.

*3 Actually Octocon had a panel on Friday night entitled Promotion in the Age of Social Media which I would have like to have attended but basically, I was hungry.

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Filed under Ireland, Random Rants, Self Publishing, Writing

Publishing from beyond the grave

Note: this post has been triggered by a blog entry by one Joe Konrath and the question:

What happens to our IPs when we die?

I have dozens of self-published books, and I’ve spent years learning how to maximize revenue on these titles. There’s more to self-publishing than simply pressing “publish.” and there’s a lot to know about this business in order to succeed.

Which made me realize something important; my heirs aren’t the ones best suited to run my literary empire after I die.

The full article can be found here and the Passive Voice also had some interesting points. Obviously most of what’s there relates to the USA and the law relating to inheritance and will be different in every country but the core question is interesting for any writer anywhere.

Okay let us go to back to ancient times – say ten to twenty years ago – if a writer got a publishing contract their book would be printed, it would hit the shelves and hopefully sell. If the market seemed to warrant it, there would be reprints but with the exception of the odd classic, sooner or later a book would drop out of print. At that point the only examples that would remain in circulation would be a diminishing number of second hand copies – which would have no direct financial advantage to the author. Eventually all of an authors books would go the same way. When the author themselves passed beyond the veil and obviously stopped writing (or at the very least went beyond the reach of any communication with their publisher) then the flow of royalties would come to a close.

Now bear in mind out of print and out of copywrite are not the same thing. Here in Ireland, copywrite extends seventy year after the author dies1), so the book does not enter the public domain until in all likelihood the authors grandchildren are receiving their pension. But in equal likelihood the average book has ceased to produce money long, long before that time. 

E-publishing, particularly self-e-publishing has changed that. In theory at least, once a book hits the digital shelves, it could stay there forever2) and that even if for most of the seventy year copywrite period it earns a very small amount per year, with enough years that could add up.

When it comes to inheritance royalties are a bit of an odd one. Mostly when a person dies, revenue streams (pay or pension) stop. All that remains are their assets which will then be liquidated with funds or goods passed on as detailed by the will, once done that’s that. Royalties will be different in that they will remain a revenue stream that could just keep going.

Now I will point out I am Not qualified to give formal advice on wills in any country. But I can say this. If there are royalties then the big word here is Managed.

At the very least I would assume that to keep a book available it will have to be occasionally moving forward into the next file format. I would guess that to leave detailed instructions is fairly pointless, the march of time will likely render the authors knowledge obsolete in short order. Fifty years ago Amazon was just a big wet thing in South American, fifty years from now… it probably won’t exist in exactly the form we know it now. So instead the best the writer can do is ensure someone – with emphasis on ‘one’ – is granted the authority to make decisions, including choose their successor (seventy years remember).  After all who knows, maybe someone will look to make a film version of your book and if that day comes, would it be nice to think that family/friend/worthy charity could be looking at a payday with your name on it.

I case of new opportunities bringing new problems but this is one that is pretty solvable.

1) It maybe different in other countries, I honestly have no idea.

2) With the usual qualifier that no one knows the future. Not many people would have predicted the rise of e-readers and e-self-publishing. Who knows what the shape of publishing will be twenty years from now.

The Nameless War, available on Kindle, Smashwords, Kobo and paperback.

The Landfall Campaign, available on Kindle, Kobo, Smashwords and paperback.

The Job Offer, available on Kindle  Kobo and Smashwords

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Filed under Ireland, Random Rants, Self Publishing, Writing

Short Story – Gorilla in the City

For the past few months I’ve been going to a writers group and I have decided to start putting up the results. This one is referring to somethings that are going on in Ireland at the moment.

 

Gorilla in the City

 
Officially it is now autumn. Back when I was a kid and people were still arguing whether global warming was a real thing, that actually used to mean something. The summer holidays were over, the schools had started back and each day, nightfall came a little sooner. Now the months we used to call autumn are really the summer, by which I mean a heat you can actually enjoy. What was the summer, most people now call The Hot. For six months the whole countryside just burns up and you’d be hard pressed to understand how this island was ever called the Emerald Isle.

 
The wife didn’t want to move to Big Smoke, didn’t want it so strongly she became the ex-wife. But I was tired, tired of breaking my back trying to plant and get in crops on either side of The Hot and failing at least one year in three. Thought I’d find opportunities, found politics instead.

 
Saw the party members in their big cars where everyone else walked. Saw their big houses with watered lawns when other struggled to find enough to drink and I wondered how did it go so wrong? How did we hand so much to so few for so little? Some say it started with the abolition of the Seanad. Others that when The Hot began people panicked and looked to those who claimed to have easy answers. Me I think it was an almost inevitable consequence of a culture that saw crooks and chancers as heroes instead of a cancer.

 
Well we’re going to change that. Or least I hope we are; maybe I’m too old and cynical to be a real rebel. It’s going to be bloody work; there are good girls and lads who are going to die because they don’t know they’re on the wrong side or even that there are sides. I’m going help to bring fire and blood to the streets but for a few more days, I’m going to enjoy autumn in the city.

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Filed under Ireland, Short Stories, Writing, Writing Group