26 August 2012

The Crowdfunding Dilemma

Back to The Huffington Post for this tidbit. Authors now have their very own crowdfunding platform: pubslush (catchy, n'est pas?). And therein lies something of a problem.

Look at it this way. You are a penniless dreamer with a great idea for a blockbuster movie about hamsters from the fifth dimension invading earth via portals they beam into bowls of trifle. Oh, the humanity as an ordinary birthday party turns into a blood soaked rodentine massacre. Awesome concept, I think you'll agree.

However the only feasible way to generate the big bucks necessary to make it happen is through some sort of crowdfunding (or get the attention of a wealthy tycoon who has a deep seated mistrust of hamsters). This the theory of evolution applied to the world of culture.

Now imagine you are a penniless author with the same idea but the modest ambition of turning it into a gripping novel for e-readers. As you pen your pubslush entry demanding that people stump up the cash to allow you to pen your opus that little bit faster and maybe hire an editor and a cover artist and whatnot you realise that what you're essentially doing is kidnapping your own genius concept and holding it ransom to a world that has proven itself time and time again to be uncaring.

So now you face the dilemma. Do you go ahead with your pubslush campaign and risk your gnius being quashed by the jaded cynicism of the masses? Or do you just hang it all and squeeze in authorship round the day job? You know, like everyone else who's starting out has to.

I guess that the pubslush author has grand designs on a promotion package with their work. Essentially what donators will be giving money for is so that the author can not just write the damn thing but organise a signing tour and an advert in the margin of facebook and a billboard next to every Waterstones and whatnot.

I'm not down on the idea. I think it's kind of fun. But honestly when I put up my pubslush idea it will be for something that, without the funding, I probably would never get around to writing anyway. Otherwise people can just not donate and be sure that one day my idea will find its way into the general domain anyway.

Happy Sunday folks, I'm off to crack out Manuscript and boost the percentage of The Silent Majority that is edited from 2% to something a bit higher.

12 August 2012

What I Did In The Summer Holidays

Almost unconsciously I have taken a short break from writing, which has proven to be tougher than I thought it would be. However the job that took over the writing time was no less in need of completion. It was actually becoming more urgent the more manuscripts I had to edit.

It has long been the accepted wisdom that authors should, wherever possible, refrain from editing their own work. In fact there is much truth in this. An author should refrain from doing anything with their work other than produce it wherever they can. This, however, is the age of the self-publisher. If you really have to - i.e. you are poor - you can learn the principles of e-publishing, milling out epubs, mobis etc., producing your own cover art and the principles of same disciplines. You have to market yourself as a self-publisher or pay for the privilege of a professional marketing campaign.

In most of the areas where writers are forced to be there is encouragement and the odd helping hand. No one wants to have to master marketing, typeset in pitstop or make their own cover, but people understand when needs must. In all areas except editing.

Editing is completely beyond the capability of the author, apparently.

Maybe this is true. It's certainly fiendishly difficult for someone familiar with the text to gain some removal from it. Is it impossible to do even a fairly decent job even in a pinch?

Nobody knows, and I certainly hope that it isn't because if it is I have pretty much wasted the last month of my time building something that is ultimately useless.

And here it is:

This is Manuscript. It's not a word-processor.

What it is is an editing application for finished novels. I have built it to my own specification to do the things that I need it to do, currently. I finished it about half an hour ago. So I haven't had much time to try it out. Nor will I for a couple more weeks because I have circa 20k words to polish off on Shadow Cities Chicago III.

Once that is complete I will attempt to edit the manuscripts using Manuscript and see how things go. I would describe the status of the project as being in pre-Alpha testing. Once I am comfortable that the wee beastie doesn't go boom too often I will roll it out to some alpha-testers if such are to be found and we shall see what happens from there.

Watch this space for updates. Now off to swim. Have a nice Sunday!

10 August 2012

The Post's On Side

The Huffington Post that is. Today's self-publishing article from their blog is more encouragement and analysis for my views on the self-publishing scene. I'm becoming a Huff Post fanboy, for certain.

The other thing that caught my eye implies quite clearly that many people who wish to dabble in the waters of self-publishdom might not really have understood the point of the brave new Kinde-riffic era.

In other news I'm hoping to ressurrect my review column on here. I used to have to trawl about for free stuff or plough through PDFs on my PC to review self-pubbed stuff, relying on the generosity of authors to supply me. Now I have an e-Reader (not Kindle) and many commercially available books are cheap enough for me to buy review copies.

Watch this space. It's more lively already.

8 August 2012

The Revolution Continues Quietly

This is a guy who says the right things. This is possibly the first article on self-publishing I have ever seen which I have totally agreed with. My favourite part is the part in which he states that, even were he not published, he would probably write anyway just to get the story out of his head. All those people who were happy to mothball their novels and turn away from the word processor forever, take note. IMO this is what being a writer is all about.

6 August 2012

Phone blogging?

So just downloaded the blogger app for my android phone. Possibly not the platform for in depth posting but certainly a speedy method of jotting down a few words.

Have been trying to find the time to sit and write a post for a couple of days now. Too much to do sat at the pc. I note the self publishing revolution continues while I scramble to get some work finished.

I have about eighty per cent of the first Shadow Cities trilogy done. Have taken a pause to write an editing tool. Once all that's done the plan is to return to Levercastle and polish Starfall. I'd like to get something out this year. Really though who knows when I'll actually get anything finished.

At least I managed a post. Try not to leave it so long next time.