Friday, 10 October 2014

Indie or traditional publishing

I’m an Indie writer, and have been for the last three years. Previously six of my books were published by small, independent print publishers. Some of them have gone bust; others stopped printing my books. So, early in 2009, I had to make a decision. Do I continue to try to find a print publisher, or do I self-publish with Amazon for Kindle and CreateSpace for print? It really wasn’t a difficult choice. Being an independent publisher has given me complete control over my projects, I’m my own boss, and I’ve earned more money.
I’ve read about and experienced the ‘frowned on’ attitude to Indie writers by established traditionally published writers and traditional publishers. I don’t get it. If a writer writes a book, the reading public will decide if it’s good or not. Does it matter through which route it reached the reader?
I’m just in the process of writing my tenth crime novel. I’ll rewrite it as many times as it needs, send it off to my editor, and then alter and change it in accordance with my editor’s comments. Then I'll send it back to my editor for a last read through. It won’t leave my computer until it’s as good as I can make it. When it's ready, I’ll upload it to Amazon and CreateSpace. Once it’s published, I’ll send it to a few traditional agents and publishers. If a trad publisher offers me a contract, which is acceptable, I’ll look at that as a bonus, but if that doesn’t happen–as I suspect–my book will have been published and selling.
Submitting a book to an agent and trad publisher can be a stressful process. Several weeks go by before a decision is made. If it’s a rejection–far the most likely–it’ll come with phrases like: ‘Well written, but I feel this is not one for us at the moment,’ and ‘Having considered your work, we, regretfully, feel we’ll have to pass on it at the moment,’ or ‘Thank you for submitting your work. It’s a well-written, compelling story, but doesn’t quite match what we’re looking for at this time.’ Weasel words that mean nothing and leave you deflated and depressed, wondering if it’s worth persevering.
And if you’re lucky enough to be offered a publishing contract, be prepared for months of editing, and then waiting up to year for your book to appear in the shops.
For what? The prestige of having your work published in print form by a big name publisher. If that’s what you want, good luck to you.
Why not put all your energies into perfecting the book you’ve written? Rewriting and polishing it until it is as good as it can be. That’s much more productive and positive. By the time a traditional publisher manages to get it onto the bookshelves and listed on Amazon, you could be well into writing a follow up or a new story.

I know which route I’ll choose.
~~~
The Harry Fingle Collection–a trilogy that makes Watergate look like a kids’ tea party.
Harry Fingle is an investigative journalist who takes no prisoners, does no favours, and digs until he exposes the truth. He’s honest, popular, but a danger to some people. When his brother and sister-in-law are murdered and he’s fired for no reason, it’s time to bring those who want him dead to account.
Working on and off with his ex-lover, he realises he’s unearthed a conspiracy so shocking it implicates governments. Harry does what he does best. He charges on, regardless of whom he might upset. But then a ruthless Russian assassin is hired…
Available at: Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk
The Harry Fingle Collection-trailer
How it all began, an interview with Harry, the guys in his life, and some excerpts from the three books.
Available at: Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com
~~~
Playing Harry.
The first story.
Giant international corporations hire hitmen. The CIA and MI6 sanction immoral and illegal skulduggery. People die. Harry Fingle–an investigative journalist, searching for his brother’s killer–is appalled, and tries to publish his findings. He’s gagged, an assassin is briefed, and his ex-lover is stabbed.
Harry’s a pawn in a real-life game of chess played out by the security services.
~~~
Assassination Continuum.
The second story.
The wrong man is murdered in a café in Istanbul. A feared Russian assassin is mortified and vows to right his mistake. Harry Fingle’s lover becomes over-inquisitive, and his spy-friend tells him to watch out. 
Tension mounts. The Russians hire a Serbian hitman as a back-up executioner and Harry begins to question his trusted spy-friend’s loyalties.
Available at: amazon.com, amazon.co.uk.
~~~
Zero One
The final story
Murderers walk free from court, juries are nobbled, spooks leak secrets, police fix investigations, prisoners escape, and the media stay silent. Zero One is dominant. One man controls it.
A lingering love affair, Harry Fingle’s discovery of the name of Zero One’s chief, and the breakout from jail of Harry’s nemesis–the feared Russian assassin Grigoriy Nabutov–make for a tense and emotional conclusion to the trilogy.
Available at: amazon.co.uk, amazon.com
~~~
Wattpad. Read for free:
Selected chapters from the three books in The Harry Fingle Collection–Playing Harry, Assassination Continuum, and Zero One–plus the The Harry Fingle Collection-trailer in full.

Plus three complete books in the Originals series. A further book will be added each week.





Friday, 3 October 2014

Time to marinate

photo: wildabouthoudini.com

Last February, I started to write my tenth full-length novel. My intention was to have it finished by early September. I wrote the story outline, created the characters, chose the locations, and wrote two chapters of the planned twenty-eight to thirty chapters. Then we moved house, and the writing stopped.
When water gushes through the ceiling, garden pipes burst, and electrical sockets don’t work or burst into flames, tapping away at the keyboard could be called 'getting the priorities wrong,' or 'f...... inappropriate.' Then, when builders started knocking down walls, panes of glass slid out from rotting timbers, giant triffid-like weeds started to colonise the garden, and the list of small repairs became longer and longer, I had no choice: writing was physically impossible, and marriage ending!    
That was five months ago. The building work has stopped, the new kitchen and bathroom has been fitted, the garden looks tranquil–even possibly sumptuous in parts–water runs through pipes and not across the floor and ceilings, and we can cook and make a cup of coffee without fear of electrocution.
So, this week I returned, with some trepidation, to the book I started in February.
How would it read? I wondered. Does the plot stand up, and can I still write, or shall I bin the whole thing and start all over again?
In Alanis Morissette’s song, That Particular Time, she wrote a line: ‘We needed time to marinate.’ This story marinated for five months, and–like food–I think it’ll be the better for it.
  • The plot is sound. It will need more work, but it’s pacey, unique, intriguing, and with sufficient suspense for a first draft.
  • The first two chapters read like the first two chapters of any of my novels before redrafting: they need several rewrites– but that’s normal.

I wrote the third chapter, reread all three, and concluded:
  • A broader, deeper dimension to the whole story is possible.
  • There are opportunities for new subplots and twists.
  • All characters can be given more depth.
  • It’s a dark, compelling story, but it needs humour and colour.

For the last sixteen years, I’ve written back to back, and never had a break of more than a few weeks between books and short stories. It’s worked for me, kept my creative output flowing, and been productive. However, this, just finished, enforced lay-off–where I’ve had to let a book I’d started marinate–will, I know, result in a better work.
Living with a fireman will be published next year. Read first three chapters at wattpadd:  http://www.wattpad.com/story/12573636-living-with-a-fireman    
~~~
The Harry Fingle Collection–a trilogy that makes Watergate look like a kids’ tea party.
Harry Fingle is an investigative journalist who takes no prisoners, does no favours, and digs until he exposes the truth. He’s honest, popular, but a danger to some people. When his brother and sister-in-law are murdered and he’s fired for no reason, it’s time to bring those who want him dead to account.
Working on and off with his ex-lover, he realises he’s unearthed a conspiracy so shocking it implicates governments. Harry does what he does best. He charges on, regardless of whom he might upset. But then a ruthless Russian assassin is hired…
Available at: Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk
The Harry Fingle Collection-trailer
How it all began, an interview with Harry, the guys in his life, and some excerpts from the three books.
Available at: Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com
~~~
Playing Harry.
The first story.
Giant international corporations hire hitmen. The CIA and MI6 sanction immoral and illegal skulduggery. People die. Harry Fingle–an investigative journalist, searching for his brother’s killer–is appalled, and tries to publish his findings. He’s gagged, an assassin is briefed, and his ex-lover is stabbed.
Harry’s a pawn in a real-life game of chess played out by the security services.
~~~
Assassination Continuum.
The second story.
The wrong man is murdered in a café in Istanbul. A feared Russian assassin is mortified and vows to right his mistake. Harry Fingle’s lover becomes over-inquisitive, and his spy-friend tells him to watch out. 
Tension mounts. The Russians hire a Serbian hitman as a back-up executioner and Harry begins to question his trusted spy-friend’s loyalties.
Available at: amazon.com, amazon.co.uk.
~~~
Zero One
The final story
Murderers walk free from court, juries are nobbled, spooks leak secrets, police fix investigations, prisoners escape, and the media stay silent. Zero One is dominant. One man controls it.
A lingering love affair, Harry Fingle’s discovery of the name of Zero One’s chief, and the breakout from jail of Harry’s nemesis–the feared Russian assassin Grigoriy Nabutov–make for a tense and emotional conclusion to the trilogy.
Available at: amazon.co.uk, amazon.com
~~~
Wattpad. Read for free:
Selected chapters from the three books in The Harry Fingle Collection–Playing Harry, Assassination Continuum, and Zero One–plus the The Harry Fingle Collection-trailer in full.

Plus three complete books in the Originals series. A further book will be added each week.







Tuesday, 19 August 2014

An apology

Image: Maria Salvador
Two years ago I posted this image with a blog post, titled The last time I saw her.’ I found the image through a search engine and didn’t give the photographer, Maria Salvador, a credit. For this I apologise. At the time, when I found the image, there was no mention of Maria’s name. If there had been I would have added it to the image. So again: my apologies to Maria, who has informed me, very politely, of my mistake. Maria, your photograph is so emotive and different. I’m sure the rest of your work is outstanding.    
~~~
The Harry Fingle Collection–a trilogy that makes Watergate look like a kids’ tea party.
Harry Fingle is an investigative journalist who takes no prisoners, does no favours, and digs until he exposes the truth. He’s honest, popular, but a danger to some people. When his brother and sister-in-law are murdered and he’s fired for no reason, it’s time to bring those who want him dead to account.
Working on and off with his ex-lover, he realises he’s unearthed a conspiracy so shocking it implicates governments. Harry does what he does best. He charges on, regardless of whom he might upset. But then a ruthless Russian assassin is hired…
Available at: Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk
The Harry Fingle Collection-trailer
How it all began, an interview with Harry, the guys in his life, and some excerpts from the three books.
Available at: Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com
~~~
Playing Harry.
The first story.
Giant international corporations hire hitmen. The CIA and MI6 sanction immoral and illegal skulduggery. People die. Harry Fingle–an investigative journalist, searching for his brother’s killer–is appalled, and tries to publish his findings. He’s gagged, an assassin is briefed, and his ex-lover is stabbed.
Harry’s a pawn in a real-life game of chess played out by the security services.
~~~
Assassination Continuum.
The second story.
The wrong man is murdered in a café in Istanbul. A feared Russian assassin is mortified and vows to right his mistake. Harry Fingle’s lover becomes over-inquisitive, and his spy-friend tells him to watch out. 
Tension mounts. The Russians hire a Serbian hitman as a back-up executioner and Harry begins to question his trusted spy-friend’s loyalties.
Available at: amazon.com, amazon.co.uk.
~~~
Zero One
The final story
Murderers walk free from court, juries are nobbled, spooks leak secrets, police fix investigations, prisoners escape, and the media stay silent. Zero One is dominant. One man controls it.
A lingering love affair, Harry Fingle’s discovery of the name of Zero One’s chief, and the breakout from jail of Harry’s nemesis–the feared Russian assassin Grigoriy Nabutov–make for a tense and emotional conclusion to the trilogy.
Available at: amazon.co.uk, amazon.com
~~~
Wattpad. Read for free:
Selected chapters from the three books in The Harry Fingle Collection–Playing Harry, Assassination Continuum, and Zero One–plus the The Harry Fingle Collection-trailer in full.

Plus three complete books in the Originals series. A further book will be added each week.

And two unedited chapters of work in progress.
Fire (working title)