Around this time, a story broke of a woman buying best selling e-books and plagiarising them. She’d buy, say, the top ten most popular. Piece together a plot and then copy and paste some of the best writing from the other writers into her own book. She’d have full paragraphs, chunks of dialogue, storylines and outright chapters all lumped in to her own novel. After that, she’d join numerous Facebook and Kindle groups on the Internet and befriend as many fellow authors as she could. Soon, when she felt well known, she’d announce her “New Novel.” She’d build up some anticipation and then launch it in a Social Media blitz. She did this a few times before she was caught and was said to have made up to €2,000 per launch alone. Fake name, identity, all that. Eventually some keen readers began to see the similarities with other work and, worse, some writers began to recognise their own fiction in hers.
So, not desperate to be plagiarised, I withdrew my books from Kindle. There was a part of me wondering if it wasn’t wise just to have them there anyway, as opposed to sitting in my hard drive, but then I got a 59 cent Royalty and said to hell with that. There was also a lot of emphasis on giving the book away for free for a certain amount of days, or signing up to lending and countdown deals. The lending deals meant that readers could share their books (free) with other Kindle readers for a certain amount of time. And the countdown deals were all about offering your work for a discounted rate to create a “Don’t miss out” feeling among potential buyers. “…If you don’t buy it this month, it goes up again next month etc…”.I thought this screamed low quality, like the leftover food you get in Tesco at night before it goes out of date tomorrow. Again, if people aren’t paying for your work, they won’t respect it. If you’re giving it away to strangers on the internet, you haven’t a hope.
This issue now was how to sell online – myself. Just as I’d managed to cut out the physical publishers, I now needed to remove the third parties on the internet. First, I created this website. I’d built up an extensive e-mail list from my theatre company and knew there had to be a more practical way to contact everybody. Once people are subscribed here they get an e-mail notification of what’s happening, where it’s at and how to buy tickets. And now books.
Next I set up a Paypal account. This was a relatively simple thing to do and meant that people could make payments direct online if they wished to do so. After that I created a page specifically for the books. All I had to do was take pictures of each novel, attach the blurb and then insert the Paypal link where people could buy. When they did, I got a notification from Paypal. It gave me the person’s address and the amount of copies. I’d then buy a padded envelope, sign the book (s), and post it.
This worked great for a while but soon became onerous as the orders increased. Coming up to busy periods like Christmas was also difficult. The delivery times were unreliable and you couldn’t guarantee novels wouldn’t get lost. The cost of posting was also on the rise as well as buying all the envelopes. And if I sold the last copy and then another purchase came in I’d have to send to Pamela’s factory another load. Usually I’d buy 300 at time. So then I’d be anxious to get the next 299 off loaded. Time was a factor too. The theatre script I’d sold was being developed for film in London and I was spending a lot of time there.
I needed an alternative that took half the time but didn’t cost twice as much. Eventually I discovered POD – Print on Demand – through a company called CreateSpace.
Will talk about that tomorrow,
Novel – El Niño (in Paperback).
El Niño is the exciting debut novel from Mayo man, Mick Donnellan. Slick, stylish and always entertaining, the story is a rollercoaster of drama and tension that hasn’t been seen in Irish fiction for a very long time. Charlie is our protagonist, the pick pocket that steals El Nino’s wallet and then falls in love with her. She’s the wild femme fatale, beautiful; enigmatic and seductive. She rocks Charlie’s world with her smoky wiles and drinking ways and her tough girl ideals. This is Noir at its best. Dark and edgy with crisp fresh dialogue and a plot that engages the reader from the first line and keeps them up all night – right through to it’s powerful finish.