Buying and Selling your books from CreateSpace. #8 –

Both of my novels, El Niño and Fisherman’s Blues, are now safely uploaded on to CreateSpace and legally available for sale. Unlike a normal shop, they are available 24/7 and unlike a normal publishing house – it’s not financially necessary to publish big orders at a time. It’s Print on Demand. If the Demand is not there, the books aren’t Printed. When a reader buys either of the books, anywhere in the world, it arrives to their house within a week (I bought some myself recently and it took just four days).

CreateSpace is not just for writers. You can do this with your CDs or Films too. It offers the ultimate alternative to getting your work out there and best – you don’t have to talk to a single other person. It’s complete creative independence and you can get it set up over a leisurely weekend. If you have a cover ready, you’d be all good within an afternoon.

If you go the traditional Agent/Publishing route it can take years to get your book on the shelves. Saying that, writers often prefer this way as they feel it gives their work more legitimacy and can lead to long term relationships with established publishing houses – possibly leading to a bona fide writing career. It’s worth nothing though that any publishing house in the world, no matter how well established, will drop any writer when they feel the need. If your appeal wears off, their profits go down, or you hit a dry spell in your creativity, it’s adios amigo and you’re back to where you started.

If you go the Kindle route, you may succeed beyond all expectations. It has happened in the same way people have won the lottery. It could be you. You’ll get to have the feeling of having your book published and you can dream of opening your e-mail some day and be shocked at hitting a million sales overnight. As you can see from my previous blogs, it doesn’t always work out that way and your work is wide open to fraud.

If you self publish through a printing press it can cost you money upfront which you are not guaranteed to make back. On the other hand, you’ll have physical copies of your book in your hand within a short space of time. Some places will have your book ready for shipping within a month – as opposed to years. It all depends on how confident you are about the quality and when you are ready to give the go ahead. My experience went awry but ultimately worked out for the best. Some people continue to self publish through printing presses for years and succeed to sell their books and are perfectly content.

CreateSpace is the best of all worlds. It doesn’t cost anything and you get an e-mail notification after each sale. Which is always sweet. My sales are steady and the payments come in regularly at the end of each month. You get sent an Excel breakdown of how many copies were sold, and where, and how much your royalties are. It’s then lodged into your account at the appointed date. This is a stark difference from having to invoice a publishing house and wait up to three months to be invariably underpaid. With CreateSpace, you’re not chasing anyone through e-mail or phone calls and you’re not worried that the money won’t come through. So far, for me, there is no downside.

Mick.

***

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.

€11,99

 

Click here to buy El Niño Direct from Amazon

From Amazon Scammers to dodgy Autographs…no more Pamela. #7 –

People kept telling me they bought my books online. For the first while, I assumed this meant they bought it off my site. But then, being the one that took the names and addresses to post each copy, I realised they were still getting them somewhere else. Some readers said they’d gotten it as an e-book so I put it down to a hangover from the Kindle experiment or the publishing house still (illegally) selling the digital versions.

Soon though, it became apparent that there were Paperback copies of my books available online that weren’t being sold through me. I couldn’t figure out how this was possible since I was, supposedly, the only one selling the physical novels.

One or two people claimed to have gotten them on Amazon so I decided to take a look. I went through the process of what happens when you set out to buy one of my books using the Internet. This is what I saw:

20180507_113937.jpg

There were no less than 9 companies selling Paperback copies of my novel El Niño on Amazon without my knowledge or consent. Granted, some of them claim to be secondhand online bookstores but – how many copies could they possibly have? The majority of the sellers are in the UK and the US so maybe some of the books I sold internationally online, or to tourists, ended up on the secondhand market. Even if this were true, it can’t possibly account for 9 stores consistently selling the book for over 2 years now. They might have one or two contributed copies but after that, where are the books coming from?

More worrying, is the ones advertising the books as new. Where are they getting NEW copies of my novel when I’m the only one on the planet that orders any copies to be printed? One possible explanation is they got hold of the PDF copies of the manuscript (and cover) and are printing it themselves. I know this is very simple to do because people send me PDFS of newly published books all the time. In the last few months alone I’ve been sent the book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump Whitehouse and the Screenplay for Three Billboards outside Ebbing Missouri. Both arrived in PDF, easy to share format. One via What’s App, the other through E-mail. So it’s not that hard to crack a digital novel open if you want to. In my case, they most likely got it from the time El Niño was for sale on Kindle.

I contacted Amazon to complain. Nothing back. I contacted the sellers and told them to take it down or pay me royalties. One of them took it down for a day, then put it back up again. There seems to be an algorithm to their pricing too. For instance, I’d had a Play converted into a film (Radio Luxembourg/TigerRaid) and it was premiered at Tribeca film festival in New York. Immediately, the price of El Niño went up to over a $100 in the US and £80 in the UK. So it appears they have bots that search the internet and work out a writers apparent popularity/success to increase their profits.

My only option was to compete and sell it on Amazon myself. So I researched how to get set up and it turned out to be relatively simple. I discovered a site called CreateSpace which offered a Print on Demand Service. It was very similar to the Kindle process except the buyer receives the book in Paperback via post.

1 You upload your manuscript and cover (or use the Cover Creator.)

2 Choose your genre.

3 Fill out some biographical details.

4 Chose the price.

5 And hit publish.

CreateSpace is an Amazon company so they prioritise material sold through their site – as opposed to promoting the second hand hawkers.

The ideal thing is that the book doesn’t exist until someone buys it. If they buy one copy, then only one copy is printed and sent. If they buy two, then only two are printed and sent, and so on…..your book is not infinitely available for the world to see. If they want it, they have to pay for it. And they only get it in Paperback which cuts out the Digital sharing and copyright theft (or at least makes it more difficult). The pricing is also convenient because you can undercut the scammers and, when people buy it, you’ll get the royalties. Lastly, it meant I didn’t have to call up Pamela’s factory and order 300 copies at a time. CreateSpace take care of all the printing, shipping and processing and you get a decent cut at the end. It’s the best possible Indie solution when it comes to time, profit, and efficiency. There’s no upfront cost which is crucial.

It was bit late for El Niño since it was already widely for sale. Still, at least Amazon rate my link as the top option when people search for it. To combat this, some of the illegals started to advertise their copies as signed – by God knows who.

20180507_113558.jpg

My second novel Fisherman’s Blues has not yet been pirated. Although if the bots start finding these blogposts, I’m sure they’ll do their best. Needless to say, if buying any book, from any author on Amazon – the best possible thing is buy from Amazon direct as opposed to the secondhand sellers.

Mick.

**

 

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.

€11,99

 

Click here to buy El Niño Direct from Amazon

From Plagiarism to the Post Office. #6 –

 

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,

Best,

Mick

 

**

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.

€11,99

Click here to buy El Niño Direct from Amazon

E-book Pirates and Kindle Concerns. # 5 –

Selling the books on the road was going ok. I was in control of the supply and demand and always had a steady stream of customers from the theatre audience. Then one day a woman e-mailed me and said she’d bought my book and enjoyed it. I asked her where she was from and she said America. ‘I bought it online…’ She said.

This was odd because I didn’t have the book up online. Then I remembered the publishers talking vaguely about an e-book one day. They’d asked me to pick a genre and a category for the novel (they couldn’t figure it out themselves even though they’d published it). I told them it was Irish Crime Fiction/Romance/Thriller. And that’s all there was about it. Until now. They’d been closed for nearly nine months but apparently the book was still for sale somewhere. I looked into it more and realised they’d been connected with major national and international retailers that had e-published the book on their sites. This meant that people were still buying it and the money was going into the publisher’s account. Without my knowledge or consent. I was running in and out of West of Ireland shops in the rain carrying boxes of books to be sold while they were in sunny Spain watching the profits grow online. There was nothing I could do. In order to contact huge chains about listings you ultimately need to be the business that listed it. And that business didn’t exist anymore. Convenient for the publishers, not so much for me.

I decided to publish the book myself online. At least then when people looked for it, they had a chance of finding me directly and not them. I’d heard a lot about Kindle but, not being a Kindle reader myself, had been dubious about it.

After some research it seemed to be the best option for e–publishing. There was no upfront cost, they took care of the digital formatting and listed it on their site, and they were the most popular brand in the market. The downside was the average self published e-book was selling for about 99 cent so the royalty percentage wasn’t that high. However, the argument against this was access to millions of readers around the world that were getting swept up in the Kindle craze. Stories had been abounding of unknown authors roaring to the top of Best Seller lists and making millions from this army of digital readers. Also, the fact that I had the files meant it incredibly easy. It only took about two hours,

First I uploaded the manuscript and they checked it for compatibility.

  • Next there was the cover which they formatted and adapted to the manuscript.
  • After that you put in your personal information, account details, title and genre of the book.
  • You can also write a blurb/description and link the whole thing to any other sites or listings you have on the internet. An author page is also advisable. This is basically an online profile where people can read about you, your past work and anything else you might have published online or elsewhere. People can leave comments or reviews and also chose to share your link on their site/social media. The more popular your book is – the higher up the Kindle Rankings it goes and the more you sell.
  • When done, hit Publish.

Any word document manuscript is acceptable and there’s also a section called Cover Creator for anyone that doesn’t have a cover ready. It can be a bit tricky to use but doable. If in doubt, anyone with basic photoshop skills will be able to help.

I found publishing on Kindle to be a good learning experience but eventually went away from it. Stories of fraud and impersonation began to emerge from around the world and it was apparently very simple to pirate and illegally share the manuscripts. Also, I’d just sold one of my Plays to a film company in London. It was a big break and I figured demand for the novels would increase as a result. If so, I wanted to sell the physical copies myself. But how do I sell physical copies online?

Until the next post,

Best,

Mick.

***

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.

€11,99

 

Click here to buy El Niño Direct from Amazon

Best selling books from the boot of the car. #4 –

I never asked why Pamela’s factory published books as well as made obscure plastic material on the giant factory floor. All I needed to get my novels as cheap as possible. The cheaper they were, the more I could order and the more people I could sell too – thus spreading my work further.

The next problem was, when I wasn’t doing Plays – how do I sell the leftover copies? I often had a 100 or so lying around in boxes which I could be turning into money. So I looked into approaching bookshops directly. No more getting gimps in publishing houses to make phone calls for me and charge a 40% cut.

I found secondhand bookshops to be the best. They were very supportive of Indie Authors and generally the deal was a 70/30 split in favour of the author. This meant that I could bring the books in – have them displayed on a popular bookshop’s shelf at €10 per copy and, when they sold, received €7 return. (Minus the €2.50 for printing this left a profit of €4.50.) I’d hand in 10 books at a time. Leave it a month and come back and see what was sold. When the 10 were gone, it was time to settle up. If they sold fast, maybe the shop would ask for another 10. If they’d been there six months or so, they might politely ask for 5 this time to “…see how they go….’ Space is premium in bookshops and it’s important for their margins to have the most popular, best selling titles displayed. If the new Dan Brown book is just out and you walk in looking to stock another 10 of yours then the manager has to ask himself the difficult question – which is likely to sell more and keep the lights on?

To combat this I decided to try ordinary businesses such as petrol stations and regular newsagents. It was a case of loading all the books in the boot and calling around to shops on the road. I started with everywhere from Cloonboo in Galway to Castlebar in Mayo. They were often more than happy to to support local talent and have the books left on the counter for people to see when they paid for their stuff. The odd thing I learned about this is that people that like to read don’t often go to bookshops. They don’t have the time. And when they do, they’re overwhelmed with choice. But if they see one book that they might like in a shop while they pay for breakfast or petrol or a sandwich then they’re more likely to take a punt and buy it. Especially if it’s signed and the author is local.

The other odd thing I noticed is people that work in the Arts are less likely to buy your books. There’s a strange envy when it comes to other writers. A writer can often think – “I know at least a 100 other writers, that’s a 100 copies sold right away.” But when it comes to it, they don’t bite. I don’t know why this is but I’ve sold more books to obscure farmers, housewives, teenagers, people from other countries and random strangers than I ever have to other writers. On countless occasions I have met other artists who have said: ‘I saw your book in the bookshop, I was going to buy it but…..’ And then the next day I meet someone that remembers me from 6th class in school and I haven’t talked to him in years and he says: ‘I saw your book in the petrol station the other day and I bought three. One for me, one for my girlfriend and then my mother asked me to run and get her one too….signed and all…. delighted we are!’

Anyway, my next post will be about moving from this way of selling to Amazon Kindle.

If you’re interested in reading more about the books themselves you can click on the link below.

Best,

Mick.

***

 

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.

€11,99

Click here to buy El Niño Direct from Amazon

No Royalties Paid – Publisher gone to Spain. Ball Bursht. # 3 –

After the publishers shut down, and stopped answering the phone, or e-mail, I decided to go straight there. It was the only thing to do. I was uneasy with the fact they still had my files. Somewhere, in a liquidated office in Dublin, lay the formatted Manuscripts and covers of my two books.

This presented two major problems. The first being they could disappear forever. The computers could be sold/auctioned/formatted or thrown into a skip.

The second being the books could be published again without my knowledge and sold without my consent.

So I went straight there and knocked on the door. It was  a building that housed a variety of  different businesses. You could see the list on the wall. The space where the name of the publishing house had been was now empty. All that was left was a deserted office  upstairs with a waste paper basket and a smell of cold carpet and sweat.

Downstairs, the woman at the reception desk told me she didn’t know anything except the name of the solicitor dealing with the wind down. She gave me his number and I called him. He told me the CEO had had some kind of heart issue. He was in Spain getting experimental treatment. I said that was great but what about my royalties? He’d seen the accounts he said, and they weren’t pretty. Weren’t pretty at all. As regards getting any money it was “…highly unlikely….’ I wasn’t the only one in the same position. He’d gotten numerous calls. Do you know anything about the files, I asked him. They’re in a factory in West Dublin he said, do you want to give them a call? No, I said, give me the address.

Later, at the factory in West Dublin. It was some kind of manufacturing plant. I walked in, down a dusty corridor and ended up on the factory floor. It was populated with people wearing goggles, dressed in overalls, feeding some kind of plastic or rubber into complicated machines. Eventually someone asked: ‘Are you alright there?’

I told him the story. He said I needed to talk to Pamela. She was in the office by the front. And they don’t usually let people wander in the back door so could I leave now please?

The office was bright and smelled like lemon. Pamela was courteous and polite. She had the files and said it was awful what had happened. So many people left high and dry. However, there was nothing to stop me printing directly with her. I’d cut out the fees paid to the publishers and get the books direct from herself at a significant discount.

This was an unexpected turnaround. I could now get the novels at source, basically at cost price, or close to it. No more handling fees, processing charges or inflated quotes for big orders. Just pure books.

She’d also send me the files for my own personal use. I’d always have them now, ready to go if I ever found a cheaper option or wanted to send them to another publisher. All in all, it was the best possible result and another leap towards creative independence.

We have an outstanding order here, she said, for 300 copies, do you want me to go ahead with those?

Sound, Pamela, I said. Belt away sure.

**

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.

€11,99

Click here to buy El Niño Direct from Amazon

 

Publishers goes bust. #2 –

My Plays were selling out around the country – which was great because it meant I sold more books after. When people left a show, and liked it, they’d often ask about other work, other Plays or writing. The key was to put a review of El Niño on the programme so people could read about it before the show, at the interval or even when they got home that night.

Soon, I ran out of books. The next step was how to get more. I called up the publishing house and they sent me a list of prices. None of them were cheap. The only advantage was – the more I ordered, the less I paid.

For instance –

100 books = €5.75 per copy (Plus Postage, Handling Fee and Delivery.)

200 books = €4.75 per copy (Plus Postage, Handling Fee and Delivery.)

300 books = €3.25 per copy (Plus Postage, Handling Fee and Delivery.)

As you can imagine, this would eat into the profits and again gave me the feeling of people making money off my work when they did nothing to create it. For instance, the handling fee was €1.50 (per book) and they didn’t have to handle anything. Just process the order.

I always suspected that the printing costs were inflated too, just to give them that extra edge. However, I was so busy with the theatre company I didn’t have much time to shop around so I took the hit and ordered as many as I could each time. I also went on to publish my second novel Fisherman’s Blues. At least I was guaranteed they’d sell and wasn’t letting them go at a loss. The crucial thing was to keep the books at a reasonable price (I felt €10 was the best) and as long as it was costing me less than that to get them to the reader then I was doing ok. And it was still better than making 10 cents a copy!

Fisherman’s Blues looked like this:

Another thing this company did was sell on my behalf – from their website. Again, they had a convoluted system of charges which amounted to them selling the book for €14.99 and me getting €1.90 in Royalties. All the charges/Costs/Handling fees were taken out of my cut and they took 30% of the profits. Great people altogether. So I resolved to publicise their site as little as possible, build up my own stash as much as I could and sell directly myself through my exposure in the theatre world.

One day I called for an order and there was a new girl on the line. She said the company were “….making some adjustments…”. The manager had left and she’d be taking over. I said ok and told her I wanted 300 books in the next week. She hesitated, then agreed. When the books didn’t come I called her again. She sounded upset and told me they’d all gotten a call that morning and the company were going into liquidation. The bailiffs were en route and they were to be gone from the building by five that evening.

Great. What about my order?

‘Obviously that won’t be fulfilled.’ She sniffled.

‘What about my files? My work?’

‘That’ll be dealt with in due course.’

‘Before 5 this evening?’

‘No. The CEO will be in touch.’

‘Who’s he?’

‘I’m not at liberty to say.’

‘You’ve also been selling my books on your site – I’m owed some Royalties for that?’

‘You’ll need to discuss that with the CEO.’

‘What’s his number?’

‘I can’t give that out. I’ll e-mail you all the details about what to do, we just got the news and it’s a panic here at the moment.’

And that was my last ever conversation with them. You hear stories about writers getting dropped from publishing houses all the time, but rarely about what happens when a publishers goes bust.

I’ll 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.

€11,99

Click here to buy El Niño Direct from Amazon

 

 

Fisherman’s Blues.

Fisherman’s Blues – is the hilarious new novel from Mick Donnellan.Dark and audacious, written in a distinct West of Ireland vernacular, it covers a myriad of genres from Crime Noir to comedy and an odd bit of religion. Fresh in its language, vivid in its descriptions, the book sings with the signature style of all Donnellan’s previous work, and a bit more. Delving into the lives of drinkers, lovers, thieves and scam artists, the story weaves a web of intrigue and curiosity that ends with an unforgettable bang. Not without its poignant moments, the plot hinges on the chaotic consequences of three unlikely comrade’s attempts to save their lost relationships, while unintentionally ruining the plans of a rising criminal’s efforts to take over the city. The question is: Can they succeed? And if they don’t, what then? And where have the women really gone?

€9,99

 

The Road to Getting Published. #1 –

The agent liked my novel – El Niño. Original voice. Great story. All that. Reckoned we’d have it on the shelves in every major bookshop in the next 18 months. We’d get an upfront fee and then a percentage of the sales. He’d be taking 10% of everything. The shops would want a cut of 52.5% and the Publishing House would take 40% of everything left. There’d be handling charges, design costs, PR and Marketing and delivery costs.

Think about it like this, he said, your book sells for €10 in a shop and you’re lucky to get 10 cents. But you’re getting your name out there, recognised as an author. That’s priceless for your career going forward.

Either way, it didn’t happen. The publishers didn’t want to take a risk with a new writer. The big hits these days are Cook books, Travel Writing, Non fiction and Sports. None of that here, Mick.

‘So what do I do?’

‘We’ll just have to see how it goes.’

The worse thing you can do as a writer is wait to ‘See how it goes….’ It’s a euphemism all the untalented cowboys use to hang on to your work in case it accidentally becomes a hit and they can claim a percentage. Meanwhile, your most creative years are sailing by in dead hope. I respected the agent for trying but after that: Fuck them.

Time to move on.

Found a crowd in Dublin. They’d publish it. No problem. How does a fee of €2,000 sound? We’ll design it, format it, print it and give you 400 copies for yourself. Normally, this would be a risk but I was running my own theatre company too and I knew I could sell the books after the Plays. Go for it, lads.

They had a designer and he’d suggest cover ideas or you could provide an image yourself and he’d do the edits. It’s a Crime Novel so I wanted something catchy to the eye, something that tells the story. My mate Tom Page was living in Florida and he knew a gun fanatic so I asked him to take some pictures and send them over. Eventually we got the right one and I sent it to the publishers. After some debate on the blurb and some final checks on the manuscript, it was ready to go. The whole process took about four weeks and, when finished, it looked like this:

I sold all the books for €10 in about a month. That covered the cost of publishing and returned a profit a lot greater than 10 cents a copy. It also vindicated the quality of the novel. For all the people that tell you to your face they like your work – the only true measure is what people will pay for it. If they’re buying it, then you have something.

Traditional publishers/Editors/Agents will scream at you to stay away from Indie Publishing. They call it “Vanity” or “Desperation” or “Outright Scams.” This is because you’re cutting them out. Circumventing their business model. Making them obsolete. Of course they’re abhorred. Saying that, if you do publish yourself it’s essential to do your own research. Order a book from the company you’re considering. Test it for quality. Ask yourself: Is this the experience I want my readers to have when buying my book?

Eventually, my relationship with this company did go wrong. But it was ultimately a positive thing. I discovered CreateSpace.

I’ll talk about this in another post tomorrow. Meanwhile, feel free to check out my published work at the links below.

**

 

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.

€11,99

Click here to buy El Niño Direct from Amazon

Amsterdam –

Outside, Nick was there. Staying in the same hostel. ‘Do you want to get a Wokbox?’

I did. And we went to get one.

As we ate, he said: ‘Your ears are huge.’

‘Thanks.’

‘No seriously, they look like satellite dishes. What’s on Sky One there?’

‘Were you on the mushrooms again?’

‘Just took a few before we left. Do you want any?’

‘I won’t.’

‘Why not?’

‘I keep thinking of your man that thought he could fly and jumped off the building there lately.’

‘Oh yeah.’

‘Where’s Frank?’ I asked.

‘I think he’s gone to the hookers again.’

‘Again?’

‘Them Indians are mad for it.’

‘What kind of Indian is called Frank anyway?’

‘I don’t know – think is real name name is Felikuku or something but he just says Frank to keep it simple.’

‘Shtop.’

‘€50 for 15 minutes – he’d want to be loaded.’

‘Is that him coming there?’

Frank was walking across the square, not looking too happy.

Nick looked around, squinted, said: ‘Fuck, has he got a tail?’

He walked in and I said: ‘Howya, Frank.’

He sat down, bloodshot eyes, a cut on his jaw, he asked: ‘What is “Howya” ?’

‘It means hello.’

‘I am not good,’ he said: ‘I have the boner.’

‘Sorry?’ Said Nick.

‘The Boner. My boner is very big.’

‘Were you not down trying to get it sorted out?’ I asked him.

Yes, he said, but they kick me out.

Nick asked: ‘Why?’

‘I pay my €50 by card, yes?’

‘Yeah.’

‘Then she say – put this white powder on your boner first.’

‘It’s disinfectant in case of….’

‘She thinks I have disease because I am Indian!’

‘It’s not your first time there – Frank.’

‘This is my point, why I need this every time I say? I have safest testicles in all of Amsterdam now. Anyway, I put this on like some man with lice and then she say put on your Johnny Rubber but now my boner is losing it’s mood ok….’

‘My hands are going green.’ Said Nick.

‘What happened then, Frank?’

‘I asked her get me in the mood, ok, like help me get full penile possibilities and she say – No, that will be another €25.’

‘And what did you say?’

‘I said ok you can use my card again and she put in her machine again and then we get ready….’

‘Ok….’

‘But then when we were making the lovefucking and I was thinking about a lovely girl in Mombassa and I asked her to say my name and she say – no, that will be another €25….’

‘And did you pay it?’ Asked Nick.’

‘Yes, I was making lovefucking this is priceless….but then we keep going and I was about to make my ejaculation and then an alarm went off….like a clock to wake you up in morning….’

‘Your 15 minutes were up.’ Said Nick.

‘Yes!’ Said Frank.’

‘What did you do?’

‘She want one more €50 to finish and I said “fuck you dirty whore” and I try to continue but she press her panic button on the wall and then all other prostitutes come in and they beat me with their shoes and kicked me out on to the street.’

‘So you’re barred now?’ I asked him.

‘I wait until they finish their shift and go back when new species are there. Hopefully they don’t recognise crazy Indian man with unsatisfied anatomy….’

**

 Buy Mick Donnellan’s novels in Paperback now! – “El Niño” and “Fisherman’s Blues” available here

The Letter –

Rachel asked: ‘Can I use your phone?’

‘Why?’

‘I need to ring an 1800 number and I have no credit.’

‘Ok.’

I gave it to her. She dialled.

There was phone music.

Then a myriad of options.

She chose one. Then it went through to the customer service and a woman answered with: ‘What’s your account number, please?’

‘Joe rang ye half an hour ago.’

‘Excuse me?’

‘Do you remember Joe rang ye? About half an hour ago.’

‘I’m sorry, I don’t understand.’

‘I need ye to send me a letter.’

‘Do you have an account with us?’

‘Not yet.’

‘And you’d like to set one up?’

‘Joe is doing it for me. He rang ye half an hour ago. But my phone has no credit now, see.’

‘Ok, and what would you like me to do?’

‘Ring Joe and ask him.’

‘I’m sorry, but I don’t think it was me he was talking to.’

‘Who was he talking to, so?’

‘I have no idea.’

‘But he rang ye!’

‘I know, you mentioned that. Can you explain why he rang?’

‘To get me set up.’

‘Ok, I can do that for you now if you like?’

‘You need to send me the letter first.’

‘What letter?’

‘To say I don’t owe ye anythin.’

‘Ok. And do you owe us anything?’

‘No. See. I did in the last place, but I paid it off, but now I’m in a new place and I need ye to send me the letter to say I’m clear with ye.’

‘I see. That should be simple. What was your account number in the last place?’

‘I don’t have it. See I’m gone now but Joe has all the details.’

‘Ok, let me see. What’s your phone number?’

‘I don’t know it. I have one but I don’t know it. I don’t be ringing myself, see.’

‘Ok, let’s try an e-mail address.’

‘Oh don’t be talking to be about e-mails. My son does all that but he’s not here, He’s in jail. I’ll be goin up to him Friday if that’s any good to ya?’

‘Hmm…no. What’s the address of the new place?”

‘The place I left or the place I’m moving in ta now?’

‘The place you’re moving into now.’

‘Do ye not need the address of the place I left?’

‘Ok, let’s try that.’

‘It’s in Derrypark.’

‘Derrypark? Is that a town?’

‘No. It’s an estate.’

‘And where is the estate?’

‘Out the Dublin road.’

‘It’s in Dublin?’

‘No! Out the Dublin road!’

‘Ok. What county?’

‘Tullamore.’

‘That’s in Offaly, isn’t it?’

‘Tis.’

‘And where in the estate is it?’

‘Down the back.’

‘What number?

‘I dunno, the number fell off it years ago..I think it’s fifty somethin….Joe knows it. Will I just get him to ring ye again?’

‘I think that would be best.’

‘Ok. It won’t be today because his mother is sick in hospital.’

‘That’s fine.’

‘And it won’t be tomorrow because he’s bringing the car down for the NCT. The shocks are gone but he’s hoping they won’t notice.’

‘Well whenever he gets time should be ok.’

‘I’ll tell him that so.’

‘Is there anything else I can help you with today?’

‘No, that’s grand, thanks.’

Buy Mick Donnellan’s Novels in PaperBack here