Writers, Bloggers and Translators

My apologies, but an early morning brainstorm made me call CREATESPACE ClearSpace in the tome below. Put it down to old age (again!)

Well I had the runaround from 'publishers' and even agents, until it finally dawned on me this was complete waste of time and effort. Incidentally these remarks are addressed to everyone out there generally, and not to any individual.

Unless you have already achieved a 'name' you are dross until maybe by some lucky chance someone somewhere likes your stuff.

My first boook was published via Saatchi & Saatchi, and for non-fiction books this is always a 'possible' option,i.e; find a Sponsor. Then go onto ClearSpace for all the rest (self-publishing, POD call it what you will). They work through Amazon and handle EVERYTHING just as a 'proper' Publisher would do PLUS you end up with more than the standard 10% off the RRP as Royalties. No Agents, middle-men or even printers to deal with. Note they also provide ISBN numbers and you always retain the Copyright on your own works.

NOTE I am not an Agent for them in any way shape or form, as I am also a Partner in the Company we set up In Australia for the large format Art Books we specialise in. Which are also way too expensive for POD.

But for fiction, or even shorter formatted 'fact' books,this really has to be the way to go. This is something we are now experimenting with PLUS using Pinterest as a way of promoting.

Nowadays there are all these options to being messed about by experts, and best of all they cost precisely NOTHING to use - no tricks, no deceptions. This is diametrically opposed to those who put the ads in for 'Authors Wanted'.

However you still have to try and find ways to push your products. Kindle does provide a a series of circulars regarding new books which do go round the trade, which is useful, but again it needs to catch the eye of the potential target group. Note also if you get your own ISBN number don't foget that these companies also circulate information about books under their country code. Again useful.

No matter what you write or produce people must remember there are now thousands of others doing the same thing, so the odds are always against massive success.

Personally in my work life I like being in control and not left to the whims and fancies of those who theoretically at least are there to help me - Publishers, Agents etc. Like Banks and Insurance Companies they are NOT your friends but are businesses, and look to you as a resource and nothing more.

The above systems help me do just that, plus I only have myself to blame if the books don't sell, or have no interest to others.

OK apart from the obvious what are the downsides to self-publishing?

As the whole system with the exception of Kindle is predicated on physically producing A book to order means each individual book costs a lot more to produce than the individual price on a print run. You can order your own stocks on POD quite reasonably but if you try to undercut the price shown on Amazon, they will quite rightly close your account with them. They are not there to provide you with free promtional space.

So far I have found that all things considered Kindle produces the same net return per sale to me as the printed version through Clearspace. I like to get a few samples at my cost price for promotional purposes - not for resale, but encourage people to download from Kindle as being cheaper - ClearSpace also does this for you as a matter of course.

If you succeed with a book, then other doors open IF you want to do more, and this is where people have to really think about what they are doing - producing a single book or considering a future as an author? Be honest with yourselves - do have the capacity and imagination to produce 10-12 books?

Good luck.

I finished a book exactly a month ago. It is not fiction so I know I shall not be making a fortune or a big name for myself. I have 'negotiating' with a publisher since, filled in the forms and all but threw my teddy in frustration yesterday. Today I approached one of the international giants with whom I published a book last year, very specialist and in the wrong list in my view, however I got on well with the editors. I had a reply in about two hours from the chief editor who had read my approach letter and the outline. He contacted me to acknowledge receiving my proposal and to say that he is passing it on to the appropriate series editor, with whom I have dealt before. Both know and remember me, so I was Brian and not Dr Milne, from them on first names. The commissioning editor explained she is behind because she has been off for several weeks ill, but I shall have the abstract and proposal forms in a few days and a firm answer a couple of weeks after submission. When I thanked the chief editor, he replied in minutes thanking me for thanking him. I got further in under four hours than in a month with another publishing house.

The message is, whoever is writing for conventional publishing must be prepared for the run around when negotiating but there will always be one house who will treat you with respect and efficiently. Do not think the first publisher you go to, even if it is the one you think is most appropriate for what you have written, will necessarily see eye to eye with your proposal. Simply plug away at it until somebody reacts positively. After years of writing I have never got used to this, but nevertheless it is advice to pass on.

Yes Norman, I agree with every word.

Yes Brian, I fear you are right on this. Being an absolute total bibliophile I too am a lover of the printed page, but do recognise the new technology - but is the technology leading the content and not the other way around? I know Kindle suggest limited pages at very low prices, and financially I don't have a problem with this, but maybe we go back to Dicken's time where all books were serialised? Not the daftest idea in the world is it - go back to the old 'read next week's exciting episode'? The idea remains the tchnology makes it easier to produce?

Hmm now there's a thought to play with!

With you Norman. My younger daughter reads books but also has a Kindle which I cannot bear, albeit I read reams of stuff on line. The point is that with things being digitised the CD looks to have a short term future remaining and the drives on computers for CD/DVD technology are gradually disappearing as the notepad and tablet technology progress. Our computers only have a finite life and replacements with increasingly obscure technology may well last far fewer years than we might - at least I hope we will.

I know absolutely what you are saying and actually agree but think when all said and done, just having spent four days in the company of a Peruvian gentleman some years older than you, who when offered free copies of books asked whether he could have electronic versions to load on his tablet, I think the penny dropped. My OH's laptop was the biggest there and that is as thin as a slice of bread to begin with... I think we have to bow our heads and admit defeat, however if you were saying digital books I would still say go for it, but want the paper personally.

As for your business partner, well he/she is right and whilst we do see stacks of CDs and DVDs in stores the sales are dropping like a stone. The smart TV we are told, will kill the need for DVDs and all new smart music systems are digital technology based, some already without CD options. Yes, the stacks are there but remember the stacks of cassettes when they were already barely usable? We may, I fear, be on the wrong side in a losing battle already.

Hi Brian, yes I am in the same boat with a large collection of Books on Cassette as well. I could be completely wrong but I don't think my readers (or any readers?) belong in the younger techie set. Do young people actually read books these days? T certainly don't target them with my stuff, and would be amazed to find anyone under the age of say 40 being remotely interested.

This is why I am considering the 'older' technology, as I think most of us understand how to handle a CD these days? Personally I wouldn't know how to open a mobile phone, which I suppose is a bit weird when I totally understand and use digital reproduction of all my stuff.

My partner in the business also thinks CDs and DVDs are old-technology, but I still see stacks of these things in the stores and not just in my favorite shopping areas of Puces. I DO accept the younger generation thinks differently, but as I say they are not my target readers.

This old fart writes for other old farts I suspect?

Norman, books on CDs. I have quite a few already. Probably around 15 but certainly more than 10 years ago they became de rigueur in the UN and charity sector. Cheaper than paper books, in the small cases rather than the boxes you are suggesting and with only loading instructions. They were cheap and compact to send out, most of them free to people working in particular fields like myself. Most were closed formats, including pdf. That was the flaw, especially when they were for sale. Despite being closed, people soon learned how to open them. Some people printed out and then scanned back in, whereas others simply found ways of decoding them and converting to Office and such formats. So they disappeared. The 'newest' I have is at least eight years old.

Also, as even a few days ago in Berlin with my friend who is a programming expert, he was talking about digitising all of his music CDs as the format CD and DVD drifts toward obscurity like the various kinds of floppy discs and, to a greater extent, tape cassettes. It is food for thought but needs real expert advice. Technology my friend moves faster than we gracefully ageing folk.

Sorry for the typos - ideas and fngers flow at different speed these days - particularly at 5.00am before the first coffee of the day!

Is it time (belatedly in my case) to consider the development of the 'Books on CD' ide'a? I am just putting the finishing touches to my biggest book yet at 618 pages 'Posters & Graphics - Motorcycling' - same basic idea as the rest which should/could be called '100 Years of Posters - Motorcycling'. It contains over 800 quality images, but comes at a price!

Using POD as a sampling system each book costs around $US70 for a soft-cover and over $US125 for a hard-cover, and that sort of money is hard to find. Needless to say going on a speculative print run is not feasible.

Two things apply which I have been pondering on. 1) For the most part I think writers etc here rely on their own individual efforts and finance to get things moving in terms of sales. Things are getting easier and I do seriously suggest people look at CreateSpace.com which is a complete service and production service company to amazon. They do take away a ot of the hard graft, but again as these are POD come at a higher price that some books possibly justify in today's world.

I believe this applies to most if not all of my books.

In my own files/libraries I have a host of CD's of the Classic and Modern Authors in both sound and pdf form. The print ones are usually average to good, and most of the sound ones not bad - and Librivox are getting better now as well.

The Gutenberg Project and Archive.org provide downloading access to mountains of much older books which I use a lot for researching. An example I found the other day was a series of books and memoirs of the days of the Zeppelins/dirigibles. In my second volume of Aviation posters I have found about 20 posters of these craft, both military and civilian, so another tome on its way! Very good stuff to develop the muse!! Not just history per se. either these are human emotions at work in lots of this stuff - plots galore!

Anyway, So I have a size price problem with my stuff and am now seriously considering producing pdf files on CD and see what happens.

Has anyone else tried this? I do know the target groups and I could sell these for about say €12-15 each at a comfortable proft. But would people go for it?

2) It could be possible to produce similar works of say 'Anthologies from SFN'?

Say ten works at a time, with each author contributing making €1 each sale, plus costs making a retail product of say €15? Not sure hows this would work technically and financially (tax) but the idea seems to have some merit to getting stuff out and about?

I recognise that this does not apply to my large picture books which are a different category.

Another thought just strikes me. The Anthology idea could defintely work with Kindle I am sure - at least physically there are no problems.

Any thoughts?

Symbols of a social conscience,

Standing way up in the sky.

Children screaming, couples dreaming,

Babies crying crying, people dying.

No one caring as they wander by.

Owed by Tower Hamlets.

You may hate it but John Betjeman gave it a nod!

As a wider of fiction, travel and poetry, in English, I am keen to have a few poems translated into French, particularly where the subject is French place or town. I am willing to pay for this but worry that my style is 'untranslatable'. To give a prospective translator so idea of the 'challenge;, here's two excerpts:

'...Pont St Espirit's

visitor without standing, fool to a courtyard vista,

plane-to-see trees across river's forever,

harried by museum madam appearing before your lost-for-words lips,

pushed past paintings, film and mementoes,

down darkening stairs to unknown script...'



Wandering down discouraged lanes, past curious monuments,


standing with surly youth at Jean Paul Sartre Recreation Centre,

thinking we'd try out the weights of justice,

press the barbells of freedom, the balance bar of fraternity and

spell ‘being’ and ‘nothingness’ in a friendly game of Scrabble….'

All referenes, names, advice considered.

Seven of Nine

I married an alien from Pladies

She was a remarkable lady

The mother-in-law had two tongues and a tail

And came from the planet Hades

On our wedding night

She gave me a fright

For I didn't know what to expect

Before I could kiss her

and tell her I miss her

She bit a hole in my neck

Living with an alien

I must say is scary

For the back of her legs were all

Scaly and hairy

Her hair was electric

Her feet used to smolder

When I pulled out the plug

Her skin would get colder

She would attach herself

To the coil in my car

When I started the engine

She became a quasar

Now I'm not one to complain

Sometimes we do things that are pretty insane

But I’m glad I married this Pladien woman

Even though we have nothing in common

I have a strange mind, I thought that read 'bog rolls' and wondered if it referred to any of my stuff!

Just drawing breath after five years of work, 24 large illustrated books and cd's on Advertising History with more than 14,000 images involved. Phew, now as from today -so hot of the presses, our new website is up and running, which has been interesting working on it from two sides of the globe simultaneously - isn't technology wonderful?

Take look if interested in History of Advertising http://mosaicbooks.org

If not just tell others who might be!


NEW RELEASE e-book: KIDS RIVIERA Sun & Fun Travel Focus for family fun on the French Riviera!![](upload://g6sby2RoQDvTqRQngstjOrX9ErU.JPG)

Saint Chinian is near Beziers in 34

James, you might have been better to add your comment to add a discussion, see above. Where is Saint Chinian?

Full time fiction author (British humour) recently moved to Saint Chinian now looking to find other writers / authors and readers to share ideas with / hang out / discuss the pros and cons of Amazon or whatever, book / writing related topics you fancy. I want to do table-top readings to make short audio recordings of book scenes for use in promotions. Anyone done this sort of thing before?

thanks James for suggesting this link. I’m Susan Rouchard writer of short fiction and poetry occasionally blogging on
teacher of English for business or travels and French for British or anglophone people living in France so they can get along. My father was French and so is my husband. I live near Toulouse with my family (3 children and hubby).

Online expat writers' group Writers Abroad is publishing a new anthology on 21st Oct, entitled Foreign and Far Away, including fictional short stories, non-fiction articles and poems on the theme of people and places. All the contributions have been written by expats, quite a few living in France. I'm in it as is our own dear Glyn Pope (both members of Writers Abroad).

Priced at £8.99 or 9.99 euros, available from Amazon - com or co.uk.

Lots of high quality writing - and a great gift for Christmas.