REVITALIZING OLD WORK

About 10 years ago, I crafted an eBook titled ‘green’. It was a collection of verses I had written over the past 50 years or so. Over the past 10 years technology and the tools available for crafting eBooks and printed books have greatly improved. And, my skill at using these tools has grown over time.

As a result, I am in the process of re-crafting ‘green’ into a work-in-progress titled: THE INTIMACY OF BEING. Some excerpts follow below. Click on any image to enlarge and view as a ‘slide show;.

BOSTON BOOK LAUNCH

The entire history of Boston, Lincolnshire – from salt-making during the Roman occupation to the current flood barrier construction – is laid out in a new book that I was fortunate enough to participate in.

BOSTON – THE SMALL TOWN WITH A BIG STORY, is now available online from the Shodfriars Hall website or in Boston, Lincolnshire at Shodfriars’ Cafe, Blackfriars Arts Centre, Boston Guildhall or Fydell House.

The book is the brainchild of Boston Borough Councillor, Richard Austin, who felt there had never been a book published which dealt with the entirety of the town’s history. As a result, Richard assembled a team of writers to tackle 55 topics covering almost 2,000 years of history up to the modern-day.

Richard Austin

“I didn’t want it to be an academic tome, but a book which anyone could access, dip in and out of and learn more about Boston beyond what is readily known. Boston has a rich heritage, but only a small bit is understood by the majority of people. This book is an easy read, with plenty of illustrations and it’s my hope that it will whet the appetite for people to want to find out more.”

The book was launched at a full-day sell-out conference – An Untold Story: From the Stump to the Statue – at Boston’s Blackfriars Arts Centre on Saturday.

Saturday’s conference was chaired by TV historian Jonathan Foyle, who has appeared on Time Team, Meet the Ancestors and Climbing Great Buildings.

The American guest speaker, Barry Cotton, explained the untold story of how ten men from Boston, Lincolnshire, in 1630 were central figures in the founding of Boston, Massachusetts, and the USA. Eve LaPlante, from the Partnership of the Historic Bostons in America, then eloquently explained how Anne Hutchinson, from Alford, at the same time, laid the foundations of women’s rights at the beginnings of the United States of America. These Lincolnshire men and women helped establish the USA we know today. 

Local historian Neil Wright described the situation in Boston in 1630 that encouraged the large emigration to America from Lincolnshire at that time.

The day was supported by the Boston Heritage Forum to highlight the “rich and diverse” history of the Borough of Boston and the Forum wants it to be used to promote the area as a good place to live, work and visit.

Once again, the book is now available online from the Shodfriars Hall website or in Boston, Lincolnshire at Shodfriars’ Cafe, Blackfriars Arts Centre, Boston Guildhall or Fydell House. 

Contributors to the book

WRITING TOOLS

As I learn more and more about self-publishing, more and more options come up. So after a steep learning curve, I settled on the following strategy: 

 

  • Buy your own ISBNs through Bowker so that you own and control them.
  • Take the time and effort to register your own copyright. Own your work!
  • Get your work edited professionally. If it was worth writing, it is worth editing.
  • To Self-Publish, you need a good partner for print and eBook.
    • For print books, using a POD (print on demand) publisher is a must. I have settled on BookLocker for price, quality and ease of publishing.
    • For eBooks, my strategy is producing my own eBooks in SCRIVENER and publish as follows:
      • Use KDP to sell direct to Amazon.
      • Use KWL to sell direct to Kobo
      • Use D2D to aggregate all other eBook sellers.
  • Like it or not- marketing and promoting your own work is necessary.
  • Join the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi).
  • Network with authors’ groups locally, nationally and internationally.
  • Promote your work by entering it in a Book Contest.
Unlike writers, who still write with paper and pen or pencil, I am grounded in the digital world that makes eBook publishing readily accessible. The digital revolution has leveled the playing field and now spares me the pain of having to submit to publishers and/or agents to get my work published.
 
Scrivener

I use SCRIVENER. I love I use SCRIVENER. I could not live without I use SCRIVENER. Why? I work ‘split screen’ with my research on the left and my writing window on the right. I find I can jam all the research I have done into SCRIVENER and use SCRIVENER in conjunction with PAPERS 2 (available from iTunes apps). With it, I am able to provide citations as I write with two clicks. These two applications enable me to create, organize and write freely and productively.  More importantly, SCRIVENER enables me to export my work directly as an eBook in either .mobi (Kindle) format or .epub (for Kobo eReaders, Apple iPad & iPhones, Kobo eReaders, Barnes & Noble NOOKS and Windows phone or Nokia Lumia’s Freda App).Like Andy Ihnatko, the tech journalist from the Chicago Sun Times said in his review of SCRIVENER for MacWorld, Andy “I’ve dumped Microsoft Word in favour of a hit cult app called Scrivener… Scrivener is a shrewd collection of tools that everyone will appreciate equally, but exploit differently. It’s the perfect word processor for people like me, who write weekly and monthly columns for a variety of publications and websites. To a pal of mine, it’s the perfect word processor for writing a very complicated science-fiction novel in which a large cast engages in complicated schedules and agendas that all have to be tracked and coordinated with each other through the story. To another, it’s the perfect tool for writing comic-book scripts. You see, Scrivener isn’t an oddball niche ‘alternative’ product. It’s poised to start a genuine revolution.”I do all my proof reading on my iPad by exporting a .mobi file that I email to myself and open with Kindle to read my work as it appears as an eBook.  I keep my iPad on my desk next to my iMac 27” Retina with 1 TB Flash Storage.For creating my own book covers, I use Adobe Photoshop CS6 create layered images and text which I usually finish in FX Photo Studio CK to add antique effects.

Seanchaí Books

Having researched how self-published authors approach self-publishing, I have decided to publish my eBooks as ‘doing business as’ DBA- Seanchaí Books, as I strive to be like traditional Irish storytellers, the seanchaí. Storytelling was one of the main forms of fireside entertainment among ordinary Irish folk and the storyteller was held in high esteem by the ordinary Irish who revered and cultivated story and song as their principal means of artistic expression.

 

THE PRIZE

Today, as my prize for having won the 2017 Writers; League of Texas Manuscript Contest for Nonfiction, I met with Andy Ross. Andy is from the West Coast and represents authors who write books in a wide range of subjects including narrative non-fiction, science, journalism, history, current affairs, contemporary culture, religion, children’s books and commercial and literary fiction. He was also the nonfiction judge in the 2017 Writers’ League of Texas Manuscript Contest.

My prize for winning was 10 minutes with Andy. To put things in context, I was scheduled to meet Andy at the 2017 Agents & Editors Conference here in Austin, Texas. This conference enables members of the Writers’ League of Texas to meet with agents to pitch their book projects and/or to meet with editors that might help edit their work. Any member can schedule a session with an agent or an editor by paying for it up front. I think 10-minute sessions are around $20 each.

Andy was entirely charming and honest. We hit it off  with the realization that my work would never be picked up by an agent or a publisher because it has little market value. The work is a biography of John Cotton, the 17th-century puritan patriarch of New England who left Boston, England and helped establish Boston, Massachusetts. Andy said that normally an academic publisher might be interested but only if I were to have “academic credentials”, which is to say a member of academia with Ph.D. I already knew this but it was good to hear Andy say, “Your work is written very well.” Like most wanna-be writers, I need as much encouragement as I can get. My time with Andy wrapped up with us agreeing that the best route for me is to self-publish. So stay tuned, as I continue down that path.