Time to get back on with my writing mission. Some company accounts have cropped up for me to look at and Easter means teenage nightmare home but that’s almost done.
I’m well aware that I’ve done little since my previous update on ‘the’ writing side. Although I haven’t been idle (snooping on the ebook aspect of the London Book Fair, making sure that my legacy blogs were in reasonable order, and getting feedback on my current piece: Tornado Alley) but it doesn’t advance the writing.
Talking about the London Book Fair I was bemused by the thought that having converted back-stock to PDF, there was nothing else for publishers to do. The head of the industry trade body warned that simply “turning a book into a PDF” was not innovative enough to capture readers’ imaginations and sales. PDFs and other electronic formats offer more possibilities than just a flat-line, no-frills plot.
Take PDFs. Converting product into a flat file (the format I see most) isn’t the most inspiring use of the technology. It’s underwhelming to see flat file PDF versions of important works such as: And Still the Waters Run by Angie Debo, an account of how the American Indians were exploited; and Juvaini’s Ta’ rīkh-i jahān-gushā – also known as The History of the World Conqueror – an account of the destruction of the Khwarezmian Empire by the Mongols. Works such as these are copiously annotated and would benefit profoundly from proper annotation.
E-formats including PDF, offer opportunities for book product to have unique selling points. Yup, the world / words of market-speak and product differentiation. For novels / works with multiple threads, why not lay electronic trails. Why? Because it can be done and because it allows the reader to explore those less obvious threads. These don’t need to be obtrusive – the back of the book is fine. This can give the reader something extra to follow, outside the conventional structure of the document and yet still tracking the thought processes of the author. Of course this functionality must be programmed, it doesn’t ‘just happen’.
I did this for my book A Guide to First Contact. It works.
There are other possibilities. Technology allows references to real places. Connecting to the real world is risky. Net id’s can change but in the world of throw-away books, an interesting thought to follow. Having said which, I also like the look and feel of books.
How much work do publishers want to put into their markets?
But back to the writing. Even though Tornado Alley has gone down well, I’m still leery of the noir fiction market. Other than a James Cagney style voice in my head (who hasn’t seen the films?) I’ve no feel for the standard devices etc of detectives, thrillers and crime fiction. Oh, give me simple SF / Fantasy, any time.
Then again to grow you have to learn, and this is one way to write that Cagney style narrator right out of my head. Perhaps.
Lucky has nearly sold out of its first printing. Now please someone, give me feedback. I can’t wait to continue that story.
Afterword: sometimes you have to Blame the Blog. This blog post is blamed on Sophie Ellis-Bextor. Thanks a lot (for motivating me to blog and write more). 🙂 A pity you’re married. 😦