…and another thing about Beckett

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Another thing about Beckett’s work that marks it as different from modern stories is its circularity. Maybe I have missed something but the characters in the stories I am currently reading do not change, or have a moment of insight, or transform in any obvious way. They are thrown into the world, wander about then shuffle off to die. Just like life.
Perhaps the change occurs in the reader?

Samuel Beckett

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I’m currently reading some Samuel Beckett stories. Haven’t read him since college. He offers a unique voice and style, and a unique way of seeing the world. He rightly deserves praise for this. But they are not stories in any conventional sense, they don’t seek to entertain the reader, they make him think.
I can’t help but wonder, if Beckett wasn’t ‘Beckett’ and he was seeking publication in 2014 would his work be published? Does modern publishing allow space for such unique visions?

Artisinal Publishing

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So I’ve taken the plunge and independently published my short story collection, Fallout, on Kindle. I’m very proud of how it turned out but it feels like I’m only at the beginning of a very long journey. Publishing the book is only the start. Next is reaching readers. Because what’s the point of writing if you don’t want to be read?

Marketing is the next mountain to climb. However, I have learned a lot though the process of creating the eBook that I thought I might share.

I chose Amazon Kindle as my first choice for publishing because it seemed the most straightforward of the eBook sellers. And it has a global reach.

Formatting wasn’t much of an issue really once you follow a few simple rules.

Create your document in Word.
Keep things simple.
Use a clear font, (I like Garamond) and be consistent.
Include a page break for every new story or chapter. Otherwise pages run into each other.
Also avoid diagrams or bullet points, they don’t transfer well to the Kindle formatting.
Have it edited and proofread by someone who knows what they are doing.
Save the document as a HTML file (Web page unfiltered.) before you upload it to KDP.
Give a lot of thought to the cover. I advise colourful, graphic covers.

That’s pretty much it.

If you live outside the U.S. like me, you don’t require a tax number but Amazon will hold 30% to cover tax.

If I was recommending one book to read on independent publishing it has to be Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch’s APE, Author, Publisher, Entrepeneur. It gives great advice and is worth reading if only for the idea of Artisinal publishing. For a control freak like me I love the idea of owning all parts of the process of creating my book. It’s great if you love to create and wish to have complete control of what you publish. The only downside is that the success or failure of the book falls to you. There’s no one else to blame.

Which brings us back neatly to marketing…

Negativity in Creative Writing

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I’ve been thinking today about the nature of the creative writing “business” and how much well meaning advice I hear online about how difficult and problematic it is to write and then get published, particularly from those who are gatekeepers such as agents and publishers.

Through this the process of writing is imbued with the mystical quality of alchemy, that can only be achieved by a select few deemed worthy.

Perhaps I am naive but is writing not simply an interaction between a writer and a reader? A writer’s task is to tell a good story and there are as many approaches to achieving this as there are stars in the sky.

The negative energy that surrounds this well meaning advice can be overwhelming.

Surely there is another way than this?

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Some good news

My story The Poet and the Painter is published today in http://spontaneity.org/.
‘Spontaneity is an arts journal all about inspiration, where one idea really does lead to another. It’s a chain reaction between prose – visual art – poetry and everything in between. Think of it as a kind of artistic family tree, where, for example, a poem sparks a painting, which sparks three short stories and a poem, which in turn go on to create their own conversations, their own creative genealogy.’
I highly recommend it (ok I know I’m biased), anyway take a look at spontaneity.org

All the best.
J.O’Brien