Saturday, 10 January 2015

E-Book Experience - an example to us all

Yesterday, I had my first experience of uploading a novel onto Amazon's Kindle Store.

Uploading to Kindle Store
Uploading to Kindle (photos courtesy of dp-multimedia ©)

Well … not really.
The technical aspects were left to my husband, who knows the difference between a JPEG and HTML.
And it wasn’t my book.   It was ‘Single or Double’, a debut chic-lit story by a friend of mine, Julia Horton-Powdrill.   (see

single or double, e-book, julia horton-powdrill
Single or Double?

 Together with Sheila, another writer friend, I’ve been with Julia since the moment she decided she was going to publish her work-in-progress as an e-book.   This is a route I personally don’t want to follow, preferring to continue to aim for the ‘traditional’ print approach – though, as with so many things, it’s better never to say never.  Still, accompanying Julia has given me an interesting insight into the process.  What has surprised me is the amount of work involved.  It’s commonly said that it doesn’t take long at all, but that’s just the final up-loading bit. Getting to that point takes a lot of effort and determination.  Obviously, there’s the essential ‘first write your book’, but once that’s done, much of the role of the publisher has to be taken on by the author – editing, proof-reading, cover design etc. 
In this case, Julia would be the first to admit she’s been given plenty of help by a number of friends, and if you’ve already clicked onto that website, you’ll understand why we were all so happy to do so. 
All the proceeds of ‘Single or Double’ are going to ‘Prostrate Cancer UK’ – a charity close to Julia’s heart, following the death of her husband, Brian, from the disease last year.

We all write in different circumstances, or ‘environments’.  These include our physical surroundings, our mental or emotional states, our personalities, even.
From the physical point of view, we all may covet that ‘room of one’s own’, but few of us are lucky enough to get it.  I’m at one end of our bedroom, with a dressing-table as my desk – not ideal, apparently, especially since I’m not a good sleeper, and a bedroom is supposed to be devoted to just that – bed.  Julia, in happier times, likes nothing better than to write on a train journey – also not ideal, since she lives in a town miles from any railway.  Another friend manages on her lap, while family life goes on around her, rather like Jane Austen.
How much harder it is to write in the space governed by our emotions and what is going on in our lives!  We have all heard of those past writers in their garrets, suffering from TB, madness, and extreme poverty, yet producing works of genius.  How do they do that!?  For myself, I need my head to be in a good place if I’m to write anything at all.  If there are any problems around me, I’m lucky to be able to read, let alone put down some words on paper.
Julia has produced this book in extreme circumstances.  Her original hope and intention was for Brian to live to see it published, but that was not to be.  Instead, she took her story from first draft to this moment before, during, and just after Brian’s death.   She likens it to her equivalent of running a marathon, and the work involved has surely been as long and hard.  Some may call it distraction, therapy, displacement, but it has still been a remarkable endeavour.
And for this, she deserves our admiration and should be seen as an inspiration for us all – including myself.  Just as with the physical landscape, we must manage as best we can.  So no more excuses in 2015 – I  (we) must just get on with it, and write, write, write!  And who knows where it will lead?

Uploading to Kindle Store, celebration
Celebrating the achievement (photo courtesy of dp-multimedia ©)