The Internet has transformed the way in which some people read books now.
Many people choose to download books direct to their e-reader – much cheaper than buying a hard copy of a book and more convenient than packing half a dozen books when going on holiday.
However, it has also transformed the opportunities for getting into print for budding authors.
While a book publisher is still the best way to get published, there is a huge amount of competition out there and the round of rejections can be dispiriting – and discouraging.
Former Spalding High School pupil Janet Pywell – her mother Norma is well-known from her years as a teacher at Monkshouse Primary School – has recently self-published her first two books, available from Amazon as a hard copy or as an electronic download.
She says it’s a fairly simple process: authors upload their manuscript along with a professionally designed book cover to a company called Create Space. The book is then printed on demand and the author pays costs two to three months in arrears – a fee hopefully covered by book sales.
“At one stage it was looked down upon,” says Janet. “Now loads of people are turning to self-publishing. I have known authors who are self-published who previously had publishers who said they would do things for them and didn’t and they are now successful.”
She admits the hardest part of self-publishing is marketing, but luckily that’s an area Janet has some experience in, having formed her own marketing company in Belfast ten years ago.
She combined that business with her career in travel and tourism that has taken her to many parts of the world.
Some of those countries feature in her books, the crime novel The Golden Icon, followed by Red Shoes and other short stories.
The Golden Icon, the first in a trilogy, is about the valuable artworks and artefacts stolen in World War 2 by the Nazis – interestingly a subject that has been in the news very recently.
Her research led her to a book, The Monuments Men, about a group of people with expertise in museums and archaeology who volunteered to save as much of the culture of Europe as possible during World War 2. It’s a fascinating story, and one that has inspired a film directed by and starring George Clooney due for release in 2014.
The book of short stories includes a prelude to The Golden Icon.
The Golden Icon is available in paperback for £8.99 and Red Shoes for £5.99 from Amazon – http://amzn.to/1d2nWJ3e and http://amzn.to/ J6ATYA – or as downloads for under £2.