Thursday, 1 January 2015

New year, new writing

A time for a writer to take stock of achievements to date and plan the next stage of his or her writing career. For me, as well as being a new year, in a few days it will also be the anniversary of publication of my first Kindle novel. I now have three published. It's so far been a very positive, even (in a modest way) profitable, experience.

Independent e-publishing is a great time saver for an author. No need to research potential agents and publishers, put together submissions, wait for them to come back, then start the whole process again. Then, even if a deal is forthcoming, wait again for the book to be published.

For e-publishers, the big unknown going into the New Year is how sales will be affected by the new EU VAT regulations. The VATman will be taking a bigger share of the retail prices of e-books. (Print books are exempt from VAT.)  Independent authors, who set their own prices, have the choice of leaving them the same, and making less money per book sold, or increasing them, and possibly losing sales.

I didn't make as much progress with my next novel during the autumn as I'd hoped. I had a muscle injury which took a long time to clear up which prevented me from sitting comfortably at the computer for any length of time. It made me appreciate how incapacitating quite minor injuries could have been in the past, when so many people did manual work and small every day tasks required much more physical effort than they do to today. Making a hot drink could require pumping water and carrying coals, instead of turning on a tap and flicking the switch on the electric kettle.

The next novel I plan to publish is a crime story set in Victorian London. After that I hope there will be another story featuring the main characters from The Plantagenet Mystery.

At the back of my mind I have an idea for a historical mystery  with a different setting and central character. I'm a long way from being ready to write it, but from time to time I think about it and make a few notes. The character is in his thirties and happily married. In a historical setting, this would mean there would be children. I don't want the parents to ignore their children (and they are not of high enough status for the children to be spending all their time with nursemaids, governesses and tutors). But neither do I want the children to take over the story!

On an entirely unrelated subject, in the last couple of days I've tried to explore two different online archive catalogues. Neither has a browse function, only a search. I don't want to search for a specific item, I want to browse to look for anything that might be useful or interesting to me. One of these catalogues doesn't even have a brief outline of the structure and content of the archive. How is one supposed to search if one doesn't know what there is to search for?

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