I’m an old-fashioned lass, though some might question the ‘fashion’ and just leave it at old. I prefer books that come on paper. But since I am presently rewriting the 550,000 words Feast Fables Trilogy, previously posted on WP, with intent to e-publish, this seemed a good time to remove my prejudices and become acquainted.
I began, as an opening date, with Kindle’s free app. I could have installed it on my phone, but the touchscreen tends towards temperamental, swinging from highly excitable to downright stubborn. Instead I installed it on the laptop despite I’ve no liking for reading long tomes sat at my desk, all formally posed. However, long story short, I liked it. Time to stop paddling and take the plunge.
My Christmas Collection of pennies (okay, one cheque and one interbank transfer) resulted in a sufficiency of funds. Only problem now was to decide which Reader I’d go for. I didn’t want to spend much, and I here give the reason:
As an oldster, the one thing that has struck me across the centuries (oh yes, my life spans two—C20th & C21st—as maybe does yours) is the rapidity of redundancy in the technology industries, to wit:
The Rapidity of Redundancy in the Technology Industries
As a wee-wee child recorded music was impressed upon ‘slate’ 78s (okay, they were verging on the obsolete though my Grandma still played them). These heavy beasts required a wind-up gramophone and an actual needle, like double the size of the average hypodermic.
During my school years the single sized 45s had their day, with (double sided) 33 rpm LPs for multi-track albums. Things really were moving; no more hand cranking the system, electricity now powered the record-player (renamed the hi-fi with the advent of the stereo technology).
Next to arrive was the cassette. By then I’d left school and was wrecking the town. I have a clear recollection of recording my entire singles collection on to blank cassettes. Which then chewed up in the system, a frequent occurrence with the cassette technology. I became adept at splicing tapes. With the now-obsolete singles departed, turntables became the preserve of DJs.
The arrival of the (supposedly indestructible) CD totally wooed me. But since my cassette player wouldn’t play them … out went the old. Again. I then discovered these ingenious disks weren’t indestructible and neither trouble-free. Sticking and skidding were frequent problems. But being ‘recordable’ did offer financial, if illegal, benefits. Also, I could slot them into my exceedingly heavy, exceedingly space-taking flatbed computer. Ah, remember the days.
In many respects, the difference between CD and DVD was minimal. Though the CD player had seen its day (and though we reckon those days in years, those years were few) at least the CDs were playable on the new DVD technology (I think that’s referred to as ‘backward compatibility’). The advantage of the new (DVD) over old (CD)? More music per space.
And into the modern era … and enter the MP3 (and its brethren), music in space. Any space. The triumphant call of MP3 tracks is the range of gadgetry invented to play them. But, alas, now the DVD has had it day. That’s another technology gone. Yet, tenacious, it yet remains the preferred medium for portable movies and POS computer storage/programmes.
I have a green soul and will recycle and convert where I can. But I cannot see how it’s possible to cannibalise my Grandma’s hand-cranking gramophone to make it into an MP3 player. All of which makes a point. Why invest in today’s technology if tomorrow it’s to join its predecessors in turning our green land into a metallic-looking brown landfill site? That point drove my decision to invest in the cheapest Kindle Reader.
I’ve now been dating my E-Book Reader for a couple of weeks. Getting to know each other, eh? The battery lasts without a recharge for weeks and weeks, says Amazon’s sales copy. Um, not it doesn’t. It lasts no more than 5 days. Maybe I’m reading too many books? Or jumping from one to another? Or downloading too many? Still, I didn’t expect perfection. And that’s just as well.
Kindle Unlimited, Indie Authors, Fantasies and Trilogies
What can I say? Yes, it’s great that with a monthly subscription, equal to the cost of an average paperback, Kindle Unlimited gives the reader access to 1000s of Kindle books. These past two weeks, I’ve scrolled, selected and downloaded and have mostly been happy. But I have this liking for Fantasy genre, and Fantasy authors have this tendency to write in trilogies. I don’t knock it. I do it myself. But why, oh why, must they break the story at a crucial point?
Yea, I know, it’s a marketing ploy. But it’s one that, if not handled properly, can easily backfire. The idea is to leave the reader hanging, gaging to know what happens next. The usual cliff-hanger scenario, seen in every soap opera and serialised drama. The reader will then buy the next book. But even in the brief time I’ve been reading these indie authors I’ve discovered some writers (or their editors) don’t know the difference between trilogy and serial. While a cliff-hanger works well with a serial, there are other, kinder, ways to ensure a reader’s continued interest: i.e. a hook. A hook is what’s buried in the book’s blurb. A hook suggests something interesting is about to happen. It leads, it encourages. It is a carrot, not a stick. It doesn’t leave the reader hanging in mid air seconds before the climax. Me, I’m inclined to say sod it and never open another book by that author. And I doubt I’m alone. This total disregard for the reader and the reading process … annoys.
That’s one part of my gripe. The next is this: If a story is to be included in a Fantasy Collection then please, oh please, tell the reader, right from page one of that story, that it’s part of a trilogy AND that the
useless inconsiderate pig of an author has cut the story short of an ending.
And Finally, Editing
Not all indie authors can afford the services of a professional—they don’t come cheap, especially for a trilogy—but the author CAN invest in one of the many freebie guides to editing on Kindle Unlimited and with application, time and diligence make close to a professional job. To date I’ve read two established indie authors with impressive lists of previous publications, who credit their editors in the Acknowledgements. Yet the number of errors then found … not a good advert for said editors. Exceedingly sloppy work.
So I trust you’ll excuse me if my rewrite of Feast Fablesy is yet a while in reaching Kindle publication, for I do intend it to be thoroughly edited. And while there will be hooks to pull the reader across to the next book, I promise I shan’t be an inconsiderate lover and leave the reader hanging just before climax.