Gender and books…

Just did a talk session this evening with a library reading group. Fascinating. 80% women, 20% men there. I talked about e-books and print books and the majority still want print. One said, ‘Told my husband, do not buy me a kindle e-reader for Christmas’. Now then I wonder – with the launch of the Kindle Fire – Apple Ipad under fire? (Ouch) and a basic kindle reader selling for $79 – less than £50 – will things change? They bought TOO SMART TO DIE in print format so….


Writing novels using an outline

I definitely favour using an outline. Starting with a ‘nugget’ of an idea, expanding that by setting milestones along the way for your story, getting your ‘climax’ and ending/resolution clear early on, working on your opening scene and major turning points – and of course knowing your characters well – all helps for slicker writing.. The ‘outline’ doesn’t have to be a chronology at the start, sure you must get down to writing the novel ‘scene by scene’ eventually but having the big picture clear from the outset helps. I think this approach does leave you room to deviate, to explore fresh turns as you travel the journey with your characters. On a more techie point, the document map feature in Word is a useful tool – you can collapse or expand your scenes to move from overview to detail – and shift chunks of text/scenes around.

E-books rule…who says?

I ran a session at the Bridgnorth (England) Music and Arts Festival this week. My topic was ‘E-books vs. Print – Friends or Foes’. Both during the discussion and questions/answers session after my chat about the ‘digital revolution’, I was surprised when several writers there – and readers – wanted to know more about author-published print books than e-books. So – print books matter then…

I’d described my journey in publishing my crime novel TOO SMART TO DIE as an e-book on amazonkindle and in print as a print on demand book (POD) on  I took my audience through the steps; the importance of writing a good book first, editing, formatting,  uploading your book, etc. Together we looked at the impact of this changing world on readers, writers, publishers, book stores and everyone in between. In fairness in the time we had available we could only look at the headlines – but I felt we hit the spots.

So…from the feedback I got, print is still good and wanted…yet in the USA e-books are overtaking print books at a rapid rate. Here’s the question; will we in the UK, Ireland, Europe go the same way? I’ve got a kindle – I like reading on my kindle – but I still like reading a ‘proper’ book. Is there room for both in the future or am I fence-sitting? Only time will tell.

Anyway, as an author-publisher I’ve decided to offer my books to readers in both e-book and print formats. The reader must decide.

What do you think, want? Print or e-book – or both?