Getting into print (Part One)

When we last moved house one of the removal men took one look at the room packed to the ceiling with boxes labelled BOOKS and gasped “Bloody hell ... have you guys never heard of a Kindle?!”
He had a point - over the years our bookshelves have expanded and groaned under the growing masses of hardbacks and paperbacks of every description. Most have been read but are unlikely to be re-read. Many have been loved and treasured but by no means all, and some remain unread and are quite likely to stay that way whilst they sit there, never quite attractive enough to graduate to the bedside table.
There’s no rational way to justify them. I’ve got a Kindle, we’ve got iPads and laptops and smart phones. But...
Books. Real books. Gotta love ‘em, can’t live without them.
I’ve nothing against eBooks - they’re just so convenient to buy and carry and make so much logical sense. You can read them across multiple devices and can change the typeface to suit your needs and have a zillion great features that print can never do. And as a rule they’re generally cheaper than the paper varieties too (even if they do incur VAT in the UK whereas physical books don’t).
But they’re not really books, are they? Like music on Spotify and movies on Netflix, you never really feel like they’re real.
I can look at my books on the shelf and recall where I was, when I was, when I read them, but I don’t do that with an eBook. Something’s not there. There’s a disconnect. I’ve even been known, if enjoying a book on the Kindle, to stop reading it half way through and then buy the paperback before continuing it.
I may have a problem, but I’m sure I’m not alone.
So when I published the first edition of When She Was Bad on Kindle it felt like a great achievement. It was fantastic that I could share it with friends who had been supportive during all of the work I put into it. Jenny read it on her iPad, Tina read it on her Kindle, Dan read it on his latest smartphone. Friends weren’t just buying it to support me but were actually reading and enjoying it.
But it still didn’t feel like a real book.
One of the neat things about the Kindle edition is that I could revise it at no cost to either me or the kind people who had already paid for it. I knew that there would be typos, possibly plot problems too - with self-publishing, there’s no experienced Editors acting as a safety net to wheedle out the faults and fix them - and I was able to incorporate early feedback and issue a ‘fixed’ version distributed a few weeks after the initial eBook had been launched.
But it still wasn’t real.
I still wasn’t in ‘print’.
But now that the text was as good as I could make it, I needed to put some ink on paper.

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