In Their Footsteps

Pitlochry, Scotland

In mid-September I spent a week up in Scotland—in the picturesque Highland village of Pitlochry. It was an appropriate place to finish off the first full editing session of Codename: Foxglove. Dominique (Foxglove), went there to visit her mentor, Rachel (Codename: Nightshade).

The Foxglove story will rest until mid-October, and from then it will undergo at least three further sessions with two-week breaks between. If it feels ready, I aim to send it out to beta readers in late November. When published, this tale will bring the Beyond The Law stories to a close, so, as might be expected, it will be done with a heavy heart, but by the same token, some series’ run their course. I’d like the final story to be a worthy conclusion to the tales which started life as a single experimental poem about a man who was compelled to end his military career.

Pitlochry saw several scenes from Codename: Nightshade which involved the Mental Riders Motor Cycle Club among others. Characters from both sides of the line came unstuck in a big way in the village. Locations like the filling station, a (renamed) bar on the main road, a large hotel, a car park, and the railway station all held a special significance for me. I travelled along the road which was used in a car and motorbike chase and felt justified in having used the route in the scenes.

While in Scotland, I visited Braemar which featured in Beyond the Law: Retribution. As the author of action scenes, death and mayhem, it creates a peculiar feeling to be on site and imagine what took place in my imaginary world.

Apart from those places I also spent a day at Aviemore and on several of the countryside routes in the area. Here, of course, I was reminded of the characters from my Light at The End trilogy, and in particular my heroine from the spinoff, Sylvia.

In visits to Glasgow, my home town, I’ve enjoyed the ‘sense of place’ when thinking back to the Beyond The Law trilogy, and in recent visits to Edinburgh I sensed the presence of Bryce, and several other characters from Czech Mate.

A knowledge of the locations used in stories complements the imagery and to a certain extent, the action. Returning to ‘real’ places after the job is done is a surreal experience and provides a healthy dose of satisfaction—I’d recommend it to fellow authors.

Thank you for indulging me with your time and comments.

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My Independence Day

Being a Scotsman, and not an American, I don’t celebrate 4th July as Independence Day—mine would be Friday, 15th January 2021.

Why?

That was when I first published a book I’d written, edited, formatted, and for which I’d created the paperback cover.

It’s the dream of every writer to hold their work as a physical book in their hands, and for some newbie authors that desire tends to overshadow the need for ensuring a good product. I’m not a big fan of an eBook and a paperback being published at the same time by an indie author. Invariably, there will be minor issues with a book even after reaching publication. I prefer to have the book ‘in my hands’ on my Kindle to read it, yet again, but this time as a reader. When I’m content that I’ve done the job to the best of my ability, I then create the paperback edition.

This might sound simple, however there are some differences that many aspiring authors don’t seem to grasp in their rush to produce both types of book.

What’s the difference with the exterior?

A paperback cover should never simply be an eBook cover ‘stretched’ to fit. The two covers must be treated as different creations. Apart from the front cover and back cover, a paperback has a spine that is measured to take an exact number of physical pages.

There is also a back cover which contains the blurb, and a space must be allocated to allow for the barcode. Options include an author pic (which I don’t use), and excerpts from reviews (which I do use).

What’s the difference with the interior?

In an eBook, the front matter ought to be minimal—title, copyright, dedication, acknowledgments, contents, and prologue. The back matter might have an epilogue, endnotes, author bio, a word from the author, and a list of other titles by the author.

The author must bear in mind that the customer/reader is intent on reading the story as a priority with a Kindle, so anything else is simply supporting material and necessitates flicking through countless screens.

In a paperback, an indie author should think in terms of the industry standard. The front matter will have pages for title, copyright, acknowledgements, dedication, contents, and prologue. I tend to put my author bio and my list of other titles with the front matter, which leaves only any endnotes or ‘a word from the author’ as the back matter.

As with every topic related to indie publishing, it is all by nature a personal choice.

In terms of producing an author’s back catalogue in both eBook and paperback format, I have now (after much effort), produced most of my titles in both formats.

It took me weeks rather than days, but I eventually created a set of four paperback anthologies of my personal short stories. Rather than stay true to single genres, I opted for mixed genre, therefore allowing twenty tales per book.

What are the exceptions to my paperbacks?

I have up until now, not produced my poetry in paperback because they are bespoke collections. I am toying with the idea of creating ‘mixed anthologies’ of poetry, so for example I might end up with a series of books but each will include: Humour, Love and Romance, Natural History, Military Matters, Thrills and Chills, and serial poetry.

I have not, and have no intention of publishing my erotica in paperback. The titles sell well enough but have few public reviews. I believe that this stems from erotica readers enjoying the stories but with the confidence that it is done on an eReader, offering privacy.

We might go public with many things, but there are some aspects of our lives that we all want to keep to ourselves.

Thank you for reading.