Tag Archives: Publishing

Values Count – digital edition available

Imagine the scenario, you’ve seen that I have published a book “Values Count”. You realised that it came out back in February of this year. You would love to read it – but you don’t want to buy it in paperback. Either you live outside the UK or you just love reading books in digital form.

Well, it has been a while coming. But finally, Values Count has been released on Kindle. This doesn’t mean that you must have a Kindle reader to be able to get hold of a copy. There are Kindle apps for your mobile phone, your tablet and even your laptop or desktop.

So… finally, there is no excuse anymore! What are you waiting for – go get yourself a copy. Go on, click here.

If you are waiting for the iBooks copy or for Kobo and a host of other formats, I’m in the middle of working out how to use Smashwords to publish in those formats. There’s a whole new learning curve to climb for that. I’m going to need another month.

Thanks for reading – apologies if this reads like an advert. Normal service resumes in the next post!

Experimental III – adventures in publishing

I want to write about experiments in poetry and poetic form. This isn’t going to be a comprehensive history of experimentation in poetic form. That would be a very long blog post, maybe a book – and not one that I want to write (just yet anyway!)

Instead, this is a personal story about being inspired by the experimental in poetry. I have written before about City Lights Books – and my experience of reading Frank O’Hara’s “Lunch Poems” (yes he did write them on his lunch breaks from working at the Museum of Modern Art in New York) whilst studying my degree. I found his style of writing hugely inspiring. Each poem looked effortless, conversational – and yet, clearly there was more art and craft behind his work than at first appeared. My favourite poem from this collection is called “The Day Lady Died” and is about the death of Billie Holiday. The poem begins with this:

It is 12:20 in New York a Friday
three days after Bastille day, yes
it is 1959 and I go get a shoeshine.

And ends breathtakingly with this:

she whispered a song along the keyboard
…and everyone and I stopped breathing.

Other work by more experimental poets that I found inspiring would include ee cummings, a poet whose work was a huge influence on my early writings. His voice probably echoes in mine as I played with his particular approach to word play and experimentation with type-written words. I also loved the work of John Cage, known more as a composer for works like those I mentioned in the earlier blog post in this series. His writings are fascinating too.

My own experiments in publishing poetry began in the mid 1980s when I was working as a Community Artist. At the time, I was working with groups of adults. This was pre-computer days. Having spent about 10 years trying to find my own voice through experimenting with the styles of poets who I admired, I wrote the first sequence that felt like my own voice was coming through. It was a turning point – 1984 and “sharp blue / breath” appeared. Over the years that followed, I threw away most of the poetry I had written up to that point. It felt immature, practise for what was to come. Once this collection was written I set about turning it into a booklet. The cover was a lino-print with letraset words (remember those sticky letters!)  and the inside was hand written. It was bound with cotton. There was only one copy made – you can see from the photo that I still have it.

Much later, in the late 90s I started buying poetry books and booklets from Peter Riley who was selling new and secondhand books from Cambridge via a mailing list. I came across some wonderful books which were published by Randolph Healey from Wicklow in Ireland. Wild Honey Press is on hold at the moment. The website is still there – Randolph has produced a beautiful collection of booklets. I bought a handful which contained some terrific experimental verse presented in hand-printed booklets which were bound with wool. Wonderful things to own!

My own experiments continued in 2003 when I launched the first iteration of BlueWater Books with two collections of poetry called “zen words” and “Umbrian Images”. These collections were hand-printed booklets produced on an old Canon printer with plain paper inserts and textured paper covers. I spent many happy hours trawling through paper and stationery supply shops looking for papers to use for these booklets. And that was followed by many frustrating hours battling with the printer to get the layout right, avoid paper being chewed up and find seemingly endless supplies of patience to produce 50 copies of each booklet. Was it successful? Depends what you call success – I still have copies left (looking for a good home, if you are interested!) Those that did find readers were well received.

Fast forward more than a decade to 2016 and I decided to re-activate BlueWater Books, this time with the help of the Editor whose name was given to the press, Alice Bluewater. The first book to launch was “It Begins Like This” and the second one came out last month – “Blue: experiments in sound”.

In some ways it is so much easier to publish books these days. Thanks to print on demand and online design anything is possible at minimal cost. The days of authors looking at the ceiling nervously, aware that there are a thousand copies of their book in boxes in the attic – are long gone! But there are still challenges – finding readers, working out how to format and set a book so that the published copy looks the way you want it to. All of this is do-able! A set of new skills to learn or tasks to find someone else to do. The end result is an experiment that has been well worth the patience. Enjoyable? Definitely!

 

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Whilst you are here: have you seen my two books released this year?

Values Count is available from Amazon or directly from my website. It’s a book about values based approaches to work. Essential for anyone who wants to work with a strong sense of purpose.

Blue: Experiments in Sound is my latest collection of poetry with illustrations, the latest stories about Blue, the misanthropic 21st century man in search of a meaning. It is available in a limited edition from my website.

——

Sparks of Metal Hammer

A couple of weeks ago I published my second book of the year. It is called “Blue: Experiments in Sound”.

The first book, “Values Count“, is a non-fiction book about values based working. It is available on this website as well as through Amazon. Sales in the first few months have been steady – it has been fun to learn how to market a book and attract sales. I’ve also had some really positive feedback and reviews, including this:

“This is a very readable and practical book, which has been crafted in the workplace and not from a vantage point far removed. Use of words like inclusivity and humility would never feature on the Apprentice, and that in itself is a good enough reason to read this book…if you think the world needs fewer people chasing pounds and treading on heads to do it, and more people applying values in the work they do, then this book is for you.”

A lovely review from Tom Bell (thanks Tom!)

This new book, a collection of poetry, has been illustrated by Phillip Kingsbury. Thanks to Phillip’s work, the book looks and feels absolutely beautiful. I thought you might like to read a poem from the collection:

Sparks of Metal Hammer

“Diving for pearls”, he said,
“will be the death of me!”
and he chuckled into his beard, old coyote
the bane of the village, bitterly sweet

When there used to be a blacksmith here
you could see the sparks from the metal hammer
iron hot and pliable, steam heating the winter air
open overcoat just keeping the wind out

He didn’t mean literal pearls, of course –
since the curse from that crossroads deal
he had looked for every treasure he could find
mostly in the souls of the travellers

He would take them with him,
ride on horse back until the sky was filled with stars
then let them on their way
he had caught all he needed, their stories of pain.

If you are interested in buying a copy of this book you can order it here.

I’m working through a brilliant online webinar series at the moment. I came across this quote in it:

“All growth exists on the other side of fear”

The process of learning how to publish, sell and market a book is a big learning curve. I’m learning all about it and will post in the next few weeks about my reflections on the journey. It’s been a huge learning – loads to understand and plenty of mistakes to make along the way(!)

What’s He Building in There #4

In the last few weeks I have published “Values Count“, after a long haul figuring out how to produce a paperback book. Some achievement I think, although I am only now emerging from being mauled by the Inner Critic beast (ICB for short) that ran loose for a couple of weeks after the book came out. It was a total surprise this. I expected to feel good about achieving a goal – to publish a book. But instead the ICB shifted the goal post and started monitoring my stats. Each sale I achieved of the book was turned into a target 10 times that by the ICB. I’m not exaggerating when I talk about being mauled. It was a hideous experience. It felt like a scene from a Harry Potter movie running in my head with a monster on the loose. Yes, really! I have read loads of books by Seth Godin and Steven Pressfield about the inner critic and about resistance. Both of them talk about how awful the process can be. I had always thought that they were exaggerating to make a point. I was so so wrong!

Over the last few days I have been reviving the shop feature on this website to enable direct purchase for anyone who doesn’t want to use Amazon. It took some doing as the function that I set up a few years ago was no longer working on mobile platforms (phones and tablets) so I had to completely replace it with a new shop function. It is working now – needs a bit of refining but I am really pleased with how this looks as it enables me to post things directly. It’s the next step from blogging to direct publishing.

I am in the throes of making available the other digital publications that are on the site through the shop so that they are easier to find. That should take a week or so.

In other publishing news (as they say on the radio!) I am reaching the final stages of producing the limited edition of “Blue: experiments in sound” which is illustrated by Phillip Kingsbury of Wooden Spoon Press. This will be an illustrated poetry collection including all of the poems from the 2016 Blue poetry sequence. I’m thinking that the book will also include a CD version of the sound pieces which I made to accompany this collection. It should be ready within a few short weeks.

Then at the end of the month I have time set aside for another Writing Marathon. Lots of you were interested in the last one of these that I did and enjoyed me blogging as I progressed. So, I will live blog this exercise again. At the moment I have three book ideas to work on. I just need to decide which one to focus on. That might require the toss of a coin!

 

What do Innocent Drinks, Ben & Jerry’s and Robin Williams have in common?

Yes, today is launch day. I’ve broken all of the rules. Apparently, the idea is to get ready for book launch – prepare all your social media, have pre-release copies ready to share with people to get reviews on Amazon. Did I do any of that? No, it took so long to get to this point that I just pressed publish and the book is live on Amazon right now. Strangely, Amazon has decided that the book was published back in September 2016. OK, confession time – that would be my mistake as I forgot to change the publication date and now it is fixed and unchangeable. Oh well!

Here we are then, February 2017 and the book that I finished the first draft of in September 2015 during the Writing Marathon which I described here in the blog, is finally published. Since that first draft I have gone through a lot of redrafting, layout and basic design work. I taught myself how to make a book cover which was not as easy as I thought it would be. Then I have gone through the process of learning how to self-publish through CreateSpace. A few months ago I almost gave up as I hit the wall on pagination and page numbering problems. For a few weeks I had “ghost pages” that couldn’t be seen but were there in the number count. Very strange! After a few weeks of rehabilitation and a huge amount of support and badgering (thanks Su!) the book finally made it to the finishing line.

And that is where I am today. Wondering why I didn’t think about a marketing campaign before now. That process needs developing over the coming weeks. In the meantime, if you are interested, here is the description of the book from the back cover:

The world is falling apart, governments are losing control of their economies and of their tax levying powers. With this backdrop, Stuart Eglin sets out to describe how values based working can act as an antidote to the problems we face. Beginning with his own experience and setting out a range of practical approaches that can be taken to develop a values base, Stuart also looks at large-scale examples of values based approaches and identifies some of the challenges that are faced by corporations. This is a practical book which shows how to develop a values based framework…

Here is the link to find it on Amazon. It should be appearing as a Kindle book in the next few days too. (Another formatting process to learn!)

Oh, and finally, if you would like to leave a review on Amazon that would be absolutely brilliant.

What do Innocent Drinks, Ben & Jerry’s and Robin Williams have in common? Well, the answer is in the book of course. It’s all to do with taking values base approaches to the way that we work.

You can also buy the book directly from this website here. Here ends the shameful piece of self-promotion. Thank you for reading.

Note to Self #2

butterflyIt has been a while since I wrote a note to self on the blog.

Earlier this afternoon, I was drawn to look at the manuscript of the novel which I have written. By “drawn to look” I mean that I found myself reading through it as a beautiful distraction for what I should have been doing. You could call it procrastination if you were feeling cruel, but I am not feeling cruel so I call it divergent creativity.

The novel is called “the butterfly principle” and it took years and years to write. I think I began it around 1996 (yes, 20 years ago) and I wrote perhaps half of it over a short period when I was full of ideas and inspiration. Then I froze with it, stuck for where to go next. Waiting for inspiration to come as to where to take the characters next. And the characters have been around in my life in various guises for some time now. The main character, Alice, began life in the novel and then took on a greater shape in my doctoral thesis where she was one of the archetypal characters which I used for experimentation. After that, she also became the lead character in a sequence of poems called “the alice conversations” which I wrote in 2004. She also appears in other more recent poems. Other characters have drifted in and out of things that I have written too.

Then in 2009 I picked the manuscript up again and finished it off. It was done!

Here I am at the end of 2016 wondering where to go with it now. I read the ending to see where it went to. I love it. And I am far enough  away from the writing of it now to see it as though it is not mine.

Note to self – what do I do with it now. It has been sitting on a computer hard drive (oh, and on google drive too of course) for 7 years. Is it time to share it in some form? If you are reading this blog post and have any courageous ideas for me please leave a comment or send me an email. I just need a little push!

(November Challenge 17/31)

Update: apparently you are never too old to release your first album

On Friday I publicised the release of an album through Bandcamp. It comprised 15 tracks, using spoken word and music. The words come from “Blue: experiments in sound” which is the fourth poetry sequence about a misanthropic, lone-wolf character called Blue. I will be releasing this as a book in the next few months. In the meantime, last week saw the album in digital form.

I was really surprised by the reaction through social media over the weekend. There was plenty of attention, 115 listens on Bandcamp already – which is probably 100 more than I thought there would be, and some really lovely emails from people who enjoyed what they heard.

So, it’s probably never too late to try something out!

The challenge isn’t learning how to do things, or coming up with ideas, it’s overcoming that inner critic that chunners away in the background telling us that what we have done isn’t worth sharing! That’s why it has taken me since last summer to press the publish button and get this material up online.

Was it worth it? Yes, the objective has been met – something shared with the world (or a little piece of the world), and sharing things creates the space to move on to the next project.

What Colour is 2016?

Can a year be a specific colour? Is this some sort of synaesthetic experiment?

Well, not exactly. I have written several posts about BlueWater Books and also about the new creative project “Blue: experiments in sound”. So, the nearest I get to a resolution for the new year is to say that this is the year when these two things come to fruition.

I am at the late stages of editing “Believing in what we do” which was the book I wrote the first draft of last August when I did a weekend writing marathon. It’s a book about the importance of values based working. It traces my own journey in developing a values-based approach and looks at other approaches. There are also descriptions of techniques that can be used to develop a values-based approach. I’m at the stage now of looking at layout and best platform to publish on (ideas always welcome). As part of this, I have been extensively researching self-publishing through books and online courses. Udemy is a particularly good site for short courses using video and PDF.

When this book goes live that will be the launch of BlueWater Books which has been dormant for at least 10 years now.

The other project – Blue: Experiments in Sound – which will also appear through the same channel is the creative project. It is a writing and sound project. I have almost completed the album comprising 15 tracks and have a short book of poetry to accompany it. This will be another instalment in the long running series of books about a character called Blue. I am thinking of producing different editions of this project. The basic edition will be an mp3 album and PDF, the deluxe edition will be a CD with a booklet. I am also wondering whether to produce a limited edition with the CD and booklet plus short run editions of the previous 3 booklets about the same character.

I will let you know when this venture goes live.

So, if you ask me what colour is 2016, I would have to say it will definitely be blue: and a bold and brave blue at that!

City Lights San Francisco

city LightsThe quietness on this blog can be explained by the fact that I got married and went on a honeymoon with my wife June. We toured through the USA. Lots of memorable things from the holiday, but one of particular note was the time we spent in San Francisco.

Whilst there I completed a pilgrimage that has taken 35 years to complete. When I was a student in Liverpool studying a degree in English Literature and Philosophy all that time ago, I studied a module on the Beat writers. We looked at some wonderful writers some of whom have had a big influence on the voice which I developed as I matured as a writer. In particular, I loved the books I bought by Frank O’Hara and Allen Ginsberg. Two books I bought at the time – ‘Lunch Poems’ by O’Hara and ‘Howl and other poems’ by Ginsberg have had a place on my bookshelf ever since. They were published in the Pocket Poets series from a bookshop called the City Lights in San Francisco.

I was really excited when I looked it up and found that the bookshop is still in existence. In fact, it is thriving. We went to take a look. Where else can you go and find an independent bookshop that is open from 10.0 am to midnight every day, has a whole floor dedicated to poetry, and still has a vibrant publishing house producing poetry and radical free thinking books.

And the bit of the story which really captured my imagination was the fact that the bookshop’s founder, poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, is still involved with the shop. He is now 96 years old and still active in the poetry scene. What an inspiration.

Was I impressed? Yes, it was an amazing place. I bought some books – and then rambled in a crazed voice to the shop assistant, telling her the story of my 35 year wait to visit the shop.

The range of books in stock was incredible – I don’t think I have seen such a diverse mix of poetry anywhere else. Result – my faith restored in the world of bookshops and publishers. And some ideas linger that may just have inspired me!

Oh, and a few more books to add to the pile of books to be read.

BlueWater Books – reborn

If you have been reading this blog for a while you may already know that I set up a press about 10 years ago and produced a couple of booklets by hand with a small print run of 100 copies (see here for a bit more on this). I have always intended to return to this and produce new books. The project is now gathering enough momentum that I wanted to write about it and let you know what is coming.

Thanks to many of the techniques I have been learning over the last couple of years, I have found ways to generate creative ideas at a great pace. As a result I have many book ideas on the go at once (umm, 15 at the last count).

The plan in BlueWater Books is to produce a combination of paperback books, hand printed books and online books plus a CD and associated MP3 downloads. The medium will be dictated by the content. Thus, poetry is probably best shared as high quality books, possibly with illustrations or photos where appropriate. Whereas non-fiction prose books can be either paperback or online.

I have been experimenting with logos – not there yet, but here is an early example:

IMG_0437

 

And the publication schedule is coming together. There will be poetry books of course, as I am first and foremost a poet. I intend to publish the 20 collections of poetry I have written over the years in the coming months. Online versions of some of these PDFs have had downloads of over 1000 copies which I find staggering given the limited interest these days in poetry. (Although so many people seem to forget that poetry is in their lives every day in the form of song lyrics).

There will then also be a series of books developed from the ideas I share on this blog. I will make announcements as and when they are ready. Experience tells me that if I tell you now what books are coming that will create resistance to completing and the work will founder. But as a hint – there will be books building on some of the series of posts I have been writing lately.

I wrote a few months back about Chris Guillebeau’s ideas on developing a Pursuit or big challenge. I have set myself the challenge of producing at least 30 books in 6 years. Given the amount of material I have sitting on the shelf at home waiting to be shared that shouldn’t be difficult.

It’s an old cliché to say “watch this space” so I will resist doing that (whoops, just did it!) There will be updates in the weeks to come as I move on with this work. A form of Working out Loud if you like…

Another challenge associated with this at the moment is figuring out how to make this website work for me as a place to launch the publishing venture. The site is mainly a blog at the moment. I am really not sure how to make the site do more than one thing. If you are able to help me to figure that one out I would really appreciate any advice you can offer by getting in touch.