Publish with Kindle, NOOK and iBooks

Amazon KindleApple iBooksNOOK by Barnes and NobleIn addition to your traditional publisher, it’s important to get your book out there as widely as possible. Why not take advantage of all three major ebook formats? These companies are in competition, so will push your title harder for knowing customers can acquire the title elsewhere.

To get started, in no particular order:

  1. Visit Amazon’s Kindle at Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).
  2. To publish on Apple’s iBook, go to iBook Author.
  3. Barnes and Noble’s nook (or styled NOOK) can be found at NOOK Press.

Ironically, the largest company (Apple) has the least market share of books at this point, but for how long? Most likely this occurred because Apple’s main focus has been music through iTunes, while Amazon and Barnes and Noble got into the ebook market early.  Amazon’s Kindle, of course, remains the biggest player in devices.

Finally, each company uses slightly different formats for its ebook, but the process is much more streamlined today. Why consider your book done until the ‘big three’ ebooks are available?

Check ’em out!

Trio 1 publishing on November 5, 2015 (Stories 1-3)

The Man in the Gray Tie and Other Crimes (cover)I can now confirm that the first three stories of Rising Apes, Falling Angels will publish on November 5, 2015. They will form a standalone trio (Trio 1) called The Man in the Gray Tie and Other Crimes.

Each story focuses on a particular theme: fraud in “The Man in Gray Tie,” consent in “(He) Said, (She) Said” and plagiarism in “The Last Page of Friendship.” Well, plus a little cheating, lust and murder!

The Man in the Gray Tie and Other Crimes will be available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com (in Kindle, nook and iBook formats).

Roll on November 5, 2015!

Videos live on YouTube (Stories 1-3)

Parkgate Press You Tube ChannelThe videos for Stories 1-3 are now live on YouTube. All three are viewable here on the Parkgate Press YouTube Channel. They are narrated by my slightly mad brother, Frankie. He’s even created his own corner for reviewing my stories, and called it, well, Frankie’s Corner.

Each video corresponds to the story from The Man in the Gray Tie and Other Crimes, with a tag line that reflects that story’s theme. For example, Video 1 is titled “Have You Ever Gambled and Won Something You Couldn’t Afford?” since Story 1, “The Man in Gray Tie,” is about a man who fraudulently pushes the prices up at auctions. He gets what he deserves, but not before he wins something he couldn’t pay for….

Video 2 is titled “Have You Ever Crossed a Line of Decency You Shouldn’t Have?” and reflects the theme of consent in Story 2, “(He) Said, (She) Said.” It’s a story about consent, set on a London college campus close to Tottenham Court Road. Do you believe what he said, or she said? Who drank too much, but who slipped away in the morning?

Finally, Video 3 is titled “Would You Go Into Business With Your Best Friend?” and reflects the theme of plagiarism in “The Last Page of Friendship.” Two Seattle women want to write the Great American Short Story. Have they got what it takes? Who is prepared to go further than her best frenemy?

Should I Write in British or American English?

British and American EnglishIt’s not an easy decision: which version of English to use (and lose)? George Bernard Shaw famously referenced Britain and America as “divided by a common language.” The question is where to put the stress, on ‘common’ or ‘divided?’ Ultimately for consistency, a choice is needed.

This would be easy if readers contained their reading habits within national boundariesnot so today. I struggled with this decision while writing my first two novels, The Knight of New Orleans and The Murderess and the Hangman. To avoid any compromise, I actually produced two versions, one with British English and one with American. I now see this as impractical. What do do in the future?

I was born and brought up in England, but left for the US twelve years ago at the age of twenty-six, so I feel pretty healthily split between the two ‘languages,’ healthy enough to feel that my decision isn’t rejecting one side of the Atlantic. Yes, British chums, I’ve decided to write entirely in US English for The Man in the Gray Tie and Other Crimes onward, namely for all my short stories. Plus for my novel American Con Artist.

The reason? First, I live in America, and second, most of my readers by consequence know me as based in America. That’s pretty much the top and bottom of it. Approximately half my stories are set in America, half in Britain, and I will always return to both countries in person and in my fiction. My first novel was set in New Orleans, but also took place in New York, London and Paris; my second novel was set mostly in London, but my third will be split between the US and the island of Ibiza. So arguably I retain a European-American balancing act in terms of location.  But I had to make a decision about the language, and while I’m not at all comfortable leaving British English behind in my fiction, it’s an exciting challenge to write in American English correctly.

At the same time, I cannot help but use British-isms as they get called here: the phrases, the lingo, the slang, and the sayings will always be with me. So this is the compromise: while I write technically in US English, I think and express the style of my writing in both British and American English. I just can’t help the British voice sneaking in, even while I focus on the American precision at the same time. While one loses the ancient idiosyncrasies of British Englisha strange kind of comfortone gains the precision and directness of American English.

My advice to writers is to make a choice, and write solely in that kind of English, and there are countless versions of English around the world. You will end up with the regional and local inflections of your writing voice, reflected in the voices of your characters. One rule that hasn’t changed is that characters and their backgrounds are more important than the pedantry of linguistic accuracy: there is no absolute 100% accurate version of English. It remains an evolving beast, a living animal at any point in time. So embrace the multiplicity of English! Try and unify your chosen ‘normalized’ version to within one national boundary, for the sake of consistency alone, but don’t expect your readers to see your style as anything but multiple. How else would you be an individual writer?

Happy deliberating over local, regional and national languages(s). The question never quite goes away!

New website…www.mattfullerty.com

Historical and Crime Fiction

At last, I have revamped my website. It’s officially relaunching today, with all new bells and whistles.

The most exciting new development is the videos section. Currently there are four videos available, with five to follow. Together they will make the nine videos to accompany the nine stories in Rising Apes, Falling Angels, my first collection of stories. The videos are narrated by my brother Frankie from London.

There’s now a section where you can contact me. Often people don’t want to switch over to their email: hence the message form. I get the message delivered directly to my email. As they say in America, write me.

Otherwise, the website has lots more information about my two novels, The Knight of New Orleans and The Murderess and the Hangman. There’s also a section (under Future Works) about my upcoming new novel, American Con Artist, about the painter, forger and illegal immigrant on the run, Elmyr de Hory. Go track him down.

Thanks for visiting www.mattfullerty.com.

Meet Frankie…my brother…the video narrator

frankie1.2Meet my brother Frankie! He’s done me some really big favors in my life, not least agreeing to read my stories (after much cajoling on my part, and the agreement I’d buy him an all-expenses paid trip to America). Watch this space, Frankie!

Frankie is a video commentator on my stories, which he delivers with astute honesty, sometimes a little too much honesty. I value his opinion, even if it’s negative and cynical. The boy speaks from the heart. If he doesn’t like a story he doesn’t just say so, he tells you why. Now that’s feedback.

So far, Frankie has appeared in four videos for Rising Apes, Falling Angels, my first collection of nine stories. No doubt he’ll also appear in the remaining five videos.

Voila Frankie’s videos and links to the associated stories:

Trio 1, The Man in the Gray Tie and Other Crimes:

Trio 2, A Slice of the Adirondacks and Other Capers:

Trio 3, Driving the Bully Home and Other Dreams:

Drafting…the door closed and the door open

Drafts...the door open and the door closedIt’s only recently that my drafting process has reached a steady state. I used to not think about drafts at all, or re-draft continually (even worse). I now realize that Stephen King (yes, that Stephen King) has the two best approaches to the drafting process. The man knows.

If you’ve read King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, you’ll know the following. There’s no better book about writing: it’s concise, entertaining, and the advice clearly works. Note to self: read it again. The second half is equally gripping, detailing the story of King’s comeback from being badly injured after being hit by a truck, his personal road to recovery and, of course, back to writing.

The first idea is King’s notion of “two drafts and a polish.”  I was surprised to discover that after experimenting with various approaches, I’ve ended up in the same place. All my stories and novels pretty much go through two drafts and a polish. The first draft is to get the story out, the skeleton, to get from beginning to end, preferably through the middle. The idea is therethe “situation” (another King-ism)and surrounded by the other most important elements, the characters, the setting, and the story. On the second draft, you tighten and expand, but you are also daring: throw out whole sections, or add new scenes. The (reread and) polish is just what it suggests: the rough edges smoothed out, words cut, transitions improved, and the mechanics double-checked.

In conjunction with “two drafts and a polish,” the second idea is to write with the door first closed, then opened. The door is not literally closed (but it helps). This is also King’s idea: to write with the door figuratively closed is to seal yourself off from the world. The story is entirely yours, with no input. No one is looking over your shoulder. No readers. Just you and the page. The writer’s paradise and nightmare in one…. But then, after you have the first draft, you let the world in. In other words, you find a reader, you seek advice (always a revelation), and you listen to the feedback.

I actually do something more developed, but essentially the same. I allow feedback during a first draftI open the door early. This means I get to test out my idea, ideally strengthen it, before a first draft is complete. It can sometimes create a better idea.

For example, I was stuck with how to continue my story “A Slice of the Adirondacks,” set in the vast Adirondack State Park in upstate New York. My wife is from Ithaca, New York and has visited the Adirondacks her whole life. So I sought early advice while writing the first draft.

A Slice of the Adirondacks” is a story about neighbors and the threat of abduction. Some kids go missing and a creepy old man who swims the lake each morning is implicated. But what really happened? Getting a sense of the geography of the area helped me to finish the story. I needed to know what would happen to Walter (the old man) and Chester (the boy) at the end.

The moral: arguably, drafting involves adapting writing rules. Yes, even those of Stephen King’s. But I still do two drafts and a polish, as Mr. King advises.

What have you guys learned about drafting? First and second drafts? Polishing? What about the writing advice during the ‘door open’ moment? Does that invariably improve the story, or over-challenge the original idea?