In My Wildest Dreams: Adventures in Children's Fiction

If you fiddle Rome will burn.

The thing about creating any piece of work is knowing when to stop and let it go. ebooks allow for any amount of post-publication fiddling and revision. Letting the work go has to be a matter of self-discipline, self-belief and an acknowledgment that it was how you saw things at the time. After the event if you see the world differently, then create something else that reflects that. Let's not be lazy.

When I came to think about the ebook of Badgerman & Bogwitch, I initially saw it as an opportunity to update it, if not significantly revise it. I fiddled around with dates and updated the book to reflect the changes in technology in the twenty years since I began to write it. But in the end what I realised was that making it more contemporary added nothing to the power of the story, so after a few months fiddling and reformatting, I went back to the original text. I am happy with that. It helped me focus on  my new projects.

At the  end of the day the electrification of Badgerman & Bogwitch was a technical exercise. I learned a lot on the way about the new format. I am still learning how to manage the book once it is on line. I have dipped in and out of publication on Amazon - I have deleted my own book from the list - and made it available as a free download on my website. I am about to distribute it more widely for free through Smashwords.

Having said all, this I have revised the cover.

I have returned to my favourite colour: blue.

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'I thought you were dead...,' he said.

A way back a child expressed surprise on seeing me. "I thought you were dead," he said.

"Why did you think that?" I asked.

"Because all authors are dead," he said.

Certainly not dead, but I have been out of print for a while, obtainable only through Abe Books or Amazon, sourcing my novels from secondhand dealers in Australia, Japan, the UK or wherever my books have ended up. They have been thinly spread across the globe; a small miracle in itself.

But now? Badgerman & Bogwitch has a wider distribution. Having wrestled with the old WordPerfect files until I put it back in shape, I uploaded it to Amazon today as an ebook.

It was a painless procedure. It went without a hitch, except that I wanted to price the book at £1.99 in the UK, but it ended up showing as £2.00, which to my mind seems somewhat more expensive. (If you decide to download it, please don't email me asking for change.)

I am left with one question? How long will this book be in eprint? It could be 1000 years. No one seems to know the answer. I am not inclined to delete it.


I used to love WordPerfect, but is it the Betamax of word processors?

I have spent a large portion of the day trying to correct formatting issues with the ebook version of Badgerman & Bogwitch. The problem has arisen because I imported the original 1992 WordPerfect file into MSWord, then imported it into Scrivener so I could export it as an Amazon .mobi file format. I have been left with a number of unwanted indents and hard return paragraph anomalies.

I have been going through the Scrivener document line by line, adding and deleting hard returns as necessary. It has driven me slightly mad.

There is no problem with formatting for ebooks if you write straight into Scrivener, as I have been doing for the past three years.

WordPerfect has turned out to be the Betamax of Word processors! :(

ebooks: lazy ways & easy money - why proofreading matters

Have you ever read an ebook on Kindle that doesn't have some formatting problems: spacing errors, randomly indented paragraphs, typos? I haven't.

I am not just talking about the free out of copyright classics, but recently published novels like David Guterson's Ed King, (Bloomsbury pub.) which I am enjoying. Fortunately I bought it on the Kindle Deal of the Day promotion for £0.99. At the current price of £5.00 I'd feel less charitable about the formatting errors (of course it could be a problem with my particular Kindle Keyboard 3, bought in 2011.) You wouldn't accept a printed book in this condition, so why do we have to put up with imperfect ebooks?

Formatting an ebook is not an easy option, as I am finding with Badgerman & Bogwitch. It is straightforward to convert the file from a Scrivener document. It took less than thirty seconds. It is only when you look closely at the .mobi (Kindle format) or epub file that you come across formatting errors, that have to be painstakingly corrected by going back to the original word processor file. And much of this seems to be trial and error - it could take days!

If you publish an ebook you owe it to your readers to get it right.