Monday, April 23, 2007

Charles Dicken's Satire

I read this bit in Charles Dickens' preface to his 1847 edition of Pickwick Papers:

Lest there be any wellintentioned persons who do not perceive the difference (as some such could not when Old Mortality was newly published) between religion and the cant of religion, piety and their pretence of piety, a humble reverence for the great truths of Scripture and an audacious and offensive obtrusion of its letter and not its spirit in the commonest dissensions and meanest of affairs of life, to the extraordinary confusion of ignorant minds, let them understand that it is always the latter, and never the former, which is satirized here. Further, that the latter is here satirized as being, according to all experience, inconsistent with the former, impossible of union with it, and one of the most evil and mischievous falsehoods existent in society -- whether it establish it head-quarters, for the time being, in Exeter Hall or Ebenezer Chapel or both. It may appear unnecessary to offer a word of observation on so plain a head. But it is never out of season to protest against that coarse familiarity with sacred things which is busy on the lip and idle in the heart, or against the confounding of Christianity with any class of person who, in the words of Swift, have just enough religion to make them hate, and not enough to make them love, one another.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Silent Comix

I've now completed my Silent Comix page.

It started with an idea for teaching my private English students. I penciled some drawings in a comic strip format, but without any captions or dialogue, so my students could look at the pictures and then tell me the story in English. Later, I inked over the pencil drawings, and later sill, scanned them in. I've finally got them formatted for the Internet, and they can be viewed here.

They're good for teaching English, for illiterates, or for those too lazy to plow through a lot of text. I think they're good stories, worthy of any comic book. My favourite is the series on Cornelius the Genius.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Online Publishing

Just to add to my last blog, what I said about Internet publishers deserves more comment.

A few years ago, when I published The Story of St. Catrick, ebook publishers weren't something you could take all that seriously. Especially, what they call subsidy publishers, like the company where I published Catrick.

A subsidy publisher is one where the author pays a fee, and the publisher does just whatever the auther pays them to do. Unless you're absolutely sure that you have something that will sell, that doesn't need editing for grammer and style errors, and you have a budget to pour into marketing, I'd advise going with a publisher that doesn't charge a fee, but is picky as to what they'll publish -- in other words, they more often than not, send you a polite email saying your manuscript doesn't fit into their publishing agenda. When they do accept you, they take a personal interest in whether it sells or not. It doesn't just sit there, like Catrick did.

'More often than not' is a far better ratio than 999,999 times out of a million, which is more like what you get from standard 'New York' publishers. By 'New York', I don't mean they're necessarily situated in that great city, but that they are a standard paper-only publisher that has to print about a thousand copies of their first editions, and therefore must be absolutely sure that your book is going to sell a big enough persentage of that for them to make it profitible. New York has more than its share of those types, and the top ten lists are done from there.

In a few short years, times have changed. More authors are now making a sizable income from books published on-line. Some best sellers are in the ebook cattigory.

A side product of the downloadable book file (in PDF format or whatever) is P.O.D., or Publishing on Demand. Some publishers do it for you, some rely on a third party to do it. The company where I did Catrick also happens to do POD for other publishers, including one that is now deciding on my Pepe manuscript. POD is where they use ultra modern printer-copiers and desk size book binding machines to print only as many books as have been ordered, be it one, ten or 100. They don't have to pay storage cost, and they have less to loose if your book doesn't sell at all.

However, the non-subsidy companys are still picky, because they edit your book for you, they design a cover, and they market it, which still requires an investment on their part. The fact that they are picky also means that the book buyer can be sure that the books listed will be of a standard quality, and not the rants of some half literate crack-pot as they might find in a subsidy list.

As an author, you do, after all, want a market full of confident buyers.

The biggest obstacle you'll probably find is that a publisher is presently closed to submissions. They'll open again when their present pile of manuscripts get low enough to where they feel they can realisticly tell you they'll look at yours within the next six months to a year. They might say on their site when they expect to open.

The length of time that they take to review your manuscript is the other obstacle, but that's also the case with 'New York' publishers.

Anyway, here are some links. This one is for some articles about the state of internet publishing. Here's another one by author Piers Anthony, author of Zanth, with a list of both subsidy and non subsidy publishers. He comments on each one, giving negative views on some, forwarding his readers comments, and tells you which are subsidy publishers.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Blogsite, school, novels, etc.

I suppose it's about time for a new blog entry, even if I don't have anything profound to say that's going to blow the bloggusphere away. If I don't say something, then the next post below, entitled 'new look' is going to look funny on top with such an ancient date stuck on.

Speaking of 'new look', note the picture of me I've posted, which appears near the bottom of the page in the 'about me' section.

At this very moment, I'm sitting in the computer room of the school as I write. My four year old son has started school now. I hope he picks up Thai quickly. This is the best school for him in that it's bi-lingual. He can learn his Thai without forgetting his English.

I'm still trying to publish my novels. At least I have three on the market, which increases my chances of getting one published. I have all of them listed here. Also, I'm going with the internet publishers, which now seem to have a better future than they did before.