‘Gnaw’ is Published

'Gnaw' by Jennifer Brady

It’s the weirdest feeling. My first ever ebook is published. It is now FOR SALE. Pre-ordered copies have been delivered to peoples’ devices like Christmas morning, a surprise in the dgital ‘stocking’ (I hope!) for the adult-child within.

It’s the weirdest feeling. My first ever ebook is published. It is now FOR SALE. Pre-ordered copies have been delivered to peoples’ devices like Christmas morning, a surprise in the dgital ‘stocking’ (I hope!) for the adult-child within. Thank you those who pre-ordered because it completes my test phase 1. What a dull morning it would be without a purchaser. I am in-fact writing this post listening to Handel’s Messiah to celebrate before the house awakes. Handel takes the place of the champagne I will not have, the launch I will not party to, the speech I will not make because like most things with self-publishing (and digital), projects notoriously iterative and endless and lacking in glory except for the secretive little triumphs that mean nothing to the outside world. Oh well! The gains are so much more than donning party frock and the nature of the beast means that I am posting to the universe of binary, fitting, yes, fitting indeed.

screen grab of publication notification from Amazon

You could argue that every book should have a distribution ‘health plan’ and for certain books (digi-first, fan fiction, erotica, romance and singles) enrolling them in KDP Select first is a must to take advantage of promotions and countdown deals will give them critical visibility

I did it myself. Completely. Not just because I’m a writer and writers should be innovating here, but because I hate blindspots in a work process. This was a blindspot in my day-to-day job. Publishers are not individuals, they are ‘bodies’ and bodies don’t necessarily make tailored plans for every ‘limb’ (metaphor awful, apologies) or book that may not necessarily suit democratic distribution (ie iTunes, Nook etc). Amazon KDP Select which Gnaw is enrolled in, like many self-pubs, is very much an individual approach to a person (or publisher) who wants to preen and grow their book, learn data and analytics and then tailor the book’s distribution journey. Seems like a logical place to start for me. Like it or not we live in a culture where ‘the people decide’, say what you like but Amazon account for c. 90% of books sales for publishers (article ref to come) and to NOT know every twist and turn of this sales channel is remiss for any publishing person and this is where self-pubs lead the way. They are not supported by print income and need to get creative here, a mentality larger publishing houses could develop and innovate with too. You could argue that every book should have a distribution ‘health plan’ and for certain books (digi-first, fan fiction, erotica, romance and singles) enrolling them in KDP Select first is a must to take advantage of promotions and countdown deals will give them critical visibility and more importantly feedback for a tentative publisher trying to learn the world of digi distribution which is a very different and GLOBAL one to the print one. For Gnaw, a very Indie literary affair, there’s no real advantage for me to distribute elsewhere yet. I have 90 more days in KDP Select to figure out what next, but in the meantime, while my book is selling millions (!) I’m listening to the Amen Chorus about to start the day’s work and I’m happy with that.

Epigraph of Gnaw taken fromThe Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1, 1931–1934 ‘The symptoms of hibernating are easily detectable: first, restlessness. The second … absence of pleasure. That is all. It appears like an innocuous illness. Monotony, boredom, death. Millions live like this (or die like this) without knowing it. They work in offices. They drive a car. They picnic with their families. They raise children. And then some shock treatment takes place, a person, a book, a song, and it awakens them and saves them from death.’  Many thanks to Ron Hussey, the Anaïs Nin Estate and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company,


Many thanks to Ron Hussey, the Anaïs Nin Estate and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company for permission to use Nin’s quote as epigraph for ‘Gnaw’. 

Buy Gnaw here for US and here for .co.uk realm. See Jen’s Amazon Author Page .You can get the synopsis, or what is called ‘Product Description’ here. Spread the word.  Note the very lovely permission from Anaïs Nin estate to use the quote for the Gnaw epigraph. That made my day some weeks back. Epigraph of Gnaw taken from The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1, 1931–1934

‘The symptoms of hibernating are easily detectable: first, restlessness. The second … absence of pleasure. That is all. It appears like an innocuous illness. Monotony, boredom, death. Millions live like this (or die like this) without knowing it. They work in offices. They drive a car. They picnic with their families. They raise children. And then some shock treatment takes place, a person, a book, a song, and it awakens them and saves them from death.’

…The One-eyed Man is King

Janet Cameron’s intriguing whirlwind of notes. Note the slashes to indicate the incidence of the repetition of words like are not unlike the marks a prisoner might make on the wall of a cell. Note also the shortcuts to the action. These historic notes go with the prize.

Janet Cameron’s intriguing whirlwind study notes on ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Note the slashes to indicate the incidence of repetition are not unlike the marks a prisoner might make on the wall of a cell. Note also the shortcuts to the action. These historic notes go with the prize.

Normally I’ve to work hard for my rewards so you can imagine my pleasant surprise when I turned up at the Central Hotel in Dublin on Friday night and was presented out of the blue with a prize. The presentation was given by a small group of writers consisting of 1) Hennessy Short Story finalist and crime-writer Colm O’Shea 2) Eye-surgeon and writer Ian Flitcroft the creator of the thoroughly enjoyable ‘The Reluctant Cannibals’. 3) Novelist Janet Cameron of ‘Cinnamon Toast And The End of The World’ fame, blog writer with the gift of the gab and a scathing sense of humor. It was Janet who presented me with the prize, the prize being a copy ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’.

A new take on the perpetual trophy? One copy of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ up for grabs, the next winner will be the third owner.

A new take on the perpetual trophy? One copy of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ up for grabs, the next winner will be the third owner.

Now, I’m no literary snob but I did read an extract of this title in the national newspaper a while back and made a decision that I wouldn’t prioritize it as a read. Not that I’m against erotic fiction. I admire the intense prose of Anaïs Nin for example and the sexual tension in Nabokov’s Volshebnik (‘The Enchanter’), is a gem read. But if the writing slips, the content becomes porn and that tires quickly. But, the tongue-in-cheek backlash (‘scuse the pun) against EL James from the educated classes bothers me too. ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ is a benchmark book, it’s a positive example of self-publishing, it’s a digital-first title only going to print when earned its stripes as online bestseller proving that publishing globally online is a very different thing to the traditional gatekeeper type-publishing with its neat print runs. I commend this title if only for shattering some obstructive legacy thinking. But I really did not want to buy it. Or borrow it from the library, or have it on my ereader or what not.  Nor did I want to put it on the  ‘to be read’ list in the Goodreads list alongside Munro and Franzen. The lurking snobbery of that bothered me.

All four of us in of the Central Hotel crew had reasons for not reading it but our reasons were dubious. Mine, apart from snobbishness, was that I might find myself crippled with writers’ block jealousy that I hadn’t written it first. Ian Flitcroft was the most open-minded saying that at least it opened up reading ‘at all’ to a group of people who ordinarily wouldn’t go near a book. Colm O’Shea, to be fair, confessed it wasn’t his genre at all, but perhaps if it were more gritty with a bit of murder thrown in? Maybe. The book bothered Janet too. Here we were, bitching about something we hadn’t read, it felt that the time had come to read the thing. So being excellent delegators and knowing that time is precious, much like a study group, we nominated one person to read for all and report back. Janet Cameron was nominated as reader for all. She would keep us updated via her blog and ‘just for fun’ she decided also to throw in 50 pages of ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ and 50 pages of a lesbian biker novel called ‘Satan’s Best’ so we could get a balance on ‘pure trash, great literature and middle-brow trash, all concerning sex.’ What emerged was a very concise report that will not only make you laugh but is clearly a solid draft for the “For Dummies – Fifty Shades of Grey’.

Ian Flitcroft’s culinary obsessive ‘The Reluctant Cannibals’ is a treat to read. The writing is meticulously researched, the passion of subject is irresistible and touch of the macabre gives it a unique fleshy edge.

Ian Flitcroft’s culinary obsessive ‘The Reluctant Cannibals’ is a treat to read. The writing is meticulously researched, the passion of subject is irresistible and touch of the macabre gives it a unique fleshy edge.

An advantage of Cameron’s report is that she wades through the surplus flesh (sorry!) and points out the pages where serious action occurs. You don’t even have to bother with the thin plot if needs be. When the going gets tough, Cameron casts Ana as Cillian Murphy, which sort of helps keep it interesting. Cameron spotted a failing of imagination in the book as follows: Despite all the spanking and follow up penetrative sex, Grey’s order for Ana (aka Cillian Murphy) to be ‘on first name terms’ with his ‘considerable length’ is never fully realized. A star without a name? So Janet opened up a competition. The challenge was to name Grey’s favorite body part. The winner would get a ‘used’ copy of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey.’ Naturally I rushed to enter the competition. The naming of the part (or parts – for they are, to my holistic mind, inseparable) fired up my imagination but more importantly IF I won it would solve the snobbish dilemma re how to have the book without buying or borrowing it. I confess when presented with the prize publicly I did blush and ask for a bag to take it home in, concerned that I might encourage unwanted chat with some drunken langer on the last bus. As to what Grey’s dong and associated parts are now called? Go to Janet Cameron’s website Part III to find out! Spot the dearth of imagination. Could it be that I was the only one who entered? So it seems, as they say, in the land of the blind…

To spread the love I now open the competition to find a new name for the ‘member’ he (or she) who wins gets the printed book posted or even better presented to them in public, only after I’ve read the interesting parts