‘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.’

Best Fiction and Writing Blogs

I’ve reached a milestone! This blogger M.C. Tuggle whose site is solid and excellent has curated me onto a list of resources to help people become literary superstars!

Blogger M.C. Tuggle whose site is solid and excellent has curated me onto a list of resources to help people become literary superstars.

Blogger M.C. Tuggle whose site is solid and excellent has curated me onto a list of resources to help people become literary superstars.

Deeply chuffed and yet I can measure up to the task too, there is  no vanity there. I am like the lady at the beginning of Fame from the 80’s saying ‘You gotta pay, in sweat’.

The best thing? The list is great, check out Cindy Harris 8 tips for editing a manuscripts and Nihar Pradhan’s lovely scientific take on writing, which I find oddly comforting.

Best Fiction and Writing Blogs.

Indie Publishing —The Entropy Is All Yours

You wince reading your own work in print, or sometimes you are happily remote to it. Either way you created it and there’s something right about having the autonomy to take control of your content if you trust yourself to be your own foil and if you don't? Then welcome to publishing.

You wince reading your own work in print, or sometimes you are happily remote to it. Either way you created it and there’s something right about having the autonomy to take control of your content if you trust yourself to be your own foil and if you don’t? Then welcome to publishing.

Happy to be announcing official kick-off of self-publishing experiment Project Gnaw. First observation: Organising a publication solo is tumbleweed territory. There’s no noise, meetings, procedures, discussions, fanfare or pondering over author imagination, like, how proactive will this author be online? What ideas do they have around repurposing? What territories have they or their agent agreed rights for? So as author, publisher, editor and producer the entropy is all mine. As is the conversation, which goes something like…

‘Jen, get the print version off the shelf there, give it a re-read for errors and repurposing.’

‘Sure Jen, what’s Jen’s deadline?’

‘Today Jen, today.’

‘Okay Jen, let Jen confer with Jen — Jen, can Jen do the work on this today?’

‘Jen, Jen is the author today, therefore not advisable that Jen does the edit, Jen?’

‘Jen?’

‘Yep?’

‘What would Jen do if Jen was not Jen?’

‘But Jen is Jen is Jen and Jen…’

And so it goes. Actually, I feel like one of my own creations from an earlier post. Circular, self-referential, internal. This is way to insular for my liking. No wonder there’s a load of bad self-published work out there. Without a foil how do you accurately curate the bats inner monologue when it comes to publishing your own work? So the first decision is not difficult. Open the door; expose the work to industry peers. Makes sense. What’s a publisher for if not to stress-test the work itself? The worst thing I could do to myself is to bypass some key processes.

The dusty shelf of repurposing, where all e-book legacy projects start. 'Gnaw' lies dormant in good company inside 'Southword Vol 5'.

The dusty shelf of repurposing, where all e-book legacy projects start. ‘Gnaw’ lies dormant but in good company inside ‘Southword Vol 5’.

As David Marcus, Pat Cotter and the Munster Literature Centre have already vetted this work I like to think the literary part is sound. But the repurposing of a legacy title is never just a facsimile. It needs updating, it needs to be made suitable for a global audience if possible, or reworked. So with the publisher hat on, and bearing in mind self-publishing is a bit of a cottage industry, I’m asking some people I respect to give me their take on this piece of work via their proven skills. Over the next few posts I’ll be showcasing some extraordinary people, not just in publishing but in the design world and other industries and giving reasons why I have chosen them to be the best foils to prevent my Indie pub house from becoming a vanity pub house. First up: Screenwriter/writer Ferdia MacAnna.

Several years ago, aware that as a literary writer with a focus on words I may have blind spots when it comes to plot, turning point, dialogue, character arcs and other important  basics of storytelling. To brush up on this I attended one of MacAnna’s screenwriting courses, advisable for anyone writing anything ‘story’ based to my mind. Exposure to a wider landscape and having the scrutiny of one who is a dealer in ‘story’ means an all-rounder mind, ideal reader for this project. I want my story to appeal to the person who reads all sorts, not just literary fiction. Plus his rate is reasonable. I asked him to flag the tropes, or the missing tropes from a plot POV, flag what sticks out as ambiguous, faulty dialogue or non-visual writing. Not to say that these things are not deliberate devices too in lit fiction. I’ll stand by that if I’m deliberately doing something there, but to take the work out of the vacuum and get it through a more commercial eye, well this is necessary stress test no 1. So my task today is to balance Ferdia’s comments with my own appraisal, update the text in Word format and get the document in better shape to pass on to the next person on the chosen team of craftsmen and women, none other than…to be continued next post!