To be a hybrid.

Buffalo_Bill_2

Half man, half beast – Buffalo Bill. The original hybrid?

I am not a religious person. But I do love a good hymn. One of my favourites is ‘To Be a Pilgrim’ aka ‘He Who Would Valiant Be’. What a stonkingly rousing number. Stirring stuff. I’m adapting it for my campaign – ‘To Be a Hybrid’.

Since I started out on my journey as a CWAP a fair number of aims/targets/goals have come and gone. Some I’ve achieved; some I didn’t/haven’t yet; some I discarded. I have a new one. I feel quite strongly about it and have done for a while. It’s linked with one of my original core aims. I want to be a hybrid author. What does that mean? Possibly not what you’re thinking.

Before I even thought about writing I was a book collector. I love first editions. That’s my thing. I love the physical book in its first published state. I love everything about a real book. For me books are multi-sensory pleasures. The only sense in which a book doesn’t appeal to me is taste (as in food). This is based on my experiences of licking books – don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it, although be careful where you do – I got thrown out of Waterstones for running my tongue up the spine of a certain JK Rowling. (Book not author. But I’m up for it if she is.)

Among the things I love about first editions is seeing them displayed on a bookshelf, spine out, the gaily coloured dust-jackets with the (to me) all important publisher’s name standing out – a seal of industry approval. When I started writing that was one of the things that I wanted for my books – a dust-jacket with a proper publisher’s name on the spine. I still want it. (But I’d settle for paperbacks.)

It seems quite popular in self-publishing to activate the Print On Demand (POD) facility with Amazon. And why not? It’s a way to get your book into print. It’s a way for readers to find you, to appreciate you, to share you, to fund you. It’s another way for an author to spread the word about their work. I haven’t gone down the POD route yet. There are no physical copies of my books out there. I have probably hurt myself by choosing not to get involved with POD. I really do want to have physical copies of my books. But I really do not want to be the one who commissions them. I want my physical books to have a proper publisher’s name on the spine – not Createspace or blank. I’m not yet ready to strangle my own dreams.

Am I a snob about it? I think so. Is it a form a vanity? Undoubtedly. People can think what they like about my position and my personality. I don’t care and I’m not hurting anyone (except myself.)

It get’s worse.

I don’t just want to be traditionally published. I want my cake and I want to be allowed to eat it. I want to be a new kind of hybrid author. A ‘trindie’. It could become trendy. I could be the first trendy trindie. I want a traditional publisher to take control of my physical books but that’s all. I want to retain control of the digital and audio rights to my books. I’m sure there are those who know something of the way things are in publishing these days who now need to go and change their underpants because laughing long and hard can do that to you.

I’m sure there are dozens of reasons people could give me why this isn’t ever likely to happen. (Someone probably once told Neil Armstrong that he should stop dreaming.) I’m sticking behind the reasons that it could work. Everywhere you look in the book-selling industry people are saying that the players need to adapt to new opportunities and new ways of doing things. This is a new way and the only reason it couldn’t work is because people wouldn’t want it to. That’s all. I’m still hoping to find the forward-thinker who is open to something different.

A WHITE-KNUCKLE CHRISTMAS 1030 1Did I mention that A White-Knuckle Christmas (Romney and Marsh File #7) is out tomorrow? Yeah, I know – it’s the Easter weekend. What can I tell you? I can be unconventional.

Available from all good ebook retailers spelt like this Amazon.  Pre-order here Amazon UK and here Amazon US .

I have two weeks left in Turkey. Yesterday I hit 50,000 words of B&C#3. It will be touch and go whether I finish that before my bell tolls.

19 thoughts on “To be a hybrid.

  1. Oooh an Oliver Tidy Romney and Marsh book for Easter – beats an Easter Egg any day of the week. II’m looking forward to a glass of wine, my Kindle, and Romney and Marsh – perfect!

    • 🙂 Thanks, Gail. Your comment put a smile on my chops and reminded me of an old joke: what’s the difference between an egg and a good book? You can beat an egg but you can’t beat a good book. 🙂

  2. Thats was long, very interesting insight to your thinking. So now you are a CWAP Trindie, whatever next. I do hope you can get B&C 3 out soon. Hope your journey home is without too much stress.

    • Hi David,
      Thanks for your comment. CWAP trindie is a mouthful. I need to work on a new label that incorporates both.
      Just bringing my writing period to a close with a bit of navel-gazing, like one does. It’s like the New Year reflections… at Easter. Something else I got wrong. 🙂

  3. Morning Oliver,
    It would only take one forward thinking publisher to grab the idea and run with it, but usually the first hurdle they will come across will be the £SD signs that flash before them as soon as they open their eyes in the morning. I know cynical me: but this world doesn’t revolve around love, it revolves around money.
    I am ‘old fashioned’ like you when it comes to books. I like to feel the paper, and the glossy front cover, but I certainly don’t lick the spines, yuk, did your mother not tell you someone might have been there first, so be careful where you stick your tongue – and that is not a euphemism.
    Also I, too, like old books, but only have a few at the moment. mainly literary works, but my favourite is a Moroccan bound edition of the translated poems of Heinrich Heine. The paper is so thick – like parchment – each page would stand up on its own if pulled from the book. I treasure that book as I bought it from Hay-on-Wye thirty odd years ago for a tenner. I also have some DHL – not the delivery company – but David Herbert.
    Don’t know if you are aware but the meteorologists forecast a white Easter here in the UK, so your book coming out tomorrow I find rather apt. If it does snow – which I doubt, as they are prone to get things wrong, it would have been appropriate to entitle your book A White Knuckle Easter.
    Take care. Looking forward to receiving something I can get my teeth into, instead of my toe. 🙂

    • Morning Pat,
      Enjoyed your comment, thanks. 🙂
      Your leather-bound volume sounds wonderful. If i close my eyes I can smell it. And a lovely buying memory to go with it.
      A white Easter back home could do wonders for sales. A White-Knuckle Easter? hahaha… could have been good but wouldn’t have worked with my Bing Crosby joke. ‘I’m dreaming of a white-knuckle easter’. 🙂
      Have a great weekend.
      Best wishes
      PS Do have a think about Scout. It’s really not much effort and it’s a bit of fun for 30 days. Maybe more. We’ll see.

  4. Can’t wait for this one having just finished Three Short Blasts. The Star Treck “homage” was brilliant! Loved all three stories pure OLIVER TIDY. A joy to read.
    And therefore I think it only right and proper I repay some of the pleasure you have given me.
    Next time you visit the Marsh go to Appledore. MISS MOLLETS HIGH CLASS TEA ROOMS.
    Your son will go mad for the sticky toffe date cake. I have it warmed with cream, , , , ,and ice cream. Their crumpets with honey butter are sublime. Cream teas and high teas are as traditional as you will find anywhere. The decor and crockery are traditional and give the ambiance of a prewar tea shop. Just the sort of place Booker and Cash would check out as opposition, or an aspiring DS would be taken to on a Sunday by a prospective suitor.
    You wife would love it but, be warned, will moan all the way home due to the damage one short visit will have done to any diet. ( there is a rumour that Miss Mollet is responsible for my weight gain to 108kg.)
    They have a web site but the real thing can not be fully appreciated unless you sit at a window table and just relax and enjoy

    • Hi Phil
      Many thanks for your time and trouble to comment. Your view of the Star Trek homage put a big smile on my face. There’s always the worry that readers might not ‘get’ stuff. Thank you. Really pleased to learn that you enjoyed TSB. Thanks for your ongoing support.
      Miss Mollet’s sounds like a wonderful country drive pit-stop. Appledore, as i remember, is a lovely little village. I just make take you up on your recommendation for a visit. Yes, my wife and son (and I) would LOVE the cake. I can call it research for B&C 🙂
      Best wishes.

  5. Hi Oliver Really looking forward to tomorrow and the new release. Can i just ask why you have only 2 weeks left in Turkey, where are you going next?   The mind boggles ha ha Pauline Jones

    Sent from Samsung tablet

    • Hi Pauline
      Thanks for your comment. I hope #7 works for you. 🙂
      Leaving Turkey is a visa thing. I have to leave the country for a minimum of three months. It’ll be summer in UK by then, allegedly, so I’ll be back for a while. Lots to do.
      Best wishes.

  6. There are a number of authors out there who simply make their own publisher’s imprint. So you could create a logo for CWAP Press and put it on the spine.

    Personally, I highly recommend making a POD edition. I sell very few of them, but I give a lot away–I think that a trade paperback edition of my books is the best promotional tool I’ve ever used.

    Also, having a book listed as “Kindle edition only” feels to me like “direct to video” on the cover of a movie. I have all of my books in e-book, trade paper, and audiobook, and while the e-books sell far more than the other two editions combines, it makes my author page feel more like a legitimate author to me.

    • Hi Misha
      A CWAP imprint is actually a very good idea for me. Because I know that one day I WILL need to organise my own physical copies. The dream won’t last for ever.
      I have written one book of three short stories – one in each of my three series that I have considered going the POD route on for just the reasons you give: promotional tool, something to give away. I think I’d need to have my other books ready for that to work effectively though. Food for thought.
      Best wishes.

  7. Yes I agree -physical books are great but my kindle has been a godsend. I have over 600 books on it and have no idea where I would store that many physical books and as for going on holiday there’s no contest. The kindle wins every time.
    Still enjoying Romney and Marsh. Am reading a physical book in between so as not to finish them too soon.
    Best wishes for fulfilling your dreams.
    Hilary

    • Thanks for your comment, Hilary. I know what you mean. My Kindle is filled with books. It’s so convenient and easy to switch between reads and as for reading in bed…
      Good to know the R&M is still pleasing you. Thanks.
      Best wishes.

  8. Hi Oliver – I think John Locke beat you to it. If you don’t know him, he was the first Kindle-published author to sell a million ebooks. On the back of that he had traditional publishers expressing interest but he only let them have the print publishing rights – he held on to the digital rights. It was a good move because the print versions sold peanuts – the thinking is that he’d exhausted his audience by the time the print versions came out.

    I do make print versions of my books available (paperback only these days) but I do nothing to promote them. I buy a sample copy for me, largely to check that they print okay, but I sell virtually no actual copies. They’re not expensive (I make about 50p on a £7.99 book) but I’m not well-enough known for people to take a chance. There’s a lot of work done by serious indies towards getting their books in bookshops – printing through Ingram Spark, paying a fortune (in the UK) for their own ISBNs … but to my mind it’s wasted energy. That time and energy could be put to better use marketing your ebooks. Hardly any bricks and mortar bookshops will take an indie author and even if you manage to get a signing or a reading in a local bookshop you’ll be lucky to sell 20 copies and make, maximum, £20 (any more and you’re probably charging too much!) … so it’s just an ego thing, I reckon. Digital and online is where the sales are nowadays, and even if you don’t see yourself as a marketer or a ‘commercial’ author, if you want people to read your books, that’s the best place to be.

    /rant over!

    • Hi Keith,
      Many thanks for your time and trouble to post your thoughts.
      Yes, I do know of Locke and I knew something of his ebook success. I didn’t know that he sold physical book rights and kept the ebook rights. A smart guy. He gets the best of both worlds.
      Agree with everything you say about bothering with POD. I’ve read other, quite successful indie authors – far more successful than I will ever be – saying much the same thing as you about sales of physical books. It’s another reason why I’m not falling over myself to get into it.
      Definitely digital is where to focus time and effort. Thanks for dropping by.
      Best wishes.

  9. Hi Oliver, I had a very rare two days off over Easter, so was able to enjoy White Knuckle Christmas in its entirety with hardly an interruption.
    As usual a great read, and being a Dover resident, great to be able to follow the plot and the locations.
    Looking forward to B&C3 and to maybe bumping into you on the marsh while you are over.
    Enjoy your break
    Andy

    • Hi Andy
      Many thanks for the feedback on R&M#7. Good to know you enjoyed the read.
      I’m plugging away at B&C #3. The end is not yet in sight, which is slightly worrying.
      Can’t wait to get back to the Marsh and environs for a spell.
      Best wishes.

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