Archive for December, 2011

Hugging ebooks, cuddling Kindles

My new year’s resolution for 2012 isn’t to run more often, or spend less time at the computer and more time with real people (though I should do both of those too) it’s to learn to love ebooks.

That’s not going to be easy for me, for several reasons.

Firstly, I love books. Real actual paper books. I love sharing them with small kids on my knee. I love putting them in coat pockets, or carting rucksacks full of them about. I love piling them up, putting them on shelves, lending them to friends. I love opening a new book.  I love READING BOOKS.  Books, real books, are where I’ve spent many of my happiest hours, for most of my life. I love books.  And I love that what I write becomes real books.

I love bookshops too. Real bookshops.  Staffed by real booksellers, with a real understanding of books and bookbuyers.  Shops where you can find a book you didn’t even know you wanted to read.  And I love that my books sit on shelves in those shops, and get browsed, recommended and bought, in those bookshops.

Also I’m not a fan of new technology. I’m never at the cutting edge of anything digital.  I have the oldest phone in my family (even my kids have fancier ones).  I like to see a new thing work in the hands of other people for a while before I accept that it might be a good thing.  I’m not actually a technophobe. Once someone can persuade me it’s useful and not going to bite me, I get to grips with it eventually. I have a netbook which I love, and an ipod which I couldn’t live without.  But I don’t have an ereader. I thought about asking Santa for one, and then changed my mind and gave Santa a list of books about mazes, dragons, hares, and Scottish history instead. I love my new pile of books. I’m not jealous of all the people who got Kindles. I can read my books in the bath.

I worry about the effect ebooks will have on real books, and real booksellers.  And I don’t trust new technology anyway, not until it becomes slightly older technology.




People read ebooks. Kids, lots of kids, got ebook readers for Christmas.

So if I want people to meet and care about my characters, to join in the adventures I’ve imagined, to be excited by the dangers and challenges I’ve created, if I want people to read my STORIES, then I have to share those stories in the way readers want to read them.

If you want ebooks, then that’s how my characters will have to come and find you.

So this coming year, I will try to understand ebooks.  I will accept them.  I will even learn to love them.  Next time I see someone reading a Kindle, I will ask them if I can give it a cuddle.  Because I need to learn to embrace ebooks.  Not for me, I think I’ll probably stick with my teetering piles of books, but for my stories, my characters, my readers.

Because however you want to get your stories, that’s how writers should to give you your stories.

So, please let me know what you think of ebooks: Did you get an ereader for Christmas? Do you think children’s books should be on screen or on paper? Do you enjoy books as much on a screen? And can real books survive?

But in the meantime, here’s my New Year’s resolution for 2012: cuddling ebooks.

And in honour of this, I can now announce that all my novels are available in ebook form.  And First Aid for Fairies and Other Fabled Beasts, the first in the series, is on Amazon’s 12 Days of Kindle until 6th Jan at only 99p.

See, I’m promoting ebooks already.  Getting off to a great start.  Now, I need to find an ebook reader to cuddle.  You’ve been warned…


Archive for December, 2011

Reaching the End

(This is a replacement post for one which went missing when my website crashed on Boxing Day – something very similar to this, but not exactly the same, was originally posted mid December)

I’ve finished First Aid Four!

Which sounds very impressive, but really, though I’ve typed the words “The End”, this is just the beginning.

I’ve reached the end of the STORY, I know what happens in the end, and how it happens, but now I have to go all the way back to Chapter 1 and make it work properly.  I always end up discovering new things about the characters and the plot on the way to the end, which means I have to go back and tweak things at the start and in the middle.

Also this draft is far too long, very repetitive and not very well written.  Nope.  It’s not very well written. Which is fine.  I never worry about the words when I’m writing a first draft, I just try to follow the story and hear the characters.  So now I need to take out the clichés and the long-winded sentences, and make the language sharper and stronger.  I really enjoy cutting and tidying a story.  The first draft is my way of discovering the story, and the editing brings it to .

So having rattled through writing the novel I will now spend several happy months editing it.

However, I wasn’t always happy when I was writing it (quite aside from nagging feelings of guilt about all those dreadful injuries and terrible dangers).  In the last week of writing, when I was working out how to defeat the baddie and trying to find a happy ending for anyone left standing, I was starting to feel quite strange.  Nervous.  Sad.  And I couldn’t work out why.  Until I realised that this is the last book in the series.  There were only ever meant to be four First Aid for Fairies books.  And this is the last one.

So this is the last book I will write with Helen, Yann, Lavender, all their friends and all their enemies.  And I’m going to miss them.

I know I’m going to spend the next few months editing this book. And probably the rest of my life reading bits of all the books in the series out loud in school halls.  But last week when I was able to see the end of the story, it was like I was reaching the end of a journey with these characters.  Editing is really just writing the postcards and tidying the photos.  We’ve already done the exciting bit.  So I feel like I’m already saying good bye to them.

Normally when I’m finishing a book, I find it fairly easy to say bye to the characters because I’m already making scribbly notes about a possible sequel.  But this time, I haven’t been doing that, and even though it was my decision to make this a series of four, because I have other books I want to write, I do feel very sad that I’m not going to spend more time with Helen and the fabled beasts.  I feel like I’m walking away from them!

So this time, the end really is the end.  But I still have all that editing to do, so I’d better get back to it…