Finally, after four months on Zakynthos, and a month and a half off it, ‘On a Greek Island: A Season in Zakynthos‘ is available as an ebook on Amazon.com. It’s quite a thing to see it there after all these months. What started as an idea back in Brisbane about a year ago and got written during our (nearly) four months in Zakynthos is now a reality. Well, as much of a reality as an ebook can be. It’d still be nice to see it appear as a ‘real’ book, but that can wait.
Publishers are hard to find. Well, ok, there are plenty, but they won’t respond to your submission. Or they might, but it’ll take up to three months, and their response will probably be as laconic as the one (so far) that I got:
Thank you for sending your material to Penguin Ireland. Unfortunately it is not suitable for our list.
Give till it bleeds. So as well as having to learn how to write, you also have to learn how to self-publish a book, unless you’re happy for your chef d’oeuvre to remain forever as a file on your computer. I’ve had to learn how to self-publish on Amazon.com, because that’s where most of the sales happen apparently. I’d always thought it might be easy to self-publish, and sure enough it was. What I didn’t realise, though, is how much you can update your book after initially publishing it. This really excites me, because it means I can put up the first version of ‘On a Greek Island’ without having to wait for a talented artist to do the cover (which I will get done soon), or getting around to filling it with photos. Those are things I want to do, but they take ages and aren’t strictly necessary for the book to appear. The most important thing is to get it out there and hear what people have to say about it.
It also means that, unlike James Joyce, who took an uncompromising stance towards revisions of his work, I can respond to any reader suggestions or reports of errors by updating my book, just like you would a web site. An ebook is a dynamic thing, not a thing carved in stone. If you’re a cocksure genius like James Joyce, fine, you can resist the pressure to conform, but I’m sure I’ve made plenty of mistakes in my book and I want people to tell me about them. And I’ll happily change parts of the text if I get decent suggestions saying that something doesn’t work, or feels wrong, etc., as long as it makes sense, and I agree. There’s no reason why a book shouldn’t be like a website in that respect. In fact, finally publishing a book; putting it somewhere where people can get it and read it, is – unlike death and the credits, which really are the end – just the beginning.
“He laid the dry snot picked from his nostril on a ledge of rock, carefully. For the rest let look who will.” – Ulysses
See, I could never write that.
Look at that picture: it’s the view from Koúkla House. It’s not even the good one. We were lucky to have such a beautiful spot to stay in for the season we were there. How could you not be inspired to write? Anyway, the book’s done now, and it’s on Amazon.com. And the next stage is to get a cover. And then add some photos of Zante and of us doing stuff. Or the other way around, depending on how much time both steps take.
If you buy the book before I make those improvements, don’t worry, you can still see them after I make them: you get notified in Kindle when there are updates to a book. If you’ve been following this blog, then I trust you’d be interested enough to look at any updates. If not, then you’d just just ignore them. In either case, enjoy the book. Ευχαριστώ πολύ!