Thursday, 19 December 2013

Email to: #AllUsers - How I Wrote My First Novella #ASMSG

A few weeks ago I was giving a two hour talk in a local library on the wonders of e-publishing.

'So, there's no quality control?' one of the still-conscious attendees asked.

'That's right. Some restrictions on cover and content, but even those might not prevent initial publishing,' I said.

Another person woke, caught the thread of conversation and asked, 'How about title and author name? Any copyright or that sort of thing?'

'No. You can't copyright a title and you can call yourself whatever you want, within reason. If you use J.K. Rowling you might get into trouble. Let's take a look.'

I opened the Kindle Direct Publishing web page and proceeded to create a new kindle book with the title Nonsense Novel. Then I entered an author name - Tarquin Fin-tim-lin-bin-whin-bim-lim-bus-stop-F'tang-F'tang-Olé-Biscuitbarrel. (For those whose TV memories are more recent or less obscure than mine, Tarquin was a character in a brief Monty Python sketch, lampooning the Monster Raving Loony Party.) Then I uploaded a Word document containing last year's letter to Santa. To complete the ensemble I browsed for a picture of me half-naked with a Hitler moustache and saved it as the e-book cover.

'If I press Publish, this e-book will be live on Amazon within forty-eight hours.'

The insomniac attendee gasped and the others snored more loudly. But the experience gave me an idea.

A couple of days later, in a facebook group, someone (who shall remain unnamed unless it's that Tim Stevens who hangs the toilet roll incorrectly) mentioned that independent author icon J.A. Konrath had said anyone could write an e-book in an hour. The nameless Tim (he won't mind me keeping him nameless) said he had written and published something - a skit on how to market an e-book. It was tongue in cheek but one or two people had taken it seriously and written a dodgy review. The whole thing sounded like a really bad idea. So I decided to do it. Surely I could afford an hour of my life to come up with a rant and immortalise it for Kindle?

So I spent about a week thinking it over. I decided to follow a methodical structure for the few pages (which turned into a structure for each chapter), to break a few literary rules e.g. use a dream sequence (which became a dream sequence at the start of each chapter) and to use real life events for inspiration.

The setting - a Victorian asylum.

The narrator - a health service employee with two jobs, one as solemniser of marriages and the other as dispenser of healthcare aids and appliances.

The humour - a variety of tasteless healthcare appliance puns and mispronunciation of Solemniser.

The odd bits - compulsive behavioural habits, dreams of death and destruction and strange tastes in out-of-date food. And re-use of some very strange emails that are circulated from the former lunatic asylum on the campus where I spend my daylight hours.

The plot - large scale fraud. I would write it in diary form with dialogue where helpful.

Six weeks later, 23,000 words, 88 pages of beta-read, line-edited nonsense. But Tarquin Fin-tim-lin-bin-whin-bim-lim-bus-stop-F'tang-F'tang-Olé-Biscuitbarrel didn't sound Irish enough for the author of this tome. So I added Murphy to the end. The book title came from the prefix of those #AllUsers emails. Uploaded to Kindle Direct Publishing, cover created with an image I purchased a couple of years ago. I clicked the Publish button and finally exorcised the demon.

The moral of the story? If your personality is in any way compulsive then be careful about rising to a challenge. It can take over your life.

The result? I'll let you be the judge of #AllUsers, but here's the opinion of someone who knows:

"#AllUsers is a satirical novella of earth-shattering literary inconsequence." Mrs Murphy

Cover of #AllUsers by Tarquin Murphy

#AllUsers is now available on Amazon
 but you can get it free by joining Ruby's News

Want to win a new Kindle? Marble City Publishing is giving away a Kindle Paperwhite plus leather cover in a free draw, visit their site to enter:

This post originally guested on Electric

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