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Other posts by Richard Herley

The secret joy of reading
July 16, 2012 | 9:06 am

Image: Mr Absurd I was lucky enough to be taught to read in the era before television: well, it was being broadcast in the mid 1950s, but our set was like a wardrobe with a tiny, round-cornered rectangle of bluish screen that took at least two minutes to ‘warm up’ and, as now, the programmes were hardly worth watching anyway. My school was called Cassiobury JMI, ‘Junior Mixed Infants’. For a long time I couldn’t understand the adjectives. Infants are junior by definition, and while we were certainly mixed I didn’t see any need to rub that in. Later I realized...

Peter Quennell on Vladimir Nabokov
July 6, 2012 | 2:46 am

  I decided to re-read Lolita and found this: ‘Every distinguished novelist creates a separate world; and, having crossed the frontier, we find that the world we know has undergone a subtle change, that new arresting features have mysteriously begun to emerge, and that we now regard our fellow men and women, and the social background against which they play their parts, from a somewhat different point of view. Such is the test, I think, we should at once apply to all imaginative writers. Can we honestly pretend that, as the result of reading their books, we have enlarged our vision of...

Dangerous territory
June 12, 2012 | 8:24 am

It’s reported that J Sainsbury, the British supermarket chain, has bought a stake in the ebook seller Anobii, expects to own 64% of the site, and is preparing to “take on Amazon”.Quote: “Sainsbury said it will work with the publishers HarperCollins, Penguin and Random House Group.” Let’s stop right there. Sainsbury makes a great deal of money from intermediation, if we may call it that – adding value to basic foodstuffs by doing some or all of the preparation. Or rather, by paying somebody else to do it and then marketing the results under its own name. The apotheosis of that is the revolting “ready...

Awesome Indies
May 9, 2012 | 8:56 am

Herley drowning Here we have a common perception among would-be readers of self-published fiction: Yeah, $2.99 books have been, in my experience, not worth the electrons it took to produce them. Aghast at the cost of ebooks when I got my Nook 2 years ago, I turned to those cheaper price points and time and again was disappointed. There is a reason these books are not picked up by the publishing houses. Let’s face it. The major publishers have been doing literature for a while – they know what people will read, recommend and most importantly, pay money for. Ms. Reed [the successful...

A proposal for author rankings
December 23, 2011 | 9:10 am

  Writing is a solitary craft, and many writers seem to be less outgoing than the norm. For such people, self-promotion is a nightmare. They see it as little more than boasting, which I suppose it is. Sometimes, in desperation, the writer crosses the line from boasting to begging, and then it’s even more painful to behold.In theory, especially in the past, the publisher relieved the writer of this unpleasant chore. The writer might have been expected to do the odd reading, or bookshop signing, or – if he or she were at least semi-famous already – make an appearance on...

The bottom line
December 9, 2011 | 10:15 am

41QpvP0d4JL AA115 Hachette have "leaked" a memo explaining why they are necessary. One of the many germane comments about the article is this, from Linton Robinson: BTW, anecdotally, of the writers I know who are making decent livings from published books, about half are either letting contracts lapse or heavily considering it, while putting out books on their own. This is what will kill Hachette and the rest. They cannot compete with the independent author on price. It is as simple as that. The indie has no back office to support. He makes more from an ebook at $3 than he would through Hachette were...

My first fountain pen
November 21, 2011 | 9:03 am

My first fountain pen: " Image: BenFrantzDale Writers are obsessed with stationery. The lure of a stationer’s – or even the stationery shelves at some soulless hypermarket – is hard for the scribbler to resist. And for the real addicts among us, the ultimate fix is the fountain pen. Such pens have gone the way of vinyl records (a bit cultish, or favoured by fogeys who can’t get on with technology) and more’s the pity, because when I were a nipper the range on offer was wide and wondrous. My very first, a pearlescent Osmiroid, was given to me on my seventh birthday. By...

If you have enjoyed a free copy of The Penal Colony …
October 28, 2011 | 8:56 am

Drowning First, I am glad that you liked it. Secondly, you are under no obligation whatever to do anything more, but if you want to show some appreciation, consider sampling one of my other books. The Penal Colony is a loss leader, made free in order to bring my fiction to wider attention. It is far from being my best book. The others available are these:The Stone Arrow (approx. 71,000 words). My first published novel. It won a prize, putting me in the company of people like Shiva Naipaul and Kazuo Ishiguro, which astonished me (in case there had been some mistake, I...

Feedback and the rise of ereading
October 24, 2011 | 9:50 am

Index I trained as a biologist, and one of the most powerful phenomena in biology is the positive feedback loop, in which a behaviour or process reinforces and perpetuates itself by virtue of its own nature. Feedback loops are seen in many other disciplines, of course, including economics. This post on the Thing-ology Blog at LibraryThing is nearly a year old, but it is remarkably insightful and prescient: the author's predictions are coming true at an astonishing speed. He identifies a number of the positive feedback loops which are destroying paper publishing, at least of mass-market fiction. Here, in abbreviated form, are some...

Thank you readers
October 3, 2011 | 5:19 pm

PC Amazon is sometimes portrayed as the 800-pound gorilla in the ebook jungle, and maybe it is, but for an author who wants to be read that gorilla runs the biggest game in town. In mid-September The Penal Colony was offered there for nothing (after I’d zeroed the price at Smashwords), and it quickly climbed the freebie charts. Since then, many tens of thousands of copies have been downloaded, and the number of reviews is growing. About a year ago I posted a piece here, in which I opine that: If you write “creatively” at all, the...

E-ink cut the cable
September 16, 2011 | 9:06 am

Mike Cane ran a post the other day entitled Tweet Of The Day: Print Publishing Is Sinking, prompted by this tweet from literary agent Jonny Geller: I decided to make The Penal Colony free at Smashwords (and hence Smashwords’s partners), knowing that Amazon would follow suit and reduce the $2.99 price to zero. For some reason, Amazon does not allow publishers to set a zero price directly. I don’t check my Amazon stats very often, but yesterday I noticed that The Penal Colony was being offered free at amazon.com, and that some 4,300 copies...

Pay the Writer
August 8, 2011 | 8:58 am

Notice this is on YouTube … free to view, download, embed … and I'm glad to say that Mr. Ellison is still with us.   Via Richard Herley's blog...