Copyright is always a tricky area, especially once things start to go international. Some countries and cultures simply don't seem to have any concept of "intellectual property" or the right of an author to control or profit from his or her own hard work, research and - often - outlay of capital and time to create the work.
A major topic at present on several Blogs is the theft of an authors work, 'stolen' copies which are currently being sold on Amazon. What is meant by 'stolen' copy?
In short, someone has created an electronic copy of three books by the children's author Ruth Ann Nordin and is now selling these as an "Electronic" book version through Amazon. The problem is, of course, that Ms Nordin gets absolutely nothing from the sales as whoever the 'pirate' is, simply keeps everything they get from the sale. In this electronic age, this is a major hazard for any author, it is all too easy to make a copy of someone's work, repackage it and then sell it through any online outlet entirely for one's own profit.
What is worse is that there are now a number of hackers out there who regard it as their "right" to strip someone else's intellectual property and profit from it. Other authors have suffered the same problem, though a larger one is the 'file sharing' through 'torrent' sites. These steal music, books, movies and anything else they can find in electronic format. One author who dared to make public accusations against the operators of one such site ripping off his books had his websites hacked and then shut down by the hackers.
As an author I do find this worrying. So far (as far as I am able to discover anyway!) my fiction has not been the subject of such an attack - however, my technical work has been. I am well aware that a large amount of my technically published work has been translated, repackaged and republished - but there's not a heck of a lot I can do about it and neither can the people who hold the copyrights to it. Why? It goes back to the whole concept of 'intellectual property' and the 'ownership' of it. Some cultures simply don't recognise an authors right of ownership ...
Perhaps that is why Leonardo da Vinci kept his notes in a way that no one else could read... But then, he wasn't trying to sell his writing either.
Ever feel like you've run a marathon mentally? That certainly is how I feel today. My elderly cat has developed a problem with her hindquarters, and the treatments at the vet are helping - but now we have an upset stomach ...
Ce la vie! At least I have completed editing the books for the ePublisher and the edit of On The Run is coming along well. It's amazing how much you spot on the fourth and fifth passes through a text that evaded the first few runs. Still all worthwhile in the end...
Preparing my Manuscripts for Their Lordships Request and Out of TIme to be converted into eBook format has proved interesting to say the least. First of all I had to go through all the Galley Proofs for the printed versions to find all the corrections I had made and which editors suggested as they were prepared for printing. Then, having done that, they had to be tidied up - Out of Time was originally written in Word 98 - as the small difference between various versions of Word don't always swop the formatting correctly.
At least they are now with the ePublisher and I am expecting to get a few more corrections and cosmetic changes when I get their proofs back. The third Harry Heron book, The Enemy Is Within!, is already available as an eBook through Xlibris, though this is an Adobe format.
In the meantime I'm going through the MS for the fourth Harry Heron book, On The Run, which is to be printed by Abbot Press and will appear, hopefully, in about four months time. Abbot Press will produce it as Paper Back, Hard Back and eBook so all you Kindle and other eReader users will, I hope, pick it up and give Harry and his friends a try.
Meanwhile, back to editing and correcting ...
Their Lordships Request and Out of Time will soon be available as eBooks from a publisher who specialises in eBook publication. It also means that anyone with a Kindle, iPad, iPod or any of the other eBook reader devices will be able to purchase them direct and download to their reader.
I've been exploring this for some time and hope this will be successful. Obviously getting the word out and promoting them will be an essential task, but hopefully a fun one.
More good news is that Abbot Press, a Division of Writer's Digest, want to publish the fourth 'Harry Heron' story, On the Run. I'm currently discussing this with them and look forward to being able to make an announcement about it in the not too distant future.
A writer needs an editor. Some would add "like a hole in the head" but I don't. I know all to well that I make typos, that I sometimes create run on sentences and get so involved in the story that I risk boring my reader. So a critical editorial review is essential. They don't come cheap either, but it's worth it. I can say it has improved my writing enormously.
So it is a real pleasure when a "blind" reviewer, one who is asked to review the work without seeing any of the early drafts then posts a review like this one -
"A Baltic Affair" is a credible, finely plotted historical novel that encompasses all possible theories about Napoleon motives and acts. It also provokes readers to challenge historical interpretation in an intelligent, dynamic, and adventurous way. Well-researched and well-written, "The Baltic Affair" is an exciting, surprising, yet sensitive novel that will delight every reader appreciative of excellent historical fiction.
It makes all the effort to tweak, edit, cut, rewrite and, perhaps most importantly, the research, worthwhile.
Since I set up this site, things have got busy, most of it in a very positive manner. Two of my Harry Heron titles are currently being considered for publication as e-books by a publisher selling books to Kindle, Apple and others. Another is being considered by a publisher and all of them are soon to be offered for sale through an online bookstore besides Amazon and the usual outlets.
A friend and computer code expert is also tweaking parts of this site to make t look even better and hopefully spice it up a bit.
I hope readers will watch this space as things develop.
I'm slowly getting things together here and building in links. There are one or two features I haven't quite sassed out how to get them to function yet, but it is getting there - I just hope it all works for you - the reader.
It seems appropriate to launch this site on this particular day. I certainly hope that the visitors - of whom I hope there will be many! - will not face the same hardships suffered by our fathers as they scrambled ashore in 1944.
In launching this site I am taking something of a gamble. For a number of years now I have been engaged in writing, primarily technical material for classes, for my profession and for magazines. A few years ago I began to explore the writing of fiction. I can say that in the years since then I have learned a great deal about writing - and probably even more about publishing.
I hope that those who venture through this blog and this website will find something interesting, perhaps entertaining - and maybe even sample my fiction!