I wonder…

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… how many readers of our books realise how much of ourselves is contained within the pages? Reality dictates that in all probability the answer to my question is less than the number of fingers on one hand.

Yesterday I watched a video of my friend the best selling author Michael Jecks and Karen Maitland discussing what goes into any story for a gathering of book lovers.

Unlike the first timer we don’t just sit down and start writing thousands of words in the vain hope that something might work. Those who think that NanoWrimo is best are fooling themselves. No book worth reading ever emerged from that approach.

Long before we begin we start by researching the idea that just won’t go away. As a consequence, during a protracted period of time the original idea may be forgotten in favour of something far more interesting. Ask Michael, he knows…

Then comes many sleep deprived months writing the first draft, followed by many rewrites. In other words writing is bloody hard work often for very little gain.

While the idea of having a book you wrote published may sound wonderful to the unitiated, the reality of the matter is that once its out there your work is not over. Because now you enter the bewildering minefield of promotion. It doesn’t matter how good your book is, if the general public aren’t interested enough to even read the first few pages to gain a flavour of it either online or at your nearest bookshop, no amount of continuous advertising makes any difference. This applies particularly to any and all Independent writers, those of us who are bloody-minded enought to go it alone without the backing of a traditional publishing house.

There are always online sites out there that want your book to add to their comprehensive list of free books. Avoid them like the plague. Don’t think for one moment that by offering your book for nothing, that the tightwads will ever wish to pay to read your work. They won’t. By all means offer your work at a reduced price for a fixed number of days during any calendar month if it’s not selling. But that’s it!!!

To that end my most recent short novella Autumn 1066 will be on offer for $0.99 over the next few days via Amazon.com.

Here endeth the lesson.

PS – A few days ago I was contacted via Facebook by a person purporting to be an American actress I greatly admire. Whether or not I am really in contact with her remains to be seen. I got the impression that she wanted to get to know me better. When I suggested that to do so she might care to read one of my books she went quiet. Needless to say she hasn’t been back in contact with me. Sadly the chances are that the person who contacted me isn’t who I hoped it is. The same thing happened last year. That time it turned out to be a scammer looking for money. In that instance they picked on the wrong person…

😉

 

 

A sign of the times…

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My old friend Glob reading his tales

The £0.99p offer on my fantasy anthology Globular Van Der Graff’s Goblin Tales ended at midnight Wednesday. The number of books sold was just seven. Four of them were bought in America for the full price, where the offer was never in place.

What does this say about the sale of books today? Every published writer knows that it makes no difference how successful we may have been in the past regarding book sales. These days every single one of us is in the same boat. The public are simply not reading anything longer than a Tweet! Believe me when I tell you that low numbers of books bought has unfortunately become the norm.

I’ll give it another month and try the £0.99p deal again with one more of my books. In the meantime I look forward to seeing how many of the seven people who bought a copy actually read it. Thanks to KENP I’ll know how many pages are read. Unless Amazon change the rules yet again!

America, do please pay attention! When I offer any book of mine at £0.99 pence its is only because KDP only allow me to do so here in the UK. The last time I checked your national currency is the dollar not the pound. This is not to say that I am not grateful for the sales of four copies at full price.

I am…

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Food for thought from my friend Bob Van Laerhoven…

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Hi,

Is “Return to Hiroshima” still relevant in this era? Decide for yourself after reading this guest post on Toe Six Press:

Click: https://t.co/3kV3SBoBeE?amp=1 

Or read:

Author Article: Literature Resonates by Bob Van Laerhoven

Lately, many people ask me if I think literature is still meaningful in this era of rapidly progressing digital technology: fast changing communication, the many ways of experiencing movies, streamed television series and news.

Literature does matter in our time. In any era.

I’ll explain this with an example of my own work.

Return to Hiroshima is my latest novel in English. As the first city ever struck by a nuclear bomb, Hiroshima became an iconic symbol. A novel with that city in the title inevitably refers to that moment in time that changed human history forever.

Why write a work of fiction in which the nuclear detonation plays such an important role? It’s easier, and faster, to stream a documentary about the subject, or to be carried away by watching an after-the-bomb movie.

That would make us informed, correct?

In a way, yes, but, in my eyes, literature has an added value. It can provoke in us an empathic understanding of the consequences of nuclear warfare.  That’s something else than being informed.

Moreover, are we as informed as we think we are? The answer is a bone-dry “no”. Mass-media and social networks spread “news bytes” every second around the globe but have desensitized us to a certain degree to the deeper meaning – or consequences – of the experience behind information.

What do you think about the heightened possibility of a WWIII, which has been all over the news lately?

***

Tensions are on the rise. A new World War is nearer than ever since the end of the Cold War. Democratic regimes seem to loose the battle against dangerous demagogic populists and dictators: Kim Jong-un in North Korea, Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey, Vladimir Putin in Russia,  and Viktor Orbán in Hungary, to name but a few.

Never before was the turbulent Middle East such a chaos of shifting alliances and growing animosity.  Iran and Saudi-Arabia are competing for hegemony in the region and build nuclear facilities that can be used to produce nuclear weapons. The US, Russia, and Turkey – with China looming at the horizon – support different factions in the civil war in Syria… They are allies today and enemies tomorrow. No-one seems to have a sound strategy, a solution, for the region.

It’s obvious that the seemingly endless Syrian civil war could become the trigger of a new worldwide conflict. The airstrike in April of the coalition of US, UK and French forces on the chemical weapon installations of Bashar al Assad’s regime triggered so much international unease that the most important question for the coming  months (years?) seems to become: how close are we to WWIII?

People tend to react to this question with a curiously abstract resignation. When prodded a bit, they usually confess that they can’t fathom how it would be, a nuclear conflict across the globe. Usually they end the conversation with an uneasy, “They won’t let it come that far, will they? I can’t imagine they would.“

***

One of the problems of the modern digital society is precisely that mass-media and social networks have wreaked havoc on our ability to use our imagination. As a result, the all too real possibility of a nuclear WWIII seems inconceivable.

And that, my dear friends, is truly dangerous. Our leaders are not smarter, wiser, or more mature than we are. And they sure do not have more imagination… except in one area – their endless dreams of their growing power.

This is the point where literature can step in. You may have trouble imagining what a nuclear conflict would be like, but literature can.  Moreover, it does this on a one-on-one basis.

A one-on-one basis in this era of mass-communication? Do I hear your Gargantuan laugh booming?

I like movies and television series, even games and social networks, as much as anybody. But I notice that, when spending too much time with these media, my level of thinking is reduced to a receptive, confined mode. The essence of a story often slips away from me like water from a seal.

This is not the case when I read. A novel resonates within me. Words can convey sensations that even the most sophisticated visual media cannot. Words can vibrate with layers of meaning, they can produce flashes of feeling (which is different than experiencing emotion), and they can make the reader emotionally receptiveThe power to step into the story, not wandering on the outskirts of it, is readily available.

I know, I know: you’ve heard this story before. Since the advent of mass-media, countless philosophers and artists have hammered on similar reasoning. You’re probably sick and tired of being advised to read fiction. Why should you, when watching movies is so much easier?

You may argue reading novels takes time, a certain effort, which is getting more difficult with every minute. Stress on the job, stress in traffic-jams, stress at home with children. Stress of not having posted a witty message on Facebook for two days…..

You have every right to think so, but in my view, literature, more than any  other art-form or entertainment, gives you the opportunity to interrogate yourself about the meaning of life: what exactly power or wealth is, how the world is evolving, what kind of society we live in…. The list is endless.

To interrogate yourself is a lot different than being shown what it is all about.

It’s not per se better.

But definitely different.

***

I admit willingly that I present the situation rather black-and-white in this post. But so is the question I hear so often: do you really think that literature can offer something more than, say, Netflix? It’s nearly always about who or what wins, not about differences. We don’t like differences anymore; we want to see winners and losers.

And that, dear friends, is a dangerous attitude, won’t you agree?

So, as an experiment, try something different. Watch a thrilling, shocking movie about the consequences of a nuclear conflict. There are a lot of gripping movies about that theme out there.

And, afterwards, read a novel about the same subject. There are a lot of gripping, passionate novels out there with this theme.

I want to share a few lines with you from Return to Hiroshima, a story set in Japan in 1995. In one of the chapters, a Seizon-cha, a survivor of the nuclear bomb called “Little Boy”, recalls some of the scenes he witnessed and could never forget.

***

A woman staggered past the burning buildings with a baby in her arms. The heat had caused the baby’s skin to peel. He was limp and motionless in her arms.

A man tugged at the body of a teenager buried under the rubble. The boy’s skull was cracked open and brain tissue was hanging out of the wound. He had lost his right eye. He was calling out for his mother, his voice clear and steady. The man had pulled away enough rubble to see that both legs had been crushed. He tried to lift the boy. He succeeded. He continued on his way, the boy motionless in his arms.

A girl, blood gushing from her mouth, stumbled through the ruins of a school. Hands shot up from the rubble, bloody and smoldering. They tried to grab the girl by the ankles. Voices begged: “Take me with you, take me with you!” In panic she kicked at the hands and ran on, her arms outstretched as if she was blind.

Hundreds of people tried to reach the river Aioi. They screamed for help, lost direction in the ash-filled clouds of smoke, and fell exhausted to the ground before they could reach the banks of the river and baked like clay stones in the raging fire.

                                                                 ***

How did this excerpt make you feel?

Reading literature resonates.

It’s pre-order time

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The third and final kindle version of the above anthology of thirty inter-related tales is now available for pre-order until October 31st from your preferred Amazon outlet.

Some of you have asked me to have it translated into the common language of whichever country you are domiciled in. While its true that the normal English passages could easily translated, the same cannot be said for Goblinspeak, the language of Globular and every other goblin living in Goblindom, whose tales these are. Neither can Bejuss the lisping raven’s speech be translated. So, it won’t be happening…

PS – I’ve also set it up as a paperback.

😉

Apathy Rules…

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It’s a sad fact but reader apathy is on the rise.

When I posted this, deep down I knew there would be little interest due to the modern day curse – reader apathy.

Only one person wanted to read and review the third and final edition of my fantasy anthology – Goblin Tales. I gave twelve of you the choice to read it prior to publishing for nothing. All I wanted in exchange was a positive review from each of the twelve. While a few of you (13) clicked ‘like’, that was as far as any of you was prepared to go.

To say that I am disappointed is an understatement. But it’s what most authors expect these days, despite all of our hard work. By not taking up my offer, which would cost you nothing but a bit of your time, you killed a wonderful fantasy anthology, depriving the rest of the english speaking world of the chance to immerse themselves in it…

The ultimate irony is that had eleven more of the thirteen people who ‘liked’ the post taken up the offer to email me for their free .pdf copy to read and review, this post would never have been written. But it’s still not to late for you to change your minds. Just follow the instructions on the previous via the above link in red.

Remember – books need to be read, not ignored…

😉

Pay attention!

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Right, I’ve finished the rewrite of my fantasy anthology Goblin Tales. The next stage is to format it, first as an e-book, then later in paperback form. But only if there is a demand for it.

Now here’s where you come in.

If and I do mean if I publish it, depends entirely on you my blog followers, all 680 of you.

To that end I have prepared a .pdf version for a minimum of twelve people to read – 160 pages in all. Or if you prefer – 84,768 words. If you would like to be one of the lucky twelve (even if fantasy is not your thing) email me at:

jackeason5@gmail.com.

Remember, if twelve of you don’t come forward wanting to read and positively review it, Goblin Tales will not be published; it’s as simple as that!

I would ask you to remember this as well; a five-star review is not a critique, riddled with spoilers, no matter how glowing (or gushing) it may be. Nor is this an excuse to compose a diatribe designed to put people off reading the book in question!

Reality dictates that no e-book lasts long these days without a flurry of positive reviews, right from the get go. Should you chose to help out, I shall place Goblin Tales in an ‘order only’ time frame of one month to give all twelve of you thirty days to post your review on Amazon US and Amazon UK.

Would I refuse to publish a book I’ve been telling you all about by offering you selected passages from it? Of course I would if it is greeted with a lacklustre response prior to publishing!!!

Hope to hear from you soon,

Jack

😉

It was a long time coming…

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…but well worth the wait. Here is what the Flemish author of the award winning crime novel Baudelair’s Revenge – Bob Van Laerhoven, had to say about my extremely short historical novella Autumn 1066.

~~~

As a Fleming, I knew that my knowledge of Britain’s entry into the Middle Ages was sketchy before I started reading Jack Eason’s Autumn 1066, but, after having read his novella, I must admit that it was also based on clichés and vague concepts. Autumn 1066 remedied this thoroughly. Eason has the gift of condensing and presenting historical facts in such a way that, although manifold and thoroughly researched, they hinder in no way the suspense of his war-story. Eason paints a clear portrait of the growing tensions between various factions competing for the throne, and the leaders of  various armies, but also of the common soldiers, ordinary men who were forced to fight the wars of the nobility.  For his vivid, and shocking, description of the battlefields, Eason focuses on two such ordinary warriors, Aldred and Cynric.  When he describes the man-to-man fights and the deadly swarms of arrows, the reader can actually feel the fear and the agony of the warriors. In spite of the extensive historical background, Eason’s cast of characters, high and low, doesn’t degrade into stereotypes. They remain people like you and me, tackling life as best as they can when they are poor, and victims of greed and the overwhelming desire for power when they are rich. Writing historical fiction is all about keeping equilibrium between a passionate story and historical facts.  Jack Eason has done that remarkably well.

~~~

Hopefully Bob’s review will appear soon on all Amazon sites. So if he and Sally Cronin can deliver, why can’t everyone else who promised to write a review!

By the way, I uploaded the Kindle version yesterday at the KDP base price of US$2.99. Depending which Amazon outlet you use, determines the price you will pay. But if your quick off the mark, you will be able to get yourselves a free copy tomorrow (Friday 30th June 2017) and (Saturday 1st July 2017).

😉