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The Birth of a Book

20 Dec

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Life & Times of “The Fix”

Author Keith Nixon describes in this guest blog his experiences in writing, creating and promoting his latest work, but his first self-published book: “The Fix”.
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Keith Nixon "The Fix"

Keith Nixon “The Fix”

Conception & Birth
“I’m pretty comfortable with my writing process, over time and a process of elimination I’ve worked out what suits me. Once I have an initial plot idea and some characters (usually behaviors) the fleshing out tends to be evolutionary. I build the outline of both premise and characters and some activities broken down into chapters in a Word document. I then add to it (usually scribbling ideas as they come to me on a handy bit of paper then adding to the Word document later) and modify over a few days and weeks. I’ve found that if I have a decent structure to hang the story on the writing flows and vice versa.

The other significant activity is that of writing itself. I’d suggest, particularly to new writers, to put something down on paper every day and not to edit as you go. If it’s rubbish, so what? That’s not the point. Good will come out of it – this is the basis for future re-writes (which is what takes up the majority of time when producing a novel). The reason for not editing on the fly is, from personal experience, you can end up polishing the same few words over and over without making any overall progress with the plot itself, i.e. the result is a literary eddy. Lots of activity, very little forward motion.
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Growing & Maturing
Although I’ve written several books The Fix is my first experience of editing and self publishing. I’ve been fortunate enough to find a really good copy editor, I almost didn’t use one but I now know going to print without editing would have been a significant mistake. Although the editing didn’t change anything significant in the structure of the story it helped the flow, dealt with consistency errors and improved the punctuation (I have a tendency to be underweight in commas). I’d suggest editing is one of the most important tasks following the completion of your novel.

Publishing on Amazon I found fairly straightforward, but I spent quite a bit of time formatting the layout as what looked fine in Word did not once transformed onto my Kindle. I managed to iron out the issues but at the expense of time. What I should have done was to use a tool such as Calibre and then uploaded the book as a .mobi file. I’ve since done this myself. Calibre has been great for modifying the file into different formats, for example ePub is preferred by the Goodreads site if publishing an excerpt for others to views.
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With independent publishing instead I have complete control of where and how I sell The Fix, the pricing strategy, everything. It’s daunting, but at the same time empowering.  I went down the independent publishing route after I tried to get interest in an earlier book, a historical fiction story, through the traditional route of agents and publishers. Although I received some warm words of support, none were interested in picking it up. Feedback was very slow and I wasted around a year to get …nowhere. Very disheartening.
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Fleeing The Nest
“The Fix” is only recently launched and although it is selling steadily and the feedback has been very positive, there’s still plenty to do in getting it visible to a wider audience. On the subject of marketing, I made some effort to get my name and that of my book into the public domain before publication. However my activity was limited because I felt I needed something solid to promote first although this flies in the face of advice I have seen elsewhere. I now have Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads accounts to promote The Fix. Although I can’t say this has led to a measurable increase in sales I have built a good network of contacts and learnt plenty from others far more experienced than I.
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For example I’ve picked up guest blogging opportunities such as this. Secondly I have become a reviewer on the site Big Al’s Books & Pals  which focuses purely on indie authors. As a result I get to indulge in my other passion – reading. The downside of social media is it can be obsessive and therefore leaves less time for writing. However overall I’m really pleased to have used social media, there are some great people out there I won’t have otherwise met.”
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The Father Figure
Keith Nixon has been writing since he was a child. In fact some of his friends (& his wife) say he’s never really grown up. Keith is currently gainfully employed in a global sales management role for a UK based high-tech company meaning he regularly gets to use his one skill, talking too much. He also gets to meet lots of interesting people, some of which may be in his books. However Keith spends much of his time by the sea in a small town called Broadstairs, where Charles Dickens briefly lived & also inspired The 39 Steps.
Keith has published a crime / humour novel,”The Fix” (Murder. Theft. Sociopaths. Just another day in banking then…)  and has a historical fiction series on the way soon. He has also written comedy and drama screenplays. His measure of achieving success is when he can ditch his socks, watch and tie forever (still waiting). Oh yes, & he likes to read. A lot. Crime, thrillers, humour, mystery or fantasy – as long as they’re well written of course…
He can be found on Twitter (@knntom) and Goodreads if you would like to contact him.  “The Fix” is on Amazon: Amazon.co.uk/dp/B009ZITONW  or http://amzn.com/B009ZITONW for the USA readers.

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One response to “The Birth of a Book

  1. T. W. Dittmer

    December 20, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Calibre is the best tool I’ve found out there… so far. It seems that everything is so far (so far), as this is still a learning process.😉

    Self-publishing is definitely a challenge. It is doable, though I think luck may play a significant role… so far.

     

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