Saturday, May 31, 2008


Thanks to April Hamilton who has emerged as the pathfinder for indie authors trying to get their books up for sale on Amazon, CreateSpace, Kindle and Smashwords, I managed to upload my latest novel, THE JYNX, onto those sites over the past couple of weeks.
Anyone willing to shell out many hundreds and perhaps thousands of dollars can find e-publishers willing to take them through the process. April tells you how to do it yourself in a series of free guides on her website at I can tell you from personal experience that April is the guide who can lead you through the maze to self-publishing and hopefully sales on the internet. And to make the way forward even easier, April has put all of the ins and outs of do-it-yourself publishing into a new book, THE INDIE AUTHOR GUIDE, currently available on CreateSpace and soon to be up on Amazon.
I’ve had two nonfiction books released through major publishers, but my dream always has been to see one of my novels in print. That seemed unlikely since my agent of many years couldn’t find a traditional publisher willing to buy my novels, even though she tried hard. Finally she told me all good things must come to an end and unceremoniously dumped me. And I have been unable to find an agent to replace her.
I figured my novels would go unread except by my wife, Rae, and the few friends, all writers with books and films to their credit, who did me the favor of reading them.
Then, as birthday gift last August, my grandson, Reeves, offered to put my novel, THE DREAM DANCER, online. My first reaction was reluctance. I didn’t want to fall into the world of vanity publishing. But realizing in offering THE DREAM DANCER as a free online novel, I wasn’t paying anyone to stroke me. I wondered whether I would draw any reasders from the world-wide ocean of the web. So far I have had 64,104 hits from Aug. 19, 2007 to May 30, 2008, and have averaged the transfer of the equivalent of one and a half copies of the novel per day. I have no idea how many of those hitters were actual readers—although one sent me an e-mail saying: “I read this book in 24-48 hours. I had to know what happened. A few parts were difficult to read, especially when he (the protagonist) was in jail…I loved the book.”
Last fall, I entered my novel, THE JYNX, in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. I made it to the first round of semi-finals, but obviously I didn’t win. What the contest did for me was to draw further into e-publishing. Amazon offered the semi-finalists a chance to publish and sell their books online through CreateSpace. With the help of April Hamilton’s free guides on her website, I managed to offer THE JYNX for sale via CreateSpace, Amazon, Kindle, and Smashwords.
There are no statistics, known to me, available on average internet sales of self-published novels. My research revealed that the average sales of print-on-demand books to be 75 copies, most of them purchased by the author and his family. So with that as a measure, I will consider the sale of THE JYNX to be a success at 75 copies sold to people other than myself. If sales reach 500 I will be delighted and at 1,000, I would be ecstatic. Watch this blog for reports on whether THE JYNX attracts that many buyers.

The next novel I will review in coming days is TIMBUKTU by Paul Auster (1999).

A suggestion: My latest novel, THE PENCIL ARTIST is available as an e-book on Smashwords, Kindle, and Barnes and Noble; as a paperback on Amazon.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


by Bill Liversidge

The highest compliment one can pay to a novelist is to buy the book. I first read Bill Liversidge’s A HALF LIFE OF ONE by printing off his free online version finding it through Jennifer Armstrong’s Free Online Novels website ( I was so taken with the novel that I wanted to pass it along to my son, Roy, a voracious reader—so I paid a super compliment to Bill Liversidge by buying A HALF LIFE OF ONE via the UK, paying the price of buying a book overseas with diminished U.S. dollars and paying the airfreight with that same diminished currency, but the book is worth the cost.
My review of A HALF LIFE OF ONE:
This is the story of a businessman, Nick Dowdy, who is a failure in everything he does because he reaches beyond his capabilities. His business fails, his marriage is on the edge of failure, his relationship with his son is awful. As we move through the novel, we find how self-centered, how selfish and how ruthless Nick Dowdy is. The writing moves right along, the story has twists and turns that keep it very interesting, I found myself wondering what would come next and covering up the bottom of pages so I would not leap ahead of the course of my reading.
Nick Dowdy is a man with all kinds of schemes to get out of the predicament of the failure of his business. He is not willing to take a menial job. He thinks of himself as something special. Even he recognizes that his schemes are ridiculous and unworkable until he moves ahead in desperation to carry out the kidnapping of a successful woman entrepreneur. He isn’t what he seems. She isn’t what she seems. She doesn’t have as much money as he assumes. In the process of kidnapping her, he kills a fishing guide. This novel takes place in Scotland. And like so many kidnappers he finds his victim is more of a burden than he ever imagined. You know he is going to be caught. Just when he is on the edge of taking the step towards demanding the ransom, which certainly would lead the police to him, his house is saved by his wife from creditors and a job he has applied for opens up.
The ending is another version of the Edgar Allan Poe’s THE CAST OF MONTILADDO. Dowdy leaves his victim to die an awful lonely death in the darkness of an unheated shack, filled with rats in the bridge between winter and spring. The cruelty of this act by a man who considers himself a decent guy is astonishing and draining. In the end you see through Dowdy’s thoughts how little he thinks of his son and how willing he is to cheat on his wife and how he justifies the murder of two people, the fishing guide and the woman entrepreneur, and how he reveals his guilt in contributing in a small way to his father’s death, and his happiness in seeing his mother, who was a mental patient, die.
This was a well-written, smoothly moving, stinging portrait of a seeming everyman, who is decent and willing to work hard, but within himself lurks a self-centered selfishness that enables him to be startlingly cruel. At the same time, there is an element of guilt and the fear of being caught that is his sentence to a torturous life.
(Note: You can find out a lot more about novelist Bill Liversidge at his blog, View from the Pundy House at

A suggestion: My latest novel, THE PENCIL ARTIST is available as an e-book on Smashwords, Kindle, and Barnes and Noble; as a paperback on Amazon.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


Starting today with this blog, Novelist Online Onpaper, I will offer my thoughts on writing, reading and publishing at the very least on the first of each month and more often by whim.
Periodically, I will review novels from the present and the past, published online or on paper. Hopefully, I won't rain on any novelist, especially those seeking their audience without the help of traditional publishers.
The first novel I will review in the next couple of days is Bill Liversidge's A HALF LIFE OF ONE.
I hope you will return to see how I perform, to enjoy what I write, and to offer comments.