Countdown to Dr Who 50th Anniversary

I have just finished reading, on my Kindle, Dr Who: The Spear of Destiny by Marcus Sedgwick and quickly downloaded the fourth tale of this wonderful series. For those of you who don’t know, these stories are exclusively available for download onto your Kindle from Amazon; each month, we are treated to a new Dr Who adventure leading up to the celebration of the 50th anniversary in November.

11 months: 11 Doctors.

Goes the advertising. So, in January, we had a rather poorly received First Doctor adventure. Unfortunately written by Eion Colfer who is a rather good writer. His handle of the first of the doctor’s though was not great. February got us on track with a rather simple but effective tale with (sensing a pattern?), the Second Doctor. I have just finished the third adventure (hang on a minute, it’s June!).

Yes, I have fallen way behind in my reading, but hey. I recently got The Lost Symbol from the library and will whisper to you that I enjoyed it.

So, why mention the adventures of the Doctor on this page? Well, I love the idea of giving us paperless, e-book readers the chance for something exclusive other than free or relatively free books. The idea is great, and, as my holiday starts at the end of July, I will be able to take my one portable device and catch up on the fifth, sixth and seventh adventures. 

This is exactly what I love about the Kindle and I do become tired of people going on about how they prefer books and blah and blah. Yes, books are great; they are not going to disappear overnight, if at all; the same things were said about television and the cinema; or radio, or any other kind of media that you can  think of has always come under threat yet it has survived. LP’s for instance; the re-emergence of cassettes.

Some people that I know decry the fact that I am a lover of books and I read a Kindle. I see nothing wrong with such a thing. I go to the library, I get books, I read them, I see a new release, I decide to download it, I read that. I go to the bookshop, love the cover and treat myself to a hardy hardback. I have a choice, much in the same way I did before. I just wish that the publishers would recognise that some of us can’t afford to buy a hardback all of the time, so stop making the Kindle price more expensive!

 

Writer’s…PLEASE PROOF-READ YOUR WORK!

Being paperless has proved to be extremely difficult at times; notably, on a Sunday when I like to read the paper. On the plus side, my other half has not joined me on my paperless twelve month quest and decided, after much thought (persuasion) that she would like to read the very same paper that I do on a Sunday.

What a relief!

 

During this long and arduous journey of paper-freeness, I have been reading books on my Kindle as well as visiting the library. However, I have one complaint at this. While I enjoy reading books of both media (as well as others, I am, after all, an artist and welcome all forms of media), I have become increasingly frustrated at the lack of proofreading that is being performed with published works. As the world of self-publishing grows, so too should the seriousness with which one takes their work. I have been guilty in the past and I am sure there will be the odd word or phrase that slips through as your mind plays tricks and you discover that you are indeed one of those people who can read things that are written badly during one of those ridiculous tests on Facebook. I can accept mistakes appearing on works, and do accept them if the book is 99p or if it is being given away. I am very much in favour of the voice being given a platform. But I recently took a book from the library, published by MX Publishing, which is a self-publishing house. The book itself looks professional, has a wonderful cover and the fact that it has been accepted into the local library should suggest that it has gone through some sort of process. But the mistakes, oh, the mistakes; words are missing; wrong words are put in; misspelling. These are simple mistakes that can be rectified if someone took the time to read the manuscript before it was printed; that is all it takes. Either the author can do it…or ask a friend. Because I am no proof-reader and yet each page greets me with another error and when you are reading a book it is EXTREMELY OFF-PUTTING!

 

Here’s an example from the book: “…put his hand over mind and shook his head.” I think the author is meaning ‘hand over mine’.

 

I have had to give up on the book, which is a shame because I was sort of enjoying it. I still do not understand how it made it into the library in the first place when my book can’t! Perhaps it is who you know.

 

Authors have a wonderful opportunity here to grab the reins for their work and take complete control. We are artists; we write pieces that we want people to read or hear. But it does not give us any favours when simple mistakes are made, for me this gives more power to the publishing houses. Surely, if you are wanting to produce your own work you would want to present it in the best possible way. This book, which I will not name publicly, had such an amazing work of art as its cover, it is a shame the author did not take as much care or attention as the artist.

 

Advice: PROOFREAD YOUR WORK BEFORE YOU RELEASE IT. THEN GIVE IT TO SOMEONE ELSE YOU KNOW TO PROOFREAD AGAIN. 

You cannot do this enough times.

Guerilla Marketing

This week I have been looking into different ways to try and market my work. It is a minefield! I started the week by going to the library (as I am paper-free I can’t buy a book) and they had nothing, I repeat, nothing, about marketing for independent authors. I guess that no-one in Tunbridge Wells gives a damn about selling their books. To begin with, all I could find was information about print-runs; bookstore appearances; signings; launches; blah di blah. (Great if you have a printed copy, pretty useless if you go armed with a Kindle!)

Then a word came into my head: GUERILLA. I searched the webstacle and guess what I found?

A COLOSSAL COMPENDIUM OF COMMUNITY COMMUNIQUE about Guerilla marketing.

It’s all on here. There are e-books about how to effectively sell your e-books; there are websites that take you through each step. I won’t list them here, simply because there are so many and all you have to do is (ssshhh…Google) or Bing guerilla marketing and you are there, for whatever need you have.

Once in I sat back and watched how others did it. One image that struck me particularly I found on a fellow WordPress bloggers site (Miss. Tilly) from the airline KLM. They had a wonderful stand of a man sitting back and reading the paper; what attracted attention to it was that the man appeared to be hovering in mid-air. It looked amazing; there was no selling; no pushing…it was all about pulling.

That seems to be the word for guerilla tactics: pulling. Whereas traditionally companies would want to push their product out into the public domain,  in most cases aggressively, the alternative, and more creative, approach is to pull customers towards you. Use various devices to attract them towards you; gravity.

We do this anyway. Socially or on social networks, we are talking and attracting others to come by and converse with us. It is how Twitter works. I was spellbound by KLM’s video and I recommend anyone to go along to the blog and take a look.

http://oantipa.wordpress.com/2013/02/25/guerilla-marketing-a-social-experiment-klm/

Another author/artist who is attracting my interest is HMC (http://www.hmcwriter.com/) ; she seems to be creating a buzz with a beautiful trailer for her forthcoming book, for which I do not know the release date; as well as displaying her wonderful art. Her tweets are getting her noticed and again, this is attracting people into her world. As a result, I check out her work, follow her and then wait with anticipation for the book. (I hope there is one!)

Recently, I saw on Twitter that author Richard House, through PanMacmillan, was giving away free copies of his new e-book in return for a tweet. Pay with a Tweet is another great way to get your work noticed; it can inspire conversations about you and send flocks of people to your site. There is no better marketing ploy than to give something away and at the cost of a mention, there is nothing bad about that. Unfortunately though, things can go wrong, and I hope that there was such a flurry of interest to his site that the reason I could not post a tweet because it would not let me is because of that. As it happens, I gave up and then could not find Richard House or his book The Kills anywhere on the web.

Because being noticed in your circle is not enough ultimately; it is about search engines, and if you don’t come up near the top, it is a struggle.

What I love about all these people and many more is the creativity; the willingness to take a chance with something that others can learn from. As an author, and like many authors, I am terrible at marketing; but I try and if I read enough, persevere and create something unique, then who knows what could happen; because I am also an artist whose only limitations are my own.

http://dogearpublishing.net/wordpress/index.php/2011/07/guerilla-marketing-and-the-self-published-author/

The Sublime Maisie Canon is a book about zombies. One idea I have at the moment is to re-create a small zombie scene in my local town centre. If anyone has any ideas about how I could make this work, then please do leave a bit of advice below.

Thanks for your time.

Performance Poetry

A couple of weeks ago I attended a course at The University of Kent on performance poetry.

I have written poems for years, some for cards that I give to friends and family; some to my partner to express my love; most for me, to deal with, write about, my emotions. I had never read my poems to anyone, although I had recently taken the step to publish them for free on Smashwords and I have shared a few of them at PoetrySoup.

I began the course with some trepidation. The tutor was Dorothy Lehane, and she began by delivering the most wonderful and emotional spoken word poem that she had memorised and performed. I think she said that she had performed it on BBC radio.

Around me were a collection of people who, to me, had experience of poetry that I could not match. I love poems; I love reading them and listening to them; I love writing them; but I am no expert and can never deliver a line from memory, save for ‘the frost performs its secret ministry’, which I studied years ago at college.

What I found, however, through the charm of Dorothy and her openness, was that I could deliver my poems and that they were worth the effort. I had an audience, and they all took something from the words that I had put together. When i delivered my poem to them, the room was silent, and I could not believe the positive reaction that I had got. It changed, for the better, how I view my writing.

Then we went on to look at various spoken word artists on Youtube and I was amazed at the world that was presented to me. Here were people, mainly from the US, who were delivering heartfelt, political, angry, emotional commentary to an audience who, by the noise they were making, were loving every minute of it. We watched Taylor Mali; Daniel Beaty and others that I cannot find but wished I could. In the US there is Def Jam Poetry and Three Minute Egg, which I found subsequently and enjoyed the brilliant words of Sierra DeMulder, who had written a poem about Jeffery Dahmer; it is astounding, and I urge you to click this link.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gZPoPJfrCw

What I got most from the course is that there is a world out there that still appreciate poetry; it has changed, it is not the world of the Romantics, and some would suggest that that is a good thing! It is exciting; and now I have the confidence in my words to try and repeat what I had seen.

Since then I have posted the poem that I read in the lecture on-line, you can watch it here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCk2g5DGWng

It does not have the same emotional resonance as it did for two reasons: I read it in a quiet room; and there is no audience. Poetry like this is better live and that is why there are live events such as Slam Poetry or Spoken Word nights. If there is one in your area, then do go. If not…create one.

The Poetry cafe in London host spoken word nights weekly, check their website for details.

http://www.poetrysociety.org.uk/content/cafe/

Dorothy was enthusiastic, inspirational and rewarding. Performance Poetry or spoken word poems have given me something new and exciting. I have a new favourite thing to do!

Indie-authors and the Joy of Proofreading

Part of my paper-free regime means that I am becoming a fan of e-books, and mainly books that are produced by independent authors. In the last few weeks I have uncovered Ian Hocking, Syd Moore, Ty Johnston and Charlie Revelle Smith.

All of the above wrote books that I enjoyed very much and I have become fans of their work. However, in some cases it has thrown up something that we indie-authors really need to consider carefully: proofreading.

Last night I finished 1888, by Charlie Revelle Smith (http://www.amazon.co.uk/1888-Jack-Ripper-Novel-ebook/dp/B007Y61EPS/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1360756058&sr=1-1); a brilliantly realised work based on the killings of Jack the Ripper. This is a subject that has always interested me in my dark, gothic mind, and I loved how Whitechapel of the time came alive in the book. Having read some reviews, I was told that some of the facts were wrong, including people’s names. This did not concern me; I just enjoyed the ride and felt the emotions of the characters as they tried to live in a time of fear. All of the reviews that I read did mention that the work needed proofreading and Charlie himself states on Amazon that he has proofed and re-loaded his work. If this is the case then it must have been bad beforehand because, especially in the last 10% of the work, there were some glaring errors.

Now this did not detract from my enjoyment of the book, and it is not solely the domain of the indie-author to get things wrong; I recently came across a Sherlock Holmes novel, published by the BBC with Benedict Cumberbatch gracing the front cover and inside, on all of the pages as the header, it read ‘The Hound of the Baskville’: very shoddy work BBC.

It does happen. In my first book, Pirates Vs Fairies, after ordering a 50 book print run to sell to schools, guess what flew out at me immediately as I opened the first page? A mistake. I noticed some in Ian Hocking’s brilliant Saskia Brandt series. There is a grammatical error on the title of mt first poem in Twen2y Ei8ht. There will no doubt me some in my current novel The Sublime Maisie Canon.

What I want to try and remind authors is the importance of it and it feels like 1888 may have been rushed into publication, which is easily done in the excitement of producing an e-book. Indie-authors need to treat themselves seriously; you are a business, and your business is writing. It is a vitally boring part of the process. Luckily, I have found someone with a very good eye who will pour over my latest work for nothing. But if you do not have such a person then it may be worth considering paying someone to do it.

It is your work and you have spent an amazing amount of time in front of a screen getting your story right. It is a shame when, as a reader, you are jolted back into the present because a sentence does not fit right or a word is mis-spelled. It does jar and it does affect the flow.

I am not criticising at all and please do not take it as such. I am the biggest fan of novels written by those of us who can break the mould. I just ask that we…me included…have a little patience; as Gary Barlow once said.

Paper-free has opened a challenge for Valentine’s Day and what I have done is recycled; I have made my own card; I have used images from old magazines and I have downloaded the Les Mis’ which my other half wailed through at the cinema. We’re having fish n’ chips and I’ve bought a bottle of Champagne. Hopefully, it will see me right.

A link to footage related to my latest novel, The Sublime Maisie Canon

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U63I28wicTk

Authors need notebooks; plus, B-Movie Books

Being paper-free for 2013 is part of my movement to become a successful independent author, a punk-writer, if you will (as described in The Sunday Times last year). Writing though requires the use of paper at times, notably, for notes.

I have tried with limited if any success to use my Blackberry is a note-taker; really it is not worth the hassle. I have also tried to write notes on my PC at the end of the chapters that I am working on. The trouble with that is that if you forget to delete them then they will be there for all to see, and that is not something that I would enjoy.

I also like to doodle, or underline important things that I need to include. I like to make a mess on a piece of paper before I put things to Word and let the computer neaten up the lines. Any author will tell you that you need to carry a notebook around with you at all times. I don’t have a tablet yet, I have to wait until I have sold about a million books before I join that revolution; therefore my transition to paper-free will have to be on the cheap, so to speak. So, if I carry a book, and a diary (essential for my muddled brain) around with me, then does that mean that I could sort of get around the fact that I have paper in my pocket because there is nothing else that I could use? Save for carrying around my laptop with me, but then that would be a little cumbersome.

I think for the most part a notebook, small A5, pocket-sized, is an essential piece of equipment for a writer or artist. So, until they (technology people) create something digital that works as well as a pad and a biro, that you can open up and use within two seconds, then I am afraid that part of 2013 will have to remain papered. Still, I think I can justify it, having been on the receiving end of a bill from Southern Water that was on colour paper, in an envelope and sent first class: the bill was for a grand total of 27p…yes that’s right, £0.27. They sent me a bill for an amount that cost far more for them to send. Yet I thought that we were all moving into a digital age!

I was asked to explain my new book the other day, The Sublime Maisie Canon (now available at Amazon); in described it as a B-Movie of books.

I love B-Movies. Most popular modern movies, think of things like Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark, take their initial inspiration from B-Movies. Typically, a B-Movie is a low-budget commercial movie used to be played before the main event. It became extremely popular in the 1950’s with science fiction movies, but B-Movies are also represented in the Western and in the horror genre. They were usually shorter than the top-billed movie but had an energy and a drive that led them to become much loved. Many artistes that we now know cut their teeth in B-Movies: Jack Nicholson; John Wayne; directors like Jonathan Demme and Anthony Mann.

So could we get away with suggesting that some books, especially some independently produced books, can be classed as B-Movie Books? I for one have no problem with this description, in fact, as an artist I find it rather compelling. I like the idea of being different to what is on offer in Waterstone’s; I like to try and step away from what I sometimes see is a snobbery in the book world. B-Movie Books are people with stories that want to share them with an audience. They can be crass stories about vampires and zombies; or love stories; or sex encounters. Just look at recent bestsellers: Twilight; Fifty-Shades, are these A-List movie books or B-Movie books? The A-list for me are people like J.K. Rowling; Robert Harris; Hilary Mantel. Then we have Amanda Hocking getting that leg up from the B-Movie to mainstream. I would be proud to be part of a B-Movie Book movement. Let’s get one together…who’s with me?

To Lovefilm or not Lovefilm, all because of Dredd

Part of my paper-free routine for the year means that I cannot purchase any DVD’s or CD’s; in other words, any movies or music I may wish to listen has to be downloaded or borrowed from my local library. This is fine in principle, as I rarely buy movies these days (since hitting forty, or even late thirties, I have become a lot more choosy over the films that I own; they have to be excellent to grace my shelf), this shouldn’t be a problem. However my local library stocks a limited number of new releases, so keeping up to date is going to be a challenge; but the biggest challenge is likely to be finding time to watch movies that I have rented out. Last week we went to the library and they had a special Monday deal where you can hire movies three for two for the whole week. Great, I thought, three movies, easy. So we hired Tower Heist, Public Enemies and Cabin in the Woods; Monday evening started with Tower Heist, an average comedy from Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy with Casey Affleck being the standout performer. Tuesday came and went; Wednesday I had my children overnight; Thursday we cooked a nice meal and chatted; Friday something happened and Saturday I was at a wedding. Sunday night we celebrated a birthday and now it is Monday and I have two films to watch before 6pm when the library closes. The thing is that this isn’t a one-off: this always happens when we get too many movies in one go, we average about one movie a week. So, because there is a lot to do today and we had talked about going to the cinema at lunch time then I am going to have to take the movies back without chance to see the ones I actually wanted to see because we saw the worst one first in all likelihood (It may that we saw the best one, but Cabin in the Woods looks excellent).

Walking past the ticking clock of doom that is HMV the other day I chanced to see that Dredd had been released. I wanted to see this when it came out, but because we are a small town and the movie did not play well in other larger areas our cinema thought it wouldn’t be worthwhile showing it. Shame, because we should be supporting British movies and perhaps it didn’t do well because small-time cinema managers only show crap American Blockbusters. The only reason we got The Artist last year was because it was playing well enough and had all the Oscar nominations. Our local Odeon (cough) had to change their programme to accommodate…foolish and negligent in my view. So, Dredd never got an audience but was by all accounts a pretty good movie and I loved to collect 2000AD as a kid. But what do I do? Blockbuster has closed; I can’t buy it; our library may not stock it for months. I could go to Lovefilm or the like, but having looked at their download options it is a far cry from their advertisement. I looked into joining Lovefilm in the new-year and streaming movies on our Wii, perfect, I thought, for my new regime. The advert promised all the latest releases; but no, you don’t get all the latest releases, you get releases from about five years ago for tv series and movies that you don’t want to watch anyway. This was a major disappointment and for me a touch of false advertising.
So, for all the latest movies I will have to go to that one place where I have been for most of the time anyway: the waiting room. Then hope I can remember which movies it was that I wanted to see.

Speaking of Judge Dredd, according to The Huffington Post, this week sees the release of a Dredd strip where his sexuality comes into question. For years Dredd has been portrayed as a hard-line, right-wing fascist who dishes out the law and grinds people down. However, in the latest issue of 2000AD which is out on Wednesday 30th January he kisses a man, or perp as criminals are commonly known in the language of Mega-City One. I find this an exciting avenue to explore for a character that has been around for so long that those of us who have read the stories would feel that we know him. So again, what do I do? Buy this one off comic and pretend that it is printed on glass instead of paper, let it go, don’t read it?

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/01/25/judge-dredd-might-be-gay-2000ad_n_2548963.html

I suppose there is always going to be a time where tough decisions have to be made in the paper-free mind-set; this isn’t an anticipated tough one, but nonetheless, I really don’t know what I should do.

Ask someone else to buy it…

The follwing is trailer for my new book which is currently exclusive to Amazon Kindle.

E-Books and being an Independent Author

Part of my no-paper regime means that I will be reading all of my books on my Kindle. This is a good thing for me as I am an author and publish my work on a digital format. Indie-authors are receiving a bit of bad press at the moment: apparently destroying the publishing industry. You will not be surprised to know that I think this is a load of rubbish and I actually feel that we indie-authors are helping the publishing industry, it’s just that the enormous business is not getting fatter from taking huge profits for hardbacks and paying their writers peanuts, instead, the writer is getting the credit.

Yesterday I did a reading for children at St Mark’s School in Tunbridge Wells for my self-published novel Pirates Vs Fairies. It was published last year (end of 2011) on Amazon Kindle and has since been published on Smashwords and Lulu. I bought fifty books from Lulu, for a hefty sum, and have since then gone around to various schools reading two chapters from the book to years 5 and 6. I then offer copies to the children and always leave a copy in the library. The  advent of e-books has made it so much easier for authors to produce their own work and I enjoy the challenge of promoting my work to an audience. What I found yesterday when talking to the children was that they are all up to speed with technology. Originally I printed paperback copies of my novel because I thought that children would not have access to a Kindle; in actual fact, they are all aware of the Kindle and other devices, such as tablets, and these devices are becoming so cheap that many children would have regular access to one. After doing the reading I saw my nephew, who is six, and discovered that for his birthday he is getting a tablet.

In this respect then it is becoming far easier for us independent writers to reach our audience. As more tablets become available, and the Kindle Fire is definitely the next step in the Kindle family, then it gives us more of a chance for people to pick up our work. I have published three books so far in this way with another due to become available in the next couple of weeks (the children were very excited by the concept of the new one). I believe in this future so much that I have gone so far as to publish a one-act play, in the hope that a producer may want to pick it up and can then get paperback copies on Lulu for a cast. Again, why can’t Kindle-like devices be the future of theatre?

It is this belief and trust in the medium which has led me  to pursue a paperless 2013 and although I do miss holding a newspaper, I do not miss having lots of papers strewn across the room. I also want to support independent authors who choose to go it alone, the current book I am reading is a Saskia Brandt novel written by Ian Hocking, and it is a story I would not have picked up in a shop.

Years 5 and 6 of St Mark’s opened my eyes to the future of reading. With the popularity of tablets then books could be interfaced with websites or other interactions. I find this particularly exciting.

The trailer for my new book is out now on Youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80lblEYveUQ

Overcoming the Sunday papers

Sunday; newpapers; Anthony Horowitz; Sherlock Holmes; Kindle; The Observer; Reading; Twen2y Ei8ht

 

It has been seven days and while most of the week has been absolutely fine without paper I found Sunday to be a bit of a challenge.

Sunday’s are usually a day of doing stuff, but sometimes: every now and then, you have a day free of anything or anyone; when that happens, all too rarely, then what better way to spend it than by reading the Sunday paper. Ah those days of having a lovely cup of tea, perhaps a breakfast of scrambled egg and then sit down, with the radio playing in the background, while you make your way through the enormous mound that is the Sunday paper. The sections: news; review; culture; style; sport; business; money. I would read them all, even if they were of no apparent interest to me. It was a pleasure to while away a few hours in the afternoon by reading, just reading and relaxing. My paper of choice for a Sunday is usually The Times, much as I am not a News Corp. supporter it offers the best selection of inserts. I used to read The Observer, but as I have got older I think my opinions have become more right-wing and The Observer was just too liberal for me. I don’t want to understand why a rapist does what he does; I just want to kill him!

Now, you have to pay for The Times on-line and my experience of reading a newspaper on-line is pretty haphazard to say the least. Gone are the days where I would read articles even if I didn’t apparently want to, instead I am led by my curiosity to the sections that interest me, after which I quickly get bored and start to look at other sites. This is one of the curses to being paper free. I do not own a tablet and will not for the foreseeable future, unless any one of my books takes off allowing me the luxury of buying one. Instead I trust the laptop to guide me through the news, read the headlines, get the general idea of what is going on and then move on to emails or movie trailers or something. This Sunday, I missed stumbling across interesting articles; instead I reverted to Twitter to try to guide me towards blogs or sites that may be of interest. I found one, but I craved more.

Paper-free will be hard as the year drags on I think. I am already near the end of my last paperback book for 2013, The House of Silk, which is a brilliantly realised Sherlock Holmes novel written by Anthony Horowitz. It was a present for my birthday at the tail end of last year and everything after that will be on my Kindle device (I must remember to charge it). But think of the rewards….I’m thinking…oh yes, I will save money and hopefully I will save a few trees. Most importantly I will stick to doing something that I said I wanted to do.

It has been seven days too since I gave up smoking.

The House of Silk is available at Amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-House-Silk-Sherlock-ebook/dp/B005I5482S/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1357653194&sr=1-1

I have a new book of poems entitled Twen2y Ei8ht, now available at Smashwords and Amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/Twen2y-Ei8ht-ebook/dp/B00AXXD6Z0/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1357653293&sr=1-1

2013 and the year to go paper-free

January usually throws us all sorts of things that we should be doing for the new-year: smoking less; drinking less; eating less; exercising more, to name the ones that crop up often. But some of us choose to do other things too, possibly dancing classes or attending some sort of workshop. How about this though for a challenge:

CAN YOU GO A WHOLE YEAR WITHOUT PAPER?

Easy I hear you cry! Give up books and newspapers and magazines. Well yes, I plan to do just that; but what about dvd and cd purchases, they contain paper? How about going to shops and getting something that is wrapped in paper? I am seriously considering not using toilet paper but I am not sure what alternative is on the market, perhaps I’ll only use recycled, which is a little harsher on the skin for your derrière.

I am addicted to reading; I love it. I love buying a paper in the morning and then reading it over a cup of coffee, the Sunday papers are the best with all of the pull-outs and guides. I enjoy crosswords and folding the paper up into the crossword square (like the commuters do). I like saving bits of the paper for future reference and sticking them in my desk drawer only to wonder why I saved it six months later. I also love magazines; namely Empire and anything else related to movies or the arts. I have been an avid reader and buyer of Empire since 1989 and the second issue which had Batman on the front. I love going through the glossy pages and holding in my hand proof of what is coming soon to our local multiplex. Somehow, seeing it on-line doesn’t feel real to me, it could be a fake like all of the fake trailers for Dark Knight Rises that adorned Youtube before the release of the movie. I also love books, I’m a writer and I love holding books in my hand. I have a Kindle, I have published on the Kindle but I love books.

So why this sudden move away from paper? Well, I read in an article from The Independent (which I now cannot find) about how young people are remaining minimalist: in that they don’t own CD collections or DVD collections and have very few books; what they do is use Spotify or Netflix or ITunes for their entertainment. I think that this is a glimpse at our future and then I cast a long look at the mess around me on my bookcase and wondered, why do I have all this stuff that I will never look at again? Some movies I may watch again but not really enough to justify owning them; I never, ever re-read a book even if I have enjoyed it, that journey is done and that story is over, time to move on to the next. There is perhaps one book that I would re-read actually: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susannah Clarke, which I found absolutely amazing. But it is a big book and would fit snugly into my Kindle for £3.99 rather than on my bookcase. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jonathan-Strange-Mr-Norrell-ebook/dp/B003DVG7QY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1357127546&sr=1-1

So this is a space saving exercise; and it is an environmental exercise. It is also a challenge for me to do: a whole year without paper products at all (including money?). I am going to look into saving all of my music and photos into a cloud (as I’ve read that hard drives are a little unreliable) and then become completely dependent on a laptop and electricity for my entertainment.

I will be writing my progress on this blog regularly; if you would like updates then please do follow me on my journey, or come along too. Perhaps we could share our experiences at becoming

 

PAPER-FREE!