Wednesday 22 June 2011

Moving House

I've finally moved this blog to the main Marshall Buckley website. You can find it here

This site will remain active for the foreseeable future, but all new posts will be on the main site.

One Wish

On the day my son was born, my mother was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus. I called her early that morning to share the good news and could hear the underlying fear in her voice.

She didn't know, at that point, what the diagnosis was, but I think she had a fair idea.

Later that afternoon, after the diagnosis and once I was home, I spoke to her again. Her overriding concern was that this special day would always be tinged with unhappiness for all of us. I laughed it off, assuring her I would remember the birth, not some doctor's appointment. Besides, she'd be fine.

She died 4 months later. Cancer of the oesophagus is a sneak, it doesn't let you know it's there until it's too late to do anything about it.

I'm not alone in losing a parent too young. She was only 66, and should have lived at least another ten years, long enough to see my children grow up.

My son is now 8. My eldest daughter is 14 and still misses her nan, because even at 6 she'd made an impact on her. She has kept the last Christmas card she received from her.

At her funeral, a colleague gave the most touching eulogy you could imagine, explaining how my mum had helped her through her cancer, how my mum would go out of her way to help anyone and how nothing was beneath her - despite having become the manager of the care home where she'd worked for over 20 years, she was just as willing to clear up an accident as she'd been the day she started.

Everybody should get one wish. For me, it would be to go back to a year or so before she died, persuade her to see a doctor. Maybe then she'd have received an early enough diagnosis.

My mum loved gadgets. She was the epitome of a Silver Surfer. She would love the Kindle, and she'd have been proud beyond measure that I was writing books and that the first was now available.

That this first book features time-travel is probably less of a coincidence than even I realised.

That I announced it's availability on 11 June - the anniversary of her death - is also less of a coincidence than I might have admitted to.
The book is dedicated to 4 people who are no longer with us. But today it's dedicated to Sylv (she hated that name).

Love you. Miss you.

The Long Second is available on Kindle now, from Amazon

Tuesday 21 June 2011

About Yesterday

No new update today - I'm still harping on about what I think/thought was a brilliant idea yesterday (20 June 2011) but has, as yet, not captured the world's imagination.

But I'm not giving up that easily. Go have a look, tell me if you think I'm on to something...

Monday 20 June 2011

Who says e-books can't be signed?

As a book-lover (obviously!) I really like having my books signed by the author, and my many connections on Twitter have allowed me to build quite a collection in a small time. You feel you have a connection with the author, however small, knowing they've handled the actual book you're reading.

It's a common criticism of e-books that they can't be signed, a dilemma for which nobody (to my knowledge) has yet come up with a suitable answer. I've seen a few people have an author sign their Kindle in permanent marker, and I guess if you could get a whole list of authors to sign your Kindle that would be pretty cool, but then you'd be worried about rubbing the signature off (those permanent markers aren't as permanent as you'd think). Plus, there's no way of buying a book remotely with that signature (unless you splash out on a whole new Kindle).

I think I may have the solution.

Starting this week, I'm offering anybody who wants to buy the Kindle version of The Long Second (only Kindle for the moment, I'm looking into the other formats) to have either:
1. A personal dedication typed into the front of the book - it'll be on the first page, immediately after the cover image - or
2. A personal handwritten message, signed by both Marshall Buckley authors, then scanned and the image placed at the front of the book.

The only caveats? The e-book has to be purchased via my website, not via Amazon, and there is a small extra charge for doing this (because I have to create a new Kindle file for each dedication). The handwritten dedication will be slightly more expensive than the typed one (there's more work involved), but I'm planning to keep the cost sensible.
(I did have a third idea but decided to drop that as it would have been much too much work, and I would have had to charge a lot more).
Once complete, the e-book will be emailed to the purchaser, who can then copy it to their Kindle via USB or using Amazon's email facility.

I could be wrong, but I think this is totally unique, and it's something I can offer specifically because I'm self-publishing (and, to be honest, probably because I'm a techy at heart so the extra work isn't too difficult for me - other less-techy authors might struggle).

So, am I blazing a trail here, or am I trying to sell to a market that doesn't exist?

Edit: I've just seen this announcement on Twitter:
One the one hand, I can't believe this has been announced just as I'm talking about it... but on the other hand, does it vindicate this as an amazing idea? Plus... KindleGraph doesn't actually embed the signature inside the Kindle book like I will... do my idea is better, right?

Friday 17 June 2011

Hard Work

I am genuinely struggling to find enough hours in the day at the moment. Don't, even for a second, think that Self-Publishing is an easy option.

Yes, there are plenty of parts of the process which are pretty straight-forward - the conversion of the book to Kindle, for example - but there are other parts which will take days off your life, chew them up and spit them out. I genuinely have had no time to do any actual writing (excluding blogging, of course) for weeks.

It will settle down, over time, I'm sure. What it does, though, is appreciate the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes in the publishing industry. Of course, the people doing this day in day out have had a little more practice than me, and so won't get bogged down with some of the unexpected tasks. Then again, they are probably working on more than one book at any given time, so it all balances out.

It doesn't mean I'm not enjoying it, though. I like a challenge - it's pretty much what my day job is about, dealing with the unexpected - so it's not a problem.

But, like everything else, it's wise to go in with your eyes open, and expect that there will be some hard work (but then it probably wouldn't be as satisfying if it were easy, right?)

Thursday 16 June 2011


I'm not here.

Instead, today, I'm here over at Scott Pack's (Twitter: @meandmybigmouth) blog. Do pop over and have a read, won't you?

Wednesday 15 June 2011


A short post today with no new information.

I'm taking 24-hours to pause, catch my breath and reflect on what's been achieved so far and what's still to be done.

At some point I need to start writing again, too. I honestly don't know how to fit it all in.

There are still a number of things to be resolved, replies pending from various other third parties which might be important and might change the whole course of the next few weeks.

But please bear with me, and please keep spreading the word if you can!

I'll announce the competition winner tomorrow - Thursday 16th - nobody guessed the correct result (a disappointing 6.2 - considering how much I'd done to try to reduce it from 6.4 that was a shock, but the doctor seems content, so I'm not worrying!) so I'll do some kind of random draw and email the lucky winner. There will, of course, be a delay in dispatching the book seeing as I still haven't received my proof copy (I'm looking at alternative printers). In the meantime, I'll offer the winner a free copy in electronic form too (not signed, obviously).