UKC

Anyone here actually written a book?

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 Arbu 13 Apr 2021

I did. Inspired by a hike that I discussed on here last year https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/hill_talk/sarek_national_park_sweden-722581

Here if you're interested:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0924VYJYK

Did you have any success? I don't think I would have written it were it not for lockdown. It takes so long.

 Davidlees215 13 Apr 2021
In reply to Arbu:

I wrote a novel a few years ago. I was inspired after stumbling across a ruined iron age fort in north Wales. Took me about 4 years of stop start to finish it but even though I only sold about 30 copies it still felt worthwhile. 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Swords-Slavery-David-Lees-ebook/dp/B078RTR6VS

Post edited at 22:35
In reply to Arbu:

Gordon Stainforth may have... 

In reply to Arbu:

Alex “Only A Hill” Roddie has 

 Ian Parsons 14 Apr 2021
In reply to Arbu:

I think that JCM wrote a musical. It would have been called 'Chess'.

In reply to Ian Parsons:

for a second I read JCM as JCT! Jude must have written loads of books. As for getting them published....

 Ian Parsons 14 Apr 2021
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Oh I think John's got published.

In reply to Arbu:

CHIS, very topical.

In reply to Arbu:

I had a very slim volume of avant-garde poetry published many years ago. Stocked by about three shops in the country. Gave a few copies to friends and colleagues at the time. At a recent reunion, one of the old colleagues tried to give it back!

 Duncan Bourne 14 Apr 2021
In reply to Davidlees215:

Good on you.

I have written one (still in the final editing process) which has taken me 3 - 4 years so far. Editing has reduced 170 thousand words down to about 80 thousand.

In reply to Blue Straggler:

> for a second I read JCM as JCT! Jude must have written loads of books. As for getting them published....

Getting published is the easy bit these days, it just takes a few clicks of the mouse. Here is a bit of the blurb from one of her masterpieces:

"Dominique DuBois’s marriage is falling to pieces, her pubescent daughter is out of control and now a bunch of faceless wankers are slagging off one of her magazine articles on the internet."
 

In reply to The New NickB:

> "Dominique DuBois’s marriage is falling to pieces, her pubescent daughter is out of control and now a bunch of faceless wankers are slagging off one of her magazine articles on the internet."

Brilliant! One imagines the shade of Proust giving it, "Bloody hell. That lass from Yorkshire's really left me behind this time."

Mick

In reply to The New NickB:

"Donminique is in an unfullfilling marriage and generally stuck in a rut with her life until she discovers the fun and frolics of Internet forums. There she quickly makes friends and enemies; the latter is inevitable because the Net is a paradise for bullies and sadists who can snipe and gripe while cowering behind the impunity of a keyboard and monitor. However one poster comes to her rescue, a rock-climbing Yorkshireman by the username of...."

And it's free on Kindle unlimited...

In reply to Ridge:

I can't tell if you and NickB are making this up or not  

edit - checked. Oh my. 


You wonder if it might have been more cathartic and lucrative if she literally set up an axe grinding business

Post edited at 08:53
In reply to The New NickB:

> Getting published is the easy bit these days, it just takes a few clicks of the mouse.

I am cheered by how this seems to have opened up opportunities for lots more people to get stuff out there. I've now done the editing/proof-reading for a couple of mates who've written about their adventures. I spent my career as an English teacher promoting creativity and self-expression, so it's nice to be still involved in retirement. I'm cheap: free copy and bottle of single malt.

 Le Sapeur 14 Apr 2021
In reply to Davidlees215:

> I wrote a novel a few years ago. I was inspired after stumbling across a ruined iron age fort in north Wales. Took me about 4 years of stop start to finish it but even though I only sold about 30 copies it still felt worthwhile. 

Tony certainly enjoyed your book.

In reply to Arbu:

I wrote some sci-fi a while back.  I enjoyed writing it but it didn't go anywhere.  

The best thing that happened was when I got a two star review with the tag line 'I gave up'.   The first few reviews had been kinder so I looked to see what else this person had reviewed.   I was overjoyed to discover she'd given 'The Grapes of Wrath' two stars as well.

 HB1 14 Apr 2021
In reply to Arbu:

I wrote a couple of illustrated poetry-and-song books for children back in the day. Self-published and sold in schools where I was performing. It cost me £1 a book, and sold at £3.50. I sold almost all of them. If I'd a print run of, say, 1000000 or more, I'd be rich, rich, RICH, but I didn't, so I'm not. . . . 

In reply to Arbu:

I translated a booklet once!

On the Rhone Glacier and its Ice Grotto. The family of the author, my colleague at the time in the R&D division of a large engineering company, owned the fancy hotel with a view of the rapidly shrinking glacier.

http://www.gletscher.ch/glaziologie/

 Bob Kemp 14 Apr 2021
In reply to Ridge:

> "...However one poster comes to her rescue, a rock-climbing Yorkshireman by the username of....”

is this ‘Fifty Shades of Gray’?

In reply to Bob Kemp:

'Fifty Shades of Brian' just doesn't have the same erotic impact

In reply to Ian Parsons:

Indeed; I've written a number of books about chess, although these are technical manuals rather than creative writing, which I think was what the OP had in mind.

jcm 

In reply to Arbu:

Yeup. Wrote a novel about Galileo a few years ago. Enjoyed the two or three years spent researching and writing. Had two publishing deals that fell over at the final hurdle but it is available here:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Vatican-File-1181-Galileo-Wyatt/dp/1515019071/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Vatican+File+1181&qid=1618399057&s=books&sr=1-1

Now looking for an agent for my latest novel. 

In reply to Arbu:

Nope! But I do nurture the pipe-dream of creating a graphic novel (a posh comic).

 DerwentDiluted 14 Apr 2021
In reply to Blue Straggler:

> I can't tell if you and NickB are making this up or not  

> edit - checked. Oh my. 

> You wonder if it might have been more cathartic and lucrative if she literally set up an axe grinding business

I remember a UKC meet (when we did that sort of thing) at Cratcliffe c2002. It was literally like an audience with JCT, who sat centrally in the boulderfield, holding court like the Queen of Hearts, various children and animals and entourage in tow.  I must have been unworthy of the coterie as I pretty soon banished myself from the kingdom and went to Robin Hoods Stride.

In reply to Arbu:

I have written several books and they are very boring. To quote Alice in Winderland, they have no pictures and no conversation.  Everyone else's books, incl yours, sound much more fun.

 Tony Buckley 14 Apr 2021
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> I was overjoyed to discover she'd given 'The Grapes of Wrath' two stars as well.

I've always imagined that to be about a man who is very angry because he has haemorrhoids.  It's never appealed to me.

T.

 wintertree 14 Apr 2021
In reply to Arbu:

I have about 30 pages of thematically linked children's short stories sat languishing on my writing laptop, waiting for a week of proper peace and quiet...  I'd like them to be illustrated with impressionist paintings but I have not the talent...  

In reply to Arbu:

Mine have been all academic - one sole authored and three co-authored (plus one edited and one co-edited).

Much more interestingly my son published a sci fi novel aged 23 with the fab title The Reality Exchange

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Reality-Exchange-James-Vigor/dp/1912053330/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=Reality+exchange&qid=1618408822&s=books&sr=1-2

 Yanchik 14 Apr 2021
In reply to Arbu:

Chapters in a mountaineering anthology. Which sounds cool... but really it was vanity publishing by my former school. On the other hand, they weren't the worst chapters, and I did get to meet some cool mountaineers at the launch event. 

It also made me chuckle, because I figured that the group of people who would be found by an English teacher reaching out from a school they were at thirty years ago would probably not intersect with a group of people pushing it out in hard climbing... no disrespect to my fellow anthologists a couple of whom were high achievers. 

Y

 Davidlees215 14 Apr 2021
In reply to Le Sapeur:

> Tony certainly enjoyed your book.

Yes my biggest fan with 5 stars but the briefest ever description.  If you go on Amazon.com (the us version) I got another much longer review but just the 4 stars. 

 Davidlees215 14 Apr 2021
In reply to Davidlees215:

Thanks to whoever has just bought my book.  I just spotted my first sale in about four months. 

In reply to Arbu:

Well, it's not published yet, and although my name is on the cover a lot of other folks are involved...

https://www.climbers-club.co.uk/baggy-and-the-culm/

In reply to Arbu:

One just gone to print-"Wasdale Head and the Inn-A history"

 nastyned 14 Apr 2021
In reply to Arbu:

I've written a couple of text book chapters, which is an awful lot of work for very little money. 

 waitout 14 Apr 2021
In reply to Arbu:

Yes, the story that accompanied my academic stuff. Basically the same stuff just presented in a way normal people may want to read. Embarrassingly out of date now as the times have rolled on, but for a very brief time it was relevant, now no more than a time capsule.

What I found hard was keeping dimension to things so it wasn't just 'I saw', 'they said', 'I did' etc. I'd do it better now.

In reply to Davidlees215:

it’s an enjoyable read. 

In reply to Arbu:

Who was it that said

"everyone has a novel in them and that is where it should remain"? 😉

 freeflyer 15 Apr 2021
In reply to ericinbristol:

> Much more interestingly my son published a sci fi novel aged 23 with the fab title The Reality Exchange: 

I am tempted as it sounds great and the reviews are very encouraging- but £8.99??

Does it cost a lot to publish like this?

In any case, I hope he will write novel #2; Heinlein rule 6.

In reply to freeflyer:

> I am tempted as it sounds great and the reviews are very encouraging- but £8.99??

The production costs per unit for print on demand are high.  The price of the paper book isn't going to come down until someone takes the chance of printing a bunch of them at once.

In reply to freeflyer:

Glad to hear it potentially interests you. Yes the reviews have been really positive. As for the price, if £8.99 feels too high for you to want to buy that is of course your call. tom_in_edinburgh is right: there is very little profit at that price, even with print on demand, as, aside from the cost of the p.o.d. itself (not trivial), there are also the up front costs of editorial, review, cover design, setting, proofing and marketing that it is hard to make any profit even with p.o.d. until the numbers get high enough. And the many days of work writing it were unpaid, so his hourly rate is pennies in effect.  

Yes, he is working on the sequel as a sideline to his day job as a computer games programmer.

Post edited at 08:56
 DaveHK 16 Apr 2021
In reply to Arbu:

Do guidebooks count? Must be quite a few guidebook writers on the forum.

> I don't think I would have written it were it not for lockdown. It takes so long.

I had two teacher colleagues who had novels published, both basically used their holidays as writing time. One has managed to quit her teaching job and make a living from it but I get the impression it's quite a tough shift and she seems to spend a lot of time doing promotional stuff and things like school visits and workshops.

I'm told she's very good although I haven't read her stuff myself: http://www.barbarahenderson.co.uk/

Also, this guy climbs and seems to have done alright with the writing thing: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_K._Morgan

 Iamgregp 16 Apr 2021
In reply to DaveHK:

Surely the most successful writer who climbs (rather than climber who writes) is Jo Nesbo?

 Sean Kelly 16 Apr 2021
In reply to Iamgregp:

> Surely the most successful writer who climbs (rather than climber who writes) is Jo Nesbo?

Al Alvarez!

 Iamgregp 16 Apr 2021
In reply to Sean Kelly:

Ah yeah, arguably.   Depends how you define success really!

 DaveHK 16 Apr 2021
In reply to Iamgregp:

> Surely the most successful writer who climbs (rather than climber who writes) is Jo Nesbo?

I didn't realise this was a competitive thing.  

Post edited at 17:00
In reply to Iamgregp:

> Surely the most successful writer who climbs (rather than climber who writes) is Jo Nesbo?

I heard that during those famous missing 11 days in December 1926, Agatha Christie made the second ascent of Green Gully.

 Iamgregp 16 Apr 2021
In reply to The New NickB:

Very good!

In reply to DaveHK:

> I didn't realise this was a competitive thing.  

I think writers like burning off their mates just as much as climbers do...and are equally unlikely to admit it.

 Bob Kemp 17 Apr 2021
 wercat 17 Apr 2021
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Gwen Moffat wrote a whole series of murder stories in outdoor/mountain settings, including one set in a slightly rearranged Glenbrittle.

In reply to Darren Jackson:

> Gordon Stainforth may have... 

Well, I have now - finished at 2.15 pm, this afternoon. My seventh book. Has taken almost exactly a decade (started in Feb 2011) - but many other issues got in the way, so more like 6 solid years' work. Not sure if I'll get it published this year; more like next. 'High Speed Heart. The Triumph and Tragedy of George Stainforth, AFC: Aviator Extraordinary.' Being a biography of an intense life, it's quite long (main text, 131,000 words, 474 pages, dbl-spaced A4). But those who've read it so far say it feels quite short ... Which is how I want it.

In reply to Andy Clarke:

'It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail.'

jcm

 Sean Kelly 25 Apr 2021
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Finishing a book is a bit like finishing a painting. 

When exactly is it actually complete. I am terrible at rewriting passages or adding other events or ideas that come to mind. One short passage I have probably redone about twenty times and still wonder if it could be better written. The clarity, the effectiveness of the chosen words, rechecking grammar and so on. What reads great one day looks very contrived the next. My book at present is just over 250,000 words. I have deleted whole chapters and added some new ones. It is like a living animal  with a life of its own. 4 years so far. I think I am near completion. The other decision is whether to publish. Would anyone really be interested in what I have to say?

I keep reading Dicken's 'Tale of Two Cities' and as an introduction it really can't be bettered. The Cruel Sea is another impressive opening page. In the final analysis we can only go with our own style, much like the painter.

Post edited at 09:25
In reply to Sean Kelly:

Well I concur with all that. I had my first (actually about 5 or 6th draft finished on Jan 1. ... I then called that the 'first draft'. I have then been working non-stop until yesterday revising and honing that draft. My first rough draft about two years ago was well over 500,000 words, and I then hired a professional editor (with completely fresh eyes) to help with the first drastic cutting. That then became draft 2.1 which went through with her to about 2.3. She was quite expensive but extremely helpful. Her first summarising letter back to me was brilliantly sharp.

I then worked on it on my own for the rest of last year (3.1-3.5). This year it's been 4.1 and 4.2, the latter being the one I finished yesterday (the footnotes took one month of 24/7 work to tighten and polish). I believe it is now absolutely typo-free. I really can't do any more with it now except submit it. 4.1 had two very enthusiastic readers, the second being a retired English teacher who knew next to nothing about the story - which helps. Neither could put it down, and both were back to me within about 4 days, having read it. Which is very encouraging.

I had a celebratory meal last night with English sparkling wine from Cornwall, instead of champagne. While I was cooking, and Freda was in the front room, I didn't hear a sound. I went into the front room and said, 'You're being very quiet!' and she said 'I'm reading the beginning of your book again'. She's read it many times in its different stages, yet here she was again last night finding it 'completely absorbing'.

I then had a very, very productive phone call with a film publicist - because I aim first to sell the film rights - who has multiple contacts, and immediately suggested three very useful ones, including one quite big-name director (a friend of his) who he will send a synopsis to tomorrow. Very exciting times for me ...

In reply to Sean Kelly:

Your comment about a book becoming 'like a living animal with a life of its own' is so true. The strange thing is that it becomes something that's not just part of oneself, but separate from oneself, bigger than oneself. One's own importance seems to diminish as the book 'separates itself'. Then when you look back at a part you haven't read for several weeks you think 'Did I really write that?' ... and with a bit of luck, 'That's really rather good ... ' [A huge difference from earlier stages when you think, oh my god, that won't do, and you tear up a huge section and start again.]

Post edited at 10:40
 Sean Kelly 25 Apr 2021
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

What about Fiva? Did that go through many drafts?

Its amazing that what reads fine one day, reads really poor the next day. Fresh eyes are a great asset. My wife in not really interested in my book as it is all climbing and mountaineering. 

Interestingly yesterday I was reading an Alan Arnette article about Everest etc, and was really chuffed that all my observations about ascents and fatalities in the Himalayas matched his figures. Proof reading is no good with figures. They are either right or wrong.

Currently researching the Corti story of his Eiger epic. I've found some stunning pics of both the Eiger & the rescue (Eiger pic is on my gallery). Viewed on a large monitor they are stunning.

Good luck with the book. Will it sell like Fiva, now a classic!

In reply to Sean Kelly:

Fiva went through through three drafts in all. Nothing like as many as this book, which has been a far bigger task in every way (about 1/10 ... took one year instead of 10!). It's a much bigger book and involved a massive amount of research.

 Sean Kelly 26 Apr 2021
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Yes, research is very time consuming. It can also be conflicting. So more research required to get to the correct facts. And if the facts are wrong people are quick to criticise and find fault. How often do we observe this in reviews.

Post edited at 17:36
 Pbob 26 Apr 2021
In reply to Arbu:

I'm editing and writing a chapter of an academic book at the moment. I expect it to sell roughly as many copies as the number of people who have contributed to the content. But that's not really the point. 

 cb294 28 Apr 2021
In reply to Pbob:

Same here, but it was part of a reasonably well known series of molecular biology manuals, so many uni libraries bought a copy.

Ten years later I still got paper cheques for 35p from Springer US....

CB

 Doug 28 Apr 2021
In reply to cb294:

Can't remember ever being paid anything for book chapters other than a copy of the book, or two once when CUP published both a hardback & a paperback edition of the same title. And of course nothing for writing & reviewing papers or editing journals.

 cb294 28 Apr 2021
In reply to Doug:

Springer paid the contributing authors per page (at least for that book), and the editors got double rates. The second year was most profitable, when Springer paid me something like 40$, most of which went into bank fees when cashing the cheque.

The entire scientific publishing business is a huge scam anyway. Apparently, return on investment for the likes of Springer or Elsevier is only beaten by drug, arms, or people trafficking. Not surprising, since the only parts that require effort and skill are done by the scientists for free. It really is a topic for getting me riled up.

What do the journals actually contribute to the scientific process that justifies them being the only ones that make a profit from it?

IMO they are parasites of the scientific process, generating profit by making the public pay for seeing the results of publicly paid research.

Never forget that scihub is your friend. It is almost a civic duty to avoid paying for journal access!

Fortunately there is some recent progress in the biomedical sciences concerning prepublication servers and open access journals, as usual several centuries after physics and maths (I blame the medics).

Anyway, enough with derailing the thread, back to the current manuscript that is open on the other monitor. The review I have promised to finish will have to wait until the weekend....

CB

edit: And yes, I also got a copy of the book!

Post edited at 17:14
 Kean 28 Apr 2021
In reply to Arbu:

I translated an Italian chap's  memoirs about being deported from Germany to Auschwitz. All very traumatic. Just after it was published it was discovered that he'd made the whole thing up! (Fortunately I'd already been paid!). Very bizarre experience. Not least because everything he wrote was a true and very detailed first-person account of what so many millions of poor souls had endured - just not him.

In reply to Arbu:

Almost beside myself with excitement with what's been happening today ... within two days of submitting the synopsis of my book to 'an important media contact'. Lips are firmly sealed at the moment, because it's early days, but lets say phones have been buzzing all over the place ... big names wanting to be involved ... Looks like my ten years work have paid off ...

 Toccata 29 Apr 2021
In reply to cb294:

Also a regular chapter contributor almost always because I'm friendly with the editors rather than any desire to write them. As has been said, a lot of work for beer money.

I edit two scientific journals (unpaid) and we're having increasing issues getting both reviewers and quality reviews. While there are some incentives to review (not financial) we're finding around half will write little more than a paragraph and claim the credits available. It's becoming increasingly frustrating journals asking for up to £2500 to publish online knowing academics need the impact factor refs when the entire editorial and review stage (which can be hugely time consuming) is done for free.

In reply to Sean Kelly:

>  It is like a living animal  with a life of its own. 4 years so far. I think I am near completion. The other decision is whether to publish. Would anyone really be interested in what I have to say?

Come on!  You've put 4 years in - of course you should publish!   The only way to find out if anyone will be interested is to give people a chance to see it.

If you aren't sure get a couple of beta readers to give you feedback.

In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

I've never seen the point of writing if it's not for publication (except perhaps for honing one's skills). I don't see it as having very much at all to do with 'self-satisfaction'; it's all about communication with the world at large - outside one. Ideally, one wants as many people to read what one's written as possible. But's it's not an ego-trip ... hasn't got much to do with self. As I said earlier, the work becomes separate, detached, in a sense 'bigger than oneself'. Anyhow, that's just the way I see it, but I suspect most (moderately) successful writers think in the same way. 

In reply to Darren Jackson:

> Gordon Stainforth may have... 

Who?

 Paul at work 29 Apr 2021
In reply to Arbu:

Yes I wrote Climbing Games back in 2009 and that has done well (for the type of book) 10,000 copies sold and also translated into Spanish, by a different publisher.

During the first lockdown, myself and a friend wrote 'Coaching Adventure Sports' but this time decided to jump in with both feet and set up a publishing company. Really pleased to have sold 1/3 of our initial print run, since we published it in December. You can see a sample of it here - https://tinyurl.com/y4r9dgvw  bit.ly/coachingadventuresportsbook

Post edited at 15:46

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