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Why I Love my Kindle…And Why I Hate Myself For It.

 

I was a steadfast, never-changing, can’t-see-the-point, technology-goes-too-far defender of printed books. The ‘Original Book’ if you will. I spent a year on my MA in Creative Entrepreneurship listening to people defending the uses of e-readers, imploring me to consider changing markets and adapting writing to new ways of reading. I refused. The printed book will never be replaced, and I just wasn’t interested. However, when I needed to start editing other people’s books and stories, and my back was starting to break from dragging my laptop everywhere (which I still do, I’ve just added a kindle to the Big Bag of Doom), I decided to give them a chance.

Reasons I love it:

1. Instantaneous gratification

Ooh, I really want that book. Ooh, it’s coming out today! I can’t get to the shop today. My local bookshop doesn’t stock it. Oh, I don’t want to order it and wait for weeks, I want it NOW. Oh, BLAM, look at that! I have it. Shopping for books is one of the greatest pleasures, I may even prefer it to reading books. Seeing a book that grabs me, and instantly getting to read and enjoy it really feels good.

2. Holidays

I have always been a bookworm. When we went away on holiday, as a kid I had to think very carefully about my packing allowance. I always had three books for the plane (just in case) and five more in my case (for a two week holiday). No more using up all my packing space, weighing down my luggage, or having to make awful torn decisions about which book had to be left behind (poor little thing).

3. People can’t see what you’re reading

I think this was voted the number one favourite thing about e-readers. If I’m reading my typical maudlin YA fiction that I’ve read a hundred times before and probably has nothing to offer me, no one can judge. If I did want to read such absolute shite as Fifty Shades of Grey, or Twilight, I could do so without judgement. Which perhaps should be counted as a negative, as shaming people out of buying such things might be a good idea.

4. Supporting indie authors

It’s pretty easy to publish on Amazon for kindle, or even publish an e-book. For a minimal price, you can instantly support an author trying to make it, you can spend fifty pence and show solidarity without even really having to read the thing. It’s one click to make someone really happy. I’ve found some great stuff on twitter, downloaded it straight to my kindle, and it’s a bit like finding some hidden gems, it wasn’t what you were looking for, but you’re glad you took a chance.

 

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And some things I just can’t get over:

 

– People can’t see what you’re reading

As a Londoner, I’m quite averse to unnecessary communications on public transport, BUT sometimes it’s nice to have a chat with another book nerd on a bus. When I worked as a barista, it was really easy to start up a conversation with someone about their book. Reading is an internal thing, but the externalising is the talking about it.

You can’t lend books!

This absolutely drives me mad. I recently read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and it was one of the best books I’d read in ages. And whilst I was recommending it to everyone, could I force it on them by physically handing them a copy? No. So e-books are cheaper, but you have to buy them. Again, internalising reading.

On the beach

There’s something very anti-holiday reading about screens and glare and doohickeys and technology. I like the way my pages get crinkled in the sun, and sand gets between the pages. Getting sand on a kindle-fear.

I worry about getting mugged

No-one’s ever going to stop me for my copy of Harry Potter, but for an e-reader worth a hundred quid? My reading on the tube makes me feel like I’ve got to stow everything away going to the ‘dodgier’ parts of London. And that’s not nice.

The Smell

You know what I mean, don’t you?

 

As always, you can buy my book in physical print and on kindle. Because having the best of both is important, right?

 

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Writerly Resolutions for 2013

Hey there writers, readers and general people of the web-verse.

Happy 2013! I hope your resolutions are achievable and your will power is strong.

Here are a few of my writerly resolutions for the coming year. I’ve been looking at twitter, and everyone all over the place seems to intend to read more! Not a bad idea. There’s a strange level of disappointment in yourself when you haven’t read all the books everyone else has read, or whatever seems to be in vogue or is being made into a film. What books are you guys looking forward to reading this year?

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1. Learning to Love E-Books

This has been easier than anticipated. Since fighting violently against the e-book market, and denying that e-readers are at all a positive thing, I have got a kindle. And boy, I love it! I especially get very excited by scanning Amazon for books (as I did before) and then getting them automatically! Instantaneous reading excitement! It’s also very likely that when my book goes into publication, it will be as an e-book. So I want to convert as many people as possible. Plus, now I have more room in my bag when travelling!

I’m currently reading Mhairi McFarlane’s You Had Me At Hello, which has all the things I love, including sarcasm, snarkiness, nostalgia and a pretty boy. It’s also the closest thing I’ve found to my second novel The Last Word, so that’s comforting.

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2. Blogging the Crap out of Everything.

Whilst some people are probably sick to death of everything I say on this blog (please see comments on previous post for example, ha ha) blogging is how you get yourself known, and as countless SEO experts have said, it’s bloody important. I’ve been keeping up with my writing, reading and…no, not so much with the maths, but have been so busy doing it that I haven’t been blogging about it!

So 2013 will be the year of the blog…hopefully. And I’ll start uploading more samples of my work because when you let people know what you’re up to, you’re kind of obligated to keep going.

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3. Write, not just Type

I’m having a bit of a situation in figuring out physical mediums at the moment. Originally, I always used to write everything in a notebook, or write pages and pages of scraps, and then type once things already appeared to have a definitive form. With my latest project, I started typing from the get-go, and I’m not really sure about it. Also, I like pretty notebooks!

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4. Write Sober

Big fan of Hemmingway’s famous advice, and find it to be particularly useful, but seeing as I’ll be giving up alcohol for January, it’ll be interesting to see whether it’s easier to write when you’re not so foggy from a glass of red. I doubt it. I kind of believe that perception altering experiences are good, and that anything that brings your subconscious bleeting into the conscious in confused, pretty sentences is pretty damn awesome. But, maybe being sober will be a perception altering experience. Or I’ll drink twice the amount of tea.

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5. Believe

I will tell you the absolute truth, the same truth every person who calls themselves an artist and writes a blog, or gives out a business card or talks about their work thinks: I am a fraud. I’m only talking about what I know, and trying to make it sound as if I know exactly what I’m doing, or as if I have any control over who reads my books, who thinks I’m good, and who thinks I’m professional.

But that’s part of the game. I have to call myself a writer. If not, what am I? If I’m not, then how can I legitimately run workshops, give talks, feedback to other writers, edit other people’s work? We are all absolutely playing the part of the life we want, in the hopes that one day we’ll simply stop pretending and be. So I hope that you know that these musings are made delicately, hopefully and without ego. Or rather, just enough ego to appear confident.

And to all my other frauds out there- keep pretending. Most of them don’t know we’re faking it!

I’ll keep you posted about the novel publication, the latest project and all the wonderful things I’ve been reading on my magic electronic reading device!

Have a very happy new year, and keep writing! What are your resolutions this year, writerly, readerly or not? Stick them in the comments box!