On Friday I received author copies of my book, The Further Selected Poems of K Morris , which was published on 27th February. The photographs below show me holding the front and back cover of my book, as well as two poems from the collection; ‘Dog Bed’ and ‘To a Departed Dog’. My book is also available as a Kindle download, and can be found here
As an author, I derive great pleasure from providing family, friends and other readers with signed copies of my paperback books. Indeed, over the last week or so, I have mailed 3 copies of my recently released “Selected Poems”, https://www.amazon.co.uk/Selected-Poems-K-Morris/dp/1688049800, and furnished 3 signed copies to friends face-to-face.
In addition to my squashed spider of a signature, each book contains a personalised message. Its wonderful to receive the heartfelt messages of thanks and to know that a reader will have a physical copy of my “Selected Poems” on their bookshelves to enjoy for years to come.
Whilst I can not envisage the demise of physical books (either paperback or hardback) as many people, including me love to hold a real book in their hands, the growth in ebooks has driven the development of solutions enabling authors to sign electronic copies of their books. See, for example this article, https://selfpublishingadvice.org/book-marketing-tip-how-to-offer-signed-books-at-low-cost/.
I haven’t used Authorgraph (one of the solutions mentioned in the above article). However the ability to sign ebooks opens up new possibilities for both readers and authors. No longer does a UK author need to send a signed (physical) copy of his/her book halfway around the world by post, as he/she can sign an electronic book remotely. Of course many readers will, I feel sure still wish to own a signed (physical) copy of a book. However, for those who prefer ebooks, or others who can not aford the expense of postage and packaging, the ability to have an ebook signed by their favourite author can only be a good thing.
Yesterday (23 August), I announced that my “Selected Poems” is available in the Amazon Kindle store, https://kmorrispoet.com/2019/08/23/my-selected-poems-is-now-available-for-purchase-in-the-kindle-store/
My office is a relaxed place and (within reason) no one objects to the odd non-work-related email. Consequently, I emailed yesterday informing my colleagues that my “Selected Poems” was available in Kindle, and provided a link enabling anyone interested to take a look or purchase my book.
In response to my email, one of my colleagues got in touch asking whether “The Selected Poems of K Morris” is available in paperback. I am pleased to announce that my book is now available in paperback and can be found here https://www.amazon.com/dp/1688049800/ (for the US and elsewhere), and here https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1688049800/ (for the UK).
I am keen for my readers to have a choice as regards how they access my books. As Simon Jenkins points out in “The Guardian” https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/may/13/books-ebook-publishers-paper, many people appreciate the physicality of a paper book and reports of the demise of the traditional (hard copy) tome have been greatly exaggerated.
As someone who is visually impaired and unable to read print, I am a fan of ebooks insofar as they enable those with visual impairments to access literature via Apple’s Voiceover screen reader and the Kindle’s text to speech facility. I also use my Amazon Echo to listen to Kindle books and audio titles from audible.co.uk. Having said that, I do love sitting with a braille book upon my knee as its an experience not mediated via technology (something very precious in today’s tech obsessed society).
Consequently its not a case of paper bad, ebook good, or the other way around! Its a matter of people finding what works best for them. I like the idea of readers taking down my books from their bookshelves (as I love going through my own bookcases), however, if readers wish to read my (or other authors books) on their iPhones or other similar devices, then that is fine as, in the final analysis its the enjoyment of literature that matters, not how it is consumed.
From the 15th-19th March, my book ‘Samantha’ will be available for free in the Amazon Kindle Store.
“Samantha tells the story of a young girl forced into prostitution in the city of Liverpool. Can Sam’s love for Peter, a man she meets in a nightclub, save her? Or will Sam end her life in the murky waters of Liverpool’s Albert Dock?”
On 3 September, I published the Kindle edition of my collection of poems, “The Writer’s Pen and Other Poems, which is available here https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07GD1LBMV/ (for the UK) and here https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GD1LBMV/ (for amazon.com customers).
I am pleased to announce that “The Writer’s Pen” is now also available in paperback and can be found here https://www.amazon.com/dp/1730814883/ (for amazon.com customers) and here https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1730814883/ (for the UK).
One reviewer of “The Writer’s Pen” writes as follows:
“This latest collection by Kevin Morris consists of 44 pithy reflections on life, death, and passing time. Some of the subjects and themes are the same as in Morris’s earlier collection, My Old Clock I Wind – nature, the seasons, clocks, sex, and mortality. A group of longer poems explores what might be called current affairs.
The tone of these works is darker and more serious than the earlier collection. I recognized no humorous poems, although a wry humor is present in some of them, such as “Libidinous,” in which the poet wonders about the activities of nymphs in a budding wood. “Summer” contains the delightful lines “Now ’tis the fashion / For short frocks / And tiny socks.”
I especially appreciated a sequence of several poems in which the poet strolls through a churchyard under light and shade, contemplating mortality in an almost cheerful way. In “To and Fro,” he says “Why should I care? / For I will not be there / To know.”
Several poems explore the poet’s ambivalence about politics and political correctness. “Legacy (a poem on the late Enoch Powell)” is one such. Morris expresses mixed feelings about Powell, while acknowledging that “An intelligent man / Frequently can / Do more harm / Than a stupid one.” “When a Monster Dies” and “The Monster’s Son” are particularly intriguing, pointing out in a few brief lines that every person is multi-dimensional and complex.
Two poems – “Rhodes” and “I Shower” – contain the phrase “feet of clay.” In the first, it’s used as a caution against facile judgmentalism, and in the second as a reminder that “the beast in man” is ever-present and not easily expunged.
The Writer’s Pen and Other Poems is one poet’s way of dealing with life’s complications and contradictions. The poems display a resigned acceptance that doesn’t quite cross the line into pessimism. I’m guessing Morris appreciates conversations with friends, in pubs or over dinner and drinks. Reading this collection of short, accessible verses is like sitting down with a thoughtful friend to talk about life, death, and the ways of the world. The poems are brief, but Morris’s skilful use of words makes them worth reading more than once, and contemplating their meanings in moments of quiet”. (Please see, https://audreydriscoll.com/2018/08/15/book-review-the-writers-pen-by-k-morris/). To read more reviews please visit the book’s page on Goodreads which can be found here, https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41209405-the-writer-s-pen-and-other-poems.
“The Writer’s Pen and Other Poems” will soon be available, as an audio download from audible.co.uk and audible.com.
I was delighted to receive the following review of “My Old Clock I Wind”:
“A book of poetry by K. Morris. The poems explore different themes, lamenting the passing years, questioning what is called “progress” among others, but there are some nonsensical funny ones too …”. (To read the review in its entirety please visit, https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2356305979?book_show_action=true&from_review_page=1).
You can find “My Old Clock” on Goodreads here, https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35445316-my-old-clock-i-wind-and-other-poems. And in the Amazon Kindle store here, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0735JBVBG.
The book is also available from Moyhill Publishing (in ebook and print), http://moyhill.com/clock/.
A braille edition can be purchased from the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB). To purchase “My Old Clock IWind” in braille please go to http://www.rniblibrary.com/iguana/www.main.cls?surl=a1, enter “my old clock I wind k morris”, click search and my book should be displayed.
How much would you pay for a book? Or, to put it another way, how much is a book worth to you?
A couple of weeks back, I was chatting to an acquaintance about books. During our conversation my acquaintance stated that many ebooks are overpriced (he mentioned that some cost £7 or more), and given the low cost of producing electronic versions they should be more reasonably priced. He also went on to state that he bought many of his books in charity shops, with many retailing for as little as £0.50.
The above conversation made me consider the question, what is a book worth? My collection of poetry “My Old Clock I Wind” retails for £2.99 (for the ebook) and £10.99 (for the paperback). Turning to a comparison with the demon drink. I enjoy a refreshing pint of Fosters. In my favourite local the price is £4, so anyone drinking there can enjoy two and a half pints of my favourite tipple at a cost of £10. Alternatively they could (with the addition of £0.99) purchase the paperback edition of “My Old Clock”, or three copies of the ebook (and still have change from a £10 note).
While beer is refreshing it is, by its nature here then gone. In contrast a book can be read many times (whether in electronic or paperback/hardback format). So, weighing my work against the cost of a pint in my favourite local, my book is, in my view value for money. In fact why not do both (I.E. purchase a copy of my book, in any format and enjoy a pint while reading it)!
The above comparison is intended to be read in a light hearted manner. There is, however a serious point to all this. Some individuals who complain about paying £10.99 for a paperback (or £7 for an ebook) will think nothing of buying several rounds of drinks on a Friday evening. Anyone who drinks in central London will know that (depending on the number of people in the round) that this can leave the person paying with a bar bill of £50, and on occasions considerably more.
All this is not to say that some books are not overpriced. I do, for example find it odd when I see ebooks costing similar amounts to their paperback/hardback alternatives. While it is right that authors and publishers need to make a living, there is much less cost entailed in producing an ebook and all things being equal ebooks should (in my opinion) reflect the lesser cost entailed in their production.
As regards books in charity shops, everyone loves a bargain and most people get a warm feeling knowing that there cheap purchase is helping to support a worthy cause. However (to state the blatantly obvious) authors and publishers could not survive where all books to be bought and sold in the second-hand market. Someone has to buy the book fresh off the press, otherwise the whole show will grind to a juddering halt!
In conclusion, books are, in the final analysis (as with any other product or service) worth whatever the purchaser is prepared to pay. A person who is caught up in the social whirl may think nothing of spending £70 or £80 on a night on the town, but ask that same person to buy a paperback for £10.99 and he protests that it is overpriced. While it is undoubtedly true that some books are overpriced, the vast majority certainly are not.
As always I would be interested in my reader’s views.
Prior to the birth of the internet, the only options open to aspiring writers (other than being published by a traditional publisher) where to pay what was often a small fortune to a self-publishing company or (if they happened to get lucky) find a magazine/journal who would publish their work.
The web now allows anyone with an internet connection to publish online or via ebook platforms such as Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). All this technological development is to be welcomed but …
Ebook publishers can decide (at any time) to remove your book. There have even been instances where Amazon has removed ebooks (remotely) from the devices of readers. Now you see your book on an ebook retailer’s website, now you don’t!
You always have your own site to rely on (assuming your writing or parts thereof are published there). That is true, but websites get hacked and even big blogging platforms/web hosting companies may go out of business leaving you high and dry or, to mix metaphors up the creek without a paddle.
Well at least some of your guest posts will survive on the sites/blogs of those who have been kind enough to host your content, won’t they?
I am extremely grateful to everyone who has kindly allowed me to guest post on their site. No one is obliged to post anything by me or anyone else so, when they do so it is a mark of generosity on their part.
However, you are not in control of other people’s sites. They may, at any time decide to delete content (including yours) or, indeed their blog in it’s entirety thereby removing your post and those of others.
So if you want your work to survive permanently what is the answer? In my view, good old-fashioned print. Even if a publishing company (self-publisher or traditional concern) goes out of business your books will remain in the hands of those who have purchased them and, of course you may, yourself hold unsold stock.
Again, if your books are in libraries they will remain available to borrow.
There is, of course nothing to prevent you from retaining electronic copies of your works and the overwhelming majority of writers do so. However hard discs get corrupted beyond salvage, cloud storage systems can be hacked etc.
In short the only failsafe way to preserve your works is to produce print editions.
I am not against electronic media. It is, as I say above, a wonderful way of bringing your writing to the attention of a wider audience but, when the chips are down print is, in my view the hardiest of the plants in the garden.
A fire may destroy a warehouse full of print books but (assuming your book is in bookshops and proofs survive), your work will remain available for today’s (and future) generations.
Print is, in any case wonderful. I have happy memories of visiting W H Smiths with my grandfather and drinking in the scent of all those books as we browsed the store.
To this day happy memories come flooding back whenever I pass by a branch of Smiths.
I was delighted to receive the below review for my collection of poetry, “Refractions”:
“I was touched with the wisdom and the heart behind the words. To know that the beauty of the world and all its glory is not lost on anyone makes me humbled.
I read and enjoyed all of these works and each one touched me on a different level. I look forward to reading more from Kevin Morris”.
Thank you to the reviewer for taking the time to read and review “Refractions”, which is available, as an ebook in the Amazon Kindle store. For the review please visit, https://www.amazon.com/review/RR1WAIUSHF5PF/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B01L5UC2H2.
On Monday 19 September, I posted HERE offering a free copy of my collection of poetry, “Refractions” to any of my readers who contacted me by Friday 23 September.
I have been delighted with the response so have decided to extend the deadline until 12 pm on Tuesday 27 September.
Anyone who would like to receive a free copy of “Refractions” should please email me by noon on Tuesday 27 September at newauthoronline (at) gmail (dot) com.