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Author Spotlight no.43 – Joseph V Sultana

Complementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the forty-third, is of medieval post-apocalyptic novelist, fellow Radio Litopianinterviewee (and friend :)) Joseph V Sultana.

Joseph V. Sultana was born to a Maltese father and Scottish mother and hails from London’s East End when it was not known as Canary Wharf. He is proud of his mixed roots and heritage, and has taken to writing as a cure for a midlife crisis that did not happen (yet).

His first novel, Three of a Kind, is the first in his planned Unsceptred Isle series and was published as an ebook by Book Sanctuary in June this year. It has so far received several five star reviews on Amazon and he claims to have once spotted someone reading it on London’s underground.

Whilst Three of a kind is not winning any records or out-selling too many others, you can hear the pride in him about his accomplishment of not just writing a book and getting it published but mainly that other people, complete strangers, have read it and enjoyed it.

Joseph is a straight-talking kind of a man whose cockney accent loses his sounding of ‘aitches’, but this “rough exterior” (his words :)) hides the warm and helpful chap he really is.

He openly admits of his love of helping people where he can and is often found twittering advice or telling about other people’s writing and that could be why book 2 will be later than his self-imposed deadline of December 2011.

Nowadays he is an erratic visitor to the Litopia website to join in with the chat and being somewhat of a maverick, he will often go off in a direction way off topic, but always in the hope to bring a smile to anyone’s face.

And now from the author himself:

I know it’s been said many times and by more important people than myself, but nonetheless, I have a dream. A dream where I am like Ian Fleming sitting in my summer retreat drinking a soft drink while tapping away at my worn keyboard on the latest in the Unsceptred Isle series. Alas that dream is no closer than me winning the lottery. I have however, made a start by writing and getting Unsceptred Isle – Three of a Kind published.

I am not a purist, nor am I traditional in my writing or my approach to the industry. And at times I have been accused of breaking the rules and therefore I am somehow not seen as published. My reply is, ‘Thankfully we all have opinions and I happy you are exercising that right.’ To which I ignore any further comments and continue bashing at the keyboard as a child would while playing the whack-a-mole machine at the seaside.

In recent years there has been a global technological revolution and with the advent of eBook readers I think it is really important to understand about what’s happening to the publishing world. In my eyes these little gizmos are causing the same stir as the printing press, the custody of the written word has fallen back to the people.

Formula writing, sales models and demographics are the babies being thrown out with the bath water and I don’t know if that is a good or bad thing. All I see though is writers springing up everywhere, all vying for a piece of the action, and all being published along the way.

People like Colin Barnes and his co-published Killing my Boss or Minnie Lahongrais and her novel Sinners ride are only two of the many amazing books I have recently read. Neither will likely win a Booker or Costa but the stories are well-crafted by unknown writers who may have never had this chance without eBooks.

The development of the eBook must come from the publishing world though, because we are like children let loose in a sweet shop. Rules need to be in place, guidance is to be given because it’s a real free-for-all out here.

We need ePublishers, eAgents, more online outlets in place for us to be organised, else chaff and wheat will remain unsorted. If it was not for eBooks, Amazon and Book Sanctuary (my ePublisher), I would be an unpublished author, but what I’d like to see is the whole industry adapt faster, the British Library and others acknowledging that eBooks will be accepted as legal deposit and finally that eBooks are sold for a reasonable price, much less than their printed counterpart.

I don’t believe eBooks are going to replace the paperback like CD replaced tape, but there are here to stay, and will compliment what for me is an exciting and vibrant industry.

But that is just my opinion.

And mine. Thank you Joe. Lovely to have you back. You can find more about Joseph and his writing via… his website (http://www.unsceptred-isle.com) and Twitter.

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with novelist, playwright, short story author and blogger Stella Duffy – the two hundred and twenty-eighth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me. You can read / download my eBooks from Smashwords (Amazon to follow).

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2011 in ebooks, interview, novels, writing

 

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Guest post: eBook publishing by Joseph V Sultana

I’m especially delighted (because he’s a friend :)) to bring you this guest blog post, today on the topic of eBook publishing by medieval post-apocalyptic novelist Joseph V Sultana.

Working with an eBook publisher

With nearly 90,000 words burning an impatient hole into my hard drive and time ticking away to 2012, I needed to get published urgently. I tried the traditional route and although I hadn’t met with anything overly critical, I also hadn’t met with any success either.

While doing lots of research into self-publishing I found Book Sanctuary. I studied the website and did a bit checking on the business and like me it was a start-up. I did some simple background research which checked out. So a quick email, and soon after, a telephone conflab with Thomas Whitehead, one of the directors of the publishing house, it soon became evident that their business model appealed to me in a huge way.

And I assure you that I looked at every reason why I should not go with them.

I then thought that I too am a start-up and so for me to ask for a risk to be taken on me, I was willing to take the same risk on them. Soon an agreement was met and after I approved their edits… the rest is history or rather this story.

So ‘Unsceptred Isle – Three of a Kind’ was quietly published on the 1st of June on Amazon, globally, and has been getting some brilliant reviews.

To my amazement it sold, not by the bucket-load but certainly more than the ten I was banking on.

So what have Book Sanctuary done for me since? Difficult to quantify when comparing these guys to, say, Bloomsbury.

Firstly they do not have the big advertising budget and their whole ethos really is about the digital age. They use Twitter, Goodreads and Facebook to get the message out. But for me that allows me complete freedom to get heavily involved in the marketing too.

I designed the cover of ‘Three of a Kind’, not sure I would be allowed under normal circumstances and they’ve kept me up-to-date with sales.

This year they are one of the sponsors for the Linlithgow Book Festival, north of the border. I am over the moon ‘Three of a Kind’ is being presented within the literary world at a festival no less, albeit a small one.

It’s not self-publishing, I have not had to pay for anything up front. We have a 12-month deal with each other whereby either one can walk away after that period. Within that year they have first ebook rights and that’s it. All other rights remain with me including territory, paper, film and television etc.

Look, it’s not for everyone but it suits me down to the ground. I have even made several sales around the world. Now I’m not sure if that is possible through normal publication.

Of course I’d love to see it in print, and on a shelf in Waterstones, Foyles or other booksellers and who know maybe that will happen. Till then I keep plugging ‘Three of a Kind’ and continue writing the sequel.

I would certainly recommend it but for some it may be better to go it alone. You won’t know until you try it. Have a look and see for yourself.

Thank you JVS. Oh and he’s seen someone reading his book on a train. How cool is that? 🙂

Based in Essex, England, Joe is an Assurance / Handover Manager in the UK rail industry by day and at night, when he’s not on Facebook or Twitter (12,442 tweets and counting) or being taxi service to his family, he’s planning his ‘Unsceptred Isle’ series and if there’s any time left, he appears in the Radio Litopia chat room – which is how we met.

Joe’s website is http://www.unsceptred-isle.com where you can read about the series (Joe plans at least four), Joe himself, Maltese Cuisine (his motherland), sample chapters and even Cockney Rhyming Slang.

If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. If it’s writing-related then it’s highly likely I’d email back and say “yes please” (while quietly bouncing up and down in my seat with joy!).

 
 

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