Neon & Shadows

So I finished the final edit. I hadn’t read Amsterdam Rampant for more than a year, and came to it with relatively fresh eyes. I found about six or seven small corrections (typos and the like) and will knuckle down this week to format the Word document and get it ready to be converted into an ebook. The formatting in Word can sometimes convert poorly into an ebook – for example, italicised text or page breaks – so there’s a bit of donkey work to be done checking all of this. As usual my main constraint is time. I work 50-55 hours per week in my day job, and study for around 10 hours each week for my part-time MBA, which pretty much wipes out most of my waking hours.

But it was a good feeling though to realise that very little needs to be done to the book. I’ve been lucky enough to have around 5 or 6 people edit the manuscript in detail over the years, and have had maybe 25 readers in total. So the re-read reminded me that it’s time to stop procrastinating and get it out there.

I plan to publish the novel through two channels. Firstly, as you would expect, Amazon. This is pretty straightforward (as they boast, “self-publish in minutes”) and Amazon accounts for about 60-80% of total ebook sales (depending which source you read). So Amazon is a no-brainer.

To reach every other ebook market I decided to opt for Smashwords. These guys will publish your ebook for free on the other main stores (Apple, Barnes & Noble, and other US outlets) and take a 15% cut of every sale. It’s not a particularly attractive website but is more flexible than BookBaby, the other service I considered. BookBaby looks much more professional overall but they charge $25 for every amendment and I prefer the flexibility of SmashWords.

Regarding pricing, I will probably aim for somewhere in the range of two to three pounds. I’m not trying to make money but this price range is probably the minimum for me to pay the cut to Amazon/Smashwords and cover some of my other costs. And a book for the price of a posh coffee seems pretty good to me. I buy a lot of ebooks and reckon anything under a fiver is decent value.

There are also some other small things to be done – writing acknowledgements for the end of the book (and making sure to thank everyone who helped me over the years, Gwyneth-Paltrow-at-Oscars style) and also write what Amazon romantically calls the ‘product description’ (ie. the short blurb you normally see on the dustjacket of a print book).

I always find these blurbs really difficult to write. Here is my first attempt – let me know what you think…

There’s no place quite like Amsterdam for losing yourself, and Fin McPhail is one of the lost.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. In the early days Amsterdam promised a fresh start away from all his problems back in Scotland – a well-paid job, a luxury apartment in the city’s canal district, sobriety and celibacy. But everything changed when he went on a blind date with a sexologist, and now the city’s dark side is closing in around him…

To complicate matters, not only is Fin’s new life coming off the hinges, but his old life is hurtling back towards him in the shape of a stag party – four reprobates from his hometown in Scotland, including his future brother-in-law and the former school bully – will arrive in the city this evening. Over the course of one chaotic weekend, Fin will come face-to-face with all his demons.

Vividly cinematic in its execution, Amsterdam Rampant draws on a potent blend of influences (Pulp Fiction, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, and the work of Donna Tartt and Iain Banks) to create a riotously entertaining novel that intelligently explores the neon and shadows of Europe’s sin city. Cleverly plotted and populated by a cast of memorable characters, it a 21st Century morality tale about sex, friendship, and coming to terms with the past.

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4 thoughts on “Neon & Shadows

  1. Fin McPhail is in deep trouble and Amsterdam isn’t helping.

    It wasn’t supposed to be like this. The city had promised an escape from all of his problems back in Scotland. It was the perfect fresh start – well-paid job, luxury apartment in the Canal District, sobriety and celibacy.

    But everything changed when he went on a blind date with a mad sexologist, and now the city’s neon shadows were closing in around him.

    Fin’s new life is falling apart and even worse, his old life is hurtling back towards him in the shape of a stag party – four nutters from his hometown in Scotland, including his future brother-in-law and the former school bully – will arrive in the city within hours.

    Over the course of one chaotic weekend, Fin McPhail will come face-to-face with all of his demons.

    Vividly cinematic, cleverly plotted and highly entertaining. Amsterdam Rampant draws on a potent blend of modern culture (Pulp Fiction, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, and the work of Donna Tartt and Iain Banks). It is a riotously entertaining novel exploring the neon shadows of Europe’s sin city.

    Cleverly populated by a cast of memorable characters, this 21st Century tale of sex, friendship, and coming to terms with the past will leave readers wanting more from Scotland’s newest literary star.

  2. I would just perhaps expand the first sentence?..
    Fin McPhail is in deep trouble and his recent move to start a new life in Amsterdam isn’t helping.

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