Electrons, Wood pulp or sound waves?

How would you like your novel?

How would you like your novel?

How do you like your novel served up these days?

This is the question I have been asking myself recently as opportunities open up before me.


My personal favourite of course is wood pulp. I’ve done a lot of work for a thermo-mechanical pulping plant who make paper, but that is not why paper is my favourite medium for a novel.

I think it is because of my mum. Mum loves reading. She read to me as a child. I think of reading and I think of the times I came home at night to see the light on in her room, a book open in her hands but mum well and truly asleep. Its a happy warm nostalgic memory. We often ran out of book cases at home. We didn’t sell the books or give them away though. No, dad just got his builder mate to make another bookcase. Who needs wall paper when you have book cases?

I devoured books as a lad, reading the same things as mum as that was what was available, but eventually branching out into other subjects like science fiction. Sometimes I bit off more than I could chew, like ‘Clear and Present Danger‘ by Tom Clancy as a ten year old, or The sequels to Dune as a pre-teen. Overall though I did pretty good.

So if I’m going to read a book I want it to be paper. It just feels RIGHT.


But what about you? Do you like yours served up as a dish of electrons, a bunch of 0’s and 1’s? Ebooks are cheap to make and cheap to sell. In that way they open up literacy to many (though you could argue libraries do the same thing). In terms of reading an ebook on an ereader I’d really be quite happy to pass.

The only time the ebooks have really worked out for me was for a period of maybe 4 months when my boy had some big issues sleeping and I spent half the night wandering the house with him in my arms to keep him asleep. I had one arm holding my boy and one free arm. Too hard to read a paper book that way but the kindle was just perfect. I read two novels of the Song of Ice and Fire that way (and if you know anything about that series you know how BIG those books are!)


What about Audio? I’ve come to love the idea of audiobooks. As a user of an audiobook all the work is done for you. You don’t have to turn pages, you don’t have to to do any thinking, hell you don’t even need to open your eyes. Its a lazy man’s dream.

From an author point of view however I think it is an exciting way to add value to your novel.

Compare reading: “You’ll never reach the top of the hill in time,” Robert said in a disparaging tone. (Note: Yuck example but its late and I’m tired so deal with it)

With listening to a man speak in a disparaging tone: ‘You’ll never reach the top of the hill in time.’

All the nuances and flavour are fed directly to you instead of being layered in afterwards. It compacts the story and makes it easier to digest.

Another great advantage to audio books is the addition of foley. Watch any movie or tv series. The music or sound changes when the drama changes. A reveal comes along, a decision is finally made, whatever it is you get a signal it is coming from the sound effects. With audiobooks you can do this too, heighten the drama, give signals, foreshadow, whatever. You can even just add good old fashioned sound effects to reinforce the action.

And Here The Wheel

Everyone is different. I know some people love ebooks. Others love audiobooks to help them sleep at night or get through their night shifts or whatever.

Choice is good.

That’s why And Here The Wheel will be produced in all three formats.* Because all of those Elite fans whose lives will be better after having read And Here The Wheel, have different tastes and different preferences for their literature.

So which is your favourite?

*If its audiobook then we need your help. Audiobooks cost a lot of money. Fantastic Books Publishing are raising funds through a crowd funding campaign to set up their audio division. Everything is in place for recording And Here The Wheel. Actors, technicians, its all looking pretty darn exciting, we just need the money to hit the go button. Please visit the campaign and donate, even if its just a little bit and help my dream (and hopefully yours) come true.

Thank you.

Editing Progress

Here is this weeks progress meter for Editing, Round 2:

Progress Meter


Page 510/ 595 (85.7%)


The cake progress meter is a lie. That big scene that last week I said I would chop out? Yeah, didn’t really get around to that. Skipped it and moved on finishing the rest of the edit before going back to it. So the total page count is wrong and although I’m up to page 510 in the editing there’s some writing to do in the midst of that. Still its the best overall picture of progress I could come up with.

Commander’s Log Podcast
Commander's Log Cover art

Episode 10B has been out for a few weeks now. Thank you to everyone who downloaded and listened. I hope you enjoyed it. Who did you pick as the winner between Drew Wagar and myself? Were you right?

I’ve already had some questions fired at me to answer in the next podcast. Feel free to drop me a line in the comments or on twitter or facebook if you have a question you would like answered. Or, if you can think of a great place for Commander Harper to visit then let me know that too. Its a big universe out there and there is a lot of ground to cover.

I’m also teeing up a pretty exciting guest for the next episode too. Stay tuned for that one.

Episode 10B “Everything is pretty Fantastic”


Thanks for stopping by. I’d love to hear about your favourite book types.




4 responses to “Electrons, Wood pulp or sound waves?

  1. My favourite medium has to be paper, but increasingly I’m finding eBooks have their usefulness in certain situations. For example, I’m reading Allen Stroud’s fab Sword of Wisimir on my Experia Z phone whenever I happen to be waiting around somewhere unexpectedly, but will read a paperback during lunch at work or when relaxing at home.

  2. I’ve more or less always been a paper reader. Especially during holidays I like to read real books. Nowadays, in the train for commuting and such my tablet is taking the reign though. I don’t have a real e-reader so interference from sunlight is still a big thing for me. What I read I try to read in English. Mostly I read SciFi and most of those books are originally written in English. I hardly read any Dutch books anymore(my native tongue).

    I’ve never listened to audiobooks (Except for some short stories on vynil way back in the ’70s and ’80s.) But listening to the various LaveRadio productions has really introduced me to that realm. I am a non native English speaker so the following might not count for everyone but I really have problems _just_ listening to the English podcasts:
    – My mind starts to wander off resulting in me having to rewind as I mis parts of the conversation or storylines, I really have to close my eyes to prevent this.
    – Closing my eyes causes me to fall asleep somehow those LR guys are very relaxing to the ear :)… relistening the whole podcast again!
    – Some English accents are very hard for me to understand, which makes it hard to follow the storyline in realtime… sometimes I really have an afterthought like: “Owh! He was saying THAT!”
    – I get the visual cues from the foley (I’m pretty much visually oriented) and they help a lot visualizing the story but somehow the spoken texts doen’t come through to me as much as when I read them. (And with reading you can pace the story yourself).

    So, as much as an audiobook can be fun… it still poses some difficulties for some listeners I guess.


  3. Hi John,

    Format preferences – either eBook or paperback for me. I like to read at my own pace, although I can see times, like commuting, when an audiobook would be useful.

    Editing… I feel your pain. I’ve spent three days on three scenes, all of which had to be re-written. It’s at times like these when we have to tell ourselves that our art is a calling, a higher purpose, we do it for our readers, and finishing a novel is not just a right pain in the backside. 😉

  4. Hi John,

    Definitely paper for me, I’m such a luddite! I don’t have any eReaders though I might have to change that if I’m to read Allen’s Wisimir series [Allen, would Fantastic consider taking them on in printed form? ;-)].

    I am very, very much looking forward to placing all the Elite books on the shelf!


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