Thanks to Vanessa’s inspiring article on e-publishing – along with valuable DIY tips – on the Writings.ie site, I now have three books and a booklet published at Smashwords.com and selling at $3.99 a pop. The booklet is free.
Booklet? Well, in fact it’s a prequel. Could the idea of a prequel be new to the publishing world? If so, I’d recommend it to everybody at Writing.ie – particularly non-fiction writers – as it is designed to stimulate interest in the book you’re trying to promote. It’s free, it’s short and it enables the reader to have a taste and comprehensive overview of the book in question from beginning to end. The 15% free download offered by Smashwords authors is already a generous incentive to help sell your book – but it’s not as helpful as the prequel, particularly if you’re promoting non-fiction. For example, the first 15% of my non-fiction exploration of the afterlife is not directly related to what the remaining chapter headings actually cover. The booklet is an extended interview featuring Q (me) asking, and A (me) answering questions about the book, chapter by chapter. The booklet has the same cover as the book it promotes – the only slight difference is the little Q&A speech-bubble I’ve added to it.
Be In Me is about life, death and the afterlife. My wife, Marie-Claire, passed on in 2007 and a month later I found myself chatting with her again, using a pendulum. It took me two years to believe – and to prove to myself – that this bizarre, life-changing experience was, indeed, authentic. We chat every day now – I speak/think and she ‘WhatsApps’ with the pendulum! The first chapter is about the last ten minutes with Marie-Claire in the hospital, where she is dying of cancer. The second chapter is the last two years of our lives together when she was confined to a wheelchair after having suffered a stroke. The book also includes some of the initial transcripts of our chats. By the way, I have no doubt that in a couple of generations from now, everybody will be spiritually ‘WhatsApping’ at will!
But Be In Me is less of a memoir and more about research – and the story of my research – into the existence of an afterlife. With chapter headings like Reincarnation, Art is Spiritual and Science is Spiritual, it hardly sounds like bedtime reading – but that was another reason for the booklet. It could be said that the book is the outcome of a process in which I try to teach myself – and thus, the reader – to understand clearly what I was being taught in my research. (By teaching, we learn!) The booklet prepares the reader for the book.
The research has revealed to me the existence of unimaginably gifted and beautiful people out there, alive and dead (as they say), spiritual teachers and channellers in particular. There is also a full chapter on three channels – including our own Paddy McMahon from Dublin – along with an overview of their extraordinary body of work. Another chapter comprises a telephone interview I did with the remarkable Veronica, channelled by April Crawford in California.
If I have a purpose in publishing this material, it can only be to convince even a single reader out there that there is no death. When you know this, you have no fear, either of death or of life. The book has nothing to do with religion, by the way; religions are based on faith, on belief. (I would hate to have to live a meaningful life based on some faith or belief I happen to have been born into!)
So much for that. I’m sure most of you will agree with me that writing fiction is a lot more fun – irrespective of how serious the subject matter is! I self-published Who Cares in 2008 with the Canadian publishers, Trafford, so there is a print edition available on Amazon. The Smashwords publishing experience, however, has been much more rewarding for many reasons – even though I’ve only sold a few books to date. Mark Coker, the CEO of Smashwords.com has had experience of both publishing formats and presents a very plausible argument for self-publishing on the Internet. if you still have any doubts about it, check out his free books on the website!
Who Cares is about a young man in search of meaning who finds himself working in a home for the disabled, only to see his ideals shattered in a matter of weeks. He is drawn to the honesty and unselfishness of the disabled residents who are sharply contrasted to the dysfunctional and egocentric members of the caring staff and with whom he gradually comes into conflict. The story culminates in a revelation which shocks him to the core.
Lazarus is the story of a schoolteacher who raises his son from the dead. He becomes a celebrity, but a scandal is revealed from his youth which involved the death of a child. He flees the country and stays on a Greek island from which he is deported due to his involvement in a bizarre incident on the island. Hoping to patch up his broken marriage when he returns, he discovers that his son is not the same boy he had brought back to life earlier that year. Then, one afternoon while walking the dog, everything suddenly makes sense – albeit, tragically, too late
(c) Gregory Rosenstock