I am delighted to welcome Neil Ayres to Juxtabook. Neil, who you might know from the Veggie Box blog he shares with fellow writer Aliya Whiteley, has published his novel The New Goodbye in an innovative multimedia package. Neil has kindly written this guest post to explain all about it.
Neil George Ayres is the author of The New Goodbye, a novel that's also a multi-arts iPhone app, which has been developed by Russell Quinn, the man who brought Dave Eggers' McSweeney's magazine to many people's mobile phones.
Catherine has been kind enough to invite me to write a guest post here, so most of you are probably wondering who this young punk is and why can?t he just let books be books.
Well, I've nothing against books at all. I?m very much in favour of them, whatever the format. I?ve a novel that's being published exclusively on the iPhone. The app it?s packaged up with also includes a mix of bits and pieces from some brilliant artists, including that lovely cover photography by Nicole Heiniger and illustrations by Johanna Basford. All the work produced for the app (there's music and video too, as well as a novelette by Miguel Cervantes and a couple of my short stories) orbits my novel, The New Goodbye.
If you don't know anything about me or my writing, suffice it to say I?ve been skirting the edges of book publishing for a while. My day-to-day job for almost a decade now has been in the magazine industry; for the last four years working in digital. I also write lots of fiction.
A cynic might accuse me of putting out The New Goodbye as an app due to the frustration of not finding a publisher for it. In truth, I have submitted earlier versions of the book to a couple of places that kindly gave some encouraging feedback, but with the publishing climate of the last year or so, even though I have huge belief in the quality and commercial appeal of the book, I?d be deluded to expect a publisher to pick it up and promote it. I know too many good authors with several comfortably performing books under their belts whose publishers have been turning them away.
Getting a novel published is one thing (and yes, that's exceedingly difficult anyway). But turning a publication into a success is something else entirely, especially with the lion's share of marketing budgets being used to protect the careers of the industry's big-hitters. And given how new and scary a prospect digital is for many mainstream publishers, I think I can help make just as much of a success of the app as any publisher could hope to. Even prior to its release, the project received more publicity than many published books ever experience.
Of course I want to begin to build a readership for my literary fiction, and I'd love to pick up a traditional publisher for the book along the way. That?s one of the few advantages of using proprietary software; all the other rights, even those for ebooks, are still available. I'd be happy for a publisher to buy the iPhone rights too, providing my partners all got a look in on the action.
But I'm also keen to demonstrate to publishers that they can still afford to invest in untested authors, and those in the middles of their lists. They just need to take the right approach. Hopefully the app will help show how this can be achieved, as well as providing a lot of enjoyment for anyone buying a copy.
A lite version of The New Goodbye can be downloaded from the App Store for free. Unlocking the full edition costs just £1.99.