Thank you for your interest in my first novel, How Far is Home.
I decided long ago to not follow the usual path of a budding author, the one where our hero struggles along living on potatoes and frankfurter soup while writing his or her masterpiece. If they are really lucky, they'll have a supportive partner who works full time and is willing to cover all the household costs while our author writes the 'Great New Zealand Novel' to great acclaim and, of course, buckets of money. There are many reasons for my decision; for a start, I am now at an age where I can't rationalize sitting on a benefit or sponging off my wife's earnings while indulging my childhood dreams of being a writer. I also have a company to run and people who depend on my being 100% present in order for everything to function. I was fortunate that every couple of years, when all went well, my wife Nina and I were able to go and visit her family in Europe and it was during these sojourns I began writing my own 'masterpiece' without the day to day pressures of work killing my creativity (what there is of it anyway!).
Update October 2013: That was then, this is now and times have changed dramatically. Since writing the previous light-hearted banter we've had 11,000 plus earthquakes and the landscape has changed forever, literally and figuratively. I no longer have staff to help run my company so am there all day, every day. This leaves no time for anything as creatively demanding as a new novel so much as I'd love to, I'm in no position to get stuck into it. Time, of course, will change but for now and the foreseeable future, that will be my situation. DT
Another reason for not going down the starvation/publisher submission route is I seriously doubt if anyone would publish my book anyway. The horror stories other writers have posted in online forums lead me to think no one is publishing anything these days unless they are certain of getting a return on their investment. Books need to be almost pre-sold before a publisher is interested in publishing them. It seems like a lot of work (not to mention the emotional impact of the stream of rejection letters) for not a lot of return. While the elite writers can make a decent living, the vast majority of Kiwi authors cannot make a living out of writing. It isn't that they haven't the talent to write just as well as international authors, it's just the local audience isn't there and unless an author is lucky enough to have a publisher prepared to invest large sums of money into overseas marketing and promotion, (which is not very likely) no local author can expect to reach the wider audience. Currently soft-porn titles like Fifty Shades and its ilk are the "topic du jour" and I'm just not into 'adult Mills and Boon' genre. My hat is off to those who can (and do) write that stuff (and I am aware of several Kiwi authors who make very good money out of it) but I just don't have the talent to pull it off (if you'll pardon the rather terrible pun).
Anyway, my main motivation for writing this book was not to see it sitting on book-shop shelves alongside books written by 'real' writers, I wrote it to get the story out into the open after rattling around my brain for the last twenty five years. Once I started writing, I couldn't stop until the whole story had been told. It was a truly amazing experience and one that was totally unexpected; as I wrote the story took on a life of its own, with plot and character developments I hadn't even considered presenting themselves organically. In this respect the world I created for Nudge and the others was as real to me as the one I am living in today and I keenly miss immersing myself into that world in order to write the next line. I actually had to grieve when I left it behind once those final words were written and to that end I can see how some books are never finished. By that I don't mean the seemingly endless rewrites some authors do to get things 'just so', but I can understand authors who cannot bear to leave the world they've created so they keep adding details until the book ends up thousands of pages long. I drew a line and decided that if required, I could always write a sequel, and in fact many people who have read How Far is Home have asked if there will be a sequel. At this stage I have no intentions to revisit the How Far is Home universe; the story has been written and unless a very good idea comes to me organically, like the original concept did, it is highly unlikely I will write a sequel. That said, nothing is set in stone. Perhaps one day there will be a catalyst that creates the kernel of the idea that leads to a sequel.
Because my motivation is not money or fame, I have decided to release my book here on the web, completely free of charge and available to anyone who wants to download and read it. The download button below links to the book in PDF format. This is the most popular format for distributing documents, the only downside being you will need Adobe Reader (or any of the third-party readers like Foxit or CutePDF) installed on your computer to view it. I know reading books on the computer is less than ideal; personally I don't think computers or these new-fangled eReaders like Kindle or even iPads will ever replace an actual book, but this creates a minor technical issue you will need to resolve; simply clicking the button/link will most likely open the book file within your browser using the Adobe browser plugin. This is fine, but when you close your browser, the book closes with it and you would need to visit this page and download the file again each time you wanted to read it. To get around this problem, the best thing to do is right mouse click on the download button/link and choose 'Save linked content as', or 'Save target as', from the resulting menu (your browser dialogue may be slightly different but should be similar to that above) to save the entire book to your hard drive for later reading. The alternative is to open it in your browser using the Adobe plugin then 'save a copy' of the file by clicking the save icon, which is usually located the top left corner of your browser's Adobe plugin window.
Please be aware that my intentions are to entertain; How Far is Home contains 'adult' themes which may disturb some people, such as war and gang-related violence and strong language. If you are offended by this type of material, please do not download and/or read this book. Because of this, How Far is Home is not suitable for children and younger readers may need the guidance of a parent or guardian.
Download Free Now!
I was going to put a small preview of the book here but there really is no need; simply download the file and start reading! The file is relatively small so even on a dial-up connection you shouldn't have any problems downloading it.
If you don't feel like reading an entire novel on your computer, there is a hard-copy of the book available from lulu.com, a PoD (Print-on-Demand) publisher. Lulu.com do not maintain stock of books, though they publish millions of them. The PoD system is great and I think is the way all publishing will eventually go (excepting the likes of hyper-selling authors like JK Rowling and Stephen King). Once a book is ordered from lulu.com, it is printed and shipped within a couple of days. If 5 copies are ordered, 5 copies are printed and shipped. This type of publishing means authors who want to publish their own works can, and at a very reasonable 'wholesale' price. They then offer the book to the public at a retail price, keeping any and all the profits for themselves. This is a very fair way of doing it, though authors must also do all cover art, book formatting and other publishing chores themselves, or shell out capital for Lulu's professionals to do it for them. Buyers at Lulu.com can also download a PDF 'e-book' version of some books; the How Far is Home e-book currently sells for $4.95 on Lulu but I will be changing this to free of charge shortly. Previously, so-called 'vanity' publishing cost authors a small fortune because a minimum printing run of say 500 books would be needed to make each book affordable. That means a budding author must front up with 500 times the printing costs of the book and most end up un-sold, sitting in the garage (once family and friends have their 'free' copies). This made self-publishing not a feasible option for most authors. Sites like lulu.com have opened up a whole new world and publishing will change because of it. Should you desire a hard-copy of the book, How Far is Home is available from lulu.com, for $19.95 (US$). Please click the link below to be taken to the book's information page on lulu.com.
How Far is Home as featured at lulu.com
Thanks again for your interest in my book. Although I am not a starving author, I do appreciate the kind gestures of those who have emailed asking if they could at least donate some small amount as a token of their appreciation for the book. To make this process easier for everyone involved, I have set up the PaypalTM donation link below. Please feel free to donate whatever you feel is an appropriate and worthwhile amount for the enjoyment you have gotten from Nudge, Dobby and Joe, the stars of How Far is Home.
I welcome all comments and suggestions from readers of my books. Those who have read How Far is Home have mainly enjoyed it, though I know it is somewhat naive and could use professional proof reading and editing. These things are not as important to me as getting the story out there, which is why there may still be the odd spelling or grammatical errors here and there; to my mind it all adds to the uniqueness of the book. If you spot a typo then by all means let me know about it by using the contact form elsewhere on this site or by clicking here to be taken to the contact page. I wish you all the best for whatever life brings your way and trust you will have a happy and healthy year.