It’s a book!

by , under writing

I started writing this in 2001 and finished it in 2013. Not a continuous process, of course: other writing took priority, other things than writing took priority, I even stopped writing completely a couple of times — slapped in the face by rejections once too often, Real Life  getting in the way, things like that.

Then ebooks emerged and (possibly because of that) self-publishing suddenly became respectable, which was a great incentive to FINISH IT. Found a splendid artist (Andreas Raninger) to paint the cover, did all the little things to it that always take up so much time, then I got stalled. Because I was scared. I could already hear everybody telling me that it’s a cop-out to self-publish and that I ought to be brave and keep trying the agents.

Nope. I spent years not writing because I was disheartened. I know that people exist who love to read what I write. Who am I to withhold it from them because I feel I ought to conform to other people’s standards? I don’t think I’m the bee’s knees (do they have any?) but I do know that Terms of Service is a book. And that it’s good enough for what I want it to be.

When I was sitting there being scared, my other half suddenly decided to go to FOSDEM and proposed to make a city trip out of it, and that gave me the final push. I said “what if I have bookmarks made and hand them out at FOSDEM?” So I did:

Terms of Service bookmarkIn fact it didn’t get printed exactly like this; the print shop moved their cutting window a few millimeters to the left so the right edge of the bookmark was flush with the red bar. I was slightly pissed off, after all I hadn’t intended it like that, and why had they decided that it was better their way? I took it as a learning experience, “next time tell them, and show them, exactly what I want!” but then I looked at the pdf file I’d given them and noticed that the pdf conversion had made my cutting marks so much thicker that they could have thought that I wanted the red bar at the edge. Ah well. It’s very pretty, and it looks like a real professional thing, not a home-made thing.

My beta reader wanted to know whether I was planning to get a separate domain for my books –they live in a section of my homepage now– and I hadn’tthought of that before, but it’s a very good idea. I do need some money, because even if websites grew on trees one would have to pay the growers and I spent most of my discretionary money on the bookmarks. But there’s a donate button, and I hope people will donate.

I could of course have put it on Smashwords or some such venue and asked $ (or €) 2,99 or something for it, but I don’t want it under anyone else’s control than mine. If a publisher notices it and wants to negotiate, okay, but I’m not giving it out of my hands in its present form.

Anyway, here it is. Enjoy!

  1. Felix

    Wow. This novel really was a labor of love for you. Now I understand why you worked on it for so long. And thank you for putting it under CC-BY-SA, the world needs more modern free culture, not just century-old public domain works. Can’t wait to read it.

  2. Dorian

    That’s a gorgeous cover! And I recently finished a book on my lovely new Kobo, so this is very well-timed indeed. Looking forward to reading it.

    • Irina

      Yes, it is, isn’t it? I actually asked Andreas to give Senthi leather armor, because his first version had her in flowing white linen. She’s still saying “I was never that pretty! And why doesn’t she bind up her hair? It’s going to kill her presently!” But the atmosphere is good, and the architecture is perfect.

  3. Adrian Morgan

    Congratulations! And I agree, the cover looks great, especially the red banners.

    I notice the donate button goes to a Dutch version of Paypal, with no option to switch languages. You’d think they’d be smarter than that. (I haven’t donated … yet.)

    Glancing at the PDF, it probably isn’t something I would read without knowing the author. Between the large proportion of paragraphs beginning with a character’s name and the very straightforward language focusing on what and who, to me the prose reads almost as if it aspires to be a stage play. But I’ll have a closer look when it suits me.

    I’ll also do my small part to spread the word.

  4. Felix

    I just finished the book last night (at last!) and posted a review on my website. (Also cross-posted over at MobileRead, once a mod gets around to approve it… why did I let myself convinced to register I don’t know.) Hope I wasn’t unfair, and thank you again for writing this book.

    • Irina

      I know it’s not done for an author to reply to a review (and I won’t reply to the review itself) but I do wish you hadn’t pointed out that English isn’t my first language! Now everybody who gets to the book from your review will be reading it in that light. (And even some of my early readers didn’t notice, so I don’t think that is the problem– just like that you like to read a bit more ornate language than I like to write.)

      • Felix

        Sorry for the late reply, my ISP made a booboo again. I amended my review, but I don’t see why it was a problem — people often point that out about my own writing, and always in a positive light.

        And feel free to reply to the rest of the review. I’m not some starchy literary critic, just some guy with an opinion. 😉

        • Irina

          I didn’t mean to ask you to change anything! After all, a review belongs to the reviewer. This is why the author should keep her big mouth shut 🙂

          I’ll probably do a post (called “Book blues” like “baby blues”) responding to all the things people have been saying to me lately, bracing and painful and complimentary and clueless.

          • Felix

            And what’s wrong with changing a few words if they were making you uncomfortable? That’s what I like about writing on the Internet, it’s a dialogue. I just hope you don’t count me among the clueless reviewers. ^^;;