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What size paperback is best?

This is a question that I seem to come back to every couple of years. This time I decided to attack the problem properly.

The first paperback Hague Publishing put out was Barry Dean's The Garden of Emily Washburn. This was sized at 5" x 7 13/16" (12.8 x 19.8cm), and from memory was based on a quick visit to our local bookshop to see what they were stocking. When it came time to put out our second book I thought I'd address it a little more scientifically and approached Google for advice on the most popular size for Trade Publications. The answer was a resounding 6" x 9", which is the size we've generally stuck to for the last couple of years. However, I have never understood why 6x9 is so popular, because it is really too large for comfortable reading, and particularly when a bookseller friend of mine has pointed out on multiple occasions that that format is not a popular size in Australia, and simply won't fit on his shelves. So with the impending release of Leonie Roger's Amethyst Pledge, the first book in a new trilogy, I thought I'd dig a little deeper.

The Book Printing Company states that: the most common (trim) sizes for Trade paperbacks  in Australia are:

  • 5 x 8 inches (203 x 127mm)
  • 5.5 x 8.5 inches (216 x 140mm)
  • 6 x 9 inches (229 x 152mm)

After a couple of minutes work I was able to locate examples of the three sizes in my own bookcase.

In my personal opinion, the 5 x 8" looks by far the better, so why are people using 6 x 9". Well, unsurprisingly, it all comes down to cost, and the fact that our books tend to have more words in them than they did 20 years ago.

Wikibooks points out that smaller books lose disproportionately more space to margins, increasing the cost. A 6"x 9" book has nearly 20% more text space. But a 6"x 9" book costs only about 5% more than a 5.5" x 8.5" book. The result is a 15% cost savings.

In reality the difference in printing costs are negligible. As on 5 Nov 2019 Ingram charges $89.20 AUS for 10 paperback books of 230 pages 5" x 8", and only $91.55 for a 6" x 9" book of the same number of pages. Taking into account that the 6x9 book can hold considerably more words and there you have it.

In Australia we are also restricted to ensuring that the printed book is less than 1.5 cm, to allow us to post it at the cheaper 'paper rate' of $5. If the envelope goes over 2cm it falls into the parcel rate of $11.

I've now done some preliminary formatting of Amethyst Pledge and it looks like using the same font size, spacing, and margins as we did for the Frontier Series the 5 x 8" format will still only require 220 pages, and as we can go to 250 pages we can probably tweak the size of the type up a bit to improve readability.

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In L.I.E.U. - coming soon

Librarian, thief, or time-cop? Sometimes, not even those concerned can tell the difference — particularly when time-travel is involved, and things happen in order, out of order, and simultaneously at different times.

Welcome to the time travelling world of L.I.E.U. A future world where nothing is quite as it seems.

Pre-order: available 2 April 2019

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Latest review for Jon Puckridge's ON

Blue bleeding down a white cover with ONThe Future is ON by Joel Smith

Goodreads review

I very much enjoyed this book, but it seems to me, (and maybe only me), that you have to read a "quantum-speculative-cyberfi" book differently than you would a traditional, or normal, novel. I'm a huge fan of writers like Hannu Rajaniemi, ("The Quantum Thief"), and everyone else who tries to predict the electronic, cyber and social media future and who tries to translate quantum principles and theories into "sciencey" plot points.

The basic thrust here is that humans are moving from wireless headsets connected to the grID, their current reality of choice, to neural implants that completely tie them in to a hive mentality. (This is what it means to be ON through One Network.) The question is, what will this do to any human sense of past and future, as opposed to the purely now. Additionally, what becomes of reality, individuality, free will, privacy, moral responsibility, and the like. It's a dystopian, (or utopian, depending on your point of view), variation and elaboration on where we are now. The author sweetens, and confuses, the deal with a few other lines.

In addition to humans the world is populated by rooins, who are completely sentient robots with equal civil rights. Since humans are Darwinian, (evolutionary chance), and rooins are Lamarckian, (each new generation acquires improvements made to the prior generation), there is fear that rooins are outpacing humans developmentally. (BTW, they are.)

On top of that, and this may be the bridge-too-far that has lost some readers, all of this is destabilizing the boundaries of space-time and there are disturbances at the quantum level. I like this fluffy goofy pseudo-quantum stuff, but if you don't like playing along then it could easily get old.

We also get a huge cast of characters, and a murder mystery, but that seems to be there so the main characters can go places and do things, and it would probably be a mistake to go into this thinking it's just a futuristic mystery thriller.

What it mostly is, though, is a thought experiment World's Fair. Remember those fairs and expos in the 60's and 70's, (New York, Montreal), that showed us that the future is now? Jetsons cars and color TV and Dick Tracy wristphones? Well, that's sort of what you get a tour of here. Every page, (I mean that almost literally), mentions or includes or describes some odd futuristic electronic, social, communications wrinkle. Almost none of them have anything to do with the story, but when all is said and done they really are the story. As we follow the characters, everything they eat, drink, see, hear, wear, or talk about or talk into, is next-level stuff. It's all wild but plausible. It's the next-gen extension of what we have now. And it's all just a little twisted, or dark, or dehumanizing, or pointless, or meaningless.

So, this author has a firm grasp on the world he sees. He writes, and describes, great main characters and pretty interesting supporting and incidental characters, which helps to put the vision in context. He doesn't miss the little details that sell this sort of world building. Plot and resolution? Not so much. But, as I say, it seems you have to read these novels a bit differently.

So, are you ON?

Links:

http://www.haguepublishing.com/sample/ON.html
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1973513767

Cover of ON

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Faithless - released 21 April

Welcome baCover of book showing a shadow of a man against a bridgeck to the frozen and devastated world of Shaune's Safe Harbour.

Ten years ago Rab learned the secret of the planet he calls home - and lost the young girl he'd vowed to protect; traded for a sweater, a set of gloves and a second-hand pair of boots. Since then, he's wandered the barren surface alone searching for her, returning to the tunnels only when hunger, exhaustion or the inconstant seasons offer him no choice. When a freak accident occurs during the harvest, the death of an old friend finds Rab agreeing to abandon his search and guide Fin, now a tunnel-dweller, and Cloud, a former captive of the Top-siders, back to his old village to deliver a macabre and precious cargo. Although reconciled to honouring his word, Rab is convinced that their reckless journey south will tell him nothing he doesn't already know and that the secret he has dutifully guarded all these years is in no danger of being exposed. He is wrong.

"I really enjoyed this book. Even though it's the middle one in a trilogy, it stands alone perfectly. There's always a sense of mystery in Lafferty Webb's work, a mystery that seems to be conveyed between the lines rather than in them. This sense of mystery gives an extra dimension to everything she writes. The plot has some lovely, imaginative developments, and the ending left me keen to read the last book in the series when it comes out." Danielle de Valera

Read Sample

 

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ON by Jon Puckridge was released on Friday 15 January

Blue bleeding down a white cover with ON

'ON' by Jon Puckridge was released as an ebook on the 15th of January. With the proof now approved the book will be available for purchase as a paperback on the 19th of February.

It's BLADE RUNNER meets THE WINDUP GIRL

Youren Cartouche writes advertisements for tech companies who promise to take us all into the future. But when a global corporation launches ON, a product designed to link everyone into a fully networked world, reality starts to unravel. Youren and Constantin Zann, a bio-mechanical detective must discover the truth before their world completely disappears.

Ian Wood writing in Novellum said of the book:

This felt like reading a William Gibson Novel, which in some ways was wonderful, because it was like Gibson used to be, before he lost his direction, but in other ways it was a bad thing because once you start down the road to inventing a new cool world, there's a danger you'll go too far and ruin it by rendering it in such obscure hues that it's unintelligible to the human eye. Fortunately, while parts of this world were obtuse, this author didn’t overdo it, and the story - once I settled into it - was engrossing. It’s Gibson by way of I, Robot and A.I., with a tang of Blade Runner for seasoning, and an ominous dash of 1984 that tingles like Takifugu on the tongue.

Read Ian Wood's review in full here.

Read sample 

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Lesley Truffle's first novel 'Hotel Du Barry' to be released by Harper Collins

Cover of the Hotel Du Barry
 
Lesley Truffle signed a two book deal with Harper Collins in April 2015 - this is her first novel. Lesley is a fantastic author who we are hoping to publish in 2017. I've just finished reading the first three chapter and I can't recommend her enough.
 
About the book:
 
London's luxurious HOTEL DU BARRY has been left unscathed by WW1 and the party has just begun: tainted love, murderous desires and gin. It's THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL with a dash of Gatsby.
 
When a laughing baby is found amongst the Hotel du Barry's billowing sheets, tucked up in an expensive pair of ladies' bloomers and neatly pegged to the laundry line, the hotel staff resolve to keep the child. The hotel's owner, Daniel du Barry, still mourning the loss of his lover in an automobile accident, adopts the little girl, names her after his favourite champagne and seeks consolation in fatherhood. Cat du Barry grows up beloved by both hotel staff and guests, equally at home in the ninth floor premium suite as she is in the labyrinth below stairs. Years later when Daniel du Barry dies in sinister circumstances, Cat determines to solve the mystery with the assistance of her extended hotel family.
 
From hotel detective to roguish Irish gigolo, from compassionate housekeeper to foxy chamber maid, each will play their wicked part in this novel that will charm, amuse and delight.

 

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'ON' is now available for pre-order

Blue bleeding down a white cover with ON

'ON' by Jon Puckridge (to be released in January 2016) is now available for pre-order from:

and soon from all other reputable eBook distributors.

OneWorld is a planet orbited by thousands of satellite cities, and home to 23 billion humans. A place where governments, police forces and law courts compete for business within a wholly privatised system; where murder, rape and torture are merely extra items on your insurance policy; where a corporation owns the license for time; and where scientific fact has been replaced by ‘consumer information’. In OneWorld, every product wirelessly links to the ‘grID’, and people spend most of their scheduled ‘waketime’ moving through various overlapping realities via their grID visors.

But now the precarious balance of OneWorld is tipping as the largest of the global corporations launches the next phase of networking: One Network, or ‘ON’. By the time Youren Cartouche, a copywriter working on the advertising campaign for ON, and Constantin Zann, an advanced bio-mechanical detective investigating the strange murder of a human girl, both uncover the truth, they will be fighting for their very existence within a reality disintegrating around them.

Read sample

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