Tag Archives: Ether Books

Taking Byte Sized Reads to the Next Level

Taking Byte Sized Reads to the Next Level

Ether Books, the crazy 2010 start-up that became the first publisher to release stories by me, are today celebrating the launch of version 1.4 of their fantastic iPhone App. For those who don’t know the Ether Books App, quite surprisingly, offers its users the opportunity to download short reads on the move. So if you have a tedious commute every day, which doesn’t involve you having to keep your hands on the steering wheel (!), you can load up on loads of stories to pass the time away.

The range of content available has expanded from the first time I heard of Ether Books on the great Bubblecow website and optimistically submitted my stories. There is Science Fiction, Romance, Crime, Non-fiction, Humour, Contemporary, Serials, Horror, Flash Fiction, Erotica, Articles (Ether Columnists) and an unrestricted range of other types of content. The reliability of the Ether App comes from its screening of content before publishing and formatting specifically for the iPhone and iPad.

What has changed with the App in v1.4?

  • Share details of your favourite reads with friends and followers using social media and email.
  • OTA messages to alert you when your favourite writers and genres have new work released.
  • Re-organised the author search function to work by Surname to make it easier to solve.
  • Updated one tap function for ease of navigation when reading in the App.

Another area where writers and readers benefit with the Ether Books App, is that if you find writers whose work you enjoy, Ether have been very supportive in providing web links in the Author Profiles and adverts on their website for other work by their writers. So take Rebecca Emin for example or Trevor Belshaw or Rebecca Brown. Click through their profiles and you can go to their websites to see what other work they have published. Indeed, Ether Books have proved to be a great confidence booster for many aspiring writers in the last year. I would not have had The Lazarus Experiment published, and I’m sure Rebecca Emins self-confidence and case for her new children’s novel was helped by being best selling Ether writer month after month (no jealousy here!), you can’t put a price on the confidence and motivation boost Ether have given rookie writers and the new market place for established and award winning writers.

So if you haven’t got the Ether App, download it today!

If you do have it already, make sure it gets updated!

And when you have the app, why not check out my current collection of stories on the app? Just click on my pretty face in the Authors list. You can see it below.


Do you love the Ether App? The Sunday Times is currently taking nominations for its annual App Awards. Support mobile publishing and take a minute to cast your nomination for Ether Books here.


Posted by on June 23, 2011 in Publishing


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Going to bat for Ether Books

Going to bat for Ether Books

My comrades over in the Ether Books bunker on the Mobile Publishing front have been producing 30 second clips of themselves preaching about what they see is the great upside of byte sized reads. The hope is that these videos can be used to promote the publishing company to investors, to other publishers and writers, and most importantly of all to readers. Hard to believe that this market has only really taken off in the last couple of years, and as such there are lots of people unaware of the great fiction they can get on the go with companies such as Ether Books. Below I have included my contribution, enjoy!

Some more Ether Evangelizing by…

Trevor Belshaw

Rebecca Emin

Ev Bishop

You can learn more about the short stories Ether Books have published by me here.

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Posted by on April 18, 2011 in Publishing


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Ether Books publish KATAKOMBY and more….

If you have enjoyed reading some of the stories on the Cul-De-Sac and would like to read more of my work, several stories are now available to purchase and download from Ether Books iPhone App. Ether are a mobile publishing company specializing in short stories and essays and I am very proud to be included on their distribution system. Mobile phones and short stories have always felt like a perfect match to me, something you can read on the go whilst commuting between work and home or on other long journeys. The Ether Books App allows you to search by author or genre to find new content by established big name authors like Conn Iggulden and Paul McCartney and new writers just bursting into the literary world. Mobile publishing could well be the democratization of the publishing industry. As ever, the customer decides. All stories you download are kept in a little collection just like a traditional ereader so you can build up a library of short stories and pick and choose from them depending on your mood.

Some of the stories featured on Ether Books have also been published on the website here. Exclusive content is marked.

Below the title, genre, price and blurb for the stories is listed. To download the Ether Books App click here.


Czech Republic, present day. They had targeted him for a while and now they had their leverage… KATAKOMBY is a story of love, industrial espionage and prostitutes set in the underworld of a medieval town. Can he save the woman he loves?

Cost: 59p


Based on real council blunders. The ways of local government, and the benefit system in particular have often been described as ‘other’. Find out how this sense becomes literal as Daniel applies for the benefits he is entitled to and gets more than he bargained for.

Cost: 59p


Mankind’s insatiable appetite for resources has already had enormous impact on the Earth. In this short story the dream of unlimited resources is explored with a consideration of possible political and social impacts. And as Mankind reaches out to the stars, how will the universe respond?

Cost: 59p

Photographs submitted to the Facebook ‘Like’ Page..


The God Particle was 'What's Hot' on its weekend release...


Posted by on December 10, 2010 in Publishing


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Ether Books to Publish (My!) Short Stories

Spiral Logo for Ether Books

Small, but perfectly published...

I have been sat on some exciting news over the last couple of weeks. The pessimist in me has not allowed me to get too excited by the fact that Ether Books shall be publishing up to 3 stories from yours truly. Potentially, should time allow and I feel confident in my material there may be further stories to come down the line.

Ether Books, who were recently shortlisted for a prestigious Mobile Entertainment Award in the ‘Best Mobile Book Company’ category have been mentioned before on the Cul-De-Sac. They are a recent start up platform for delivering short stories to mobile phones (initially the iPhone but others hopefully in the new year). It allows established and new writers a chance to reach a massive market with a form of writing that in recent decades has been much maligned by the traditional publishing industry. Now, modeled perhaps on the mobile APP market, readers can download and collect great stories on the go – reading something compelling and fulfilling on the way to work or at lunch. No lost book marks, no space taken up. Authors, I blushingly include myself in that bracket, receive a percentage of sales which offers alongside the readership a wonderful incentive to keep on writing!

Best of all – Ether Books claim no rights on the material. It entirely belongs to the author who can publish their story in a book or magazine at the same time as it appears on the Ether app. That kind of flexibility is refreshing in today’s market and certainly a way forward.

There are no current dates for the publication of my three stories but I shall notify readers here on the blog, on twitter and my facebook author page as they become available.

The three stories forthcoming include two reissues of stories on this blog (The God Particle, For Daniels Benefit) and a new original story that will initially only be available from Ether Books called KATAKOMBY a noir thriller set in the ‘underworld’ of the Czech Republic.

Until they become available why not download the free Ether Books app and try some of the other great authors from Paul McCartney to Conn Iggulden (who is a personal favorite of mine) and many more new and award winning authors!

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Posted by on November 5, 2010 in Publishing


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The Short Form: Brief history, Prosperous Future

gutenberg When Johannes Gutenberg perfected his printing system in the 1450s he triggered a revolution in media. For the first time you could mass produce books (importantly for him, the bible included) rapidly allowing for an easier distribution of ideas and news. However whilst productions of texts like the bible and law codes were certainly undertaken it was the short stories, histories, plays, announcements, testaments etc which were the main beneficiaries. As the process became more developed, the technology for printing advanced and the manufacturing process of the paper became cheaper the long form gradually established its dominance. Now publishers expect texts to be a certain length to justify a certain price. Market forces and all that.

As a result short fiction, essays and the like have found themselves in an uncomfortable position. Unable to find publication outside of anthologies or journals except in rare cases. It has proven a major headache for students for decades being forced to purchase or borrow (from an under resourced university library) texts which they only need access to one article out of 500-1000 pages.

The information technology age always promised something different. Theoretically you should have been able to access individual articles, stories, essays instantly over the web. For various reasons – outdated distribution models, copyright systems, stubbornness – this has only been to limited effect. After all, the people teaching students never had these resources so aren’t familiar with it themselves. Now I am doing the vast majority of my essays for my PGCE by accessing articles on the Athens network, some of my colleagues haven’t touched a computer. People have their own preferences, always will. However the advantages of instant access, no waste, no risk of loss are finally becoming ever more prominent in further education. Middlesbrough College has even uploaded ebooks to their ‘Blackboard’ network cutting the need to own twenty copies of the same book. With the kind of cuts we’re seeing in education budgets, this use of alternative techniques can only be encouraged.

Yet through all this, short fiction has until recently continued to be marginalised. Now however several options for writers has appeared thanks in large part to the popularity of smart phones and e-readers such as the Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook and Sony Reader.

Ether Books are one such company who are publishing short form (1,000-15,000 words) writing directly to mobile phones through their APP. Currently only on the iPhone system they have plans to move to Android, Blackberry and other operating systems as they grow and expand. Think about this as a writer. How many people have Smartphone’s? How fast is that market growing? People do not need to go to a shop, or pick things off a shelf at home. Most people keep their phones near them. Publish on the Ether Books or similar system and you have instant access to a market of millions at no cost to yourself. They handle the distribution and admin, you drive traffic to yourself with an online author platform and collect 20% royalty on each sale. For writers starting out and trying to build that platform, its a fantastic means of getting out there in a crowded market. I also cannot think of a better incentive for continuing writing than to see people actively buying your work for a nominal fee and not just reading it on your blog for free. Though I personally recommend if you have built up a following thanks to something such as twitters ‘#fridayflash’ phenomenon then to continue publishing those stories for free online and use it as leverage for sending traffic to more ‘exclusive’ stories people might be prepared to pay for.

Amazon have also got in on the act this time for academics and those researchers out amongst us. Their “Singles” platform aims to directly solve that student pickle over needing an entire textbook for one article. They have also cited the perfectly good research which never sees the light of print because of its length. There are some criticisms of this as with any kind of self-publishing in that peer review may not take place but the online space is quite efficient in self regulating via reviews and ratings. I myself have a personal research project on a lifetime history of psychiatric nursing, which I intend to base on oral testimony of former and current nurses working in psychiatric care. It will never be a long enough piece for full book publication but may be an appropriate size for the Amazon Singles. Amazon are looking for non-fiction works in the region of 10,000 to 30,000. Email them if you have a work you’d like considered.

So far no word from Amazon’s competition, but it would be limited the scope of their business if they didn’t follow suit in some form. Of course, you can always self-publish any length of work with Amazon’s DTP.

I’m an optimistic guy. I am a huge fan of 1930s-1950s pulp fiction. The quick, unpolished, high drama works that appeared in the likes of Black Mask Magazine. The current moves to once again commercialise the short form of both fiction and non-fiction makes me believe that a prosperous future lies ahead. At least we don’t have to all get bogged down writing The Novel, which after all, is a fashion itself.

What do you think of short form publishing? Have you used the Ether Books APP or contacted Amazon Singles? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

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Posted by on October 21, 2010 in Publishing


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