Writing in the 21st Century

R. B. Wood

Former technologist, world traveler, & storyteller.

confused1There are volumes to be written on the difference between reading ebooks and paperbacks. Fortunately, the eventual form the book will take doesn’t yet affect the actual writing of it but it no doubt soon will. The writing is still that magical process of getting sucked into your imaginings and spending time outside the everyday world. But once you release the finished article, other processes take over – often as incomprehensible as the creative phase.

For instance, the whole world of selling and publishing baffles me. A book of mine won an award and you can buy it for $10.99 on Amazon USA. Surprisingly, you can also buy 12 new copies of the same book for from $9.15 to $39.17 on the same site. I’ve no idea what ‘added value’ (to use that grotesque marketing-speak term), you get for the extra money, but it must be significant.

Even more so for another of my books which will set you back £8.88 for a new copy on Amazon UK but £39.92 for a used copy. And, best of all, there’s another award winner of mine (forgive the immodesty) whose present cover price for a new paperback is $12.99 but, again on the same site, used copies are available at prices ranging from $98.53 (yes, almost the magic $100) to (and I swear this is true because I checked it again and again) $250.80.

The world of books is absurd and obviously far too complicated to be understood by mere writers.




Before taking early retirement to become a full-time writer, Bill Kirton was a lecturer in French at the University of Aberdeen. He’s written stage and radio plays, short stories, novels, skits and songs for revues, and five non-fiction books aimed at helping students with their writing and study skills. His five modern crime novels, Material Evidence, Rough Justice, The Darkness, Shadow Selves and Unsafe Acts are set in north east Scotland and his historical crime/romance novel, The Figurehead, is set in Aberdeen in 1840. The Darkness won the silver award in the mystery category of the 2011 Forward National Literature Awards and his spoof mystery, The Sparrow Conundrum, was the winner in the humor category.

He’s had radio plays broadcast by the BBC and the Australian BC. His short stories have appeared in many anthologies, including three of the CWA’s annual collections, and one was chosen by Maxim Jakubowski for his 2010 anthology of Best British Crime Stories.

Writing as Jack Rosse, he’s published a novel for children called The Loch Ewe Mystery and, with another Jack alias, Jack Lefebre, he’s written a satire based on experiences in Second Life™ called Alternative Dimension.

He’s been a Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow at universities in Aberdeen, Dundee and St Andrews.