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“Finest Production”

Frank, Sharon, Shelley and Justin,

I just wanted to thank you all so sincerely for doing such a great job on Lonely Little God’s Acre.  At the launch before Christmas, everyone was telling me how fantastic the book looked.  Thank goodness, I also got good feedback after they had read it!

It did look great and of the few books I have done to date, it is the finest production. The hard-covers were so beautiful I was reluctant to sell them. I wanted to open the boxes occasionally and take a few out just to look at them

Many thanks for everything and all best for 2013.

I’ll definitely be recommending Lettertec and Shelley to anyone who asks.

Ed O’Riordan

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The Emancipist by Veronica Sweeney


(This article is also featured on Writing.ie)

Veronica Sweeney has been a published novelist for twenty-eight years. She wrote her trilogy, The Emancipist, after nine and a half years of research. It was first published in one volume by Pan MacMillan in 1985 and reprinted consistently for twenty years by publishing houses such as Century Hutchinson, Simon & Schuster, Avon Books, Bantam and HarperCollins. It is now being printed by Selfpublishbooks.ie as a trilogy.

“I was surprised that the publishers didn’t want a trilogy,” she says, “It was published as one book, which I had to cut in order to make the single large volume … much was left out, and I was very happy to discover Kindle, so the eBook contains material left out of the original.”

 

I ask Veronica which books or authors inspire her. “I like the works of Ruth Rendell and PD James – they produce great stories with fine writing. I love Terry Pratchett, clever writing with a heart. Other than these I read everything from Jane Austen to Eric Fleming. No Fifty Shades fan here, then? “Not much into modern romances,” she replies, “too predictable!”

 

Veronica expands her answer, revealing a characteristic charm of her work: “Publishers have always complained that my work is ‘quirky’, and I like books that are slightly different and have the author’s own voice without being too formulaic. I love it when I want to read a sentence twice because it’s so clever or insightful. I like having to admit, ‘Jeez, I wish I’d written that!’”

 

As for inspiration, Veronica names only one thing: “My mother read to me all through my childhood – following the words on the page meant that I could read at the age of three. She also read me poetry – there were loads of books of poetry in the house. So I think I grew up with the cadence of words, and their power. She bought me a book on stories from Shakespeare, which inspired me to read the originals. I read all the plays of Shakespeare at thirteen and I think … that this was a pivotal time for me, the inspiration of a rattling good yarn beautifully written. Something to aspire to, but unattainable of course!”

 

Veronica is an established novelist with an international reputation, but when she recently made the switch from traditional publishing to self-publishing, she knew she was taking a risk. “But I needn’t have worried,” she said, “It’s been fun … and – I can’t stress this enough – to be able to choose my own covers and design after twenty-eight years as a professional novelist has been the best part.” Lettertec, the printing press in County Cork with a self-publishing imprint Selfpublishbooks.ie, is producing The Emancipist in three separate volumes this year.

 

I ask Veronica how self-publishing caught her eye: “Amazon Kindle first of all – it’s levelled the playing field for writers at last. We’re back to the early days of the printing press, like Erasmus! Get a good idea and take it to the printer – before publishers and agents became involved!

 

“The whole process was very speedy,” she adds, “I think it took about two weeks, and that was mostly me being very fussy about the cover.

 

Any other reason? “Despite the advent of reading devices such as Kindle and Nook, so many people really like the physical feel of a book, and The Emancipist was the obvious choice, as it’s my favourite of all my work, the one people are always asking me about – and complaining because it’s the size of a house brick! The new version from Lettertec, being in three volumes, solves that!”

 

I also asked Veronica if she had any advice for writers thinking of self-publishing. “Anyone going the way of self-publishing for the first time really should pay the bit extra to have their book checked by a professional editor … The way I work is to finish the seventh, eighth, ninth draft, then put it in a drawer for several months and then come back to it. Self-publishing is no place for wishful thinking … the writing has to be tight and professional, or no one will buy your book but your family.”

 

How was the printed product? “Far better quality than any book I’ve had published. Some paperbacks seem to be printed on newspaper. This version of The Emancipist is a real collector’s copy, limited edition. The first run of Pan MacMillan’s was 100,000 copies! But I’m very proud of my limited run Emancipist – it’s the book I always wanted to see.”

 

Every author has her favourite. Veronica happily imparted hers: “Shannonbrook [Book Three of The Emancipist] … by then Aidan is in middle-age, and very much a product of all that has happened to him. He’s successful, but still believes he can control his environment. … When I did the book tour of Australia, half the women I spoke to said he was a thorough rat and a rogue, and the other half said he was so real that he must exist!”

 

She gleefully adds: “It was fun to create his children, who give him a great shock in refusing to be what he expects.”

 

What’s next, Veronica? “Editing – again – Books Two and Three before sending them to Lettertec, and after that I’ll be uploading my Australian thriller, Dark Obsession – though the title will now be His Dark Obsession – to Amazon Kindle. But there’ll be more books printed by Lettertec, deciding on which ones depends on which ones my readers ask for!”

 

Book One of The Emancipist – titled The Big House – is available now. Books Two and Three will be available in early December, ready for Christmas.

 

To find out more about Veronica and The Emancipist, check out her website veronicasweeney.net

 

 

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Teresa Collins’ Reiki at Hand

What is Reiki? Selfpublishbooks.ie author, Teresa Collins, has written the book on it. Reiki is a spiritual practice developed by Japanese Buddhist Mikao Usui, which has since been adapted by various teachers of varying traditions. It uses a technique commonly called ‘palm healing’ or ‘hands-on healing’ as a form of complementary therapy. Through the use of this technique, practitioners believe that they are transferring universal energy (i.e. reiki) in the form of qi (Japanese: ki) through the palms, which allows for self-healing and a state of equilibrium.

Teresa Collins grew up on a farm outside Cork City in Ireland. From a very young age, she identified the sacred in nature. She qualified as a physiotherapist in Trinity College and went to live in Canada for twelve years. There she met many  spiritual mentors and pursued all things spiritual and mystical.

She returned to Ireland in 1993 bringing a cornucopia of experience and knowledge with her. She taught Reiki and wrote the first Irish published book on Reiki. She returned to the land once again giving tours to Sacred Sites in Ireland and reconnecting with the Celtic Spirituality she grew up with. Presently she gives workshops on Reiki, Angels, Empowerment and Inner Peace. She also gives individual sessions on these areas as well as reading Tarot and in  mediumship.

Reiki at Hand, her guide to the practice, is a very practical handbook  for students and teachers of Reiki. Teresa taught Reiki for twenty years and wrote this book based on questions asked during the workshops.  It is user friendly as you can find the answers to any questions you have. It has great illustrations  to accompany the text. She is a qualified physiotherapist and Reiki at Hand emphasises through out the safe use of Reiki for both practitioner and client. This book is a must for all Reiki practitioners.

Her latest book, Secrets of an Irish Mystic, explores her own mystical experiences while encouraging the reader to identify similiar  experiences in their own lives. She strongly feels that each person is a mystic but because it is not talked about it goes unnoticed. She hopes in this book to language mysticism through her own personal experiences.

If you want to learn more about Reiki or order a copy of the book yourself, contact the author on her website, her phone (00353-86-8102338) or email tercol@eircom.net

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Shakespeare’s First Folio Online

The book that provided us with many of William Shakespeare’s most famous plays, extant from 1623, is sitting in a battered state in the Bodleian Library.

According to this article in the Guardian, damage including folds in the paper and torn corners, assumed to be the work of careless hands over four centuries, was almost certainly there from the start.

Yesterday, the university library launched a £20,000 appeal fund to digitise the book so that anyone in the world can read its tattered pages, with the backing the director Sir Peter Hall, Dame Vanessa Redgrave, and Jonathan Bate, curator of the Shakespeare exhibition at the British Museum, who called it “the most important secular book in the history of the western world”.

The book was sold after the much more attractive Third Folio was printed in 1664, and it passed through history anonymous until 1905 when its owner walked into a bookshop and asked how much it was worth.

To digitise the book, “every page has to be photographed in the highest possible resolution, and the challenge for the conservators is to stabilise the book so that it does not disintegrate in the process – but without destroying any of the historically fascinating damage, or the heroic efforts of one 18th century owner to carry out homemade repairs.”

Conservationists in the Bodleian library have already made many almost invisible repairs with slivers of Japanese paper as fine as surgical stitches, attached with wheat-starch glue, and they have straightened out some folds that were obscuring text. But many more folds in plain paper, or tatters that were not actually about to fall off, were left alone.

The greatest advantage to digitising the text, as pointed out by Sir Peter Hall, is that,

“It will provide an unrivalled opportunity for textual study not only for actors, directors and other theatre practitioners and their academic colleagues, but also for audiences whose love of the plays has remained undiminished over the centuries.”

Scores of copies of the First Folio survive, but the Bodleian’s is unique – the buckled splitting leather is the original binding of the loose leaf pages as they came from the printers in 1623.

Stephen Fry also backed the project whole-heartedly:

“First Folio as a phrase sounds so distant from our everyday lives, but this priceless and extraordinary collection of plays turned the world upside down (or should that be the right way up?) every bit as much as Newton was to do nearly 60 or so years later. The works of Shakespeare, now as much as ever, tell us what it is to be alive. […] To bring the First Folio, the great authoritative publication, to everyone in the world via digitisation is as noble and magnificent a project as can be imagined.”

The First Folio of Shakespeare is the reason we have access to plays such as MacBeth, Julius Caesar, The Twelfth Night and The Tempest.

As described on the BBC news website, the campaign — Sprint for Shakespeare — aims to raise £20,000 to put 1,000 pages of the playwright’s work online. This equates to around £20 per page. Once the project is complete, members of the public will be able to access the website and the plays free of charge, the Bodleian said.

To aid Sprint for Shakespeare, please click here.

Not only will you be credited with helping history, but every contributor “will automatically be entered in a prize draw to win one in an exclusive specially-commissioned limited edition of 12 bespoke hand-press leaves reproducing a page from the original 1623 publication, as created by Dr Paul Nash, an award-winning contemporary print-setter. This is a chance to win a page of literary history while being part of the campaign to bring the Bodleian’s First Folio to 21st century audiences.”

Make history today.

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The Highway of Life

I collected my books at your office last evening & I have to say that they are beautifully presented. Again many thanks for your help & advice as we progressed through the printing of the book.
I will have no hesitation to recommend your company Lettertec Ireland Ltd.
With my every good wish,
Sincerely,
Brendan Mulcahy.

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Anything is Possible

“Wow, beautiful quality, very professional looking.” These are the things my family are saying about my book on our family history, which Frank Kelly and his team at Lettertec – the parent of selfpublishbooks.ie – printed for me. Even though I only had 60 copies printed, as it is a private book for my family, I can honestly say I received the same care and attention as I’m sure I would have if I had thousands of copies printed. I didn’t start out to write a book, just record a few notes on our family. This took on ‘a life of its own’ and grew into a rather large text. I knew nothing about printing a book and was delighted when I met Frank as he took the time to explain everything I needed to know to me. Lettertec always delivered on what they said they would do. I’d never have considered employing a graphic designer to design the cover until it was suggested it to me and I’m so glad I listened. My family now has a high quality coffee table-style book to rival any to be found in the bookshops. Thank you Lettertec, I really appreciate everything you did to help me. If you are considering writing a book and are on the lookout for a printer, I highly recommend Lettertec and selfpublishbooks.ie.

-Adrienne Barlow Small, author of Anything is Possible

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Great job!

“Justin and Frank,
Received the books yesterday…..thanks for a great job!
The books look great.
I will be sending more work your way in the future.
Regards,
Darren Yeates”

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