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Tag: Self Publishing

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Eye to Eye, not to be confused with EYE SPY

Is this a wild coincidence, or a message to me from the Universe?

(Another Tahir Shah, also obsessed with eyes).

Hmmmm…

As a side note, the paperback edition of EYE SPY should be out in the next 6-8 weeks. In the meantime, I’ve set up a contest on Goodreads to give away 6 signed advance copies on July 25th. That means that if you win a copy, you’ll have it before the book is available for purchase.

Enter now for a chance to win: http://bit.ly/14s2oQq

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Q&A on Writing and Travel

TS101. The explorations and adventures in most of your work are set in exotic places that are shrouded in mystery and rich in history and tradition, and it seems as though you have traveled just about everywhere. Do you happen to have any connection with a small and relatively mainstream place like Belgium?

When I was a child, I was sent to stay with friends at Ypres. I was eleven years old, and I remember the visit vividly. Of course I have returned to Belgium time and again since then, but it was that winter journey that is so burned in my memory. My sisters and I were taken to the Great War cemeteries there. I can see the headstones now – all lined up perfectly, glinting white in the flat winter sun. I remember reading the names and ages of those men. They were so young – their lives having hardly begun. A day doesn’t go by on which I don’t think of them. And it is for them that I remind my children daily: Carpe diem! Seize the day!

2. I recently heard you tell a student group that they could and should be explorers. As far as I know, there are no significant mysteries here in Belgium, though there is a great deal of history. What sorts of explorations do you think have yet to be pursued here? What do you think is the best way for parents to make explorers of their children?

Read more

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Q&A with Tahir Shah

Tahir_bio_pic 2013bI just did a Q&A with myself, based on some of the questions I’m asked on a regular basis.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WRITING FICTION AND NON-FICTION?

There are both huge differences and huge similarities. For me, book writing (any writing for that matter) is about storytelling. Tell the story in the right way and the reader will do a kind of dance through your work. The most important thing for me is that my reader has the right experience, and that’s achieved by giving a great deal of thought to the way a passage will be read. I devote time to thinking about the reader whether I’m writing fiction or non-fiction.

Naturally, though, with fiction you can let yourself loose a whole lot more. But, having said that, I think there’s enormous scope for non-fiction writers (especially travel writers) in observing what they think they know and understand, in new ways. It’s a great challenge, but one that pays great dividends when you get it right.

HOW DO YOU COME UP WITH IDEAS FOR NOVELS? Read more

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Upcoming Projects for 2013

I’ve been posting on my Facebook page about upcoming projects for the first half of 2013, without sharing too much detail. I’d like to include a quick overview of things to come:

Newsweek

I’ll have an article coming out in Newsweek (now online only), in the next couple of months. I’ll post on Facebook as soon as it’s online.

Backlist ebooks

I’ll be releasing ebooks from my backlist starting very soon. We’re still working on the cover art, but they’ll be coming out one by one in the next couple of months.

Lithuania

I’ll be speaking at the literary festival there, so if you’re based in or near Lithuania, I’d love to see you.

Scorpion Soup limited edition hardcover

This is now available for pre-order over at the Scorpion Soup website, and books will be shipping out in late March. There are purchase options for both the US and the UK, which is where the books will be warehoused. If you’re in another country and would like a copy, please contact me and I’ll let you know what the extra shipping fees are. I’m trying to keep the cost down on this book by offering it only on my website.

You can also enter one of two contests on Goodreads for a chance to win a copy of the limited edition hardcover. There is a contest for US readers and one for UK readers.

Scorpion Soup en español

We’re also working on a Spanish translation of my recent release, Scorpion Soup. It’s over half-way finished, and then will go into editing before its release. It should be out fairly soon, and I’ll be sure to post on my Facebook page when it’s available.

Casablanca Blues

This is one of my upcoming releases for 2013. I’ve completed the first draft, and it’s being edited now.

Blaine Williams is a thirty-something New Yorker with an mid-life crisis and an obsession of the movie Casablanca. His world collapsing around him, he flees to the one place he thinks he knows and understands. A fragment of security in his troubled imagination, Casablanca the genuine article reveals itself as a roller coaster ride of danger, intrigue, and true love — a realm where nothing is what it seems.

Eye Spy

This is another of my upcoming releases for 2013. I’m half-way through the first draft on this.

While in Central Asia saving the sight of a debauched dictator, Dr. Robert Kaine, the greatest eye surgeon of his generation, unwittingly tastes a pie filled with cooked human eyes. Rather than being revolted by the dish, he adores it, and finds that it has an astonishing and ameliorating effect on the psyche. As the craving sets in, he will stop at nothing to get more of the illicit food.

Against a backdrop of an epidemic eye disorder called Occulosis, that threatens making everyone alive blind, Kaine is the one man who can save human sight… while robbing anyone he can of their eyes.

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Wisdom of Wigtown

The people at Wigtown are generating a book of the wisdom of Wigtown during this year’s Wigtown Book Festival, and they asked the following questions:

1. Is there something that someone told you early in life that proved to be useful?

Yes: My father told me never ever ever listen to anyone who tried to hold me back, and to think for myself.

2. What do you wish you knew when you were 18?

I wish I had known how important it is to be original and not try to ape others.

3. What word do you repeat to yourself when the going gets tough? Or what word sums you up?

The word I repeat to myself over is over is: FORWARD!

4. How would you finish the sentence “It’s never too late to…”‘

“…write a book that will change the world.”

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Boiled Frog

I was recently asked for an interview, ‘What are your thoughts on the way society is changing?’

My response:

We are urbanising at the same time as technologising. It’s happening everywhere at the same time.

Where I am living, in Casablanca, the city grows each day as more and more people come from the countryside and try to live here in the city. Of course, most of them can’t get jobs, and once they have seen the bright lights of the city, they can’t go back to their villages.

The world is changing, but most people aren’t seeing it happen. They’re not programmed to notice the change.

It’s very similar to the BOILED FROG idea:

If a frog is placed in a pot of cold water, water that is heated very slowly, the frog won’t notice the increasing temperature, and it will be boiled alive.

Our society is very similar to the boiled frog. We are going to be ‘boiled alive’ — as the world in which we live changes. We have been developed as a species for the savannah… to react to an instant threat, but not to a gradual one.

The only way to survive is to alter the way we notice change, and the way we react to it.

 

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Timbuctoo Update: hardcover, ebook, Q&A, and upcoming events

This is a limited edition hardcover of Timbuctoo by Tahir Shah, with non-wood paper, marbled end-papers, a pouch at the back with extra goodies, and silk bookmark.

Timbuctoo limited edition hardcover

Hello! I wanted to share a quick recap of news and coming events…

Hardcover

As you may already know, the Timbuctoo hardcover will be out next month. This is a very special edition, with six fold-out maps, marbled end-papers, a pouch at the back with goodies, a silk bookmark, and non-wood paper. It’s now available for pre-order on Amazon, or (if you’re in the US) you can enter for a chance to win one of six copies on Goodreads.

Once the book has been released, I will be holding pop-up sales in London, where you can get a signed copy. I’ll be sharing more details on this early next month.

Ebook

The Timbuctoo e-book launch was initially set for August. However, the date has been changed, and Timbuctoo is NOW available on Kindle and other e-readers. Click on one of the links below to get your copy:

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/MNdUyI
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/MQH0Kg

If you’d like a preview before you buy, you can download the first chapter in PDF. Hope you enjoy it!

Q&A

In other news, I held my first AMA on Reddit yesterday afternoon. You can still access the questions and answers on Reddit, where the conversation will be archived. If you have any other questions for me, I will be holding an Author Q&A on Goodreads from July 1-15. Several conversation threads have already been set up, so please introduce yourself and feel free to get started asking questions at any time. I will begin answering them on July 1.

Meetup

If you’re in the UK, get ready for a Timbuctoo picnic, which will be held in London in mid-July. More details on that early next month. Keep your fingers crossed for good weather, as it will be held rain or shine.

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Pipeline

With experience I learned that it wasn’t good enough writing one article and then starting work on the next when the first was done and dusted. Rather like a basket maker, I gradually refined the process of creation and started a kind of pipeline. There were several articles in production at the same time. The starting point was an ideas file, which I always tried to keep packed full with stuff, gleaned from as many difference sources as possible — newspapers, books, conversations overheard on a bus etc. Then I’d have the research stage. This would be broken down into the planning, and the actual research. Over time, I refined my methods and learned not to do more work than I needed to do. At the beginning, I used to buy and read entire books for an article on, say, Death Row, but gradually honed this process and so the research could be done very well, but much more efficiently. The writing part was always quite easy, and it should be if your research is in place. It’s actually a relief to write the thing. And then I’d either start with the selling, if I was doing it on spec, or send it to an editor if there was an commission. When I was doing a lot of feature writing, I’d have as many as a dozen articles in the pipeline at any one time… all in different stages of development. It worked very well, and taught me to create in a structured way, something that I later used when writing books.



TS
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Risk

In publishing, no one – absolutely no one – will help you out unless there’s something in it for them. Unless, that is, if they are so assured of their position that they can endure risk. These days even huge publishers have systems in which facing any risk opens the individual up for attack. No one will put their neck on the line. It’s largely the same story through corporate culture… and it’s a system I know well from the Arab world, where no one will ever take responsibility – except the top man.  I encourage people when they are trying to break in, to think in an original way. Be completely inventive, innovative, and sooner or later, others will back you. 

TS