Paperless Book Release



Link to the page with excerpts.

Paperless Book Release

Much of the work is done. The book is released. The writing, editing, formatting is behind me and now I hold a printed copy of the book in my hands – quite a day. The web site is done. It is workable on all devices as best we know. If it isn’t formatted properly on your device please let me know by emailing me here.

The web site provides a variety of ways to get the book and offers a glimpse into the research I did and the headlines I used for inspiration. It is inspired by a true story, after all.

Marketing has now bubbled to the surface. There are so many ways to get your story out there that it’s hard to focus on just one. Since I don’t have a crystal ball I don’t know what will be effective and what will not. I suppose that’s where my marketing consultant at Tellwell Talent will step up to the plate. Certainly it will be important to get it into the hands of local friends, acquaintances and, of course, family. If they talk about it, Facebook it and otherwise push it along the coverage could be substantial.


Distribution will require printing, except of course for the electronic version. E-books are the easy part. Available from or or Amazon.xx where xx represents your country of choice. Pay a small fee, download it and you’re ready to read.

Printing is not quite so easy. In my case, Ingram is doing the printing for the book stores. In Canada the cost from a bookstore will be significant when shipping is factored in. If the customer pays the shipping it makes the book quite expensive. If the bookstore pays the shipping then the royalty available to me, the author, after shipping and the store’s necessary profit, is tiny.

Amazon offers an alternative to this. The book is printed on demand at a reasonable cost and shipped to the customer at a reasonable cost. Buy more than 1 and the shipping is free which brings the cost of the book down considerably.

I’m also going to offer the book for sale on the website (under More Options on the Buy Now page) using PayPal. I can make it a littler cheaper and can drop ship to any customer. But that’s a bunch of work for me so I’ll keep that option for special occasions.

I found a print-on-demand house in Victoria, BC which does a beautiful job. The result is bit nicer than the Amazon book, but only marginally. Of course local printing is expensive, but then there is no shipping. I’ll use this method to provide a ‘special’ edition for my local contacts and bookstores where I can make the delivery myself.

Trying to find a way to make it affordable for the reader and yet provide sufficient royalty to pay costs is a tricky affair.

There will be more to come as I get deeper into the distribution side of things.

Paperless – Designing the Cover

Paperless – Designing the Cover (Cover Design)

The process of designing the cover (cover design) for a new novel is somewhat frustrating but, in the end, rewarding. The frustration begins with trying to put feet to the main theme of the story. In the case of Paperless the problem was exacerbated by the fact that the title is a negative rather than a positive. How in the world do you depict something that is “… less”. Now if the title has been ‘Papered’ it would have been quite easy. Just show a collage or a news paper or something like that. But to indicate the concept of ‘removing the paper’ is more challenging.

Paperless - the Novel Cover Design

Paperless – Inspired by a True Story


Fortunately the cover designer wasn’t hemmed in by the boundaries I imposed on myself. The designer took the contextual location of the story as the guiding theme rather than the negativity of the title. I hadn’t thought about the story as being a ‘hospital’ story until I saw the cover. I know that sounds strange because it takes place in a hospital (some of the time), it deals with health care fraud and organ harvesting, and is all about a data breach in a hospital, but, nonetheless, the ‘hospital’ theme hadn’t stuck in my mind.

So when the cover came back as an operating room scene I was a bit surprised until, of course, I let it all settle into my mind a little and then it made perfect sense.

However, the cover did not speak to the ‘children’ aspect of the story which, as the author, I felt was a driving force behind the story. The designer and I attempted to add an abandoned teddy bear somewhere on the cover, but it just didn’t seem to fit. As a result there is nothing on the cover that leads the viewer to an understanding that the story involves the abuse of children. However, a quick read of the back cover quickly makes that clear.

I suppose this is one of the down-sides of the impersonal nature of the self-publishing process. If I had been afforded the opportunity to sit with the designer for one hour and fiddle with various ideas, I suspect the cover could have been (would have been) more satisfactory.

But, then, as I’ve been trying to tell myself over this season of publishing that the entire world does not revolve around this novel. Those who have enjoyed it during its development believe others will enjoy it as well and so it should be published. The cover design or the interior design likely won’t matter a whole bunch.


Paperless – the Novel Audible Edit

The Visual Edit(s)

Visual edits and audible edits serve very different functions in the elimination of manuscript errors. Regrettably neither can add value to the story itself. The first two rounds of formal edits of ‘Paperless – the Novel’ were visual. That is, I read every word, every sentence, every paragraph looking for errors in spelling or grammar, for repeated words and for content (of course). Each (formal) edit provided suggestions that related to the entire manuscript. The mind plays tricks on us, however. Some errors passed right by – some big errors – because the mind fills in the blank or corrects the spelling or doesn’t recall the repetition.

So how do we get rid of those errors without paying for a full edit by a professional editor?

First, I should add, that even professional editors overlook errors. Their eyes get tired too and their minds fill in the blanks – not to the same extent as the author’s, granted, but it happens nonetheless.

The Audible Edit

Here’s something I found immensely useful. The audible edit. So what is that?

If you use Microsoft Word getting set up is easy. If not, it may take a little research on the web to get your computer set up for the edit. I’ll stick to Word since that’s what I used.

Word has a nifty feature, quickly installed (check the web for how to do so – see below), that will read any text you select in the current document. Yes, it does take time since you are listening to your full story, but hearing makes all the difference. The virtual reader will drone on and on when there are insufficient commas – give your human readers a breath now and then. When words are misspelled or grammar is incorrect, the virtual reader will stumble and your ears will pick it up immediately.

I uncovered many typos this way and it gave me a taste of the flow of the narrative.

So give it a try. Click here to see how to activate this feature of Word.

Announcing Twitter Feed

The novel now has a twitter feed @paperlessnovel. Visit us there and let us know what you think. You can view the latest tweets in the sidebar of this blog.

Paperless – the Novel Edit Round 2 – Verbose

Verbose, Verbose, Verbose

Well, round 2 of the edit process invoked yet another serious edit. This time the major issue was wordiness. Yes, too many words to say a simple thing. Yes, verbose, in a word.

This was an issue raised by some of my initial readers but I put it down to taste. After all I wanted to be able to express the full extent of the thought in my head. So here are some of the problems that needed to be fixed:

  • does it really matter if it was ‘early’ morning – maybe, but likely not
  • ‘in some way’ – isn’t really adding information
  • ‘take a risk on’ – really just taking a risk
  • ‘went back’ – returned would do
  • ‘after evaluating this comment’ – show, don’t tell. Just have the speaker pause and let the reader figure it out.
  • ‘raised her eyes’ – looked up would do
  • ‘as far as the research I did…’ – ‘the research indicates that…’ would be just as effective
  • ‘head off’ – no heading or grabbing. I had to search through the document to clean these up.


Then there is the ‘eye’ thing. Some editors do not want you to use any eye expressions whatsoever (twinkle in his eye, etc.). Yet many of the popular (and famous) authors don’t shy away from them, so maybe it’s a matter of taste. I don’t know. But I did go through and minimize them. Just one remains in the manuscript and perhaps that is acceptable.

Conclusion of Round 2

I thought the first edit was tough but this one tops it by a considerable margin. The reason lies in the necessity to rethink every sentence of the manuscript.  Could it be said more succinctly? Are there unnecessary words? Then back again: Would my character speak this way? Is the narrative too stilted? And back and forth.  This is both mind bending and time consuming.  But in the end I think it is worth it.  When rereading the modified text it appears smoother and more professional.

So there you have it.  Another edit; another improvement.  The question now is where does one stop? I’m quite convinced that editing could go on forever with minor tweaks and changes made throughout the manuscript.  But I think this will be it for this book.  I hope to do much better on the next.

The Edit Process

The Edit Process of the Novel ‘Paperless

The manuscript was submitted to the publisher, all polished and ready for print … well, not so much. The formal edit is essential to the success of any story.  The editor steps in and covers the first few pages with red ink – not quite, but, hey, it feels much like that. ‘Steel yourself’ (you recall the advice). The first rule of publishing is that you must develop a thick skin; the editor is there to help you, not damage your somewhat inflated ego.

So you slog through the red marks and the comments. Wow, you come across a comment that is very positive. The editor likes the way you phrased something or likes the image you created; I guess there really is cause for continuing.  Maybe not all is lost.

The Newbie Mistakes

Yes, lots of them.  Some are common to the neophyte, others are there because we talk differently than we write (or should be so) yet daily poor grammar slips in.

Here are the things I had to clean up (I hope I’m not the only one with these problems):

  • double space after a period –  Who knew.  I took typing in high school back in ’60 something and since then I’ve always put two spaces after a period. In fact, if you check this post you will find a mix since I’m trying to retrain my fingers.
  • up, down – We use this a lot in speech, but it becomes dross the reader has to skip over or ignore.  “Sit down in the chair.”  Two problems with this.  First, it’s hard to sit ‘up’ in a chair unless you are specifically changing posture.  Second, unless the chair is significant in some way, where else would you sit.  So, pretty much, “Sit.” would do. (This is over simplified, I realize, but it does make one think.)
  • that – Used everywhere that I can think of.  Oops, I did it again in that sentence. It’s so bad that I need to really pay attention to that kind of thing the next time that I do some writing.  Ug!  Pull out all the ‘that’ occurrences unless one is really necessary for the sentence to make sense.  I pulled hundreds out and during the audible edit (I’ll explain that in another post) I did put a few back in.
  • of the – Like ‘that’, we use it indiscriminately, and it really does create a lot of words, unnecessary to the story, that the readers had to wade through.  Make a simple adjustment to the sentence structure (use the possessive, for example) to eliminate many, if not most, of these phrases.
  • got – Ah, yes.  Got you on this one.  You know, the other day I got off the elevator in a large office building, and I’ve got to tell you, it was really hard to find the office I was looking for.  Oh, well, I got over it, got back in the car and went home but not before I got stuck in traffic. Yup, we use ‘got’ a whole bunch.  There are so many ways to not do this – it just takes a little bit of thought.

Patience and Perseverance

These are the two watchwords for the edit process.  Do the edit in small bits.  Get some exercise in between.  I tried to do a chapter at a time but didn’t always get through the long chapters.  Without frequent breaks I found myself getting complacent and fixing fewer and fewer problems. I knew I was getting bored and needed a break when my error count per page started diminishing.

The edit process can take weeks so don’t panic – persevere.

Paperless Publication Contracted

Paperless‘ Publication Contract Signed

I guess that time had to come sooner or later.  This week I signed a contract with Tellwell here in Victoria, BC for the publication of the book.  They will create the cover design and interior design of the novel.  They will also produce the print files and ship them off to the POD (print on demand) publisher of choice.  They will upload the novel to Amazon and Google for distribution both as a print on demand hard copy and an e-book.

Lots To Do

Now the work begins – or so I understand.  Meetings with editors, designers and marketers will begin soon.  I hope I’m up to all this hype.


Speaking of marketing.  Ideas are beginning to float around in my head as to how I can get the word out that the book is available.  I’m certain (wink wink) that there are lots of folk out there just waiting for one more book to read.  Well, friends and relatives at least.

Apparently the book should have a Twitter and Facebook presence as well.  I guess I’ll have to break down and get involved in this TwitFace stuff (oh, I guess they haven’t merged quite yet).  I’ll keep you posted when such things are available.  Then you who are experienced social media-ites can re-tweet and re-face my marketing material and, who knows, maybe 10 or 12 people will get the word.

Paperless Website Launched

In the meantime the website for the book has been launched as  It discusses how the story got started and has pictures and links to the places and things in the story world.  There are also a variety of excerpts from the book if that interests you.

Well, just thought I would keep you up to date and as things unfold you’ll be the first (or second or third) to know.

‘Paperless’ – A New Novel by Phil Robinson

Paperless – Inspired by a True Story

Paperless – A New Novel for Your Fall Reading 

This is advanced notice of the new novel by Phil Robinson titled ‘Paperless’ that will be released this fall.

A dedicated website is available for you to review the headlines and research behind the novel and get an insider’s view of how the book came to be.

Preview of the Back Panel

The following text appears on the back panel of the book cover.

Paperless is a crime novel inspired by the atrocities against children and their families that took place between 1988 and 1996 in the United Kingdom. The national outrage emanating from what became known
as the Alder Hey Organ Scandal, resulted in the U.K. Human Tissues Act of 2004. Emotionally charged from the outset and fast-paced throughout, the story involves aviation, computer technology, health care fraud and the persistence, in the face of personal sacrifice, of two very different people in their pursuit of justice for those who could not speak for themselves.

Julius Barlow, a well-respected computer engineer, inadvertently accesses, from a local children’s hospital, electronic records that suggest doctors are manipulating billing data. Learning his scheme may be threatened, the ring leader, Dr. Atchley, hires assassins to eliminate
Barlow – a hunt that begins in the Texas skies and moves swiftly to a murky bayou. A fatal car crash prods Julius to confess his actions to Rikki, a local detective. Together, with the help of Huri, the ‘secret weapon’ of an insurance investigative group, they begin to unravel the health care fraud which leads to the arrest of Dr. Atchley, but not  before they find themselves immersed in a ring of human organ traffickers. Set in a hospital dedicated to the welfare of children, this novel explores the vulnerability of modern technology, the seedy realm of health care fraud and the intrigue of human organ trafficking.

Meanwhile Julius’ wife, Cora, is dying from a rare disease that only one doctor understands and he may be involved in the fraud … or something worse. Julius must choose between the welfare of his wife and justice for strangers.