Well, hello there folks, it seems that June was my scatterbrained month for 2010. Due to my own senility I am three days late with my weekly feature The Fox Hole. Despite this loss of brain power I have a wonderful guest and a first for me as well. Mr. Jim Brown from the UK has been incredibly patient in offering up his time to give us a peek behind the scenes of the e-Publishing world.
So without further ado, grab a cup of coffee or tea, a couple of chocolate biscuits, and help me welcome Jim to The Fox Hole on this lovely Wednesday morning.
Welcome to The Fox Hole, Jim, it’s a delight to have you. Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
Sure. I’m Jim Brown, owner of LL-Enterprises, under which we operate the author and publisher services business of jimandzetta.com, as well as two small publishing concerns, LL-Publications and Logical-Lust.
We operate out of Scotland but 95% of our business is with US people and companies. The other half of jimandzetta.com is my wife, Zetta, a Texan southern gal who was foolish – err I mean wise – enough to agree to marry a very tall Scotsman and move to Scotland. Zetta is Editor-in-Chief of our publishing houses and also provides the editing services for jimandzetta.com
At 53 years old I’m the ultimate old-timer computer geek. I’ve always had an interest in computers from way back when I owned two computer stores in the days of the C64 and early PCs. I remember wowing at the power of a 486 PC. Nowadays my wrist-watch has more power! The advances in electronics/computers have been quite astounding, and there’s more to come yet.
In addition to the above, I’m also currently the secretary of EPIC www.epicauthors.com one of the finest ePublishing organizations dedicated to the industry, with the longest running annual eBook awards program, which has been in place since 1997.
Have you always been in the publishing industry or is it something you just fell into?
I fell into it by accident rather than design. A long recovery from an illness got me started writing as a way to alleviate boredom, and once I’d joined several writers groups and had my first sight of the publishing industry my management mind took over and a move to publishing seemed a logical choice. I could see even then that there would come a time when eBooks and ePublishing would go mainstream, so the timing was spot on. We started off part-time while keeping our day jobs, but last year took the big plunge and gave up the rat-race to go full time in business.
Could you tell the readers a little about the services you offer?
What we do is take up those time-consuming tasks that can hold up an author’s or publisher’s schedule and do them for very cost-effective fees. Ebook conversions, book layout and typesetting, cover design and print cover layouts, editing, banner designs, trailers, even book file and data management. Some publishers have tailored several of our services together into one package, and for that we’re happy to negotiate a single fee. What we do is give time back to authors and publishers – time that authors can use to write, time that publishers can use to run their businesses. Also we keep right up to date with the changes in format and requirements, so that authors and publishers are kept well-informed. When Apple stepped into the fray with the iPad they weren’t very forthcoming with information on what they needed (and still aren’t) so people are still a bit in the dark about getting their titles onto the Apple platform. I can help with that.
Converting books, do you ever get a chance to read any of the materials you convert?
It’s funny, although I have the entire book right there in front of me mostly all I see is page layout and formatting, because when I’m setting up a book for conversion to eBook that’s the most important part – to make sure all formatting is properly retained when the book converts. Mind you, I’ve seen some very intriguing looking books that I know I would love to read when I have the time.
If you have a chance to read, do you, and if so do you have any favorite writers?
I love thrillers – spy, technological etc. John LeCarre is one of my favourite authors, as well as the late Adam Hall. He wrote some excellent well-paced cold-war spy stories. I’ve read The Lord of the Rings trilogy twice now. Even though it’s long, and at times heavy reading, I doubt if the story could be as well-told any other way. It’s fascinating to see how Tolkien took some of history’s famous and infamous events and wound them into Middle-Earth.
In recent authors, or authors less-likely known, I would recommend Joseph D’Lacey as one. His book, Meat, is an astonishing, shocking horror story. I would dare anyone to read it and not feel they had to put it down and walk away from it for a while, but then feel drawn back to it. I couldn’t come away from this question without mentioning two authors from our small presses whose work I absolutely love: Ben Larken won an EPPIE award for his debut horror/thriller Pit-Stop and Mark Jackman is one of the funniest writers I’ve ever read. There’s vampire stories and there’s vampire stories, and then there’s Mark’s The Great Right Hope… You’ll never read anything like it, apart from the sequel!
Now for something a little different being a professional cook at one time, I always love to ask this one. I really believe food can give an insight into people. Do you have a favorite food?
Oh… food. I love food, and being married to a southern Texas gal my taste buds have experienced new things. I love Mexican cornbread, southern fried chicken, twice baked potatoes, and more. Zetta’s tried haggis but she doesn’t seem to have a taste for it lol. I can cook myself, and I do an excellent slow-cooked steak, Scottish mince ‘n dumplings, scotch broth soup, to name but a few. I also love true Italian cooking (not phone-call pizzas!).
That must have been quite the culture shock being introduced to Southern food. We do love baked, fried, and gravy covered everything. 😉 To be honest haggis is no more disgusting than one of those lovely southern dishes chitlins. LOL Since you’re involved in an industry that requires technology might put a damper on one of my other get to know you questions. If you could visit/live in your choice of time or place what would it be?
I think I could easily be a hermit. Yep… I can see that. Me, in a cave or remote ramshackle building, catching my own food and eating it…, but probably wondering where to plug in the laptop!
See that probably would be me as well. I can’t begin to remember what I did before I owned a computer. 😉 Thank you so much for taking a few minutes out of your obviously busy schedule to grant me this interview. Now that I’ve picked your brain, may I ask you one final thing? Could you give my readers a list of places where they can contact you and the services you provide?
Thank you, Jim, for sharing of yourself and your work with the readers here. You’re welcome to come back at anytime. 😀