A HIGHLAND author, whose latest novel was rejected by a number of publishing houses, decided to take matters into his own hands and publish it himself as a Kindle ebook.
John Logan made his thriller The Survival of Thomas Ford, which is set in Inverness and Drumnadrochit, available for download at the end of December.
He believes that, in future, more authors will have to take the same route in order to make their work available.
Based in Inverness, Mr Logan has Sutherland connections – his 75-year-old mother Agnes Logan (nee Ross) hails from Achriesgill, Kinlochbervie. His late father, Donald, was from Drumnadrochit.
An aunt, June Taylor, and a cousin, Angus Ross, live in the house in which his mother was born at 105 Achriesgill. Another cousin, Jane Morrison, lives in Kinlochbervie.
An uncle, Donnie Ross, emigrated to Canada and settled in Montreal but still receives a copy of the Northern Times every week to keep up with local news.
"I did visit Achriesgill as a child, in the summers of the 1970s," recalls Mr Logan. "I remember going fishing and out on boats with my cousin.
"The last time I visited was late 2010, to have a look again at the house where my mother was born."
An Aberdeen University English honours graduate, he was president of the university’s creative writing society. Writing has always been his livelihood, although he does have an income from a family farm.
Mr Logan is the author of five novels and 85 short stories and his work has been reviewed in the Spectator and Scotland on Sunday as well as the Scottish Studies Review.
His latest book, The Survival of Thomas Ford, is a contemporary thriller set in Inverness and Drumnadrochit. The protagonist, Thomas Ford, is a car crash survivor who embarks on a quest to find the reckless young driver who caused the crash.
Unfortunately, Mr Logan says the difficulty in getting the book published is symptomatic of the "dire" state of the industry.
The book was rejected by Canongate as well as Simon and Schuster among others.
"My agent sent my book to every editor he could think of only to have it turned down by them all despite many of them saying how much they enjoyed the book," he said. "What I have learned is that it doesn’t matter any more if the editors at publishing houses love your book – it’s the sales departments that have the final say."
When Mr Logan decided to publish it as a Kindle ebook, his agent told him he was doing the right thing. "My agent told me that he and his colleagues suggest this with many of the authors they represent now as the publishing scene is so dire," he said. "Just after Christmas I put the book on a free promotion at Amazon and 892 copies of it were downloaded in five days.
"The book went to number 13 in the UK bestselling chart of free literary fiction and to number 24 in the same USA chart. It got to number 63 as a thriller, also, in the UK.
"I then set the price at £3.30 and had 24 sales at that price. Then, as an experiment, I set the price at 77p and to date have had 23 more sales." Readers who have downloaded the book have given it great reviews with one commenting: "This book had me gripped from the first few sentences until the very end."
Another reader praised Mr Logan’s "marvellous story telling and beautiful poetic lyricism." Mr Logan says: "It’s still very early days, as it has only been on sale for five weeks, so I am just happy to have readers again! I have been delighted to hear from readers who really enjoyed the book. Quite a few of them are from the Inverness area or used to live there.
"I know there are a lot of Kindle owners in the Highlands now and the number is growing."
Meanwhile, readers should look out for Mr Logan’s next book Agency Woman which is due to be published as an ebook at the end of this year.
Agency woman is set in Achriesgill, on Foinaven mountain and in Kinlochbervie, with scenes also at Durness beach and Oldshoremore.
For further information visit: http://www.johnaalogan.com