Carol Vorderman's Internet Column: The Word Wide Web; NET YOUR NEW NOVEL INTO PRINT
Ziemer, Laurette, The Mirror (London, England)
SO YOU'VE written your novel of a lifetime - a best-seller for sure. Now comes the hard part - getting it into print.
Forget traipsing round agents. Cyberspace is heaving with literary solutions.
Turn instead to www.iUniverse.com which is part-owned by America's largest book chain Barnes and Noble. You pay anything from $99 to $299 (pounds 60 to pounds 190) - depending on your publishing deal.
Sign the necessary paperwork and send them a fully-edited version of your book.
Your golden prose will then be available at any bookshop which uses the network. They simply look it up online, order it and it's printed off from your electronic file. You keep 20 per cent of profits.
www.toExcel.com does much the same although it seems to have fewer outlets - perhaps why you get to keep 50 per cent of profits. Anyone wishing to buy your book can order it online, pay a normal price and have it sent. Here, you can also read dozens of classic novels, which no longer have copyright restrictions.
At neither of the above sites can people actually read your work online. For this they will have to go to http://agoodbook.com. To appear on this site you have to submit a summary and a sample of your book - not more than 10 pages and they will consider putting you out there for free.
www.writerscircle.com, www.writers.net and www.literati.net all offer help, advice, some net publishing possibilities and useful links for budding writers.
When it comes to buying books - old and new - on the net it takes a lot to beat the well-known www.amazon.co.uk which has an excellent catalogue, fast search engine, recommendations, good discounts, first class delivery and customer services.
The best of the rest of online book shops are:
www.alphabetstreet.co.uk A great match-your-mood selection area. Good discounts.
www.blackwells.co.uk Online version of the High Street store.
www.waterstones.co.uk As above.
www.bookshop.co.uk Branch of WH Smiths, very easy to use.
www.bookzone.co.uk Search engine but no catalogue
If you care about what everyone else is buying then take a look at
www.uk.bol.com which has more than two million titles in its range andkeeps regular best-seller lists.
When we looked at the Top 10 British Buys we found cookery books from Gary Rhodes and Delia Smith the top two, revealing we are currently more interested in cooking than reading.
If you can't be bothered to buy any books but still want to appear well read, there are a number of ways the net will speed you towards your goal. Thousands of literary sites cover authors both well known and obscure.
Pop into www.incompetech.com/authors for light-hearted biographies on the likes of Emily Bronte, William Makepeace Thackeray, Jane Austen and William Shakespeare.
Study-guides are also a brilliant way to bluff your way towards appearing knowledgeable. www.novelguide.com has wonderful summaries, metaphor analysis and Top 10 quotes from a host of classics including George Orwell's Animal Farm, William Golding's Lord Of The Flies, JD Salinger's Catcher In The Rye and Ernest Hemingway's Old Man And The Sea. You'll talk your way through any literary dinner party after that.
There's also www.wsu.edu:8080/ brians/guides-index.html which covers anything from Shakespeare and Marx to Engels and Chinese and Japanese love poetry.
If there's a particular author (alive or dead) you want to study, the web is full of them. We've picked a few of the more well-known characters.
MYSTERY: www.angelfire.com/fl/ christianx/page14.html Agatha Christie. Everything you need to know about the Duchess of Death who has sold 2 billion copies of her books which have been translated into 103 languages (14 more than Shakespeare). Meet Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple.
www.sherlock-holmes.co.uk Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. …