A gun for Alfi Bey

I have written nothing for the past two months. A trip and research. Today I have been verifying and expanding on my research into the potential of the Mamluk, Alfi Bey, gaining possession of accurate firing rifles in the late 1700’s, when such weapons would be an extreme oddity if any existed. I believe that such an event could occur and in much the same manner described in the novel, Stonechild and Mamluk Treasure. German gunsmiths were masters of the trade with English and French gunsmiths producing excellent components. The web site http://www.ctmuzzleloaders.com/antique_guns/jaeger/jaeger.html discusses a rifled firearm commissioned by a German prince in the late 1700’s, possibly as early as 1780. That date fits with my time frame where a fugitive gunmaker reaches Egypt and gains the attention of Alfi Bey, an overly ambitious Mamluk of Egypt’s military ruling class.

The most interesting part of this research involved the discovery of mechanisms for developing a gun barrel from iron bars with little else than a charcoal-fired forge, iron bars, hammers, files and anvils. At this point in history such actions were a common occurrence.

Kobo vs Smashwords vs whoknows

The Stonechild Chronicles began to take shape sometime around 2002.  I began to write and to explore publishing opportunities.  I bought books on publishing and completed my first novel, Stonechild Volunteers.  I began planning a series and adopted the overall name, The Stonechild Chronicles.  I began sending query letters to publishers and agents, and quickly determined the traditional publishing route to be a dead-end, both for my topic and the reality of being a non-credentialed writer.

On, or near the year 2005, I abandoned any initial hope of obtaining a publishing agreement and decided to publish on-line.  First, though, I focused on building content.  To the initial title of Stonechild Volunteers, I added, Stonechild and the Minotaur Maze, and Stonechild’s Enigma.

My wife and I had already self-published my dad’s biography, Horses, Trails and Trophies  and I planned for Dad’s book to accompany my novels into the on-line world. With four major works on hand, I began to research methods of publishing on-line.  Fortunately for me I had reached a sweet spot in the evolution of on-line publishing.

Smashwords.com provided an avenue for uploading Microsoft Word documents, setting one’s price, collecting money from purchasers, and retaining only 15% of the sale price.  Should works submitted come with covers and hyper-linked table of contents, Smashwords would place such works in their premium catalog and forward items to Apple’s iBookstore, Barnes and Noble, and some other on-line retailers who would then charge about 30% in royalties.

A problem surfaced at the end of year one in marketing on Smashwords.  Readers had purchased a few copies, a mere $75.00  worth, but still a few.  However, for Smashwords to forward a royalty check I had to register with the American Internal Revenue Service

I decided to seek another publisher, more friendly to non-American writers.  I found Kobo and moved my titles to that site.

Again, I haven’t gotten to the place where royalties are flowing, but still hope Kobo to work out.  The process for uploading is similar to Smashwords.

However, uploading to Amazon.com and to the Apple iBookstore offers greater potential than Kobo.  Kindle ereaders and Apple iPads are far more numerous than Kobo ereaders.  As I begin to put more emphasis on marketing and not just writing, I will have to seek the widest possible market-place.

American IRS here I come.