Valley author uses algorithm to relive WWI in novel
CLARENCE Valley author Norman Mjadwesch is gaining first-hand knowledge of how the change in reading habits has changed the book publishing landscape.
Mr Mjadwesch, who has self published four books on gaming, is in throes of publishing his first novel, a First World War tale of fighter pilots called Fledglings.
He is negotiating with digital retailing giant Amazon's self-publishing arm, Creative Space, to print the book for him.
He said using traditional printing methods he would have to sell his book for $30 just to make $1 profit.
"If the deal with Creative Space works out, I will be able to sell a copy of Fledglings on their site for $24.95 and make around $10 a book," he said.
He and partner Sam Wilson are putting the finishing touches to the book.
Mr Mjadwesch said Creative Space was a big change in the way people could buy printed books.
"People who want a book can order it online and Creative Space will print a copy and send it to them," he said.
"Normal printers have to print a huge number of books to get the price per unit down so it's hard for me to retail them at a competitive price."
Mr Mjadwesch's first foray into novel writing sprang from his earlier book Richthofen's Reign.
This book is a manual for an interactive game where players can recreate the air war on the Western Front using information from the book, progressed by throwing dice.
The driving force in the game is a mathematical algorithm he has developed to believes allows his game to mirror history when it is played.
But the the level of difficulty posed a problem for the average game player.
"A friend of mine said it was just too difficult to play, so he said, 'why don't you write a novel instead?," he said.
Inspired, over a two-week period he played the game and wrote each move in the game as part of his story. The result has delighted him.
"It's amazing how accurately the algorithm has recreated the events of 1917-18," he said.
To feed the formula Mr Mjadwesch has included massive amounts of data down to basic details of individual aircraft like engine size and wing span.
"Even things like the German method of leaving pilots at the front in contrast to the British system of having pilots do six months tours of duty with three months off is part of the game," he said.
"It was amazing. In that period there was a period the British called Bloody April, when the Germans inflicted massive casualties on them.
"In the same period in the book, the game also created a cataclysmic event."
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