Apprenticeship: official launch of a new ebook

Having released my new ebook on August 29, and spent much of the last month patching and tweaking, I’m now happy with it – so consider this an official launch.

The book is available on Amazon as an ebook: here. Amazon gives me the opportunity to offer a print version, which I am considering. Many people do not read ebooks; but I worry about the quality of a self-published print book.

Here is a snapshot of my books on my Amazon author page. 

The last, of which I am a co-author, is a terrible book full of academic essays that should never have seen the light of day. But my two books on J.R.R. Tolkien contain scholarship of a higher quality even than my old Cambridge University Press book on the economist Alfred Marshall. Compare prices and you will see the benefits of turning from traditional publishers to self-published ebooks!

The prices for the two Tolkien books are now out of date because when I took this screenshot I was in the process of revising the units – the numbers stay the same, but I switched the unit from the Yankee Dollar to my native Great British Pound.

Of the cover price I am supposed to receive 70%. That is a large cut to Amazon for simply hosting, and yet such terms are massively more generous than anything found in the world of traditional publishing. In theory, writing these ebooks could fund my research, serving in place of a Patreon or other social media fund-raising campaign. However, this would require sales greater than the current average of 1 sale (of either ebook) every few weeks.

You may consider this post an official marketing campaign. But if it is not clear already, I’ll spell out that my experience launching the earlier ebook convinced me not to waste any time with marketing campaigns. By now I have worked out (see previous ‘index’ posts on this blog) that my scholarly approach to Tolkien rubs against the illusion fostered by Tolkien’s fantasy, and as such offers insights that most people who like Tolkien’s stories do not wish to receive.

Still, some people share my interests and obsessions. Like this blog, the ebooks are available, and if they are your cup of tea and you purchase one – well, beyond surprise, all I can express is a hope that reading it will blow your mind.

4 thoughts on “Apprenticeship: official launch of a new ebook

  1. Frogmorton

    Hello there! Fascinated by your ‘Odin & Ing (the Lord)’ post. Do you discuss it in more detail in your Lost English Mythology ebook?

    1. simon Post author

      Thanks, and I am afraid the answer is No.

      There are three dimensions of that post.

      1. Norse mythology as we know it distinguishes between Vanir and Aesir gods. My Lost English Mythology ebook is where I worked out that Tolkien believes the Vanir the ancient gods of the North, which centered on Frey (or Ing) and contained an ancient tradition of a mortal marriage with an immortal woman, various reconstructed elements of which can be traced in ‘LOTR’.

      2. Scholars in Tolkien’s day saw that Odin was a southern god who came north in the wake of the Gothic migrations. After publishing that earlier ebook I discovered in Tolkien’s work on Beowulf that he believed the cult of ‘Odin the Necromancer’ was just arising in the days that the English were migrating to the British Isles. And when his scattered mentions of Odin and the Vikings are mentioned it becomes clear that he saw that, when the Danes conquered the ancient Vanir cult on Zealand (prompting the English to pack their bags and sail away) they took control of the cult of Frey and claimed it for themselves, but within a few generations Danish society had been taken over by the necromantic cult of Odin – a cult of blood and death rather than peace and farming.

      3. My more recent work on the early drafts of LOTR suggests that the whole idea of the Necromancer who made the Ring and the credible opposition against him was rethought once WWII began. Tom Bombadil shows how Tolkien understood the opposite of the Necromancer in 1938, while Galadriel is the new opposite of a few years later (with Tolkien complaining that Bombadil is ‘pacificist’).

      In my recent ebook, Apprenticeship, I do in the last pages try to show that Tolkien saw the same monstrous spirit at work in the evils of imaginary (Sauron), very old (Odin) and contemporary (the Nazis) northern evil. But this point will probably be missed by everyone.

      I will not elaborate on this until I write the third ebook of the series of three (see the three menu links above), of which ‘Apprenticeship’ is the second and I plan next to write the first, on ‘The Hobbit.’

  2. Frogmorton

    Thanks for your reply Simon!
    I did not even know there was a Zealand – so that’s why there’s a New Zealand? 😀 Is that where the Angles lived, in a triangle of land between two rivers?

    Is it firmly established that Odin was a southern god who came north in the wake of the Gothic migrations, or one of several theories? I know some neo pagans who would be unhappy about that.

    I am drawn to the idea of the more gentle and wise Vanir being the original northern gods. It’s odd because I constantly pick up the Silmarillion and was thinking of the intriguing Vanyar, the noblest and fairest of the three elf kindreds, who stay in Valinor and take virtually no part in future histories. The Vanyar, the Valar, the Vanir? Must be a link…. I was aware, I think from Tom Shippey, of a good king Froda and the Long Peace.
    I will check out your ebooks, and may get back to you. The blog is fascinating by the way, still catching up with it.

    1. simon Post author

      The Angles apparently came from Angeln in Schleswig Holstein. Zealand is identified by Tolkien (and his Cambridge counterpart Chadwick) as the island mentioned (but not named) by Tacitus as the center of a cult shared by a confederacy of northern tribes, including the Angles. Tolkien thinks that the tribe that originally lived in Zealand were the Heathobards, whose priest kings run the cult (I think he came to see the Heathobards as the last vestige of the Numenoreans).

      Chadwick argued for a southern origin of the cult of Odin in a publication of 1899, and Tolkien in his commentary on Beowulf makes clear he assents to this opinion. What scholars say today I have no idea (a principle of my research is to concern myself solely with what Tolkien believed to be true and to pay no heed to what might in reality be true).

      On wider reading: Shippey wrote about Froda and the great peace before Tolkien’s Beowulf commentary was published, and so today we can take things a lot further. Specifically, we know that while this legend is known to us from Scandinavian sources, Tolkien regarded it as in origin an ancient Heathobard legend (and so we can see him thinking about it as a late echo of the stories he imagines in an earlier age of the North).The same goes for the story of Scyld Scefing in Beowulf.

      And on my books: My ‘Lost Mythology’ book was a first take on all this. But really, part II of my new ebook says this side of things better, while the other parts relate this ‘lost history’ to Tolkien’s mythological thinking. So if you are going to read anything I would start with the recent ebook and only move on to the old one if you want some further background.

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