Ebookery: Dave White

Dave White, Derringer winner and Shamus nominee, debuted as a novel a few years ago with When One Man Dies. He followed it up with the excellent effort, The Evil That Man Do. Dave’s now dipped his toe into the epub waters with a domestic spy thriller, A Witness to Death. Dave took a few minutes to talk ebooks and where he wants to go from here.

You released your latest novel, Witness to Death, as an independent ebook.  What was behind that decision?

Basically, it was about finding a new audience.  My contract with Three Rivers had expired, and the book was done.  I’d read Anthony Neil Smith’s CHOKE ON YOUR LIES and was blown away by how good it was.  It showed me that an ebook could be successful and not the just stereotypical mess of typos that you hear about earlier self-published books.  My agent is a big believer in e-books, so that helped, but more on that later.

Tell us a little about the novel itself.

John Brighton follows his ex-girlfriend’s new man convinced he’s cheating on her.  However, the truth is even uglier.  Turns out the guy is a spy.  Soon John is pulled into a world of Homeland Security, terrorists and the mafia.  Not to mention a ruthless assassin is on his trail.  Lots of torture, explosions, and shootouts.

What challenges did you come up against in the process?

The toughest part was figuring out how to format the book and get a cover made.  I went back and forth with the people I hired for that part of the process several times to get it just right.  But I love the cover and Scott Neumyer did a fantastic job formatting.

You came down firmly in the 99-cent camp in the debate over pricing self-published ebooks.  What was your reasoning for that?

Simple, more readers.  99 cents makes the book an impulse buy, and people who’ve never heard of you (and there are plenty of those) are more willing to give the book a shot.  So far the novel’s gotten some great reviews and I’ve heard from a ton of people who say they don’t usually read thrillers, but at 99 cents they couldn’t pass it up.  That’s opened a whole new world of readers for me.  The book has been doing really well, and a lot of that has to do with the price point.

How supportive has your agent been?

Extremely supportive.  Actually, this started out as his idea.  I have a few emails that say he thought WITNESS would do really well as an e-book exclusive.  And he’s been right.  As often happens, I am really glad I listened to him.

How do you feel about this particular path now that you have a novel and a short story collection out there?

I really like it.  It feels like I have a lot more control of the process.  I can check sales numbers whenever I want.  I get final approval on the cover.  I decide how and where the book is promoted.  At the same time, I’d love to get another deal with a publisher at some point, but if that doesn’t work out, the ebook world is currently a nice alternative.

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