Check out the sidebar. I just made my first short story, “A Walk in the Rain,” available as a Kindle download. It’ll be available for Sony, Nook, and iPad via Smashwords soon.
So will this work?
Maybe. Part of the problem with self-pubbing in the brave new world of ebooks is promotion. I’ve had a couple of authors voice doubt, saying their ebooks never sold. I politely declined to point out that I didn’t even know about their ebooks. Or in one case, I did, but aside from the initial email, I heard nothing from the author in question.
People have to know you’re out there before they’ll buy your work. So after a prolonged absence, I returned to some of the forums I used to haunt: Short Mystery, Crimespace. Didn’t go back to Rara Avis. There’s only so many times I can stand reading the “noir vs. hardboiled” argument. I’ll jump on the Kindle boards and Smashwords groups soon enough.
I also have to realize the shorts aren’t going to sell right away. I’m selling them for 99 cents, about what too many novelists are selling their full-length work for. Personally, I think they should follow JA Konrath’s lead and charge $2.99. You get a 70% royalty from Amazon at that rate, but the book is still cheaper than a used paperback.
While this post is about ebooks, I don’t want to spend a lot of time pointing out that my short work and the first three Kepler novels are FREAKING EBOOKS! CHEAP! COME BUY MY CHEAP, CHEAP EBOOKS OR YOU’RE A LUDDITE!
Yeah, that shrill song is getting old. But I think it makes sense to re-release Northcoast Shakedown as an ebook, which I will do shortly. And when I do, I will talk about the book, not the format. The format stopped being news about six months ago. Sure, it rattles cages that Amanda Hocking is going to print while Barry Eisler turned down a cool half mil to self-publish. All that means is there is no sure thing. If Northcoast Shakedown and the paid version of Road Rules sell enough copies, they’ll fund a re-edit of Second Hand Goods, the second Kepler novel that made it to within a month of publication in 2006. What’s the threshold?
They have to bring in enough for that re-edit. If that happens, and Second Hand combines with the other books to pay for it, I’ll rewrite and have edited the third Kepler novel, Bad Religion. After that?
Well, I haven’t written off print. There are two novels I would dearly love to finish and see in print, one of them Holland Bay. The only question is whether print will be the first rights or subsidiary rights when they hit the streets.
As for my first ebook release, how’d it go?
Not bad. Smashwords prefers a Word doc to convert. Kindle wants a .mobi or .epub file. I also had to republish the Kindle edition to fix an annoying indent problem. What did I learn? I learned Amazon moves a lot faster than Smashwords, but then Smashwords has over half a dozen formats to support. Amazon just has Kindle to worry about. So next time, I upload to Smashwords and wait for it to filter out to the premium catalog before publishing on Amazon. Why? I think it’s best to publish to all possible formats as close to simultaneously as possible.
I’ve started a Jim Winter Fiction page on Facebook. It’s a lot easier than the old Yahoo Groups to manage. Drop by, check it out, like it. It’ll be the first place you read about new fiction and returning stories by me.
One of the things that dragged me away from the crime fiction scene was academic demands. Well, this coming quarter, I have one class on the weekend, an online class I can do on my lunch hour, and a third class that essentially is a project for my day job. Which opens up at least part of my evenings. Which in turn means I can actually pay attention to writing again.
So Bouchercon 2011 is out, thanks to job upheaval and the need to focus on academics. But 2012 is a go. Nita will be there with me, which means I get to watch her and Ken Bruen charm each other. (Ken, she likes her Jamie mixed with Coke. And we need to close the Warehouse District together.) I’d like to be able to say I’m an active writer once again.
This will help.