the great ebook experiment

So, what’s all this about?

Well, following the post by Susanna O’Leary, and well-documented posts by Writers of the Future judges and professional authors Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Katherine Rusch, and the previously mentioned jump by Australian horror author Shane Jiraiya Cummings, I have come to the conclusion that bringing out one’s works as ebooks is no longer considered the death of your writing career. I actually doubt it ever was, or at least not to the extent doomsayers would have it.

To cut a long story short, I’m making some works available electronically.

My aims are as follows:
1. It’s intended to be a library, a long-term project.
2. I will eventually put on all my sold work, and some new work as well.
3. It’s just one part of my marketing strategy, and won’t stop me selling work in other ways.
4. Ultimately, the aim is to get me to write more and agonise less.

At the moment, I have two things up:
His Name In Lights

A novelette originally published in the Universe Annex of the Grantville Gazette, of a future where people live in the outer reaches of the solar system, of the ultimate in skywriting and lives in danger as a result of a misunderstanding.

Stripped bare – a lighthearted guide to getting the most out of writers’ critique groups

Features material posted here, and more, collated into a beginner how-to guide to critique group etiquette with a difference. The message is: when you join a critique group, you’ll learn most from human interaction and how it is affected by the power of words on the page (in a critique).

Coming up:

The Far Horizon

Of all the things Cory Wilson expects to do when he moves to Midway Space Station, saving aliens from humans isn’t one. An important conference is about to start at the station, not usually the sort of thing kids care about, not even when the conference is between humans and aliens, and half your family is alien. However, when bullies tease Cory, he ends up in a prohibited area where he overhears some men planning to plant a bomb at the conference. Because the terrorists hide their messages in computer games, no one believes Cory, not even his father, the station director. Kids at school think he’s crazy, some even think aliens should be bombed. The conference starts, the aliens have brought a very important person, and Cory’s teacher, one of the terrorists, locks Cory in the classroom. Can he get out in time? If he does, will anyone listen?

A novel aimed at late primary school-early high school readers.

20 comments on “the great ebook experiment

  1. Nice =) I’ve been toying with this idea myself, to some extent. Have put a handful of prev-pub’d things up on feedbooks. Haven’t gotten around to being more rigorous about it.

    • thanks. There is no reason why you shouldn’t do it. I’m just making sure that I’m 100% behind the work I put up. I’ve been doing a lot of work on the kids’ book, and I just love that story. Trouble is, I don’t really want to go the childrens author way, and kids literature requires different agents, and a completely different approach that doesn’t mesh with my other writing.

    • Thanks. I just replied to you at Shane’s page. It’s such amazing news. No, I very much doubt that making material available electronically is going to damage your career. Naysayers still maintain that, but I just don’t believe it. The traditional market and ebook market are two different beasts, and probably support each other.

  2. Good for you, Patty! I just took the plunge myself with a novella (first in a series I’m working on) and have it up on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords. I’m having fun with it so far, and honestly prefer doing it this way rather than submitting to agents/publishers (which I’ve so far found fruitless). I like the idea of working hard to get readers directly, rather than working hard to get a publisher and then working hard to get readers on top of that, two years down the road.

    My strategy so far has been to do one thing every day to promote my books, even if that’s just participating in various reader forums. Slow and steady is the way to build a career, and there are enough success stories out there now that I’m sure with persistence, it will eventually pay off.

    • Slowly and steady does it, I think. I’m not expecting much, but I just enjoy seeing the material out there, and I’d like to build up a library.

      One thing it has already done is free up a lot of creative frustration I was withholding because some of my works are the first of series, and I felt like I couldn’t write further parts, because I hadn’t sold part 1. The idea that I can put these things out there means that my mind can rest and get on with future books.

  3. Do it.

    Worst case, a publisher sees it, wants it, you take it down. best case, you never need a publisher because your sales go crazy. Writers should use EVERY tool in the toolbox. This one is open to us and it keeps money in our pockets if we can navigate the advertising aspect of the thing.

    Do it. And keep going for the traditional route as well.

  4. Just over a month ago I published my crime thriller, Burn, Baby, Burn as an e-book to Smashwords and Amazon Kindle. After ticking along for three weeks the past week has been spectacular. My book is ranked number twelve in the Thriller chart on Kindle, 42 in all books, selling in excess of 100 copies a day.
    I have been contacted by agents and publishers, two of each, including an agent who turned me down shortly after I received my Authonomy Gold Star.
    Best decision I made in quite some time.
    Jake Barton.

  5. Hi, Patty

    I’m completely with you. Times have changed and the perception of self-publishing is shifting too. I’ve made the decision to self-publish my comical short stories soon, since it’s even harder to get them a deal. I will also self-publish my novel when cleaned up to perfection. Thought while I’m trying to land a traditional deal, I might even make some money while I’m waiting.

    Good post 🙂

  6. I can’t wait to start getting stuff out there! It’s exciting to see other writers taking the leap and putting their work out into the world 🙂 Of course, it will be awhile for me – it’s so important to make sure your work is the best it can be before you put it up. I’m going to go grab one of your works now!

  7. I thought long and hard about the pros and cons of ‘taking the plunge’ via Kindle. I’ve learned more in 6 months than I thought possible. This is a completelly different market than paper printing.

    I’ve started calling myself a ‘pulp fiction’ writer because this is fast paced & reader-driven, unlike trade publishing. There is a ‘wild West’ feeling to it.

    • I am beginning to think you’re right about there being two different markets, and I don’t think they are mutually exclusive, but I think the e-market is geared towards faster reads and word-of-mouth

      • Different markets and a different set of expectations from readers. Pulp Fiction (as I think of it) is completely reader driven. They want a good story. They don’t care if the formatting meets the Chicago Manual of Style, or hits some literary standard of perfection.

        The keyword may be ‘accessible’ instead of ‘literary’.

  8. Pingback: A Bit o’This ‘n’ That « Shane M. Gavin

  9. Pingback: The great ebook experiment mark 2 (because I can) « Must Use Bigger Elephants

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