Friday, November 26, 2010


I just self-published my first novel this week. I used Amazon's CreateSpace for the print version and Smashwords for the ebook. There's a sample you can read at Smashwords and some teaser text available from my site at

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Writing Fears

Former literary agent Nathan Bransford recently posted a question to writers on his blog: “What is your greatest fear as a writer?”

I’m going to be blunt here. My greatest fear as a writer is never getting published, or more specifically never selling a story or a book.

These can be very different things these days. I could sell the rights of a short story to a magazine or anthology for a decent, professional rate. A book, I’d sell the rights to a publisher for an advance I could live off of for a couple of months. Or I could post the story on my blog and put a tip jar through paypal on it. The book I could sell as an ebook, copy by copy, on Amazon.

I recognize the difference between selling the thing itself and the rights for someone else to publish it. They certainly aren’t the same thing to me.

A few years ago I created a business plan for my writing career and it’s always involved something like: write something, revise it and sell the rights to it. I’ve invested a lot of time and money into writing. That’s how I want my career to go on a regular basis.

It’s not totally about the income. To me, not selling my work means I’ve failed as a writer. Simply having friends and family read a story isn’t enough for me. They are practically in the same sphere of influences I’m in myself. If someone pays to read a story, that means they wanted to and it means something to them. If an agent or editor buys rights to a story it means they know it will mean something to a lot of other people and they are willing to sell it to them for me.

Selling and buying are actions…and actions speak louder than the honey coated words of those close to you. I need to see these actions to know if I've succeeded.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Today in epublishing

We tend to be pretty pro ebook around here. But there are always two sides to things that should be considered.

Here is an interseting interpretation from a publisher on an article from the economist.

This article sheds some light on what I think are the biggest struggles in the ebook world right now.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Ebooks and Me

Advancing technology is spurring on the electronic everything revolution. My office is going paper-lite, we are developing electronic methods for just about all our needs. We have common network folders, desktop sharing software, LCD projectors in every conference room, dual monitor setups at most workstations. I can see anything I need to on my computer. So, I really notice when I go to click on the print button. And every time, I stop to think, do I need this in my hands? There are times when I say yes, like when I need to write on it or proofread it. But how will I make that distinction with novels in the coming future?

A few things come instantly to mind:
• How much do I like the author--is it signed?
• How much shelf space do I have?
• Was there a really good sale?

My first reaction to ebooks, a few years ago, was distaste. I didn’t like them because they aren’t my beloved paper pieces of art. These newfangled things were kinda hard to find. Amazon was just about the only place to get them and barely anyone had their novels produced electronically. And those readers were way too much for me to even think about buying. I was in grad school, by the way. Ebooks were for gadget geeks and technophiles. But, oh, how times change. There are so many more shades of gray in this image now.

My opinion of books has changed though, as I’m sure it has for many people. When I think of books, I think of two separate things. A stack of bound paper that either smells like printer ink or “used book store.” I can put a paperback in my coat pocket, or slip a hardcover in my bag or display the spine on my shelf. And they are also a new industry for text in various file formats with all kinds of metadata. To me e-books aren’t so much “books” as a concept. Yet in the end you get the same thing out of either style of published material. You read the words and react emotionally and intellectually to them. That’s pretty much what we’re reading for to begin with.

So you get the same thing out of both formats…

The prices of ereaders are dropping and Amazon and other companies are making it ever so much easier to get your hands on and read ebooks. You don’t even need an ebook reader anymore; you can read any ebook file between your computer, smart phone or PDA.

And technology isn’t an issue when it comes to jumping on the ebook bandwagon…

I confess, I have not yet read an ebook, but I know it will happen soon. I’ve been tipped off on some good open source software called Calibre. I’ve been playing with it and checking out its features a little in my spare time (I’ll post about it when I feel I’ve put it through its paces). Thanks to Baen’s Free Library and Project Gutenberg, I have a few e-books sitting on my hard drive. So when I’m done with my next few reading commitments I’m going to give the ereader a try.

Will I ever buy another bound book after that?

Books may soon be like antiques--those nice bits of furniture in your parent’s houses. Because in your house, all you have is your stack of electronic devices and self-assembled, particle board furniture from Walmart or Target. Well, I lust after those antique furniture pieces, but I don’t buy them. They are a luxury item. Same goes for books. I’ve always been more of a library-goer than book-buyer. So I don’t do my share to support the production of paper books. But I think that a nice spine on my shelf will always have a special place in my heart--even if I store most of my new $2 or $3 dollar books on my terabyte hard drive.