April 22, 2010

With a Little Help from my Friends

This world would be a lonely place without friends. They keep you company. They make fun things more fun. They make bad things bearable. They sit by your side on the darkest night of your life and hold your hand, and somehow you can feel their love and know that no matter what, everything will turn out all right. Friends also are a priceless resource. A group of friends, collectively, can know things that one person working alone simply can’t keep track of all at once. Friends share this information with you, exactly when you need to know it. Clear back in November when Fabric of the World was published, one friend asked me, “Will this be available on Kindle?” I believe my reply was something to the effect of, “What’s Kindle?” My friend gently explained to me about eBook readers in general and Kindles in particular, stressing his love for his device. I have heard of eBooks, and even have some, which I read on my computer. They are all free or public domain works. I very much enjoy reading them, though the hours spent hunched at the computer screen was not good for my back and certain other parts of my anatomy, which should remain nameless for the sake of propriety. I vaguely knew that some people, possessed of a far greater amount of money than myself, had “thingies” they could read the eBooks on. After listening to my friend’s explanation, I went to Amazon to check out this Kindle thing and look into the possibility of publishing my books that way. I was especially excited at the thought of publishing Fabric of the World electronically, because of its technological origins. Fabric was written, proofread, edited, and sent to the publisher without ever being printed on paper. When I received my first proof copy, it was the first time Fabric had actually been printed out. So the thought of a book that could be done entirely electronically, even down to the customer who bought the book, was a very exciting thought for me. Unfortunately, I found that at the time, there was no way I could economically afford to publish for the Kindle. The prices asked for the books were low enough to pull all my print customers away, and the royalties offered would not add up to enough, unless multiple thousands of copies were sold. I said as much to my friend, by way of explaining why I was absolutely not going to ever publish electronically. The funny thing about message boards is that words posted in passing remain in place and are read and replied to months later. Just recently, another friend posted a reply that informed me Amazon’s royalty setup had changed. They also accused me of trying to use my writing as a get-rich-quick method, and told me to stop whining about new technology that isn’t going to go away. The latter two comments made me mad, which got me moving. Instead of yelling back, which was my first reaction, I grabbed my computer and started doing research. First, let me say that I’m not against eBooks and audio books. They both are very good, and I can plainly see that eBooks in particular are the wave of the future. My concern was purely economic. I don’t believe I will ever “get rich” from writing, but I do work hard at it. Writing is my only job, and I spend six to eight hours daily working on writing, editing, or other publication related tasks. I have been doing this for three years straight, and have received less than a thousand dollars compensation for three years of difficult work. I create stories primarily because my characters demand to have their stories told. Even if I never sold my stories, I would still write them. When a story is sold, economics become a part of the equation. I strongly feel that the person who does most of the work should get most of the money. My self-published print books are that way, and I did not feel like giving Amazon most of the money from sale of my self-published eBooks...particularly when they demanded that I do all of the formatting as well, and the only thing they were doing was listing the book on their computer and collecting the money on my behalf. (Yes, I know, it's changed. Keep reading.) At about the same time, another friend posted a link to a blog of a man who was advocating self-publishing eBooks. I took the three posts as a call to action, and again dove into researching whether I should now publish my works as eBooks, and the how and where and all the details of doing so. Because of the pooled knowledge of friends, the challenge given and accepted, and hours of research, I am very pleased to announce the publication of both my novels, Tanella’s Flight and Fabric of the World as eBooks, available for a measly $5 each. Clues to Food is being offered for free...chiefly because I had to remove all the marvelous sig stamp images from it. I can’t see taking your eBook reader into the kitchen on a regular basis, but it would certainly make the book very easy to take along with you on vacation to Gramma’s house. The books are available now through links at my website, or my author page at Smashwords. They will be available soon at Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo, Amazon, and Apple; and have been translated into enough different formats that no matter which eBook reader you have, you can find it in a format you can read. And just to answer my first friend's question...yes, my books are available for the Kindle. Happy Reading! --Anne