Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Testing the e-book waters

With so many Kindle readers being sold and success achieved by writers like J.A. Konrath and Lee Goldberg, I am testing the waters with a couple of e-book releases. The first one I have planned is "Burial To Follow," a novelette originally appearing in the Cemetery Dance anthology Brimstone Turnpike. It's a test case to sort out formatting, but it's also one of my Top Five works ever, and the original release was limited to 626 copies. So this is a chance to get the story into the hands of many more readers, which of course is the real point. It also doesn't hurt that the money flows directly to the writer's bank account.

I am divided on e-books and I remember in the 1990s when everyone said e-books were the immediate future (indeed, some said it was the present). I guess along with personal jet-cars and robot house servants, we'll just have to wait a while, but the undeniable truth is that bookstores are closing, paper books cost money to bind and ship, and distribution is still the largest single barrier between a good writer and an audience. Like Konrath and Goldberg, I still say writers should get the agent/major publisher paper deal and try the most difficult path possible before taking the easy way out and slapping up a bunch of e-books and hoping someone will recognize genius.

Another undeniable truth is that a lot more e-readers are being produced and sold, not just the Kindle. If you use one of these devices, I'd love to hear from you. If my "Burial To Follow" experiment proves worth the effort, look for possible re-releases of The Red Church and a story collection. Now time to go last-minute shopping (no Kindles in the stocking this year, though.)

1 comment:

Lee Goldberg said...

I've been earning about $500-a-month on Kindle editions of my out-of-print books. That really adds up...especially since the alternative would be to earn nothing off the books. I really had nothing to lose. But, like you and Joe Konrath, I have the benefit of already being an established writer. I would never recommend that an aspiring writer put his unsold novel on the Kindle. He might earn a couple of dollars, but it's not going to be nearly enough compensation for the likely harm he will do to himself by circulating a lousy, amateurish piece of work.