Sunday, August 1, 2010

Naked Reader

No, no, no! I'm not sitting here in the suit I was born in, reading a book. Nor am I encouraging you, dear readers, to toss off your clothes as you read MGC. Unless that is how you usually read us, and then, well, I really don't want to know ;-) In fact, the photo to the left is a clue. So, read on, dear readers, read on and all will soon become clear.

If you've followed the blog for any length of time, you know there are a couple of things I'm passionate about. One is the growth and future of digital publishing -- of e-books. The second is that I view DRM (digital rights management) as not only unduly limiting on customers but also nothing more than encouragement to geeks and pirates. Encouragement to geeks because who doesn't want to prove you are a better hacker than big business is a programmer. To pirates because DRM limits the market unduly, thereby building an underground market for books that are either not offered in digital format or in a "locked" format.

This is where the drum roll comes in. I have the pleasure of announcing the formation of a new e-publisher. That's right, there is a new player in the game. Naked Reader, LLC will go live tomorrow. About 30 seconds after the site goes live, I'll either be dancing in celebration or hiding in the shadows, waiting to see how things go. Maybe both. This is a big step for me, and for those I'm working with. But it is something we are all passionate about and we truly believe it is something we can do and do well.

Let me start by reassuring you that Naked Reader isn't THAT kind of publisher. ;-) What you'll find there are quality short stories and novels by established authors as well as those just breaking into the business. I am thrilled to be able to announce that this first month, we will be offering a wonderful short story -- Left Behind -- by our own coconut tosser, Dave Freer. Also on the schedule for August is A Touch of Night -- think Pride and Prejudice with shifters -- by Sarah A. Hoyt and Sofie Skapski. Our novel reprint for August is the mystery/suspense B. Quick by C. S. Laurel. Two more short stories, one by Charles E. Quinn and another by Pam Uphoff, will also be available. To help introduce people to Naked Reader, all downloads in August will be free.

But it goes beyond that. Beginning in September, we will operate on a quarterly schedule. We will offer new books for sale this September and December. The other months will see new short stories, the occasional novella, as well as previews of upcoming novels -- all for free. And, no, we haven't lost our minds. The only way to succeed in this business is to build up a following and the best way to do that is to get people coming to the site and seeing the quality work we will offer.

Oh, one more thing, we will have a slush pile. Full details will be available on the site. But the quick version is that we will open up for submissions three times a year. The first submission period will be November. I invite those of you who are interested to visit our site tomorrow and read the guidelines.

Now, for some details. There will be no DRM added to e-books published by NR. The caveat for this is, of course, that certain stores (iBooks, Barnes & Noble, etc.) will add their own DRM. We can't do anything about that. However, for those sold through Amazon, there will be NO DRM encryption. We opt out of that.

The website is www.nakedreader.com. But don't go there today. You won't find anything. It will be up tomorrow. I promise. You'll find our schedule for the rest of the year, more information about the "house" and some of the people who operate it behind the scenes. I think -- I hope -- you'll like what you see.

So, this is your chance to tell an editor -- or at least a "senior executive editor" -- me. And, omg, I have a title!!!!!!!!!! (looks around for a place to hide because titles scare me) -- what you would like to see from an e-press. What formats of e-books do you prefer? Are you more likely to download, and pay for, a single short story or a collection of short stories? What do you see as the top price you're willing to pay for an e-book? We've done our research, but I'm always interested to see if we're on the right page.

Oh, and, Chris K, no fears or need to curse with regard to Kate's Drac. I shall say no more....bwahahahahahaha!

25 comments:

C Kelsey said...

Ha, I get mentioned in another post!

Also, Yay for the new press! Amanda, were you deliberately saving the announcement for my birthday? Becuase that's what you did. Thanks! :P

Stephen Simmons said...

I don't know ... yet. I haven't taken the plunge into e-format. I'm poised on the edge of the pool, though. My wife has made a firm decision that she does want one for her birthday later this month, and has begun researching the various models/formats to decide which machine she wants. (This is how her major presents always work, you see: she *tells* me what to buy her.)

This sounds really great, both as a prospective customer and as a potential submitting author. I expect the answers to most of the questions running around in my head will probably be available on the site when it launches tomorrow, so pummeling you with them today seems unfair, somehow. On the other hand, having been teased with this much information, waiting to read the details tomorrow is like waiting to unwrap Christmas presents ...

Amanda Green said...

Happy birthday, Chris K. I will admit it was hard not to comment about it last night ;-)

Amanda Green said...

Stephen, I'm evil. I admit it proudly :-) But if you want to ask some of the questions, ask away. I don't guarantee I'll get to answering them before morning. But I might. Evil, remember?

As for taking the plunge. I'm a kindler and love it. If you haven't looked at the kindle lately, run over to Amazon to do so. They've announced new models which will have the same sized screen, but with a smaller body and more memory. And a lower price, if you choose the non-3G version. Any way, it doesn't hurt to look. My only complaint with the kindle is it doesn't read epub documents. But that is handled easily enough with Calibre to convert them into mobi files.

Stephen Simmons said...

She's debating whether to look at Kindle/Nook, or look at iPad for its additional functionality beyond being just a reader. (My wallet tends to lean very strongly in one direction, but I'm trying to keep that out of the discussion ...)

My primary question about your new venture, as a prospective submitting author, is the mechanics of the business model. I'm trying to envision how it would work to come out in e-format first, and whether that would mean the book would end up staying permanently in e-form only, or how it might make the transition to dead-tree downstream of the e-release. You're clearly bucking the status quo a little here, so I'd tend to suspect that the "A-5" traditional publishers might frown on an author who went this route. I think I could see any number of smaller-imprint publishers working cooperatively with it, though.

Synova said...

Exciting!

How did you decide on Naked Reader? It doesn't quite sound like it should be erotica but I'm sure there will be some confusion. It's certainly memorable. I don't think I'll soon forget what it's called or that word-of-mouth will lose it's way because people get the spelling wrong.

Will monthly offerings be available bundled as well as a la carte? Oh, I see you asked about that. Well, for me, so far, I've just bought a few ebooks from Baen one at a time and haven't done the web-scription or the part where you get all the novels for the month. I probably should though.

I think that people won't necessarily even read everything so it's sort of like having a big bread bowl on the table at a restaurant or a buffet. It makes people feel like they're getting more than their money's worth even if they actually consume a smaller portion.

Amanda Green said...

Stephen, the short answer is that everything is flexible. There is the possibility that, in the future, we will offer print publishing in some form or fashion. There is also the truism that a number of authors make good money off of publishing only in the e-format. As for the traditional publishers, if one is interested in something we have under contract, we will, of course, work with our author and any other parties involved to try to come to a mutually advantageous understanding. However, right now, the best I can tell you is to submit to where you think your best chances for publication are.

Amanda Green said...

Synova, you wanted to know how we came up with "Naked Reader"...well, it was a long process that included some, er, interesting names. Then we asked ourselves what we wanted the press to stand for. That was simple. We wanted to be able to offer stories (novels, shorts, etc) to the reader with nothing standing in the way: no DRM, no print costs, no distribution cost, etc. So our motto, nothing between you and the story, was born. From there, to the warped minds that make up NR, the name of the press just came naturally. Yes, we did discuss whether there would be misunderstandings about what we published, but decided name recognition and easy recall outweighed any possible negatives that might attach to the name.

As for bundling, that is part of the plan. At least for those who purchase directly from our site. We are still ironing out the kinks on that, but it should be in place in time for September.

Dave Freer said...

I know what a long, long haul this has been Amanda. Well done, and may many great books and story see the public through NR.

Synova said...

If you want I can put a little flier out on the freebee sideboard at our con in a couple of weeks.

Chris McMahon said...

Congratulations! Best of luck with the naked prose:)

Amanda Green said...

Dave, thank you for putting your trust in us. I hope we don't let you and our other authors down.

We've spent a long time studying the market and other e-publishers, those that have done it right and those who haven't. That is part of the reason we are going to grow our catalog slowly. We'd rather move at a cautious pace this first year than to over-expand and not be able to do out best for all involved.

Amanda Green said...

Synova, thank you so much. If you don't mind, we will take you up on it. Please e-mail me at editor-at-nakedreader-dot-com (you know how to remove the dashes and replace with the right symbols) with your e-mail addy and when you'd need the flyers by. And thanks again. (and excuse any spelling errors here. I did get to bed last night, but the cat got me up much too early and the caffeine hasn't kicked in yet.)

Amanda Green said...

Chris Mc, thanks. Although, naked reading is best done in private or with those you are really, really close to ;-)

Sarah A. Hoyt said...

Very happy to try my luck with Naked Reader -- it had to be done. I might also try to self publish some shorts, who knows? Right now the whole thing looks dicey and risky and I spent half the night listening to a thunderstorm that underscored my feelings... :-P

Amanda Green said...

Sarah, we're fortunate to have you onboard as an author. As for the dicey and risky, well, that's the whole field right now. Hang in there.

Sarah A. Hoyt said...

I know, but it's also the fear I'll come face to face with the fact that READERS might not like my stuff as much as I think they should.

Penelope said...

Congratulations on Naked Reader, Amanda and team. Operating from NZ I'm a few steps behind in the process with Rosa Mira Books. I'll follow you with interest. All best wishes. Penelope

Amanda Green said...

Penelope, thanks. Good luck to you as well. Don't hesitate to email if there are any questions I might be able to help you with.

Synova said...

I went to the website and intended to download the stories there...

The only problem is that I've never done that before. I buy ebooks at Baen but I always just read them online.

I would suggest, for complete naifs like myself, (and if this exists on the site I didn't notice it, but I didn't look all that hard either), a section on downloading e-books for beginners.

Amanda Green said...

Synova, I promise that we are working to get the kinks out. Did you manage to get the downloads? If not, email me and I'll walk you through it. In the meantime, I'll let our IT guy know and hopefully he'll get instructions up today.

Synova said...

I think that the problem is that I don't actually have the software and I just need to download it. I didn't see a PDF option.

A note to the tune of "If you don't have software this one is free. Here's a link." would be nice.

Amanda Green said...

Synova, you can download the kindle for pc/smartphone/ipad/whatever your choice here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=sa_menu_karl3?ie=UTF8&docId=1000493771

Or you can go here -- http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/NakedReaderEbooks -- and you will see the links for the books on Smashwords, along with more formats available for download.

Synova said...

Oh, Smashwords looks usable. Cool.

I could probably have gotten help here at the house but I figured I'd do what my husband fondly calls "idiot testing."

I downloaded the Kindle reader for PC but I still do not get a message that says "Save Target as..." when I right click. I only get "Save Image..."

(I should note that it does not offend me when my husband talks about being an "idiot tester" because I know he is not implying that I'm an idiot of any sort and I understand that programmers want to test all of the *interesting* ways that users miss the obvious or manage to find the one single impossible thing that crashes the system. Nothing about computers is "intuitive" for me, so I'm pretty good at this.)

Amanda Green said...

Synova, when you right click, in the dialog box there should be something along the lines of, "same link as". IIRC, it is above where it says "save image as". But don't worry. We are working on a new template that will allow us to put up easier, more user-friendly download buttons. This month is sort of our shake-down month before we get going full-steam next month.