Friday, November 26, 2010

Open Thread:



Hi, everyone. I have been in Jury Duty all week (trial finished today), so I don't have a post prepared. Please feel free to post anything you like on an open thread.




All the Best!!




Chris McMahon

27 comments:

Brendan said...

I mentioned Bladerunner in the last post so thought I would put forward the heretical(?) notion that the original cinema release was actually the best version.

Ben Godby said...

I never saw Bladerunner BUT:

I'm finally starting to look into e-publishing and wondering if any Mad Genius readers have statistics, tips, tricks, and other geniusosity they wish to share with me.

Utterly for free, of course.

Brendan said...

Ben,

Linda Nagata is doing a series of posts about converting her out of print novels into e-books.

When it comes to putting the books on the market the most prominent is Amazon Kindle still, and you can either put your books up on iTunes and Barnes & Nobles Nook store yourself or have Smashwords do it(They take a % of revenue for the honour)

MataPam said...

Ben, we're all in the same boat. It's too early to tell, although some already popular authors appear to be successfully switching.

For those of us with little or no publishing history . . . well, we just don't know what it takes to gain a readership, yet.

If you and your first readers are very good at proof reading, you can go straight to Amazon and/or Barnes and Noble. And then think about how to advertise it.

Being bad a proofinf, I tried Naked Reader. They've got a novella of mine coming out in January, so by April or so I'll find out if three or four people have bought it. They/we have been releasing snippets, trying to entice readers. I changed my facebook picture to advertise it . . . Now I'm going to have to work at it.

Amanda Green said...

Okay, it's not fair when Blogger eats a comment it took me 15 minutes to put together when I'm feeling good. When I'm still running a fever, it's cruel and unusual punishment. Just saying....

Ben, as for stats, I don't have the latest month's, but e-publishing is still at 10% (give or take) of all of publishing. However, it is the one area that is not only growing, but exploding. Expect it to continue.

That said, the best way to answer you question is to know whether you are wondering about self-publishing electronically or going with an electronic publisher. For the purpose of my response, I'll assume you mean self-publishing.

Before you put your work out through Amazon's DTP program, Barnes and Noble's PubIt or -- or any other outlet -- it needs to be a tightly edited and proofread as possible. Even though those who read e-books are, on the whole, pretty supportive of independent authors, they are also quick to jump onto poorly formatted and poorly edited e-books.

You also need to be aware that each potential outlet seems to require a different format when submitting the manuscript to them. Smashwords wants a .doc file. The issue with that is you almost always wind up losing some of the formatting that way. Also, a table of contents with Smashwords is much more difficult to pull together because of their requirements than it is for any of the other outlets. At least it is in my opinion.

Amazon's DTP platform accepts .mobi files. I think they accept others as well, but I don't remember off the top of my head. The reason I upload using a .mobi file is it lets me already check the formatting and appearance of the book or short story in a kindle acceptable file before uploading it.

B&N's PubIt requires an epub file for upload. Again, this is nice because, as with the mobi file for Amazon, it lets you have a pretty good idea what the file will look like before you upload it.

Amanda Green said...

Here's the next part that they said was too long to go with my previous answer --


Your next consideration is scheduling of uploads. The site that takes the longest, imo, is Smashwords. This is especially true if you are trying for inclusion in their "Premium" catalog -- this is what gets you into "channels" such as Diesel books, KOBO, B&N, Amazon, Apple, etc. The fact you can upload only once and have them send your book out to so many outlets is their drawing card. The downside is that there are two levels of money being taken out before you get it. Also, you are at their mercy as to when your book is sent. As I mentioned, you also don't know how long it will take to go through their review process. Sometimes, if you're lucky, it may only be a couple of days. I've had it take as long as 10 or 11 days. And that's without having to redo something. Finally, anything coming out through Smashwords has to say it is either a SW's publication or is distributed by them. This is a problem because a lot of folks still think of smashwords as a repository of ebooks that can't get published anywhere else.

Amazon usually takes about 3 days to go through their review process. The only downside here is that your book will show up in the catalog before the book description does. For whatever reason, they go through two different review processes.

Once your first title has been reviewed and accepted by B&N -- which may take a week -- the review process is very quick. Or at least it has been in my experience.

For inclusion in any of these three catalogs, you do not need an ISBN. However, for sale to Sony or Apple's iBookstore, you do. So that is something else to consider.

Also, if you want to publish through Apple, you either have to use Smashwords -- or one of Apple's approved packagers -- or you have to have access to an intel-based Mac. You can't upload with a PC or linux system.

Remember, too, that you have to worry about things like cover art, financials, etc. You have to keep on top of where your book is, copies sold, have enough been sold to have a check cut or transmitted, has it been cut or transmitted and does the amount correspond to your records?

Another thing to take into consideration is promotion. If you self-publish, you are where the buck starts and stops when it comes to promotion. While you might not get much promo from a publisher, you are still identified with a brand and that does count some. So does the fact you'll be mentioned on their site and won't be just another title in the hundreds of thousands of titles in some e-bookstore.

Don't get me wrong. I am not saying not to self-publish. What I am saying, however, is to try the standard route first. Whether it is with a big name publisher who also understands electronic publishing or with an exclusively digital press, you'll be a step ahead of the game.

Ben, I hope this makes some sense. If you have specific questions, post them and I'll answer them later today.

Ben Godby said...

Thanks Brendan, MataPam, and Amanda for your posts!

Amanda, my current strategy is "publish traditionally now, direct fans to direct revenue streams [i.e. self-published work] later." Or, basically, use traditional publishing to evaluate and advertise my work.

For a long time I was really anti-self-publishing, although I think I developed a bias because I work for an arts organization that doesn't recognize self-published work. Anyway, lately I've been reading a lot and it seems like self-publishing, in the long run, may be where the money is; but I'm still going the traditional route first, and I'm exploring self-publishing slowly and carefully!

Hopefully, I won't be caught in some kind of time warp while my contemporaries fill the electronic future...

Chris McMahon said...

Hi, Brendan. I agree - I actually enjoyed the theatrical version better. There was a better balance of action and mystery. Too much 'moody' space in the Directors cut IMO.

Chris McMahon said...

Hi, Amanda. What is the .mobi - is that the Kindle format?

Very interesting discussion everyone. I am seriously looking at electronic options for some of my work next year, probably in parallel with traditional routes for newer work. Got to do something to break the deadlock! I have so many things unpublished I feel like it's no point writing anything new - and that's not good.

Amanda Green said...

Chris, mobi is one of the two formats the kindle reads. PRC is the other. There's a third format -- and I don't remember what it is right now -- that is full of DRM. Mobi and prc can be done without drm.

Brendan said...

Mobi reader is a e-book reader that has been around a fair while. It was first developed for the Palm smart phone and is also a good reader for Blackberrys.

Another conversion program for e-books is Stanza. I use the Stanza reader on my iPhone but the desktop program will output into a number of formats including mobi, kindle, epub, Adobe Digital Editions, and HTML.

Brendan said...

For those of you who aren't totally devoted to Lois McMaster Bujold yet, Baen have new CD image featuring the complete Miles Vorkosigan Saga plus more

Chris L said...

Not a fan of e-books (yet). Love any version of Bladerunner though.

Uncut versions are kind of a strange concept, especially when they change the course of the movie as deeply as the Bladerunner one.

Personally I liked the uncut because I hate voice overs. They always make me think the director has done a final viewing and suddenly realised his movie is inadequate and needs better explanation. Equivalent of author info dumping.

I didn't like the DC of Donnie Darko as much as the original though.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Brendan,

I like the version of Bladerunner with voice-over. Is that the original release?

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Ben,

They say that e-books sales are growing at a great rate.

All I know is that my books were pirated the week they came out in more places that I can keep track of and when I go by they have thousands of downloads.

Why do I go by? To torture myself.

No, I don't seriously think these readers would buy a copy. But I do wonder how they think the writer is supposed to survive to write more books.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Chris L,

I liked the Bladerunner voice-over because the genre was detective noir (set in the future) and this made the voice-over consistent with the genre.

Brendan said...

Yep, it is. I like the extra noir-ish feel it gives to the film, although Chris is right to say that some of them could be unnecessary(Decker's soliloquy after Roy's death for instance)

Amanda Green said...

Rowena, the pirating is going to happen whether a book is out in e-format or not. It may take a bit longer, unless the book is a best seller, but it does still happen. And, no, they don't think about how they are taking money from the authors when they do it. They have the same sense of entitlement the folks who are whining because they missed out on the $89 kindle deal this morning have.

There's another aspect to piracy that needs to be kept in mind. I don't have any figures to back this up, just anecdotal evidence, but most of the books that are pirated are books put out with DRM. There is that challenge aspect to it that the pirates are drawn to.

Chris McMahon said...

I haven't seen the Donny Darko DC. I did enjoy the original though.

Rowena: That's a really disturbing trend. It's happened in CD sales and really hit the small bands trying to make a quid - I guess I was hoping the same thing was not going to happen to writers. Boy. I hope these end up increasing readership and sales in the end. Maybe you should do what Cory Doctorow did and sell hand-stitched copies at $250 a pop - go the other way - provide something that the punter can't get via download.

Brendan said...

I know there are lots of books "available" on the net that don't have digital editions of any sort. Look at Harry Potter-the later books had pirates out sometimes even before the books were released and JK Rowling has only just recently approved e-book versions.

And Rowena, is the third Rolen's Kin book out yet? I need an autographed copy for a properly matching set.

Scott said...

I don't mind the voice over but a whole level is lost from the original version because the unicorn dream sequence was cut. ie, there's isn't really anything to suggest Deckard is a replicant which I think is pretty important.

Brendan said...

The problem with the Unicorn dream-or more precisely memory(replicants were supposedly always given an impossible memory to distinguish them from people) is that the only thing in the film that shows us it is a false memory and not just imagination is the unicorn stick figure Gaff leaves behind at the end. Almost no one without knowledge of the source material was going to connect the two so it becomes just weird noise.

Kate said...

Re: ebook piracy -

It's going to happen. No matter what, there's a small core of people who will not pay for it no matter how reasonable the price. There's another group that won't acquire pirated anything, even if they really want it and can't afford it.

In the middle is everyone else - including me - who'll get it however, but would prefer a legitimate version. These are the people who'll shift to pirated ebooks because they bought the legit version and couldn't open it because the stupid DRM didn't work, or they're not allowed to buy it in their country, or it's flat not available any other way, or it costs more to buy it electronically than it does to buy it in hardcover, or any combination of the above plus a whole lot of other factors.

Here's a few other tidbits - once you develop a reputation for selling reasonably-priced, DRM-free material, wholesale pirating of your work drops massively. Why? Because it's just as easy for that big middle group to get it legitimately, uncrippled, and use it as they choose. There's a reason you won't find many - if any - Baen books on those sites. They get laughed down because Baen prices their ebooks reasonably and doesn't use DRM.

Here's another reason - and what I used to do as a severely broke college student - you need the thing for study purposes, but you can't afford to buy it. Leaving questions of priority out of it, I had no issues with somewhat iffy copies of software way back then because I *had* to have it for my classes (I was doing a software engineering degree), and I had no other way to get it. I suspect the same thing happens with students and assigned reading. It's nothing more than the new tech version of photocopying the thing.

Let the readers know that you're prepared to sell them no-DRM legit copies for a reasonable price, and you should get most of them.

Of course, convincing your publisher of this is a different matter entirely...

Brendan said...

Come to think of it, didn't David Brin write a short story where aliens were just elves who had moved to the other side of the moon but were still up to their old tricks?

MataPam said...

The parallels between old stories about elves - not the pretty modern types - and UFO abductions are fascinating. Makes you wonder what other weird stuff is in our brains, and if there's any real need for it.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Brenda, the 3rd KRK book is out. You should be able to order it.

Let me know when you have it and I'll sign a bookplate for you.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Bladerunner

If Deckard is a replicant, then it isn't a love story about a human recognising the humanity in a replicant and overcoming their prejudice. It's just a story about two replicant's falling in love.