Saturday, April 30, 2011

e-books, upcoming and present


Given that no one (big publishers, little publishers, individuals, stray elephants) has really mastered the internet equivalent of paying for a big fat book dump at the checkout counter, or paying for end displays, or massive print and distribution strategies to put the book in front of buyers in ever bookstore, etc or any of the other way that publishing cheated and gamed the system (to readers, authors and indeed publishing's eventual loss) we're still in a situation where e- book buyers are looking 'other readers also bought' and where a pre-existing name/series and of course sheer volume of offerings count, I have decided that I have to stretch a little and get some more work out there.



At the moment we have THE GOTH SEX KITTEN, CRAWLSPACE AND OTHER STORIES and forthcoming from Naked Reader, WITHOUT A TRACE.



THE FORLORN is also OOP and out of contracted grant of rights - I've asked for my rights back, and will give it its original ending back - and a new cover. At the moment it is available - for free - from Baen Free Library. It will be fascinating to see how many people buy it.



A MANKIND WITCH also appears to be OOP and I've asked for those rights to revert too. At last I will get that book a cover it deserves. It's a part of a series, but as i am sole author, it's sucked hind teat and been allowed to go OOP.



And finally, I've had SAVE THE DRAGONS sitting at Baen for (mumble) many months now. Patience is not my strongest suite, so that will very shortly be going up too.

It's going to be interesting to see what (if any) impact 6 books(rather than 2 collections of shorts) have on visibility. Personally I am of the opinion these need to approach 20, and include some new novels, in series to be effective. I am thinking of a Rats Bats and Vats book, which will go directly to Kindle.

Interesting times. What do you guys think? How many books do you need out there? Are books (new) more effective than old material? And what do you want to see?

15 comments:

MataPam said...

That's the problem with ebooks. You don't see that whole shelf-width of different titles like at the store. How do you get the same impression of "obviously successful, I should try one" on line?

Too much self promotion on facebook could have a negative impact, but a nice big display, like this blog, on your own page and announcements elsewhere "Just got the art work for Rats, Bats and Rockets, isn't it great?" with a link ought to lure people in and let them see the whole shelf's worth.

Stephen Simmons said...

There's a concept in nuclear physics called "macroscopic cross-section" for any given particle-interaction. It describes the probability of a given interaction occurring, and is a function of both the individual atom/isotope's affinity for that type of reation, and the concentraion of that isotope in the system. I think the same basic principl translates clearly to this discussion. The books have to be good (affinity for reaction), but you also have to have enough exposure. I admit that, as Pam put it, the "length of shelf-space" a new author has affects my decisions in the bookstore. (Sometimes for ill -- years ago I noticed that John Norman's "Gor" series covered a lot of shelf ...)

This is the reason I've decided to concentrate my first-subnissions of new material all in one place, at NRP. Trying to create that impression of "there's lots here" by having them all together. Which, admittedly, would be more effective if I were being more productive lately ...

Kate Paulk said...

Oh, my aching bank account! On the plus side, more Dave books to buy :)

It's a pity we're never likely to see the unexpurgated Pyramid Scheme, since Eric was one of the people who insisted on the cuts...

Kate

Dave Freer said...

Matapam, exactly. And I have hit seversl of the over self-promote on facebook ones myself. It's a very fine line. But if like moi (and yourself) you write all over genre space - I feel one say hard sf offering, or UF, or steampunk is likely to get people who read in that area to look(and many people read all over - if they find an author they really like.)

I've always found the publisher type-casting of authors (your Alternate history/ Mil sf is successful. Write another! In series!) is something of statement of a lack of faith in your actual ability. It may be true of course!

Chris L said...

I don't know much about e-books. I've never read one and for a long time, never intended to.

Now I know that I will, it's just a matter of when. I travel a lot and something other guys in my position keep telling me is that ebooks are great for traveling, owing to space issues.

Another thing about traveling is that I like to read short books that I can finish on a flight so, like lots of other people, I buy thin books because they're light and the right length. It strikes me this market is perfectly suited to e-books.

Perhaps NRP could open an airport lounge on their website and feature books perfect for travelers? I'm going to China in a couple of weeks and I'm tinking of getting a reader. If there was somewhere I could go to find my kind of travel books I'd be going there right now.

And I don't care how much shelf space an author takes up. If it looks like a fun, easy read -- I'm there.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Good luck with the books, Dave.

When will you be unveiling the cover for Mankind Witch?

Dave Freer said...

Stephen, I like the macroscopic cross-section analogy. It's more elegant than my mudball theory - which goes like this: the number of sales is comparible to rolling a mudball down a sandy slope. The steeper the slope the more popular the book. The bigger the mudball is at the top (the more name recognition, books on shelf, initial sales, promo, in-your face distribution) the bigger it can get. Just how much new mud it can accumulate depends on how steep the slope, but a ball that starts huge but has a gentle slope will still lick the popular but tiny...

Well, it was an 11 pm idea:-)

NR is portal not a location, and as that portal they're scattering your material widely enough for it to find reactants (readers)

Dave Freer said...

Kate, cease and desist from planning to kill Eric.

Dave Freer said...

ChrisL - if I'm not an easy fun read, then let me know because I've failed.

Dave Freer said...

Rowena, when I get the rights back.

Brendan said...

Nathan Bransford had an interesting article on FBing. He recommends both an author fan page and separate book pages since if people favourite a particular title FB will automatically create links on their page to your Book Page.

EvMick said...

YES...more Bats Please.

After all a lady without here chainsaw is.........

voradams said...

What is the issues with AMW? While the works is yours, some of the intellectual property is owned by Mercedes Lackey and Eric Flint. Can you get full control of the book?

I did try to read Forlorn, and I have to admit I was not a fan. It started well, but my interest faded.

It helped that I read Forlorn on Free Library, and this was a direct result of looking at your back catalog after reading Shadow of the Lion. Proof that the Free Library works.

I am currently submitting stuff to an online magazine, and I have to admit that the urge to self publish is getting stronger. It also made me conceder art, which is strange, but rewarding as I normally conceder myself to be artistically challenged.

Dave Freer said...

Darryl - we agreed - as the universe is a shared creation, and to be fair, I did most of it, that we could all write stories in it independently. Besides, it all feeds back -- it's no benefit to Misty or Eric (or Baen) to have OOP. More people are likely to get attracted to the series. There are no signed rights to the universe.

Dave Freer said...

EvMick, my wife weilds a mean chainsaw :-)