Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Ebook Consideration


OK, I’m thinking of publishing an ebook through Amazon’s Digital Text Platform. It looks like a fairly easy process, and I’ve actually set up a book, although I have no idea at the moment what it’s likely to look like after it’s published. I guess I’ll find out, because I’m pretty committed to giving this a try. Here’s why.

1. I have some western tales, two long and one short, that I’d like to make available in a collected format. But, there is not enough material to pitch as a collection to a regular publisher. It’ll be a total of about 60 pages, which seems pretty good for an ebook, if I make sure to let folks know that it’s not a full novel’s worth of material and if I price it accordingly.

2. I’ve been wanting to try something like this because I hear that some folks are doing pretty well selling Kindle ebooks that they published themselves. And I really do believe that ebooks are going to continue to grow in popularity for a good while, even though I don’t think they will ever completely replace printed books.

3. I’m also interested in doing a little publishing under what I intend to call a Razored Zen Imprint. They say every actor wants to direct. Well maybe every writer (or just this one, and David Cranmer, and Sidney Williams, and Bret Funk) wants to publish. And this seems like a good way to get my feet wet in the process.

So. What do you guys think? Any great advice? Any caveats? Anybody want to give me a few million bucks to set up Razored Zen Press?
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41 comments:

Laurie Powers said...

I've been thinking of doing the same thing with my grandfather's stories, all for the same reasons you quoted.

David Cranmer said...

Of course, I think it's a great idea. Let's see.. a million you say? Hm.

David Cranmer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AvDeeBee said...

I'm also planning on doing the same. I'm tired of waiting for magic to happen. I've gone so far as to have a cover made. Maybe a concerted windstorm of collaborative marketing between all of us ebookers would give us each the number of readers we hope for.

Greg Schwartz said...

I think it sounds like a great idea. Good way to test it out, at least. Got a title for the collection?

I was thinking about doing something self-published with Lulu a while back, but after looking into it it just seems like too much work to do all the advertising myself. Your blog has a pretty big readership, so that should certainly help, and I'm sure Amazon itself will draw quite a few readers in.

One disadvantage of e-books seems (to me, at least) to be that it's harder to find magazines or websites to review them. Many reviewers require (or at least prefer) printed books, but I'm sure there are plenty that you can find to review an e-book... and you won't have to pay postage to send it to them!

laughingwolf said...

definitely worth a try, charles

had i a few mil, i'd join you in the endeavor...

they say to make a small fortune, start with a big one! ;)

laughingwolf said...

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http://hunting.about.com/od/guns/l/aastcoltcowboya.htm

Randy Johnson said...

From what I've seen following others trying this, it's not a hard process. You do need an eye-catching cover, though. lee Goldberg's sales of some of his old books increased when he got a more modern cover.

Even if you don't make a million dollars, hey, it 's "found" money as lee calls sales of his out-of-print works.

BStearns said...

I think that's a great idea! It really is one of the ways to go, as a lot more people are buying ebooks these days, especially with the inclusion of these new reader things. Good luck, and I hope to see you out there soon!

-Bryan
sff-hub.blogspot.com

Charles Gramlich said...

Laurie Powers, there may be other reasons as well. I still haven’t given this a huge amount of thought.

David Cranmer, make it ten million and I’ll build a Cranmer wing on the Razored Zen office building!


AvDeeBee, definitely. We need to coordinate that collaborative marketing idea.

Greg Schwartz, I’m probably gonna call the collection “Killing Trail,” which is also the title of one of the stories. I figure the best likelihood of reviews will be blog folks anyway.

laughingwolf, indeed. I know some folks who have gone the publishing route and it’s been costly and a lot of work. But maybe not so much with ebooks.

Randy Johnson, yeah, found money. That’s something. I’m trying to figure out some stuff about the cover. I know my kindle 2 will show illustrations in a text, although only in black and white.

Bryan, thanks. I’m definitely going to give it a try.

David J. West said...

I like "Killing Trail" as a title and I am anxious to see how this can pan out, and of course I have been considering the same thing.

All the best when it comes to getting a Razored Zen pub-thing going.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I know less than nothing about this but I will follow your adventure with interest.

Bernita said...

You probably have, but if not, read Joe Konrath's blog.

Lana Gramlich said...

Worth a shot, at any rate.

Travis Erwin said...

I have great interest in this and have pondered traveling this road myself.

Charles Gramlich said...

David J. West, thanks. I think "Killing Trail" is a good western title.

pattinase (abbott), I'll post about my experiences here.

Bernita, I have read his blog. I'm gonna go back today and see if I've missed anything.

Lana Gramlich, that's my thinking.

Travis Erwin, I'll post about my experiences here.

G said...

If you're gonna do it, doing it through Amazon should be a lot more cheaper and less headachy that doing it the way I did it.

Only a few million, eh?

Only if I win powerball, then I'll need a place to hide...er...invest a few dollars.

BTW: about 3/4 of the way through your "Write with Fire". Pretty good book. One particular section made me wish I kept my handwritten rant about literary journals.

Steve Malley said...

Now you're making me want to try! Awesome!!

Charles Gramlich said...

G., I always save my rants. I like to revisit them on occassion.

Steve Malley, I'll let you know what's happening with it. I'm fooling around with cover ideas today.

Demon Hunter said...

Sounds like an awesome idea, Charles. I had a friend who did something similar. :-D

Charles Gramlich said...

Demon hunter, I hope it worked out for them.

Cloudia said...

Go man go!





Aloha from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral

Harry Markov said...

What I have read about this is can be summed up in:

1. Set prices low. I think less than a dollar for 60 pages. This Conrath dude advises so.

2. Get a professional cover art, so that it can look as tantalizing as it can.

I am not sure about the three actually. I guess three is magic, cause it does not happen for everyone. But great experiment. With reviewers help, then it can certainly accomplish what you are looking for.

ivan said...

This can work very well if you're a media whore, and by some happenstance publish a novel. The other media whores, including some reviewers, friends of yours, go to help you out.

Then you can say with wry satisfaction, "Book published, reviewed...And then sinking from sight."
But at least you can have that satisfaction.


It was curious, however that on the day my book came out, I was involved in a libel suit (I bruise facts) at the North York Mirror, Toronto. They fired me.
...But they still printed my review of The Black Icon.
And would you believe the women on the phone and bankers wanting to help you out? Wine-stoned Cowboy!

Sure a project like the one you propose is worthwhile.

But then you're not a media whore. :)

Mary Witzl said...

Hanging my head in shame over the very little I know about all of these! I should know more about Kindles, e-books, etc., but so far the sum total of my knowledge is the little I've gleaned from agent websites and my awesome moment with a colleague's i-Pad. But if you don't mind sharing your experiences, I'll gladly partake!

If I had a few million to spare, I'd be sharing it around very freely. Too bad I don't have a few million to spare...

Paul R. McNamee said...

I want to give this a shot, someday, too.

But I need enough material - and need to decide which material.

Ty Johnston has some things on Kindle - a trilogy, a Western screenplay and a horror collection. You might want to ask him about his experience.

Charles Gramlich said...

Cloudia, I hope it works. I hope something does.

Harry Markov, I had a look through Konrath's book and that's pretty much what he says too. I definitely will set the price as low as possible. I'm thinking about trying to add another story to bulk it up a bit. I think I have an interesting cover in the works.

ivan, that's part of my problem. I'm not enough of a whore. Damn this lingering bit of pride. Damn it I say.

Mary Witzl, a few million to spare seem pretty hard to come by.

Paul R. McNamee, I particularly think that material that is about a novella length should have a decent shot on the kindle because you can set the prices low. I'll check out Ty's stuff.

BernardL said...

The check's in the mail buddy. :) I think it's a great idea, but the competition is daunting.

eric1313 said...

Sounds like the way of the future. Though like you, I would doubt the total replacement of print on paper form...

even if in a lot of sci fi, that is what happens in various author's visions...

Heather said...

You should do it! Best of luck with it and you know many of your blog readers would snap this up!

Middle Ditch said...

Solid. Great idea. That's why I have MD. It's a great way to reach an interested audience so to speak. Good luck Charles and sorry I have not been here (or anywhere else for that matter) for such a long time.

Charles Gramlich said...

BernardL, I'll look forward to cashing that one. ;) As in all the arts these days, the competition is daunting.

eric1313, like CDs didn't completely replace vinyl. In fact, vinyl periodically makes a comeback.

Heather, it's probably the time for me to try and it see what happens.

Middle Ditch, I know sometimes we get busy with other elements of life. No problem.

Rick said...

It sounds like a fantastic idea, and I especially love your idea of a Razored Zen imprint. Count me in as a customer!

Charles Gramlich said...

Rick, thanks. I appreciate that, my friend.

jodi said...

Charles, I say, go for it! Get out in as many forums as possible. Good luck!

Lauren said...

I think that sounds like a great idea. I agree that eBooks are going to continue to grow as more people see their friends enjoying reading and the readers get more and more comfortable to hold and as the prices for the readers start to come down a bit. The market is only going to increase from here!

Good luck with the Razored Zen Press. You should look into getting some grants...since it's related to the arts I bet you'd have a decent chance to get one. Contact your local SBA or SCORE...they might have some good info for you.

Charles Gramlich said...

jodi, I think I will.

Lauren, that's a great idea. I should have thought of that myself.

Travis Cody said...

I like this idea. I've been considering trying to put my poetry in some kind of chap book or other format. Maybe this is the vehicle for me too.

Charles Gramlich said...

Travis cody, it might be just the ticket. YOu should look into it.

Kate S said...

I haven't tried that particular venue, Charles, but I did recently try Smashwords. In one month, I had over 800 downloads of my short story.

Of course, I did offer it for free just to try it out. I sorta wish I had charged for it now... :)

Charles Gramlich said...

Kate, 800! Wow, that's pretty cool.