GENREALITY


March 23rd, 2010 by Joe Nassise
Digitize me, baby!

TheHereticKindleI’ve long been a proponent of diversification when it comes to my writing career. I’ve written original novels for major US publishers. I’ve written original novels for major foreign publishers. I’ve dabbled in writing comics, written role-playing game supplements and rulebooks, and have ghost-written for a major on-going series. I’ve even put together a project strictly for the mobile phone market. The more irons I have in the fire, the more successful I will be, has always been my thought process.

Which is why over the last week I made the decision to jump into the digital realm with both feet. Noting the success that fellow writers such as Joe Konrath and Lee Goldberg have had with selling their back list on Amazon.com, I followed suit and created Kindle editions of several works, including my debut novel Riverwatch, a novella, More ScreamofAngelsKindleThan Life Itself, that was previously only available in the UK market, and all three books in the Templar Chronicles series – The Heretic, A Scream of Angels, and A Tear in the Sky.

To help them stand out from the crowd, I commissioned new cover art, something eye-catching and provocative.  Along with adapting them for the Kindle, I also used Smashwords to create editions in other formats, most notably for the Sony Reader and the various Palm devices.

I must admit I hemmed and hawed over putting up the Templar books. The first, The Heretic, is the only one that has seen publication in English. (Editorial changes at my publisher prevented the next two books from seeing the light of day, despite the fact that the series hit the bestseller lists in Germany, was optioned for film production, sold to three different books clubs, and was adapted into a comic book series.) I was concerned that making them available in digital editions would prevent them from selling elsewhere, but when it came right down to it, I finally decided that I really didn’t have a lot to worry about in that regard. And more importantly, I wanted the fans of the series to finally be able to have their questions about the fate of certain characters answered for them.

TearintheSkyKindleNext week, I’ll also be serializing Riverwatch for free on my website and the first of several different iPhone apps of my works should be available on iTunes.

The point of all this is to try and reach readers that I might not have reached otherwise through more traditional means.  Do I know what is going to work and what is not?  Of course not – but that’s the point of diversifying like this in the first place, to test the waters and see where they take me.

So tell me – what new mediums/formats/platforms are you most interested in?

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12 comments to “Digitize me, baby!”

  1. Charlene Teglia
    Comment
    1
     · March 23rd, 2010 at 2:58 pm · Link

    Woot for Templar books! I’m interested in all of it, audio, ebook, cell phone. There are so many new ways to get work to readers. It’s an exciting time.



  2. Doug
    Comment
    2
     · March 23rd, 2010 at 4:31 pm · Link

    I converted to the Dark Side a couple of weeks ago, with a nook e-reader. Like an awful lot of folks have reported, I’m finding it’s like throwing a switch. For “stream of words” books like novels where you start at the beginning and read through to the end, I doubt I’ll ever buy a paper book again.

    I don’t think there’s much “cannibalization” effect. If I didn’t have an e-reader, the availability of an e-book would be irrelevant to me. Since I have an e-reader, I wasn’t even going to consider buying the paper version. In my opinion, right now you need to be publishing both ways because the markets are almost completely separate.

    Smashwords could become a major player in e-books. If you’re prepared to do your own pre-press work–following their instructions on formatting your Word document, getting cover art created, writing “back cover” material, etc.–and your own marketing, the author’s cut per unit sold can be very nice indeed. Where you might make a buck or two off of each paper book from a mainline publisher, you’ll make over $4 a copy for an e-book priced at $4.99.

    From my limited experience, Smashwords still has some work to do on their Meatgrinder software that converts Word documents into e-books. I’d like to see cleaner ePubs (the format that I use) than I’m seeing, and I really miss having a chapter index. But I think they’ll get there.



  3. Joe Nassise
    Comment
    3
     · March 23rd, 2010 at 5:20 pm · Link

    That it is, Charlene, that it is.

    -Joe



  4. Joe Nassise
    Comment
    4
     · March 23rd, 2010 at 5:24 pm · Link

    Doug,

    I can see two different markets developing as well, though I do wonder if they will eventually merge. After all, each customer is buying the same content regardless of whether it is electronic or print.

    I’m also highly interested in seeing how the “expanded” editions thing works out. Will digital customers be interested in getting more material – deleted chapters, audio interviews, videos, etc – in return for paying a bit more?

    The next six to twelve months are going to shake things up I suspect.

    -Joe



  5. Doug
    Comment
    5
     · March 23rd, 2010 at 5:47 pm · Link

    :oops: Now that I’ve complained that a number of the ePubs I got from Smashwords aren’t as clean as I’d like, I read that Smashwords is currently “regrinding” a bunch of their ePubs in order to clean them up. So they already had the jump on me. Here’s hoping that the new ones make me happier. ;-)



  6. April Henry
    Comment
    6
     · March 23rd, 2010 at 5:56 pm · Link

    Following in Joe’s and Lee’s footsteps, I put five of my out-of-print mysteries on the Kindle and other formats through Smashwords. It’s just wonderful to have my old books read again. I don’t make anywhere near the money Joe does, but then again, who does? It’s basically free money and new fans.



  7. Lee Goldberg
    Comment
    7
     · March 23rd, 2010 at 11:02 pm · Link

    My out-of-print books are available on Kindle, Smashwords, and Scribd. I have sold thousands of copies on Kindle, barely two dozen on Smashwords & Scribd combined. So far, posting my books on those two services has been a complete waste of time.

    Lee



  8. Joe Nassise
    Comment
    8
     · March 24th, 2010 at 11:20 am · Link

    Lee,

    I haven’t tried Scribd, but I’ve had a similar experience with Smashwords. I like the way they allow for multiple formats, but they don’t have the traffic or marketing position that Amazon brings to the table as you noted.

    -Joe



  9. Jeff Mariotte
    Comment
    9
     · March 26th, 2010 at 11:14 am · Link

    Joe,

    Best of luck with it! I’ve just tried a similar experiment, with a new, unpublished teen supernatural thriller that I put on Kindle, then Scribd. Haven’t gone to Smashwords yet, but I’ve been thinking about it. Carnival Summer is really aimed at the readers who love my Witch Season quartet (and might be upset because at the moment the last two books aren’t available). So far it hasn’t exactly been tearing up the bestseller list. I don’t have e-rights to my backlist, so unless something reverts I can only do new stuff, but I’m looking at trying some other projects on there.



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    10
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    11
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