Thursday, February 7, 2013

Cranial Download, Anyone?

In your ideal world as a writer, do you foresee a balance of writing hardcopy books and stories and some ‘E’ material or, gasp, will your original work only be available in e-format one day? And does it matter??

In my ideal writer world, yachts, Greek islands, and dark-chocolate-covered marzipan figure prominently.

But allow me to answer the question a little more directly.

I’m a storyteller at heart, not a book provider. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love books. I think they are pretty close to the perfect way to deliver stories. They’re relatively cheap. And portable. And they smell good.

But other media have their advantages, too, and I don’t want to eliminate any portion of my potential readership by limiting the method of delivery for my stories.mccoy

So, in summary, I’d like to provide my stories in whatever medium my readers want: ebooks and print books and audio and film and large print and direct cranial downloads, too, if it ever comes to pass.

Having said all that, I shall now contradict myself! (Just call me a fence-straddler.)

For the past year or so, I’ve been conducting an ebook experiment. I’ve self-pubbed two original ebooks, THE TASTE (horror) and FIRST TIME KILLER (thriller). In the next month, I plan to release another ebook original (RIDE-ALONG). Right now, there is no printed version available—only digital (At some point, if there’s sufficient demand, I hope to have all of these titles in print-print).

Why go the ebook original route? Many reasons: quicker to market, cheaper to produce, easier for readers to buy and a lower price tag, didn’t find a home in a big publishing house, larger royalties. However, here’s the biggest reason to offer affordable ebooks: BECAUSE PEOPLE WANT THEM. I learned in Marketing 101 that it’s generally a good idea to give customers what they want at a reasonable price.

Here’s one data point in my experiment: Last week, as part of a two-day Kindle Select promotional campaign, 11,000+ people downloaded free copies of FIRST TIME KILLER. (I know many of them won’t ever read it--a lot of people like FREE things, just for the FREE of it.) This tends to support my theory that: PEOPLE WANT AFFORDABLE EBOOKS (see above).

Does this mean from now on my work will only be available in e-format?


It’s a strange new world out there, and my goal is to have as much chocolate-covered marzipan as I can reach as many readers as I can!

(This entry is “simul-posted” on Criminal Minds.)



Hart Johnson said...

There is a part of me that wants people 4 or 5 generations from now to dig up my books in an attic and read them. I don't think that possibility exists for eBooks--I think they will run their life span and even if they are available, they will zap from all practical existence.

But like you, I think for SOME BOOKS, and for INROADS eBooks might make good sense. I am undecided at this point. I think part of the issue is genre, and mystery and YA, my primary genres, do well traditionally. But I have a couple off-genre books I may very well publish as eBooks.

Alan Orloff said...

I, too, like the relative permanence of a printed book. But you can't argue with technological advances. (I mean, you can, but you won't often win. I have a slide rule and a Betamax to prove it!)