Remember when you used to write "e-mail" with a hyphen? Then it got so ubiquitous that you dropped the hyphen and typed "email." Well, I remember when you inserted that hyphen in ebooks, too, but now it just looks old-fashioned, like you haven't gotten aboard the train before it left the station. The NY Times is running ebook bestseller lists. My compadre Barry Eisler eschewed a $500K advance for paper-and-pulp books to go the ebook publishing route. And I'll bet it can't be long before Mystery Writers of America and the International Thriller Writers add a best ebook original category to their awards to go with the best paperback original.
I live in Silicon Valley and have been on the cutting edge on some things like cloud computing and the Luddite fringe on others like smartphones. I guess on ebooks I'll be somewhere in between.
My agent is currently circulating a manuscript of mine for paper and ink publication. I have the rights to e-publish one of my books now on bookstore shelves in trade paper (Smasher), and I have another manuscript sitting on my hard drive. It's called Drop by Drop after this quotation by Aeschylus: “And even in our sleep, pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart....” In Drop I draw upon my experience as counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee overseeing spying and other covert activities conducted by US intelligence agencies. I loved writing the novel and friends who have read it have been nudging me, so I want to get it out there for others to read.
Paul Levine gave me advice on where to go to get the manuscripts formatted for Amazon and B&N and to get covers for them. (The one on the left is just a mock-up I did myself.) But here's what I don't know, where I'm lost. When Smasher came out in paper, I went to BEA and signed books, and then visited bookstores and signed even more. The publisher sent out galleys to newspapers and magazines, which followed up with reviews. I was interviewed by print reporters and even on TV. But how do you do all that with an ebook? How do you send reviewers a copy? (It probably doesn't matter since they won't review an ebook original anyway.) I can't go to bookstores, for signings -- there's nothing to sign.
I had a great set of blurbs for Smasher, but what about blurbs for an ebook original? Is there even room for one to be legible on the front cover? (There is no back cover.) Is it uncool to ask for a blurb that would just be used on the Amazon, B&N, and Smashword download sites?
So I have to come up with a new launch strategy, don't I? I guess I can tweet and blog to my heart's content. But beyond that, how do I get the word out there? I'd be grateful for any ideas you have or experiences you've learned from. Thanks so much.
I'll let you know when the books are available for download and how it goes in a future posting.