Tuesday, July 3, 2012

It Never Gets Old. No, It Doesn't!

There was a box on my doorstep the other day.  When I opened it, it was filled with my author copies of my latest book, FIRING POINT.  Just as with the previous 23 books, I had to sit there for a while, looking at the cover, flipping through the pages, reading excerpts.  It was still a thrill to see a real, live book with my name on the cover, filled with words that I wrote (well, helped write in this case since my co-author, George Wallace, is a gifted storyteller in his own right).  I admit I even smelled the fresh ink and paper and, even after 17 years, seeing a book that I wrote right there in my hands was as much a hoot as it was back in 1995 when I got that box of copies of THE FOREVER SEASON from Robert Wyatt, my editor at St. Martin's Press.

Now I've been to Amazon.com and read the write-up and downloaded the Kindle version of FIRING POINT, dropped by Barnes & Noble and grabbed the eBook version there for my wife's Nook, and even went to Audible.com to listen to an excerpt of the audio book (Stefan Rudnicki has done a fantastic job with the narration).

That was when it occurred to me that back in 1995, that box of books was it.  There were no eBooks, for sure, and audio books were big, bulky things on cassette tape.  Now those formats come as CDs or downloadable files for tablets, smart phones and other media.  Technological change.  Boy, is our primary topic giving publishers fits!  Traditional publishers, that is.  They are slowly but surely figuring out what is happening and how they should react.  At least some of them are.

I spent most of the last week or so playing the part of an editor/publisher, see.  I got the rights back from St. Martin's Press years ago on my second novel, WIZARD OF THE WIND.  Despite wonderful reviews, it never really sold very well and was never released as a paperback or audio book and nothing else existed then.  Since then, I really had no way to do anything else with it.  Publishers are not typically interested in re-doing books that did not sell well...even if there were beau coups great reviews.  "Damaged books" they call them.  But now, thanks to Amazon.com and Kindle, I have an outlet for the book that may just find some new readers.  Readers who grew up on radio, rock and roll, and the legendary disk jockeys who brought that groundbreaking music to us over the airwaves.

I have gone back and edited the manuscript myself.  There was some lazy writing in there, and I wanted to tighten up the prose a bit and update the story and how it equates to what has been happening in the radio broadcasting biz since it was published in 1997.  I added an author's note that spelled out exactly what I was trying to say by telling the story of fictional deejay and media mogul Jimmy Gill.  Then,with all that hard work done, it was a matter of minutes before I managed to get it converted to Kindle format, uploaded, looked at for formatting, and sent on its way for final approval and into the catalog at Amazon.  I have another couple of unsold manuscripts I'm looking at to self-publish that way, too, and have a ham-radio-oriented concept I'm working on, too.  I love the possibilities!  I'm also investigating Amazon's print-on-demand option for a couple of projects, too.

I can't wait until I see WIZARD OF THE WIND (and the cover I designed for it) pop up on Amazon, ready for sale and download.  It will still be just as big a thrill as seeing that box full of FIRING POINT copies show up on my doorstep.

It never gets old.  No, it doesn't.

Don Keith N4KC

(PS: I'll be harping on the eBook of WIZARD OF THE WIND as soon as it is approved for publishing and in the catalog.  Brace yourselves!)

(PPS: I am still producing this blog under protest using Google's Chrome browser.  It's an okay browser but I resent Google forcing me to use it if I want to continue to use their Blogspot service.  Pretty heavy-handed, I say!)


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Ari said...

Congratulations! I have heard so much about Amazon's print on demand, I will have to finally check it out now. I am wondering how it compares to services such as Lulu, etc. Technology certainly offers more options (and control) than ever before.