Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Craic-the-book Project

Who’s your 3am friend?

‘Why don’t you turn one of your manuscripts into an eBook?’ The question was posed as a challenge but it also pointed to a way to use all that research on my blog for the last three years, (as several friends pointed out.) ‘And you can tell us all how to do it.’

So begins the Craic-the-book Project.

First I made a list of everything I needed to do. Each item was going to be a project in itself. I took a deep breath.

ISBN numbers. (if I was going to do an eBook I should look at Print and Audio as well.)
Book cover. Book Trailer. Book website.
Formatting for different devices and media.
Distribution and Storefront.

In effect the whole project was to turn myself into a publisher.

As eBooks began to change the publishing landscape my weekly blog roundup reflected the hot topics under discussion.  Publishing eBooks whether you do it on your own or with an eBook publisher or with an agent or a traditional publisher, the big concerns can be broadly grouped into three categories.

Quality of the Content.
Career Impact.

Quality of the Content.
eBooks range in quality from badly written, badly formatted, 500,000 word epics to 5000 word pristine short stories. It can be vanity publishing at its worst and niche publishing at its best.
My manuscript Craic had been doing the rounds here in New Zealand staying between 6-12 months at each publisher.
“It’s a great story. We’re sure someone will pick it up.”
After five years of getting positive rejections and nearly getting a contract twice you feel somewhat crushed. So using the positive rejections positively I felt I had quality content.

Marketing starts at the book cover. With different formats it was going to be important to have a strong cover that could be scaled down to thumbnail size on a computer which is how the rest of the world would be finding the book.  With the rise of the eBook has been the rise of the book trailer. There are different opinions about whether book trailers work. In several discussions with school librarians, both here and overseas, they were adamant that a book trailer sold a book to kids. Librarians used them on websites and kids queued for the book after seeing the trailer. My book is a midgrade and book trailers aren’t as common as in Y A so I had to decide whether to do one or not.
A dedicated book website this could be the store front. As my blog is my author home page I needed a site that could be all things Craic. I had already created a book website for my book Bones (published by Penguin) so I knew roughly what I needed to do.

Career Impact
As my career seemed stalled, movement on that front was always going to be a positive. I haven’t abandoned traditional publishing. With the recession in publishing and the impact of e-publishing on traditional print publishers everybody is looking for the magic solution. The writer now has many options, epublish only or a mix of traditional and epublishing either on their own or with an agent or print publisher.
Midlist, midcareer writers who have been abandoned by their print publishers are now discovering huge opportunities in their out of print back list, making them available as eBooks. This now has print publishers scrambling to get back this potential gold mine by sending updated contracts to authors with very very fine print. If you are in this position, check out any new contract with a magnifying glass.

Here endeth Part One of The Craic the Book Project.
Next week... Book Covers and Book Trailers

Now for those of you who need your weekly fix of great links....

In the blogosphere this week there was the big discussion over negative reviews and the huge stoush on Goodreads between writers and reviewers...OUCH. The Guardian tried to sum it all up.

Alan Rinzler looked at The Pitch...Specifically the new author pitch - Show Don’t Sell. He breaks down when and how to use different pitches and to whom.

Will Terry looks at his epublishing year and breaks down the numbers. This is an interesting post on reality checks and cheques.

Jane Friedman has been quoted all over the place this week with an article that have got everybody talking on eBook statistics.

Jane also appeared on U S Television tonight talking about the SOPA and PIPA Bills which are being discussed in the US Senate. If you want to know how it these bills may affect you check out Wikipedia, they blacked out their page in protest yesterday.

Apple is set to make a big announcement later today...Rumours suggest it is an ebook publishing app specifically targeting Textbooks. (Like Garageband for ebooks.) Groundbreaking? Probably!

I’ll finish with Chuck. He has a brilliant post on the 25 things a writer should do.
(warning its Chuck.)

Update: Apple's new announcement...yup take a moment to think about how easy it will be to create an enhanced book....

I’ll leave you with a little book trailer....


Anonymous said...

Hi Maureen

I have also gone the e-book way with three of my adult's books. Such fun, but such a lot of time and hard work \ research. I put mine up first on Amazon and now Smashwords. Smashwords, I have to say, presents the books so beautifully.

Good luck!

Maureen said...

I agree with you on time/ hard work research. On the other hand HUGE learning opportunities...Once a teacher always a teacher...:)
I must say the new app from Apple is going to change the textbook publishing industry quite profoundly. Writers are already speculating on using the tech to do enhanced ebooks for kids...and the announcement is only two hours old at the moment.
Presentation will be everything now!

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