Saturday, January 1, 2011

A New year's Resolution

Well, I’ve caved in to the march of time. For years now I’ve been railing against electronic books and electronic reading devices, such as Amazon’s Kindle and all its imitators. As publishers, Susan and I have been forced (or at least forcibly persuaded) to make some of our titles—the Perseverance Press mysteries, mainly—available as ebooks for our distributor to sell to Kindle and the others. The conversion process costs us more money than we were making on the sales, but we still had to do it to satisfy our authors and the distributor. Well, ebook sales are picking up dramatically, and now we’re making a few cents instead of losing a few dollars. Now as a writer, I am faced with temptation, and I’m giving in.

My closet shelf has a handful of novels I’ve written over the years, for which I’ve been unable to find publishers. I don’t know why I’ve failed. Well, I do know that some of them weren’t very good to begin with, but there are a few—four in particular—that I’m proud of. I have felt sad that the characters I invented and have come to love have had to sit on a dark shelf.

So, this year's New Year's resolution is to give those stories and those characters a chance to be read. Maybe they won’t be read by many people, but a handful of readers is better than a silent void. So I have already “published” my novel Swimming in the Deep End as a Kindle edition. Early next year, I’ll do the same with Geronimo’s Skull and Elephant Lake. I think I may have found a publisher for my mystery Behind the Redwood Door, but if that’s true the publisher does ebooks as well as print books, so that will be available as an ebook too. (And if that deal doesn’t go through, I’ll publish an ebook edition myself.) I’ll do the same for Hooperman, although that needs another rewrite before I do.

Anyway, in time I’ll have a handful of ebooks available to those few friends I have who own and use Kindle machines (or iPads or iPhones or other electronic reading devices). Then comes the frightful job of marketing the works: telling people. I don’t know if I have the stomach for that, but I guess I must try. One tool for that will be my blog. Another will be a couple of websites that I’ve joined, Publeltariat and Speak Without Interruption, where I can post articles about this and that.

Meanwhile I continue to write mostly autobiographical essays for Black Lamb, and I’m chipping away at another novel. All of this activity keeps me out of trouble and is good for my mood. I’ve given up grander goals than that.

The New Year's resolution, expanded version: to make some of my novels readable by some people, and to try to increase my readership, and to continue taking the greatest joy from the writing process itself.

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